SmackDown Report for 1/15/21

SmackDown on Fox Episode #68
SmackDown Episode # 1,117
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Tropicana Field)

It’s Friday Night, you know what that means. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

We open the show with everything that happened last week with Roman Reigns where Adam Pearce won the gauntlet for the right to face Reigns at the Rumble. 

We then go to the back where Reigns is sitting in his chair reading over the contract for his match against Adam Pearce and Heyman is standing behind him, Heyman says that while it’s true they just delivered the contract five minutes before the show started it’s really no different than any other contract Reigns has had to sign as they are all the same with just a different name in the spot of the opponent. Reigns isn’t happy at all about what he is hearing so Heyman changes his tone in order to please the “Tribal Chief” as he says he doesn’t like the contract either as he thinks the match should have some kind of stipulation, a stipulation that would allow Reigns to teach Pearce about fear and respect. Reigns gives the contract back to Heyman who walks off as the segment comes to an end. 

I thought this was a really good segment that showed how Heyman is just as scared of Reigns as everyone else is as he did whatever he could to make him happy because he doesn’t want to feel his wrath. Reigns is so good in this role of the mafia boss on SmackDown that even without speaking he is very intimidating and it makes for a great segment.

We then go inside the Thunderdome where Jey Uso makes his way out to the ring and he has something to say. 

Uso welcomes us to the Bloodline Show since SmackDown is run by him and his family and not Adam Pearce. Uso says Pearce is going to find that out the hard way at Royal Rumble. Uso says that every time there are fresh towels in the locker room or millions of people watching SmackDown and making them relevant they should thank Reigns for that. Uso then says his family’s dominance is fixing to expand as he is officially entering the Royal Rumble match and when he wins the match he will go on to challenge Drew McIntyre, Goldberg, or whoever the champion is at WrestleMania because the Bloodline controls the entire WWE. 

Uso then brings up Nakamura and how he had an impressive showing last week but the moment the Bloodline stepped in and said not tonight he was done and out like a light, but Nakamura should thank them for letting him survive for as long as he did last week. Nakamura makes his way out to the ring and he is now officially back to being a babyface as he is back to using his old music without the lyrics. Nakamura says that if Reigns is the “Big Dog” then Uso must be his little puppy, this causes Uso to rush Nakamura but Nakamura lays him out with a roundhouse kick and this sends us to a commercial break. 

While I highly doubt that it will happen I do like the idea of the Bloodline running wild on both SmackDown and Raw, especially since Raw could use the rub from the Bloodline since they have been making SmackDown must watch since the end of August. I love to see that Nakamura is back as a babyface and has his old music back, hopefully, they will use him properly this time and make him a top guy on the show. 

We come back to our first match of the night. 

Match #1: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jey Uso
Nakamura and Uso start off hot as they trade forearms until Uso pushes Nakamura away, but Nakamura comes back with a running forearm and then Nakamura hits Uso with a snapmare and a knee drop for a 2 count. Nakamura locks on a side headlock but gets shot into the ropes and is taken down by a back elbow from Uso and then Uso nails him with a basement dropkick which is almost totally missed by the camera. Uso and Nakamura trade some more strikes until Uso whips Nakamura hard into the corner. 

Nakamura reverses a whip attempt and hits him with a spinning wheel kick and then he starts driving his knee into the side of Uso and hits him with a front suplex for a 2 count. Nakamura drives his knee into the side of Uso once again and then locks in a reverse chinlock, Uso gets to his feet but before he can make a comeback Nakamura nails him with a knee to the gut and then puts him in the corner so he can give Uso some good vibrations. We then get an appearance by Cesaro who makes his way down to the ring and as that is happening Nakamura hits Uso with a baseball slide and then sends him into the ring post and that sends us to a commercial break. 

We come back to see that Cesaro has joined commentary. Nakamura sends Uso into the corner and charges at him but gets backdropped out to the apron, Uso goes to kick Nakamura but Nakamura catches the foot through the ropes only to be hit with an enziguri that knocks Nakamura to the floor. Uso throws Nakamura back into the ring and stares down Cesaro at ringside and then beats Nakamura down with forearms and a stomp. Nakamura crawls over to the corner where Uso stomps a mudhole in him and then hits a sliding forearm and follows that up with a running hip attack before delivering more stomps. Uso looks to go for a second running hip attack, but Nakamura catches a charging Uso with a flying kick out of the corner. 

Nakamura delivers some kicks and then sends Uso into the ropes where he hits him with a kitchen sink and he follows that up with a sliding knee. Nakamura charges toward the corner and Uso tries to catch him with a boot, but Nakamura catches the foot and spins him around and then he hits Uso with a sliding German suplex for a 2 count. Nakamura looks for the inverted exploder, but Uso hammers him in the top of the head with elbows and then pushes him into the ropes and hits him with a Samoan drop for a 2 count. Nakamura goes for his flurry of strikes but Uso ducks and kicks Nakamura in the gut and then hits him with a back suplex which he turns into a neckbreaker for a very close 2 count. 

Uso goes out to the apron looking to go up for the Uso splash, but he sees Nakamura getting back to his feet so he gets back in the ring to continue his attack, but Nakamura dodges a splash attempt in the corner and then comes off the middle rope with a flying knee for a 2 count. Nakamura looks for the Kinshasa, but when he charges in Uso catches him with a superkick and then goes top where he goes for the Uso splash, but Nakamura is ready for him as he gets his knees up. Uso moves out of the way of a charging Nakamura sending him into the ring post shoulder-first and then rolls him up in a schoolboy and referee Charles Robinson actually counts 3, but immediately signals for the bell not to ring as he sees that Uso had his feet on the ropes for leverage. Uso and the referee argue and this allows Nakamura to roll Uso across the ring and hit him with the Kinshasa for the win.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via Pinfall   Match Rating: **¾ 

This was a good match and it’s nice to see Nakamura pick up another clean win as I thought for sure that once Cesaro came down to the ring we were going to get the ol’ tag partners turning on each other and Nakamura was going to either lose the match or win by DQ, but thankfully the match ended due to a different distraction finish. I feel sorry for poor Charles Robinson as I’m sure he has a beating coming for him due to him costing Uso the match. 

We go to the back where Pearce and Sonya Deville are talking over SmackDown business when Paul Heyman walks in and gives Pearce the amended contract which now has the stipulation of a No DQ match. Pearce sees this change and immediately gets what Heyman and Reigns are trying to do, but he signs it anyway just to get Heyman to shut up and walk away. Pearce stares at Heyman who is gleeful that Pearce signed the contract and this sends us to a commercial. 

We come back and as predicted Uso is chewing out Charles Robinson for screwing him out of a win and threatens to have Reigns fire him if he doesn’t do his job. 

We get a video package highlighting the tag title match between the Street Profits and the Dirty Dawgs where the Dirty Dawgs won the titles. We go to Kayla Braxton who is set to interview the Street Profits, she asks them why they accepted the match against Ziggler and Roode even though Ford had an injured leg. The Street Profits say that they were fighting champions for their entire run as champions so it would’ve been a bit hypocritical if they had turned down the challenge. They promise that when they get their rematch they are going to drop bodies like Blumhouse and they want the smoke. 

We go to the back once again to Roman Reigns who is talking to Apollo Crews who is listening attentively as he seems to be seeking advice from the Tribal Chief. Paul Heyman walks in with the newly signed contract and Crews goes to leave, but Reigns tells him to stay as he might learn something, Reigns still refuses to sign the contract as he tells Heyman that he never wanted a No DQ match, he wants the match to be Last Man Standing. Heyman tells Reigns that Pearce will never sign for a Last Man Standing Match, but Reigns says he will go for it because Heyman is going to make him and he tells Heyman to tell Pearce that he will sign the contract tonight in the ring.  

I absolutely love that Crews was getting advice from Reigns because his days of being the nice guy who smiles and lets people run over him are over and he is looking to make a statement and he knows that Reigns can teach him a lot about making a statement. 

We then go to a commercial break. 

We come back to Natalya in the ring and then we get the entrance of the Riott Squad which features Billie Kay hilariously acting like what she thinks a stereotypical punk girl would act like, she would join commentary for the next match. 

Match #2: Liv Morgan w/ Ruby Riott & Billie Kay vs Natalya w/ Tamina Snuka
We get a lockup and both women jockey for position until Natalya backs Liv into the ropes and then giving her a hard shove. Liv grabs a side headlock but is sent into the ropes where she takes Natalya down with a running hurricanrana. Liv charges at Natalya in the corner and hits her with a running hip attack and then wiggles her butt. Natalya sends Liv into the corner, but Liv stops herself and hits Natalya with a back elbow. We get both women locking knuckles and Natalya overpowers Liv at first as she flips her over her head, but Liv hits her with a monkey flip and then Liv rolls back up but Natalya takes her down with a leg trip and then powers Liv back up so she can drop her throat-first across the top rope and all of that happened while they were in a knuckle lock. 

Natalya talks some trash and then fires away with punches to Liv in the corner.  Natalya hits Liv with a snap suplex and a kick to the back which Liv sells fantastically as I thought she was legit hurt for half a second. Natalya goes for another suplex, but Liv counters it (which looks rough as it takes her a couple of hops to get into position) into an inside cradle for a 2 count. Natalya gets Liv up in an over the shoulder backbreaker until Liv starts hitting her with elbows, so Natalya flips her over onto the apron where Liv hits a sunset flip (it takes her a moment to get herself together so she can hit the move) for a 2 count. Liv hits Natalya with a kick to the face and then an enziguri, Natalya rolls over to the corner and Liv hits her with a step-up knee strike and then she stomps on Natalya’s chest with one foot while stomping on her with the other one. 

Liv is distracted by the referee telling her to back off and this allows Natalya to grab her and pull her face-first into the middle turnbuckle and then hits her with the discus clothesline for another 2 count. At this time Billie Kay leaves commentary to come closer to the ring and she starts bothering Ruby as she says that Ruby isn’t doing enough to help Liv. Liv counters a Sharpshooter attempt into an inside cradle for a 2 count and then Liv hits Natalya with the single knee facebuster for another 2 count. Billie grabs Ruby and starts shaking her around as she is so excited for Liv. 

Billie starts arguing with the referee which gets the attention of Tamina who starts talking trash to Billie as she tries her best to retreat to the point where she even enters the ring in order to get away, Liv is distracted by Billie and this allows Natalya to roll her up in a schoolgirl to pick up the win.
Winner: Natalya via Pinfall   Match Rating: *¼ 

Ooh boy, this was not a good match and the only reason I ranked it as high as I did was because of the knuckle lock spot which was the sole bright spot of this match. I’m not sure what was going on with my girl Liv tonight but she was not on her A-game as she was rough in two different spots during the match. Billie was great in her role once again and I got a laugh at Ruby’s facial expressions toward her as she is never in the mood for her shit. 

We get a recap of Corbin attacking the Mysterios last week and then Rey Mysterio comes to the ring along with Dominick who will be on commentary during the next match. 

Match #3: Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio vs King Corbin
Corbin goes in for the lockup but Mysterio slides through his legs only to be caught by Corbin who grabs him by the neck and goes to lift him up for a chokeslam, but Mysterio counters it and hits Corbin with a hurricanrana that sends Corbin face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Mysterio drives his shoulder into Corbin’s midsection and then goes to whip Corbin into the corner, but Corbin reverses and sends Mysterio into the corner sternum first and then Corbin drops him with a clothesline to the back of the head. Corbin toys around with Mysterio before hitting him with a back suplex which gets a 2 count. 

Corbin looks for a second back suplex, but Mysterio counters into a wheelbarrow bulldog. Mysterio walks over to Corbin but is hit with a knee to the gut and then Corbin looks to send Mysterio to the outside by sliding him across the ring on his belly, but Rey is able to roll through and land on his feet out on the floor, but Corbin takes him down moments later with a clothesline. Corbin gets in the face of Dominik and when Dominik goes to stand up he is shoved back down into his seat. Corbin throws Mysterio back into the ring where he gets a 2 count. Corbin chokes Mysterio on the ropes while he taunts Dominick at ringside. 

Corbin hits Mysterio with a running punch but when he goes for a second one Mysterio ducks and hits Corbin with a dropkick to the knee and then Mysterio goes up top where he takes Corbin down with a seated senton. Mysterio tries for a springboard crossbody but Corbin catches him and puts him on his shoulders, but Mysterio counters and hits Corbin with a hurricanrana which sends Corbin into the middle rope, and that sets him up for the 619, but as Mysterio charges at him Corbin catches Mysterio with the Deep Six for a very close 2 count. Corbin slides out of the ring and then right back in where Corbin gets caught with a kick to the head from Mysterio which sends Corbin rolling back out to the floor. 

Mysterio looks for a baseball slide on Corbin, but Corbin ducks down causing Mysterio to slide over him and then he hits Mysterio with a back elbow. Corbin and Dominick jaw at each other again and this time Dominick stands up to Corbin, but when Corbin throws Mysterio back into the ring he hits Dominik with a cheap shot. Corbin grabs Dominik and looks to attack him next to the ring, but Mysterio makes the save as he hits Corbin with a 619 on the outside, and then Corbin slowly rolls back into the ring. A pissed-off Dominick slides into the ring but Mysterio stops him and makes him get out of the ring and this distraction allows Corbin to attack from behind which causes Mysterio to bump into Dominik which sends him to the floor. Corbin hits Mysterio with the End of Days to pick up the win.
Winner: King Corbin via Pinfall   Match Rating: ** 

This was a fine match, but did we really need yet another distraction finish as this was the third one within the span of 45 minutes, they have very talented producers in the back laying these matches out and I know they are smart enough to come up with other types of finishes, so there is no excuse for this kind of laziness. As bad as the laziness of having three distraction finishes is, it won’t be anywhere near as bad as Dominick was on commentary as the announcers were giving him some softballs questions and statements to react to, but Dominik was very awkward the entire time and was stumbling with what he was trying to say, I think they should keep Dominik’s promo time to a  minimum right now while he is learning and let him improve on his mic skills before they have him doing things like this. 

We go to the back where Adam Pearce runs into Paul Heyman and he asks if Reigns signed the contract, but Heyman tells him that Reigns agreed with Pearce about the No DQ match and instead Reigns wants a Last Man Standing match and then tells Pearce he can talks it over with Reigns later tonight in the ring face-to-face. 

We go back to the ring where we see the set for WWE’s newest talk show which will be coming up after the break. 

We come back to Dominik who can’t understand why his father is backing down from Corbin, Mysterio tells him that before you pick a fight with someone like Corbin you need a plan and if Dominik wants to take Corbin out then he knows the man that they need to talk to. 

We go to the ring where it’s time for WWE’s newest talk show called “Ding Dong, Hello!” hosted by the longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley. Bayley comes through a stand-alone door which was set up in the ring and she is looking like a dark-haired Sally Jessy Raphael with big glasses. Bayley says her show is already bigger than Wandavision and then introduces her first guest which is Bianca Belair. Belair comes to the ring and grabs the mic but before she can do anything else Bayley makes her ring the doorbell and walk through the door. When Bianca walks through she steals Bayley’s nice chair and kicks her feet up. Bayley goes to sit down on a little stool but then decides to stand so she can warm up her legs since she is going to most likely be in the Rumble match for a long time. 

Bayley congratulates Bianca on her new Chronicle special airing on the WWE Network and then says she is happy to have Bianca on the debut episode of her show, this leads to Bayley throwing to a video that shows her beating Bianca last month. Bayley apologizes as she insists that wasn’t the video that was supposed to play. Bayley then asks Bianca why she calls herself the EST of WWE, but when Bianca goes to explain she is cut off by Bayley who asks her if she thinks using her pre-WWE accomplishments is an insult to all of the other women who built the division. Bianca asks Bayley why she is so offended by her confidence as she never uses her past accomplishments as a way to brag, she is just being herself unapologetically. 

Bayley then says that since she beat Bianca last month that makes her the best, Bianca says that Bayley can go put on her dusty gear and they can have a rematch, but Bayley quickly refuses as she says she has nothing to prove. Bayley then comes up with the perfect way to finally decide who is the superior athlete between the two of them and that is to have an obstacle course, Bianca laughs at this proposal but accepts the challenge because there is no way Bayley can whoop her and she can Ding Dong that. 

I enjoyed this segment a lot as Bayley and Bianca have such great chemistry with each other and both are great on the mic. I love the whole theme of the Ding Dong, Hello! show especially the stand-alone door which brings back memories of when the APA would sit in the back playing cards and would make people go through their door just like Bayley did to Bianca in this segment. It was refreshing to see that this segment didn’t end in a brawl between the two or immediately lead to a match as that seems like the ending to all of these talk show segments. I think the obstacle course is a fun idea as they need to find something for Bayley and Bianca to do until Rumble and I am fine with them not throwing the two of them in a random TV match with no stakes. This segment gets a thumbs up from me. 

We go to footage from earlier in the day where Bryan is training with Chad Gable and Otis when Kayla Braxton walks up for an interview where she asks Bryan how his training is going, Bryan says Gable and Otis have a fresh and positive approach to training and the pursuit of excellence never ends with them. Bryan then talks about how it was not a shame to lose to Nakamura last week as the two of them have immense respect for each other. Cesaro walks up and tells Bryan he can’t speak for Nakamura as that is his job, Cesaro says that the only reason Nakamura shook his hand last week was that he felt sorry for him and then he tells Bryan he may have had a chance if Bryan wasn’t training with Gable and Otis. Bryan says he will show Cesaro how well those training techniques work when they are against each other tonight. 

Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring and we go to a commercial. 

We come back and go straight to our next match of the night. 

Match #4: Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro
We get a lockup and Cesaro applies a side headlock which he uses to take Bryan down to the mat, Bryan gets back to his feet and shoots Cesaro into the ropes but is taken down with a shoulder block and then Cesaro goes back to the side headlock where he is sent into the ropes once again, but this time Bryan catches him with an armdrag. Bryan goes to work on the arm of Cesaro as he hits him with an over-the-shoulder armbreaker and then he applies a hammerlock which he uses to drive Cesaro to the mat. Cesaro gets to his feet and backs Bryan into the corner where he delivers a back elbow. Cesaro sends Bryan into the corner and follows him in with a running uppercut and then tries for a second time, but Bryan moves out of the way and starts laying in kicks to Cesaro before he connects with the running dropkick.

Bryan grabs the arm of Cesaro and bulldogs it and then locks in an armbar for a moment until he starts driving his knee into the arm of Cesaro. Cesaro gets back to his feet and slams Bryan to the mat and then he picks him up so he can shove him into the ropes and when Bryan bounces back Cesaro hits him with a forearm to the back, but when he goes to do it for a second time Bryan fires back with forearms until Cesaro takes him down with an STO. Cesaro locks knuckles with Bryan to keep him down, but Bryan bridges out and then goes to monkey flip Cesaro over the top, but ends up botching as Cesaro only hits the ropes and falls right back down on top of Bryan. Cesaro rolls to the outside and Bryan goes up top where he takes Cesaro down with a crossbody and then starts kicking Cesaro until he gets him next to the ring post which ends up being a mistake as Cesaro ducks a kick and Bryan hits the ring post with his foot and that sends us to a commercial break. 

We come back to Cesaro kicking away at the injured leg and then he slings Bryan across the ring using the bad leg. Cesaro picks up Bryan and they trade strikes until Cesaro hits Bryan with a big uppercut and sends him into the corner where Bryan backflips off the top and when he lands he tweaks the bad leg, but that doesn’t stop him from taking Cesaro down with a drop toe hold and then he kicks Cesaro in the arm he worked over earlier in the match. Bryan charges at Cesaro and takes him down with a tilt-a-whirl which he uses to get Cesaro into the Yes Lock, but Cesaro is able to quickly escape and then he goes back to stomping on the injured leg. Cesaro gets Bryan in the big swing and then transitions into the sharpshooter, as Bryan inches closer to the ropes Cesaro reaches back and grabs the arm and then transitions into a crossface, but Bryan immediately rolls through and locks in the Yes Lock only for Cesaro to put his foot on the ropes to force the break. 

Bryan hits Cesaro with another over the shoulder arm breaker and then he sits him up on the top turnbuckle where he attempts to hit a super hurricanrana, but Cesaro uses his strength to block the move and then he hits Bryan with a twisting suplex off the top which gets a very close 2 count. Cesaro sets Bryan up for the Neutralizer, but Bryan backdrops Cesaro who lands on his feet and charges toward Bryan only to be met with a boot to the face. Bryan runs toward Cesaro who looks to hit the pop-up uppercut, but Bryan counters it into a backslide, but he kicks out at 2. Bryan lands a kick to the head of Cesaro and then sets up for running knee, but gets caught with the pop-up uppercut and then immediately hits the Neutralizer and that is enough to finally finish Bryan off.
Winner: Cesaro via Pinfall   Match Rating: ***¼ 

This was a really good match as you would expect from a Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro match a there were some hard strikes, nice limb work, really good transitions between submission moves, and to top it all off it seems that Cesaro got busted open hard way sometime during the match. I was happily surprised to see Cesaro win the match clean and I hope this is the start of a push for Cesaro because it is long past due. 

We go to the back where Carmella is interviewed and she says that she told the truth about Sasha Banks which is that when it comes to natural talent Sasha can’t touch her and she knows it. Carmella says she is here tonight, but she has yet to see Sasha after she beat her two weeks ago and proved that she is better than her in every single way. Carmella says that Sasha Banks is hiding from her, but as she says that Sasha rushes into the scene and shoves Carmella to the ground which causes Reginald the sommelier to step up and get in Sasha’s face, Sasha tells Reginald that Carmella can have a rematch for her Women’s Championship, but that is only if she gets a match against Reginald first. Sasha laughs and then walks off. 

I like how they have involved Reginald in this feud between Sasha and Carmella and the intergender match between the two should be a lot of fun as they need something to do for the next two weeks until their match at the Rumble. 

Apollo Crews makes his way to the ring and we go to a commercial break. 

We come back and get the entrance of Sami Zayn and then we pan over to see that Big E is at ringside but he is laying on a giant couch and is wearing a Ghostbusters sweater and is eating a fruit cup, he will be on commentary for the next match. 

Match #5: Apollo Crews vs Sami Zayn
Zayn charges at Crews who drops him with a dropkick and then he fires away with punches, Crews looks to whip Zayn into the ropes but Zayn counters and hits Crews with a knee, Zayn runs to the ropes only to get caught with a belly to belly suplex from Crews. Crews looks to hit the spinout powerbomb, but Zayn grabs the ropes to block that from happening and then he hits Crews with a back elbow and clotheslines him over the top to the floor. Zayn rolls out to meet Crews where he nails him with some jabs while he jaws at Big E and then looks to smash Crews’ head off the announce table, but Crews blocks and slams Zayn’s head into it instead and then he takes Zayn down with a moonsault off the announce table. 

Crews throws Zayn back in the ring and goes up top but is crotched by Zayn and then Crews falls back down to the mat and crawls into the corner where Zayn chokes him with his boot. Zayn goes up to the middle rope and takes Crews down with an elbow to the top of the head which gets a 2 count. Zayn goes back up and looks to hit another elbow, but this time Crews catches him and hits him with a German suplex. Crews press slams Zayn face-first into the top turnbuckle and then hits him with an enziguri, Crews goes for a standing moonsault but Zayn gets his knees up and rolls Crews up with a small package which gets a 2 count. 

Zayn rolls Crews up with a schoolboy but the referee stops counting when she sees Zayn holding the tights. Zayn argues with the referee and then catches a charging Crews with an exploder into the corner. Zayn lines Crews up for the Helluva Kick, but when he charges in Crews catches him with a schoolboy of his own and he grabs Zayn’s tights but the referee doesn’t see this and thus counts Zayn’s shoulders to the mat for the count of 3.
Winner: Apollo Crews via Pinfall   Match Rating: *½ 

After the match, Crews grabs the Intercontinental Championship from Big E’s lap and this leads to the two of them going back and forth at each other with trash talk as Crews throws the title back at Big E and the segment comes to an end. 

Not much to say about this match as it was really quick, but I do like the interactions between Crews and Big E and also like the new attitude from Crews. 

We go to the back where Pearce is having one last look at the contract before he walks toward the ring and that sends us to a commercial break. 

We come back from the break and get the entrance of Roman Reigns along with Paul Heyman and Jey Uso and after they enter the ring we get the entrance of Adam Pearce. Reigns allows Pearce to take a seat but when Heyman goes to push the other chair towards Reigns he is stopped and Reigns looks over to Pearce as he wants his chair, Pearce hesitates to get out of the chair which pisses Uso off as he grabs him and pulls him out of the chair. Pearce takes a seat and signs the contract and then slides it over to Reigns who also signs the contract as he has a smirk on his face. 

Pearce grabs a mic and tells Reigns that he has been waiting all night for Reigns to sign that contract and then Pearce gets up and leaves the ring as Reigns and Heyman look on confused. Pearce starts to walk up the aisle, but halfway up it he seems to be having trouble with his knee but he keeps walking, however, the more he walks the worse it gets. Pearce gets on the mic and says that his knee has been giving him trouble lately and he chalks it up to an old injury that creeps up on him from time to time and right now is one of those times. Pearce tells Reigns not to worry because just like Heyman said earlier in the night all WWE contracts say the same thing and one of those things that all of the contracts say is card subject to change. 

Pearce says given his condition he is not sure he will be medically cleared to compete at the Royal Rumble, but as a WWE official he has the right to name a suitable replacement and a suitable replacement is just what he had in mind and this leads to Kevin Owens coming out and he signs the contract for the Last Man Standing match against Reigns at the Royal Rumble and that is how SmackDown comes to an end. 

While I’m sure that the match between Reigns and KO will be great just like all of their other matches I can’t help but be a little bit disappointed that the match was changed as I was kind of looking forward to seeing Pearce have one more match on a big stage like the Royal Rumble. I really like how Pearce outsmarted Reigns and Heyman who were so smug as they thought they had Pearce right where they wanted him but he was one step ahead of them the entire time. As I said before, I am sure that Reigns vs KO is going to be great but given what happened in the gauntlet match last week, why is this match not being given to Shinsuke Nakamura? I guess the reason that they don’t have Nakamura in the spot is that they want to build him up for a bigger match against Reigns down the line and they don’t want to give it away with just a two-week build. I look forward to Reigns vs KO at the Rumble as I’m sure they are going to tear the house down like they always seem to do. 

I thought this episode of SmackDown was fine as I enjoyed everything having to do with Roman Reigns, which by now doesn’t even need to be said as everything he does is fantastic. I also enjoyed the first episode of Ding Dong, Hello! and the back and forth between Bayley and Bianca Belair. As far as in-ring action goes I loved the Bryan vs Cesaro match as it was the only match to have a clean finish which was nice to see after the three distraction finishes we saw throughout the night which is a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP because it is hindering the quality of the show.

That is all for this week, I’ll be back next week for more action from the blue brand.