The Royal Rumble is two days away and WWE has just one episode of Smackdown to sell it. Well, I guess technically they don’t really have to sell it anymore since they’ve already sold the WWE Network to Peacock. Even so, old habits die hard, so welcome to the recap of the go-home Smackdown for the Royal Rumble.
WWE Smackdown Recap – January 29th, 2021
Daniel Bryan is in the ring to kick off Smackdown. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chants the fake crowd. “No! No! No!” is what I would have shouted if I was in the barbershop when Bryan agreed to get that awful haircut.
Promo: Daniel Bryan
Bryan welcomes us to Smackdown and to Royal Rumble weekend. He points out he’s never won a Royal Rumble match and he’d really like to this weekend. Well, he ain’t getting any younger. But thanks to training at Shorty G’s remedial wrestling school, and Roman Reigns’ lack of a viable opponent unless The Rock becomes suddenly free, Bryan is feeling pretty good about the whole thing.
AJ Styles and Omos interrupt. AJ says actually he’ll be the one to win the Royal Rumble. Bryan explains to AJ that this is Smackdown and he’s supposed to be on Raw, but Omos explains that this is the quarterly cross-brand invitational, which apparently means any superstars can crossover once a quarter? Well, they also change the rules every quarter.
Anyway, Styles doesn’t like Bryan’s chances on Sunday. He says Bryan seems like he has one foot out the door of WWE already. Bryan denies it and offers to prove it in a one-on-one match tonight. Styles accepts, and then he shoves Bryan to the mat. When Bryan gets up, Omos is in his way. Bryan tells Styles if he’s a real man he’ll leave his giant backstage during the match tonight.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton talks with Bayley, who seems a little resentful toward Bianca Belair, honestly.
Bayley vs. Bianca Belair
Luckily, Bayley has an opportunity to work out some of that animosity in a match. Unluckily, Bianca kicks her ass. Belair wins with the KOD.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Kayla interviews Bianca after the match. Bianca is very emotional about beating Bayley. She calls it the biggest win of her career. Bayley seethes. Belair says the next step is winning the Royal Rumble on Sunday. She’d be a good choice.
Cesaro is seen colluding with AJ Styles and Omos backstage.
Baron Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio
Dominik attacks “The Ratings King of Friday Nights” before he makes it to the ring. Rey Mysterio gets on commentary for the match. They have a match, slightly sloppy, which Corbin wins with the End of Days.
Winner: King Corbin
Corbin grabs Rey and tries to lawn dart him into the ring post, but Rey shoves Corbin into the post instead.
Big E wants Sonya Deville to tell him what his Royal Rumble number is. He tries to bribe her with a dollar. Miz and Morrison interrupt, looking for Adam Pearce. But he’s not here. So Miz and Morrison just hang around and act obnoxious until a fight breaks out and commercials happen.
Reginald gives Sasha a bottle of wine from Carmella. The wine pairs perfectly with losing your championship. Sasha flirts with Reginald and wants to know if he’ll help her find the best wine for Carmella… to drink with a broken jaw. She leaves the wine with him.
Sami Zayn, documentary crew in tow, feels out Shinsuke Nakamura to see if he wants to ditch Cesaro and rejoin Sami instead. Nakamura tells him to go to hell.
Interview: Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens
Michael Cole interviews Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. He asks Owens what will be different this time than all the other times he fought Roman. Kevin says he already beat Roman in their other matches but Roman’s family members cheated. But Owens says nothing Reigns or his family can do will keep him from standing up. Paul Heyman responds, telling Owens to treat Reigns with respect. Owens points out Heyman is recycling a lot of his Brock Lesnar material for Reigns.
Roman asks Owens about his daddy. Owens says his daddy is a great man. Reigns asks Owens if his daddy is a smart man. Owens says yeah. Reigns says he doesn’t understand why Owens doesn’t see his own limitations and he thinks it must be because his daddy never taught him. Reigns says Owens is a pawn and Reigns is the king. Owens will never be Universal champion because he’s inferior. Reigns says he doesn’t blame Owens for being a fool. He blames his family for that. He calls Owens’ daddy a fool and then calls his grandfather a fool.
Oh no, now he’s gone and done it. Owens never misses an opportunity to talk about how he got his grandfathers’ names tattooed on his knuckles. He tells the story again. Reigns says maybe Owens will understand when he meets his grandfathers again and they tell him he’s a disgrace to his family for refusing to acknowledge the tribal chief.
Owens says all his father and grandfathers would want him to acknowledge Roman as is “a delusional jackass” who surrounds himself with yes men. Owens calls Reigns a poseur and a bully and starts yelling about his daddy and his grandpa. Reigns leaves while Owens is in the middle of his rant.
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
Styles does indeed leave Omos backstage as he and Bryan have a match. Sami Zayn does head to the ring to “protest” in the middle of the match, and Cesaro joins the commentary table. Eventually, Sami’s protesting gets annoying enough that Big E comes out too. Big E assaults Sami, but when he tosses him near Cesaro, Cesaro gets offended and attacks Big E.
Daniel Bryan is like, we’re having a match here guys. So he dives on them, but that just causes the brawl to spill into the ring. Shinsuke Nakamura runs down and sides with Bryan and Big E as Smackdown takes a commercial break. As you can probably guess…
Big E, Daniel Bryan, and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and AJ Styles
…this turns into a six-man tag match. Which goes on for a while until Miz and Morrison come out and start beating down Big E. Otis runs out and beats up Miz and Morrison and hits a double caterpillar. Time for more commercials. And then…
Big E, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Otis vs. Sami Zayn, Cesaro, AJ Styles, The Miz, and John Morrison
It’s now a five vs. four handicap tag team match, and life has lost all meaning. What even is a match? Do they have beginnings? Do they have endings? Is life just one long, never-ending match constantly joined by more and more competitors?
On cue, Sheamus comes running out to make this…
Big E, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, Otis, and Sheamus vs. Sami Zayn, Cesaro, AJ Styles, The Miz, and John Morrison
…a ten-man tag match. God help us, a ten-man tag match. The walls of reality are straining at this point. Everyone is hitting their finishers. Space and time collapse in on themselves. Sheamus pins Sami Zayn after a Brogue Kick.
Winners: Humanity, if we survive.
The match is over, but the fight continues anyway. All of the heels beat on Sheamus and then…
Braun Strowman comes out. He murders Sami Zayn and Cesaro as everyone else runs away. Then he murders Cesaro several more times. Smackdown goes off the air as Michael declares Strowman the favorite to win, which is a guarantee he will not win.
Okay, it was chaos, but it was fun chaos. Smackdown, as always, is the most tolerable of WWE’s top three shows. The Royal Rumble is on Sunday and we’ll be covering it here, with hopes that I’ll meet my final article quota for the month! Hopefully WWE books another match or two before Sunday.
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