WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 27
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Just 24 hours before a colossal clash for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, Kevin Owens sought to send one last message to Roman Reigns as he battled the seemingly unstoppable enforcer of The Bloodline, Solo Sikoa.
Was KO able to mount momentum, or did the second-generation badass deal him a crushing defeat ahead of Owens’ latest championship opportunity?
Find out with this recap from the January 27 episode of SmackDown, which also featured the semifinals of the Tag Team Championship Tournament.
Rey Mysterio vs. Karrion Cross
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An overconfident Karrion Kross learned the hard way Friday night that underestimating the legendary Rey Mysterio will not end favorably.
Despite dominating the future first-ballot Hall of Famer with his size and strength advantage, and withstanding his trademark 619 finisher, Kross allowed his ego to doom him as Mysterio countered a powerslam attempt into a crucifix rollup for the win.
The match was on the shorter side, with most of it taking place during the break, but it was solid enough. Mysterio winning feels like the means to propel the feud forward, but one has to wonder when we are going to see the creative and booking decisions reflect Triple H’s belief in Kross.
Thus far, he has been fairly consistently involved in significant programs but has yet to definitively win anything. This did not help that perception, unfortunately, and now the question becomes whether that eventual win will come too late to win the audience over.
Hopefully that is not the case, because he has the potential to be a top-tier heel on either Raw or SmackDown. He just needs that steady creative behind him to go along with his presence and unique presentation.
Mysterio defeated Kross
- Prior to the match, during The Bloodline’s arrival to the arena, Sami Zayn thanked Jey Uso for having his back Monday and vowed to have him moving forward. This was despite being ordered by Roman Reigns not to be in the building tonight.
- During the break, Kross caught Mysterio mid-dive and slammed him on to the ring apron.
- Mysterio shrugged off interference from Scarlett and delivered a 619 and top-rope splash, but Kross kicked out at two.
A Parade of Interruptions
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United States champion Austin Theory hit the ring to cut a promo on Saturday’s Royal Rumble match, vowing to win it and headline WrestleMania. The New Day interrupted, followed by The Miz and, ultimately, Bobby Lashley.
The All-Mighty made quick work of everyone before cutting a promo of his own, calling out Brock Lesnar after Monday’s attack.
The Beast leapt over the guardrail, attacked Lashley and downed him with an F-5 before revealing he will compete in Saturday’s namesake bout.
It is not necessarily a surprise that Lesnar will appear in the Royal Rumble match given the fact that he has been prominently featured on the event poster from day one. It does enhance the match’s star power exponentially, though, and provides a platform for him and Lashley to advance their feud.
- Kingston gave Theory a rundown of his favorite Austins: Creed, “Stone Cold” Steve and Texas.
- “That’s weird, that’s weird,” Woods said after calling Theory by his first name. Mostly because Woods’ real name is Austin.
- “A chip, maybe?” Woods taunted Miz after he forgot what was on his shoulder.
- “See you tomorrow, buddy,” Lesnar said after laying Lashley out for the second time this week.
Lacey Evans vs. Jasmine Allure
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Lacey Evans once again recreated herself, and if Friday’s reintroduction is any indication, the “Back to Basics” character is not likely to fit her any better than the last couple of incarnations.
Evans dominated the competition, ultimately tapping Allure out to the Cobra Clutch, before cutting a generic heel promo in which she vowed to win the Royal Rumble.
There was nothing inherently wrong here, there just was nothing that leapt off the screen and made viewers think, “I can’t wait to see where Evans goes next.”
That is not all her fault. She has been damaged by inconsistent booking and its attempts to shoehorn her into different gimmicks. Nothing has worked as well as the Sassy Southern Belle character and, before that damage proves irreparable, it may be in her best interest to return to that gimmick.
Evans defeated Allure
- The sole of Evans’ boot broke early in the match, drawing the attention of the commentary team.
- Evans retained her grasp of the clutch after the bell, then cut a promo in which she revealed her entry in the Royal Rumble.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Contenders Tournament Semifinal
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Prior to the scheduled SmackDown Tag Team Championship Contender’s Semifinal match pitting Drew McIntyre and Sheamus against Hit Row, The Viking Raiders’ Erik and Ivar attacked the men that eliminated them a week ago, leaving the Scottish and Irish babyfaces lying and the status of the bout in doubt
Adam Pearce revealed that McIntyre and Sheamus are out and in their place are Braun Strowman and Ricochet.
Ashante Thee Adonis and Ricochet did most of the heavy lifting, providing the majority of the in-ring work before a hot tag to Strowman sparked the comeback and culminated with The Monster Among Monsters securing the win with a Monster Bomb.
The idea that McIntyre and Sheamus “gave up” their spot in the tournament is ridiculous. It is insulting to the tournament itself, if nothing else because it suggests the tag titles are secondary to getting revenge on Erik and Ivar.
It essentially negates everything the competition is about. Maybe that was not the intention, perhaps Pearce flubbed the explanation, but it was not great. At all.
Strowman and Ricochet filling in at least makes sense given their history with Hit Row but, again, why would a team that was never in the tournament to begin with be allowed entry in the semifinals is dumbfounding.
Given the other two teams on the other side of the bracket, the final is likely to be badass, but it should not exist in the first place.
Thankfully, the match we got was at least solid enough.
Ricochet and Strowman defeated Hit Row
C, with the explanation for the match dooming it to an average grade
- “No one is getting a pass into the finals,” Pearce revealed.
- “Adam Pearce is like a permanent Monday morning,” Wade Barrett said on commentary.
- “Top Dolla can’t fly anywhere,” Michael Cole said, keeping his side feud with the Hit Row big man alive.
LA Knight Talks to Us
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LA Knight mocked the original incarnation of the Bray Wyatt character, complete with a straw hat and Hawaiian shirt, before cutting a promo on his Mountain Dew Pitch Black match opponent.
Wyatt interrupted, said the time for talking was over and wrapped up with an ominous line about lights going out.
Uncle Howdy appeared in a skybox to wrap up the segment.
This added little to the build to Saturday’s match, but it did one thing rather effectively: reiterating that Knight is an absolute star and should not see his stature on WWE programming ending with what will likely be a loss to Wyatt at the Rumble.
Give him all the things to do, especially if a microphone is involved, because he is that guy and can get anything over. Anyone who has seen his work dating back to Eli Drake knows as much.
Wyatt is a star in his own right and will be more than OK once this program comes to an end. Knight, though, has really jumped off the screen and should earn himself continued exposure as a result.
- “Let me walk with ya,” Knight said, mocking Bray Wyatt.
- “When the lights go out, you’ll see,” Wyatt warned ominously.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Contenders Tournament Semifinal
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Legado del Fantasma’s Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde battled Imperium’s Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser in the second semifinal-round match of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Contender’s Tournament.
The latter duo dominated throughout the commercial, focusing the attack on Wilde. A hot tag to Del Toro allowed Legado del Fantasma to roll late, but a gorilla press slam by Vinci off the top rope and the Imperium Bomb earned the former NXT Tag Team champions the hard-fought victory.
This was a vastly superior match to the other semifinal, with great action from all. Del Toro, in particular, really shined late and had the crowd behind him and his partner, despite their status as villains.
Imperium winning was fine, but it sets up a match with Strowman and Ricochet that has already been overdone in recent months, including a Miracle on 34th Street Fight that should have ended it back over the holidays.
WWE officials should examine the idea of Legado del Fantasma being babyfaces moving forward if nothing else. They were great here, and the idea of Vega as a babyface, while retaining the same attitude, would be intriguing.
They succeeded in the role late in their NXT run, so we know it is not a tall task. Letting them run on that side of the roster, against Viking Raiders, Imperium, Los Lotharios and others would result in some great in-ring work, while Santos Escobar could thrive, too.
Imperium defeated Legado del Fantasma
- The crowd surprisingly got behind Legado del Fantasma, despite their designation as heels on television.
- Vinci appeared to injure his left knee during the super press slam as he smashed his knee into the mat.
Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa
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With The Usos barred from the arena following a backstage confrontation, Bloodline enforcer Solo Sikoa was forced to go it alone as he looked to dismantle Kevin Owens ahead of the Prizefighter’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match at Royal Rumble Saturday.
Or so we thought.
Late in the match, as Sikoa appeared to be nearing defeat, Sami Zayn hopped the guardrail and made the save, pulling him to the sanctuary of the arena floor. His reward? An errant superkick from the big man, who quickly refocused his attack on Owens.
The no. 1 contender fought back, delivered a powerbomb on to the commentary table, and sent him into the crowd. Owens stood tall before looking into the camera and cutting a promo on his Royal Rumble opponent, sparing Zayn further punishment and raising the question: where does The Honorary Uce stand?
The match was a good, physical fight. Owens can absorb a ton, allowing Sikoa to show off. By the time the Zayn interference came and the match transitioned into an angle, it accomplished everything it hoped to: proved Owens’ toughness and left fans questioning where Zayn’s allegiances lie.
Are they to Owens or The Bloodline? Maybe it is more complicated than that. Maybe his allegiances lie only with Jey at this point after the events of Monday night.
The fact that there are different possibilities entering Saturday’s show adds a sense of intrigue to the contest despite its otherwise foregone conclusion.
One thing is for sure: The more Sikoa gets to work with guys like Owens, the better he will be in the long run and the more likely he will be to succeed in whatever role he finds himself.
Owens fought Sikoa to a no contest
- During a live recording of Out of Character with Ryan Satin earlier today, Sonya Deville interrupted Charlotte Flair. The Queen approached Adam Pearce backstage and asked for a match with Deville, and the authority figure made it official for next week.
- Dismay painted Zayn’s face in the closing moments of the show as he realized he not only failed but did so in a fashion that outed his appearance on the show to Reigns, who was surely watching from New York as he prepared for his Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon appearance.
- Owens cut an intense final promo into the camera on Reigns, promising to bring everything he has Saturday night.