Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida
Micheal Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to SmackDown. They showed split screen of WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Kayden Carter & Katana Chance and the challengers Asuka & Kairi Sane arriving to the arena. They also showed Bloodline arriving to the arena. They aired a highlight of last week’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship contract signing. The clip ended with Randy Orton giving Roman Reigns on SmackDown.
Randy Orton Promo
Music sensation Eladio Carrion came out to start the show. Michael Cole noted he was on commentary on SmackDown for one night only. Carrion welcomed everyone to SmackDown. Carrion said they have a great show tonight. Carrion called out Randy Orton to the ring. Orton received a huge reaction. Orton noted nobody thought he would be friends with Carrion. He thanked Carrion for putting him in his music video. Orton said he’s here to talk about The Bloodline. Orton spoke about Bloodline having a great run for the past three years. Orton spoke about Reigns holding the Universal Title for almost 1300 days. Orton said he could stop Reigns. Orton said the only number matters is 15. Orton said he’s going to a 15x WWE World Champion. Huge Randy chants. Orton said he’s beat Reigns by using the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment RKO.
AJ Styles came out a strong reaction. Styles hoped Orton realized there’s other people in the Fatal-4-Way match. Styles spoke asking Nick Aldis for a match with Solo Sikoa. Styles said Aldis gave the match to LA Knight. YEAH! Styles spoke having history with Orton. Styles told Orton he has a receipt after the RKO. Styles said he would be stepping over Reigns, Orton and LA Knight.
LA Knight came out to a big reaction. Let Me Talk To Ya! YEAH! Knight said he’s going to be the next WWE Champion. YEAH. Knight noted Styles has just been complaining since he returned. Knight told Styles to stop complaining. Knight noted he’s the only one in the match. Knight claimed Paul Heyman thinks he’s the biggest threat in the match. Knight said he’s gonna walk over Solo Sikoa. Knight said he’s just going to walk over who steps in his way of being WWE Champion. Knight left. Styles nailed Orton with a Pele Kick. The crowd booed.
Amin’s Thoughts — This was your revolving door promo segment with everyone making their case to why they will be Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. I thought they did good putting heating on Knight and Styles. Orton still feels like the biggest challenger to Reigns title. I’m still picking to Reigns the Undisputed WWE Universal Title at the Royal Rumble.
Santos Escobar (w/Angel & Humberto) def. Carlito (w/Zelina Vega, Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde)
Carlito got a solid babyface reaction. Escobar received a solid heel reaction. Carlito and Escobar began exchanging strikes. Carlito took control rocking Escobar with mounted strikes. Escobar responded running Carlito into the turnbuckle. The crowd chanted “Santos Sucks!” Escobar went for a dive but Carlito stopped him. Angel and Humberto distracted Carlito. Escobar took advantage hitting a tope to the floor. Escobar rocked Carlito with a running double knees. Escobar connected with a Super Hurricanrana for two. Carlito battled back rocking Escobar with a dropkick. Carlito planted Escobar with a Twisting Neck Breaker for two. Carlito caught Escobar charging with a spine buster. Humberto distracted the referee. Angel pulled Carlito the floor. A brawl broke out between Legado Del Fanasma and LWO. Toro connected with Swanton Bomb onto everyone on the floor. Electra Lopez appeared yanking Vega off the ring apron. Escobar caught Carlito with a stack rollup for the win.
Amin’s Thoughts — The action was good as both Carlito and Escobar worked well together. The focus was all about getting Electra Lopez back with Legado Del Fantasma to heat up the LWO program. Lopez works perfectly as she was part of Legado Del Fantasma in NXT. I’m really liking how Escobar has been showcased since turning heel. I could see Rey Mysterio returning to eliminate Escobar from the Royal Rumble match. That should be the start for their likely WrestleMania match.
Michael Cole spoke about WWE Raw coming to Netflix in January 2025. Netflix would the home of all WWE TV shows outside of the United States. Cole also spoke about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being named board member of WWE Parent TKO Group.
Jimmy Uso approached AJ Styles backstage. Jimmy told Styles to him take care of LA Knight in his match against Solo Sikoa. Jimmy noted Styles won’t have to worry about Knight at the Royal Rumble. Jimmy noted it was good for him and Bloodline. Jimmy left as he saw The OC coming. Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Michin appeared. Anderson asked Styles what that was about? Styles said to not worry about it.
Amin’s Thoughts — Styles has been playing subtle heel since returning. They are slowly teasing a split between The OC.
NXT General Manager Ava made a surprise appearance as she spoke about SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis backstage. Aldis congratulated Ava for being the youngest GM in WWE history. Bobby Lashley, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins entered Aldis office. Lashley spun the Royal Rumble tumbler which is back. The crowd chanted Bobby. Santos Escobar and Legado Del Fantasma appeared. Lashley told Escobar he hasn’t forgotten about him either. Escobar picked a number from the Royal Rumble tumbler.
Michael Cole noted Raw, SmackDown and NXT will all be part of the Royal Rumble.
Amin’s Thoughts — That pretty cool that NXT Superstars will also be part of the Royal Rumble match.
They aired a really awesome Bayley highlight package. Bayley spoke about visiting the WWE Performance Center. Bayley said the stories about times where she almost gave it all up. Bayley spoke about also stepping up. Bayley spoke about being a WWE Grand Slam Champion. Bayley spoke about being a double WWE Champion. Bayley spoke about having it all until she didn’t. Bayley spoke about spending time inside the WWE Performance Center rehabbing her injury. Bayley spoke about wanting to crave something as well. Bayley spoke about seeing it right in-front of her eyes. Bayley spoke about having a vision of Damage CTRL taking over WWE. Bayley spoke about Kairi Sane coming back from Japan to reunite with Damage CTRL. Bayley spoke Asuka joining Damage CTRL as well. Bayley said Asuka and Kairi Sane would win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Bayley said she would win the Women’s Royal Rumble. Bayley spoke about challenging Rhea Ripley. Bayley said she was going to win “Gold!” (A tease) Bayley said Damage CTRL will hold all the gold. Bayley said it’s not a story. Bayley said it’s Destiny!
Amin’s Thoughts — This was a great highlight package. Bayley spoke about her single’s success. She spoke about her setbacks with her injury. She spoke about her vision for creating Damage CTRL and having all the titles. You can just tell Damage CTRL’s turn on Bayley is coming. They are going to make Bayley’s babyface turn feel so special when she stands up against Damage CTRL.
R-Truth was spinning the Royal Rumble in Nick Aldis’ office. R-Truth picked a number and wasn’t pleased. R-Truth asked if he was out of quarantine? Aldis told R-Truth that was his Royal Rumble number. R-Truth called Aldis by Adam Pearce. R-Truth thinking Pearce is Aldis, said his hair grew really fast. R-Truth left.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) def. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance (c) to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles
Asuka and Sane got a strong heel reaction. Carter and Chance got a solid babyface reaction. Carter rocked Asuka with a running dropkick as the match began. Carter nailed Asuka with a springboard dropkick. Chance followed with a slingshot senton for a near fall. Carter and Chance rocked Asuka and Sane with stereo slingshot dropkick. Carter connected with a slingshot corkscrew hilo onto Asuka and Sane on the floor. Asuka planted Chance with a running bulldog. Sane followed with a basement dropkick for a near fall. Carter used Asuka’s momentum sending her to the floor. Carter connected with a flying crossbody onto Asuka and Sane on the floor. Carter connected with a springboard leg drop to Asuka for two. Asuka responded catching Carter with a Codebreaker. Sane followed with a running blockbuster. Asuka and Sane rocked Carter with a Sliding D/Sliding kick combo but Chance made the save. Sane rocked Carter and Chance with a pair of spinning back fists. The crowd popped as Sane called for the InSane Elbow but Carter got her knees up. Carter and Chance connected with the Keg Stand to Asuka but Sane made the save. Carter and Chance called for the After Party but Asuka blocked. Chance caught Sane with a flying crossbody. Asuka nailed Chance with a Shining Wizard. Sane planted Chance with a reverse Alabama Slam onto the announcers table. Asuka nailed Carter with a Hook Kick. Asuka and Sane connected with a Reverse DDT/InSane Elbow combination onto Carter to win the titles.
Amin’s Thoughts — This was a fun action packed tag team match. Carter and Chance are such a fun team to watch. It was nice to see Carter and Chance get a nice little run as champions. Asuka and Sane are such a fantastic team as they haven’t missed a beat. Asuka and Sane had to win for the bigger story they are telling with Damage CTRL holding all the WWE Titles. I’m guessing either somebody from Damage CTRL cost Bayley in the Royal Rumble. They could go the direction of Bayley not winning Women’s Royal Rumble without Damage CTRL costing her.. That leads to Damage CTRL turning on Bayley. I see Bayley winning the Women’s Elimination Chamber and challenging Iyo Sky for the WWE Women’s Title at WrestleMania.
WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky, Bayley, Dakota Kai came out to celebrate with Asuka and Sane. There was a huge firework display as Damage CTRL celebrated with the titles.
Paul Heyman was backstage Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso. Heyman told Sikoa he solved the program. Heyman told Sikoa to fix the problem. Heyman told Sikoa to not be merciful. Sikoa said Okay and left. Jimmy said that’s scary. Heyman told Jimmy that Roman Reigns went from The Big Dog to Tribal Chief. Heyman told Jimmy there’s a moment to seize. Heyman spoke about Seth Rollins being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion with one leg. Heyman told Jimmy the moment. Heyman told Jimmy to win the Royal Rumble. Heyman told Jimmy to bring the WWE World Heavyweight Title to Bloodline. Heyman told Jimmy the succession to who is truly the Tribal Heir begins at the Royal Rumble.
Amin’s Thoughts — Paul Heyman did such a fantastic job here getting me interested seeing Jimmy Uso enter the Royal Rumble match for The Bloodline. I could see this leading to Jey Uso eliminating Jimmy and that begins the build to their WrestleMania match.
Bayley was celebrating in Nick Aldis office. Bayley saw Bianca Belair as well. Belair said she just picked her number for Royal Rumble. Belair said she’s going to be a 2x Royal Rumble winner. Belair left. Barely picked a number. Bayley saw her number and wasn’t pleased.
The Final Testament / Bobby Lashley & Street Profit Face To Face
Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits came out to a big reaction. Lashley said they were chasing cowards again. Lashley put over Dawkins and Ford as Triple Crown WWE Tag Team Champions. Lashley put over all his WWE Title wins. Bobby chants from the crowd. Lashley said the people of Miami came here to see a fight. Lashley called Final Testament to the ring.
Karrion Kross came out with Scarlett, Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) and Paul Ellering. They came out to a new team song. Scarlett entered the ring. Lashley wondered if Kross was going to send his lady to do his work. Ford called Final Testament scared. Ellering said Kross isn’t scared. Kross said he sees desperation and frustration in Lashley and Street Profit. The crowd chanted What. Kross told the crowd to shut up. The crowd booed.
Kross said Lashley wasn’t in control any more. Kross said they upheld the agreement. Kross said they are staring face to face. Kross said Miami wasn’t getting their fight tonight. Lashley gave Kross credit saying they are staring face to face. Lashley said they are fighting tonight. Scarlett jumped on Lashley’s back. Akam and Rezar took out Dawkins and Ford. Kross rocked Lashley with a Kross Hammer. The crowd booed.
Amin’s Thoughts — Karrion Kross is one of my favourite WWE superstars. I was glad to see Kross return. It was a bummer that Kross didn’t reach the top level like he did during his NXT’s run. I really liked how they are trying to showcase The Final Testament by having them stand strong over Lashley and Street Profits. I’m really liking the overall presentation of The Final Testament. Kross looks great as the leader.
Jimmy Uso was in Nick Aldis office. Jimmy picked a number from the Royal Rumble tumbler. Jimmy looked at the number. Jimmy said “No YEET!”
They showed clips of Kevin Owens and Logan Paul being held back by WWE Superstars at the WWE Performance Center
Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller) def. Carmelo Hayes
Carmelo Hayes got a solid reaction. Hayes started quickly rocking Theory with a standing dropkick. Theory went for back suplex. I think Hayes was suppose to land on his feet but fell to the mat. Hayes responded rocking Theory with a springboard lariat. Theory sent Hayes to the floor. Theory distracted the referee. Waller took advantage nailing Hayes with a cheap shot. Hayes battled back catching Theory with a jumping neck breaker. Hayes connected with La Misitica for two count. Hayes went to climb the ropes. Waller distracted Hayes. Theory took advantage yanking Hayes off the ropes. Theory planted Hayes with a reverse face buster for a two count. Theory called for A-Town Down but Theory blocked. Hayes knocked Theory off the ring apron. Hayes caught Theory with a Victory Roll for two count. Theory reversed grabbing a handful of tights for the win.
Amin’s Thoughts — This was a good match.It was nice to see them giving Hayes and Theory get another match on SmackDown after their first match ended with the scary finish. Hayes looks so smooth inside the ring and just feels ready for the main roster. I would expect Hayes to be officially called up the WWE main roster once after his program with Trick Williams on NXT. Theory winning via cheating was fine as it protected Hayes with the finish.
Theory and Waller attacked Hayes after the match. The crowd wild as Trick Williams came out to a huge reaction. There were huge “Whoop That Trick” chants. Trick cleared Theory and Waller from the ring. Hayes offered a fist bump. Trick refused. Hayes wondered what’s going on? Trick told Hayes he was saving him because they have a match on Tuesday. Trick’s music played. Huge chants of “Whoop That Trick!” Trick left the ring.
Amin’s Thoughts — Really cool to see Trick Williams appear on the show. This was nicely done. Hayes appeared during Trick’s match on NXT. I really liked how they followed up the NXT angle by having Trick appear on SmackDown. They did good continuing to build tension between Hayes and Trick. Seeing the crowd reaction for Trick was awesome. WWE has something really special with both Hayes and Trick as they should both be huge main roster stars.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Eladio Carrion backstage. Carrion picked Randy Orton to win the Undisputed WWE World Title. Braxton left as she saw Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso appeared. Carrion said he was being respectful. Heyman kept Sikoa and Jimmy away from doing anything as Carrion was being kind of respectful.
LA Knight def. Solo Sikoa (w/Jimmy Uso & Paul Heyman) Via Disqualification
Knight started quickly rocking Sikoa with strikes. Knight rocked Sikoa with a slingshot tackle. Knight followed hitting a sliding dropkick. Knight slammed Sikoa’s arm onto the announcers table and ring steps. Knight slammed Sikoa’s arm against the ring post. The crowd randomly chanted for tables. Jimmy distracted Knight. Sikoa took advantage catching Knight with a right hand. Sikoa caught Knight coming off the ropes with a Popup Samoan Drop for two. Knight battled back catching Sikoa with a flying bulldog for a double down. Knight made a comeback rocking Sikoa with a combination strikes. The crowd chanted YEAH. Knight stomped away at Sikoa in the corner. Knight knocked Jimmy off the ring apron. Knight planted Sikoa with a DDT. Knight clotheslined Sikoa to the floor. The crowd chanted YEAH as Knight rammed Sikoa onto the announcers table. AJ Styles appeared rocking Knight with a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade. The referee called for the DQ.
Amin’s Thoughts — The match was going well as Knight and Sikoa work really well together. They weren’t going to have Sikoa get pinned in two straight matches. Knight needed to be kept strong heading into the Undisputed WWE Universal Title match at the Royal Rumble. That’s why we got the DQ finish which was kinda lame.
Jimmy grabbed a chair and then placed it down. Jimmy told Styles to use the chair. The crowd chanted for Orton. Sikoa told Styles to take care of it. Styles whacked Jimmy and Sikoa with a chair. The crowd cheered as Randy Orton came out. Orton planted Sikoa with a backdrop onto the announcers table. Orton stopped Jimmy from leaving. Orton gave Jimmy a Draping DDT. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm but Orton moved. Orton caught Styles with a Draping DDT. Orton got Styles with an RKO. Orton did The Bloodline pose. Orton posed on the turnbuckle. Orton’s music played. Knight gave Orton the Blunt Force Trauma. Knight’s music played. The show ended.
Amin’s Thoughts — This was a solid closing angle to heat up all the challengers heading into the Undisputed WWE Universal Title match. You can see the specialness is missing when Reigns isn’t on the show to build to the title matches.
Roman Reigns not being on the show was a bit disappointing. I’m guessing the thinking was nobody believes Reigns is going to lose the title at the Royal Rumble. They wanted to the put as much as focus as possible on heating up Orton, Styles and Knight. I liked how they brought back the Royal Rumble tumbler and seeing superstars pick numbers. We also got new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions in Asuka and Kairi Sane which was nice to see. Overall, this was a fine episode of SmackDown. There are only four matches right now on the Royal Rumble card. I’m pretty sure both championship matches will be really good. I would also expect to see some big surprises in both the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble match. I’m looking pretty forward to watching the Royal Rumble show. The Royal Rumble also beings the start to road to WrestleMania which always gets me excited.