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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.28.22

January 28, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Seth Rollins WWE Smackdown Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.28.22  

Well everyone, this is it, the go home show for the 2022 Royal Rumble. And what better way to try and sell you on buying that event than a tag team match with Big E and Kofi Kingston taking on Baron Corbin and Madcap Moss? Not doing it for you? Well how about Sonya Deville returning to ring action against Naomi, I’m sure there wont be shenanigans involved. There will no doubt be matches and segments to help build both Rumble matches, and that means a decent chance of Johnny Knoxville showing up again to promote the new JackAss movie. The bigger story is that Seth Rollins will be here to try and sell you on him and Roman Reigns for the Universal Title, and I’m sure Roman will have some kind of response. I know that isn’t the most impressive intro, but I expect a rather lack luster card given that the PPV is tomorrow, though I do hope I’m wrong. Either way, the only way to know for sure is to watch the show.

We’re in Kansas City, Missouri tonight.

We start off with Charlotte Flair, well I suppose getting it out of the way is for the best. Charlotte gets a mic, and a ton of fake crowd noise. She makes fun of the local football team, and promises to win the Rumble. There’s nothing more unpredictable than the Royal Rumble, it’s full of shocking returns, surprise one offs, and betrayals. She tries to put over more how hard it is to win the Rumble, then stumbles over her words trying to put herself over as someone who didn’t need to be in the Rumble. No, she’s not just going to hope things work out for her, she takes control, and that’s why she’s the most dominant champion in WWE history. When she wins the Rumble as the champion, she’ll get to pick her challenger for the Intermission Match, I mean “main event” of WrestleMania. That cues up Shayna Baszler of all people, and she walks to the ring. Baszler gets a mic, and says the chaos of the Rumble is music to her ears, then puts over Charlotte as a competitor, but if it comes down to the two of them again she wont hesitate to snap her like a twig. But she does promise Charlotte that after she wins the Rumble she will make sure Charlotte is the champion she chooses. Charlotte tries to retort but Aliyah’s music cuts things off. Aliyah has a mic and stays on the entrance ramp, she’s not sure if it’s OK to be here but since anyone can just walk out she figured she would. She’s excited to compete in her first Royal Rumble match, which means maybe she gets to compete in her first WrestleMania. Charlotte tells her not to book her travel plans just yet. Aliyah brings up beating Natalya in record setting time as she gets in the ring, and this brings out Natalya. Natalya talks as she walks to the ring, mocking Aliyah along the way as a lucky competitor. She brings up that she has 3 world records while Aliyah has only one. Sure, why not, here comes Shotzi. Shotzi calls this a great preview of tomorrow night, these enormous egos colliding and descending into chaos, creating the perfect opportunity for someone like her. Charlotte calls this absurd, none of them belong in the ring with her and no one stands a chance at beating her, but that brings out Sasha Banks. Banks gets the mic from Aliyah and announces that the Boss is back, and ready to rumble. Banks then clocks Charlotte, and everything turns into a bit of a brawl resulting in Banks tossing Charlotte over the top rope to stand tall. Revolving door style promos are rarely good, and this didn’t break that general trend.

Ridge Holland is at gorilla with Sheamus, Megan talks to him and Holland can still hear the crunch of his broken nose when Ricochet landed on his face. Now it’s his time to return the favor. Sheamus interjects, putting over Holland as being just like him. That doesn’t bode well for the future of their team. Sheamus gives Holland his old face protector, it’s not a great fit, but he wears it as they head to the ring. They’ll be in tag team action after the break.

Cesaro and Ricochet get entrances when we come back from break.

Match #1 – Tag Team Match: Ridge Holland and Sheamus vs. Ricochet and Cesaro

Sheamus and Cesaro start things off. They tie up aggressively and move around the ring before finally breaking. Another tie up, then Sheamus gets a side headlock but Cesaro escapes with a head scissors and then Sheamus dives out of the ring to stall the momentum. Back in the ring Cesaro gets a side headlock takeover and Sheamus fights free with a knee then shoulder blocks Cesaro down. They run the ropes and Cesaro floors Sheamus with a clothesline then a double stomp. Ricochet tags in and goes for the arm of Sheamus. Sheamus fights back and tags Holland. Holland lays in strikes but Ricochet quickens the pace and tosses him out of the ring then hits a kick to send him to the floor and then dives onto him, Holland basically missed the catch as we head to break.

We come back as Ricochet tries to fight off Sheamus with strikes but he runs into a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Holland tags in and slams Ricochet in the corner a few times before hitting a Tazz-plex. Some strikes from Holland then a scoop slam. Holland grabs an Argentine backbreaker but Ricochet slips free and hits a moonsault then both men tag out. Cesaro runs wild on Sheamus with a flurry of strikes before he runs into a back elbow but Cesaro hits a corkscrew uppercut. Sheamus is tossed out of the ring then Cesaro follows him out and hits a charging uppercut into the barricade. Back in the ring Cesaro hits a cross body, slightly botched but Cesaro then flips out of an Irish Curse and rolls up Sheamus with a small package and Holland breaks up the pin. Ricochet flies in with a drop kick to Holland, Sheamus takes him out with a knee then Cesaro drops him with an Alpamare Waterslide for a 2 count. Sheamus avoids a Neutralizer and tags out, then Holland hits Cesaro with a headbutt then the Northern Grit (Northern Lights Bomb) and pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Ridge Holland and Sheamus won

Rating: 2.5 stars

This bordered on 3 stars, but Holland being a sloppy worker ultimately drags it down.

We get a recap of last week when Roman stupidly cost himself back up by getting the Usos DQ’d in a tag team match against Rollins and Kevin Owens. That remains a terrible decision all around.

In the back Rollins walks in a slightly shiny Joker suit and that visual sends us to break.

When we come back we get an extended video package for the Royal Rumble, the near traditional “It’s all about the numbers” bit.

After that package here comes Naomi. We cut off from her entrance to see Sonya Deville yelling at a ref that the ref works for her and should just let her win. The ref tells Sonya he’ll be calling the match down the middle, and she’s very off put by this. That match will allegedly be up after this break.

Post break Sonya Deville makes her entrance. The ref gives instructions, then rings the bell.

Match #2: Naomi vs. Sonya Deville

Deville immediately hides in the ropes, several times. Eventually Deville lands a few kicks and they roll on the ground but Deville winds up landing stomps. A chinlock from Deville, Naomi fights back with an arm drag then a head scissors spiking Deville. Deville heads to the ropes and continues stalling. They trade strikes, Deville gets the better of things with her kicks but she can’t keep Naomi down. Naomi slaps the taste out of Deville’s mouth and drop kicks her out of the ring. Naomi follows Deville out and tosses her into the ring apron a few times before they move back into the ring. Deville rolls back out of the ring, she avoids a baseball slide and hits an Eye of the Hurricane off of the apron onto the floor to send us to break.

We come back as Naomi gets caught in an ugly looking spinebuster for a 2 count. Deville argues with the ref, covers Naomi for a 1 count and goes for her umpteenth chinlock. Naomi fights back with a kick to the head, then an enziguri and a springboard Stunner. A corner splash from Naomi then a bulldog into the second turnbuckle. Naomi heads up top, hits a cross body for a 2 count with the limpest kickout ever. Deville is complaining about her shoulder off of that cross body, so Naomi hits a leg drop for another near fall. Correction, that’s a rib issue not shoulder given how Deville is moving. Deville tosses Naomi into the corner, then hits the Hellevator for a near fall. Commentary is totally miffed by that move, damning to everyone that no one knows that. Naomi hits the Bubba Bomb but only gets 2. Deville tries to roll out of the ring, but as Naomi pulls her back into the ring she rakes the eyes, then grabs a school boy with a tights grab but still can’t keep Naomi down. Rear View from Naomi connects, then the split legged moonsault to finally end this.


Rating: 2.5 stars

They sure tried hard, but Deville looked slow and rusty, this really didn’t need this much time, and the injury scare absolutely ground the momentum of this match to a halt. Hopefully this angle is finally done.

Post match Naomi gets a mic and is happy to have won. After 153 days of Deville throwing everything at her, it wasn’t enough to stop the glow. I’m calling BS on 153, it felt at least like twice that. Naomi promises to win the Royal Rumble tomorrow as Deville tries to be menacing on the entrance ramp. Deville heads to the back, and gets a mic then returns to the stage. She mocks Naomi’s excitement for the Royal Rumble, and says she can’t allow Naomi into the Rumble match with a surprise. Surprise surprise, there’s a special guest entrant in the form of Sonya Deville. I swear Stephanie McMahon is booking this.

Kayla Braxton is in the back to interview the Usos. She asks about Seth Rollins having a message, Jey doesn’t care because with or without the Usos the only constant is that Roman Reigns will be Universal champion. The Viking Raiders walk up, Jimmy mocks their personal hygiene. Erik and Ivar cop to the manly odor, but they love their axes, and pose with hatchets. You could trim a beard, lose a finger, or cut a title in half with these. The Usos head out after that.

To the ring, and here comes Sami Zayn. After this break there will be an episode of In-Zayn with special guests Jinder Mahal and Shanky. Just. . . why.

Post break there’s some mics and a table so Sami Zayn can welcome us to his show. He’s retooling the show, the stunts and pranks are no more after Johnny Knoxville almost sent him to the hospital last week. So now we’ve got In-Zayn, the live podcast. He welcomes his guests, who will be in action against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs. Jinder calls it a pleasure to be here, but Zayn cuts him off to say this is what the show should have been all along. He never wants to hear the name Johnny Knoxville ever again, getting a predictable “Johnny” chant. But this is the show for intellectuals, smart people talking about smart topics. He asks Shanky about consumerism in a post modernist society, but first he wants to ask Jinder. Jinder has embarrassed Nakamura several times, Zayn cuts him off to ask if a young man like Shanky even knows how Knoxville is? Jinder says Jack Ass is huge in India, Shanky confirms. Zayn runs down the city for cheap heat, and promises to edit out all the boos in post production. Rick Boogs is here to liven up this funeral, he introduces Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura is without his finger brace finally. Boogs and Nakamura make their way to the ring, eventually Zayn gets mad and yells at them leading to Nakamura kicking him in the head and sending Zayn out of the ring. After this break we’ll get to that tag team match. If I might quote Krusty the Clown, that segment was death.

Match #3 – Tag Team Match: Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal and Shanky

We come back and join the match in progress. Sami Zayn has joined commentary. Boogs tags in and slams Jinder. Jinder tags out and Shanky over powers Boogs before Boogs lifts him and slams him into the corner then lays in body shots. Big boot from Shanky then Boogs fights back and bear hugs Shanky but Shanky counters looking for a suplex but Boogs hits a suplex of his own. Seriously, Boogs is crazy strong. Zayn heads over to take out Nakamura and Shanky tags in Jinder. Jinder tries to attack but Boogs starts firing up, freaks out Jinder who tags out. Boogs blocks a double team clothesline and floors Jinder with a Polish hammer. Running shoulder blocks for Shanky and Boogs then drops him with a Polish hammer as well. Boogs wants his finish, he hits it on the massive Shanky and after that Boogs Cruise he pins and wins.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs won

Rating: 2 stars

I wonder what’s bothering Shinsuke because they’re still having Boogs do the lions share of wrestling for the duo. That said, Boogs is getting over.

Back to Kayla at gorilla, she welcomes Kofi and Big E, apparently Big E has officially rejoined Smackdown. Brand split, what’s that? They hype the Rumble, then Big E says Corbin and Moss are going to feel the power. That match will be up after the break.

Post break, here comes Corbin and Moss. Which I guess means it’s a good time to replay Corbin and Moss taking out Drew McIntyre a month ago. Picture in picture clip from Corbin and Moss, Moss gives us a joke “What do you call Drew McIntyre when he’s so injured he can’t even pee standing up? The ‘Squattish’ warrior”. Again, I ask why.

Match #4 – Tag Team Match: New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) vs. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss

Moss and Big E start us off, Moss hits a shoulder block but then runs into a back elbow. Kofi tags in and hits a leapfrog senton for a near fall. Corbin tags in and tosses Kofi into the corner then hits an avalanche. Corbin cheap shots Big E, but that allows Kofi to fight back with a top rope ax handle then a drop kick but Moss tags in. Kofi drop kicks Moss out of the ring, then climbs to the top rope for a trust fall onto Moss and Corbin, but they catch him then launch Kofi face first into the ring post to send us to break.

Moss is stomping down Kofi in their corner as we come back. Corbin tags in, Kofi flips out of a double suplex and tags out. Big E runs wild with belly to belly throws to Corbin but Corbin avoids the third. Moss runs into an ST-Joe then Corbin is hit with a belly to belly suplex. Big E hits the big splash, he tags Kofi, but Corbin avoids the double team finish and hits Kofi with a chokebreaker. Moss tags in, Corbin hits Kofi with a Deep Six for a near fall. Moss is confused by that kick out, Big E then grabs Corbin and tosses him into the ring steps as Kofi fights out. Big E tags in, Moss eats the Midnight Hour and Big E pins to win.


Rating: 2.5 stars

Big E and Kofi still work incredibly well as a tag team.

We get a hype package for this years Royal Rumble, focusing first on Brock Lesnar taking on Bobby Lashley.

After that commercial, we get the music for Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief heads to the ring. Now only Pedro Morales, Bob Buckland, Hulk Hogan, and Bruno Sammartino have held a major title longer than Roman’s current run. After this break we’ll get the face to face between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.

We come back to Roman in the ring, he’s all alone but doesn’t seem to mind. Here comes Seth Rollins with his purple sequins. Rollins tries to get the crowd to sing his theme song but they don’t bite. Both men get microphones and posture. Roman tells the people to acknowledge him, and they do so. Rollins tries to suck up to the crowd with a Patrick Mahomes reference, then says he played Roman like a fiddle last week in getting his cousins disqualified and making their match at the Rumble one on one. Roman considers, and says it was a simple decision, either let him embarrass his cousins or punch him in the mouth and get the same result. Weak justification. Rollins questions if it’s really embarrassing to get pinned by Rollins, because if so Roman has brought more shame than anyone. Roman says Rollins is still living in the past, it’s 2022 and Roman is in God mode. Rollins says he’s not living in the past, and then references a bunch of past interactions between the two of them. Roman calls all that water under the bridge, so Rollins tries to bring up the time he destroyed the Shield by attacking Roman. That gets Roman to snarl just a bit, and Rollins sees that. That one stings a little, doesn’t it? Rollins says that moment was for Roman’s own good, it would catapult Roman into superstardom. Calling BS, we all remember all the years after that, Rollins has never made anyone in the ring. Rollins calls Roman the greatest of this generation, he’s done everything except beat Seth Rollins when it actually matters. And tomorrow night it’s not personal when he takes the title from Roman, he’ll always love Roman, then does his terrible forced laugh. Roman doesn’t have an immediate reply and Rollins tries to egg him on with his laugh. Roman can’t quite force the smile this time, and asks Rollins again about the chair shot that broke up the Shield. He says he tried to forgive Rollins for that, but he will never forgive that betrayal. Roman hates Rollins, which makes Rollins laugh, he knows that and tomorrow night Rollins will make him hate him even more. Rollins calls everything about Roman a joke, and tomorrow night it all goes up in smoke. Roman shoves Rollins a few times, Rollins just does the bad Joker laugh. Rollins then avoids a Superman punch and rolls out of the ring and poses on the entrance ramp as the episode ends. Solid segment, someone finally cracking through Roman’s exterior and getting him off of his game.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Not a great go home show, the only truly interesting thing was the closing segment with Roman and Rollins. It's a shame they forced this on such short notice, because we finally got a glimpse there of what could have been. Someone finally is able to crack Roman's confidence, and now without his Special Counsel or his cousins he could be vulnerable. The rest of the show was entirely bland, a terrible revolving door promo segment to kick things off, an overlong slightly botchy match between Naomi and Sonya Deville that didn't even have the common courtesy to end that stupid feud, a bunch of truncated tag team matches, and the usual Rumble promos.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree