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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.29.21

January 29, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.29.21  

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of WWE Smackdown. I’m Robert Winfree, doing my usual thing here. Tonight is the go home show for the Royal Rumble, and let’s all just pray it’s better than the RAW offering from Monday because by all reports that was a near dumpster fire. Last week Kevin Owens finally got one up on Roman Reigns, so expect the Chief Head of the Tribal Table to have some kind of response. It’s a little unclear if the Intercontinental title will be defended at the Rumble or the mid card guys will fill out the Rumble itself, but we should get some clarity on that point tonight. Sasha Banks and Carmella will get their last bits in before their title match on Sunday, and the the dynamic between Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura might continue to develop. Lots of ways this could go, so let’s find out if they actually try to build excitement or just roll out another painful humdrum episode hoping the PPV just kind of sells itself.

We open with Daniel Bryan in street clothes in the ring. First time in a while that Roman hasn’t opened the show. Bryan has a mic, he welcomes us to the show and hypes the Rumble. He can feel the excitement building inside himself, he’s proud of his career accomplishments but really wants to climb the mountain that is the Royal Rumble. Next he reminds us of the stakes at the Rumble, specifically mentioning that no one knows how life changing the main event of WrestleMania is than he does. If he wants to main event Mania he’s got to go through 29 other men and win the Rumble match. The truth is he doesn’t know how many Wrestlemania moments he has left, but he wants another main event there and has to go through the Rumble. He puts over Gable and Otis for all of their help preparing him, he’s ready for anything at the Rumble. More hype from Bryan, but AJ Styles is here to interrupt him while Omos is in toe.

Styles has a mic on the ramp, he plans on winning the Rumble as well. Bryan mentions Styles shouldn’t be here tonight given that AJ is a RAW guy, and asks why he’s here. AJ calls Smackdown the house that AJ built and says this is the quarterly brand invitational. Apparently every quarter anyone can show up on any show, because the writers don’t care about consistency. Styles says everyone is copying him declaring for the Rumble, but you’ve got to go through him to do that and he’s crushed a lot of hopes and dreams. He says Bryan doesn’t look ready, he’s not in his wrestling gear and asks if Bryan is a GM again and asks if he’s got one foot out the door. Bryan says he loves wrestling too much to be one foot out the door on it and challenges AJ to a match tonight. Styles says he’s beaten everyone on RAW, and he’d love one more warm up match tonight then shoves Bryan down. Omos gets between Bryan and Styles, Bryan says if AJ were a real man he’d leave Omos in the back for their match. One more thing as AJ is leaving, with or without Omos Bryan plans to beat Styles. Bryan stumbled a bit during his monologue but played off of AJ well once AJ came out. Manufacturing another excuse to ignore the brand split is just stupid though.

Commentary hypes both Rumbles for Sunday, then we get a recap of Bianca Belair and Bayley running the obstacle course last week and Bayley’s attack on Belair after losing. In the back Kayla recaps AJ showing up, then welcomes Bayley to the interview. Bayley says she’s the one who won last week after she beat down Belair. She then puts over Belair’s Chronicle episode, but mentions that Belair has run away from her problems and Bayley is just another one but one she can’t run from. After Bayley beats Belair tonight and then eliminates her at the Rumble Belair can crawl into the darkest hole.

To the ring where Bianca Belair heads to the ring. That match will come up after the break.

We come back and Bayley is already in the ring.

Match #1: Bayley vs. Bianca Belair

They tie up and Belair forces Bayley into the corner then breaks clean. Kick from Bayley then she starts working the arm of Belair. Belair counters with a scoop slam. Bayley mocks the arm of Belair, that’s the same one she threw into that basketball post last week. Belair hits a suplex, and Bayley heads to the apron to stall things. Back in the ring, Bayley with a leg kick then starts laying in forearms and slams Belair to the mat then a sliding clothesline for a one count. Bayley hits an armbreaker, then mocks Belair by pulling on her braid. Belair with a right, don’t touch her hair. Belair with a lot of blows, Bayley to the apron and hangs up the arm of Belair on the ropes. Drop kick from Belair then a standing moonsault but Bayley is into the ropes then out of the ring as we head to break.

We come back to Belair catching Bayley, tossing her into the corner then hitting an alley-oop for a near fall. Commentary does a better job of selling Belair’s compromised arm than she does. Bayley takes some offense in the corner but hits a knee then a spinning single arm DDT to continue attacking that limb. Bayley tries the Rose Plant, Belair rolls through but Bayley rolls with her and hits a knee for a near fall. Back to the arm now, Bayley climbs up to the top rope and hits an elbow drop for another near fall. Belair tries a roll up, Bayley kicks out and they start trading pinning sequences and that ends with a right from Belair. Belair wants a Glamslam but the arm gives out. Bayley charges at Belair, but gets posted in the corner and eats a KOD from Belair and Belair wins.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bianca Belair won

Rating: 2.5 stars

Belair’s spotting selling aside, that was a solid match. And to be fair to Belair, she’s hardly alone in the selling habits displayed here. At the top of the ramp Kayla interviews Belair, Kayla asks how this feels. Belair says she wont apologize for being herself, and says Bayley isn’t her role model but beating someone with her success record still means something. She calls this the biggest win of her career, but she’s not stopping here as she plans on winning the Rumble match.

In the back Cesaro runs into AJ Sytles and Omos, they talk but aren’t mic’d up. Back in the ring, King Corbin is here to kill the audience’s desire to continue living. Dominick Mysterio jumps Corbin from behind on the ramp. Dominick lays into Corbin on the ramp as we head to break, they’ll have a match after the break.

Match #2: Dominick Mysterio vs. Kin Corbin

Rey is on commentary as we get going. Dominick takes it to Corbin early, kicks and evasive moves. Jumping knee from Dominick to the bent over Corbin, then a dive onto Corbin on the outside. Corbin yells at Dominick and takes his time getting back into the ring. More stick and move from Dominick, but eventually he’s caught in a back suplex. Another back suplex from Corbin, because the man’s offense is as limited as his facial expressions. Punches from Corbin now, but he runs into a kick then lands a clothesline in the corner. Dominick avoids a corner rush and Corbin posts himself, then Dominick with a drop kick and a tope con hilo. Corbin lands a right, but Dominick hits a low leg scissors throw and tries a 619 but Corbin catches him. Dominick avoids the counter though, they get tied up and Dominick hurricanrana’s Corbin into the corner. Corbin back body drops Dominick into the ropes, that could have been nasty. Dominick counters a Deep Six with a tornado DDT for a near fall. Corbin to the apron but avoids a triangle drop kick then hangs Dominick up on the top rope. End of Days follows and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: King Corbin won

Rating: 1.5 stars

Dominick is still a little botchy in the ring, and that back body drop into the corner was downright scary.

Post match Corbin attacks Rey, but Rey fights back and hits a seated senton on the floor to flatten Corbin.

In the back Big E talks with Sonya Deville, he tries to bribe Deville with an Arby’s coupon to know his Rumble number. Miz and Morrison show up, God help us all. Miz wants to know where Pearce is, Deville says he’s not here after the potential abuse of power. Big E wants to know why Miz is here, asking the big existential questions there. Miz says with a last man standing match coming up, he could cash in. Morrison says short selling stock is making him a lot of money, who thought that was a good reference to make? Even Big E mocks Morrison for that. Miz and Morrison mock Big E, but Big E calls them both way over the hill with no chance at winning the Rumble. They all start throwing hands, but Big E beats the both of them as officials show up to pull them apart and our next commercial break begins.

In the back Sasha Banks runs into Reginald Sommelier. He’s got a bottle for her, apparently it’s the perfect bottle to go with her losing her title at the Rumble. Banks says she might be drawn to Reginald, and asks if he freelances. She wants to know the best thing to buy for Carmella to drink with a broken jaw. She returns the bottle and says Reginald looks like he could use a drink.

Next a video recap of the Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens feud. The standard high quality work here, it helps that the feud has been pretty darn good. Both Roman and Owens have done their best to make this thing work. A remote interview with both Roman and Owens will be up after the break.

In the back Nakamura walks and Sami “Back and to the Left” Zayn is here with his camera crew. He says the RAW guys showing up is suspicious, brings up their history together and then asks Nakamura to repay him for all the help he’s given him. Zayn wants help getting the IC title back, because everyone is out to get him. He tries to sell Nakamura on the idea, saying that the best work he’s done in WWE was with Zayn and brings up all the time they’ve spent together. Nakamura says he appreciates Zayn but “go to hell”.

Now to the video interview. Owens is asked what’s different this time, he says he thinks he’s beaten Roman twice because Roman needed help in both of their matches and he’ll probably have help on Sunday. But it’s last man standing, and there’s nothing they can do to keep him from standing back up. John Cena and duct tape disagree. Heyman talks for Roman first, he objects to the way Owens is speaking to Roman, you will speak to and of Roman with reverence and respect. Owens asks if Roman’s comfortable letting Heyman rehash the same old crap for him. Roman next, he asks Owens about Owens’ family especially his father. Owens says his father is a great man and cautions Roman about the line of questioning. Roman asks if he’s a smart man, Owens says he is. Roman is just trying to understand why Owens doesn’t see his own limitations, and that has to be a failure on the part of his father. He says Owens isn’t built for this game, he’s nothing but a pawn while Roman is the king of the board. Everything revolves around Roman, but Owens still thinks he can take the belt despite being inferior. It’s not even his fault, Roman doesn’t blame him, he blames his family for raising a fool. If Owens is a fool, then his father is a fool. And if his father’s a fool, then so was his grandfather. Nice callback to last week from Roman. Owens says those men were important to him, they meant everything to him, and warns Roman again about what he says next. Because on Sunday there’s no hiding. Roman says Owens still doesn’t understand, but maybe one day he will. One day when he meets his grandfathers again they’ll call him a disgrace and question his not acknowledging Roman as their tribal chief. Owens says the only thing his father or grandfathers to acknowledge Roman as is what he is, a delusional jackass surrounded by yes men doing a community theater version of a mafia boss. But Roman is just trying to hide the fact that he’s an insecure bully. Owens sees himself clearly, everyone in his family is proud of him, and the only difference is after Sunday he’ll be the champion as well. Roman cuts himself off with a remote. OK, that was GREAT stuff from both men. Roman’s work is still excellent, Owens appropriately calling him out, Owens displaying passion while Roman’s simmering rage is starting to boil over. Serious kudos to both of them.

In the ring, Daniel Bryan heads down for his match with AJ Styles. Styles comes out with Omos but then sends him to the back, he’s going to go solo against Bryan after the break.

Well actually after the break we get a video package for Goldberg vs. McIntyre. How bereft of main event talent and quality writing is RAW that they wound up in this spot?

Match #3: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles

We finally start the match, and Cesaro is on commentary for the bout. They trade headlock takedowns and escapes. AJ gets monkey flipped, they trade that move while holding a greco-Roman knuckle lock but Bryan switches to an armbar and AJ moves to the ropes. Bryan goes to work on the arm of AJ. AJ kicks Bryan but eats a drop toe hold and Bryan punts the arm of AJ. Cesaro buries Sami Zayn a bit on commentary for trying to drive a wedge between himself and Nakamura. They run the ropes a bit and Bryan lands a roundhouse kick to floor AJ. AJ to the eyes, Bryan fights back with a chop in the corner. AJ with a knee to the abdomen to halt the momentum of Bryan. Bryan avoids a suplex, and hits a snap suplex of his own. Oh, Sami “Look Into It” Zayn is here to interrupt things. AJ takes advantage of the distraction to send Bryan to the outside, then into the ring steps and we get a commercial break.

Zayn just hanging out at ringside, can’t wait for him to ruin another perfectly good match. Bryan with a knee to the head, then avoids a dive from AJ in the corner. Bryan backflips out of the corner, and hits the running clothesline. Running drop kick from Bryan then kicks in the corner. Both men on the top rope and Bryan with a hurricanrana that we almost miss because we need to see Sami Zayn with signs around ringside. Bryan to the arm again, AJ catches a kick and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Into the corner and AJ with an enziguri then a kick to the leg. AJ after the calf crusher, Bryan moves to the ropes to force the break. Bryan with an enziguri now, I really hate how we keep cutting away from the match to Zayn shenanigans. AJ to the apron, wants the forearm but Bryan catches him and hits a butterfly suplex then rolls through into the LaBell lock. Nice sequence. AJ moves to the ropes and forces the break. Oh, more music. Big E is here. I just wanted to enjoy Bryan and AJ, not this. Big E takes off his coat and the belt, then clotheslines Zayn down. Big E throws Zayn at Cesaro, Cesaro takes umbrage and kicks Big E in the face. AJ somehow out of the ring, and Bryan dives onto everyone. Back into the ring now, Zayn jumps in and we get the DQ.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Daniel Bryan won via Disqualification

Rating: 2 stars

This should have been so much better, but the camera work and general focus on everything except the guys wrestling killed it. Shame on whoever set that up that way.

Full chaos now, but Shinsuke Nakamura is here and starts kicking the crap out of Zayn and Styles. Nakamura and Cesaro stare off, but don’t trade blows. The faces clear the ring, and you just know we’ll come back to a six man match after this break.

Match #4- Six Man Tag Match: Daniel Bryan, Big E, and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Cesaro, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn

Sure enough, we come back to the match in progress. Cesaro and Nakamura are trading holds, then Cesaro with a sliding European uppercut. Nakamura with kicks in the corner. Sliding German suplex from Nakamura to Cesaro. Big E tags in and starts landing body blows. Cesaro with uppercuts and shots the body then tags in Zayn. Zayn with punches, but Big E leap frogs him a couple of times and hits a back elbow. Bryan tags in now and he lays into Zayn with kicks and uppercuts. Big E back in, they double hip toss Zayn. Bryan back in, he comes off the top rope and attacks the arm of Zayn. Zayn lands a kick and a chop block to cut off Bryan. AJ tags in and starts wrapping the leg of Bryan around the ring post. Oh, another commercial break. OK, odd pacing choice.

Bryan is in a one legged Big Swing as we come back, then Cesaro with a half crab. AJ tags in and resumes attacking the leg of Bryan. Zayn tagged in, he mocks Big E and Nakamura. Zayn puts Bryan on the top rope, he wants a superplex but Bryan blocks that and headbutts him off of the ropes. Drop kick from Bryan and both men are down. Cesaro and Big E both tagged in. Big E runs wild on Cesaro and AJ with belly to belly suplexes. Big splash set, but Cesaro evades and hits a springboard uppercut. Cesaro wants the neutralizer, Big E escapes and hits the ST-Joe in the corner for a near fall. Oh for the love of God, Miz and Morrison come out next. I hate so much about all of this. They attack Nakamura on the floor then team up with Zayn to attack Big E.


Rating: 1.5 stars

Otis comes down now, he lays into Miz and Morrison. Throws to both Miz and Morrison then a running discus clothesline to Morrison. Double avalanche, Otis hits the Caterpillar onto both of them and we get another commercial break. I’m just going to guess more multi-man madness will follow.

Match #5 – 9 Man Tag Team Match: Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, Big E, and Otis vs. AJ Styles, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Miz, and Morrison

Bryan goes after Miz, but the wind up on the floor and Miz drops the leg of Bryan over the announce table. Miz with the figure four, winds up tagging in Zayn for a blue thunder bomb and a near fall. Cesaro in with a sliding elbow. Delayed vertical suplex from Cesaro, near fall and Cesaro tags in Morrison. Stomps from Morrison, then he tags in Miz and they double team Bryan. AJ tagged in and they hit a wishbone splitter on Bryan. Bryan and AJ with a double crossbody spot and they’re both down. The heels break and jump the faces on the outside. Zayn tags in, but here comes Sheamus.

Bryan tags Sheamus, Sheamus runs wild on Zyan and everyone else. Brogue kick to Miz, clubbing blows to Morrison on the apron. Zayn with a roll up for a near fall. Irish Curse, then the cloverleaf onto Zayn but Morrison with a kick to the back of the head. Otis in, slams Morrison. Everyone gets a turn to hit finishers on each other, which ends when Sheamus intercepts a helluva kick with a Brogue kick to win.


Rating: DUD

The heels jump Sheamus but Braun Strowman is here. Strowman runs wild and kills Zayn with a running powerslam then hits one on Cesaro as well. Poor Cesaro gets thrown around more, Miz and Morrison look scared on the entrance ramp. So the last couple of shots here are putting over RAW guys? Alright then. We’re done with the show as Strowman poses in the ring.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
More than a lot of these ratings this one will vary wildly between individuals. Personally I didn't enjoy most of this. Bayley vs. Belair was decent, but I'm not sure why we're devoting so much airtime to Dominick Mysterio and King Corbin. To say nothing of just what a clown fiesta of cameos that final 30 minutes was, they ruined a perfectly good match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles and then just kept adding more and more bodies to a pointless segment filling air time. Not to mention the incredibly stupid "quarterly crossover" or whatever statute they manufactured to shove RAW guys into the show. The only genuinely great thing about this episode was the Roman and Owens promo, which was great. But as a 2 hour show? Not really my cup of tea here.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree