SmackDown Notes: Zayn saves Sikoa, Strowman & Ricochet advance, Lesnar added to Rumble

Originally published at SmackDown Notes: Zayn saves Sikoa, Strowman & Ricochet advance, Lesnar added to Rumble

January 27, 2023

Sames Auto Arena – Laredo, TX

By: John Kleinchester

SmackDown began with a recap of The Bloodline’s Tribal Court from Monday Night Raw. The Usos and Solo Sikoa were seen arriving at the arena when Sami Zayn in disguise approached Jey Uso to tell him how much he appreciated Jey sticking up for him on Monday. Sami then promised to stay outside the building, put up his hoodie, and disappeared into the parking lot.

"If you need anything from me EVER, you just let me know." 🤝@SamiZayn just thanked Jey @WWEUsos for having his back during #TribalCourt on #WWERaw. #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

The first match of the night was Rey Mysterio vs. Karrion Kross. The broadcast team emphasized the fact that Mysterio would be entering the Royal Rumble for the fourteenth time and it would only be Karrion Kross’s first time. Mysterio picked up the victory after a surprise crucifix pin. Michael Cole said Mysterio was “building momentum” for tomorrow night’s Royal Rumble match.

A brief WWE “Digital Exclusive” aired featuring Damage CTRL bragging about how confident they are going into the Rumble match tomorrow. 

Austin Theory was out to the ring next. Theory started cutting a promo about how he was going to win the Royal Rumble when he was swiftly interrupted by The New Day. Kofi said that the only “real” Austins are Austin Creed, Stone Cold Steve, and Austin, Texas. The New Day then claimed that they would be the ones to win the Rumble. This led to The Miz interrupting and saying that he’s been competing in Royal Rumble matches since Theory was in puberty. The Miz and Austin Theory jumped The New Day and Bobby Lashley ran out to make the save. Lashley also attacked The New Day dismantling all four men. Lashley grabbed a microphone to say he was going to terrorize the whole locker room until he got his hands on Brock Lesnar and he was promptly jumped by Lesnar from behind. Lesnar said “see you tomorrow night, Bobby” indicating he would also be entering the Rumble match. 

THE BEAST IS HERE and he just declared for the #RoyalRumble Match! 🤯@fightbobby @BrockLesnar #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

After the break, we had another Digital Exclusive with Rhea Ripley claiming that 2023 was “The Year of Mommy” and that she would win the Rumble.

Shockingly, Lacey Evans finally made her re-debut. Lacey was playing a heel despite her promo packages in previous weeks. She made quick work of Jazmin Allure by utilizing The Woman’s Right followed by The Cobra Clutch. After the match, she said that the Cobra Clutch was unbreakable and that she would win the Royal Rumble tomorrow night. 

This is @LaceyEvansWWE like we've never seen her before. 😳

What has gotten into her? #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

Sheamus & Drew McIntyre were interviewed in the backstage area where the pair did their slapping back-and-forth gimmick arguing about who was going to win the Royal Rumble. Kayla Braxton reminded the team that they still had Hit Row to contend with tonight and they walked off arm-in-arm chanting their “banger after banger” catchphrase.

Next up we had another Cody Rhodes promo package highlighting his return tomorrow night at Royal Rumble. 

Sheamus & Drew McIntyre were out next for their Semifinal Match in the Tag Team tournament. Before the pair could get to the ring, The Viking Raiders jumped them from behind and left them laying at ringside. During the commercial break, Drew & Sheamus were shown storming to the back to pursue the Raiders. Back in the ring, Adam Pearce said that Sheamus & McIntyre voluntarily forfeited their place in the tournament and announced Braun Strowman and Ricochet as their replacements. Strowman & Ricochet were victorious after a dive by Ricochet onto Top Dolla and a Monster Bomb by Braun Strowman on Ashante Adonis.

The #VikingRaiders just took out @WWESheamus and @DMcIntyreWWE before their #TagTeamTournament semifinals match!#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

Next, we went back to Kayla Braxton backstage with Kevin Owens. Owens said he wanted to right a wrong that happened two years ago at the Royal Rumble where The Bloodline did whatever they could to defeat him. The Usos interrupted and a brawl ensued between the three. Adam Pearce interjected screaming about how he didn’t want to lose another match tonight and told The Usos to leave the building. After the break, we saw The Usos getting back in their SUV. Jey picked up his phone and said “Yo my dawg, you still in town? I need a favor.”

Next Bray Wyatt’s original “Live in Fear” theme song played and out walked LA Knight in a Hawaiian shirt and hat with a tiny LED lantern. Knight recapped the events of Raw XXX saying that neither Bray Wyatt nor The Undertaker want to face him. Bray then appeared on the stage in his rocking chair. Wyatt said the time for talking has come and gone and tomorrow night Knight will finally get to meet the man he’s been looking for. Uncle Howdy then appeared high up in the crowd as the camera cut to black.

That's not #BrayWyatt… that's @RealLAKnight!

…with the worlds smallest lantern. 😂 #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

"Tomorrow night, when the lights go out… you'll see." 👀#BrayWyatt vs. @RealLAKnight in The Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match at #RoyalRumble will be one that we don't think we'll ever be able to forget… 😨#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

The other Tag Title Contender’s Tournament Semifinal match was up next with Imperium vs. Legado del Fantasma. Gunther and Santos Escobar were not present at ringside with their teams as it was explained they were off prepping for the Royal Rumble. Imperium won a competitive match with the Imperium Bomb. Imperium goes on to face Braun Strowman & Ricochet next week in Greenville, SC. 


These 4 men are giving it EVERYTHING they got in this back and fourth #TagTeamTournament semifinals match!#LegadoDelFantasma #Imperium #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

Another brief Digital Exclusive aired with Xia Li claiming she was more dangerous than anyone else in the Rumble. Then we were treated to a clip of Charlotte Flair’s appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin where Sonya Deville interrupted the interview. We then went to the back with Charlotte and Adam Pearce. Charlotte said she was ready to give Deville a title match next week to which Pearce agreed.

The Smackdown main event saw Kevin Owens colliding with Solo Sikoa. Michael Cole explained that Roman Reigns wasn’t there tonight because he was going to be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in New York City.

Owens and Sikoa had a back-and-forth match until Owens hit a Swanton bomb and went for the pin. Sami Zayn then appeared out of nowhere pulling Sikoa out of the ring for the save. Further brawling ensued on the outside of the ring with Sikoa hitting Owens with a chair but curiously no DQ was called. Owens then pop-up power-bombed Sikoa onto the announce table. Owens then picked up the chair and started approaching Sami with it but then quickly turned around and nailed Sikoa instead. Owens’ music then played with no decision being announced. 

Tonight did NOT go how #TheBloodline and @SamiZayn planned. 😮‍💨@FightOwensFight is READY for his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match against @WWERomanReigns tomorrow night at #RoyalRumble! #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2023

Announced for SmackDown Next Week in Greenville, SC:

  • Tag Title Contender’s Tournament Final: Imperium vs. Braun Strowman & Ricochet
  • Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Sonya Deville

Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • Rey Mysterio over Karrion Kross in 7:16
  • Lacey Evans over Jazmin Allure in 2:14
  • Tag Title Contender’s Tournament Semifinal: Braun Strowman & Ricochet over Hit Row in 5:54
  • Tag Title Contender’s Tournament Semifinal: Imperium over Legado del Fantasma in 12:13
  • Kevin Owens / Solo Sikoa – non-finish in ~9:30 (estimated)