Welcome to eWrestling.com’s LIVE results coverage as the WWE blue brand returns for their second episode of the New Year of 2021 tonight as Friday Night SmackDown airs this evening on FOX Network starting at 8/7C!
Advertised for this week’s edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown, a Gauntlet main event will determine who challenges Universal Champion Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble, Apollo Crews will challenge Intercontinental Champion Big E and The Street Profits will take on Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in a SmackDown Tag Team Title Match. Don’t miss SmackDown, tonight at 8/7 C on FOX.
Featured below are complete results of the January 8, 2021 edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown which airs live at 8/7C on FOX Network! The following report was written by eWrestling.com’s longest running female reporter, Jamie Rush. Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieRush312.
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN RESULTS (1/8/2021)
WWE Forever plays as the clock strikes 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time signaling the start of tonight’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown airing on the FOX Network!
“Are you ready??” The familiar question sounds, leading us into the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL where we are welcomed by the commentary team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves!
It is announced that there are two WWE Championship Matches set to take place on tonight’s edition of SmackDown, as well as a Gauntlet Match to determine the next challenger for the Universal Championship! (We are reminded that tonight’s show is sponsered by Progressive – “a triple threat of protection. The leader in home, auto, and more!”)
In-Ring – Universal Champion Roman Reigns
Immediately following the announcements, the entrance theme for the “Head of the Table”, our current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns makes his way to the stage, accompanied by his special counsel Paul Heyman, as well as his cousin, Jey Uso. Reigns stops at the top of the stage to hold his title high in the air, pyro going off all around him as Heyman and Uso stand a few steps behind The Big Dog.
Reigns then makes his descent down the ramp, making his way towards the ring inside the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field Arena in St. Petersburg, Florida.
A Screenshot appears on the screen showing King Corbin, Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura who will be the first five highly decorated superstars who will be in the Gauntlet Match to earn the right to challenge the head of the table, Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View.
We head over to the announcer’s table where Michael Cole and Corey Graves remind the WWE Universe all of the rules of the WWE Gauntlet Match – it’s an elimination match, two superstars start off in the ring, once one is eliminated, they head back to the locker room and the next contestant comes out until there is only one man left standing, that person will go on to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view with the number one contender spot and the opportunity to challenge the WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns for the title.
We return to ringside where Reigns takes his time before even climbing the stairs to the apron, pausing again as the crowd continues to “Boo!” and give thumbs down to the champion. Reigns finally enters the ring and again lifts his hand high above his head with his title in hand as more pyro goes off around Reigns who is now in the center of the ring. Reigns’ music stops as it quiets in the arena.
A chant of “You Suck! You Suck! You Suck!” gets louder and louder as Paul Heyman hands off the microphone to Roman Reigns. Reigns begins, “A lot of talk about what happened last week, and Kevin Owens. I like Kevin Owens, I respect someone who is ambitious.” Reigns continues on about Owens stating that Owens is a pain in his ass, but he likes him and he respects. According to Reigns, Owens just keeps getting up, like a cock-a-roach, adding he never wanted anything bad to happen to him. He put him in a tough spot, backed him against the wall, and he had to do what he had to do.
He loves the whole roster, and that’s the thing about being the leader, you actually have to care about these people and their wellbeing. And now KO can’t come to work anymore. As he continues to share how he cares about these people and their families, the crowd begins to “Boo!” once again loud enough to cover Reigns’ voice. “There’s somebody to blame,” Reigns begins, “If you want to point the finger, point at the one to blame, the WWE Official… Adam Pearce.”
“NOW!” Paul Heyman shouts to the officials at the announcer’s table, “Roman Reigns wants him out here! Get him out here, NOW! It’s making for lousy television without him out here!” Heyman turns to Corey Graves and Michael Cole asking, “Can YOU do something about this?” to which Graves asks anyone near Pearce to tell him to get out there, Reigns is specifically calling for him.
Pearce comes out, no music, no introduction, and quickly walks down the ramp and enters the ring with a mic. Pearce looks a bit nervous as he begins, “Gentleman,” then continues, “Roman, what can I do for you?” Reigns repeats, “What can you do for me? As a matter of fact, why don’t you watch this package.”
We are sent into a video package highlighting the events between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns leading up to tonight.
A video clip begins titled, “Two Weeks Ago” as the Steel Cage match of Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens airs, where Jey Uso interrupted as his cousin was losing the match and then proceeded to handcuff Kevin Owens to the inside of the steel cage.
The next match title with the caption, “SmackDown Happy Near Year Tonight” begins to air which is a match between Jey Uso and Kevin Owens that is made by Adam Pearce after a pleading Kevin Owens spoke to Pearce backstage. Later in the show, Paul Heyman informs Roman Reigns that it was Adam Pearce who made the match possible. Reigns believes that whoever made the match does not respect Reigns.
We then see the clip in the match where a Stunner from Kevin Owens gets Owens the win over Jey Uso followed by Owens asking Reigns to come out, to no avail. Owens continued to attack Jey Uso, asking where Roman was. Owens follows Uso. “This is MY town, this is MY company, and NOW you know!” Reigns then proceeds to throw Kevin Owens off a second story balcony dropping Owens to the ground beside the ramp in the arena.
We return to the ring where the crowd is again “booing” Reigns. Roman Reigns asks, “What do you have to say for yourself?” Pearce asks what Reigns wants him to say. Reigns replies that he wants Pearce to be a man about it. Reigns demands that he take responsibility, because he said he was done with Owens and then KO went to his buddy Adam and got a match.
Reigns states, “You’d think a friend would know better, would make the right choice, but instead he threw Kev right back into the shark tank and now he’s not here and he can’t provide for his family. And now he goes and books a gauntlet match like Roman can’t pick his opponent, like he hasn’t carried this company for years, like he’s inadequate at his job.” Adam begs off and says he’s just trying to put the best challenger in front of Roman.
Reigns laughs and sarcastically asks for a round of applause for his “great effort”. He asks Pearce why he doesn’t just put himself in the match, and he says it’d be a conflict of interest. This leads Roman to say it sounds like Adam thinks he’s stupid, like he’s a fool. Pearce begs off and Reigns says it must be that Adam’s stupid. When that doesn’t land, he asks if it’s that Vince McMahon is stupid. When he says he didn’t say that, Roman says he most certainly has to be saying that he, in fact, is stupid, and that’s where the problem lies.
If he thinks he’s stupid, then he’s insulting him, he doesn’t respect him, or his family, and when people around here don’t respect his family, there’s consequences. Reigns then grabs Adam by the lapels and backs him into the corner, but stops himself and fixes his blazer before taking a step back. Roman smiles and says it must be his mistake, maybe nobody in this ring is stupid and maybe right now, Pearce is perfectly safe.
Reigns then proceeds to slap Adam on the shoulder before exiting the ring just to cause more nerves in the WWE Official. As Reigns exits, we head to our first commercial break of the evening.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Big E vs. Apollo Crews
As we return from the commercial break, the first officially match-up of the evening is ready to take place inside the ring between Big E and his opponent Apollo Crews for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. With both contenders inside the ring, the referee signals for the bell. The bell rings, and this match-up is officially underway! We see Crews head in first, landing a Dropkick followed by a Pump Kick. He heads up top, Big E is able to roll out of the way causing Crews to land on the canvas inside the ring.
Big E then retaliates with a Back Elbow! Both superstars make their way over to the apron, where Big E lands a Big Splash! They then take the match back inside the ring, Big E lands a Back Suplex. Somehow, Apollo lands on his feet and quickly follows up with a Roundhouse Kick followed by Charging forearms and Shoulder Thrusts in the corner.
A Stinger Splash and then a Rolling German Suplex, ending with the Full Trifecta for the cover, to no avail! Big E is able to kick out! Out and back in, another cover for two, headed up top and jockeying for position.. Crews hits a Back Suplex, however Big E counters and the two superstars both go for the cover… wait, both go for… the cover? A double three count pin and… double win?
After the Match
Immediately following the match, Big E chats with the referee. We see Crews celebrating as we head to another commercial break, well that was new. We await a decision.
As we return from the commercial, we see a replay and referee Dan Engler makes his announcement.
Winner: Double Pin-fall and Big E retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship
After the Decision
Apollo Crews finds this unacceptable and refuses to agree with the result and jaws at E, eventually slapping Big E. Big calls for the bell and we get another match!
WWE Intercontinental Championship Title Match
Apollo Crews vs. Big E (AGAIN)
Once again, the referee signals for the bell as both competitors have agreed to re-start this match-up. Big E immediately drops Crews on the canvas, laying him out as E hits a Big Splash. Crews is able to counter as he gets his knee up. Crews heads up top and hits a Frog Splash for the cover, Big E kicks out! An Irish Whip followed by Apollo getting a schoolboy cover for the two as Big E kicks out.
Next we see a Pump kick that leads into a Spine-buster and ending with a Standing Moonsault for the cover once again by Crews. Big E again kicks out. We then see Big E transition a Schoolboy into the Stretch Muffler though Crews is able to kick Big E away! Big E then tries for the Big Ending but Crews blocks. Crews then counters with an Enzuguri, followed by a Back Suplex Lift countered into a Flying Mare!
Big E grabs Crews and hits a Corner Rock Bottom and lifts Crews up hitting the Big Ending for the cover and the three count pin and win (only one pin this time!) as Big E retains his championship title!
Winner: Big E
After the Match
Big E celebrates his second victory within the hour (technically!) as we head backstage for the next segment.
We head backstage where Adam Pearce is talking to someone on the phone about his Roman Reigns problem when Sonya Deville rolls up outta nowhere. We can hear the crowd POP even from the backstage area.
Adam looks to Deville and asks why she took the job assisting him and she says she’s not proud of what she’s done or said and she wants to put the past behind her. She’s not bitter about losing a match to her best friend who then went to Raw and joined a random new tag team, but she wants to learn and to help Pearce. Especially, she says, because he’s in a match tonight.
Pearce hits the brakes and says he hasn’t had a match in over six years and he’s not coming back tonight, but we go to break on commentary speculating whether or not he’ll be in the match.
We head backstage where Bianca Belair is interviewed, having declared herself for the Royal Rumble.
Before she can answer any questions, Bayley rolls up to taunt her about not eliminating her last year, since she was too busy adding to her historic championship reign. But this year she’s going to be in the match and she’s going to win it. She tells Belair that even if she somehow wins, she’ll squander it, and Bianca tells her that she just squandered her reign, so…
Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dirty Dawgs (Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode)
We hear the entrance theme for the Street Profits sound as Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins make their way to the ring for their tag-team match-up this evening as we head to commercial break!
As we return from the commercial break, we get some hype for Sasha Banks being named the #1 superstar of 2020 by Sports Illustrated.
Elsewhere backstage, Carmella and her sommelier Reginald are hanging out and drinking. She cuts a promo about beating Sasha and commending her on her hustle, but mostly about beating her.
(return to Tag-Team Match-Up)
Dawkins and Ziggler make their way to the ring for tonight’s tag-team match-up. The referee signals for the bell. The bell rings and the match is officially underway. To start this match off, we have both Dawkins and Ziggler inside the ring, the champion in control as they feel each other out.
Dawkins is able to get the tag to Ford, however Ford’s injured leg allows Ziggler to get away and the heels have control now. They end up knocked to the floor, Montez with a Tope Con Giro but his knee gives out on him! He can’t stand, Dawkins and referee Jessika Carr check on him as we head to commercial break.
As we return from the commercial break, we return to the ring and Dawkins is still legal and Stomping away on Roode while Ford stands awkwardly at ringside. Straight Suplex followed up immediately by an Exploder Suplex. Next we see a Spinning Stinger Splash as he sets up the One-Handed Bulldog, only two! Finally we see Roode get the tag to Ziggler who immediately heads up and off the ropes followed by a Dropkick where he gets the cover for the two count.
As Ziggler is tearing at Angelo’s eyes, Robert hits a Cheap Shot on Dawkins while referee Jessika Carr is busy! Heat segment rolls on, working Dawkins over as Ford gets back up on the apron, but he’s hurting too bad to get in and make the save. Whip, sidestep, Ziggler crotched, he throws Roode through the ropes, the path is clear and Dawkins is crawling, reaching, but Robert pulls Montez off the apron! Ford fired up, he hops up the steps, Ziggler tries to block the tag but Angelo kicks him off and makes the tag!
Roode gets the cover on Dawkins, Ford climbs through the ropes ready to assist his teammate, Dawkins gets up on his own, Ford backs up as the referee looks on. Roode makes the tag to Ziggler and the two hit some double team action.
Dawkins struggles to makes his way inch by inch for the tag, Ford is yanked off the apron by Roode. Ford hops up the stairs on one leg to make the tag! Ford then reaches in for the tag, Ziggler grabs Dawkins and attempts to pull him back. Dawkins kicks Ziggler back then jumps through the air, making the tag.
With a limp, Ford enters the ring. Ford hits Clothesline after Clothesline, his limp GONE with adrenaline. Ford continues to rally as Roode re-enters the ring, Ford catches him and drops him. Ford hits a Discus Lariat on Ziggler for the cover. Ziggler able to kick out at two! Ford tries to head to the top turnbuckle for his Frog Splash when Ziggler grabs Ford from the top rope hitting Ford face first off the top. A Double Superkick as Ford and Ziggler hit the move at the same time.
Ford falls onto Ziggler for the cover. The referee gets to two when Roode enters and breaks the cover. Dawkins grabs Roode and the two fight it out. Ford with a roll through cover, Ziggler kicks out at two. Roode tags in and drops Ford for yet another cover, somehow with an Iron Will of Ford, he kicks out. Ford with a Step Up Enzuguri. Double Team Spine Buster into the Zig Zag for the three count pin and win!
Winner and NEW SmackDown Tag-Team Champions: Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler!
After the Match
Angelo Dawkins re-enters the ring to check on Montez Ford inside the ring when suddenly Roode and Ziggler re-enter the ring and throw both members of Street Profits to ringside. Ziggler shouts, “Hit OUR music!” Ziggler and Roode climb the corners as they hold their new titles up.
Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce are talking backstage, “What do we do now? Street Profits? Maybe get them a re-match?” Paul Heyman walks up and shakes Deville’s hand, “It’s an honor, how are you?” Heyman asks. Deville nods and takes her leave.
Pearce “If this is about your Gauntlet Match, save it, please.” Heyman states he doesn’t want hostility, and mentions he was the reasonable one in the ring if Pearce noticed. Heyman states, though Pearce may not believe it, he holds Pearce in the greatest respect and admiration.
Pearce agrees, he doesn’t believe it. Heyman continues on asking how many people understand the legend of Scrap-Daddy Adam Pearce, asking if he could imagine back in the day if he had been managed by Paulie Dangerously? Heyman says he knows why Pearce was picked for this job. “You wanted to be the champion of WWE, which is why when mu boss asked me to pull some strings, as I am not without influence, I pulled some strings, and that’s why… let me get to the chase, tonight… you are in the Gauntlet Match.”
Heyman states Pearce is able to have an opportunity to pursue a dream he’s had since he was a little baby Pearce. Heyman says he’s happy for, and proud of… Pearce. Heyman then grabs the hand of Pearce, forcing him to shake it as we get a picture reminder of who all is in tonight’s Gauntlet Match (Corbin, Mysterio, Bryan, Zayn, Nakamura and… Pearce?). This match starts… after the commercial break!
Gauntlet Match For #1 Contender Spot (For Universal Championship Match)
Adam Pearce vs. King Baron Corbin vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
It is time for the main event of the evening, the Gauntlet Match for the #1 Contender Spot for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble with Roman Reigns. We get the entrance for both Rey Mysterio and Sami Zayn respectively. The referee signals for the bell, but before that can happen…
Before any blows can connect, per his usual “special circumstances” before anything can continue, Sami Zayn demands a moment on mic to speak his peace, and he has a camera crew of his own with him. He rambles about a conspiracy arrayed against him before proclaiming that he remains the champion of the people.
Finally, no more stalling, Zayn climbs up into the ring and we finally get a bell to begin the first match-up in the Gauntlet series. A dropkick puts him on the second, 619, Mysterio up top and lands a Frog Splash for the three count pin and win. Rey Mysterio defeats Sami Zayn Sami Zayn exits, upset with the results of the match-up, his speech longer than his time in the ring. Out next for the Gauntlet Match is Shinsuke Nakamura is out third, but we go to break before the match resumes.
Back from commercial, Nakamura and Mysterio circling, collar and elbow, side headlock from the King of Strong Style. Shot off, drop down, shoulder block, drawing him up, scoop, slip out, O’Connor roll blocked, sunset flip, roll through, Buzzsaw Roundhouse from Rey for two! Knees, whip across, Frankensteiner sends Shinsuke to the floor where he traps Mysterio on the apron for a Knee Lift!
Roll out from under the Guillotine Knee Drop, Low Suicide Dive into a Sunset Flip but Nakamura rolls through. The referee counting leads both competitors to return back inside the ring, where Nakamura heads in for the cover. His efforts to no avail as Rey kicks out at the two! Choking Mysterio in the corner followed up with a Running Single Leg Drop Kick, another cover for the two.
A Knee drop, another near-fall, chest kicks, setting Rey up top, climbing after him, jockeying for position and Mysterio hits the Diving Seated Senton! Next, Nakamura hits a Wheelbarrow Victory Roll, only two, followed by a Back Body Drop that is able to put puts Rey on the apron and Nakamura staggers him with a Kick. To the corner, blocked, Headbutt, Slingshot, Shinsuke catches him and goes for a Powerbomb but it gets reversed to a Frankensteiner!
619 connects, Mysterio goes up top, knees up on the frog splash! Armbar applied, breaking Rey’s grip. Shinsuke Nakamura gets an Arm Bar and with that, Shinsuke Nakamura eliminates Rey Mysterio and we wait for the next competitor to make their way to the ring. Next out, we get King Baron Corbin as he makes his way down the ramp and enters the ring, immediately attacking Nakamura and Choke-slamming Rey to boot as we go to break.
As we return from commercial break, we see that Corbin has control of the match-up. Corbin with overhead elbows, trading shots, punches in the corner from Baron. Corner to corner, more body blows, but Nakamura sidesteps and Corbin takes the post hard! To the floor, diving Axe-handle, Baron catches him and rams him into the post! Back inside, cover for two, pressing the attack, Shinsuke floats over a Suplex and lands the Single-leg Dropkick!
Next we see multiple Leg and Chest kicks that finally lead into an Enzuguri that connects, but Corbin Enzuigiri connects, lying in wait but King Corbin is able to catch him with a Deep Six… SO CLOSE! Triangle Choke Applied, Deadlift Counter… POWERBOMB! Out and back in, Nakamura catches him. Shinsuke Nakamura eliminates Baron Corbin. Out next is Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan pins Nakamura in the corner of the ring and continues with the “Yes” Kicks.
Bryan has Nakamura where he needs him. Bryan with a Cannonball, and a second one. Nakamura explodes out of the corner for the three count, pin and win to advance. Shinsuke Nakamura Eliminates Daniel Bryan As Nakamura kneels inside the ring, pulling his hair from his eyes, Daniel Bryan walks over and assists Nakamura back to a standing position where he delivers a sportsman like handshake, congratulating Nakamura on his victory.
Roman Reigns Enters
As Nakamura and Bryan are standing face to face inside the ring, the entrance theme for Roman Reigns sounds inside the arena as the commentary team notes, “One man remains in this match” as we head to commercial break with Reigns standing tall at the top of the ramp.
As we return from the commercial break, Roman is still staring down at Nakamura. The commentary team makes notes that Pearce is not a fighter, he’s an official. Cole says Pearce wasn’t “good enough” to make it as a fighter, that’s why he hasn’t had a match in 6 years. Adam Pearce makes his entrance, wearing a WWE tracksuit in lieu of gear. Always bring your gear, kids! You never know.
Before he enters the ring and the bell sounds, Jey Uso gets in the ring and jaws at Shinsuke before hammering him with elbows! Reigns joins the fun, superkick into a Superman Punch into a diving splash, Roman orders Pearce into the ring and Jey superkicks him as well! Reigns calls for the bell and orders Jey to drag Adam over for the cover. The referee is nervous to count the pin, but gives in to Roman’s demand to do so! Adam Pearce wins as he eliminating Shinsuke Nakamura with a Lateral Press to become #1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship.
Winner: Adam Pearce!
After the Match
Reigns holds the title high as Pearce wakes up and realizes what’s happened.
**That’s All Folks! Remember to return for this Monday’s RAW results! As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay awesome! RUSH OUT!
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN REACTION & DISCUSSION
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