WWE Friday Night SmackDown Results From Little Caesars Arena In Detroit, MI. (1/20/2023)

WWE Friday Night SmackDown is back.

On tap for this week’s blue brand WWE on FOX program is another jam-packed lineup, as the road to WWE Royal Rumble 2023 continues.

Scheduled for the show this evening at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, is The Viking Raiders vs. The Bangers (Sheamus & Drew McIntyre) in round one of the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Tournament.

Also in store for the WWE Universe on the weekly two-hour WWE on FOX show is Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns’ official contract signing for their WWE Royal Rumble 2023 showdown for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Featured below are complete WWE Friday Night SmackDown results from Friday, January 20, 2023. The following report was written by eWrestling.com reporter Matt Boone (@MattBoone0709) as the show aired live from 8-10pm EST. on FOX.


This week’s show kicks off with the usual John Cena-narrated “WWE Then. Now. Forever. Together” signature and then we shoot into the regular weekly SmackDown opening video and accompanying theme song.

From there, we head straight into a lengthy video recap showing off the build-up and pay-off to the Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens match from last week’s show, which saw Zayn possibly robbed of a legitimate victory in favor of The Bloodline beating down an already beaten down “Prizefighter.”

Sami Zayn’s Good Mood Quickly Fades

Now we shoot outside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. as Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcome us to this week’s show and we see cars pulling up in the garage. Out pops “The Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn, who is in a good mood and bouncing around as The Usos, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman and eventually Roman Reigns emerge from the vehicles.

Everyone dabs and pounds fists with Zayn — except one — “The Tribal Chief.” Zayn’s jaw drops and his good mood fades as The Bloodline walk on and he hangs back in shock.

SmackDown Tag-Team Title Eliminator Tournament
Sheamus & Drew McIntyre vs. The Viking Raiders

We then hear the familiar sounds of “The Celtic Warrior” as Sheamus emerges and heads to the ring for the scheduled first-round match in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Eliminator tournament.

The WWE veteran settles inside the ring and his music dies down. Now the familiar sounds of Drew McIntyre’s theme hits and out comes “The Scottish Warrior” toting his massive sword as fireworks and pyro erupt inside the Detroit venue.

As the first team is settled into the squared circle, the lights in the building go out and the siren starts blasting as the lights flicker on-and-off. Smoke billows out of the entrance area and the duo of The Viking Raiders make their way out accompanied by Valhalla.

With both teams in the ring, we get ready for the first match in this contenders tourney. The brackets for the tourney are shown and afterwards, Michael Cole pays tribute to the late Jay Briscoe.

Now we see The Viking Raiders and The Bangers start to collide as the bell sounds to officially get this tag-team tournament bout off-and-running. Sheamus and Erik are the two members representing their respective teams as the legal men in the ring.

We see Sheamus clothesline Erik over the top-rope and out to the floor. He follows him out and then whips him into the solid barricade before rolling him back into the ring and following in after him. He drapes Erik over the chest and he hits his 10 Beats of the Bodhrán spot as the fans count along with each shot that connects.

Sheamus looks to take Erik to the top-rope but slips. This allows Erik to take over and shift the offensive momentum into the favor of The Viking Raiders. He sends “The Celtic Warrior” out to the floor where Ivar sneaks in a running power-spot before we head to a mid-match commercial.

As we settle back in from the break, we see Sheamus still getting the business from The Viking Raiders until a big Irish Curse back-breaker buys him some time. He makes a much-needed tag to a very fired-up Drew McIntyre.

The ludicrously strong “Scottish Warrior” goes on a one-man wrecking spree, taking it to Erik and Ivar by himself. He hits a big Michinoku Driver on Ivar for a close near fall and the action continues.

McIntyre looks to hit a big super-plex off the top-rope on Ivar but Erik stops him. Sheamus comes to his aid and hits him with his White Noise. McIntyre then flips Ivar over-head and he crashes down to the mat below as McIntyre lands in a tree-of-woe position upside down in the corner from his own throw.

On this note, we head to a second mid-match commercial break as this first round bout in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament continues on Friday Night SmackDown. When we return from the break, we see The Viking Raiders are in control of the offense until McIntyre hits a Future Shock DDT to shift the momentum.

We see McIntyre back into a corner and begin his count, looking for a Claymore Kick but instead runs into a big kick from Erik. Ivar and Sheamus both tag in now and the two duke it out. Sheamus slams him and plays to the crowd, which is white hot in Detroit, MI. this evening.

From there, we see Valhalla get involved, which leads to The Viking Raiders taking over. Erik comes off the top-rope with a huge splash onto Sheamus. He goes for the follow-up pin attempt, but somehow “The Celtic Warrior” kicks out after the count of two.

A big knee to the face from Sheamus is followed up by a Claymore Kick from McIntyre. Sheamus then follows that up with a Brogue Kick and goes for the cover. He gets the pin fall and with the victory, the team of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre advance in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament. Great opener.

Winners and ADVANCING in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament: Sheamus & Drew McIntyre

Roman Reigns Tells Sami Zayn To Get Out And Start His Own Bloodline

We shoot backstage where we see Paul Heyman reading off the itinerary to Roman Reigns when in walks Sami Zayn asking for a minute to talk. Reigns tells him to sit. Zayn brings up the “frosty” greeting he got from “The Tribal Chief” earlier tonight and asks if everything is cool.

Reigns tells Zayn he saw him last week and he handled business and he’s here to handle business tonight. He asks Zayn what’s really going on. Zayn admits feeling a little slighted last week with The Bloodline interfering right when he was about to beat Kevin Owens.

He says with Owens telling him he’s being used he just wants to make sure things are okay. Reigns responds, “Get out.” Zayn is confused. Reigns says he can’t do this every week. He tells Zayn to get out. He says go find Kevin Owens and make his own Bloodline. He again tells him to get out. Heyman quietly behind Reigns tells Zayn to be smart and leave.

LA Knight Is Up Next …

From there we see LA Knight walking backstage when a quick Bray Wyatt-style production cut-in happens on the screen. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett inform us that LA Knight will be in action when we return. On that note, we head to another commercial break.

Raquel Rodriguez Is Royal Rumble-Ready

We return from the break to see Raquel Rodriguez backstage. She talks about how excited she is to go to San Antonio and compete in the women’s Royal Rumble match. She says her family will be there to witness her earning her way to a world title match on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” at WrestleMania.

LA Knight vs. Ren Jones

Now we settle back inside Little Caesars Arena where LA Knight’s theme hits. The charismatic performer makes his way to the ring. He settles into the ring and begins. “Lemme talk-to-ya!”

He does exactly that as he mentions Bray Wyatt claiming one week not to be Uncle Howdy and the next claiming the exact opposite. He says while Bray Wyatt has been living check-to-check on past glory, the LA Knight bank says they ain’t worth anything.

The bell sounds to start this one off and we see his opponent, who Michael Cole calls Ren Jones. Immediately we see more random production cut-ins and glitches in Bray Wyatt style. This distracts Knight, but not for long as within seconds he has Jones down and covered for the 1-2-3.

Winner: LA Knight

The Firefly Fun House Returns!

Once the match wraps up, the Firefly Fun House theme hits and appears on the big screen. A rabbit puppet says, “Dude, we’re back!” We see Bray Wyatt with his back turned to the camera adjusting the sign on the door of the Firefly Fun House set.

Wyatt in his smiley persona says he’s missed us so much and he can’t wait to have fun with all of his friends once again. The puppets all applaud. He brings up the Pitch Black match and relates it to night and the dark. The bunny puppet mocks LA Knight with his “Lemme talk-to-ya” catchphrase. The dark Sister Abigail puppet says “Shut the hell up.” The pig puppet says he “loves dark chocolate, yum-yum-yum.”

We see Wyatt laughing with his puppet friends and then says, “Lemme holla atcha, player.” He kneels down and tells the bunny puppet it’s normal to be afraid of the dark, because in the dark that’s where things hide under your bed. He turns and smiles to the camera and says, “Now that I think about it, you should be scared of the dark.”

The production cut-ins happen as we hear Wyatt repeating the phrase, “I told ya so!” And then “All ya needed was a little push.” The production glitches clear up and we see a serious-looking Wyatt on his Firefly Fun House set saying he hopes it’s clear and that Knight understands that what happens next is his fault.

“I’ll see you at the Royal Rumble” he closes. He then smiles real big and says “Bye! bye!” as the Firefly Fun House theme hits again to end the segment. We head to another commercial break.

SmackDown Tag-Team Title Eliminator Tournament
Hit Row vs. Los Lotharios

Now we return inside the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. from the commercial break to the ring entrance of Hit Row — Ashante “Thee” Adonis and Top Dolla accompanied by B-Fab.

Already in the ring are their opponents for this first round match in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament — Los Lotharios. The bell sounds and we’re off-and-running with this one.

Adonis and Humberto kick things off for their respective teams. We see Ashante “Thee” Adonis jump into the early offensive lead and then Humberto tags in Angel. He doesn’t fare much better, as Adonis takes it to him as well and then tags in Top Dolla.

Top Dolla picks up where Adonis left off, taking it to Angel as the action spills out to the floor. He blasts him with some vicious chops at ringside as Michael Cole and Wade Barrett banter back-and-forth about Top Dolla’s infamous botched spot.

Back in the ring, Adonis tags back in, as does Humberto. We see Humberto connect with a big drop kick that shifts the offensive momentum into his team’s favor. Los Lotharios knock both Top Dolla and Adonis out to the floor and then hit stereo dives onto both guys.

We see B-Fab get involved, grabbing the boot of the Los Lotharios member in the ring, which allows Hit Row to steal the win via pin fall. With the victory, Hit Row advance in the tourney and will square off against Drew McIntyre and Sheamus on next week’s show in second round-action.

Winners and ADVANCING in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament: Hit Row

Cody Rhodes’ “Road To Recovery” Video Series

We see the latest installment in the “Road to Cody Rhodes’ Recovery” video series, which premiered earlier this week on Monday Night Raw and concludes with the announcement that “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes will be one of the entrants in the 2023 Men’s Royal Rumble match. After this we head to another commercial break.

Braun Strowman Ready For Men’s Royal Rumble

As we settle back in from the commercial break, we see Braun Strowman backstage. He talks directly into the camera as Raquel Rodriguez did earlier in the show about his excitement for this year’s Royal Rumble match. He says in the Rumble anyone can “get these hands.”

Charlotte Flair Sneak-Attacked By Sonya Deville

Now we head back inside the Detroit-based venue where the familiar sounds of Charlotte Flair’s theme plays and “The Queen” makes her way down to the ring. The commentators set up the Progressive Match Flo segment of the week, which is highlights of the vicious backstage brawl between the SmackDown Women’s Champion and Sonya Deville on last week’s show.

She talks about how it’s good to be in Detroit. She says it seems Deville has a problem with her. She tells her to come say it to her face. Out comes Deville and the two go back-and-forth on the microphone until finally “The Queen” offers her a fight right here and now in Detroit.

Deville isn’t interested in this because there’s nothing in it for her. She says maybe if Charlotte were to put the title on-the-line. As “The Queen” appears ready to do that, out comes Adam Pearce interrupting them saying he’s heard enough. As he continues to talk, Deville takes the opportunity to sneak-attack Charlotte from behind.

The segment ends soon after this as Deville leaves Charlotte laying and heads up the ramp where Pearce tells her they need to go and talk.

Paul Heyman Weighs-In On Sami Zayn Situation With “The Tribal Chief”

We shoot backstage where we see inside The Bloodline locker room. Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns are in the room together by themselves. Heyman tells his “Tribal Chief” with all due respect that it’s better to have Sami Zayn pissing out of the castle than on the outside of the castle pissing in, especially with a big contract signing with Kevin Owens of all people for the upcoming Undisputed WWE Unviersal Championship showdown at WWE Royal Rumble 2023. After this, we head to another commercial break.

SmackDown Tag-Team Title Eliminator Tournament
Brawling Brutes vs. Imperium

As we settle back in from the commercial break, we see Sheamus backstage hyping up the Brawling Butes duo of Ridge Holland and Butch before they head out to the ring for another first-round match in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament.

The duo settles inside the ring and their music dies down. Now WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER walks out with Imperium. He tells them to handle business by themselves and heads to the back as they make their way down to the ring.

We hear the bell and this one is officially off-and-running. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci decide that Vinci will start for their team against Ridge Holland of the opposing duo. We see Vinci faring well early on and then tag in Kaiser. Also tagging in is Butch, who works at the fingers of Kaiser.

After a dominating early start, we see Imperium standing over both Brawling Brutes after Kaiser and Vinci lay out Butch and Holland with big spots. They do their arms behind-the-back pose to taunt them and the crowd as we head to a mid-match commercial break.

When we return from the break, we see Imperium still in the offensive driver’s seats, however not for long as Butch eventually tags in. He gets Kaiser down and locked in an armbar. Kaiser eventually escapes and tags in Vinci. Vinci comes off the top with a big high-spot on Butch for a close near fall, which he kicks out of after the count of two.

Finally things build to the finishing sequence, which sees Butch hit with a big brainbuster on the floor before the heel duo hit their Imperium Bomb finisher for the pin fall victory. With the win, Imperium advances in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament.

Winners: Imperium

“You’re Tribal Chief Would Like To See You …”

Now we shoot to a very nervous and depressed-looking Sami Zayn in his “Honorary Uce” t-shirt sitting by himself backstage. Paul Heyman approaches him and with a serious look on his face says, “You’re ‘Tribal Chief’ would like to see you …” On that note the two walk off to head to The Bloodline locker room while we head to another commercial break.

Shayna Baszler Is Ready For The Women’s Royal Rumble

A special thank you to Hardy for “Sold Out,” the official theme song for WWE Royal Rumble is shown when we return from the break. From there, we shoot back live inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. where we see Shayna Baszler backstage. She talks directly into the camera about her excitement for the upcoming women’s Royal Rumble match.

Raw Is XXX Next Monday Night

A special lengthy Raw Is XXX hype video airs promoting next Monday’s special 30th anniversary show and then the lineup is advertised by Michael Cole and Wade Barrett.

Karrion Kross Talks Rey Mysterio & Royal Rumble

From there, we return backstage inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. where Karrion Kross and Scarlett are shown. As a clock ticks and is shown cutting in to the live camera shot, we hear Kross address Rey Mysterio and the other 28 Superstars in the Royal Rumble match. “Time is running out for everyone. Tick-tock.”

SmackDown Tag-Team Title Eliminator Tournament
Maximum Male Models vs. Legado Del Fantasma

Santos Escobar and Zelina Vega accompany Legado Del Fantasma to the ring as we prepare for our final match of the evening and the final first-round match in the ongoing SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament.

We head to a pre-match commercial break as Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro await the entrance of their opponents, Maximum Male Models (Mace & Mansoor). When we return from the break, Cole plugs the NFL games on FOX tomorrow and Sunday and then we return inside Little Caesars Arena to the entrance of the MMM.

Zelina Vega joins Cole and Barrett for special guest commentary for this match. She officially declares for the Women’s Royal Rumble match as the action gets started in the ring. Legado Del Fantasma take it to Mansoor early on as Cole and Barrett talk with Vega about her lack of respect for MMM.

This one doesn’t last long, as Legado Del Fantasma get their hands raised a few minutes after the initial bell sounds. We see Zelina Vega gloating on commentary as Cole and Barrett run down the updated brackets for the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament.

Winners and ADVANCING in the SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament: Legado Del Fantasma

“The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns Talks With “The Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn

We shoot backstage where Sami Zayn approaches Roman Reigns in The Bloodline locker room. Reigns starts by pointing out he’s got a temper and anger issues but goes on to assure Zayn that he’s just like him and that he sees himself in “The Honorary Uce.”

Zayn says he can’t lie, he walked in here expecting the worst but is relieved to hear that from Reigns. He tells him anything he wants him to do, he’ll do.

Reigns tells Zayn to get the SUVs in place, call the pilot and make sure the jet is ready to go. He wants to sign the contract for his Royal Rumble match with Kevin Owens and then he wants to get out of here. Zayn puts his fist in for a pound with Reigns and Reigns eventually does so this time, unlike the same scenario in the opening parking lot segment.

Contract Signing For WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Main Event

We return from the break to Cole and Barrett running down the lineup for next week’s SmackDown and then we hear the familiar sounds of Roman Reigns’ theme song. The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion emerges alongside Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa.

Reigns slowly makes his way to the ring with Sikoa and Heyman. He takes a seat at the table set up on the carpet inside the ring. He puts his feet up on the desk. Out of nowhere, Kevin Owens appears in the ring and he immediately starts attacking the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

Owens sees The Usos coming and deals with them as well. He heads back in the ring and picks up Reigns and hits a big powerbomb that puts “The Tribal Chief” through the table. He heads over to Paul Heyman in the corner, who slouches down and begs off. Owens takes the contract from him and signs it.

Now we see Sami Zayn run down from the back. Owens spots him and exits the ring and heads through the crowd. Zayn stops in the ropes with one foot on the ring apron and stares him down. Owens stares back from way up in the crowd.

We see Solo Sikoa and The Usos recovering in the back and they are trying to help Reigns up. Owens is shown looking on again from the crowd as Zayn looks down at The Bloodline leader in disappointment. That’s how this week’s show goes off the air. Thanks for joining us!

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