Here are your WWE Friday Night SmackDown! results for January 6th, 2023: courtesy of our friends over at Rajah.com!
The first two-hour WWE on FOX program of 2023 kicks off as usual with the John Cena narrated "WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Together." opening signature.
Roman Reigns Calls Out Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens Interrupts
We then shoot to a live shot inside the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN. where Michael Cole welcomes us to the show and immediately we see The Usos, Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa starting a Bloodline Hostile Takeover just like they did at Raw.
The group tearing things up and smashing the set at ringside. Roman Reigns' theme then hits and out comes "The Tribal Chief" accompanied by Paul Heyman.
As Reigns heads to the ring, we see highlights of what happened in the final main event of 2022 when John Cena and Kevin Owens defeated Reigns and Zayn. Reigns then settles in the ring with Heyman and the two are joined by the rest of The Bloodline.
Memphis gives Reigns and The Bloodline a rock-star reception. He soaks it in and then begins, "Memphis, TN....acknowledge me!" They do with a loud cheer.
Reigns says he wants to start things off a little different. He wants to hear from Sami Zayn. Zayn boasts the hostile takeover on Raw and the start of tonight's show proving that The Bloodline is going to dominate in 2023.
"The Tribal Chief" says he doesn't want to talk about the New Year, he wants to talk about last year. He brings up the loss to Cena and Owens on the final SmackDown of 2022 and says he didn't lose, Zayn did. He says Zayn's shoulders were on the mat, not his.
He asks why Zayn called his shot and guaranteed victory. He asks if he's trying to be like Roman Reigns. He loses his cool and yells at Zayn and asks if he thinks he's the "Tribal Chief." Zayn looks nervous.
As this continues in this direction, Kevin Owens' theme hits to interrupt them and out he comes. He tells Reigns to calm down and says he's dealing with misguided anger. He says Reigns' problem isn't with Sami, it's with him.
Owens then tells Reigns it's time for him to deal with that. He challenges him to an Undisputed WWE Universal Championship showdown at Royal Rumble. Reigns says "fine, sure, whatever" and points out what he really wants is for Owens to just leave -- forever.
Owens says he will leave but not forever, but at Royal Rumble. He tells Sami he'll see him "whenever he decides to dig his balls out of Reigns' pockets." That's how the segment wraps up. We head to a commercial break on this note.
Kofi Kingston vs. Santos Escobar
We return from the break and The New Day theme hits. Out comes Kofi Kingston for singles action. As he does, we see "earlier today" footage of him being confronted by Santos Escobar and Legado Del Fantasma. Things get heated which led to this showdown.
On that note, we see Kingston settled inside the ring accompanied by Xavier Woods as Michael Cole announces he has been confirmed for the 2023 Royal Rumble match. Santos Escobar's theme hits and out he comes accompanied by Legado Del Fantasma for this one-on-one contest.
The bell sounds and we're off-and-running with the first SmackDown match of the year, as Escobar and Kingston get after it. We see Kingston dealing with Escobar well early on.
He sends him out to the floor at ringside near the commentary desk and poses for the crowd as we head to a mid-match commercial break as the action continues in this opening contest.
We see Escobar has shifted the offensive momentum into his favor during the break, as we return to see the Legado Del Fantasma leader taking it to one-half of the NXT Tag-Team Champions in the ring.
As he does, we see Xavier Woods playing the trombone to try along with the fans to rally Kofi back into the match, and at times, to try and distract and/or startle Santos while he's dominating the offense.
Kingston starts to show signs of life and eventually shifts the momentum back in his favor after connecting with a big S.O.S. for a near fall, which Santos kicks out of at the count of two. We hear Zelina Vega shrieking at ringside trying to rally Santos back into the lead.
The commentators mention breaking Royal Rumble news coming soon. Things continue in this direction until Santos finally takes over once again on offense. Thanks to an assist from the outside, Escobar ends up scoring the upset victory via pin fall.
Winner: Santos Escobar
Title Match Announced For Royal Rumble
We have the breaking news now regarding the WWE Royal Rumble 2023 pay-per-view in three weeks. The news is that the match has been confirmed and it will be Roman Reigns defending the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Kevin Owens.
Not A Good Time For Sami Zayn To Talk With "The Tribal Chief"
When we return to the show, we shoot backstage inside the FedEx Forum and we see a nervous Sami Zayn trying to get past Paul Heyman to get a word with Roman Reigns so he can explain himself and assure him he doesn't want to be "The Tribal Chief."
Heyman tells him it's not a good time as The Usos and Solo Sikoa shake hands and walk past Zayn when Heyman tells him "The Tribal Chief is waiting on you." They head in and Zayn looks dejected.
Heyman tells Zayn that even three steps from now, it wouldn't be a good time to talk to Reigns. Zayn looks completely dejected. Heyman says "at least I still love ya!" He heads into the locker room and we head to another commercial break.
Liv Morgan Talks About The Women's Royal Rumble Match
When we return from the break, we see Liv Morgan backstage. She talks directly into the camera about the Women's Royal Rumble match. She says she lives for chaos and notes that entering the match last would make it the easiest for her.
She says if she had things her way, she'd enter at number one and kick all of the other 29 entrants asses. Michael Cole confirms Liv Morgan for the women's Royal Rumble match.
L.A. Knight Addresses Bray Wyatt, Uncle Howdy
We shoot to Michael Cole and Wade Barrett who mention Bray Wyatt will also be in action at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. They then show footage of Uncle Howdy hitting Wyatt with a Sister Abigail on last week's show.
From there, we shoot backstage where L.A. Knight is interviewed. Knight says he feels good because Wyatt can't keep his goons in line and that's what led to Howdy taking him out. He says he's gonna do the same when the two meet at the Royal Rumble PPV.
Karrion Kross & Scarlett vs. Madcap Moss & Emma
We shoot inside the FedEx Forum and out comes Scarlett and Karrion Kross. As they head to the ring we see footage of Emma slapping Scarlett backstage. Michael Cole announces Kross and Scarlett in mixed tag-team action next, as they face the duo of Madcap Moss and Emma. On that note, we head to a pre-match commercial break.
When we return from the break, Madcap Moss and Emma make their way to the ring. The bell sounds shortly after that and we're off-and-running with this mixed tag-team action.
Straight out of the gate, we see Scarlett dominating the action. When Kross tags in, things remain much of the same through to the finish, which sees Kross pull off the victory. After the win he lays a card on the chest of their fallen opposition and yells into the camera that Rey Mysterio is next.
Winners: Karrion Kross & Scarlett
Charlotte Flair Formally Returns To SmackDown ... Next
We see footage of Ronda Rousey defeating Raquel Rodriguez to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship, only to shockingly lose it moments later following the surprise return of Charlotte Flair. We return live and Michael Cole and Wade Barrett inform us that "The Queen" returns to SmackDown ... next.
WWE MITB Coverage, Sheamus & Drew McIntyre At Jerry Lawler's Pub
On that note, we head to another commercial break. When we return, we see media coverage of the WWE Money In The Bank 2023 coming to the 02 Arena in London, England. From there, we see "earlier today" footage from Jerry Lawler's Bar 'N' Grill of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.
"The Celtic Warrior" and "The Scottish Warrior" smack each other on the arm back-and-forth as they take a stroll down memory lane, mentioning some of their more violent matches and smack each other harder with each nostalgic remembrance.
They are doing it in good nature, however, and close by vowing to beat down The Usos tonight in Memphis. "'Cause when the lads are in town, it's banger after banger after banger after banger!" The Banger Bros take on The Usos for the titles later tonight.
Charlotte Flair Talks About What A True Champion Is, Sonya Deville Issues Challenge
From there, the ring announcer does the formal introduction for the new SmackDown Women's Champion and on that note the iconic music for "The Queen" plays and out comes Charlotte Flair in her grand-style robe with her newly won title belt around her waist.
Cole and Barrett sing her praises and talk about her beating Ronda Rousey for the title last week. Charlotte settles in the ring and her music dies down.
She begins, "Memphis, TN. Did you miss your Queen? Yeah, that's what I thought. I missed you guys, too." She then mentions the infamous catchphrase that goes, "Payback's a b*tch." She tells the fans to "ask Ronda. She knows."
Charlotte goes on to mention being on the shelf for several months and says whether fans like to cheer her or boo her, or even "WOOO!" at her, she was blown away by their reception when she returned and beat Rousey to win the title last week on SmackDown.
She says it's always been about passion, consistency and what she does in this ring. She says she's a lot of things but one thing she won't do is become complacent. She says a champion goes above and beyond and expects the unexpected, and when it comes, rises to the occasion. She says that's what she's done -- 14 times.
Before she can say anything else, the theme music for Sonya Deville hits and out she comes to interrupt "The Queen." She says the hillbillies in the FedEx Forum might not be bright enough to see through her lies, but she is.
She says she's bragging about being a 14-time champion but thinks there should be an asterisk next to No. 14 because she beat a half-dead Ronda Rousey. The fans chant "Whoop that trick!" at her. Charlotte points this out. Deville asks how Flair would do against a fresh-fighter.
She takes her robe off and says she's "THE fighter." She tells Charlotte if she wants to prove she's a real champ -- she can do it by putting her title on-the-line right now. Charlotte asks the fans if she should put her title on-the-line. The fans respond with another loud "Whoop that trick!" chant. "Looks like your challenge is accepted ...trick!" Charlotte says.
SmackDown Women's Championship
Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Sonya Deville
On that note, the bell sounds and we see these two immediately collide. Sonya gets the better of their initial exchanges and taunts Charlotte with her own "trick"-related insults. Charlotte fights her way into the offensive lead and throws Sonya out to the floor as we head to a mid-match commercial break.
When we return from the break, we see the action has resumed inside the ring and it is Deville who is now once again in the offensive driver's seat. Michael Cole talks on commentary about Deville dominating during the break as well as we watch her tear apart the knee, which has been the focus of her attack throughout her run in the lead thus far.
As the action continues, we see "The Queen" slowly but surely fight her way back into the offensive lead, which she rides into the finish of the match, which sees her pull off the victory for a successful first defense of her latest reign as the SmackDown Women's Champion.
Winner and STILL SmackDown Women's Champion: Charlotte Flair
The Road To Cody Rhodes' Return ...Chapter 2
After Charlotte Flair celebrates her title defense, we hear Cole and Barrett shift gears and talk about the road to return for "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes, which was chronicled in the first of a multi-part special look at Cody Rhodes' road to recovery on last week's show.
With that said, we are sent into the second installment of this multi-part vignette series looking at Cody Rhodes' return to WWE and his road to recovery from his injury. This video stops around WWE Hell In A Cell where Cody Rhodes worked a match with a badly, badly torn pectoral muscle.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match
Ricochet vs. Top Dolla
Now we head back inside the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN. where the winner of the SmackDown World Cup, Ricochet, is introduced. His theme music hits and out he comes to the ring for the scheduled Royal Rumble Qualifying match.
As Ricochet settles inside the ring, Michael Cole explains on commentary how he and others in the WWE locker room making fun of Top Dolla for his viral video of his botched spot diving over the top-rope in a recent match led to this match.
On that note, we head to a pre-match commercial break as Ricochet finishes up his ring entrance for this one-on-one encounter. We return to a "You're Next Mission" Lacey Von Erich vignette and then back into the arena where Top Dolla is finishing up his walk to the ring for this Royal Rumble Qualifying match.
The bell sounds and we're off-and-running with this one. We see some good back-and-forth action early on, with Top Dolla faring well coming out of the gate. It isn't long, however, before the SmackDown World Cup winner earns his way to another high-profile "W."
Ricochet picks up the win over the Hit Row member and earning his spot in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the WWE pay-per-view in three weeks. After the match, Ashante "Thee" Adonis and the rest of Hit Row beat down Ricochet until Braun Strowman runs out to make the save.
Winner and QUALIFYING for the 2023 Royal Rumble match: Ricochet
Roman Reigns Requests Sami Zayn's Presence
Now we shoot to The Bloodline locker room where we see The Usos and Solo Sikoa leave with their marching orders and looking in good spirits. Roman Reigns then tells Paul Heyman to go get Sami Zayn and bring him here. On that note, we head to another commercial break.
Gunther vs. Braun Strowman Next Week For I-C Title
We shoot to a vignette showing WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther and Imperium addressing Braun Strowman and anyone else with designs on the I-C title. We then return live where Michael Cole promotes Gunther's first title defense of 2023 next week on SmackDown, as he puts the I-C title on-the-line against Strowman.
Sami Zayn Gets An Apology From "The Tribal Chief"
From there, we shoot backstage where a humble Sami Zayn walks in with his head down and sees a seated Roman Reigns looking in another direction. "You wanted to see me," Zayn begins.
Reigns tells Zayn to sit down. Zayn sits down and immediately stutters his way through his assurance to Reigns that he is not trying to become "The Tribal Chief." He then apologizes if he gave that impression.
A slow-moving Reigns turns to Zayn and says he doesn't accept his apology. He tells him he's a high-demanding "Tribal Chief" and says no one deserves to be talked to the way he spoke to Zayn in front of the whole world.
He says he doesn't accept Zayn's apology because he owes Zayn an apology of his own. Zayn exhales nervously and says he understands and accepts Reigns' apology. Reigns says Kevin Owens was right. He says he's not mad at Zayn.
He's mad at Owens and he's taking it out on Zayn. Reigns says he's gonna fix this. "Ain't that right, wise man?" Reigns says to Paul Heyman, who sits down next to Zayn and tells him that his "Tribal Chief" is giving him the opportunity to redeem himself.
He says because next week on SmackDown it will be "The Honorary Uce" Sami Zayn one-on-one against Kevin Owens. Zayn says, "Yeah. Yeah, let's do it! We, no-no...I will take care of him, for you, my 'Tribal Chief,."" He goes to walk off as he hears The Usos' theme and says he's gotta get out there.
Reigns tells Zayn to stay and says let's watch this together. Zayn starts to calm down a bit and smiles as he sits down and begins chatting with Reigns as we see The Usos make their way to the ring.
Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Championships
The Usos (C) vs. The Banger Bros
We see The Usos finishing up their entrance to the ring, as Jimmy and Jey Uso, accompanied by Solo Sikoa, heads inside the squared circle and their music fades down.
The theme for Sheamus plays and out comes "The Celtic Warrior." He stops near the end of the entrance ramp and waits as his music dies down. Now the theme for Drew McIntyre plays and out comes "The Scottish Warrior."
The duo collectively known as The Banger Bros make their way down to the ring for this advertised Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Championship showdown against The Usos.
As the babyface team finishes up their entrance to the ring, we take a quick pre-match commercial break. When we return from the break, McIntyre and Jey Uso kick things off for their respective teams as the bell sounds to get this week's main event off-and-running.
We see "The Scottish Warrior" dominating the offense early on, taking it to Uso with relative ease. Uso makes the tag and Drew starts roughing up his brother as well, however we eventually see Uso fight his way into the offensive lead. He goes for the cover after a top-rope spot, but Drew kicks out at two.
The action continues with Usos utilizing frequent tags to keep a fresh guy on the weakened McIntyre. They even sneak in some cheap shots behind the referee's back at times. We also see camera shots showing Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn and Paul Heyman in The Bloodline locker room watching the action unfold.
While The Usos are still in a comfortable offensive lead, we head to a mid-match commercial break as the action continues in our undisputed tag-team title main event here on the first Friday Night SmackDown show of the New Year.
As we return from the break, we see Sheamus finally get the hot tag. "The Celtic Warrior" comes into the match like a man possessed, taking out Jimmy and Jey by himself with relative ease. He does the big forearm over the ropes spot as the crowd cheers along. He connects with White Noise for a near-finish.
Now we see The Usos fire back up and settle into the offensive lead. While this is going on, we see another shot of Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn watching on with popcorn in The Bloodline locker room.
Drew McIntyre hits the ring after tagging in and now he takes the hot tag and goes nuts, including connecting with a Claymore Kick for a close near fall. The Usos take over again and hit their double-team 1D finisher for a super close near fall on Sheamus, which McIntyre ends up breaking up.
From there, we see Solo Sikoa get involved, hitting the Samoan Spike and bouncing McIntyre off the barricade behind the referee's back. The Brawling Brutes Butch and Ridge Holland make their way out and beat down Solo Sikoa. In the ring, with see Sheamus blast Jimmy Uso with a big shot.
He falls on him and the ref goes to cover, but we see Jey Uso yank Jimmy out from ringside to break up the pin attempt. Sheamus comes off the top-rope out to the floor to take out both Usos. Back in the ring, Sheamus hoists one Uso up but loses his balance.
When he does, one Uso covers him while the other holds his legs down from the ringside out of view of the referee. When The Usos are announced the winner, we see Sami Zayn explode as Roman Reigns looks at him like he's a nut-job. He throws his popcorn in the air and celebrates. On that note, this week's show goes off-the-air. Thanks for joining us!
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag-Team Champions: The Usos
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