The January 15, 2021 Edition of Smackdown Live was a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand which took place on January 15, 2021 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Last week, Shinsuke Nakamura scored three impressive victories in the Gauntlet Match to determine who would face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble, only to be attacked by The Big Dog and "Main Event” Jey Uso and robbed of his opportunity. As a result, The King of Strong Style went one-on-one with Uso in SmackDown’s opening contest.
Before the the bell, Jey took time out to praise The Head of the Table, declare his entry into the Royal Rumble Match and trash talk The Artist. In response, The King of Strong Style did some name calling of his own and stopped an advancing Jey with a single pre-match kick.
Nakamura accidently ran headfirst into the ring post, and Uso quickly took full advantage with the pin attempt. When he put his legs on the ropes for leverage, however, the official spotted it and waved off the three-count. An irate Uso began arguing with the ref, giving The Artist the opening to take over and hit a Kinshasa for the win!
In the wake of The Riott Squad's recent win over Natalya and Tamina, Liv Morgan went one-on-one with The BOAT.
When The Queen of Harts gained the upper hand, an excited (and recently inducted Riott Squad member) Billie Kay left SmackDown commentary to urge Ruby Riott to intercede. As she began excessively cheering, she found herself in Tamina's way. Panicking, Billie opted to run through the ring to get away. However, the commotion allowed Natalya to roll up her opponent for the quick victory.
After weeks of antagonizing the Mysterio family, including a brutal unprovoked attack in last week’s Gauntlet Match, King Corbin found himself in a match against Rey Mysterio, with Dominik Mysterio joining SmackDown commentary.
When Corbin put his hands on Dominik several times during the action, Rey's son lost his temper and began to charge into the squared circle. The Master of the 619 was forced to hold him back, and the distraction paved the way for Corbin to win with End of Days.
With a great deal of animosity already existing between Bayley and Bianca Belair, The Role Model welcomed The EST of WWE as her special guest on the premiere episode of her new talk show, “Ding Dong, Hello!”
During a subsequent war of words, Bayley claimed that all Bianca’s athletic accolades occurred before she journeyed to WWE and used her recent victory over her adversary to question Bianca’s claims that she is The EST of WWE. When Belair challenged her to a rematch to settle the dispute, Bayley rejected the offer and instead challenged Belair to compete in an “Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge” to prove her athletic superiority. That was a challenge that was enthusiastically accepted.
After Daniel Bryan unintentionally angered Cesaro by giving credit to Shinsuke Nakamura, the two competitors went to war in an explosive showdown.
In the final moments of their incredible matchup, Cesaro countered Bryan's Running Knee with an earth-shattering uppercut into the Neutralizer for a huge victory!
One week after successfully defending his Intercontinental Title against Apollo Crews, Big E joined the SmackDown announce team to watch Crews face off with the outspoken Sami Zayn.
Zayn once again showed up with his own documentary crew, tasked with shining light on the conspiracy against him as The Master Strategist has continued to inundate WWE Management with demands for an Intercontinental Title rematch.
Meanwhile, Crews was no doubt still reeling from a stern pep talk he received from Paul Heyman on a recent Talking Smack over how he screwed up in his title match against Big E. He was also spotted earlier in the evening having a conversation with Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Regardless of what his talk with The Big Dog entailed, the match result was not uncertain. Crews chose to grab his opponent's tights and got himself the win at any cost.
Over the course of the night, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his special counsel Paul Heyman made alterations to The Big Dog's Universal Title match contract against WWE Official Adam Pearce at Royal Rumble and demanded that Pearce sign that contract in the ring at the end of the night.
Just after Reigns and the WWE Official signed the contract, Pearce remarked that he had been waiting all night for Reigns to sign. Then, as he walked up the ramp, he suddenly began to limp as an old knee injury conveniently began to "creep up," one that would prevent him from competing against The Head of the Table at the Jan. 31 pay-per-view.
However, if one member of a main event is injured and could not compete, WWE was allowed to choose a suitable replacement, and a smiling Pearce did just that. As a result, Reigns’ new opponent at Royal Rumble would be none other than Kevin Owens!
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jey Uso (12:20)
- Natalya (w/ Tamina) defeated Liv Morgan (w/ Ruby Riott & Billie Kay) (4:35)
- King Corbin defeated Rey Mysterio (w/ Dominik Mysterio) (5:00)
- Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan (12:05)
- Apollo Crews defeated Sami Zayn (3:20)
Other on-screen talent
- WWE Smackdown Live #1117 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #1117 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #1117 on WWE Network