The January 8, 2021 Edition of Smackdown Live was a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand which took place on January 8, 2021 at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
After laying waste to Kevin Owens last week on SmackDown, Universal Champion Roman Reigns called out WWE official Adam Pearce to take issue to with him making the match between KO and Jey Uso that ended in such carnage. He also wanted Pearce to explain himself after he made a Gauntlet Match to determine The Big Dog's next challenger at Royal Rumble this week -- pitting Rey Mysterio, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin and Daniel Bryan against each other in pursuit of a Universal Title opportunity.
Rather than attack Pearce when he felt disrespected, The Head of the Table stopped himself at the last second and proclaimed that perhaps everyone is safe before leaving Pearce in the ring to contemplate the conversation.
After accepting Big E’s open challenge last week, the dynamic Apollo Crews battled The Powerhouse of Positivity for the Intercontinental Title.
There was some confusion over an apparent three-count after a Superplex by Crews. It was soon explained, though, that Big E and his challenger both scored the pinfall at the same time, resulting in a draw that allowed Big to keep the title.
Crews wasn't happy with the result, and when Big E tried to give him a fist bump, Crews slapped the Intercontinental Champion. As a result, an irate Big E agreed to continue the match right than and there. Unfortunately for Crews, the larger-than life titleholder earned a clear victory with the Big Ending.
After a vicious chair assault at the hands of Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode last week, The Street Profits put the SmackDown Tag Team Championships on the line against their outspoken adversaries.
However, it soon became clear that Montez Ford's leg was still injured as a result of his opponents' attack one week ago, putting the titleholders at an incredible disadvantage. Nevertheless, Ford heroically fought through the pain, despite the continued nefarious actions of his opponents. Eventually, the injury became too much, and Ziggler and Roode soon hit a Spinebuster into the Zig Zag to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Championships!
In the aftermath, the new titleholders added insult to injury by attacking The Street Profits and knocking them out of the ring.
As he made his way to the ring for the first part of the Gauntlet Match, Sami Zayn explained that he decided to enlist a documentary crew to witness and uncover the conspiracy against him that cost him the Intercontinental Championship. However, when Zayn turned his back and failed to notice the opening bell ring, Rey Mysterio took full advantage, hitting the self-professed "Master Strategist" with the 619 into the splash off the top rope for the victory.
In the second part of the Gauntlet Match, Shinsuke Nakamura overcame The Master of the 619 in a much more challenging matchup. In the final moments, Mysterio once again hit the 619 on his opponent. But when he went for the splash off the top rope this time, The Artist got his knees up and locked in the armbar to make Mysterio tap out.
Moments after the bell, King Corbin charged in and attacked Dominik Mysterio, Nakamura and Rey before the start of his part of the Gauntlet Match.
After a pre-match attack by his imminent opponent, Nakamura next locked horns with King Corbin in the third part of the Gauntlet Match to determine who would challenge Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble. Despite Corbin's brutal efforts throughout the contest, The King of Strong Style hit a Kinshasa out of nowhere for his second win of the night.
Although Daniel Bryan had already revealed his plans to win the Royal Rumble Match on Jan. 31, he entered the fourth part of the Gauntlet Match ready to get to The Big Dog sooner against the resilient Nakamura.
After an incredible showdown by both The Leader of the "Yes!" Movement and The King of Strong Style, Nakamura had enough presence of mind to once again raise his knee at just the right moment and defeat Bryan with another Kinshasa out of nowhere. After defeating Bryan, an exhausted Nakamura turned his attention to the emerging Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. Their entrance preceded WWE Official Adam Pearce, whom Heyman had earlier pulled some strings to get into the high-stakes matchup, whether he wanted to compete or not.
However, before Pearce reached the ring, Uso and The Head of the Table suddenly entered the squared circle and attacked the war-torn Artist. Moments later, Reigns threw Pearce into the ring and set up the unhinged Jey to hit him with a superkick. Then, after Reigns called for the opening bell, Uso draped the WWE official’s unconscious body over The King of Strong Style for the three-count. As a result, Adam Pearce will battle Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship!
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews ended in a Draw in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Match (3:20)
- Big E (c) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (2:30)
- Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defeated The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) (c) to win the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (14:57)
- Adam Pearce defeated Daniel Bryan, King Corbin, Rey Mysterio (w/ Dominik Mysterio), Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura in a Gauntlet Match to become #1 Contender for the WWE Universal Championship
- Rey Mysterio eliminated Sami Zayn
- Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated Rey Mysterio
- Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated King Corbin
- Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated Daniel Bryan
- Adam Pearce eliminated Shinsuke Nakamura
Other on-screen talent
- WWE Smackdown Live #1116 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #1116 at WWE.com
- [ Smackdown #1116 on WWE Network]