WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 6
Charlotte Flair stunned the wrestling world a week ago, and Friday night on Fox, The Queen spoke to fans for the first time since defeating Ronda Rousey to win the SmackDown Women's Championship in an impromptu match.
What did The Queen have to say, and would Rousey have a retort?
The answer came on an episode that also featured a blockbuster main event featuring an Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship defense by The Usos.
- Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: Sheamus and Drew McIntyre vs. The Usos (c)
- Ricochet vs. Top Dolla
- Charlotte Flair promo
Is Roman Reigns Cracking Under the Pressure?
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, Roman Reigns appeared shaken at the top of Friday's show. After taking to the squared circle alongside his Bloodline teammates, Reigns turned the floor over to Sami Zayn, giving the Honorary Uce the opportunity to speak.
He responded, questioning why Zayn would do something like guaranteeing a victory last week against John Cena and Kevin Owens, then fail to deliver. He berated Zayn before Owens interrupted and laid down a challenge for an Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match at Royal Rumble.
Reigns agreed but stared daggers through Zayn to close the segment.
This was great stuff, particularly from Reigns.
He repeatedly uttered "I don't care," but the intensity and ferocity with which he lashed out at Zayn, then Owens, says differently. It was almost as if the one loss last week, in which he was not even pinned, elicited a sense of desperation in him that caused him to lose his icy cool demeanor and show the cracks fans had not seen in his armor in years.
He was paranoid, questioning whether Zayn was coming for his role as Tribal Chief, something that bears watching moving on. How long before things keep going wrong and he questions the loyalty of others around him, leading to a potential downfall of The Bloodline?
Owens as the proverbial crap-stirrer is always a lot of fun, too.
- "That's just something I don't understand because the Tribal Chief don't lose. It's not in my DNA. It's not in my makeup," Reigns said of last week's loss to John Cena and Kevin Owens before attributing the loss to Zayn.
- "The Tribal Chief calls my shot and I always deliver."
- "Why are you doing things like me? Do you want to be me?" Reigns asked of Zayn's motivations. "Why do you think you can do it?"
- "It seems like the best way for you to take care of that KO problem is in a match at the Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship," Owens said.
- "And Sami, I'll see you whenever you grab your balls out of Roman's pocket," Owens said, leaving his former best friend with a parting word.
Kofi Kingston vs. Santos Escobar
Santos Escobar promised a dominant year in 2023 for Legado del Fantasma and, at least through one week, has made good on it.
In the first SmackDown match of the year, Escobar dominated the action and controlled the pace against Kingston. Even as Kingston mounted a comeback down the stretch, interference from Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde neutralized Xavier Woods at ringside, allowing Zelina Vega to provide a distraction that allowed Escobar to deliver the Phantom Driver for the pinfall victory.
The rise to relevancy of Legado del Fantasma on Friday nights has been fun to watch.
One of the key acts in NXT during their time with that brand, the faction feels like one poised to break out on SmackDown in 2023. Escobar is a top-tier in-ring performer, while Vega might be the most underutilized star-in-waiting in WWE.
In-ring work is never in question, and the group carries itself like a big deal. With creative efforts behind them and a few key victories here and there, do not be surprised when Escobar and Co. see their roles expanded and then enjoy their greatest success under the WWE umbrella to date this year.
Escobar defeated Kingston
- Backstage, Sami Zayn attempted to talk to Roman Reigns, but Paul Heyman prevented him from entering the locker room. "But hey, I still love ya," the wise man said.
Madcap Moss and Emma vs. Karrion Kross and Scarlett
Karrion Kross warned Emma that she did not know what she did by slapping Scarlett during a backstage confrontation a week ago. Friday night, the Aussie found out as she teamed with Madcap Moss to battle Kross and Scarlett in a mixed tag team match.
Despite a spirited effort by the babyfaces, including some strong work from Emma, the heels emerged victoriously following a Kross Hammer and the Kross Jacket submission on Moss.
After the match, Kross held Moss while Scarlett put a Rey Mysterio mask on him. The victor produced a tarot card with Mysterio on it, sending a message that the legendary luchador's time is running out.
For her first televised in-ring action in WWE, Scarlett looked good in her limited time. She was a touch slower than Emma, who did a fantastic job of helping to guide her, but it was far from a bad first showing.
Kross continued to look strong, completely outclassing Moss and putting him to sleep before sending his message loudly and clearly to Mysterio. That match will do wonders in further establishing him as a force on SmackDown while also proving he can work with wrestlers of various backgrounds and styles if fans did not already know that based on his history in other promotions.
Kross and Scarlett defeated Moss and Emma
- Backstage, LA Knight cut a promo about his Mountain Dew Pitch Black match against Bray Wyatt at Royal Rumble.
- Kross interrupted a pinfall attempt by Emma and ate a slap for it.
- Scarlett sent Emma across the commentary table, eliminating her from the equation.
Charlotte Flair Promo
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair made her first appearance since stunning Ronda Rousey for the title in an impromptu match last Friday night. After a promo that included a promise never to become complacent, The Queen was interrupted by Sonya Deville.
A brief exchange gave way to, you guessed it, an impromptu match with the title on the line.
The new champ weathered the storm, absorbing everything thrown at her by Deville before tapping her out to the Figure Eight for the successful title defense.
Babyface Flair is going to take some getting used to.
Sure, she has been in that role before, but she has been a heel for so long and was so effective as one that the idea of her being this fan-favorite all of a sudden seems foreign. Her first chance to leave an impression was fine for what it was, and the use of Deville as the first heel to step up to her was the right call on the part of WWE Creative.
Deville has a proven track record as a villain, and the crowd responds well to her in that position. The match itself was rather nondescript, but it did not have to be a classic. It did what it intended to: It spotlighted Flair and backed up her words.
Flair defeated Deville
- "I must admit, I never thought I would hear 'thank you, Charlotte.'"
- "I may be a lot of things, but there's one thing I'm not: complacent."
- "I think they think you're a trick," Flair laughed at Deville in response to a chant from the WWE Universe.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: Ricochet vs. Top Dolla
After Ricochet poked fun at Hit Row's Top Dolla for botching a dive two weeks ago, the former NFL competitor-turned-pro wrestler sought to avenge his humiliation by defeating the SmackDown World Cup on Fox winner.
He fared about as well as he did 14 days earlier.
Despite physical dominance early, Top Dolla fell to the Shooting Star Press as Ricochet cashed his ticket to the Royal Rumble.
A post-match beatdown by the suddenly heel Hit Row gave way to a save from Braun Strowman.
The heel incarnation of Hit Row is going to be a ton of fun. Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab already have the attitude in spades. Turning that around and lashing out at fans and their favorites should be easy and, more importantly, will let them express themselves in a way they could not as the more one-dimensional babyfaces.
Ricochet defeated Top Dolla
C+, mostly for the booking decision
- Roman Reigns told Paul Heyman to get him Sami Zayn as the show headed to break.
- After the commercial, a video package aired hyping Braun Strowman vs. Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship next week.
- Backstage, Reigns refused Zayn's apology and issued him one instead. It seemed manipulative, and it proved to be as the verbal exchange between the two ended with Zayn being booked for a match with Kevin Owens next week.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Drew McIntyre and Sheamus vs. The Usos
Zayn and Reigns watched together from the former's dressing room as The Usos sought to continue their historic reign as Undisputed WWE Tag Team champions by defeating Drew McIntyre and Sheamus.
The challengers rolled late in the match, appearing to have the champions reeling. Late interference from Solo Sikoa took McIntyre out of the action, forcing The Celtic Warrior to go it alone in the final moments of the match.
Ultimately, despite a valiant effort, Jey Uso rolled him up to score the win and retain the titles.
Anytime these four guys are in the ring and given any sort of time, it is going to be a badass match, and this was no different. Champions and challengers beat the hell out of each other, leading to the Sikoa-heavy finish that intensified the rivalry with McIntyre that began back at Clash at the Castle and has built steadily since.
The cuts to Reigns and Zayn backstage were hilarious, and the image of Reigns chowing down on popcorn while staring at the television like a kid watching Nickelodeon on a Saturday morning was gold. More of that.
Kudos to the Usos for repeatedly and consistently producing bangers every time they are put in a position to do so.
The Usos defeated Sheamus and McIntyre
- Zayn and Reigns legitimately ate popcorn, the latter intensely invested in the action playing out before them.
- McIntyre saved the match, breaking up a pinfall attempt by Jimmy following the 1-D to Sheamus.
- Sikoa attacked McIntyre, keeping their rivalry alive.
- The Brawling Brutes' Ridge Holland and Butch arrived and fought Sikoa to the back.