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5 Things WWE SmackDown got right before Royal Rumble: Brock Lesnar appears, loyalties tested

ByRD Media

Jan 28, 2023

WWE SmackDown had a few big segments and matches in store for fans before the Royal Rumble. Kevin Owens was set to take on Solo Sikoa before facing Roman Reigns at the event. The Enforcer of The Bloodline looked to put an end to Owens and stop him from competing on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Lacey Evans returned on SmackDown and showcased what she can do with Cobra Clutch. The move looked impressive, but it did not get her over as she made quick work of an enhancement talent.

The two semi-finals of the SmackDown Tag Team Tournament also took place during the show. Meanwhile, a former Universal Champion appeared to announce his entry into the Royal Rumble match.

The night had its highlights as the creative team developed some top storylines. Check out the five things WWE SmackDown got right on this week’s show.


#5. Rey Mysterio stole a win over Karrion Kross on WWE SmackDown

Rey Mysterio battled Karrion Kross in the first match of WWE SmackDown. The Master of the 619 took control early and sent Kross outside before pushing him into the barricades.

The Herald of Doomsday fought back and used his strength to put down the legend. He tried to rip off Rey’s mask, but the veteran fought out of his hold.

Rey hit a 619 off a counter and a splash, but he could only get a near fall. The SmackDown legend used Kross’s ego against him and took him down with a crucifix pin for a sudden win.

WWE booked a match much like the one between Braun Strowman and Ricochet not too long ago. Kross’s ego got to him, and Mysterio used it to his advantage for the win.

The loss shouldn’t hurt The Herald of Doomsday’s value too much, as he lost to one of the most accomplished stars on the roster. However, he has lost a couple of important matches after sending warnings to his opponents in recent times.

The creative team should give him some stronger bookings and allow him to grow on SmackDown. His ego problems could be addressed in the coming weeks.


#4. Brock Lesnar attacked Bobby Lashley before announcing himself for the Royal Rumble


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Austin Theory came out on WWE SmackDown to talk about winning the Royal Rumble match when New Day interrupted him. The NXT Tag Team Champions took some shots at the young superstar before he fired back.

The Miz came out to give everyone a preview of what to expect at the Royal Rumble. Bobby Lashley came out as a brawl broke out, and The All Mighty cleared the ring by tossing everyone out.

Lashley cut a short promo and put everyone on notice, especially Brock Lesnar, who attacked him on RAW. The Beast Incarnate showed up, jumped over the guardrail, and took down Lashley with another F5.

Lesnar then announced his entry into the Royal Rumble to end the segment. It comes as no surprise that Lesnar will be part of the big match as he was advertised on the show’s poster weeks ago.

He will likely lock horns with The All Mighty in the ring during the Rumble match. They could have a big showdown, leading to both men getting eliminated from the contest.


#3. Ricochet and Braun Strowman replaced Sheamus and Drew McIntyre to progress in the SmackDown Tag Team Tournament

Drew McIntyre and Sheamus came out to compete in the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Tournament against Hit Row on Friday Night. The Viking Raiders attacked the two men on the ramp before they could reach the ring.

Erik and Ivar took both men out with massive splashes, leaving them unable to compete. Adam Pearce announced that Braun Strowman and Ricochet would take their spot in the match against Hit Row.

Ricochet kicked off the match and hit Ashante “Thee” Adonis with some good moves. B-Fab interfered and helped Adonis get back into the match before Top Dolla tagged in to crush Ricochet with some big moves.

Strowman eventually tagged in and took everyone out with some power moves. Top Dolla was no match for the big man, and the babyface team worked together to take everyone out.

Braun finally hit the Monster Bomb on Adonis for a relatively easy win. It was good to see Strowman and Ricochet pick up the win and advance into the tournament.

It looks like WWE is saving McIntyre and Sheamus for a bigger match against The Usos. This could take place at the Elimination Chamber or WrestleMania 39.

Meanwhile, fans will likely see The Viking Raiders and the babyfaces eliminate each other from the Royal Rumble match before fighting their way to the back.


#2. Imperium showcased their potential against Legado Del Fantasma on WWE SmackDown

Legado Del Fantasma squared off against Imperium in the second SmackDown Tag Team Tournament semi-final of the night. Ludwig Kaiser took control of the contest early and punished Joaquin Wilde for some time.

Giovanni Vinci tagged in and used his strength to take down Del Toro before hitting a big lariat. Legado Del Fantasma fired back with double-team moves, while Zelina Vega tried her best to pump them up and help them get in control.

Vinci took Wilde to the top rope and hit an insane slam but hurt his knee. He tagged in Kaiser, and the two worked together to hit the Imperium Bomb for the win.

Imperium needed to win and come across as a threatening team on SmackDown. The booking went well, and it was good to see Vinci showcase his strength. Hopefully, he will recover in time for the final of the tournament.

Fans will likely see GUNTHER getting involved in the final match between Imperium and the team of Braun Strowman and Ricochet. It will help the creative team work towards another Intercontinental Championship match between GUNTHER and The Monster of All Monsters.


#1. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn continued to tease the WWE Universe before the Royal Rumble


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Tensions ran high all night as Kevin Owens prepared to take on Solo Sikoa on WWE SmackDown before his big match against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble.

Sami Zayn thanked Jey Uso for saving him last week, while The Usos and Owens nearly got into a brawl backstage. Owens and Sikoa went hard at each other as soon as the match started.

The Enforcer of The Bloodline got the upper hand, punished KO around the ring, and sent him into the barricades. Owens fired back but missed a Stunner, allowing Solo to get back in the game.

KO ate a Samoan Drop before hitting a cannonball and a Swanton Bomb before Sami Zayn saved Sikoa by pulling him out of the ring. The two men had a showdown, and Sikoa superkicked Zayn by mistake.

He used a steel chair to beat down Owens, but the former Universal Champion got the better of him and hit him with a powerbomb on the announce desk. KO was about to take Sami down with the steel chair, but decided against hitting his former best friend.

The storyline involving Sami keeps getting better and better every week. He had to work with the same man who nearly took him down with Samoan Spike on WWE RAW and superkicked him on SmackDown. Meanwhile, Owens decided against hitting him and left the arena after taking down The Enforcer.

This will lead to a massive spot at the Royal Rumble, where The Honorary Uce will have to decide between Roman Reigns and his former best friend. Will the Honorary Uce pay for disobeying Reigns’ orders? Who will Zayn side up with at the Royal Rumble? Tune in tomorrow to find out.


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