WWE SmackDown New Year’s Special Preview For January 1, 2021

WWE SmackDown, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan (photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE SmackDown, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan (photo courtesy of WWE) /

WWE SmackDown is scheduled to take place on January 1, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT live on FOX.

On this week’s episode of WWE SmackDown, there are is one scheduled segment involving a Seth Rollins return and one scheduled match: (1) Big E vs. King Corbin. It also seems that Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens are continuing their Universal Championship feud while Daniel Bryan lurks in the balance as one of the participants of the Royal Rumble. It is expected that the WWE will add more participants to the Royal Rumble matches on this episode.

Speaking of WWE Royal Rumble 2021, there are no title matches scheduled from the blue brand. Some matches that could be added are: (1) Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship, (2) Big E (c) vs. Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship, (3) Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and (4) Street Profits (c) vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Since there are no matches from the blue brand scheduled for the Rumble, expect WWE to book some matches for the Rumble on this episode. There won’t be too many because the two Royal Rumbles already take a huge chunk of time from the show itself. With that being said, it’s now time to preview the matches and segments that are already scheduled to occur on this week’s episode of WWE SmackDown.

Seth Rollins Return

It has been revealed that Seth Rollins will return to this New Years episode of WWE SmackDown. Rollins was last seen at Survivor Series, where he allowed Sheamus to eliminate him from the Men’s Survivor Series Match. Clearly, he was being written off television for paternity leave. Now that Rollins is back from paternity leave, he needs to stay far away from Murphy and the Mysterios because many fans have become exhausted with that 8-month feud.

Those fans also expect him to return as a babyface, but that should not happen because Rollins has always been better as a heel. Rollins should return as a heel, announce his entry into the Royal Rumble, and pursue a new rivalry with Daniel Bryan, who coincidentally already entered the Royal Rumble. In fact, they actually interacted on the October 16, 2020 episode of SmackDown, where Daniel Bryan considered Rollins’ visions short-sighted, self-indulgent, and ‘dumb.’

Rollins and Bryan already planted the seeds for a future rivalry, and they should capitalize on that. It would be ideal to book Bryan to defeat Rollins before Bryan battles fellow Shield member, Roman Reigns, for the Universal Title at WrestleMania 37. Rollins is usually the stepping stone for the main event scene. Bryan has not won many big matches recently, so a victory over Rollins and a Royal Rumble victory thereafter can give him the momentum he needs for Reigns at Mania.

Big E vs. King Corbin

On last week’s episode of WWE SmackDown, Big E dethroned Sami Zayn in a LumberJack match to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Now, he is scheduled in a non-title match with King Corbin. Since both men must be protected from defeat, expect this match to end inconclusively via disqualification. King Corbin will get frustrated with Big E’s dominance and probably attack Big E with his scepter.

Alternatively, he could also receive outside help from Knights of the Lone Wolf and/or Sami Zayn, who would want revenge from last week’s title loss to Big E. Since Murphy and Mysterios are currently in a feud with Corbin and his henchmen, there will be a babyface save from Murphy and Mysterio’s to elicit an eight-man tag team match: Big E, Murphy, Rey Mysterio, and Dominick Mysterio vs. King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Steve Cutler, and Wesley Blake.

Big E, Murphy, and the Mysterios will pick up the win here because Big E needs to continue his momentum as Intercontinental Champion and Sami Zayn always eats the pinfall in multi-man matches. This is the best way to protect King Corbin from defeat while maintaining Big E’s momentum. This is also a way to plant the seeds for a future Big E vs. King Corbin Intercontinental Championship match down the line once Big E is done with Sami Zayn.

What’s Next For Universal Champion Roman Reigns?

On last week’s episode of WWE SmackDown, Roman Reigns retained the Universal Championship against Kevin Owens in a steel cage match by walking out the steel cage door after Jey Uso handcuffed Owens to the steel cage. Due to this nefarious victory, it is clear that Reigns and Owens’ feud is far from over. They still have unfinished business and they will finish that business in a Royal Rumble 2017 Universal Championship rematch at Royal Rumble 2021.

Paul Heyman said to Owens on Talking Smack: “In the dog race of life, if you’re not in first place, the view is all the same.” In 2017, Owens was once first place as Universal Champion and he retained that Universal Championship against Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble 2017. However, he had a friend back then in Chris Jericho, who helped him retain the championship through heel-like nefarious means. Now, Owens has no friends because he backstabbed too many of them.

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Every time Owens is outnumbered by Reigns and Jey Uso, no one comes out to help him because has a bad history of backstabbing everyone who befriended him. He backstabbed Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, and many others. His lack of camaraderie in the locker room is coming back to haunt him as he now realizes that first place is hard to accomplish without the appropriate connections. Fight Owens Fight is not good enough because Network Owens Network is necessary.

“It’s not always what you know, but who you know.”