With about two weeks to go before the 2021 Royal Rumble, WWE continued the build to that show on this week’s SmackDown. The promotion mostly focused on ginning up anticipation for the Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns Universal Championship match.
This show featured the usual WWE mix of good and bad (mostly bad) and since we’ve already discussed the positive, let’s shift gears and go over the negatives.
These are the top two things that went wrong on the Jan. 14 episode of SmackDown.
Natalya vs. Aliyah
With Natalya oddly carrying around a Guinness World Record book (because WWE didn’t trust the audience to grasp the complex concept of Natalya holding THREE whole world records) and bragging about beating Aliya in record time, everyone knew where this was going.
That doesn’t make this match any better, though. The teased ref stoppage with Aliyah did get the crowd into this a little, but the reward for this excitement was a match that consisted of the following: Aliyah acting as though she’s about to throw up and rolling up Natalya for the win in a record 3.17 seconds.
The idea of trying to show up world record-obsessed Natalya isn’t a bad one, but this made Aliyah look like a fluke who can only get wins when she pretends she’s going to vomit. And for Natalya, who came across bad enough for nearly beating her opponent where she had no chance to break the record, losing to a basic roll-up after dishing out so much damage dinged her credibility a bit.
Broken thermostat payoff
Throughout the show, segments aired where WWE officials Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce attempted to figure out how to fix the broken thermostat in their office. Scintillating television, for sure.
Why did this make it to TV? Well, WWE needed a reason for Deville to remove her jacket so that Naomi could conveniently show up to attempt to fight her since Deville kept reiterating that Naomi couldn’t touch her as long as she wore a suit, which seemed to be a metaphor for her role as a matchmaker, but apparently, it was meant literally.
Worse yet, Naomi didn’t even get to land a blow on Deville, as Pearce quickly reappeared to break things up before giving Naomi…a rematch against Charlotte Flair in a, ugh, Championship Contender’s match. Of course, Pearce didn’t add a “no rules” stipulation or a condition where Deville couldn’t change the rules on the fly, so there’s nothing to keep this match from playing out exactly like the one on Jan. 7 did, but hey, at least Naomi has a match of some sort.