Cole and Graves hype tonight’s Gauntlet Match to determine Reigns’ Royal Rumble opponent with Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, King Baron Corbin, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Reigns takes his time entering the ring and stops in the middle as more pyro goes off. A big “you suck!” chant breaks out before Heyman can speak. He hands the mic to Reigns and the boos continue. Reigns says there’s been a lot of talk about what they did to Kevin Owens last week. Reigns says Owens is a pain in his ass but he likes Owens. He respects someone as ambitious as Owens, one who keeps getting up no matter how often he gets knocked down. He says Owens is like a cockroach. Reigns never wanted anything bad to happen to Owens.
Reigns goes on and says he cares about everyone in the back, cares about their families, and this is why he does what he does. He’s putting food on everyone’s tables. But now Owens doesn’t have that opportunity, he can’t come to work anymore. Reigns says people are trying to blame him but it’s not his fault. Reigns says if you want to blame someone, point the finger in the direction of WWE official Adam Pearce. Fans boo again. Reigns tells Pearce to bring his ass out here. Heyman yells at the ring announcer to get Pearce out here. Pearce finally comes marching down the ramp and into the ring.
Pearce asks Reigns what can he do for him. Reigns tells Pearce to watch this nice clip they had done. A video package plays and shows highlights from two weeks ago, when Reigns retained over Owens in the Steel Cage. We also see how Owens talked Pearce into the match with Uso last week, how Owens defeated Uso, then the post-match attack on Uso that led to Reigns and Uso destroying Owens, ending the show by tossing him off the platform through the table. We come back and Uso is staring Pearce down. Pearce asks Reigns what he wants him to say. Reigns wants Pearce to be a man. Reigns goes on about the feud being done, and them moving on, but Owens went to his friend for another match. Reigns accuses Pearce of not making the right decision for the well-being of his friend. Reigns goes on and he’s not happy about tonight’s Gauntlet to determine his Royal Rumble challenger. Pearce says he’s just trying to put the best challengers in front of Reigns.
Big E (C) vs. Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship
At first, both Big E and Apollo pin each other. The match restarts and Big E wins with the Big Ending.
Winner: Big E
Adam Pearce is on the phone with someone backstage and says he feels like he’s damned if he does, and damned if he don’t. Sonya Devillewalks in. Pearce welcomes her and says he understands they will be working together. Deville says the last year has been crazy and she’s not proud of what she’s said or done, but it’s a new year and she wants to put the past behind her. She’s not bitter about Mandy Rosebeating her in the SummerSlam match, going off to RAW and leaving her career in shambles. She goes on and says she’s grateful for the new opportunity and wants to help Pearce. They exchange a few more friendly words and Pearce welcomes her back.
– Still to come, our Gauntlet Match main event. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Alyse Ashton is backstage with Bianca Belair, who has announced herself for the 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match. Before she can speak, Bayleyinterrupts and they taunt each other. Bayley also declares her spot for the Rumble and says she will win, then go on to win the title at WrestleMania 37. Bayley and Belair continue having words with each other until Belair walks off.
The Street Profits (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode – SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Ziggler and Roode win the titles when Ford is hit with the spine buster/Zig Zag combination.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
After the match, Roode and Ziggler send The Street Profits out the ring and continue to celebrate.
Pearce and Deville are talking before Heyman comes. He says he likes him and wants no hostility. He says he’s concerned for Pearce and he holds him in the highest regard. He knows why he was chosen for this job, but he says this ain’t the path he wants, because he wants to be in the position Roman is in. Paul pulled a few strings, and Adam Pearce is now in the gauntlet match, courtesy of Roman Reigns. Personally and professionally, Paul is happy and proud of Adam.
Universal Championship #1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. King Corbin vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Adam Pearce
Mysterio eliminates Zayn with the 619, Nakamura eliminates Mysterio, Corbin and Bryan with the Kinsasha. Roman Reigns and Jey Uso come out, jump Nakamura, super kick Adam Pearce who’s last in the gauntlet, and Jey drags Adam on top of Nakamura for the win.
Winner: Adam Pearce