WWE SmackDown: Hugely Unexpected Name Named Challenger For Roman Reigns’ Universal Title At Royal Rumble

On this week’s SmackDown, WWE threw a massive curveball when setting up Roman Reigns’ Royal Rumble opponent.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Logo

Credit: WWE

Anything Raw can do, SmackDown can do…better?

After it was confirmed that one blast from the past, Goldberg, will challenge for Raw’s top title at the Royal Rumble, WWE decided the challenger for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship on this week’s SmackDown. A competitor that hasn’t had a match of any kind in six years.

Come on down…Adam Pearce!

You didn’t see that one coming did you? We certainly didn’t.

Credit: WWE

Former NWA World Champion Pearce retired from the ring in 2014, joining WWE as a producer in early 2015. Since the ‘pandemic era’ took hold in WWE, Pearce has become more and more of a presence on WWE TV as a backstage official, taking on a quasi-GM role when the story demanded it.

This week on SmackDown, Pearce announced a gauntlet match for the main event to decide the top contender to face Reigns at this month’s PPV.

After confronting Pearce and blaming him for the injury they inflicted on Kevin Owens last week, Reigns, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman suggested Pearce should enter himself in the gauntlet.

Pearce brushed off the suggestion but Heyman later informed him he had gone over his head to insert him.

During the gauntlet, Sami Zayn, Rey Mysterio, King Corbin and Daniel Bryan had been eliminated, leaving Shinsuke Nakamura ready to face the last entrant, Pearce.

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Before the final part of the match could start, Reigns and Uso attached Nakamura, beating him down before Pearce entered the ring.

Pearce then entered the ring and ate a super kick from Uso, who then dragged Pearce on top of Ol’ Nakkers for the 1-2-3.

Adam Pearce will now face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV on Sunday January 31st.

There’s a sentence we didn’t expect to be typing today.

You can get all the info you need about the Royal Rumble right here.

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