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WWE SmackDown video highlights: Reigns gets new Rumble challenger

Image: WWE

Going into last night's SmackDown, the question was whether or not Adam Pearce would end the night still in line for a Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble.

Last night's show was built around a contract signing for Roman Reigns and Pearce's title match. But after the contract was signed, Pearce noted that all standard WWE contracts say the card is subject to change. Pearce claimed to have an old knee injury flaring up. He said that -- in his role as a WWE official -- he has the right to find a suitable replacement for the Universal Championship match. Pearce then announced Kevin Owens as Reigns' new Royal Rumble challenger.

Reigns vs. Owens at the Royal Rumble will be a Last Man Standing match. Reigns originally wanted the stipulation when he thought Pearce would be his challenger at the pay-per-view.

Reigns had forced Pearce into last week's number one contender's gauntlet match after not being happy with Pearce's recent decision-making. Reigns and Jey Uso attacked Shinsuke Nakamura at the end of the gauntlet, Reigns threw Pearce into the ring, and Uso laid out Pearce with a superkick. Uso then put Pearce on top of Nakamura and the referee counted the pin.

With Uso getting involved throughout the match, Reigns retained the Universal Championship against Owens in a tables, ladders, and chairs match at December's TLC PPV. Reigns then retained against Owens in a steel cage match after Uso handcuffed Owens to the cage.

The New Year's Day episode of SmackDown earlier this month ended with Reigns throwing Owens off a ledge at the ThunderDome and through a table below. Last night was Owens' first appearance since then.

More coverage from last night --

WWE SmackDown video highlights --

A video package looks back at last week's gauntlet match

Jey Uso declares for the Royal Rumble

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jey Uso

The Street Profits don't regret accepting Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode's challenge

Roman Reigns wants a Last Man Standing stipulation for his match against Adam Pearce

Liv Morgan vs. Natalya

Rey Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin

Bianca Belair appears on the premiere edition of Bayley's "Ding Dong, Hello!" talk show

Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro

Sasha Banks will give Carmella a title shot -- as long as she gets to face Reginald first

Apollo Crews vs. Sami Zayn

Kevin Owens replaces Adam Pearce in Royal Rumble Universal Championship match

SmackDown fallout: Shinsuke Nakamura wants to face Roman Reigns

SmackDown fallout: Cesaro reacts to his big night

SmackDown fallout: There's no one Natalya would rather have on her side than Tamina

SmackDown fallout: Liv Morgan doesn't want to hear Ruby Riott and Billie Kay's arguing