The WWE Smackdown Reaction for January 6, 2023
Welcome to the Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Memphis, TN with the Tag Team Titles on the line in the main event.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
The Bloodline wrecks the ringside area so we can have Promo Time with Roman Reigns. Reigns and Zayn banter back and forth over the past week and that brings out Kevin Owens. Owens challenges Reigns for a title match at the Royal Rumble, which Reigns seemingly accepts. Owens leaves The Bloodline in the ring to end things. We would find out later in the show, that the Reigns-Owens title match is official for the Royal Rumble. It was a nice way to open the show and progress the story along. I don’t expect Owens to win at the Rumble but it is setting things up nicely.
Our opening contest has Kofi Kingston take on Santos Escobar in one on one action. Xavier Woods and Legano del Fantasimo are at ringside. This was a really good match. The initial story was Kingston and Escobar mocking Royal Rumble action but it picked up into a good match. Kingston’s style matches up with Escobar well and this could be a nice little feud in the future. Legado gets involved to set up the finish so Escobar can steal the win.
Sami Zayn was shown outside the Bloodline’s dressing room and Paul Heyman wouldn’t let him in. It was more storyline progression to keep the angle running.
After Liv Morgan promoted the Royal Rumble, LA Knight was backstage with Kayla Braxton talking about Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy. Knight is so awesome in promos. It ended with promotion of the Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match at the Royal Rumble. No idea what the match entails, so it’ll be a tough one to pick a winner for.
Back in the ring, we get mixed tag team action with Karrion Kross and Scarlett taking on Madcap Moss and Emma. I’m surprised we have the mixed tag already. I would have thought Emma and Scarlett would have gone one on one first. The match was okay and the winner was never in doubt. Kross put Moss to sleep to end the quick match.
Sheamus and Drew McIntyre cut a promo in Jerry Lawler’s bar for tonight’s Tag Team Championship match and call themselves The Banger Brothers. That’s an odd team name.
Promo Time with Charlotte Flair is up next. She doesn’t say much but does get a “Thank you, Charlotte” chant, which surprised me. Flair establishes that she is a face for right now so Sonya Deville comes out to interrupt. Deville challenges Flair to a title match, so Flair accepts and Deville loses. Deville never had a chance, as expected.
They replay the Cody Rhodes return video from Raw. I expect him to stay on Raw but could they be foretelling a possible brand switch?
Ricochet is up next for his Royal Rumble qualifying match against Top Dolla. You know, Top Dolla could be a threat to win the Rumble. Oh, Ricochet easily beat him? Well, I guess there’s always next year. After the match, Hit Row turns heel on Ricochet and Braun Strowman runs down for the save. Maybe this heel turn can get Hit Row back on track.
A promo video plays on GUNTHER (why all caps?) defending the Intercontinental Championship against Braun Strowman next week on Smackdown. I think it’ll be a really good match but GUNTHER will retain unless Sheamus is not getting another shot soon.
Reigns and Zayn are talking back in the Bloodline’s locker room and Reigns offers an apology to Zayn ahead of the tag title match. Reigns offers Zayn a seat to watch the match on the TV in there. The plot thickens.
The Usos defend the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in the main event. Banger Alert! This was really, really good. They got sufficient time (for it being on Smackdown) and built up close nearfalls from both sides. There were several spots when you thought the match was going to be over. They put on a terrific showing. The only thing that I hated was that Solo Sikoa had to get involved and interfered to set up the finish. The Brawling Brutes came down to eliminate him but The Usos capitalized with a cheap double team to win the match. Yes, I get The Usos are heels. If you want them to be so dominant, they should have won the match without Sikoa’s help.
John rated this week’s show at a 7 and that’s fair. I would have gone with a 7.5 if the main event was a bit cleaner, so I’ll tag it as a 7 as well. The Rumble is coming and things were progressed towards it.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The opening and closing matches were the highlights of the show. Both teams matched up really well with each other. Both are worth a watch.
The Royal Rumble undercard is shaping up nicely on the Smackdown side. Two matches are announced and maybe one more does but I think that two from each show is fine with the Rumble matches taking up about an hour each.
One of the biggest issues I have with the Bloodline is that they were built so dominant that they need to have help in every match to win to drag all of this out until WrestleMania. We all know that the tag titles will be held hostage until then anyway. It’s all just stats padding right now.
Hit Row wasn’t getting over as a face act without Swerve so let’s see if they can do better as a heel group. Part of the problem is the entire tag division is in a holding pattern until the Usos drop the titles and they get split back to each respective brand.
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That’s all I’ve got, until next time.