This week’s WWE Smackdown featured a Smackdown Tag Team Title match along with a Fatal 4-Way Match for a shot at the Intercontinental Title.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Elimination Chamber on February 18th from my home country of Canada in Montreal. That means we’re only eight days away from Elimination Chamber as of tonight’s show. On last week’s Smackdown, we found out that Roman Reigns will defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against the former “Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn, who is from Montreal, so that should be an electric atmosphere in the Bell Centre.
There was a video recap of the Roman Reigns-Sami Zayn situation from last week to set up their match at Elimination Chamber. The Smackdown intro video aired after that.
Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman…and a surprise guest
Paul Heyman was in the ring with the WWE and Undisputed Titles on his respective shoulders. Heyman said as the Wise Man, he’s here to drop some pearls of wisdom on you. Heyman talked about how ever since Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania, he has offered spoilers, not predictions. Heyman spoke about the two-pronged attack coming after The Bloodline while noting that Sami Zayn was a crazed, psychopathic rebel and the fans chanted “Sami” for him. Heyman said the first spoiler is that Sami Zayn is not here this evening. Heyman asked the crowd if they can imagine Sami Zayn as your Undisputed WWE Universal Champion and the fans cheered.
Heyman moved on talking about how it’s happening on Raw as well with the Men’s Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes. Heyman said that Rhodes backed him into the corner on Raw and complained about taking things personal. Heyman called Cody an idiot and a dumbass. Heyman said that these are not wrestling championships, this is the centerpiece of the Island of Relevancy, the plasma that runs through The Bloodline, the air that they breathe, the reason of their existence, why they are in WWE, the family crest of the Anoia and Fatu dynasties. It’s why Roman Reigns is the (tribal) chief.
Heyman said that without these titles, there is no Island of Relevancy. Heyman said without these titles, there is no Bloodline, there is no Paul Heyman and without these titles, there is no Roman Reigns.
Sami Zayn snuck into the ring wearing a hood and his Sami Zayn t-shirt as the fans cheered him. I guess Paul Heyman’s spoiler was wrong. Heyman had a great reaction face that I had to share.
Zayn stuck out his hand and Heyman handed the microphone to him. Zayn told Heyman to calm down and said he won’t hurt Heyman. Zayn said if he wanted to, he could have hurt Heyman by now. Heyman said if he wanted to, he could have dropped Heyman like a bag of dirt and no one is here to protect Heyman. Zayn said a month ago, Solo would have been there with a Samoan Spike, Jimmy Uso would hit him with superkicks and Jey would have been with him. Zayn said that Heyman knows what everybody else in The Bloodline knows and that is that Roman Reigns’ world is crumbling.
Zayn said he left The Bloodline and Jey walked out on his own. Zayn wondered if Jimmy would side with his abusive cousin or the guy he shared a womb with. Zayn wondered what Solo would do and wondered how long Reigns will be able to keep them by his hip. Zayn said that for two years plus, Heyman has done nothing but…look at Reigns in a weird way. Zayn said that Heyman looks at Reigns like the sun shines out of his ass. Zayn said that Heyman is talking about life after the WWE Titles are gone. Zayn told Heyman that he knows what everybody else knows and that is The Bloodline is out. Zayn told Heyman a spoiler…eight days from tonight in Montreal at Elimination Chamber, that is the time that Roman Reigns has left. The fans chanted “Sami” again.
Heyman wanted the microphone, so Zayn hugged him close and Zayn spoke. Zayn said that Roman doesn’t have to worry about Cody because Sami is going to be the one to take him down. Zayn left through the crowd instead of going to the backstage segment.
Analysis: I liked the promo from Zayn. Heyman was his usual confident self in the promo while Zayn made some great points about how The Bloodline was slowly falling apart. We are seeing a more confident Zayn now, the fans are behind him and it’s the right way to present Zayn at this point. I still think the Elimination Chamber finish is going to be Jey Uso screwing Zayn in the match against Reigns, but for now it’s the right way to build this up.
They showed Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and the Brawling Brutes backstage getting ready as they shouted “banger after banger” ahead of their match.
Sheamus & Drew McIntyre vs. Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante “Thee” Adonis) (w/B-Fab)
This match was set up earlier in the day when Hit Row complained about the Tag Team Title tournament and Adam Pearce put them in a match with Sheamus & McIntyre. We saw a video of that.
Drew started with Adonis, who made the mistake of trash talk. Drew hit a headbutt along with a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Sheamus ran over Adonis with a shoulder tackle. Sheamus tagged in, there was a bit of a distraction and Adonis punched Sheamus a bit. Dolla hit Sheamus with a forearm. Sheamus came back with a backbreaker along with Sheamus doing ten forearms (plus way more) to Dolla after he tried to interfere on the apron. Sheamus caught Adonis on his back leading to a White Noise slam. Drew ran into the ring with a Claymore Kick on Dolla, who went into the ring. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Adonis for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Drew McIntyre
Analysis: *1/2 A squash match tag team win. Sheamus and Drew dominated the match. Top Dolla didn’t tag in at all, yet still got his ass kicked in the match. At least Top Dolla has lost a lot of weight, so kudos to him for that. He looks better now for sure.
A video aired featuring the Viking Raiders and Valhalla while Drew & Sheamus were in the ring. They said the chill in the air is not the winter, it’s pain, suffering and next week…it’s destiny.
Analysis: That story has been built for several weeks, so it’s fine to lead to another match.
Jimmy Uso was on the phone telling his brother Jey to hit him up when he gets this message. The Usos have a Tag Team Title defense later in the show.
A commercial aired for WWE 2K23, which is coming on March 14th. I’m not a gamer anymore, but the graphics look incredible.
They showed some press coverage for SummerSlam in Detroit at Ford Field on August 5th. I will be there. It’s a two-hour drive for me, but I might go a day or two before since I love the Greektown there along with the casino. If you’re going and want to meet up then let me know.
There was a quick promo from Karrion Kross with Scarlett and Kross was confident about the Fatal 4-Way match he is in later. They laughed about beating Rey Mysterio again.
Lacey Evans vs. Carmen Harress
Evans was aggressive with forearms to the face. Carmen got a rollup, but then Evans tossed her into the turnbuckle. Evans hit a jumping attack on Carmen in the character. Evans did a military salute leading to boos since she’s a heel. Evans decked Carmen with a Woman’s Right punch. Evans applied a Cobra Clutch submission, Carmen quit and that was it. It went about two minutes.
Winner by submission: Lacey Evans
Analysis: 1/2* A squash win to put over Evans. They are trying with her as a heel, she has the right mannerisms and the fans boo her, but we’ll see how it goes when she faces some tougher competition. I like her gear at least in terms of showing off her…um…physique. Yeah. I’ll use that word and just move on.
Jimmy Uso was shown in the locker room trying to reach Jey Uso again with Paul Heyman asking if Jimmy got a hold of Jey. Jimmy talked about how he tried to reach out to Jey by calling, texting, reaching out to his girl and so on, but never heard from him. Heyman complained about getting confronted by Sami Zayn earlier, but Jimmy wasn’t really paying attention to him. Jimmy noted that Solo Sikoa isn’t there either, then wondered if Heyman could tag with him and Heyman shot that down quickly. Jimmy tried to remain positive by telling Paul he feels like Jey will be there. The graphic said the Tag Team Title match was up next.
Analysis: It’s more story progression wondering if Jey Uso was going to show up.
A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of last week when Natalya won a women’s 4-way match to qualify for the Women’s Elimination Chamber match.
Sonya Deville was complaining about things as usual to Adam Pearce, who said she just had a title match last week. Chelsea Green wanted to the manager with her usual complaints and Green acted like she had no idea who Pearce was claiming she had facial amnesia where she forgets faces. Anyway, Pearce was annoyed by them so he put them in a tag team match against Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan. Fine.
Analysis: Green’s gimmick as a “Karen” who whines about everything is funny. Deville complaining every week is just annoying at this point.
Braun Strowman & Ricochet entered as the challengers for the Smackdown Tag Team Title match.
The Usos made their entrance with Jimmy Uso walking out with his two sets of Tag Team Titles without his brother Jey. The introductions took place with Samantha Irvin about to introduce Jimmy on his own, but Jey Uso showed up in the crowd and walked down in the aisle with both sets of the Tag Team Titles. Jey made his way down to ringside and into the ring where he hugged brother Jimmy. Great job by Jimmy looking relieved to see his brother back to tag with him.
Analysis: It shows that Jey wasn’t comfortable backstage with The Bloodline, so he decided to make his own way into the building and is still loyal to his brother for the title defense.
This Monday on Raw, Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley sign a contract for their Elimination Chamber match. Plus, Seth “Freakin” Rollins is a guest on Miz TV. It’s Raw from Brooklyn.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Braun Strowman & Ricochet
It’s 572 days for The Usos as Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Only the SD titles are on the line.
Jey started with Ricochet getting some offense to start it off. Jimmy tagged in, Ricochet bounced off the ropes with a back elbow and Strowman entered for the first time with a forearm to the chest. Ricochet tagged in, splash by Ricochet, splash by Strowman and Ricochet hit a dropkick sending Jimmy on the floor. Jey hugged Jimmy on the floor. Back in the ring, Ricochet with a sweep kick along with a standing moonsault on Jimmy. Jey tagged in leading to Jimmy popping up Ricochet into a Samoan Drop by Jey. Jey superkicked Ricochet out of the ring leading to a break.
Jey was in control against Ricochet with an uppercut punch. Jimmy tagged in with punches, but Ricochet came back with a jumping knee to the head. Ricochet tried a tag, then he broke free and hit a springboard cross body block. Braun got the hot tag against Jey with Braun hitting multiple shoulder tackles, a punch to Jimmy, splash on Jey and a punch to the chest for a two count. Braun charged, Jey pulled down the rope, Braun to the floor, superkick by Jey and Jimmy jumped at Braun, who punched him. Jey hit a suicide dive on Braun and a superkick back into the ring. Jey jumped off the top with a cross body block on Braun for a two count. Braun with a lift, Jey got out of it, Jey with a superkick, Ricochet tagged in with a cross body block, a moonsault and a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ricochet tried a left, Jey broke free to tag in Jimmy and Jimmy hit a step up enziguri kick. Ricochet with a knee to Jimmy, Braun made the tag and Braun hit a running powerslam with no cover. Ricochet tagged in, he went on Braun’s shoulders and Ricochet hit a Swanton Bomb off Braun’s shoulders for two because Jey pulled Ricochet out of the ring to break up the pin. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Strowman charged at Jey with a running shoulder tackle attempt, but Jey ducked and Strowman went flying over the commentary table. Ricochet hit a dive over the top onto Jey on the floor. Ricochet up top, Jimmy with a punch, Jey tagged his brother’s leg to become legal, Ricochet knocked Jimmy down and hit a Shooting Star Press, but Jey went up the other turnbuckle and hit an Uso Splash on Ricochet for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Analysis: ***3/4 Great match. It was full of action with plenty of nearfalls for both sides. I liked the way Strowman was taken out simply by Jey ducking to outsmart him. The finish was so smart because Ricochet hit the SSP on Jimmy thinking he had it won, but Jey made the tag that Ricochet never saw and that led to Jey hitting the Uso Splash for the win. The Usos are my favorite tag team in wrestling along with FTR. I love the stories they tell in the matches, the timing of the key spots and the drama throughout. We’ve watched The Usos for a long time and this is their prime doing their best work. Love to see it.
Rey Mysterio did a promo about how Karrion Kross is pure evil and Rey will win the 4-Way match in the main event.
The Usos were shown walking backstage with Jey saying that he will always have Jimmy’s back. Jimmy asked Jey if he is in (The Bloodline), Jey said he didn’t really know and Jey left on his own. Paul Heyman walked up to Jimmy after Jey left and Paul asked if Jey said anything. Jimmy told Paul that Jey just left. Paul did a “yeet” and Heyman did a “yeet” back to him.
Let’s Hear from Natalya
There was a promo from Natalya (with a pink hat like her dad Jim Neidhart) talking about how it’s great to be back. Natalya said that for the first time in 15 years, Shayna Baszler caused Natalya to see red. Natalya trashed Baszler for being a cheap knock off of Ronda Rousey. Natalya said Shayna took time from her career, so Natalya took Shayna’s spot in the Elimination Chamber.
Shayna Baszler interrupted the promo saying she deserves respect and said she was signed to this company before Ronda Rousey was. Baszler got in the ring with Natalya at that point as it looked like they might fight.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance and got into the ring for a staredown with Natalya. Baszler stopped Rousey initially, but then Baszler hit Natalya with a forearm to knock Natalya down. Shotzi tried to make the save, but she was beat up and Baszler was sent out of the ring. Natalya was held by the left arm and Baszler kicked her in the left arm. Natalya was dumped out of the ring with Shotzi checking on her. Rousey’s music played to end it as she stood tall with Baszler.
Analysis: That was Rousey’s return to Smackdown since she lost the Smackdown Women’s Title to Charlotte Flair on December 30. The reports are that Rousey/Baszler are going for the Women’s Tag Team Titles most likely at WrestleMania so I assume they will win them there. Natalya doesn’t get to do in-ring promos like that very often, but I thought she did fine. Her outfit was really tight and didn’t look like something she was going to take bumps in, but she moved around the ring fine. Anyway, Shotzi looked weak with the failed save.
Jey Uso Talks to Sami Zayn
Jey Uso was shown walking backstage by the trucks somewhere in the arena. Sami Zayn welcomed Jey back and said that what Jey did at the Royal Rumble meant the world to him. Zayn said that we’re eight days away from that man (Roman) going down and he knows it is something that Jey wanted to see in the past. Zayn told Jey that he didn’t have to go down with the ship. Zayn said that he doesn’t know when they can talk like this again, but he wants Jey to know: “I acknowledge you.” Sami put up his fist, Jey told him to get out of here, Sami said he is leaving and Jey touched the fist. The fans popped for that leading to a break.
Analysis: I wondered why they put the title match earlier in the show and this segment is the reason why. Sami thinks that Jey is on his side, but I think Jey is going to cost Sami the match against Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber. That would set up Sami & Kevin Owens beating The Usos for the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.
The announcers talked about Smackdown in London, England on Friday, June 30th which is one night ahead of Money in the Bank in London on July 1st.
LA Knight was interviewed with Megan Morant trying to talk about the Pitch Black Match. Knight said we’re not talking about that, we’re looking ahead to the future and the future is LA Knight. That was it.
Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green
Morgan worked over Deville with a corner splash and a jumping knee attack. Morgan tried a move off the ropes, but Deville hit a knee to the face. Green tagged in with a kick to the back that sent Morgan into the turnbuckle. Green got some offense, tagged out, Green grabbed Liv’s hair and Deville punched Green by accident because Liv moved. Raquel tagged in with a clothesline on Deville along with a fallaway slam across the ring. Raquel hit an elbow off the ropes for a two count on Deville. After Deville kicked Raquel in the face, she brought in Green, who wasn’t ready and Raquel brought Green with a slam. Green accidentally knocked Deville down after Raquel moved. Raquel hit a Texana Bomb on Green, Liv made the tag and hit Oblivion off the ropes. Raquel gave Liv a Powerbomb onto Green for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan
Analysis: * It was another easy win for a babyface tag team over heels with no chance. Raquel and Liv are in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match, so it made sense for them to win. Chelsea and Sonya were the heels that just couldn’t along during the match.
Madcap Moss was shown backstage with Emma by his side. Moss said that he knows things haven’t gone his way, but he’s going to win this. Emma said he’s got this. Moss said after he gets this win, it’s onto Gunther and the IC Title match. The Fatal 4-Way match was next.
A video aired about Kofi Kingston for Black History Month. The same video that aired on this show and other shows over the last week.
Charlotte Flair Interview
Charlotte Flair was shown holding the Smackdown Women’s Title on her right shoulder with Michael Cole doing a sitdown interview earlier in the day. Cole noted it was 50 days until WrestleMania. Flair said that Ripley impressed her at WrestleMania three years ago, but she was young, green and wasn’t ready, so Flair won. Flair said she would hope that Ripley is now. Flair said that there are levels to this. Cole asked if Ripley is on Flair’s level. Flair said it will take more than three years just to get on Flair’s level. Flair said that she taught Ripley a lesson three years ago and now at Sofi Stadium at WrestleMania she will put Ripley in her place…once and for all.
Analysis: A confident Charlotte Flair as usual. I like her more as a heel in general, but having Flair as a credible babyface champion is a good opponent for Ripley to try to conquer at WrestleMania. They will need to have some face-to-face interactions to try to build it up more.
Karrion Kross made his entrance with his lovely wife Scarlett for that intimidating entrance. Madcap Moss was up next with his girlfriend Emma. Santos Escobar was the next man to enter with Zelina Vega. They are just allies, not a couple. There was a quick pre-tape promo from Santos. Rey Mysterio was last and he got the best reaction of anybody in the match. Rey’s wife Angie was in the crowd, so Rey kissed her. The Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER was shown watching in a skybox with his buddies Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci. The match was after a break.
Next week on Smackdown:
* Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. The Viking Raiders
* Shotzi & Natalya vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
Plus, the winner of this match against GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Title.
Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Madcap Moss (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Santos Escobar (w/Zelina Vega)
The winner will face GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Title next week on Smackdown in Montreal. No countouts and disqualifications in this match.
Rey went after Kross in the corner, then Escobar sent Moss out of the ring and Kross tossed Escobar out of the ring after that. Kross kicked Rey in the corner. Rey worked over Kross with headbutts, then a senton off the ropes, but Kross got kicked Rey to knock him down. Escobar was back in with a chop on Kross. Rey with a hurricanrana on Kross. Moss caught a leaping Rey and tossed him onto Escobar. Moss hit running shoulder tackles on Kross and Escobar repeatedly. Kross with a clothesline on Moss, Escobar with a forearm on Moss and Escobar hit a knee that knocked Kross out of the ring. Rey faced off with Escobar as Cole noted it was their first match in WWE. Rey went for a bulldog, Escobar hit a jumping boot to the head and Rey came back with an enziguri kick. Rey with a headscissors on Escobar, who came back with a backbreaker. Kross tripped up Escobar, Rey sent Escobar into the ropes and Escobar got right up with a kick to the ribs. Rey jumped off the top with a cross body block on Kross. Escobar hit a suicide on Moss on the floor and that led to a break.
The match continued with Kross hitting an overhead suplex on Rey for a two count. Moss hit a running shoulder tackle on Kross, then a tackle on Escobar and a running tackle on Rey as well. Kross with a forearm to Moss, but Moss came back with a spinebuster for two. Moss caught Escobar, who broke free and rolled through for a two count. Escobar with an enziguri kick to the head. Escobar hit Kross with a forearm, Rey rolled through on Escobar and hit a dropkick for two with Moss breaking up the pin. Rey hit a spinning DDT on Moss. Rey kicked Moss in the face, Escobar caught Rey and hit a Phantom Driver for two. I think Rey kicked out because Moss was a bit too slow to break it up. Escobar went up top, Moss went after him and Escobar stopped Moss trying to do a power move. Escobar hit a Frankensteiner off the top on Moss for two. Kross clotheslined Escobar out of the ring. Kross got a hold of Rey, but Rey sent him into the ropes and Rey hit the 619 kick on Kross. Scarlett tripped Rey on the apron with no DQs in this match. Kross hammered Rey with a forearm to the back. Escobar hit a cross body block on Kross to knock him out of the ring. Moss jumped off the top with an elbow drop on Rey for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. There was a weak crowd reaction for that.
Winner by pinfall: Madcap Moss
Analysis: **3/4 It was mostly an average match. I think the finish was very underwhelming. Moss doesn’t get a lot of TV time, yet they put him over here and the fans were dead for it. I thought Rey would win just based on the fact that he was the most popular face in the match although we have already seen him face off with GUNTHER in the past, so I guess WWE felt the need to go with somebody else. I just think don’t think Moss is an exciting choice for that spot. Kross is also not getting much of a reaction as a heel. Escobar is very good in the ring just like Rey is, but this just wasn’t an exciting match in terms of the build and the execution.
The win by Moss means he gets to challenge GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Title next week on Smackdown.
Analysis: I think GUNTHER will win, but it wouldn’t shock me if Moss comes close to winning a few times because GUNTHER knows how to have good matches with anybody.
Jimmy Uso was shown in the locker room with Paul Heyman going up to Jimmy congratulating Jimmy on the win with Jimmy saying thanks. Heyman told Jimmy he just talked to Roman Reigns on the phone while claiming the reception is bad in that room. Heyman told Jimmy that Roman needs The Usos to stay home for next week’s show in Montreal. Heyman said sometimes you see things on TV that you don’t see when you’re here live. End show.
Analysis: What Heyman said at the end there is a reference to Jey Uso talking to Sami Zayn on the broadcast, which Jimmy didn’t see backstage, but Reigns would have seen from watching the show on television. It’s also something Heyman said because Jimmy Uso may not be able to get into Montreal for Smackdown & Elimination Chamber due to his DUI history although Jey Uso was at WWE shows in Canada last year, so I think we might see Jey at Elimination Chamber despite what Heyman just told Jimmy.
— WWE (@WWE) February 11, 2023
Three Stars of the Show
- The Usos
- Sami Zayn-Paul Heyman
- Braun Strowman & Ricochet
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2023 Average: 6.96
There were some good things this week, but it’s hard to really compare it to the better Smackdown shows when we see Roman Reigns on the show and there’s a big ending. This week it was Madcap Moss winning a 4-Way match leading to an Intercontinental Title match with the crowd sitting there in silence since Moss barely gets any TV time. It was a weird choice. The match felt average too.
The highlight of the show was The Usos tag team match against Braun Strowman & Ricochet, which was a great Smackdown Tag Team Title match. The reason it didn’t main event is because there were multiple segments that followed including Sami Zayn talking to Jey Uso with Sami welcoming Jey back and urging Jey to remain on his side. I liked the Zayn promo with Paul Heyman to start Smackdown. It wasn’t as epic as Heyman-Cody Rhodes was on Raw, but it was the right tone from Sami showing a lot of confidence going into the Elimination Chamber PLE.
Most of the rest of Smackdown seemed to have a purpose to either build to matches next week or at Elimination Chamber. I just don’t think it was that exciting of an episode overall. Next week’s Smackdown in Montreal one night before Elimination Chamber (also in Montreal) should be a better episode.
WWE Elimination Chamber takes place on February 18th in my home country of Canada in Montreal. Here’s the lineup:
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn
* Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley
* US Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Austin Theory (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford
* Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley
* Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender Elimination Chamber Match: Asuka vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Natalya vs. Carmella
You can watch WWE Elimination Chamber, streaming live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, February 18, on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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