Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 04/15/22 Review

wwe smackdown april 15

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn, Ricochet defending the Intercontinental Championship against Jinder Mahal and Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro were in the house as well.

From the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, this is Smackdown for episode #1182. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package showed highlights from Monday’s Raw when the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos made it clear they were coming for the Raw Tag Team Titles held by RK-Bro. The Usos beat The Street Profits in the main event of Raw leading to a staredown between the two championship teams. The Usos ended up standing tall after a double superkick to Orton leading to The Usos holding both sets of Tag Team Titles in their hands.

Bro…the Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) made their entrance to begin the show. They got a big pop. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcoming us to the show as usual. They were happy about RK-Bro being there.

Let’s Hear from RK-Bro

Riddle said he was stoked to be back on Smackdown, especially with his best friend Randy. Riddle said they didn’t just come to Worcester to just say what’s up and went into a story. Orton talked about how The Usos came to their show to issue a challenge to unify the Tag Team Titles, so now RK-Bro is here to address The Usos about that. Riddle didn’t have anything to add.

The Usos made their entrance as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with a lot of boos for the heel champions. Jimmy said look who showed up in Bloodline territory, the Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro. Jey asked if they know they are behind enemy lines, this is Smackdown live where the Bloodline resides. Jimmy said that they issued the challenge to unify the Tag Team Championships and now RK-Bro wants to show up on their show. Jimmy wanted to know an answer. Jey said that they know all about Orton, but they need to remind them who they are dealing with. The Usos reminded us they are twin brothers, they’ve got eachother’s back, they are the 7-time tag team champions and the longest-reigning Smackdown Tag Team Champions in history…The Usos. They told RK-Bro that they are the “twos” and The Usos are “the ones.”

Randy said he knows the family, he grew up in the business with them and The Usos are assholes (it got muted). Orton said that this is his show, his ring, Riddle’s ring and Orton laughed at their promo. Orton said he’s been setting records for 20-plus years. The crowd loved that. Orton reminded them of the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment – RK…Bro. The teams faced off while holding up the titles. It sounded like RK-Bro accepted the challenge, so The Usos left. The announcers wanted WWE Officials to make it official. Orton posed on the turnbuckle, so The Usos attacked Riddle by sending him throat first into the top rope and Orton turned around to save his partner while The Usos left. That ended the segment.

Analysis: It was a solid promo exchange. We know what The Usos were after since they made it clear on Raw, so it was just a follow up to that. I liked The Usos promo talking about all they’ve done and then Orton was fired up talking about how he’s made history for 20 years. We have seen these teams wrestle before and it’s always good although their previous matches were not for both sets of tag team titles, so it should be a big match when it happens.

The Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Naomi were shown backstage talking about being the champs. Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley showed up, Naomi said that the glow always outshines the nightmare since she has a match with Ripley. Morgan said, “they’re wild.” Ripley’s against Naomi in a singles match.

Analysis: Ripley missed Raw due to health protocols, so she’s cleared now and ready to go. There’s a Women’s Tag Team Title match on Monday’s Raw.

Naomi entered with Sasha Banks as the Women’s Tag Team Champions that are loved by the fans.

(Commercial)

Randy Orton and Riddle walked into the office of WWE Official Adam Pearce saying they wanted the match for both tag team titles. Pearce said that the higher ups are still deciding if they want to put the titles up for grabs, but he’s hoping to get an answer tonight. Riddle said he wanted Jimmy Uso in a match, so Pearce made that match for later.

Rhea Ripley made her entrance with Liv Morgan. They are from Raw.

Naomi (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Rhea Ripley (w/Liv Morgan)

Ripley locked up with Naomi sending her into the turnbuckle, Naomi broke free and Ripley hit a shoulder tackle. Ripley with an armbar, Naomi ducked a kick and then Naomi did a headscissors to send Ripley out of the ring. Naomi with a knee to Ripley, then Ripley blocked a Naomi move and slammed Naomi down. Ripley went to the top, but Naomi stopped that with a jumping kick. Naomi slid out to the floor, Ripley moved and Ripley decked Naomi with a clothesline on the floor.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Naomi hitting a scissors kick to the back of the head. Naomi with a bulldog into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi jumped off the top with a cross body block for two. Ripley with a roundhouse kick, Naomi with a dropkick to the knees and Naomi used her legs to drive Ripley’s head into the mat for two. Pat called it a “scissors DDT” so that’s a good name. Ripley fought out of a move and hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Ripley went to the middle rope, Naomi came back with an elbow and Ripley tried a Riptide from the turnbuckle, but Naomi got out of it. Ripley knocked Naomi down off the turnbuckle followed by a missile dropkick off the top for two. That was an impressive dropkick. Naomi got an inside cradle for two. Naomi hit an impressive springboard kick followed by a Full Nelson Bomb for two. Ripley got a hold of Naomi leading to the Riptide slam for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a very good match that was even most of the way. There were some believable nearfalls for both women as they busted out some moves that I wasn’t used to seeing from each of them. I like seeing Naomi doing moves like a Full Nelson Bomb. Ripley’s missile dropkick is a move she has done in the past, but not in every match. It was impressive. Anyway, Ripley winning is what is expected when a challenger is facing a champion. That’s just how WWE tends to book these things most of the time.

After the match, Ripley and Morgan stared at Banks at ringside. The champions Naomi & Banks defend the titles against Ripley & Morgan on Monday’s Raw.

Analysis: I expect Naomi & Banks to keep the titles. I think Ripley will turn heel on Morgan after the loss.

The Usos were shown walking backstage. Kayla Braxton tried to interview them, but they said nothing and went into the locker room that said “Roman Reigns” on it. No comments from The Usos.

Up next is a recap of Happy Corbin’s friendship with Madcap Moss ending on last week’s show.

(Commercial)

Later on Smackdown: Jimmy Uso vs. Riddle in the main event.

A Progressive Match Flow replay was shown from last week’s Smackdown when Happy Corbin blamed Madcap Moss for Corbin’s loss to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. Corbin attacked Moss, who fought back and Moss ended up getting the upper hand.

Happy Corbin was interviewed by Megan Morant, who mentioned Madcap Moss and Corbin said Moss was a hanger-on, a minion, a gopher and a lackey. Corbin said Moss was funny to laugh at, but then he dragged down Corbin’s career. Corbin spoke about how he has dropped dead weight and is reaching peak levels of happiness. Corbin said that Moss is going to fall flat on his face and become the laughingstock of Smackdown. Corbin laughed about it.

Drew Gulak was backstage interviewing Madcap Moss with Cole saying Drew was trying to be part of the broadcast team. Moss said he felt sorry for Corbin. Moss said that Corbin bought him suspenders and Corbin taught Moss to tell jokes. Moss said that his audience was a big, bald man that loved puns and he’s happy to be moving on. Moss talked about facing Humberto saying the Lotharios can take their kiss cam and put it right here – his ass. Pat: “He was saying kiss my ass, Los Lotharios.” Pretty much. That’s an accurate summary.

Analysis: Moss is a good talker that should do fine on his own. I don’t know if he’ll ever be that big of a star, but it’s worth seeing how he does because he’s got the kind of look that WWE likes. I think ditching the suspenders in his outfit would be a good idea.

Madcap Moss made his entrance for singles action.

(Commercial)

The Los Lotharios duo of Angel and Humberto did their kiss cam on their way to the ring. They found a pretty woman at ringside, who they each kissed on the cheek. Moss was happy to pose by his Andre the Giant battle royal trophy.

Madcap Moss vs. Humberto (w/Angel)

Humberto attacked Moss with punches, then some choking by ropes and that allowed to a cheap shot by Angel. Humberto got a side headlock takedown leading to punches. Moss ran the ropes multiple times leading to a shoulder tackle. Moss with a running back elbow. Humberto got an elbow to the head, then he jumped off the middle rope and Moss caught Humberto leading to a fallaway slam. Moss charged, Angel on the apron and Moss hit a shoulder tackle on Angel after Humberto moved out of the way. Moss hit a running shoulder tackle on Humberto. Moss hit the Punchline neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Madcap Moss

Analysis: *3/4 It was exactly what it needed to be to put Moss over in a clean way. The sitout neckbreaker looks good as a finisher with Moss also taking a bump while he delivers the move in an aggressive way. It’s a safe finisher that looks good.

After the match, Angel was yelling at Humberto saying this guy (Moss) was nothing and that Humberto lost to a joke. Moss celebrated the win.

Charlotte Flair, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, walked into the office to talk to WWE Official Adam Pearce. Charlotte wanted to know who made her “I Quit” match official with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania Backlash. No answer from Pearce as Drew Gulak walked into the screen asking how he did as an interviewer. Charlotte didn’t like being interrupted, so she told Drew to interview her in the ring. She left.

This Monday on Raw: Finn Balor defends the US Title against Theory and Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan for the Women’s Tag Team Titles, plus a double wedding for Dana Brooke & Reggie along with Tamina & Tozawa with R-Truth as the officiant. My Toronto Raptors are in the NBA Playoffs on Monday, so that’s what I’m watching live and I’ll get to Raw after.

(Commercial)

It’s official at WrestleMania Backlash: Winners Take All Tag Team Championship Unification Match – RK-Bro vs. The Usos. That match is on Sunday, May 8th.

Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair

Drew Gulak was in the ring saying it was his great privilege to welcome somebody that is very special, a 13-time champion and he introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. That led to Charlotte Flair making her entrance in dress clothesline with the Smackdown Women’s Title around her waist.

Gulak mentioned that Charlotte declined an “I Quit” Match against Ronda Rousey, but then WWE Officials made the match official. Flair claimed she was trying to protect Ronda because we all know how fragile Ronda’s ego is. Flair said it’s a big mistake since we saw how devastated Ronda was when she lost at WrestleMania. Flair talked about the humiliation after losing an “I Quit” match. Drew pointed out that he watched the match at WrestleMania where Flair tapped out. Charlotte claimed she was fixing her bra while the fans chanted “you tapped out” at Flair. Drew said he didn’t mean to impose. Drew said if the referee saw what happened then Ronda Rousey would be standing here as champion right now. Flair told Drew he was out of line, she is the champion and she didn’t tap out. The fans chanted “you tapped out” and Charlotte chanted “what” at the fans. Charlotte asked if Drew quit being a competitor so she could ask stupid questions. Charlotte said people like Drew and the fans are used to quitting while saying they quit the gym, their jobs and their relationships. Charlotte said that quitting is not in her DNA, but what’s in her DNA? Winning. Charlotte said she’s a submission master that has been submitting competition for over a decade. Charlotte told Drew he doesn’t deserve to interview her and told Drew to get out of her ring…now. Drew went to walk away, so Charlotte did a chop block to the leg and Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission. Drew was tapping out. Charlotte told him to say “I Quit” so Flair applied the Figure Eight again and Drew was yelling “I Quit” repeatedly. The fans booed as referees went out there to break it up.

Analysis: Poor Drew. I figure that was a one time thing for Drew to just do an angle where he said “I Quit” to Flair to show how dominant she is. As for Charlotte’s promo, it was typical for what she usually says during her promos.

There was a replay of Sami Zayn walking out of his match against Drew McIntyre last week. Sami lost by countout, so they have a rematch this week.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angela the sword. Big pop for Drew as usual with the fans supporting him a lot.

(Commercial)

The commentary team of Cole and McAfee went over some stats about WrestleMania 38 doing well on social media views compared to Super Bowl 56. It’s a bit of a stretch to act like these stats are more important than viewers or the money that the Super Bowl makes, but at least WWE is trying. Anyway, Pat said “stupendous” a lot and I like Pat, but it was a little annoying here.

Gunther was shown backstage for a promo with his buddy Ludwig Kaiser talking about how the match was sacred to them. Gunther said that you will obey.

Sami Zayn made his entrance while doing a promo saying he was not afraid of Drew McIntyre. Sami said he’s not afraid of anything or anyone. Sami claimed that what he does is all part of a master plan. Sami told Drew he would not run or hide, he would beat Drew in the ring and regain the respect that these people owe him.

Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn

The bell rang, Zayn to the floor and Drew followed him with Drew slamming Zayn into the apron as well as the barricade repeatedly. Sami was back in the ring, then back out and Sami went over to the announcers. Drew managed to get a hold of Zayn leading to a punch. Back in the ring, Sami did an eye gouge to get some momentum. Drew came back with a lifting slam that sent Zayn into the turnbuckle and Drew hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Drew hit the Glasgow Kiss headbutt to knock Sami down, but Sami crawled out of the ring to avoid a Claymore Kick. Drew got Sami back in the ring, Sami ran the ropes and Sami left the ring again. Drew wanted a Claymore Kick, but Sami avoided it. Sami went into the crowd and walked up the steps while the referee counted Sami out. This match was only three minutes.

Winner by countout: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: * It was like last week with Sami continuing to run away like the cowardly heel that he is. I’d like to see an even matchup between them, but it’s not happening. I assume they do it again with some stipulation leading to a regular match and Drew getting the win at that point.

Post match, Drew left the ring and ran up the steps after Sami, but Sami ran away into the concourse area. Drew let out a yell to end it.

The Intercontinental Champion Ricochet was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Ricochet talked about facing Jinder Mahal while adding he’s going to chop him down. Ricochet claimed that people called him flawless because he makes it look perfect and he said that this title is not going anymore.

Ricochet made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion to a good reaction from the crowd. That title match is up next.

(Commercial)

A video aired about WWE’s work with the Make A Wish company. Go to Wish.org/WWE for more info.

Sami Zayn was shown running backstage with Adam Pearce going up to Sami to let him know there’s a rematch next week. Pearce told Sami there’s no running next week because it will be a Lumberjack Match. Sami wasn’t happy about it.

Analysis: There’s the solution for the countout finishes. A Lumberjack Match is fine to do once in a while.

Jinder Mahal entered with Shanky to no reaction. I saw a stat that Jinder hasn’t won a match on TV since October 2021, yet somehow he’s getting a title match. We know he complained to management, but they could do a better job of building a guy up to a match. There was a plug for SummerSlam on Saturday, July 30 in Nashville at the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. That’s a big one. Tickets are on sale next week.

Intercontinental Championship: Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Shanky)

Mahal with a body slam followed by two forearms to the face. Mahal with two knee drops along with a slam after Ricochet was holding onto the ropes. Mahal pounded away on Ricochet in the corner. Ricochet with a kick, then a dropkick and Ricochet hit a springboard cross body block off the top onto Jinder. Ricochet with a standing moonsault on Mahal for a two count. Mahal went for The Khallas, Ricochet got out of it and Mahal got a two count with a rollup. Ricochet with the Recoil double knees. Ricochet went up top, Shanky pulled Mahal out of the ring and Ricochet jumped off the top onto both guys on the floor. Ricochet sent Mahal into the ring, Ricochet up top and Ricochet hit a Shooting Star Press for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: ** An easy win for Ricochet that showed off his athleticism very well with the springboard cross body block, the leap off the top onto the floor and then the SSP off the top on Mahal for the win. I’m happy with how it was booked with Ricochet looking like an impressive champion. I wasn’t worried about Mahal winning, but I am a bit surprised that ricochet was booked in such a dominant way. I think Ricochet needs a meaningful feud now.

The trio of Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch were interviewed by Megan Morant, who mentioned there seemed to be some tension after the match (Butch losing to Xavier Woods). They showed a replay of that. Sheamus said that they have bigger fights over who gets the remote control. Sheamus said that they had a discussion and they agreed that Butch has to harness his aggression. They reminded Butch that they are not the enemy, then they said “who” repeatedly and Butch said “New Day.” Butch left, Sheamus was talking and Ridge warned him that Butch had taken off. Sheamus freaked out about it as the interview ended.

Analysis: I like how Butch is booked like he’s some wild animal that has to be controlled at all times or he might attack somebody. It’s silly of course, but at least it’s something different.

(Commercial)

There was a classic Smackdown moment sponsored by Pizza Hut from June 27, 2002. It was John Cena’s debut match on Smackdown when he told Kurt Angle that he possessed “ruthless aggression.” Angle won a competitive match and then Undertaker shook Cena’s hand after the match.

The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were backstage signing photos. That’s when Butch appeared to attack them. Sheamus & Ridge Holland showed up to join in on the attack. There were officials and referees that showed up to break it up.

Analysis: Butch continues to be a wild man. It should lead to a match as this feud continues.

Lacey Evans Story Time

There was a video featuring Lacey Evans telling us her story. Lacey said that her father found his mother and the kids while saying that her father scarred them for life. Lacey talked about how her dad would flip the table, throw dishes if he didn’t like them and he would leave them covered in food while cleaning up broken glass. Lacey said that due to addiction and mental health issues, her father was a wanted man. Lacey said Child Protective Services were a part of her life. Lacey said that they didn’t save her or her family. Lacey said she learned to fight for herself, keep her head up and she has never been handed a single thing. Lacey said when all else fails, keep your head up and work hard. Lacey said unlike every other woman in the locker room, she’s comfortable being at rock bottom and what she has been through in her life has made her confident. She mentioned she was a daughter, sister, wife, US Marine, mother and a WWE superstar.

Analysis: These promos are a good idea to let people know more about what kind of woman Lacey is. It sucks that she had a rough childhood and the years that followed, but we know she’s a strong woman that was a US Marine as well as a WWE superstar, who also is a working mom with two kids. That’s impressive. I hope it leads to the fans backing Lacey when she gets back in the ring.

Natalya complained about how Smackdown used to be the land of opportunity and now it’s the island of misfit toys. Shayna Baszler was not impressed by some of the clothes hanging in the locker room. Natalya said that the new girls don’t have any respect for legends like them. Natalya said that this other new girl has turned the locker room into her own personal playground. Natalya turned to face Raquel Gonzalez, who was sitting in a chair. Raquel shook Natalya’s hand, Natalya welcomed her to Smackdown, Raquel said thanks and that was it.

Analysis: I think it’s lame how we have to sit here pretending like these wrestlers have never met another woman in the locker room until the camera is on them. Anyway, that’s just how WWE operates. Natalya & Shayna as heels that don’t like other women on the show is fine with me. Raquel should do well when they put her in the ring. Natalya’s outfit was the highlight of the segment.

Riddle and Randy Orton made their entrance for Riddle’s singles match.

(Commercial)

Next week on Smackdown in Albany:

* Madcap Moss vs. Angel.

* Lumberjack Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn.

Jimmy Uso made his entrance with brother Jey. They are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions.

Riddle (w/Randy Orton) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)

Jimmy was in control early with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Jimmy slapped on a chinlock followed by a running back elbow. Riddle with a kick that dropped Jimmy along with a gutwrench suplex. Jimmy to the floor, Riddle went for a kick there, but Jimmy blocked it and Riddle bumped on the apron. Jimmy whipped Riddle into the steel steps. Jimmy sent Riddle into the barricade. Jimmy hit a superkick that knocked Riddle over the barricade to the floor.

(Commercial)

Riddle was trying to come back with punches, but Jey stopped him with a kick for a two count. Jimmy went for a belly to back suplex, Riddle landed on his feet and Riddle hit a jumping kick. Riddle with two running forearms followed by an overhead suplex. Riddle with a senton splash along with a running kick. Riddle with a GTS (knee to the head) followed by a German Suplex for a two count. Riddle went up top, he went for a twisting splash and Jimmy got the knees up. Jimmy with a popup Samoan Drop for a two count. That was very close. Orton argued with Jey on the floor, so Jimmy kicked Orton. While Orton was on the apron, Jey got in a cheap shot on Riddle. Jimmy hit a superkick. Jimmy went up top, then he looked over to Orton, who slammed Jey onto the commentary table with a belly to back suplex. Jimmy jumped off the top, Riddle moved out of the way, Jimmy lifted up Riddle and Riddle countered a move with an RKO by Riddle! That was amazing. Orton was so excited he got into the ring. The referee counted the pinfall for Riddle as the winner after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: ***1/4 A great match between two talented guys. Jimmy was on offense for a lot of it until the chaos at ringside, Riddle managed to avoid the Superfly Splash because Jimmy was delayed due to looking at Orton and that led to Riddle hitting that impressive RKO for the pinfall win. Great job on that RKO by Riddle and Jimmy sold it perfectly. These guys worked really well together.

They showed replays of the finish because of how spectacular that RKO was by Riddle. Riddle and Orton celebrated the win. That was the end of the show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. RK-Bro Riddle & Randy Orton
  2. The Usos
  3. Rhea Ripley/Naomi

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

 

Final Thoughts

It was a pretty good show overall. I think they are doing a better job of building week to week and towards WrestleMania Backlash as well. The Tag Team Title situation between The Usos and RK-Bro was given a lot of attention since they opened the show and main evented. It makes the Tag Team Titles feel like a big deal.

There were some fun matches like Rhea Ripley beating Naomi in a competitive match, the Jimmy Uso-Riddle main event and I’m so happy Ricochet looked dominant in his IC Title defense.

There was no sign of Roman Reigns or Ronda Rousey on the show. It’s not a surprise since sometimes even the big name people are often given a week off after WrestleMania. Hopefully we see something interesting with Roman and his titles soon.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is called WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 8th. Here’s what we know so far:

* Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins

* Winners Take All Tag Team Championship Unification Match: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

* Smackdown Women’s Championship – I Quit Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

You can watch WrestleMania Backlash streaming live on Sunday, May 8, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport