Reviews

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

wwe smackdown april 22

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Drew McIntyre facing Sami Zayn in a Lumberjack Match, Charlotte Flair-Ronda Rousey signing a contract for their “I Quit” match, Riddle against Jey Uso and more.

From the MVP Arena in Albany, New York, this is Smackdown for episode #1183. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion for this contract signing segment. The Smackdown commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show. A video aired about how Charlotte’s match with Ronda Rousey was set up and Charlotte making Drew Gulak quit last week during an interview segment. The fans booed Charlotte after the video aired.

Contract Signing for Smackdown Women’s Championship

Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, introduced Ronda Rousey, who is challenging Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania Backlash in an “I Quit” match.

After Rousey sat down, Pearce was wondering where his contract was. Drew Gulak walked out carrying the contract with Pearce saying that Drew is interning as his assistant. Drew wanted to show a PowerPoint presentation and Charlotte ripped on Drew for it. Charlotte reminded Rousey that she beat her at WrestleMania while the fans chanted “you tapped out” to Charlotte. That led to Charlotte saying she was fixing her bra. Charlotte went over ways that she can make Rousey quit and said it doesn’t matter. Charlotte signed the contract. Rousey said that Flair will abandon her title and she will lose her baby when Charlotte says “I Quit.” Rousey was going to sign the contract, but Charlotte knocked the table over and had a kendo stick taped to the table. Rousey got a hold of the kendo stick and she hit Flair repeatedly. Gulak tried to get Rousey to sign the contract, so Rousey gave Gulak the Piper’s Pit slam. Rousey also gave Gulak an armbar on the left arm and then Rousey signed the contract at the same time. Poor Drew. Rousey had a staredown with Flair.

Analysis: A very basic contract signing with a bit of physicality at the end with Rousey in control of Flair and poor Gulak as well. I missed some of the dialogue in the recap, but it wasn’t that interesting anyway. Gulak could have some funny moments as an assistant to Pearce. Might as well use the guy in some role since he never gets booked in matches.

They replayed last week’s backstage attack with Butch, Sheamus & Ridge Holland attacking Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston because Butch is an uncontrollable wild man.

Xavier Woods and Kingston entered for a match with Woods facing Butch in a singles match. They have stopped calling him King Woods, but I think Woods was wearing some kind of robe for his entrance.

(Commercial)

The trio of Sheamus, Butch and Ridge Holland made their entrance for “Fight Night” for Butch’s match.

Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Butch (w/Ridge Holland & Sheamus)

Woods was in control with a knee lift and a clothesline. Butch came back with a forearm to the face along with more forearms. Butch with a double knee drop on the left arm. Butch pulled back on Xavier’s left arm followed by Butch stomping on the left arm. Butch went for a back body drop, Woods went for a waistlock, Butch with an elbow and Butch sent Woods face first into the turnbuckle. Butch gouged parts of Xavier’s face. Butch charged, Woods hit a back body drop over the top to the floor and Woods hit a dropkick sending Butch over the commentary table. Butch hid behind his partners and then Butch jumped off the steps with a forearm to Woods. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Butch was in control of Woods with a chinlock as Butch wrenched back on Xavier’s left arm leading to a stomp to the ribs. Butch with an armbar, Woods fought back with forearms, chops and punches. Butch charged, Woods slid under him and Woods got a sweep kick followed by a senton splash. Woods lifted up Butch, who grabbed Xavier’s ear and McAfee made a Mike Tyson reference as Butch hit a suplex into a slam for two. Butch with stomps to the head, Woods jumped off the bottom rope leading to Woods hitting the Backwoods (inside cradle) for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xavier Woods

Analysis: **3/4 It was a match dominated by Butch for most of it, then Woods made the comeback with a few moves, but it wasn’t like Woods was getting a lot of nearfalls. All it took was for Woods to slap on his patented inside cradle called the Backwoods to get the win. I’d rather see Butch get the win, but I guess they are trying to get over that inside cradle finish. I assume the teams will keep feuding too.

Woods and Kingston celebrated the win while Butch was furious about the loss. Butch left the ring by himself, jumped the barricade and tossed a security guard over a barrier. Butch walked out through the crowd. McAfee said Sheamus/Holland have no idea what Butch might do as Butch walked to the back.

Analysis: It’s interesting character development for Butch because it portrays him as a lunatic that’s unpredictable so much so that even his friends can’t control him.

Ricochet was shown with the Intercontinental Title while Aliyah was there telling Ricochet he was awesome since he’s beaten Jinder, Sami, Angel and Humberto. Ricochet said it’s just the beginning because his plan is to be one of the greatest to ever hold this title. Jinder Mahal and Shanky walked up to Ricochet with Jinder asked if he was a fighting champion. Ricochet said he’ll take on anybody at any time and Shanky told Ricochet to face him. Ricochet agreed to it.

Analysis: So Shanky, who almost never wins matches on TV, gets a title match just like that? Strange.

Ludwig Kaiser introduced his buddy Gunther, who he called a diabolical athlete who will honor the integrity of this great sport. Ludwig introduced Gunther, who walked out in a red jacket just like Ludwig was in a red top as well. Gunther is in action up next.

(Commercial)

Gunther vs. Teddy Goodz

Gunther with a takedown leading to a wristlock on the mat. Teddy went for a move, but Gunther avoided it and hit a kick to the head. Gunther chopped Teddy hard. Gunther got a hold of Teddy on the apron leading to a Gunther suplex into the ring. Gunther with another hard chop followed by some kicks. Gunther with a two-handed chop to the chest along with a body slam. Gunther with a chop to the back, Gunther with a sleeper briefly and Gunther hit a Powerbomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Gunther

Analysis: 1/2* A dominant win by Gunther as you would expect against a guy like Teddy in that spot. I look forward to Gunther having a proper feud soon, but I don’t know who that will be with.

A Progressive Match Flo was shown with clips of the RK-Bro rivalry with The Usos. They are having a Tag Team Championship Unification Match at WrestleMania Backlash. Riddle beat Jimmy Uso on Smackdown last week.

Randy Orton and Riddle, the Raw Tag Team Champions, were shown talking in the backstage area. Riddle was doing his rambling routine about being happy on Smackdown because he can see some friends of his and that led to Riddle’s friend Drew McIntyre walking up to them. Riddle said he signed up Randy and himself to be Lumberjacks later in the show. Drew told Randy he saw Randy standing up to The Bloodline, so anybody that stands up to them is good in his book. Randy told his old rival that they’re good now. Riddle was happy about it. After Drew left, Sami Zayn was shown in the background smirking about something.

Analysis: There was a long history between Drew and Randy especially going back to their 2020 WWE Title feud, but now they are faces, so it makes sense for them to get along.

Riddle made his entrance with Randy Orton.

(Commercial)

Xia Li was shown backstage. She said: “I see no one worthy of my protection. Now, I protect myself.” I guess that makes her a heel now? I don’t know.

Jey Uso made his entrance with brother Jimmy as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They showed the Unified WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman watching on a TV in the locker room.

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

Jey with a shoulder block, Riddle got on Jey’s back, Jey got him off and decked Riddle with a punch. Riddle got some offense going with a kick to the head followed by a gutwrench suplex. Jey stopped the momentum with a back elbow to the head. Jey delivered chops to the chest, Jey ducked after a whip into the ropes and Riddle kicked Jey into the chest. Jey was walking around on the floor, Riddle charged for a dive, but Jey was ready and punched Riddle in the face. Jey whipped Riddle into the steel steps. Jey picked up Riddle and gave him a belly to back suplex while staring at Orton, who is the guy that usually does that move. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Jey was in control with a chinlock, Riddle broke free and Jey hit a spinning kick to the head. They exchanged forearms, Jey hit an uppercut to stun Riddle until Riddle came back with elbows along with a boot to the head. Riddle with an overhead kick, then two forearms and a throw across the ring. Riddle missed a moonsault and senton when Jey moved out of the way. Jey went for a lifting move, but Riddle landed on his feet leading to a knee to the face. Riddle went up top, he jumped off and hit a Floating Bro splash for a two count. Riddle was shocked that it was only a two count. Riddle went for a move off the shoulders, Jey got out of it leading to a rollup and Riddle came back with a draping DDT off the middle ropes. Jimmy tried to get involved, so Randy hit Jimmy with a belly to back suplex on the commentary table. The fans loved that. Riddle went for the RKO, Jey avoided it and Jey lifted up Riddle with a popup neckbreaker for a two count. Great nearfall there. Jey did some “Uso” yelling to taunt the crowd, then Riddle came back with a running knee and Jey hit a superkick. Jey went up top, he jumped off and he went for a splash, but Riddle got the knees up. Riddle grabbed Jey for an inside cradle for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good here with some great nearfalls the whole way. That nearfall after Jey’s neckbreaker was terrific. I thought that was going to be it because Jey blocked an RKO attempt leading into that neckbreaker, but it was not the finish. They worked this as a very balanced match rather than having one guy control most of it. I didn’t love the finish because they had Woods win with an inside cradle as well, so it feels repetitive. With that said, I understand the finish because they probably wanted to go with something that made it look close.

I thought maybe Jey would get the win since Riddle beat Jimmy last week, but I guess WWE wants to build up Riddle a bit going into the Tag Team Title match.

Riddle celebrated the win with Orton. They showed Roman Reigns reacting to Jey’s loss with Roman looking angry about what happened.

A clip was shown from Raw when Sasha Banks & Naomi beat Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan to keep the Women’s Tag Team Titles.

Sasha Banks & Naomi made their entrance in similar attire for a non-wrestling segment.

This Monday on Raw: Bianca Belair defends the Raw Women’s Title against Sonya Deville, Becky Lynch returns to Raw and Randy Orton’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

(Commercial)

Interview with Sasha Banks & Naomi

Sasha Banks and Naomi were in the ring with Kayla Braxton for an interview. Kayla said that Naomi called their shot that they would become Women’s Tag Team Champions and they have been unstoppable since they won the titles at WrestleMania. Naomi said that they are just getting started. The fans chanted “you deserve it” for them although it wasn’t a lot of people. Naomi said that they knew what they were capable of together, which is why they are dominating and glowing. Banks said that they are more than just a tag team, they are a sisterhood. Banks said that Naomi has always had her back, look at their style and Banks said that Boss N Glow have no competition. Naomi went over other teams saying they beat other teams, so it didn’t matter who was coming next.

Natalya and Shayna Baszler interrupted with Natalya noting that they weren’t beaten by Banks and Naomi. Banks said that she remembered Natalya watching her win the titles. Natalya mentioned her World Records, Naomi ripped on Natalya’s dancing and being a crazy cat lady. Shayna Baszler said that they are going to take the Tag Team Titles because they are the next Women’s Tag Team Champions. Baszler shoved Banks onto her ass, but Banks got right back up. Naomi told them to try to take them. Sasha’s music played to end it.

Analysis: The right way to set up a title match is to have contenders beat other contenders. It’s not the WWE way, though. The WWE way is to simply say you want a title shot even without any meaningful wins. I like Natalya & Baszler as a team, but WWE needs to have people earn it. Anyway, Naomi and Banks were presented well while looking like confident champions. They can probably do this match at WrestleMania Backlash with the champs retaining.

Madcap Moss was shown working out backstage with his former friend Happy Corbin congratulating Moss on his win last week. Corbin said that Moss made his point where they both said some harsh things. Corbin told Moss he was ready to forgive him. Moss said there’s as much chance of him going back to being Corbin’s sidekick as there is of Corbin growing a full head of hair. Moss laughed about it while Corbin left.

Madcap Moss made his entrance for singles action. The Andre the Giant battle royal trophy was at ringside, so Moss posed beside it.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Raquel Rodriguez debuting on Smackdown next week.

Angel and Humberto entered for Angel’s match. Los Lotharios did their kiss cam gimmick with an attractive woman sitting in the front row, so they kissed her on the cheek.

Madcap Moss vs. Angel (w/Humberto)

Angel with a forearm, then Moss with a forearm in return and a waist lock slam. Moss with a running back elbow. Moss with a back body drop on Angel over the top rope onto Humberto on the floor. Angel got some offense with a dropkick while Humberto was holding Angel by the ring apron. Angel charged, Moss caught him and hit a fallaway slam. Moss worked over Angel with punches, then a running shoulder tackle, Moss with a clothesline on Humberto. Moss ran over Angel with a shoulder tackle. Moss hit the Punchline neckbreaker for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Madcap Moss

Analysis: * Easy win to put over Moss. Basic match. I like his finisher.

Post match, Happy Corbin went into the ring and knocked down Moss with a forearm to the back. Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Moss. Corbin grabbed the Andre the Giant battle royal trophy and carried it to the back. McAfee said Corbin was an “asshat times ten.”

Analysis: It should lead to Moss vs. Corbin at WrestleMania Backlash perhaps or some other show soon.

Sami Zayn walked up to Roman Reigns’ dressing room and thought about knocking on it. They went to break.

(Commercial)

They showed the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns in the locker room with The Usos. Jey told Roman he slipped and it won’t happen again referring to the loss. Paul Heyman informed Roman they had a guest: Sami Zayn. Sami walked into the locker room saying he acknowledge him while adding there’s no dispute that Roman is the Head of the Table. Sami said that he’s the locker room leader while Roman doesn’t worry about that because he’s got his own thing here. Sami said that he saw Drew McIntyre getting chummy with RK-Bro, so now they will be lumberjacks in his match tonight. Sami said that they said disrespectful things about Roman’s entire family. Sami claimed his name has taken a hit, which has led people to think he’s afraid of Drew McIntyre, but Sami said he is not. Sami said he needed to beat Drew, so he’s asking for some help and Sami added that he can be of help to them. Sami once again said he acknowledged Reigns. When Sami left, Roman said now we have people talking about Roman on his show and Roman wanted The Usos to take his name out of their mouths.

Analysis: It’s really the first time they have teased some kind of interaction between Roman and Drew since Drew was drafted to Smackdown last October. They have been kept apart since then, but now you have Zayn telling Roman that Drew and RK-Bro were talking bad about Roman, so here we are.

Lacey Evans told her story for what was chapter three of her life story. Evans talked about living in trailers, small houses and her dad bringing drugs into the house. Evans spoke about how her mom wasn’t there to fix her hair, makeup or help her get ready for prom. Evans said that she still does her own makeup while adding that she has taught herself about beauty and confidence. Lacey talked about amateur wrestling in high school while talking about how you can realize how unstoppable and strong you are. Lacey talked about walking home two miles only to see her father passed out on the couch with a burning cigarette in his mouth. Evans said that what she has been through has created the woman that she is today – mother, wife, sister, daughter, US marine and WWE superstar. Evans said that she is no better than the other WWE superstars, but they damn sure know better than her.

Analysis: It’s more of the same from Lacey just like the last two weeks. It sucks that she had a tough upbringing with a father that made things tough for her, but it also made her into the strong person that she is now. Having her tell that story makes her more likable to the fans watching at home.

The men’s Smackdown roster made their entrance along with RK-Bro, who are the Raw Tag Team Champions. They are serving as the lumberjacks for the main event between Drew McIntyre and Sami Zayn. That’s up next.

(Commercial)

Next week on Smackdown:

* Ricochet defends the Intercontinental Title against Shanky. And what has Shanky done to earn a title shot? Nothing.

* Beat the Clock “I Quit” Challenge between Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey in separate matches.

Analysis: Next week’s show was taped after this week due to WWE being in Europe, so the results are out for next week.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the Lumberjack Match with Drew carrying Angela the sword with him. They showed clips of the last two weeks when Sami walked out of back to back matches with Drew with countout losses. The fans were strongly behind Drew.

Sami Zayn was up next leading to boos from the crowd. When it looked like the match was about to ring, The Usos made their entrance to join the match as lumberjacks. Sami was happy about it.

Lumberjack Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn

The bell rang, Sami left the ring and New Day threw him back in. Zayn tried leaving again by the barricade, but then New Day and Nakamura carried Zayn back into the ring. Drew worked over Sami with chops, Drew charged, Sami pulled down the ropes and Drew was sent over the top to the floor. Sheamus hit Drew with forearms, then they sent Drew into the steel steps and back into the ring. The lumberjacks faced off looking to fight, but the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Zayn putting his knees on Drew’s back while Drew was against the ropes. Sheamus and Holland beat up Drew a bit while Drew was on the floor. When Zayn tried going for a move, Drew hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt to knock Zayn down. Drew with two consecutive belly to belly suplexes followed by a neckbreaker and a kip-up with Drew looking fired up. Drew wanted a Claymore Kick, so Zayn rolled out of the ring. The Usos did a cheap shot on Orton with a superkick and they threw Riddle into the ring post. The lumberjacks at ringside started brawling, so Zayn tried to leave, but Drew stopped him. Drew carried Sami on his shoulders to bring him back into the ring. Jinder Mahal attacked Drew a bit, then he sent him back in and Sami was out of the ring. Drew hit a somersault dive over the top onto the pile of wrestlers that were there. That’s an impressive leap. Zayn was all alone on the floor as he went over the barricade and went up the steps. I guess the match ended there after about ten minutes.

Match Result: No Contest (Countout?)

Analysis: **1/2 It was fine while it lasted, but a match like this was all about the story with Sami continuing to run away until he was stopped and then he broke free after the lumberjacks started fighting. It was easy to sympathize with Drew. I also liked the spot with The Usos taking out RK-Bro as well. That was well done.

Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, appeared on the stage and said that next week, Drew faces Sami again in a Steel Cage Match. That meant that Sami can’t run away next week.

Drew was alone in the ring when Jinder Mahal and Shanky tried an attack. Drew took care of them easily and Drew hit the Claymore Kick to knock Jinder down.

Drew McIntyre posed on the turnbuckle with his trusty sword. They plugged the advertised segments for next week’s Smackdown. Drew walked over to Pat’s headset where he talked into the microphone with Drew saying he’s going to tear Sami apart. End show.

Analysis: It was not a strong ending to the show with the random Mahal/Shanky attack, but it does set up Drew vs. Sami again, which will be the fourth week in a row of doing that match.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Riddle
  2. Jey Uso
  3. Sami Zayn/Drew McIntyre

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It felt like an average Smackdown with some good in-ring action carried by Riddle/Jey Uso, the Woods/Butch was fine and McIntyre/Zayn was okay too even with the non-finish.

I didn’t think the Charlotte/Ronda segment was interesting at all, so that hurts the show since they are supposed to be big stars. The feud is just boring right now.

Roman Reigns was back this week, but he wasn’t featured that much. At least the segment with Sami-Roman was interesting in the sense that it might be the start of the tease for a Roman-Drew feud.

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

wwe backlash cody rhodes seth rollins

* 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

* Edge vs. AJ Styles

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.

===

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