Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 05/19/23 Review

wwe smackdown may 19

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens exchanging words with Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa, Grayson Waller Effect talk show with AJ Styles and more.

They are taping two episodes of Smackdown this week because WWE Night of Champions takes place in eight days in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It’s just easier logistically to tape two episodes in one night.

From the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, this is Smackdown for episode #1230. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear from The Bloodline, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance with the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa by his side. They took about five minutes to get into the ring as usual. Reigns did his “acknowledge me” bit to start the show with the South Carolina crowd booing him.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, made their entrance for this promo segment with Reigns not looking enthused about it. A replay was shown from Monday’s Raw with The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor & Damian Priest beating Owens/Zayn in a non-title match on Raw thanks to some help. Lots of singing for Sami’s song and “Sami” chants for Zayn as they got into the ring with The Bloodline.

Reigns said that there are really only two things to do and they can accomplish both right now. Reigns told Sami & Kevin to acknowledge the Tribal Chief, then drop off the titles and see yourself out. Owens looked like he was ready to fight, but Zayn got him to stop. Reigns said they wanted to talk to Zayn.

Reigns has said that he has had a special career full of highs and lows, but he only has one regret – wasting his life on Zayn.

Zayn said he had one regret and that’s not blasting Reigns with that chair sooner. Zayn said they haven’t been in the ring since Elimination Chamber (three months ago) and now Roman’s greed has led them to this moment. Zayn said that he had nothing to say to Reigns except this. Zayn said that Roman has been told he’s been the best his whole life, but at Night of Champions, Reigns is not going to get the Tag Team Titles. Zayn said it’s because you’re just not as good as us. Zayn told Reigns that they were not as good as The Usos either.

Reigns talked about giving Zayn opportunity after opportunity and then The Usos showed up for an attack. The Usos beat up Zayn and Owens on the floor. The Usos sent Owens into the ring post and hit a double superkick on Zayn. When The Usos got into the ring, Reigns yelled at them. Reigns said that he didn’t tell them to come out here. Reigns said it was a simple plan, then he stopped himself and bumped into Solo, who stared at his shoulder. Reigns was angry as he left the ring.

Analysis: I like how that was done. Reigns was confident as usual, then Zayn put him in his place a bit by saying that Reigns & Solo weren’t as good as the champions and also The Usos, which is Zayn’s way of getting under Roman’s skin because Roman always has to think he is the greatest. When The Usos showed up, you can tell Roman didn’t approve of it based on how he reacted. Even though The Usos kicked some ass, Reigns wasn’t happy because he likes to control everything. It’s clearly building to a big match with The Usos against Reigns/Solo at some point, but I don’t think the titles need to be involved. I want Zayn & Owens to remain champions or at least split up the titles.

A commercial aired for WWE Night of Champions on May 27th promoting Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles for the new World Heavyweight Title.

(Commercial)

The Bloodline were shown in the dressing room. The Usos were sitting with Reigns while Solo and Heyman were in the background. The Usos said that they were trying to help. Reigns said that he had something to say to that fool (Zayn), but they never let him say it. Reigns shouted that he was the guy that makes the choices around here and told them to get out.

Analysis: The saga continues to once again show that there are issues between these guys. The Usos can’t do anything right while Reigns comes across as a condescending jerk at all times.

A video aired from earlier today with Pretty Deadly wearing chef hats while making a meal talking about the ingredients that make the “delicious” Pretty Deadly team. Yes, boy!

Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland & Butch) (w/Sheamus) vs. Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince)

Sheamus was on commentary. If you don’t know Pretty Deadly, Wilson has black hair and Prince has blonde hair. It’s a battle of British guys.

Butch with a clothesline, then he stomped on the hands of both guys and Butch hit a forearm on Prince. Butch with a running dropkick while Ridge tagged in with a delayed suplex. Wilson tagged in and Ridge ran right into DDT by Wilson. Pretty Deadly posed with Prince having a bloody nose as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

PD hit a double shoulder tackle on Ridge along with a leg drop/splash combo. Cole said that Prince was the face of a dating app in the past. Ridge hit a shoulder tackle to Prince’s knee and Wilson tagged in with a chinlock. Butch tagged in with two step up enziguri kicks and German Suplexes on both guys. Butch with jumping enziguri kicks, a stomp on Kit’s hands and a suplex into a slam. Wilson to the turnbuckle, Butch kicked him again and Wilson shoved Butch down. Ridge got the tag, Prince into the ring illegally, Ridge had both guys on his back and dumped them down. Sheamus & Ridge each did forearms to the chest of both opponents. Wilson sent Ridge into the ropes, so Ridge bumped heads with Butch. The referee was distracted by Butch and Prince went from being tied up in the ropes leading to the Spilt Milk (neckbreaker/spinebuster) combo move for the pinfall win after nine minutes. Yes, boy!

Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince)

Analysis: *** Good match with the heels Pretty Deadly getting a crafty win in their Smackdown debut. I don’t think it’s a surprise that Pretty Deadly won their first match on Smackdown considering they just started on the blue brand, so that made the match rather obvious. Butch was great in the match with a lot of cool moves as usual while Ridge showed off his power as well. I thought the finish was very creative.

After he hit the Spilt Milk spot, Prince tied himself in the ropes again and the referee got him out of there. That was funny by Prince.

A video aired in honor of the late, great WWE Hall of Famer “Superstar” Billy Graham, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 80. They showed highlights of Graham’s career along with his 2004 WWE Hall of Fame induction.

Analysis: Billy was before my time as a WWE fan, but he was very influential on so many people in the pro wrestling industry and will always be remembered.

(Commercial)

Asuka made her entrance for a match. Asuka spit the infamous mist in Belair’s face last week, so we got a replay. Cole said Asuka claims it’s a “chili pepper” mist that Asuka used. Asuka gets to challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship against Asuka at Night of Champions next week. Asuka is a heel now.

Zelina Vega was interviewed by Kayla Braxton saying she proved to Rhea Ripley that she is ready to compete with the best of the best and she will show Asuka that as well.

Asuka vs. Zelina Vega

Vega countered an Asuka move into a rollup. Vega kicked Asuka into the ropes. Asuka went to the floor, she got a hold of Vega and sent her face first into the commentary table. They went to break with Asuka in control.

(Commercial)

The action continued with Vega hitting a dropkick. Vega sent Asuka into the ropes, Vega hit the 619 kick and an Eddie Guerrero shake leading to the Meteora double knees off the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Asuka blocked a move, then they went for some unique pin attempts and Asuka countered a move into a submission. Vega countered that into a pin attempt. Asuka hooked the right arm and pulled back on the left arm for the Asuka Lock submission. Vega quit to give Asuka the win. It went about seven minutes.

Winner by submission: Asuka

Analysis: **1/2 It was okay with Asuka picking the win since she’s getting a title shot at Night of Champions. Vega got most of the offense in the match before Asuka found a way to put her away. I thought Asuka should have won in a more dominant fashion, but the end of it was strong at least. I know they like to put commercials in between matches, but if you are only having a seven-minute match then time it better to show the whole thing.

After the match, Asuka held onto the Asuka Lock on for a few more seconds. Bianca Belair ran out for the save. Asuka went to the floor and tried to spit the mist into Belair’s face, but it was not like the mist was sprayed all over Belair’s face.

The Progressive Match Flo replay showed AJ Styles facing Seth “Freakin” Rollins in a match for the new World Heavyweight Title match at Night of Champions next Saturday, May 27th.

Grayson Waller’s talk show with AJ Styles as the guest was up next.

(Commercial)

Grayson Waller Effect with AJ Styles

Grayson Waller was given a special introduction from Mike Rome. The ring was filled with plants, a big desk and screens. Waller welcomed us to the first Grayson Waller Effect on Smackdown. It looked like his usual talk show from NXT, but no cell phone video part of it. AJ Styles of The OC made his entrance alone while in his ring gear. Styles sat in the ring with Waller.

Waller spoke about how they have a past from when Styles feuded with Waller in NXT. Waller mentioned Styles has 20 years of accolades and he’s a Hall of Famer, so what does that new World Heavyweight Title mean to him? Styles talked about how he was out for months for the longest injury of his career (it was about four months) and when he got cleared, Styles trained harder than anybody. Styles said he knew there’d be an opportunity and he wants the new World Title more than the air that he breathes. Styles said that Rollins is on a movie set and he’s happy for Seth. Styles spoke about how he hopes Rollins is ready with Styles assuring us that he will be ready.

Waller said that he was most looking forward to the match on the show. Waller said that he was looking forward to the ending and he announced Seth “Freakin” Rollins as the winner. Styles and Waller were talking to eachother while Waller’s music played to end it.

Analysis: It was a decent interview, but then it ended abruptly. Waller claimed that Rollins was going to win and that led to Waller’s music playing just like that. It was a weak ending. Styles taking a bit of a shot at Seth for being on a movie set was well played by him.

The LWO guys were sitting around backstage talking about how The Usos were good, but tonight they prove they are better. Rey Mysterio said that The Usos will find out what happens when you mess with the LWO.

The Street Profits made their entrance for tag team action.

This Monday on Raw: Cody Rhodes & Brock Lesnar will be there and Becky Lynch has a contract signing with Trish Stratus. That’s all they mentioned in the commercial.

(Commercial)

LA Knight made his entrance for tag team action. Let me talk to ya! Knight said he’s looking for titles, then he saw The Street Profits talking trash and Knight said he can beat them with anybody. Rick Boogs entered as Knight’s partner. It was set up on the Smackdown Lowdown last week.

Rick Boogs & LA Knight vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Ford with clotheslines that had no effect on Boogs. Ford ran the ropes, Boogs caught him and Boogs did ten presses over his head. Boogs: “I’m Booging out.” Dawkins tagged in with Boogs knocking him down with a shoulder tackle. Boogs held Dawkins in his arms and did curls followed by a pumphandle slam. Knight tagged in leading to a double shoulder tackle. Dawkins with a jawbreaker on Knight, but Knight hit a powerslam. Knight with a leaping elbow drop. Dawkins broke free, Ford got the tag and hit a cross body block off the top rope. Ford with a step up enziguri kick on Boogs and Ford kicked Knight while on the apron. Boogs ran into Knight to knock him out of the ring. Ford hit a somersault dive onto the floor, Dawkins made the tag while Ford did the dive and Ford hit a spinebuster on Boogs. Ford hit a Frog Splash off the top on Boogs for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Analysis: **1/4 A slow start for The Street Profits against this makeshift tag team, but then Ford tagged in and some big moves led to the win. Boogs was funny while he was in the ring.

Post match, Knight kicked Boogs in the gut and hit the BFT (Blunt Force Trauma) neckbreaker on Boogs. Knight left calling Boogs “trash” among other things.

Analysis: Knight is a singles guy so it’s not a surprise that he would attack Boogs like that. Plus, Boogs is a face and Knight is a heel.

Cameron Grimes was interviewed by Megan Morant backstage. Grimes talked about his fast victory over Baron Corbin and he’s determined to make it to the top…but then he said he wanted to go “to the moon” to end it.

The Usos were shown getting ready backstage.

(Commercial)

Karrion Kross did a backstage promo with Scarlett by his side. Kross mentioned “Allen” while Scarlett showed a tarot card that had AJ Styles on it.

Analysis: That should be a win for AJ Styles when that happens. Kross has no momentum right now.

They showed a replay of Cody Rhodes doing a promo on Raw where he told Brock Lesnar that he was in Cody’s way. Cody faces Brock at Night of Champions.

Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn vs. Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon

Fyre & Dawn are the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. Feroz and Leon are an NXT tag team. Fyre hit Leon with a knee drop to the head. Dawn tagged in to hit the running double knee attack. Dawn kicked Leon out of the ring, Feroz got the tag and Dawn slammed her along with a knee attack. Fyre tagged in for the Gory Bomb/legsweep finisher for the pinfall win in about two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn

Analysis: * A squash win for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. Feroz & Leon didn’t get to do anything. The crowd was dead silent for this.

It was announced that Liv Morgan suffered a serious injury during the match on Smackdown last week. Liv continued the match, but the injury has caused Liv & Raquel Rodriguez to relinquish the Women’s Tag Team Titles.

In two weeks on Raw, Raquel and a new partner will be part of a four-way match for the vacant Women’s Tag team Titles. It’s Raquel & a partner vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley & IYO SKY vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville.

Analysis: I’m going with Rousey & Baszler getting the win.

Raquel Rodriguez was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Raquel talked about Liv suffering an injury, praised Liv for continuing to fight and there was an interruption from Bayley & IYO SKY. Bayley said that Dakota Kai was also injured. Bayley said she and SKY will face Raquel and a partner next week on Smackdown. Sky didn’t seem like she agreed with Bayley making the match.

Austin Theory, the US Champion, made his entrance.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Austin Theory

Austin Theory did a promo in the ring with the US Title around his waist. Theory said he expected respect when he came to Smackdown. Theory complained about getting ganged up on by two former champions Bobby Lashley & Sheamus. Theory said he would have gone on to beat Seth Rollins to beat the World Heavyweight Title. Theory said that Lashley has a weird obsession with him while he’s not sure about Sheamus. Theory said that Sheamus is tough like him and they both beat John Cena, but Theory did it this year while Sheamus did it like 12 or 13 years ago. I believe it was 2009 so it’s 14 years ago.

Sheamus made his entrance to confront Theory in the ring. Sheamus teased getting a microphone, then he instead hit a Brogue Kick and dropped Theory. Sheamus dropped the microphone as the fans cheered for it.

Analysis: A statement made by Sheamus without saying a word. There’s a new feud for the US Title. Sheamus is nearly 20 years older than Theory. They should have a great match together.

Paul Heyman walked up to The Usos saying The Tribal Chief forgives them. Jimmy Uso wondered if Roman Reigns would be at ringside for them. Heyman said no while telling The Usos they’re the greatest tag team ever and they have got this victory. Heyman said don’t make that a prediction, make that a spoiler. The Usos left for their match.

The Latino World Order’s Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar entered for tag team action.

(Commercial)

Next Friday on Smackdown (which is taped after this week’s show):

* The KO Show with Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa as the guests.

* Raquel Rodriguez & a partner vs. Bayley & IYO SKY

* AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross

* Austin Theory defends the US Title against Sheamus

The Usos made their entrance for the main event.

Latino World Order (Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

Jimmy worked over Rey with punches. Jimmy sent Rey into the turnbuckles with Rey taking a sternum bump. Rey with a kick, Escobar tagged in, he kicked Jimmy and Rey sent Jimmy out of the ring. Escobar clotheslined Jey out of the ring. Rey teased a 619 kick as the LWO celebrated in the ring. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

It was Jimmy in control of Escobar with a rollup for two. They showed Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman watching from their dressing room. Escobar connected with a running dropkick on Jimmy. Jey tagged in and punched Rey to knock him down on the apron. Escobar rolled up Jey for a two count, but Jey came back with an uppercut punch. Escobar with punches only for Jey to hit him with an elbow to knock him down. Jimmy hit a running hip attack on Escobar against the turnbuckle. Jimmy charged again, but Escobar hit a jumping knee. The crowd was into it as Rey got the hot tag against Jey with Rey hitting a headscissors. Rey with an elbow smash to Jey, then a top rope senton and Rey hit a springboard cross body block for two. Rey hit a Code Red on Jey for two count. Jimmy with a cheap kick on Rey while the referee wasn’t looking and Jey hit a lifting neckbreaker for two. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for the match. Jimmy tagged in, Rey fought back against both Usos and sent them out of the ring. Escobar tagged in leading to a somersault dive over the top on both Usos on the floor. Jimmy hit an enziguri kick on Escobar when they were back in the ring. Escobar with a running knee, then double running knees in the corner and Rey hit a hurricanrana off the top on Jimmy for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Rey tagged back in with a leg drop off the top on Jimmy for two because Jey broke up the pin. Jey superkicked Escobar off the apron and Rey tossed Jey out of the ring. Rey sent Jimmy into the ropes, but Jimmy hit a superkick. Jey tagged in and hit the Uso Splash off the top on Rey for two. Jey was shocked that it was only a two count. Jey tagged in, both Usos went up top and Kevin Owens arrived in the aisle to distract. Escobar knocked Jey down. Zayn shoved Jimmy off the top (the referee was looking at Owens), Rey with a headscissors into the ropes and a 619 kick. Escobar got the tag and hit the Superfly Splash off the top for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Latino World Order (Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar)

Analysis: ***1/2 Great tag team match. I like how it was booked with Owens & Zayn showing up to cost The Usos the win since The Usos attacked them earlier in the night. It’s also a quality win for the LWO by beating The Usos. Since the story is that The Usos are on a major losing streak, they had to lose this match because it furthers that story very well. I liked how The Usos had a few moments where it looked like they might win, but the LWO kept kicking out. It was definitely the best match on this week’s Smackdown.

Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman were shown in the dressing room. Reigns was disappointed about The Usos losing yet again. Solo tried to get up, but Reigns told him to sit down. Reigns shook his head in frustration. End show.

===

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Bloodline – Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman
  2. LWO
  3. Pretty Deadly

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The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 8

2023 Average: 7.24

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Final Thoughts

It was okay overall. I wouldn’t call it a great episode, but I enjoyed The Bloodline segments throughout the show. The main event with the LWO and The Usos was definitely the best match. I liked how it was booked with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn costing The Usos the win due to The Usos attack on them earlier while Roman Reigns looked on with disappointment. Terrific storytelling from the opening segment to the main event.

They incorporated some of the new Smackdown wrestlers from NXT. I liked how Pretty Deadly had a strong showing with a quick personality profile along with a good match against The Brawling Brutes. Clever finish to that match. I think the Grayson Waller-AJ Styles interview could have been more interesting. Isla Dawn & Alba Fyre won a quick match with no crowd interest at all.

I’m enjoying the Asuka heel run and getting the advantage over Bianca Belair again. I think perhaps Asuka gets the Raw Women’s Title at Night of Champions, but maybe not. At least it’s a bit of a tossup compared to their WrestleMania match when it was obvious Belair was going to win. Too bad about Liv Morgan being hurt, so the Women’s Tag Team Titles are vacant for now.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Night of Champions on Saturday, May 27th from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with this lineup so far:

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

* Finals of the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. AJ Styles

* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Mustafa Ali

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

WWE Night of Champions will stream live from Jeddah Superdome on Saturday, May 27, at 1 p.m. ET on Peacock in the United States and 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 Blue Jays. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport