The John Report: WWE Smackdown 05/26/23 Review

wwe smackdown may 26

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the KO Show in the main event, plus Austin Theory facing Sheamus and more.

This edition of Smackdown was taped one week earlier after last week’s show due to WWE traveling to Saudi Arabia for Night of Champions earlier this week. That meant a lot of people knew the results going into the show.

From the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, this is Smackdown for episode #1240. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed us to the show with a rundown of what’s coming up.

Sheamus made his entrance first for the US Title match joined by Ridge Holland and Butch. Sheamus is a three-time US Champion going into this match. Austin Theory was up next as the US Champion for his first defense of that title since being drafted to Smackdown. Ring announcer Mike Rome did the in-ring championship introductions.

United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. Sheamus (w/Butch & Ridge Holland)

Sheamus has the big experience edge and he’s about twenty years older as well. Sheamus knocked down Theory with a shoulder tackle. Theory tried a hiptoss, but Sheamus blocked that with a clothesline. Theory sent Sheamus into the turnbuckle followed by a flip into a dropkick. Theory teased forearms to the chest, but Sheamus blocked it. Theory drove Sheamus into the ring post and hit a belly to back suplex on the apron.


Theory was in control with a back elbow for two. Sheamus blocked a kick, Theory hit a forearm and a Blockbuster neckbreaker got a two count. Theory trash talked Sheamus, shoved him in the face and Sheamus made the comeback with a headbutt along with a kick. Sheamus hit corner clotheslines and the Irish Curse backbreaker connected for a two count. Theory got a sunset flip for two. Sheamus with an uppercut followed by a powerslam for two. Theory fought back with forearms to the back, then he had Sheamus on his back and Theory spun him around for a slam. Nice strength shown there by Theory. When Theory tried a lunging move, Sheamus hit a jumping knee (with a leg slap) for a two count. Theory with a boot to the face while Sheamus was on the apron. Theory grabbed a chair, Ridge took it away and Sheamus destroyed Theory with a barrage of forearms to the chest – it was about 25 of them as the fans chanted along with it. Pretty Deadly’s Kit Wilson and Elton Prince arrived at ringside and attacked Butch & Holland. Sheamus got a hold of Wilson with forearms to the chest and Theory got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! while grabbing tights for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match although I didn’t love the finish. It was more of a classic cheap heel ending with Theory using the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! after the distraction and Sheamus was screwed out of the win. I liked how the majority of the match went with Theory in control, but Sheamus made a great comeback and the fans came alive.

There was a recap of last week’s Smackdown when The Usos continued to upset Roman Reigns. The LWO beat The Usos thanks to Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens causing The Usos to lose.

The Bloodline was shown in the locker room with Roman Reigns, The Usos (Jimmy & Jey), Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman in the room. Roman Reigns told Paul Heyman that he feels guilty that The Usos won’t be joining them at Night of Champions. Heyman said that The Usos are invited to Smackdown next week for a celebration of Roman Reigns passing 1,000 days as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion (the 1,000 days number is just for the Universal Title). Reigns said he wanted everybody there. Jimmy said he was hungry and he was leaving. Reigns told him to sit down. Jimmy stood up defiantly, so Reigns got in his face. Reigns dared him to try something. Reigns said to think back to when they were kids with Roman saying he whooped him them, he’ll whoop him now, he told Jimmy to obey him and acknowledge him. Reigns told Jimmy to get out of the locker room and Jey got up to get Jimmy out of there.

Analysis: The Bloodline drama continues with Jimmy looking defiant toward cousin Roman. It was interesting to hear The Usos aren’t going to be at Night of Champions because I think a lot of people assumed they would get involved in the tag team match. Of course, I think that’s a swerve, so we’ll see what happens.

Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi entered for tag team action.


Bayley and IYO SKY entered as Damage CTRL as the opponents. Dakota Kai is out of action after a Torn ACL injury in her knee, so she’s out for about eight months or more. Tough injury. They showed last Monday on Raw when Shotzi saved Raquel from an attack, so they are now a team.

Shotzi & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Damage CTRL – Bayley & IYO SKY

Shotzi & Raquel were aggressive early on as they beat up their opponents and sent them out of the ring. Shotzi hit a suicide dive on both opponents on the floor. Raquel tagged in with shoulder tackles on Sky. Bayley tagged in, Sky hit a dropkick and Bayley got a rollup on Raquel for two.


The heels were in control as they tried to keep Raquel isolated, but Raquel broke free. Shotzi tagged in with a corner splash on Bayley followed by a bulldog. Shotzi with a knee, punch and kick to the face. Shotzi suplexed Bayley so her legs hit the ropes. Shotzi hit a splash to the back of Bayley while Bayley was against the ropes. Bayley did an eye gouge and you could tell the fake crowd noise was there. Sky with a kick on Shotzi for two as Raquel made the save. Sky with a kick to the head. Shotzi avoided a move by landing on her feet and Shotzi hit a Tiger Suplex (holding the arms) into a pin for two because Bayley made the save. Raquel tagged in, she lifted up Sky and Bayley shoved Shotzi off the turnbuckle. Sky sent Raquel face first into the turnbuckle. Raquel tackled Sky into the turnbuckle. Bayley tried a sunset flip on Raquel, Sky jumped off the top with a dropkick to Shotzi and Raquel sat on Bayley for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Shotzi & Raquel Rodriguez

Analysis: **3/4 Parts of it were okay, but I didn’t like the ending much. The finish was a bit sloppy because I don’t know what they were going for other than a miscommunication spot. I think they wanted to try to tell us that Sky was supposed to dropkick Raquel, but Raquel ducked it and Sky hit Shotzi instead. Sky had to sit there after hitting the move and watch the pin while acting like she was going after Shotzi still. It just didn’t look as smooth as most WWE match finishes. Anyway, I’m fine with Raquel & Shotzi winning to establish them as a team.

A video aired about the World Heavyweight Championship match between Seth Rollins and AJ Styles at Night of Champions. They showed some comments from Rollins talking about wanting this World Title to be the best it can be.

There was also a video about AJ Styles going into the World Title match at Night of Champions.

Hit Row made their entrance. They had some masks for their entrance. The fake crowd noise was cranked up with boos. I doubt the crowd reaction for them was anything at all at this point.


A video aired about Grayson Waller, who is now on Smackdown. They need to get him into a feud and storyline on Smackdown soon.

Cameron Grimes vs. Ashante Thee Adonis (w/Top Dolla & B-Fab)

It sounded like fake crowd noise for the entrance of Cameron Grimes, but that tends to happen with taped shows. Grimes with a shoulder tackle, headscissors and standing Shooting Star Press. Dolla tripped up Grimes without the referee seeing it and Adonis took over with punches/knees to the body. Adonis hit an impressive dropkick. Grimes came back with two forearms along with a hurricanrana. Grimes hit the Cave In (double foot stomp to the chest) for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for Grimes beating a tag team wrestler that is barely on television. Grimes getting wins is certainly fine with me because he’s a talented guy that just needs the opportunity to show what he can do.

After the match, Grimes was celebrating in the aisle when Baron Corbin showed up with a forearm to the back.

Analysis: Grimes beat Corbin two weeks ago, so it was revenge for Corbin. That should lead to another match between them soon.

The Progressive Match Flo replay recapped the Bianca Belair-Asuka story of the last two weeks. Asuka tried the mist on Belair last week, but Belair avoided most of it.

Bianca Belair entered for a promo.


Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was in the ring for a promo. She defends that title against Asuka at Night of Champions. Belair said that she respected Asuka at WrestleMania, but this Asuka is different. Belair said this Asuka wants more than just the title. Belair said all Asuka had to do was ask for a rematch, but then she decided to humiliate Belair in front of her family and friends. Belair said her hands are still green, her eyes burn and her vision is blurry. Belair said her mind has never been more clear. Belair said she’s going to give Asuka a fight at Night of Champions and remain the Raw Women’s Champion.

Asuka’s music played, Belair was looking in the aisle and Asuka showed up with an attack from behind. Asuka applied an armbar on the left arm of Belair for about ten seconds before WWE Officials showed up to separate the women. Belair went for a KOD Slam, but Asuka was caught by producer Kenny Dykstra and Asuka retreated.

Analysis: The build for their Night of Champions match has been better than the WrestleMania match because Asuka is in heel mode now, so there’s more of a reason to want to see the match. I think Belair will win, but if Asuka wins I wouldn’t mind that at all.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were shown talking backstage ahead of their talk show segment later.

LA Knight entered for singles action.

A commercial aired for NXT Battleground on Sunday night. I don’t think I’m going to review that until Monday morning since I’m reviewing AEW Double or Nothing on Sunday night.


There was a replay of last week when LA Knight attacked Rick Boogs after they lost to The Street Profits last week. The Street Profits made their entrance to check out this match.

LA Knight vs. Rick Boogs

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins were on commentary. Boogs launched Knight across the ring. Knight left the ring and Boogs sent Knight into the commentary table. Back in the ring, Boogs missed a corner attack when Knight moved and hit a turnbuckle. Knight did a head slam into the mat and tried a knee drop, but Boogs moved out of the way. Boogs powered out of a headlock attack. Boogs hit an overhead suplex across the ring. Boogs lifted Knight into a slam onto the mat. Boogs gave Knight a gutwrench suplex across the ring. Boogs tried a lift, Knight did an eye rake and a Blunt Force Trauma (BFT) move by Knight led to the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: LA Knight

Analysis: ** A passable TV match that was short. LA Knight needs wins, so that’s the right result. Boogs isn’t really being pushed, which means he’s an easy guy for Knight to beat.

LA Knight did a promo telling The Street Profits that their time is coming. Knight said that you aren’t going to get the smoke, you’re going to get smoked. LA Knight reminded us whose game is it and the fans chanted “LA Knight” when he said his name. Knight tossed the microphone at Barrett, so that was funny.

Analysis: Push LA Knight. The fans want to see it, so let’s see it happen. You can also tell that they were using fake crowd noise for boos for Knight, who does get cheered often. Anyway, strong promo work from Knight as usual.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett had an AJ Styles tarot card. Kross had some menacing words for Styles ahead of their match coming up.

AJ Styles made his entrance for singles action.


There was a video about Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn as newcomers on Smackdown. They are also still the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Karrion Kross made his entrance with his wife Scarlett. It’s the usual black & white entrance before it turns into full colors.

AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett)

Kross was in control with punches, then a hard whip into the turnbuckle and a forearm to the head. Kross hit an overhead suplex across the ring. Styles came back with chops, punches and a dropkick. Kross charged at Styles, who got his boot up and Scarlett grabbed AJ’s foot while the referee wasn’t looking. Kross kicked Styles off the apron to the floor. Michin (Mia Yim) made her way down to ringside and chased Scarlett backstage.


It was still Kross on offense with a back elbow to knock down a running Styles. Kross with a chinlock, Styles fought out of it and hit a corner clothesline. Styles with a Pele Kick and a running forearm. Styles with slam using his knee to the back of the neck for a two count. Kross hit an impressive Northern Lights Suplex into a Fisherman’s Suplex combo for a two count. Kross teased a forearm smash to the back, Styles ducked it and delivered a flurry of offense. Styles with a forearm to the head followed by the springboard Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: *** A quality win for Styles, who builds momentum going into Night of Champions and his World Title match. That Phenomenal Forearm looked great. Kross got plenty of offense in the match although he couldn’t hit that forearm to the back for the win. The announcers build up Kross for being a threat and a dangerous opponent, but he doesn’t get enough wins for fans to believe in him as a threat.

The KO Show talk show was in the main event spot.


AJ Styles was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the backstage area. Styles talked about how he is going to put a phenomenal beating on Seth Rollins and become the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

There was a rundown of the Night of Champions card with a 1 p.m. ET start time.

* 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

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

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

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

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

There was a video package about the Cody Rhodes-Brock Lesnar match.

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens entered to host the KO Show talk show in the main event.


Next week on Smackdown:

– Roman Reigns celebrates 1,000 Days as Champion (the Universal Title for what it’s worth)

– Money in the Bank qualifiers begin: Lacey Evans vs. Zelina Vega and LA Knight vs. Montez Ford.

KO Show with Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

Kevin Owens welcomed us to the Kevin Owens Show and then said it was the Kevin & Sami Show. They did a promo segment with these two teams last week. They are doing another promo segment this week and calling it a talk show. Owens said at Night of Champions, they defend their titles against Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa. Owens introduced the guests.

Paul Heyman showed up with the WWE & Universal Titles saying you don’t get to say when The Tribal Chief comes out there. Heyman said that The Tribal Chief decides when he wants to come out.

The Usos made their entrance with microphones as they walked by Heyman on their way to the ring. Jey Uso ranted about what Kevin & Sami did to them last week. Jey said you have a bigger problem staring at you right now. Owens told Heyman he knew Roman wouldn’t come out and that’s fine because Owens didn’t care.

Owens told The Usos that Sami still cares about The Usos. Owens said that after everything that has happened, Zayn thinks that The Usos deserve better. Owens said he doesn’t get it. Owens told them to acknowledge that Zayn has been right about everything the whole time. Owens said that Zayn has been right about the way Roman Reigns treats The Usos and they deserve better. Owens said that Reigns calls himself the Head of the Table and Owens said that he’s looking at the heart of that table – The Usos. Owens asked what would The Bloodline be without them? Owens said he treats The Usos like they’re the appendix that is disposable and Reigns doesn’t need them. Owens said that Reigns uses them. Owens said they don’t do anything unless Roman tells them. Owens said The Usos went from being the greatest tag team in WWE history to being Roman’s errand boys.

Jimmy spoke up saying they are the best tag team in the world. Jimmy said when it comes to the Day 1’s referring to the team, Jimmy said: “I am the Tribal Chief.” Heyman had a shocked reaction on his face wondering what Jimmy just did.

Analysis: Jimmy Uso saying “I am the Tribal Chief” was a big thing there. Jimmy was saying it in reference to The Usos tag team, but the way Heyman sold it on his face was so great.

Roman Reigns finally made his entrance with a quick walk on his way to the ring.

Roman Reigns got into the ring and stared at Jey’s face. Reigns tossed the microphone down. Reigns stared at Jimmy Uso and tossed his microphone down. Zayn told Reigns: “You know it’s over, right?” Zayn told Reigns that The Bloodline is collapsing and it is all Roman’s fault. Reigns slapped the microphone out of Zayn’s hand. Owens hit Reigns with a Stunner!

The Usos got into a fight with Zayn/Owens. Solo Sikoa got into the ring and hit the Samoan Spike on Zayn and Owens back to back. Solo picked up Zayn leading to Reigns hitting a Spear on Zayn. Jey Uso handed the Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Titles to Solo. Jimmy had the Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Titles as well, but he wouldn’t hand them to Reigns. Jey took the titles from Jimmy and handed them to Reigns. When The Bloodline stood together in the ring, Reigns and Solo held the Tag Team Titles, Jey held up one finger and Jimmy refused to do it as he stood in the corner. Roman held all four Tag Team Titles to end it.

Analysis: I thought it was a great job of continuing the story with The Bloodline’s issues growing some more. Kevin Owens said a lot of things that made sense, he spoke about how Sami Zayn still likes The Usos and believes in them and I like what Sami said to Reigns too. The numbers game helped The Bloodline win that fight, but there is a major issue in the group with Jimmy acting defiantly towards Reigns both with his words and his actions. Jey remains loyal to Reigns due to having a longer history with him in terms of this story, but Jimmy might be the one to split from the group as things worsen. There are rumors of a Roman/Solo vs. The Usos tag tea match at Money in the Bank on July 1st, but I’d rather see Roman actually defending his titles at that show.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and The Bloodline
  2. AJ Styles
  3. Austin Theory-Sheamus


The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 7.20


Final Thoughts

A good show for the most part. I really liked The Bloodline story advancement in that main event segment. Jimmy Uso calling himself The Tribal Chief as it relates to The Usos upset Roman Reigns a lot, then they beat up Owens/Zayn and Jimmy was defiant towards Reigns. Jimmy not joining The Bloodline to say they are “The Ones” to end the show also teases there are going to be more problems. It’s such a great story overall with so many layers to it.

In terms of match quality, I liked the Austin Theory match with Sheamus even though it had a cheap finish. That’s fitting for a heel like Theory benefitting from Pretty Deadly taking out the Brawling Brutes and Theory cheated to win. AJ Styles beating Karrion Kross was an obvious result that was a solid match. The finish of the women’s tag team match didn’t look smooth at all. Some of the other matches were kept short, which is fine to showcase people.

The taped show meant that they clearly edited a lot of the crowd reactions. LA Knight apparently got cheered heavy, but they edited it to boos because he’s positioned as a heel. That’s a guy that needs a push for sure.

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

wwe night of champions 2023 seth rollins aj styles

* 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

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

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

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya

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.


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


Twitter @johnreport