This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and a partner vs. Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland, plus Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez and more.
We are nine days away from the Hell in a Cell Premium Live Event as I write this. At this point, there are four Raw matches and no Smackdown matches. Just saying.
The opening video package showed highlights from last night’s Smackdown when Roman Reigns helped The Usos beat RK-Bro to become the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions in the main event of last week’s show. After the match, The Bloodline trio of Reigns and The Usos beat up Orton and Riddle. That’s how Smackdown ended last week.
Let’s Hear from The Usos
The Usos made their entrance as the Unified Tag Team Champions holding their Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Titles. They showed Michael Cole & Pat McAfee at ringside welcoming us to the show while talking about Randy Orton dealing with a back injury. They said Orton is undergoing medical testing to find the best course of action.
The Usos stood in the ring with their titles. Jey welcomed us to Smackdown. Jimmy thanked the Tribal Chief, Head of the Table, their cousin Roman Reigns. They did “the ones” hand gesture. Jey thanked Roman for helping them beat RK-Bro “all on our own.” The fans booed since that was a blatant lie due to The Usos getting help from Reigns.
Jey said that two days ago was their 12th year anniversary in WWE. Jey said that they never thought that they would still be standing in this ring in front of you. Jey said for 12 years, you cheered them, you booed them (loud boos) and you saw their ups as well as their downs, but that means for 12 years you watched them grow up. Jey said for 12 years, all the plane rides, the miles and time away from their family, who was there? They looked at the fans with Jey saying that the fans were there. Jey said that the world is really crazy these days, he loves being an entertainer in front of you and from the bottom of their hearts, from his family, they would like to say thank you. The fans cheered for that heartfelt message. The fans chanted “Uso” for them.
Jimmy spoke up to say for the past 12 years, they’ve also realized that they absolutely needed…nobody! They laughed. Jimmy said that all he needed was Jey and all Jey needed was his brother. They told the fans that they didn’t need them. Jey said now they are tripped in all the gold with Jimmy reminding us they are the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions. Jimmy wondered where Randy Orton was and said he was home because he got bodied by The Usos. Jey said they made Riddle cry like some of the fans last week. They said they’re the twos and “we the ones.” That was a funny promo swerve.
Shinsuke Nakamura walked out saying that his partner and him challenge them for the Tag Team Championships. Nakamura said his partner wanted to fight them by himself, but he asked to join. The Usos wondered if he was talking about Rick Boogs, who is injured and they mocked Boogs. Nakamura said this is his partner…Bro. It’s Riddle, who is from Raw, but it’s not like the brand split “rules” matter anymore.
Riddle and Nakamura went on the apron with The Usos meeting them there. They went into the ring, Riddle was beaten up by both Usos and then The Usos went after Nakamura. Riddle got back into it with a Floating Bro off the top rope to take down both Usos. Nakamura sent Jimmy out of the ring while Riddle kicked Jey out of the ring. Riddle and Nakamura stood tall to end it. Cole put over the story that Nakamura and Riddle each had tag team partners injured by The Usos, so that’s why they were working together.
Analysis: That was a very good opening segment. I really liked that heartfelt message by Jey. It felt real and genuine with the fans applauding them even though The Usos have been heels for a long time. That’s what made it great when The Usos did the heelish thing by laughing about it while mocking the fans. It also led to Nakamura and Riddle getting cheered a lot. Logically it makes sense that Nakamura and Riddle would want revenge since their tag team partners are hurt. I like it as a tag team feud.
They showed two weeks ago on Smackdown when SD Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey issued an open challenge answered by Raquel Rodriguez. It was a good match with Ronda finding a way to win by pinfall, but Raquel was a tough opponent. They shook hands after the match.
Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance. She smiles a lot.
They showed Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Xia Li and Aliyah standing by watching on the TV. Shotzi wondered why none of them were getting an opportunity before Raquel gets another shot. Shotzi talked to Xia Li, who left, Shotzi called Aliyah annoying and Aliyah left. Shotzi sucked up to Natalya saying she was a living legend while putting over Shayna Baszler’s toughness as well. Shotzi wondered why Raquel got another opportunity and wondered what they should do about it. They showed Raquel flexing in the ring leading to a break.
This Monday on Raw: Bobby Lashley has a contract signing with Omos & MVP. Plus, Bianca Belair vs. Asuka and Cody Rhodes responds to the vicious attack from Seth “Freakin” Rollins on Raw.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Riddle were interviewed Kayla Braxton. Riddle said this was actually Randy’s idea. Nakamura said that Riddle is not like Boogs, but they will dominate. Riddle seemed happy about teaming with Nakamura as well. That was it.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Natalya and Shayna Baszler were backstage with Shotzi. Natalya & Baszler said that they aren’t letting this happen again. Shotzi tried to go with them, but then the door was locked. They showed Aliyah outside the door wit the key.
Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez
This was a non-title match. Rousey kicked Raquel into the ropes, Raquel got a hold of Ronda and then Ronda rolled through for a two count. Raquel applied a backbreaker submission on the shoulders, but there’s Baszler and Natalya attacking Raquel for the DQ. It went about one minute.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: No rating due to it being such a quick match without much action.
Natalya and Baszler didn’t have much success with their attack as Raquel and Ronda knocked them out of the ring. That led to a break leading to the obvious tag team match.
Ronda Rousey & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Happy birthday to Natalya, who turned 40 years old on Friday. Welcome to Club 40, my fellow Canadian. Baszler worked over Raquel by wrenching on the left knee. Baszler with some kicks to the legs, but Raquel managed to kick Baszler out of the ring. Natalya helped Baszler back in and Natalya got the tag. Raquel kicked Natalya away, Rousey tagged in and delivered a few judo tosses across the ring. Natalya tripped up Rousey leading to the Sharpshooter, but Rousey managed to tag in Raquel. Baszler tagged in while Raquel hit a clothesline to the back followed by a headbutt. Raquel jumped off the middle rope with an elbow drop for two as Natalya made the save. Rousey tossed Natalya out of the ring. Raquel sent Baszler into Rousey, but Natalya pulled Rousey out of the ring. Baszler and Rousey had a bit of a staredown since they are longtime friends. Baszler was looking at that, so then Raquel picked up Baszler and Raquel spiked her with the Chingona Bomb that has a new name (Tiana Bomb?) now. Raquel pinned for the win. It went about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ronda Rousey & Raquel Rodriguez
Analysis: **1/4 A solid match for the time given. I liked the story of Natalya & Baszler working on Raquel’s leg, but she was able tag out and Rousey kicked some ass until Raquel was ready to go back in to get the win. Good spot with Rousey facing off with Baszler, which could be used as a setup for a future match where they say Baszler knows Rousey better than anybody. Anyway, at least Natalya didn’t get pinned on her birthday.
The announcers talked about how Money in the Bank will take place on Saturday, July 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Pat McAfee was yelling about how Money in the Bank changes everything. Tickets are on sale next week.
Analysis: The story there is that they were going to use the bigger Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, but then they changed it earlier this week by going to MGM Grand. They wanted a bigger crowd at Allegiant Stadium. Ticket sales were apparently too slow for WWE’s liking even though they had a reported 17,000 tickets sold. Things changed earlier in the week when WWE decided to move it and now the MGM Grand will host with about 12,000 people at the show.
The New Day were shown backstage for an interview coming up.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods were interviewed by Megan Morant backstage. Woods said that the whole point of this is that everybody has been blowing up their phones about how people want them to fight the Brawling Brutes. They noted their partner Big E was still injured. Kofi and Xavier mentioned a bunch of names that could be their opponents. Kofi said that their partner could be anybody…even Megan. Woods said that they will not go out there outnumbered. Woods said they’ll defeat those Brawling Brutes with their partner and Kofi led us in the “New Day rocks” chants.
Analysis: My prediction on Friday afternoon was Drew McIntyre, for the record. Here’s Twitter proof of that prediction. I don’t think it was a bold prediction. It was logical.
There was a tweet from Madcap Moss saying he’ll be back next week to go after Happy Corbin after Corbin beat him up a few weeks ago. Moss did a stretcher job. Congrats to him for getting a two-week vacation.
Los Lotharios made their entrance doing the Kiss Cam gimmick on their way to the ring. They kissed a pretty woman on the cheek at ringside again. Their match is next.
Jinder Mahal’s music hit because he was supposed to wrestle in a tag team match with Shanky. Mahal was shown in the backstage area looking for Shanky. Mahal found Shanky dancing in a room. Los Lotharios did some dancing by ring announcer Samantha Irvin, who is dating Ricochet, but that isn’t going to be mentioned.
Jinder Mahal made his entrance with the “Sky-scraping” Shanky. That was the announced name for Shanky, who did some dancing on his way to the ring.
Jinder Mahal & Shanky vs. Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto)
Shanky missed a clothesline, but then he hit a big boot to Humberto. Mahal tagged in, Humberto with a headscissors and a dropkick. Humberto jumped over Angle for a splash onto Mahal. Angel took over against Mahal with punches. Humberto tagged in, Mahal hit a back body drop and Angel hit a dropkick that sent Mahal into the commentary table. Angel took the pants on (to show off the tights) in front of Samantha, but then Shanky chopped Angel and kicked Angel. Back in the ring, Mahal was distracted by what Shanky was doing and Humberto hit a springboard kick to Mahal for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto)
Analysis: *1/4 The focus was on ringside dancing more than the action, so it was tough to get into the match. The finish came out of nowhere with Jinder losing to one move by Humberto due to being distracted by Shanky and Angle on the floor.
Post match, Jinder Mahal yelled at Shanky about yet another loss for their team. Shanky put his hand up in Jinder’s face. Jinder’s music played again, so Shanky danced in front of Samantha with some fans chanting for him for some reason.
Analysis: It looks like this is the singles push for Shanky that nobody was clamoring for, but due to his height, we know WWE is going to give it a try. He’s not officially split from Jinder, but it’s coming. Will it work? I have my doubts.
Max Dupri walked into the office of WWE Official Adam Pearce, who said that effective immediately he was welcoming him to Smackdown. Max said that the recruitment process for Maximum Male Models is on and he told Pearce he didn’t make the cut.
Analysis: I think LA Knight was a much better name than Max Dupri, but I’m not really bothered by it. He’s a good performer whether he’s a wrestler or a manager. The man can talk well.
Kevin Owens made his entrance to host the KO Show even though he’s on Raw, but again the brand extension doesn’t really matter anymore.
They showed members of the Special Olympics USA Games Powerlifting Team at ringside. Good luck to them.
KO Show with Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens was in the ring to host his talk show. Owens faces Ezekiel at Hell in a Cell. Owens welcomed us to the Smackdown edition of the Kevin Owens Show. Owens talked about how he has been dealing with a disgusting liar Elias, not Ezekiel…but Elias. Owens said he’ll make Elias regret showing his face in WWE again. Owens introduced the locker room leader of Smackdown, the close personal confidant of The Bloodline…Sami Zayn! Yes. The best guest possible!
Sami Zayn was wearing his “Bloodline” shirt. They did a big hug in the ring. I love to see that! The fans were booing, but I thought it was hilarious. They talked about how they looked great with Owens impressed by Sami’s long hair. Zayn said the last time they had some problems and Owens said he doesn’t even remember what it was about. Owens said that Zayn has been killing it on Smackdown as the locker room leader that they sorely need. Owens said that Sami is unbelievable for what he’s doing for The Bloodline. Zayn said that Owens is amazing on Raw every week while adding that Elias & Ezekiel are clearly the same person. Owens hugged Zayn for saying that, which drew boos. Owens said it felt so good to hear somebody say it. Owens said that he always had Sami’s back too.
Owens said he needs Zayn to drop everything he’s doing on Smackdown, come to Raw with Owens and call out the liars starting with Elias. Zayn said Owens knows he’s always got his back. Zayn said that the locker room needs him, The Bloodline needs him and now is just not a good time “uce.” Owens: “Did you just call me uce?” Zayn said that they’ve been hanging out a lot lately so they’ve been rubbing off on each other. Owens said Sami is naive. The best friends ended up having an argument with Owens telling Zayn that he was not in The Bloodline. Owens told Zayn it made him look like a moron wearing The Bloodline shirt. Zayn said that he was just being nice earlier while adding that Elias and Ezekiel were different people. They each called the other guy a mroon. Owens fired back telling Zayn that he wasn’t really part of The Bloodline group. That led to more arguing between them. Zayn called Owens a liar repeatedly while Owens called Zayn a moron repeatedly. Zayn: “Liar liar, pants on fire.” Owens: “Too far! They’re clearly not on fire!” Owens proved his point by saying that Sami wasn’t in The Bloodline because Owens introduced them and there was no sign of The Bloodline. Sami told him to give them a second, so Owens introduced them again. No sign of The Bloodline again. Owens told Zayn that The Bloodline couldn’t care less about him. Sami said whatever, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Sami left the ring. Owens told Sami to forget about this stuff. Owens told Sami to come to Raw with him. Sami shoved Owens into the barricade. Sami told Owens to go back to Raw because Sami has a locker room to run. Sami went to the back.
Owens went back into the ring where he saw two guys taking apart his interview set. Owens kicked one guy in the gut and gave him a Stunner. Owens gave the second guy a Stunner as well. Owens laughed about it.
Analysis: I like Sami and Kevin together, but I guess they want to keep them apart with Sami refusing to want to work with Kevin. It was funny seeing them bicker. They have always had great chemistry whether they’re allies or opponents. Anyway, they made me laugh a bit, which is not a surprise for the two of them. I’m a big fan of these two fellow Canadians.
There was a Progressive Match Flo shown of the rivalry between the Sheamus’s group known as The Brawling Brutes and The New Day. It’s been going on for a few months.
It was time for yet another tag team match with Intercontinental Champion Ricochet joined by Drew Gulak.
A commercial aired for Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins inside Hell in a Cell at the Hell in a Cell Premium Live Event from Chicago on June 5th.
A video aired about WWE heading to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel on Sunday, November 5th.
They showed some issues over recent weeks when Gunther beat Drew Gulak in a quick match last week. Ricochet made the save.
Ludwig Kaiser introduced the Ring General…Gunther. They made their entrance for tag team action. I saw some report that they changed Ludwig’s name to “Ludvig” but it appeared on screen as Ludwig, so that’s what it is. It is Kaiser’s first match on Smackdown.
Ricochet & Drew Gulak vs. Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser
Kaiser took down Gulak with an armbar, then he set him up against the ropes and Gunther kicked Gulak in the face. Gunther picked up Gulak and tossed him over the top to the floor with Drew taking the bump on his legs. Ouch. That led to a break.
Gunther was in control with a huge chop that knocked Gulak down. That was loud! Kaiser tagged in, Gulak broke free and Ricochet tagged in with a jumping headscissors. Ricochet hit a springboard cross body block. Gunther got in the ring, Kaiser got a rollup for two and Ricochet hit a jumping knee. Kaiser raked the eyes of Ricochet, Gulak tagged and Kaiser tossed Ricochet out of the ring. Kaiser suplexed Gulak across the ring. Kaiser hit a running kick to the chest for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser
Analysis: *3/4 It was basically a squash tag team match with Kaiser getting a win in his first Smackdown match. I thought they might have some Gunther-Ricochet interaction to set up an Intercontinental Title match between them, but that didn’t happen. Ricochet was barely in the match while Gulak predictably got his ass kicked. Easy win for the heel team.
Post match, Ricochet checked on Gulak and Gunther kicked Ricochet to knock him out of the ring. Kaiser hit a running kick to Gulak’s chest again. That was it.
The Usos were backstage talking to Sami Zayn, who said he’s not sure he is getting respect back. Sami asked what The Usos what do they think of him? Sami asked if he can join up The Bloodline like an honorary member of the group. Jimmy said sure, but Jey wasn’t sure about it. Sami said that this is the right thing and if they need anything, Sami has got it. Jey walked into the dressing room and Jimmy followed him in while Sami celebrated being an “honorary” member of The Bloodline.
Analysis: I don’t know if Sami is officially part of the group since it was Jimmy that said it was okay while Jey kept quiet. That makes me think they’re going to use Sami again and not actually consider him a part of the group.
The trio of Sheamus, Butch and Ridge Holland are called The Brawling Brutes now. They made their entrance for the main event tag team match.
A video aired about Memorial Day weekend with the holiday on Monday. It WWE’s way of saying “thank you.” They do a great job with videos like that. The fans chanted “USA” at the end of it.
Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch were in the ring with Sheamus saying it was “fight night” every night. Sheamus said that Kofi and Woods don’t have the bollocks to tell them who their partner is. Sheamus even mentioned Moby Dick as a possibility. Sheamus said it didn’t matter who they got because they’d get a beating from The Brawling Brutes. Sheamus said that they would put them on bedrest with their buddy Big E. Butch was doing his thing where he was shoving both guys. Sheamus said that these are two of the toughest Brawling Brutes he’s ever seen. Sheamus chanted “New Day sucks” until it was interrupted by The New Day’s music.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, who wondered if the Brawling Brutes were “off-brand” Wrestle Buddies. Woods mentioned that tonight will not be against 2 against 3 and tonight will be an unfair fight because they found a physical specimen. Kofi said that they found a freak of nature. Woods said that this man will not have a problem kicking Sheamus in an ugly mug he calls a face. Kofi asked if you are ready to find out “who” the partner is leading to the “who” chants.
The surprise partner was Drew McIntyre, who entered to a big pop with Angela the sword. It’s “Drew Day” as the team name. Drew was off for the last two weeks on a promotional tour for the WWE event Clash at the Castle in Wales in September, so now he’s back.
Analysis: If they announced McIntyre as the tag team partner it would have been just fine with me, they decided to go with the mystery partner route to try to build some excitement. The promos were okay with some good lines by both sides.
This Monday on Raw: Riddle & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Usos in a Championship Contender’s Match.
Next Friday on Smackdown: Madcap Moss returns. That’s it? Okay. I don’t think it’s a big deal.
Drew McIntyre, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch
Woods with a neckbreaker on Butch, Kofi tagged in with a splash off the ropes and then a regular splash for a two count. New Day hit a double team bulldog on Butch. After Butch grabbed the face of Woods, Sheamus tagged in leading to Sheamus delivering the ten forearms to the chest. Butch tagged in with several clubbing blows to the chest. Holland tagged in with a suplex on Woods. Kofi was back in for his team with a leg drop off the middle rope. Kofi and Woods each delivered stomps on Ridge in the corner. Drew tagged for the first time for his turn to do some corner stomps. Drew punched Butch off the apron. Kofi with a dropkick on Ridge. Sheamus distracted the referee, Butch got in a cheap shot on Kofi and Holland hit a running slam on Kofi. They went to break with the heels in control.
Butch was holding onto Kofi to prevent a tag, then Holland threw Butch into Kofi and Holland hit a powerslam. Sheamus jumped off the top rope with a knee drop on Kofi for a two count. Sheamus went for the backbreaker, but Kofi countered it into a DDT. Butch pulled Woods off the apron while Holland pulled Drew off the apron and Ridge whipped Drew into the steel steps. Sheamus hit an Alabama Slam on Kofi for a two count. Kofi with some body shots to Sheamus followed by the SOS slam. Drew was back on the apron looked angry with the fans coming alive as Drew got the hot tag. Drew with a clothesline on Holland, then a back elbow and a belly-to-belly suplex. Drew gave Butch a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Drew hit a neckbreaker on Holland. Butch jumped on Drew’s back, but Drew dumped him over the top to the floor. Woods kicked Butch on the floor, Sheamus kicked Woods with a Brogue Kick and Kofi hit a dive over the top on Sheamus. Drew hit a headbutt on Holland followed by a Claymore Kick. Woods jumped off the top rope and hit an elbow drop on Holland for the pinfall win. It went about 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston
Analysis: ***1/2 A great main event tag team match with the obvious result of the faces getting the win. They built it up well with Drew getting the hot tag for the win although he let Woods get the win in order to get some payback for the long term feud that New Day has had with these guys. Sheamus and crew worked well with them.
Post match, Kofi and Woods wanted Drew to celebrate with them. Kofi did some dancing while Woods played the trombone. Drew wasn’t sure about dancing, but the fans encouraged it and Drew did some strutting, dancing and a little spin for some reason. Drew celebrated with New Day to end the show.
Analysis: A happy ending to the show although it was a bit awkward watching Drew try to dance there. At least he tried.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston
- The Usos
- Ronda Rousey & Raquel Rodriguez
5.75 out of 10
Last week: 7
It felt like an average show. There were a lot of tag team matches this week. The main event six-man tag team match was clearly the best match on the show and Drew McIntyre stood out with a dominant performance for his team. I liked the promo by The Usos before they were confronted. That was great. The Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn thing was fun too.
They haven’t really pushed anything on the Smackdown side for the Hell in a Cell PLE, which is strange to me. I understand Roman Reigns being off if WWE thinks that’s the best move, but what about the rest the blue brand? That’s why Smackdown just doesn’t feel that important right now. It’s not the fault of the talent. I think the creative team is letting them down.
Also, congrats to Shanky for those sweet dance moves.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, June 5th. Here’s what we know so far.
* Hell in a Cell Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins
* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
* Bobby Lashley vs. Omos & MVP
* Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel
You can watch WWE Hell in a Cell, streaming live Sunday, June 5, 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 Blue Jays. My contact info is below.