The John Report: WWE Smackdown 06/02/23 Review

wwe smackdown june 2

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured a Roman Reigns celebration, plus more Money in the Bank qualifying matches.

It’s the first Smackdown episode since Night of Champions last Saturday, which was a huge night for The Bloodline since Jimmy Uso superkicked Roman Reigns twice during a tag team match. Plus, Asuka beat Bianca Belair to win the Raw Women’s Championship. They are both Smackdown wrestlers.

From the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, this is Smackdown for episode #1241. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show started with Michael Cole and Wade Barrett shown at ringside welcoming us to the show. They let us know there’s going to be the celebration of Roman Reigns.

A Roman Reigns tribute video aired (it was narrated by Paul Heyman) showing highlights of his 1,000+ day reign as the Universal Champion. They showed images of past champions that had lengthy reigns including CM Punk with a 434-day WWE Title reign. Reigns added the WWE Championship to it about 14 months ago at WrestleMania 38 in 2022. On the 945th day, Reigns retained his championship for the third straight WrestleMania at WM39 against Cody Rhodes. Heyman said it was time to acknowledge the championship reigns of Roman Reigns.

Analysis: Great video. It covered a lot with Heyman doing a brilliant job with the narration as well.

They showed a highlight of WrestleMania 37 when Roman Reigns beat Edge and Danial Bryan to retain the Universal Title. They didn’t show that Reigns was helped by Jey Uso in that match.

Let’s Hear from Austin Theory

Austin Theory, the United States Champion, was in the ring welcoming us to “Austin Theory Live.” Theory said it’s the celebration of your Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. Theory said if you combined Roman’s reign with the greatest US Champion Austin Theory’s title reign then it would be 1,209 days. Theory said it’s almost as inspiring as being the guy that beat John Cena at WrestleMania. Theory said you know we’ll have a big celebration for him because if they keep giving him guys like Sheamus, he’ll keep that title for a long time. Theory said he’s 25 and he’s this great already. Theory introduced his tag team partners Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson. It sounds like new music for them.

Pretty Deadly said that they liked taking out the Brawling Brutes last week. Pretty Deadly said “yes boy” while pointing at Theory.

The Brawling Brutes entered for tag team action with the fans cheering them.

The Brawling Brutes – Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch vs. Austin Theory and Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

If you don’t know much about Pretty Deadly, Prince is the blonde guy and Wilson is the brunette. Ridge with a corner clothesline on Prince and then Butch tagged in with a dropkick. Prince drove Butch to the turnbuckle, so Wilson tagged in with a corner splash. The crowd was chanting for Sheamus as Butch hit Wilson with a clothesline. Butch stomped on Wilson’s hands. Theory called for Sheamus to come in, so the fans popped for Sheamus getting the tag. The show went to break there.


The match continued with Prince working over Butch, who tried some finger-snapping until Prince punched Butch. Theory tagged in with punches and Wilson was next with an uppercut. Butch fought back against Prince with a kick followed by Butch jumping off the middle rope with a Tornado DDT. Sheamus got the hot tag to a big pop against Theory. Sheamus with shoulder tackles, a clothesline and a powerslam. Theory got a rollup on Sheamus when Sheamus was going after the PD guys. Sheamus hit three straight backbreakers on the three opponents. All three Brutes hit the White Noise slam on all three opponents. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Theory near the ropes, so PD pulled Theory out of the ring. Holland with a knock down on the floor and Sheamus with a clothesline on the floor. Butch hit a moonsault off the middle rope onto the heels. That was impressive as the show went to break.


It continued with Butch hitting a German Suplex on Prince, then Butch hit multiple enziguri kicks and Ridge hit a clothesline. Ridge and Butch hit an elevated Powerbomb on Prince. Sheamus tagged in with a knee drop off the top for two. Sheamus tried a power move but Prince got out of it and PD hit a double team with a double knee attack. Theory hit a spinning slam off the shoulders for two. Sheamus knocked down Theory with a clothesline. There were moves from Ridge on Prince, then Wilson and Butch to knock them all out of the ring. Theory tried a jumping attack, but Sheamus hit him with a knee to the jaw. Ridge tagged in against Prince with a double powerslam on the PD guys. The Brutes all did the forearm smashes to the chest of their opponents. Holland hit a sitout powerslam on Wilson for two because Theory made the save. Theory with A-Town Down to Butch and then Theory shoved Sheamus into the ring post. PD outsmarted Ridge using the ring apron and hit the Spilt Milk (spinebuster/neckbreaker) combo and Theory tagged in to pin Ridge for the win. It went 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Austin Theory and Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Analysis: ***1/2 A great tag team match that got a lot of time for a TV match since it went three segments. I like Theory with Pretty Deadly as three egotistical heels that can work together at times to pick up some wins. I’m not saying they should be a stable, but they can certainly be allies that are together sometimes. The Brutes are good as a team and popular with the fans. The tandem spots like triple White Noise and triple forearms to the chest are unique. It’s illegal I guess, but guys do leave the ring quickly in WWE compared to other companies. I think the win by Theory & PD was the right call to establish Pretty Deadly as threats.

There was a video package about the Tag Team Title match at Night of Champions with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn beating Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa because The Usos got involved. The Usos accidentally superkicked Solo and then Jimmy intentionally superkicked Reigns, which led to Sami & Kevin beating Solo to win.

Paul Heyman was shown with the WWE and Universal Titles walking backstage as he went into the dressing room of Roman Reigns.


The Undertaker’s 1 Deadman Show is headed to the UK for the first four days of July. Tickets are on sale now.

Paul Heyman was shown talking to Solo Sikoa with Paul saying they need to make this special for the Tribal Chief. Solo just looked ahead without saying anything. Paul said he’d go talk to Adam Pearce to make sure that The Usos are nowhere to be found so this is the night we can acknowledge Roman Reigns. Paul celebrated while Solo said nothing.

Analysis: They are trying to tell the story that The Usos won’t be there, so we have to keep watching to see if The Usos show up later for Roman’s celebration. It’s smart to do segments like that to tease it coming up later.

They showed highlights of Seth “Freakin” Rollins (I almost wrote Franklin since I listen to Jim Cornette sometimes and he says “Franklin”) beating AJ Styles to win the World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions.

Earlier today, The OC was shown hanging out backstage with AJ Styles saying it was his birthday (he’s 46). Karl Anderson said that The OC will always have his back. Styles wants to see them take out Hit Row.

The OC’s Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows entered for a tag team match with AJ Styles & Michin joining them.


A video aired showing highlights of Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2022. Another match where Reigns got a lot of help from The Usos, but they didn’t show that. I’m sensing a pattern.

The OC – Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows (w/AJ Styles & Michin) vs. Hit Row – Top Dolla & Ashante Thee Adonis (w/B-Fab)

Adonis clotheslined Anderson. Dolla tagged in, Adonis with a shoulder tackle and Dolla elbowed Anderson to knock him down. Dolla with some choking across the middle rope and Adonis hit a splash on Anderson’s back leading to B-Fab getting a cheap shot punch. Adonis grabbed a chinlock, but Karl got out of that and hit a spinebuster. Gallows tagged in with a kick, boot to the face and an uppercut punch. Gallows with a kick followed by a running elbow. Gallows with a running shoulder tackle and a lifting slam off the shoulders. The OC hit the Magic Killer on Adonis with Anderson pinning Adonis for the win. It went three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The OC – Karl Anderson & Gallows

Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for The OC. Karl sold for a few minutes, Gallows with the hot tag and it was over quickly. I don’t remember the last time Hit Row won a match.

After the match, Dolla attacked Anderson and Gallows with cheap shots, so Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Dolla to take him out. The fans popped big for that.

Analysis: That move is great every time Styles does it so that will always get a strong reaction.

The WWE Official Adam Pearce was shown in his office. Pearce told Heyman that The Usos won’t be there and he doubled security, so if The Usos show up they won’t get into the festivities. Heyman seemed content as he called Roman Reigns about it.

The ring crew was shown setting up the Grayson Waller talk show set.


This Monday on Raw: Seth Rollins defends the new World Heavyweight Title against Damian Priest. Seth issued an open challenge and Priest accepted.

Grayson Waller Effect with Asuka

Grayson Waller was in the ring hosting his talk show with Mike Rome doing a big introduction. Waller said this was the most honest talk show in WWE. Waller introduced the new Raw Women’s Champion Asuka, who is now a heel.

Asuka sat down with Waller while they showed highlights of Asuka beating Bianca Belair to win the Raw Women’s Title at Night of Champions. Asuka put the dreaded mist into Belair’s eyes to “blind” Belair and Asuka finished off Belair with two kicks after that.

Asuka spoke in Japanese and then said she was Raw Women’s Champion. Waller pointed out the Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring. Waller said maybe some women will try to cash in on Asuka and maybe Bianca Belair will come after the championship. Asuka spoke in Japanese, Waller laughed about it and said it was so smart to see what Belair did at Night of Champions. Asuka had blue mist in her mouth.

Iyo Sky showed up for a Japanese promo of her own as she went into the ring with Asuka. It led to Asuka ranting in Japanese some more. They were yelling at eachother.

Bayley was next. Cole: “There go the ratings.” Bayley said when they both qualify, one of them is going to win Money in the Bank. Bayley said a member of Damage CTRL will win that championship after Money in the Bank.

Shotzi was next to say there’s nothing she would like more than to crush Bayley’s dreams with steel. Shotzi claimed she was made for the Money in the Bank chaos.

Lacey Evans was next up telling Shotzi to salute her. Evans said that contract is coming home to her. Evans said that first she has to wrap her cobra clutch around that shrimp Zelina Vega.

Zelina Vega of the LWO said they are all underestimating her. Vega said that Rhea Ripley underestimated her and Vega was “this close” to become the champion. Vega trashed Evans and told the m all to underestimate her because it will be that much sweeter when she becomes Miss Money in the Bank. All the women were arguing with Waller saying it was the best night of his life and wanted more girls.

Asuka was in the aisle saying nobody was ready for Asuka. Bianca Belair finally showed up to brawl with Asuka. There were WWE Officials and referees that showed up to break it up.

Analysis: A lot of quick promos about how they are going to win MITB. We tend to see that every year. It was okay, but nothing really stood out.


A video was shown about how Rhea Ripley has two million followers on TikTok, which is the most of anybody in WWE. I’m too old for TikTok. I decided that myself. Don’t convince me otherwise.

A brief clip was shown of Baron Corbin attacking Carmelo Hayes in NXT.

Cameron Grimes was shown talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce saying the next time Corbin shows up on Smackdown, he’s going to handle it.

Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Lacey Evans vs. Zelina Vega

Evans did a Woman’s Right punch to Vega during the break. Evans did some aggressive choking and a corner splash for a two count. Evans tossed Vega down. Vega with a headscissors along with a boot to the head. Vega with a kick, but Evans hit a clothesline for two. Evans kicked Vega down followed by a chinlock. Vega backed Evans into the turnbuckle. Vega jumped on Lacey’s back and hit a Code Red slam for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Zelina Vega

Analysis: *1/2 The match was mostly Evans on offense until Vega hit a couple of moves to find a way to win with the Code Red. While I like how Evans looks and thinks she can be a good heel if she was used more often, she just isn’t getting much TV time these days. Vega has done well since being a face with the LWO, so it made sense that she won.

The win means that Zelina Vega is in the Women’s Money in the Bank match.

A Roman Reigns video aired showing Roman beating Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber earlier in this year. Cole mentioned what I pointed out earlier about how The Usos interference is not shown in any of the videos. Good stuff.


Santos Escobar and the LWO were backstage with Escobar saying they were so proud of you. Rey Mysterio said that Santos and Zelina were both going to hold the Money in the Bank briefcases.

Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Montez Ford vs. LA Knight

Montez Ford was joined by Angelo Dawkins, but then Dawkins went to the back. There was a strong reaction for Knight. The fans are really starting to like the guy.

Ford and Knight shoved eachother leading to Ford hitting a shoulder tackle. Knight ran the ropes leading to Ford hitting a dropkick. Knight sent Ford to the barricade, but Knight punched Ford off the apron leading to a break.


The match continued with Ford and Knight exchanging punches. Ford hit a clothesline along with an uppercut. Ford with a running clothesline and a belly to back suplex. Knight avoided a standing moonsault, Knight put Ford on his shoulders and Knight hit a neckbreaker off the shoulders. Knight knocked down Ford with an elbow smash. Knight went for a moonsault off the top, Ford hit a jumping kick and a Rock Bottom for two. There were “LA Knight” chants from the crowd. Knight and Ford did a double clothesline spot. Knight sent Ford to the apron, Ford with a jumping kick and Ford went up top, but Knight punched him there. Knight jumped up top with Ford, who did a headbutt. Ford jumped off the top, Knight moved and Knight rolled up Ford along with a rope grab for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: LA Knight

Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match. The finish was fitting for a heel like Knight because cheating to win makes sense for his character. What’s weird about it is that fans are cheering Knight a lot these days. Ford losing isn’t a shock since he’s a tag team guy although I think a lot of us would like to see Ford as a singles star within the next year or two.

The win by LA Knight means he joins Ricochet and Shinsuke Nakamura in the Money in the Bank match. It looks like there will be six guys in the match.

After the match, LA Knight climbed a ladder under the MITB briefcases to celebrate the win.

Analysis: I think LA Knight will be a popular pick to win Money in the Bank. He might be my pick. I like him the most among the three choices so far.

A creepy video aired about Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn saying “The Unholy Union is Here.” It was quick.

Triple H made his entrance in a suit with the fans popping or him as the “King of Kings” song played in the building.

The next Roman Reigns video was shown with highlights of his win at WrestleMania 39 when he beat Cody Rhodes thanks to an assist from Solo Sikoa in that match.

The celebration of Roman Reigns begins next.


There are four more Money in the Bank qualifying matches next week.

Roman Reigns Championship Celebration

Triple H was in the ring while there was a podium in the ring that was covering a new championship. Hunter mentioned the greatness of Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan as two of the greatest athletes of all time. Hunter compared Roman Reigns to them saying that this is a man that you will tell your children about and he introduced us to the Tribal Chief, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

The “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns made his entrance wearing a special jacket that had “1000” on it along with Superman Punch logo. Reigns was wearing the WWE Title and Paul Heyman presented the Universal Title like he did so many times. Solo Sikoa was there with Reigns. Cole said in three weeks tomorrow, Reigns will pass Pedro Morales on the list of longest title reigns. The three men that will be ahead of him after that are Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. Reigns took his time getting into the ring as usual. Reigns shook hands with Triple H in the ring and Heyman shook Hunter’s hand as well.

Triple H congratulated Roman on surpassing 1000 days as champion. Hunter said that hasn’t been accomplished in WWE in almost 40 years. Hunter said that it was his honor to present Roman with a brand new Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Hunter unveiled it.

The new Undisputed WWE Universal Championship was presented to Reigns, who looked at it and Heyman took the WWE Title off Reigns. Roman held up the new Undisputed WWE Universal Championship as pyro went off in the arena. Triple H put the title around the waist of Reigns.

Analysis: I think the title looks great. There’s more gold on it and it looks similar to the WWE/Universal Titles in terms of the design. Now Reigns only has to carry around one title instead of two titles. I like it. I assume the lineage takes over the WWE Title since there’s 60 years of history there while the Universal Title was only around for about seven years.

Roman Reigns started the promo: “The entire universe…acknowledge me!” The fans booed and cheered Reigns, but then The Usos music hit.

The Usos arrived by the entrance area, Cole shouted about how Heyman said they weren’t invited and that led to a commercial.

Analysis: That’s an awkward spot for the commercial, but with more than 15 minutes left in the show they had to go to it there.


The Bloodline WWE Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns Celebration Continues

The Usos were standing in the ring with Roman Reigns. Jimmy was face to face with Roman, who had the new WWE Championship around his waist. Reigns told Jey to kick Jimmy in the face. Reigns repeated himself telling Jey to kick Jimmy in the face. Reigns said that’s what Jimmy did to Reigns so fix this Jey and kick Jimmy in the face. Jey didn’t do it. Reigns yelled at Jey to kick him in the face and fix this.

Jimmy said that the only one that needs fixing is you, Roman. Jimmy said that Jey can’t fix this. Jimmy said he kicked Roman in the face because he was being a brother. Jimmy said that brothers treat brothers with love and respect and lately, Roman hasn’t been such of a good brother. Jimmy wonders what kind of brother beats down and betrays his own family. Jimmy told Roman that he protects his brother Jey. Jimmy told Solo that he will protect him too. Jimmy told Solo that Roman will abuse him too and Jimmy will be there for Solo because Jimmy is Solo’s brother. The fans were chanting “Uso.”

Roman said that the fans were chanting “Uso” because of him. Roman said that Jimmy is talking like he’s a leader. Roman said they should hear from Solo about who he runs with around here. Reigns handed Solo the microphone.

Solo thought it and slowly spoke: “I acknowledge you, my Tribal Chief.” Solo said that those two are his brothers. Solo handed the microphone to Reigns and Solo walked beside The Usos, who celebrated Solo standing beside them.

Jimmy asked Reigns if he wants to run this thing with them with respect or land on the island of relevancy by himself. Reigns told Jimmy to shut his mouth, so Jimmy shoved Reigns in the face. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Jey stood in front of Jimmy and Roman. Jey said not like this. Jey told Jimmy and Roman they need eachother. Jey said that they are family and they can’t fight like this. Jimmy said that Jey is right. Jimmy said they are stronger together. Jimmy said Jey and Solo are his brothers but so is Roman. Jimmy said they can do this together, have respect and run this place like they’ve been doing it together. Jimmy said they are still The Ones, right? Reigns was wiping his eyes with his hand as he thought about all this. Reigns hugged Jimmy and it looked like Reigns was crying, but then Reigns said: “No.”

Solo hit Jimmy with a Samoan Spike to show that Solo was loyal to Reigns after all. Reigns left the ring with Heyman was Solo stared down at his brother Jimmy while Jey checked on Jimmy.

Analysis: That was terrific. When I’m watching this show, I want to focus on so many things going on in segments like this, but while writing I’m trying to recap it for you and I’m sorry if I missed anything in there. I think Jimmy’s promo was terrific, then it looked like Roman was going to agree to work with The Usos again and then Reigns simply said “no.” That’s when I knew Solo was going to attack Jimmy because you know it’s going to be 2 on 2 to set up a huge tag team match between them. It was booked really well. The crowd was hanging on every word they said and reacted to all the drama perfectly. Jey played a key role here as well because he was loyal to Jimmy throughout the segment, but Jey wants to be on good terms with Reigns too, so Jey was a bit divided for sure. I thought it was excellent.

While Reigns, Solo and Heyman were by the entrance, Heyman asked Reigns what about Jey? Reigns told Heyman that Jey will fall in line like he always does. Reigns, Solo and Heyman walked to the back while Jey and Jimmy were alone in the ring. End show.

Analysis: That will be an interesting story point moving forward. I think we’ll see Reigns-Solo against The Usos at Money in the Bank and then Reigns will think that Jey will side with him against Jimmy, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen for Jey. Anyway, the story continues to be the best thing in all of WWE and continues to have so many layers to it. I’m enjoying it immensely.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns, The Usos & Solo Sikoa
  2. Austin Theory & Pretty Deadly
  3. LA Knight


The Scoreboard

8 out of 10

Last week: 7

2023 Average: 7.24


Final Thoughts

A great show overall. I didn’t mind the last 30 minutes being dedicated to the Roman Reigns celebration. Having Triple H present Roman with a brand new Undisputed WWE Universal Title was a great move because it’s better than carrying around two tiles if you are going to merge them. After that, Jimmy Uso tried to reason with Reigns to work together, but Reigns said no and Solo Sikoa hit his brother Jimmy with a Samoan Spike to show Solo’s loyalty to Reigns. Meanwhile, Jey is loyal to his brother Jimmy, but also frustrated about the whole situation. The story is so awesome. I love it. I assume we’ll get The Usos against Reigns/Solo at Money in the Bank, so that should be an amazing atmosphere in England when that match happens.

The six-man tag early in the show was great with Austin Theory & Pretty Deadly getting a crafty win over The Brawling Brutes. I really like LA Knight qualifying for Money in the Bank by beating Montez Ford. Knight cheated to win even though he is getting more cheers every week. Other matches on the show were okay, but nothing that special.

I was very entertained by the show. It’s not always about having amazing matches for two hours. You need to have the good matches, which it had, but also have entertaining storyline advancement and we got plenty of that in the main event.


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