The John Report: WWE Smackdown 06/30/23 Review

wwe smackdown june 30

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured The Bloodline family drama in the main event, plus the Tag Team Titles and Women’s Title on the line as well.

It’s the last Smackdown before Money in the Bank non Saturday, which the TJRWrestling team previewed here. It’s back to back nights for WWE in London, England in front of one of the best crowds in the world.

From the O2 Arena in London, England, this is Smackdown for episode #1245. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

They showed a packed house with Michael Cole saying it 18,617 fans sold out in London. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett, who is from England, were on commentary as usual for the blue brand as they hyped up what’s coming up on the show.

It was Undisputed Tag Team Title match time to start the show with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn getting a big pop for their entrance. There was a long aisle in the arena with a curve to it. The fans were singing Zayn’s song even after it stopped playing. Pretty Deadly are from England, but the fans didn’t seem to like them much. There’s a bright disco ball above the ring for PD’s entrance.

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Pretty Deadly – Kit Wilson & Elton Prince

Zayn decided to wrestle in a SZ t-shirt for this match. Zayn and Wilson battled over an armbar, Wilson put Zayn against the ropes and Prince hit Zayn with a forearm to the back when the referee wasn’t looking. Prince tagged in to send Zayn face first into the hood of the commentary table.


Wilson was legal with a knee drop on Zayn. Prince tagged in to prevent a tag, but Zayn did a back body drop on him and Owens tagged in with punches/kicks along with a punch on Wilson on the apron. Owens with a clothesline on Prince, a punch on Wilson and Owens ran around the ring with clotheslines as the fans cheered. Owens hit a senton on Wilson on the floor. Owens superkicked Prince leading to a cannonball splash into the turnbuckle. Owens was favoring his left ankle a bit as he hit a Swanton Bomb on Prince for two with Wilson making the save. When Owens went for a Stunner, Prince shoved Owens away and Wilson attacked Zayn by sending Sami into the steel steps. Prince did a chop block to Owens on the lower left leg and Wilson tagged in with a double knee attack (Dry Martini according to Wade) for two. Prince was back in with the Spilt Milk finishing move (spinebuster/neckbreaker) for a two count because Zayn made the save. Owens sent Wilson out of the ring and Owens hit a German Suplex across the ring. Zayn got the tag against Wilson with Sami hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for two, which is the usual for that move. Wilson did an eye poke to Zayn, the referee was looking at Zayn and Prince switched into the ring. Wilson snuck up behind Zayn with a rollup for two. Zayn came back with an Exploder Suplex to send Wilson into the turnbuckle. Owens back in with a Stunner to Prince and Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Wilson for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 A competitive tag team match with the challengers nearly getting the win, but they couldn’t get the job done. Zayn was on fire after he got that late tag and finished off PD for the win. I don’t know if Owens legit hurt his left ankle or what happened, but they got through it and that’s what matters. Having competitive matches for the titles like that is what you need to do to establish KO & Sami as fighting babyface champions. I think Wilson & Prince are future champions, but it’s just not their time yet.

A replay was shown of last week when Solo Sikoa faced Sheamus in the main event. Solo knocked out Sheamus with a running hip attack against the barricade.

There was an interview with WWE Official Adam Pearce talking to Megan Morant earlier in the day. Sheamus and The Brawling Brutes interrupted Pearce. Ridge Holland wanted to fight Solo Sikoa, but Pearce said Solo is busy tonight. Pearce told Theory he can face Theory tonight.

Austin Theory made his entrance as the United States Champion for singles action.


Ridge Holland aka Ridge the Fridge is from England, so the fans were strongly behind him. Sheamus & Butch walked out with Ridge, but then they went to the back.

Austin Theory vs. Ridge Holland

It’s a Championship Contender’s match, so if Holland wins then he earns a US Title match.

Holland was aggressive early with forearms to the back along with an uppercut to the jaw. Holland blocked Theory going for a shoulder to the gut and Holland hit a double underhook suplex for two. Theory came back by sending Holland hard into the turnbuckle. Theory hit Holland with a forearm to the head. Holland hit a clothesline followed by a few overhead suplexes. Ridge hooked both arms leading to another overhead suplex. Theory left the ring, used the ropes to the throat and Theory hit a roll through dropkick to the throat for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory

Analysis: ** That was quick. It was also weird to see Theory win with his rolling dropkick, but the story was that Ridge had a throat injury after Solo Sikoa attacked him last week. I just thought it was a flat finish for Theory to win with that move.

After the match, Theory attacked Holland with forearms, so Sheamus ran out for the save. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick and Theory ducked it, so Theory left the ring. No sign of Butch there as Theory backed away.

Analysis: Theory hasn’t had any sort of rivalry for a few months now, so I hope they can find a babyface to feud with Theory soon. Later in the show we found out it’s Theory vs. Sheamus for the US Title next week.


Killer Kross was backstage for a promo with Scarlett standing alongside him. Kross said it felt phenomenal when he beat Styles with only three moves. Kross aid next week it’s check mate…tick tock.

Analysis: It was a tainted win with Scarlett providing a distraction leading to Kross beating Styles.

There was a lengthy video package about The Bloodline’s issues going back to the summer of 2020 when Roman Reigns started the Tribal Chief gimmick with Paul Heyman. They showed all the great moments of Roman with The Usos together. They added Solo Sikoa last September as well. This was about the family, so they didn’t show Sami Zayn’s involvement. However, things fell apart with Jimmy Uso superkicking Roman Reigns last month at Night of Champions. Jey joined Jimmy against Roman a few weeks ago on Smackdown. The crowd reactions for these moments have been amazing.

Analysis: Tremendous video package covering The Bloodline story very well. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. The tag team match at Money in the Bank should be great too.

Bayley and IYO SKY made their entrance for Bayley’s match with her Money in the Bank spot on the line.


Bayley (w/IYO SKY) vs. Shotzi

If Shotzi wins then she takes Bayley’s spot inside the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This was supposed to be last week, but Vince McMahon changed it.

The fans were singing “Hey Bayley, I wanna know if you’ll be my girl” during the match as usual for the British fans around Bayley. It’s a classic song that they like to sing for Bayley. Shotzi hit a bulldog, then a forearm and kick to the head. Bayley bailed to the floor, Shotzi hit a suicide dive and hit Sky to knock her down. Back in the ring, Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly slam for two as Zelina Vega was watching backstage. The fans kept singing the Bayley song. Bayley went for a suplex, but Bayley countered it with a DDT. Shotzi hit a running knee in the corner. Bayley avoided an enziguri kick and Bayley sent Shotzi to the turnbuckle. Bayley got a rollup for two. Shotzi hit a running back splash on Bayley’s back and Shotzi hit a Sliced Bread neckbreaker for two. Sky put Bayley’s foot on the ropes for the two count. Bayley raked Shotzi’s eyes while the referee was looking at Sky and Bayley hit a Roseplant on Shotzi for the pinfall win. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: ** It was an obvious win for Bayley with Shotzi getting plenty of offense in the match. Bayley did the eye gouging followed by the Roseplant for the easy win. Simple enough. Sky and Bayley worked well together even though there have been teases of problems in the past.

A Progressive Match Flo replay showed a Raw video from two weeks ago when Logan Paul announced he’s the seventh man in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

The Grayson Waller Effect with Logan Paul as the guest is next.


Still to come: The Usos go face to face with Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa.

Bayley and IYO SKY were backstage talking about their victory. Shotzi went up to them saying she’s not done with them. Bayley and Sky double teamed Shotzi and suplexed Shotzi onto table that didn’t break. Sky held Shotzi down, so Bayley used scissors to cut some of Shotzi’s hair. Bayley and Sky left.

Analysis: I guess that means we’ll see Shotzi with an altered look next week.

Grayson Waller Effect with Logan Paul

Grayson Waller said that his guest tonight is one of the fastest rising start in WWE and in the UK he made KSI famous. Waller introduced social media megastar Logan Paul, who was booed heavily by the crowd. Paul is in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Saturday’s MITB show.

Waller said that the London fans love Logan (heels lie). Waller asked Paul what it would mean to him to guarantee a contract against any champion. Paul said that his dreams won’t end until he has a title around his belt (I think he meant waist). Paul said maybe he could go after Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns or maybe even smack LA Knight with the briefcase.

LA Knight made his entrance to a HUGE pop! What a crowd reaction for LA Knight. Knight said that Logan has proven a lot with what he’s been given. Knight spoke about how he wasn’t given anything, but everywhere he goes, he’s got them on their feet. Knight got into the ring saying the odds are on him because he’s the megastar with everybody saying “LA Knight.”

Logan Paul said that Knight was supposed to be a manager in WWE after a lackluster 20-year career. The fans chanted for Knight again. Knight told London to tell Paul whose game this is and the fans chanted “LA Knight.” Paul said they are drunk and they should go home.

Santos Escobar joined the promo party. Escobar said that he’s the one that needs this. Escobar said both members of the LWO will be holding Money in the Bank briefcases.

Butch, who is from England, ran out to the ring and attacked Paul with punches. Paul picked up Butch and they went fighting over the commentary table. They went to break.

Analysis: It was the typical promo fest before Money in the Bank. What stood out the most was the pop for LA Knight for his entrance and during his speech. The fans absolutely love Knight at this point. I don’t think WWE can keep Knight as a heel for much longer because the ovations keep getting louder and the fans are spouting his lines for him, so that tells me Knight should be a babyface very soon. I’ll give Paul some credit for the line about Knight being a former manager because that’s a good dig at the megastar Knight too. Since Knight played into the crowd more here, I think maybe he’s embracing the face role now. We’ll find out more at Money in the Bank.


Santos Escobar vs. Butch vs. LA Knight

This is another match that was scheduled last week, but it was changed. Butch and Escobar were exchanging moves in the ring. Knight went into the ring and dropped both guys with DDTs while Paul was out on the floor watching the match. Knight stomped on Butch with “Yeah” chants and Knight hit a running knee on Escobar. Knight hit a shoulder tackle knocking Escobar down. Butch with a kick to Knight, but Knight lifted up Butch and it was a rough landing on the head/neck for Butch. Escobar got some offense with a headscissors on Knight and a double knee attack on both guys. Escobar with a hurricanrana off the ropes for a two count as Knight broke up the pin. Knight hit a powerslam on Escobar. Knight hit a running elbow drop for two. Knight argued with Paul on the floor. Escobar hit a suicide dive on Paul after Knight moved. Escobar knocked Knight down on the floor. Escobar jumped off the top towards Butch, but Butch hit him with a forearm. Butch hit Bitter End for the pinfall win on Escobar. It went four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Butch

Analysis: **1/2 The match was fast-paced with plenty of action. Escobar taking out Paul on the floor was a good spot just to involve Paul in the match. I think Knight and Paul arguing on the floor was a good spot to book for a match like this because fans will want to them interact in the MITB match. Butch winning is fine with me since he stopped Escobar’s top rope attack and hit the Bitter End to win.

Post match, Butch tried to set up a ladder to climb up and grab the briefcase, but Knight knocked Butch down. Paul pulled Knight down and sent him into the turnbuckle. Butch was back up and clotheslined Paul out of the ring Butch climbed the ladder and grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase as the fans cheered.

Analysis: LA Knight is the most popular guy in the Money in the Bank match most likely, but Butch will be cheered by the fans since he’s from England.

AJ Styles was backstage with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles said that if Karrion Kross can’t keep his “poodle” on a leash then Styles has somebody that will. That’s when Michin walked in to support Styles. AJ said that he accepts Karrion’s challenge.

Charlotte Flair entered wearing a robe as usual. Cole put over Flair as a megastar since she’s a 14-time Women’s Champion. Barrett mentioned LA Knight was the megastar and she’s The Queen. That match is next.


Asuka made her entrance as the WWE Women’s Champion. They stood in the ring for Mike Rome’s championship introductions. Bianca Belair was barred from ringside, but she bought a ticket and sat in the front row.

WWE Women’s Champion: Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair

Flair worked over Asuka with chops, but Asuka came back with a German Suplex. Flair suplexed Asuka. Flair charged, but Asuka hit double knees to the face (sort of). Asuka tried a pin and lair hit a boot to the head. Flair went up top, Asuka pulled her off the top and Asuka avoided a boot. Asuka hit backstabber double knees to the back.


Flair went up top while Asuka was on the mat, Asuka avoided the moonsault and blocked the double moonsault attempt. Asuka got a rollup for two. Flair bounced off the ropes with a Spear for two. Asuka rolled out of the ring near where Belair was. Flair went up top while Asuka was on the floor and Flair jumped off with the moonsault where her arm grazed Asuka. Flair chopped Asuka repeatedly right in front of Belair. Flair went back into the ring to break the count and Asuka pulled Belair in front of her, so Flair kicked Belair with a big boot. Flair suplexed Asuka on the apron. Belair jumped the railing and punched Asuka so there’s the DQ finish. It went about seven minutes total.

Winner by disqualification: Asuka

Analysis: **1/2 It’s unfortunate that WWE spent several weeks building this title match and then the women only got about four minutes of TV time in addition to the three minutes of commercials. Since Belair has complained about a lack of a title shot, it makes sense that she was mad. Asuka pulled Belair in the way of Flair’s kick, so that’s why Belair went after Asuka.

Bianca Belair beat up Asuka with repeated punches to the back. Flair was angry in the ring. Belair cleared off the commentary table. Flair went up to Belair saying this was “my match.” Flair argued with Belair while the fans chanted “we want tables.” Flair put her hand in Belair’s face, so Belair told Flair to get her hand out of Belair’s face. Belair punched Flair, so Flair punched back. Belair avoided charging Flair, who went running into the steel steps. Belair grabbed Asuka and gave Asuka a KOD onto the announce table. It didn’t break the table. Belair grabbed Flair and gave Flair a KOD onto Asuka on the table. Belair stood on the table (it did not break) to celebrate.

Analysis: Good aggression shown by Belair, who has a right to be mad about not getting a title rematch before Flair got her title match. I think all of that likely means we will see a triple threat match between Asuka-Flair-Belair at SummerSlam. Since they did this angle, this is also why WWE didn’t put this title match on Money in the Bank and instead did it on TV to further the angle. It also could mean that Bianca Belair could be going heel because those actions were definitely heelish, but maybe it’s just a way to give Belair more of an edge.

The Bloodline family drama was next.


The announcers did a rundown of the seven matches at Money in the Bank.

* World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor

* Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: LA Knight vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet vs. Butch vs. Santos Escobar vs. Damian Priest vs. Logan Paul

* Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Bayley vs. Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark vs. IYO SKY vs. Trish Stratus

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Matt Riddle

* Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

* Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio – It was mentioned by Cole that this is the “massive main event” of Money in the Bank, so that could mean it goes on last.

Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion wearing the new gold title while Paul Heyman had the WWE & Universal Titles on his shoulders. Solo Sikoa was with them. Rolo had a new shirt that simply says: “The Only One.” The announcers argued about the storyline with Barrett saying that Reigns was betrayed by his family while Cole claimed that Reigns bulled his cousins. When Reigns and company got into the ring to raise his titles, the pyro went off in the arena. The promo time is next.


Next week on Smackdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City:

* Grayson Waller Effect with Edge

* AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross

* Austin Theory defends the US Title against Sheamus

Analysis: A rare WWE TV episode from MSG. It always feels big coming from MSG.

Main Event Promo Time With Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa and The Usos

Reigns: “London…acknowledge me!” The fans offered up a loud reaction with cheers and boos. Reigns said for a long time – maybe two years – he’s allowed his cousins to come out here and say “We The Ones.” Reigns said that the truth is “we ain’t the ones” because Reigns is the one and he’s “The Only One” just like his shirt says. Reigns said that he is the best, the greatest of all time, the Head of the Table and the Tribal Chief. Reigns said that he’s the only one who cares about his cousins and loves The Usos. Reigns claimed he gave them opportunity after opportunity and allowed them into the promised land. Fans chanted “Roman sucks” so Roman said that family that betrays are who sucks. Reigns said that he’s the only one in this family that wants to give them a second chance. Reigns said it’s almost like fathering children because he gives his kids multiple chances. Reigns said that The Usos need to come out here, bow down, acknowledge Reigns and let’s move on.

The Usos made their entrance to a huge ovation. They were wearing their “Down Since Day One Ish” shirts.

Jimmy Uso started the promo from the aisle saying that cousin Roman got this twisted. Jimmy said they are past the acknowledging and the apologizing. Jimmy wondered if Reigns has thought about what happens if he loses. The Usos mentioned Roman was last pinned three years ago and said tomorrow night (it’s almost four years ago since he was pinned since it was late 2019).

Jey said that they are going to war at Money in the Bank. Jey told Roman that when he loses, Roman is the only one out. Jey said that when Roman loses he isn’t going to be The Tribal Chief anymore. Jey said he didn’t want to be Tribal Chief. Jimmy didn’t want to be Tribal Chief either. Jimmy said even though he’s tripping, he has Jimmy’s vote and Jey’s vote too…Solo Sikoa. The fans were chanting “Solo” repeatedly while Reigns was laughing. When Reigns stared at Solo, Reigns stopped laughing.

Roman Reigns told The Usos to shut their mouths talking to him like that. Reigns asked The Usos if they think it’s a game. Jey got on the apron and Reigns told Jey that he is nothing without Reigns. The fans were chanting for Solo again. Jey shoved Reigns and then Jimmy superkicked Reigns. Solo fought with his brother Jimmy on the floor. Jey fought with Reigns in the floor, two security guys were there and they got superkicked by Jey, so Reigns hit a Superman Punch. Jimmy was fighting with Solo on the floor and security/WWE Officials were there. Reigns got a hold of Jimmy to attack him, so Jey ran the ropes and hit a dive over the top onto Reigns & Solo on the floor. Jey was back up to his feet as the show ended there.

Analysis: A good segment as usual featuring The Bloodline guys. I wouldn’t call it an epic segment like some of them have been lately featuring the group, but I did enjoy some of the dialogue for sure. The Usos made an interesting point about how if Roman Reigns loses then The Usos would want their younger brother Solo Sikoa to be the Tribal Chief rather than one of them. Reigns reacted to that with laughter, which Solo saw and the fans started chanting for Solo since they knew it would bother Reigns. That laugh by Reigns is a little thing that furthers the story. All of that makes you wonder if Reigns and Solo will remain on the same page or if Solo will be more loyal to his brothers The Usos. The brawling around the ring to end the show was a nice way to end it with some excitement and chaos to tease what’s going to happen when the tag team match happens at Money in the Bank. I liked how it was booked.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns/Solo Sikoa and The Usos
  2. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
  3. LA Knight


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 7.23


Final Thoughts

It was the usual good episode of Smackdown, but I wouldn’t call it great either. The match quality was a bit weaker with some shorter matches and the Asuka/Flair match having a DQ ending. I did like Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn beating Pretty Deadly in a competitive Tag Team Title match. The triple threat match was also good (they only got five minutes) with Butch beating Santos Escobar with LA Knight also in the match. LA Knight got a huge reaction for his promo segment with Logan Paul, so that was great to see. I don’t think WWE can keep Knight as a heel for much longer.

The Bloodline promo segment in the main event was really effective in terms of having The Usos get under Roman Reigns’ skin by saying they would want Solo Sikoa to be the new Tribal Chief after The Usos beat Roman at Money in the Bank. Roman Reigns sold that idea by laughing, which was disrespectful toward Solo, so that makes fans wonder if Solo will be more loyal to his brothers The Usos. The London crowd chanting and singing for Solo was great to hear too.

The Asuka-Flair match ended in DQ due to Bianca Belair, so that makes me think those three women will have a triple threat match at SummerSlam. There was nothing added to Money in the Bank, but some of the key storylines were furthered.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Money in the Bank on Saturday, July 1st in London, England. Here’s what we know so far:

wwe money in the bank seth rollins finn balor

* Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

* Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: LA Knight vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet vs. Butch vs. Santos Escobar vs. Damian Priest vs. Logan Paul

* World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor

* Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Bayley vs. Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark vs. IYO SKY vs. Trish Stratus

* Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Matt Riddle

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan

You can watch WWE Money in the Bank on Saturday, July 1 at a special start time of 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT, streaming live exclusively 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