The John Report: WWE Smackdown 07/07/23 Review

wwe smackdown july 7

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the Trial of Roman Reigns, Austin Theory defending the US Title against Sheamus, Edge on the Grayson Waller Effect, AJ Styles facing Karrion Kross and more.

It feels like a big Smackdown this week since it’s in Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of a sold out, vocal crowd. It’s also the first SD since Money in the Bank last Saturday when The Usos beat Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa in the main event. When Jey pinned the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Reigns, it was Roman’s first loss in 3.5 years and it was treated like a big deal, as it should.

From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, this is Smackdown for episode #1246. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package showed highlights of the Money in the Bank main event with The Usos beating Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa. I loved Jey Uso doing the low blow kickout on Reigns followed by the double superkick and Uso Splash for the win. Great final shot of Reigns looking frustrated against the side of the ring.

It was a sold out crowd at MSG with Michael Cole announcing 15,182 people in attendance. Cole and Wade Barrett did a rundown of what’s happening on this week’s show.

The Usos host The Trial of Roman Reigns

The Usos made their entrance to a huge pop from the crowd and the fans were singing their theme song. Jimmy and Jey Uso were wearing new shirts that said “The Real Ones” on them. There were “Usos” chants for them. Jey started it off saying The Usos are now in your city.

Jimmy said that they said that he was unbeatable, but guess what happened at Money in the Bank? Jey said “He got beat.” The Usos celebrated that…but here’s the interruption.

Paul Heyman walked out with the WWE and Universal Titles on his shoulders along with Solo Sikoa. Heyman reminded us who he is as the “Wise Man” to the Tribal Chief, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Paul and Solo got into the ring with The Usos.

Heyman said that he is Defense Council in this Tribal Court. The Usos told Paul to shut his mouth. Heyman said that The Usos can’t tell him to stop talking while adding there’s only one man that can tell Paul to stop talking. Solo put his hand on the microphone and threw it to the floor. The fans chanted “Solo” for that.

Here comes the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns taking his time as usual. Reigns has been Universal Champion for 1,041 days with only three men that have held “the title” longer in WWE: Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino, who sold out MSG 187 times according to Cole. Reigns was wearing a red Lei around his neck as he held up the gold Undisputed WWE Universal Title. They went to break.

Analysis: I thought this might go on in the main event spot, but I think when you put it on early it’s a way to give them more time and go into a commercial just like they did here. Solo taking away Paul’s microphone and tossing it to the floor was interesting because I think it was a way of showing that Solo wanted to hear from his brothers The Usos instead of Heyman. Anyway, this segment is what a lot of fans are watching for, so I don’t mind the commercial break in between it.


The Trial of the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns Continued

The fans chanted “you got pinned” at Reigns, who was in the ring with The Usos, Solo and Heyman. Reigns told the fans to acknowledge him leading to the mixed reaction. Reigns said he got pinned, but he’s still the Tribal Chief. Reigns told The Usos that the fans aren’t talking to them. Reigns told both Usos that they aren’t The Tribal Chief. Reigns told Jey he isn’t The Tribal Chief…yet. Reigns claimed that this Tribal Court isn’t legitimate. Reigns asked who has the authority to put him on trial?

Jey said Roman won’t get to manipulate them. Jey told Roman to check out this package and try to spin that.

Exhibit A – A clip of Roman Reigns yelling at The Usos to apologize and shoving Jimmy in the face. They showed more clips of Reigns shoving Jimmy and yelling at him. They showed clips of Reigns yelling at people and even punching Paul Heyman. There were more clips of Reigns bossing people around. Reigns said he runs this and this is all his. The fans booed when it ended.

Analysis: A good video reminding us just how great of a villain that Reigns is.

The fans chanted “you f**ked up” and Reigns said “no I didn’t” so the fans chanted “yes you did.” Reigns said that is not who he is. Reigns said that is who he was forced to be. Reigns asked Jey if he wanted to force himself and if he wanted to do that? Reigns claimed he did it for Jey, Jimmy and Solo. The fans chanted “bullshit” for that. Reigns said he was a WrestleMania main event long before The Bloodline. Reigns said that The Bloodline needed him. Reigns said he put himself in situations he shouldn’t have been in for the family. Reigns talking about how his children are watching and his daughter is in the back watching and not knowing who he is because of The Usos. Reigns said that he has five children in his household, do you think he needed to take on Jey’s too? Reigns said “they” didn’t tell him it would be like this. Reigns said he didn’t need this. Reigns claimed he didn’t want it or need it. Reigns said “I’m done” and said he’s done with all of it. Reigns told Jey if he wants it then it’s yours. The fans sang the “na na na hey hey hey goodbye” song to Reigns while Heyman was in near tears. Reigns took the red Lei off from his neck and was emotional trying to talk to Jey. Reigns put the Lei onto Jey’s neck while Reigns was in tears. Reigns tossed the Undisputed WWE Universal Title down and even went down to both knees to Jey. Reigns was in tears. Jey talked to Reigns in that position, So Reigns hit a low blow uppercut punch to Jey! Cole: “Oh no.”

Jimmy went after Reigns with punches and stops, but Solo pulled his brother Jimmy off. Solo stared at the Lei on the ground. Jimmy charged at Solo, who hit Jimmy with a Samoan Spike. As Solo held the Lei, the fans chanted “put it on” at Solo. Reigns was back up and Solo was going to give it to Roman. Jey was back up to fight with Roman, but Solo hit a uranage slam on brother Jey. Reigns was back up with a Superman Punch on Jimmy.

The fight went to the floor with Solo clearing off the commentary table while Roman beat up Jimmy with punches. Solo hit Jey with a forearm and headbutt. Solo tied Jey’s arms between the middle/bottom ropes. Reigns told Jey he will never be the Tribal Chief as long as Roman is alive. Jimmy staggered back up to his feet, so Reigns hit Jimmy with the WWE Undisputed Title. Reigns hit Jimmy in the head multiple times. In a different era of WWE, Jimmy would be a bloody mess at this point. Reigns hit Jimmy with the steel steps to the head. Solo was making Jey watch it as Reigns hit Jimmy with the steel steps again. Jey broke free from the ropes and went after Reigns, but Solo hit Jey with a Samoan Spike to put Jey down again. Solo threw Jey over the commentary table. Reigns told Solo to finish Jimmy. There were WWE Officials around them, but Reigns made them back up. Solo jumped off the barricade and hit an Uso Splash on Jimmy through the commentary table.

Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa stood tall over The Usos while Heyman put the Lei around Roman’s neck. Heyman shouted that he acknowledged The Tribal Chief. Reigns held up the Undisputed WWE Title over Jimmy. They went to break 35 minutes into the show.

Analysis: That was awesome. There’s so much to digest in all of that. It’s rare to see a WWE show go 35 minutes with one commercial break where it’s all just promos. I thought Reigns was absolutely outstanding making it look like what The Usos showed in the video package really got to him, but then of course he hit a low blow and got the advantage after that. You don’t hear Reigns mention that he has five kids very often, but he did it to make it more personal to try to show that Reigns was doing this to provide for his family. Taking out Jimmy the way they did will add more heat to the Roman-Jey story because it’s Roman vs. Jey at SummerSlam. That’s yet to be announced, but they can say Jimmy suffered an injury with this angle and Jey will be more motivated than ever to win. I thought Solo Sikoa was very impressive as usual as well. Having Solo destroy his brothers like that puts over Solo as a badass. Everybody did a fantastic job in this segment.


They showed Jimmy Uso on a stretcher in the backstage area and placed into an ambulance. Jey Uso was there with Jimmy saying that he was going to be with him.

There were replays shown of Roman and Solo destroying The Usos.

It was back to the ambulance with Jimmy getting driven away while Jey was with him. Some midcard wrestlers were standing by watching it happen while looking all sad.

United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. Sheamus

It is 42 minutes into the show with the first match set to take place. Sheamus hit a backbreaker followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Sheamus jumped off the top with a double axhandle on Theory on the floor and they went to a break.


The match continued with Theory going for the forearms to the chest by the ropes, but Sheamus blocked it and hit a clothesline. Sheamus hit a slingshot shoulder tackle. Sheamus jumped off the top with a knee drop for two. Theory ran over Sheamus with an elbow smash along with some stomps. Theory slowly went up top, Sheamus hit him with an uppercut and Sheamus went for White Noise off the turnbuckle, but Theory got out of it with a forearm to the back. Theory hit a spinning sitout slam for a two count.


Sheamus was in control with clotheslines along with a powerslam. Sheamus wanted a Celtic Cross, Theory got out of it and did a necksnap across the top. Theory went for a rolling dropkick, but Sheamus hit a spinebuster. Sheamus applied the Texas Cloverleaf on Theory. Pretty Deadly ran out to ringside, so Sheamus knocked Kit Wilson down and hit forearms on Elton Prince. Theory hit a dropkick. Theory went for A-Town Down, but Sheamus hit a knee on Theory for two. The Brawling Brutes boys Butch and Ridge Holland took care of Pretty Deadly on the floor. Wilson was on the apron, so Sheamus hit Wilson with a Brogue Kick. Theory did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Sheamus with a tights grab for the pinfall win. It went about 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory

Analysis: *** A cheap win for Theory as the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again although there was bit of a tights grab too. Pretty Deadly getting involved wasn’t a big surprise because we have seen them help Theory in the past as well, so it was more of the same there. Sheamus has come so close to winning multiple titles in the last year, yet it just doesn’t happen for the poor guy. Theory’s had a very long US Title reign as we live in this era of long title reigns. The match was good overall with an ending I didn’t love, but I get why it was booked that way to protect Sheamus a bit.

The Grayson Waller Effect with Edge as the guest was up next.

This Monday on Raw: Cody Rhodes has a message for Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle face Imperium. Plus, Logan Paul and Ricochet meet face to face in the ring. I believe there’s Becky Lynch facing Zoey Stark, but that didn’t make the commercial.


They showed some images of memorable moments from WWE history at MSG.

Grayson Waller Effect with Edge

The ring was set up for the Grayson Waller Effect talk show. It had the fake trees in the ring along with a carpet in the ring and two chairs. There was a big desk in the ring too. Waller said he hasn’t had a match on Smackdown, but here he is in MSG. Waller said tonight is not about him and said that his guest has an announcement. It’s the WWE Hall of Famer, the Rated R Superstar…Edge.

On this day I see clearly because Edge was full of energy as usual with the fans popping loudly for the WWE Hall of Famer. Huge pop for Edge as he got into the ring and sat down at the desk with Waller.

Edge said it’s a steamy hot night in New York City and Waller cut Edge off. Waller told Edge to get to the big announcement. Edge said it was the 25-year anniversary of his career in WWE. Edge said we can celebrate it tonight and next month in Toronto. Waller said that Edge is too embarrassed to say it. Waller asked why is Edge back here? Edge said he’s back because of the fans.

Edge said he wanted to talk to the crowd. Edge said that his first PLE for this company was SummerSlam 1998 as Sable’s mystery partner against Marc Mero and Jacqueline. Edge said he dove over those ropes and the WWE Universe opened up his arms to him. Edge said this is a city full of hard workers and big dreamers. Edge said he is still a hard worker and big dreamer, which is why they work so well together. Waller claimed that Edge’s big announcement is he is retiring. Waller told the fans to thank Edge for everything he has done.

Edge said that last week, Waller was eye to eye with John Cena in London. Less than a week later you’re with Edge at MSG. Edge said that somebody sees something in him. Edge said that Waller hasn’t had a match on the main roster yet. Edge said it’s time to sink or swim. Edge said that he’s not retiring and claimed that after speaking to the powers that be, he was going to have a match here tonight. Edge said his match was going to be one on one against Grayson Waller. Edge put the microphone against Waller’s chest and Edge left.

Analysis: A big match for later in the show. Waller’s first Smackdown match is against a legend like Edge, so that shows management is really high on Waller and they should be. Waller was really obnoxious as usual because that’s his personality as a heel and he was also disrespectful. Edge put Waller in his place and now we get to see them in a match later. That’s cool with me.

There was a replay of Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa destroying The Usos earlier in the show. The announcers said that Jimmy Uso will be medically evaluated and they will try to have an update for us later.

AJ Styles made his entrance with “Michin” Mia Yim for a match against Karrion Kross.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam in Detroit on August 5th. That is just four weeks away.


It’s official for later: Edge vs. Grayson Waller. They didn’t say it, but Waller had a leg injury and recently got cleared, so that’s why this is Waller’s debut.

AJ Styles (w/Michin) vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett)

They didn’t show Karrion’s entrance. Kross had his left hamstring/knee area taped up. Kross overpowered Styles early with a clotheslines in the corner. Kross hit a Kross Hammer elbow to the back. Styles fought back with a Pele Kick. Kross was near the apron, Styles knocked him down with a forearm. Scarlett grabbed AJ’s foot, so Michin pulled Scarlett down and sent Scarlett into the barricade. Styles punched Kross to stun him and Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the top for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: ** That was a rushed match perhaps because of the opening segment going long. Kross also had his leg taped up, so he was probably not fully healthy to have a longer match. Anyway, the story was the Michin prevented Scarlett from interfering and Styles benefitted from that leading to the win over Kross. That’s probably the end of this rivalry. It would be nice to see Styles in a meaningful feud.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of Asuka’s Women’s Title match against Charlotte Flair last week. It was a disqualification ending with Bianca Belair attacking Asuka. Belair slammed both women onto the commentary table with KOD slams for Flair and Belair.

Asuka made her entrance as the WWE Women’s Champion.


Let’s Hear from Asuka, Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair…or just a fight instead

Asuka was in the ring with the WWE Women’s Title ready to say nobody was ready for her, but here comes Bianca Belair. When Belair got into the ring she tackled Asuka and beat her up with punches. Charlotte Flair ran out there to brawl with Belair. Asuka hit a running dropkick on Flair and Belair. IYO SKY showed up to attack Asuka with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Bayley hit the Roseplant on Asuka onto the briefcase. Sky hit a moonsault on Asuka. Bayley wanted to cash in for Sky, but Belair stopped that. Flair went into the ring and hit a boot to the face on Sky to clear the ring. Flair was alone in the ring while the others were on the floor.

Analysis: That was rushed and they only got about two minutes. We know the story is that Belair & Flair want title shots at Asuka while Sky has the MITB briefcase to show she’s in the mix too. It was a lot of chaos. I think we’ll be getting Asuka vs. Flair vs. Belair at SummerSlam, but it hasn’t been announced yet.

They showed Damian Priest winning the Money in the Bank briefcase after tossing LA Knight down from his climb attempt.

Edge made his entrance for the second time in about 20 minutes. This time, Edge was in his wrestling gear and got the pyro entrance as well.


They showed more famous WWE images at MSG. Good stuff.

Grayson Waller made his entrance for his debut Smackdown match.

Edge vs. Grayson Waller

Edge ran over Waller with two shoulder tackles and a gutbuster on the knees two times. Edge hit a gutwrench suplex. Waller got some offense with punches. Waller ran the ropes, he jumped over Edge and Edge caught Waller leading to a fallaway slam across the ring. Edge charged, but Waller got a knee up to stop that. Waller hit a clothesline on the floor.


Waller hit a DDT off the middle ropes for a two count. Waller applied a cravat chin lock, then Edge broke free and Waller knocked him down again. Waller hit an elbow drop to the back. Wall to the middle turnbuckle, Edge punched him in the ribs and Edge teased a superplex, but Waller gave Edge a front suplex. Waller jumped off the middle rope with an elbow drop, but Edge got the knees up to block. Edge hit a boot to the head followed by a flapjack. Edge gave Waller a Powerbomb on the floor. Cole said that Jey Uso was back at MSG. They were back in the ring with Edge hitting a cross body block off the top for two. Waller blocked a DDT attempt, Waller with a punch and Waller jumped over Edge with a twisting Unprettier for two. That’s a more athletic version of Christian’s Unprettier finisher. Waller stomped on Edge while saying he runs this place. Waller with a spinning right-handed forearm for two. Edge came back with the lifting Edgecution DDT. Edge covered with one arm across the chest for a two count. Edge charged, Waller moved and Edge hit the middle turnbuckle. Waller left the ring, jumped back in and went for his Summerside Stunner, but Edge countered that with a Spear for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Edge

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good match. Waller got plenty of offense, looked like he was going to win at a few different points, but Edge was able to counter the Stunner attempt and hit a Spear to win. I think Waller overdoes a bit with the trash talk because there’s so much of it, but I have been impressed by Grayson a lot since seeing him in NXT over the last two years. I hope Waller can stand out on Smackdown and I think due to his promo ability, he’ll get a lot of chances to do that. The result was fine with me although at Edge’s age if he wants to lose matches then that’s fine too.

Post match, Edge spoke to Waller, who was against the turnbuckle. Edge: “Hey Waller, you swam.”

Analysis: Remember earlier how they spoke about sinking or swimming. Waller did a nice job, so Edge was showing him respect.

Roman Reigns was shown in his dressing room with Solo Sikoa. Paul Heyman walked into the room saying that Jey Usos returned to the building and he’s looking for Roman. That led to Roman saying he won’t have to look long because The Tribal Chief will be in the ring looking for him. The crowd liked that.


Next week on Smackdown: Asuka defends the WWE Women’s Championship against Bianca Belair. That’s all that they announced.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns Again

Roman Reigns was in the ring with Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. Reigns told MSG and all of New York to acknowledge him.

The Usos music hit as a determined Jey Uso made his entrance with Reigns instructing Solo to take care of his brother. Jey made his entrance by walking in through the crowd and walked down towards the ring.

Jey Uso jumped over the barricade and tackled Solo on the floor. Jey threw his brother Solo into the ring post. Jey ran into the ring with a steel chair. Jey beat up Roman with a couple of chair shots to the ribs and back. Jey destroyed Solo with repeated chair shots to the back. Reigns was out in the aisle with Paul Heyman while Solo bailed to the floor.

Jey Uso picked up the Undisputed WWE Championship while Reigns watched from the aisle. Reigns: “Put it down!” Jey said that he was the judge, jury and executioner. Jey said now he has got to get Reigns. Jey said he didn’t give a damn about brothers or wise men. Jey said it’s about the two of them one on one. Jey wanted Reigns to accept his challenge so he can whip Roman’s ass one more time. Jey threw the microphone down while Reigns and Jey had a long distance staredown. End show.

Analysis: There was no formal challenge by Jey wanting to face Reigns at SummerSlam, but we know that’s the plan. Since Jimmy was taken out, Jey is more emotional than ever and wants to take the Undisputed WWE Title from Reigns. The story works really well. Jey destroying his brother Solo also made Jey look impressive and makes it easy to cheer a guy like him. Everybody involved in these segments on this show did a tremendous job. Great work.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. The Usos & Solo Sikoa
  3. Edge/Grayson Waller


The Scoreboard

7.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.25


Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the show and thought it was very entertaining overall. It was Bloodline heavy since they were on for the first 40 minutes of the show and then the main event segment as well, so that’s nearly half of it. Roman Reigns was fantastic throughout all of it, Jimmy Uso did the ambulance job to set up Jey to come back to challenge Reigns for SummerSlam without actually saying it. Solo looked dominant throughout much of it too. Everybody involved with it is performing at such a high level, so I just want to point out there are no weak points in those segments. I realize some fans might complain about too much Bloodline, but I’m sure WWE knows those guys are drawing the highest ratings out of anybody in WWE, so of course the company will give The Bloodline story a lot of time.

The Edge match with Grayson Waller was good for an even matchup that was Waller’s Smackdown debut. The Austin Theory-Sheamus match was okay with a weak ending. AJ Styles beating Karrion Kross were really short, so that rivalry might be done now.

It was disappointing that there was no women’s match and then they only got a two minute segment for a quick fight with Asuka trying to survive against Belair, Flair and Sky. I just think that was so rushed perhaps because other parts of the show went long. It just wasn’t a great night for the women’s division since that was the only segment. It was a Bloodline heavy show, that’s for sure.


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