The John Report: WWE Smackdown 07/14/23 Review

wwe smackdown july 14

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Asuka-Bianca Belair in a Women’s Title match, a four-way match in the US Title Invitational and more.

Last week’s Smackdown featured plenty of Bloodline drama as Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa beat up Jimmy Uso so much that he got driven away in an ambulance. Jey Uso came back for revenge and got the upper hand on Roman/Solo to end the show. Jey issued a challenge for Reigns, but he wasn’t specific about it. It is believed it will lead to Reigns vs. Jey at SummerSlam for Roman’s Undisputed WWE Universal Title. SummerSlam is on Saturday, August 5th in Detroit with nothing official yet although we obviously know what several of the matches will likely be.

From PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, this is Smackdown for episode #1247. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Jey Uso was shown walking backstage alone with the fans cheering him. The graphic said “Jey Uso on the warpath” to build up something later in the show. The commentary team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair made her entrance in an outfit that was not wrestling gear. Belair spoke about how she’s been waiting since Night of Champions just for an opportunity just to get a title shot. Belair complained about going through hoops just to get a shot. Belair said that tonight is the night. Belair said tonight is her night. Belair said she’ll show Asuka that patience is a virtue and vengeance is sweet. Belair said she’ll give Asuka the KOD and walk out of here as the new WWE Women’s Champion.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a full-bodysuit-style outfit. I liked her old theme song better than the remixed version. Flair joined Belair in the ring with the fans shouting “Woo” for The Queen.

Flair said Belair got her fired up. Flair said she thinks Belair is going to win tonight in Flair Country. Flair said when Belair wins, she didn’t want any confusion about who is next in line. Belair said we know the line starts and ends with Charlotte Flair. Flair told Belair that she is next, so when Belair wins it will be the two of them for the WWE Women’s Championship. Belair said right now she’s focused on Asuka, but if she does win then what would be bigger than Belair vs. Flair at SummerSlam? Flair said if Belair wins then it’s on. Belair said she is ready for Asuka, they shook hands and Flair did a “WOO” to end it.

They showed the WWE Women’s Champion Asuka watching on a TV backstage.

Analysis: They were basic babyface promos showing with Belair showing a lot of confidence. It sets the stage for later in the show with Belair facing Asuka with Flair making it clear she wants Belair if there’s a new champion. They didn’t really talk about how Belair ruined Flair’s title shot against Asuka recently when Belair went after Asuka leading to a DQ finish. Anyway, the SummerSlam plan is likely Asuka vs. Belair vs. Flair for the Women’s Title.

The Brawling Brutes were backstage getting hyped up for a big night as they reminded us that it’s fight night.

Sheamus & Ridge Holland of The Brawling Brutes entered for tag team action with the wild man Butch joining them.


The Brawling Brutes – Sheamus & Ridge Holland vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Pretty Deadly helped Austin Theory beat Sheamus last week so Sheamus has a chance for payback here. Prince left the ring, so Sheamus beat up Wilson a bit. Sheamus delivered a rolling senton to both guys and clotheslined Wilson out of the ring. Sheamus nailed Prince with a clothesline and a powerslam. Holland with a lift, Prince got out of I and Prince did a chop block. Wilson tagged in with an uppercut. Prince back in with a running uppercut. Holland did a double back drop on both PD guys. Sheamus tagged in, dumped Wilson onto the apron, Sheamus did way more than ten forearms to the chest and Holland hit Prince with forearms to the chest as well. They went to break there.


The match continued with Pretty Deadly in control as Prince held Sheamus so that Wilson could kick his opponent in the face. Sheamus got Wilson on his shoulders and dropped back for a slam. Prince pulled Ridge off the apron to prevent a tag, so Wilson hit Sheamus with a neckbreaker for two. Wilson jumped off the turnbuckle with nothing so Sheamus hit a knee to the face. Ridge got the tag with suplexes on both guys and a powerslam on Wilson. Holland hit running splashes on both guys. Holland hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Prince onto Wilson. Ridge hit a Fisherman’s Buster for a two count on Prince. Sheamus jumped off the top with an elbow smash on Wilson. Ridge hit a sitout slam on Prince for a two count as Wilson made the save. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Wilson and Prince knocked Sheamus out of the ring. Prince took the top turnbuckle pad off, Ridge charged and Ridge went throat-first into the exposed steel since Ridge was dealing with a throat injury in the past. Prince hit a top rope leg drop on Ridge for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

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

Analysis: *** It was a good match that was competitive the whole way with the heels getting the win after a clever finish. They have told the story for weeks that Ridge had a throat injury since Solo Sikoa hit him with a Samoan Spike, so when Ridge hit the turnbuckle, it hurt him and Prince capitalized to win. When Sheamus teams up with Ridge it’s probably going to be Ridge taking the pin if they lose. I don’t mind Pretty Deadly winning because they need wins to become more established on the main roster.

The Progressive Match Flo showed Edge beating Grayson Waller on Smackdown in MSG last week in Waller’s first Smackdown match.

Grayson Waller was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Waller bragged about his performance last week even though he lost, but he said he swam. Waller said that even The Rock is reacting to him on Twitter while Rock’s family is falling apart. Waller said he’s going to win his Fatal 4-Way match tonight because that’s the Grayson Waller Effect “if you smell what I’m cooking.” Waller laughed and left.

Analysis: In case you missed it there was some Twitter interaction between Waller and The Rock this week. I wrote about it here.

A replay of Tribal Court Chaos was up next.


There was a lengthy video package covering The Bloodline family saga from last week’s Smackdown when there was Tribal Court. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa fought with The Usos, which led to Solo splashing Jimmy Uso through a table. Jimmy was taken away on an ambulance. Jey Uso came back for revenge on Roman & Solo to end the show.

The commentary team was shown with Michael Cole saying that Jimmy has a ruptured rib cartilage and will be out of action for the “foreseeable future.”

Analysis: In other words, Jimmy Uso is likely out past SummerSlam at least so Jey Uso can get more of the spotlight against Roman Reigns.

Charlotte Flair was walking down a hallway with her luggage when WWE Official Adam Pearce walking up to her. Flair said she was leaving. Bianca Belair and Miss Money in the Bank IYO SKY walked up laughing. Charlotte Flair walked back into the screen to say that she was staying after all. Pearce just kinda shrugged his shoulders.

Zelina Vega entered for singles action.

Next week’s Smackdown is on FS1 instead of Fox for those of you in the United States.


Zelina Vega vs. Bayley (w/IYO SKY)

Bayley brought a lock of Shotzi’s hair to ringside. That led to a clip of Bayley cutting Shotzi’s hair from two weeks ago.

Bayley sent Vega out of the ring and rammed Vega’s head into the commentary table twice. Vega was on the apron where she shoved Bayley into the turnbuckle. Back in the ring, Vega hit double knees for two. Vega hit a Twist of Fate neckbreaker as if her last name was Hardy. Bayley grabbed the sandal that Vega brings to ringside, Vega hit a Codebreaker and then hit Bayley with the sandal. Bayley was on the flair, she snapped Vega’s neck against the middle rope and Bayley hit the Roseplant for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Bayley while Vega did some moves that some well-known names in wrestling use often.

A video aired featuring Shotzi saying that Bayley thinks she has some sort of control over her. Shotzi asked if she looked like somebody you can control. Shotzi said she is weird and she is in control. Shotzi shaved her head saying she was in control. Shotzi: “Maybe I am a little weird.”

After the video, Bayley looked a bit scared reacting to it.

Analysis: It’s some character development for Shotzi, so I like that. I think she’s a talented wrestler, but they don’t really do much with her. By doing this, at least she can show off her unique personality a bit.

Jey Uso made his entrance to a good ovation from the crowd.

This Monday on Raw: Brock Lesnar returns for Cody Rhodes, plus Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville. That was it on the commercial.


Survivor Series is in Chicago on Saturday, November 25th with Smackdown one night earlier. They showed a graphic about when tickets are on sale.

They showed AJ Styles and The OC hanging out backstage ahead of AJ’s Fatal 4-Way match.

Let’s Hear from Jey Uso

Jey Uso was alone in the ring saying that he was inseparable with Jimmy Uso. The fans were doing the “WHAT” routine as Jey said that they were always together. Jey said there’s something about twins that makes them special. Jey talked about how if Jimmy feels a certain way then Jey feels the same way. Jey said when Jimmy is hurt, Jey is hurt too. Jey said that he respects his family history and legacy, he respects everybody in the family, but when it comes to Roman Reigns Jey is disrespecting him. Jey said he’s going to spank his little brother Solo Sikoa like he did last week. Jey took a shot at Paul Heyman leeching off the family for 40 years. Jey said that you’re looking at the real Head of the Table now.

Paul Heyman walked out to the ring with Solo Sikoa. Paul said that he is not here to enforce Paul’s will or enforce victory. Paul claimed that Solo was here to enforce the peace. Heyman said that this is something from before Jey was even born. Heyman said that next week on Smackdown, Jey and Roman Reigns will go face to face to discuss the rules of engagement. Heyman got into the ring while Solo was staring at Jey.

Heyman said he understands that Jey was hostile and filled with vengeance. Heyman said Jey is sounding more like a Tribal Chief every single day. Heyman stood behind Solo while he spoke. Heyman said that Jey has no self awareness. Heyman told Jey that what happened to Jimmy is all Jey’s fault. Heyman repeated the point that Jimmy caught that beating because of Jey Uso. Heyman said he doesn’t know how Jey can forgive himself and how Jimmy can forgive him. Heyman claimed that Jey’s father (Rikishi) will never forgive Jey and the same with Jey’s mother. Heyman claimed he loved The Usos and will never forgive Jey. Heyman said Roman Reigns will never forgive Jey.

Solo stuck out his hand and Heyman handed Solo the microphone. Solo said what happened to Jimmy, that’s all on Jey. Solo told Jey he will never forgive him either.

Jey punched his brother Solo and they exchanged strikes. Jey superkicked Solo out of the ring while Heyman was in the ring with Jey, so the fans were cheering loudly. Solo managed to get back up and hit Jey with a forearm to the back. Solo wanted a Samoan Spike, but Jey took his brother down with punches. Heyman tried to do a cheap shot on Jey, so Jey hit a superkick on Heyman! That drew a huge pop. Jey hit a suicide dive onto Solo on the floor. The fans were chanting “Uso” repeatedly. Jey picked up a chair, he teased going after Heyman, Solo was back in, Jey jabbed Solo in the ribs and Jey hit Solo in the back to knock him out of the ring. Jey celebrated with the steel chair as the fans cheered.

Analysis: Jey Uso looked impressive throughout that whole segment. That’s the right way to book it because Jey challenging Roman Reigns at SummerSlam (not official yet, but it’s happening) means you need to keep Jey strong for the most part. I thought Jey’s promo about wanting revenge for what happened to Jimmy was great. Paul Heyman did his usual great promo work to try to make him feel bad about what happened to Jimmy. The fight between Jey and Solo was done well while Heyman taking a bump off a superkick is rare, but it adds to the drama. The fans loved to see that. Heyman didn’t really take the bump that well, but for a guy in his late 50s that doesn’t wrestle, it’s not going to look smooth. Anyway, I thought it was effective overall while teasing a Roman-Jey segment next week.

They showed Bianca Belair and Adam Pearce talking backstage with referee Jessika Carr. We could see Bayley & Miss Money in the Bank IYO SKY plotting in the background.

Austin Theory made his entrance as the United States Champion to watch the United States Championship Invitational match up next.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam on August 5th in Detroit.


AJ Styles was the last man to enter for the four-way match. Austin Theory joined commentary for the match.

The winner of this match faces whoever wins the four-way match next week. The winner of that singles match will face Austin Theory for the US Title.

United States Championship Invitational Match: AJ Styles vs. Grayson Waller vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch

Waller punched Butch out of the ring, then Waller trash-talked Theory and Butch hit a forearm on Waller. Styles and Escobar of the LWO each got nearfalls. Styles hit a dropkick sending Escobar out of the ring. Butch clotheslined Escobar on the floor. Styles knocked Waller down on the floor. Styles battled with Butch over a pin attempt and Waller snuck in for nearfalls on both guys. Styles and Butch exchanged punches, which led to Escobar hit a cross body block on both guys. Escobar worked over Waller with a chop to the chest. Waller did a spot jumping over Styles to splash Escobar. Butch hit a German Suplex on Waller, Styles knocked Butch out of the ring, Escobar with a strike on Styles and Styles with a Pele Kick on Escobar. All four guys were down selling going into a break.


Waller was in control as he sent Butch out of the ring. Styles delivered strikes to Waller along with a sliding forearm. Styles hit a corner clothesline and a slam sending Waller’s neck onto AJ’s knee. Butch broke up that two count. Escobar hit a jumping kick on Butch followed by a hurricanrana on Butch leading to Styles getting a sunset flip for two. Escobar stomped on Styles. Escobar went up top, Waller met him there and Butch delivered a jumping kick. They did a unique Tower of Doom spot with Styles and Butch doing a superplex to Waller while Escobar did a sunset flip Powerbomb on them. That was awesome! The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for it. Escobar with running knees on Styles, Butch and Waller consecutively. Escobar hit a Phantom Driver on Waller for two as Styles & Butch broke up the pin. Butch, Styles and Escobar exchanged strikes. Butch knocked Styles out of the ring and Butch hit a forearm on a leaping Escobar for two as Waller broke up the pin. Butch knocked down Waller leading to a kick to the back of the neck. Waller sent Butch out of the ring, Waller went out of the ring and Butch hit a moonsault off the apron on Waller. Escobar hit a suicide dive on Butch on the floor. Back in the ring, Styles jumped off the top with a Phenomenal Forearm on Escobar. Styles set up for a Styles Clash on Butch, but then they showed Karrion Kross choking out Karl Anderson in a Kross Jacket and I think Luke Gallows was down too. Styles watched all of that as Kross said they aren’t done yet. Styles left the ring, so Waller knocked him down with a forearm to the back. Waller jumped into the ring with a Stunner on Butch. Escobar jumped off the top with a Frog Splash (Cole called it a cross body for some reason) for the pinfall win. It went 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar

Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a great match with a lot of action. That was a very unique Tower of Doom style spot out of the corner, so they deserve a lot of credit for being creative. Going into it I thought Styles would get the win, but I was also hoping maybe Waller would win because he has yet to win on Smackdown. I think having Escobar is fine although the finish was a bit flat compared to some of the other high spots in the match. It was still a fun match to watch.

There was a backstage scene with WWE Women’s Champion Asuka talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce and referee Jessika Carr as well.


They showed AJ Styles backstage checking on The OC’s Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows & Michin. Styles said “it’s not over” and that was it.

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins were outside in the parking lot. Bobby Lashley was shown arriving in a limo. Lashley invited them into the limo to talk. The limo drove off.

Rey Mysterio did a promo somewhere talking about how he’s gained a new family with the LWO. Rey said he’s looking for gold and next week he’ll be one step closer to the US Title. Cameron Grimes did a promo talking about winning the Fatal 4-Way match next week and is confident about going to the moon. Sheamus did a promo saying that twice now he has had Theory beaten and now he has to go through three other men for a crack at him. Sheamus said that Theory is his.

Let’s Hear from LA Knight

LA Knight arrived with the fans cheering loudly for him. When the music stopped, there were “LA Knight” chants. Knight’s “let me talk to ya” drew a big pop. Knight said all of a sudden he’s everywhere and the fans were chanting “YEAH” along with him. Knight said he’s the best decision this company has ever made. Knight said that nobody back there can touch him. Knight said that he’s coming for Austin Theory’s US Title. Knight said you can call him the megastar, the GOAT, but sooner or later you’ll be calling him champ because everybody is saying…LA Knight! Yeah!

Analysis: Great promo from Knight as usual. I think it’s fair to say he is in full babyface mode now although we will have to see how he is booked moving forward. The fans are certainly behind him, that’s for sure. I think LA Knight certainly could be the guy to take the US Title from Theory. Knight is hot right now, so it feels like the timing is right.

Next Friday on Smackdown on FS1:

* US Championship Invitational 4-Way: Rey Mysterio vs. Sheamus vs. Cameron Grimes vs. LA Knight.

Bianca Belair entered for her shot at the WWE Women’s Title in the main event.


Next Friday on Smackdown on FS1: Roman Reigns and Jey Uso engage in Rules of Engagement.

Asuka made her entrance as the WWE Women’s Champion. The ring announcer Mike Rome did the championship introductions for this title match. They showed Bayley and Miss Money in the Bank IYO SKY in the crowd with tickets as they made their way to ringside.

WWE Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Bianca Belair

Belair hit a shoulder tackle and a hip toss takedown. Belair went for corner punches, so Asuka broke free leading to some hair pulling. Asuka went for a running corner attack, but Belair caught Asuka and teased a KOD. Asuka got out of that and hit a double knee attack. Belair hit a shoulder tackle knocking Asuka down. Bayley and Asuka were standing in the crowd instead of actually standing down. Charlotte Flair arrived with a ticket to watch the match from ringside.


Belair was in control with a suplex followed by the handspring into the ropes along with a standing moonsault. They teased a superplex spot, but Asuka knocked Belair down and hit a missile dropkick off the top. Asuka hit a knee to the face followed by Asuka going for an armbar, but Belair got out of that. Belair hit a spinebuster. Belair went for a handspring attack off the ropes, Asuka grabbed Belair in an Asuka Lock and Belair countered into a pin for two. Belair to the apron, so Asuka hit double knees to the face. Belair got a hold of Asuka on the floor and Belair hit a KOD slam on Asuka on the hood of the commentary table. Bayley and SKY showed up at ringside, so barefoot Charlotte knocked down Bayley with a big boot. Flair told Belair she was helping her. Sky sent Flair into the ring post. Flair went for a Spear, Sky moved and Flair hit Belair with a Spear. That led to the DQ finish. It went nine minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Bianca Belair

Analysis: **3/4 It was good for the most part with the non-finish that was similar to the DQ ending for Asuka-Flair a few weeks ago. Belair and Asuka always have great chemistry together, so the action was solid as usual. There just weren’t any moments where it looked like either woman was going to win. I expected the DQ in this match.

After the bell rang, Sky and Bayley wanted to do a cash-in attempt on Asuka. Bayley actually had the briefcase while Sky went up top. Asuka got back up and spit the blue mist into Bayley’s face. Asuka escaped. There was no official cash-in by Sky.

Analysis: There is yet another almost cash-in attempt. I’m sure one of these times an announcer needs to make the point that Sky has to hand the referee the briefcase instead of Bayley because it’s Sky who is Miss Money in the Bank. Anyway, I didn’t really expect a cash-in here.

There was another plug for Smackdown on FS1 next week pushing the Roman Reigns-Jey Uso segment. They mentioned that it’s on FS1 many times during the broadcast.

Asuka was smiling in the aisle with her WWE Women’s Title while Belair, Flair, Sky & Bayley were all around ringside. They showed Asuka smiling again to end the show.

Analysis: As I mentioned earlier, I think the plan at SummerSlam will be Asuka defending the WWE Women’s Title against Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat. Perhaps there will be a title change there and maybe it could be IYO SKY cashing in Money in the Bank. There are a lot of options. I like the women’s division on Smackdown right now.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jey Uso
  2. Santos Escobar, AJ Styles, Butch & Grayson Waller
  3. Bianca Belair & Asuka


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.75

2023 Average: 7.25


Final Thoughts

I thought it was pretty good most of the way. The 4-way match was the best of the night with Santos Escobar capitalizing to get the big win over Grayson Waller, AJ Styles & Butch. That spot they did coming out of the corner was spectacular (different than that usual Tower of Doom) and there was a lot of action. Pretty Deadly beating The Brawling Brutes had a clever finish to put over PD. Bobby Lashley returning to meet with The Street Profits is certainly interesting since it’s a tease of a new stable. LA Knight got a massive prop for his short promo. It sounds like it is babyface night too. Yeah!

The women’s division was featured heavily with the show opening promo and the main event with the Asuka/Belair match ending by DQ. There was a lot of chaos with Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Miss Money in the Bank IYO SKY involved. I think the women’s division on Smackdown is really strong.

Jey Uso looked strong against Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. Heyman even took a superkick, which did not produce the best bump, but they got through it. The fans are totally behind Jey in this story. There are still no official matches for SummerSlam although we obviously know what many of the matches will be. Next week’s SD is on FS1 in the US, so the audience will likely drop even though Roman Reigns & Jey Uso having a segment together should do well. That’s where they’ll make that SummerSlam match official.


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