The John Report: WWE Smackdown 07/22/22 Review
This week’s WWE Smackdown was the first show to take place following Vince McMahon’s retirement earlier on Friday. It’s a new era of WWE.
The big news of the day was that Vince McMahon announced his retirement from the company. He’s no longer the WWE CEO or Chairman. Stephanie McMahon is the Chairwoman along with Co-CEO with Nick Khan, who was the WWE President. Vince announced the news on Twitter, then there was a corporate statement that WWE posted and we have it all covered here. I think Vince is probably retiring earlier than he expected due to the many stories and allegations about him in terms of inappropriate behavior involving female employees. Vince is no longer running WWE creative, which means there could be changes in the future, but it may be a while until we know more about those changes and until we see those changes. It’s just weird writing about a show that is not run by Vince since he has been in that position for my entire life watching WWE for four decades. Best of luck in retirement, Vince.
In addition to Vince’s permanent departure, there were reports that Brock Lesnar walked out of Smackdown earlier in the day even though he was advertised. Brock is apparently not happy about Vince walking away from WWE. (Spoiler alert: Lesnar was back by the end of the show.) SummerSlam is just eight days away.
From the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts this is Smackdown for episode #1196. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Let’s Hear from Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon was in the ring and welcomed us to Smackdown. She mentioned that her father Vince McMahon retired from WWE. Stephanie said that he wanted to make sure in his retirement that he thanked all of you – the WWE Universe. The fans chanted “Thank You Vince” with Stephanie saying she was trying to get there. Stephanie spoke a bit more about the WWE family and then encouraged the fans to chant it again: “Thank You Vince.” Stephanie looked into the camera saying: “I love you dad.” That was it.
Analysis: It was short and simple. No new mission statement or anything like that. It’s kind of what I expected from her, which is fine. I’m sure some fans will complain about “Thank You Vince” chants due to the accusations against him and I understand why people would be mad about that. I think in this case it’s okay since the man just retired and the fans chanting that for him is fine in this instance. I don’t think it should be a regular thing, though. Once is enough.
Let’s Hear from The Street Profits
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance from the back part of the arena where they walked down the stairs on their way to the ring. Dawkins referenced Kevin Garnett’s “Anything Is Possible” yell from 2008 when the Boston Celtics won the NBA Title by talking about how possible it was for them to win at SummerSlam. They were fired up talking about how they are going to win the WWE Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam.
Theory interrupted the promo saying that nobody cares about them because they only care about him. Theory said he’ll take back his US Title from Bobby Lashley and then cash in to become the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Theory said it didn’t matter if it was Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns.
The Usos were next to make their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. The Usos didn’t like Theory mentioning Roman Reigns, so Ford was laughing about it. Theory ripped on Ford saying his wife (Bianca Belair) isn’t going to leave with her title. That led to Ford punching Theory.
It turned into a brawl with The Usos and Theory against The Street Profits until Madcap Moss made the save. The trio of Moss and The Street Profits cleared the ring with a double superkick by the Profits on Theory. Dawkins hit an impressive somersault dive over the top onto the three heels on the floor.
Analysis: A happy start to the show with the faces standing tall. It obviously sets up a six-man tag team match later in the show.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance for singles action with McAfee dancing on the commentary table as usual. Cole told Pat not to hurt himself before SummerSlam.
Ludwig Kaiser (w/Gunther) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura beat Kaiser two weeks ago and Gunther beat up Kaiser after the loss, so Kaiser gets another shot. Kaiser with a knockdown followed by a running elbow. Nakamura with a jumping heel kick followed by a knee drop for two. Nakamura put his throat against Kaiser’s throat by the turnbuckle. Kaiser with a punch, suplex and a running knee for two. Kaiser with a suplex. Nakamura avoided a charge, he set up Kaiser on the top rope and hit a running knee lift. Nakamura to the apron while Kaiser was on the floor, Kaiser blocked a kick and tripped up Nakamura on the apron. Kaiser sent Nakamura into the steel steps leading to a break.
Kaiser was still in control with a headlock until Nakamura broke free and hit an enziguri kick to the head. Nakamura with a kick to the back of the head, then a sliding knee and a German Suplex off the ropes for a two count. Kaiser with a charge, Nakamura got a boot up and Nakamura hit a jumping knee to the face off the middle rope. Kaiser was on the floor, so Gunther yelled at him. Nakamura put Kaiser back into the ring, Gunther stood in front of Nakamura, who did the “come on” yell and Gunther let him back in the ring. Kaiser got a rollup for two. Nakamura with a spin kick to the head. Gunther on the apron to distract, Nakamura managed a rollup, but Kaiser kicked Nakamura into the ropes and that led to Gunther punching Nakamura. The referee never saw it. Kaiser hit a legsweep DDT for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ludwig Kaiser
Analysis: *** A solid match here with Kaiser getting the cheap win thanks to Gunther’s cheating. Gunther and Kaiser usually talk about how the mat is sacred and aren’t the type of guys to cheat, but that’s what makes them heels that are easy to boo. It was a chop shot that cost Nakamura the win. I thought Nakamura would win to set up an IC Title match against Gunther at SummerSlam, but that’s not what happened.
After the match, Kaiser and Gunther were standing by the entrance area. Kaiser wanted to celebrate the win, Gunther yelled at him to put his hand down and then Gunther put his hand on the shoulder for a pat on the back. After that, Gunther chopped Kaiser to knock him on his ass. Gunther yelled at him.
Analysis: Gunther is a mean guy that probably yelled about how Kaiser only won because of Gunther’s help.
Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey were shown backstage because they’re up next.
It was announced that the main event on Smackdown later is Madcap Moss and The Street Profits vs. Theory and The Usos.
They showed highlights of Liv Morgan leaving Money in the Bank as the Smackdown Women’s Champion after cashing in on Ronda Rousey.
Face to Face: Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey
This was backstage with Kayla Braxton there to interview them, but Ronda told her to leave. Ronda said that Liv is a breath of fresh air as the champion. Ronda said that she is going to win at SummerSlam because of who she is. Ronda said when she beats Liv at SummerSlam, she wants Liv to shake her hand just like Ronda did. Liv said that she’s going to beat Ronda because she loves this more than her, she wants this more than her, she needs this more than ever and when Liv wins, she’ll make sure to shake Ronda’s hand. Ronda said that’s why everybody loves Liv because she has more passion than anybody in the locker room – except Ronda.
Analysis: I thought this was going to be a longer segment in the ring where they went over longer dialogue, but instead it was kept short. I think that was a good decision by WWE. Morgan talking about how she wants it, needs it and loves it is what makes people support her. Rousey comes across as the heel in this scenario, so maybe this match and storyline is going to be used to turn Ronda heel. That would be a good thing for Ronda. Anyway, I hope Liv keeps her title at SummerSlam.
The announcers were shown talking about the situation and Happy Corbin showed up to kick McAfee. Corbin tossed McAfee into the barricade by the table. Cole ripped on Corbin for the cheap shot and the fans booed as Corbin walked away. McAfee ran backstage to go after Corbin. McAfee got a hold of Corbin backstage, but there were WWE Officials there to separate them.
Analysis: A quick brawl. The kick was cheap by Corbin, but I like that Pat went after him and showed he’s a tough guy that isn’t going to back down.
A video aired promoting SummerSlam in eight days on July 30. Bring it on.
They showed highlights of the Corbin-McAfee fight from before the break. They will meet at SummerSlam in eight days.
Pat McAfee entered the ring for a promo. Pat said that before he goes back to commentary to sit next to the “GOAT” Michael Cole, he has one thing to say to Bum Ass Corbin (leading to “Bum Ass Corbin) and Pat said that you can’t attack him from behind because they’ll be face to face in the ring. Pat called Corbin a bald baby among other things. Pat said he’s going to put his ass down for good. Pat: “See ya in Nashville, bitch.” The fans popped for that. Pat went back to commentary.
Analysis: A fun promo by Pat as usual. Pat is one of my favorite talkers in WWE. The fans love him too.
The Progressive Match Flo replay showed The New Day and Viking Raiders issues again, but New Day was helped by Jinder Mahal and Shanky last week.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Jinder Mahal & Shanky
The New Day were on commentary with Xavier Woods wearing a unicorn head for some reason, but then he took it off. Woods mentioned ROH and IWGP Tag Team Champions at some point, so that’s rare to hear in WWE. Erik with a running forearm on Mahal, Ivar tagged in and that led to punches on Mahal. Ivar jumped onto Mahal’s chest for a knockdown. Mahal fought Ivar on the floor, Erik with a distraction and Ivar sent Mahal into the steel steps. Ivar sent Mahal into the New Day on commentary. Mahal wasn’t able to get back into the ring for the ten count, so it was a countout win. It was under two minutes.
Winners by countout: The Viking Raiders
Analysis: 1/2* Lame booking with the countout finish. The feud isn’t really that interesting, but it will continue.
The New Day went into the ring, but The Viking Raiders left the ring and up the ramp without any confrontation.
Adam Pearce was shown talking on the phone with Sonya Deville mocking Pearce for the poor job he was doing as a WWE Official. Sonya was annoying him, so Pearce wanted her to stop. Pearce informed Sonya that she’s going to have a match against Raquel Rodriguez.
The Brawling Brutes group of Sheamus, Ride Holland and Butch made their entrance.
This Monday on Raw in New York City: Roman Reigns & The Usos vs. The Street Profits & Riddle, plus Logan Paul hosts his talk show and Rey Mysterio’s 20-year WWE celebration.
Let’s Hear from Sheamus and Friends
Sheamus said there was a bit of a stench while wondering if it was the river or the fake Irish folks surrounding him. Sheamus said that they are going to make history. Sheamus complained about Drew McIntyre saying there’s no way that match is happening until that sword is banned from this ring. They showed two weeks ago when Drew cut the top rope when he swung the sword at Sheamus, who avoided it. Sheamus said that weapon has no place in this ring.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance in his wrestling gear with Angela the sword in his hands. Drew got into the ring with Sheamus saying that Ridge will take Butch out of the ring if Drew puts the sword away, so Drew put the sword down.
Drew asked Sheamus when did he become such a bitch? Drew said that they have known eachother 20 years, they signed with WWE together and now they can headline Clash at the Castle in front of 70,000 people for the first major UK stadium show in 30 years. Drew talked about how the WWE Champion was holding the title hostage and the other guy isn’t any better. Drew said that they need a new champion, they need a warrior and they are both dressed to fight, so let’s do it right now. Drew wanted Sheamus to show some balls.
Sheamus said he know that he is better than Drew, so if you want that fight and the fans want it, then you’re going to get it. Sheamus said just not tonight. Sheamus said that he spoke to WWE upper management as the fans chanted “you suck” at Sheamus. Sheamus that they have agreed on the match, but that match will take place next week on Smackdown and Drew’s sword is banned because they have a special match in mind. Sheamus said No DQ, No Countout and while there’s no sword allowed, they will have the first ever Shillelagh Match with some other shenanigans in there. There was a table full of Shillelaghs in the ring. Sheamus asked Drew if he had the balls? Drew said that if that’s what it takes then he accepts. Sheamus called Adam Pearce out to make this official.
Adam Pearce walked out saying it sounds incredible and it sounds like they both want it, so it’s official. Sheamus yelled about how it was official, so Drew chopped a shillelagh in half. Drew held up the sword and the pyro went off to shock Sheamus some more. Drew celebrated.
Analysis: I thought they might save it until SummerSlam, but we get it one night earlier on next week’s Smackdown instead. It’s weird that they’re going to have SummerSlam without a Drew McIntyre match on the show considering he is arguably the top face in the company. That’s just how it is at this year’s show. Anyway, I thought Drew’s promo was great talking about how motivated he is to headline Clash at the Castle while Sheamus got some good heel heat with what he said and how he said it.
The Usos were shown talking about how The Street Profits and Madcap Moss better watch who they are messing with. They warned Theory as well. Paul Heyman was there to talk to The Usos, so he gave them a pep talk. Heyman said that if they drop Theory then it’s 2 on 3, so Heyman wanted them to use Theory and then after they win tonight, then let’s go off the air tonight with Theory face down on the canvas. Heyman said they should make sure that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler. The Usos touched knuckles with Heyman so they liked it.
Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance for a match.
There was a plug for WWE Rivals on A&E this Sunday with an episode looking at Steve Austin vs. The Rock. That should be great. That’s one of my favorite rivalries ever.
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Sonya Deville
Sonya went for a waistlock, Raquel easily got out of that and Raquel got a hold of Sonya. Sonya managed to send Raquel into the turnbuckles repeatedly. Sonya hit a running knee for a two count. Raquel blocked a couple of strikes leading to some punches and a fallaway slam. Raquel jumped off the middle rope with a corkscrew elbow for two because Sonya got her hand on the bottom rope. Raquel went for a move, but Sonya came back with a DDT. Sonya with kicks to the body, Raquel just fought back easily and hit a Texana Bomb for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez
Analysis: * A sudden finish to the match with a dead crowd that didn’t care about them at all. My guess is they were going to do a bit more, but the fans were not into it, so somebody called for the finish. It came out of nowhere with Raquel winning easily after Deville was on offense. The match just didn’t work that well.
They advertised Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans after the break.
After Sonya’s loss, Ronda Rousey went out there during the break and beat her up easily. They posted it on Youtube.
A video aired showing some Usos/Street Profits recent history.
Aliyah entered for her match. They showed some of the Lacey Evans promo from last week when she ripped on the fans, telling them to “go to hell” and not wrestling the match.
Lacey Evans made her entrance getting booed like usual. Evans told the fans that wasn’t the way to treat an American Hero referring to herself. Evans said that Boston was founded by legitimately good people like her. Evans said that it was no wonder that Tom Brady left this pathetic waste of a dump city and the fans booed. Evans bragged about how she accomplished more today than most of you in the last year. Evans said she wakes up, she works and she wins. Evans claimed there wasn’t a person in this building that can walk a mile in her shoes because she’s better than all of you. Aliyah wanted to start the match, Evans told the referee to hold her back and then Evans gave Aliyah the Woman’s Right punch. Evans left without having a match again.
Analysis: This routine by Evans is getting heat, but it’s also repetitive with the same thing every week. I did like the Tom Brady line to get some boos at least. They could have had a short match with Evans winning. It would have been better than what they did in this segment.
Jeff Jarrett, the WWE Hall of Famer, was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Jarrett was wearing a referee shirt. Jeff said that it was an honor to be the special guest referee. Jeff said that this is the biggest tag team match in SummerSlam history with all the titles on the line. Jeff said that management needed somebody that wouldn’t be swayed, intimidated or blinded by the bright lights. Jeff said that he was the right man for the job and he spelled his name to end it.
Analysis: Nice job by Jarrett saying he’ll be ready to go as the referee at SummerSlam in his hometown of Nashville.
The Usos made their entrance for the main event.
They showed Maxxine Durpri of Maximum Male Models standing in front of Mace and Mansoor. She said that next week we’ll see the Beachwear Collection. It’s actually Sofia Cromwell from NXT with a new name. That segment was advertised for this week. I guess it’s coming next week.
Next week: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus, Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans and The New Day vs. Viking Raiders.
The Street Profits and Madcap Moss made their entrance. Theory was up last to join The Usos for this match.
Madcap Moss, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Theory, Jimmy Uso & Jey Usos
The faces were in control in the first minute, they cleared the ring and the show went to break. I wasn’t really paying attention, so I missed the opening of the match. There was a lot of time left.
Theory worked over Moss with punches/stomps in the corner. Theory with a snapmare into a stomp to the chest for two. Jimmy back in to work over Moss with punches, then some choking in the corner and Jey tagged in with a missed attack in the corner. Dawkins with a jumping back elbow, a corner splash, an enziguri kick to Jey’s head and Jey got a kick to the chest. Ford tagged in with a cross body block off the top on Jey. Ford with three kicks to send Jey into the corner. Ford with a jumping kick on Jey, then a kick on Jimmy and Theory, but Jey knocked Ford off the apron into the commentary table. Jimmy tagged in, so he tossed Ford over the barricade at ringside. That led to a break.
The match continued with Ford hitting Jey with a DDT to break free. Moss tagged in with a flatliner on Jimmy, then a fallaway slam on Theory and Moss with a shoulder tackle. Moss sent Jey out of the ring and Moss hit a spinning slam on Jimmy for a two count. Jimmy came back with a superkick for a two count. Jimmy wanted to tag in Theory, but Theory jumped off the apron to avoid being tagged. Theory tried to leave so Jey superkicked Theory on the floor. Jimmy tagged in Theory, then The Usos did a double superkick and Theory left the ring. The Profits got involved with Ford hitting a somersault dive onto three guys on the floor. Theory battled Moss in the ring with Theory powering up Moss into a cradle suplex into the knee for two. Moss avoided a move, ran the ropes and hit a running shoulder tackle. Moss charged for a corner move, Theory used the briefcase and hit Moss with it for the DQ after 16 minutes.
Winners by disqualification: Madcap Moss, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins
Analysis: *** I liked most of the match until the weak finish. It’s lame to end a match like that with a DQ, but that’s what WWE does sometimes whether we like it or not. Hopefully they do less of it in the future. The Usos and Profits always work well together while Moss and Theory are good enough. I wouldn’t call it a great match, but it was solid most of the way.
After the match, Theory hit Moss with the briefcase repeatedly. Moss was down in the ring and Theory kept hitting him.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit! Pat: “The Beast is in Boston!” Cole and McAfee alluded to Lesnar possibly leaving the arena earlier in the day, but there he was. Lesnar slowly walked around the ring while Theory was in the ring with his briefcase.
Lesnar got into the ring. Lesnar with a knee to the ribs of Theory leading to an F5. Lesnar hit Theory with the MITB briefcase a few times. Lesnar picked up Theory and gave him an F5 on the briefcase. Lesnar put his cowboy hat back on. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Welcome back Brock. I guess the reports of him leaving earlier in the day were true because he was upset about the Vince McMahon news, but the assumption is that somebody likely talked him into coming back and there he was as advertised. It was an ass-kicking that made Theory look weak because it’s all about making Lesnar look dominant going into his SummerSlam match with Reigns. A simple appearance from Lesnar, who looked like the biggest star on the show by a lot.
Three Stars of the Show
- Brock Lesnar
- The Usos
- The Street Profits
5.75 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
I thought it was just an average Smackdown. Nothing special about it. The match quality was below what I would like to see. The six-man tag tea main event was fine and then they do a DQ finish after nearly 20 minutes of action. The Nakamura/Kaiser match was probably the best one that had a finish.
I don’t think there was much excitement on the show until Brock Lesnar made his appearance at the end of the night and the fans popped big for him. Lesnar reportedly left earlier in the day, but he ended up coming back and the fans loved seeing him kick Theory’s ass.
The Stephanie McMahon promo to start the show was brief as she quickly mentioned Vince McMahon’s retirement. The fans were eager to chant “Thank You Vince” although I’m sure some people don’t like that he is getting those kinds of chants. Can’t please everybody. I get why the fans did it, but I also get why other people don’t like it.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is SummerSlam from Nashville on Saturday, July 30th. Here’s what we know so far.
* Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
* Riddle vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch
* Unified Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits (with Jeff Jarrett as the special referee)
* United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Theory
* Logan Paul vs. The Miz
* Pat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin
You can watch WWE SummerSlam, streaming live Saturday, July 30, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.