The John Report: WWE Smackdown 07/28/23 Review

wwe smackdown july 28 review

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Roman Reigns & Jey Uso on the road to SummerSlam, Rey Mysterio facing Santos Escobar for a shot at the US Title and more.

It’s the second last episode of Smackdown before SummerSlam, which is eight days away on Saturday, August 5th from Ford Field in Detroit. That event will be one of the biggest WWE crowds of the year with over 40,000+ fans in attendance. We found out on last week’s Smackdown that Roman Reigns will defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Title against cousin Jey Uso in a Tribal Combat Match at SummerSlam in what should be the main event.

From the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, this is Smackdown for episode #1249. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Let’s Hear from Jey Uso and Roman Reigns

Jey Uso was in the ring for a promo to start the show. Jey was in the ring wearing a shirt that said “The Real Chief” on it. He was officially introduced as “Main Event” Jey Uso. The fans cheered as Jey told the fans he was in their city. That’s when The Tribal Chief’s music hit.

Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, made his entrance with the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. Heyman was carrying the red Lei in his hands. Heyman did not have the WWE and Universal Titles with him. It was noted by Michael Cole it was 1062 days for Roman Reigns as the Universal Champion. At SummerSlam, Roman faces Jey in a Tribal Combat Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Reigns looked at the Lei held by Heyman. Reigns finally got into the ring after about three minutes to pose with his gold championship. It is one month away from Reigns being the champion for three years. The fans chanted “Uso” before Reigns said a word.

Reigns: “New Orleans…acknowledge me!” Reigns told the fans that they like The Usos because of him. Reigns said when he’s scheduled to appear, it means he opens up his show. Reigns asked why they called Jey the “Right Hand Man” and Reigns said it’s because he made Jey that. Reigns said they called you “Main Event Jey Uso” because Reigns made him that. Reigns said now Jey is trying to open Roman’s show and Jey thinks he’s the face of the company. Reigns asked Jey if he thinks he’s the Tribal Chief now, huh?

Jey Uso said he never wanted any of that. Jey said all he did for Reigns is watch his back and support him like family does. Jey said he was Roman’s right hand man for three years because Roman was his Tribal Chief since Jey believed Roman could lead this company and lead this family. Jey told Reigns that he has broken this family, so Jey has to do what he has to do. Jey said that Reigns broke the family, broke The Bloodline, broke Jimmy and it is all Roman’s fault. Reigns said no to that and told the fans to shut up.

Reigns said he’s not going to take that blame because it is Jey’s fault. Reigns said as soon as Jimmy got hurt, Jey asked for a championship match. Reigns told Jey the only reason he became the Right Hand Man is because Jimmy was hurt. Reigns said if Jimmy wasn’t hurt then Jey didn’t have a chance. Reigns said Jey took that from Jimmy. Reigns told Jey he screwed his twin brother and Jey’s younger brother Solo loves and respects Roman more than Jey. Reigns said when he beats Jey, he’ll be done and no longer part of this legacy.

Reigns suggested the idea that Jey actually beats Roman. The fans cheered. Reigns said that Jey takes the Undisputed WWE Universal Title and the Lei from Reigns. Roman said that he would no longer be The Tribal Chief, but he’ll always be Roman Reigns. Roman told Jey that he will have nothing. Reigns said that Jey can’t beat Roman. Reigns wanted to know what Jey was thinking because Reigns wants to know why Jey thinks he can beat Reigns. The fans chanted “Uso” again.

Jey: “It’s because I already beat you. I pinned you.” Jey said he was the only one to do it. Jey looked Reigns in the eye: “At SummerSlam, I’m going to beat you again.” Jey walked out of the ring with the fans cheering him.

Analysis: That was really good as usual. Both guys made a lot of logical points. What Roman said about Jey becoming the Right Hand Man because Jimmy was hurt is a fact because it led to Jey have more chances as a singles wrestler and Jey did a great job in that role. Reigns was cocky as usual, but when he asked why Jey thinks he can win, Jey gave the perfect answer because we saw him pin Reigns four weeks ago at Money in the Bank. That win by Jey gives him confidence over Reigns and that’s what makes the story so interesting. I thought this was better than the segment they had last week.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett were on camera welcoming us to the show.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown with highlights to set up the Santos Escobar-Rey Mysterio match. Both guys won four-way matches to get to this match.

Rey Mysterio entered for his singles match.

A commercial aired about WrestleMania 40 in April 2024 in Philadelphia. Tickets are on sale on August 18th. Bring a jacket.


Jey Uso was shown walking backstage with Grayson Waller talking to him. Waller said that Jey Uso is probably losing at SummerSlam. Waller said that Jey should come on Waller’s talk show. Waller called him “Little Jey” and Jey punched Waller in the jaw to shut him up.

United States Championship Invitational Finals: Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar

They are both part of the LWO stable, so they shook hands. The winner gets to face the US Champion Austin Theory for the title.

Escobar applied a leg lock submission to ground Rey on the mat. They showed Austin Theory watching in a skybox alone. Escobar delivered a hard kick to the leg, Rey slapped Escobar and Escobar slapped him back. Rey kicked Escobar into the ropes. Escobar bailed to the floor, so Rey hit a somersault dive over the top onto a standing Escobar on the floor. That led to a break.


Rey was in control with a senton followed by a cross body block as Austin Theory was shown watching from a skybox. Escobar hit two running forearms and a jumping kick to the head. Escobar went up top leading to a cross body block for a two count. Rey hit an impressive sunset flip for a two count. Rey ran off the ropes leading to Escobar catching him with a backbreaker for two. Barrett was doing a good job of pointing out how Escobar knows Rey’s moves so well, which is why Escobar was able to counter him. They battled by the turnbuckle, Rey was on Escobar’s shoulders and they went over the top to the floor. Rey turned it into a headscissors that sent Escobar into the side of the ring apron. Rey went for a sliding splash on the floor, but Escobar moved and Rey hit the mat. Escobar hit a suicide dive leading to a break.


The match returned with Rey getting looked at a WWE doctor at ringside. They showed a replay of the back of Rey’s head hitting the floor hard when Escobar hit a suicide dive on the floor. It was a legit doctor and not an indy wrestler that they use for fake injuries. Referee Jessika Carr told ring announcer Mike Rome that Rey can’t compete anymore, so Escobar was announced as the winner. The match time was about 13 minutes.

Winner: Santos Escobar

Analysis: It’s a tough match to rate due to how it ended, so I’ll just say it was around three stars and likely would have been higher if they were able to complete the match. They had a very even matchup the whole way. The replay of the suicide dive on the floor showed that the back of Rey’s head hit the floor pretty hard, so maybe there’s concern about a concussion or a neck injury of some kind. Anyway, if there was concern about Rey getting hurt then it’s smart to just end it there. I have a feeling Escobar was going to win anyway.

After the match, Rey and Escobar hugged. Escobar bowed down to Rey as a sign of respect.

UPDATE:PWTorch reported that Rey suffered a suspected concussion. They also said that Escobar was the planned winner of the match.

Santos Escobar had a long distance staredown with Theory, who held the US Title. It was announced that in two weeks on Smackdown, Austin Theory will defend the US Title against Escobar.

Analysis: I don’t expect a title change, but Theory’s title reign has been very long. I just think LA Knight is a better option as the next US Champion.

Bianca Belair was interviewed by Kayla Braxton when WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville interrupted to say they’ve been the champions for 11 days. They complained about how they don’t get attention, yet Belair and Charlotte get so much attention. Belair suggested they could have a triple threat match. Charlotte Flair walked into the picture. Charlotte said she wanted Belair 100% for SummerSlam, so Flair suggested she teams up with Belair. That led to Belair saying no, so Flair said that makes her want to do it even more and Flair said she’ll talk to Adam Pearce. Flair said “toodles” like NXT’s Tiffany Stratton does as Belair walked off screen with Flair.

Analysis: It looks like a tag team match is coming.


Hit Row’s Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis and B-Fab were in the ring insulting the crowd. Top Dolla said “Roll Tide” referencing Alabama’s football rivalry with LSU.

LA Knight’s music hit leading to a huge pop and “LA Knight” chants. Knight said he didn’t know Uncle Phil became a rapper while making fun of Top Dolla. Knight said that they claimed New Orleans was corny and Knight said B-Fab looking at him means she was probably horny. Knight said that Adonis will be the next to be dropped on his head courtesy of LA Knight…yeah.

Analysis: That was a pure babyface promo from Knight. Make jokes about the heels and show a lot of confidence. It works for Knight. The fans love it.

LA Knight vs. Ashante “Thee” Adonis (w/Top Dolla & B-Fab)

Adonis knocked down Knight with a cheap shot followed by some choking by the ropes. Dolla did a cheap shot when B-Fab distracted the referee. Adonis missed a corner splash and Knight hit a neckbreaker. Knight knocked Dolla off the apron. Knight with a powerslam followed the “LA Knight…yeah” elbow drop. Knight hit the BFT (Blount Force Trauma) for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: LA Knight

Analysis: * Easy win by LA Knight over Adonis, who doesn’t get much TV time. It’s just a way to further the babyface run of Knight, who recently turned due to the crowd supporting him so much.

Jey Uso was shown backstage looking at his phone with WWE Official Adam Pearce walking up to him saying Grayson Waller wants a match with Jey. That was fine with Jey, who told him to make the match. Pearce said it’s official.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance for tag team action.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam promoting the Cody Rhodes-Brock Lesnar match.


The Street Profits were seated backstage with Bobby Lashley, who said last week Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams had a lot to say about respecting The Street Profits. Lashley talked about looking professional while he was wearing a suit and Montez Ford was in dress clothes. Angelo Dawkins was wearing more like athletic gear. Lashley said he had nothing against the sweats that Dawkins wears, but he had something more fitting for him. Lashley had a collection of suits for Dawkins and said it was on him. Ford and Dawkins were impressed.

Analysis: We saw them together two weeks ago and here they are again. We still don’t know if this going to be a new version of The Hurt Business or what the plan is, but for now, they are bonding as a group. Anyway, seeing Dawkins in a suit in the future will be a different look for him.

Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville

This is not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles held by Green & Deville. Belair started for the faces, Flair tagged herself in and did her knee slamming routine to the mat. Belair was back in with body slam for Deville along with a moonsault after bouncing off the ropes. Belair dropkicked Deville into the turnbuckle. Green went into the ring illegally, so Belair tossed Green out and Deville hit a jumping kick on Belair for a two count.


Deville worked over Belair as the face in peril. Green tagged in, Belair tried to break free and the heels stopped a tag attempt. Belair hit a double suplex on the champions. Flair tagged in with a cross body block off the top as the crowd came alive. Flair worked over Green with chops to the chest along with a fallaway slam across the ring. Flair hit a cartwheel into a clothesline for two. Green with an elbow to the head, Flair hit a Spear to Green and Deville tagged in leading to Flair getting a rollup for two. Flair hit a fallaway slam on Deville. Deville kicked Flair into the turnbuckle, so Belair tagged in with a dropkick and a delayed vertical suplex. Belair did the turnbuckle punches with Belair actually touching the turnbuckle instead of Deville. When Deville broke free, Green tagged in and Belair fought her off. Flair pulled Deville out of the ring. Belair put Green on her shoulders for a KOD, but Flair did the blind tag and Flair did a boot to the face. Flair told Belair to get out and Flair pinned Green for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with the babyfaces getting the win even though they weren’t a cohesive team. I thought the finish was weak. I get the story was that Flair tagged in to upset Belair, who had the match won, but then Flair hit a kick to the head and that was enough to beat Green even though it took five seconds for Charlotte to go for the pin. It makes the champions look weak and they have only been champions for 11 days. I get that WWE doesn’t want Flair or Belair to lose and I’m not saying they should lose. I just think they could have booked a better finish.

Post match, Flair had her hand raised as the winner while Belair was on the floor asking why Flair tagged herself in. Belair wondered why Flair did that.

Bayley was shown in the locker room watching the TV saying that was embarrassing. IYO SKY walked up to Bayley about what happened last week. Bayley mentioned Shotzi messing with them. Bayley looked at her back where she saw a message saying “Bayley, see you soon.” It was a message from Shotzi. Asuka walked up to them with the WWE Women’s Championship. Asuka warned Miss Money in the Bank IYO SKY that she will make Sky regret cashing in Money in the Bank. Sky said it didn’t matter who wins at SummerSlam because she’ll be leaving as the WWE Women’s Champion.

Analysis: A nice tease by Sky suggesting she’s going to cash in Money in the Bank at SummerSlam. Meanwhile, Bayley is clearly worried about Shotzi coming after her.

Still to come: Jey Uso vs. Grayson Waller.

A commercial aired for NXT’s The Great American Bash this Sunday night. I’ll have a review on Sunday night.


It was announced that there will be a SummerSlam Battle Royal presented by Slim Jim.

Analysis: It is for the men’s roster. It gets more people on the show. That’s fine with me.

They showed Adam Pearce backstage in his office talking about his excitement for the SummerSlam Battle Royal. LA Knight walked in saying if you want to the Battle Royal to mean something then you need Knight to be in it. Sheamus and friends walked in talking about winning the battle royal while saying “banger after banger” repeatedly. Pearce said he’ll put them in the battle royal while also putting them in a match next week. Knight said you’re saying it will be a match against Sheamus next week? Sheamus yelled “YEAH” at Knight.

Analysis: That’s a good match for next week. I think Knight should win the battle royal.

Grayson Waller was interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley. Waller said tonight, Jey Uso is going to pay. Waller said that Jey is focused on other things, so he’s not ready for the Grayson Waller Effect.

Karrion Kross made his entrance with Scarlett joining him as usual.


A commercial aired for Monday’s Raw promoting the Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes and Ricochet-Logan Paul rivalries. They didn’t announce anything specific.

Karl Anderson told The OC’s AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Michin that he needed them to let him do this alone because this is personal.

Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Karl Anderson

Anderson was aggressive with punches and chops. Anderson got a boot up followed by a neckbreaker off the ropes for two. Scarlett grabbed Anderson’s leg while the referee was looking at Kross, so Kross took over. Kross hit a running forearm against the ropes. Kross hit a Saito Suplex while shouting “AJ” for Styles. Kross hit a Kross Hammer elbow smash to the jaw. Kross put Anderson on his shoulders and spun him around in a move that was like a DDT with Cole saying it’s called The Final Prayer. Kross pinned Anderson for the win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Karrion Kross

Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put Kross over Anderson, who doesn’t get to have a lot of singles matches in WWE. Kross has been feuding with AJ Styles, so of course he was going to win.

Post match, Kross put the Kross Jacket submission on Anderson, so that led to AJ Styles, Michin and Luke Gallows running out for the save. Kross and Scarlett left at that point.

Analysis: That should lead to Kross and Styles having another match as the rivalry continues. They’re trying to elevate Kross by using AJ’s star power, but I’d like to see AJ in more high profile feuds.

They showed Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman in their dressing room watching a TV as Jey Uso made his entrance.

Jey Uso made his entrance and got a good pop from the crowd. Jey was wearing his new shirt “The Real Chief” again.

This Monday on Peacock is the premiere of the new Cody Rhodes documentary called “Becoming Cody Rhodes.” I don’t have Peacock, but I’ll find a way to check it out.


Next week on Smackdown: Sheamus vs. LA Knight.

In two weeks on Smackdown: Austin Theory defends the US Title against Santos Escobar.

Jey Uso vs. Grayson Waller

Jey hit a running forearm to the face. Waller hit a dropkick to the knee leading to Jey bumping into the turnbuckle. Waller with a headbutt that didn’t work because you don’t headbutt a Samoan and Jey hit a body slam. Jey stomped on Waller. Waller came back with some shots to the body along with knee drops. Jey hit a spinning enziguri kick. Jey set up for the running hip attack, but the music of Roman Reigns hit as The Tribal Chief walked out with Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman, who was carrying the Lei again. When Jey turned around, Waller hit a jumping side kick. Roman’s music stopped as the show went to break.


The match continued with Jey hitting a jawbreaker to break free from a Waller move. Reigns was seated in a chair at ringside. Waller knocked Jey down with a forearm followed by Waller hitting an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. Waller worked over Jey with repeated forearms to the head. Jey ducked a kick, then Jey hit a superkick and uppercut. Waller hit a spinebuster, which led to Reigns smiling. Waller teased doing a People’s Elbow, he ran the ropes and did his own twist to it, but Jey moved so Waller elbowed the mat. Jey hit a Samoan Drop. Jey went for a turnbuckle attack, Waller moved and Waller left the ring. Waller tried getting back into the ring for a move, but Jey met Waller with a superkick. Jey stared at Reigns and Jey charged with a Spear like Roman does. Jey stared right at Reigns after doing it. Jey went up top and hit an Uso Splash for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jey Uso

Analysis: **3/4 A strong win for Jey Uso as you would expect for him as the challenger for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title at SummerSlam. Waller got some offense, but it’s not like he had any chance of winning this match. I liked the added touch of Jey hitting a Spear before he hit the Uso Splash just to show that Jey can do Roman’s move too.

After the match, Solo Sikoa did a cheap attack on his brother Jey. When Solo went for a Samoan Spike, Jey avoided it and Jey superkicked Solo out of the ring. Reigns went into the ring, Jey was ready for him and Jey hit a Spear on his cousin Reigns. The fans popped huge for that. Jey went up top for more, but Solo shoved Jey down. Solo hit a uranage slam on Jey.

Reigns was back up to his feet and Reigns hit a Spear on Jey while Solo did a Samoan Spike on Jey at the same time. Reigns stood over Jey while holding the WWE Title and the Lei. Reigns told Jey he can’t handle this. Reigns looked out at the crowd, who had started a “You Got Pinned” chant at Reigns. Roman got back up leading to another Spear/Samoan Spike combo on Jey. Reigns posed with his WWE Title and the Lei while Jey was down on the mat. Roman’s music played as he continued to celebrate while Jey was face first on the mat. That was the end of Smackdown.

Analysis: I thought it was a good ending. Jey couldn’t fight off Roman and Solo alone, so it was obvious that Jey would get his ass kicked. Perhaps they will bring Jimmy Uso back next week to help Jey, but I think it’s possible that Jimmy stays away until SummerSlam itself or perhaps after that. Anyway, it worked as a post match segment to get heat on Reigns going into SummerSlam.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jey Uso
  2. Roman Reigns
  3. Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair


The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7

2023 Average: 7.23


Final Thoughts

This was a weaker episode of Smackdown overall, but I did enjoy the Roman Reigns-Jey Uso segments. They started the show and ended the show. I liked the words exchanged by both guys with Reigns trying to talk down to “Little Jey” while Jey was confident because he pinned Reigns earlier this month. In the main event, Jey beating Grayson Waller was obvious. The post match attack was also obvious. I loved seeing Jey hit a Spear on Reigns, but Solo Sikoa helped Reigns and Roman/Solo kicked Jey’s ass to end it. The story has been told really well and it feels like a huge match at SummerSlam with Roman against Jey.

In terms of matches, it just wasn’t as strong as a better Smackdown episode. The Santos Escobar/Rey Mysterio was the longest and would have easily been the best, but Rey suffered an apparent concussion (going off a PWTorch report). I saw a report that it may have been for a storyline. However, everything about it looked real and how it was presented seemed real. The other matches were decent with LA Knight in babyface mode winning a squash match, Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair winning a tag and an easy win for Karrion Kross too.

Adding a battle royal to SummerSlam is an interesting choice, but I don’t mind it because it gets LA Knight on the show. It should be a win for Knight too.

The next WWE Premium Live Event for the main roster is SummerSlam on August 5th at Ford Field in Detroit with this lineup so far:

wwe summerslam 2023 roman reigns jey uso

* Tribal Combat Match (Anything Goes) For the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso

* Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

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

* WWE Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

* Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler

* Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus (Not official as I write this but it’s the plan)

* SummerSlam Battle Royal

There is also likely going to be Rhea Ripley defending the Women’s World Title vs. Raquel Rodriguez, but that is not official yet.

You can watch SummerSlam streaming live on Saturday, August 5, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT 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 aka X (I guess) @johnreport