This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the “Head of the Table” Undisputed WWE Champion Universal Roman Reigns addressing Drew McIntyre ahead of their championship match at Clash at the Castle on September 3.
This week’s Smackdown is the blue brand’s first show since Summerslam last Saturday night. In addition to Reigns/McIntyre, WWE also advertised a women’s Gauntlet Match featuring Raquel Rodriguez, Aliyah, Shotzi, Xia Li, Shayna Baszler, Natalya and Sonya Deville with the winner challenging Liv Morgan for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Clash at the Castle. They also promoted Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser again. This will be their third match in the last month (Nakamura won on July 8, and Kaiser won on July 22). It was announced that if Nakamura wins then he gets a shot at the Intercontinental Title held by Gunther.
There was a video package that showed highlights from SummerSlam. It took about four minutes to get through all of it. They showed a lot.
They showed a GMC truck arriving at the building with The Usos in the car. Jey was driving. Their cousin Roman Reigns was in another car and they walked towards the building together.
It was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary as usual. They did a rundown of what’s coming up during this week’s show. Pat was happy about the ball kicking that he did on Saturday at SummerSlam. They showed a clip when Happy Corbin knocked referee Charles Robinson down, so Pat delivered a low blow kick to the groin. They replayed it several times with some noises included, which was funny. Anyway, Pat finished off Corbin shortly after that. Pat: “When that foot hit his balls, I was in pure euphoria.”
Happy Corbin was shown watching what Pat was showing. Some wrestlers were standing by laughing as well. Corbin told Ricochet it wasn’t funny. Ricochet told Corbin they should have a match right now. I guess nothing else was booked. Sure. Let’s have a match.
Ricochet made his entrance first followed by Happy Corbin. Pat talked about how maybe Corbin will be a better person after what happened at SummerSlam.
Ricochet vs. Happy Corbin
Ricochet to the apron, he kicked Corbin in the head and avoided a slam attempt. Ricochet kicked Corbin so that Corbin bumped to the floor. Ricochet hit a somersault dive over the top onto Corbin. Back in the ring, Ricochet jumped off the top, Corbin moved out of the way and hit a clothesline with Ricochet doing a flip bump to sell it. Corbin hit a back elbow to the face. Corbin with a hard whip into the corner that led to a sternum bump by Ricochet. Corbin sent Ricochet to the apron, when Ricochet tried an attack from there, Corbin punched Ricochet to knock him down. The fans chanted “McAfee” for Pat while Cole said “WWE fans” instead of “universe” so that’s nice. Ricochet avoided Corbin, double stomp to the back, two kicks while on the apron and Corbin avoided a moonsault on the floor. Corbin sent Ricochet into the ring post leading to a break.
Corbin remained in control as he hit a huge back body drop with Ricochet getting a lot of height. Ricochet avoided another back body drop, then he bounced off the ropes with an elbow and a clothesline off the turnbuckle. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Corbin blocked a move, Ricochet with a bot to the face, but then Corbin caught Ricochet off the ropes. Corbin hit a spinning slam off the shoulders into a neckbreaker for a two count. Corbin with a lift, Ricochet with a hurricanrana and a sunset flip for two. Ricochet off the ropes leading to the Deep Six slam for the two count. That move almost always gets a two count, yet Corbin was shocked by it. Ricochet tried a sunset flip off the ropes, Corbin stopped that and Corbin tossed Ricochet off the turnbuckle so that his throat hit the top rope. Corbin was distracted looking at Pat, so Ricochet tripped him up on the top with Corbin getting crotched. Ricochet with double knees to the face. Ricochet went up top and hit an incredible Shooting Star Press for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: *** A pretty good bigger guy-smaller guy match. I think Ricochet will be booked pretty well with Triple H running creative. I know Ricochet was a former IC Champion, but sometimes he went weeks at a time without being used. That should change. Anyway, the main story was about Corbin suffering another low blow during a match because he was crotched across the top rope and Ricochet capitalized to get the win. It seems like they are doing a losing streak gimmick for Corbin, who lost to Madcap Moss a few times, he lost to McAfee at SummerSlam and lost this match as well.
Post match, Pat threw a Nerf football to Ricochet and Ricochet threw it back. Pat (the former NFL punter) punted the ball into the crowd.
There’s a women’s Gauntlet Match later in the show. The graphic said it was up next, but it was not up next.
Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage and he knocked on the dressing room of Roman Reigns. That led to a break.
The Usos walked out of Roman’s dressing room with Sami Zayn talking to them. Jimmy said that the Wise Man (Paul Heyman) needed a few days at home after Brock put him through a table. Zayn wanted to say something to Reigns, Jey told him it was not a good time and Jimmy said that they would text him later. The Usos went back into the room.
Analysis: This continues the story about how Zayn thinks he’s an ally of The Bloodline guys, but they don’t necessarily look at him the same way.
There were highlights shown of the Liv Morgan-Ronda Rousey match at SummerSlam. Morgan won by pinfall while Rousey was applying an armbar. Morgan actually tapped out before the three count, but the referee did not see the tap out and instead counted Ronda down. Post match, Rousey beat up referee Dan Engler. Rousey was “fined and suspended” in the storyline.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance with McAfee dancing on the commentary table as usual.
A commercial aired of the A&E Biography about Lex Luger on Sunday. Lex is one of the biggest names in wrestling over the last 30 years that is not in the WWE Hall of Fame yet. Maybe it will happen within the next few years. I’ve watched all the Biography shows on wrestling stars. They do a good job.
There was a Classic Smackdown Moment sponsored by Pizza Hut. They showed a video from April 27, 2000 when Steve Austin blew up the DX Express bus. The backstory to this is that they had issues doing what they wanted to do and it took a long time to do it. The positive thing for WWE is that it was a taped show, so the fans had no idea that the taping of the segment was messed up.
Ludwig Kaiser made his entrance with the Intercontinental Champion Gunther.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser
If Nakamura wins then he gets to challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Title. Cole mentioned they each have wins against eachother over the last month, which is what I mentioned in the opening of this review.
Kaiser was in control early with a couple of elbow shots to the head. Kaiser stomped away on Nakamura in the corner. Nakamura blocked a kick, then he hit an elbow to the knee and drove his boot into the face. Nakamura with a knee to the ribs, then an enziguri kick and a knee drop. Nakamura tripped up Kaiser on the turnbuckle, then he hit a running knee to the ribs and a kick to the back. Kaiser hit a gutwrench suplex leading to a break.
The match returned with Nakamura suplexing Kaiser across the top rope followed by a kick to the back. Nakamura with a sliding kick followed by the sliding German Suplex off the ropes. Nakamura got in Gunther’s face, so Kaiser kicked Nakamura off the apron to the floor. Nakamura with a running knee to Kaiser, but Kaiser hit him with a running uppercut for two. Kaiser hit a variation of an exploder suplex for a two count. Nakamura countered a Kaiser move leading to an armbar, Kaiser stomped on the chest and got a two count. Nakamura with a spin kick to the head followed by a Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: **3/4 A solid match to put over Nakamura as you would expect here. They aren’t really pushing Kaiser at this point since he’s more of an ally of Gunther, who is getting pushed. Anyway, Kaiser did get some offense in the match and looked credible before Nakamura was able to finish him off.
The win means that Nakamura will challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Title on Smackdown next week.
Nakamura did the “come on” gesture to Gunther leading to a staredown between the two men.
Analysis: I think Gunther will win. It should be a competitive match.
They showed a replay from last week when The Viking Raiders beat The New Day and injured the left foot of Xavier Woods.
Kofi Kingston was interviewed backstage by Megan Morant. Kofi talked about how Xavier Woods was recovering from what happened last week. Kofi said that no matter how many times these vikings want to put them down, they keep getting up and it’s not just a gimmick when he says it’s a new day. Kofi said it’s almost time for him to make the vikings pay for what they did to Woods last week.
Liv Morgan was up next.
This Monday on Raw: Bobby Lashley defends the US Title against Ciampa.
They showed some photos from SummerSlam along with the media covering the show.
Sami Zayn was shown knocking on the locker room door of Roman Reigns. The Usos walked out of the room. Sami wondered if Jimmy texted him because there was poor reception. Jimmy said when the Wise Man (Paul Heyman) is there, he goes to the production truck to make sure the entrance of Roman Reigns goes off perfectly, so they wanted Sami to do it. Sami left to go do it. Jey didn’t say anything during the discussion.
Let’s Hear from Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, entered for a promo with Kayla Braxton conducting the interview in the ring. Liv Morgan had her left arm in a brace to sell the attack from Rousey. Cole said that Morgan is the only woman to beat Rousey twice.
Kayla mentioned Ronda snapped after her loss to Morgan, so she asked what was on Liv’s mind. Liv said she was feeling so many different emotions. Liv said she wanted to address the elephant in the room as some fans chanted “you tapped out” at her. Morgan said that this championship means everything to her and it’s why she was able to withstand armbar after armbar. Some fans were booing her. Morgan said she tapped after she thought that the referee counted three. There was an interruption from Sonya Deville.
Sonya said that Morgan can do her innocent act for these people and some will buy it because they are dumb. Sonya said that Liv shouldn’t be the champion. Sonya was happy that Ronda got her hands on Liv after Rousey was screwed over. Sonya ripped on Adam Pearce for being bad at his job. Sonya said she liked seeing Liv hurt. Sonya said she’ll win the Gauntlet Match and then she’ll take away the Smackdown Women’s Title at Clash at the Castle.
Analysis: The fans were a bit hard on Morgan there. I didn’t really expect that since she’s the noble babyface while Rousey came across as the heel, but the fans were vocal against Morgan.
Aliyah made her entrance as part of the Gauntlet Match. Liv Morgan was watching the match from ringside.
Gauntlet Match #1: Sonya Deville vs. Aliyah
Deville with an elbow knockdown followed by a running knee. They ran off the ropes leading to Deville hitting a spinebuster. Aliyah with a jawbreaker to get out of a chinlock. Aliyah with a Thesz Press with punches followed by a springboard cross body block for two. Deville sent Aliyah into the middle rope. Deville hit a reverse DDT with a punch to the gut for the pinfall win. It was about two minutes.
Aliyah was eliminated.
Gauntlet Match #2: Sonya Deville vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Rodriguez was aggressive with punches followed by a clothesline. Deville with a chop block followed by a bulldog into the mat. Sonya with a chinlock, Raquel got out of that and hit a kick to knock Deville down. Raquel hit an elbow drop off the turnbuckle. Rodriguez hit the Texana Bomb for the pinfall to eliminate Deville.
Sonya Deville was eliminated.
Shotzi made her entrance as the show went to break.
Gauntlet Match #3: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shotzi
Shotzi applied an abdominal stretch as they showed a replay of Shotzi hitting a DDT during the break. Raquel hit a fallaway slam across the ring followed by the elbow drop off the middle rope. Raquel hit the Texana Bomb for the pinfall win.
Shotzi was eliminated.
Gauntlet Match #4: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Xia Li
Li got no reaction from the crowd. Li with kicks to the legs followed by a running dropkick. Li stomped on the back of the left leg. Li with a half crab submission working on the leg some more. Li shoved Raquel in the face, so Raquel headbutted her. Raquel caught Li in her arms leading to a fallaway slam and the spinning elbow drop off the middle rope. Raquel with the Texana Bomb for the pinfall win.
Xia Li was eliminated.
Gauntlet Match #5: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya
Natalya immediately went after the injured left knee with a chop block. Natalya applied a submission stretching the legs. Raquel fought out of it with punches, then they rolled through and Raquel hit a suplex for two. Natalya came back with the Sharpshooter, but Raquel got to the bottom rope to force the break. Natalya went after Raquel with punches against the turnbuckle and Raquel came back with another Texana Bomb for the pinfall.
Natalya was eliminated.
Shayna Baszler was up next as the last woman in the gauntlet.
Analysis: It was a dominant showing by Raquel Rodriguez. The crowd didn’t respond to it that much, but it did get better when she hit the Texana Bomb during each match.
Gauntlet Match #6: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler was aggressive working on the left arm of Raquel while Baszler stared at Morgan. Raquel missed a corner attack, Baszler got an inside cradle and a knee to the face for two. Baszler jumped on the back, Raquel slammed her down and hit a corner splash. Raquel went for the elbow off the ropes, but Baszler caught her. Baszler went for a Kirifuda Clutch choke submission, Raquel got to the ropes and Baszler held on by going for pin attempts. When Raquel tried to fight off Baszler’s hold, Baszler held her around the waist and bridged her feet almost like a German Suplex position. Baszler was able to keep Raquel down for a three count leading to a pinfall for the win after 22 minutes.
Winner of the Gauntlet Match: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: **1/2 I think it was just an average Gauntlet Match. Baszler took advantage of Raquel looking tired after being in the ring for a long time, so Baszler found a way to beat her without making Raquel looking weak. It’s not really a surprise that Baszler would get booked well with Triple H running creative since she had long reigns as an NXT Women’s Champion two times.
Shayna Baszler celebrated the win while staring at Morgan. That’s the match at Clash at the Castle. Cole said that Shayna was the worst opponent for Liv due to her submission skills. That makes sense.
Sami Zayn knocked on the Roman Reigns locker room door with The Usos talking to him again. Zayn complained about how they gave him the runaround all night long. Jey yelled about how Roman has two titles, they have four titles and if Sami doesn’t pull his weight around here then they’ll make him take off that Bloodline shirt. Zayn was quiet as The Usos left.
Still to come: Roman Reigns addresses Drew McIntyre.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Jim Mulkey & Tommy Gibson
Erik beat up both guys easily. Ivar with a corner splash, a body slam and then Erik slammed Ivar onto Gibson. Ivar destroyed Gibson with elbows in the corner, Erik tagged in with a corner splash and a body slam on Mulkey. Ivar delivered a front body slam on Gibson off the middle turnbuckle. The VR guys did a double Powerbomb on Mulkey onto Gibson. Erik pinned both guys at the same time for the win. It went about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over the Viking Raiders in a dominant way.
Post match, Kofi went into the ring with a kendo stick and beat up both Viking Raiders. The fans cheered while chanting “Kofi” for Kingston.
Analysis: It was revenge for Kofi after VR took out Xavier Woods last week.
Kofi Kingston vs. Erik (w/Ivar)
Erik delivered one of his rising knees with a hard slap to make a lot of noise, so Cole screamed about how devastating it was. Eric with a chinlock, Kofi fought out of it and delivered a kick to the face. Kofi up top with a cross body block for a two count. Erik hit a uranage slam for a two count. Erik with a full nelson leading to a knee to the back of the head for two. Kofi came back with a dropkick off the middle ropes. Kofi sent Erik to the floor, Kofi ran the ropes and hit a trust fall dive over the top onto Erik on the floor. Kofi avoided Ivar on the floor and Erik hit a forearm. Back in the ring, Erik tried a move, Kofi got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: * This feud just goes on and on with one side winning, then the other side gets the win back the following week and this time it was Kofi’s turn. That ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is so deadly.
It was mentioned by Michael Cole that starting Monday on Raw, there will be a tournament to crown the new Women’s Tag Team Championships.
BREAKING NEWS: A tournament to crown new WWE Women's Tag Team Champions will begin Monday on #WWERaw!
— WWE (@WWE) August 6, 2022
Analysis: It’s expected that Sasha Banks and Naomi are coming back to WWE. I don’t know if they will be in this tournament, but it would be a nice surprise to see them be a part of it.
Roman Reigns and The Usos made their entrance for the main event segment. It was a long walk to the ring. They went to break.
A video aired about the Intercontinental Champion Gunther.
Next week on Smackdown: Gunther defends the Intercontinental Championship vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.
Let’s Hear from The Bloodline (Roman Reigns & The Usos)
Roman Reigns was in the ring with his WWE and Universal Title while The Usos had their Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Reigns held out his hand, so Jimmy handed him the microphone. The crowd was ready for this.
Reigns: “Greenville, South Carolina…acknowledge me.” It led to the usual cheers and boos along with a “Tribal Chief” chant. Reigns said that you know the deal because they won the big one at SummerSlam and they’re there to brag about what they accomplished. Reigns mentioned Brock Lesnar saying he hates him, but he respects that man. Reigns said he still hates Lesnar. Reigns said that they hate Brock because tried to kill the Wise Man with Reigns saying they don’t know when he’s coming back. Reigns said he wanted to send prayers up to the Wise Man. Here’s the interruption.
Drew McIntyre said that if he didn’t interrupt then he knows Reigns would talk until they are off the air. I believe Drew called him the “Tribal Queef” instead of the Tribal Chief. Just saying. Drew asked South Carolina if they wanted to see him take down the Tribal Chief and the fans were cheering.
The lights went all white in the building as some of the lights went out and it was Karrion Kross. That led to Kross jumping McIntyre from behind. Kross sent Drew into the steel steps. Kross followed up with a running forearm to Drew’s back. Drew was out on the floor. Cole screamed about how Karrion Kross was back. Kross was in a leather jacket and he’s got a full head of hair instead of a shaved head look.
Kross stared at Reigns while his wife Scarlett had an hourglass with her and she put it in the ring. Kross pointed at Reigns and at his wrist as if there was a watch doing a “tick, tock” warning. Reigns was staring at Kross while patting his Universal Title as if to say that it is his property. The show ended with Kross staring at Reigns.
Analysis: I thought we would get a confrontation between Reigns and McIntyre, but that didn’t happen thanks to the surprise return of Kross. There were rumors that Kross/Scarlett were coming back and I’m glad that they are there because I think they are talented performers. Kross isn’t the best in-ring performer, but he’s got a good look and he is believable in the ring. Scarlett is one of the prettiest woman in wrestling, so it’s nice to see her as well. As I mentioned, Kross and Scarlett are married. Anyway, it should lead to McIntyre wanting to get revenge on Kross while Reigns may have to deal with Kross in the future. I think it immediately puts over Kross as a threat to these main eventers. Once again, Kross is another wrestler that Triple H really liked in NXT and booked him well, so now we get to see that on the main roster.
Three Stars of the Show
- Karrion Kross & Scarlett – Welcome back.
- Shinsuke Nakamura
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
I thought it was a pretty good show this week. There were some parts that were a bit slow, but I liked most of the matches. I thought the ending was terrific with Karrion Kross and his wife Scarlett returning to WWE with Kross attacking Drew McIntyre from behind while also threatening Roman Reigns. It positions Kross as a major threat moving forward. Obviously, it’s a Triple H move bringing back Kross, who was pushed very well in NXT. I think it’s a smart move to utilize Kross/Scarlett this way.
They did a nice job of having some matches with stakes like Shinsuke Nakamura winning his match over Ludwig Kaiser to earn an Intercontinental Title match against Gunther next week. There was also Shayna Baszler winning a Gauntlet Match to face Liv Morgan at Clash at the Castle. Matches with stakes where the winners are rewarded is what we want to see more of. That’s the right way of booking.
For the people that wanted Sasha Banks & Naomi to return, it didn’t happen this week on Smackdown. I think it’s coming very soon. I’m also glad that there’s a Women’s Tag Team Title tournament starting on Raw.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Clash at the Castle from Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, September 3. Here’s what we know so far.
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
You can watch WWE Clash at the Castle, streaming live Saturday, September 3, at 1pm ET/10am 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.