The John Report: WWE Smackdown 08/11/23 Review

wwe smackdown august 11

This week’s WWE Smackdown saw Austin Theory defend the US Title, plus more of The Bloodline family drama involving Roman Reigns and The Usos.

It’s the first Smackdown episode since SummerSlam last Saturday, which saw Jimmy Uso cost his twin brother Jey Uso the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship held by the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns. That should set up The Usos for some big grudge matches in the months ahead. Payback is the next WWE PLE in three weeks on September 2nd in Pittsburgh.

There’s also a new commentary on Smackdown starting tonight with Michael Cole remaining on the show where he’s joined by Kevin Patrick & Corey Graves coming over from Raw. They really don’t need Patrick there with the other two, but WWE is trying to help Patrick get better by working with Cole, who is now on Raw & Smackdown every week.

Also, it’s always a good thing when WWE shows are coming from my home country of Canada. It’s Calgary this Friday, Winnipeg on Monday, Toronto on Friday (maybe I should go) and Quebec City the following Monday. They will be loud crowds so that always helps too. This post-SummerSlam time in the WWE schedule sometimes leads to a cold period, but the company is hot right now so hopefully we are still getting quality shows on a consistent basis.

From the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, this is Smackdown for episode #1251. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show started with Kevin Patrick welcoming us to Smackdown with a packed crowd in Calgary. Corey Graves said Roman Reigns will address the future of The Bloodline tonight. As Charlotte Flair made her entrance, we saw the commentary team of Graves, Patrick (in the middle) and Michael Cole.

A video aired showing the chaotic WWE Women’s Title situation at SummerSlam. Bianca Belair won a triple threat with Flair and Asuka to win the title, but then IYO SKY cashed in Money in the Bank on an injured Belair to become the WWE Women’s Champion for the first time.

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

It’s a familiar matchup to start the show. I do like starting with a match instead of a promo. Asuka delivered some strikes, Asuka charged, Flair didn’t go down and they exchanged forearms. Flair ran over Asuka with a shoulder tackle. Asuka hit a dropkick to the ribs. Flair blocked a kick, tripped up Asuka and delivered a standing side kick. Flair was on the apron, she kicked Asuka down and Asuka slammed Flair off the top. Asuka hit a missile dropkick followed by a sliding kick for two.


The match continued with Flair doing a slingshot dive over the top onto Asuka. Back in the ring, Flair hit a cross body block. Flair crushed Asuka with a series of chops followed by an overhead slam across the ring. Flair did a cartwheel into a clothesline for two. Asuka went for a kick, Flair avoided it and Flair hit a Spear. IYO SKY’s music played as Sky walked out with Bayley and Dakota Kai of Damage CTRL. The music stopped as Asuka got a rollup for two. Asuka with a kick and Flair hit a running kick. Both women were down in the ring as Damage CTRL surrounded the ring. Bayley was on the apron, Flair took a swipe at her and Asuka hit double knees on Flair. Sky hit a springboard dropkick on Flair and Asuka leading to a No Contest. The bell rang to end it after ten minutes.

Match Result: No Contest/Double Disqualification

Analysis: **3/4 The action was good until it just ended with the random Damage CTRL attack. Flair did a nice job of wrestling like a babyface and hitting some top rope moves while Asuka is always great at being a crafty heel. I’m not surprised by the non-finish, but it’s hard to love that kind of ending.

After the match, Sky and Bayley beat up Flair and Asuka. Bayley sent Flair into the turnbuckle and Sky sent Asuka into the ring post. Damage CTRL celebrated to end the segment with Kai doing a quick promo putting over Sky as the champion.

Analysis: It was a way to show the dominance of Damage CTRL with the post match attack. Kai is still months away from being cleared due to the torn ACL in her knee, so that’s why she didn’t get physical.

A lengthy video package aired about the Roman Reigns-Jey Uso match at SummerSlam that saw Jimmy Uso return to cost his brother Jey the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. Jimmy superkicked Jey on the floor leading to Reigns hitting a Spear on Jey through a table in the ring.

We will learn more about the future of The Bloodline later tonight.

WrestleMania 40 tickets for Philadelphia next April are on sale next Friday.


A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown to set up Austin Theory’s US Title defense against Santos Escobar later in the show.

Santos Escobar of the LWO was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Escobar said he’s feeling confident. Escobar said he’s got Austin Theory’s number and that led to Theory showing up for a cheap attack. Theory slammed Escobar on some equipment cases backstage. Theory slammed the hood of an equipment case on Escobar’s left knee, so the LWO showed up along with referees and Theory escaped.

Analysis: Escobar beat Theory non-title recently so Escobar was right to be confident and it’s also why Theory did the cheap attack. It’s another backstage attack on a WWE show. They happen frequently lately with Raquel Rodriguez and Sami Zayn among others attacked backstage recently.

There was a brief video featuring Karrion Kross and Scarlett with Kross issuing a warning to Styles ahead of their match.

AJ Styles entered with Michin for AJ’s match up next.


A commercial aired featuring Edge speaking his “Metalingus” song lyrics to promote Smackdown live next Friday in Toronto for a 25 Years of Edge celebration.

They showed some Japanese media outlets covering IYO SKY winning the WWE Women’s Title.

Santos Escobar was getting checked on by some trainers, who were looking at his left knee. It looked like indy wrestlers rather than actual WWE trainers.

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

Styles hit a dropkick followed by a trip into a backbreaker. Kross got some offense going with a back body drop. Kross delivered a corner clothesline and a forearm to the head. Kross was shouting: “Let me feel your hate.” Kross hit an overhead suplex across the ring. Kross whipped hard into the corner with Styles doing a sternum bump into the turnbuckle. Kross set up Styles on the turnbuckle, Styles slipped out of it and sent Kross face first into the turnbuckle. Styles went for a knee while on the apron, but Kross caught him and Kross slammed Styles with a Death Valley Driver onto the hood of the commentary table. The table didn’t break while Styles hit the floor selling a back injury.


Styles was in control with a running forearm on a seated Kross. Styles hit a jumping clothesline against the turnbuckle. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Kross caught him and Styles kicked off the turnbuckle. Kross went for the Kross Jacket submission, Styles got out of it and jumped onto Kross. Styles was going for his reverse DDT spot, Kross fell down and Styles picked him up to do it as best he could although it was a bit sloppy. Styles delivered some Kawada-style kicks to Kross’ face. Styles hit a springboard 450 Splash for two because Scarlett to Kross’ foot on the ropes. Michin went after Scarlett with a kick, but Scarlett avoided it and punched Michin. Kross took advantage with a Saito Suplex. Styles ducked a forearm and hit a jumping enziguri kick. Scarlett went on the apron, Michin pulled her down and tossed Scarlett over the commentary table. Styles hit a Pele Kick on Kross followed by a Styles Clash for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: ***1/4 That was pretty good with Styles looking amazing as usual. They did mess up that one spot with the reverse DDT, but other than that it was fine. Styles is still such an incredible athlete in his mid-40s by making moves like a springboard 450 Splash look easy. They also involved the women perfectly with Michin taking care of Scarlett after Scarlett interfered by putting Karrion’s foot on the ropes to force a two count. The right guy won with Styles likely putting an end to this rivalry. That was one of the better Kross matches on Smackdown and it’s largely due to Styles being so talented.

AJ Styles celebrated the win with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson showing up at ringside as The OC celebrated together.

Analysis: I really hope AJ Styles is featured more on Smackdown. The fans really like him and he’s always going to have great matches. Styles has been off far too many WWE PLE’s this year.

A video package aired about Cody Rhodes beating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. After the match, Lesnar shook hands with Cody and raised Cody’s hand to put over Cody in a big way. The announcers put over Lesnar endorsing Cody after the match.

On this day I see clearly, the Smackdown return of Edge with the fans popping huge for the WWE Hall of Famer in his home country.

Analysis: Edge wasn’t advertised this week, so it was a genuine huge pop by the crowd. As a Canadian myself, I love how most of the babyface Canadian wrestlers get cheered so loudly no matter what part of the country they are in. That’s some impressive Canadian loyalty.


They showed Cathy Kelley outside the trainer’s room with Austin Theory showing up with the US Title saying he won’t get to defend his title tonight. Rey Mysterio walked out of the room (with WWE Producer Ken Doane) and Rey told Theory that Santos will make it out there for his match.

Let’s Hear from Edge

Edge was in the ring for a promo with the fans chanting “Edge” for him. Edge said people might be wondering what he’s doing here while noting his 25-year celebration is next week in Toronto. Edge said it has been way too long since he has seen the fans in Calgary. Edge spoke about how next week in Toronto, he wants to have a match against a man he has never wrestled before. Edge said that man is Sheamus. Edge said they had history together because Sheamus is the reason why Edge is standing in this ring. Edge said Sheamus is the guy that got him thinking that he can come back to wrestle.

Edge went mountain biking with Sheamus for Sheamus’ Celtic Warrior Workout video on YouTube and Edge tumbled. Edge said that people will see his fall and wonder why can’t he wrestle, so that is when the lightbulb lit. That led to Edge thinking he can wrestle again. Edge needed to find out if he was really ready to wrestle prior to the 2020 Royal Rumble. Edge said that Sheamus came over he stayed in his apartment and became part of his extended family. Edge said they got into the ring every day and they kicked the crap out of eachother. Edge said he realized after that, he is ready and now he is standing here in Calgary to prove it. Edge called out the Brawling Brutes and the Celtic Warrior, Sheamus.

Sheamus walked out to the ring with his buddies Butch & Ridge Holland. Graves mocked Patrick for fawning over his Irish buddy Sheamus.

Sheamus: “What a Canadian, eh!” Sheamus cued up a video of Edge falling off the mountain bike. Edge complained about showing his scar on his butt and Sheamus joked we have seen more of Edge in his career. Edge shared a pic of Sheamus sitting on Edge’s daughter’s bike, so that was funny too.

Sheamus spoke about how the whole Raw crew was in Ireland when he was a young wrestler in 2004 and he was asking talent for advice. Sheamus said that nobody talked to him, but Edge gave him the best advice. Edge also bought him a pint of Guinness, so that’s a big deal. Sheamus said he knew Edge was a world class athlete. Sheamus said that the fact that they have never wrestled together is astonishing. Sheamus said without that conversation with Edge in 2004, he wouldn’t be standing in this ring.

Edge said he appreciates that and he appreciates Sheamus. Edge said 25 years in this company, two grizzled vets that have done it all in this business and after the match, they can have some scotch. Edge asked Sheamus, what do you say? The fans wanted it to happen. Sheamus asked Calgary what they think. Sheamus said if you swap that scotch with a pint of Guinness and you’ve got yourself a deal. They shook hands with Sheamus saying “just hope you haven’t made a mistake.” Edge just nodded at him to end it.

Analysis: That was a cool segment. They made it very personal with Edge talking about Sheamus helping him and then Sheamus spoke about how Edge helped him early in his career. Big match for next week with Edge getting to wrestle a friend of his for the first time ever. I like it. Perhaps they could turn it into a storyline with Edge winning and then Sheamus gets jealous, so he does a cheap attack after and that can set up another match. I don’t know. Just throwing it out there.

A clip was shown of LA Knight winning the battle royal at SummerSlam. The fans loved it. On Raw, LA Knight was there in the ring with The Miz for a promo segment. It ended with Knight hitting the BFT on Miz to stand tall.

LA Knight made his entrance to a huge pop for a singles match against Top Dolla. The fans were loud for Knight as usual.

This Monday on Raw: Trish Stratus faces Becky Lynch in a grudge match. Plus, why did Shinsuke Nakamura blindside Seth Rollins? Find out on Raw.


A video aired about the legendary, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. It was just a Happy Birthday message for Hulk Hogan turning 70 years old.

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

Knight bounced off the ropes, Adonis tripped him and Dolla did a shoulder tackle. Cole did a bad rap about Knight beating Dolla. Adonis and B-Fab got in some cheap shots on Knight when the referee was looking at Dolla. Top Dolla stood on Knight’s chest to keep him down. Dolla with a lift, Knight landed on his feet and came back with punches. Knight with a boot to the head followed by a bulldog off the turnbuckle. Knight hit a running 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 Knight as you would expect since Top Dolla is rarely on TV. The fans came alive for Knight as usual. The BFT looks better every time he does it.

LA Knight did a promo saying it didn’t matter where you go in the world, then he took a shot at the Miz and “Uncle Phil” aka Top Dolla. Knight said it doesn’t matter if it’s Raw or Smackdown, everybody will know whose game is it…LA Knight.

Analysis: I would assume we will get Knight against The Miz at Payback, so that likely means Knight going to Raw again this coming Monday. It’s not confirmed or anything, but it makes sense as a match for Payback to get Knight a win over a former WWE Champion.

Santos Escobar was in the trainer’s room with Rey Mysterio. Adam Pearce said that Escobar is technically cleared, but he needed to make sure he can go. Escobar said he can go. Escobar limped with Rey supporting him.


The trio of Bobby Lashley, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins were talking backstage with some wine on the table. Lashley said they had unlimited potential. They spoke about last week with Dawkins & Ford saying they liked beating up those teams. Lashley said they had the potential to take all the gold and Smackdown is ready for some new blood to run this place.

Analysis: There’s still no name for this group. I assume if they go with The Hurt Business we would have heard it already, so there might be some other name for them.

Santos Escobar made his entrance by limping. Austin Theory attacked Escobar with a chop block to the back of the left knee. The LWO (Rey Mysterio, Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde) checked on Escobar while a “trainer” told Adam Pearce that Escobar can’t go. Theory did a promo saying there’s no title match and Pearce told Theory he has to defend the title against Rey Mysterio right now.

Rey Mysterio went into the ring and kicked Theory out of the ring to the floor. Rey hit a hurricanrana on Theory on the floor. Graves was shouting about how it was not fair. The bell didn’t ring yet, so the match will begin after a break.

Analysis: I figured that was coming with Rey taking Escobar’s place. It makes sense.


I saw a “Vince screwed Bret” sign in the crowd. It was 26 years ago. Let’s move on.

United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey got a flurry of offense with a springboard cross body block for a two count. Theory had Rey on his shoulders, but Rey countered it with a sunset flip into the turnbuckle. Rey with an enziguri kick, then a dropkick to the back and Rey tried a 619 kick, but Theory caught him. Rey with a headscissors into the ropes followed by a 619 kick. Rey did a springboard splash for the pinfall win after three minutes. New US Champion!

Winner by pinfall AND NEW US Champion: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: *1/2 That was quick. It was a flurry of offense from Rey Mysterio with Theory barely able to do anything against Rey, who countered everything and got the clean win.

Rey Mysterio celebrated with the US Title. It was Rey’s third time winning the US Title. The LWO appeared by the entrance area with the guys congratulating Rey. Escobar was there on crutches to hug Rey as well. Rey was so happy.

Analysis: I certainly didn’t expect a US Title change tonight. I thought LA Knight would be the guy to take the US Title from Theory, but I am happy for Rey. They can do a story where Theory complains about how he wasn’t ready for a match with Rey, so there will probably be a rematch soon. It could also lead to a long term story with Santos Escobar going heel because he was the guy that was supposed to get this match and Santos may be jealous of Rey winning. That’s a story they can certainly do down the road.

The main event segment featuring The Bloodline was coming up next.


Next week on Smackdown:

* Edge celebrates 25 years in WWE in his hometown of Toronto by facing Sheamus.

* Grayson Waller Effect talk show with new US Champion Rey Mysterio as the guest.

Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion wearing that gold title around his waist. Reigns was joined by Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman, who did not have the WWE & Universal Titles with him. Reigns touched his shirt that says “The Only One” on it. Cole noted it was 1,076 days for Reigns as the champion – the Universal Title, which has merged with the WWE Title. Reigns took his time getting into the ring as usual. Reigns posed with his title as the fireworks went off. They went to break.


Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Bloodline

Roman Reigns was standing in the ring with Solo Sikoa and the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman as the fans were booing or the most part. Reigns: “Calgary…acknowledge me!” The fans booed for the most part while some fans held up the “1” finger salute. Solo did it too.

Reigns asked Heyman: “Where’s Jimmy?” Heyman said he didn’t know. Heyman said that Jimmy was sulky with him. Meanwhile, Jimmy arrived at ringside in a hoodie and a bandana around his neck as the fans booed him. Jimmy slowly got into the ring with The Bloodline. The fans chanted “you sold out” at Jimmy.

Reigns told Jim that the fans mean nothing. Reigns told Jimmy “let’s be real about it” with Reigns saying he owes Jimmy one. Reigns asked Jimmy to name it. Reigns said he’ll get Jimmy a car, boat, yacht or a jet. Jimmy said he wants nothing from Reigns and Jimmy said what he did at SummerSlam had nothing to do with Reigns. Roman said he can make anything happen. Roman said he can make him the new Right Hand Man…but here comes Jey Uso.

Jey Uso got a huge ovation as he made his way down to the ring to get in Jimmy’s face. The fans were chanting “Jey” for Jey Uso as he paced around the ring.

Jey said he’s about to throw 37 years down the drain right now if Jimmy doesn’t tell Jey why he did it.

Jimmy said he did what he did at SummerSlam because he loves Jey. Reigns was laughing about it. Jimmy said he didn’t do it because of jealousy. Jimmy said he was afraid to lose Jey. Jimmy said that Jey would have became Tribal Chief and then what happens to The Usos? Jimmy said that Jey would inherit some kind of power that makes you like him (Reigns). Jimmy said that makes you corrupted. Jimmy said he would never be able to live if he let Jey become an evil, manipulative asshole (it wasn’t beeped here) like Roman Reigns. Jimmy said that’s the damn truth. Jimmy said he was afraid. Jimmy said he’s fine if Jey hates him, but Jimmy said he did it because he loves him. Jimmy said if Jey wants to kick his face off, 37 years of pain…Jimmy told Jey to give it to him. Reigns nodded in the background saying “do it.” Jey just shook his head no and Jey turned his back to his brother Jimmy. That led to Jimmy leaving the ring alone.

Roman Reigns laughed at the situation. Reigns said, “I told you so.” Reigns told Jey he was a hothead that didn’t know what he was doing. Reigns said nobody cares about the brothers. Reigns said this is about one thing for three years now and he said “acknowledge” so Jey Uso hit Roman with a superkick. Solo went after Jey, but Jey fought back and hit a superkick on his brother Solo. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Jey. Jimmy was in the aisle by the entrance area. Reigns charged, Jey hit a superkick on Reigns and Jey ran the ropes leading to a Spear. Jey told Jimmy told up. Jey called or Jimmy to come to ringside. As Jimmy approached looking for a hug, Jey laid out his brother with a superkick on the floor! The fans chanted “Jey” for him.

Jey looked into the camera (without a microphone) saying “I’m out The Bloodline. I’m out of SmackDown. I’m out of WWE!” The announcers recapped Jey saying he was out of WWE. Jey walked into the crowd and up the aisle. The show ended there.

Analysis: I thought it was a great segment. Jimmy Uso did a terrific job of trying to explain his actions. Whether everybody watching the show agrees is another story, but at least Jimmy did his best to explain it from his perspective. Jey refused to superkick Jimmy at first even though the fans wanted to see it. That changed as the segment went on. Reigns laughing about it and rubbing it in Jey’s face was perfect because it fired up Jey, who cleaned house on Roman and Solo. Just when you thought Jey might forgive Jimmy with a big hug, there’s that superkick from Jey to his brother Jimmy. The fans love Jey as a main event babyface talent and they should. It’s easy to like Jey in this story. Once again, I thought Jimmy did a tremendous job in his role in all of this. Well done.

As for what Jey said to the camera, that’s obviously very interesting. Jey saying that he has quit WWE because of this will obviously lead to some sort of angle to bring him back. I don’t know really where it’s going. I assume we’d get Jey vs. Jimmy at Payback, but perhaps there will be some other direction they go in instead. Anyway, it’s the greatness of The Bloodline story because they always keep us guessing.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jimmy & Jey Uso/Roman Reigns
  2. AJ Styles
  3. Edge/Sheamus


The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 7.22


Final Thoughts

I thought it was a very good and entertaining show overall with plenty of surprises. There were only about six minutes of in-ring action in the second hour, but it didn’t really bother me because there was plenty going on to keep us interested. In terms of matches, AJ Styles looked great in his victory over Karrion Kross. I’m glad LA Knight got another easy win to keep his momentum going too. Rey Mysterio winning the US Title wasn’t expected at all, so that should get people talking. Maybe the plan is to have Santos Escobar to turn heel on Rey and get the title onto him. I hope Austin Theory gets booked better soon because he hasn’t been interesting on Smackdown at all.

The Edge promo with Sheamus to set up a match next week was really well done. You could tell they were given a lot of freedom to hit the key points, but then adlib a lot of the rest because they’re trusted veterans. I like how they shared some unique stories to make us care more about their match next week.

It was Bloodline drama in the main event again. Jimmy Uso told Jey Uso he didn’t want Jey to be an asshole like Roman Reigns, so that’s why Jimmy cost Jey the WWE Title. Good enough, I guess. Jimmy was terrific doing that promo too. Jey ended up superkicking everybody including Jimmy and “quit” WWE to end it. I didn’t see that coming. This story continues to surprise us with twists and turns all the time. That’s partly why it’s been so fun to watch. This can be a way to write Jey out of stories for a few weeks or even months and build to a match against Jimmy, perhaps at WrestleMania unless it happens sooner than that.


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 @johnreport