Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 08/12/22 Review

wwe smackdown aug 12

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Gunther defending the Intercontinental Title against Shinsuke Nakamura, the Women’s Tag Team Title tournament continued and a Liv Morgan-Shayna Baszler contract signing.

The main story on Smackdown is the rivalry between Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his opponent at Clash at the Castle, Drew McIntyre. Last week on Smackdown, we saw Karrion Kross return with his wife Scarlett as Kross attacked McIntyre from behind. Kross also made it clear to Reigns he was coming for him too. Tick tock.

From the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina this is Smackdown for episode #1199. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show started right with the action as they went to a Women’s Tag Team Title tournament match. It was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary.

Analysis: I like when the show starts with a match in the first few minutes. It’s better than starting with a promo. Let’s get right to the action.

Women’s Tag Team Championships Tournament Quarterfinals: Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah vs. Shotzi & Xia Li

There wasn’t a big reaction for any of the women. Raquel and Aliyah are the faces. Shotzi got some offense against Raquel with a kick to the head and a head slam into the top turnbuckle. Shotzi got a pin attempt while grabbing the ropes, but the referee spotted it and stopped it. Raquel powered out of a DDT attempt. Natalya and Sonya Deville were watching at ringside. Aliyah tagged in with Raquel launching her onto Li for a two count because Shotzi broke up the pin. Shotzi and Raquel beat up Natalya and Sonya at ringside. Since Natalya and Sonya didn’t touch the competitors, there was not a disqualification. Anyway, it led to the two tag teams fighting on the floor as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Li was in control of Aliyah, Shotzi tagged in and Shotzi did a neckbreaker while Li did a slam. That was not smooth, so it could have been scary. Raquel was slow making a save, but Aliyah kicked out. Li with a kick to the face. Aliyah with a jawbreaker, then she kicked Shotzi out of the ring and Li tagged in. Aliyah tried to fight out of the heel corner, but Li got some punches. Aliyah countered a suplex by landing on her feet and hitting a neckbreaker. The crowd got into it as Raquel got the tag with a fallaway slam two times to Shotzi. Raquel with a spinning elbow smash off the middle rope. Raquel went after Li, so Shotzi got a headscissors. Shotzi with a neckbreaker off the ropes for two. Li tagged in and Aliyah ran in illegally with a Spear on Shotzi. Raquel hit a Texana Bomb on Li for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. The reactions for some of the match was quiet, but then they really got into once Aliyah made the hot tag to Raquel and Raquel kicked ass from there. Some of these women have barely gotten TV time in recent months, so it takes a while to build people up. In the Vince booking era, this may have got three minutes, but now they get more time and it was solid.

Raquel & Aliyah move on to the semifinals to face the winner of Natalya & Shayna Baszler vs. Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark.

A video package aired about Roman Reigns-Drew McIntyre facing off last week with Karrion Kross & Scarlett making their return to WWE. It’s Roman vs. Drew at Clash at the Castle in three weeks on September 3 in Cardiff.

There was a pre-tape promo featuring Karrion Kross and his wife Scarlett. Kross said it was a rebirth of a darkened soul. Kross said they were disregarded and forgotten, but Kross said he hasn’t forgotten. Kross said they waited for the perfect time to strike with vengeance. Kross said in the end, everybody pays the toll. Tick tock. Kross was showing looking behind a curtain while Drew McIntyre made his entrance. They filmed it in a way where Drew had no idea they were there.

Analysis: A simple promo from Kross talking about his motivation since he was forgotten (released by the company) and now he’s back for vengeance.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance without the sword. Good pop for Drew as the top babyface on Smackdown.

There was a commercial for A&E Biography on Sunday featuring Degeneration X. That should be great because I have liked most of the A&E Biography shows.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear From Drew McIntyre

Drew was cheered loudly by the crowd. Drew talked about how it’s an exciting time and he got right into what happened last week when Karrion Kross attacked him. Drew said that the problem with what Kross did is that the guy he left on the ground last week, that guy was Drew McIntyre. Drew said he’ll give him three options: knockout, hospital (it used to be called a medical facility in WWE) and graveyard. Drew said he’s going to send him back where he came from. Drew said he’s about to break some bad news and shocking news that Roman Reigns is not there tonight. Drew mocked Roman for not being at work. Drew talked about how Roman has needed help to beat guys. Dew said he’s ready for Roman because he beat Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania and beat him with his bare hands. Drew told Roman that he’s making up places because the Island of Relevancy is not a real place.

The music of Karrion Kross hit as the lovely Scarlett outfit made her entrance in a black leather outfit. She’s gorgeous. Cole called her Karrion’s oracle among other things and he didn’t say she was Karrion’s wife. Anyway, The Usos showed up to attack from behind while it was black and white in the building. The color was back on as Drew tried to fight back, but Jey hit Drew with a superkick. The Usos hit the 1D on Drew. Jey told Scarlett that if Karrion Kross tries to come after Roman Reigns, they will put him down. Scarlett said that Kross had the same message for them. Scarlett walked to the back, The Usos left the ring after her and Drew was slowly trying to get back up as they went to break.

Analysis: That was an entertaining segment overall. Drew showed a lot of babyface fire while Scarlett showing up to distract certainly got people’s attention. The Usos doing a cheap attack is something you would expect from them as they “sent a message” to Drew. Reigns missing the show got him some heat because the fans want to see him, so it’s a way for Drew to rip on Roman for not being an active champion. I still think Drew should win at Clash at the Castle, but I’m not sure if it’s going to happen.

(Commercial)

There was a video about the legacy of the Intercontinental Title. That was well done. I liked seeing it since they did it for the US Title on Raw.

Analysis: Those of us that are lifelong WWE fans know that the IC Title should be prestigious, but isn’t always celebrated the right way by WWE. Maybe now with the new creative team led by Triple H, they may care about the IC Title more. The last time the IC Title was featured on a PLE/PPV event was WrestleMania 37 last year! It’s been way too long.

Shinsuke Nakamura was interviewed by Megan Morant. It was quick as Nakamura said to tell Gunther: “Come on!” That was it.

The Viking Raiders made their entrance, but they were attacked by Kofi Kingston with a kendo stick attack from behind. Kofi hit both guys with the kendo stick numerous times. The Viking Raiders had shields, however, so Erik blocked a few shots. Ivar and Erik ended up beating up Kofi. Ivar jumped off the railing onto Kofi with a splash. Kofi was down selling a rib injury.

Analysis: They are doing a nice job of pushing The Viking Raiders as badass heels since they took out Xavier Woods recently and they delivered this message to Kofi as well. It was obviously not going to be a match, but just an angle to get more heat on the VR guys.

(Commercial)

They showed Sami Zayn walking backstage where he knocked on the locker room of Roman Reigns where The Usos emerged from the room. Drew McIntyre showed up to beat up both Usos while Sami ran away rather than try to help The Usos since Sami is a cowardly heel.

The music of Hit Row hit as Top Dolla made his entrance with Ashante “Thee” Adonis and B-Fab. The fans remembered them. I like the theme song a lot. No more Swerve, who was released and signed with AEW, but these guys are back.

Brandon Scott & Trevor Irvin vs. Top Dolla & Ashante “Thee” Adonis

Dolla with a running shoulder tackle and a running knee in the corner. Adonis tagged in with a kick along with a flapjack. Dolla tagged in with a body slam on both guys at the same time. Dolla held Scott leading to Adonis hitting a dropkick into a back body drop slam for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Top Dolla & Ashante “Thee” Adonis

Analysis: * A squash win to bring back Hit Row. They never should have been released in the first place.

The Hit Row trio did a promo with B-Fab talking about how she’s fabulous, then Dolla and Adonis spoke as well. They ended with the catchphrase: “If you didn’t know…now you know.”

Analysis: They are definitely good for having in the tag team division. Top Dolla is a really strong promo guy, B-Fab has a lot of charisma as well and Adonis is a talented guy in the ring too. I think they will do well under this current creative regime in WWE.

The fourth member of the group was Swerve and he tweeted this GIF of a nodding Snoop Dogg showing his support.

A graphic aired for “Judo” Gene LeBell who passed away recently at 90 years of age. He had a big influence on a lot of wrestlers and fighters during his life. Rest in peace.

They showed some highlights of Shayna Baszler winning a gauntlet match last week to earn a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Title. The Baszler/Morgan contract signing was next.

(Commercial)

There was an interview with Gunther conducted by Kayla Braxton. Gunther spoke quickly saying he’s the ring general.

Ronda Rousey was shown walking in from the crowd and she went into the ring for a promo. Rousey said that she wasn’t supposed to be there because she was suspended and fined a lot of money. Rousey had a gym bag with her and dumped a pile of money on the table. Security told Rousey to get out of there. Rousey almost put an armbar on a woman security guard’s arm, but she didn’t do it. Rousey walked away.

While Rousey was walking towards the back, Shayna Baszler told Rousey that’s not how you do things around here. Rousey told Baszler that she used to be a killer and Rousey left to the back. Baszler entered for the contract signing segment.

Contract Signing for Smackdown Women’s Title Match

Shayna Baszler did a promo about winning the Gauntlet Match to earn this title shot. Baszler talked about Morgan’s left arm injury (it’s just a work). Baszler said she’s going to take her apart limb from limb. Baszler said she can’t wait for their match in Cardiff and called Morgan to get out there. Baszler signed the contract.

Liv Morgan made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Morgan said that Baszler isn’t going to beat her. Morgan called Baszler a “bootleg Ronda Rousey” while adding that she beat Rousey twice and Morgan said that she will beat Baszler too. Some fans were chanting “you tapped out” at Morgan, but it was not that loud. Morgan signed the contract. Baszler attacked Morgan by slamming the injured left arm onto the table. Baszler twisted the left arm of Morgan and stomped on the elbow. Baszler wrenched on the arm as well. Baszler lifted Morgan, who kicked off the turnbuckle and gave Baszler a bulldog through a table. It was kind of like the Stratusfaction move that Trish Stratus used to do where the person taking the move has to do the lifting as well. Anyway, Morgan celebrated while Baszler stayed down on the table.

Analysis: A decent segment. I think it’s a bit silly when Baszler did the cheap attack and not a single person even tried to help Morgan, who is wearing a huge brace on her right arm. I think Baszler should have been the dominant one to end it, but I guess they felt the need to have Liv stand tall with that bulldog through the table. I don’t expect Baszler to win the title, but it’s possible.

Sami Zayn was shown standing backstage while The Usos walked up to him asking where he was. Jimmy said that Sami ran fast out there. Sami claimed he was going to get security. Heels lie. Anyway, Jey told Sami he told him last week that he (Sami) had to step up. The Usos said they were going to call Drew out to the ring.

(Commercial)

They showed highlights of the WrestleMania 39 launch party at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, which is the home of my SUPER BOWL CHAMPION Los Angeles Rams. Tickets are on sale now even though WrestleMania is eight months away. Lots of time to get tickets. I think I’ll be going to this one. Michael Cole said that it was the highest first day of ticket sales in WrestleMania history. WrestleMania Goes Hollywood in April.

The Usos made their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. Jey Uso to pick a tag team partner and come on out here for a tag team match. Drew McIntyre made his entrance on his own looking ready for a fight. There was a referee, so the match started.

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Drew McIntyre & Madcap Moss

Drew was aggressive early as he knocked both Usos out of the ring. Drew threw Jey into the barricade and hit a clothesline on Jimmy. Drew with a back elbow to Jey, who distracted the referee, so Jimmy got in a cheap shot kick to Drew’s head to knock Drew down. The Usos did some double teaming on Drew after some quick tags. Madcap Moss made his entrance to join Drew. Moss hit a running shoulder tackle and a fallaway slam. Drew and Moss each clotheslined an Uso out of the ring to the floor as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Jey was in control with the running hip attack on Moss. When Jimmy charged, Moss caught him and hit a powerslam. Drew tagged in against Jimmy with two clotheslines, a back elbow, an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and a neckbreaker for each Uso brother. Sami Zayn ran into the ring to distract Drew, so Jimmy hit a superkick. Jey tagged in and hit an Uso Splash off the top for a two count. Good nearfall there since that’s the finishing sequence that The Usos have used to win matches many times in the past. Moss pulled Jey out of the ring and then Jey clotheslined Moss over the barricade. Drew with a headbutt, Jimmy with a superkick, Drew ran the ropes and Drew hit a Claymore Kick on Jimmy for the pinfall win. Great sell by Jimmy doing a spin bump. It went about ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre & Madcap Moss

Analysis: *** A pretty tag team match with champions suffering a non-title match, which doesn’t happen that much. I don’t think it’s going to lead to a title match, but I guess there’s a possibility of that happening. This was really about putting over Drew as a dominant wrestler who has a lot of momentum. Madcap Moss fit in well as Drew’s partner. Maybe The Usos are hurt a bit by this loss, but I think they’ll be fine long term.

Post match, Jey tried a cheap attack, but Drew dropped him with a Future Shock DDT. Zayn went into the ring, shoved Jey out of the ring and Drew hit a Claymore Kick on Zayn.

Analysis: More dominance from Drew while Zayn continues to look like a fool. Smackdown is in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal next Friday, so I hope he’s featured a bit.

The Maximum Male Models (Mace and Mansoor) were backstage with Max and sister Maxxine Dupri. Los Lotharios walked in there saying they were the most handsome tag team in WWE. Max dismissed them while Angel flirted with Maxxine a bit. That was it.

A video aired about Shinsuke Nakamura and Gunther ahead of their match for the Intercontinental Title.

They showed Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary talking about how excited they are about the Intercontinental Title match.

Analysis: They have done a great job building the IC Title match between Gunther and Nakamura. Videos about the guys, quick promos, a video about the IC Title and excited Cole/McAfee. Looks like they are getting the main event spot and a lot of time as well. I love to see it. Make every title important. They are doing a nice job of that with the US Title on Raw too.

(Commercial)

Ricochet was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. They showed highlights of Ricochet beating Happy Corbin last week and celebrating with Pat McAfee. Ricochet talked about feeling good with positive momentum, then he talked about facing Nakamura or Gunther, but Corbin showed up for a cheap attack. Corbin said they’re not done, it’s just getting started.

Analysis: I guess we’ll see a Ricochet-Corbin rematch soon. I hope Ricochet gets a good push in the weeks and months ahead.

Next week on Smackdown in Montreal:

* Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre go face to face.

* The Viking Raiders will host a “Viking Funeral” for The New Day.

* Women’s Tag Team Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Natalya & Sonya Deville vs. Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark. A video aired with Lyons & Stark talking about how they are ready for this opportunity.

Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance to a good ovation. Gunther was up next with Ludwig Kaiser introducing him. The announcers put over the IC Title as a “workman’s title” while mentioning some all-time greats that held the title in the past. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin did an awesome job with the introductions while the wrestlers were in the ring. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

There was under 20 minutes left in the show as the match began. When they battled by the turnbuckle, Nakamura kicked Gunther in the legs repeatedly. Gunther came back with a boot to the face along with several hard chops to the head. Gunther applied a Boston Crab and then he turned it into an STF leading to Nakamura getting his hand on the bottom rope. Gunther with forearms, Nakamura kicked him in the legs and Gunther hit a chop, but Nakamura got a takedown into an armbar. Gunther stomped on Nakamura, who turned it into an inside cradle for two. Nakamura hit a spinning kick to the head. Nakamura with a kick to the back of the neck, then a kick to the hand and an enziguri kick to the head. Gunther got back into it with a huge chop to the chest! Gunther with another hard chop while set up Nakamura on the top rope. Gunther stretched Nakamura against the turnbuckle and then Nakamura fell to the floor. They went to a break there.

(Commercial)

Gunther remained in control hitting a kick to the face. Pat McAfee referenced Evan McPherson of the Cincinnati Bengals kicking a 58-year-old field goal in preseason football even though Pat is working during the game. I guess he can scroll Twitter during the breaks. Anyway, Gunther jumped off the top with a splash, but Nakamura caught him with an armbar. Gunther came back with an impressive overhead suplex. The fans chanted for Nakamura, who came back with kicks to the legs, but Gunther elbowed the knee. Nakamura came back with a knee to the face for two. Nakamura delivered knee strikes to the ribs. Nakamura put his left boot to Gunther’s face while Gunther was against the ropes. Nakamura did a sliding German Suplex on Gunther, who was against the ropes. Nakamura stared at Kaiser on the floor, so that allowed Gunther to come back with a running dropkick. Nakamura kicked the injured right hand and a kick to the back of the neck. Nakamura set up in the corner, the fans were getting into it (Cole even said “WWE fans” instead of universe) and Gunther hit a clothesline for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Gunther with a chop to the back. Gunther with a rear naked choke, but Nakamura drove him back-first into the turnbuckle. Gunther came back with a dropkick to the back. Gunther hit a Powerbomb and leaned forward for the tight pin for the win. It went about 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Gunther

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a great match that was hard-hitting with two veterans known for their impressive striking ability. I loved that the crowd got into it with a “this is awesome” chant among other things. You could see them standing up towards the end of the match. Nakamura came close to winning a few times, but he wasn’t able to hit Gunther with the Kinshasa. It was Gunther coming back from the arm injury that he sold well throughout the match. When Gunther hit that dropkick to the back it really staggered Nakamura and a Powerbomb followed for the Gunther win. I think they could have given them a bit more time because they did kill some time before the match, but they also made the most of the time they were given. I enjoyed it.

Gunther celebrated in the ring with Kaiser while Nakamura was in the aisle as the camera showed the scars on his chest from some of the chops that Gunther gave him. Gunther was standing proud in the ring. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It’s good to see the IC Title presented like this. There might be some fans that wanted a more exciting ending to the show, but giving the spotlight to the IC Title is a positive for the company moving forward. I like it. The next step is getting the IC Title in a match at Clash at the Castle because it has been absent from PLE/PPV shows for far too long. Make it happen.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Gunther

2. Shinsuke Nakamura

3. (tie) Drew McIntyre

3. (tie) Hit Row. Welcome back!

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good show overall once again. The Intercontinental Title was spotlighted heavily throughout the show as they built to the Gunther-Nakamura main event. The overall presentation did a nice job of making the match feel important. It’s rare to see the IC Title in a TV main event in this era, so I’m happy to see it featured like that. Gunther and Nakamura were not shy about hitting eachother hard. There were some stiff knees and chops in that match. Gunther kept the title. I think he’s going to have a long reign as champion.

Drew McIntyre was also booked very well throughout the show. Even though he didn’t get his hands on Karrion Kross and Roman Reigns was absent this week, Drew did a nice job with his promo as well as his interaction with The Usos. It led to a tag match with Drew & Madcap Moss beating The Usos. This Raleigh crowd loved Drew. He’s as popular as ever going into Clash at the Castle in three weeks.

The first hour of Smackdown only had about 11 minutes of in-ring action. I was still entertained by it because none of the segments went on too long or were boring. Lastly, it was great to see Hit Row back in WWE. They never should have been. Even without Swerve, they should do well in WWE with Top Dolla/Ashante Adonis doing well as a babyface tag team. I enjoyed Smackdown this week.

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

* Bayley, IYO SKY & Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss & Asuka

* 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.

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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

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport