The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/02/22 Review
The final episode of WWE Smackdown featured a Roman Reigns championship celebration while his Clash at the Castle opponent Drew McIntyre was on hand as well.
This episode of Smackdown was a taped show that WWE recorded after last week’s Smackdown in Detroit. The reason for that is because the WWE crew left for Cardiff, Wales earlier this week so they can prepare for Clash at the Castle on Saturday. The spoilers for this show were out last week and we had them up on TJRWrestling as well. I read them because I posted them, but knowing the spoilers is not going to ruin my enjoyment of the show.
Our TJRWrestling Clash at the Castle preview was posted earlier on Friday morning. Please check that out because I wrote a lot and I really went in-depth about why I think Drew McIntyre should beat Roman Reigns in the main event.
From the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan this is Smackdown for episode #1202. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The show started with shots of the ring to show that it was time for a Viking Rules Match. There were shields on the ring apron. They also had the front part of a boat attached to the ring so it’s supposed to look like they were fighting on a boat while actually in a ring. It was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary as usual.
Viking Rules Match: The Viking Raider (Erik & Ivar) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
No rules and falls count anywhere. The New Day guys were dressed in some unique gear for their entrance and the wrestling gear was similar to what they usually wear. No tags in a match like this, so it was a tornado tag.
Woods and Kingston attacked right away with punches and a double dropkick sending both Raiders against the turnbuckle. Kingston and Woods stomped on both opponents followed by Woods hitting a running dropkick. Kofi and Woods each hit dives on the Raiders on the floor. Ivar was sent into shield at ringside while Erik received a kick to the head. Kofi held a shield in front of Erik, so Woods hit a running dropkick into the shield onto Erik on the floor. Kofi jumped off the barricade with a Frog Splash on Ivar on the floor for a two count. They went to a break there.
The match continued with Woods hitting a step-up enziguri and he kicked Ivar into the barricade. Woods hit a forearm followed by a back kick, a sweep kick and a senton splash on Erik. Woods brought a chair into the ring, but Erik recovered with a punch to the face. Kofi went into the ring to help Woods as they sent Erik into the chair was in an open position. Ivar hit a splash on New Day to break up a pin attempt. Ivar with a spin kick on Kofi. Ivar tried a slam on Woods off the ropes, but Kofi fought out of it while Woods tackled Erik out of the ring. Ivar went up top, he jumped off with a moonsault and Kofi rolled out of the way. Kofi jumped off the top with a splash to the back. Woods up top with an elbow splash on Ivar, but Erik kicked Woods to break up the pin. Kofi used his legs to send Erik over the top to the floor. Kofi and Woods jumped off the boat platform onto both Raiders on the floor for two counts. Ivar picked up Kofi and launched him into the end of the ship attached to the ring. Erik battled Woods on the boat platform where two tables were stacked nearby. Woods headbutted Erik, but Ivar was there to hit Woods in the back with a shield. Kofi jumped off the top and Ivar threw a shield at Kofi to knock him down. Ouch. Erik & Ivar picked up Woods for a double Powerbomb through tables with Cole saying that was called the Ragnarok. Ivar covered Woods for the pinfall win after 20 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match that was very creative with a lot of weapons being used, some big bumps taken by both teams and obviously a huge spot to end the match since Woods was put through tables. I thought the setup of the ring looking like a ship on one side was unique, so I’ll give them credit for thinking of something creative. It looked a bit silly at first, but then they used the platform in a smart way so I don’t mind it at all. This was likely the feud ender since it was a gimmick match and clearly WWE wanted to put over the Viking Raiders a dominant heel team instead of giving the babyface New Days the win. I would have been fine with either result for this match. I enjoyed it.
A video aired about the two-year Universal Title run of Roman Reigns. It was Part 1 – The Reign Begins with the “Special Counsel” Paul Heyman narrating the video. Heyman noted that Reigns has had 23 title defenses against 14 superstars during the historic two year title reigns of the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns.
The next Roman Reigns video aired called Part II – The Main Event. Heyman said that 16 times Reigns has main evented the biggest shows of the year while listing off some of the shows including WrestleMania. Heyman talked about how it was 16 times against men like Edge, Big E, Goldberg, John Cena and Brock Lesnar while adding that 16 times Reigns has emerged victorious. Heyman said that we will acknowledge the two-year title reign of Roman Reigns.
Karrion Kross made his entrance with his lovely wife Scarlett. They went to the black and white screen for the entrance. It looked like how the entrance was in NXT with Scarlett entering the ring first followed by Kross as the lights went red/black in the arena.
Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Drew Gulak
This was Karrion’s Smackdown debut. McAfee: “Is that Gulak? It is.” Yes, it is Pat. Kross choked Gulak against the turnbuckle and Kross told Gulak to deliver some strikes, so Drew did and it had no effect. Gulak ran the ropes leading to a boot from Kross. There were some forearms to the head by Kross followed by a Saito Suplex across the ring. Kross applied the Kross Jacket submission leading to Gulka tapping out. It went about one minute.
Winner by submission: Karrion Kross
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Kross in a big way.
Post match, Kross kept the Kross Jacket submission on Gulak on the mat while Scarlett was laughing about it. After replays were shown, they tied up Gulak in the middle ropes and left to black & white colors.
Analysis: It was an impressive ass-kicking from Kross. That’s the right way to book Kross. Always nice to see Scarlett, of course.
They showed highlights of Smackdown last week when Ronda Rousey was arrested. Ronda’s “final judgment” was up next.
The third Roman Reigns video was called Part III – Smackdown Ruler. Heyman said that Reigns had seven title defenses on Smackdown and he smashed them all. It was Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Rey Mysterio, and (Matt) Riddle. They didn’t mention Daniel Bryan, of course. They played a clip of Roman saying he has beaten them all and Heyman said that tonight we will celebrate two years of dominance of the Tribal Chief.
Let’s Hear from Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey made her entrance with some paper in her hand. Good reaction for Rousey with the fans chanting her name. Rousey said she’s got an official statement from WWE Global Headquarters with an update on her submission, so she called out WWE Official Adam Pearce to read it.
Adam Pearce walked out saying it has never been personal while Rousey said that Pearce had her arrested. Pearce said that she may not want to hear this, but he was just doing his job (Rousey cut him off). Rousey told Adam to read it. Pearce read the statement saying that Rousey’s behavior was unprofessional. Pearce read that her behavior wasn’t criminal, her arrest was unwarranted and Rousey paid her fines while she will be on probation. Pearce said that as of today, September 2nd, “her suspension is over and she will resume in-ring competition immediately.” Rousey was happy about it. Pearce thought this was absurd that her suspension is over. Pearce said if it was up to him he would have never suspended her, he would have fired her. The fans booed. Rousey mentioned that she was the most recognizable female athlete in history and told Pearce to kiss her ass.
Pearce ranted about how hard his job is while being on two shows every week and is never thanked. Pearce said that he has to babysit people like her. The fans booed, so Pearce told the fans to shut up. Pearce said he’s damn proud of the job he does, but he doesn’t like that people criticize her. Pearce said he didn’t care about the Board of Directors or their decision because he’s got a problem with Rousey. Pearce said that people call Rousey the ”baddest woman on the planet” and Pearce called Rousey “the single biggest bitch I’ve ever met.” Pearce apologized, but Rousey took him down easily and Rousey applied an armbar on the right arm with the fans cheering. Rousey left to cheers while Cole said that Rousey could get fined or suspended again.
Analysis: That’s the most heelish that Pearce has been in his role as a WWE Official. Having Pearce call Rousey a bitch like that is very aggressive, but it’s also a way to get Rousey cheered. It’s the classic Stone Cold booking to have a heelish authority figure being mean to a babyface wrestler. I assume they’ll say that Rousey won’t be suspended for that because it was unprofessional for a WWE Official like Pearce to call Rousey a “bitch” like that. I don’t know if this means Pearce will be heelish all the time moving forward, but he did get boos from the crowd, so it worked in this instance.
Sami Zayn was shown in the locker room with a guy delivering some black flowers. Zayn said he wasn’t expecting any flowers. Zayn smelled the flowers and said “oh God” while selling that they smelled. The note said “Tick Tock” to show that it was a message from Karrion Kross. Zayn smelled his hands after he put them down.
Analysis: They are definitely setting up Kross as a future opponent of either Roman Reigns or Drew McIntyre depending on how their Clash at the Castle match goes.
Hit Row entered for tag team action.
A commercial aired for Clash at the Castle plugging the six-woman tag team match.
The Maximum Male Models team were introduced by Max Dupri and his “sister” Maxxine Dupri. I’m not going to spell Mace and Mansoor using the symbols that WWE uses. You know who they are when I write their name.
Maximum Male Models (Mace & Mansoor) (w/Max & Maxxine Dupri) vs. Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante “Thee” Adonis) (w/B-Fab)
Mansoor got a takedown leading t to a pose and Adonis dropkicked Mansoor out of the ring. Mace in the ring, so Adonis dropkicked him out of the ring as well. Los Lotharios made their way down to ringside, which made Maxxine happy. B-Fab kicked the Lotharios away from ringside. Mansoor tripped up Mace, who walked on the back of Adonis and hit an elbow drop to the back. Mace with a corner attack, Mansoor with a tag and a dropkick. Top Dolla tagged in as Mansoor threw a punch that was caught, so Dolla hit a forearm to the head. Dolla with a running knee lift and a forearm knocking Mase off the apron. Dolla with a corner splash, Adonis got the tag and Dolla picked up Mansoor leading to an Adonis dropkick into a slam for the pinfall win. It went four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Hit Row
Analysis: *1/4 A basic match to put over Hit Row. The models didn’t really come close to winning at any point in the match. The double team finish was a dropkick into a slam. It didn’t look that impressive, but it’s a safe move to do.
Post match, Los Lotharios went into the ring to double team Hit Row with the models and then The Street Profits made the save. The Street Profits cleared house at ringside and Dolla hit a shoulder tackle as the heel retreated. The Street Profits and Hit Row celebrated in the ring together.
Analysis: A typical post match segment where the babyfaces got the advantage to end it on a happy note. The Street Profits are a Raw team, but they were on Smackdown last week, so they were in the building to be on this week. Plus, the brand-exclusive stuff really doesn’t matter.
Happy Corbin was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Corbin saying he didn’t want to talk about losing last week or any other loss. Corbin said that he knows he’s the best man in that locker room, so he’s going to issue an open challenge up next.
Analysis: Corbin gets a lot of screen time for a guy that loses often.
The fourth Roman Reigns video aired called Part IV: Tribal Warrior. Heyman narrated the video talking about the different match types that Reigns has won like Steel Cage, Hell in a Cell, Last Man Standing and he’s come out stronger on the other side.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance as the guy to answer the open challenge from Happy Corbin. Pat McAfee was dancing on the commentary table as usual.
Happy Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura worked over Corbin with some kicks to the body followed by a foot on the throat. Corbin with a lift, Nakamura managed to get a knee to the head and a kick to the face. Nakamura charged, Corbin caught him and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for two, which is the usual result for that move. The fans chanted “Corbin sucks” as Corbin went for End of Days, Nakamura avoided it, Corbin slid out of the ring and back in and Nakamura hit a Kinshasa knee strike for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: * Easy win for Nakamura while Corbin continues to lose matches. They are definitely doing a losing streak storyline for Corbin since Cole mentioned it after the match as well. I’m not sure where it’s going, but maybe WWE will call him “Baron Corbin” again instead of the dumb Happy Corbin name.
A video aired with highlights from Raw of the Women’s Tag Team Title tournament with Cole talking over the highlights. Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah beat IYO SKY & Dakota Kai to become the Women’s Tag Team Champions when Aliyah rolled up Kai to win.
Analysis: They did not mention that Aliyah pinned the wrong person. Perhaps WWE will ignore it even though Kai said “I wasn’t legal” as soon as she was pinned. Anyway, we’ll see on Raw next week if there’s a follow up to it.
Butch made his entrance with Sheamus and Ridge Holland. Butch had some ring gear similar to his Pete Dunne days, but the gear said “Brawling Brutes” on the side of it.
A video aired bout WWE’s great work with Connor’s Cure to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Happy Corbin was shown backstage looking sad about his loss. There was a limo that was shown driving up to the arena with some horns on it. It was John Bradshaw Layfield, who rolled down the window and asked: “What happened to you? Get in.” Corbin got into the limo.
Analysis: There’s a new angle for Corbin with JBL serving as a manager or mentor for him. JBL was filming the A&E WWE Rivals show at the time of this show, so he wasn’t shown on camera. They edited his voice into the scene.
Ludwig Kaiser entered with the Intercontinental Champion Gunther for singles action. It’s Gunther vs. Sheamus at Clash at the Castle. They plugged a Clash at the Castle press conference after the show.
Butch (w/Sheamus & Ridge Holland) vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Gunther)
The wild man Butch was aggressive with some punches. Kaiser backed away in the corner, created some space and knocked Butch down with a forearm to the face. Butch knocked down Kaiser followed by Butch pulling on the arm while squeezing the fingers like he used to do as Pete Dunne. Butch stomped on Kaiser’s head. Kaiser with a slap to the face followed by a double underhook suplex. Kaiser jumped off the middle rope for an uppercut, but Butch punched him in the head. Kaiser was on the floor, Butch jumped off the apron and Kaiser hit him with an uppercut. Big bump by Butch on the floor as Sheamus & Gunther had a staredown leading to a break.
It was a slugfest as Butch sent Kaiser into the corner, then Butch hit a double knee drop on the left arm and a German Suplex. Butch stomped on the hands of Kaiser followed by a kick to the head for two. Butch worked over Kaiser with repeated forearms to the head along with a stomp on the back. Butch went up top, Kaiser tripped up Butch and Butch hit a kick. Kaiser came back with a jumping kick to the head followed by a running dropkick while Butch was against the ropes. Kaiser with a reverse body slam flipping Butch over for a two count. Butch avoided a running attack, Butch with a step up enziguri, Kaiser with an uppercut and Butch hit a kick to the head. Loud leg slap for that kick to the head. Kaiser hit another reverse body slam style move for two. Kaiser teased going for a DDT move, but Butch pulled on the fingers to counter and Butch hit the Bitter End (same name for that move when he was Pete Dunne) for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Butch
Analysis: *** A fun TV match between two talented guys that didn’t get many matches on Smackdown in the past. I like that Butch had the gear from when he was Pete Dunne while doing the moves like pulling on the fingers and stomping on the fingers like we saw him do in the NXT days. I liked the finish with Kaiser looking to finish off Butch, but then Butch pulled on the fingers leading to the Bitter End. That was booked well.
Post match, Gunther went into the ring with the Intercontinental Title around his waist while Sheamus took off his coat and gear to have a fight. Kaiser kept Gunther to prevent a fight.
Analysis: I really like that they didn’t have Gunther and Sheamus did not exchange in any physicality in the build to the match. Save it for the Clash at the Castle match. I’m very excited about it. I picked Gunther in our preview, but it could go either way.
The fifth Roman Reigns video aired called Part V: Greatness on a Different Level. Heyman mentioned the men that had really long reigns in WWE history and how they are now joined by the longest reign in modern WWE history due to Reigns holding his Universal Title for over two years. Heyman said that tonight we celebrate and acknowledge the two year historic title reign of Roman Reigns.
Sami Zayn and The Usos were shown in the locker room with Zayn saying he thinks everything is set for the celebration. Zayn wondered if they should go out there together as the entire Bloodline – the four of them. Jey didn’t like that Sami was including himself while Jimmy suggested they should all be together celebrating Reigns. They all agreed to it and left.
They showed the great, undefeated championship boxer Tyson Fury posting a message on Instagram saying he’s going to be ringside at Clash at the Castle on Sunday. Fury is British, so it makes sense he’ll be at the major event taking place in the UK.
Roman Reigns Two-Year Championship Celebration
The Usos made their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions along with their buddy Sami Zayn. There was a black carpet in the ring along with photos of Roman Reigns during his two year run as the Universal (and WWE) Champion.
Sami Zayn welcomed us to the celebration of the two-year championship reign of Roman Reigns. Jimmy told Sami to do his thing while Zayn said he didn’t want anybody to accuse him of being too comfortable and Zayn stared at Jey. That led to Jey cutting off Zayn saying that Reigns has dominated everybody. Jey kept talking while Zayn followed saying stuff like “yeah” and “that’s right” while even saying “100” at one point, so Jimmy asked what he was doing? Jey wanted the crowd to stand up on their feet, put their 1’s to the sky and Jey introduced the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief, the Needle Mover, God Mode Himself…the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion…our cousin Roman Reigns.
They showed a Cadillac truck driving up to the building with Reigns walking out the back door in his Bloodline shirt. Reigns was greeted by a kick to the head from Drew McIntyre. Reigns was down in the parking lot after bumping into the truck. Cole said it was a Claymore Kick, but it’s not like we saw Drew deliver it, which would mean bumping onto the concrete, so it was just a kick to the head.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance in the arena with Zayn going after him, so Drew hit him with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt on Zayn. Drew took off his shirt to show the wounds from “last week” that was actually earlier in the same evening. Drew got into the ring, tossed both Usos out of the ring and Drew knocked all the photos down. Drew ran the ropes followed by a somersault dive over the top onto the three guys on the floor. Drew sent Zayn into the ring followed by Drew tossing some chairs into the ring. Zayn with a chair to the ribs, but Drew came back with a Claymore Kick where he kicked the chair into Zayn’s face. Drew suplexed and slammed Jimmy Uso through the table. Jey was down on the floor, Drew charged, Drew did a Reigns-like yell leading to Drew giving Jey a Spear through the barricade. Nice spot.
Drew did a promo in the ring saying he will never, ever stop. Drew said that The Bloodline was torn apart and God mode was deactivated. Drew said in Cardiff he’s going to kick Romans’ head off his body and you’re going to look at the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. They replayed Drew’s attack on Roman in the parking long as well as his destruction of The Usos and Sami at ringside. There was a final plug for Clash at the Castle for Saturday at 1pm ET as McIntyre celebrated to end the show.
Analysis: It was well booked with McIntyre getting the upper hand after Roman and The Bloodline kicked his ass on last week’s show. I don’t think McIntyre standing tall means he’s going to lose. I think McIntyre should win and I explained my thought process on that in our preview of the show. I like how McIntyre systematically took apart The Usos & Sami. The fans responded well to it. McIntyre has a lot of momentum right now as the top babyface in WWE. I’m very intrigued by what happens at Clash at the Castle.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Viking Raiders/The New Day
7 out of 10
Last week: 7
It was mostly a good show with the Viking Raiders/New Day match standing out as the best match on the show while Butch beating Ludwig Kaiser was good too. The other matches were kept short. It’s good to see that Karrion Kross and the lovely Scarlett got an entrance similar to what it was like in NXT.
They spent a lot of time on the show talking about the Roman Reigns two-year celebration, yet Reigns was barely on the show since Drew McIntyre attacked him in the parking lot. Drew also beat up The Usos and Sami Zayn to give Drew a lot of momentum going into the Clash at the Castle event on Saturday. The Ronda Rousey/Adam Pearce segment was classic authority figure booking with Pearce making heelish comments and Rousey kicking his ass easily. The crowd liked it.
I’m ready for Clash at the Castle. Once again, here’s our preview for that.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Clash at the Castle from Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, September 3. Here’s the lineup.
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
* Bianca Belair, Asuka & Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley, Dakota Kai & IYO SKY
* Riddle vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
* Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
* Edge & Rey Mysterio (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest (w/Rhea Ripley)
You can watch WWE Clash at the Castle, streaming live this Saturday, September 3, at 1pm ET/10am PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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