The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/09/22 Review
This is the TJR WWE Smackdown review featuring a women’s Fatal 5-Way match for Smackdown Women’s Title match, plus all the fallout from Clash at the Castle.
The Smackdown brand was represented well at Clash at the Castle this past Saturday. Roman Reigns defended the Undisputed WWE Universal Title against Drew McIntyre and Reigns was victorious thanks to an assist from a debuting Solo Sikoa. That came right after Drew hit a Claymore Kick for the win. Moments after Solo arrived at ringside to stop the count, Reigns hit a Spear to beat Drew, so Drew was screwed out of the titles and now he’s looking for revenge. Elsewhere on the show from the Smackdown side, Gunther beat Sheamus in a legit Match of the Year contender to keep the Intercontinental Title. Even though he lost, Sheamus received a standing ovation from the crowd for what was arguably his best match in WWE. The other Smackdown match saw Liv Morgan beat Shayna Baszler cleanly to keep the Smackdown Women’s Title.
In other Smackdown-related news, popular commentator Pat McAfee is going to be on a WWE break for the next four months due to taking a job with ESPN as part of the College GameDay show on Saturdays starting this weekend. Pat is expected back in WWE when that job is done, so that should be in December. I’ll miss Pat while he’s gone although I am a regular of his weekday sports show on Youtube as well. He’s great and his enthusiasm makes Michael Cole better too. I don’t think Cole is bad like some people think, but Pat’s presence definitely helped.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is called Extreme Rules taking place on Saturday, October 8th in Philadelphia. I believe Roman Reigns isn’t going to wrestle at that event, so the next likely title defense will be at Crown Jewel on November 5th.
From the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington this is Smackdown for episode #1203. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Smackdown started with a video showing Solo Sikoa helping Roman Reigns beat Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle this past Saturday.
It’s Corey Graves filling in for Pat McAfee with Cole saying that Pat will be back before the end of the year. Pat will start on College GameDay this Saturday.
The Brawling Brutes trio of Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch entered for tag team match. Their opponents were newly reunited Imperium group featuring the Intercontinental Champion Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci. Cole and Graves praised the Sheamus-Gunther match at Clash at the Castle with good reason.
The Brawling Brutes – Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch vs. Imperium – Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci
They were both heel teams, but I think The Brawling Brutes are turning face especially since they are on the side of the ring facing the main camera, which is where faces usually go. Holland was in control of Vinci with a hiptoss followed by a shoulder tackle. The energetic Butch tagged in with a dropkick leading to a slam by Holland. Vinci got out of there and brought in Gunther. Butch tried to hit Gunther a few times, but it had no effect leading to Sheamus getting the tag. The crowd popped at the sight of Gunther in the ring with Sheamus, but then they went to commercial. Brutal timing for the commercial. I get why they do it to tease action when the show returns, but I don’t like going to commercials before they make contact.
Kaiser was in the ring with Holland with Kaiser kicking the knee leading to Imperium taking control. Kaiser and Vinci set up Holland against the ropes leading to both guys hitting dropkicks on Holland at the same time. That’s a spot they always do in their long run as a team. Vinci with a suplex on Holland leading to Gunther tagging back in with a knee to the ribs. Gunther with a hard chop to Holland, then Gunther knocked Sheamus and Butch off the apron to get some heat, so The Brutes appear to be the faces here. Butch got the tag against Vinci with the fans cheering Butch for a kick to the head, double knees to the arm, a German Suplex and a kick to the head for two. Butch applied an armbar on the left arm of Kaiser, who wasn’t legal and when the referee tried to get Kaiser out of the ring, Gunther hit Butch with a hard forearm to the chest. Sheamus brawled with Sheamus, but Vinci hit Sheamus into the barricade and Butch hit a jumping knee off the apron onto Gunther. Back in the ring, Vinci nailed Butch with a stiff clothesline leading to a break.
The match returned with Gunther applying a Boston Crab on Butch with Graves saying that every time Sheamus tagged in, Gunther has tagged out. As Gunther worked over Butch with a forearm, the fans were chanting “we want Sheamus” as Butch avoided a running Gunther. Vinci tagged in to prevent a Butch tag, but Butch hit an enziguri leading to Sheamus getting the tag. Huge pop for Sheamus getting the hot tag with clotheslines on Kaiser, a backbreaker to Vinci and Sheamus did the ten beats to the chest of Kaiser, but then he went way more than ten (I think it was 25) and the fans were chanting along with it. Sheamus with a rolling senton on Vinci and Sheamus gave Kaiser the White Noise onto Vinci. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick on Vinci because legal man Kaiser moved. Sheamus with a powerslam on Kaiser. Holland tagged in with a lariat from behind on Kaiser for two as Gunther broke it up with a chop. Sheamus and Gunther got into a slugfest leading to Butch/Vinci fighting and Holland/Kaiser did as well. It was a slugfest everywhere. Sheamus hit Gunther with a knee on the floor. Holland hit a back body drop on Kaiser. Vinci caught Butch jumping off the ropes and Vinci hit a brainbuster. Kaiser landed hard on his knee, but I think he was okay. Vinci tagged in, he sent Holland into the turnbuckle and Kaiser jumped off the ropes with the Imperium Bomb (uppercut into a Powerbomb) on Holland with Vinci getting the pinfall. It went 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Imperium – Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match with a lot of great tag team work by The Imperium guys. The key thing is that Gunther tried to avoid Sheamus in the match, but they did end up brawling on the floor towards the finish. Since the team of Kaiser/Vinci are so talented as a team, it made sense for them to get the win and show that they a force with Vinci on Smackdown now. I also think Butch should do well as a face. Ridge is more of a natural heel, but hopefully it works fine for him. I think they are definitely going to do Gunther-Sheamus again perhaps at Extreme Rules. The chase for Sheamus to win the IC Title as a face should be fun.
Solo Sikoa joins The Bloodline up next.
A graphic was shown to honor the memory of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. What a long life and legacy she left behind. I was saying yesterday that she was probably the most famous person in the world and when her funeral airs it will be shown everywhere.
Let’s Hear from The Bloodline
The Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos made their entrance with Sami Zayn doing his unique dance moves. No Roman Reigns. Cole mentioned that Roman has been Universal Champion for 740 days and The Usos for 418 days.
Sami Zayn started the promo as the hype man saying that The Bloodline is in Seattle and wanted the crowd to throw “the ones” up so the fans did it. Jimmy was excited with Sami, but Jey was not as enthusiastic. Jey cut Sami off (since Jey doesn’t like Sami) to remind us that Roman Reigns is still the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion and said that Roman beat Drew McIntyre on his own turf. Jimmy introduced the newest member of The Bloodline, the street champion, their younger brother Solo Sikoa.
Solo Sikoa made his entrance with a black hoodie on along with shorts and a knee brace on his left knee since he had a minor injury recently. They showed some highlights of Solo in NXT. Solo joined his brothers and Sami in the ring. Sami wanted a hug, but Solo just looked at him, so Sami patted Solo on the back. Sami rules.
Solo said that if you come for his family, then he comes for you. Solo said if you create problems then he finishes them. Solo: “Solo Sikoa is here to stay and the Bloodline just got bigger and stronger.” The Usos reminded us that we (the crowd) are the twos while The Bloodline are “the ones.”
Drew McIntyre interrupted the promo with a steel chair in hand. Solo was alone in the ring, Drew jabbed Solo in the ribs with a chair while Zayn shoved Solo out of the ring, so Drew hit Sami in the back. Sami sacrificed himself for The Bloodline again. Drew McIntyre said that he wanted to fight Solo Sikoa tonight and Solo said you’ve got it, so that’s the main event.
Analysis: It was good as a way to introduce Solo Sikoa to the main roster as a new member of The Bloodline. It would have been better if Roman Reigns was a part of it, but we know he wasn’t there this week, so they just made it work with Solo joining The Usos and Zayn. McIntyre interrupting it wanting to get revenge made logical sense. I constantly find myself laughing at Zayn’s mannerisms throughout the segment. He’s so entertaining in this role where Jey doesn’t like Sami, but Jimmy does. Anyway, I like Solo a lot as a performer and he should fit in just fine with his brothers, who will certainly help him get used to life on the main roster.
They showed some images from Clash at the Castle last Saturday.
Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah made their entrance as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. They defend those titles against IYO SKY & Dakota Kai on Monday’s Raw. The Toxic Attraction team of Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne were the opponents. There was no Mandy Rose with them, but Gigi & Jacy are good on their own as the former two-time NXT Tag Team Champions.
Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah vs. Toxic Attraction – Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
Raquel sent Jayne into the corner followed by a clothesline. Aliyah tagged in with Raquel tossing Aliyah onto Jayne. Aliyah got a springboard press off the middle ropes followed by punches. Jayne drove Aliyah into the turnbuckle leading to Dolin tagging in, then Dolin hit a bronco buster and Jayne tagged in with a cannonball. Dolin back in with a snapmare followed by a kick to the back. Jayne tagged in, Dolin with a kick to Aliyah’s head and legal woman Jayne hit a running senton splash for two. Raquel got the hot tag with the clothesline on Dolin followed by a fallaway slam. Raquel with a sidewalk slam on Dolin and a corkscrew elbow off the middle ropes. Jayne tagged in, the Toxic ladies tried a double team move, so Aliyah tackled Dolin out of the ring. Raquel hit the Texana Bomb on Jayne for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah
Analysis: ** It was a solid tag team match. The crowd wasn’t into it that much due to no story, but they did pop for Raquel’s hot tag. The formula for Raquel/Aliyah is simple with Aliyah as the face in peril leading to Raquel getting the hot tag. I hope Jayne & Dolin get a good push on the main roster if this is their permanent home, but if not then there’s plenty of time for them since they are a young team with bright futures.
They showed highlights from last week’s Smackdown when Ronda Rousey told Adam Pearce to kiss her ass, so then Pearce did a heel promo calling Ronda a “bitch” and Rousey took down Pearce with an armbar on the right arm.
It was mentioned by Cole that Rousey has been disciplined internally while the results won’t be made public. Cole said that Pearce was carried away, he aired the dirty laundry publicly and WWE wanted to handle it privately.
Analysis: It’s good to handle things internally. That way you prevent backstage fights. Just saying.
The women’s Fatal 5-Way match was next.
The entrance took place for the women’s Fatal 5-Way match with Xia Li up first getting no reaction. Sonya Deville didn’t get much of a reaction either. Natalya was up next to a solid reaction and Lacey Evans was next after being out for several weeks. Evans was in heel mode by rejecting a high five from a fan. Ronda Rousey was last with the fans giving her a big pop. Liv Morgan was shown in a private box watching the match. She looks drunk. I’m kidding.
Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match: Xia Li vs. Sonya Deville vs. Natalya vs. Lacey Evans vs. Ronda Rousey
The winner of this match will challenge Liv Morgan for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Extreme Rules.
Natalya and Li cleared the ring, so Li tried a rollup on Natalya and Natalya hit her with a clothesline. Evans was back in with a Woman’s Right punch on Natalya, who was doing a Sharpshooter. Deville with a knee on Evans, but I don’t think she even touched her. Rousey sent Deville into the barricade. Rousey gave Natalya an armbar and Natalya tapped out, so she was eliminated. I didn’t know it was an elimination match until that moment.
Natalya was eliminated.
Evans with a neckbreaker on Rousey, who came back with an armbar and Li got involved. From there it quickly led to Rousey tapping out Evans with an armbar while Deville did a head/arm choke on Li for the tap out. It was a double tap out at the same time.
Lacey Evans & Xia Li were both eliminated.
Rousey and Deville faced off with Cole putting them both over for their MMA background. Of course, Rousey was way more accomplished in MMA than Deville was. Deville went for a submission, Rousey got out of it and sent Deville into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rousey hit the Piper’s Pit slam followed by Rousey doing the Ankle Lock to Deville, who tapped out. That was it after about five minutes.
Sonya Deville was eliminated.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: **1/4 Easy win for Rousey. I don’t think the fans thought that Rousey/Deville was an anticipated battle because they don’t think of Sonya as a star while Rousey obviously is a big star. Anyway, it sucked that Natalya was barely in the match, but this was really just a showcase to put over Rousey.
The win by Rousey means that she’ll challenge Liv Morgan for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Extreme Rules.
Analysis: It’s possible that it will be a stipulation match because Extreme Rules usually has those kinds of matches. I don’t know if the whole card will have a stipulation, but it might happen for a bigger match like that one.
The Bloodline was backstage with Solo Sikoa thanking Zayn for what he did out there. Zayn said that they are together. Jey Uso said that Solo has to do it alone and if Solo needs help he’ll ask for it. Then Jey said that they are all going out there with Solo tonight. They were getting Solo hyped up for his match with Drew McIntyre later.
Ronda Rousey was shown walking backstage with her good friend Shayna Baszler congratulating Rousey on the win. Baszler wished Rousey good luck against Liv even though she knows that Rousey doesn’t need it. Rousey told Baszler to let her know when she wanted to break bones and take over the show to suggest a future alliance.
The heel foursome of Maximum Male Models with Max & “sister” Maxxine Dupri and Los Lotharios were in the ring for tag team action. The Hit Row trio was up next followed by the popular Street Profits team getting a big pop.
Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante Thee Adonis) w/B-Fab vs. Maximum Male Models – Mansoor & Mace (w/Max & Maxxine Dupri) and Los Lotharios (Humberto & Angel)
Adonis sent Mansoor into the corner, then Dawkins tagged in with a corner splash, Dolla tagged in and did his own splash. Ford tagged in with a clothesline on Mansoor. The heels bailed to the floor leading to a break.
Mace tagged in with Mansoor touching his finger and then they did a double back elbow followed by a pose. Mace with an elbow to the head, Angel tagged in and hit kick to the face. Humberto tagged in with a dropkick sending Adonis out of the ring. Humberto with a suicide dive, Adonis avoided it and Humberto hit Angel by accident. Dawkins got the hot tag with a jumping shoulder block, a corner splash and when Mace tagged in, Dawkins hit a double underhook slam for two. Dawkins dumped Angel out of the ring and Adonis dove onto Angel on the floor. Ford wanted a dive, but Humberto kicked him down. Dawkins sent Humberto over the top to the floor. Dawkins hit a somersault dive over the top onto the heels on the floor. Dolla teased a dive, Maxxine got in the way (Dolla was never going to do it), then the girls argued and Mace got a rollup on Dolla for two. Mansoor tagged in, Dolla caught him on a dive attempt, Adonis tagged in and Hit Row hit the Heavy Hitter (dropkick into a belly-to-back suplex) for the pinfall win with Adonis pinning Mansoor for the win. It went about eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante Thee Adonis)
Analysis: **1/2 Easy win by the faces beating the heels that are probably going to lose most of their matches in WWE. A simple match to put over the faces with Hit Row getting the win since they recently came back to WWE. It wouldn’t shock me if the Maximum Male Models gimmick has a short life since it was a Vince McMahon creative team creation and I don’t know if Triple H would like it as much as a long-term thing.
A Progressive Match Flo showed Braun Strowman’s return to WWE on Raw earlier this week.
Braun Strowman was up next.
They showed photos from Clash at the Castle again.
Alpha Academy Interrupted By Braun Strowman
It’s time to “shoosh, please” because Alpha Academy was on Smackdown. They are normally on Raw, but the brand split doesn’t really matter. Chad Gable and Otis walked out with Gable saying that Smackdown is where the Alpha Academy was born. Gable did his annoying “thank you” thing to get heat and more “shoosh, please” as well. Gable complained about Braun Strowman attacking them on Raw in the four-way match. Gable put over Otis as a superior athlete while claiming that Seattle doesn’t know about superior athletes. Gable mocked Seattle for not being able to hold onto their own professional basketball team. Loud booing from the crowd. Gable kept on ranting while claiming Otis was a monster, so here comes Braun Strowman.
Braun Strowman made his entrance with a theme song that is worse than the one he had for many years. Strowman punched Otis to knock him down. Gable tried a cheap attack, so Strowman took him down with a boot. Otis hit a corner splash on Strowman, but Strowman came back with a shoulder tackle on Otis and a clothesline on Gable. Strowman gave Gable a Powerbomb with ease. Strowman also picked up Otis and gave him a Powerbomb as well. The crowd loved it.
Analysis: It was an ask kicking by Strowman. It’s nice to see him using a Powerbomb because it’s more impressive than the running powerslam. The Powerbomb on Otis takes a lot of strength and Strowman managed to do it easily or at least it looked easy for him. Gable mentioning to the Seattle crowd they couldn’t hold onto their own professional basketball team leading to loud boos. Reminds me of several years ago when Kevin Owens & Elias mentioned the same thing in Seattle to loud boos for several minutes. The boos weren’t as loud here, but they were loud. Bring back the Sonics.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Drew saying he should have been the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, but he is not for one reason: Solo Sikoa. Drew said that the Head of the Table may be happy with Solo, but Drew promises that Solo will not like the consequences of his actions.
This Monday on Raw has Edge vs. Dominik Mysterio and the Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah defending the titles against IYO SKY & Dakota Kai.
Next week on Smackdown: The New Day vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. Los Lotharios. It’s the match from Raw that Braun Strowman interrupted. The winners will challenge The Usos for the Tag Team Titles at Extreme Rules.
Analysis: The rumor is that The Usos vs. The New Day yet again is the plan. From a logical point of view, the Viking Raiders are getting screwed by not being in the match since they beat The New Day clean on Smackdown two weeks ago.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angela the sword. Solo Sikoa was joined by The Usos and Sami Zayn with Solo continuing to wrestle barefoot like he did in NXT. I thought maybe he would put on shoes or boots, but it’s still barefoot for Solo, who had a knee brace on the left knee.
Solo Sikoa (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso & Sami Zayn) vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew was aggressive against Solo with punches, then Solo came back with punches to the body and Drew delivered some strikes. Solo with a kick to the chest, but Drew came back with a clothesline. Drew hit a kick to the gut followed by the Future Shock DDT. Drew wanted a Claymore Kick, but The Usos pulled their brother Solo out of the ring to regroup on the floor as the show went to break.
Solo was in control of Drew grabbing the shoulder, Drew tried to make a comeback, but Solo was ready with a Samoan Drop for two. Solo choked Drew against the middle rope along with a ref distraction from Jimmy leading to Jey getting a cheap shot punch on Drew. Solo with punches, Drew with chops and Solo came back with a belly to belly suplex for two. Solo hit a running hip attack in the corner. Solo slapped Drew in the face telling him he doesn’t belong here, so Drew fought back with two clotheslines and a running back elbow. Drew suplexed Solo across the ring followed by a neckbreaker. Drew was distracted by both Usos on the apron, so Solo got a rollup for two. Drew punched Jimmy off the apron. Zayn grabbed Drew’s foot, the referee didn’t see it and Drew brought Zayn into the ring with a slam. Drew charged, but Solo was back in with a superkick for a two count. Good nearfall there. Drew and Solo exchanged strikes, then Drew hit a headbutt and The Usos pulled down the top rope, so Drew bumped over the top to the floor. The Usos were attacking Drew, so The Street Profits made the save. Ford went up top and hit a cross body block onto The Usos & Zayn on the floor. Drew sent Solo into the ropes followed by Drew hitting a Claymore Kick on Solo out of the ring. Karrion Kross went into the ring and applied the Kross Jacket choke on McIntyre as the screen went to black and white.
Winner by disqualification: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: *** A good match for Solo’s Smackdown debut. Doing the DQ finish is a way to protect Solo a bit in his first match by not having him lose right away. It looked like Drew was going to win, but then they did the Claymore Kick spot near the ropes so that Drew was unable to pin Solo. That also led to Kross jumping Drew from behind for the DQ. Anyway, I thought it was booked well with Solo showing that he definitely belongs on the main roster. Solo is a good wrestler just like his brothers.
After the match, Kross kept the Kross Jacket choke hold on Drew while Scarlett was there to support Kross. The screen was black & white at this point. As Drew looked like he was about to power out of it, Kross applied the Kross Jacket submission even tire with Drew looking like he might pass out. The announcers were calling for somebody to help Drew as the screen faded to black just as Graves said it. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Since Roman Reigns is not going to wrestle at Extreme Rules then I think it’s obvious that McIntyre will probably face Kross at that show. It could be the main event too. I don’t like the black & white color being used for the attack although I get why they would do it to put over Kross.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Brawling Brutes
- Drew McIntyre/Solo Sikoa
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
It was another very good episode of Smackdown. The opening six man tag with Imperium beating The Brawling Brutes took over the first 30 minutes of the show and they had the best match of the night. The crowd loved Sheamus, who is likely in babyface mode now as he tries to get the Intercontinental Title from the dominant champion Gunther.
The main event with Drew McIntyre facing Solo Sikoa was set up well with a promo earlier in the show. There was the DQ ending to the match due to Karrion Kross attacking Drew leading to a black/white screen. I assume we get Drew vs. Kross at Extreme Rules.
Ronda Rousey easily won the 5-Way women’s match to earn a title shot against Liv Morgan. There could be a title change between them at Extreme Rules. Braun Strowman was dominant again beating up Alpha Academy and hitting a Powerbomb on Otis was very impressive.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Extreme Rules from Philadelphia on Saturday, October 8. Here’s the lineup.
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
There will be more matches added soon.
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