The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/16/22 Review
This week’s edition of WWE Smackdown featured a four-way tag team match to earn a title shot, Logan Paul making an appearance, Ricochet facing Sami Zayn and Bayley in action against Raquel Rodriguez.
The ending of last week’s Smackdown saw Karrion Kross attack Drew McIntyre attack during his match with Solo Sikoa, so there should be a follow-up to that. I assume we get Kross vs. McIntyre at Extreme Rules next month.
On Friday afternoon we also found out that WWE plans to have Roman Reigns face Logan Paul at Crown Jewel on November 5th, so we should learn more about that on Smackdown.
From the Honda Center in Anaheim, California this is Smackdown for episode #1204. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
There was a pyro display to start the show. Logan Paul made his entrance as the commentary team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Logan Paul
Logan said he thinks he did it again and the fans booed him. Logan said that he has a habit of saying some stupid stuff while mentioning that this week he had Roman Reigns on his podcast. After Reigns left the podcast, Logan said that if he wrestled the guy, Paul could beat him. Logan said that in the past he mentioned Floyd Mayweather, then Floyd couldn’t beat him…or pay him. Logan said that he set up a press conference tomorrow (Saturday) in Las Vegas and if Reigns is man enough, he’ll meet Paul face to face.
Paul Heyman interrupted the promo. Paul is back after about one and a half months selling a table bump at SummerSlam. Heyman was with The Usos, Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn. No Reigns this week. Heyman reminded us that he is the Special Counsel of Roman Reigns. The Bloodline surrounded the ring while Heyman went into the ring with Paul.
Heyman shook Logan’s hand. Heyman talked about how if any celebrity could be a Heyman Guy then it’s Logan Paul. Heyman mentioned Logan lasting the whole fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Paul remarked that Logan is a lot taller than Floyd, but Logan said that it’s still Floyd. Heyman said that Jake Paul challenged the greatest MMA striker Anderson Silva with Heyman claiming that Silva will knock him out. Heyman said that he didn’t care about Logan’s ambitions or Logan/Jake changing the fight game. Heyman told Logan to make a smart decision by picking a fight with someone else.
Logan said that Heyman is a promoter, so he knows how it works and Logan claimed it was just a press conference. Logan said he sees a lot of Samoans, Sami Zayn and one Heyman. Logan asked Heyman if he was afraid that Logan was going to challenge Roman Reigns for the title. Logan wondered what if he landed that one lucky shot on Roman Reigns because that’s all it takes…one lucky shot. Logan shouted out about what if he beats Reigns for the Undisputed Universal Champion.
Heyman went on talking about “if” saying if your brother didn’t have balls he’d be a sister. Heyman told Logan he didn’t like him either. Heyman said now he has to handle Logan, so he called for Solo Sikoa to go on the apron. Logan said that he bets Heyman that he can knock Heyman out before Solo gets to him. Sami Zayn interrupted leading to “Sami” chants. It’s awesome to see how the crowd reacts to Sami these days. I love it. Solo went off the apron to the floor. Sami said that maybe Heyman is not the right man for this job, so maybe Reigns should have let Sami handle Logan, so Heyman left the ring.
Zayn told Logan he’s not from their world, so Zayn wanted to explain how things worked around here. Paul did a jab punch to Zayn to knock him down. The rest of The Bloodline went into the ring, so Logan left the ring. Ricochet made his entrance for a match with Zayn up next.
Analysis: The fans were booing Logan Paul through most of that even though he’s going to be positioned as a babyface against a heel like Reigns. The fans just don’t like the guy that much. Logan can talk fine. I just don’t think are going to want to cheer him. I think it was okay in terms of what Heyman said to him and then Zayn trying to take over, only to mess things up. Most people watching this show probably know that the Reigns-Logan match is the plan for Crown Jewel, but WWE wants to save it for the press conference on Saturday and that’s fine. I’d rather have Paul “earn” a title shot by winning more matches before he gets to face Reigns, but it’s a way to get some publicity by doing a match like that at Crown Jewel. It really doesn’t bother me, but I also get it if people complain about it too. Anyway, as a segment it was fine overall.
Ricochet (w/Logan Paul) vs. Sami Zayn (w/Paul Heyman, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa)
Zayn was wrestling in his Bloodline shirt as he took down Ricochet with an armbar. Zayn ran over Ricochet with a shoulder tackle. Cole mentioned Ricochet and Zayn facing eachother in Pro Wrestling Guerilla over a decade ago. A PWG reference on Smackdown? That’s rare. (Zayn was El Generico, of course.) Ricochet hit a hurricanrana and a dropkick. Zayn bailed to the floor to get in Logan’s face, but Ricochet was there to kick Zayn down. Zayn countered Ricochet coming off the ropes so Reigns bumped with his ribs hitting the top rope. Zayn worked over Ricochet with punches. Zayn jumped off the middle rope with an elbow smash to the head. A clothesline by Zayn got a two count followed by a chinlock. Ricochet with a headscissors takedown. Ricochet went up top, Zayn shoved him and Ricochet bumped off the top into the barricade. Good bump leading to a break.
Zayn was up on the top rope, Ricochet popped up to go after him, but Zayn shoved him down. Zayn jumped off the top with nothing while Ricochet hit a dropkick leading to both guys down selling for a few moments. Ricochet kicked Zayn followed by a hurricanrana, a shoulder block and Ricochet hit a springboard cross body block for two. Ricochet kicked the leg for a trip, Ricochet with a moonsault and Zayn got his knees up to block leading to a cradle for two. Cole thanked Heyman for knocking his drink over and Heyman poured the drink all over. That was funny. Ricochet hit a superkick to knock Zayn down. Jimmy on the apron, Ricochet looked at him and Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two because Logan was distracting the referee while Sami was trying to pin him. Zayn always gets a two count on that move anyway. Zayn ran off the ropes leading to Ricochet hitting a hurricanrana into a pin for two. Ricochet punched Jey off the apron, Zayn with a rollup for two. Ricochet with a knee to the face and Ricochet kicked Jey off the apron. Zayn hit a half n half suplex on Ricochet, Jey jumped into the ring, the referee made him leave and Zayn only got a two count. Zayn left the ring to get in Jey’s face, so Jimmy tried to calm Zayn down. Ricochet hit a somersault dive over the top onto Sami and both Usos on the floor. Back in the ring, Ricochet went up top and Ricochet with a Shooting Star Press on Zayn for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good match with a clever use of the guys at ringside for the distraction spots leading to some nearfalls. Zayn had the match won, but Jey went into the ring and the referee couldn’t make the count, so Zayn was justified in getting mad at Jey. Since there’s been an issue with Jey/Zayn, it helps to advance that storyline while also giving Ricochet a big win. These guys are two of my favorites in WWE, so I’m glad they had a match like that together.
Madcap Moss made his entrance with a steel chair to support Ricochet and Logan since Moss faces Solo Sikoa later in the show. The Bloodline backed away.
A recap of the Karrion Kross-Drew McIntyre situation was next.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett were backstage for a black and white promo. Kross talked about how he took out Drew McIntyre last week. Kross said that McIntyre tried to fight back, but then he let go and Kross said that he never lets anything go. Kross said a few more menacing things while ending with a “tick tock” as usual.
Maximum Male Models Get Destroyed by Braun Strowman
Max and “sister” Maxxine Dupri were in the ring with Max telling us that they were near LA…then he paused. There’s a tease for LA Knight as Maxxine told him to get on with it. Max introduced Mace and Mansoor wearing schoolboy costumes with Corey Graves liking it while Cole was mocking it. Braun Strowman’s music hit and he ran over both guys. The fans liked that.
Strowman threw Mace into the barricade and tossed Mansoor towards the ring. Strowman tossed Mansoor in the ring while Mace seemingly ran away. Strowman knocked down Mansoor with an uppercut. Strowman gave Mansoor a big Powerbomb in the ring.
Analysis: That was simple. Clearly, Max is going to be bringing LA Knight back. I think the Models gimmick is going to die soon because it was a Vince McMahon thing, but I don’t think the current creative team like Triple H is going to push it much moving forward.
The Alpha Academy interrupted Strowman’s destruction. Chad Gable walked down the aisle while Otis jumped Strowman from behind. Strowman decked Otis with a clothesline. Strowman picked up Gable, but Otis drove Strowman into the corner. Otis hit a running splash on Strowman followed by Otis giving a World’s Strongest Slam to Strowman. Strowman sat right up right away and called for Otis to bring it in the ring. Gable stopped Otis while they were on the floor.
Analysis: That should lead to a match between Strowman and Otis, which is a match that Strowman should win obviously. I like how Strowman has been presented so far as a dominant force that hasn’t had to sell a lot. Strowman is going to be a major player on Smackdown moving forward. The Strowman-Otis match for next week was made official later in the show.
A Progressive Match Flo replay showed highlights from Monday’s Raw when IYO SKY & Dakota Kai beat Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah to become the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Let’s Hear from Damage CTRL
The Damage CTRL trio of Bayley, IYO SKY and Dakota Kai made their entrance. Cole remarked that the worst thing about the title change is that it means Bayley can be on Smackdown. Let’s not pretend like the brand split is a strict thing, but it was a funny comment by Cole. They showed singer Jojo Siwa at ringside. Fine. They talked about some TikTok views as if a dude like Cole in his 50s cares about TikTok views.
Bayley did a promo mentioning SKY & Kai are the new Women’s Tag Team Champions. Kai said that means they can go to any brand any time and do anything they want. SKY said Smackdown is their show now. Bayley said that they destroyed Raquel and put Aliyah on the shelf. Bayley said that what they have is the power to win championships and to determine the future on Raw and Smackdown.
Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance without doing her ridiculous smiling. Raquel said she didn’t see greatness, she saw three bullies that hurt her partner and are powerless to stop her from getting revenge. Damage CTRL left the ring with Bayley facing Raquel after a break.
Analysis: Bayley’s promo was good in terms of getting heel heat. Raquel will be better off without Aliyah anyway because their tag team matches were all about making Raquel look strong. Now they can do that with Raquel as a singles wrestler.
Bayley (w/Dakota Kai & IYO SKY) vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel left the ring to go after Bayley and knocked down Kai/Sky on the floor. Raquel was aggressive early with a corner splash, then she tossed Bayley face first into the turnbuckle and a spinning slam. Bayley avoided a move and hit a neckbreaker against the middle rope. Bayley avoided being sent into the turnbuckle, but Raquel came back with a boot to the face. Raquel went to the middle rope, which led to Kai/Sky causing a distraction. Bayley tripped up Raquel with a running knee attack sending Raquel’s leg into the ring post. Bayley wrenched on the left leg against the middle rope. Bayley kicked the back of the leg followed by a clothesline to the back for a two count. Raquel sent Bayley into the corner, then Raquel got some offense going with a clothesline and a fallaway slam. Raquel hit another fallaway slam. The fans were not that into it. Sky on the apron while Kai pulled Bayley out of the ring. Raquel picked up Kai and Raquel slammed Kai onto Bayley. Raquel hit her elbow drop off the middle rope onto both women. The referee made Kai leave the ring, Sky did an eye gouge on Raquel (the referee never saw that) and Bayley hit the Roseplant slam into the mat for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with Bayley getting the win due to the numbers game and getting help at ringside. Raquel is always booked strong, so it’s not like it was a clean loss for her. Bayley won because she got some help. It makes sense for Bayley to win since she’ll likely get a Raw Women’s Title match against Bianca Belair soon.
After the match, the Damage CTRL group was attacking Raquel. Shotzi ran out to ringside to save Raquel leading to the heels retreating. Shotzi stood beside Raquel in the ring.
Analysis: Shotzi was a heel in the recent past, but she’s a face now. That makes sense since they need some more faces on Smackdown. When there’s a new creative team in charge over the last two months, there will be some random changes like that. It isn’t going to be explained every time, but they can easily say Shotzi is just frustrated about not getting a chance, so she wanted to save Raquel there.
An interview with Ronda Rousey was up next.
Ronda Rousey Interview
Ronda Rousey was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the locker room. Braxton mentioned that Rousey’s last match with Braxton ended in controversial fashion and Liv Morgan interrupted, so Kayla left. I like Kayla, so I’ll miss her. Morgan told Rousey that she’s literally the only person on the planet to beat Rousey twice. Morgan said Rousey says the same things everybody else says. Morgan said that both times, Rousey’s shoulders were on the mat and this title was put on Morgan’s waist. Morgan said that she’ll earn Ronda’s respect, so she’ll beat her again. Morgan told Rousey that she wants her in an Extreme Rules match at Extreme Rules. Rousey laughed about it and said, “it’s your funeral.” Rousey left.
Analysis: It wasn’t much of an interview for Rousey since Morgan interrupted and did most of the talking. The roles are easily defined with Morgan wanting to prove herself while Rousey is confident as always. Doing an Extreme Rules match might favor Rousey, but it doesn’t mean she is going to win.
Drew McIntyre appeared at ringside and stood on the commentary table. Drew said that Karrion Kross has finally gotten Drew’s attention. Drew said if Kross isn’t jumping him from behind, Kross doesn’t have the balls to face him like a man. Drew wanted Kross to step up. Drew told Kross that the only countdown he needs to worry about is 3…2…1…lights out. Drew stared into the camera as the crowd cheered.
Analysis: That was quick and simple. It was also very effective. As I have mentioned in the past, I assume we get McIntyre vs. Kross at Extreme Rules.
Solo Sikoa was standing backstage with his brothers The Usos and Sami Zayn. Jey was firing up his brother Solo saying they’ll be with him, but Solo told him to stay in the back because Jey was off his game tonight. Jey and Jimmy were surprised by that. Solo asked Sami if he was coming, so Zayn joined Solo at ringside. They showed highlights of Solo Sikoa beating Carmelo Hayes to win the NXT North American Title on this past Tuesday’s episode of NXT.
Analysis: It’s nice how the creative team in WWE now puts over NXT on the main shows more. It always made sense to do it, but with Vince McMahon in charge, they barely did it. I’m glad Triple H and his team are doing it.
Madcap Moss made his entrance for this NXT North American Championship match.
Analysis: I like having an NXT Title defended on Smackdown. Why not? It makes NXT seem a bit more important. Plus, the Smackdown audience is about triple what NXT does, so you’re getting more exposure for the wrestlers (in this case Solo as the North American Champion) and the brand.
NXT North American Championship: Solo Sikoa (w/Sami Zayn) vs. Madcap Moss
Solo is still wrestling barefoot like he has done in NXT over the last year. Moss worked over Solo with punches, then a knee to the ribs and Solo came back with an elbow smash to the head. Solo with a kick to the chest along with a headbutt. Moss showed off his speed as he ran the ropes leading to a shoulder tackle along with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Moss sent Solo’s head into the commentary table, Moss was distracted by Zayn and Solo came back with a clothesline on the floor. Solo tossed Moss into the barricade while Cole said Zayn was paying dividends for the Bloodline group. Solo with some kicks leading to a two count. The crowd wasn’t that into the match as Solo applied the dreaded double shoulder squeezing move. Solo whipped Moss into the turnbuckle followed by a belly-to-belly suplex. Solo hit the running hip attack in the corner like Uncle Umaga for a two count. Moss with forearms, Solo with an uppercut (Solo throws great worked punches) followed by stomps in the corner. Solo charged again, but this time Moss hit a shoulder tackle/chop block to Solo’s left knee that had a big brace on it due to a recent injury. Moss with a running clothesline, then a forearm to the head and Moss hit a flapjack sending Solo into the mat. Moss with two running shoulder tackles, then Moss caught Solo and Moss hit a spinebuster-style slam for a two count. Solo with an elbow to the jaw followed by a headbutt. Moss drove Solo to the apron, but when Moss charged in, Solo caught him and hit a Samoan Drop for two. Moss avoided a slam leading to a rollup. Solo got an elbow up to stop a charging Moss. When Solo charged, Solo caught him with a fallaway slam. Zayn pulled Solo out of the ring to stop an attack by Moss. The referee saw it. Zayn ran away, then he ran into the ring and Solo hit a superkick. Solo hit a uranage slam that Cole called Spinning Solo for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Solo Sikoa
Analysis: *** A good match between two young guys that worked hard. Zayn was a factor, so it was the second straight match where a heel benefited from having an ally at ringside. The crowd was dead for part of it because Moss really doesn’t have a big personality or strong crowd support, but the result was what it needed to be. Solo winning was the obvious result here. Solo has been one of my favorites on NXT over the last year, so I’m glad he’s getting a bigger spotlight now.
Solo celebrated with Zayn while Cole complimented Zayn again while Graves praised Solo for being so talented and a huge threat.
The four-way tag team match was next.
The Roman Reigns-Logan Paul press conference is in Las Vegas on Saturday at 3:30pm ET, which is 12:30pm PT in Las Vegas. It will air on WWE’s Youtube channel and other social media outlets. The Crown Jewel logo was on the screen, but it’s not like the announcers were going to say that’s when the match will take place even though we know it.
Next week on Smackdown in Salt Lake City, Utah:
* Roman Reigns is back.
* Braun Strowman vs. Otis. That’s all they announced as far as matches.
It was time for the Fatal 4-Way tag team match with Hit Row up first joined by B-Fab. The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods were up next. Cole mentioned Erik of the Viking Raiders suffered an injured foot, so that explains why the Viking Raiders are not part of it. Imperium was next with Gunther accompanying his buddies Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser. The Brawling Brutes were next as Butch & Ridge Holland were joined by Sheamus.
Fatal 4-Way Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante Thee Adonis) vs. Imperium (Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) vs. Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland)
The winners get a Tag Team Title shot against The Usos. That match is next week.
Butch started with Kaiser. The action spilled to the floor leading to a huge brawl on the floor. Dolla tossed Adonis onto a bunch of guys on the floor. Vinci tackled Dolla to stop a dive that was never going to happen. Woods kicked Vinci to knock him down. Woods hit a dive onto a pile of guys on the floor and then Kofi jumped off Dolla’s back to hit a dive over the top and onto the guys on the floor.
Kaiser was in control of Butch by sending him into the ropes and Kaiser kicked Butch in the chest. Butch kicked Kaiser followed by some finger snapping that Butch loves to do. Butch stomped on the right elbow with Graves calling Butch a lunatic while Sheamus was laughing about it. Holland with a double underhook suplex while Butch hit a dropkick for an assist. Vinci hit Holland with a forearm, Vinci tagged in and hit an armdrag on Holland. Holland came back with a headbutt followed by Holland hooking the arms into a suplex. Dolla didn’t move when Holland bumped into him and then Dolla hit a suplex. Adonis tagged in as Dolla slammed his partner onto Holland leading to Adonis getting a two count. Adonis dropkicked Holland into the corner, so Kofi tagged in with a clothesline on Adonis. Kofi with a Boom Drop leg drop on Kofi. Kaiser went into the ring illegally, then Kaiser sent Kofi into the turnbuckle. Kaiser and Vinci hit a double dropkick on Kofi to knock him down on the floor. They went to break there.
Kaiser was legal in the ring with Kofi with Kaiser working over Kofi with a chinlock. Kofi broke free to bring in Woods against Vinci and Woods hit a forearm shot to the face. Woods with a big boot to the face. Woods got a hold of Butch and Adonis with a double DDT-style move. Woods with a legsweep on Vinci. Woods with a slam off the shoulders for a two count on Vinci. Woods tried a slam, Vinci broke free and hit a clothesline. Butch tagged Vinci to become the legal man with Butch hitting a dropkick on Woods, then a double knee attack and Butch hit a moonsault off the apron onto Imperium on the floor. Butch with a jumping knee on Kofi. Butch with a German Suplex on Adonis and Butch kicked Adonis in the head. Dolla went into the ring against Dunne as the match was falling apart at this point. Dolla with a boot to the face to knock down Butch. Dolla had Kofi and Butch on his shoulders, then Woods jumped into Dolla’s arms and Dolla slammed both New Day guys down while dropping Butch off his back. Holland tagged in against Dolla leading to Holland lifting up Dolla and hitting an Alabama Slam for two. The crowd popped big for that display of power. Woods with forearms to Adonis, then a punch and Kofi got the tag with a suicide dive that sent Dolla over the announced table. Woods with a slam on Adonis and Kofi hit a Frog Splash off the top onto the back of Adonis for a two count because Butch broke it up. There was chaos all around the ring as Vinci tagged in leading to pin attempts for Vinci and Kofi. Kaiser and Vinci hit their Imperial Bomb double team move, but Holland made the blind tag. Holland tossed Kaiser out of the ring and Holland covered Kofi for the pinfall win. It went about 19 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland)
Analysis: ***3/4 This was awesome for the most part. That was an entertaining match that was chaotic at times too. It was tough to follow a bit as far as the legal men go and that’s rare for WWE, but maybe under the new regime they are trying to have less organized tag team matches. The finish was the classic “steal the pin” ending with Holland tossing Kaiser out of the ring after Imperiump hit their double-team finish, so that made the Brawling Brutes look smart. I really liked the spots they did with Tom Dolla slamming three guys at once (or close to it) and then Holland hit that impressive Alabama Slam on the big man Dolla. That really popped the crowd with good reason, so it was smart to end the match soon after that.
The Brawling Brutes celebrated with Sheamus. Cole screamed about how The Usos will defend the Tag Team Titles against the Brutes next week on Smackdown. They were at the end of the show, so that was it. There was no time to show a celebration or replays. The show ended there.
Analysis: I think The Usos will win next week, but it’s a fresh matchup with The Brawling Brutes as new opponents for The Usos. There was a rumor that The New Day might get The Usos at Extreme Rules, so there’s still time to set that up.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sami Zayn
- The Brawling Brutes
7.75 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
I liked the show as usual this week. A nice balance of matches and promos throughout the show. One thing I like about this creative team led by Triple H is sometimes they have quick promos that don’t drag on, but they are effective like that Liv Morgan-Rousey segment, the Karrion Kross promo and Drew McIntyre replying to Kross as well. Give people TV time, and make it worthwhile instead of dragging on too long. That’s the right way to do it. Another small thing they did well was have Max Dupri mention LA, then pause a bit and that’s a sign that he’ll become LA Knight again.
The matches were pretty good with Ricochet and Sami Zayn working well together as expected. They really utilized the people at ringside well in terms of setting up the finish. I liked the four-way main event tag team match a lot. The ending was a bit rushed since they were out of time, but there was a lot of action and I liked seeing the Brawling Brutes getting the win to earn a title shot against The Usos next week. The other two matches were okay as Bayley beat Raquel Rodriguez and Solo Sikoa beat Madcap Moss with both of the heels winning due to outside the ring distractions.
The opening segment with Logan Paul dealing with The Bloodline without Roman Reigns was interesting just because of how the crowd didn’t cheer Logan even though he was in a spot to be cheered. It’s nice to see Paul Heyman back while Sami Zayn was so entertaining as always and the crowd even cheered for him too. That will lead to the Paul-Reigns press conference on Saturday in Las Vegas to set up their Crown Jewel match.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Extreme Rules from Philadelphia on Saturday, October 8. Here’s the lineup.
* Extreme Rules Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.