Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/23/22 Review

wwe smackdown sept 23

This week’s edition of WWE Smackdown featured Roman Reigns on the show, The Usos defending their Tag Team Titles against the Brawling Brutes and Braun Strowman’s first match since returning to the company.

It was last week on Smackdown when Logan Paul challenged Roman Reigns to a match. That was followed up by a press conference in Las Vegas last Saturday with WWE making it official: Reigns will defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Title against Paul at Crown Jewel on November 5th. Before we get to Crown Jewel, there’s Extreme Rules on October 8th.

From the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah this is Smackdown for episode #1205. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show began with a shot of the arena in Salt Lake City as Michael Cole welcomes us to Smackdown. It was Corey Graves on commentary with Cole.

Let’s Hear from The Bloodline

The Bloodline group made their entrance led by the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns joined by Undisputed Tag Team Champions The Usos, their brother Solo Sikoa, the “honorary Uce” Sami Zayn and of course, the Special Counsel, Paul Heyman. They showed some highlights from the Reigns-Paul press conference last Saturday. They showed near the end when Reigns shoved Logan.

Reigns and The Bloodline went into the ring to pose as some fireworks went off. Reigns, The Usos and Sikoa wore “We The Ones” shirts while Zayn had on a Bloodline shirt.

Reigns: “Salt Lake City, acknowledge me.” Heyman took over from there wondering what do you call people from Utah and then he called them “Salt Lake Citiots” and the fans booed that, but Heyman said you don’t boo The Wiseman. Heyman mentioned that Reigns was still the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Heyman said that Cardiff, Wales was not Drew McIntyre’s home turf because this entire Earth is the home turf of Roman Reigns. Heyman said that since Drew has another bridge to cross (a reference to Karrion Kross), let’s talk about Solo. Heyman said that the idea for Solo to help Reigns was a decision made by the elders in the family. Heyman said that if you thought The Bloodline was unstoppable before, now they have an enforcer and that enforcer is Solo.

Heyman said that allows Jimmy & Jey Uso to concentrate on their pursuit of immortality. Jimmy said that tonight you’re going to hear it again that they are the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. Jey said that you’re the twos and “We The Ones.” Reigns asked for the microphone, so Jey gave it to him. There were some “Roman” chants.

Reigns looked at his cousin Solo and told him that the elders may have sent him, but Solo answers to Reigns now. Reigns told Solo to acknowledge him. Solo: “I acknowledge you, my Tribal Chief.” Reigns hugged Solo in the ring. Roman’s music hit at that point to end the segment, but Sami asked if they could cut the music. There were even some “Sami” chants.

Sami Zayn said he knows that he is not technically blood, but he wanted to show his gratitude and publicly acknowledge The Tribal Chief. There were louder “Sami” chants. Roman said he likes Sami, but he wondered why he was saying anything right now. Roman asked Sami why do you have our shirt on? Roman wondered why Sami is tagging along with them and asked what does he want? Roman told Sami to take off The Bloodline shirt and Jey yelled at Sami to do it since we know Jey doesn’t like Sami. Zayn said if this has to do with Logan Paul last week then he’s sorry and Roman told Sami to take their shirt off now. Jey was yelling at Sami to do it and then Jey ripped the shirt off Sami, which led to boos from the crowd.

Reigns told Zayn he never wants to see him in a Bloodline shirt and he should never wear a Bloodline shirt because Reigns got Sami a new shirt. Reigns tossed Sami a shirt that said: “SZ Honorary Uce” on it. Zayn was excited and the fans busted out into a “Sami” shirt. Jey was not happy about it at all, Sami did his handshake with Jimmy, hugged Solo and Jey was still not happy. Sami to Roman: “I acknowledge you, Tribal Chief.” Sami hugged Roman and Roman hugged him back. That was it with Sami looking thrilled about it.

Analysis: That was great. It did drag on a bit too much, but it was also the first time Solo Sikoa was in the ring with Roman Reigns after Clash at the Castle, so it was smart to have that interaction. We also heard them give Solo the nickname of “The Enforcer” (like Arn Anderson) as well. My favorite thing about it is how well this is building up Sami Zayn as a bigger star because when the time comes, Sami is going to be massively over with the crowd as a face and it’s going to be amazing to see. I also love Jey Uso hating that they have welcomed Sami into the group because that’s going to pay off long-term as well. Since WarGames is coming in two months at Survivor Series, I fully expect The Bloodline to be a big part of it, so having the group look cohesive is important.

They showed The Brawling Brutes group of Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland watching on a TV backstage.

(Commercial)

Liv Morgan vs. Lacey Evans

This was not for Morgan’s title. Evans did not get a televised entrance. Evans tripped up Morgan followed by a punch. When Morgan went for a leapfrog, Evans kicked her in the chest and told Liv she was weak. Evans sent Morgan into the turnbuckle, Morgan came back with a dropkick and Morgan hit a knee to the face. Evans tripped up Morgan leading to Evans applying a chinlock. After Morgan got up, she was on the apron and Evans sent her into the ringpost leading to Liv bumping to the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Evans was in control as she tossed Morgan across the ring twice. Morgan kept on telling Morgan that she’s not extreme (since Liv defends her title at Extreme Rules), Morgan told her to bring it and Evans kicked Morgan down. Evans used her legs for a takedown, then Morgan broke free with some kicks to the face and Morgan grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring. When Evans brought the kendo stick into the ring, Morgan avoided it and hit a Codebreaker followed by Morgan hitting the Oblivion flatliner for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Liv Morgan

Analysis: **1/2 An average match to put over Morgan ahead of her title defense at Extreme Rules. The story of the match was basic with Morgan selling for most of it and then she hit two moves to win. This didn’t do much for Evans, but it put over Morgan as a resilient babyface champion.

Post match, Morgan thought about attacking Evans with the kendo stick and then she changed her mind. Morgan attacked Evans with the kendo stick repeatedly. When Evans left the ring, Morgan gave Evans a legsweep into the barricade while using the kendo stick for an assist. Morgan grabbed a table from under the ring and set it up on the floor at ringside. Morgan put Evans on the table at ringside, Morgan went up to the ring post and Morgan jumped off with a Senton Bomb onto Evans through the table. Morgan hit it perfectly. Morgan told Ronda Rousey she’s ready to get extreme. Cole shouted about Liv being a different person than who Ronda faced in the past.

Analysis: It was just a way to put over that Liv is ready for the Extreme Rules match against Rousey because she took a beating from Evans and still beat her while also doing the post match attack. The announcers really tried to push the story that Liv looked ready for Extreme Rules against Rousey. Liv hit that table spot perfectly too, so good job by her.

The Hit Row trio was shown backstage having a party with some champagne. The Street Profits were there to party with them, Shinsuke Nakamura and they poured some champagne for the random party to get more people on the show.

(Commercial)

The main event will be The Usos defending the Tag Team Titles against the Brawling Brutes.

Sami Zayn was shown backstage yelling at a guy saying he asked for a vegan meal. Madcap Moss and Ricochet were there talking about how Sami was obnoxious and unbearable. Zayn said that if you disrespect him, you’re disrespecting the entire Bloodline. Ricochet said that Sami thinks he’s an Honorary Uce, but he’s nothing more than a…Solo Sikoa attacked both guys. Solo drove Ricochet and Moss into the garage door. Solo yelled at them to say something now. Zayn to Solo: “I was just about to do that.”

Analysis: It looked like Sami was all alone there, but Solo showed up for help. It puts over Solo as the enforcer of the group as well. The last line was great because Sami is hilarious, in case you forgot.

A video package aired about The Usos that was narrated by Paul Heyman, who talked about the greatness of The Usos. They showed The Usos winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles in July 2021, then they beat RK-Bro to win the Raw Tag Team Titles and Heyman mentioned their dominance. The graphic let us know they held the titles for 432 days talking about their title reign longer than The Hart Foundation, Legion of Doom, New Age Outlaws and The Dudleys. Only Demolition and The New Day remain, so when The Usos pass them they will cement their legacy as the greatest tag team of all time.

Analysis: Great video package. The Usos are definitely one of my favorite tag teams in WWE history.

(Commercial)

They showed a “Royal Rumble Classic” clip of Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble after doing the great spot by the ropes to avoid elimination. It wasn’t a great Rumble, but that ending by Michaels eliminating The British Bulldog was memorable.

That was shown because next Friday, tickets are available for the Royal Rumble on January 28, 2023 at the Alamadome in San Antonio.

The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Maximum Male Models (Mace & Mansoor) (w/Max & Maxxine Dupri)

The Models did not get to have a televised entrance. Mace knocked down Woods with a leg lariat. Maxxine Dupri took a ringside camera so she can take some pictures. Mansoor worked over Woods with punches, but Woods broke free with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Mace got the tag, he knocked Kofi off the apron and hit a body slam. Mace delivered an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. The Models were posing for photos, but Kofi knocked Mace out of the ring, so Kofi rolled up Mansoor with the Backwoods pin for the pinfall win. It went about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)

Analysis: *1/2 A quick tag team match to give the Models another loss. As I have written in the past, I don’t think the Models are going to last that much longer. They were a Vince McMahon creation, but with him gone I think the concept of the group is going to end soon.

Following the match, Max Dupri yelled at the Models for taking photos and not concentrating on the match. Max walked away angrily as the crowd booed him.

Analysis: I think the whole point of the match was so they can do the post match segment with Max yelling at the Models so they can have him return to the LA Knight name soon.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown about Braun Strowman causing destruction leading to his match against Otis.

They showed some ringside technicians reinforcing the ring ahead of the Strowman-Otis match because they are big dudes.

(Commercial)

They showed the backstage party with a lot of wrestlers in the room. Los Lotharios hit on B-Fab, so Top Dolla and Ashante stepped up leading to the Lotharios leaving. They were watching the show on a TV that was back there.

Braun Strowman made his entrance to a huge ovation wearing a “Monster Of All Monsters” shirt. Braun is in the best shape of his career, so kudos to him for working hard and getting in great shape. Alpha Academy’s Otis and Chad Gable were up next. Cole talked about the “Heavy Machinery” (a reference to Otis’ old tag team name) and they showed a tale of the tape noting that they were both over 300 pounds.

Braun Strowman vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable)

Strowman with punches, then he tossed Otis out of the ring and Strowman hit a dropkick that knocked Otis down. Strowman ran on the floor, Gable ducked him with a drop down to the floor and Otis knocked Strowman down. Otis sent Strowman into the barricade followed by Otis driving Strowman into the ring post. Back in the ring, Otis hit a discus clothesline for a two count. Otis hit a running splash on Strowman in the corner along with a clubbing blow to the head. Otis bounced off the ropes leading to Strowman hitting a spinebuster. That was impressive. Strowman ran at them outside the ring and hit a shoulder tackle to knock Otis onto the table while knocking Gable down on the floor. Strowman sent Otis into the ring, Gable held Braun’s leg and Strowman tossed Gable over the barricade at ringside. Otis avoided a powerslam, then Otis sent Strowman into the turnbuckle and Otis hit a World’s Strongest Slam for two. Otis jumped off the middle ropes with a Vader Bomb for two. Otis went to the middle rope, Strowman avoided a splash or headbutt attempt and Otis hit the mat. Strowman picked up Otis and hit a Powerbomb for the pinfall win. That was impressive for the pinfall win after about six minutes. The crowd loved the finish. Strowman tweeted that it was called a Monster Bomb, so I guess that’s what we’ll call his Powerbomb finisher.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

Analysis: *** That was an entertaining and good big man match. Every spot seemed like it mattered, they worked really hard and even incorporated Gable into the match a bit as well. The outcome was obvious with Strowman, but I’m glad that Otis got plenty of offense and looked credible in the match as well. The fans were into the whole match while I think the announcers really put over the talent well.

The Brawling Brutes trio of Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. The Brutes were ready to go for their tag team match. Sheamus said that in two weeks he’ll get to challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Title and he’ll take that title out of his cold, dead hands. Sheamus said that when The Brawling Brutes step into that ring, they are going to get banger after banger after banger and so on.

Analysis: The term “banger” is used a lot in wrestling now as a positive term to put over a match being really good. I don’t use it that much, but I like it.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre made his entrance with a leather strap in his hand. Drew said he’s not the kind of guy that likes playing games because he is the kind of man that wants to settle things in the ring. Drew said that Karrion Kross is going to have his first big match because Drew went straight to the top. Drew said that it’s not an ordinary match, it’s a match designed to make sure Kross can’t run away and inflict maximum pain. Drew said at Extreme Rules it’s McIntyre vs. Kross in a Strap Match.

Scarlett made her entrance as the screen went black & white leading to Karrion Kross trying to attack Drew from behind. Drew was ready for him as he tossed Kross into the turnbuckle. Drew put the strap on the left wrist of Kross and Drew hit Kross in the back a few times. Kross tried to leave, but Drew pulled him back into the ring leading to Drew hitting a clothesline. When Drew went for another strap attack, Scarlett went into the ring and Drew stopped himself. Scarlett shot a fireball at Drew that didn’t come close, Kross tried to attack and then Drew hit a spinebuster on Kross. Scarlett helped her man by giving Drew a low blow uppercut punch with Drew selling it by collapsing and coughing. Kross looked like he was leaving, but then he went back into the ring. Kross applied the Kross Jacket sleeper with Kross saying: “I’ll see you at Extreme Rules. This is exactly what we wanted and you fell for it.” Kross told Drew “let it go” as Drew passed out from the sleeper hold. Kross posed with Scarlett leading to boos from the crowd.

Analysis: It was an effective segment to set up their match at Extreme Rules. Drew got the upper hand for a bit, but then Scarlett showed she’s more than just a pretty face (she’s also a wrestler) by doing the low blow. The fireball spot didn’t seem to work out too well. I don’t know if that’s what they intended or if there was an issue with it, which is what led to the low blow spot. After that, Kross took over with the Kross Jacket to look dominant again. The Strap Match should be interesting because I don’t know who is going to lose. It would be a bad move to have Kross lose his first PLE match, so it might be a controversial win for Kross over Drew in that match.

UPDATE: The fireball didn’t go perfectly according to a report, so Drew, Kross and Scarlett improvised from there. Good job by them.

(Commercial)

There were replays shown of the McIntyre/Kross segment from before the break. They showed the fireball spot in slow motion showing that it likely missed Drew’s head, and didn’t hit him in the face.

The Damage CTRL trio of Bayley and Women’s Tag Team Champions IYO SKY & Dakota Kai made their entrance for Kai’s singles match. Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance looking serious instead of smiling. The announcers mentioned Raquel and Kai as Women’s Tag Team Champions in NXT before the friendship fell apart.

Raquel Rodriguez vs. Dakota Kai (w/Bayley & IYO SKY)

Raquel used her power to send Kai into the turnbuckle. After Sky and Bayley caused distractions, Kai hit a Scorpion Kick to the head followed by a running boot to the head. Bayley slammed Raquel’s head into the apron and Shotzi ran out for the save. Shotzi went after Bayley and Sky at ringside, so Raquel did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez

Analysis: * It was kind of a nothing match due to all the chaos at ringside. Raquel winning with a ROLLUP OF DEAT~! is a weak finish. I think it was just done to show that Shotzi is Raquel’s friend now while Kai isn’t hurt that much since it was a distraction finish.

Post match, Damage CTRL beat up Raquel a bit, but Shotzi made the save. Raquel and Shotzi stood tall in the ring. Cole put over the new babyface role by Shotzi saying that she hates bullies.

Analysis: It was a way to further establish Shotzi as a babyface again since she was a heel in the past with the previous creative team. It could lead to Raquel/Shotzi getting a title shot against Kai & Sky in the future.

They showed the party in the backstage area where Los Lotharios showed up and attack Hit Row. They hit a superkick on Top Dolla, then the Lotharios left. Top Dolla was held back by The Street Profits.

(Commercial)

In two weeks on the Season Premiere on Smackdown, Sheamus will challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship.

Next week on Smackdown in Winnipeg:

* Shotzi vs. Bayley.

* Hit Row vs. Los Lotharios.

* Ricochet & Madcap Moss vs. Sami Zayn & Solo Sikoa.

Analysis: All three matches were set up on this week’s show. Easy booking.

It was time for the main event with The Brawling Brutes up first with Sheamus joining Ridge Holland & Butch. The Usos were up next along with their brother Solo Sikoa and the Honorary Uce, Sami Zayn. The teams stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Samantha Irvin. They went to a break before the match began.

(Commercial)

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (w/Solo Sikoa & Sami Zayn) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland & Butch (w/Sheamus)

Butch started with Jey, which led to Butch doing some finger snapping and stomping on the right arm. When Holland tagged in, Jimmy kicked Holland in the back as a cheap shot. Jimmy was in for a bit, Jey was back in and Holland hit Jey with a knee. Butch tagged in leading to Holland Butch working over Jimmy with repeated forearms to the chest. Butch knocked Jimmy off the apron to the floor. Jey knocked down Butch with an uppercut, then Jey drove Holland out of the ring and Jimmy launched Butch into the air leading to Butch taking a rough bump out of the ring. I think they were going for a toss up into a Samoan Drop, but Butch was launched too far. The good thing is Butch was not hurt by that rough bump as Jey sent him into the barricade. Jimmy tagged in for a double team spinebuster by The Usos for a two count.

(Commercial)

The show returned with Butch trying to fight out of the corner of The Usos as Jimmy knocked Butch down with an enziguri kick to the head. Jey tagged in to punch Butch off the apron, so Zayn picked up Butch and the referee Charles Robinson saw it. Zayn didn’t actually hit Butch. Jey yelled at Zayn on the floor, so Zayn told Jey to focus on the match. When Jey went back in, Butch hit an impressive enziguri kick. Ridge tagged in with elbow smashes to Jimmy, a headbutt to Jey and Ridge hit a tilt-a-whirl slam on Jimmy for a two count. Jimmy with an uppercut on Butch and a Samoan Drop, but Butch had made the tag leading to a running knee on Jimmy for a two count. Jimmy with a forearm, Butch sent Jimmy out of the ring and Jey made the tag as that was happening. Back in the ring, Butch with a German Suplex, double stomp on the tag and Butch hit a roundhouse kick to the head for two. Jimmy tagged back in, he kicked Butch, Jey with a superkick and a double superkick by The Usos on Ridge. Butch kicked both Usos to stun them a bit, Butch jumped off the middle rope with a moonsault leading to a double superkick by The Usos! Great spot only for a two count. That could have been the finish. Jey tagged in, launched Butch in the air and Butch countered with a DDT on Jimmy. Butch did the finger snap to Jey and Ridge tagged in, but Jimmy made a blind tag. Jimmy kicked Ridge down. The Usos went for a double superkick, but Ridge picked them both up and slammed both guys down. Butch tagged in leading to a Butch kick into a Ridge slam for one…two…and no because Jey broke up the pin attempt. Zayn grabbed a chair from ringside, but Sheamus stopped that from happening. Imperium showed up to beat up Sheamus with Gunther kicking Sheamus in the face. The Usos hit superkicks on Butch & Ridge at ringside. Back in the ring, Jey got the tag and The Usos hit 1D (1 And Done) on Butch for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Usos

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match that was booked really well with a lot of nearfalls towards the finish. While I didn’t expect a title change, they told the story so well that it was believable that Butch & Holland had a chance to win. The use of Imperium for the finish made sense since they have had issues with The Brawling Brutes and Imperium are clearly heels that rivalry, so Gunther doing the cheap shot to Sheamus was a smart way to get some heat. The Usos did a lot of superkicks in the match and that double superkick spot off the moonsault was an awesome nearfall towards the finish. I liked that a lot.

The Usos celebrated the win with Solo and Sami as Cole signed off saying The Bloodline was stronger than ever. That was the end of the show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Usos
  2. Butch & Ridge Holland
  3. Braun Strowman

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.75

 

Final Thoughts

It was another entertaining episode of Smackdown with the main event tag team match clearly standing out as the best match. The Usos and Butch/Ridge had an excellent match that’s only going to help raise the prestige of the tag team titles. I really liked that Braun Strowman/Otis match that was full of action and some creative spots along the way. The two women’s matches were okay with Liv Morgan beating Lacey Evans along with a big table bump and Raquel’s win over Dakota was a very quick match. It also looks like LA Knight is coming back after the Models lost to New Day in a short match.

I liked the opening segment a lot with The Bloodline group together as Solo Sikoa acknowledged Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief. Just when it looked like Reigns didn’t like Sami Zayn hanging out with the group, Reigns gave Sami a new official shirt as part of the group, which made Sami really happy. It was also great how Jey Uso was furious about it to continue his issue with Sami. I just thought it was a brilliant segment with the crowd also cheering Sami at times, so when he does turn face he’s going to be very popular.

In an update on the potential Bray Wyatt clues, there was a QR code during Smackdown that led to some “what rabbit” game that gave coordinates to Edmonton, Alberta, which is where Monday’s Raw is, so there will probably be more clues on Raw. WWE also put fliers with “white rabbit” on cars at the arena. Anyway, I still strongly believe it’s Bray Wyatt related and I think maybe his return will be at Extreme Rules, but I don’t really know. Just a guess on my part thinking WWE will do it a PLE rather than a TV show.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Extreme Rules from Philadelphia on Saturday, October 8. Here’s the lineup.

WWE extreme rules matt riddle seth rollins fight pit graphic

* Strap Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross

* Fight Pit Match: Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins

* Extreme Rules Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley

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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.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport