The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/29/23 Review

wwe smackdown september 29 review

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured a Rey Mysterio-Santos Escobar US Title match, John Cena in the house again and more.

The WWE Fastlane pay-per-view is just eight days away on Saturday, October 7th.

From the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, this is Smackdown for episode #1258. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The Smackdown commentary team of Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show by talking about what’s coming up.

Let’s Hear from Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman

The Bloodline’s Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman were in the ring. Heyman was booed heavily while calling Sacramento a hellhole. Heyman said they acknowledge their Tribal Chief and so do the fans each and every single one of the fans. Heyman spoke about how John Cena took a beating from The Bloodline that Cena hasn’t taken in a decade.

That led to a video package about the end of last week’s Smackdown with the contract signing segment. Cena signed the contract for the Fastlane tag team match. Cena’s tag team partner AJ Styles was beaten up by Jimmy & Solo, so Cena didn’t have a partner for the Fastlane tag team match.

Heyman claimed that he heard that John Cena was dealing with transportation issues and while Cena will make it this evening, he’s not here right now. Heyman talked about how AJ Styles wasn’t there because he’s lying in the hospital bed. Jimmy stuck out his hand for the microphone and then he took it from Heyman.

Jimmy: “Sacramento, The Bloodline is now in your city.” Jimmy said that the Wise Man is too kind. Jimmy said that Cena isn’t there because he’s scared of him – Jim Uso. Jimmy said they’ll take care of Cena just like they took care of AJ Styles. Karl Anderson arrived in the ring and attacked Solo and Jimmy. Karl said he told AJ Styles to stay out of Bloodline business, but now it’s personal and Anderson wanted a match right now. Solo wanted to fight, but Heyman talked to him, so Solo told Jimmy to handle this and Jimmy said he would. It was funny as Jimmy wanted a handshake, but Solo wasn’t even looking at him. That match is next.

Analysis: It made sense for Karl Anderson to try to get revenge for Styles since he’s in The OC group with Styles. Luke Gallows is out with an injury, so that’s why he isn’t there too. Jimmy continues to be an obnoxious heel that is back in The Bloodline even though there might be issues there.


Karl Anderson vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman)

Karl was in control sending Jimmy into the turnbuckle followed by some kicks. Karl charged at Jimmy, who got a boot up, but then Karl came back with a spinebuster for two. Solo went to the ring apron, the referee was looking at him and Jimmy did an eye gouge on Karl. Jimmy delivered punches followed by a superkick. Jimmy went up top and hit an Uso Splash on Karl for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso

Analysis: ** Easy win by Jimmy Uso thanks to the eye rake leading to the superkick and Uso Splash for the win. Anderson got a bit of offense, but he really didn’t have a shot here.

After the match, Anderson was back up to attack Jimmy, but Solo went into the ring and hit Anderson with a Samoan Spike to put Karl down. Jimmy and Solo were leaving, so Michin ran out by the entrance. Jimmy got in her face, which led to Michin slapping Jimmy in the face. Jimmy sold it great.

Santos Escobar was interviewed by Cathy Kelley saying he is going to make his dream come true and he will never give up on his dreams. Escobar said that Rey Mysterio is in for the fight of his life, so may the best man win.

The Grayson Waller Effect talk show was being set up in the ring.

A commercial aired for the NXT No Mercy PLE on Saturday night. Check out my preview on TJRWrestling right here.


Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman were shown walking down a hallway. Jimmy was angry as he shoved an innocent guy backstage.

Grayson Waller Effect with Bobby Lashley

It was talk show time with Grayson Waller saying he was there to save the show. Waller said his guest is bigger and a physical specimen. Waller said he’s done it all in WWE as a performer, but as a talent scout he’s struggling and tonight he gets the Grayson Waller rub.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance wearing a suit while wearing glasses. A replay was shown when Rey Mysterio pinned Angelo Dawkins in a Street Profits tag team match. Lashley yelled at The Street Profits after the match.

Lashley said he made a mistake in wanting to work with The Street Profits. Waller said maybe he was looking for an undefeated team like Austin Theory & Grayson Waller. Lashley said he’ll pass on that.

The Street Profits made their entrance in suits with Angelo Dawkins wearing a tie while Montez Ford was not. Lashley said he didn’t want to hear excuses or reasons. Lashley said if they want something out of him, prove it. Lashley put the microphone down and left the ring, so The Street Profits got in his face. Lashley told them to prove it and see what they’ve got.

Waller introduced Austin Theory saying he drew 150 million views with Graves claiming that The Rock was hanging on Theory’s coattails. Theory walked right past The Street Profits. Theory was in a match with Cameron Grimes up next.

Analysis: I was expecting a bit more out of the Bobby Lashley interview segment, but it was brief. It should lead to The Street Profits doing some sort of attack to prove they are tough to try to impress Lashley.

This Monday on Raw: Jey Uso faces Damian Priest, plus GUNTHER has an Intercontinental Championship contract signing Tommaso Ciampa.


A video aired about Dragon Lee.

Dragon Lee was shown at ringside since he’s the special guest referee for the Dominik Mysterio-Trick Williams match at NXT No Mercy. Theory was yelling at Dragon Lee.

Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller) vs. Cameron Grimes

Grimes started with a running kick to the face followed by two forearms. Grimes hit a running dropkick. Theory sent Grimes into the barricade, Grimes hit a jumping kick to the head and Grimes hit a cross body block off the top for two. Grimes did an incredible flip leading to a German Suplex for two. Grimes hit a running clothesline to knock Theory out of the ring. Grimes delivered a kick to the chest. They left the ring, Waller got in Grimes’ face and Theory shoved Grimes into the ring post. Back in the ring, Grimes hit a rolling dropkick followed by the A-Town Down slam for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory

Analysis: ** Theory getting the win was the obvious result since he has been pushed quite a bit in his career while Grimes is not used that much on television these days. I’m glad that Grimes got some offense for a couple of minutes. After the distraction from Waller, Theory did a few moves and that was it. Similar finish to the first match.

After the match, Austin Theory walked up to Dragon Lee and Theory shoved him in the face, so Dragon shoved back. The referee separated them while Theory and Waller left.

Analysis: Perhaps that will lead to Theory attacking Dragon Lee at NXT No Mercy on Saturday night. Just a thought.

Rey Mysterio, the US Champion, was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Rey said that LWO is family and will always be family. Rey said he grew up watching Santos Escobar’s dad. Rey said there’s a saying that you should be careful what you wish for. Rey said he’s going to give Santos the fight of his life and may the best man win.

Rey made his entrance for his US Title defense. Rey hugged Dragon Lee at ringside. Rey’s match was next.

There’s a WWE special on Fox called the Top 25 Moments in Smackdown history. It airs next Sunday. Check local listings.


Jimmy Uso was shown backstage beating up Ashante Thee Adonis with repeated stomps to the body. It was broken up by WWE Officials. B-Fab was there too. Solo Sikoa gave Adonis a Spinning Solo through a table. Jimmy said you won’t be John Cena’s partner. Jimmy and Solo left while Heyman watched.

Analysis: More heat on The Bloodline for a cheap attack. Adonis and B-Fab survived the WWE releases while their buddy Top Dolla was released.

United States Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar

They hugged in the ring before the introductions. Zelina Vega was watching from ringside. Escobar had an LWO shirt on while Rey had LWO on his tights.

It started off with some mat wrestling, then Escobar sent Rey to the apron and Escobar hit a jumping kick to knock Rey down to the floor. Escobar did a slingshot cross body block onto Rey on the floor. That led to a break.


Rey countered a move leading to an armdrag takedown. Escobar hit a shoulder tackle followed by a dropkick for two. Rey ran the ropes leading to a headscissors that sent Escobar out of the ring. Rey hit a springboard attack off the middle turnbuckle over the top onto Escobar on the floor. Back in the ring, Rey hit a seated senton splash off the top. Rey hit a running forearm that looked like a cross body block. Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa were shown beating up some random guys backstage. Back to the match, Escobar tried a sunset flip, but Rey came back with a kick to the head. Rey sent Escobar into the ropes, which led to Escobar hitting a superkick that sent Rey out of the ring. Escobar hit an impressive suicide dive onto Rey on the floor. Escobar hit a moonsault off the barricade onto Rey on the floor. Back in the ring, Escobar hit the running double knee attack. Escobar did the running double knee attack on Rey again. Escobar lifted Rey up top, Rey came back with punches and Escobar hit a jumping kick to the arm. Escobar hit a top rope hurricanrana. Escobar hit a slingshot splash for a two count.


It was about 14 minutes into the match as Escobar kicked Rey into the gut. Escobar put Rey on his back for a Gory Special move stretching Rey’s back that Rey was selling. Rey got out of that leading to an arm drag. Escobar to the apron where he connected with a kick. Escobar jumped off the top with a cross body block, but Rey moved and Escobar hit the mat. Rey went for his own cross body block, Escobar moved and Rey hit the mat. Escobar hit a backbreaker as Rey continued to sell the back. Escobar put Rey on his shoulders, ran around the ring and dropped to his knees for a backbreaker for two. Rey told Escobar “there has to be a winner” and Escobar delivered a kick to the get. Escobar with a lift, but Rey countered it with a sunset flip for two. Rey was on the apron, he punched Escobar and they battled by the turnbuckle. Rey jumped off the ring post and did an incredible headscissors from the top rope. Rey dropkicked Escobar in the ropes. Rey went for a 619 kick, but Escobar caught him and Rey sent Escobar into the ropes again. Rey hit a 619 kick. Rey went up top and Rey went for a Frog Splash, but Escobar moved. Escobar with an elbow to the ropes, Rey with a crucifix pin and Escobar kicked out. Escobar went for a Phantom Driver, but Rey countered it into an inside cradle for the one…two…and three! Rey wins! It went 20 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome match as expected from great workers like these two guys. Rey is amazing in his late 40s while Escobar is a very talented guy that put up an incredible performance with his hero. They really turned up the intensity in the final segment with nearfalls for each guy and Rey winning with a counter move just like he has done many times in his career. It’s not a surprise that they had a lot of chemistry together. I figured Rey would win because if Escobar is going to turn then he had to lose a match like this. However, no immediate turn because of what happened next.

After the match, Rey put the title down and tried to talk to Escobar, who was frustrated about the loss. The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins arrived for a cheap attack. The fans were booing. They threw Rey out of the ring. Ford and Dawkins worked over Escobar with Ford hitting a punch to the gut. Joaquin Wilde ran out and Lashley decked him with an elbow. Cruz Del Toro went into the ring, so The Street Profits beat him up and sent him out of the ring. Lashley sent Wilde into the ring. Dragon Lee tried to help the LWO, but security stopped him from going over the barricade. Dawkins and Ford hit the spinebuster/neckbreaker combo called the Cash Out on Wilde. Lashley celebrated with The Street Profits while the fans were booing. The fans booed The Street Profits and Lashley a lot.

Analysis: That was booked really well because the Rey-Escobar match was so great and fans wanted to see a handshake or hug. Instead, The Street Profits did the cheap attack, which led to a lot of heat from the fans because of how entertaining the Rey-Escobar match was. Lashley and The Street Profits as heels should be a force moving forward.

There was breaking news that John Cena was en route to the arena after arriving late to Sacramento.


A replay was shown of The Street Profits doing their cheap attack on the LWO guys. Bobby Lashley had a big grin on his face.

Kayla Braxton tried to talk to the LWO in the trainers room. Santos Escobar spoke in Spanish. Rey Mysterio said that the LWO is challenging Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits for a match at Fastlane.

The announcers talked about how Jade Cargill is one of the biggest free agent signings. They showed some of the press coverage about Cargill’s signing with WWE.

Analysis: They really did treat Cargill’s signing as a big deal. It’s rare to see that in WWE, especially considering it’s a former AEW wrestler. I look forward to seeing what Jade does in WWE.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of IYO SKY beating Asuka to retain the WWE Women’s Title last week on Smackdown.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance for singles action. She had different gear this time. I don’t recall her wearing anything like that before, but she makes it look cool. It’s Charlotte facing Bayley up next.

A car was shown driving in the parking lot. It was driven by Joh Cena, who arrived with his match contract and he walked into the arena.


A video package aired about Pretty Deadly with Elton Prince & Kit Wilson training. Prince looks like he has recovered from his shoulder injury.

Butch & Ridge Holland aka The Brawling Brutes were watching on a TV and not impressed.

Charlotte Flair wondered what happened to Bayley saying she was one of the Four Horsewomen. Flair said that Bayley has become a stepping stone while Charlotte is the measuring stick. Flair said after she wins she’ll challenge Sky for the championship at Fastlane.

Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley (w/Dakota Kai & IYO SKY)

Bayley attacked with punches. Flair sent Bayley into the turnbuckle Flair went to the apron, Sky grabbed her leg and Bayley knocked Flair down. Bayley hit an elbow drop to Flair’s back to knock her down on the floor. They went to break one minute into the match.


Flair was in control with a cartwheel clothesline for two. Bayley sent Flair’s throat into the top rope, then Flair tripped up Bayley and did a knee drop on the knee. Flair hit a running kick for a two count. Flair slowly went up top, so Bayley tripped her up and Bayle hit a double knee attack to the ribs. Bayley hit a sunset flip sending Flair back-first into the turnbuckle. Bayley told fans to shut up because she doesn’t need them cheering her. Bayley delivered several chops to the fest, but Flair no sold them and hit a Spear for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair

Analysis: **3/4 A good match between two veterans. Just like Flair said, Bayley was a stepping stone for her and Flair won easily in order to get a title match. Interesting finish to the match with Bayley delivering chops, then bouncing off the ropes and a Spear by Flair beat Bayley easily.

Bayley said tonight she said she would deal with Flair and that’s exactly what they are going to do. Damage CTRL surrounded the ring (even though Dakota Kai isn’t physically cleared) and Asuka ran into the ring for the save. Asuka ranted in Japanese. Bayley said if Asuka wants a triple threat match with IYO SKY and Charlotte at Fastlane then Asuka has got it. SKY wasn’t happy about it saying that Asuka didn’t say that.

Analysis: It feels like we have seen a few triple threat matches between Smackdown women this year, so I guess we have to see it again.

John Cena was shown walking backstage for a main event segment where he will call out The Bloodline up next.


Next week on Smackdown:

* The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor & Damian Priest will be there

* Dragon Lee vs. Austin Theory

John Cena calls out The Bloodline

It was main event promo time with John Cena receiving a huge ovation from the crowd. Cena had the Fastlane match contract in his hands. Cena was introduced as the “Greatest of All Time” yet again as the fans cheered loudly for him. Those Cena pops are huge. Loud “Cena” chants.

John Cena said last week he came back to compete and he wants a match. Cena said The Bloodline left him knocked out. Cena held the contract saying this is what he asked for – a match with The Bloodline at Fastlane. Cena said that he didn’t have a partner. Cena said tonight is very important because he can rip up this contract and act like none of this ever happened or he can stand and fight. Cena reminded us he wears the words “Never Give Up” over his heart while Cena said he’ll honor this contract. Cena said if he doesn’t find a partner by Fastlane then he’ll fight The Bloodline by himself in a 2-on-1 handicap match.

The Bloodline’s Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman arrived. Jimmy wondered if Cena saw what happened backstage because if you team up with John Cena, you’re going to “get got” by The Bloodline. Jimmy told Cena he is not making it to Fastlane. Cena hit a running elbow to knock Jimmy off the apron to the floor.

Solo got into the ring with Cena. Solo charged, Cena with a lift and Jimmy did a cheap attack to the legs. Jimmy hit a running corner hip attack followed by Solo hitting the corner hip attack two times in a row on Cena. Cena rolled out of the ring, so Jimmy & Solo cleared the commentary table. Jimmy wanted to splash Cena through the table. Solo did a slow climb to the top, but here comes LA Knight! Huge pop!

LA Knight ran out to ringside and punched Solo along with a clothesline for Jimmy. Knight punched Solo a few times, Solo charged and Knight hit a neckbreaker. Knight picked up Jimmy leading to powerslam along with an elbow drop. Cena was back in to toss Solo out of the ring. Knight sent Jimmy out of the ring. The fans were chanting “LA Knight” for the Megastar. Knight picked up the contract and signed it to become Cena’s partner at Fastlane. Cena was happy about it. The fans were happy about it.

At WWE Fastlane, it will be John Cena & LA Knight against Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa. Cena & Knight celebrated in the ring. End show.

Analysis: Welcome back LA Knight after missing last week with COVID-19. Knight looks ready to go with the fans cheering him as loudly as ever. I think WWE could have done a bit more to give Knight a reason to do the right thing to help Cena in that spot, but that moment they had at Payback with Cena raising Knight’s arm was a bonding moment. Because of that, I think they can make logical sense out of this. It’s important to do what the fans want and Knight is the perfect guy in this spot with Cena. It’s certainly fine with me.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Rey Mysterio
  2. Santos Escobar
  3. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa


The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.24


Final Thoughts

I’ll keep it brief this week by saying it was mostly a good show. The Rey Mysterio-Santos Escobar match was great and got plenty of time. I liked the finish a lot. Other matches were kept short with obvious winners. I liked The Street Profits destroying the LWO to signify their heel turn with Bobby Lashley. It got a lot of heat from the crowd.

The ending with LA Knight saving John Cena and signing the contract to team with Cena at Fastlane was booked well. The fans absolutely loved it. Knight will definitely get the “rub” from teaming with Cena at Fastlane against Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa. Put Knight over in that match and he’ll really be building momentum.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Fastlane on Saturday, October 7th in Indianapolis. Here’s the lineup so far.

* Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

* John Cena vs. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa

* WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

You can watch WWE Fastlane on Saturday, October 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, streaming LIVE on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport