This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the return of Roman Reigns, Triple H in the house, John Cena on the show again, and a Cody Rhodes/Jey Uso title defense.
This is also being dubbed as the “Season Premiere” of Smackdown even though it’s a live show nearly every week and they don’t have a Season Finale. It’s what they do every year.
It’s the first Smackdown episode following the WWE Fastlane PLE from last Saturday. I thought Fastlane was pretty good, but it was also one of the weaker WWE PLE’s this year. That’s not a surprise for an October PLE show. Next up is Crown Jewel on November 4th and Survivor Series three weeks later on November 25th.
John Cena made his entrance to start the show. Huge pop by the Tulsa crowd. The commentary team of Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick and Corey Greaves were there to talk about Cena’s tag team win with LA Knight against Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa at Fastlane.
Let’s Hear from John Cena…and Roman Reigns
John Cena said it was a big night, so he had to do this right by welcoming us to the Season Premiere of Smackdown. Some familiar music interrupted Cena.
Welcome back to the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who is back on Smackdown for the first time in about two months. Reigns was wearing a “Greatness” shirt while joined by the “Wise Man” Special Council Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. Reigns took his time getting into the ring as usual. It’s been 1139 days for Reigns as the Universal Champion. Thanks to Cole for the number. Heyman was thrilled that Reigns was back. Reigns and The Bloodline got into the ring with Cena.
Roman Reigns: “John boy…Hollywood…if you’re going to open my show, you better do it the right way. Tulsa…acknowledge me!” The fans gave a loud response full of boos along with some cheers. There were also loud “Cena” chants.
Roman Reigns said you’re chanting for a coward. Reigns said that he only showed up because Reigns took his leave and then Cena had the audacity to have people call him the Greatest of All Time. Reigns said that you already know who the GOAT is…it’s Roman Reigns! Reigns said that we have run into this before and we’ve handled it, so we’re going to do it again. Reigns told Cena to leave or they will make him leave. More “Cena” chants.
Cena said there was a lot of anticipation for what’s about to happen. Cena said that with Reigns and Cena in the same ring, who knows what’s next? Cena said he’ll throw him a curveball. Cena is not there to acknowledge him. Cena said 1138 days for Reigns as the champion and it’s the greatest accomplishment of all time. Cena said that Reigns earned it. Cena said that he isn’t there to challenge Reigns tonight because he hasn’t earned it, but he does know somebody who has. It’s LA Knight…Yeah!
LA Knight made his entrance to a good ovation from the crowd. Knight got into the ring with Cena, Reigns and the others. Cena told Knight it was his time. Reigns didn’t believe it.
Knight did his “let me talk to ya” line to a huge pop. Knight asked Reigns if he is pissing his pants yet. Knight said that Reigns is the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief and a defending champion, right? Knight said “no, no” to that. Knight said that Reigns is a man standing in Knight’s way. Knight introduced himself saying that things have changed a bit and the crowd chanted “LA Knight…Yeah” to tell Roman whose game this is.
Reigns said he was very proud of Knight. Reigns said that he gave him a couple of months and “they say your name now.” Reigns wondered what Knight was doing standing in his ring right now. Knight said that talking like that is a good way to get referred to in the past tense. Knight said he’s the fastest rising star in Smackdown history, he’s the man who walked right in here and Jimmy Uso attacked Knight from behind. Reigns didn’t seem impressed by that. Knight tossed Jimmy out of the ring. Reigns left the ring along with Heyman and Solo. Reigns told Solo to forget about Cena and told Solo to take care of Knight. Solo said “you and me tonight.” Solo left with Reigns.
Knight did a promo accepting the Solo Sikoa challenge and used his “fact of life” line in the promo. Knight posed in the ring.
Analysis: A long promo segment with a lot of star power. It sets the stage for a Roman Reigns-LA Knight rivalry that will probably lead to a championship match at Crown Jewel. They teased the idea of Roman Reigns-John Cena again, but I think having Cena endorse LA Knight as the next guy is a great thing for Knight. Reigns acting like he’s above Knight is typical of Reigns in that spot and Knight did a good job of standing up to Reigns with a lot of confidence. The fans are strongly behind Knight, so I don’t mind seeing Knight in this spot at all.
Up next is The Brawling Brutes against Pretty Deadly.
This Monday on the Season Premiere of Raw: Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler, GUNTHER defends the Intercontinental Title vs. Bronson Reed, Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso defend the WWE Tag Team Titles against The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor & Damian Priest. Good lineup so far.
Pretty Deadly made their entrance with Prince getting out of a wheelchair. Prince had a shoulder injury, but he needed a wheelchair to sell it apparently. Prince missed a few months of action. Graves put over the “inspirational story” of Prince returning back to action.
The Brawling Brutes – Ridge Holland & Butch vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson
Prince started with Butch, but that didn’t go well for Prince, so he tagged out. Ridge knocked down Wilson with a clothesline, Butch tagged in and hit a double foot stomp followed by a dropkick. Butch hit a German Suplex, stomp on the hands and a kick to the head of Wilson. Butch dove onto Wilson on the floor. Butch and Ridge each delivered ten forearms to the chest of their opponents with the crowd chanting along with them.
Wilson and Prince were in control of Butch for about a minute. Prince tried forearms to the chest, but Butch grabbed the fingers and snapped the fingers. Butch fought out of the PD corner to bring in Ridge, who was on fire with clotheslines. Ridge hit a suplex, backbreaker and powerslam. Ridge grabbed Prince off the turnbuckle and hit a powerslam for two because Wilson broke it up. Butch hit a running knee on Wilson. Wilson with a back body drop on Butch on the apron. Butch hit an overhead suplex. Prince was holding his left knee acting like it was hurt and the referee Jessika Carr was checking him. Wilson did a jumping kick to Butch’s face and Prince did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match with a classic heel finish. It was fitting for Pretty Deadly to have Prince sell the knee injury leading to the surprising ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win. I wasn’t surprised by PD picking up the win in their return match while The Brawling Brutes aren’t pushed that much on Smackdown.
After the match, Wilson pushed Prince around in the wheelchair to celebrate.
Analysis: They are entertaining characters. That’s for sure.
A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of Carlito returning to WWE to help Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar beat Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits at Fastlane.
Carlito was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Carlit said it’s “cool” that he is back. Bobby Lashley arrived in a suit to welcome Carlito back to the show. Lashley recalls beating up Carlito on Smackdown and wanted to welcome him back to his show. Carlito suggested his first match back on Smackdown against Bobby Lashley. Bobby said he wasn’t dressed for it, which led to The Street Profits attacking Carlito from behind with a steel chair along with punches. Adam Pearce and Jason Jordan, both WWE Officials, showed up to break it up.
Analysis: A cheap attack by Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits to get them some heat while there’s some sympathy for Carlito. No sign of the LWO with Carlito.
Carlito was being checked on backstage by the LWO, referees and WWE Officials. Bayley walked up to them complaining about this saying she wanted to have a celebration for IYO SKY. Zelina Vega was there, so she argued with Bayley about it. Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, tried to calm them down. Pearce put Bayley in a match with Vega.
Roman Reigns was in The Bloodline dressing room with Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman. Reigns asked Jimmy what he was doing. Jimmy said he was calling the audible and calling the plays. Reigns said if Jimmy was the quarterback, what he would do? Jimmy said he would get Jey. Reigns doesn’t like Jey Uso running around as a WWE Tag Team Champion with Cody Rhodes as his partner. Reigns said that’s a slap in the face of their existence. Reigns told Jimmy not to call audibles. Reigns asked if they were good. Jimmy said “yeet” and Reigns said he didn’t like that, but they are good. They touched fists.
Analysis: It sounds like Roman Reigns wants Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa to go after the Tag Team Titles held by Jey Uso & Cody Rhodes, so it looks like that will be happening soon.
Bayley made her entrance with Damage CTRL teammates WWE Women’s Champion IYO Sky and Dakota Kai.
Zelina Vega vs. Bayley (w/IYO SKY & Dakota Kai)
Bayley avoided a move by Vega and knocked her down with a clothesline. Bayley hit a sliding clothesline on Vega on the mat. Vega avoided a Bayley to Belly and hit a kick to the head. Vega set up Bayley against the ropes and it was the bottom rope, so Vega hit a 619…sort of. Vega with a kick followed by the Meteora double knees. Vega wanted a Code Red, Bayley avoided it and Vega kicked Sky off the apron. Bayley knocked down Vega followed by Bayley hitting a Roseplant into the mat for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win by Bayley benefitting from Iyo Sky being on the apron and Vega going after, which led to Bayley finishing off Vega from there. Bayley usually loses to whoever Sky is feuding with, so Bayley needs a win sometimes.
After the match, Bayley & IYO SKY attacked Vega in the ring. Charlotte Flair ran out in a shiny outfit and high heels, so Damage CTRL retreated. Charlotte looked very tall beside Vega because obviously there’s a big height difference and even more so when Flair is in heels.
Analysis: This could lead to yet another title shot for Charlotte Flair. (It became official later in the show.)
Triple H is up next.
The “King of Kings” song hit as the WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque made his entrance. He was introduced as “The Game” Triple H by ring announcer Mike Rome. I think they should at least call him the Chief Content Officer.
Let’s Hear from Triple H
Triple H stood in the ring as the fans chanted “Triple H” for him. Hunter said that there’s a big part of him that misses that. Hunter said it is electric in here tonight. Hunter said that they just came out of an incredibly successful Fastlane heading into Crown Jewel and right around the corner is Survivor Series. Hunter said it all starts right here tonight on the Season Premiere of Smackdown.
Triple H said he was there to call attention to one of the unsung heroes of WWE – Adam Pearce, who was in the ring with him. Hunter gave Pearce credit as an in-ring performer. Triple H said that over the last three years, Pearce has done an incredible job of doing a thankless job. Hunter said that Pearce has done an incredible job of overseeing both shows. Hunter spoke about how it’s a job that is incredibly difficult, so he said no one person will do that alone. Hunter said that Adam won’t have to do it alone and as of this moment, Pearce is getting a promotion. Hunter told Pearce he is now the new General Manager of Monday Night Raw. They shook hands. Hunter tried to announce the new GM of Smackdown…but here comes Dominik Mysterio.
Dominik Mysterio, the NXT North American Champion, made his entrance to huge boos from the crowd. Dominik said that Fastlane was not a tremendous success. Dominik said that The Judgment Day got screwed out of their Tag Team Titles. Dominik got into the ring, so Hunter said he couldn’t hear him. Hunter told the fans to keep it down, but they didn’t listen and even got louder. Dominik complained about Jey & Cody defending their titles tonight when The Judgment Day has a Tag Team Title match on Raw. Dominik wondered how Hunter allowed Pearce to do it.
Hunter joked that they always thought they were pumping in that noise. Hunter said he didn’t realize how loud it was. Hunter summarized what Dominik said. Hunter said that Dominik was yelling at the wrong people. Hunter said that Pearce is the GM of Raw, so Hunter decided to introduce the GM of Smackdown…Mr. Nick Aldis.
Nick Aldis made his entrance (from the ringside area rather than a full entrance) in a blue suit with the announcers putting him over for having a great career. Aldis thanked WWE for the opportunity of a lifetime to be the GM of the number one sports entertainment brand in the world today, Smackdown. Aldis told Pearce he’s looking forward to healthy competition. Aldis said that he was a big fan of Dominik…Dominik’s dad. Great line.
Aldis spoke about how Cody Rhodes was instrumental in a deal that sent Jey Uso to Raw, so a Raw superstar is coming to Smackdown. Aldis wanted to introduce who was coming to Smackdown. Dominik complained about it, so the fans booed. Aldis introduced us to Smackdown’s newest superstar.
It is Kevin Owens! KO was wearing a black shirt with “KO” in blue letters. That’s some good star power for the Smackdown brand. Owens went into the ring, kicked Dominik in the gut and hit him with a KO Stunner to send Dominik out of the ring. The fans popped and did a “KO” chant for Owens. Aldis shook hands with Owens and Aldis raised KO’s hand.
Analysis: I’m genuinely happy for a great performer like Nick Aldis being on WWE TV for the first time and in the role of Smackdown GM. I’d like to see Nick as a wrestler in WWE, but at least being in a role like this will get him some TV time and maybe lead to some matches. Nick has been working behind-the-scenes as a Producer in WWE for the last two months. Adam Pearce being the Raw GM is fine. He was in a role similar to that for three years already. As for Kevin Owens to Smackdown, I’ll miss his tag team with Sami Zayn, but I’m fine with those two being apart and seeing what they can do as singles guy again. This was a good segment.
Roman Reigns was shown watching what happened. Reigns complained about Kevin Owens on his show, plus Cody Rhodes is there and Jey Uso too. Reigns complained about Jimmy sitting there on the couch. Reigns wondered what Jimmy was doing there because Reigns wanted Jimmy to handle some business. Jimmy left with Solo.
A video aired about Dragon Lee, who is now a Smackdown wrestler after being in NXT this year.
Chelsea Green & Piper Niven, the Women’s Tag Team Titles, were in the office of Nick Aldis wondering what he would do for their titles. Charlotte Flair walked in, so the champions left. Aldis said that he saw what happened at Fastlane, so he’s going to give Charlotte a WWE Women’s Title against IYO SKY next week on Smackdown. Charlotte was happy about it. Charlotte turned around and Jade Cargill was there. Triple H was smiling as he introduced them. They exchanged pleasantries with Charlotte saying: “It’s nice to meet you.” Jade replied “It’s my pleasure” and Flair said, “Oh, it will be.” Flair left.
Analysis: There’s a nice tease of a Charlotte Flair-Jade Cargill match down the road. I don’t know what the point was of Chelsea & Piper being there although they can be on any brand as the champion. Aldis fits in very well as a talker, which is not a surprise.
Jey Uso entered first as one half of the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions followed by Cody Rhodes. They both got huge ovations from the crowd. They defend the titles up next.
A video aired showing how Cody & Jey won the Tag Team Titles over The Judgment Day at Fastlane. This match was an open challenge with Austin Theory & Grayson Waller accepting the challenge.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso vs. Austin Theory & Grayson Waller
Cody kicked Waller followed by an uppercut punch. Cody with a knee to the ribs. Waller and Theory made quick tags after Cody got some offense on them. Jey tagged in with a boot to the head and Waller headbutted Jey, so that was no sold because as Graves said, you don’t headbutt a Samoan. Theory tagged in with a backbreaker on Jey. Jey punched Theory, then he punched Waller on the apron and Theory sent Jey into the ringpost/turnbuckle so Jey bumped to the floor. That led to a break.
The heels were in control as Theory stomped on Jey in the corner. Waller got the tag, Theory hit a backbreaker on Jey and Waller jumped off the middle rope with an elbow drop for two. Jey hit a spinning kick to Waller’s head. Cody got the hot tag with a clothesline, then he jumped over Theory and hit a powerslam. Cody jumped off the ropes with a Disaster Kick on Theory. Cody hit Waller with a Disaster Kick too. Theory punched Cody in the throat followed by a cradle suplex onto the knee. Jey broke up the pin. Jey superkicked Waller off the apron to the floor. Theory tried a move, but Jey broke free and Jey hit a superkick on Theory. Jey and Cody hit the 1D/Cody Cutter combo on Theory. Jey hit a suicide dive onto Waller on the floor. Cody hit Cross Rhodes on Theory for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso
Analysis: *** An impressive win by the champions to retain their titles. I like the Theory-Waller team, but they had no chance here. There were a couple of nearfalls for the heels in the match although I doubt anybody watching this thought they could win. Cody & Jey work really well together because either guy can be the face in peril and the other guy getting the hot tag is going to have a hot crowd behind him. Cody was awesome after getting the hot tag and I liked their offense to finish the match.
As Jey Uso walked down the aisle first, Cody Rhodes was behind him. Cody walked up to where Jey Uso was. The music of Roman Reigns hit as Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa walked out for a staredown. Roman Reigns also walked out there and had a staredown with Cody Rhodes. The camera was focused on Roman & Cody. Nick Aldis, the Smackdown GM, walked out to tell them “not here, not tonight.” Cody and Roman kept staring at eachother.
Analysis: That was a great moment with Roman and Cody having a staredown. That has to be the WrestleMania 40 main event with Cody being the guy to take the title from Reigns. I know there might be other options, but that’s what I want to see.
Next week on Smackdown in San Antonio:
* IYO SKY defends the WWE Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair.
* Santos Escobar vs. Montez Ford.
LA Knight vs. Solo Sikoa
Solo was in control with a back elbow to knock Knight down. Knight countered a suplex attempt into a neckbreaker. Knight ran the ropes, Solo avoided him and Solo hit a clothesline. Knight tried a lift, Solo got out of that and Knight came back with a flurry of offense. Knight hit a running dropkick on Solo on the floor. Solo blocked a suplex on the apron and Solo rammed Knight into the ring post. They went to break there.
Knight tried a suplex, but Solo landed on top and got a two count. Solo hit a belly to belly side slam for a two count. Solo hit a running hip attack on Knight against the turnbuckle. Solo grounded Knight with the deadly trapezius squeezing. Solo with an uppercut punch, but Knight came back with an elbow and a bulldog for two. Solo came back with a Samoan Drop for two. Knight went for a sunset flip, Solo powered out of it and tried a splash, but Knight moved, so Solo hit the mat. Solo charged and Knight moved, which led to Solo hitting the turnbuckle. Knight came back with punches as the fans chanted “YEAH” for every punch. Knight ran the ropes and hit a leaping clothesline followed by a DDT. Knight stomped on Solo leading to “YEAH” chants and Knight hit a running knee smash. Knight charged, Solo caught him, but Knight got out of it and Knight hit a powerslam. Knight hit the “LA Knight…yeah” elbow drop. Solo avoided a BFT by pushing Knight away, which led to both guys running the ropes followed by a double clothesline. Jimmy Uso went into the ring, so John Cena went into the ring and caught Jimmy with an Attitude Adjustment. Solo hit Cena with a Samoan Spike. Knight hit the BFT on Solo for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: LA Knight
Analysis: ***1/4 I thought it was a pretty good match with a clever finish. By having Jimmy Uso jump into the ring there, you think it might cost Knight the match, but having John Cena watch Knight’s back was huge because it led to Cena stopping Jimmy by hitting the AA. It also played right into the finish because after Solo hit Cena with the Samoan Spike, Knight was right there for the BFT finish. It was booked well. Knight gets the big win while Solo has a bit of an out because of Cena being involved.
After the match, Knight was celebrating the win and when he turned around, Roman Reigns was there with a Spear to knock Knight down. Reigns held up one finger. Reigns taunted Knight with the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. The fans booed. End show.
Analysis: A message from The Tribal Chief to LA Knight to show that Reigns is still a dominant force that will be difficult to beat. I assume it’s Reigns-Knight at Crown Jewel.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns/LA Knight
- Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso
- Nick Aldis – Welcome to WWE TV officially.
7.75 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.24
Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown
I thought it was a very good show with plenty of news along with some significant storyline progression thanks to the return of Roman Reigns. I think my favorite thing on the whole episode was that Reigns staredown with Cody Rhodes, which I feel was WWE’s way of telling is the rematch is coming next year at WrestleMania 40 and it’s going to be incredible. I just thought that was very well done. LA Knight obviously is next for Reigns due to the opening promo along with the main event. Reigns got the advantage to end the show.
The matches were okay with Pretty Deadly picking up a cheap win over Brawling Brutes. The women’s match was short with Bayley beating Zelina Vega. Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso kept the Tag Team Titles over Austin Theory & Grayson Waller, which was a fun match albeit predictable. LA Knight beating Solo Sikoa was also an obvious result, but I liked how it was booked with John Cena watching Knight’s back by taking out Jimmy Uso and LA capitalized to win.
I’m happy for Nick Aldis finally making his WWE debut in the role of Smackdown General Manager. I certainly hope Nick gets to wrestle at some point too. Adam Pearce is now the Raw GM after being the WWE Official in charge of both shows. They also moved Kevin Owens over to Smackdown to react to the move of Jey Uso going to Raw recently. I thought that segment led by a Triple H promo was very well done. A well-booked show from top to bottom.
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.