The John Report: WWE SmackDown 11/03/23 Review

wwe smackdown november 3

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Bianca Belair facing Bayley, a Roman Reigns-LA Knight confrontation and more.

It’s a taped episode of Smackdown this week. They taped it in Milwaukee last week after last week’s show due to Crown Jewel taking place on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I did peak at the spoilers, but didn’t look that closely at them.

My preview of WWE Crown Jewel went up on TJRWrestling earlier on Friday, so check that out for my thoughts on all the matches.

From the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, this is Smackdown for episode #1263. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a video package about last week’s show with Roman Reigns and LA Knight having a contract signing. Knight also beat Jimmy Uso in the main event. Knight got the upper hand on Reigns after the match as well.

Let’s Hear from LA Knight…and Roman Reigns

LA Knight made his entrance in street clothes while fans gave him a big ovation and chanted “LA Knight” for him. They popped for “Let Me Talk To Ya” by Knight. LA talked about how nearly 1200 days as champion is impressive, but last week it was Knight dropping Reigns with a BFT. Knight said that this is a hostile takeover. Knight said he’s coming to take over everything that Reigns stands for. Knight said it would be the end of Roman’s reign.

Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion with Michael Cole noting that it was the 1160th day for Reigns as the (Universal) Champion. Reigns had the Special Counsel “Wise Man” Paul Heyman with him. Reigns took about three minutes to get into the ring as usual.

Reigns said this irrelevant town knows exactly who he is. Reigns: “I’m Roman Reigns, I’m the Tribal Chief, I’m the Head of the Table and I’m the face of WWE.” Reigns said he took his time of leave and he thought people would step up, but he didn’t expect it to be Knight. Reigns said that Knight got these people on his side, so he gives him credit for that. Reigns said he’s advanced this business while Knight is setting them back. Reigns said that what they are doing now is cinema in WWE. Reigns claimed he turned this into a multi-billion dollar business. Reigns wondered what Knight has done while saying that he has done a redneck cosplay version of his cousin (The Rock). Reigns said he will smash Knight and end him. Reigns said he’ll leave Knight in the desert, but don’t worry because Knight won’t be the last one.

Knight replied saying that Reigns feels unbeatable because he’s beaten just about everybody that has stood in front of him. Knight said he was not there to finish something. Knight said he was there to start something. Knight said that he’s going to start the LA Knight Era and he’s going to kick his ass at Crown Jewel. Knight said that Reigns has made himself damn near a megastar because of that title, but Knight is a megastar that lives it every day. Knight told Reigns to make sure he’s good and done because if not then Knight will find him. Knight said that the only bloodline will be between your eyes and everybody will be saying…LA Knight. Referees and Smackdown GM Nick Aldis appeared to stop any kind of physicality from happening. Reigns left with his title while Knight was in the ring.

Analysis: I thought they both delivered strong promos. Reigns was probably better in terms of what he said and the confidence that he exudes as usual. Knight is full of catchphrases while also showing confidence, so that makes him easy to root for as well. I think Reigns beating Knight at Crown Jewel is very likely and it probably won’t be clean, which is the norm for most Reigns singles matches. They had some physicality last week so it’s smart to not have it continue this week.

Kevin Owens made his entrance for singles action.


Austin Theory was interviewed by Kayla Braxton saying that Owens thinks Theory has a punchable face, but he’s wrong because everybody wants to see Theory’s face. Theory said that Owens has a face that only a mother can love. Theory said that after Owens experiences Austin Theory Live, he won’t have to wear a mask for Halloween.

Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory

Grayson Waller was on commentary to support his friend Theory. Owens tried some strikes, Theory bailed to the floor and Owens followed, so Theory tackled Owens into the ring apron. Theory worked over Owens with punches. Owens came back with a punch, atomic drop and a clothesline that sent Theory out of the ring. Owens went to the floor with another clothesline and senton splash on the floor.


The match continued with Waller distracting Owens, so Theory did a necksnap across the top rope. Theory sent Owens into the ring post. Theory nailed a lefty forearm on Owens for a two count. Owens fought out of a move, Theory broke free and hit a left handed punch to the face. Theory hit an impressive Blockbuster neckbreaker for a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle with Owens hitting a cradle suplex off the middle turnbuckle. Owens sent Theory into the ropes leading to a Popup Powerbomb. Owens hit a KO Stunner on Theory for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: **3/4 A decisive win by Owens hitting his two signature moves back to back to put Theory away cleanly. It gives Owens some positive momentum since he’s returned to Smackdown. It wasn’t a good thing for Theory, but it’s okay because Owens is a top guy.

Bianca Belair was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Belair said ever since Damage CTRL took her out, it’s personal and she wants vengeance. Damage CTRL’s Bayley, IYO SKY and Dakota Kai were there to attack, but Smackdown GM Nick Aldis and official Ken Doane were there to stop it. They went to break.

Analysis: This shows that GM Aldis is doing a better job of preventing backstage attacks since Belair wasn’t injured (in the storyline) like she was two months earlier.


The Progressive Match Flo replay showed The Street Profits win over LWO’s Santos Escobar & Carlito in part because Logan Paul did a cheap attack to Rey Mysterio.

Logan Paul was shown walking backstage where he shook hands with Bobby Lashley, who was with The Street Profits. They complimented Paul on his knockout power. Paul said that you might see more of that knockout power at Crown Jewel. Paul left. Lashley praised Paul for his confidence. B-Fab walked in and she wanted to talk to Bobby Lashley, so Lashley went with her.

Piper Niven and Chelsea Green entered for tag team action against Shotzi and a partner.

A commercial aired for Crown Jewel promoting the Seth Rollins-Drew McIntyre match. That should be great.


Shotzi made her entrance for tag team action and she had a royal partner, “The Queen” Charlotte Flair.

Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Charlotte Flair & Shotzi

This is not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles held by Green & Niven. Shotzi went for a leaping attack on Niven, who caught her and Niven hit a shoulder breaker. Isla Dawn & Alba Fyre were shown watching on a TV backstage. Green tagged in with a punch. Shotzi broke free with an elbow and step up enziguri. Flair jumped off the top with a cross body block on both opponents. Flair hit an exploder suplex on Green across the ring. Flair hit a boot to the face of Niven and she kicked Green down. Flair sent Niven into the ropes, Green tagged in and Flair knocked Niven out of the ring. Green jumped off the top with nothing, Flair avoided it and Flair hit a boot to the head for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Charlotte Flair & Shotzi

Analysis: ** A basic tag team match with Shotzi selling for the first half, Flair tagging in and Flair dominated from there. Most champions in WWE aren’t booked weak like that, but Chelsea loses often, so having Flair beat Chelsea like that was a predictable ending. This could lead to a title shot for Flair & Shotzi just because they won a non-title match.

There was a recap of Solo Sikoa laying out John Cena last week on the show.

Solo Sikoa was shown getting ready backstage for his segment with Cena up next.


Face to Face: Solo Sikoa (with Paul Heyman) and John Cena

Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman entered the ring first for a promo. Heyman said that this is the end of days for the Doctor of Thuganomics, John Cena. Heyman said that Cena came back to WWE and picked a fight with The Bloodline, so of course this would happen. Heyman said that Roman Reigns made the call for The Enforcer, The Assassin Solo Sikoa to step up. Heyman said one day Solo will step up as The Tribal Chief too. Heyman spoke about how John Cena was a victim. Heyman said that John could have made it easy.

Solo took the microphone. Solo wondered why Paul was wasting his breath talking to them. Solo said they didn’t come here to talk to them, they came here to talk to John Cena face to face.

John Cena made his entrance looking serious and determined as usual. There was no smile by Cena as he stood on the apron looking at Solo. Cena stepped into the ring.

Solo said that he’s pissed off he has to wait until tomorrow to fight Cena. Solo said he had orders from The Tribal Chief, who told Solo to give Cena this microphone so that Cena can say goodbye to them while he still could. Solo looked at his thumb saying that come tomorrow, Cena won’t be able to talk to them. Solo handed Cena the microphone.

Cena asked, “That’s it?” Cena said that they have been waiting for Solo to talk for over a year and that’s all he brings to the table. Cena was selling a throat injury saying he can do this with half a voice and it will only take 90 seconds to cook him. Cena said he won’t say goodbye to the fans, he’ll say goodbye for the fans. Cena said that we know Solo only has a job here is because of his cousin (Roman Reigns). Cena said that Solo said that Solo acts like an enforcer, but he acts like a bargain basement Tazz rip-off. Cena told Solo that the thumb is going to get shoved up Solo’s ass. Cena left to cheers.

Analysis: There was no physicality there as Cena left standing tall after trashing Solo. In the spoilers, it said that Cena laid Solo out, but that wasn’t shown, so that was just something for the local fans. Cena speaking with a sore throat is a nice touch since Solo hit him with a Samoan Spike to the throat last week. Cena was terrific here. Truly one of the best talkers ever.

Bayley, WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY and Dakota Kai were backstage. Bayley said that she’s going to take out Bianca Belair tonight while suggesting that Bayley could face SKY for the title instead at Crown Jewel. Bayley said she was joking. Nick Aldis, the Smackdown GM, arrived to say that Damage CTRL was barred from ringside. Sky told Bayley she can handle it.

The Brawling Brutes entered for tag team action in a Donnybrook Match.


Donnybrook Match: The Brawling Brutes – Butch & Ridge Holland vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

It’s a tornado tag team match with weapons where pinfall or submission wins the match.

The ring was surrounded by bar materials and bottles. Butch & Holland had control early on with a barrage of forearms to the chest. Butch suplexed Prince on the apron. Ridge hit a cross body block on Prince against the turnbuckle. Butch did some finger-snapping to Prince. Prince suplexed Butch back first on the top of the bar. Ridge hit a running shoulder tackle to Prince. Wilson came back and PD sent Ridge into the ring post. PD tried to attack with shillelaghs, but Ridge caught them and Ridge dumped both guys out of the ring. Butch went up top and hit a moonsault onto all three guys on the floor.


Ridge hit Wilson with an Alabama Slam on a trash can. Butch also hit a Tornado DDT on Prince on the floor. Ridge applied a Boston Crab submission on Wilson while Butch applied an ankle lock on Prince. After about 15 seconds, Prince kicked Butch into the barricade. Prince went back in with a barstool to the back of Ridge. Pretty Deadly hit a double team neckbreaker/Powerbomb in a move that didn’t look smooth. Butch made the save. Prince managed to send Butch into the top rope and a running elbow strike knocked Butch down. Ridge pressed Prince and hit a powerslam. Wilson hit a Twist of Fate onto the knees. Butch back in with a kick. Butch went for more, but Wilson bounced off the ropes leading to a clothesline. All four guys were down. Butch and Wilson were back up with Butch snapping the fingers. Prince was back on the apron with a shillelagh hit on Butch and Wilson covered for two. Ridge got a hold of Prince on the apron and Ridge gave Prince a Powerbomb through the table on the floor. Butch hit Wilson with a Brogue Kick for just two. Ridge and Butch set up a table in the ring so Wilson bailed to the floor. Ridge charged, Wilson avoided it and Wilson sent Ridge into a wooden keg. Prince got back into with a smashed bottle to Butch’s head. Pretty Deadly hit a spinebuster/neckbreaker on Butch through the table for the pinfall win. It went about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good with some creative spots throughout the match. Pretty Deadly winning makes sense since they are back in action and pushed more than the Brawling Brutes are. I thought the structure of the match made sense with Wilson taking out Ridge and then Prince did the cheap shot to Butch leading to the big table spot to win.

There was a replay of the Roman Reigns-LA Knight promo exchange.

Smackdown GM Nick Aldis was shown walking backstage where Paul Heyman walked up to him. Heyman told Aldis to have a lot of medical personnel on hand tomorrow because LA Knight will need it. Heyman said that this is the most savage version of Roman Reigns that anyone will ever see. Aldis asked if he was done and Heyman said with LA Knight…hardly. Aldis left.


United States Championship Weigh-In

There was a backstage setup with Smackdown GM Nick Aldis moderating the United States Title match weigh in between Rey Mysterio & Logan Paul with the champion out last.

Nick read Logan’s weight at 213 pounds and Rey’s official weight was 175 pounds. Rey and Logan had a staredown with some words exchanged. Aldis made sure there was no contact. Rey slapped Logan. Paul punched a security guy. Rey hit Logan with a microphone. They were separated while Aldis was frustrated.

Analysis: This wasn’t shown to the crowd, so the crowd reactions were edited in. Anyway, it was fine. Quick and painless.

There was a Crown Jewel card rundown with the announcers going over the card.

* United States Championship: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Logan Paul

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. LA Knight

* Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Priest

* John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa

* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Zoey Stark

* World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

* WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY vs. Bianca Belair

* Sami Zayn vs. JD McDonagh (KICKOFF SHOW)

Bianca Belair made her entrance for the main event.


Next week on WWE Smackdown: Bobby Lashley faces Carlito.

Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

Bayley knocked down Belair and stomped on her back. Belair came back with shoulder tackles. Belair gave Bayley a hard whip into the turnbuckle followed by a vertical suplex. Belair bounced off the ropes leading to a moonsault for two. Belair bailed to the floor, then Belair chased her back in and Belair hit three straight body slams. Belair sent Bayley over the top rope to the apron and Bayley managed to hit a neckbreaker. Bayley hit a running knee that sent Belair into the ring post.


Bayley was in control as she sent Fox out of the ring followed by an elbow drop to the back. Bayley grabbed a chinlock, so Belair broke free and Belair hit a backbreaker. Belair hit shoulder tackles along with a dropkick. Belair did the ten corner punches and added a few more. Bayley tripped up Belair, whose head hit the turnbuckle. Belair hit a spinebuster for two. They battled by the turnbuckle where Belair hit a superplex off the middle turnbuckle. That sounded like some fake crowd noise as Belair got two. They left the ring leading to Bayley pulling Belair’s hair and sending Belair into the ring post. Back in the ring, Bayley jumped off with an Elbow Drop for two. Belair went for two more pin attempts, but Belair kicked out. Bayley cleaned off the commentary table. Bayley teased a Powerbomb, but Belair fought out of it. Belair avoided a charging Bayley, who hit the ring post hard. Belair hit a cross body block over the top on Bayley. Back in the ring, they each ran the ropes, Belair with a lift and Bayley turned it into a rollup for two. Belair used her hair and hit Bayley in the stomach with the hair. Belair hit the KOD (Kiss of Death) for the win. It went about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair

Analysis: *** It feels like Belair is 30-0 against Bayley in their careers. I know it’s not that many, but Belair always wins these matches. I think Bayley got a tag team win once. Anyway, the match was all about putting over Belair going into her match for the WWE Women’s Title at Saudi Arabia. Bayley did have some offense it was a good match, but this was all about putting Vince over.

Bianca Belair celebrated in the ring. Bayley was by the commentary table, Belair picked up Bayley and gave her a KOD slam through the table. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: A message sent from Belair. It was executed well.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns-LA Knight
  2. John Cena
  3. Bianca Belair


The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.23


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

It was a solid show that did a nice job of building up the Crown Jewel matches for people that are on Smackdown. The Roman Reigns-LA Knight and John Cena-Solo Sikoa segments featured strong promo work while there was no physicality between any of them, which shows how even things are in the storyline.

When it comes to matches, it was pretty basic wrestling with Kevin Owens and Charlotte Flair/Shotzi picking up easy wins. The Donnybrook Match was a fun brawl with Pretty Deadly against the Brawling Brutes. The main event was the typical Bianca Belair-Bayley match, which has happened many times with Belair usually winning.

Bring on Crown Jewel. They have really built up the card well.

The next WWE PLE is Crown Jewel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, November 4th (Happy Birthday to me). Here’s the lineup so far:

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. LA Knight

* World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Zoey Stark

* Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Priest

* John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa

* United States Championship: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Logan Paul

* WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY vs. Bianca Belair

* Sami Zayn vs. JD McDonagh (KICKOFF SHOW)

WWE Crown Jewel airs on Saturday, November 4th, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, streaming live from Riyadh, exclusively on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport