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WWE Smackdown Review 04/08/23

It’s the night before Summerslam and that means we are in for the final push before tomorrow’s big show. The big main event this week is a brother vs. brother showdown between Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa, which should make for a heck of a main event. Other than that we’ll be seeing some of the other matches, including the battle royal, getting some focus. Let’s get to it.

Here is LA Knight to one heck of a roar, with Cole saying that Knight is getting support like never before and it is becoming a groundswell. Knight talks about how it is Summerslam weekend and he is ready to be in the 25-man battle royal.

He looks at some of the entrants and sees a bunch of stooges. One of the people is Sheamus, who he gets to face tonight. Sheamus has done it all, but tonight he gets another item added to his resume: losing to LA Knight! To say Knight was over here is an understatement.

LA Knight vs. Sheamus

The other Brawling Brutes are here too. Knight starts fast and knocks him into the corner before they crash out to the floor. Sheamus fights back and knocks him down as a bunch of people (all in the battle royal) come to ringside. Sheamus hits White Noise onto the apron and we take an early break.

Back with Knight fighting out of a chin lock and hitting the spelling elbow. A torture rack faceplant gets two but Blunt Force Trauma is countered into the Irish Curse. The super White Noise gets two on Knight and the Texas Cloverleaf goes on, sending Knight to the ropes.

They both go up and crash down to the floor but here is Austin Theory to jump Santos Escobar. The big fight is on outside, leaving Sheamus to grab Miz. The Brogue Kick puts Miz down, allowing Knight to hit Blunt Force Trauma to finish Sheamus at 12:45.

Official Result La Knight Wins

Rating: C+. And that’s all you have to do. It’s not hard to give someone a simple push and the easiest way is to just have them win matches. Knight beat Sheamus, who is pretty much bulletproof, and it makes him look like a bigger deal. His momentum is starting to build and it’s a good sign that commentary is acknowledging Knight’s reactions. Now just give him the battle royal, or at least a hot feud coming out of it, and they’re rolling.

Post-match the ring is cleared, with Knight running off from the numbers game (smart).

Post break the Club and the Brawling Brutes are about to fight when Adam Pearce seems to make a tag match for later. Sheamus and AJ Styles have a staredown and that could be interesting.

Long video on Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar.

Brawling Brutes vs. OC

Michin is here with the OC. Gallows kicks Holland to start and an assisted big boot takes him down. Anderson comes in but gets his fingers bent backwards by Butch. The armbar doesn’t do much for Butch and everything breaks down quickly.

We take a break and come back with Anderson Chinlocking Holland, who powers out and brings Butch back in. Everything breaks down…and the Street Profits, in suits, run in for the no-contest at 8:15.

Official Result No Contest

Rating: C. The match was only good enough until the run-in, which is a lot more interesting. Neither of these teams has exactly been doing much in recent weeks so it’s nice to see a talented team getting a fresh coat of paint. Not a bad match, but it wasn’t the point here in the slightest and that isn’t a bad thing.

Post-match the Profits beat both teams down and the fans seem VERY interested (fair enough). Bobby Lashley comes out to celebrate with the Profits and gets quite a positive reaction. The fans really like this one.

Video on Charlotte, who is having champagne on a yacht and is ready for the biggest women’s match in Summerslam history. She has won at Summerslam before and knows she is better, so raise a toast to the fifteen-time champion.

Here is Paul Heyman who doesn’t know how we got here with Jey Uso vs. Roman Reigns. After tomorrow night, you probably won’t see Uso again and everything that happens to him at Summerslam will be because of Reigns. When Reigns enters this ring tomorrow night, he will be cognizant of the fact that it will be Tribal Combat.

We get a video (narrated by Heyman) talking about the importance of tribal combat on the island of Samoan. Rikishi, Afa and Sika talk about the importance of the lei, which represents the tribal chief. Only one man can carry that honour and tomorrow night there will be a winner and a loser.

Back in the arena, Heyman talks about how Reigns has been Universal Champion and Tribal Chief for nearly three years. Jey Uso will never be either and yeah he could say that’s a spoiler but here is Uso to interrupt (with Heyman knowing he’s in trouble). Jey talks about the violent things he’s going to do to Reigns tomorrow and it is going to result in him becoming the new Universal Champion and the Tribal Chief.

Cue Solo Sikoa (facing Jey tonight) but Jey says he can forgive his brother for what he has done. Heyman tells Jey to stop, but Sikoa glares at him. We get a quick sidebar but Sikoa says something we can’t hear to Jey. Sikoa tells Heyman to get out, allowing Jey to drop Sikoa with a superkick.

We look back at Rey Mysterio being hurt last week, resulting in Santos Escobar moving on to the US Title match against Austin Theory next week. Apparently, Rey suffered whiplash and he is day to day.

Austin Theory doesn’t get how Escobar won, but next week, he is dedicating his victory to Rey Mysterio. Tonight, Cameron Grimes is getting his dreams crushed.

Austin Theory vs. Cameron Grimes

Non-title. Theory knocks him down to start and here is Santos Escobar for a distraction, allowing Grimes to hit the Cave In for two as Theory’s foot is on the ropes (they got me with that one). Grimes sends him into the barricade a few times and a high crossbody gets two back inside.

The flipping Powerslam gives Grimes two more as Theory is totally rocked so far. Theory avoids a charge though and manages to knock Grimes off the top. A Town Down finishes Grimes at 3:02.

Official Result Austin Theory Won

Rating: C. This was a very fast-paced match and Theory barely got in any offense throughout. I’m not wild about Grimes losing here and he is already feeling a lot colder than he was not too long ago. Theory shouldn’t be losing but was there no one else he could have beaten here? Either way, not much of a competitive match and not the best sign for the champ going into a big title defence.

Post-match Escobar comes back into Phantom Driver Theory. He almost has to win the title at this point.

Video on Asuka, who is ready to defend her title at Summerslam despite not having a champion’s advantage.

It’s time for the Grayson Waller Effect. Just like in life, one woman isn’t enough for Waller on this show so he brings out both Bayley and Iyo Sky as his guests. Waller asks Sky if she is going to cash in Money In The Bank at Summerslam but Bayley cuts her off and says they’re not telling their strategy (Sky isn’t looking pleased).

With Bayley laughing, Shotzi’s voice pops up to scare Bayley out of her wits. That was a joke from Waller…..but here is Shotzi’s tank, which isn’t from Waller. Cue Shotzi from behind to chase Bayley off, complete with hair clippers for a threatened haircut. It’s Zelina Vega (scheduled to face Sky tonight) in the tank.

Iyo Sky vs. Zelina Vega

Joined in progress with Vega firing off forearms, setting up the top rope Meteora. The Code Red is blocked though and Vega hits a butterfly backbreaker. The running knees in the corner set up the Over The Moonsault but we cut to Shotzi going after Bayley’s hair on the stage. Bayley gets away but the distraction lets Vega hit the Code Red for the pin at 2:58.

Official Result Zelina Vega Won

Rating: C For me this was too short and more about Bayley and Shotzi than anything else, plus the usual pattern of booking MITB winners to lose all the time continues at the expense of Iyo.

Post-break commentary talks about the next Smackdown, including Santos Escobar vs. Austin Theory and another match between AJ Styles and Karrion Kross.

Here comes Solo Sikoa for the main event. I’m curious if they’re giving them 15 minutes for this one.

Edge is back in two weeks for his 25th-anniversary celebration in his hometown of Toronto.

Solo Sikoa vs. Jey Uso

Paul Heyman is here with Sikoa. Jey grabs a headlock to start and is promptly knocked down. The fight heads outside rather quickly with Sikoa not being able to hit Spinning Solo through the announcers’ table. Instead, Jey hits a superkick and a suicide dive to send him onto the table for a big crash.

We take a break and come back with Jey fighting out of a nerve hold but having his suicide dive cut off by a shot to the face. Back in and the Samoan drop plants Jey but the running Umaga attack misses in the corner.

Jey slugs away and kicks him in the ribs, only to get blasted with a clothesline. Another shot staggers Sikoa though and a high crossbody gives Jey two.

Jey’s running Umaga attack is cut off by a spin wheel kick and now Spinning Solo connects. The Samoan Spike is ducked though and they trade superkicks until Jey hits a spear. The Superfly Splash finishes Sikoa at 10:41.

Official Result Jey Uso Won

Rating: B-. Ignoring that this was the same way they set up Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns on the Raw before Wrestlemania, this was a good way to give Jey some momentum heading into the title match. Beating Sikoa still feels like a big deal and thankfully it was off the splash and not Jey’s lame spear. This wasn’t exactly inspired storytelling but it did what it needed to do.

Post-match Sikoa goes after Jey again but gets a chair superkicked into his face. Jey takes Sikoa out with the chair, with Barrett pointing out how valuable this could be for Jey tomorrow night (nice point).

As tends to be the case on WWE go-home shows, there wasn’t much in the way of action here, but they did a good job of making me care about Summerslam. The battle royal, the Women’s Title match and Tribal Combat all got some attention and that is what this show needed to cover. It’s certainly not a must-see show and it was only pretty good, but I’m more invested in Summerslam than I was coming in so they are definitely doing something right.

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