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WWE Smackdown Review 15/12/23

Hello everyone, I am one half of your Irn Bruiserweights bringing you your Smackdown Review. So let's get into it.

Kevin Patrick, Michael Cole, and Corey Graves welcome us to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

First up, here comes Roman Reigns. Roman comes out with the full retinue in tow. As a reminder, Roman’s title run now stands at 1,202 days. We’re told that Jobby Uso will lay down for Roman Reigns later tonight. Roman gets a mic from Heyman and provides the crowd with a chance to acknowledge him, which they do. With that out of the way they can shut their mouths and listen, and Roman plays with the crowd just a bit and says he’s here to celebrate since it’s the Christmas season. More importantly it’s promotion season, and Roman is here to let people know when they’re doing a good job. Tonight is about one man, one man who’s bent over backwards and sacrificed so much over the last year, a man who knows what it means to keep this family at the mountain top. If anything happens to Roman this is the man next in line, Jimmy’s goofy self thinks it’s going to be him. Well, feed issues on my end but I see Randy Orton coming out as we get a commercial break.

Randy enters the ring with a mic as we come back. He says he’s been thinking about this moment for 18 months, what he’ll do and say to Roman. But the only thing he needs to say is that he’s coming for him. Roman took 18 months from Randy, so Randy will take everything from him. It doesn’t matter how many of his family members he has to go through, it starts tonight and ends at the Royal Rumble when he challenges Roman for the title. Roman considers as the crowd chants and says the fans think Randy deserves that shot. But Roman hasn’t thought about Randy at all in the last 18 months and hasn’t done anything to earn this shot, so he can go to the back of the line where he belongs. Everyone thinks they can just show up and challenge the Tribal Chief, but that’s not how it works. Randy should listen to the voices in his head, this isn’t 2007 and Roman is levels above Randy and everyone else. Those voices are warning Randy to leave because if Randy has a match with Roman it’s not 18 months out it’s just retirement as he’ll never come back. Randy says maybe Roman is right, he can see how much Roman has evolved, he’s not just a historical champion he’s a legend. Randy has changed too, but he’ll always be the legend killer. Roman is pissed and blocks an RKO attempt. Randy says Roman should start thinking about him because the voices in his head are telling him that Roman might have just pooped himself after that near RKO. Oh, they also said daddy’s back. Randy exits on that note.

Another reminder of Randy Orton and Jimmy Uso for our main event, plus the tournament bouts. We’ll get Grayson Waller vs. Carmelo Hayes, and because the overlap between NXT and the main roster in terms of viewership is still pretty small here’s a highlight package for Carmelo Hayes. Grayson Waller heads to the ring and we’ll get that match after this break.

Post break Carmelo Hayes gets an entrance, not a great reaction but he’s not a stranger to the audience.

Match 1 – US Title Tournament Match: Carmelo Hayes vs. Grayson Waller

Slow circling to start, these two have NXT history and they’re both showing it facially. Hayes grabs a side headlock then they hit the ropes and Hayes lands a dropkick. Arm wringer from Hayes, Waller can’t escape on his first attempt but eventually does spin free and punches Hayes in the face. Some strikes from Waller but Hayes chops him a few times. Waller tries a suplex but Hayes counters into a Small Package for 1 then Waller lands a side kick. Cravat knees from Waller then Hayes fights back with a head scissors before hitting a fadeaway leg drop that sends Waller out of the ring. Hayes sets to dive and settles for a slide as he and Waller both avoid each other before eventually, Hayes hits a springboard clothesline in the ring then he clotheslines Waller out of the ring to send us to break.

Waller is working a cravat as we come back, Hayes fights free then misses a flying nothing to set up the rolling Flatliner from Waller and a 2 count. Hayes avoids a punch and lays in strikes of his own including a pump kick and La Mistica for a 2 count. Waller pulls Hayes off of the middle rope then climbs up there himself for a second rope over rotated Overdrive and a near fall. Waller’s penchant for overly contrived setups is eternal I see. Hayes grabs a Victory Roll for 2 then a thrust kick and springboard DDT for another 2 count. Waller yanks the arm of Hayes through the ropes and tries another rolling Flatliner but Hayes counters with a Codebreaker then Nothing But Net and the 3 count.

Official Winner - Carmelo Hayes won in 10:23

Official thoughts - Hayes looked like he belongs on the main roster here, Waller isn’t quite as mired in apathy as Austin Theory but he’s not too far behind him in that quagmire either. I couldn’t quite get to three stars here because of the commercial break and how Waller’s offence just feels overly set up.

In the back Randy walks and finds LA Knight, Knight offers help because we all know how the numbers work with the Bloodline. Randy says he and Knight are good, let’s keep it that way and to do that Knight should stay out of Randy’s way. Knight says he’s taking everything from Roman and that can either benefit Randy or hurt him.

Back to the ring, here’s Kevin Owens. Owens vs. Theory will be up after this break.

Post break we get a recap of Owens confronting Logan Paul a couple of weeks back and how his hand was kayfabe broken by Theory and Waller. After that, Austin Theory comes out to fake boos that fade almost immediately because even production knows this is a lost cause.

Match 2 – US Title Tournament Match: Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory

Some arm drags from Owens to start, Theory starts throwing punches but then gets rolled up for 2. Some more strikes from Theory, with Owens not being able to throw his right hand Theory can out brawl him. Owens with a back elbow then a senton but he might have jostled his hand and can’t follow up quickly so Theory rolls out of the ring. Owens follows Theory and they fight on the apron, Owens with some headbutts then boots Theory down and follows with a cannonball senton. Back in the ring, Owens goes up top but Theory rolls to the apron again. Theory snaps Owens across the ropes and hits a rolling dropkick. Back to the apron where Theory hits a cross legged suplex on the apron to send us to break.

Owens headbutts Theory off the ropes as we come back, then he follows with a Frog Splash but hurts his hand on the landing and is a bit too slow on the cover and only gets a 2 count. Back up top for Owens, but Theory gets his knees up to block the Swanton Bomb. Some stomps from Theory but he runs into a boot then Owens lands a headbutt and some left handed chops. Owens with stomps now then a kick and flying shoulder block, Manhattan Drop and a DDT to follow but all that only gets 2. Theory does not have a feel for near falls, that should have been closer than it was. Theory avoids a popup powerbomb but Owens levels him with a superkick for another 2 count. Owens sets for a cannonball but Theory boots him to block it then hits a top rope springboard Spanish Fly and a near fall. Theory tries to set up for A-Town Down but they wind up on the top rope where Owens hits his spinning avalanche Fisherman’s Buster because you can’t superplex Owens much like you can’t powerbomb Billy Kidman or cross body the late Scott Hall. They head out of the ring where Theory bounces Owens into the ring post, crotches him on the barricade, punches him into the timekeeper's area and then demands a count from the ref. Owens is able to make it back in at 9 but Theory hits a rolling Blockbuster but only another 2 count. Theory yells at Owens and puts him back on the top rope then climbs up there with him, foolish man doesn’t learn as Owens slips free and sets him in the tree of woe then hits a cannonball senton. Owens up top, Swanton Bomb and a 2 count. Theory blocks a Stunner and kicks the bad hand of Owens. Out of the ring now Theory slams the hand of Owens into the ring post, then stomps on it. Back in the ring Owens clocks Theory with the cast which knocks out Theory and lets him get the pin.

Official Winner - Kevin Owens won in 13:57

Official thoughts - Kevin Owens is pretty darn good, and Theory once again shows that he has a lot of the necessary tools but he’s yet to find his voice and attitude as a character. I wouldn’t object to anyone giving this 3.5, and I’m quite looking forward to Owens and Hayes.

Roman broods in the back and objects to how Randy ruined Solo’s moment. Someone needs to shut Randy up, Jimmy says he could but it sounds like a job for the tribal heir. Roman tells Jimmy that if he can handle Randy alone he could then ask for anything. Jimmy, the big dummy, smiles and says “yeet” which draws the silent ire of Roman. Jimmy does not have the knack for getting Roman to break character like other workers who brought comedy to the equation with him. Anyway, that sends us to break.

Post break we see members of the Green Bay Packers in the crowd, then they try to sell us on WrestleMania.

Karrion Kross video, says this place is about to be recycled. Everything was set into motion when he walked through the doors here, and a new beginning is coming. Everything is about to crumble. Soon we’ll see it. Kross has a great eye for these kinds of videos.

In the back, Kevin Owens walks and finds Cameron Grimes who congratulates him. Kayla is a little further down the hallway and she asks Owens about facing Hayes next week. He showed up about 10 years ago and faced off with John Cena, Hayes walks up beside Owens. Hayes has respect for Owens, but he needs this win more than Owens does. He’s nothing like Waller and Theory, and he’s not going to let Owens little brother him. Owens asks what “little brothering” is.

We get an update on Charlotte Flair who injured her knee last week, no specific injury is noted though but the timetable is supposed to be 9 months. Damage Control promo, Bayley says they’re the most dominant female faction in WWE history. She knew Iyo was special and it’s Iyo’s era now. Iyo says no one will stop her. With the Kabuki Warriors reunited they’re stronger than ever. Asuka and Kaira talk and warn that no one is ready for Damage Control. Dakota Kai says they’re ready to raise the bar, and they’re taking all the gold. Asuka and Kairi will take the women’s tag team titles and Bayley will enter the Royal Rumble and then go on to take Rhea Ripley’s title at WrestleMania. So looks like we’re holding off on that turn for at least until the Rumble.

Asuka and Kairi head to the ring next to their Kabuki Warriors theme. Zelina Vega and Michin attack Asuka and Kairi from behind and then head into the ring to call them on for their match after this break.

Match 3 – Tag Team Match: Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) w/ Dakota Kai vs. Michin and Zelina Vega

We join the match in progress as Asuka hip attacks Michin to the floor then Kairi follows with a jump off the apron. Kairi tags back in and Michin takes some tandem kicks as Asuka and Kairi are still in sync. Sliding D in the corner from Kairi, then she’s up top for a flying forearm and a 2 count. Asuka tags back in and Michin takes a double hip toss then is sandwiched by kicks. Zelina wants in but Asuka slams Michin down by the hair and then pretends she didn’t have to use the hair. Michin blocks a back fist with a backslide then avoids a buzzsaw kick before running into a clothesline. Asuka wants a suplex but Michin fights it off and hits one of her own. Kairi tags in and tries to stop the tag but Michin kicks her away and tags in Zelina. Zelina runs wild on Kairi for a bit including a running knee that gets a 2 count. Zelina now with a hammerlock DDT, Andrade is not pleased, then follows up with a 619 but Kairi then lands a spinning back fist and tags out. Asuka with the Asuka Lock and Zelina rolls for a pin to break it then tags in Michin. Michin and Asuka both miss kicks then Michin lands a headbutt and a slam for a 2 count as Kairi breaks up the pin. Kairi and Zelina are on the floor and Kairi with an Alabama Slam to Zelina onto the announce table, which looked like it sucked. Michin with kicks to Asuka including a Pele kick, Dakota distracts the ref so Bayley can shove Michin off the top rope. Blind tag from Kairi as Asuka drops Michin and Kairi with the InSane Elbow and the win.

Official Winner - Kabuki Warriors won in 6:14

Official thoughts - I’m not a fan of Asuka and Kairi needing help to beat Michin and Zelina who are non-factors on week to week TV. But the women’s tag team scene is barren so Kairi and Asuka reuniting makes sense to bolster those ranks and honestly, them winning the belts is probably the direction things should go.

In the back, Jimmy talks at Solo and says Roman and Heyman have been talking a long time and he thinks he’s being set up. He asks if Solo would tell him if something was coming at him, Solo just says he’s his brother. After this break, we’ll get Randy vs. Jimmy.

Post break we get a Santos Escobar video, he put a legend on the shelf because Rey Mysterio took his title shot from him. This time no one’s taking anything from him. Against Bobby Lashley, the flashy man and when he’s done with Bobby he’ll never want to be on Smackdown again. And when it’s all done he’s taking away what he gave to Logan Paul and will become the new US champion.

In the back, Bobby Lashley and the Street Profits talk. Let’s just think about how Logan Paul is the US champion, and now a tournament with people that Logan thinks he can beat. Except for Bobby Lashley. Next week Escobar is going to get stomped out because he’s just in Bobby’s way. We’ll get both semifinal matches next week. Dragon Lee will also defend the NXT North American title against Butch, and a bit 8 woman tag team match when Bianca Belair and friends take on Damage Control minus Dakota Kai.

Randy Orton heads to the ring for our main event. Jimmy Uso follows, no one is with him though.

Match 4 - Randy Orton vs. Jimmy Uso

Randy immediately lays into Jimmy with punches then tries a draping DDT but Jimmy squirms free and takes a powder as we head to break.

We come back to Randy landing a release back suplex onto the announce table. Jimmy’s selling is amusing Randy. Back in the ring Randy grabs the arm of Jimmy and starts working it while Jimmy complains to the ref. Jimmy fights free with a few headbutts but then runs into a back elbow. Randy sets for a 10 punch and hits all of them. Next Randy with the old Garvin stomp then they flub a spot and have to redo it so Jimmy can land a kick. Jimmy wants a hip attack and connects but only a 2 count on the cover. Now it’s Jimmy who wants a 10 punch and gets to 9 but Randy thumbs the eye to block the last one then tries the hanging DDT but Jimmy backdrops him over the top rope to the floor and sends us to another break.

We come back to Orton landing a headbutt. Jimmy kicks him away but then runs into a series of clotheslines, Randy sets for the snap powerslam only for Jimmy to hold onto the ropes, but naturally, he then runs into the snap powerslam. Randy gets snapped over the top rope but then Randy kicks him and finally hits the hanging DDT. Now Randy sets for the RKO but the music of Solo Sikoa disrupts things. Solo waddles down but immediately LA Knight shows up to a big pop to attack him on the stage. Jimmy then eats an RKO and that’ll do it.

Official Winner - Randy Orton won in 14:24

Official thoughts - Jimmy as a singles wrestler still doesn’t quite have the spark that Jey does, but he’s mostly here to be a joke and do jobs. Randy still feels like he’s getting his ring rust knocked off, not a bad thing.

Knight says he knew they were coming for Randy, and Roman jumps Knight from behind so he can further stare down Randy. Roman heads into the ring and brawls with Randy, Randy gets the better of things before Jimmy attacks Randy from behind. Jimmy stomps on Randy while Roman holds a Guillotine choke. Knight recovers now though and attacks Jimmy and Roman, but here’s Solo to put the Bloodline up numerically once again. Would be nice of AJ to return right about now. Knight and Randy both get stomped on for a bit and then here comes AJ Styles. AJ through the crowd as his music plays and he lays out Roman with a Phenomenal Forearm. Knight clotheslines Solo out of the ring so the Bloodline winds up collecting themselves on the floor while our good guys stand tall. AJ then lays out Knight, Randy shrugs comically because he doesn’t care, and then AJ walks past the Bloodline towards the back. Well, that’s weird, I’m not sure what the logic here is for AJ. Anyway, commentary runs down next week's card for us to end the episode.


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