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WWE Smackdown Review 21/07/23

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of WWE Smackdown. SummerSlam is starting to loom on the horizon and the card is really taking shape. In fact, WWE’s Twitter announced that we will get a triple threat for the women’s title with Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair though one must imagine they’ll repeat that on air tonight. We’ll have the other Fatal 4-Way match tonight with the winner wrestling Santos Escobar for a shot at Austin Theory and his US title.

Last week we saw Bobby Lashley show back up for the first time in a long time, and it seems like he’ll be aligning with the Street Profits in some capacity. Karrion Kross and AJ Styles are still engaged in a feud, Bayley looked to have been injured at a house show so we’ll see how she’s doing tonight, Edge needs someone to wrestle at SummerSlam so they’d better get on that, and Grayson Waller seems to be gaining a bit of steam now that they’ve let him wrestles and not paired him on his talk show with just the worst guests.

Our main event will be Roman Reigns and Jey Uso sitting down to come to terms for their match at SummerSlam, basically a glorified contract singing with the gimmick announced, but there’s a ton of heat on the Bloodline still plus we know Roman and Jey have good chemistry so hopefully, we’ll get some more quality stuff from them. OK, let’s get to the action.

As Per usual we open with a recap of last week, specifically Jey Uso’s warpath in the wake of Jimmy getting taken out. They didn’t keep Paul Heyman’s “Jewso” line, which is a shame.

We see Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and Solo Sikoa walking in the back.

To the ring and we get introductions for our Fatal 4-Way match, Austin Theory is ringside but thankfully not on commentary because boy was, he not good at that last week. Rey Mysterio, then Sheamus head to the ring. Sheamus is flying solo, though Butch will apparently be in action later. Cameron Grimes gets a decent little reaction when he heads out, considering how infrequently he’s been on TV that’s good. However, LA Knight gets hands down the biggest pop on the entrance. Knight has a mic as he walks to the ring and wants to talk to us. Good grief that man is over. Knight reminds us about SummerSlam coming up, and he wants to be the one to take the US title from Theory, yeah. He’s going to take everyone out because this is LA Knight’s game. . . yeah!

Match #1 – Fatal 4-Way: Sheamus vs. Rey Mysterio vs. LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes

We get brawling right away from all four men. Grimes sends Rey out of the ring as Sheamus batters Knight. Knight avoids a back suplex and clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring. Knight drops Grimes with a slingshot shoulder block then tosses him out of the ring and stands tall as we head to break.

Sheamus is working over Knight as we come back. Rey and Grimes mess around on the floor as Knight drops Sheamus with a clothesline. Sheamus with a body blow to Knight, then a Finlay Roll for a 1 count. Knight drops Sheamus with a back elbow but Sheamus sends him to the apron and drops him.

Grimes behind Sheamus and rolls him up for 2. Rey sends Grimes into Knight and knocks him to the floor. Rey and Sheamus square off, then seem to decide to beat up the youngsters instead so Rey grabs Grimes while Sheamus grabs Knight and we go Bodhran beating to the count of 10. That leaves Rey and Sheamus alone to shake hands, then Rey tries a takedown but Sheamus is bigger and just stalls him out. Sheamus scoops up Rey but Rey gets free only to run into a tilt a whirl backbreaker, which Cole mistakenly calls the Irish Curse. Silly Cole.

Sheamus gets jumped onto by Grimes, Grimes looks to fire up with kicks to Sheamus and Rey, a mild reaction to his offence until he hits Knight with an enziguri which draws a bit of ire. Sheamus pulls Grimes off of a pin and lays into him with strikes. Grimes dropkicks Sheamus then lays in more kicks before running into some blows and an Irish Curse. Knight gets tossed out but he pulls Sheamus with him and they brawl on the floor with LA Knight dropping Sheamus on the apron. Rey is up top, Grimes eats a blow from Knight and Rey hops down then hits a baseball slide onto Knight. They all get to the corner and we get the mandatory Tower of Doom spot to send us to another break. Not the cleanest Tower of Doom spot I’ve ever seen, hopefully, everyone’s OK.

We come back to Grimes covering Rey for 2. Grimes gets Rey in an Electric Chair and they spill to the floor with Rey still in position he hurricanrana Grimes at Theory but Theory avoids it and whines. Sheamus has climbed the ropes and dives onto both Rey and Grimes, then launches Grimes into the barricade, and one for Rey as well. Knight and Sheamus in the ring, Sheamus hits a diving clothesline to drop him. Sheamus with a power slam to Rey and White Noise to Knight for 2. Now Sheamus wants a Brogue Kick, but the crowd are not with him.

Grimes eats a punch but the Knight avoids a Brogue Kick and catches Sheamus with a powerbomb, but Rey dives onto the pin to break it up. Everyone gets a chance to hit a big move, Knight nearly pins Sheamus but Rey breaks it up. Grimes catches Rey with a spinning power slam and Knight breaks up the pin. Rey with a modified 619 to Knight’s body, then a kick to Grimes. Rey is up top but Grimes is up there with him, Sheamus wanders over and clubs at Grimes then puts him on his shoulders. Rey sort of hits a double rana to Sheamus and Grimes then hits a double 619 on both men, splash to Grimes but Theory pulls Rey off the cover and tosses him into the ring steps. That brings out Santos Escobar to brawl with Theory through the crowd. Back in the ring Knight with the Yeah Elbow to Grimes but Sheamus comes in with a Brogue Kick to Knight, Grimes with a Cave Into Sheamus only for Rey to snap off a nice looking Frankensteiner on Grimes and get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Rey Mysterio won

Rating: 3 stars Thoughts: A few dangerous spots and slight sloppiness aside this was pretty darn good. I’m not sure why Theory jumped Rey, as it didn’t really factor into anything. I’m not sure what they’re doing with Knight

unless they think he’s a heel in which case you’d want a face vs. Theory.

Santos Escobar and Rey celebrate in the ring, and we go to break with a promise of more recaps when we come back.

We come back and find Jey Uso walking in the back, he walks past Tony D’Angelo.

Elsewhere in the back Theory walks up to Adam Pearce. Theory objects to Santos attacking him, he wants a match tonight and Pearce wants to add the title. Again Theory objects, he just wants a regular old match with Santos, and Pearce is amenable. OK then.

Next, that recap threatened us with plays, just recapping Brock Lesnar attacking Cody Rhodes in front of his mom and setting up their SummerSlam match.

After that here comes Charlotte Flair to her usual sweetened reaction. After this break, she’ll wrestle Iyo Sky.

We come back to the announcement of Asuka vs. Fair vs. Bianca Belair. A ton of NXT talent is around, including NXT women’s champion Tiffany Stratton. Anyway here comes the best female wrestler WWE has, Iyo Sky. Oh, and a recap of the women’s title situation last week during Iyo’s entrance. Bayley joins commentary, alright then.

Match #2: Charlotte Flair vs. Iyo Sky w/ Bayley

Iyo and Charlotte tie up, hit the corner then Charlotte sort of cartwheels out of an arm drag. Another tie-up and Charlotte lands a shoulder block. More gymnastics from Charlotte, then Iyo shows her up but doing them better.

Low dropkick from Iyo and she then gets tripped down by Charlotte. Double kick from Iyo then some mounted punches. Charlotte lands a kick through the ropes and then climbs up top for a crossbody.

Iyo with another low dropkick to the leg of Charlotte. Iyo to the apron, and a nicely executed top rope dropkick. Charlotte grabs a rear waist lock, but Iyo slingshots her through the ropes and they trade momentum on the floor with Iyo hitting a hurricanrana, Charlotte seems to be sandbagging a bit and only selling or finishing a move a full beat after Iyo finishes it, and we head to break.

Charlotte is messing with Bayley as we come back, and then she and Iyo head into the ring.

Charlotte misses a knee attack and Iyo lands a corner Meteora for a 2 count. Modified Crossface from Iyo which Charlotte fights out of. Iyo with another dropkick to the knee, which Charlotte still isn’t selling. Charlotte with chops, then a fall away slam. Step over clothesline from Charlotte gets 2.

They head up top, and Bayley heads over to distract Charlotte which allows Iyo to hit a Sunset Liger Bomb for a near fall. A Shotzi video interrupts things to distress Bayley, who runs away from ringside which distracts Iyo. Iyo is up top but Charlotte pulls her down then misses a Spear and eats the corner. Iyo is up top again, but Charlotte avoids the Moonsault.

Charlotte is up top for her moonsault but Iyo gets the feet up then we get La Mistica from Iyo and they trade crucifix pins for near falls. Iyo avoids a boot and snaps Charlotte’s leg over the ropes, this time Charlotte actually sells.

Charlotte avoids a top rope dropkick and grabs a Boston Crab but Iyo counters into a rana pin for 2. Dropkick from Iyo then some elbows but Charlotte catches a charging Iyo with a Spear for an awkward near fall.

Charlotte wants Figure 8, but Iyo counters into a Small Package for 2. German suplex from Charlotte, she holds on and tries another but Iyo counters into a Victory Roll then a double stomp to the body. Boot from Charlotte then she climbs the ropes but Iyo hits a palm strike and climbs up with her for a conversation while the crowd chants for Iyo. They trade covers on a top rope rana but then Charlotte hits Natural Selection to pick up the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Charlotte Flair won

Rating: 2.5 stars Thoughts: Too much sloppiness from Charlotte early to get to 3 stars, but a decent closing stretch. Though Iyo probably should have gone over here, unfortunately, the habit of not letting MITB winners win matches after that continues.

Post-match Asuka is here to German suplex Charlotte and wipes her out with a sliding kick. Armbar from Asuka to Charlotte and for the first time in all feud Asuka gets to stand tall on her own merits.

In the back Kayla talks with dumb Dom and Rhea Ripley. Dom wanted to show off what a real champion looks like and says he’s the North American champion which would trump the US title if Rey wins it. Butch shows up for some reason and wants a match with Dom for his title. Dom tries to beg off, but here’s Shawn Michaels to approve the match. So a RAW wrestler will defend his NXT title on Smackdown. Why do we bother pretending the rosters are separate again?

Elsewhere in the back Roman Reigns fondles his ceremonial lei while Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman look on. Roman seems pensive.

Back to the ring, Austin Theory is here to another mild reaction. After this break, he’ll take on Santos Escobar.

In the back, Iyo and Bayley argue, and then Bayley finds a picture of herself stabbed with scissors to her bag. Bayley just wants to go as soon as possible.

Back to the ring here comes Santos Escobar.

Match #3: Austin Theory vs. Santos Escobar

They attack each other right away and Escobar lands a dropkick. Some corner stomps from Theory. Escobar fights back, but Theory cuts him off with a DDT-to-zero reaction. Small “Who’s your daddy?” chant directed at Theory, but no one really picks up on it and Johnny Gargano is still MIA. Escobar with a 10 punch in the corner but he can’t keep Theory down for a pin yet.

Theory gets caught up by technical acumen of Escobar, then Escobar clotheslines him out of the ring and sets for a dive but just poses as Theory requests a time-out. The broadcast obliges him and we go to break.

Theory lands a backbreaker as we come back from break. They head to the apron, Theory wants a suplex but Escobar blocks him and then kicks him to the floor. Escobar hits a suicide dive to send Theory into the announce table. Back in the ring Escobar with some diving forearms then a hurricanrana.

Theory runs into an enziguri, then Escobar heads up top for a crossbody that gets 2. Escobar wants a Phantom Driver but Theory slips free and lands a chop block then an elbow for a 2 count. Theory wants his finish, but Escobar avoids A Town Down and lands a kick. They head up top again, Theory shoves Escobar down but Escobar hops back up with him and they fight on the top rope with Escobar hitting a super hurricanrana. Corner Meteora from Escobar, then a Phantom Driver for the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Santos Escobar won

Rating: 3 stars Thoughts: This was fine for the most part, but that closing sequence was kind of nuts and elevated it.

Escobar celebrates his win.

In the back, Bobby Lashley meets Carmello Hayes and Trick Williams and wants to talk with them. The possibility of a Hurt Business reformation is strong.

To the ring and here’s Dominik Mysterio. His title defence will be up after this break.

Post break here comes Butch. As Butch walks to the ring we get a replay of Ridge Holland injuring Elton Prince last week.

Match #4 – NXT North American Title Match: (c) Dominik Mysterio w/ Rhea Ripley vs. Butch

They tie up, then Dom lands a right hand. Per usual Dom’s heat has kind of died once the match starts. Butch fights back and goes for the arm of Dom then stomps on him before yanking the fingers of Dom and grabbing an armbar. Dom gets under the ropes to break and snaps Butch over the top rope. Ripley hands Dom a chain, then distracts the ref but here’s Ridge Holland to pull the chain away. Butch with a release suplex for 2 and we head to break.

Dom is in control as we come back. Kit Wilson wheels Elton Prince down in a wheelchair because this isn’t overbooked enough. The crowd is looking at Pretty Deadly, not the ring. Butch fires up and clobbers Dom with kicks in the corner then an elbow drop to the arm. Punt kick from Butch then he stomps on the hands.

Dom slings Butch into the ropes and wants the 619 but Butch counters with a slingshot German suplex then stomps the hands and lands a Buzzsaw kick for 2. Wilson and Prince want an apology from Ridge, then they brawl with Ridge and Butch, Wilson abandons Prince in the wheelchair. Prince tries to beg off, then runs away leaving the wheelchair behind. Ridge chases them back. This all allows Ripley to hit a chop block on Butch, Dom then posts him and covers him for 3.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dominik Mysterio retained the title

Rating: 1.5 stars Thoughts: I hate giving Butch a low rating, but everything in the ring was just a total afterthought, none of it mattered, and it was overbooked to hell.

Commentary run down next week’s card, Rey vs. Escobar in an odd match as Escobar pinned Theory already. We’ll also get Karl Anderson vs. Karrion Kross.

Jey Uso heads to the ring and the crowd wakes up. After this break, Roman will be here for the Rules of Engagement discussion.

Post break here comes Roman Reigns. Roman is again flanked by Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. There’s a table and microphones in the ring and Roman naturally moves his chair to the head of the table before sitting.

Roman gets a mic from Heyman and provides Orlando with the opportunity to acknowledge him. Jey and Roman sit, Jey still refuses to look at Roman for any length of time. Roman asks if Jey still wants to do this. Jey still wants to do this, this is what he’s supposed to do, Roman has forced this after putting Jimmy in the hospital. Roman says Jey won't get him, because Jey doesn’t get it.

Jey’s just a soldier, a pawn. Roman pulls over the contract and then gets a pen from Heyman. Pretty loud “uso” chant as Roman signs. Jey pulls out the contract and tears it in half then says they don’t need a contract.

Their contract is in their blood. This is Tribal Combat. Roman asks if the elders know about this, and Jey tells him it was their idea. Anything goes in Tribal Combat, and Jey runs down all the things he can do to Roman. Roman tells the crowd to shut up as they support Jey,

And then he tells Jey to shut up as well. The Tribal Chief is talking, and he’s been running this business for almost a decade. He puts his belt on the table and says it doesn’t mean anything to him. Jey said Tribal Combat, and Roman has to take off his ceremonial lei and put that on the line too, which Roman thinks about but ultimately does. Roman and Jey offer hands, then go forehead to forehead for a moment, solidifying the combat. Roman is about to leave,

Solo goes to Spike Jey but Roman stops him leading to Jey superkicking Solo out of the ring. Roman just leaves as Jey stalks the ring looking like a caged animal. That ends the episode.

This Was a Pretty good episode this week, hampered by some odd booking choices in places and a few segments that didn't amount to anything of relevance.

But we had a good opening match, and once Charlotte got Iyo to stop showing her up that match became pretty good.

Theory and Escobar was an odd choice all around but had a good closing stretch. The only downside was Dom vs. Butch because it was entirely pointless and overbooked. Stuff with The Bloodline remains the highlight of Smackdown and this installment was shorter and more to the point with the gravitas settling in the more Roman and Jey talked.

It feels like the rest of the Smackdown roster is getting a little direction to go along with the Bloodline continuing to be maybe the best thing in wrestling.


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