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WWE Smackdown Review 28/07/23

Well everyone it’s another Friday and here we are for another episode of of WWE Smackdown. Tonight we’ve got a match to determine the next US title challenger when Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar square off,

Are any odds on Theory getting involved to set up a triple threat? We’ve also got Karl Anderson taking on Karrion Kross to further the Kross and AJ Styles feud, so that’ll be something. No word on Roman Reigns, but since he tends to be on an every other week schedule he might be off here.

That said it’s unlikely we’ll go a full week this close to SummerSlam without something Bloodline related, so we’ll have to see if Jey Uso or Solo Sikoa will get up to things here. Bobby Lashley has been on a recruiting tour lately so a reformation of the Hurt Business seems to be in the works, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Iyo Sky continue to dance around each other,

Shotzi might prove to be a wildcard in that whole thing as she’s got Bayley running scared, and we still have no earthly idea what the megastar LA Knight will be doing at SummerSlam. That PPV is coming up soon so anything they want to add to the card needs to get going. Anyway that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcome us to Smackdown in New Orleans. Then here’s Jey Uso in the ring. Jey is immediately interrupted by the music of Roman Reigns. Roman is here with Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa, roman is wearing his gold belt while Heyman is carrying the Tribal Chief lei.

No sign of the other two belts that Heyman usually carts around for Roman. Commentary reminds us that Tribal Combat is just a typical no DQ style match. Roman gets a mic from Heyman and provides the crowd a chance to acknowledge him. Decent “uso” chant going on as Roman reminds everyone that they like the Usos because of Roman. He reminds Jey that the Tribal Chief opens up the show if he’s scheduled to appear. Roman reminds Jey that he made him the right hand man, that he made him Main Event Jey Uso, and now that Jey doesn’t have any of that he’s just trying to become the head of the table. Jey doesn’t want to be Tribal Chief,

He watched Roman’s back because that’s what family does. For three years he’s been in the mud and trenches with Roman, because he believed in him, believed he could lead the company and family. But Roman broke the family, and now Jey is going to do what he has to do. Roman is the one who broke the family, the Bloodline, and Jimmy, and it’s all Roman’s fault.

Roman tells everyone to shut up, he’s not going to stand here and get blamed for Jey’s mistakes. As soon as Jimmy got hurt Jey asked for a title shot, because he’s selfish. Three years ago Jey became the right hand man because Jimmy was hurt, if Jimmy hadn’t been hurt then Jey never would have had a chance. And Jey still doesn’t get it, he’s going to be all alone.

Jey screwed Jimmy, and Solo loves and respects Roman more than Jey, so when Roman wins Jey is done, not a part of the history or legacy he’s making. But hypothetically if Jey wins, he gets the belt, the lei, and everything else that Roman has.

But even if he’s not Tribal Chief, he’s still Roman Reigns and can do what he wants to do. But Jey will be alone, and Jey can’t beat Roman so he wants to know what Jey’s thinking. Jey doesn’t respond, just stares down Roman as Roman starts to lose his cool, then Jey says he already beat Roman. He pinned him, the only one to do so in the last three years, and at SummerSlam, he will do it again, then Jey struts off. Roman and Jey continue to have incredible chemistry on the mic and in the ring.

A recap of the two fatal 4-way matches from the last couple of weeks follows then we get a minor hype package for Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar. Rey then heads to the ring, his match with Santos Escobar will be up after this break.

Post break Jey Uso walks in the back and finds Grayson Waller. Waller says Jey probably loses at SummerSlam but either way he wants Jey on the Grayson Waller Effect. Jey laughs with him then punches him in the face for calling him “little Jey”. Well we know what Jey’s doing later tonight I guess.

Back to the ring and here comes Santos Escobar.

Match #1: Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar

We get a handshake and they share words in Spanish before circling and tying up. Santos with a schoolboy for 1,

Rey counters into an arm wringer. Takedown from Santos then he ties up Rey in a modified Trailer Hitch. OK, we see Theory up in a sky box all alone, so no interference I suppose.

Now please stop showing Theory, no one cares, let’s just focus on the match please. Santos with a mat return then a leg kick. Rey responds with a slap, Santos slaps him back and they hit the ropes with Santos avoiding a 619 but Rey then dives onto him to send us to break.

Santos is sent to the apron as we come back, then Rey slams him back into the ring. Rey gets sent to the apron, climbs the ropes for a seated senton, then a springboard crossbody for 2.

Stop. Showing. Theory, no one cares. Santos hits a flying headbutt, then another one and he follows with a corner charge then lands a kick. Santos up top and hits his own flying crossbody for 2. Kick from Rey, then a Sunset Flip, almost a Manami Roll, but only 2. Santos lands a tilt a whirl backbreaker to take over.

Santos tries to catapult Rey into the corner, Rey lands on his feet though and winds up on the shoulders of Santos, they tumble to the floor but Santos keeps Rey in the Electric Chair position but Rey counters into a hurricanrana to send Santos into the ring apron. Rey tries a front first baseball slide but misses and eats the mat. Santos then heads into the ring to hit a nice suicide dive and send us to another break.

We come back to a doctor checking on Rey. It seems like Rey banged his head when taking that suicide dive from Santos. Not sure how legit this is, but the ref waves the match as Rey can’t continue so Santos wins.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Santos Escobar won

Rating: 3 stars Thoughts: If that was a worked ending it took all the air out of this match, which had been cooking pretty nicely. If that wasn’t a work we can only hope Rey’s alright.

Rey and Santos hug post match, then Santos and Theory stare at each other.

In the back Kayla talks with Bianca Belair, she says the numbers don’t favor anyone in a triple threat situation.

Scott Steiner disagrees. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville show up and whine about not being celebrated. Green mocks Flair trying for a face turn, and Belair wants a match. Anyway here’s Flair and she wants to team with Belair to take on Green and Sonya.

Belair doesn’t want to tag with Charlotte, but Charlotte still wants to and since she always gets her way she wanders off to find Adam Pearce. That whole thing sends us to break.

Post break Hit Row is in the ring. Some general crowd play from them and their terrible heel work, then here comes LA Knight to interrupt this with a monster pop. Knight has a mic and wants to talk to us. He soaks in the reaction before mocking Dolla as looking like Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Next he accuses B-Fab of being attracted to him, but his business is with Ashante and Knight is going to drop him on his head.

Match #2: LA Knight vs. Ashante the Adonis w/ B-Fab and Top Dolla

Ashante misses his attack cue so Knight has to look like a goober waiting on the attack. Knight gets tied up in the ropes and Ashante snaps him over the top rope, then Dolla with a cheap shot. Knight avoids a corner attack and hits a neckbreaker. Dolla on the apron gets clocked down, Knight then hits a powerslam on Ashante. That sets up the Yeah elbow. Blunt Force Trauma follows and we’re done.


Rating: Trombone. . . SQUASH Thoughts: Decent squash, but this reeks of last minute booking and I’m pretty sure they didn’t expect Knight to actually get over like this so they’re having him kill time until they can give him something of value to do.

In the back Jey looks at his phone and here’s Adam Pearce. Pearce says Waller wants a match with Jey tonight, and Jey is perfectly happy to shut him up in the ring.

Back to the ring, here comes Charlotte Flair. That tag team match will be up after this break.

In the back the Street Profits are talking with Bobby Lashley, Carmelo and Trick spoke highly of Dawkins and Ford. Bobby knows they’re stars and tells them they need to start looking like stars. Bobby has something a little better than their track suits, and brings over a rack of suits to choose from.

Charlotte is in the ring and here comes Bianca Belair. Belair only start selling being unhappy with all of this long after her usual entrance. Hard to reprogram the robots I guess. Anyway here come the tag team champs.

Match #3 – Tag Team Match: Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair vs. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville

Belair and Green start us off, Belair quickly grabs a side headlock then shoulder blocks Green down. Blind tag from Charlotte, and don’t we all love tag team partners who can’t get along? Some head slams from Charlotte then she tries a little Fargo strut, and good grief is her version of that awful. Belair tags in and slams Green down, then Green scuttles away to tag in Sonya, but Belair just slams her too then hits a handspring moonsault for 2. Sonya decides selling is a waste of time and lands body shots.

Dropkick from Belair then a 10 punch in the corner but she only gets to 4 before Green gets involved. Belair tosses Green but turns into a boot from Sonya that gets 2. That sends us to break.

Sonya is working a rest hold as we come back. Belair takes a kick to the body then Green tags in, only for Belair to fight back then fail to get a tag as Charlotte isn’t terribly enthused about tagging in. Double suplex from Belair drops both Sonya and Green then Belair tags out. Charlotte heads up top as Green and Sonya inexplicably move into position for her crossbody.

Chops from Charlotte then a fall away slam. Step over clothesline from Charlotte gets a 2 count. Green lands a back elbow and tags out. Charlotte Spears Green, then rolls up Sonya for 2. Sonya kicks Charlotte away from a Figure 8 attempt and Belair tags in. Belair runs over Sonya a few times then hits a suplex. 10 punch in the corner from Belair, then Sonya slips free and pulls Belair down by the hair. Green with a blind tag as Sonya eats a very awkward spine buster. Green trips up Belair, but can’t hit the Unprettier. Charlotte with a tag as Belair is trying the Kiss of Death, Charlotte then lands a boot. Some arguing from Charlotte and Belair but Charlotte can still easily get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair won

Rating: 2 stars Thoughts: This felt slow and a little disjointed, I get the general story of Belair and Charlotte being disingenuous and trying to one up each other but I question the necessity of this one. The tag team champs looked like chumps to try and make your two non-champions look better while they keep Asuka about as firmly forgotten in the background as possible.

In the back Bayley calls that embarrassing. Iyo Sky walks in and wonders why Bayley left her last week, Bayley equivocates and brings up Shotzi. In Bayley’s bag is a note from Shotzi about seeing Bayley soon. Asuka shows up and talks with Iyo, she brings up having to beat Charlotte and Belair, but warns Iyo against cashing in her briefcase at SummerSlam. Iyo respects Asuka, but doesn’t care who wins at SummerSlam because she’s leaving as champion. Asuka jump scares Bayley as they walk past her.

That sends us to break.

Post break commentary informs us of the SummerSlam battle royal. OK then.

In the back Adam Pearce talks on his phone, and here comes LA Knight. Knight says not having him compete for the US title is a giant misstep, but if you want to make that silly Battle Royal mean something you need La Knight. The Brawling Brutes walk in and Sheamus wants him and Brutes to be in that match as well. Knight and Pearce have no patience for this nonsense and Pearce puts Sheamus and Knight in the match, and lets them have a match next week.

Next, a recap of Jey cold cocking Waller in the back to set up their match. You know, in case you missed it earlier. Grayson Waller warms up in the back and Cathy asks if he’s provoked Jey. Waller didn’t provoke him, he knows Jey is stressed about SummerSlam so he’s not ready for Waller tonight.

Back to the ring, here comes Karrion Kross. His match with Karl Anderson will be up after this break.

Post break we see the OC in gorilla. Karl appreciates everyone having his back, but he doesn’t want them out there with him. AJ agrees and Karl heads to the ring.

Match #4: Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett vs. Karl Anderson

Karl attacks at the bell with strikes, Kross shoves him off but Karl with more chops. More uppercuts from Karl then Kross lands a knee but Karl hits a jumping neckbreaker. Kross distracts the ref so Scarlett can trip up Karl and that allows Kross to take out the knee of Karl. Corner strikes from Kross, then a Saito suplex. Kross Hammer set up, and connects. That pumphandle into an F5 connects, calling that the Final Prayer I guess, and that gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Karrion Kross won

Rating: 2 stars Thoughts: A little short and I might have preferred more of a squash personally.

Post match Kross with the Kross Jacket to Karl, that leads the OC to run out and save Karl.

In the back Roman and company are chilling in a locker room watching the show.

To the ring and here comes Jey Uso. Jey will be in our main event after this break.

Commentary runs down some of the matches for next week, and a reminder that in 2 weeks we’ll get Santos Escobar vs. Austin Theory. Wait, that wasn’t for a PPV spot? Theory has seriously killed the prestige of that title.

Anyway here comes Grayson Waller.

Match #5: Jey Uso vs. Grayson Waller

Jey looks pissed and they tie up. They wind up in a corner, Jey gives a clean break. Another tie up, Waller grabs a side headlock then lands a shoulder block. Jey fights back with a jumping elbow to drop Waller. Waller dropkicks the knee and starts stomping on Jey in the corner. Waller tries a headbutt, that goes poorly as Waller drops while Jey just laughs at him. Slam from Jey then a stomp to the face. Some strikes from Waller to try and take over.

Enziguri from Jey sends Waller into the corner, and Jey sets for a hip attack but the music of Roman hits to disrupt things. Roman, Heyman, and Solo walk down towards ringside, the distraction allowing Waller to hit a leg lariat and send us to break.

Waller is working a cravat as we come back. Roman is sitting in a chair at the start of the ramp. Jey fights back with a body blow then a jawbreaker.

Jey puts Waller on the top rope, they fight up there for a bit then Waller punches Jey down before walking the middle rope for an elbow drop and a 2 count. Waller with some elbows to the back of the head while he trash talks Jey.

Jey avoids a leg lariat and lands a superkick. Waller hits a spinebuster, then tries the People’s Elbow but Jey avoids it and hits a Samoan drop. Jey misses a hip attack but then Waller tries the rolling Stunner only to eat a superkick from Jey. Jey stares at Roman, then calls for a Spear and hits it. Roman looks pissed as Roman climbs the ropes. Jey hits a Splash and that’ll do it.


Rating: 3 stars Thoughts: Good little match, more about Jey and Roman of course but Waller didn’t look out of place. Waller remains everything they thought Theory was.

Post match Solo jumps Jey and stomps him down. Roman approves of a Samoan Spike, but Jey avoids it and lands a superkick. Roman charges the ring but Jey Spears Roman to a thunderous reaction.

Jey follows with a Splash attempt but Solo shoves him off the top. Solo hauls Jey up, Spinning Solo connects. Solo again wants the Spike, but Roman is up and hits a Spear at the same time to leave Jey floored on the mat. Roman stands over Jey and trash talks him but the crowd gets to Roman with a “you got pinned” chant. They go to wipe out Jey again and again crush him with the Spike and Spear combination. Roman poses with his prizes on the ropes to end the episode.

Smackdown is a bipolar show these days. Everything involving The Bloodline is really good, everything else feels listless and a little directionless. Case in point tonight, our opening segment and main event were strong but the middle of the show kind of died. The odd choice to end Rey vs. Escobar the way they did (assuming it was a choice and not a legit injury to Rey), the women's tag team stuff, LA Knight got to beat Hit Row because they pretty clearly needed to fill time with him while they come up with a creative direction more in keeping with the reactions he's getting. This needed a few tweaks as an episode to get it into Good territory, but all things considered, it still wasn't bad.

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