Date: March 10, 2023
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We are just over three weeks away from Wrestlemania and the biggest development coming into this show was Jey Uso rejoining the Bloodline by taking out Sami Zayn. That seems to be the step that we have been waiting for on the way to whatever the Usos and Zayn are going to be doing at Wrestlemania so we might see something big tonight. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Jey rejoining his brother Jimmy on Smackdown in a great turn. Cody Rhodes made the save to tie it into the World Title situation.
The Usos arrive and are greeted by Paul Heyman. Jey asks where Roman Reigns is but Heyman hugs him. Jey says let Reigns know he’s here so Heyman goes to find him. When asked why he turned on Sami Zayn, Jey says he’ll make it clear tonight. Jimmy says Cody Rhodes needs to stay out of the Bloodline’s business.
Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus vs. LA Knight vs. Xavier Woods vs. Karrion Kross
The winner gets Gunther for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania and only Scarlett is here as a second. Sheamus and McIntyre clear the ring to start and bicker at each other, only to get jumped from behind. We take a break and come back with the brawl on the floor and Kross/Knight double teaming McIntyre down. Sheamus is back up with a top rope clothesline. Knight neckbreakers Sheamus down, with Kross letting go of his half crab on McIntyre for the save.
Woods is back up and takes out Knight with a fireman’s carry gutbuster. The Limit Breaker gets two with everyone else breaking it up. Cue Imperium to watch as we take a break. Back with McIntyre doing his situp in the corner to superplex Kross and McIntyre down for the big crash. McIntyre gets to clean house but Knight takes him down.
Sheamus is back up with the forearms to Kross and Knight but McIntyre breaks up the Brogue Kick. McIntyre and Sheamus have the staredown but Sheamus has to Brogue Kick Woods out of the air. The Claymore hits Knight and Sheamus and McIntyre get a double pin at 17:32.
Rating: B-. The match got some time and the ending probably sets up a triple threat, which is more interesting than Sheamus vs. Gunther again. I could go for McIntyre vs. Gunther in a singles match, but this should make for a heck of a fight. Gunther is on a record setting title reign and having him face two former World Champions at Wrestlemania sounds like a worthy challenge.
Paul Heyman, looking distracted, talks about how Roman Reigns has been champion for almost 1000 days and the two of them have managed to outsmart everyone. They have done it by getting inside everyone’s heads but now there is Cody Rhodes as a stylistic nightmare for them. Should they go after him like gangsters like they have done before? The smart thing is to go after him with the truth and weigh his mind down. He’s going to walk into Wrestlemania as a defeated man and that is why Reigns will retain.
The first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame (it took long enough): Rey Mysterio. I didn’t have that one coming but yeah that’s a headliner.
Here is Rey Mysterio to talk about his induction but Dominik Mysterio and the Judgment Day interrupts. Dominik talks about how much time Rey sacrificed with him for the sake of his career. Cue Legado del Fantasma, with Santos Escobar saying they have a match scheduled for later but let’s do it right now.
Legado del Fantasma vs. Judgment Day
Joined in progress with Balor hitting a basement dropkick on Del Toro. Priest comes in to stomp away in the corner, followed by the jumping elbow to the face. Del Toro manages a quick hurricanrana so Escobar can come in for some running knees to Balor in the corner. Legado takes turns with some running corner clotheslines but Priest runs Del Toro over. The toss suplex sets up Dominik’s slingshot hilo and we take a break with Legado in trouble.
Back with Escobar making a comeback and handing it off to Del Toro for the springboard crossbody. A standing C4 gets two on Dominik and a rope walk dropkick sends Priest outside. Everything breaks down and the double dives take out Judgment Day. Vega’s hurricanrana off the steps is pulled out of the air and Rhea Ripley throws her into Legado. Dominik takes out Rey and Priest hits a basement superkick to give Dominik the pin at 9:13.
Rating: C+. This got going and turned into a fast paced six man tag, with judgment Day beating the team that has barely been a team for the last month or so. Escobar has mainly been a solo act but having his friends with him is not a bad thing. Good, fun match here and I can always go for a nice six man.
Post match Dominik asks to talk to Rey man to man, even asking Judgment Day to leave him alone. Dominik says the only Hall of Fame Rey belong in is the one for deadbeat dads. He should have been Eddie’s son and knocks Rey down, but Rey ducks a charge to send Dominik outside. Dominik screams at Rey to fight him but Rey still says no. Legado comes in to calm Rey down. This match is actually going to feel big when we get there.
Adam Pearce runs into Charlotte in the back and wants a match, any match, tonight. He’ll see what he can do.
Ricochet/Braun Strowman vs. Viking Raiders
Ricochet takes Erik down to start but Ivar comes in to hit him in the face. It’s off to Strowman, who LAUNCHES Ricochet over the top onto both Vikings as we take a break. Back with Ricochet getting his neck cranked and getting punched down for daring a comeback. Ivar distracts Strowman so Erik can drive him off the apron as the dominance is on.
Ricochet fights back and rolls Erik up for two, only to get caught in a good looking sitout powerbomb for two more. A springboard moonsault press drops Erik as Strowman is getting back up to the apron to take the tag. Strowman gets to clean house and Ricochet kicks Ivar down. Valhalla offers a distraction though and the 450 misses. Ivar kicks Ricochet in the face and hits a top rope splash for the pin at 10:55.
Rating: C. The ending had me a bit scared as I was wondering if Valhalla was going to do some weird supernatural stuff but thankfully they didn’t go that way. The Vikings are a team who keeps getting started and stopped and right now seems to be the former. Maybe they can put something together, as there is value in having a pair of monsters like this in any tag division.
Gunther asks Adam Pearce about the Intercontinental Title match and is told there will be potential challengers. That’s not cool with Gunther, but Pearce makes Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre next week for the title shot at Wrestlemania.
Charlotte vs. Shotzi
Non-title and Charlotte runs her over to start. Shotzi grabs a rollup for two but gets waistlocked down. Cue Rhea Ripley for a distraction but Charlotte grabs a suplex anyway. We take a break and come back with Charlotte booting her off the apron. Charlotte gets driven into the apron but is fine enough to cut off a dive attempt. A fall away slam sends Shotzi flying and the spear sets up the Figure Eight to finish Shotzi at 8:22.
Rating: C-. This was little more than a workout for Charlotte, who ran over Shotzi without much trouble, even with Ripley there for the distraction. Charlotte needs a few wins of her own to keep up with Ripley, who is on a roll at the moment. This helped make Charlotte look like a killer, which she hasn’t been in recent weeks.
Post match Ripley gets in the ring and says that she can see why she chose to face Charlotte at Wrestlemania. She can see all of those insecurities and now she is going to take Charlotte’s title. Charlotte says that she has improved every day and can outwork anyone, male or female. Ripley can rip apart anyone, except for her.
Here are the Usos for their big speech. Jimmy talks about the team being back together and Jey says let’s flip roles for a bit. If your family is in trouble, you’re going to take their side and help them out. If they need a ride to work or their power is about to be shut off, you’re going to help them.
Jimmy is his twin and his blood and of course he helped his brother out. The only person Jey blames is Sami Zayn because the reality is, Sami is selfish. All Zayn had to do was fall in line but he isn’t blood and never will be. The only problem left is Cody Rhodes….and here he is to interrupt.
Cody says if you’re going to say his name, say it straight to him. He doesn’t answer to Reigns but rather the people….and here is Sami Zayn to jump the Usos. The big brawl is on and they head into the crowd until it’s back to ringside. Sami and Cody clear the ring to end the show. That was a hot segment but I’m not sure I can imagine Cody/Sami vs. the Usos, as that feels pay per view worthy rather than TV.
Overall Rating: B-. This was another show where they were mainly building up things already set, or all but set, for Wrestlemania. The Usos’ reunion didn’t mean much but at least they were on the show and confirmed Jey’s status. Next week’s #1 contenders match should be good and we took a big step towards the battle of the Mysterios. It was another show that felt like it had a big to do list and checked off one item at a time. Good show here, as Wrestlemania is getting a proper build instead of the rush jobs that we have seemed to get in recent years.
Sheamus and Drew McIntyre b. Xavier Woods, Karrion Kross and LA Knight – Double pin
Judgment Day b. Legado del Fantasma – Superkick to Del Toro
Viking Raiders b. Ricochet/Braun Strowman – Top rope splash to Ricochet
Charlotte b. Shotzi – Figure Eight
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