The SmarK Rant for WWE Smackdown – 04.14.23
Eh, Rampage has been boring the pants off me lately, so let’s change it up for a bit.
Live from whatever city “the campus of the University of Nebraska” is in.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Wade Barrett
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn join us to start. All the kids are talking about the upcoming draft, but the champs aren’t concerned about whether they’ll end up on RAW or Smackdown. They admit that the Usos will be looking for a rematch, which of course brings out the Usos, looking for their rematch, and they insist that the Bloodline has no cracks. And in fact, it’s more likely that Sami and KO are going to turn on each other for the millionth time. So Sami is all “You wanna fight?” and the Usos are all “Them’s fighting words!” and they all fight, with Riddle making the save and chasing off Solo Sikoa to set up the six-man for Backlash. This was fine.
Meanwhile, Adam Pearce books Riddle and Solo TONIGHT IN THIS VERY RING.
Xavier Woods v. LA Knight
This is a beef over Knight laying hands on Xavier’s controller, which is how you know Vince isn’t involved. He’d probably have Xavier using an Atari 2600 joystick hooked up to a Vextrex system. Xavier with a dropkick to chase Knight to the corner to start and he works the headlock, but LA puts him down with a back elbow. Xavier does a nice spin into a legsweep to put Knight on the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Knight avoids Xavier by bailing again, but this time he suckers Xavier into trying another dive and sends him into the post as we take a break. Back with Woods missing a charge as Knight gets a neckbreaker for two off that. Woods makes a comeback and slugs him down, and a forearm gets two. Knight DDTs him for two and tries a suplex, but Woods blocks him and Knight stomps him down and tries to suplex him out of the ring. Xavier reverses that and drops him on the top rope, then follows with a top rope legdrop for two. They trade shots and Knight catches him with the powerslam and elbowdrop and then rolls him up. But he grabs the tights too blatantly and gets caught, allowing Xavier to get his own rollup, grab the tights equally blatantly, and get the pin at 11:34. Knight is a good opening match guy and this was fun. **3/4.
Meanwhile, Imperium is trying to have a serious planning session, but Xavier Woods annoys them with his tromboning. Gunther accuses Woods of being a GOOF, and he doesn’t like goofs. But Xavier still wants a shot at the title despite the obvious stupidity of making this scary, scary man mad. Well it’s his funeral.
Meanwhile, Sami apologizes to Riddle for all the bad things he did as a part of the Bloodline and wants him to be careful, but KO wants him to go out and fight like a maniac.
Meanwhile, the Judgment Day lets us know that they’re going to address the Bad Bunny situation in the ring.
Damian Priest v. Santos Escobar
But first, Priest has words for Bad Bunny, who is apparently a musician of some kind, but the LWO attacks and we take a break. Back with Escobar running wild and clotheslining Priest to the floor, but he tries a dive and gets slugged down. Back in, Priest with a corner splash and falcon arrow for two. Escobar makes a comeback with chops and a dropkick for two. Escobar slugs away in the corner, but Priest superkicks him to the floor and lays him out there. We take a break and return with Priest beating on him in the corner, and a flatliner gets two. Priest with a surfboard and Escobar fights out of that while the announcers discuss the history of the LWO from WCW. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Rey Mysterio to reform the Filthy Animals instead? They’ve got a much cooler name as well. Escobar fights back with a top rope rana and they get into a slugfest before Escobar makes the comeback with a moonsault press for two. Rhea takes the ref and Dom gets a cheapshot, but Priest goes after the LWO and Escobar kicks him into the announce table. Back in, Rhea gets involved again, and Priest finishes clean with the chokeslam at 12:00. Escobar as the plucky underdog babyface is such a weird fit. This was decent but felt really overbooked for what it was. **1/2. Afterwards, Rey Mysterio hits the ring and threatens to give his kid a 619, but Judgment Day saves him.
Meanwhile, Paul Heyman gives Solo a peptalk and brings up various Samoans (“I SEE UMAGA TURNING OVER IN HIS GRAVE!”) but Solo has the situation under control.
Meanwhile, on RAW, Liv and Raquel win the tag team titles.
Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan join us for their victory speech and they’ve got not much to say, but Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville interrupt and bitch about whatever and this is just death.
Shinsuke Nakamura v. Madcap Moss
Moss charges him and gets a fallaway slam, nearly dropping Nakamura on his head, but Nakamura boots him down and sweeps his leg in the corner. Flying knee sets up the Kinshasa to finish at 1:20. And then Emma tells Moss to attack again, and he gets armbarred for his troubles. I was gonna note that this was turning into a colossal style clash but thankfully it didn’t go long enough to matter.
Meanwhile, Karrion Kross does Tarot.
Meanwhile, The Viking Raiders randomly attack Rick O’Shea and Braun.
Matt Riddle v. Solo Sikoa
So Paul Heyman announces that in two weeks, the Usos get the rematch for the tag team titles, and they better win OR ELSE. Riddle tries for the arm right away and then switches to a sleeper, but can’t get him down. Solo escapes and casually slugs Riddle down to take over, but the various factions get involved and the ref ejects them all. Back in the ring, Sikoa cuts off Riddle with a samoan drop as we take a break. Back with Sikoa putting him down with an elbow for two. Riddle makes a comeback and slugs away, then hits a running knee in the corner and follows with an exploder. Senton misses, but he recovers with the Floating Bro for two. But then the Usos return after getting expelled earlier, and so do Sami & KO, and they all fight on the floor. But then Riddle hits the with a dive and gets distracted, allowing Solo to spike Riddle to finish at 10:13. Well so much for Riddle getting his revenge. Absolutely nothing to this one. **. And then Riddle gets murdered by Sikoa again, dropped on the announce table and then buried under the table for good measure.
Well this show was about as exciting as a lettuce and mayo sandwich on white bread.