Date: May 19, 2023
Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
It’s the last live Smackdown before Night Of Champions and the pay per view could use some extra build. Last week we got the big surprise of Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa getting to challenge for the Tag Team Titles, which shouldn’t exactly go well with the Usos. Other than that, AJ Styles needs to look sharp heading into the World Heavyweight Championship match and gets to be on the debut of the Grayson Waller Effect. Let’s get to it.
Here is the Bloodline (minus the Usos) to get things going. After we look at the announcement of the Tag Team Title match at Night Of Champions, Roman Reigns tells us to acknowledge him. Instead, cue Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, with Reigns telling them to acknowledge him, leave the titles there, and see themselves out. Owens seems ready to fight instead, which doesn’t surprise Reigns. Instead, Reigns talks about having a lot of success in life but only one regret: spending so much of his life on Zayn.
That makes Zayn laugh, because the only thing he regrets is not hitting Reigns in the back with that chair a lot sooner. Zayn says Reigns isn’t getting the titles because he and Sikoa aren’t as good as Zayn and Owens….or the Usos for that matter. Cue the Usos to jump Zayn and Owens, which doesn’t have Reigns happy. Reigns yells at them and accidentally bumps into Sikoa (barely grazing him)….which seems to have Reigns a little nervous as he leaves on his own. They’re making Sikoa into the boogeyman monster of the team and it’s really starting to work.
Post break, Reigns is still yelling at the Usos and asks who is the quarterback of the Bloodline. He had something to say to Sami Zayn but he didn’t get to because the Usos had to do their own thing instead of what has worked this far. Reigns is the guy and he makes these choices, NOW GET OUT.
Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly
Before the match, Pretty Deadly are in chef’s hats and go over the ingredients for success (including charisma and a dash of both of them). Wilson and Butch start with Prince coming in fast to stomp on Butch’s fingers. You don’t do that to him though as it’s Butch stomping on both of their hands to take over. It’s off to Holland for the power, but a quick cheap shot lets Pretty Deadly pose as we take a break.
Back with Holland still in trouble but finally managing a shot to the ribs to send Prince flying. Holland shrugs off Wilson and hands it back to butch to clean house. A double fireman’s carry drop lets Holland show off his rather insane power, setting up stereo forearms to the Pretty Deadly chests. Pretty Deadly gets out and sends Holland into Butch, allowing Spilled Milk to finish Holland at 8:09.
Rating: C+. Pretty Deadly is the definition of a team that needs time to grow on you and starting them off with an upset win is a good way to go. The Brutes seemed to get a bit cocky here, which is the point of Pretty Deadly being a team that everyone underestimates. They’re off to a good start here and hopefully that can continue, as they could be quite the entertaining team.
Video on Superstar Billy Graham. That’s one of the bigger ones and you really can see the influence years later, along with how far ahead of his time he really was.
Zelina Vega promises that after her match at Backlash, she is ready for Asuka.
Asuka vs. Zelina Vega
Zelina starts fast and they fight straight to the floor. That’s fine with Asuka, who drops her onto the announcers’ table as we take a break. Back with Vega hitting a running dropkick out of the corner, followed by a 619. The Meteora gives Vega two and she tries a rollup, only to get pulled into the Asuka Lock. Vega flips back but Asuka pulls her into the double arm crank for the tap at 6:08. Not enough shown to rate but Vega was trying hard.
Post match Asuka stays on Vega but Bianca Belair runs in for the save. Asuka tries to mist Belair but only grazes her with it this time.
We look at the World Heavyweight Championship match being set up.
Here is Grayson Waller with his Grayson Waller Effect talk show. For his first guest on Smackdown, we go big with AJ Styles. Waller asks what winning the World Heavyweight Title would mean to Styles, who talks about being out of action with his broken ankle. Now that he’s back, he’s going as hard as he can, and now he is getting his chance. He’s sure that he’s going to win, and Waller seems to believe him. Or not as he picks Seth Rollins to win, leaving us with a staredown.
The LWO is ready for the Usos tonight.
Street Profits vs. LA Knight/Rick Boogs
Before the match, Knight says he’s after titles, including the Tag Team Titles. That’s why he’s going to lead this team to victory. Boogs starts fast by gorilla pressing Ford (with reps) so Dawkins wants to try instead. Some pumphandle lifts (egads this guy is strong) has Dawkins in more trouble and Knight drops an elbow.
Dawkins slips out of a double belly to back though and the hot tag brings in Ford. A high crossbody takes Knight and Boogs down and Ford kicks them both in the head. Boogs is rammed into Knight and Ford clotheslines Boogs to the floor. Ford hits the big flip dive to take them out again, setting up the Cash Out to finish Boogs at 3:57.
Rating: C+. I don’t think anyone was expecting this to be any kind of a big time team with Boogs and Knight, so getting the mess up and likely split out of the way makes sense. At the same time, Boogs continues to look like a force out there and that could be useful down the line. Knight didn’t take the fall though, which gives me a bit of hope for his future.
Post match, Knight lays out Boogs.
Cameron Grimes is rather happy with his win last week and now he’s living the dream here on Smackdown. He’s ready to go TO THE MOON.
Karrion Kross is coming for AJ Styles.
Valentina Feroz/Yulisa Leon vs. Alba Fyre/Isla Dawn
Non-title. Leon gets taken down by Fyre rather quickly. Dawn comes in and knees her in the face before handing it off to Feroz. The Gory Bomb/Downward Spiral combination finishes Feroz at 1:01. That was a nifty squash.
Liv Morgan is injured rather seriously and the Women’s Tag Team Titles have to be vacated. There will be a four way for the titles in two weeks on Raw to crown new champions.
Raquel Rodriguez, who will be in the four way with a partner to be named, says Morgan isn’t replaceable….and here is Damage Ctrl to interrupt. They’re not happy that Dakota Kai was injured last week to, but they’ll fight Rodriguez and anyone she can find next week (Iyo Sky still doesn’t look pleased with Bayley’s decision).
Here is Austin Theory for a chat. He isn’t happy because he was double teamed last week by Bobby Lashley and Sheamus, who knew he would go on to be the World Heavyweight Champion. Lashley has an obsession with it, but Theory doesn’t get it with Sheamus. They’re both tough and strong and they’ve both beat John Cena….though Sheamus did it when Theory was 12. Cue Sheamus to Brogue Kick theory and then walk out again.
Paul Heyman tells the Usos that Roman Reigns has forgiven him….but Reigns won’t be out there with them tonight. Heyman tries to explain why Reigns has so much to do before going with “come on, it’s the LWO!”. The Usos leave but they don’t seem happy. Heyman gets his phone out as they leave.
Usos vs. Rey Mysterio/Santos Escobar
Jimmy takes over on Rey to start but it’s quickly off to Escobar, who sends the Usos outside. Rey jumps onto Escobar’s shoulders to pose as we take an early break. Back with Escobar in trouble but managing to knock Jimmy down for a breather. Jey breaks up the tag attempt though and the running Umaga Attack connects. Escobar knees his way out of trouble, which this time is enough for the hot tag to Rey.
Everything breaks down and a headscissors gives Rey two, only to have Jey grab a pop up belly to back neckbreaker for the same. Rey knees his way out of a double suplex and hands it back to Escobar for the running knee in the corner. A super hurricanrana gets two on Jimmy and Rey adds a legdrop for the same. The 619 is cut off by a superkick though and the frog splash gives Jey two. The double Superfly Splash is loaded up but here is Kevin Owens for a distraction. Sami Zayn breaks up the splash, allowing Escobar to drop a frog splash for the pin at 14:20.
Rating: B. This got rolling by the end and the Usos’ downfall continues, as they no longer have the unbeatable mojo to carry them through their problems. That is the kind of thing that can take a long time to recover from and it should be interesting to see where it goes. At the same time, it was nice to see Escobar get a win, as it feels like something rather rare for him. Rather good main event here, as Rey can still bring it with the best of them.
In the back, Roman Reigns is mad but tells Solo Sikoa to stay and doesn’t look pleased to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Pretty nice effort this week with a good main event and what feels like the next step in the Bloodline’s downfall. That could make for a very interesting future, as Night Of Champions and beyond are looking a lot more intriguing. Other than that we had some new stars getting their chance to establish themselves and LA Knight didn’t lose, so we’ll call this a win.
Pretty Deadly b. Brawling Brutes – Spilled Milk to Holland
Asuka b. Zelina Vega – Double armbar
Street Profits b. Rick Boogs/LA Knight – Cash Out to Boogs
Alba Fyre/Isla Dawn b. Valentina Feroz/Yulisa Leon – Gory Bomb/Downward Spiral combination to Feroz
Rey Mysterio/Santos Escobar b. Usos – Frog splash to Jimmy
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