Smackdown – June 30, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 30th June 2023
Date: June 30, 2023
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We are less than a day away from Money In The Bank and that means it is time for the final push towards a pair of ladder matches and a Bloodline Civil War. That should make for a safe but secure night, though Charlotte is challenging for the Women’s Title, which could go bad in a hurry. Let’s get to it.
Here’s a preview of what’s coming tonight.
Tag Team Titles: Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn vs. Pretty Deadly
Home country boys Pretty Deadly are challenging. Sami cranks on Wilson’s arm to start and armdrags him into an armbar. Prince gets in a cheap shot from the apron though and Wilson gets to choke away on the ropes like a cowardly villain should. We take a break and come back with Sami caught in a chinlock and Prince cutting off a tag attempt. Granted the save lasts all of three seconds before Sami gets to Owens anyway, meaning house can be quickly cleaned.
The backsplash crushes Wilson on the floor and there’s a Cannonball to Prince back inside. The Swanton hits Prince for two but Owens is favoring his leg/ankle. Owens can’t hit the Stunner and the leg gives out, allowing Prince to go after the leg. An assisted Codebreaker sets up Spilled Milk for two, with Sami having to make the save. It’s right back to Sami to pick up the pace, including a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Wilson’s rollup gets two on Sami but he exploders Wilson into the corner. Owens drops Prince and the Helluva Kick retains the titles at 11:12.
Rating: C+. Well what else were you expecting here? Pretty Deadly are the kind of team who can steal the win over beaten down opponents, but they’re not taking the titles from a team who won them in the main event of Wrestlemania. Owens and Zayn had to work to retain, but this wasn’t exactly a stunning come from behind win. Nice opener though, as the fans are starting off hot.
We recap Sheamus vs. Solo Sikoa last week.
Ridge Holland wants Sikoa but gets a Championship Contenders match against Austin Theory instead. Works for Holland.
Austin Theory vs. Ridge Holland
Non-title but if Holland wins, he’s in the title hunt. Theory takes him into the corner to start but a shoulder to the ribs is countered into a swinging front facelock (the Yorkshire Merry Go Round) for two. Another shot puts Holland back down but Theory spends too much time talking. That means Holland can fight up with a suplex, only to have Theory slip out of a powerslam. A shot to the throat and a throat ram into the top rope sets up Theory’s rolling dropkick to finish Holland at 2:53. Bad start for the Brits on this show.
Post match the beatdown stays on but Sheamus runs out for the save.
Karrion Kross, with Scarlett, promises to checkmate AJ Styles next week.
Long video, complete with awesome voiceover, on the Bloodline Civil War. As usual, this is what WWE does really, really well.
Bayley vs. Shotzi
Bayley’s Money In The Bank ladder match spot is on the line and she has Iyo Sky in her corner. Bayley gets caught with a reverse Sling Blade to start as the fans sing about Bayley being their girl. The Bayley To Belly gets two but Shotzi is right back with a DDT for a breather. An enziguri misses for Shotzi but she’s fine enough for the reverse Cannonball. Sky puts Bayley’s foot on the rope, which is enough of a distraction for Bayley to rake the eyes. The Rose Plant secures Bayley’s spot at 3:32.
Rating: C. I’m not sure how what the point was if Bayley was going to win this quickly, but at least they went with something involving a story over the “building momentum” nonsense. Shotzi continues to be rather energized but she hasn’t ever really gotten over the hump. That might change some day in the future, though getting over said hump might need a little more than a tank.
Video on the men’s Money In The Bank ladder match.
Shotzi goes after Bayley and Iyo Sky in the back and gets put through a table. They throw in a hair cut for inconvenience as well.
It’s time for the Grayson Waller Effect and Waller wastes no time in bringing out his guest: Logan Paul. Waller gets to the point again, by asking what winning the briefcase would mean. Paul says it would mean a lot in London because being the champ is the ultimate goal. Maybe he cashes in tomorrow, or maybe he just hits LA Knight with the briefcase.
Cue Knight and my goodness the reactions continue (with commentary flat out saying the fans love him). Knight knows Paul can go viral but he’s in the middle of Knight’s ring. Paul says he sees someone who was supposed to be a manager but Knight tells him to listen to the fans. Paul to the fans: “You’re drunk. Go home.” Cue Santos Escobar to say he needs the briefcase but now it’s Butch to interrupt and the fight is on fast.
Butch vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar
Joined in progress with Knight stomping on Butch in the corner and Logan Paul at ringside. Butch misses the big kick to Knight, who drops him down HARD instead. Escobar sends them into the corner for a running knee and Knight has to make a save. Knight loads up the spelling elbow but Butch breaks it up and hits the Bitter End to pin Escobar at 3:30.
Rating: C+. It was energetic and done in a hurry, as something like this should have been. Butch is about as long of a shot as you can get to win the briefcase tomorrow but points for at least throwing him the tiniest of bones here. Knight and Paul have to be the heavy favorites, but Money In The Bank is the definition of anything could happen. For now, Butch gets a nice win, which will mean all of nothing tomorrow.
Post match Butch gets to pull down the briefcase.
AJ Styles is down to face Karrion Kross and has Michin to deal with Scarlett.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Charlotte
Charlotte is challenging and Bianca Belair is sitting in the front row. Asuka cuts off a charge with some knees to the face for two, followed by a Backstabber as we take an early break. Back with Charlotte’s moonsault missing but the spear connecting for two. Asuka bails to the floor where the moonsault in her general vicinity puts her down again. Charlotte accidentally drops Belair with a big boot, which is enough to draw Belair over the barricade to go after Asuka (smart) for the DQ at 8:38.
Rating: C+. It was nice while it lasted but this was all about keeping the story going. I’m sure Charlotte will get to whine about how unfair everything has been to her as the triple threat is set for some point in the future. For now though, it was a hard hitting match that served its purpose.
Post match Belair stays on Asuka but gets dropped by Charlotte. Back up and Belair takes them both out and stacks them up on the announcers’ table.
Money In The Bank rundown. Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio is set for the main event.
Here is the Bloodline to wrap things up. Roman Reigns says for the last two or so years, he has allowed the Usos to call themselves the ones. The truth is that Reigns is the only one because he is the Tribal Chief. He is the only one who loves the Usos and lifted them into the promised land.
The fans say Reigns sucks but he says family betraying you is what really sucks. A good father, or Tribal Chief, will give his family chance after chance, but now they need to come out here and bow down in apology. Cue the Usos to say this is about consequences, like the ones that hit Reigns if he loses. When Reigns loses the war tomorrow, he’s the only one out. There will be a new Tribal Chief and that would be…..Solo Sikoa!
Reigns cracks up in laughter but gets a look, which earns the Usos some yelling. Jey and Reigns yell at each other until Jimmy superkicks Reigns. Sikoa gets taken down and the big fight is on, with security being taken out as Jimmy hits a big dive to wrap things up. This feud has been built up for years now and this was just one last “here’s the next big step” for tomorrow.
Overall Rating: C+. The final show before Money In The Bank is always a weird one as the show is set and there isn’t much to do. This show offered a pair of title matches to fill in the time and they worked well enough, but the ladder matches and the Bloodline stuff is what matters most. Neither had much to add, but tomorrow is ready to launch. As usual, this was more about “don’t screw anything up” and they managed to avoid that problem just fine.
Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn b. Pretty Deadly – Helluva Kick to Wilson
Austin Theory b. Ridge Holland – Rolling dropkick
Bayley b. Shotzi – Rose Plant
Butch b. Santos Escobar and LA Knight – Bitter End to Escobar
Asuka b. Charlotte via DQ when Bianca Belair interfered
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