Smackdown – July 7, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 7th July 2023
Date: July 7, 2023
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We’re done with Money In The Bank and about a month away from Summerslam. Things have changed in a big way though, as Jey Uso pinned Roman Reigns last weekend, marking the first time anyone has done so in nearly 1,300 days. That should give us a Summerslam main event and it could be amazing. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Bloodline Civil War and Jey Uso pinning Roman Reigns.
Here are the Usos for the trial of Roman Reigns. They talk about how it was said it could never be done and he was unbeatable but they did it. Cue Paul Heyman, with Solo Sikoa, to say he has the evidence here. Heyman is told to stop talking, but he says only one person in WWE can make him do that. Sikoa covers up the mic (Heyman is stunned/scared) and goes to stand in the corner as Roman Reigns joins us.
After a break, Reigns is greeted with YOU GOT PINNED chants and yeah, the fans are right, but he’s still the Tribal Chief. Reigns looks at the Usos and says they aren’t the Chief (or yet, in Jey’s case). Since he didn’t call for Tribal Court, this isn’t official. So who called it? The Usos aren’t going for this because they aren’t going to be manipulated. We see Exhibit A: a package of Reigns turning on Bloodline members and talking about how he’s the top of everything. Fans: “YOU FU**** UP!” Reigns: “No I didn’t.”
Reigns goes on a rant about how he does everything for the family and was forced to be like that to carry everyone else. He was a Wrestlemania main eventer before the Bloodline and the Bloodline needs him. The weight of the world is on his back when he already has five children of his own. You think he needed Jey’s family on his back too? Umbrella service sounds real nice to him right now and he doesn’t need this from Jey. He’s done, and hands the lei over to Jey. Reigns throws down the title and bows to Jey, as Heyman is barely understanding this.
Jey kneels down to check on Reigns and gets hit low, prompting Jimmy to go after Reigns. Sikoa breaks that up and stands between them, with the lei in the middle. The Spike drops Jimmy and Sikoa picks up the lei (fans: “PUT IT ON!”), which he…..almost hands back to Reigns (Sikoa didn’t seem sure) as Jey jumps them both.
Jey gets planted as well and is tied in the ropes as Reigns massacres Jimmy, including the steps to the head. Jey gets free and goes for Reigns but Sikoa cuts that off fast. Sikoa puts Jimmy through the announcers’ table to FINALLY wrap up an incredibly captivating 30+ minute segment. This stuff is still incredible storytelling and I want to see where it is going more and more every week. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen that, but it’s been a long time.
Post break Jimmy is taken away in an ambulance.
United States Title: Austin Theory vs. Sheamus
Theory is defending and gets clotheslined to the floor to start. We take a break and come back with Sheamus having to block ten forearms to his own chest. Theory knocks him down again and stomps away for two. Sheamus catches him on top but gets caught in a spinning torture rack bomb for two as we take a second break.
Back with Theory’s rolling dropkick being countered into a powerbomb. We hit the Cloverleaf but here is Pretty Deadly for a distraction. Now the rolling dropkick can hit Sheamus but A Town Down is countered into a knee to the head for two. Now the Brawling Brutes come out to clear out Pretty Deadly. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick but gets rolled up (with trunks) to retain the title at 12:30.
Rating: B-. Sheamus was a good choice for a challenger here as he can make Theory look good while being just enough of a threat to win the title. That being said, Theory has held the title for about eight months now and it’s easy to forget a lot of that time. He needs a big rivalry or a challenge of some kind because this meandering title reign has lost a lot of steam.
We get some classic Garden shots, which are rather cool.
It’s time for the Grayson Waller Effect with Edge as this week’s guest. Waller wants to talk about some big deal but Edge isn’t sure what he means. Waller goes into how Edge had a great career and hopefully saved his money, so why is he back? Edge talks about his career here in the Garden and how he works in this city because they’re both hard working people.
Waller says that Edge is retiring and this is the last time the Garden will ever see him. Not so fast actually, as Edge talks about how someone sees something in Waller but he’s dog paddled his way into some deep water. The reality is that Edge isn’t retiring, but rather having a match tonight…..against Waller.
Karrion Kross vs. AJ Styles
Scarlett and Michin are both here too. Kross (with a taped up leg) jumps Styles to start and hits the forearm to the back of the head. The Krossjacket is broken up and the women get in a fight on the floor. That leaves Styles to hit a quick shot to the head, setting up the Phenomenal Forearm for the pin at 1:40.
Here is Asuka for a chat, with Bianca Belair and Charlotte hitting the ring for the big brawl almost immediately. Cue Iyo Sky and Bayley to jump Asuka though and it’s a Rose Plant onto the case. Over The Moonsault connects but Belair breaks up the cash-in, allowing Charlotte to kick the case into Sky’s face (no cash-in).
We look at Damian Priest winning the Money In The Bank briefcase.
Edge vs. Grayson Waller
Edge starts fast with a gutbuster and a kick to the ribs, followed by a gutwrench suplex. The fans tell Edge that he still has it but Waller gets in a shot, saying he has it too. Waller takes over as we go to a break. Back with Waller hitting a tornado DDT and hammering away. Edge catches him on top but gets shoved down for a crash.
Waller’s middle rope elbow hits raised knees and a powerbomb to the floor plants Waller again. Edge’s high crossbody gets two but Waller is back with a running flipping Unprettier (cool….I think) for two of his own. Waller keeps trash talking and walks into the Edgecution for a rather delayed near fall. The rolling Stunner is loaded up but Edge spears him out of the air for the pin at 14:24.
Rating: C+. They could have gone either way with this one and they made the right choice by having Waller come close but lose in the end. I get the appeal of having Waller get the big upset win in his debut, but having someone who was never even a champion in NXT beat Edge in a straight match is a bit much to take. Edge gave him a lot here and Waller should be fine, but that rolling Stunner needs to go far away. It takes so long to set up and looks ridiculous. Pick something else. Other than that, rather solid debut.
Post match Edge says Waller swam (after saying Waller would sink or swim in his first match).
Roman Reigns is told Jey Uso is back and says Jey won’t have to look for him.
The Bloodline is in the ring and here is Jey Uso through the crowd. Jey takes Solo out on the floor and grabs a chair, which takes Reigns down with a few shots. A heck of a lot more shots leave Solo laying….and Jey picks up the title (the fans approve). Reigns: “PUT IT DOWN!” Jey calls himself the judge, jury and executioner in the trial of the Tribal Chief. It’s trial by combat now and Jey wants Reigns one on one. Jey issues a challenge but Reigns says nothing to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. I know I say this a lot but this was a very different kind of show. You had the Bloodline dominating everything and taking up so much time, but the rest of the stuff did feel like it mattered as well. The problem though is that the Bloodline stuff just towers over everything else and it doesn’t feel anywhere close to equal. You absolutely can’t present a show like this every week, but every so often, it can work very well, like it did here.
Austin Theory b. Sheamus – Rollup with trunks
AJ Styles b. Karrion Kross – Phenomenal Forearm
Edge b. Grayson Waller – Spear
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