Smackdown – July 14, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 14th July 2023
Date: July 14, 2023
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
Things got even more interesting last week as Jimmy Uso was taken away in an ambulance, leaving Jey Uso to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title. Odds are that’s the Smackdown main event at Summerslam, but they are going to need some more than that. There is a good chance we get something new tonight so let’s get to it.
Jey Uso is in the back and….walking!
Here is Bianca Belair to one heck of a reaction. She is finally getting her rematch for the Women’s Title tonight and she has been waiting for that since Jeddah. Tonight it’s the KOD and she’s winning the title back, but here is Charlotte to interrupt. Charlotte talks about how Belair has gotten her fired up and she stumbles over saying Belair is walking out champion. Belair likes that and Charlotte says she’s next in line after Belair wins the title. That sounds good to them for Summerslam, and Belair is ready for Asuka. Kind of a weird way to start the show but I guess it’s the “hey, stick around!” promo of the night.
Sheamus is ready to beat up Pretty Deadly.
Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly
Sheamus chases Prince out to the floor to start and then pulls Wilson inside for a bonus. Back to back Regal Rolls have Pretty Deadly in more trouble so it’s off to Holland, who is beaten down. Holland comes back with a double backdrop and it’s right back to Sheamus. The Brutes hit stereo forearms to the chest and we take a break.
Back with Wilson hitting a running elbow to Sheamus and the double teaming keeps him down. Sheamus gets in a shot though and it’s back to Holland to clean house. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Wilson outside but Prince takes off a turnbuckle pad. Holland misses a charge into it, setting up the top rope legdrop to give Prince the pin at 10:21.
Rating: C+. Maybe it’s the disco ball but I love Pretty Deadly. They are such goofy fun and the good thing is they don’t have a rocket attached to them. They’ll come in, get a win, get their comeuppance, and then go right back to what made them work in the first place. More good stuff here as they continue their near Honky Tonk Man style run.
We look at Grayson Waller vs. Edge.
Waller is in a US Title #1 contenders match tonight and no he isn’t surprised. Even the Rock has been talking about him because he has that effect.
We look back at Tribal Court last week. Jimmy Uso has messed up rib cartilage and will be out indefinitely.
Charlotte says she’ll leave for the Women’s Title tonight. Bayley and Iyo Sky come in to tease a cash-in so Charlotte says she’ll stay.
Zelina Vega vs. Bayley
They go outside fast with Bayley sending her into the announcers’ table a few times. Zelina gets in a quick posting and a top rope Meteora back inside. A Twist of Fate gets two on Bayley but Bayley kicks her down and stomps away. The flip flop shot misses for Bayley though and Zelina gets to slap her with it a bit. Not that it matters as Bayley snaps her throat across the ropes and hits the Rose Plant for the pin at 1:46.
Shotzi pops up on screen to say she can’t be controlled before shaving her own head. Well that got intense fast.
Here is Jey Uso to say he has two brothers but there is something special about a twin. When one of them is hurt, both of them are hurt and now one of them is hurt bad. Jey respects all of his family, except Roman Reigns. Oh and Solo Sikoa. Or Paul Heyman, who has latched onto his family for 40 years.
Cue Heyman and Sikoa to interrupt, with Heyman saying Sikoa is here to keep the peace. Next week, Jey and Reigns can meet to discuss the rules of engagement for their match, but for now, Heyman just wants to talk. Heyman doesn’t see a Tribal Chief in Jey, because what happened to Jimmy was Jey’s fault after he tried to go against Reigns. None of the family will ever forgive Jey, with Sikoa blaming Jey for what happened to Jimmy as well.
Sikoa goes after Jey but gets kicked to the floor, leaving Heyman all alone. Sikoa gets back in but misses the Spike, allowing Jey to superkick Heyman, who winds up looking like a turtle on his back. Jey grabs a chair but Sikoa is back in and gets chaired down instead. This was a great way to make Jey look like a star who might be ready for Reigns, though Heyman stole the show as usual (partially by referring to himself as a “Jew-so”).
Grayson Waller vs. Butch vs. AJ Styles vs. Santos Escobar
The winner faces the winner of another four way for a US Title shot, so Austin Theory is on commentary. Waller is sent outside and into Theory to start, leaving Styles and Butch to slug it out inside. A rollup is countered into a double rollup to give Waller two but Escobar is back in for the save. Styles is back up with a Pele and we take a break. We come back with Butch breaking up Styles’ cover on Waller and everyone needing a breather. Escobar goes up but gets caught by Waller.
The other two go up as well and it’s Escobar diving over them for a Tower of Doom. The Phantom Driver gets two on Waller as Butch and Styles make the save. Butch enziguris Styles but Waller sends him outside. That’s fine with Butch, who hits a quick moonsault, only to have Escobar take them both out with a suicide dive. Back in and Styles loads up the Styles Clash on Waller but we cut to Karrion Kross choking out Karl Anderson. Styles gives chase but gets decked by Waller. The rolling Stunner hits Butch but Escobar hits a high crossbody to finish Waller at 12:21.
Rating: B-. It was fun while it lasted and I can go for Escobar winning. He’s still a long way from the title shot, but at least he wasn’t pinned and actually beat someone for a change. The Kross/Styles/Anderson thing is far from inspiring, but maybe this sets up AJ vs. Kross in a match that actually gets some time for a change.
Post break, Styles says he’ll get Kross.
The Street Profits are waiting for someone to get here. A limo arrives and….Bobby Lashley is back. The three get in the limo together and leave. Uh, thanks for coming Lashley.
Rey Mysterio is ready to get the US Title.
Cameron Grimes is ready to get the US Title.
Sheamus is ready to get the US Title.
Here is LA Knight for a chat. Knight talks about how all of a sudden, he is everywhere and now people are using his name to get views and clicks. He is the best decision this company ever made and now he is coming for the US Title. You can call him the Mega Star, you can call him the Goat, but sooner or later, you’ll call him champ. There’s a thing called “it”. LA Knight has “it”.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Bianca Belair
Asuka is defending but hold on as here are Iyo Sky and Bayley, ticket in hand. Asuka kicks away until Belair powers back….and here is Charlotte with her own ticket as we take a break. Back with Belair suplexing her down and hitting the handspring moonsault. Asuka tries the namesake lock but Belair flips back for two and the break. They go outside with the KOD driving Asuka onto the table as Sky, Bayley and Charlotte hop the barricade. Charlotte boots Bayley in the face and spears Belair down, drawing the DQ at 8:44.
Rating: B-. There was a lot going on here but at least they didn’t waste a lot of time setting things up. This match was all about setting up the triple threat at Summerslam and that is about the only way they can go now. Let the three of them beat each other up on the big stage, as that is where this whole thing needs to go next. What makes it interesting is there are four ways to go and that isn’t something you see often.
Post match Charlotte is dropped as well so Sky loads up the moonsault on Asuka….who mists Bayley and runs away to avoid the cash in.
Overall Rating: C+. Things almost had to slow down a bit after last week, as everything went coconuts on the previous show. This was more about setting things up for the future, as Summerslam will be starting to take more shape in the next week or two. You can see a lot of the card from here, but there is a lot that needs to actually be announced. Not a great show, but it did what it needed to do.
Pretty Deadly b. Brawling Brutes – Top rope legdrop to Holland
Bayley b. Zelina Vega – Rose Plant
Santos Escobar b. AJ Styles, Butch and Grayson Waller – High crossbody to Waller
Bianca Belair b. Asuka via DQ when Charlotte interfered
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