Date: September 8, 2023
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
We’re done with Payback but things might be a little light this week, as some of the roster is over in India for the Superstar Spectacle event. For now though, it’s time to see where things are going with Jimmy Uso, who seems to want back in the Bloodline. That’s a little bit problematic though as the Bloodline might not be so interested. Let’s get to it.
Charlotte/Shotzi vs. Damage CTRL
It’s a brawl to start and Damage CTRL clears the ring without much trouble. Sky hits a heck of an Asai moonsault to the floor to take both of them out again and we take a break. Back with Bayley beating Shotzi down and grabbing a chinlock. Charlotte plays cheerleader and it seems to work, as Shotzi kicks her way to freedom and gets over for the tag.
A bunch of chops rock Bayley and there’s a fall away slam into a nip up from Charlotte. The Figure Eight goes on but Sky makes a quick save. Bayley goes up but cue Asuka to steal Sky’s title. The distraction is enough for Charlotte to boot Bayley down, allowing Shotzi to hit the DDT for the pin 9:05.
Rating: C+. They managed to pack a lot into this and that’s nice to see. Not only did Shotzi get another win as her return push continues, but Asuka vs. Sky seems to be on the horizon. That’s a good sign on both sides and we could be in for some interesting stories with some fresh blood around here. Granted it’s hard to believe that with Charlotte looming, but it’s better than nothing.
Post match Asuka and Sky have a staredown, with Asuka leaving the title.
We look at last week’s ordeal involving Jimmy Uso/AJ Styles/Solo Sikoa.
Jimmy Uso comes up to see Paul Heyman and says he’s still in the Bloodline. Heyman says Solo Sikoa and Roman Reigns aren’t here tonight but he’ll figure something out for Jimmy. Heyman walks down the corridor and runs into AJ Styles. That doesn’t go well for Heyman, who gets grabbed by the coat, with Jimmy coming in for the save. Heyman calls Reigns.
Damage CTRL isn’t happy but Iyo Sky is more than willing to defend against Asuka.
Here is LA Knight (they still like him) for a chat. He asks about how many people saw Miz’s little performance on Raw, because it made him think of Miz’s song. Knight: “Look at the verb: play.” Miz has been playing dress up and then make believe with an invisible John Cena. Miz blamed Cena for the loss, but Knight didn’t need Cena’s help, or his endorsement because Knight endorses himself. He’s ready to accept Miz’s challenge for a rematch but here is Grayson Waller to interrupt.
Waller brings out Austin Theory and talks about how they’re the only undefeated team on the roster. So they’re the greatest team ever right? Knight tells them to go cry to their mom, and say he says hi (so Knight is a Kevin Nash and Christian Cage fan). Theory mocks Knight’s catchphrase and brings up beating him a few weeks ago. Knight calls them a mushed mouth moron and a cross eyed halfwit and offers to beat Theory up tonight. The fans seem to approve.
Austin Theory vs. LA Knight
Grayson Waller is on commentary and immediately announced that John Cena will be on the Grayson Waller Effect next week. Knight hits a running shoulder to start as Waller dubs the team A Town Down Under (ok that’s not bad). Back up and Theory takes him into the corner for a snap suplex before knocking Knight to the apron. The slingshot shoulder hits Theory and it’s time for the rams into the announcers’ table. Back in and Theory tosses him over the ropes again but manages to snap Knight’s throat across the top in a pretty sweet move. A hanging neckbreaker to the floor sends Knight down and us to a break.
We come back with Theory snapping off a DDT before stomping away in the corner. Theory is knocked outside where he manages a quick suplex. With the referee distracted, Waller pops up to pull off a turnbuckle pad. Knight notices it though and hits his powerslam into the spelling elbow. Waller offers another distraction to no avail, only to have Knight hit BFT for the pin at 9:30.
Rating: C+. They kept this moving here and Knight getting another win is all that matters. He’s getting in the ring and he’s beating people, which is a big step towards keeping people over. This very well may be setting up Knight/Cena vs. Waller/Theory and there are worse ideas out there for everyone. If that is where they’re going, they’re setting it up well enough.
AJ Styles is ready to take out Jimmy Uso tonight.
Paul Heyman is in the back with Adam Pearce and asks him to solve this AJ Styles thing. He also wants to know what is up with the trade compensation for Jey Uso. Pearce doesn’t know anything about it but here is LA Knight to say he wants the rematch with Miz. That is something Pearce can do so the rematch is set for next week.
Heyman says he and Knight have never been formally introduced so they shake hands. Heyman is an admirer of Knight’s work, YEAH. He thinks the catchphrase is catchy but recommends that Knight knock the next time Heyman is in an office. Are we clear. Knight: “Yeah.” Heyman backs off a bit from that and that’s how they meet. I’m not sure if that’s going anywhere, but Knight rubbing elbows with someone like Heyman is a great sign.
Judgment Day vs. Brawling Brutes
Non-title and Dominik Mysterio is at ringside. Before the match, we get the usual Judgment Day bragging, plus some bonuses for winning the Tag Team Titles. The Brutes cut them off and say they’re ready for a fight, which is why Judgment Day was in the ring in the first place. Joined in progress with Priest punching Butch in the face before handing it off to Balor.
That’s fine with Butch, who takes him over for the tag to Holland. A swinging front facelock has Balor in trouble but he slips out and brings Priest in for a kick to the face. Holland is fine enough to pick them both up at once for a double backdrop (that was impressive) but Dominik offers a distraction. Priest nails a hard clothesline but we cut to the back where Pretty Deadly is watching on a monitor.
Balor grabs a chinlock as Corey is way to happy to have seen Pretty Deadly. Holland powers his way out of trouble and it’s back to Butch for the house cleaning. The big middle rope moonsault takes out Judgment Day on the floor and we take a break. Back with Balor hitting the Nightmare On Helm Street for the double knockdown and here’s more Pretty Deadly.
Holland comes in as well and it’s a running boot into something like an Air Raid Crash for two on Priest. Back up and Priest hits a headlock driver for two on Butch, who dropkicks him down without much effort. Dominik tries to offer a distraction so Butch forearms him in the chest, only to get caught with the Sling Blade.
There’s the shotgun dropkick but the Coup de Grace misses. Instead Butch rolls him up for two but gets caught with the Pele kick. Priest comes in and gets kicked in the head as well. It’s back to Holland to clean house but Balor shoves Butch off the top. South Of heaven hits Holland and another puts Butch on top of him. The Coup de Grace finishes Holland at 12:27 shown.
Rating: B. I was expecting this to wrap up earlier but they kept going as it started getting a lot better near the end. The Brutes still need to actually win something important in the near future but for now, just hanging with the new champs and their numbers’ advantage isn’t a bad way to go. Better match than I would have expected here.
Post match the Street Profits and Bobby Lashley interrupt and it’s time for a staredown with Judgment Day. Lashley says the Bloodline is crumbling, but the Judgment Day aren’t the ones taking their place.
The OC is in the back when AJ Styles comes in to ask where they were when Jimmy Uso attacked him. Styles knocks Anderson’s phone out of his hands but Anderson says they told Styles to sty out of this. If this is how the OC is going to be, Styles wants to go out there alone. Getting rid of a bunch of dead weight can often help.
We look at Superstar Spectacle, including John Cena addressing the crowd.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Asuka is ready to get her title back in two weeks.
Jimmy Uso vs. AJ Styles
Jimmy misses a charge to start and gets kicked in the leg to send him outside. Back in and Jimmy gets some rollups for two so Styles hits him in the face. Jimmy gets hit in the face again and we pause for the referee to check on him for a bit. The threat of the Styles Clash sends Jimmy outside and we slow down.
Back in and Jimmy knocks him down but bails to the floor when Styles gets up. Cue Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman to watch as we take a break. We come back with Jimmy hitting a backdrop, setting up the running Umaga Attack for two. Jimmy grabs the chinlock for a bit until Styles suplexes his way to freedom.
With Jimmy on the floor, Styles hits the slingshot forearm and the fireman’s carry backbreaker gets two back inside. They strike it out until Styles hits a jumping DDT (that’s a new one) for two. A Heyman/Sikoa distraction lets Jimmy score with a superkick but Jimmy goes outside to say something to an uninterested Sikoa. AJ manages a quick posting and the Phenomenal Forearm finishes Jimmy at 15:57.
Rating: B-. As usual, this was more of a story than anything a match and Styles getting a win is a good thing. He’s lost quite a bit in recent months and as he seems to be ready for a more prominent role, he could use some wins. Jimmy continues to be able to do everything else but there is something missing from him that makes Jey feel special. It was a good enough match here, but it felt more like it was the next step in a bunch of other stories.
Post match here is Judgment Day to jump Styles and hand him off to Sikoa, who hits the Spike. Sikoa looks down at Judgment Day to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Smackdown is starting to remind me of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers: Endgame. What they’re doing is ok enough and I care about the people, but it has stopped being must see and seems to be something that is continuing after it should have wrapped up. It’s not bad, but it’s not that interesting and certainly not must see. Maybe Judgment Day can help it a bit, though until Roman Reigns comes back, it’s really hard to get invested.
As for the rest of the show, there was a good bit of LA Knight and that is where the fans seem to want to go. With the Bloodline starting to fall, it’s nice to see the Judgment Day and Knight and Lashley and company building things up, but that is quite the stretch to reach what they were doing before. It was an entertaining show, but we are in the middle of a transitional period and it’s making for some slightly awkward moments.
Charlotte/Shotzi b. Damage CTRL – DDT to Bayley
LA Knight b. Austin Theory – Blunt Force Trauma
Judgment Day b. Brawling Brutes – Coup de Grace to Holland
AJ Styles b. Jimmy Uso – Phenomenal Forearm
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