Smackdown – September 29, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 29th September 2023
Date: September 29, 2023
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
We’re just over a week away from Fastlane and John Cena is going to need some help dealing with the Bloodline. Cena was laid out to end last week’s show and is currently heading into a handicap match next week. Other than that, it would be nice to get something else added to the card, as there are two matches set with eight days to go. Let’s get to it.
Here is the Bloodline to get things going. Paul Heyman, who insists that his name is NOT boo, says he gets to do something in person for a change. He acknowledges his Tribal Chief (naturally not here) and of course so does everyone here. Last week, the SECOND greatest of all time, John Cena, took one of the worst beatings he’s taken in ten years. We see a clip (which Heyman calls the Bloodline’s version of the Zapruder Film) from last week of Cena signing to face the Bloodline but his partner AJ Styles was taken out beforehand. Cena got beaten down by both of them to end the show, meaning Cena is in even more trouble.
Back in the arena, Heyman says that Cena is having transportation issues here and he’s not here yet. Jimmy Uso accuses Cena of being scared to show up, with a threat to take Cena out if he makes it to the arena. Cue Karl Anderson to clear the ring and say he wants either of them right now. Heyman whispers something to Solo Sikoa, who tells Jimmy to handle this before Sikoa does it himself.
Karl Anderson vs. Jimmy Uso
Joined in progress with Anderson stomping away and snapping off the spinebuster for two. Jimmy comes back with a rake to the eyes and the superkick connects. The Superfly Splash finishes Anderson at 2:16 shown.
Post match Anderson goes after Uso again but Solo Sikoa Spikes him down. As the Bloodline leaves, Michin runs in and slaps Uso on her way to check on Anderson.
Santos Escobar says he’s staying focused on Rey Mysterio and the US Title but he’s very nervous. Tonight, Rey is in for the biggest fight of his life.
The Bloodline is livid backstage, with Paul Heyman calling Roman Reigns.
It’s time for the Grayson Waller Effect, with Waller bringing out Bobby Lashley. Waller brings up Lashley not being happy with what the Street Profits have been doing lately, with Lashley saying he made a bad decision. Waller thinks he and Austin Theory would have been a better choice for such a team but Lashley is going to pass on that one. Cue the Street Profits, with Lashley telling them to prove it. The three of them go to leave so Waller calls out Austin Theory (who has a staredown with Lashley on the way to the ring).
Video on Dragon Lee, who is in the crowd.
Cameron Grimes vs. Austin Theory
No entrance for Grimes, which probably explains why I can barely remember he’s on the roster most of the time. Grimes strikes away to start and hits a running basement dropkick for two. Theory knocks him down but Grimes is right back up with a kick to the head in the corner. The high crossbody gives Grimes two and a bridging German suplex gets the same. Grimes sends him outside but a Grayson Waller distraction lets Theory post him. Back in and the rolling dropkick sets up A Town Down for the pin on Grimes at 3:03.
Rating: C. This was about what you would have expected as Grimes has gone from a promising star to one of the resident jobbers to the stars. Theory and Waller are being built up into a thing and the wins help with that, but it would be nice to see Grimes getting to do something. Or for Waller and Theory to have someone big to face.
Post match Theory goes over and shoves Dragon Lee.
Rey Mysterio is ready to bring it against Santos Escobar.
In the back, the Bloodline wrecks Ashante Thee Adonis as B Fab panics.
US Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar
Mysterio is defending and hugs Dragon Lee (as does Escobar). We get the Big Match Intros and Zelina Vega is here to cheer for both of them. Escobar takes him to the mat to start as they’re in an early grappling exchange. Mysterio gets sent to the apron so Escobar kicks him in the head, setting up a slingshot dive to the floor.
We take a break and come back with Escobar hitting a dropkick to stagger Rey again. Rey is able to send him outside though and a dive connects, followed by a top rope seated senton back inside. Escobar gets in a shot of his own though as we see the Bloodline wrecking more people backstage. Rey loads up the 619 but Escobar cuts him off with a heck of a superkick.
That’s enough to knock Rey outside and the big suicide dive drops him again. A moonsault off the barricade hits Mysterio again, followed by some running knees in the corner. Rey gets sat up top for a kick to the head, setting up the super hurricanrana. We take another break and come back with Escobar grabbing a Gory Stretch. With that broken up, Escobar misses a high crossbody but grabs a kneeling backbreaker for two.
Rey’s hurricanrana is countered but Rey counters the counter into a sunset flip for two of his own. They go up top with Rey having to elbow his way out of a super Phantom Driver. A super anklescissors brings Escobar back down but the 619 is blocked again. Another attempt connects but Escobar avoids a frog splash. The Phantom Driver is loaded up, only to have Rey reverse into a small package to retain at 20:21.
Rating: B. They kept this clean and let them do their thing rather well, which shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. It would be a surprise if this doesn’t lead to some kind of an issue between the two of them though, as that would seem to be in the cards somewhere. For now though, it continues to be rather impressive that Mysterio can still have quality matches at this stage in his career, as it’s not something you often see.
Post match Rey holds out his hand but before Escobar can shake it, the Street Profits jump them from behind. Cue a rather happy looking Bobby Lashley. The rest of the LWO tries to come in for the save but they get taken out as well. Dragon Lee is held back from coming in and the beating continues.
Post break Escobar is livid at the Street Profits and Bobby Lashley. The challenge is on for a six man at Fastlane.
We hear about Jade Cargill’s signing. That’s a heck of a big starting point.
Video on Iyo Sky retaining the Women’s Title over Asuka last week.
John Cena arrives and leaves his car in the middle of the parking lot, contract in hand.
We look at Elton Prince continuing his physical therapy, with raining in tags, eye poking and chair shots, only to almost get run over when he is left to fall through traffic. And yes, it ends with Pretty Deadly jumping into the air for a freeze frame. As it should.
The Brawling Brutes aren’t happy.
Charlotte vs. Bayley
The rest of Damage CTRL is here with Bayley. Note that Charlotte has been standing in the ring through Cena’s arrival, a commercial, and the Pretty Deadly and Brawling Brutes segments. Hold on again though as Charlotte asks what happened to Bayley. She was one of the Horsewomen but now she’s just a stepping stone. After Charlotte wins here, she’s challenging Iyo Sky for the title at Fastlane.
They send each other into the corner to start, with Charlotte hitting some chops. Bayley knocks her to the floor though and we take a break. Back with Charlotte hitting a fall away slam to send Bayley outside again. Another shot drops Bayley but she catches Charlotte on top. The Sasha Banks double knees in the corner for two, only to have Charlotte spear her down for the pin at 7:34.
Rating: C+. Well that certainly was a Charlotte match, as she got to look dominant over another star and then won clean out of nowhere. Bayley looked completely secondary to her here and that isn’t how someone with her success should be presented. Charlotte is going to be pushed as a top star no matter what, but she doesn’t have to crush everyone else.
Post match Damage CTRL surrounds the ring to go after Charlotte but Asuka runs in for the save. Asuka wants in on the Women’s Title match at Fastlane.
Here is John Cena, complete with contract. Cena says he is here to compete and holds up the contract, which is what he wanted. Cena can run or he can fight, and what do you think he’s going to do? Cue the Bloodline for the beatdown again with the announcers’ table being loaded up. Cue LA Knight and yeah the roof comes off again. House is cleaned and Knight signs the contract to be Cena’s partner to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. It wasn’t a bad show, but this was mainly about waiting for Cena to show up and do anything. That ending segment was good, though it took a long time to get there and that didn’t help. Other than that, we got some stuff put together, or at least challenged, for Fastlane and a good match in the middle. Overall, not a great show, but it did enough to get by. They still need to do A LOT for Fastlane though and it’s really annoying when WWE waits so late in the game to announce the card. Anyway, not terrible here, but the build to Fastlane continues to be a struggle.
Jimmy Uso b. Karl Anderson – Superfly Splash
Austin Theory b. Cameron Grimes – A Town Down
Rey Mysterio b. Santos Escobar – Small package
Charlotte b. Bayley – Spear
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