SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
MAY 27, 2022
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR AT SIMMONS BANK ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a recap video of last week’s Tag Team Championship Unification match. The video then showed the beatdown delivered by the Bloodline to RK-Bro after the match. The end of the video showed Roman Reigns asking the crowd to acknowledge the Bloodline as Reigns posed with the Usos and Paul Heyman.
-Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-The Usos were introduced as the new undisputed Tag Team champions. The Usos’ music hit then they made their entrance with both belts in hand. Cole and Pat McAfee sat ringside. They said that Randy Orton was being treated for injuries and seeing specialists. Cole said he hopes Orton can return as soon as possible.
-The Usos stood mid-ring and welcomed the crowd to Smackdown. Jimmy asked the crowd to put their ones to the sky and say thank you to Roman Reigns. There was a mixed reaction from the crowd. Jey then said he wants to thank Reigns for allowing them to defeat RK-Bro all on their own. Jey then said that two days ago marked the twelve year anniversary of the Usos in WWE. Jey then said that he never thought they would still be standing in the ring twelve years later. Jey then said the crowd has seen their ups and downs. He said the crowd watched them grow up in front of them. Jey then said that all the time they were away from their family, the fans were there. The crowd cheered. Jey said the world is crazy these days, but he loves coming to Smackdown every week and being an entertainer. He said that from the bottom of his and Jimmy’s hearts, they would like to say thank you. Jey then said thank you to the crowd a few times. The crowd then chanted “Uso”. Jimmy then took the mic and said for the past twelve years, they realized, they didn’t need anybody. They then said all they needed was each other and they didn’t need the crowd. Jey said they’re “dripped in all the gold”. Jimmy called them the undisputed Tag Team Champions. The Usos then said that “you’re the twos, and we are the ones”.
-Shinsuke Nakamura’s music hit and he made his entrance. He said that his partner and himself challenge the Usos to a match for the titles. Nakamura said his partner wanted to fight the Usos by himself, but they can’t. The Usos asked about Rick Boogs. Nakamura then introduced his partner. Riddle’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said that Riddle and Nakamura have revenge on their mind. Nakamura and Riddle jumped to the apron and the Usos met them with strikes and knocked them to the floor. Riddle slid into the ring by himself and the Usos ganged up on him and tossed him to the floor. Nakamura then slid in and the Usos double-teamed him as well. Riddle entered and took out the Usos with a Floating Bro. Nakamura recovered and helped Riddle fight off the Usos. The Usos dropped to the outside and stared after Nakamura and Riddle from the ramp.
-Cole threw to a video recap of Ronda Rousey’s open challenge that was answered by Raquel Rodriguez two weeks ago. The package then showed the end of the match followed by the handshake at the end. Afterwards, Rodriguez’s music hit and she made her entrance. Cole said Rodriguez was looking to shock the world again.
-The Smackdown Women’s roster was shown backstage. Shotzi asked them why Rodriguez keeps getting opportunities. She asked Xia Li why she wasn’t getting a chance as she’s undefeated. Li walked off. Shotzi then turned to Aliyah and said she had a world record. Aliyah told her to shut up and walked off. Shotzi then turned to Natalya and Shayna Baszler. She ran down both of their qualifications, then asked them what they’re going to do about the problem that is Rodriguez. All three women looked serious. The camera cut back to the ring where Rodriguez was awaiting her opponent. Cole hyped the Championship Contender’s match for after the break. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: A lot going on in the first few minutes. First off, I really liked the turn from Jey. That felt like a real heart-felt promo and he did a great job coming off as genuine and getting the crowd on the side of the Usos before they turned back to their heel characters and told the fans they never needed them. It was basic, but well done. Nakamura and Riddle are an odd pairing, but I guess everyone is just going between both shows now, so they’ll get what they can out of Riddle to help the Smackdown roster. I wonder if this is going to set up tonight’s main event or if they’ll wait a week to do this.
As far as the women go, I like what they’re doing with Shotzi. I’m glad she’s finally getting some sort of character and an opportunity to be more then just a low level heel who loses all the time. Her vendetta against Rodriguez could be interesting if they build it properly and make Shotzi credible in the ring.)
-Nakamura and Riddle were in the back. Kayla Braxton approached. She asked how Orton would feel about them being a team. Riddle said it was Orton’s idea. Both guys said they each weren’t as good as their former partners, but they should be a good team moving forward.
-Back in the arena, Ronda Rousey’s music hit and she made her entrance. Shotzi was shown again in the back with Natalya and Baszler. They all left to leave the locker room. Baszler and Natalya exited, but Shotzi wasn’t able to leave. It was revealed Aliyah had locked Shotzi in the locker room.
(1) RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ vs. RONDA ROUSEY
Rousey went for an arm bar on Rodriguez in the ropes but Rodriguez lifted Rousey. Rousey got a roll-up for a near fall. Rodriguez lifted Rousey and had her in a modified bearhug. Baszler and Natalya entered the ring and hit Rodriguez from behind. The ref called for the DQ.
WINNER: No Contest in 1:00
-Rousey recovered and helped Rodriguez fight off Baszler and Natalya. Baszler and Natalya rolled to the outside as Rousey and Rodriguez regrouped in the ring. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Saw that coming. Who wants to bet we get a tag match after the break?)
(2) RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ & RONDA ROUSEY vs. SHAYNA BASZLER & NATALYA
Baszler worked on Rodriguez’s leg in the ring. Cole said that Rodriguez injured her hamstring on the earlier attack from Baszler and Natalya. They replayed the attack. Baszler sent Rodriguez to the corner. Rodriguez tried to fight out but Baszler hit her with a series of kicks to the leg. Baszler stayed on the attack but Rodriguez recovered and launched Baszler over the top rope and to the floor. Natalya tagged in and prevented Rodriguez from tagging Rousey. Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, but Rodriguez pushed her off and tagged in Rousey. Rousey took out Natalya and Baszler with suplexes, but Natalya recovered and locked Rousey in a Sharpshooter. Natalya recovered and was able to tag in Rodriguez. Rodriguez got the upper hand but Baszler tagged in. The two traded offense but Rodriguez hit a corkscrew elbow for a near fall as Natalya broke up the pin. Baszler and Rousey stared each other down and Natalya pulled Rousey out of the ring. Rodriguez hit her renamed (Tahana?) modified powerbomb finisher for the win.
WINNER: Raquel Rodriguez & Ronda Rousey in 5:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Nothing to write home about here. Clearly a time filler and a way to get Rodriguez another victory. I wonder if they’ll stick Rousey and Rodriguez in the Women’s Tag Team title tournament just for the hell of it. Javier made us all aware last week that Rodriguez’s finisher’s name was a bad word in Spanish. Apparently, WWE figured it out and renamed it. Now I need Javier to tell me what Tahana means.)
-Rousey and Rodriguez celebrated in the ring. Cole threw to a video package and informed the fans of the new location for Money in the Bank. He called the MGM Arena the “intimate confines”. I assume this is WWE spin for the smaller arena being a positive.
-They showed the New Day in the back playing some type of goofy game as Kayla looked on. Cole speculated about who the New Day’s mystery partner would be. [c]
-They showed a graphic for the New Day and a mystery partner against Sheamus, Butch, and Ridge Holland later. The New Day was in the back with Megan Morant. She asked who the partner would be. Kofi Kingston said that Netflix doesn’t give away the ending to Stranger Things. Xavier Woods then said that with Big E out, their partner could be anyone. They ran down a bunch of ridiculous options. Kingston then said it could even be Morant. Woods then said that they will have a partner and with his help they will beat the Brawling Brutes. McAfee and Cole were back at ringside. They threw to a video recap of Happy Corbin’s attack on Mad Cap Moss a couple of weeks ago. They then showed a tweet from Moss and hyped his return for next week. McAfee said he’ll be back with no cap, no jokes, and he’ll be ready to kick some ass.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I really, really, really hope this means he’s going to be a new character. I hope that’s what McAfee is telling us. It could just be McAfee speak, but I really hope not. A bad ass version of Moss could be a big time boost to the babyface roster on Smackdown.)
-Los Lotharios’ music hit and they made their entrance. They then did the Kiss Cam gimmick. Shockingly, they found a woman in the front row. They kissed her on the cheeks, then entered the ring. They then showed a graphic for Los Lotharios against Jinder Mahal and Shanky. McAfee hyped the match for after the break.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Does WWE know they booked this? Who are the heels? Was that McAfee trying to make Lotharios seem like faces?)
-Jinder Mahal’s music hit in the arena. The camera then showed Mahal in the back looking for Shanky. He stumbled upon Shanky dancing in the locker room to their entrance music. Back in the arena, Los Lotharios were dancing for Samantha Irvin, the ring announcer. She didn’t look impressed. Mahal’s music hit again and he and Shanky made their entrance. Shanky danced down the ramp. The ring announcer called him the “skyscraping Shanky”.
(3) JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY vs. LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo)
Shanky locked up with Carrillo. Carrillo came off the ropes and Shanky took him out with a big boot to the face. Shanky tagged in Mahal. Mahal went after Carrillo but Carrillo recovered with a hurricanrana then tagged in Garza. Garza and Carrillo hit a double chop on Mahal. Mahal tried to fight up on Garza but Garza put on a headlock. Carrillo blindtagged in. He tried to attack Mahal, but Mahal backdropped Carrillo. Garza got a shot in then rolled to the outside. Garza ripped his pants off and danced for the ring announcer. Shanky took him out. In the ring, Carrillo took out Mahal with a flying kick and got the pin for the win.
WINNER: Los Lotharios (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) in 3:00
-Mahal yelled at Shanky at ringside. Shanky waved him off. The crowd chanted “Shanky”. Shanky then danced for the ring announcer.
(McDonald’s Analysis: What…was…that? Why the dancing? Why the new nickname for Shanky? So is Shanky going to help solve the babyface problem on Smackdown by being a big, dancing, smiling, buffoon? Who booked this trash? I feel bad for Carrillo and Garza. They could be doing so much better than this. Imagine if they were pushed in a serious way as midcarders battling for the Intercontinental title.)
-Adam Pearce was shown watching the monitor in the back. Max Dupri appeared. He asked if Pearce had talked to the legal side so he can debut his male modeling agency. Pearce said that the legal papers worked out, then he welcomed Dupri to Smackdown. Dupri then said he needs to find his first client. He told Pearce that he doesn’t make the cut, then he walked off.
-Kevin Owens’ music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said that Owens is going to host the K.O. Show with a member of the Bloodline. They then showed a graphic for the K.O. Show with a member of the Bloodline. McAfee and Cole speculated about who it could be. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: This brand split really doesn’t matter anymore does it? This reminds me of the Supershow era. On a positive note, I’m excited to see who Dupri recruits to be a part of his group. I really hope it’s not Shanky.)
-Back from break, they showed graphic for Owens against Ezekial at Hell in a Cell. McAfee and Cole hyped the match. Owens was in the ring. He said that he’s been dealing with a disgusting liar named Elias for weeks. He said he’s going to make Elias regret showing back up in WWE. Owens then welcomed the locker room leader, the close confidant of the Bloodline, Sami Zayn. Zayn’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole and McAfee said this was a bait and switch by Owens.
-Zayn entered the ring and hugged Owens. Owens and Zayn were happy to see each other. Zayn said they had some bad blood, but everything is good now. Owens said he doesn’t even remember what it was about. They then talked each other up and said they had been amazing in their respective roles. Zayn then said that Elias and Ezekial are clearly the same person. Owens hugged Zayn. He was very happy that someone believed him. Owens then asked Zayn to come to Raw with Owens and help him call out the entire locker room, starting with Elias. Zayn then said that it’s not a good time now because the Smackdown locker room and the Bloodline are counting on him. Zayn then told Owens “it’s not a good time, Uce”. Owens balked at being called “Uce”. He then told Zayn that he’s not in the Bloodline. He said wearing the shirt and praising the Bloodline makes Zayn sound like a moron. Zayn then said he was being nice before. He said that Elias and Ezekial are clearly different people. Owens became upset and said they are in fact the same person and Zayn is not in the Bloodline. Owens and Zayn then traded “liar” for “moron”. Owens said that the Bloodline left Zayn high and dry on Raw. Owens said if he calls out the Bloodline now, they’ll make an appearance for Zayn. Owens called out the Bloodline twice. No one came. Owens then told Zayn that the Bloodline couldn’t care less about Zayn. Zayn told Owens he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Zayn exited the ring. Owens followed and asked Zayn to forget about it and come to Raw with him. Owens tried to turn Zayn around but Zayn pushed Owens off and walked off. Owens went back into the ring and hit one of the attendants with a Stunner. He then got the other attendant. Owens exited the ring and walked up the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Zayn and Owens are both excellent in their roles. This was clearly a case of get two guys who are great at what they do together, give them some time and let them do their thing. This did next to nothing to further any storylines really, but it was an entertaining bit for the most part. Both guys are delusional and this hammered that point home. I love that they acted like nothing happened between them the last time they were on the same show. It was a funny touch.)
-Cole threw to a video package on the feud between the Brawling Brutes and the New Day. The package focused on Butch. They then showed a graphic for the New Day and a mystery partner against the Brawling Brutes. McAfee said he hopes the New Day picks an ass kicker. Cole called that the main event of the evening.
-Ricochet’s music hit and he made his entrance with Drew Gulak. They then showed a graphic for Ricochet and Gulak against Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser after the break. Cole hyped it as Kaiser’s first match. [c]
-Cole hyped the next Saudi Arabia show as they showed shots of WWE in Saudi Arabia in the past. Cole hyped Crown Jewel for October. He then threw to a video recap of Gulak’s interaction with Gunther over the last two weeks.
-The lights went down and Kaiser appeared at the top of the ramp. He introduced Gunther, who then made his entrance. Gunther and Kaiser made their way to the ring. Cole said we will Kaiser in the ring for the first time tonight. He also said that Kaiser speaks five different languages. Cole then said Gunther has been unstoppable since arriving on Smackdown.
(4) RICOCHET & DREW GULAK vs. GUNTHER & LUDWIG KAISER
Kaiser started against Gulak. Gulak took Kaiser down, but Kaiser recovered and put on an armbar. Kaiser then put Gulak in a headlock using the top rope. The ref pulled Kaiser off and Gunther hit a big kick on Gulak. Gunther tagged in and tossed Gulak over the top rope and to the floor. [c]
Gunther held down Gulak as Gulak fought to his feet. Gunther took Gulak down with a big chop to the chest. Kaiser tagged in and got a waistlock on Gulak. Gulak reached for Ricochet. Gulak slipped out of a slam attempt by Kaiser, then tagged in Ricochet. Ricochet took Kaiser down with a hurricanrana then a springboard splash. Gunther started to enter the ring which distracted Ricochet long enough for Kaiser to attempt a roll-up for a near fall. Ricochet hit a big knee on Kaiser. Kaiser shot Ricochet off the ropes. Gulak blindtagged in. Kaiser sent Ricochet over the top and to the floor. Kaiser took over on Gulak. He hit a big kick to the chest of Gulak and pinned him for the win.
WINNER: GUNTHER & LUDWIG KAISER in 7:00
-Ricochet entered to check on Gulak. Kaiser took Ricochet out and sent him to the floor. Gunther then directed Kaiser to attack Gulak. Kaiser hit Gulak with another big kick to the chest.
(McDonald’s Analysis: It’s such a small thing, but I love the fact that they booked Kaiser to do most of the work here and get the win. He wasn’t as dominant as Gunther, but they showed that he’s also a force. I don’t want to see them as an actual tag team, but when they do team, Kaiser is a credible threat and not just Gunther’s mouthpiece. That’s very important moving forward. Gunther should be next to unstoppable at this point, so Kaiser can show some of the vulnerability, but they didn’t blow that too early and make him look like a jobber. That’s really important and a smart move for the future. I have really high hopes for these two. Ricochet, on the other hand, has been moved way down the totem pole. So much for that “push” he was going to get. I assume the hopefully “new” Mad Cap Moss will take over any spot Ricochet could have hoped to have.)
-Zayn was in the back with the Usos. He asked the Usos what they thought of him and asked what he is to them. Zayn asked to join the Bloodline. Zayn asked if he could be an honorary member. Jimmy said that sure, he could be an “honorary Uce”. Zayn said if they need anything he has them and if he needs something they have him. Jimmy and Jey smiled and entered the locker room.
-Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance flanked by Ridge Holland and Butch. They again showed the graphic for the New Day and a mystery partner against the Brawling Brutes. [c]
-Cole and McAfee sat ringside. They threw to a Memorial Day thank you video from WWE.
-Sheamus was in the ring with Holland and Butch. He said every night is fight night. He said that Kingston and Woods don’t have the bullocks to tell them who their partner is. Sheamus mentioned some unlikely people it could be. Sheamus then said that it doesn’t matter who their partner is, they’re going to put them to bed next to Big E. He said that Holland and Butch are two of the roughest, toughest, brawling, brutes he’s ever seen. Sheamus then started a New Day sucks chant. The crowd didn’t oblige.
-The New Day’s music hit and they made their entrance. Woods asked if Brawling Brutes were knock off wrestling buddies. Woods said that it’s fight night and it will be an unfair fight because they found a true specimen. Kingston said that they found a man who will steal Holland’s girlfriend and Butch’s auntie. Woods then said the man is going to kick Sheamus in his ugly mug. Kingston asked the crowd if they’re ready for their partner. Drew McIntyre’s music hit and he made his entrance to a solid pop. McIntyre posed with the sword at the top of the stage. Cole said it’s a Drew day. McAfee mentioned the history between Sheamus and McIntyre. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I admit, despite it being logical, I didn’t expect their partner to be McIntyre. I thought it would be more disappointing than that. No complaints.)
-They showed a graphic for Nakamura and Riddle against the Usos on Raw in a Championship Contender’s match. They then showed a graphic for the return of Mad Cap Moss next week. McAfee reiterated the no jokes, no cap, line. Unfortunately, the picture still showed Moss wearing suspenders.
(5) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) & DREW McINTYRE vs. BRAWLING BRUTES (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, & Butch)
Butch took down Woods right away. Woods leapfrogged Butch then hit a kick to the gut and tagged in Kingston. Kingston and Woods double teamed Butch and Kingston covered Butch for a near fall. Butch ran at the New Day but they moved and he hit the corner. Woods attacked Butch, but Butch recovered andf pulled at Woods’ mouth. Butch brought Woods to the corner and tagged in Sheamus. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats on Woods, but stopped at nine to tag in Butch. Butch finished the move then tagged in Holland. Holland took down Woods then got a near fall. Woods recovered and tagged in Kingston. Kingston came off the ropes and took down Holland. Kingston took Holland to the corner and the New Day used the Unicorn Stomp on Holland. Butch ran to the corner, but the New Day disposed of him, then tagged in McIntyre who continued the stomps on Holland. Butch tried to get involved again but McIntyre took him out. Kingston tagged back in. Sheamus distracted the ref as Butch hit Kingston. Holland then turned Kingston inside out and celebrated in the ring. [c]
Butch pulled on the arm of Kingston as Kingston reached for the corner. Butch dragged Kingston back to the corner and Holland tagged in. Butch and Holland splashed Kingston in the corner in succession. Sheamus tagged in and hit a knee drop off the top rope on Kingston for a near fall. Sheamus went for an Irish Curse, but Kingston rolled through and landed on his feet and took Sheamus down. Kingston crawled toward the corner. Butch pulled Woods off the apron and Holland did the same to McIntyre. Holland threw McIntyre into the steps. Back in the ring, Sheamus hit an Alabama Slam on Kingston for a near fall. Kingston recovered and hit the S.O.S. on Sheamus. McIntyre recovered at ringside and was angry. Kingston tagged McIntyre and Sheamus tagged Holland. McIntyre hit a couple of clotheslines on Holland then a belly to belly throw. Butch came off the top but McIntyre caught him and delivered a belly to belly on him as well. Butch jumped on the back of McIntyre but McIntyre sent him to the outside. Butch climbed to the apron but Woods took him out. Kingston then came off the top and took out Sheamus and Butch on the outside. McIntyre got a Glasgow’s Kiss on Holland followed by a Claymore. McIntyre tagged in Woods. Woods climbed to the top rope and flew off with an elbow drop. He then pinned Holland for the win.
WINNER: New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) & Drew McIntyre in 12:00
-The three celebrated in the ring. Woods played the trombone and Kingston danced. The New Day asked McIntyre to participate. The crowd popped. Woods played the trombone and McIntyre strutted in the ring. The three posed as the show went off the air.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Predictable but satisfying. I really hope this is the end of the New Day and the Brawling Brutes. This has been going on since before Wrestlemania. It’s time for all parties involved to move onto something new. I have no idea what that is as there’s no babyfaces for Sheamus, Holland, or Butch. As far as New Day goes, I guess they can get beat up by Gunther and Kaiser? Or something with Los Lotharios? Yeah, this show is thin.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A big step back after the excellent episode last week. Without Reigns, nothing on this show feels important. It’s a shame, but it kind of is what it is. The thin roster of Smackdown continues to rear it’s ugly head as they needed Riddle and Owens to fill out this show and fill about twenty minutes of TV time. I don’t know if WWE knows this, but there’s a PLE next Sunday, and I don’t think Smackdown has ANY matches announced for that show yet. I assume they’ll use Riddle/Nakamura against the Usos and probably Moss against Corbin to help round out that card, but I can’t see anything else Smackdown could possibly add that would make any sense at this point. Well, I mean, Ricochet against Gunther could work, but who would Gunther work with after that? This show is in desperate need of babyfaces to compete with the overwhelming amount of heels. I don’t think Shanky is the answer to that problem. Moss could help if he returns as a more serious character, but even then, that’s one face. They need at least three to four faces to help battle the heels and even the sides out a bit. Until Smackdown does that, we will have stale feuds and more episodes like this were absolutely nothing of note happens, because there aren’t any feuds to further except for ones we’re tired of.