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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JUNE 10, 2022
BATON ROUGE, LA AT RAISING CANE’S RIVER CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a wide crowd shot. Michael Cole said that Superstars’ lives will be altered tonight. Then he welcomed everyone to the show. The camera panned to Cole and Pat McAfee at ringside. Cole ran down the line-up for the night. They then showed a graphic for the main event. Sami Zayn against Riddle. If Zayn wins, Riddle cannot appear on Smackdown again. If Riddle wins, he gets an Undisputed Universal championship match next week. Cole and McAfee then ran down the Intercontinental title match between Gunther and Ricochet. They then turned their attention to the Money in the Bank Qualifying matches. The first was a match-up between Lacey Evans and Xia Li, and the second, Drew McIntyre against Sheamus.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Really small thing, but I like Cole and McAfee standing ringside to go through the card. It feels like a throwback. It’s super subtle, but cool.)
-Drew McIntyre’s music hit in the arena. The camera showed him behind the curtain in the back. Butch was trying to get at McIntyre but Sheamus held him back. McIntyre then walked through the curtain and made his entrance in the arena. Cole said the winner of the Money in the Bank ladder match has an eighty-five percent success rate when it comes to the cash in. Cole said McIntyre has been in four Money in the Bank matches but has never won one. Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance with Butch in tow. Cole said that Ridge Holland was injured last week, and that’s why he’s absent. Cole then ran down Sheamus’ accomplishments.
(1) DREW McINTYRE vs. SHEAMUS (w/ Butch) – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Sheamus and McIntyre battled in the corner. Sheamus got the better of it and punched at McIntyre. McIntyre recovered and punched away at Sheamus in the corner. Sheamus took control again and sent McIntyre into the corner with an Irish whip, but McIntyre came out of the corner and clotheslined Sheamus to the mat. McIntyre hit a couple of chops, then shot Sheamus off the ropes who took him down with a shoulder block. McIntyre caught Sheamus coming off the ropes and delivered a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Cole ran down the rules of the Money in the Bank match and what’s inside the briefcases. Sheamus took control and started the Ten Beats. McIntyre fought out and reversed and got Ten Beats of his own. McIntyre then dragged Sheamus to the apron. Butch came up behind McIntyre and distracted him from the middle rope. McIntyre swung at Butch, but he ran away. Sheamus took advantage and shoved McIntyre into the ring post. Sheamus then got McIntyre with White Noise on the ring apron. Cole asked if McIntyre could get back in the match. [c]
McIntyre hit a big chop on Sheamus and came off the ropes, but Sheamus caught him and delivered an Alabama Slam for a near fall. Sheamus then pulled on the mouth of McIntyre. McIntyre fought up as the crowd cheered him on. McIntyre reversed an Irish whip and took Sheamus down with a pair of clotheslines followed by a pair of belly to belly throws. McIntyre then hit the neckbreaker followed by the kip up. McIntyre went for the Future Shock DDT, but Sheamus shoved him off. McIntyre got the spinebuster into a bridged cover for a near fall. The crowd chanted “let’s go Drew”. Sheamus hit a headbutt, but McIntyre came back with one of his own. Sheamus then delivered a Future Shock DDT of his own for a near fall. Sheamus climbed to the top rope, but McIntyre recovered and chopped away at Sheamus. McIntyre climbed the ropes and got White Noise from the second rope on Sheamus for a near fall. McIntyre measured Sheamus and counted down. McIntyre charged Sheamus but Sheamus countered with a big knee to McIntyre for a near fall. Sheamus measured McIntyre and went for a Brogue Kick but McIntyre countered with a powerbomb and another float over cover for yet another near fall. Butch entered the ring and McIntyre hit a Claymore on him. Sheamus clotheslined McIntyre over the top rope and to the floor. Sheamus climbed to the top rope and flew off to take out McIntyre. McIntyre recovered and hit a belly to belly throw on Sheamus. Sheamus recovered and tossed McIntyre into the timekeeper’s area. McIntyre and Sheamus brawled in that area and hit each other with chairs. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: No Contest in 13:00
-Sheamus and McIntyre continued to brawl. They threw each other over the announce table and laid on the floor. Cole asked if anyone qualified for Money in the Bank. [c]
-They showed a commercial for John Cena’s twenty year anniversary. Cena returns on Raw, June 27th.
-Sheamus and McIntyre continued to brawl around ringside as a host of officials chased them around and tried to separate them. Butch jumped on McIntyre’s back and McIntyre dropped him. Cole said the match was ruled a double disqualification and no one qualified for the Money in the Bank. Sheamus and McIntyre brawled into the crowd. The officials finally separated them as Sheamus was in the crowd and McIntyre was in the ring. The crowd booed when they stopped brawling. Cole said they’re going to have to figure out the Money in the Bank situation.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. That was an unexpected awesome brawl. The match was really good and, jeez, was it stiff. I love watching these two work with each other even if we’ve seen it before. I don’t know where this is going. I thought for a second that Sheamus was going to be declared the winner by DQ, which would have been a way out. Instead, they went with no winner and Cole played up the uncertainty of the situation. Count me in for a rematch next week if that’s the direction they decide to go. In a way, matches like this make me sad that they don’t do this kind of thing with Sheamus more often. They are lacking top level stars on Smackdown and Sheamus has the credibility and the history to be that if they put time and effort into it. I wish they would. I also want more stiff, hard hitting, chaotic matches like this. Despite the poor finish, it was a good way to start the show.)
-Cole threw to a video recap of the Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins Hell in a Cell match from the PLE this past Sunday. The video put over the courageous performance of Rhodes. It also featured Rollins’ attack on Rhodes on Monday night. After the video, Cole said that Rhodes had successful surgery, but will be out of action for up to nine months.
-Kayla Braxton was in the back. She welcomed Lacey Evans. She asked what winning Money in the Bank would mean to her. Evans said that Money in the Bank changes lives. She said that this is an opportunity for her. She said that Xia Li views her as a victim. She said that we all have choices to make, and since her music is about to play, we all know what choice she made. She said she’s not better than Xia Li, but Xia Li isn’t better than Lacey Evans. Her music then played and she made her entrance in the arena. They showed a graphic for Evans against Li. Cole hyped it for after the break. [c]
-Cole hyped the Bella Twins at the Nascar race this weekend. McAfee then hyped the main event between Riddle and Zayn. He ran down the stipulations again.
-They showed an augmented reality ladder and briefcase. Cole said that no one qualified in the Sheamus-McIntyre match, but Lacey Evans has an opportunity now. Xia Li’s music then played and she made her entrance, complete with lightning. Cole said Li has never been in a Money in the Bank match. They then played a pre-taped interview with Li. She said that Evans is a whiner, not a winner. She said she will make Evans cry tears of shame when she becomes Ms. Money in the Bank.
(2) LACEY EVANS vs. XIA LI – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Li got a waistlock on Evans. Evans reversed and took Li down with a shoulder block. Li recovered and took Evans down face first and got a near fall. Li sent Evans to the corner. She ran at Evans and hit a couple kicks followed by a throw for another near fall. Li applied a modified headlock as Evans tried to fight out. The crowd cheered for Evans. Evans took Li down, then used a snapmare followed by a flying uppercut. Evans hit a handstand into a variation bronco buster in the corner for a near fall. Li recovered and took momentary control, but Evans hit the Woman’s Right as Li came off the ropes for the win.
WINNER: Lacey Evans in 3:00 to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, they telegraphed the hell out of that one. Neither promo before the match was good, and the pair followed up their clunky promos with a clunky three minute performance in the ring. Nothing to see here as far as the match goes. Also, I guess they’re back to Lacey as a face now? I don’t know what they’re going to do with her on Smackdown that they couldn’t do with her on Raw. I assume she’ll be lost in the shuffle very soon.)
-Adam Pearce was in the back on the phone. McIntyre appeared. He asked what happened. Pearce said he can’t just put McIntyre in the match because he didn’t win. Pearce said there is still a lot to figure out. McIntyre put his shoulder on Pearce’s shoulder and told him to put him in the match.
-Ronda Rousey’s music hit and she made her entrance. Cole threw to a recap of last week’s Six Pack Challenge match for a shot at the Smackdown Women’s championship. The video highlighted the dominance of Raquel Rodriguez, but the win by Natalya in the end. Rousey stood in the ring. Cole hyped her segment for after the break. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Baton Rouge and LSU. Afterwards, Cole threw to a video package on the Viking Raiders.
-Pearce was in the back. Butch burst in. Sheamus was behind him. Sheamus said he should be in the Money in the Bank match. Pearce mentioned that he spoke with McIntyre. This angered Sheamus who asked if Pearce and McIntyre were conspiring. Pearce said they’re trying to figure things out. Sheamus said that he wanted results, and then stormed off.
-They showed a graphic for Rousey against Natalya for the Smackdown Women’s championship at Money in the Bank. They then went back to Rousey in the ring. Rousey said that Money in the Bank is only three weeks away. But it’s not soon enough, because she wants to prove that her armbar is better than the cheap, imitation Sharpshooter she learned from her Uncle Bret. Shotzi’s music hit and she made her entrance. She told Rousey to shut up. She said she doesn’t have the experience of Natalya or a killer submission move, but she has aggression and a killer instinct. Shotzi said that if Rousey is the champion she said she is, she wouldn’t wait til Money in the Bank for a fight. Shotzi said that Rousey should face her right now. Rousey asked the crowd if Shotzi deserved a title “shotzi”. She then said that Shotzi is “onski”. The two women stared each other down. Cole asked if the match can be made official. [c]
-Back from break, McAfee hyped the main event with Riddle and Zayn again. Cole said the match has been made official between Rousey and Shotzi. Cole said a win for Shotzi could put her in line for a title match.
(3) RONDA ROUSEY vs. SHOTZI – Championship Contender’s Match
Rousey took Shotzi down. Shotzi tried a tackle on Rousey, but it was blocked. Shotzi went for a clothesline but Rousey ducked under and rolled up Shotzi for a near fall. Shotzi got a snapmare then a kick to the spine. Rousey recovered and took Shotzi down again for another near fall. Rousey followed Shotzi into the corner. Shotzi recovered and locked in a headscissors using the ropes. Rousey countered into an ankle lock but Shotzi was in the ropes. Rousey was forced to the outside, and Shotzi grabbed her and hit a tornado DDT through the ropes to the floor. Shotzi tossed Rousey back into the ring and covered her for a near fall. The crowd cheered on Rousey. Shotzi got another near fall. Shotzi picked up Rousey and went for a vertical suplex but Rousey countered. Shotzi then countered a waistlock and hit a big kick to Rousey’s face for a near fall. Shotzi slammed Rousey’s arms into the mat, then used her leg to wrap up one of Rousey’s as she tugged on the other. Rousey tried to fight out, and eventually rolled out. She went for the ankle lock, but Shotzi kicked at Rousey’s arm to break the hold. Shotzi delivered a suplex and got another near fall. Shotzi suplexed Rousey into the corner then stomped on her. Shotzi charged Rousey in the corner, but Rousey moved and Shotzi hit the turnbuckles. Rousey pulled Shotzi to her shoulders, but Shotzi slipped out. Shotzi hit a series of strikes then went for a kick but Rousey caught her foot. Shotzi slapped Rousey twice but Rousey responded with a big slam. Rousey then hit combination punches followed by Piper’s Pit. Rousey then locked in the arm bar for the win.
WINNER: Ronda Rousey in 6:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Not that it matters considering the outcome, but didn’t Rousey say she was giving Shotzi a title match? Is that just the poor promo ability we’ve come to expect from Rousey, or did she lie to us, and Shotzi? Besides that, I actually liked this. Shotzi got a lot of offense here and looked good for the most part. That kick on Ronda was good stuff. This was big step up from the previous Women’s Division match on the show. Good idea. They’re making Rousey look very human during this run. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point.)
-Rousey celebrated with the Smackdown Women’s title. Natalya entered the ring and attacked Rousey from behind. Natalya then locked Rousey in the Sharpshooter. Refs entered the ring and tried to get Natalya off of Rousey. Natalya finally let go and smirked at the crowd. Rousey looked up Natalya and Natalya stared her down.
-Megan Morant was in the back. She welcomed Riddle. She said the stakes in his match against Zayn are high. Riddle said he thrives under pressure and he’s motivated when he thinks about what the Bloodline did to his friend Randy Orton. He said he wants to get revenge for Orton. Riddle said the juice is worth the squeeze. He said after he beats Zayn he will get the chance to get his vengeance on Roman Reigns. He said he can see it now, Undisputed WWE Universal champion, Riddle.
-Ludwig Kaiser was in the arena. He introduced Gunther. Gunther’s music then played and he made his entrance. Cole said that Gunther has been dominant but he will not attempt to win his first championship in WWE. They then cut to a tale of the tape between Ricochet and Gunther. Cole and McAfee put over Gunther’s advantages. Cole said you won’t see it on the tale of the tape, but you can’t measure Ricochet’s heart. Cole hyped the match for after the break. [c]
-They showed a recap of Natalya’s attack on Rousey. They then showed Rousey in the trainer’s room. Kayla was outside. She said that this was a serious injury for Rousey. Kayla said it’s up in the air whether or not Rousey can compete at Money in the Bank. McAfee told Rousey to put her ice pack on because they need her at Money in the Bank.
-Ricochet’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said if you created a Superstar in WWE 2k22 you would want it to have Ricochet’s agility. The two men stared at each other and formal ring introductions took place.
(4) RICOCHET (c) vs. GUNTHER (w/ Ludwig Kaiser) – Intercontinental Championship Match
They locked up and Gunther tossed Ricochet down immediately. Ricochet came off the ropes and tried to hit Gunther with a shoulder block but Gunther didn’t move. Ricochet hit a chop but Gunther was unfazed. Ricochet was then caught by Gunther with a huge chop and Ricochet was laid out. Gunther placed Ricochet on the top rope, then climbed on top of him and stomped on his gut. Gunther took Ricochet to the outside as they cut to break. [c]
Ricochet ran at Gunther and hit a flying forearm. It barely moved Gunther. Ricochet ran at Gunther again and Gunther took him out with a chop. Gunther went for a powerbomb but Ricochet rolled through with a sunset flip for a near fall. Ricochet hit Gunther with a series of strikes that knocked Gunther to his knees. Ricochet sent Gunther to the corner. Ricochet went for a springboard but Gunther moved. Ricochet landed on his feet, but Gunther applied a sleeper. Gunther went for a German suplex but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet came off the ropes but Gunther hit a huge clothesline that turned Ricochet inside out. Gunther got a near fall. Gunther then pounded on Ricochet’s chest and went for another sleeper. Ricochet fought out and sent Gunther into the turnbuckle, but Gunther recovered and knocked Ricochet to the apron. Ricochet snapped Gunther’s arm off the top rope, then kicked Kaiser at ringside. Ricochet then hit a springboard moonsault that took Gunther down for a near fall. Ricochet went to the top and jumped, but Gunther moved. Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet hit Gunther with a drop kick that sent Gunther to the corner. Gunther bounced out and flattened Ricochet with a drop kick of his own. Gunther then hit the powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Gunther in 10:00 to win the Intercontinental championship
-Gunther celebrated with Kaiser and the title. Kaiser fastened the title around Gunther’s waist. The two then posed.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow, they gave Ricochet more then I thought they would. I actually think that’s a good sign. This was pretty solid for what it was. They told a logical story with Ricochet using his speed to avoid Gunther and try to hit and run. I’m glad that Ricochet didn’t seem intimidated by Gunter. That’s on brand for him. Gunther also played his part well. He survived Ricochet’s onslaught, then pulled out something we haven’t seen from him yet before he finished Ricochet off. Good stuff. I have no idea who Gunther will defend against from here on out, but this is a good start to his title run. Most of the wrestling on this show has been pretty solid. I like that.)
-Sami Zayn was in the back warming up. Paul Heyman appeared. He said that it’s the greatest opportunity of Zayn’s career. He said if Zayn wins, Heyman can go to Reigns and tell him that Zayn belongs in the Bloodline. Heyman then said, “but if you lose…”, then Zayn’s music played. Zayn looked worried, then ran out and made his entrance. Cole asked McAfee to explain the stipulations again, which he did.
-Cole and McAfee sat ringside. Cole shared a story about John Cena granting a Make A Wish. They then cut to a video package about Cena’s visit. [c]
-They returned from break with a “Smackdown Classic Moment”. The moment they chose was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s attack on Booker T in the grocery store from December of 2001.
-Zayn was in the ring waiting for Riddle. Cole threw to a video recap of last week’s main event between The Usos and Riddle and Nakamura. The video featured Zayn’s production truck trick costing Riddle and Nakamura the match. Zayn smiled after watching the video. Riddle’s music then played and he made his entrance on his scooter. The crowd chanted “bro”. They showed the graphic and reminded the fans of the rules one last time. If Zayn wins, Riddle is banned from Smackdown. If Riddle wins, he gets an Undisputed WWE Universal championship match against Roman Reigns next week. [c]
-Back from break, they showed a recap of the Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss feud. The video ended with Moss’ attack on Corbin during their match at Hell in a Cell. After the video, Cole hyped Moss against Corbin in a Last Laugh match next week. Cole then said that Max Dupri will debut his new client next week, as this week he had travel complications and could not make it to the show.
-Paul Heyman was announced and he joined Cole and McAfee on commentary.
(5) SAMI ZAYN vs. RIDDLE
Zayn and Riddle zigzagged the ropes and Riddle leaped into the air and went for an armbar on Zayn. Zayn rolled to the ropes and got a break. Zayn fell to the apron and Riddle dropped to the floor and hit Zayn with a series of kicks. Riddle then hit back to back rolling gutwrench suplexes for a near fall. Riddle stayed on Zayn and hit a forearm followed by a chop. Riddle sent Zayn into the ropes, but Zayn stopped and dropped outside. Riddle followed Zayn but Zayn took Riddle out with a clothesline. Zayn tossed Riddle back into the ring and got back to back near falls. Zayn put Riddle in a headlock as the crowd cheered Riddle on. Riddle ducked an attack from Zayn and hit a big kick to the face of Zayn. Zayn went to the corner and Riddle followed him in with a leaping forearm followed by a suplex followed by a running knee for a near fall. Riddle went to the top rope, but Zayn ran up behind him and threw him off the top to the barricade outside. Riddle crashed and burned as they cut to break. [c]
Zayn stomped at the face of Riddle against the ropes. Zayn went to the second rope and came off and took Riddle down. Zayn then hit a vertical suplex for a near fall. Zayn tossed Riddle to the outside. Zayn followed him out and tossed Riddle into the ringpost. Zayn rolled back into the ring. The ref counted to nine before Riddle recovered and ran into the ring to break the count. Zayn kicked at Riddle and then positioned him as Zayn climbed the top rope. Riddle followed Zayn up and tried to set up the RKO but Zayn pushed Riddle off. Zayn jumped off the top and Riddle caught him with a big knee. Riddle covered Zayn and got a very close near fall. Riddle charged Zayn who backdropped Riddle to the apron. Zayn kicked Riddle in the gut then hit Riddle with Orton’s draping DDT. Zayn celebrated. Heyman screamed at Zayn to cover Riddle. Zayn stalked Riddle, but Riddle recovered hit a Final Flash on Zayn. Riddle hit a series of kicks that knocked Zayn to the outside. Riddle went to the apron and hit a running penalty kick on Zayn. Riddle then hit a Floating Bro from the apron. Riddle tossed Zayn back into the ring and hit a snap powerslam followed by a draping DDT. Riddle then stalked Zayn and went for an RKO but Zayn caught him with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn picked up Riddle, but Zayn surprised Riddle and went for a Bro Derek, but Zayn rolled through for a near fall. Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex on Riddle into the corner. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, but Riddle recovered and hit the RKO for the win.
WINNER: Riddle in 13:00 to earn an Undisputed WWE Universal championship match
-The Usos hit the ring and attacked Riddle from behind. They tossed him out of the ring and celebrated. Cole hyped the match between Riddle and Reigns next week. Riddle got back in the ring with a kendo stick and went after both Usos. Riddle hit them and ran them off. Riddle posed in the ring with one finger in the air. He said “I’m comin’ Roman, I’m comin’!” The camera focused on Riddle. He said that he’s coming for Roman and he’s coming for the Undisputed title, bro.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was awesome. Both guys worked really hard and put in a really good effort and a good match that felt important. I assumed Riddle would win, but they did enough to make you think he wouldn’t, somehow. Zayn never wins, but in situations like this, they make him seem dangerous enough in the ring. I’m interested to see where they go with Zayn next week as clearly, the Bloodline won’t be happy with him. Heyman alluded to that earlier. Riddle is on fire. Other than Cody Rhodes, who is now out injured, Riddle is the hottest thing they have right now. His promo on the show was a little goofy, but it finished fine. This match, and the aftermath, is a star. Next week’s match with Reigns could be a star making moment for Riddle, even in a loss.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was an excellent episode of Smackdown. I don’t know if that’s because of how blah the show has been lately, or if my expectations are lower, or if this was actually a great show. As we sit right now, I’m leaning towards the latter. I really liked this show. The beginning segment with McIntyre and Sheamus was great, hard hitting wrestling with a chaotic atmosphere. It sucks that we didn’t get a finish, but it left things open and should lead to something next week. I’m fine with that. The Women’s MITB qualifier was the worst thing on the show by a mile. Neither woman is going to win, so it felt like a waste of time. Also, neither one of them will be doing anything interesting between now and then either. For some reason, they think there’s something there with Evans. I don’t know why, as I still don’t see it. Shotzi and Rousey brought the Women’s Division back up with their match and Shotzi looked credible, even in a loss. Rousey has been made to look way more human in her matches, and now even more so with the injury she suffered at the hands of Natalya. I’m interested to see where that goes as we inch closer to MITB. Gunther and Ricochet worked their styles well and told a tried and true story on their way to a solid match. There’s a major issue with Gunther being IC champion, though. There’s no faces on this show for him to wrestle. If Sheamus were to turn, I would be all in on a Gunther-Sheamus feud. That doesn’t seem to be on the horizon though, so I don’t know where Gunther goes from here. Mad Cap Moss? That would be logical, but I don’t think they’ll want to feed Moss to Gunther, or have Gunther lose to Moss. So, I guess that leaves Nakamura, or a returning Cesaro, if the rumors are true.
The true story of this show was once again, Matt Riddle. He was excellent here and his fire in fighting off the Usos and calling out Reigns as the show went off the air was great stuff. That guy, not the smiling, bad joke telling, goof ball, is an absolute star and could be one of the focal points of the promotion as a babyface. They need to go all in. I hope that losing to Reigns next week doesn’t ruin his momentum and send him back down the card. I hate rooting for non-finishes, but a strong showing by Riddle with Reigns getting intentionally disqualified would work here to keep Riddle looking strong. I haven’t been this excited to watch a Smackdown main event in a long time, even with the outcome almost assured. That’s saying something.
*Everyone check out the 90’s Pastcast with myself and co-host Patrick Moynahan. It’s your look back at the PWTorch archives, 30 years ago this week. We drop as part of the PWTorch Dailycast Lineup every Saturday. Thanks.*