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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 16, 2022
ANAHEIM, CA AT HONDA CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-Pyro exploded on the stage. Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show.
-Logan Paul’s music played and he made his entrance to a chorus of boos. Cole said that Paul has had a controversial week. They showed Corey Graves with Cole at ringside. Cole showed a tweet from Paul. The tweet said that Paul could defeat Roman Reigns.
-Paul took the mic and said he did it again. He said he has a habit of opening his mouth and saying stupid things. Paul said that he had Reigns on his podcast. He said that after the podcast, he said he could beat Reigns if they wrestled each other. The crowd chanted “what”. Paul said that not even Floyd Mayweather could put him down. Paul then said that he issued a challenge to Reigns and he set up a press conference for tomorrow in Las Vegas. He said if Reigns is man enough, he will meet Paul face to face.
-Paul Heyman emerged from the back with the Bloodline at his side. They walked towards the ring. Heyman announced himself and said he’s the special counsel and wise man to Reigns. The Usos, Sami Zayn, and Solo Sikoa circled the ring. Heyman entered the ring. Heyman and Paul shook hands. Heyman told the Bloodline that “he’s got this.” Heyman said Paul’s name and the crowd booed. He then said that if there’s ever been anyone from outside WWE that could be a Paul Heyman Guy, it would be Paul. He said that Paul stepped up and fought Mayweather, and he never went down. Heyman said that he went the distance against Mayweather. Heyman made fun of Mayweather’s height. Paul said that Heyman wouldn’t fight Mayweather or anyone else. Heyman then told Paul not to act like Mickey Mouse. Heyman said that Anderson Silva is going to knock out Paul’s brother, Jake Paul. Heyman then said that Paul shouldn’t open his mouth about Reigns. Heyman said he doesn’t care about Paul’s accomplishments, he said he wants to make sure Paul makes the right decision, and picks a fight with someone else. Paul said it was just a press conference. He asked what the Bloodline was so afraid of. He asked if Heyman is afraid Paul will challenge Reigns for the title. Paul said if that happened, you would assume Reigns would smash him. Paul said but what if he doesn’t. He said all he needs is one lucky shot. Paul asked what if he beat Reigns for the title. The crowd booed. Heyman said if Paul’s brother had balls he’d be his sister. Heyman said he doesn’t like if’s. Heyman said he needs to handle Paul. He called for Solo Sikoa. Sikoa jumped on the apron. Paul said that he bets he can knock Heyman out and get out of the ring before Sikoa can get to him.
-Sami Zayn entered the ring. The crowd chanted “Sami”. Zayn told Sikoa to jump down. Zayn said he’s got this. Zayn said that maybe, Heyman isn’t the right man for the job. He said that maybe Reigns should have let him handle Paul. Heyman tossed the mic and exited the ring. Zayn turned to Paul. He said he’s going to explain how things work. Paul punched Zayn and Zayn went down. Paul asked Zayn how things work around here. The Bloodline entered the ring and Paul exited.
-Ricochet made his entrance. Cole said he has a match with Zayn. Ricochet and Paul talked on the ramp. The Bloodline stared at them from the ring. Cole asked what if Paul challenged Reigns. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: How’s that Logan Paul babyface run going? If this crowd is any indication, not well. I can’t believe this guy isn’t self aware enough to realize that being a douchebag is what made him famous in the first place. People don’t like him, and they likely never will. It doesn’t help matters that he’s not relatable, at all, to the average wrestling fan. The thought of him holding his own in a match against Reigns is a terrible idea. On top of that, if he’s a babyface, why didn’t he say anything when Reigns was in the interview? Why would a babyface talk trash after the guy left? If they indeed go this direction, Reigns should dispose of him fairly quickly. If they go the Sami Zayn route, I’m ok with that, and it actually has some fun possibilities.)
(1) RICOCHET (w/ Logan Paul) vs. SAMI ZAYN (w/ Jey & Jimmy Uso, Paul Heyman, & Solo Sikoa)
Zayn put Ricochet in a headlock. Ricochet sent Zayn off the ropes, but Zayn took Ricochet down with a shoulder block. Zayn wrenched at the arm of Ricochet and took him down. Ricochet flipped around then reversed the arm bar. Zayn kneed him in the gut and took over. Ricochet sent Zayn off the ropes and Zayn took him down again. Zayn covered Ricochet and Ricochet kicked out. Zayn locked in another headlock. Ricochet flipped around again then hit a headscissors. Ricochet took the advantage with an uppercut and a chop. He sent Zayn into the ropes and Zayn stopped and rolled outside. Zayn talked to Paul at ringside. Ricochet took him out with a baseball slide. Back in the ring, Zayn recovered and mounted Ricochet. He rained down punches on Ricochet. Jimmy Uso clapped at ringside. Zayn hit an elbow to the face of Ricochet from the second rope and covered him for a near fall. Zayn sent Ricochet off the ropes and hit a clothesline for another near fall. Zayn put on another headlock. Ricochet punched out and hit a hurricanrana. Ricochet charged Zayn in the corner, but Zayn moved. Ricochet hit an elbow then leapt to the top rope. Zayn shoved Ricochet off and he crashed into the barricade and down to the floor. Paul told Ricochet to get up. [c]
Zayn climbed to the top rope with Ricochet in the center of the ring. Ricochet jumped up and grabbed Zayn but Zayn shoved him off. Zayn jumped off the top but Ricochet caught him with a dropkick to the gut. Both men got to their feet. Ricochet kicked at Zayn then hit another hurricanrana. Cole called Ricochet “breathtaking”. Ricochet hit a springboard crossbody for a near fall. Ricochet went for a Recoil but Zayn countered. Ricochet took Zayn down and went for a standing moonsault, but Zayn got his knees up and covered Ricochet for a near fall. Heyman dumped soda all over the announce desk at ringside. Ricochet hit a superkick on Zayn. Ricochet motioned to the top and climbed up. Jimmy distracted Ricochet. Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb. Paul distracted the ref. The ref turned and counted, but Ricochet kicked out. Paul laughed at ringside. Zayn punched at Ricochet. Ricochet caught Zayn off the ropes with yet another hurricanrana. This was for a near fall. Jey distracted Ricochet and Zayn rolled him up for a near fall. Jey jumped on the apron and Ricochet kicked him off. Zayn hit a huge suplex and covered Ricochet. Jey jumped in the ring and distracted the ref. Finally, she turned around and Zayn got a near fall. Zayn looked at Jey. Zayn rolled out of the ring and got in Jey’s face. Jimmy came over and broke it up. Ricochet came over the top and wiped out Zayn and the Usos. Ricochet rolled Zayn into the ring, hit the shooting star press and pinned him for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 13:00
-Madcap Moss ran down the ramp and entered the ring with a chair. Graves said he’s going to battle Sikoa later. Moss, Ricochet and Paul stood tall in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: What does Moss have to do with anything? Solid match. Nothing out of the ordinary, but Ricochet always does his “breathtaking, video game-like, amazing” spots and Zayn is a really good worker who can work with basically anyone. Paul at ringside was weird and did nothing to add to this. Jey on the other hand. Wow. That was the closest we’ve come and the crowd popped big for it. That was a great sign for the eventual break up down the road. Are we to assume Jey did that on purpose? Or is Jey that much of a hothead? Both are entirely possible.)
-They showed a replay of Karrion Kross’ attack on Drew McIntyre last week. They then showed a graphic for Kross and Scarlett. Cole said we’ll revisit the attack after the break. [c]
-Kross was in the back with Scarlett in black and white. Kross said the chosen one was publicly executed by the newly appointed people’s executioner. Scarlett said that McIntyre was a poor baby. Kross said that McIntyre fought back, but eventually, he let it go. Kross said that’s the difference between them. Kross said that he doesn’t let go. He said he controls the timeline. Kross said McIntyre will end up on an endless loop of suffering controlled by Kross and Kross will make sure McIntyre never gets out.
(McDonald’s Analysis: A lot of platitudes here. Luckily, the ending point made sense and was solid. They’re continuing to keep these segments short and equip Kross with as many bells and whistles as possible. I don’t know how long that will work, but you have to give Paul Levesque credit for trying.)
-Max and Maxxine Dupri were in the ring under a spotlight. Max said they’re only a stone’s throw away from L.A. He said they’re not there for Hollywood. He said they’re going to introduce the Maximum Male Models back to school collection. Graves said he’s waited all year for this. Mansoor and Mace came out in school boy outfits and posed.
-Braun Strowman’s music played and he charged out of the entrance. He took out Mace and Mansoor. Strowman then tossed Mace to the side. He threw Mansoor into the ring. Strowman uppercut Mansoor to the mat. Strowman powerbombed Mansoor.
-Chad Gable’s music played and he made his entrance. Strowman stared him down. Otis attacked Strowman from behind. Strowman took him down with a clothesline. Gable entered the ring and Strowman took the advantage. Otis attacked Strowman and hit him with a series of splashes in the corner. Otis then hit the world’s strongest slam. Alpha Academy exited the ring. Strowman got up and called Otis out. Strowman told Otis to get back in the ring. Gable held Otis back. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I know Strowman got right back up, but I’m glad Otis got one up on him. Gable held Otis back, so maybe we’ll get a match out of these two that’s not a total squash that makes Otis look like a joke. Strowman is such a waste of time and by far, the worst re-hire Levesque has made. There is nothing they can do with him that will excite me. Otherwise, the look from Mace and Mansoor when his music hit was priceless.)
-They showed postcard shots of Anaheim. They then showed a graphic for the tag team four way later. Graves hyped the match. They then cut to Cole and Graves at ringside. Cole threw to a video recap of Damage Control’s victory over Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah on Raw for the Women’s Tag Team titles.
-Damage Control’s music played and they made their entrance. Bayley took the mic. She said she’s back on Smackdown and said she was the longest reigning Smackdown Women’s champion in history. She then introduced Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky. Kai said that since they’re champions, they can go to any brand they want. Sky said that Smackdown is their show now. Bayley said that this is what greatness looks like. She said that Damage Control has something everyone craves, power. She said they have the power to control Raw and Smackdown and the power to step over anyone who gets in their way.
-Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance. She said she sees three bullies that hurt her partner and can’t stop her from getting revenge. Rodriguez entered the ring and Damage Control scattered. [c]
(2) BAYLEY (w/ Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky) vs. RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ
Rodriguez tossed Bayley into the corner. Bayley dodged out and slapped Rodriguez. Bayley then ran away from Rodriguez out of the ring. Rodriguez followed. kai and Sky stood in her way. Rodriguez took them out by tossing Sky into Kai. Rodriguez and Bayley got back in the ring and Rodriguez tossed Bayley into the turnbuckle then hit a spinning slam. Bayley recovered and knocked Rodriguez to the outside. Rodriguez got back in the ring and Bayley attacked her with big blows. Bayley tried an Irish whip but Rodriguez countered. Rodriguez slammed Bayley into the turnbuckles then tossed Bayley across the ring. Rodriguez then hit a big boot. Rodriguez went for a twisting elbow but Kai and Sky distracted her. Bayley took the advantage and kicked Rodriguez’s knee against the buckle. Bayley continued the attack on the knee of Rodriguez. Bayley went for a single crab but Rodriguez fought out. Rodriguez went for a backslide but Bayley kicked at the knee. Bayley got a near fall after a sliding clothesline to Rodriguez’s back. Kai and Sky cheered Bayley on from ringside. Rodriguez tossed Bayley into the corner and hit a series of clotheslines. Rodriguez pulled Bayley out and hit a headbutt, a pair of clothesline and a pair of fallaway slams. Rodriguez went to the second rope and Sky jumped on the apron. Rodriguez took her out. Kai helped Bayley up. Rodriguez recovered and slammed Bayley and Kai on top of each other. Rodriguez hit the twisting elbow on both of them. Rodriguez tried to set up the Tahana Bomb on Bayley but Sky pulled Bayley out. Bayley hit the Rose Plant and covered Rodriguez for the win.
WINNER: Bayley (w/ Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky) in 6:00
-Damage Control beat on Rodriguez. Shotzi’s music hit and she ran down to the ring. Shotzi hit Kai then chased off Damage Control. Shotzi checked on Rodriguez in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Good thing they let Bayley get the win there. I could have done without the ridiculous amount of interference, though. They are really protecting Rodriguez despite the fact that she has a long way to go. I won’t complain about that too much, as at least it doesn’t define her down right away. They’ve made that mistake too many times, so it’s a good thing that they’re trying something new. Shotzi’s return and face turn (?) seems to be why she wasn’t in the match last week. That’s another good thing. She has some potential and deserves a shot.)
-They showed a graphic for the tag team four way. Cole hyped the match. They then showed a graphic for an NXT North American title match between Sikoa and Moss. Graves hyped the match. They then showed Ronda Rousey in the back. Cole hyped an exclusive interview for after the break. [c]
-Cole threw to Kayla Braxton. She was in the back with Rousey. Kayla asked about their last match. Rousey said there won’t be controversy this time. Liv Morgan appeared and asked for some alone time with Rousey. Morgan sat down. She said Rousey says a lot of words she doesn’t mean. She said Rousey doesn’t respect her. Rousey said that Morgan doesn’t deserve respect. Morgan said she’s the only person who’s beat Rousey twice, so she should respect her. Morgan said she keeps hearing the same story about her and Rousey feels the same way. Morgan said that she’s going to have to beat Rousey yet again. Morgan challenged Rousey to an extreme rules match. Rousey laughed, then said it’s Morgan’s funeral. Rousey walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: This was better than what they’ve done up to this point. With that said, Morgan hangs on the same trope every time she talks and it’s getting tiresome. On top of that, she’s bragging about beating Rousey twice, and neither of them were honorable victories. That’s not how a babyface should act. With the new Rousey, I think a lot of fans just want Rousey to smash Morgan and end this joke of a title reign once and for all. Rousey’s blow off of to the challenge was a nice touch. I didn’t expect them to do a gimmick match with these two, but it should be interesting.)
-McIntyre appeared and walked on the announce table. McIntyre called out Kross and said he doesn’t have the balls to face him like a man. He said Kross should step up to him. He said that Kross is obsessed with time, but his time is about to run out. McIntyre said the only time Kross should be worried about is three, two, one.
-The Bloodline was in the back. The Usos pumped up Sikoa. Sikoa said he’s got this. He said Jey was off his game today. Sikoa then paused and asked if Zayn was coming. Sikoa then made his entrance with Zayn in tow. Cole threw to a recap of Sikoa’s win on NXT this past Tuesday. Cole said this will be Sikoa’s first defense.
-Moss’ music played and he made his entrance. Graves hyped the match for after the break. [c]
(3) SOLO SIKOA (c) (w/ Sami Zayn) vs. MADCAP MOSS – NXT North American Championship Match
They locked up. No one got the advantage and they broke. They stared each other down. They locked up again. They broke again and Moss shoved Sikoa. Moss got a waistlock and Sikoa elbowed out. Moss blocked a punch then hit one of his own. Moss came off the ropes but Sikoa took him down with an elbow. Sikoa kicked at Moss. Sikoa hit a running headbutt. He taunted Moss. Moss fought back and punched at the gut of Sikoa. Sikoa chopped Moss. Moss came off the ropes and hit a shoulderblock. Moss clotheslined Sikoa to the floor. Moss came out after Sikoa and slammed him face first on the announce table. Moss chased Zayn and Sikoa took Moss down. Sikoa tossed Moss into the barricade, then threw him back in the ring. Sikoa hit a big spinning wheel kick. Sikoa kicked at the gut of Moss. Sikoa posed. Sikoa then punched and kicked at Moss. Sikoa taunted again then covered Moss for a near fall. Sikoa kicked at Moss again then clamped on a nerve hold on Moss’ shoulders. Moss fought up but Sikoa hit a knee to Moss’ gut. Sikoa sent Moss into the corner hard and followed it up with a belly to belly slam. Zayn cheered Sikoa on. Sikoa hit a running butt smash to the face of Moss in the corner. Sikoa taunted Moss some more. Moss fought back with punches but Sikoa took him down with a big punch of his own. Sikoa stomped at Moss in the corner. Zayn taunted Moss. Sikoa charged Moss but Moss hit a chop block that took Sikoa down. Moss hit a series of punches then took Sikoa down with a clothesline followed by a forearm then a face first slam. Moss charged Sikoa in the corner with a pair of shoulderblocks. Moss went for the Punchline but Sikoa fought out. Moss then countered a superkick into a side suplex and covered Sikoa for a near fall. Moss went for a suplex but Sikoa countered with an elbow, then a headbutt. Sikoa went for a Samoan Drop but Moss fought out. Moss came off the corner and charged but Sikoa caught him with a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Sikoa stomped at Moss. Sikoa went for the Rock Bottom but Moss reversed into a roll up for a near fall. Sikoa jumped at Moss but Moss caught him and delivered a fallaway slam. Zayn pulled Sikoa out of the ring. Moss exited and chased Zayn. Zayn led Moss into a superkick from Sikoa followed by the Rock Bottom for the win.
WINNER: Solo Sikoa (w/ Sami Zayn) in 11:00 to retain the NXT North American Championship
-Sikoa and Zayn celebrated. Cole and Graves hyped the four way for after the break. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Sikoa is a stud. That dude can work and has a style that’s ready for the big time. Moss did a good job here and didn’t look completely out of place. Moss has been somewhat lost since Levesque took over. Hopefully, he showed enough here and can get something to do. Zayn wasn’t involved too much, but did directly lead to the finish. We’ve had interference in every match so far, so it’s feeling a little redundant at this point. I love that Sikoa chose Zayn over his brothers. Everyone keeps talking about Zayn and Owens against the Usos, but what about Zayn and Sikoa against the Usos? Why isn’t that a possibility?)
-Graves and Cole were at ringside. They confirmed Reigns’ appearance at Paul’s press conference tomorrow for Crown Jewel. They then showed a graphic for Reigns’ appearance next week. Graves hyped it. They then showed a graphic for Otis against Strowman next week on Smackdown. Cole hyped the match.
-Hit Row’s music played and they made their entrance. The New Day then made their entrance. Imperium then made their entrance.
(4) HIT ROW (Ashante thee Adonis & Top Dolla w/ B Fabb) vs. NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. IMPERIUM (Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci w/ Gunther) vs. BRAWLING BRUTES (Butch & Ridge Holland w/ Sheamus) – Number One Contender’s Match for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships
Kaiser and Butch started and punched away at each other. Butch hit a step up kick and knocked Kaiser to the floor. Butch followed. Vinci ran over and took Butch out. Holland came over and took out Vinci. Adonis came off the top. Top Dolla teased a jump but Vinci took him out with a Brogue Kick. Woods then flew over the top and hit the pile. Kingston then leapt off of Top Dolla and took out the crowd. New Day danced at ringside. [c]
Kaiser tossed Butch into the ropes and kicked at him. Kaiser put on a headlock and Butch fought up. Kaiser ran the ropes a few times then Butch clotheslined him down. Butch pulled at the fingers of Kaiser. Cole teased that Butch broke Kaiser’s finger. Butch stomped at Kaiser’s arm. Holland tagged in and pulled Kaiser up with a butterfly. Butch hit a dropkick and Holland finished the suplex. Kaiser recovered and took the advantage, then tagged in Vinci. Vinci got an armbar then rolled over and pulled Holland up. Vinci hit a series of strikes but Holland fought back and hit a suplex. Vinci tagged Top Dolla. Holland ran into Top Dolla and he didn’t move. Holland hit an uppercut and went for a suplex but Top Dolla blocked then hit a suplex of his own. Adonis tagged in and hit a splash for a near fall. Adonis took the advantage on Holland. Holland fought back and went for a suplex but Adonis landed on his feet and hit a dropkick. Kingston tagged in. He took Adonis down and hit a Boom Drop. Kaiser ran in and threw Kingston into the post. Vinci tagged in. Imperium hit a big double team on Kingston then posed. [c]
Kaiser was in control with a headlock on Kingston. Kingston fought up but Kaiser threw him down. Kaiser sent Kingston to the corner where Vinci pulled at his hair. Kingston fought back and took out Imperium. Kingston crawled towards the corner. Kaiser stopped him but Kingston fought Kaiser off. Woods and Vinci tagged in. Woods took advantage and Adonis entered, as did Butch. Woods hit them with a double slam. Woods then hit a Russian leg sweep on Vinci followed by a leg drop for a near fall. Woods went for a slam but Vinc wriggled out and delivered a clothesline. Butch tagged in and went after Woods. Woods knocked Hit Row off the apron and hit double knees on Woods. Butch then came off the apron and took out Imperium. Then Butch clotheslined Kingston off the apron to the outside. Butch kicked Adonis in the back of the head. Top Dolla entered and ring. Butch punched at Top Dolla then ran at him but Top Dolla took him down with a big boot. Top Dolla put Butch and Kingston on his shoulders. Woods jumped at Dolla but he caught Woods. Woods slammed all of them. Holland lifted Dolla but Dolla fought back. He went for a powerbomb on Holland but Holland countered into an Alabama Slam for a near fall. Woods entered and traded punches with Adonis. Woods hit a big kick. KIngston tagged in. He hit a dive through the ropes and took out Top Dolla. KIngston then hit a splash off the top on Adonis. Butch broke up the count. Vinci tagged in and went for a rollup but Kingston rolled through. Vinci kicked out. Vinci hit a spinebuster, Kaiser entered and hit a knee. Kaiser tagged in and they hit the Imperial Bomb. Holland blind tagged in and entered the ring. He tossed out Kaiser then pinned Kingston for the win.
WINNER: Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland w/ Sheamus) in 19:00 to earn an Undisputed Tag Team Championship Match
-The Brawling Brutes celebrated in the ring. Cole announced that they will face the Usos next week on Smackdown.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was good stuff. Start to finish we got a little bit of everything here and it was all good stuff. Everyone had a chance to shine and other than New Day, all of these are relatively new acts. That’s a really good thing. It finally feels like the Tag Division has some real depth to it with these teams. Again, with the exception of New Day, none of these teams have been defined down, so the match felt important. Given recent events, they probably should have been switched out for the Viking Raiders, but it is what it is. Everyone worked hard here and the finish was hard to call. Based on the face and heel dynamic, really anyone made sense besides Imperium. With that said, Imperium just loves to fight and they would make sense as an opponent for the Usos, heel or not. That’s a great thing. The more matches that have a winner that’s hard to call, the better. It’s even better if you can’t call the winner and the match has an actual finish. Good stuff all around here. I’m very interested in the Brutes against the Usos next week.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: What an episode. They packed a ton into this two hours and everything on the show felt consequential in one way or another. That’s a huge positive. The North American title match was really good and showcased Sikoa, who is a surefire future star. Moss also held his own and showed that he won’t go away quietly. That tells me that Levesque’s style is breeding healthy competition in the back. That makes me very excited for the future. We saw the same thing in the main event. All of these stars are trying to stand out in the best way possible and that will only lead to a better show for us in the long run. On the Women’s side, Rousey and Morgan should finally have a blow off at Extreme Rules. I don’t know where either goes from there. It does appear that Shotzi has turned face, and might get some focus moving forward. Hopefully, that works to build some depth for the Women’s Division on the Smackdown side. Logan Paul was met with the reception I expected and that he deserves. Based on the giant Crown Jewel logo for the press conference tomorrow, I assume the match will be announced. Good luck getting Reigns booed against that guy. I really only have one major complaint about this show. There was way too much interference. It didn’t lead to the finish in every match, but besides the main event, every match had other people involved. It’s too much. On a four match show, you can’t do that in three of the matches. Otherwise, this was a very enjoyable episode and they did their job to get me excited for the show next week.