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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 23, 2022
SALT LAKE CITY, UT AT VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They opened with Michael Cole introducing the show as they showed a wide angle from the upper deck of the crowd.
-Roman Reigns’s entrance theme played. Reigns and Paul Heyman walked out with the Usos, Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn behind them. Sami couldn’t have looked happier. They threw to a clip of Logan Paul talking at Heyman and Reigns at the press conference last Saturday, with Triple H stepping between them. Cole and Corey Graves hyped the match at Crown Jewel between Reigns and Logan. Cole noted that Sikoa was stripped of his NXT North American Championship and they’d have more on that later. Graves called him a tank.
When the music faded, fans cheered. Reigns teased talking for a while as Sami couldn’t stand still, so excited to be out there with the Bloodline. Reigns began, “Salt Lake City, acknowledge me!” Fans cheered. Heyman asked what you call people from Utah. He made up some words. “Let’s settle on this: Salt Lake Cidiots.” When fans booed, he said, “You don’t boo the wiseman.” Heyman talked about Drew McIntyre and his fans lamenting that it was his home turf at Clash at the Castle. Heyman said that’s not true, because everywhere is the Tribal Chief’s home turf.
He said, “Now that Drew has another bridge to cross, let’s talk about Solo.” He said he wishes it was his idea, but it wasn’t his or the Tribal Chiefs.” He looked at Sami and said some people might like to take credit, but he was sent by the elders of the Samoan dynasty. He said if you thought the Bloodline was unstoppable before – and they were – they are even stronger with an “The Enforcer” to assure “Reigns’s reigns on the throne on the Island of Relevancy, and that enforcer is Solo.” He said it opens up the Usos in their pursuit of immortality.
Reigns called over Solo. He looked at him and said, “The elders may have sent you, but you answer to me now.”; Solo nodded, but didn’t seem enthusiastic about it. He told him to acknowledge him. “I acknowledge you, my Tribal Chief,” he said. Reigns hugged him. The music played. Sami asked them to cut the music because he wanted to say something. He said he knows he isn’t technically blood, but he wanted to show gratitude for how they’ve taken him in as family and publicly acknowledge The Tribal Chief. Reigns smiled as if he found Sami amusing and pathetic. Some fans chanted “Sami!” Sami smiled. Reigns said, “I like you, Sami. But what are you talking for right now?” Sami looked crestfallen. “Why are you saying anything right now?” Reigns asked. He asked why hehas his shirt on. Heyman covered his face. “Why are you tagging along this whole thing? What’s this about? What do you want?” Reigns said he knows what he wants. He said he wants Sami to take the Bloodline shirt off.
Sami said he’s not sure if he’s kidding or not kidding. He apologized for what happened with Logan Paul last week. Reigns said he’s not going to tell him again. He told him to take his shirt off. Sami didn’t right away and began to protest, so Jey ripped it off of him. “I need you to listen for once,” Reigns said. He said he doesn’t want him to ever wear a Bloodline shirt ever again. Fans booed. He then said, “You’re not gonna wear it again, because I got you a new one.” He threw a shirt at Sami and it said “SZ: Honorary Uce.” Reigns broke into a smile. Fans chanted “Sami! Sami!” Sami excitedly put it on as Jey looked disgusted. Sami slapped hands with Jimmy excitedly and was all smiles.
Reigns asked if he had anything to say. Sami said, “Yes! I acknowledge you, Tribal Chief.” He hugged Reigns. Reigns hugged him back and smiled. Reigns’s hug didn’t have the exuberant enthusiasm of Sami’s.
-As the Bloodline walked out of the ring, they showed The Brawling Brutes watching on a monitor backstage.
(Keller’s Analysis: They aren’t being shy about how Solo Sikoa has a mind of his own and isn’t hard-wired to be happily subservient to Reigns. Reigns messing with Sami like that is a cruel mind game, but for Sami, all’s well that ends well. The crowd is loving Sami and rooting for him to be embraced by the faction that is led by Heyman, whom they boo. Go figure.) [c]
(1) LIV MORGAN vs. LACEY EVANS
Graves said Liv is beloved backstage and by the fans and she has passion for the game, but that doesn’t make Ronda Rousey any less dangerous to her in an Extreme Rules match. Lacey controlled early and gloated after each move, drawing boos. Lacey settled into a mat hold center-ring as the announcers continued talking about Liv vs. Rousey at Extreme Rules. Lacey rammed Liv into the ringpost. When Liv dropped to the floor, they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Lacey had Liv grounded mid-ring. Lacey pulled a broom out from under the ring, then tossed it aside. She grabbed a kendo stick next. Cole said at Extreme Rules, that’d be legal. Liv ducked her swing and the hit a Code Breaker and her Oblivion for the win.
WINNER: Morgan in 7:00.
-After the match, Liv picked up the kendo stick, but then dropped it. Gravers said that proves she doesn’t have the killer instinct to beat Rousey in an Extreme Rules match. She then thought again and used the kendo stick. Cole exclaimed that she has snapped. She drove Lacey backwards into the security barricade. She put Lacey on a table at ringside. Cole said he’s never seen her in a zone like this before. She leaped off the top ringpost and landed a senton on Lacey through the table. “Oh. My. God!” shouted Graves. Cole said so much for the nay-sayers, because Liv showed she does have killer instinct. He said she’s the only person to pin Rousey twice. They cut to Lacey writhing in pain on the broken table.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was like listening to an audio book at half speed. It seemed like Liv was moving toward being a heel, but there was no hint of it here in commentary or how she came across in the match. “Getting extreme” after the match was celebrated by Cole.)
-They cut backstage to Hit Row talking about the Smackdown Tag Team Title match later. The Street Profits walked in and chatted with them about money and success. Ford brought up Otis vs. Braun. They then brought Shinsuke Nakamura into the conversation. They poured champaign into their glasses. [c]
-Cole hyped the Usos vs. Brawling Brutes in the main event of the show.
-Backstage Sami was berating at a guy with food cart. He said he asked for a vegan meal and he wants a vegan meal. Ricochet and Madcap Moss approached Sami. Moss said he’s changed. Ricochet said before he was obnoxious and unbearable. Moss said he still is, but it’s a whole new level. He said from now on if you disrespect him, you’re also disrespecting the entire Bloodline. Ricochet said he might consider himself an Honorable Uce, but everyone knows that’s not true. Solo then jumped Moss and Ricochet. Solo was super-intense. Sami told them they’re dealing with the Bloodline now. Sami told Solo, “Good work; I was just about to do that.”
-They went to Cole and Graves at ringside who threw to a video package on the Usos.
-Heyman narrated a video on the Usos history in WWE, with a focus on their current tag team reigns. He said they beat Rey & Dominik mysteiro on July 18, 2021 to become champions, then beat RK-Bro to become the first Undisputed Tag Team Champions. He said no one has been as dominant as them, and they stand on the precipice of history. He said their reigns is longer than some of the most legendary tag teams in WWE history including The Hart Foundation, The Road Warriors, The New Age Outlaws, and The Dudley Boyz. He said only Demolition at 478 days and the New Day at 483 days. He said the Usos will soon surpass them to become the longest-reigning WWE Tag Team Champions of all time.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really well done video that emphasizes the historic nature of the Usos reign and made the tag belts themselves feel more important as a result.) [c]
-They aired a “Royal Rumble Classic” clip of Shawn Michaels winning in 1995.
(2) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. MAXIMUM MALE MODELS (Mansour & Mace w/Max and Maxine Dupri)
The New Day made their ring entrance. The Models were already in the ring. Graves said the bone structure on Mace and Mansour is excellent. When the Models got control of Xavier, they posed for Maxine taking a photo at ringside. Kingston hit Mace from behind and knocked him to the floor, then rolled up Mansour for the win. Max was upset with Maxine. Graves said they were just trying to create content and said content is everything right now. When Max yanked off his jacket and threw a fit, Cole said, “Relax, dude!”
WINNERS: New Day in 2:00.
-Cole threw to a sponsored video package on the return of Braun Strowman. [c]
-Graves hyped the tag team title main event.
-The party continued with Hit Row and others. Sonya Deville, Natalya, and Drew Gulak were at the party, but left when Angel and Humberto walked in and hit on B-Fab. Top Dolla told them to go away.
-Cole called Gulak a party killer for some reason.
(3) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. OTIS (w/Chad Gable)
Cole said there is some “real heavy machinery between these two men.” Graves said he sees what Cole did there. The Tale of the Tape listed Braun at 6-8 and Otis at 5-10, but Otis at 360 compared to Braun’s 340. They had similar bench press totals and chest sizes, but Otis’s neck is 25 inches compared to Braun’s 21 inches. Graves said he didn’t expect the match to last long, but it’ll be one of the hardest-hitting they’ve seen in a long time. Cole touted Otis’s history as Junior National Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and trained as a professional at New Revolution Wrestling in Colorado. Strowman tossed Otis across the ring and then dropkicked him out of the ring a minute in. Cole said Braun said on his podcast he needs to evolve.
Braun ran toward Otis at ringside, but had to leap over Gable. Otis then took over, beating up Braun at ringside, including shoving him into the ringpost. Graves touted Otis’s power. Otis landed a discus clothesline against Braun for a one count. Otis battered Braun on the mat. A “Let’s Go Strowman” chant rang out. Braun came back with a spinebuster. Cole called it “ring-rattling.” Strowman checked Otis and Gale at ringside into the announce desk. Braun went for a slam on Otis, but Otis slipped free and then powerslammed Braun for a two count. Otis landed a corner swing splash for a two count. “This is some match!” said Cole. Braun came back with a released powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Strowman in 6:00.
-Backstage at the ring set, Kayla Braxton interviewed the Brawling Brutes backstage about their match later. Sheamus, Butch, and Ridge Holland chanted “Fight Night! Fight Night!” Sheamus said the Bloodline face an uphill battle tonight, but they love a good fight. He said in two weeks he will get a rematch against Gunther in Worcester, Mass. on Smackdown. He said he’ll drag the Intercontinental Title out of his cold, dead hands, but tonight is about Ridge & Butch. He said the Usos will get banger after banger after banger. [c]
-Drew McIntyre made his ring entrance. Graves said Karrion Kross has taken advantage of Drew’s focus on Reigns to make his life hell. Cole said Drew was so close to winning the Undisputed WWE Title a few weeks ago, and if not for Solo, he might be the champ right now. Cole said Drew isn’t one to dwell. Graves said he’s dusted himself off.
Drew asked Salt Lake City to let him hear them scream. Fans chanted “Drew! Drew! Drew!” He said after all these years, they should know him pretty well. He said he doesn’t like playing games, and if you have an issue with him, step in the ring and they’ll figure things out. He said Kross never got that message. He said he’d rather jump him from behind than face him like a man. He said he went straight to the top and he’s going to have his big match – against him at Extreme Rules. He said it’s no ordinary match. He held up a strap and said it’s a match designed to inflict maximum pain and prevent him from running away from him.
Kross’s music played. Scarlett walked out. Kross went after Drew from behind. Drew fought back and attached the strap to Kross’s wrist and the tied it to his wrist and yanked him toward him for a fight. Drew gave Kross a big boot and then whipped his back with the strap. Kross cried out in pain and then tried to leave. Drew pulled him back toward the ring and whipped him again. Drew looked around and fans cheered. Scarlett sat in front of Kross to block Drew from further attack. She shot a fireball at Drew that flew near his face. Kross then attacked Drew, but Drew fought back right away and slammed him. Scarlett hit Drew from behind between his legs. Fans booed. Kross stood over Drew and threw the strap on him and then left with a smile on his face. He returned to the ring and put him in his Cross Jacket sleeper. Drew faded and Kross said, “Drew, I’ll see you at Extreme Rules. This is exactly what we wanted and you fell for it. Let is go! Let it go!” Drew faded and kross released the hold. Drew coughed and gasped for breath as they cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good angle. I’m glad they acknowledged Drew’s near win over Reigns. Saying Reigns “isn’t one to dwell” seems like a way to acknowledge that he could gripe about the Solo interference but he’s decided to move on and now is focused on Kross. Kross and Scarlett were good in their role here.) [c]
(4) DAKOTA KAI (w/Bayley, Iyo Sky) vs. RACQUEL RODRIGUEZ
Early in the match, after Bayley interfered, Shotzi ran out to help Rodriguez. Shotzi attacked Bayley and then took down Sky. Meanwhile, Gonzalez rolled up a distracted Kai for the three count.
WINNER: Rodriguez in 2:00.
-Afterward, everyone brawled in the ring. Cole said Shotzi calls herself “the ballsy badass.” The heels bailed out as Shotzi and Rodriguez celebrated.
-Back to the party backstage, Humberto and Angel returned and took a cheap shot at Ashante “Thee” Adonis and TopDolla, then fled. [c]
-Cole announced Bayley vs. Shotzi, Hit Row vs. Los Lotharios, Sami & Solo vs. Madcap & Ricochet next week as a result of what happened earlier in the show with everyone involved.
(5) THE USOS (w/Sami Zayn, Solo Sikoa) vs. BRAWLING BRUTES (Ridge Holland & Butch w/Sheamus) – Undisputed WWE Universal Tag Team Title match
Ring entrances and formal ring introductions took place. Butch jump-started the match. The Brutes dominated early. Graves said they caught the Usos off guard. The Usos tried a double-team move on Butch, but it went haywire and he fell to the floor through the ropes. Sami taunted Butch and Holland. Jey told Sami to get away. Cole said he’s not sure there’s a more annoying man on the planet than Sami. (It’s strange how the fans are loving Sami, but the narrative by WWE is that Sami is insufferable and annoying.) They cut to a break after Jimmy scored a near fall. [c]
Sami and Jey bickered. Cole said Jey is jealous that Sami and Solo have been added to The Bloodline. Ridge got a hot-tag and landed a tilt-a-whirl slam on Jey for a near fall. Ridge set up his running lariat, but Jey punched him. Butch tagged in and scored a quick near fall on Jimmy.
A few minutes later, the Usos went for a stereo superkick, but Holland ducked and then backdropped both of them. Holland tagged in Butch who kicked Jey as Holland slammed him, then Butch scored a near fall, broken up by Jimmy. When Sami was about to slide a chair into the ring, Sheamus stopped him. Solo stared down Sheamus. All three Imperium members then attacked Sheamus. The Usos superkicked a distracted Ridge and Butch. Back in the ring, they finished Butch with their stereo cutter for the win. Cole said this might have been the Brawling Brute’s night if not for Imperium.
WINNERS: The Usos to retain the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Titles in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. I think Paul Levesque should be looking for opportunities to do clean finishes in big matches where he can afford to, and this was one of those opportunities. In isolation, this finish is fine because it forwarded the Imperium-Brawling Brute feuds, but so many WWE TV and PLE big match finishes have tainted finishes where the winner had help in some way. The Brutes will be just fine losing to the Usos because, well, there’s no shame in losing to them.)