SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 23, 2022
SALT LAKE CITY, UT AT VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-The show opened with a crowd shot and Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show.
-Roman Reigns’ music played and he made his entrance with the Bloodline and Paul Heyman in tow. Cole touted the length of Reigns’ title reign. Cole threw to a clip from the Reigns and Logan Paul press conference from last week. They then showed a graphic for Paul against Reigns at Crown Jewel in November. Corey Graves hyped the match. The Bloodline posed in the ring as pyro went off behind them. Cole reminded the audience that the Usos will defend the tag titles later on tonight.
-Reigns asked for the mic and Heyman handed it to him. Reigns asked Salt Lake City to acknowledge him. The Bloodline posed behind Reigns as the crowd booed. Heyman took the mic and introduced himself. He asked what you call people from Utah. The crowd booed. Heyman told them not to boo. He then touted the tribal chief as still being champion. Heyman said that Drew McIntyre now has another bridge to cross after being vanquished by Reigns. Heyman then said they should talk about Solo Sikoa. He then said that the idea for Sikoa didn’t come from himself or Reigns. He said he was sent by the elders of the Samoan Dynasty. Heyman said there is now an enforcer, and the enforcer is Sikoa. Heyman said it opens up Jey and Jimmy to pursue immortality.
-Jimmy took the mic. He said the Usos are going to beat the Brawling Brutes tonight. He then said they’re the twos, and we’re the ones. Jey handed the mic back to Reigns. Reigns called Sikoa to the front of the line. He and Reigns stared at each other. Reigns said that the elders may have sent Sikoa, but he answers to Reigns now. He asked Sikoa to acknowledge. He did. Reigns hugged Sikoa. Reigns’ music played and the Bloodline started to exit.
-Sami Zayn asked for everyone to stop and for the music to be cut. Jey asked what he’s doing. Zayn said that he’s not technically blood, but he wants to show his gratitude. Zayn said he wants to publicly acknowledge the Tribal Chief. Zayn held the mic down and stared at Reigns. Reigns said he likes Zayn. Reigns then asked Zayn why he’s talking right now. Reigns asked why Zayn is wearing the shirt and why he’s tagging along. He asked Zayn what he wanted. Reigns told Zayn to take the shirt off. Zayn said that he doesn’t know if Reigns is kidding. Zayn asked if it had to do with what happened with Paul last week. Reigns reiterated that Zayn needs to remove the shirt. Reigns called for Jey and Jey ripped the shirt off of Zayn. Reigns said that he needs Zayn to listen and Zayn will never wear a Bloodline shirt again. Zayn looked shocked. Reigns said he got Zayn a new one. Reigns tossed Zayn a shirt. The shirt said “SZ: Honorary Uce”. Zayn got super excited. The crowd chanted “Sami, Sami”. He did a handshake with Jimmy and laughed with Sikoa. Reigns asked Zayn if he had anything to say. Zayn said that he acknowledges Reigns. Zayn then hugged Reigns. Reigns hugged back. Jey looked on disgusted.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I really wish I hadn’t guessed that Reigns got him a new shirt. Anyway, this was awesome. Jey was a star here. It felt like everyone finally saw what he’s seen, only for it to be taken away from him. Zayn, as always, was incredible and his facial expressions carried the back end of the segment. His jubilance at receiving the shirt and being accepted was such a big moment for his character and everyone that’s been invested in his story. Zayn is eventually going to break out into a hugely popular babyface, but it’s going to be so much bigger because of this slow build. The actual promo work by Heyman and Reigns was the normal fare and nothing special. The end segments with Sikoa and then Zayn made all of this worthwhile. Great stuff and A+’s all around. Well, except Jimmy.)
-They showed the Brawling Brutes watching on a monitor in the back. Cole hyped their match for later in the show. [c]
-Back from break, Lacey Evans was in the ring and Liv Morgan made her entrance. Cole said that Morgan will defend against Ronda Rousey in an Extreme Rules match at Extreme Rules. He then said that Evans said Morgan was out of her mind to challenge Rousey to an Extreme Rules match.
(1) LACEY EVANS vs. LIV MORGAN
They locked up. Evans took Morgan to the corner. Morgan fought out but Evans kicked her in the gut. Morgan tried to leap frog Evans but Evans kicked Morgan out of the air. Evans yelled at Morgan that she’s “not extreme” and she’s “weak”. Morgan recovered and took Evans to the corner. Morgan hit a step up knee on Evans in the corner. Morgan charged her again, but Evans moved. Evans went to the apron and pulled Morgan down. Evans posed. The crowd booed. Evans put on a modified headlock. Morgan went for a step up knee off the apron but Evans blocked it. Evans slammed Morgan into the ring post and Morgan fell to the floor. [c]
Evans had Morgan in a headlock. Cole said that Evans has been more extreme than Morgan. Evans threw Morgan down by the hair. Evans taunted Morgan then threw her down again. Evans taunted Morgan. Morgan asked for more. Evans kicked her in the face and covered Morgan for a near fall. Evans hit a headscissors out of the corner. Evans kept the headscissors on and did push ups. Morgan kicked at the face of Evans to get out. Evans rolled to the floor. Evans looked under the ring and got a broom, then tossed it away. Evans then found a kendo stick. Cole said it’s not legal tonight but it will be at Extreme Rules. Evans swung, but Morgan ducked. Morgan hit the Codebreaker, then the Oblivion for the win.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 8:00
-Morgan celebrated with the title. Cole called it a gutsy win. Morgan picked up the kendo stick. She teased using it, then tossed it down. Graves said she doesn’t have the killer instinct. Morgan picked the kendo stick back up and hit Evans with it repeatedly. Morgan took Evans to the outside and used the kendo stick to execute a Russian leg sweep against the barricade. She screamed at Evans that she can get extreme. Morgan pulled a table out from under the ring. She set it up. The crowd cheered. Morgan threw Evans on the table. Cole said he’s never seen Morgan like this. Morgan climbed to the top rope jumped off with a senton on Evans, through the table. Morgan screamed into the camera and said she can get extreme. Cole said this is a different Morgan than who Rousey has faced in the past. Graves said that Morgan made a statement to Rousey.
(McDonald’s Analysis: So, let me get this straight. Lacey Evans hasn’t been on TV at all. She came back and was beat in two minutes in the Five Way. Now, she dominated the champion for seven minutes and lost on a fluke? How does that make any sense? Also, doesn’t that emphasize that Morgan is a complete joke as a champion? Wasn’t Rousey the one who eliminated Evans that soon? I know this was all about the angle and Morgan getting extreme, whatever that means, but this was a miss. Morgan’s constant screaming is also not the right vibe. Everything that this character is doing is missing by a mile.)
-Hit Row was in the back. They talked about their V.I.P. watch party to watch the Tag Team title match. They said no matter who wins, they have next. The Street Profits appeared. They said they’re always ready for invites. Montez Ford then said that Otis and Braun Strowman are also going to wrestle tonight. The camera panned back and revealed that Shinsuke Nakamura was there. They all toasted. [c]
-They showed a graphic for the Tag Team title match. Cole hyped it.
-Zayn was in the back. He yelled at a caterer. Ricochet and Madcap Moss appeared. They said Zayn has changed. They said he’s even more abnoxious and unbearable then before. Zayn said that if they disrespect him, they’re disrespecting the entire Bloodline. Ricochet said he thinks he’s an honorary Uce, but everyone knows he’s, Sikoa then appeared and destroyed Ricochet and Moss. He slammed them both into the garage door. Zayn pulled Sikoa off. Zayn said he was just about to do that.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Finally, someone destroyed these two goofs. Thanks Solo.)
-Cole threw to a video package on the Usos Tag Team title reign. The video was narrated by Paul Heyman. Heyman said the Usos have been champions longer than the Hart Foundation, L.O.D, the New Age Outlaws and the Dudleys. He said there’s two teams left. Demolition and the New Day. He said they will pass them and become the greatest team of all time. Cole hyped the match for later. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Excellent video package. Great touch to have Heyman narrate these. I love the emphasis on the Tag titles and this video package helps hammer that point home. This match feels bigger than it really should, and that’s a good thing.)
-They showed a Royal Rumble classic segment. They chose the 1995 Royal Rumble. Afterwards, Cole announced that tickets are available next week.
-The New Day’s music played and they made their entrance. Maximum Male Models were already in the ring.
(2) NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. MAXIMUM MALE MODELS (Mace & Mansoor w/Max & Maxxine Dupri)
Mansoor started against Woods. Mansoor shot Woods off the ropes and posed. Woods rolled Mansoor up as Mace blind-tagged in. Mace took Woods down then tagged in Mansoor. They double teamed Woods and took him down. They posed. Mansoor dropped an elbow on Woods then put him in a headlock. The crowd cheered for New Day. Woods fought up and hit Mace in the corner. He then backdropped Mansoor to the floor. Mansoor tagged in Mace and Mace charged Kingston and knocked him off the apron. Mace took Woods down and covered him for a near fall. Mansoor tagged in. They posed on Woods for a photo. Kingston charged and took Mace to the floor. Woods rolled up Mansoor for the win.
WINNER: New Day in 3:00
-Max Dupri lost it at ringside. He yelled at the Models. Max ripped his jacket off and walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: How far we’ve fallen with this group. I assume this is leading to a singles run for Max Dupri? That seems to be the idea here.)
-Cole and Graves were shown at ringside. Cole threw to a video package on the Strowman and Otis match. They then showed attendants working on the ring. Cole and Graves said they’re re-enforcing the ring. Cole said that Otis and Strowman are next. [c]
-They showed the Tag Team title match graphic again. Graves hyped the match.
-They showed Hit Row’s party in the back. Los Lotharios hit on B-Fabb. The rest of Hit Row ran them off.
-Braun Strowman made his entrance. Cole mentioned that Strowman has won strong man contests before. He then touted Strowman’s previous accomplishments.
-Otis made his entrance with Chad Gable. They showed a tale of the tape graphic with the two men. Cole then listed Otis’ accomplishments.
(3) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. OTIS (w/ Chad Gable)
They locked up in the ring. Strowman used a knee then knocked Otis to the corner with strikes. Strowman tossed Otis then dropkicked him to the outside of the ring. Cole marveled at Strowman’s dropkick. Strowman ran around the ring. Gable ducked, but it distracted Strowman. Otis took Strowman down from behind. Otis drove him into the ringpost then tossed Strowman back into the ring. Otis followed and hit a discus clothesline for a near fall. Gable cheered Otis on. Otis splashed Strowman in the corner. Otis then clubbed Strowman and took him down. The crowd chanted for Strowman. Otis came off the ropes but Strowman caught him with a spinebuster. Otis rolled to the outside. Gable consoled him. Strowman exited and ran around the ring and into Gable and Otis, who flew into the announce table. Strowman sent Otis back into the ring. Gable grabbed Strowman’s foot. Strowman picked Gable up and tossed him into the ringside area. Strowman entered the ring and went for a slam but Otis wriggled free. Otis hit Strowman with the World’s Strongest Slam for a near fall. Otis then hit a Vader Bomb for a near fall. Otis climbed to the second rope. He dove, but Strowman moved. Strowman powerbombed Otis and pinned him for the win.
WINNER: Braun Strowman in 6:00
-Strowman sold the back. They then showed a replay of the powerbomb. Strowman posed.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I was hopeful for Otis for a minute there, then I woke up. Cool spectacle, I guess, but Otis hasn’t been built up enough for this to matter. Strowman is what he is. It’s going to take a lot to get me invested in him. This just doesn’t move the needle much.)
-Kayla Braxton was in the back. She welcomed the Brawling Brutes. Butch said that it’s fight night. The Brutes chanted. Ridge Holland said they’re going to beat the Usos and become champions. Sheamus said they love to fight. He then said he’s going to face Sheamus in two weeks on Smackdown. Sheamus said he’s going to win, but tonight, it’s about Holland and Butch. Sheamus said when the Brutes get in the ring they’re going to get banger, after banger, after banger, after banger…[c]
-Drew McIntyre’s music played and he made his entrance. McIntyre had a leather strap in his hand. McIntyre asked the crowd to scream. The crowd chanted “Drew, Drew”. He said everyone should know him pretty well. McIntyre said he doesn’t like to play games and if someone has an issue, they can get in the ring and solve the problem. He said that Karrion Kross keeps attacking him from behind. McIntyre said he went to the top and Kross is going to have his first big match. McIntyre said it will be against him at Extreme Rules. McIntyre unveiled the strap and announced that he and Kross are going to have a strap match at Extreme Rules.
-Kross’ music played and Scarlett appeared on the stage. The screen went black and white. She made her way to the ring. Kross attacked McIntyre from behind. McIntyre was ready and took control. He tossed Kross into the post, then he strapped himself to Kross. McIntyre pulled Kross in and took him down. McIntyre whipped Kross with the strap. Kross tried to get away. McIntyre pulled Kross back and whipped him again. McIntyre pulled Kross back into the ring and clotheslined him down. Scarlett entered and McIntyre teased whipping her, but stopped. McIntyre went towards the coner again. Scarlett attempted to hit McIntyre in the face with something. McIntyre sold for a second and Kross attacked. McIntyre hit a spinebuster. Scarlett low-blowed McIntyre. Kross stood over McIntyre. Kross put McIntyre in the Kross Jacket. Kross said he accepts and he’ll see McIntyre at Extreme Rules. He said that McIntyre fell for it. Kross told McIntyre to let it go. Kross stood up and posed with Scarlett. McIntyre gasped for air. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I didn’t see a strap match stipulation coming, but it works. It should add something to the match and it should also hide some of Kross’ limitations. That’s a win-win. This segment was solid except for whatever Scarlett was supposed to do there. I assume the low-blow was ad-libbed after the “fireball” didn’t go as planned. If that is the case, good job on Scarlett’s part. I’m actually interested in seeing this. I have zero idea who should win though.)
-They showed the graphic for the Tag Title match again. Graves hyped the match. Cole then threw to a replay of the “fireball”. They slowed down the shot so you could see the fireball. Graves said it only grazed McIntyre.
-Damage Control made their entrance.
-Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance. Cole said that Rodriguez and Kai have history in NXT. Graves said they were the first NXT Women’s Tag Team champions.
(4) DAKOTA KAI (w/ Bayley & Iyo Sky) vs. RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ
Rodriguez went right after Kai. Kai fought back with kicks. Rodriguez reversed a Scorpion Kick but Sky distracted Rodriguez. Bayley then provided another distraction and Kai took Rodriguez down. Shotzi’s music played and she ran down the ramp. Shotzi took out Bayley and Sky. Rodriguez rolled up Kai for the win.
WINNER: Raquel Rodriguez in 1:00
Bayley and Sky took out Shotzi on the outside. Kai held onto Rodriguez. Bayley and Sky entered the ring and started the triple team on Rodriguez. Shotzi recovered and made the save. Rodriguez and Shotzi sent Damage Control to the outside. Damage Control pouted and Rodriguez and Shotzi taunted.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Yep, let’s keep beating every woman in two minutes or less. That doesn’t cause any problems later on when you try to portray them as threats. Why even do this match?)
-Los Lotharios entered Hit Row’s party and attacked Top Dolla. They ran off. Top Dolla tried to go after them but was held back by Ashante the Adonis and Montez Ford. Top Dolla said they made the biggest mistake of their life. [c]
-They showed a graphic for Gunther against Sheamus for the Intercontinental title in two weeks on Smackdown. Then they showed a graphic for Bayley against Shotzi and Hit Row against Los Lotharios next week. They then hyped Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa against Madcap Moss and Ricochet next week.
-Sheamus’ music played and the Brawling Brutes made their entrance to a huge pop.
-The Usos made their entrance with Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa. They posed with the titles. Formal ring introductions took place. Cole hyped the match. [c]
(5) BRAWLING BRUTES (Butch & Ridge Holland w/ Sheamus) vs. THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) (c) (w/ Sami Zayn & Solo Sikoa) – WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship Match
Butch went after Jey and hit him in the corner. Butch hit a drop toehold, then went after the fingers. Butch stomped on the arm of Jey. Holland tagged in and they double teamed Jey. Jey shot Holland off the ropes and Jimmy delivered a kick from the apron. Jey took Holland down with a right hand then tagged in Jimmy. Jimmy chopped away at Holland. Jimmy held Holland in the corner. Jey tagged in and splashed Holland in the corner. Holland recovered and took Jey down then tagged in Butch. Butch came off the top and took Jey down. Butch raced across the ring and attacked Jimmy. Holland joined in. They battered Jimmy on the apron. Holland tagged in and went after Jey. The Brutes went for a double team but Jey recovered and knocked Butch off the top rope then tossed Holland to the outside. Jey knocked Butch to the outside and Butch hit hard. Zayn taunted Butch and Holland. Jey told him to back off. Jey tossed Butch into the barricade. Zayn taunted again. The Usos hit a double flapjack on Butch in the ring for a near fall. [c]
Butch fought out of the corner on the Usos. Jimmy hit a step up enzuguiri for a near fall. Jey tagged in. Jey knocked Butch to the outside. Zayn went after Butch but the ref caught him. Sheamus circled the ring. Jey came to the outside and yelled at Zayn. Zayn said he didn’t want Jey to get DQ’ed. Jey sent Butch back into the ring. Jey yelled at Zayn. Butch hit a big kick off the distraction and crawled to the corner. He tagged in Holland. Holland took down Jimmy then slammed Jey. Jimmy hit Holland and took the advantage. Holland recovered with a tilt-a-whirl slam for a near fall. Holland measured Jimmy and charged but Jimmy hit a big right. Butch tagged in. Jimmy hit a Samoan Drop on Holland. Butch took Jimmy down and covered him for a near fall. Jimmy hit a big right on Butch. Butch sent Jimmy to the outside but Jey tagged in. Butch hit Jey then jumped over the top and took out Jimmy on the outside. Butch hit a big kick to the back of Jey’s neck and covered him for a near fall. Jimmy tagged back in and hit a kick on Butch. Jey hit a superkick on Butch. Jimmy superkicked Holland on the apron. Butch went for a moonsault but the Usos caught him with a double superkick for a near fall. Zayn jumped on the apron in disbelief. The Usos went for a One and Done but Butch countered with a modified DDT on Jimmy. Butch worked the fingers of Jey and tagged in Holland. Holland went for the Alabama Slam but Jimmy tagged in. Holland slammed both Usos after blocking a double superkick. Butch and Holland hit a double team on Jimmy and covered him. Jey broke up the pin at the last second. Zayn ran around ringside and got a chair. Sheamus took the chair from Zayn. Sheamus went after Zayn and Sikoa. Imperium appeared and attacked Sheamus. Holland and Butch tried to save Sheamus on the outside. The Usos superkicked the Brutes. They hit the One and Done on Butch in the ring for the win.
WINNER: The Usos in 15:00 to retain the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships
-Cole threw to a replay. The Bloodline celebrated in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Awesome match. Really good stuff here. Everyone worked hard and the Brutes don’t lose anything from this. I would have rather Holland take the fall, but that’s nitpicking. Despite the “distraction”, I think this was a solid, mostly clean finish. There really wasn’t anywhere else to go with this finish, but they did get me a couple of times with the false finishes. I don’t know where they go from here with the Usos. I love the long reign, but WWE needs to keep building teams to have credible challengers. The Brutes are going to continue to feud with Imperium which is probably the right way to go.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, a solid episode of Smackdown. I’m sure a lot will be disappointed with no White Rabbit appearance. You can hear more from me on the Wade Keller Post Show, which goes live, right about, now.