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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 3, 2023
GREENVILLE, SC AT BON SECOURS WELLNESS ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
-The show opened with footage from the Royal Rumble this past Saturday. The video showed the beatdown on Kevin Owens by Roman Reigns. It then showed Sami Zayn intervening and eventually striking Reigns with the chair. The video then showed Jey Uso pleading with Zayn before the superkick by Jimmy Uso. Solo Sikoa then joined the beatdown. When Jimmy tried to get Jey to join, he left. The video then showed Reigns’ attack on Zayn. The video ended with a shot of Zayn’s lifeless body in the ring.
-Kayla Braxton was in the parking lot as the Bloodline pulled up. Reigns passed Kayla and she asked about Jey’s status. Reigns walked past. Paul Heyman stopped and said that Kayla asked a cold-blooded question. Heyman said they can neither confirm or deny Jey’s status within the Bloodline. Heyman then thanked Kayla for wearing their colors tonight. He walked off. Kayla looked down at her red shirt.
-The Smackdown video intro played then the camera panned the audience as pyro exploded on the stage and Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show. They then showed still shots of the Bloodline angle at the Royal Rumble. There was then a graphic for Reigns’ State of the Bloodline address later tonight. Wade Barrett hyped the segment.
-Braun Strowman and Ricochet made their entrance. They showed a replay of Ricochet’s big spot with Logan Paul at the Royal Rumble. Barrett said they should send that footage into space so that other beings could see what humans can do.
-Imperium made their entrance. Cole threw to a video of Gunther in the Royal Rumble and put over Gunther’s incredible, record breaking performance. Cole then mentioned that the winner of this match will face the Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team titles next week on Smackdown.
(1) BRAUN STROWMAN & RICOCHET vs. IMPERIUM (Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci w/ Gunther) – Smackdown Tag Team Tournament Finals
Strowman started with Vinci and threw him down. Vinci tagged in Kaiser. Strowman tossed Kaiser and Vinci went low but Strowman swatted him away as well. Imperium regrouped on the outside of the ring. Kaiser got back in the ring as Ricochet tagged in. They locked up and Kaiser sent Ricochet off the ropes but Ricochet took him down with a dropkick. Vinci jumped on the apron and distracted Ricochet. Kaiser delivered a big uppercut. Strowman ran around the ring and took out Vinci, but then came face to face with Gunther. Kaiser flew over the top rope but Strowman caught him. Vinci came off the top into Kaiser and Strowman and took the big man down as they cut to break. [c]
Strowman went for a slam on Vinci but Vinci wriggled out. Strowman charged but Vinci moved and Strowman hit the post. Kaiser tagged in and they double teamed Strowman. Kaiser beat down Strowman then tagged Vinci back in. Vinci put Strowman in a headlock but Strowman lifted Vinci easily to the corner and tagged in Ricochet. Ricochet took down Kaiser and Ricochet then hit a kick from the apron followed by a springboard clothesline on Vinci. He followed it up with a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Ricochet lifted Vinci to his shoulders but Vinci raked the eyes and got free. Vinci sent Ricochet into the post and tagged in Kaiser. They attempted a double team but Ricochet moved and Vinci crashed and burned. Ricochet hit a backspring elbow strike to Kaiser. Ricochet sent Vinci into the announce table. Strowman tossed Ricochet over the top rope and into Imperium. Ricochet got in Gunther’s face at ringside. Gunther shoved Ricochet. The ref caught him and sent Gunther to the back. Back in the ring, Kaiser took down Ricochet and made the cover for a near fall. [c]
Ricochet and Kaiser traded blows. Kaiser took a short advantage before Ricochet delivered a knee to the face. Ricochet then pounded on Kaiser in the corner. Vinci made a blind tag and Imperium hit a double team before they took Strowman off the apron. Vinci covered Ricochet for a near fall. Ricochet fought out of an Imperial Bomb attempt. Kaiser countered and took Ricochet to the corner. Vinci tagged in but Ricochet knocked him off the apron. Vinci recovered and delivered a big suplex. He covered Ricochet but Strowman entered the ring and broke up the attempt. Vinci and Ricochet crawled towards their corners and made the tags. Strowman took down Imperium with a pair of clotheslines then tossed Kaiser across the ring. He then knocked down Vinci. A big clothesline took down Kaiser. Strowman set up for a powerbomb on Kaiser and hit it. He then tagged in Ricochet. Ricochet climbed to the top rope then onto Strowman’s shoulders. Ricochet leapt off with a variation of a senton and covered Kaiser for the win.
WINNER: Braun Strowman & Ricochet in 16:00 to earn a Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
(McDonald’s Analysis: Good match but nothing special. We all pretty much figured this would be the outcome. It’s a shame because Imperium is such an awesome team. Unfortunately, there’s a dominant heel team on Smackdown already. When the Usos’ reign is over, Imperium will get their shot. They’ll be a relevant team long after Ricochet and Strowman’s partnership is forgotten about. With that said, given the recent happenings with the Bloodline, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle this next week. Maybe Jey will just be replaced by Solo Sikoa so they can get through the match. It seems odd to book something like this so soon after the break up. They had to know this tournament was going to end, right? Maybe this is part of the master plan. We shall see.)
-Ricochet and Strowman celebrated as a graphic appeared on the bottom of the screen. Cole and Barrett hyped the match for next week on Smackdown. Barrett mentioned that this may be the perfect time to face the Usos and he questioned whether or not Jey would show up.
-Cole then threw to a video recap of the Women’s Royal Rumble match featuring the wire to wire performances of Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan. The video then turned to Ripley’s choice this past Monday on Raw. The video then showed Ripley choosing Charlotte Flair.
-Kayla welcomed Charlotte Flair. She asked how Charlotte felt about Ripley choosing her. Charlotte said it’s going to be epic, but tonight she’s focused on Sonya Deville. Charlotte mentioned that they’re in the Carolinas before Sonya Deville interrupted her. She said that they’re in Flair country. Deville then said she’s focused on the Smackdown Women’s title. Deville said that she’ll be the one to face Ripley at Wrestlemania. Charlotte told Deville to save her trash talk for the ring. Deville walked off and Charlotte said she’d see her out there.
-They showed a graphic for the Nascar race this week. Cole mentioned that Rey Mysterio and the New Day were there, but they were confronted by the Judgment Day. Cole said we would see the footage after the break. [c]
-They showed still shots from the Royal Rumble. Afterwards, they showed the graphic for Reigns’ appearance later on the show.
-Cole and Barrett were at ringside. Cole hyped the Nascar race this Sunday. He then threw to a video from a Nascar event last night. New Day and Rey Mysterio were with an older Nascar driver. Dominik called him an old man in pajamas. Judgment Day was with their own younger Nascar driver. Dominik challenged Mysterio to a race. The Nascar representative told them to race. Dominik and Mysterio put on a big show of putting on their suits and getting in the cars. Dominik said when he woke up he “pissed excellence”. Dominik slashed his throat at Rey before they raced. New Day cheered on Mysterio as the Judgment Day cheered on Dominik. They showed Dominik and Mysterio trash talking each other. Dominik said he learned this from his cell mate who used to be a getaway driver. He also asked if they could get Mysterio a booster seat. Mysterio won the race and celebrated with New Day. Dominik threw his helmet and said if Mami was here it would been different. He claimed that Mysterio cheated. The Nascar representatives held back the Judgment Day and New Day and Mysterio.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was really hokey. Why would they settle their differences in a Nascar race with this blood feud? Also, who in their right mind would let these two drive a Nascar? The silliness of this aside, the quips by Dominik were really funny and the best part of this whole segment. Other than that, nothing about this was worth writing home about. At this point, I’m surprised this was the tie-in before the NFL. Wait, the Super Bowl is next week, that might be next.)
-Sonya Deville made her entrance. Cole hyped her match against Charlotte for after the break. [c]
-Deville was in the ring as Charlotte Flair made her entrance.
-The bell rang and formal ring introductions took place.
(2) CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) vs. SONYA DEVILLE – Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
They locked up and Charlotte took Deville down. As they got back up Charlotte charged and took Deville down with a shoulder tackle. She then trash talked Deville. Charlotte got a waistlock takedown on Deville then a quick cover but Deville got out before a count. Charlotte went after the arm but Deville reversed and took control. Charlotte reversed right back. Deville sent Charlotte into the corner and Charlotte landed on the apron. She caught Deville coming in with a big boot. Charlotte went to the top rope and leapt off to take Deville down with a crossbody. Charlotte lifted Deville and Deville fell to the apron. Deville recovered and used the top rope to take down Charlotte. The ref checked on Charlotte as they cut to break. [c]
Deville was in control. She went for a kick but Charlotte moved and rolled up Deville for a near fall. Deville recovered quickly and took Charlotte down then covered her for a near fall of her own. Deville put a headlock on Charlotte but Charlotte fought out. Deville tried to send Charlotte into the turnbuckle but Charlotte blocked and sent Deville face first into the turnbuckle. Deville hit a chopblock on Charlotte but Charlotte recovered. Charlotte delivered a series of chops followed by a back suplex then a kip up. Charlotte took Deville to the corner and delivered a right hand followed by a leaping knee to the leg. Charlotte came off the ropes and delivered a big boot. She covered Deville for a near fall. Charlotte sent Deville to the apron and went for a big boot but Charlotte missed and hung her leg up on the top rope. Deville hit a bicycle kick to Charlotte and covered her for a near fall. Charlotte tried to regroup in the corner. Deville charged but Charlotte caught her with a backbreaker. Charlotte went for another big boot but Deville moved and kicked at Charlotte’s leg. Deville went to the middle rope and leapt off with a knee. She covered Charlotte for a near fall. Deville set up for a figure four but Charlotte rolled her up for a near fall. Deville sent Charlotte into the corner and charged. Charlotte somersaulted out of the corner and clotheslined Deville down. Charlotte made the cover for a near fall. Charlotte dragged Deville into position and went for a moonsault but Deville got her feet up into Charlotte’s face. Charlotte sunset flipped Deville then locked on the Figure Eight for the win.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair in 11:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
(McDonald’s Analysis: Not a bad match. Based on the commentary it seems that this will be Charlotte’s last defense before the big one against Ripley at Wrestlemania. If the thought behind bringing Charlotte back and giving her the title was so they could give it to Ripley and move Ripley to Smackdown, then that was a really good call. Smackdown will still need some faces to take on Ripley after the fact, but if it leads to a draft with Ripley on top, that could be great for Smackdown. For the now, this was a fine opponent for Charlotte and it’s now time for her to move on to bigger and better things. In this particular case, we already know what, and more importantly, who, that is.)
-Cole and Barrett were sitting at ringside. They mentioned that Ripley will take on Charlotte at Wrestlemania. Cole asked who would face Reigns at Wrestlemania. He said it’s always been the dream of Cody Rhodes. This led to a video package on Cody Rhodes and his return and subsequent win at the Royal Rumble this past Saturday.
-The Bloodline was in the back. Reigns asked Jimmy where his brother is. Jimmy said he didn’t know. Reigns asked if Jimmy had heard from him. Jimmy said he hadn’t. Reigns said it was disrespectful. He said not only did Jey walk out, but he hasn’t spoken to anyone. Reigns mentioned that they had a title match next week. Reigns said he’s going to ask again. Jimmy said he’ll tell Reigns again. Jimmy said he hasn’t talked to him, but Jey just needs time to chill out. Jimmy said that Jey will be there. Reigns asked if Jey would be there for the rest of the Bloodline. Reigns then asked Solo Sikoa if he had heard from Jey. Jimmy interrupted and said if he hasn’t heard from Jey, then no one has. Reigns yelled to Heyman that it is Wrestlemania season and not the time to play around. Heyman confirmed that it is, indeed, Wrestlemania season. Reigns said that they’re not going to find Jey on the couch. He told Jimmy and Sikoa to go find their brother, now. Jimmy and Sikoa left. Reigns grimaced.
(McDonald’s Analysis: This was good stuff. Reigns is starting to show some of the cracks in the armor and it seems that the disappearance of Jey is really bothering him. It’s probably a small thing, but it does make you wonder if Jimmy and Solo aren’t being completely honest when they say they haven’t spoken to Jey all week. I can’t wait to see where this goes.)
-The Brawling Brutes made their entrance. They showed a graphic for the Brutes against the Viking Raiders. Cole hyped the match as coming up next.
-Cole through to a video package on Kofi Kingston as a celebration of Black History Month. [c]
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance. Cole threw to a video recap of the Viking Raiders’ attack on Drew McIntyre and Sheamus last week on Smackdown.
(3) BRAWLING BRUTES (Butch & Ridge Holland) vs. VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar w/ Valhalla)
Butch started against Ivar. Ivar pounded on Butch in the corner. Ivar then whipped Butch hard into the corner and Butch crumpled to the mat. Erik tagged in and whipped Butch into the corner again. Erik charged and splashed Butch in the corner. Butch fought back and pulled at the hand of Erik. Holland tagged in and ran the ropes. He came off and took Erik down with a flying shoulder tackle. Erik went for a suplex but Holland blocked and lifted Erik to deliver a suplex of his own. Butch tagged in and the Brutes hit Ten Beats on Erik. Butch stomped Erik and sent him to the floor. Butch leapt over the top rope but Erik moved. Butch landed on his feet. Valhalla got in his face and Butch stared her down. Erik ran around the corner and took Butch down from behind. Erik celebrated as they cut to break. [c]
Butch pulled on Erik’s hand on the apron. Butch flipped back into the ring and tagged in Holland. Holland tossed Erik with a pair of suplexes. Holland then hit a headbutt and a double underhook belly to belly suplex. Erik recovered with a big kick and tagged in Ivar. Ivar went for a piledriver but Holland countered and delivered an Alabama Slam for a near fall. Holland measured Ivar and grabbed a waistlock but Ivar drove him into the corner. Butch tagged in and went after Ivar. Ivar fought Butch off and tagged in Erik. Erik hit a big clothesline followed by a knee for a near fall. Holland and Erik battled at ringside and drove each other into the barricade. In the ring, Butch hit a frankensteiner off the top rope on Ivar. Butch went for a moonsault off the top but Ivar caught him. Butch got on Ivar’s back and went for a sleeper but Erik tagged in. Ivar dropped to the outside and hit a spin kick on Holland. Ivar tagged back in and the Raiders delivered a Ragnarok to Butch for the win.
WINNER: Viking Raiders in 10:00
-The Viking Raiders got to the top of the ramp. Drew McIntyre’s music played and he emerged alongside Sheamus. They went after the Raiders. McIntyre and Sheamus tossed the Raiders into the stage and posed at the top of the ramp. Cole and Barrett hyped a future meeting between the two teams.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Much like Imperium, the Brutes are a great team but it’s just not their turn right now so they have to take the loss. The Raiders have looked good as of late and these two teams actually worked really well together. I liked the attack by Sheamus and McIntyre at the end, but I wish Holland and Butch weren’t made to look like their little friends who can’t do anything on their own. Butch should be more than that. Anyway, I know we saw the match once, but I liked it. I’m all for some more stuff with the Raiders against Sheamus and McIntyre. The Tag Division on Smackdown is pretty solid right now, so anything that gets us some good tag matches on TV is a good thing.)
-Cole threw to a recap of the Mountain Dew Pitch Black match between Bray Wyatt and L.A. Knight from this past Saturday at the Royal Rumble. The video ended with Uncle Howdy’s dive and the explosion afterward.
-Bray Wyatt was in the back in his rocking chair. A figure appeared next to him and put his hand on his shoulder. The screen then faded to black.
-Shotzi made her entrance on the tank.
-They showed a graphic for a Fatal Four Way match to determine another entrant in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Cole hyped the match for after the break. [c]
-They showed more still shots from Royal Rumble.
-Natalya made her entrance. Afterwards, they showed a graphic for the Women’s Elimination Chamber. Cole mentioned that one spot would be filled tonight with the other spot being filled on Monday.
(5) SHOTZI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER vs. NATALYA vs. ZELINA VEGA – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
Baszler and Vega fell to the outside. Shotzi went for a cover on Natalya. Shotzi ran the ropes but Vega pulled her to the floor. Vega went for a rollup on Natalya. Natalya battled back against Vega and delivered a series of strikes. Vega was able to hit a modified Code Red but Baszler appeared and broke up the pin. Baszler and Shotzi were in the ring and Baszler went after the arm of Shotzi. Natalya attacked Baszler from behind. Shotzi fell to the floor. Baszler took down Natalya then dropped to the outside and took down Vega. Baszler hit a big knee on Natalya and covered her for a near fall. Natalya rolled to the outside. Baszler stood tall in the ring. [c]
Baszler was still in control after the break. Shotzi tried to fight back but Baszler went back to the arm. Baszler went for the arm stomp but Shotzi rolled her up for a near fall. Shotzi hit a series of kicks then a splash on Baszler against the ropes. Shotzi then hit a suicide dive on Baszler. Vega went to the top rope and took out both women with a moonsault. Natalya went to the outside and tossed Shotzi in the ring. Natalya locked on the Sharpshooter but Vega broke it up with a bulldog on Natalya. Shotzi took Vega down with a suplex. Baszler entered the ring and took out Shotzi with a suplex. Baszler put the Kirifuda Clutch on Vega. Natalya charged with a discus clothesline but Baszler caught her with a Kirifuda Clutch. Natalya dumped Baszler to the outside. Natalya put the Sharpshooter on Vega for the win.
WINNER: Natalya in 8:00 to advance to the Elimination Chamber
(McDonald’s Analysis: Why do they insist on doing this? None of these matches are good. Every woman just takes turns comically rolling out of the ring to the floor while another pair take their turn in the ring. It looks like they’re doing a drill at a wrestling school, not having a match. Natalya has a zero percent chance of winning the Elimination Chamber. This was a giant waste of time.)
-Heyman and Reigns were in the back. Heyman said that he’s sorry, but Jey’s phone goes straight to voicemail. Jimmy and Sikoa returned. Jimmy said they couldn’t get ahold of Jey. Reigns said that he doesn’t understand. He said for all of the times of the year for this to happen. He said they were doing so well. He said they had no problems and no hiccups. Reigns then said that they need to understand his position. He said he’s being pulled in too many different directions and he’s under a lot of stress. Reigns apologized for how he talked to Jimmy and Sikoa earlier. Sikoa said not to worry about it. Reigns said he needs them. He said he needs them to be as strong as ever, or there’s no this. Reigns put up the number one finger. He then said that Heyman ordered catering and it’s on the bus. He said that there’s steaks and sushi and he doesn’t know what else. Reigns called it a good dinner. He said that he wants Jimmy and Sikoa to go enjoy because he’s going to take care of some things in the ring. Jimmy said “yeet” and thanked Heyman. Sikoa and Jimmy walked off. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Again, more really good stuff. Reigns has to apologize because he can’t lose any more pieces to his puzzle. He has to make it up to Jimmy and Sikoa because that’s all he has left. Reigns is subtly starting to crack. You have to wonder what it will take to send him over the edge.)
-Back from break, they hyped next week’s episode of Smackdown including the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match and a Fatal Four Way to determine the number one contender for the Intercontinental title.
-Roman Reigns made his entrance with Paul Heyman in tow. Cole touted his reign at 887 days. Heyman handed Reigns the Universal title and Reigns posed at the top of the ramp as pyro exploded behind him. They showed a graphic for Cody Rhodes against Reigns at Wrestlemania. Reigns entered the ring and posed again with the titles as pyro exploded on the stage again.
-Reigns stood in the center of the ring and received a loud mixed reaction. He asked for the mic and Heyman handed it to him. The crowd then chanted “Sami, Sami”. Reigns asked Greenville to acknowledge him. He got another loud mixed reaction. The crowd chanted for Sami Zayn again. Reigns said he was going to ask who they wanted him to talk about, but it’s obvious. Reigns said he would rather talk about Cody Rhodes. Reigns said that Rhodes won the Rumble and actually deserves his attention. Reigns said the simple folks have reduced him to talking about the past. The crowd chanted Sami again. Reigns said he’ll talk about Zayn, but there’s two sides to every story, so they have to hear his. Reigns said they have to go back to War Games. Reigns said he told Zayn he saw everything he needed to see. Reigns said that night, he saw greed. Reigns said he saw the same thing he sees in everyone he interacts with now. Reigns said it’s always about what he can do for others, like he hasn’t done enough. Reigns said he gave to Zayn and Zayn used him and his Bloodline. Reigns said it’s the same as everyone in the crowd. He said everyone wants and never gives back.
-Suddenly, a figure in a hoodie hit the ring and attacked Reigns. It was Sami Zayn. Zayn stayed after Reigns but Reigns delivered a series of knees and took Zayn down. Reigns asked Heyman for a chair. Reigns lifted the chair above his head but Zayn hit him with a big spear. The crowd cheered and chanted Sami again. Zayn lifted the chair and swung at Reigns but Reigns rolled out of the ring. Zayn took the mic and screamed “Roman”. Zayn said he never wanted anything from Reigns, until now. Zayn said he wants something now and he’s going to take it. Zayn said he’s coming after Reigns and the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship.
-Jimmy and Sikoa attacked Zayn from behind. Sikoa delivered a Samoan Spike and took Zayn down. Jimmy got the chair and put it around Zayn’s head. Reigns got back in the ring. Sikoa charged Zayn but Reigns stopped Sikoa. Reigns walked over to Zayn. He asked if Zayn wanted something from him. The crowd chanted “we want Jey”. Reigns leaned down and told Zayn what the crowd was chanting. Reigns said that Zayn took away his right hand man and broke up his family. Reigns said he’s going to give Zayn what he wants but he wants Zayn in Montreal. Reigns said he’s going to destroy Zayn in front of his whole family. Reigns said that he’ll teach Zayn a lesson for messing with the Bloodline. Reigns said he’ll see Zayn soon. Reigns held both titles in front of Zayn. He said this isn’t a dream to him. Reigns said this is reality. Reigns posed with the titles and asked the crowd “Sami who?”.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Excellent. Everything about that was perfect. Before I elaborate, did anyone else hear the boos for Cody Rhodes when Reigns mentioned his name? That couldn’t have been just me. Between that, the constant chants for Sami, then a chant for Jey, this crowd was all over this segment. It’s a shame that the end sequence with Reigns talking to Zayn was probably not heard in the arena. Speaking of that, I’m glad they’ve gone back to the chatter like that. It reminds me of the early days of this storyline in the Thunder Dome. Anyway, this was just really well done. Zayn was awesome here and I love that he’s showing no fear in going right after Reigns. This is the type of babyface character he should be. He’s not a badass, and that’s fine, but he won’t quit and he won’t take no for an answer. I’m shocked that this has turned so quickly and we’re going to see this match so soon, but I can’t wait for the moment when they stand across the ring from each other. I know that it’s Montreal, and not Philadelphia, but I really hope there isn’t a crazy riot when Reigns beats Sami.)
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