By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,184)
Taped April 22, 2022 in Albany, New York at MVP Arena
Aired April 29, 2022 on Fox
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee joined in on commentary. They plugged Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi and Charlotte vs. Aliyah in a Beat the Clock Challenge. RK-Bro will have their contract signing for the WWE Tag Team Title Unification match at Backlash. A steel cage was over the ring, and Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the opening match. He was followed by Sami Zayn.
1. Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn in a Steel Cage Match: Drew pulled Sami into the cage as he approached the ring. Drew Gulak rang that bell at the timekeeper’s table. Sami immediately ran away and tried to escape up the cage wall. Drew pulled him back in the ring and pulled him into the corner for some punches and kicks. Drew bounced Sami off the cage a couple of times and then played to the crowd.
Sami held onto the cage the next time Drew tossed him, and tried to escape. Drew pursued and they both ended up against the cage in the corner. Sami managed to pull Drew back into the ring with a Sunset Flip Powerbomb…[c]
After the break, Sami stomped on Drew as he was prone in between the ropes and the cage. He then smashed McIntyre into the cage and taunted the crowd that he wasn’t scared. Drew attempted a comeback, but Sami shut him down with a kick. He then ascended the cage and nearly got over the top, but McIntyre quickly intervened and pulled Sami back into the ring.
McIntyre bounced Zayn off the cage, and then performed an overhead suplex toss. He then kipped up and started his Claymore countdown, but Zayn ran up the cage in the corner. McIntyre followed, but Zayn dropped him on the ropes on his groin. Zayn climbed over the top of the cage, but McIntyre grabbed him by the hair. He then pulled him back into the ring with a superplex. Drew kipped up again, and then delivered the Claymore Kick for the win.
Drew McIntyre defeated Sami Zayn at 10:36
McIntyre celebrated after the match. We then got some footage of the contract signing last week between Charlotte and Ronda. Charlotte was then interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. She told Charlotte that Ronda intends to humiliate her. Charlotte said she’s never humiliated and is adored by all. She hopes everyone sees the embarrassment on her face later when she realizes she’s better than her at everything after she wins the Beat the Clock I Quit Challenge.
Back in the arena, Happy Corbin made his entrance for Happy Talk…[c]
My Take: Drew and Sami did a nice job with the match, but there wasn’t much excitement left in this crowd after already watching an episode of Smackdown. I’m curious which direction they will go with both men at the PPV.
Corbin welcomed the audience to Happy Talk. He smirked and said the show was new and improved because he no longer has to deal with his lackey, the insufferable Mad Cap Moss. Corbin said nothing dragged the show down like his awful jokes that he insisted on telling every night. He said at WrestleMania Backlash, he’ll show him the only funny thought he ever has was that he could beat him.
Happy Corbin then took credit for all of Moss’s success because he made him, and because he made him he could destroy him. He said he would start by destroying his prized Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Trophy. Corbin introduced a video package that showed some highlights of how he acquired the trophy last week.
After the video, the trophy was displayed in the ring. Corbin said he would enjoy the agony on Moss’s face when he destroyed his trophy. He called for a sledgehammer, and Moss appeared in a Dickie’s onesie that he was disguised in holding a sledgehammer. He couldn’t hit Corbin with the Sledgehammer, but he did send him hard into the ring post and then out of the ring. Moss screamed like Howard Dean a bunch and then made out with his trophy.
Cole introduced a video package of the feud between Shanky, Jinder Mahal, and Ricochet. In the arena, Ricochet made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: Mad Cap Moss just hasn’t dropped enough of his heel antics for this babyface turn. The character is still 68% annoying.
Shanky was in the ring as the show returned.
2. Shanky vs. Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship: Shanky controlled the pace with his power early on. He landed some elbows in the corner, and then cranked on Ricochet’s neck. Shanky tossed Ricochet down, and then landed an elbow drop. Ricochet landed a kick and climbed to the top, but Shanky tossed him across the ring for his trouble. He then landed a hard right hand, and went back to cranking on Ricochet’s neck.
Shanky missed an elbow drop, and Ricochet went on offense. He landed some kicks and a springboard crossbody for a two count. He then went up top, and Shanky occupied the referee while Jinder Mahal knocked him down onto his ass. Shanky tried to take advantage, but Ricochet slipped free and stacked up Shanky for the win.
Ricochet defeated Shanky at 3:34
After the match, Shanky and Jinder Mahal had an argument, and Shanky left disgusted with him. Backstage, Raquel Rodriguez was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. She asked if Raquel was nervous, and she said of course. Raquel said she had butterflies, but she’d still make an impression that no one would forget. She then made her ring entrance.
My Take: Shanky getting stacked up by a guy half his size was an interesting choice for a finish. That said, Shanky did show off some impressive agility for someone as big as he is.
Cat Cardoza was already in the ring. She attacked Raquel before the bell.
3. Cat Cardoza vs. Raquel Rodriquez: After the pre-match strike, Raquel landed a lariat, and then picked up Cardoza by one arm. Raquel had a smile on her face as she landed two fallaway slams and a twisting splash from the second rope.
Cardoza fired back and landed a knee in the corner. She then choked her on the top rope. Cordoza tried to kick Raquel, but she caught the kick and picked her up for the newly minted Chingona Bomb for the win.
Raquel Rodriguez defeated Cat Cardoza at 2:36
After the match, Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser were shown on the screen. Kaiser said that Gunther is the embodiment of greatness, and he destroys opponents in the ring that is so sacred to them. Gunther chimed in to say that respect will be taken by the Ring Generale.
Back in the arena, RK-Bro made their entrance for the contract signing…[c]
My Take: I’m not sure what to make of Rodriguez yet. She’s constantly smiling and cheerful to the point where it feels put on. Perhaps this is setting up her having a dark side? Otherwise she kind of seems like a robot programmed to be pleasant.
There was a Make-A-Wish segment, followed by a plug for the Beat the Clock Challenge. The Usos then made their entrance for the contract signing. Adam Pearce was the master of ceremonies, and asked for their signatures. Jimmy Uso said they had nothing to prove to Pearce, and nothing to prove to RK-Bro. He said the entire world knows that you’re the twos and we the ones. Jimmy said after WrestleMania Backlash they would need bigger luggage, and RK-Bro would do a lot of acknowledging.
Riddle piped in and said he couldn’t tell The Usos apart, and asked Pearce if one of them could get some tattoos or a mustache. Orton replied that he’s never had trouble telling them apart. He said the one on the right is the right hand man, and this one on the left is a little bitch. Riddle screamed, and The Usos attacked. RK-Bro quickly turned the tables, and then Roman’s music hit.
Reigns walked towards the ring, and The Usos jumped the distracted RK-Bro from behind. They gave Orton a double superkick, and gave Riddle the One-D. Reigns ripped up the contract for the match and shoved it in Riddle’s mouth. This brought out Drew McIntyre, who quickly dispatched The Usos and stared down Roman from the apron. He got in the ring and Roman threw a punch. They traded punches, and Drew tossed Roman over with a suplex. Drew screamed that this had been coming for a long time as Roman and the Usos retreated. RK-Bro and McIntyre stood tall to close the segment…[c]
My Take: A fun segment. McIntyre is in a weird spot as a character to be challenging Reigns, but I don’t know who else they have that would seem any more credible.
Backstage, Paul Heyman made the case for the match at WrestleMania Backslash to include Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre. Adam Pearce objected on the grounds that the match involved the Tag Team Title Unification, and he couldn’t just change it. Heyman said he appreciated his principles, but he just gave him ammunition to go to the Board of Directors and file a complaint. He knows he can make the match, and that he will.
In the arena, Naomi made her entrance with Sasha Banks. Shayna and Natalya vs. Naomi and Sasha was announced for two weeks on Smackdown. Shayna Baszler made her entrance with Natalya for the next match.
4. Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler: Naomi showed some fire early with a kick and a splits pin for a two count. Baszler caught her attempting a head scissors and pulled her in for a suplex. Shayna then applied a hammerlock, and then backed her into the corner for some body shots. Naomi avoided a knee strike, and landed a kick to the face. Baszler recovered and attempted her Kirifuda Clutch, but Naomi slipped away. She then rolled up Shayna a moment later and got the win.
Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler at 2:27
After the match, Naomi got involved and applied a Sharpshooter to Banks. She then made her watch as Baszler placed Naomi’s arm palm down on the mat, and then stomped on her elbow. Cole then introduced a video of Xavier Woods defeating Butch with the backwoods last week. Butch then took off into the crowd and hasn’t been seen since. There was apparently a social media campaign to find him.
Backstage, Sheamus and Ridge Holland discussed that they had to find Butch. Sheamus said he put signs up in the locker room, catering, and the parking lot. Ridge said he put his signs in the same place. Ridge took credit for putting Big E out for a long time, and said if he ever came back, he’d be coming for Fight Night. Holland then made his entrance with Sheamus for the next match against Xavier Woods…[c]
My Take: I don’t know who decided to have Ridge take credit for Big E’s injury, but it’s unnecessary and gross. The Butch disappearance is very contrived.
It was made official that RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre vs. The Usos and Roman Reigns in a six man tag….with apparently nothing at stake? In the arena, Xavier Woods made his entrance with Kofi Kingston. Woods and Kofi asked where Butch was, and questioned how they lost Butch after a month and a half when New Day has been together for 8 years. Woods called Sheamus WWE’s resident Thot due to all of his tag partners. First he shook for the League of Nations, then for the Swissman, and now for these two rookies who don’t know any better.
Woods said that instead of Wreck-it Ralph, he was Shake-it Sheamus. He then said while Sheamus is shaking it, he would destroy his boy Ridge.
5. Ridge Holland vs. Xavier Woods: The crowd chanted “Shake-it Sheamus” as Holland slammed Woods all over the ring. Woods reversed an Irish Whip and sent Holland shoulder first into the ring post. He then slipped through the ropes and landed a DDT on Holland out on the floor…[c]
Holland took out Woods knee with a low shoulder tackle. Sheamus got agitated on the outside. Woods fought to his feet and went for a sunset flip. Holland avoided it, but Woods scrambled back to his feet. They traded strikes,and Holland got the better of it. He then applied a rear chinlock. Woods fought to his feet, but couldn’t capitalize as he got caught with a spinebuster for a near fall.
Ridge setup for a powerbomb, but Woods fell onto the mat. Holland picked him up again, and Woods blocked the powerbomb by grabbing Holland’s knee. On the third try, Holland got him up, but Woods pulled him into the backwoods for the win.
Xavier Woods defeated Ridge Holland at 8:47
After the match, Sheamus was frustrated with Ridge and wanted to show him how it was done. He asked Kofi if he was ready, and he accepted…[c]
My Take: Holland just isn’t ready to be at this level. Most of his offense looks somewhat clumsy, and he managed to botch a rollup at the end of the match.
6. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus: The match was joined in progress as Kofi landed a splash that sent Sheamus out to the floor. He then did a trust fall to the outside on top of Sheamus. Back in the ring Sheamus landed some kidney punches, but Kofi managed to fight him off and roll him up for two. Sheamus blocked an SOS, and then landed three Irish Curse Backbreakers. He then followed up with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but Kofi avoided it and landed the SOS for a near fall.
Kofi went to the top rope, but was met there by Sheamus. They brawled in the corner, and then Kofi dove into a knee strike. Sheamus landed the Brogue Kick and got the win.
Sheamus defeated Kofi Kingston by pinfall
After the match, Ridge Holland attacked Woods on the outside. Sheamus set up a table while Holland held Woods against the ring steps. Holland then picked up and Powerbombed Woods through the table on the outside. Cole then changed directions quickly, and introduced Chapter 4 of the Lacey Evans story.
Lacey said she got kicked out of her home at 17. She spoke about how she was at the top of her class at boot camp and MP Academy, and how her father never showed up for any of her accomplishments. She said she had to find a new driving force in her life, and it was anger. She said she had to show her family that there was something else for them besides addiction and depression. Lacey said she didn’t have any of the pats on the back or positive support of the other superstars, and she didn’t need it. She then said she came from the trailer park to the WWE and she was coming for all of them.
In the arena, Ronda Rousey made her entrance for the Beat the Clock Challenge…[c]
My Take: Even the triumphant part of Lacey’s story was framed as more indignity and trauma. I think this story could have been really inspirational if it felt like Lacey had ever truly overcome the negative influence her parents had on her life. Instead it was framed like she found motivation in bitterness and anger, which didn’t click with me personally.
Shotzi was already in the ring. Charlotte Flair made her entrance to observe from ringside.
7. Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey: Shotzi ran away out of and around the ring. Ronda caught her eventually, and dropped her with a kick. Shotzi rolled to the outside again, and Ronda dumped her face first onto the apron. Back in the ring, Ronda landed a suplex, and then a applied an Ankle Lock. Shotzi quit immediately at 1:41.
Ronda Rousey submitted Shotzi at 1:41
Charlotte got in the ring and congratulated Ronda. She told her to take her victory lap and get out of there because it would be her last win for a long time. Charlotte demanded Aliyah come out, and said she’d have the privilege of getting her 10 seconds of fame. Aliyah made her entrance.
8. Charlotte Flair vs. Aliyah: Charlotte demanded she quit immediately. She tossed Aliyah around a bit. Aliyah landed a bulldog and headed to the top rope. She dove off with a cross body, but missed. Charlotte attempted to apply the Figure Four, but Aliyah shoved her to the floor. Charlotte scrambled back into the ring and applied the hold, but Aliyah lasted until the timer expired.
Ronda was announced as the winner of the Beat the Clock Challenge
After the official announcement, Charlotte scowled as Ronda celebrated to the back. Charlotte sought someone to blame, and landed on timekeeper Drew Gulak. She kicked him in the face, and then tossed him into the ring, where she hit him over the back with the ring bell. She then held up her championship to close the show.
My Take: Are they going to make Drew Gulak the special guest referee of this match at WrestleMania Backlash? I can’t see another reason for his continued involvement.