By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,186)
Live from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at Mohegan Sun Arena
Aired May 13, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with highlights of The Bloodline defeating Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, and Riddle in the main event of Sunday’s WrestleMania Backlash… Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on commentary, and Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
Raw Tag Team Champions “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance. Animated rabbits were shown when Riddle kicked off his flip flops. Orton welcomed viewers to Smackdown. Orton once again stated that Roman Reigns is the only person who makes decisions in The Bloodline.
Riddle gave Reigns credit and said “my bad” regarding his pinfall loss at WrestleMania Backlash. Orton said he and Riddle demand to become the Undisputed Tag Team Champions. Orton told Reigns to “get your happy ass out here to my ring.”
Sami Zayn’s entrance music played and he walked out dressing in a Bloodline t-shirt. Zayn mocked Orton and Riddle for thinking that Reigns would come out just because they summoned him. Zayn said he’s the locker room leader and he thinks he speaks for the entire Smackdown locker room and WWE Universe when he says that no one wants to see the tag team title unification match.
Zayn said Orton and Riddle shouldn’t want the match either because if it happens, they will lose. Zayn, who was in the ring at this point, suggested that Orton and Riddle take their tag titles back to Raw and don’t come back.
Orton asked if Zayn is Roman’s errand boy. Riddle said he would call Zayn by the name of “Rusty” because his hair is the color of rust. Zayn said his name and once again referred to himself as the locker room leader. Zayn said he wasn’t threatening Orton and Riddle, but he said they should think about what happened to Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn said he handled that.
Orton said Zayn makes some decisions for The Bloodline and assumed that he was a vital part of Smackdown. Orton asked Zayn to face Riddle in a match. Orton said that if Riddle beat Zayn, then RK-Bro would get their tag title unification match. Orton encouraged Zayn to make the match.
“Okay, fine, let’s do this,” Zayn said. Zayn added a “however” and rolled to ringside. Zayn said there was no way the match would happen tonight. He said he had to talk to Reigns and Paul Heyman and get everything figured out.
WWE Official Adam Pearce walked out and said that while he couldn’t accept Zayn speaking on behalf of The Bloodline, he assumed everyone wanted to see Zayn vs. Riddle. Pearce said the match would start on the spot… [C]
Powell’s POV: Zayn continues to be one of the best reasons to watch Smackdown on a weekly basis. He’s a riot and his new role as a wannabe ally of The Bloodline is really fun. Meanwhile, Orton and Riddle continue to be among the most over acts in WWE. I don’t know if WWE will follow through on unifying the tag titles. If they do, they’ve definitely made it feel like a big match by stretching out the build as long as they have.
1. Riddle (w/Randy Orton) vs. Sami Zayn. Cole emphasized that the match would not determine whether a tag title unification match takes place because Zayn does not speak for The Bloodline. A few minutes into the match, Riddle went up top. Zayn shoved Riddle off the top rope to ringside. Orton checked on Riddle. [C]
Zayn tried to mock Orton by setting up for a Draping DDT, but Riddle avoided it. Riddle performed a power slam a short time later and then followed up with a Draping DDT. Riddle played to the crowd and struck the Viper’s Pose, but Zayn rolled to ringside to avoid the RKO.
Riddle followed Zayn to the floor where he was run into the ring post. Zayn tossed Riddle over the ringside barricade and returned to the ring, hoping to get another count-out win like he did the week before, but Riddle made it back to the ring. Riddle hit the Bro Derek and scored the pin…
Riddle defeated Sami Zayn in 10:50.
Powell’s POV: A fun opening match. The count-out tease was effective because Zayn defeated Shinsuke Nakamura via count-out last week. Smackdown his off to a strong start.
Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman were shown watching the match in a backstage room. Reigns questioned why RK-Bro was there when they already smashed them. The Usos indicated that they wanted the unification match. Reigns said he would answer the RK-Bro challenge during the show…
Cole hyped new Smackdown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey appearing after the break… [C] Cole hyped the WWE Clash at the Castle tickets for the Cardiff, Wales stadium show going on sale on Friday…
A dejected Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage when Shinsuke Nakamura approached him. Nakamura said Reigns is the Head of the Table, but Zayn is the table’s ass…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey made her entrance while the broadcast team set up a video package that recapped her win over Charlotte Flair in an I Quit match to win the title at WrestleMania Backlash.
Rousey spoke of being a fighting champion and issued an open challenge. Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance and joined Rousey in the ring. Rodriguez rolled her R’s while introducing herself to Rousey and said she accepted her challenge. Rodriguez said it would be an honor to step in the ring with a legend like Rousey. Rodriguez said she would be the one making history… [C]
Powell’s POV: This a fun and unexpected development. Here’s hoping that the smiley Rodriguez we’ve seen so far was a swerve and that Rodriguez is going to play a heel character.
Cole plugged Fox’s coverage of the USFL games that air this weekend…
2. Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Cole noted that this was Rodriguez’s second match on Smackdown. Rodriguez put Rousey down with a big clothesline early and covered her for a two count. Rodriguez powered up Rousey and executed a fallaway slam, then stood up and performed another.
Rodriguez continued to dominate until Rousey avoided her charge in the corner. Rousey grabbed Rodriguez’s arm, but Rodriguez powered free and slammed her to the mat. Rousey avoided a Rodriguez move and ended up putting her in a guillotine that Rodriguez powered out of. Rodriguez countered into a suplex and got another two count.
Rousey fired back with a couple of knees. Rodriguez picked her up, but Rousey threw another knee to the head. Rousey staggered Rodriguez with a running knee and then kicked her. Rousey set up for Piper’s Pit, but Rodriguez avoided it and slammed Rousey to the mat again with a clunky Samoan Drop and got a two count.
Rodriguez powered up Rousey for her finisher, but Rousey made a play for an armbar. Rodriguez threw her off. Rousey caught Rodriguez in an ankle lock. Rodriguez rolled out of it and kicked Rousey away. When Rousey stood up, Rodriguez put her down with a big boot and got another near fall. Rodriguez set up for a powerbomb, but Rousey rolled her into a pin and got the three count…
Ronda Rousey defeated Raquel Rodriguez in 6:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
After the match, Rousey offered a kneeling Rodriguez a handshake. Rodriguez stood up and shook Rousey’s hand. Rodriguez held her finger and thumb and inch apart to show Rousey how close she came to beating her….
Powell’s POV: It wasn’t always pretty, but match quality be damned in this case. Rodriguez was made to look like a major threat to Rousey. The broadcast team protected Rousey by pointing out the bruises on her legs from the I Quit match, but the match was laid out in a way that made Rodriguez look like an instant player in the Smackdown Women’s Championship division. Here’s hoping that a heel turn is still to come because Rodriguez was a good heel in NXT and never really clicked as a babyface.
Backstage, Shotzi complained that she was on her way to the ring when Raquel Rodriguez shoved her out of the way and took her title shot. Aliyah showed up and accused Shotzi of locking her in the locker room to prevent her from taking the open challenge with Rousey. Shotzi and Aliyah bickered…
Cole said that everyone wants a Smackdown Women’s Championship opportunity. McAfee said that’s what makes Smackdown so great. Meanwhile, production crew members were shown setting up the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy at ringside. Cole said MadCap Moss would have the last laugh on Happy Corbin… [C]
Powell’s POV: I really like that they took the time to make it seem like Rodriguez wasn’t the only person who wanted a title shot.
Kayla Braxton stood in the ring and introduced Madcap Moss. Yes, he was still wearing the ridiculous attire.
[Hour Two] Braxton set up footage of Moss beating Happy Corbin at WrestleMania Backlash. Moss said it was tough being with Corbin. He said he might have tapped out had Corbin told him one more story about how much his watch cost. Moss continued to mock Corbin’s tattoos and boasted that he beat “the big bald wolf.”
Moss said his WWE career is just beginning and he wants to do it all. He said he wanted to form a mixed tag team with Sasha Banks called Madcap Boss and win Money in the Bank. He said he wanted to replace title belts with title suspenders. Braxton screamed.
Happy Corbin hit Moss from behind with a chair (presumably for that shitty title suspenders line). Corbin hit Moss with the belt a couple more times and McAfee questioned if he had been waiting under the ring. Corbin brought The Dre trophy in the ring and then worked over Moss with the chair again.
Corbin wrapped the chair around Moss’s head and then picked up the trophy and slammed it on the chair so that it would close. Adam Pearce and producer Shawn Daivari came out and checked on Moss. Corbin left the ring while EMTs showed up with a stretcher for Moss… [C]
A video package touted tickets for 33 new WWE live events being on sale… The broadcast team recapped Corbin’s attack on Moss…
Moss was being stretchered toward an ambulance outside when Corbin returned and asked what they call the place that Moss is being sent to. “A Mosspital,” he said while laughing…
Powell’s POV: I guess Mosspital sounds better than a local Mossical facility? Anyway, Corbin’s attack was well executed. I just can’t take anything these two seriously while they are saddled with these terrible gimmicks.
3. Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler and Natalya for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. A portion of the challenging team’s entrance was shown, while the champions received a fully televised entrance. Banks caught Natalya in a submission hold. Baszler ran in and kicked Banks to break the hold. [C]
Baszler wanted to stomp Naomi’s bad arm, but she avoided it with help from Banks. Naomi went on the offensive and then sold her shoulder. Baszler put her down with a kick and covered her. Baszler put her feet on the ropes for leverage and Natalya held her feet there from the floor, but the referee spotted it.
A short time later, Baszler caught Naomi in the Kirafuda Clutch, but Banks broke it by performing a Backstabber on Baszler. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter on Naomi, who countered into a small package for the win…
Sasha Banks and Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler and Natalya in 8:30 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: The good news is that Banks and Naomi have been consistently appearing on television since they won the titles. The bad news is that it won’t take them long to burn through the limited number of challengers on both rosters. I assume that Doudrop and Nikki ASH will be next in line, and hopefully it follows a name change and a gimmick overhaul for the challengers.
Backstage, Drew Gulak told Ricochet that the last few weeks have been a total nightmare. Gulak asked Ricochet if he had any advice. Ricochet said he didn’t give up when times where tough. Ricochet said that if Gulak wants to be the best version of himself then only he can control that. Gulak got fired up and said he would put Gunther in his place the next time he sees him. Gulak walked away and quickly ran into Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser. Gunther tore Gulak’s shirt, chopped him, and left him lying…
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance for Kingston’s match against Butch… The Cody Rhodes hosted Money in the Bank ad aired… [C] A Drew McIntyre tweet was shown while Cole noted that he was on a promotional tour for the Cardiff stadium show… Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch made their entrance…
4. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Butch (w/Sheamus, Ridge Holland). Kingston dropkicked a charging Butch to start the match. Later, Kingston teased a dive onto Butch, but he bounced on the ropes instead while Woods played the trombone. Kingston threw a kick from the apron at Butch. Woods put Kingston on his shoulders while playing the trombone. [C]
Kingston went for a springboard move and was punched by Butch while in the air. Butch covered him for a two count. Butch went to his corner. Sheamus and Holland pounded the mat in unison. Butch with for a running kick that Kingston avoided, but Butch put Kingston down with a step-up enzuigiri. Butch charged Kingston, who gave him a standing double stomp. Kingston fought off Holland. Sheamus hit Woods with a knee on the floor. Kingston knocked Sheamus off the apron. Butch hit Kingston with the Bitter End and scored the pin.
Butch beat Kofi Kingston in 8:20.
After the match, Butch left the ring and exited through the crowd. He eventually returned to the main floor and then raised the arms of Sheamus and Holland on the stage…
Powell’s POV: The feud continues with both sides trading wins. I suspect that Butch’s modern day Crash Holly gimmick will eventually become a babyface act.
The broadcast team recapped the RK-Bro segment and Riddle’s win over Sami Zayn from earlier…
Backstage, Sami Zayn told Paul Heyman that he may have overstepped his boundaries by accepting the match earlier. He said he’s the one who stood up when no one else did. He said he wanted the relationship between the Head of the Table and the Locker Room Leader to be synergistic. Heyman put his arm around Zayn and said, “Your Tribal Chief appreciates you”… [C]
Powell’s POV: What they don’t show viewers is a manic Roman Reigns expressing even more concern with what Sami Zayn thinks of him. No?
Cole hyped Fox’s coverage of a NASCAR race…
Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Reigns told the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to acknowledge him. Reigns said they smash on Sunday and tell people what’s next on Friday.
Reigns mentioned his wins over John Cena and Brock Lesnar, and said there’s no one left because they’ve smashed them all. Reigns said this is where things get interesting. Reigns said there are challengers waiting for the Usos. Reigns questioned what his cousins were going to do about it.
Raw Tag Team Champions “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle made their entrance. Once in the ring, Orton told Reigns that John Cena is ten times the superstar that Reigns will ever be. After some soft comedy, Riddle brought up the unification match. Orton said the Usos share a brain so he would say it slow so that they understood. Orton said he and Riddle want a tag team title match.
Orton said he and Riddle would take both sets of titles and then have a single set of titles that would be called the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. Orton asked if they understood the words coming out of his mouth. He also said he just noticed that he’s way taller than them.
The Usos accepted the unification match, but not tonight. They said the match would take place on next Friday’s Smackdown. The Usos played up how many titles The Bloodline would have. Reigns held up his title belts. Riddle blasted Reigns with a knee to the face. Orton and Riddle left the ring while Reigns sold the knee. Cole hyped the unification match for next week. McAfee said it wasn’t WrestleMania or SummerSlam, it was happening on Smackdown…
Powell’s POV: There wasn’t much to the final segment, but the important thing is that they set up the unification match for next week on Smackdown. My guess is that we don’t actually get unified champions because the match is taking place on television. The Riddle knee may set up Roman interfering and/or a future match between them. I guess we’ll find out next week.
Overall, the first hour of the show was really good and I like the way they elevated Raquel Gonzalez in defeat. The second hour dipped in quality to some extent, but it wasn’t all bad and this was still an entertaining episode. I will return shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.