By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,195)
Live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
Aired July 15, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole stood in the ring and welcomed viewers to Smackdown. Cole introduced Pat McAfee after stating that he recently signed a multi-year contract extension with WWE. McAfee made his entrance to the AC/DC song used as the Smackdown theme.
McAfee held court inside the ring while Cole went to the broadcast table. McAfee greeted the Orlando fans and then said he wanted to apologize for missing last week’s show, forcing everyone to listen to Corey Graves for two hours and “that bum ass (Happy) Corbin for 17 minutes.”
McAfee pointed viewers to the screen to show why he missed last week’s show. Footage aired of Corbin attacking McAfee at Money in the Bank (not the golf tournament he played in last Friday), and of Corbin sitting in on commentary and joining Graves in rocking out to Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance last week.
McAfee said his neck was bruised rather than fractured. He said he knew Corbin when they were rookie roommates together when they played for the Indianapolis Colts. McAfee said Corbin had hair and a bad body and praised his work ethic. He said Corbin has gone on to become an insufferable d-bag. “This ain’t TV-14 yet,” McAfee said in response to something a fan said. Funny. He spoke about facing Corbin at SummerSlam.
Happy Corbin interrupted McAfee via the big screen. Corbin stood backstage and told McAfee to stay in his own lane, saying he should take a seat behind the broadcast table where he belongs. Corbin said he’s a fighter whereas McAfee runs his mouth and used to punt footballs.
Corbin showed off red welts on his arm and claimed they came from sitting in McAfee’s chair or from being too close to the WWE Universe. Corbin said it’s like Monkeypox or something. He said he was staying far away for now and would see McAfee at SummerSlam. McAfee said Corbin is allergic to being in front of the electrifying WWE fans.
McAfee said it was time to move the show along and then introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan, who made her entrance. Cole hyped Jimmy Uso vs. Angelo Dawkins as the main event of the show and said the referee for The Usos vs. The Street Profits match at SummerSlam would also be revealed… [C]
Powell’s POV: A unique opening segment. It’s not every day that you see Cole introduce his broadcast team partner to start a show. It worked. The fans love McAfee, and he’s very comfortable while playing to them in promo style.
Natalya made her entrance for the opening match, and ring announcer Samantha Irvin delivered introductions from ringside…
1. Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan vs. Natalya in a championship contenders match. Cole informed McAfee that he was trending second on Twitter behind Ricky Martin. McAfee delivered Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” lyric, clearly not realizing why Martin was trending (Martin is reportedly accused of having a sexual affair with his own nephew). Natalya catapulted Morgan on the apron into the ring post heading into an early break. [C]
Natalya performed a release German suplex and covered Morgan for a two count. Natalya placed Morgan on the top rope, but Morgan slipped under her and tripped her, causing Natalya to fall face first onto the top turnbuckle pad. Natalya came right back with a sit-out powerbomb for a two count.
Natalya put Morgan in an ankle lock. Morgan rolled out of it, sending Natalya face first into the middle turnbuckle. Morgan performed a Codebreaker and then hit her Oblivion finisher and scored the pin…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan defeated Natalya in 9:05 in a championship contenders match.
After the match, Kayla Braxton interviewed Morgan inside the ring. Braxton said she couldn’t help but notice that Morgan’s win over Natalya wasn’t quite as dominant as Ronda Rousey’s win over Natalya last week. Morgan said she understood what she was insinuating and knew she would enter SummerSlam as the underdog. Morgan said she’s ben the underdog her entire life. She said you can call her what you want, but at SummerSlam you can still call her the champion…
Powell’s POV: I like the way they told a story by having Natalya be much more competitive with Morgan than she was with Rousey last week. It makes sense to position Morgan as the underdog heading into her showdown match with Rousey.
Megan Morant stood on the backstage ring set and introduced Money in the Bank contract holder Theory. He boasted about being the youngest MITB winner and youngest U.S. Champion in history. Theory said he has enemies on Raw and Smackdown.
Paul Heyman showed up and said Morant is better than Braxton, then asked for a moment alone with Theory. Heyman shook Theory’s hand, then took credit for being responsible for the biggest break in Theory’s career. Heyman said the idea of Theory cashing in his contract made no business sense. Heyman implied that the real money was in Theory challenging Roman Reigns in a scheduled match on a big event.
Theory said Heyman always has good advice, but he intends to cash in on Reigns or Brock Lesnar and maybe then he’ll need advice once he’s champion. Theory said maybe then he will need his own special counsel…
Powell’s POV: It may seem like a little thing, but it’s encouraging that Theory saw through Heyman’s speech. Theory played a gullible simpleton when he started hanging around the Mr. McMahon character. It’s logical that his character would evolve, and simpleton heel characters don’t have staying power, so this is a positive step.
The Viking Raiders entrance played. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods walked out dressed like the Viking Raiders. A graphic listed “The New Raid”… [C] Cole hyped the main event and the reveal of the special referee…
Kingston and Woods continued their Viking Raider cosplay. Woods said he was Erik the Gross, and Kingston said he was Ivar the Ugly. They spoke about playing a vikings video game and watching all of the Thor movies.
The real Viking Raiders mercifully made their entrance. Erik said they are new and vicious. Ivar and Erik said the only words that will describe New Day once they are done with them are mangled and broken. Woods did the “u-g-l-y” bit. The Viking Raiders dropped their microphones and headed toward the ring.
Jinder Mahal and Shanky popped up out of nowhere and attacked the Viking Raiders at ringside. Kingston and Woods went up top and dove onto the Viking Raiders on the floor. Mahal and Shanky then joined the New Day duo inside the ring. Shanky danced with New Day…
Powell’s POV: Wait, what do you mean the Viking Raiders are not the babyfaces in their feud with New Day?
Braxton stood on the backstage ring set and introduced Intercontinental Champion Gunther, who was accompanied by Ludwig Kaiser. Footage aired of Gunther chopping the hell out of Kaiser following Kaiser’s loss to Shinsuke Nakamura last week. Gunther said there is no room for failure. He barked at Kaiser and said losing is unacceptable and has consequences.
Braxton said there would be a rematch between Kaiser and Nakamura next week. Kaiser spoke to Gunther in a foreign language. Gunther ordered Kaiser to open his jacket. Kaiser complied and then Gunther chopped him…
Powell’s POV: Who knew Fabian Aichner was luckier than Ludwig Kaiser when he was left behind in NXT? The jury is still out on Aichner’s new Giovanni Vinci character, but whatever happens it has to beat the hell out of playing a battered sidekick to Gunther and taking those vicious chops. Ouch.
Aliyah made her entrance for a match against Lacey Evans… [C] A video package aired on Evans and her frustration with the fans not cheering her after she shared her life story with them…
Lacey Evans made her entrance and wasn’t happy with the crowd’s response again. She barked at the fans and headed to the ring. Evans got a mic and said she may not be better than anyone in the arena, but the fans are damn sure not better than her. She told the fans she put her life on the line for them. A “you suck” chant broke out.
Evans said she’s disgusted by the reaction the fans give her. She said she’s an example of what the fans should be and can’t be and they hate it. The fans gave Evans the “What?” treatment. She apologized to anyone she may have offended. The fans booed and then she took issue with them not accepting her apology. She told the fans to go to hell and then dropped the mic. Evans left the ring and blew off her match….
A sponsored recap aired of Drew McIntyre beating Butch in last week’s bait and switch main event…
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with his stupid sword for a match against Sheamus… [C]
Powell’s POV: They didn’t advertise McIntyre vs. Sheamus this time around. I wonder if something will lead to this being McIntyre vs. Ridge Holland instead.
[Hour Two] The broadcast team promoted Fox’s coverage of the MLB All-Star Game…
Sheamus made his entrance along with Ridge Holland and Butch. Holland was introduced as McIntyre’s opponent. Cole speculated that Sheamus was playing mind games. Butch went to ringside and grabbed the bell and hammer. Sheamus stopped him from bringing it to the ring, but Butch ran the bell to start the match, which Sheamus was surprised by…
2. Drew McIntyre vs. Ridge Holland (w/Sheamus, Butch). McIntyre clubbed the chest of Holland in Sheamus style while the crowd chanted along. Sheamus pulled Holland to the floor. McIntyre followed. Holland ended up diving onto a distracted McIntyre and then brought him back inside the ring.
Holland powerslammed McIntyre and covered him for just a one count. McIntyre battled back, but Butch distracted him. McIntyre gave Holland a Glasgow Kiss and then performed White Noise on him. McIntyre counted down and then hit the Claymore Kick and scored the pin.
Drew McIntyre defeated Ridge Holland in 3:25.
After the match, Butch tried to enter the ring, but Sheamus stopped him. McAfee called Butch a psychopath for trying to enter the ring while McIntyre had his sword in hand…
Powell’s POV: Holland replacing Sheamus was predictable, but I didn’t have an issue with it this time around since the match was not advertised beforehand. Last week was frustrating because they advertised McIntyre vs. Sheamus throughout the show and then switched the main event at the last minute to McIntyre destroying Butch.
Theory made his entrance with the MITB briefcase… [C] The SummerSlam ad aired. We are 15 days away… A video package recapped Brock Lesnar destroying Alpha Academy on Monday’s Raw along with Theory’s promo…
Backstage, Madcap Moss was interviewed by Megan Morant until Paul Heyman showed up and asked for a moment with Moss. Heyman said he’s responsible for the biggest break in Moss’s career. Heyman said Moss knows that Theory’s idea for cashing in at SummerSlam doesn’t make business sense.
Heyman brought up the way Moss destroyed Happy Corbin. He then tried to sell Moss on the idea of challenging Reigns for the title at a big event. Heyman offered Moss a handshake. Moss said it sounds to him like Heyman is really worried about Theory cashing in. Moss blew off the handshake and made his entrance… [C]
A video package aired on Max Dupri’s “Maximum Male Models” Mace and Mansoor. They were hyped for their 2022 Beachwear Collection next week. Cole said they have had over 8,000 applicants online…
3. Theory vs. Madcap Moss. They fought to ringside where Moss charged at Theory, who leapfrogged him, which led to Moss crashing into the ring steps. [C] Cole said it was nice to have fans at the Amway Center after it previously played host to the ThunderDome.
Moss knocked Theory down with a shoulder tackle. Both men got up and traded punches with Moss getting the better of it. Moss put Theory down with a running clothesline and then followed up with spears in opposite corners of the ring. Moss put Theory down with a spinebuster for a near fall.
Theory stomped Moss’s foot and then slammed him to the mat and covered him for a two count. Theory hoisted up Moss for his finisher, but Moss slipped away and ended up hitting another shoulder tackle. Moss knocked Theory off the apron and then followed him to the floor. Moss chased Theory into the timekeeper area. Theory grabbed his MITB briefcase and hit Moss with it for the disqualification.
Madcap Moss defeated Theory by DQ in 11:55.
After the match, Irvin announced Moss as the winner by DQ. Theory stood on the stage with a mic and said no one cares. The introduced himself as Mr. MITB and said he’s soon to be Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
Sami Zayn walked out with a mic in his right hand and his left arm in a sling. Zayn accused Theory of disrespecting Roman Reigns. He said there are consequences when you disrespect The Bloodline. Zayn “strongly recommended” that Theory apologize. Theory asked if Zayn is the Bloodline suck-up. He asked what he was going to do with one arm.
The Usos entrance music played. Theory went back to ringside while Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso made their entrance. Moss scooped up Theory and ran his head into the ring post. Moss picked up the MITB briefcase, handed it to Theory, and then tossed him into the timekeepers area. Jimmy Uso was introduced for the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: I don’t get it. The creative forces are high enough on Moss that they didn’t have Theory beat him clean, but they just won’t drop the Madcap name that does him no favors. Aside from that, I liked the match and the overall segment even if it is a bit weird that the Usos were put in a position to be cheered here and will then be heels during the main event.
Brock Lensar was announced for next week’s Smackdown in Boston. The broadcast team also announced a Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey face-to-face segment for next week’s show… The Street Profits made their entrance…
4. Angelo Dawkins (w/Montez Ford) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso). Sami Zayn sat in on commentary and said he thinks it could be a good thing for the Usos that there will be a special referee for their title defense at SummerSlam. Zayn added that there have been discussions about him being the referee. The wrestlers went to ringside early. Dawkins shoulder tackled Jimmy over the barricade and into the timekeepers area. [C]
Cole asked Zayn if he wore his arm in a sling for sympathy just in case Roman Reigns showed up. Jimmy ran into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Dawkins rolled up Jimmy for a visual pinfall. Dawkins gave up and checked on the ref, then ate a superkick from Jimmy, who also got a visual pinfall. Jimmy shook the referee. Dawkins hit the Sky High on Jimmy and pinned him.
Angelo Dawkins defeated Jimmy Uso in 7:00.
Zayn immediately pointed out that Jimmy’s shoulder was up. Cole agreed with him. The Profits celebrated their win while Jey protested. Replays showed that Jimmy’s shoulder was up.
Adam Pearce came out and said there’s nothing worse than losing due to a questionable call. Pearce said that’s why they needed a special referee for SummerSlam. Pearce said he found the perfect man for the job.
A “Double J” Jeff Jarrett video aired. The Usos and Street Profits fought inside the ring. A bunch of referees tried and failed to pull them apart. The brawl continued as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: I feel like I should have known. After all, I don’t think it’s legal to hold a big pro wrestling show in Nashville without booking Double J. Good for him for getting a spot on the stadium show in his home state.
Overall, this was an upgrade over last week’s show, particularly when it comes to the show having more in-ring action. It’s not a wrestling heavy show most weeks, but it’s an easy watch and I am enjoying the build to SummerSlam. I will have more to say about this episode in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Have a great weekend.
Jeff Jarrett is going to be the special guest ref for the Usos v Street Profits rematch at SummerSlam?
I don’t understand that at all.