By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,196)
Live from Boston, Massachusetts at TD Garden
Aired July 22, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole opened the show by calling it a historic night and then he plugged the show’s sponsor. Cole was joined on commentary by Pat McAfee. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced Stephanie McMahon, who was standing in the ring.
Stephanie welcomed viewers to Smackdown. She said her father retired from WWE earlier in the day. The fans booed. She said her father founded the company and wanted to thank all of the fans. A brief “thank you, Vince” chant broke out.
Stephanie spoke about the crew including the wrestlers, the people who make the graphics, McAfee, and even Cole. She laughed and then Cole and McAfee were shown laughing. Stephanie said it was time to thank Vince. Stephanie led the crowd in chanting “Thank you, Vince”…
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance through the crowd. By the time they got to the ring, Stephanie was gone. Ford played to the crowd and then Dawkins told the fans that they would win Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam.
Theory walked out with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Theory said no one cares what the Profits are doing at SummerSlam because everyone cares what he is doing at SummerSlam. Theory said he would take back the U.S. Championship from Bobby Lashley and then cash in and become the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Theory said it didn’t matter to him whether he cashes in on Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso interrupted Theory, who joined the Profits in the ring. The Usos also entered the ring. Jey told Theory that he wouldn’t make it to SummerSlam if he said more about Reigns. Ford laughed at Theory, who said Ford and his wife won’t leave SummerSlam with any titles.
A fight broke out between the Profits and the Usos. Theory watched for a moment, then joined the Usos in working over the Profits. Madcap Moss ran out and tried to help the Profits, but he was quickly outnumbered. The Profits and Moss regrouped and were able to clear the heels from the ring. Dawkins did a dive onto the heel trio at ringside…
Highlights aired of Gunther punishing Ludwig Kaiser for losing a recent match to Shinsuke Nakamura… Nakamura made his entrance while Pat McAfee rocked out… [C]
Powell’s POV: Given the circumstances that led to Vince McMahon’s retirement, it felt odd to have Stephanie lead the crowd in chanting thank you to her father. I’m not surprised that it happened and they turned the page quickly, so that might be the end of the Vince tributes tonight. Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar’s name was mentioned by Theory, so one can only assume that WWE officials are still hopeful that cooler head will prevail after he reportedly walked out of the building earlier today.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Gunther). The heels made their entrance coming out of the break. Nakamura sent Kaiser to ringside a few minutes into the match. Kaiser tripped Nakamura while he was on the apron, then an him into the ring steps. Cole said that whatever Gunther was saying to Kaiser seemed to be motivating him.
Nakamura leapt from the middle rope and hit Kaiser with a flying knee that sent him to ringside. Gunther baked at Kaiser. Nakamura walked over and threw Kaiser back inside the ring. Gunther jawed at Nakamura, who gave him the “come on” response. Gunther stepped aside and allowed Nakamura to reenter the ring.
Kaiser caught Nakamura in an inside cradle for a two count. Nakamura caught Kaiser with a spin kick. Nakamura set up for his finisher, but Gunther distracted him by walking up the steps. Nakamura rolled up Kaiser. When Kaiser kicked out, Nakamura was sent toward the ropes where he was hit by a cheap shot from Gunther. Kaiser performed a variation of a DDT and scored the pin.
Ludwig Kaiser defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 9:30.
After the match, Kaiser and Gunther went to the stage. Gunther barked at Kaiser and made him put his arms down. Gunther removed his jacket. Kaiser looked fearful, but then Gunther put his hand on his shoulder. Gunther set up to strike their pose, but then Gunther chopped his chest.
Liv Morgan were shown getting mic’d up on the backstage interview set… [C]
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. While they are clearly working toward Nakamura challenging Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship, I am digging Gunther being so sadistic with Kaiser. I wonder if it will lead to Kaiser eventually standing up to Gunther and becoming a babyface.
Boston imagery was shown. The broadcast team announced The Usos and Theory vs. The Street Profits and Madcap Moss as the show’s main event…
Footage aired of Liv Morgan defeating an injured Ronda Rousey to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank…
Kayla Braxton stood on the backstage ring set and introduced Morgan and Rousey. Braxton asked Rousey how the rematch would be different. Rousey excused Braxton. Rousey said she liked Morgan and didn’t have an issue with the way she took advantage of the opportunity at MITB.
Rousey said she will beat Morgan at SummerSlam and expects her to shake her hand afterward the same way she shook Morgan’s hand. Morgan said she can’t look Rousey in the eye and say she’s going to win because she’s better than her. Morgan said she loves this, needs this, and wants this more. Morgan vowed to beat Rousey at SummerSlam. Rousey said everybody loves Morgan because she has more passion than anyone in the locker room except her…
Cole and McAfee spoke at ringside. Suddenly, Happy Corbin showed up and blasted McAfee with a boot to the head. Corbin ran McAfee into the barricade and then laughed as she headed toward the back. McAfee got up and chased Corbin to the back.
McAfee caught up to Corbin and they fought in the backstage area until Adam Pearce and others showed up to separate them… [C]
Powell’s POV: I don’t know if the Morgan and Rousey segment was pre-taped, but I’m guessing it was. If so, it was a good call because both women delivered good performances and it’s wise to give them multiple takes if needed.
The SummerSlam ad aired. We are eight days away…
McAfee returned to the ring and the crowd chanted his last name. McAfee got a mic and said he had one thing to say to Bum Ass Corbin before he went back to do commentary. McAfee said Corbin won’t be able to attack him from behind or use excuses because it will be man versus big dumb bald baby. McAfee said that when his foot hit Corbin’s head, he would put him down for good…
A sponsored recap spotlighted last week’s Viking Raiders segment…
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods sat in on commentary. Woods wore a unicorn mask over his head. Jinder Mahal and Shanky made their entrance and then the Viking Raiders followed…
2. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. Jinder Mahal and Shanky. The Viking Raiders dominated and the match spilled over to ringside. Ivar threw Mahal onto the New Day duo and knocked their chairs over. Ivar returned to the ring and took the count-out win…
“The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar defeated Jinder Mahal and Shanky in 1:30.
Powell’s POV: Unfortunately, the “new and vicious Viking Raiders” name didn’t go away with Vince McMahon.
Adam Pearce was on the phone backstage when Sonya Deville interrupted him. She mocked Pearce by saying that announcers had walked off the job and Lacey Evans walked out of another match. Deville said everyone knows things would be different if she were still in charge.
Deville suggest that Pearce use the money she paid after he slapped him to have someone spruce up his resume. Pearce booked Deville in a match against Raquel Rodriguez, which Deville did not look pleased with…
Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch made their entrance… [C]
Sheamus, Holland, and Butch stood in the ring with something covered by a green cloth. Sheamus mocked the Boston fans for being fake Irish. Sheamus set up footage from two weeks ago of Drew McIntyre cutting the top rope with his sword. Sheamus accused McIntyre of trying to cut his head off and said the sword has no place in the ring.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance carrying his stupid sword. McAfee said Sheamus should be more concerned about facing McIntyre than the sword. Sheamus said the sword had no place in the ring and told McIntyre to put it away.
McIntyre put the sword in the ring post holder. Sheamus said they could talk like civilized human beings. McIntyre asked Sheamus what happened to him and when he became such a bitch.
[Hour Two] McIntyre spoke about how they had a chance to face off to earn a spot at the Cardiff stadium show and noted that they used to work there in front of 100 fans. McIntyre said we need a warrior and a workhorse and challenged Sheamus to face him.
Sheamus was hesitant. McIntyre told him to have some balls. Sheamus said McIntyre’s speech gave him goosebumps. He asked McIntyre and the crowd if they wanted the match. Sheamus said they would get it, just not tonight. Sheamus laughed at the crowd.
Sheamus said he spoke to WWE upper management and they agreed to have the match take place next week on Smackdown. The crowd booed. Sheamus told McIntyre that his sword is banned. He also said the match would be a good old fashioned donnybrook with no rules.
Sheamus pulled the cloth back and revealed a dozen shillelaghs. Sheamus challenged McIntyre to face him in a match where the shillelaghs are legal. McIntyre accepted. Adam Pearce came out and made the match official for next week. McIntyre got his sword and cut a shillelagh in half while Sheamus was holding it…
Powell’s POV: As bad as the teases for McIntyre vs. Sheamus on Smackdown have been in recent weeks, it makes sense to have their match that will determine the challenger for the Cardiff event take place after SummerSlam.
The Usos spoke in their locker room about what they would do to Theory if he said another word about Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman showed and pointed out that they could team with Theory in the main event or be shorthanded. Heyman told the Usos to use Theory and then they could make sure that the show ends with Theory face down on the canvas…
Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance… [C] Cole plugged Sunday’s WWE Rivals featuring Steve Austin and The Rock for Sunday on A&E… Sonya Deville made her entrance…
3. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Sonya Deville. Rodriguez was dominant to start. Deville caught her with a running knee to the head and covered her for a two count. Cole actually said he doesn’t think anyone in the history of WWE has abused their power like Deville did. Rodriguez came back and hit her finisher for the win…
Raquel Rodriguez defeated Sonya Deville in 3:40.
Powell’s POV: A quick and predictable match. Cole’s line about Deville abusing her power was poorly timed for the obvious reason, and even ridiculously inaccurate even just from a storyline standpoint.
Cole hyped Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans as coming up after the break… [C] A sponsored Bloodline video aired… The broadcast team hyped the main event…
Aliyah made her entrance. A video recapped Lacey Evans’ recent antics and then she made her entrance. Evans said the city of Boston was founded by American heroes who were hardworking and motivated like her.
Evans said it was no wonder that Tom Brady left “this pathetic wasted dump of a city.” Evans said she’s accomplished more today than most of the fans would all year. Evans said she wakes up, works, and wins. Evans said there’s not a single person in the building who could walk a mile in her shoes because she’s better than every single one of them.
Aliyah tried to go after Evans, but the referee stopped her. Evans said she would take care of her once she makes the nasty sad excuses give her the respect that she deserves. Evans dropped Aliyah with a Women’s Right punch. Evans saluted the camera and then her music played to end the segment…
Powell’s POV: More of the same, but Evans delivered a good heel promo. I like that she’s now saying she’s better than the fans rather than awkwardly using that line about how she’s not better than anyone, but they’re damn sure not better than her.
Jeff Jarrett was interviewed by Braxton on the backstage ring set. Jarrett, who wore a referee shirt, said the Usos and Profits have offered him everything under the sun and he turned it all down and that’s why he got the job. Jarrett said upper management needed someone who wouldn’t be swayed, intimidated, or blinded by the bright lights. Jarrett said they needed someone who would call it right down the middle. He said let the best team win and then closed with his Double J routine…
The Usos made their entrance for the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: I can definitely see why Jarrett would be scripted to say that the Usos or Paul Heyman or even Roman Reigns offered him bribes, but I don’t like that he implied that the babyface team stooped to the same level as the heels.
A Did You Know graphic touted WWE topping 70 billion YouTube views…
Maxxine Dupri introduced herself as the director of talent at Maximum Male Models while she stood in front of Mace and Mansoor. She said her brother has good taste, but she thinks of her’s as delicious. She said viewers would see this when the models debut their 2022 beachwear collection…
Powell’s POV: Maxxine Dupri worked as Sofia Cromwell in NXT. Maximum Male Models was said to be a total Vince McMahon creation. It will be interesting to see what happens to the act now that he’s no longer running creative.
Cole hyped McIntyre vs. Sheamus, Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans, and New Day vs. The Viking Raiders for next week’s Smackdown in Atlanta… The remainder of the entrances for the main event took place…
Powell’s POV: Doh! So the Sheamus vs. McIntyre match is taking place next week, not after SummerSlam. It’s one day ahead of the show, so it’s actually fine that we’ll know who is next in line for whoever comes out of SummerSlam with the championship. In fact, they could have a story set up with the McIntyre vs. Sheamus winner (I assume McIntyre) stopping Theory from cashing in at SummerSlam.
4. Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, and Madcap Moss vs. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Theory. The heel trio knocked all three heels to ringside during the opening minute. Ford picked up the Money in the Bank briefcase and taunted Theory with it. [C]
The heel trio took offensive control. Jimmy tossed Ford over the barricade and into the timekeepers area. [C] Moss had an offensive flurry. Cole said he would be a five tool player if he was a baseball prospect. Jimmy went for a tag, but Theory dropped off the apron. Jey superkicked Theory. Ford performed a dive onto wrestlers at ringside.
Theory was the last man standing and threw Moss in the ring. Moss battled back, but Theory dropped him with an elbow. Theory picked up up and then powered him up for a neckbreaker on his knee, which led to a near fall.
Moss came back and charged Theory in the corner, but Theory held up the Money in the Bank briefcase. Moss crashed into the briefcase and the referee called for the disqualification. After the match, Theory beat Moss with the briefcase.
Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, and Madcap Moss defeated Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Theory by DQ in 17:00.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance to a big ovation. Lesnar took a slow lap around the ring while Theory stood in the ring holding his briefcase in a defensive situation. Lesnar entered the ring and smirked.
Lesnar kicked Theory, who dropped the briefcase. Lesnar gave Theory and F5 and then beat him with the briefcase. Lesnar played to the excited crowd. Lesnar picked up Theory and gave him an F5 onto the briefcase. Lesnar’s music played and he stood over Theory to end the show…
Powell’s POV: The reported Brock Lesnar crisis has been averted. For those who missed it, there were reports that Lesnar walked out after the news of Vince McMahon retiring broke. I’m sure more details will emerge in terms of whether the report was erroneous or if this was a case of cooler heads prevailing. Either way, it looks like all is good with the SummerSlam main event.
Overall, it felt like business as usual once they got through the opening segment with Stephanie. I’m sure everyone is looking for signs of change in the product now that Vince is out. Personally, I’m waiting for obvious changes or trends to emerge. I will have a lot more to say about the Vince McMahon situation and this episode in my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Join Colin McGuire for his live review of AEW Rampage right now via the main page.
Who is in the ears of the announcers without Vince there?
Also, is it my imagination or does it already seem like someone is making Kevin Dunn tone it way down on the camera cuts?
I was chanting something you Vince, but it wasn’t thank. Never forget Nancy Argentino.
Alright, they’ve said bitch like 5 times tonight. There’s definitely more edge to the promos and things seem crisper in the ring. The crowd is definitely into things a bit more as well.
Vince was far from a perfect human but we all have him to thank for years of wrestling entertainment from about 1982 until today. Without him wrestling probably wouldn’t be on TV 5 nights a week
Generally I am tired of looking for perfection in humans. We are all flawed to a degree and some great people (men and woman. White and black. Straight and gay) have done great things but also made mistakes. If we are expecting people to have a clean slate with no errors then we are not going to be able to laud anyone for their accomplishments
For me. thank you vince
So, now Sonya Deville is clawing back into power, immediately after Mr. McMahon is no longer around. Could the story here be that McMahon was the one “punishing” her, for being a woman who “wouldn’t fit his interests?”
Could be a really subtle meta-play here.
Oh look, Meltzer’s bootlicker was full of shit on the Lesnar rumors. Not a shock really.
Or wasnt as bad it seemed. Overblown and not that big of a deal
I know he f#cked up a lot, buy it would have been nice to hear from Vince. Hopefully at the house next year
I don’t look for perfection in humans; it’s human nature to not always be perfect. However I do expect good solid foundational ethics and if you do make a mistake to learn from it and not repeat the same problem behavior twice.
By the way, for TheGreatestone:
Sorry buddy, someone deleted that post:
Get a laugh out of your saying Khan is blitzed
That’s about right.
I think you can praise someone for their achievements while also acknowledging their flaws.