By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,200)
Live from Montreal, Quebec at Bell Centre
Aired August 19, 2022 on Fox
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee started the show on commentary, and they remarked on celebrated 1200 episodes of Smackdown. Ronda Rousey walked by the commentary table and then went into the ring for a promo.
She asked for the music to be cut, and said she paid her fine last week, and said she wouldn’t leave the ring until she’s reinstated. Ronda then demanded Pearce get out to the ring and lift her suspension. She reiterated that the show couldn’t start until she got what she wanted. Eventually Pearce walked out and said lifting her suspension was above his pay grade. He had security with him, and pleaded with her to listen to him, and asked her to leave the ring peacefully.
Ronda said she chose to leave peacefully last week and asked him not to make her choose violence tonight. The security guards walked into the ring and got bludgeoned and tossed around immediately. She applied an arm bar on the last terrified guard while Pearce begged her not to. Police were flagged down to the ring, and Ronda held up her hands for cuffs. They took her backstage and put her in a police car. She told Pearce “Nice haircut” as she was hauled away.
A GMC Yukon pulled up and Roman Reigns was let out. The crowd cheered as he made his way to the backstage area…[c]
My Take: Ronda had a majority portion of the crowd cheering for her. The crowd started chanting for Roman as soon as the Yukon pulled up, so his reaction will be interesting to gauge later. He’s far and away the biggest star in the company.
Natalya and Sonya Deville completed their entrance as the show returned from break. Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai were seated behind the announce team. Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne) then made their entrance for the first match of the night.
1. “Toxic Attraction” Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne vs. Natalya and Sonya Deville in a WWE Women’s Tag Title tournament first-round match: Gigi and Natalya started the match for their respective teams. Natalya pulled a taunting Gigi in for a roll up for a two count early on. Deville then tagged in and rolled her up again for a one count. She then landed a shoulder block and then a spear for a two count. Gigi botched a flying head scissors and then tagged in Jayne for a knee.
Deville turned things around and landed a series of kicks in the corner. Sonya charged at Jayne in the corner, but she moved and Deville crashed to the outside. Jayne dove at her on the floor. Natalya tried to get involved, but was shoved into the ring steps by both Dolin and Jayne…[c]
Bayley harassed the commentary team from the stands. Jayne landed a cannonball on Deville in the corner for a two count. Deville tried to make a tag, but was floored by a clothesline. Jayne attempted to apply a Sharpshooter, but Deville broke free with some punches. She made a hot tag to Natalya, who entered and landed a suplex and a side russian leg sweep. Natalya went for a sharpshooter, but Jayne escaped and Dolin landed a cheap shot from the apron.
Dolin tagged in and landed a clothesline, but Deville broke up the pinfall. She then sent Dolin to the floor. Jayne then sent Deville to the outside and they fought near Bayley and her crew. Deville was taken out by a kick. Natalya took down Dolin with a discus clothesline in the ring, and then Jayne made a blind tag. Natalya applied a sharpshooter to Dolin, but Jayne rolled her up out of the hold and stole a victory.
Toxic Attraction defeated Sonya Deville and Natalya at 8:48 to advance to the semifinals of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title tournament.
After the match the announce team plugged the face to face between McIntyre and Reigns later. Sami Zayn was then shown backstage, and he approached Roman Reigns’ locker room, and was surprised to be told by the guard outside that Roman wanted to see him. He walked in the locker room and was told to sit down.
Roman asked him how things were going. Sami said he was repping the Bloodline, but Jey Uso had been on his case for weeks, and he even took a Claymore Kick to the face for him last week. He called him ungrateful, but then regretted saying it. Roman pretended to agree with him and told him to hang out for a second. Jey Uso rang up Roman, and Sami answered it after Roman asked him to.
Jey was irritated that Sami answered and was screaming at him. Sami explained that they had trouble at the border and wouldn’t be there tonight. Roman said that wasn’t good but asked Sami what he was doing tonight. Sami said he was in a contender’s match for the InterContinental Title, and Roman said it would look good in the Bloodline. Roman then asked Sami if he was still tight with KO, and he said they hadn’t talked in a minute, but they went way back. Roman told Sami to tell him that he doesn’t owe anybody, anything ever.
Sami agreed, and Roman told him good luck later…[c]
My Take: Other than the one botch, the women had a pretty good match. I have to imagine Raquel and Aliyah in the finals, since they’ll be a babyface team against the likely challengers of Sky and Kai. Roman and Sami had an interesting segment. I presume Owens and Zayn could end up being opposed to the Bloodline sooner than later. I assume the Usos can’t be in Canada because of their history with DUI.
A video package was shown that recapped Nakamura vs. Gunther from last week. Max and Maxxine Dupri were in the ring with Maximum Male Models. Max started talking briefly, but was interrupted quickly by Hit Row. Max said this was a scheduled appearance for Maximum Male Models, and they weren’t MMM material. Top Dolla dropkicked Mansoor, and Ashante tossed Mace to the floor. They then proceeded to deliver a musical performance. Maxine started dancing, and was pulled away by Max. There was pyro at the end. Pat McAfee was confused the entire time it was happening. The Fatal 5-Way for a shot at Gunther is up next…[c]
My Take: The crowd cheered after the musical performance, which is definitely better than the opposite.
A vignette aired for Karrion Kross and Scarlett. It focused on Drew McIntyre and Reigns, and he called them both chosen ones. Kross said Reigns ended up building the table McIntyre was supposed to set, and told McIntyre they chose him but they were wrong.
Back in the arena, Sheamus made his ring entrance. He was followed by Madcap Moss, Happy Corbin, Ricochet, and Sami Zayn. The Montreal native Zayn got a huge reaction.
2. Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus vs. Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin vs. Ricochet for a show at the Intercontinental Championship: Ricochet landed a head scissors on Zayn and got booed. Corbin gave Ricochet a chokeslam, and everybody broke up the pin…[c]
Sheamus drove Ricochet into the barricade, and Corbin did the same to Moss. Sheamus then brawled with Moss, while Corbin and Ricochet returned to the ring. Corbin landed a heavy right hand to Ricochet. Moss dumped Sheamus into the timekeeper’s area and returned to the ring. Moss and Corbin traded punches as the crowd changed for Zayn.
Sami tried returning to the ring, but Corbin cut him off with a right hand and he crashed back to the floor. Michael Cole actually made mention of El Generico, but McAfee moved right on. Corbin landed a back suplex on Sheamus and covered for a one count. Ricochet landed a dropkick on Corbin and a springboard crossbody on Moss. Zayn got back on the apron, but Ricochet knocked him back down again.
Ricochet landed a running shooting star press on Corbin, but got a two count. Sheamus was shown to have a nasty scrape and bruise on his left thigh. Moss and Sheamus traded blows for a bit, but then Sheamus landed an Irish Curse Backbreaker to both Moss and Zayn. The scrape on Sheamus’ leg goes the entire length of his thigh and looks like it hurts like hell.
Sheamus landed clubs to the chest of Moss, and then did the same to Corbin. Ricochet tried to sneak up behind Sheamus, but got a turn with the chest clubs himself. Sheamus walked to the outside and brought Zayn back into the ring. He lined up Sami for clubs, but Zayn hung him up on the top rope. Zayn then dumped Corbin to the floor and dove on both of them. The crowd went nuts.
Ricochet attacked Zayn, but he landed a Michinoku Driver out of nowhere for a close near fall. He then lined up for a Helluva Kick, but Moss intervened. He pulled out a Blue Thunder Bomb on Moss, but got another close near fall. Zayn climbed the ropes, and had to fight off Corbin and Zayn from the top. Sheamus then met him up top, and delivered a White Noise from the top onto Sami, who immediately rolled to the floor and grabbed his elbow.
Fast paced action broke out in the ring with the four remaining wrestlers as Sami was pulled into the locker room hurt…[c]
Moss and Sheamus fought on the top rope. Moss threw Sheamus into the ring with a fallaway slam. Moss made a cover, but it was late and Sheamus kicked out. Ricochet landed a springboard moonsault on Moss, and covered for a two count. Corbin and Ricochet traded blows, and Ricochet sent him to the floor. Corbin replied by getting back in and landed a big boot. Corbin then landed a Torture Rack Neckbreaker for a near fall.
Sheamus got back up and traded punches with Corbin. Moss sent Corbin to the floor, and then Sheamus dropped Moss with a vicious knee strike for a close near fall. The crowd chanted for Zayn to return. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, but Moss avoided it and landed a suplex. Ricochet landed a Recoil on Moss, and sent him out of the ring. He then landed a Shooting Star on Sheamus, but Corbin broke up the pin.
Ricochet avoided an End of Days and sent Corbin to the floor. Zayn returned to a big ovation. He gave Ricochet and Exploder Suplex in the corner. He then landed a Helluva Kick, but Corbin broke up the pinfall by pulling Zayn to the floor. Corbin tossed Zayn into the post on the outside. He then set up End of Days on Ricochet, but Sheamus landed a Brogue Kick out of nowhere for the win.
Sheamus earned an Intercontinental Title Match at Clash at the Castle at 22:33
After the match, we got a video package that hyped Reigns vs. McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. McIntyre will confront Reigns next…[c]
My Take: A very good Fatal 5-Way. I enjoyed letting Sami Zayn soak up the big reaction in his hometown, and all of his various hope spots and cold streaks. Sheamus getting the win seemed logical, given the European connection to the PPV, and he and Gunther will absolutely beat the tar out of each other on PPV.
A vignette aired for the Viking Raiders, which had a very Viking theme as you’d imagine. Sarah Rowe was shown placing a Stag Skull on an altar of sorts, and then she applied face paint to Erik and Ivar. They said that they respected the New Day as warriors and champions, but their time is now past. They said this is the end of their path, and the dawn of a new Viking day. They then lit the altar on fire.
We got a video that recapped the contract signing between Shayna Baszler and Liv Morgan. Backstage, Liv Morgan was asked about her arm and if her match tonight puts her arm in danger for her match with Shayna Baszler. She replied that if she played it safe she wouldn’t be champion right now. Liv acknowledged the target on her arm, but said it was no different than the target on her back as Champion. She said she would do whatever it took to keep her title…[c]
My Take: I guess serious Vikings are better than comedy Vikings, but it all does seem a bit campy regardless. Liv did a decent job with her promo, but there was a slight feeling like she was reading from a teleprompter.
Liv Morgan made her ring entrance for the next match. Shotzi was shown backstage. She said Liv was overly emotional, and thinks with her big dumb heart. Shotzi said she would regret her decision to take a match with her.
3. Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan vs. Shotzi in a non-title match: Shotzi tried to get aggressive right after the bell, but Morgan stifled her with strikes and a dropkick. Both women traded some strikes, and then Shotzi landed a DDT on the apron and Liv tumbled awkwardly to the floor…[c]
Liv attempted a kick, but was stuffed immediately. Shotzi picked her up in a Fireman’s Carry, but Liv reversed into a Crucifix Bomb for a near fall. Liv hit the ropes, but Shotzi caught her with a butterfly suplex for a two count. Liv and Shotzi trash talked while they were both on the mat. Liv managed to surprise Shotzi with Oblivion a moment later for the win.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan defeated Shotzi at 6:48 in a non-title match
After the match, Baszler showed up and tortured Liv’s bad arm. She posted up her arm on the mat, but instead of stomping on it, she told Liv she would wait to break her arm in Cardiff. She then kicked Liv in the face instead and walked away.
It was revealed that Adam Pearce did not press charges, and Ronda has been released from jail. McIntyre and Reigns were shown backstage. An hourglass was visible next to McIntyre’s locker…[c]
My Take: The Liv and Shotzi match was a bit of a miss. They worked hard, but the arm injury story has put Liv’s story on rails and it’s become uninteresting. It feels like they’ve sabotaged any chance she had at a memorable title reign, and it’s clear Triple H is ready to move on. I’d put her chances of retaining at the PPV at less than 30%, and most of that chance is based around outside interference.
An appearance from Trish Stratus was advertised for Raw. Next week on Smackdown, the semi-final match in the women’s tournament between Toxic Attraction and Raquel/Aliyah was advertised, as well as Ricochet vs. Happy Corbin.
Roman Reigns made his entrance for the final segment. He demanded Montreal acknowledge him, and they did. Roman said he’s not here every week anymore, and once in a while people are going to come out and say stupid stuff. He said if anyone comes out and says they are the face of the company, or the main event, or carrying the company on their back, they are lying. He said there was only one man who carries the company on his back, and his name is the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns.
Reigns said he is a man of his word, and he doesn’t need to say anything face to face with Drew because he is beneath him. Drew McIntyre confronted Reigns and said he doesn’t represent the title like he should and doesn’t deserve them. He said he’s had Heyman working for him politically, and The Usos taking bullets for him physically. He said he feels a little fear standing with him one on one, and said he might think he’s in god mode, but he’s just a man, and there’s no man that Drew McIntyre can’t tear apart with his bare hands. Drew then said he feels like a little fight in Montreal.
Both men started to brawl, and McIntyre got the advantage. He set up for a Claymore Kick, but Sami Zayn shoved Roman out of the way and took it for him. Reigns then landed a Superman Punch, and set up for a Spear, but Drew cut him down with a Claymore. McIntyre posed with both Championship belts as the show closed…
My Take: I’m surprised we didn’t see Karrion Kross here. If I were a betting man, I’d guess his vaccination status might have prevented a trip into Canada. The closing segment was entertaining, but nothing that added a lot of intrigue or drama to the Clash at the Castle match. If anything, they didn’t get enough time to really talk the kind of trash that would have created that atmosphere. Overall, this show was just an average episode of Smackdown. Not worth going out of your way to watch, but worthwhile if you have some time to kill.