By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,203)
Live from Seattle, Washington at Climate Pledge Arena
Aired September 9, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with highlights from the closing moments of the Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WWE Clash at the Castle. They showed Solo Sikoa interfering and the finish of the match…
Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the show and plugged the sponsor. Cole addressed Pat McAfee’s absence due to his new college football pre-game work. Cole said McAfee would be back toward the end of the year. Cole introduced Corey Graves as the color commentator. Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
Powell’s POV: Graves is a logical replacement since it’s a temporary move. I was hoping to see Wade Barrett called up from NXT, while Nigel McGuinness could have filled in for Barrett.
Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch made their entrance followed by Imperium…
1. “Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci vs. Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch. Cole said he believes the Gunther vs. Sheamus match from the Castle event could end up being the match of the year. Gunther tagged in a couple minutes into the match and chopped Butch. Sheamus tagged in to a big ovation for another showdown with Gunther, but they cut to a commercial break (like a-holes). [C]
Kaiser got the better of Holland coming out of the break. Butch eventually tagged in and caught Kaiser in an armbar momentarily. Kaiser distracted the referee by selling an arm injury, allowing Gunther to hit Holland with a chop from the floor. Sheamus walked over and traded punches with Gunther at ringside, but it only lasted for a few seconds until Vinci kicked Sheamus. Butch followed up by leaping off the apron and hitting Gunther with a flying knee. In the ring, Vinci turned Butch inside out with a clothesline heading into a break. [C]
Butch was isolated coming out of the break. Butch hit Vinci with a step-up enzuigiri and then tagged in Sheamus while Vinci tagged Kaiser. Sheamus hit his Ten Beats (actually 25) on Kaiser while the crowd counted along. Sheamus performed White Noise on Kaiser while dropping him on Vinci. Sheamus hit illegal man Vinci with a Brogue Kick. Kaiser rolled up Sheamus for a two count. Sheamus slammed Kaiser and then tagged in Holland, who hit Kaiser with a clothesline to the back of the head. Holland covered Kaiser, but Gunther broke it up.
Sheamus and Gunther traded blows in the middle of the ring and then the others joined in. Sheamus and Gunther fought to ringside where Sheamus put him down with a knee strike. In the ring, Vinci caught Butch leaping from the ropes and held him up vertically before performing a brainbuster. Vinci made a blind tag and then held up Holland while Kaiser hit him with the Imperium Bomb. Kaiser covered Holland and got the pin…
“Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci beat Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch in 19:05.
Powell’s POV: A hot match. As much as I think they could save Sheamus vs. Gunther for once or twice a year, it’s hard to blame them for sticking with this feud. And it’s not like I’m going to complain about seeing their rematch if it happens sooner rather than later.
The broadcast team hyped the five-way elimination match and Solo Sikoa’s appearance… Cole and Graves acknowledged the death of Queen Elizabeth II and a graphic was shown… [C] An ad for Raw hyped previously advertised matches and Bianca Belair defending the Raw Women’s Championship in an open challenge…
Sami Zayn and the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso made their entrance. Zayn got the mic and told the Seattle crowd that “The Bloodline is in your scene.” Zayn started to tell a story about “growing up a young honorary Uce.”
Jey Uso cut off Zayn to tout that Roman Reigns is still the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Jey said Reigns beat Drew McIntyre on his own turf. “Little does Drew know just how deep this bloodline runs,” Jey said. Jimmy introduced the latest member of The Bloodline.
Solo Sikoa made his entrance while a video package displayed some of his NXT highlights and his interference in the Clash at the Castle event. Zayn held his arms out for a hug. Sikoa eyed up Zayn, then nodded at him. Awesome. Sikoa stood in between his brothers and soaked up the boos.
“You come for my family and I come for you,” Sikoa said. “You create problems and I finish them. Solo Sikoa is here to stay. And The Bloodline just got bigger and stronger.” Jimmy said “you are the twos and we the ones.”
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with a chair in hand. Zayn and the Usos left the ring, but Sikoa stayed in the ring. McIntyre hit Sikoa with a chair from the floor and then entered the ring. McIntyre tried to slam a chair over Sikoa’s back, but Zayn shoved Sikoa out of the way and took the chair shot for him.
McIntyre stood tall while the Bloodline members headed toward the stage. McIntyre yelled that he wanted Sikoa, who responded that if he wanted a fight, he would get one. McIntyre held up his chair… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sami is the best. A good introduction for Sikoa. I like that he stood his ground while his brothers and Zayn scurried to ringside after McIntyre came out.
Still shots from the Clash at the Castle event were shown… Cole hyped college football coverage for Saturday on Fox…
2. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne in a non-title match. A pre-tape aired with the Toxic Attraction duo claiming that the champions wouldn’t have made it out of the semifinals of the tournament had they met as originally scheduled.
Cole mentioned that Mandy Rose unified the NXT and NXT UK women’s championship at the Worlds Collide event. Aliyah was isolated by the heel duo. Rodriguez tagged in and dominated Dolin for a stretch. Dolin caught Rodriguez with a kick and tagged out. The heels set up for a double suplex, but Aliyah ran in and speared Dolin. Rodriguez hit the Texana Bomb and scored the pin…
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah defeated Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne in 5:00 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: This was fine. I like the attention to detail shown by going back to this match after it was pulled from the women’s tag team title tournament due to a Dolin injury.
Highlights aired of last week’s Ronda Rousey and Adam Pearce segment…
Cole said Rousey was disciplined internally and the results would not disclosed publicly. He added that his sources told him that Pearce got carried away and aired dirty laundry publicly, so that’s why the decision was made to take the investigation behind the scenes. Graves hyped the five-way elimination match for after the break… [C]
Seattle imagery was shown and the Graves announced Drew McIntyre vs. Solo Sikoa as the Smackdown main event… Entrances for the elimination match took place…
[Hour Two] Ronda Rousey’s entrance took place at the top of the hour. Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan was shown watching the match from a luxury box.
3. Ronda Rousey vs. Sonya Deville vs. Xia Li vs. Natalya vs. Lacey Evans in a five-way elimination match for a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Extreme Rules. Rousey put Natalya in an armbar and forced her to tap out.
Natalya was eliminated by Ronda Rousey at 1:20.
Li hoisted up Rousey on her back, but Rousey slipped out and went for an armbar. Morgan rolled her into a pin for a two count. Rousey put Evans in an armbar while Deville put her submission hold on Li. Both women tapped out and were both eliminated.
Lacey Evans and Xia Li were eliminated by Ronda Rousey and Sonya Deville at 2:30.
The match came down to Rousey and Deville. Rousey was caught in a chokehold by Deville. Rousey rolled to the ropes while Cole explained that there were no rope breaks due to it being a No DQ match. Rousey backed into the barricade to break the hold. Back in the ring, Rousey hit Piper’s Pit and then put Deville in an ankle lock and grapevined to get the submission win.
Ronda Rousey eliminated Sonya Deville in 4:40 to win a five-way elimination match to earn a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Extreme Rules.
After the match, Morgan stood up in the luxury box and held up her title belt while Rousey jawed at her from the ring…
Powell’s POV: If we’re supposed to find Morgan obnoxious, then she’s doing a fantastic job. This was not a memorable return for Evans. It was all about Rousey looking dominant with Deville getting a little love by getting an elimination and being the last person eliminated.
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso fired up Solo Sikoa inside their dressing room. Sami Zayn entered the room. Sikoa told Zayn that Roman Reigns said he was the man and he was right. Sikoa said he appreciated the help. Jey was annoyed. Zayn asked him what the deal was. Jimmy said it’s about Sikoa tonight.
Zayn told Sikoa that if he needs anything, they are all looking out for him. Jey said Sikoa knows it. Sikoa said he needed to do it on his own, but if he needs help he would ask Zayn. Sami stuck his hand out, but Jey slapped it away. Jey said they were all going to ringside for the match… [C]
Ronda Rousey was walking through the backstage area and came across Shayna Baszler, who wished her good luck against Morgan. Rousey mentioned revenge and told Baszler when she’s ready to break some bones and take over the show…
4. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins and “Hit Row” Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis (w/B-Fab) vs. “Los Lotharios” Angel and Humberto and “Maximum Male Models” Mace and Mansoor (w/Max Dupri, Maxxine Dupri). The babyface entrances were televised. Ford put Mansoor down with a clothesline. The babyfaces charged the heel corner, causing Mace and Los Lotharios to drop off the apron. [C]
Mace got the better of Adonis and then tagged in Mansoor when both men touched finger tips. Funny. The heels continued to isolate Adonis. Humberto dropkicked Adonis to ringside and went for a suicide dive, but Angel ended up being hit by the dive accidentally.
Dawkins took a hot tag and put Mace down for a near fall. A short time later, Dawkins performed a flip dive onto Los Lotharios on the floor. Top Dolla teased a dive, but Maxxine blocked his path by standing on the aprn. B-Fab pulled Maxxine down. A short time later, Dolla caught Mansoor and held him up with Adonis dropkicked him for the Heavy Hitter finisher. Adonis covered Mansoor for the pin…
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins and “Hit Row” Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis beat “Los Lotharios” Angel and Humberto and “Maximum Male Models” Mace and Mansoor in 8:35.
Powell’s POV: The Profits are being used to prop up Hit Row. It seems to be working. Of course, they could always turn one of these teams on the other once they’ve fully established their friendship.
Cole set up a sponsored video package on Braun Strowman, and then Graves sad he would be up next… [C] Clash at the Castle still shots aired…
“Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance. Gable had a mic in hand and spoke as they walked to the ring. Gable said it was a lucky night for the fans because he and Otis were back on Smackdown where the Alpha Academy was born.
Gable said they were there to ruin Strowman’s return, just as he ruined their chance to earn a tag title shot on Raw. Gable claimed he and Otis had the match won before Strowman jumped them from behind. Gable said Otis would have decimated Strowman had he seen him coming. Gable worked in a jab at the Seattle crowd over losing their NBA team, which drew the usual great heat.
Braun Strowman made his entrance to new entrance music and played to the crowd once he was in the ring. Strowman worked over Otis. Gable hit Strowman from behind and tried to run away, but Strowman caught him and roughed him up. Otis blindsided Strowman and tried to splash him in the corner, but Strowman stuffed it. Strowman powerbombed Gable and then powerbombed Otis…
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton about his match with Solo Sikoa. McIntyre said Clash at the Castle should have been the biggest moment of his career. He said he would be champion if it wasn’t for Sikoa. McIntyre said he’s sure the Head of the Table is happy with him, but actions have consequences, and Sikoa would not like the consequences of his actions… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong, intense promo from McIntyre with good logic for why he’s so upset with Sikoa. The Strowman appearance was pretty routine, but the live crowd enjoyed it, especially after the cheap heat spot of Seattle losing the Supersonics.
Cole hyped Fox’s game of the week as the Minnesota Vikings playing host to some jabroni team… Graves hyped Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles or Raw…
Cole announced New Day vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. Los Lotharios for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles. It’s a rematch of the match that Strowman ruined on Monday’s Raw…
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with the stupid sword (he really should have “forgotten” that thing in Cardiff). Solo Sikoa made his entrance and was accompanied by the Usos and Zayn…
5. Drew McIntyre vs. Solo Sikoa (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn). Cole said Roman Reigns wasn’t at the show and said he didn’t have the guts to be there after what happened at Clash at the Castle. Cole noted that Sikoa is the younger brother of Jimmy and Jey, and said there’s an eight-year difference in ages between the Usos and Sikoa. McIntyre hit an early Future Shock DDT and set up for his finisher, but the Usos pulled Sikoa to ringside. [C]
Sikoa was on the offensive and got some help from his corner while he distracted the referee. Sikoa performed a belly-to-belly suplex and covered McIntyre for a two count. McIntyre eventually rallied and performed his signature offense. McIntyre set up for his finisher, but he had to run off the Usos from the apron. Sikoa rolled him up for a two count.
McIntyre cleared Sikoa and the Usos to the floor and set up for a dive, but Zayn grabbed his foot. McIntyre set up to hit his finisher on Zayn, but Sikoa cut him off with a superkick and covered him for a good near fall. McIntyre and Sikoa traded punches. McIntyre ran the ropes and the Usos held the top rope down, causing him to tumble to the floor.
The Street Profits ran out and attacked the Usos. Zayn helped out the Usos to give them the numbers advantage. Ford went up top and dove onto Zayn and the Usos. In the ring, McIntyre avoided the Samoa Drop and then hit Sikoa with a Claymore Kick that knocked him out of the ring. Karrion Kross attacked McIntyre for the DQ finish.
Drew McIntyre defeated Solo Sikoa by disqualification in 10:35.
The screen turned black and white as Kross put McIntyre in the Kross Jacket and Scarlett watched. McIntyre looked like he was going to power out of the hold, but he faded twice. Cole called for help as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. The cheap finish was logical in this case, as there was no reason to have Sikoa lose clean in his Smackdown debut, and there definitely wasn’t a reason to have McIntyre lose coming off of his loss at the Castle event. Overall, this was a good episode with strong bookend matches. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Have a great weekend and Skol Vikings!