By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,204)
Live from Anaheim, California at Honda Center
Aired September 16, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Pyro shot off on the stage… Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary, and Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
Logan Paul made his entrance. The broadcast team recapped a Twitter exchange with Paul asking for a match with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Paul started by saying he thinks he did it again. He said he has a habit of saying stupid things.
Paul recalled having Reigns on his podcast and stating afterward that if he wrestled Reigns it would be his match. The crowd gave Paul the “What?” treatment. Paul said he set up a press conference for Saturday in Las Vegas and challenged Reigns to show up and meet him face to face.
Paul Heyman interrupted Paul with a “Ladies and gentlemen.” Heyman walked out with Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn. Heyman introduced himself and spoke about his partnership with Reigns.
Heyman entered the ring and shook hands with Paul while The Bloodline members remained at ringside. Heyman told the Bloodline that he had it handled. “There he is, Logan Paul,” Heyman said. The fans booed. Heyman said that if anyone outside WWE could be a Paul Heyman Guy it would be Paul.
Heyman recalled Paul fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr., then pointed out the height difference between the two. Heyman also brought up Jake Paul’s upcoming fight with Anderson Silva and predicted that Silva would knock him out. Heyman said he wouldn’t fight either man.
Heyman said the only thing he cared about in the moment was Paul picking a fight with someone else. Paul said he booked a press conference and asked what The Bloodline was so afraid of. Paul questioned if they were worried that he might challenge Reigns to a title match at the press conference.
Paul said Reigns would probably smash him, but he played up the possibility of landing one lucky shot and dropping Reigns “like a sack of potatoes.” Paul questioned what would happen if he were to beat Reigns for the championship.
“If your brother had balls he’d be your sister, but he doesn’t, so he’s not,” Heyman replied. Heyman said now he had to handle Paul. Heyman called for Solo Sikoa, who stood on the ring apron with his newly won NXT North American Championship in hand. Paul told Heyman that he was willing to bet that he could knock him out before Sikoa could get to him.
Sami Zayn entered the ring and told Sikoa that he could handle it. Sikoa dropped off the apron. Zayn told Heyman that he loves him, but he might not be the best man for the job. Zayn said maybe Roman Reigns should have let him handle Paul. Heyman dropped the mic and indicated that Heyman could have at it.
Zayn approached Paul and said he would explain how things work around here. Paul dropped Zayn with a right hand and then asked how things work. The other Bloodline members hit the ring, but Paul rolled out the other side.
Ricochet made his entrance and stood by Paul while Cole said Ricochet was scheduled to face Zayn. Cole also questioned if Paul would challenge Reigns for the championship… [C]
Powell’s POV: Paul was impressive in the ring at WrestleMania and SummerSlam. He had the fans in his corner at SummerSlam when he faced The Miz, but it didn’t carry over. This crowd was all over Paul, and it probably didn’t help that he punched the popular heel Zayn. On the bright side, they are smart in apparently doing this match at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi fans have been an easy crowd for WWE in that they cheer for the babyfaces and boo the heels. Reigns is a popular enough heel and Paul is unlikable enough babyface that I’m curious to see if the Saudi fans will push back.
Cole plugged Fox’s NFL coverage for Sunday…
1. Ricochet (w/Logan Paul) vs. Sami Zayn (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman). The Usos and Heyman leaned against the broadcast table while watching the match. Cole actually stated that Ricochet and Zayn faced one another over a decade ago in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Ricochet went up top and Zayn shoved him to the floor. [C]
Zayn leapt from the top rope into a dropkick from Ricochet. A short time later, Ricochet went for a standing moonsault, but Zayn put his knees up. Cole complained about Heyman knocking his drink over. Heyman picked up the rest of the drink and dumped it on the broadcast table while Cole made sure his phone stayed dry.
Ricochet performed a Frankenstein for a near fall. Ricochet had to fight off interference from the Usos. Zayn suplexed a distracted Ricochet and had the pin, but the referee was caught up with Jey. Zayn and Jey barked at one another. Zayn left the ring and went face to face with Jey until Jimmy intervened. Ricochet performed a flip dive onto all three men. Ricochet rolled Zayn back inside the ring and hit him with a shooting star press for the win…
Ricochet defeated Sami Zayn in roughly 13:00.
After the match, The Usos and Sikoa climbed on the apron while Ricochet and Paul stood inside the ring. Madcap Moss ran out with a chair in hand and joined the babyaces, causing the Usos to drop off the apron…
Cole said they would revisit Karrion Kross’s attack on Drew McIntyre after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match with the usual fun involving Zayn and Jey Uso not getting along. Why is Moss still saddled with the awful Madcap name?
A black and white video aired that included Karrion Kross delivering a promo while Scarlett stood by and footage of his attack on McIntyre was shown. Kross said McIntyre was publicly executed by the people’s chosen executioner. Kross recalled having his arms around McIntyre’s neck. “Oh, poor baby,” Scarlett said before laughing. Kross spoke about putting McIntyre through an endless loop of suffering…
Max Durpri and Maxxine Dupri were introduced and stood in the ring with a spotlight on them. Max said they were only a stone’s throw away from Los Angeles. Max said they were there to introduce the Maximum Male Models “Back To School Collection.” Mace and Mansoor walked onto the stage and modeled school themed attire.
Braun Strowman’s entrance music played, causing Mace and Mansoor to go bug-eyed. Strowman attacked Mace and Mansoor and tossed them to ringside and then threw Mansoor inside the ring. Strowman hit Mansoor with an uppercut and then powerbombed him.
Chad Gable made his entrance and distracted Strowman until Otis entered the ring and hit him from behind. Gable entered the ring and was hoisted up by Strowman, but Otis hit Strowman to save Gable. Otis put Strowman down with a powerslam, but Strowman sat right up while the Alpha Academy duo headed to ringside. Strowman ripped his shirt off and challenged Otis, who was game, but Gable talked him down…
Powell’s POV: Why am I not the least bit surprised that the uncivilized oaf Braun Strowman has no appreciation for the fine art of made modeling? Disgusting.
Anaheim imagery was shown… The broadcast team hyped the four-way tag match for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles. Cole set up a recap of Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai beating Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles on Raw…
Bayley and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai made their entrance. Cole pointed out Jojo Siwa at ringside. The trio cut a promo and Bayley told the crowd they have the power that the fans crave and will never get.
Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance and labeled the Damage CTRL trio as bullies. She said they injured her tag team partner and are powerless to stop her from getting revenge. Rodriguez entered the ring and then the heel trio fled to ringside. Cole hyped Bayley vs. Rodriguez for after the break… [C]
2. Bayley (w/Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai) vs. Raquel Rodriguez. Rodriguez put Bayley down with a big boot and then dragged her closer to the ropes. Rodriguez set up for a move from the ropes, but she was distracted by Sky and Kai. Bayley pulled Rodriguez down and then targeted her left knee. Rodriguez rallied and performed a pair of fallaway slams.
[Hour Two] Rodriguez went to the middle rope, but Sky climbed onto the apron. Rodriguez swatted Sky off the apron, then pulled Kai inside the ring and slammed her onto Bayley. Rodriguez performed an elbow drop from the middle rope onto both women.
Rodriguez picked up Bayley, but Sky raked her eyes while the referee was caught up in clearing Kai from the ring. Bayley hit the Rose Plant on Rodriguez and then pinned her…
Bayley defeated Raquel Rodriguez in 6:20.
After the match, the Damage CTRL trio worked over Bayley. Shotzi ran out and pulled Kai to ringside, then entered the ring and hit Sky. Cole said Shotzi helping Rodriguez showed that women in the locker room were tired of Damage CTRL badmouthing them…
Powell’s POV: Cole acted surprised by Shotzi saving Rodriguez, so it’s not like they just forgot that Shotzi had been working as a heel. Shotzi really clicked in NXT as a babyface, so hopefully this turn will give her a boost. By the way, there was no mention of Shotzi’s last name, so I’m not sure if she will be getting it back.
The broadcast team announced Solo Sikoa vs. Madcap Moss for the NXT North American Title for later in the show… Ronda Rousey was shown talking with Kayla Braxton. Cole said Braxton would interview Rousey after the break… [C]
The broadcast team hyped Fox’s college football coverage and then set up the backstage interview…
Kayla Braxton conducted a sit-down interview with Ronda Rousey in a backstage room. Braxton brought up the controversial finish of her previous meeting with Liv Morgan. Rousey said there would be no controversy. “Speak of the devil,” Rousey said.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan entered the picture and asked Braxton if she could have a word with Rousey. Braxton exited the scene and then Morgan took her seat. Morgan told Rousey that she’s never met anyone who says words that mean nothing more than Rousey.
Morgan said Rousey doesn’t respect her. Rousey said she’s due no respect. Morgan recalled retaining her championship in their last match and said the only way she could make Rousey respect her is to earn it. Morgan told Rousey that she wants to face her in an Extreme Rules match.
Rousey leaned forward and laughed at Morgan for wanting an Extreme Rules match with her. “It’s your funeral,” Rousey said. Rousey stood up and walked away…
Drew McIntyre climbed onto the broadcast table as Cole and Graves were talking about Morgan’s challenge. McIntyre challenged Karrion Kross to be a man and face him. He said that Kross is obsessed with time when they only time he needs to worry about is “3-2-1 lights out”…
Jey tried to fire up Sikoa on the backstage Gorilla position set while Sami Zayn stood by. Sikoa told Jey that he was off his game. Sikoa invited Sami Zayn to accompany him to ringside. Sikoa and Zayn made their entrance and then the broadcast team narrated footage of Sikoa beating Carmelo Hayes to win the NXT North American Title on Tuesday’s NXT 2.0 show. Madcap Moss made his entrance… [C]
3. Solo Sikoa (w/Sami Zayn) vs. Madcap Moss for the NXT North American Championship. A few minutes into the match, Moss got the better of Sikoa at ringside. Zayn provided a distraction, and then Sikoa clotheslined Moss and went on the offensive. Back inside the ring, Sikoa hit a spinning heel kick.
Later, Sikoa had Moss down in the corner and set up for a move, but Moss chop blocked him. Moss put Sikoa down with a big clothesline and followed up with a face first slam. Moss speared Sikoa in the corner twice and then went for his finisher, but Sikoa shoved him off.
Moss stuffed a kick and then slammed Sikoa to the mat and covered him for a near fall. Moss charged at Sikoa a short time later, but Sikoa hoisted him up and put him down with a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Sikoa set up for a uranage, but Moss rolled him up for a two count.
Moss caught Sikoa diving at him and then performed a fallaway slam. Moss charged toward Sikoa, who was pulled to ringside by Zayn. Moss went to ringside and chased Zayn inside the ring where Sikoa hit him with a superkick. Sikoa followed up with his uranage slam finisher and scored the pin…
Solo Sikoa defeated Madcap Moss in 10:50 to retain the NXT North American Championship.
Powell’s POV: This was more competitive than it needed to be. I just can’t take Moss seriously with that awful name, and I’m not crazy about Sikoa needing Zayn’s distraction just to beat him. Don’t get wrong, I think Moss has upside, but he needs to develop a persona that feels authentic and isn’t a holdover from his obnoxious run with Happy Corbin. On the bright side, an NXT title being defended on Smackdown is a good way to establish synergy between the main roster and the developmental brand.
The four-way tag match was hyped for after the break… A Raw ad hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins for the U.S. Championship, and Austin Theory vs. Kevin Owens for Monday’s show from San Jose… [C]
The broadcast team announced that Roman Reigns would appear on at the Logan Paul press conference in Las Vegas. It will be streamed on WWE’s social media platforms at 2:30CT/3:30ET…
The broadcast team announced a Roman Reigns appearance and Braun Strowman vs. Otis for next week’s Smackdown in Salt Lake City, Utah…
Entrances for the four-way tag team match took place. Hit Row came out first followed by New Day, the Imperium trio, and finally the Brawling Brutes… [C]
4. “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Hit Row” Ashante Thee Adonis and Top Dolla (w/B-Fab) vs. Ridge Holland and Butch (w/Sheamus) vs. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci (w/Gunther) for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Titles. Butch and Holland started the match and threw punches at one another. They action spilled over to ringside where Vinci hit Butch and then Holland hit Vinci. Top Dolla tossed Adonis onto the pile at ringside. Top Dolla teased a dive, but he was taken out. Woods and Kingston then performed dives onto the other at ringside. [C]
Kingston punched Holland in the gut to tag himself into the match at one point. Kingston worked over Adonis, but Kaiser made a blind tag. Kaiser ran Kingston into the ring post and then tagged in Vinci, who dropkicked Kingston from the floor while Kaiser dropkicked him inside the ring. [C]
Butch had an offensive flurry in which he worked over various opponents. He stomped the hands of Adonis and then blasted him with a kick. Top Dolla entered the ring and put Butch down with a boot. Top Dolla put Kingston on his shoulders, then put Butch on top of Kingston, and then picked up Woods and walked around the ring before slamming them all to the mat. Damn.
Holland tried to hoist up Top Dolla, who stuffed it initially, but then Holland performed an Alabama Slam and covered him for a two count. Holland tagged Woods while Adonis tagged in. Woods caught Adonis with a superkick and then let Kingston tag in. Kingston took out Top Dolla with a suicide dive. Woods put Adonis down and then Kingston splashed him and had the pin, but Butch broke it up.
Vinci rolled up Kingston, who rolled through and got a two count. Vinci put Kingston down with a spinebuster. Kaiser hit Kingston with a knee to the head. Vinci and Kaiser hit the Imperium Bomb on Kingston, but Holland made a blind tag while Kaiser was on the ropes. Holland cleared Kaiser from the ring and then covered Kingston for the pin…
Ridge Holland and Butch defeated Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis, and Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci in 18:55 in a four-way to earn a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles.
Cole frantically hyped that Holland and Butch would challenge Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles on next week’s Smackdown…
Powell’s POV: WWE sure loves their stolen pin finishes. Anyway, this was a fun main event and it’s good to see a fresher team get a shot at the titles rather than one of the usual suspect teams. I was surprised when they said the tag title match would take place next week rather than at the Extreme Rules event.
Overall, a solid episode. Let me know what you thought of Smackdown by grading it below and/or sharing your thoughts in our comment section. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night Smackdown audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Have a great weekend.
If they want to do Paul v Roman in SA as some type of challenge match / exhibition I’m fine with that. But in no way should this be a title match. PERIOD. No one coming off the street should get a world title match. It cheapens everything they have worked on for Roman
I’m surprised this review didn’t make mention of Max Dupri pausing and looking off to the side when he said “LA”
I’m hopeful this may be a hint at a return for LA Knight.