By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,205)
Live from Salt Lake City, Utah at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Aired September 23, 2022 on Fox
Michael Cole and Corey Graves sat in on commentary. Roman Reigns’ music hit, and he made his way out with the entire bloodline. Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, Sami Zayn, and Paul Heyman flanked Roman on his way to the ring. Footage was shown of the press conference with Logan Paul from this past weekend. Corey Graves called the match “two of the biggest stars in the entertainment world colliding”.
They stood in the ring and posed for what felt like two solid minutes. Roman then finally held out his hand, and Heyman placed the microphone in it. He then shouted out Salt Lake City and demanded they acknowledge him. Heyman took back the microphone and called the crowd “Salt Lake Citiots” after pretending not to know what people from Utah are called.
Heyman put over Roman Reigns as the longest running Undisputed Champion, and said he had heard people whining about Drew McIntyre and had said Clash at the Castle was supposed to be his moment. Heyman rebuked the idea that Wales was his home turf, and claimed the entire planet as the home turf of Roman Reigns. He then brought up Solo Sikoa, and said he wished he could claim it as his idea, but instead called it a plan of the Samoan Elders.
Solo was called an enforcer that ensured Roman Reigns position on the Island of Relevancy, and opened up Jimmy and Jey Uso for their pursuit of Immortality as Undisputed Tag Team Champions. Jimmy then got on the mic and guaranteed a win later against The Brawling Brutes. Jey chimed in and started to do the “we the ones” gimmick, but Roman held out his hand for the microphone again.
Roman called Solo up next to him, and told him that he reports to him now, and asked him to acknowledge him. Solo acknowledged him as the tribal chief, and they embraced before Roman’s music started back up. Sami Zayn interrupted and drew the ire of Jey Uso. He thanked the bloodline for taking him in, even though he isn’t blood family, and publicly acknowledged Roman Reigns as the tribal chief. Roman then grabbed the microphone.
He then asked Sami why he was talking and saying anything right now, and asked why he was tagging along with them and wearing their shirt. Roman asked what he wanted, and then demanded that he take the shirt off. Sami asked if this was about last week, and said that he wasn’t sure if Roman was kidding or not. Roman mentioned that he had disrespected the wise man last week, and had Jey tear off his Bloodline shirt.
Roman then told him that he would never wear that shirt again, because he had bought him a new one. It said “SZ – Honorary Uce”. Jey was beside himself, and Sami celebrated while putting it on and dapped up Jimmy Uso and gave Solo a hug. Sammy then enthusiastically acknowledged Reigns and gave him a hug…[c]
My Take: Sami continues to be one of the brightest spots on WWE TV every week. He’s perfect for this role, and Roman is at his best when he’s playing a manipulator. Jey and Jimmy Uso’s polar opposite reactions to Sami is also one of the best uses of humor on Wrestling TV going right now.
Lacey Evans was in the ring as the show returned. Liv Morgan then made her entrance.
1. Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan vs. Lacey Evans in a non-title match: The announce team spent most of the early minutes talking about how foolish it was for Liv to challenge Ronda in an Extreme Rules match. Lacey dominated the early going, but got either no reaction or a smattering of go away boos from the crowd. She took Liv to the ground and applied a chin lock. Liv got to her feet and sent Evans onto the apron, but was tripped by a leg sweep. Evans then tossed Liv off the ring post and sent her crashing to the floor…[c]
Evans dropped a knee onto the ribs of Morgan. She then landed several strikes and tossed her into the corner. She then kicked her hard in the chest and made a cover for a near fall. Evans head scissored Morgan out of the corner and then did some push ups while Morgan was trapped by her legs in a hold. Lacey rolled to the outside and grabbed a Kendo Stick.
She entered the ring and whiffed on the kendo stick swing, and then landed a Codebreaker. She then landed Oblivion and got the win.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan defeated Lacey Evans at 8:44
After the match, Liv grabbed the kendo stick, and put it back down initially. She then picked it back up and smashed it over Evans back several times. On the outside, Morgan used the kendo stick to perform a side Russian leg sweep into the LED board on the outside. She then retrieved a table from under the ring, Liv placed Evans on the table, and then climbed to the top rope. She dove off the ring post and put Evans through the table with a diving senton. She then celebrated to cheers from the crowd.
Backstage, Hit Row were having some champagne. They toasted to money, and that brought in the Street Profits. They thanked them for the invite. Shinsuke Nakamura popped up and joined them, and they all began filling their glasses…[c]
My Take: A solid post match segment with Morgan, but I don’t think they needed almost 9 minutes of mostly Lacey Evans dominated TV time to get where they were going. In any case, this is the strongest they’ve made Morgan look on television since her title reign started.
Sami Zayn yelled at a catering employee backstage to go get him a vegan meal. Ricochet and Madcap Moss said he’s become even more insufferable since he stuck his head all the way up Roman Reigns’ ass. They told him that he might think he’s a member of the bloodline, but he’s really just a certified….Solo Sikoa showed up and slammed both Moss and Ricochet into a metal garage door. Sami had to pull him off…and then said that he was just about to do that.
Cole then introduced a video package that established The Usos as a legendary Tag Team in WWE…[c]
My Take: Good aggression shown by Solo during the backstage attack on Ricochet and Moss. The video package was well produced, but I’m not sure there’s anybody left that doesn’t hold the Usos in high regard as a tag team.
We got a “Royal Rumble Classic” throwback video package that focused on Shawn Michaels’ win in 1995. Rumble Tickets are on sale next week for January 28th. In the arena, New Day made their ring entrance in their Thor and Loki themed gear. Maximum Male Models were already in the ring.
2. “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Maximum Male Models” Mace and Mansoor (w/Max Dupri, Maxxine Dupri): Max and Maxxine Durpri were shown at ringside. Maxxine took a camera from the ringside camera man and took photos as her Models landed some double team offense on Xavier Woods. Mace made a tag and knocked Kingston off the apron to prevent a tag. He then landed an elbow drop from the second rope on Woods for a two count.
Mansoor tagged back in, and Maxxine had them pose over the injured Xavier Woods. Kofi ran back in the ring and shoved Mace to the floor. Woods rolled up Mansoor with the Backwoods and got the win.
“New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods defeated “Maximum Male Models” Mansoor and Mace at 3:18
After the match, Max Dupri screamed at the models and took off his coat to swing it around violently. He stormed off while everyone else looked frightened. Cole and Graves then introduced a video that played some highlights from both Otis and Braun Strowman. Braun vs. Otis is up next…[c]
My Take: Seems like we’ll be getting LA Knight pretty soon. The Models have quickly become the team that gets squashed for comedy, which is fine given the nature of the gimmick.
The announce team plugged the The Usos vs. Ridge and Butch for the Undisputed Tag Titles in the Main Event. Back to Hit Row’s party backstage. Los Lotharios approached B-Fab, before being run off by Top Dolla. In the arena, Braun Strowman made his entrance, followed by Otis and Chad Gable.
3. Braun Strowman vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable): They circled each other to start the match, and then tied up. Strowman used a knee to the gut to get an advantage, and then tossed Otis across the ring with a biel. He then landed a dropkick that sent Otis to the floor. Braun tried to charge around the ring and attack Otis, but Gable got in the way. Otis then attacked Strowman and tossed him into the barricade and ring post.
Back in the ring, Otis landed a lariat and covered for a two count. He then splashed Strowman in the corner and clubbed him down to the mat. Otis hit the ropes to charge at Strowman but got caught with a Spinebuster from Strowman. He then took a run at Otis on the outside and knocked him onto the announce table.
Braun sent Otis back into the ring. Chad Gable tried to intervene but got tossed over the announce table. Braun tried to pick up Otis but couldn’t get him up. Otis then landed a World’s Strongest Slam and a Vader Bomb for a close near fall. He tried another second rope splash, but Strowman got out of the way. He then landed a powerbomb on Otis for the win.
Braun Strowman defeated Otis at 5:45
After the match, The Brawling Brutes were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. They changed Friday was fight night, and chanted fight night. Sheamus said in two weeks on the season premiere of Smackdown, it would be Sheamus vs. Gunther II. He said he would take the Intercontinental Title from his cold dead hands. Later tonight, the boys would take the Tag Titles, because when the Brutes are in the ring it’s banger after banger after….you get it…[c]
My Take: Strowman vs. Otis was a hoot. They had a very good power match that didn’t outstay it’s welcome. Sheamus vs. Gunther II should be another instant classic if they get enough time.
Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring. He had a microphone in hand. He told the crowd he wanted to hear them scream, and they obliged. Drew complained about Kross and said he doesn’t have the courage to confront him man to man, he has to attack him from behind. He told Kross that he would have his first big match at Extreme Rules, and it would be against Drew McIntyre. He unfurled a leather strap, and elaborated that it would be a strap match.
We then had Kross’s music, and Scarlett walked towards the ring. Cole called her a “Clairvoyant Mystic”. McIntyre sniffed out the sneak attack and turned around to meet Kross. He then tossed him into the ring post and strapped them together. He then gave Kross a big boot, and began whipping him with the strap. Scarlett entered the ring and got in between them. She used flash paper to send a fireball at him. Kross took advantage with strikes, but McIntyre turned him away. Scarlett then kicked him in the groin. Kross then applied his rear naked choke, and told McIntyre this was his plan the entire time and he would see him at Extreme Rules…[c]
My Take: Meh. I wanted to like that segment, but the flash paper looked bad, and the idea that it was Kross’s plan to goad McIntyre into challenging him to a strap match is bizarre. Couldn’t he have just…challenged him to the match itself? The program is trying too hard to be deeper than it is.
Damage Control made their entrance in the arena. Dakota Kai will be wrestling. Raquel Rodriguez made her entrance for the next match, and wore a disgusted face.
4. Dakota Kai (w/Bayley, Iyo Sky) vs. Raquel Rodriguez: We got some attempts at distractions immediately as Raquel took an early advantage. Kai landed a scorpion kick, and a boot in the corner. Bayley interfered, which prompted Shotzi to run to the ring and cause a scene. Raquel rolled up Dakota off Shotzi’s distraction and got the win.
Raquel Rodriguez defeated Dakota Kai at 2:01
After the match, a brawl broke out between the five women. Bayley bailed out of the ring, and Dakota and Io got sent to the floor by Io and Raquel. Backstage, Los Lotharios went back to Hit Row’s party and kicked both Ashanti and Top Dolla. The Street Profits held back Top Dolla from running after them and getting his revenge…[c]
My Take: I really want to like Damage Control, but they are playing pretty generic heels that use generic heel tactics, and I was hoping for something more clever.
The Brawling Brutes made their entrance, followed by The Usos for the main event. Samantha Irvin conducted ring introductions…[c]
5. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso (w/Sami Zayn, Solo Sikoa) vs. “The Brawling Brutes” Ridge Holland and Butch (w/Sheamus) for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles: Butch started the match with Jey Uso, and immediately started using finger manipulation. He then placed his hand flat on the mat and stomped on his elbow. Sami Zayn and Solo were at ringside. Ridge tagged into the match, and The Usos quickly turned the tables on him and isolated him in their corner.
Butch managed to tag back in, and Jimmy took some clubbing blows to the chest from both Ridge and Butch. Jey sent Ridge to the floor, and Butch took a very awkward fall on a botch from the Usos. I don’t even know what they intended to do, but he collided awkwardly with the ropes. They then tossed him into the barricade on the floor. Sami Zayn talked all kinds of trash to Butch.
The Usos landed a double team back suplex on Butch for a near fall…[c]
Butch traded blows with both Usos in the corner. Jimmy landed an enzuigiri and covered for a near fall. Jey tagged in and dumped Butch to the floor. Sami and Jey argued on the outside, which led to Butch landing an enziguri of his own on Jey. Ridge and Jimmy both tagged in. Ridge took out Jey with a headbutt, and then landed a powerslam on Jimmy for a two count.
Sheamus fired up for Ridge to land a lariat, but he got kicked away. Butch tagged himself in and landed a flying kick on Jimmy for a near fall. Jey made a tag in as Butch threw Jimmy over the top to the floor. Butch ran into some superkicks from both Usos, and they then kicked Ridge off the apron. Butch attempted a moonsault, but was kicked out of the air for a close near fall.
Butch recovered and snapped Jey’s fingers. Ridge then tagged in and picked up Jey, but he stumbled into the Uso’s corner and Jey made a tag. Ridge picked up both Usos and dumped them over his shoulders. Ridge and Butch landed a combo kick and slam on Jimmy, but Jey broke up the tag in a close near fall.
Sammy tried to put a chair in the ring, but Sheamus shut him down. Imperium then ran down to take down Sheamus. The Usos superkicked both Ridge and Butch as they tried to help Sheamus. They then landed One D on Butch and got the win.
The Usos defeated The Brawling Brutes at 16:31
After the match, The Usos recovered while replays were shown of the finish. The Bloodline posed to close the show.
My Take: No major surprise on this show like many predicted. WWE released an updated “White Rabbit” tease earlier today that pointed to Monday’s Raw, so I’m guessing there was a change of plans. The main event was a lot of fun, even if the finish was somewhat predictable. I really don’t know why Imperium needed to get involved, it’s not like The Brawling Brutes couldn’t have absorbed the clean loss after a solid showing. Hopefully WWE starts delivering some clean finishes on television sooner than later.