By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,206)
Live from Winnipeg, Manitoba at Canada Life Centre
Aired September 30, 2022 on Fox
The Smackdown intro video aired, and Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed the TV audience to Winnipeg. Sami Zayn’s music hit to start the show, with a new “Honorary Uce” video wall. He was followed by Solo Sikoa. They will open the show with a tag team match. Their opponents were Ricochet and Madcap Moss. Video was shown of Solo assaulting Moss and Ricochet last week.
1. Madcap Moss and Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa: Zayn and Ricochet began the match. Sami grabbed a headlock and then applied an arm twist. Ricochet fired back with an acrobatic head scissors and a dropkick. Moss tagged in and used a double leg to pick up Sami Zayn and dump him over his head and onto his back. Zayn recovered and landed a gut punch, and then tagged in Solo Sikoa.
He entered the match and landed some hard strikes in the corner. Zayn then took a cheap shot from the apron. He tagged back in and continued the assault on Moss, but was then dumped to ringside. Solo entered the ring, and was also sent to the floor. Moss then gave Ricochet an assist and he splashed Zayn and Sikoa on the floor…[c]
A video aired for Smackdown’s Season Premiere next week. Logan Paul will come face to face with Roman Reigns, and Sheamus vs. Gunther II was advertised. Sikoa worked over Ricochet as the show returned to the match. Solo was shown landing a hard right hand to Ricochet during the break. He landed a Samoan Drop in real time and covered for a near fall. Ricochet recovered and landed a dropkick from the second rope, and attempted to crawl over for a tag.
Madcap and Zayn entered the ring, and Moss landed some shoulder blocks and a fall away slam. Moss landed rapid fire punches in the corner, followed by a series of spears. Sikoa tried to get involved, but Moss quickly dumped him to the floor. Sikoa went to grab a chair from ringside, but Ricochet prevented him from using it. Zayn rolled up Moss in a surprise off the distraction for a near fall. He got another near fall after a Blue Thunder Bomb. He then climbed to the top, but Moss caught him and rolled through. He landed a jackhammer and covered, but Sikoa broke it up.
Zayn got dumped to the outside by Ricochet. Moss attacked him on the floor. Ricochet tried to dive at Ricochet on the floor, but ate a chair. Sikoa disposed of Ricochet into the timekeeper’s area. He then made a blind tag to Zayn, and landed a spinning heel kick on Moss. He followed up with the Spinning Sikoa (a Uranage) and covered for the win.
Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn defeated Ricochet and Madcap Moss at 12:44
After the match, Sami attempted to calm down Solo, but he continued attacking Moss with hip attacks in the corner. Zayn eventually calmed him down and raised his hand in victory. Video recapped the final moments of the match…[c]
My Take: A solid opening match. The crowd was very into Sami Zayn and cheered all of his offense. They even booed Moss and Ricochet when they were on offense and controlling the action with Zayn in the ring. It’ll be curious to see if that continues outside of Canada, or if that was more prominent because Zayn was in his home country.
Backstage, Zayn and Solo attempted to enter the Bloodline locker room, but the door was locked. Jey walked out of the door and told Sami he was there to make sure his little brother was doing good. He let Solo into the room, and told Sami that he might have everybody else fooled, but he sees right through him. He told him if he ever thought about betraying them, he would get him first. Sami told him that he should take it up with Roman, and that he wanted to get into “their” locker room.
Cole introduced a video package from Karrion Kross. He said that McIntyre was a guy you had to send to the Hospital to keep him down, and thankfully that was his specialty. Kross said they would be bound through suffering at Extreme Rules, and once everyone sees what the cards have shown him, he will become the next Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. He then told McIntyre when he was done with him, he would leave him there to burn forever. A QR Code flashed on the screen after his promo which people will undoubtedly decode. The strap match was advertised for Extreme Rules.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Austin Theory. She asked if he planned on cashing in soon, and he complained about people ruining his moment. First it was Brock Lesnar and then it was Tyson Fury. Theory started talking about McIntyre embarrassing himself at Clash at the Castle, and called him an idiot for getting himself into a strap match with Karrion Kross. McIntyre overheard him and approached from behind. He slapped Theory on the back and intensely told him that he wanted to see him in the ring now…[c]
My Take: The Kross video continues to promote the idea that Scarlett is some kind of Sorceress that can see the future, and Kross has fully bought into what she has revealed to him through what I assume are tarot cards. I can’t tell if they want me to believe that they are both delusional or genuinely supernatural, but for everyone’s sake I think the former would be more interesting.
Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring with his dumb sword. He was followed by Austin Theory. He then brought out the Alpha Academy as backup.
2. Austin Theory vs. Drew McIntyre: They traded chops early on, and that went poorly for Theory. McIntyre then picked up Theory in a vertical suplex position and tossed him across the ring. He then landed another chop, and Theory bailed to recoup with Alpha Academy. Gable offered a distraction, and Theory hung up McIntyre on the top rope. He followed up with several punches, but McIntyre dropped him with a Future Shock DDT. Gable tried to get involved again, and McIntyre dumped him into the ring.
Otis got involved, which provoked a DQ finish.
Drew McIntyre defeated Austin Theory by DQ at 3:12
After the match, it was a 3 on 1 beatdown of McIntyre. Johnny Gargano ran down for an assist, but was also overwhelmed by the numbers. Kevin Owens joined the fray and evened things up. This smells like a six man tag match. KO and Gargano cleared Theory and Gargano from the ring. McIntyre recovered and sent Otis to the floor with a headbutt.
Backstage, Max Dupri was confronted by Maxxine and Maximum Male Models. They said they’d make it up to him tonight by capturing a title. Max lit up and asked if they got a title shot with the Usos, but they revealed it was the Canadian record for the longest pose. Max walked away disgusted. Hit Row walked by and laughed at them frozen in their pose. Hit Row vs. Los Lotharios is up next…[c]
My Take: Honestly shocked we’re not getting a six man tag out of that save from KO and Gargano. Perhaps it’ll happen on next week’s Smackdown. Dupri seems to be slowly making his conversion into LA Knight.
Hit Row made their entrance as the show returned. Los Lotharios were already in the ring.
3. Hit Row (Ashanti Thee Adonis and Top Dolla) vs. Los Lotharios (Angel Garza and Humberto Carillo): Ashanti and Garza started the match. Garza got an early advantage and Carillo took a cheap shot from the corner. Ashanti reversed a vertical suplex and landed a neckbreaker. Top Dolla landed a side slam and then landed an elbow drop. Garza tried to flirt with B-Fab, and that led to both Carillo and Garza being slammed by Top Dolla simultaneously.
Ashanti tagged in and they landed the Heavy Hitter on Carillo and picked up the win.
Hit Row defeated Los Lotharios at 3:21
After the match, Hit Row celebrated with absolutely no reaction. Some walked behind Cole and Graves with a sign that said “Revel in what you are”. They walked away and Cole and Graves never mentioned it. They tossed to a video package that recapped the recent Extreme tendencies of Liv Morgan. Ronda Rousey was then interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. She asked about her opinion of Liv going Extreme last week. She dismissed it and called herself the most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet, and it only gets worse when she wields a baseball bat…[c]
My Take: That match between Los Lotharios and Hit Row was cold as ice. Neither team seems to have made much of an impression with their recent backstage segments.
I spoke too soon about the six man tag from earlier. Theory and Alpha Academy will face McIntyre, KO, and Johnny Gargano in the main event. Natalya made her entrance in the arena. She was followed by Ronda Rousey.
4. Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya: Ronda shoved Natalya, who immediately grabbed a double leg and went for a Sharpshooter. Ronda countered and sent Natalya tumbling into the corner. She then choked Natalya with the second rope and then into what appeared to be a very ineffective wishbone hold of sorts. Natalya avoided a running knee in the corner, and countered into a powerbomb. She attempted a discus clothesline, but was caught with a hip toss. Ronda went for Piper’s Pit, but Natalya reversed into another sharpshooter attempt. Ronda escaped again, but Natalya was able to land a discus clothesline.
After several reversals on the ground, Ronda applied an Ankle Lock with a grapevine. Natalya struggled to escape but was forced to tap out.
Ronda Rousey defeated Natalya at 4:18
After the match, Liv walked out with a baseball bat with some tassels on it. Ronda and Liv had a staredown. Ronda landed a kick, but Morgan landed a bat shot to the gut. Ronda landed Piper’s Pit on the floor, and then they had a tug of war over the bat. Liv shoved Ronda into the barricade and grabbed the bat. Liv tried to swing again, but Ronda tossed her into the barricade. Security pled with Rousey to end it there, and she tossed the bat aside and left. Liv gave chase and tackled Ronda, and then both women were separated by security.
Backstage, Gargano and McIntyre were talking about old times, and KO felt like the odd man out. They agreed to be on the same page, and KO walked by the models frozen in pose before seeing Sami Zayn. Sami stood up and flashed him a smile, but KO just told him he needed a new shirt…[c]
My Take: I didn’t leave that segment more convinced that Liv had a shot at beating Ronda. She did a nice job increasing her intensity, but they didn’t really let her one up Ronda here. If anything it still appeared like Ronda had a physical advantage, even when Liv was holding a weapon. Natalya and Ronda worked pretty well together for their brief match.
Backstage, Shinsuke Nakamura looked fascinated by the frozen Maximum Male Models, Sonya Deville looked disgusted. Imperium made their entrance in the arena, and video was shown of their involvement in the Brawling Brutes vs. Usos from last week. Gunther vs. Sheamus was plugged for next week, as well as the Donnybrook Match at Extreme Rules,
Ludwig Kaiser had a microphone, and called the Brawling Brutes an insult to the ring they found so sacred. Vinci said none of them exhibit the qualities of a champion, and pointed to Gunther as a man who has all the qualities of a Champion. Gunther said he would defeat Sheamus next week, and take pleasure in breaking his spirit one more time. He then said they would grind down all three Brutes down to dust….and then Sheamus’ music hit.
Sheamus said Ridge and Butch were stuck in Florida, but the King of Bangers was there to kick all their heads off by himself. Kaiser and Vinci charged him, and he took them out with a Shillelagh. He then got in the ring and tossed it aside, and he and Gunther began trading blows. Sheamus landed a rising knee and set up for a Brogue Kick.
Vinci and Kaiser got involved again, and the three on one beating began. Gunther landed a series of hard chops and a kick to the face. He then put the Intercontinental Championship in Sheamus’ face before he delivered a powerbomb. Sheamus grabbed a microphone while still on the mat. He asked Gunther if that was all he had, and that he had to do better than that. The three of them approached the ring again, and delivered more punishment with the Shillelagh. Gunther wound up and clubbed him across the chest with it, and finally left him laying.
Bayley was shown backstage, and said that Dakota and Iyo were stuck in Florida. She said she would defeat Shotzi all by herself next, and then climb a ladder to defeat Bianca Bel Air to become Raw Women’s Champion at Extreme Rules. Cole and Graves then passed along condolences regarding the passing of Antonio Inoki, as reports of his passing started hitting the internet during the broadcast…[c]
My Take: RIP Antonio Inoki, who’s contributions to Pro Wrestling and Martial Arts are gigantic and difficult to quantify. I enjoyed the Sheamus and Gunther segment. It’s rare we get a straight up heat segment in WWE these days, and this was effective. Sheamus showed good fire and toughness despite the odds of his situation.
Bayley made her entrance after the break, and mocked members of the crowd who attempted to shake her hand. Shotzi made her entrance in her mini tank, and fired some pyro as she made her way to the ring. It’s a huge upgrade for her entrance.
5. Shotzi vs. Bayley: Shotzi ducked a clothesline and landed an enziguri. She then rolled up Bayley for a two count. Bayley recovered and tossed Shotzi with an arm drag. Things got real awkward with some telegraphed clotheslines and reversals. Shotzi landed double knees to the back of Bayley as she was draped on the second rope. She then delivered a DDT on the apron…[c]
Shotzi landed a splash in the corner and several kicks. She then landed a suplex into the corner, and climbed the top rope. Bayley got to her feet quickly and pulled her into the ring face first. She then landed the Roseplant and got the win.
Bayley defeated Shotzi at 6:42
After the match, she landed another Roseplant and grabbed a ladder from under the ring. She placed Shotzi inside the ladder and climbed to the second rope. Bianca Belair’s music hit and Bayley quickly cleared the ring. Bianca helped Shotzi out of the ladder, and Bayley attacked her from behind. Bianca picked up Bayley for a KOD on the ladder, but she slipped out and bailed out of ther ing.
Backstage, Maxxine Dupri praised Mace and Mansoor as they held their pose. Max walked up and broke up the pose as they were five seconds from the record. He took off his “M” belt and said they could keep it because he wasn’t sure this was ever for him. Theory and Alpha Academy made their entrances for the Main Event…[c]
My Take: Seems like LA Knight is coming much sooner than later. He’ll be a nice addition to the show if they can get him fired up. Bayley and Shotzi was sloppy at the beginning, but was better after the commercial break.
Sheamus vs. Gunther II was confirmed for next week, along with Ricochet vs. Solo Sikoa. Roman Reigns will also have a face to face with Logan Paul. In the arena Kevin Owens, Johnny Gargano, and Drew McIntyre made their entrances for the Main Event.
3. Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, and Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Theory, Chad Gable, and Otis: Gable and Gargano started the match. Gargano got the early advantage, but a distraction from Austin Theory led to Gable taking over. Cole brought up history between McIntyre and Gargano in Evolve and Dragon Gate. Theory tagged in and landed some punches in the corner. Gargano fired back with an enziguri and a spear through the middle rope from the apron. McIntyre sent Otis to the floor, and KO tossed out Theory. He then dove on both Gable and Theory at ringside…[c]
The heels isolated Gargano during the break. He attempted One Final beat on Gable, but was pulled into a Northern Lights Suplex for a near fall. Gargano attempted to tag in McIntyre, but Theory pulled him from ringside. Gable countered an enziguri from Gargano into an ankle lock. Gargano managed to escape and make a tag to Kevin Owens. He entered and wrecked shop on both Gabe and Theory. He landed a DDT on Theory and a Fisherman’s Buster on Theory. Owens then landed a Cannonball on Gable and then a Senton from the top. Otis had to break up the pin.
Gable landed a German Suplex on Owens and both men crawled for tags. McIntyre and Theory tagged in, and McIntyre threw Theory across the ring and knocked Otis from the apron. He kipped up after a second overhead toss and set up for a Claymore Kick. Theory rolled out of the ring at the last moment, and McIntyre followed. Otis intercepted and tossed him into the ring steps. Gargano and KO superkicked Otis, and set him up on the announce table. Gable landed a nasty Suplex on Owens on the floor.
He then set up for a powerbomb on the announce table, but Gargano distracted Gable by landing a Tornado DDT on Otis. KO landed a Stunner on Gable, and McIntyre landed a Claymore on Theory and got the win.
Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, and Johnny Gargano defeated Austin Theory, Chad Gable, and Otis at 13:38
After the match, McIntyre celebrated after using a leather strap to whip Theory across the back.
My Take: A fun match to close the show. There were clearly a number of changes to this show because of Hurricane Ian, and they managed to deliver an entertaining show given the circumstances. It wasn’t a particularly newsworthy or high stakes edition of the show, but there were enough story developments to make it worth a watch.