By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,207)
Live from Worcester, Massachusetts at DCU Center
Aired October 7, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the season premiere of the show and plugged the sponsor. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced Triple H, who was already in the ring wearing a suit while “The Game” played.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished, but that is the beginning,” Triple H said. “Welcome to Fox, and welcome to the season premiere of Friday Night Smackdown”…
“The Bloodline” Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman, and Sami Zayn made their entrance. Meanwhile, Cole introduced Wade Barrett as his new color commentator. Barrett said Cole has had more partners than Elizabeth Taylor.
Powell’s POV: An Elizabeth Taylor divorce joke in 2022? To be fair, I guess Hollywood starlets just don’t get divorced as often as they used to. Anyway, it’s a busy weekend here at Dot Net, and I encourage you to check out John Moore’s live review of Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory on the main page, and to stick around for Colin McGuire’s reviews of AEW Rampage and AEW Battle of the Belts IV. As if that’s not enough, I hope you will stop back tomorrow night for my live review of WWE Extreme Rules. Sunday? Nah, that’s for football.
Once The Bloodline was in the ring, Reigns told the Worcester crowd to acknowledge him. Logan Paul made his entrance to a flat reaction and then stood on the apron. Reigns said he gets it, there’s a lot of people in the Bloodline. Reigns assured Paul that the ring would be a safe place.
Paul entered the ring. A “Logan sucks” chant broke out. “They did the same thing to me years ago and I’m the greatest of all-time now,” Reigns said. He added that he felt there were a lot things that they could teach Paul. Reigns told Heyman to “smarten this boy up.”
Heyman recalled Reigns asking, “Who in the hell is Logan Paul?” Heyman said it hit him in the head just like Anderson Silva will hit Jake Paul in the head when they fight, Logan is this generation’s version of Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper. Heyman said Logan is the celebrity they bring in to put more eyeballs on the product.
Heyman recalled pondering which pseudo celebrity and a male Kardashian to bring in to get smashed by Reigns. Heyman mentioned a few celebrities and said none of them would have the balls to enter the ring with Reigns. Heyman said he hopes they put the catheter and breathing tube in the right holes after Reigns puts Paul in the hospital for three months.
Logan said Heyman really is the wiseman. He asked Heyman if he was referring to Reigns or Jey Uso when he used the name Tribal Chief. Jey barked at Logan while Jimmy held Jey back. Reigns shot Jey a look, which caused Jey to chill out. Reigns stood in front of Jey and stared at him.
Sami Zayn stepping forward and tried to place peacemaker. Zayn told Reigns that he is the Head of the Table and the Tribal Chief. Zayn said no one is questioning that or challenging that. Zayn said Jey did nothing wrong. Zayn said the only one who did anything wrong was Logan, who will get smashed by Reigns. Zayn called Logan “the biggest two of them all.”
“That’s what you are, you are a giant number two,” Zayn said. He added that Paul would become “a number two stain” on the bottom of Reigns’ shoe after Crown Jewel. Zayn said The Bloodline would be more aligned than ever. Zayn did the “because we the ones” catchphrase. Reigns nodded, then put his arm around Jey… [C]
Powell’s POV: The crowd continues to dislike Logan Paul. I wonder if they are just keeping him a babyface until he gets through this match with Reigns or if they really believe that fans will end up embracing him?
Cole hyped the Intercontinental Title match for later in the show. Solo Sikoa was in the ring, and then Ricochet made his entrance…
1. Solo Sikoa vs. Ricochet. None of the Bloodline members were at ringside. Sikoa hit Ricochet before the bell. Referee Charles Robinson checked on Ricochet and then started the match. After a few minutes of action, Ricochet went for a springboard move, but Sikoa punched him and he fell to ringside heading into a break. [C]
Late in the match, Ricochet went up top for his 450 splash finisher. When Ricochet dove, Sikoa caught him and hit him with his uranage slam finisher and scored the pin…
Solo Sikoa beat Ricochet in 8:20.
Powell’s POV: They could have easily had a Bloodline member stay at ringside and factor into the finish to protect Ricochet. Rather, Sikoa won the match clean without any help. It made Sikoa look good and hopefully it’s a sign that WWE will do more clean finishes.
Backstage, Sami Zayn told the rest of the Bloodline about how the work he’s done with Solo Sikoa seems to be paying off. Jey Uso took issue with Sami’s comments about taking Sikoa under his wing. Sami told Jey not to be such a hothead, which upset Jey even more. Roman Reigns interrupted and said Jey has always been a hothead and he doesn’t want it to be his problem anymore. Reigns told Sami that Jey is his problem now…
The Hit Row trio of B-Fab, Top Dolla, and Ashante Thee Adonis were shown exiting a tour bus in the backstage area… [C]
The Usos and Zayn were walking through the backstage area when they met Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. They mocked Jey from going being called Main Event Jey Uso to having Sami as his boss. Zayn told the New Day duo to find a partner and meet them in the ring. The Usos weren’t pleased about Sami setting up the match…
Hit Row made their entrance. Barrett made a reference to Elvis Presley. Cole called him on his dated references to Elvis and Liz Taylor. Meanwhile, the mask wearing Legado Del Fantasma trio of Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Cruz Del Toro attacked Top Dolla and Adonis. A blonde Zelina Vega showed up and got the better of B-Fab. The broadcast team acted unsure of who the masked men were.
Vega took the mic and said she’s back and did not come alone. The men removed their masks. Escobar said they are Legado Del Fantasma and Smackdown is theirs. Barrett called out the three men by name…
A White Rabbit video aired with old school computer game graphics. The rabbit found an X on the ground and dug a hole before some type of light shot down the hole. A message listed “tomorrow night” and tomorrow’s date, and the message concluded with “Feed Your Head”… [C]
Powell’s POV: I could have done without Barrett having to act oblivious when LDF were masked given that he called their matches in NXT. It looks like the company officials decided against bringing up Elektra Lopez to be part of LFD on the main roster. I like the idea of putting Vega with LFD. Lopez has upside, but she can benefit from getting more reps in NXT.
2. Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi vs. Sonya Deville and Xia Li. The Deville and Li entrances were not televised. Deville hit an early knee to the head of Shotzi and got a two count. Shotzi eventually made a hot tag to Rodriguez, who dominated both heels. Rodriguez eventually put Deville down with a Texana Bomb and pinned her…
Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi beat Sonya Deville and Xia Li in 2:20.
Powell’s POV: Rodriguez has more chemistry with Shotzi than she had with Aliyah, but I’d rather see both women work as singles wrestlers.
The broadcast team hyped the Intercontinental Title match and showed tweets about the match from former Intercontinental Champions Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Honky Tonk Man, Triple H, The Miz, and Kurt Angle…
Sheamus was shown backstage with Ridge Holland and Butch… [C] Cole set up a video package that recapped the history between Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey.
[Hour Two] The video package carried over into the second hour and then Cole hyped Morgan vs. Rousey in an Extreme Rules match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at the Extreme Rules event…
Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their black and white screen entrance. Cole said Kross has been called a “calculated lunatic.” The color returned once they were in the ring. As Kross and Scarlett struck a pose at the end of their entrance routine, Drew McIntyre appeared behind them.
McIntyre attacked Kross and attacked a leather strap to Kross’s wrist and his own wrist. Security came out and got McIntyre out of the ring, but he eventually fought them off. Kross stood on the floor pulled the strap, which pulled McIntyre into the ring post. Kross repeated the post shot twice.
Kross whipped McIntyre’s back with the strap several times while Scarlett watched from the ring and laughed. The camera did a close-up shot of the welts on McIntyre’s back. After Kross and Scarlett left, McIntyre pulled himself up to his feet… [C]
Powell’s POV: It sounded like they sweetened the sound by adding some boos after the attack was over. Either way, it was a good beatdown angle heading into their strap match at Extreme Rules.
A person with antlers on their head was shown standing next to a wall of shields with their back to the camera. A male voice said only the foolish confuse absence with weakness. He said they have been watching, waiting, and growing stronger. A female voice chimed in an said something that concluded with Valhalla awaits…
Powell’s POV: I believe those were Viking Raider shields. Ivar is out with a foot injury, so was this Erik and perhaps his real life wife Sarah Logan? By the way, I missed that Triple H’s mic had another QR code on it during his opening segment. The WWE logo was showing and then he turned it to show the code before he delivered his final line. Thanks to Dot Net reader Michael for passing that along.
The Usos and Sami Zayn made their entrance. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance and then their tag team partner Braun Strowman came out to a big ovation…
3. Braun Strowman, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods vs. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Sami Zayn. They cut to a commercial early in the match. [C] Sami and Jey ended up bickering with one another, which allowed Kingston to recover. Jimmy knocked Woods off the apron, but Kingston put Jimmy down and tagged out.
Strowman entered the match and dominated Jimmy while Zayn and Jey continued to bicker at ringside. Strowman left the ring and did a running shoulder block on both men, who tumbled over the desk and took out Cole. In the ring, Kingston and Woods hit a double team move on Jimmy, and then Woods pinned him…
Braun Strowman, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods beat Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Sami Zayn in 10:25.
Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing match. Strowman is hot again following his hiatus from the company. I don’t think Cole was meant to get hit. He was up against the barricade trying to avoid Jey and Zayn, when Jey ended up hitting his legs from behind. Cole fell down, but he didn’t sell it and just kept calling the match.
Backstage, Max Dupri stood over the fallen Mace and Mansoor. Maxxine showed up and yelled at Max, who told her not to call him Max ever again. He said his name is LA Knight. Maxxine checked on her models while Knight walked away…
Imperium was shown standing backstage while Cole hyped the main event… [C]
The broadcast team spoke at ringside while someone in a White Rabbit suit sat behind them in the crowd. Cole and Barrett hyped Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn, and LA Knight vs. Mansoor for next week’s show…
A video package recapped the Gunther and Sheamus feud. Entrances for the match took place. Sheamus came out with Ridge Holland and Butch. Cole recalled Sheamus telling Holland and Butch that he wanted to go it alone. Cole said they would get their chance to get their hands on Imperium at Extreme Rules. Holland and Butch headed to the back and then Imperium made their entrance. Gunther sent Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to the back…
4. Gunther vs. Sheamus for the Intercontinental Championship. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole worked in references to West Side Xtreme, PWG, and Progress Wrestling. Sheamus took the fight to ringside and ran him into the barricade a couple of times before they cut to a break during the opening minute of the match. [C]
Sheamus remained on the offensive and had the crowd behind him. Cole said Sheamus has never won the Intercontinental Title and referred to it as the workman’s title. Gunther took control and then removed the turnbuckle cover while both men were on the apron on opposite sides of the ring post.
Gunther pulled Sheamus by the arms so that his chest collided with the exposed turnbuckle. Gunther and Sheamus traded chops and punches in the middle of the ring. Gunther grabbed Sheamus and suplexed him heading into another break. [C]
Sheamus hit the Ten Beats and then hoisted up Gunther on his shoulders and climbed to the second rope. Sheamus performed White Noise from the middle rope for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Gunther rallied with a dropkick and then put Sheamus down with a powerbomb for a near fall of his own.
Gunther went up top and performed a splash onto the back of Sheamus, then rolled him over for another near fall. Sheamus eventually rallied with a big boot and an Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus put Gunther in a Cloverleaf. Gunther tapped the mat twice, but the referee ruled that he was trying to motivate himself to reach the ropes, which he did a second later.
Sheamus, who had a bloody mouth, protested. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci ran out, which brought out Ridge Holland and Butch to brawl with them. Kaiser slid a shillelagh to Gunther. Sheamus went for his Brogue Kick finisher, but Gunther hit him with the shillelagh and pinned him.
Gunther defeated Sheamus in 18:20 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Gunther stood over Sheamus while holding up the belt. The other members of their respective teams continued to brawl while Cole hyped Imperium vs. Brawling Brutes for Extreme Rules and then closed the show…
Powell’s POV: A hot main event with a finish that keeps Sheamus in chase mode. This crowd was dying to see Sheamus get the win, so it should really pack a punch when/if he finally beats Gunther to win Intercontinental Championship. It seemed odd that the title match was taking place a day before the six-man tag, but the finish and the big brawl were actually effective in terms of pumping up even more interest in the PLE match.
Overall, a good show capped off by one of the hottest matches the company has to offer. The “season premiere” gimmick is silly and yet it seems to be effective when it comes to generating interest. I guess we’ll find out officially on Monday when the ratings are released. I will have more to say in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Join me for my WWE Extreme Rules live review on Saturday night.