By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,213)
Hartford, Connecticut at XL Center
Aired live November 18, 2022 on Fox
The Brawling Brutes music hit and they made their way out onto the stage. Drew McIntyre followed shortly thereafter and they were introduced by ring announcer Samantha Irvin. Video was shown of the brawl between The Bloodline, The Brawling Brutes, and Sheamus from last week’s show. The War Games match between these two teams was advertised for Survivor Series, and Michael Cole said on commentary we were still waiting to find the fifth member of the squad.
Sheamus asked the crowd how they were doing, and then recalled the rivalry he’s had with McIntyre over the years that has created mutual respect between them. He said it created a bond so strong that he asked Drew McIntyre to be his best man when he got married in New York three weeks ago. McIntyre laughed and said “finally”. The crowd chanted “Ucey”, and Sheamus said he was feeling a little “Brutey”, which is another made up word. Sheamus asked him to be their honorary Brute, and McIntyre chuckled at the “Brutey” chant from the crowd.
McIntyre said no one knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed by the Bloodline like Drew McIntyre. He said they multiply like rabbits, but when the odds are even, they can win. McIntyre then said if he’s going to go to war, he wants to go to war with his brother. He then gave Sheamus a viking handshake. Ridge Holland interrupted to say it’s fight night. They started to address the fifth man.
Sami Zayn interrupted and said they didn’t care who the fifth man was, and they were all feeling pretty Ucey about it. He rattled off a bunch of names for himself, including Master Strategist and “Ucey in the Sky with Diamonds”. Sami then said he’s not a man who offers many guarantees, but he would guarantee that the Bloodline wins as War Games. Sami then saw Butch getting agitated, and said they didn’t have to wait because he would run right through him tonight.
Sheamus then said when Sami finds out who the fifth man is, he would crap his bleedin’ pants because it’s the last thing he would ever expect.
Cole and color commentator Wade Barrett plugged Butch vs. Sami in a World Cup Match, as well as Mustafa Ali vs. Ricochet, which is up right now. Ricochet made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: Ucey in the Sky with Diamonds got a laugh out of me. A good opening segment, which paves the way for Kevin Owens to join the Brutes and McIntyre and make Sami crap his pants.
Mustafa Ali made his entrance after the break. His torso was all taped up from the damage he took on Monday from Bobby Lashley. Highlights were shown of that match. Video was shown of Ricochet and Ali having a conversation in the trainer’s room earlier, where Ali agreed to move forward with the match. Both men exchanged respect.
1. Mustafa Ali vs. Ricochet in a Smackdown World Cup Quarterfinal: Both men exchanged pinfall attempts at the outset of the match. Ricochet tripped up Ali, and he immediately sold his ribs. Ricochet told him he didn’t have to do this, and asked why he insisted on it. Ali didn’t answer. They battled in the corner, and the ref came over for a break. Ricochet turned and spoke to the ref, and got a forearm to the back of the head and neck for his trouble.
Both men traded blows and ended up on the top turnbuckle. Ali landed a backstabber from the top rope, and then both men heavily sold their ribs…[c]
Ricochet kicked Ali in the chest while a replay was shown of the backstabber before the break. Ricochet took over due to a superplex during the break. Ali sent Ricochet to the floor with head scissors. He landed a single leg dropkick after Ricochet tried to quickly re-enter the ring. Ali then dove on Ricochet on the floor, but Ricochet rolled through and picked him up, delivering a Michinoku Driver on the floor.
Back in the ring, Ricochet went up top and attempted a corkscrew 450, but Ali moved and applied a Koji Clutch. Ricochet reached the ropes. He then quickly landed a German Suplex and a major lariat, followed by a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Referee Jessika Carr checked on Ali, but he refused to quit. Ricochet landed a spinning kick, but Ali managed to get back into the match with a Tornado DDT.
Ali went up top for a 450, but nobody was home and he sold his ribs heavily. Ricochet then climbed up top and landed a Shooting Star Press for the win.
Ricochet defeated Mustafa Ali at 10:45 to advance in the World Cup Tournament
After the match, Ricochet stared at the World Cup Trophy while replays were shown. He will face Braun Strowman in the semi-finals next week. Sami Zayn will face Butch to fill out the bracket later in the show. Ricochet helped Ali to the back…
Backstage, Jey Uso accosted Sami Zayn for speaking on behalf of the Bloodline, and told him he shouldn’t be making guarantees on behalf of the Bloodline. Jimmy stepped in and told everyone to get on the same page because Roman was on the way. Sami stepped away, and Jimmy said they had Bloodline business to handle later tonight. Sami stepped back into frame and dapped up Jimmy, and told him he would tell him more about that thing they talked about later. Jey asked if Jimmy really liked Sami, and he said yes. Solo refused to give an answer…
My Take: A solid tournament match. I’m curious if they’ll have Strowman cruise to the finals, or if they have something else in mind to continue what they were doing with him and Omos. If they are going to make a new star in this tournament, I wouldn’t mind if they went with Santos Escobar.
A Bray Wyatt plug aired. Cole and Barrett seemed unaware of it and introduced a video package last week that showed highlights of the match between The Usos and New Day from last week.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed New Day. Xavier Woods sported a new mustache. They expressed being in a bad mood and spoke about how disappointed they were in themselves. Imperium walked up and told them they were everything that’s wrong with wrestling today. They mocked the trumpets and the dancing, and it was up to them to restore the honor to the mat that they find so sacred. Woods and Kofi mocked them back by doing their pose, and said Gunther looked like Lurch from the Addams Family. Woods said they’d find a tag partner and meet them in the ring. Gunther accepted and said they had proven their point. Woods told him to go answer the door…
Backstage, Emma walked up to Madcap Moss. She gave him a water bottle, and he said tonight was about revenge. Emma said she knows how great he is and told him to use his speed as a weapon because he’s more athletic than he is. Moss then made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: Maybe Emma will be a moderating force for Madcap’s goofy character. It’s an opportunity to add some depth to both of their characters at least. New Day and a partner against Imperium should be fun. Hard not to think about how much better it would be if Big E were around, though.
Karrion Kross made his entrance with Scarlett. Wade Barrett called Scarlett the most malevolent presence in WWE.
2. Madcap Moss vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett): Moss blitzed Kross early on and stomped him out in the corner. Kross fired back , but was quickly overwhelmed with a suplex and a charging back elbow. Moss followed up with a big lariat that sent Kross to the floor. He then followed to ringside and tossed him into the barricade, and back into the ring. Kross fired back with a suplex of his own, and landed some terrible looking stomps in the corner.
Kross argued with the ref, and Scarlett slapped Moss across the face. Moss recovered and hit the ropes at high speed before landing a shoulder tackle. Scarlett argued with Moss, and then Kross snuck up and reapplied the Kross Jacket, Moss quickly passed out.
Karrion Kross defeated Madcap Moss at 6:48
After the match, Emma ran down to check on Moss. Kross celebrated with Scarlett. Bray Wyatt is up next…[c]
My Take: Emma wasn’t lying about Moss being more athletic. None of Kross’s offense looked particularly good. I’m waiting for a moment where his act clicks for me, and this wasn’t it.
The lights went out and Bray Wyatt’s entrance music played. He emerged from his personal Tardis with his lantern and made his way to the ring.
Wyatt had a microphone and said he had been conditioned his entire life to be a certain way. He always felt like changing is impossible, and he was taught to be strong, and to take, and that fear is respect. He mentioned the path he had left behind him, and it was packed with ashes and blood. Wyatt questioned why he does the things that he does, and whether he could actually change. He said if he was LA Knight, he knows how he would handle this situation, and it makes him sad.
After a pause, Wyatt said he wanted to apologize to LA Knight. The crowd booed, and Knight’s music hit. Knight walked out and said he was confused by the apology. He said Wyatt was talking about respect, and when he looks Wyatt in the eyes he thinks he earned his respect by not fearing him. Knight said he’s not sure what to think of his apology, and walked up to Wyatt and slapped him. He quickly walked away and said they were even, apology accepted.
Wyatt said they were even. He said there was a lot he wanted to do to him, but he was going to fight the urges. Wyatt told him his next decision would affect the rest of his life, and put out his hand and said they were even. Knight smacked him upside the head again, and backed away. He told him it was a two for one special, and Wyatt looked incensed but did not attack him.
Cole and Barrett introduced a video cap of Ronda and Shayna choking out Shotzi in the backstage area last week. Shayna made her entrance in the arena with Ronda Rousey. She will face Shotzi up next…[c]
My Take: I liked the LA Knight and Wyatt confrontation. Bray continues to want to do the right thing, but the world conspires to pull him towards his worst impulses. Knight is just the right amount of overconfident to kick the hornet’s nest.
Backstage, Karrion Kross was approached by The Usos and asked if he was the fifth member. Kross said that he’s not a follower. The Usos asked him if he wanted to make a name for himself on the back of The Bloodline, and he said no. Kross replied that when he comes for Roman’s titles, and he will, he would do it by himself on his own time.
In the arena, Shotzi made her entrance on her tank.
3. Shotzi vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Ronda Rousey): Ronda gave a distraction immediately, and Shayna jumped Shotzi from behind. Shotzi recovered and rolled up Shayna, but got a two count. Rousey grabbed Shotzi’s leg as she hit the ropes, and Baszler took over again. She landed some strikes, and then put her in a hold briefly. Shotzi recovered and started to land some strikes, but Ronda pulled her to the floor.
After the distractions, Shayna landed a German Suplex and tossed Shotzi back to Ronda on the floor. Ronda talked some trash, but Shotzi surprised Shayna with a dropkick as she got back into the ring. She then landed a facebuster. More distractions from Ronda brought Raquel Rodriguez out to the ring. Shotzi set up a stomp onto Shayna’s elbow, but the presence of Raquel distracted Shayna, and Shotzi surprised her with a rollup for the win.
Shotzi defeated Shayna Baszler at 5:01
After the match, Megan Morant tried to get an interview with LA Knight backstage, but he was on his way out the door. He told her he doesn’t stick around after he finishes with work…[c]
My Take: If that was the only Women’s Division segment on the show, that was a disappointment. The division needs some star power on the babyface side in a bad way. There just isn’t anything compelling or interesting about the ongoing story.
Backstage, LA Knight was found by WWE officials with a bunch of equipment turned over on top of him. Cole commented that you shouldn’t poke the bear…
Imperium made their way to the ring for the next match. New Day made their way out afterward. They paused on the ramp, and their partner Braun Strowman made his entrance. Strowman stalked Gunther around while Kofi and Woods brawled with Vinci and Kaiser. Gunther chopped down Woods, and Kofi got taken out by Vinci and Kaiser. Strowman and Gunther were left in the ring when the bell rang, and Gunther quickly made an escape…[c]
4. Braun Strowman and “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Imperium” Ludwig Kaiser, Giovanni Vinci, and Gunther: Vinci and Woods were in the ring when the show returned. Woods reached for a tag, but Vinci shut him down and taunted Woods and Strowman. Kaiser tagged in and landed a lariat, and knocked Kofi down from the apron. Woods desperately fired back with punches, but couldn’t make the tag. He slipped between Kaiser’s legs, and then made a tag to Strowman.
Vinci tagged in, and got shoulder blocked out of the air during a springboard by Strowman. Gunther tagged in and then ran away from Strowman on the outside. He bulldozed Vinci and Kaiser, and then landed a spinebuster on Gunther in the ring. Strowman tried for a powerbomb, but Gunther slipped away and tagged Kaiser. Kofi tagged in and took down Kaiser with a lariat. Kofi and Woods then landed the Midnight Hour, and Strowman chased off Gunther and allowed Kofi to make the pin.
Braun Strowman and “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods defeated “Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci at 7:38
After the match, the announce team reviewed the bracket for the Smackdown World Cup. Backstage, Braun Strowman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. He said he was looking forward to taking the title off of Gunther after he wins the tournament. Ricochet walked up and told him to stop overlooking the flippy flippers, or it might come back to bite him.
Back in the arena, Butch made his entrance with the rest of the Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre. He faces Sami Zayn next…[c]
My Take: Strowman vs. Gunther was heavily foreshadowed by this match, and the crowd reacted well to it so I have to assume that’s going to be where they go with the World Cup Tournament. I wonder if Strowman will place the World Cup on his mantle next to the useless Greatest Royal Rumble Title Belt.
Butch or Sami will face Santos Escobar next week, along with Ricochet vs. Braun Strowman. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler will also face Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi, and The Usos will face Drew McIntyre and Sheamus in a WarGames advantage match…
Sami Zayn made his entrance with The Usos and Solo Sikoa…
5. Butch vs. Sami Zayn in a Smackdown World Cup Quarterfinal: Butch started with some finger manipulation, and then stomped on Sami’s hand. He then landed a hard lariat, and covered for a two count. Zayn reversed a hurracarrana into a powerbomb and got a two count of his own. He then tossed Butch to ringside, where there was a standoff between the two squads. Sami tossed Butch back in the ring. He recovered and landed a tornado DDT. Butch then climbed the top rope, but Sami pushed him off and sent him crashing into the barricade at ringside…[c]
Sami jumped off the top with a flying nothing, and Butch landed a huge right hand for a near fall. Jey Uso attempted a distraction, but Sami only got a two count on the rollup. Both Usos then got involved, and Sami landed a Blue Thunder Bomb for another near fall. A brawl broke out in the floor between the two squads, forcing Butch to snap Sami’s fingers and dive on the Usos on the floor. Sami recovered and delivered an exploder suplex into the corner.
Sami set up for the Heluva Kick, but Jey Uso was shoved into the ring breaking it up. Butch landed the Bitter End and got the win.
Butch defeated Sami Zayn at 7:30 to advance in the Smackdown World Cup tournament
After the match, the brawl continued between all the members of both squads. Roman’s music hit, and he walked out into the chaos. He took out Butch and Ridge with a Superman Punch and a Spear. Drew McIntyre took off his shirt and told Roman to get in the ring. Solo attacked McIntyre from behind, allowing Roman to land a spear. Sheamus then squared up with Reigns, and they traded punches.
Sami got involved to bail out Roman, which allowed him to land a Superman Punch on Sheamus. He then set up for a Spear, and Kevin Owens music hit. He walked out with an angry look on their face and decked Jimmy Uso. He then landed a superkick to Jey. He then got in the ring and traded punches with Reigns and stomped him out in the corner.
Owens turned around and went face to face with Sami. They exchanged looks, and Reigns landed a Superman Punch. Ridge Holland pulled Sami from the ring, and Owens stuffed a spear attempt from Reigns and landed a Stunner. Owens stood tall with McIntyre and The Brutes as the show closed.
My Take: It was the obvious choice, but the crowd loved it and it’s nice to see KO back on TV. There was some question as to the status of his knee, and while he wasn’t asked to do too much here, he didn’t look like he was obviously in pain. Overall this was an enjoyable episode of Smackdown. The Women’s division, however, needs some help. Jason Powell will be by later tonight with his weekly Smackdown audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).