2/17 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of Sami Zayn’s appearance on the Elimination Chamber go-home show, Gunther vs. Madcap Moss for the Intercontinental Title, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus vs. The Viking Raiders, Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Shotzi and Natalya, Asuka vs. Liv Morgan

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,226)
Montreal, Quebec at Bell Centre
Aired live February 17, 2023 on Fox

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a memorial graphic for the late Jerry Jarrett… A video recapped The Usos defeating Braun Strowman and Ricochet to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles on last week’s show. They also showed footage of the backstage developments involving the Usos, Paul Heyman, and Sami Zayn… The Smackdown opening aired…

Michael Cole introduced the show and was joined on commentary by Wade Barrett. The Elimination Chamber structure was hanging over the ring (the Elimination Chamber event will be held in the same venue on Saturday night)…

Natalya made her entrance and gave her glasses to a fan at ringside while Cole hyped the Elimination Chamber match for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Shotzi made her tank entrance, and then their opponents followed while ring announcer Samantha Irvin delivered the introductions…

1. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Shotzi and Natalya. Natalya put Baszler down and then booted her. Rousey tagged in and targeted the left arm of Natalya. Rousey went for her finisher, but Natalya countered into a Sharpshooter attempt, which Rousey avoided before both wrestlers tagged out.

A short time later, Shotzi hit Rousey with a suicide dive. Shotzi ducked a punch from Baszler, who was put down by a Natalya clothesline. Shotzi went to the top rope and dove onto Rousey and Baszler on the floor heading into a commercial break. [C]

Shotzi climbed to the middle of the top rope and then spiked Rousey’s head on the apron. Baszler threw Rousey back inside the ring and then tagged herself into the match. Natalya tagged in and worked over Baszler. Natalya performed a nice running powerbomb for a near fall.

Baszler went for her finisher. Natalya backed Baszler into her corner and then Rousey tagged in. Rousey dove from the top rope at Natalya, who moved. Rousey sold leg pain and then Natalya put her in the Sharpshooter.

Natalya released the hold to clear Baszler from the ring. Shotzi tagged in and then Natalya went for a Hart Attack clothesline, but Baslzer pulled Natalya to the floor. Rousey escaped Shotzi holding her up for the move and put her in an armbar for the win…

Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler beat Shotzi and Natalya in 13:05.

The broadcast team hyped part one of a video package on Sami Zayn’s highs and lows with The Bloodline… [C]

Powell’s POV: Good effort from everyone involved. Rousey broke out of her comfort zone with some spots that I didn’t expect from her. The heel team going over was expected, but Natalya and Shotzi were made to look good in defeat.

Cole hyped Fox’s coverage of the Daytona 500 and announced that Charlotte Flair will be an honorary race official…

Powell’s POV: I have no clue what an honorary race official does, but the Guns N’ Roses sponsored car looks pretty badass.

The first part of the Zayn and Bloodline video package aired…

Hit Row members Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis, and B-Fab started to perform a song in the ring. They heeled on the crowd by talking about leaving Canada. The Bray Wyatt logo flashed on the screen and then the lights went out.

Bray Wyatt’s entrance theme played and then the lights turned on. A black masked Wyatt was on the apron on one side of the ring and Uncle Howdy was on the other. Wyatt removed his mask. The audio cut out while Fox apparently censored “Holy Shit” chants). B-Fab split to ringside. Howdy punched Adonis. Wyatt put Top Dolla in a Mandible Claw before throwing him over the top rope. Wyatt put Adonis in the Mandible Claw. Wyatt shoved Adonis to Howdy, who put him down with Sister Abigail.

“You’re welcome, Montreal,” Wyatt said over the mic. Wyatt said now that he’s in control of himself and in control of his family, he wanted to be the first to tell the fans something. Wyatt had a message for whomever walks out alive from the Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley match at Elimination Chamber. “You should run,” Wyatt said before his logo appeared on the screen, which then went black for a second…

Drew McIntyre and Sheamus were shown getting fired up for their match along with Butch and Ridge Holland in the backstage area. Cole said McIntyre and Sheamus would face The Viking Raiders after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Well, the Wyatt promo changes my assumption that Lesnar vs. Lashley ends in a cheap finish to set up one more match for WrestleMania. I also assume this means the speculation of a Wyatt vs. Howdy match is no longer accurate. Either way, Wyatt working with Lesnar or Lashley gives me hope that Wyatt will be working more of a serious program that won’t involve over the top hocus pocus at WrestleMania.

Montreal imagery was shown… A sponsored video recapped Madcap Moss winning last week’s four-way to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship…

Madcap Moss and Emma delivered a promo from somewhere in the backstage area. Moss said no one expected him to win last week. Emma said she did and said it was his time to shine. Moss dubbed himself a superstar…

Ariel Helwani stood in the crowd on the main floor. The Montreal native spoke about how Montreal and all of Quebec is ready. The screen went black for a couple of moments…

Powell’s POV: I can’t believe Helwani whipped it out on live television!!! Okay, that’s not what caused the screen to go black. He was about to put over “our guy” Sami Zayn when the screen went black. I didn’t notice any of the fans around him doing anything unruly, so it may have just been a production glitch. Blame Canada! Anyway, I think/hope Moss and Emma were supposed to be annoying. Maybe that’s why he’s still using the Madcap name rather than making the switch to Riddick.

Entrances for the tag team match took place. McIntyre brought his stupid sword with him…

2. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar (w/Valhalla). McIntyre and Sheamus cleared Erik and Ivar to ringside during the opening minute. [C] Coming out of the break, Cole noted that there were 15,455 fans in attendance.

After some back and forth action, Ivar went to the ropes. Sheamus cut off Ivar and placed him over his shoulders while standing on the middle rope. Sheamus performed a rolling senton from the second rope. Damn. [C]

Sheamus had Erik down and signaled for the Brogue Kick. Erik caught Sheamus in powerbomb position, but he fell and dropped Sheamus on the ropes. Erik powered up Sheamus and performed the move. Erik went to the middle rope and leapt at Sheamus, who caught him with a knee to the face.

McIntyre tagged in and counted down for his finisher, but Ivar pulled Erik to ringside. McIntyre performed a flip dive onto Erik and Ivar on the floor. Back inside the ring, McIntyre set up for his finisher, but he was distracted by Valhalla, who climbed onto the apron. Erik slammed McIntyre and then passed him off to Ivar, who was standing on the middle rope.

Ivar slammed McIntyre from the middle rope and had him pinned, but Sheamus broke it up. Ivar put McIntyre down again and then went up top and performed a splash for a near fall. Ivar acted shocked over not getting the pin.

[Hour Two] The Viking Raiders set up for their Ragnarok finisher, but Sheamus returned and blasted Ivar with a Brogue Kick, which freed his partner. McIntyre ran the ropes and hit the Claymore Kick on Erik before pinning him…

Drew McIntyre and Sheamus defeated “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar in roughly 17:20.

Powell’s POV: A really good tag team match. These teams didn’t get a spot on the Elimination Card, so they put in a pay-per-view caliber performance on Smackdown instead. Erik dropping Sheamus was unfortunate, but everyone seemed fine. It was pretty impressive when Erik regrouped and then deadlifted Sheamus for the powerbomb to get the match back on track. Here’s hoping that the Viking Raiders can get their mojo back with a bounce back win.

The second part of the Zayn and Bloodline video aired. It focused on the events that occurred at the Royal Rumble… The broadcast team hyped Zayn’s homecoming for later in the show… Asuka made her entrance for her match against Liv Morgan… [C]

Rey Mysterio was interviewed on the backstage ring set by Kayla Braxton. The footage of Rey exchanging masks with Santos Escobar was shown. Rey said he knows it meant a lot to Escobar and it also meant a lot to him. Rey tried to talk about respect, but he was interrupted.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett interrupted the interview. Kross said he wanted to be a father until he saw the look of disgust in Dominik Mysterio’s eyes that he has for Rey. Kross said he doesn’t have to hide his face in shame due to being a pathetic excuse of a father. “But then again, that’s just Scarlett’s opinion,” Kross said. Kross told Rey to do something about it and then walked off while Rey was seething…

Liv Morgan made her entrance while the broadcast team hyped the women’s Elimination Chamber match…

3. Asuka vs. Liv Morgan. Carmella sat in on commentary. Asuka offered a handshake and then pulled her hand back. Rodriguez confronted Carmella at ringside. Nikki Cross showed up and harassed Cole and then took a seat on Barrett’s lap. “I am in big trouble when I get home,” Barrett said. Morgan hit Asuka with a Codebreaker from the middle rope (Cole mistakenly called it Oblivion), but Asuka kicked out. [C]

Late in the match, Morgan got a two count on Asuka, who immediately put her in an armbar submission hold and got the win.

Asuka defeated Liv Morgan in 8:40.

After the match, Carmella entered the ring and booted Asuka. Cross took out Carmella. Rodriguez performed a Tejana Bomb on Cross. Rodriguez helped Morgan to her feet and then pointed up at the Elimination Chamber structure hanging above the ring. Morgan hit a Codebreaker, which Cole called Oblivion again but this time quickly corrected himself…

Powell’s POV: That’s back to back wins for Asuka over Morgan. Asuka also beat Morgan on Monday night in the six-woman tag team match that featured the Elimination Chamber match entrants.

Helwani checked in from the crowd again and spoke about how it’s been thirty years since the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. He said Montreal is desperate for a win. He said they were 24 hours away from “our guy” Sami Zayn pulling off the impossible. Helwani said they would celebrate like it’s 1993 if Zayn pulls it off.

Powell’s POV: And now a word from AEW’s Tony Khan.

Gunther was interviewed backstage by Megan Morant while Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci stood by. Morant bought up Moss’s comments from earlier. Gunther cut her off and mocked Emma’s encouraging words. Gunther said Moss would fall just like everyone else to the Ring General. The Imperium trio made their entrance while Cole hyped Gunther’s appearance on Corey Graves’s “After The Bell” podcast.. [C] Moss and Emma made their entrance coming out of the break…

4. Gunther vs. Madcap Moss (w/Emma) for the Intercontinental Championship. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole noted that Gunther had held the title for 252 days. He later added that this was Moss’s first title match in WWE. Moss performed a spinebuster for a two count. [C]

Moss picked up a few near falls, including one off of his Punchline finisher. Barrett said it was the first time that someone kicked out of the move. Later, Moss cut off Gunther on the ropes and performed a fallaway slam for a near fall. Moss charged at Gunther, who caught him in a sleeper hold. The crowd started singing “Ole Ole Ole” in anticipation of Sami Zayn. Gunther released the sleeper and then powerbombed Moss and pinned him…

Gunther defeated Madcap Moss in 10:20 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Cole hyped Sami Zayn as coming up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: I guess the match overstayed its welcome by about 20 seconds if the crowd’s singing is any indication. I don’t think anyone bought into the idea of Moss actually beating Gunther.

Montreal imagery was shown… The broadcast team hyped the following matches and segments for next week’s Smackdown: Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley meet face to face, Rey Mysterio vs. Karrion Kross, and Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse…

The crowd was shown cheering in anticipation and then Sami Zayn’s “Worlds Apart” ska entrance theme played. Zayn walked onto the stage with his hood down and looked at the crowd before smiling. Zayn headed to the ring with confidence. He nearly tripped as he climbed onto the ropes, but he caught himself and played to the crowd while standing on the middle rope.

A “Sami” chant broke out and the crowd cheered loudly as Zayn stood in the ring. The crowd sang “Ole” while Zayn looked at them and smiled while leaning against the ropes. Zayn continued to soak up the cheers while a “You deserve it” chant broke out as the fans all stood and cheered.

Zayn got emotional and wiped a tear from his eye and then smiled again. Another “Sami” chant broke out while Zayn paced in a circle, and then the “Ole” singing started up again while he leaned with is back to the ropes. He held up the mic to speak and then smiled and put it down again. Another “Sami” chant broke out. The damn audio feed cut out for a moment and then the screen went black for a second.

The audio returned during Zayn’s first words. “This time of year, everybody points to one thing,” Zayn said while pointing to the WrestleMania sign. Zayn said they tell everyone that it’s the most important show and it’s true. “But for me and this city it’s once in a lifetime.” Zayn spoke in French to Roman Reigns, which got a rise out of the crowd.

“Tomorrow night is not just Roman Reigns versus Sami Zayn,” he said. “Tomorrow night is Roman Reigns versus Sami Zayn and the entire city of Montreal. Roman Reigns, you are going down,” Zayn yelled before spiking the microphone.

Cole questioned whether Zayn could pull off “perhaps the biggest upset in WWE history” in front of his fans, friends, city, and country. Cole asked if Zayn could knock off the most dominant champion of modern time or whether the biggest night of his life would implode in Montreal. “Live tomorrow night,” Cole said. Zayn’s music was playing and he was playing to the crowd while the show went off the air…

Powell’s POV: A terrific moment. The live crowd exploded for the moment they waited all night for. That was truly special and it clearly meant the world to Zayn. As much as I’d like to hear Sami’s character speak more about his falling out with The Bloodline, he didn’t need to do that to sell this show. How could you not see that scene and want to see how the main event of Elimination Chamber will unfold?

Overall, a good show with the final segment serving as an awesome final push for Elimination Chamber. Join me for my live review tomorrow night. I’ll have more to say about Smackdown coming up shortly, and I’ll team up with Jake Barnett and Will Pruett tomorrow night for a Dot Net Triple Threat same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Smackdown by grading the show below.

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Readers Comments (9)

  1. Am I just in a bad mood or was that opening tag match TRULY TERRIBLE?

  2. The commentary during the Asuka vs Liv match sounded like they were having such a genuine good time. It was somewhat distracting but the fun it seemed like they were having totally made up for it

  3. Ok so I’ve gone back and forth in my head 100x trying to book the ending here (clean win for Roman. Bloodline interfere. KO turns) but this seems to have taken on a life of its own. Maybe even bigger than the Yes movement. So here is what you do

    Strike while the iron is hot. Give Sami the win. Prob with an assist from KO. Roman forces himself into the WM main event and regains the titles in a 3 way Put off Cody’s coronation until summerslam. Everyone ends up happy. Sometimes that’s ok

    • I know what you’re saying, but I don’t think anything makes EVERYONE happy in 2023. I think the key is trying to make the majority happy. I think the majority would be happy if Sami won tomorrow. But I also think there would be a lot of grumbling about a Triple Threat at WM. My guess remains Jey costs Sami the match, KO and Sami reunite and challenge the Usos for the tag titles at WM.

  4. Icon, my man… what you doin’???

    Saying that out loud? Are you *trying* to give Vince a reason to swoop in and take over creative? Because that’ll get his attention.

  5. I maintain that if anyone is gonna help Sami tomorrow night it should be Jey. It would tie back to the beginning of Jey’s story and all of the abuse he took from Roman.

  6. Pretty good show tonight. As far as Helwani goes, if he thinks us Kings fans have forgotten about 1993, he is SORELY mistaken. I PRAY that the Kings meet the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals this year, we owe them.

    • You’re welcome for Fiala. The Bruins were my favorite team before the Wild started and they are now my second favorite team. In other words, I hope the Canadiens go at least another 30 years without a Cup!

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