3/17 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Moore’s review of Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus for an Intercontinental Title shot at WrestleMania 39, Sami Zayn confronting Jey Uso, Cody Rhodes’s appearance, Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio vs. Zelina Vega and Santos Escobar


By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,230)
Kansas City, Missouri at T-Mobile Center
Aired live March 17, 2023 on Fox

[Hour One] Michael Cole and Wade Barrett were on commentary. Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer. The commentary team hyped Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre for a shot at the IC title as the main event of the show…

“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes made his entrance for the show opening promo. After soaking in Cody chants, he started his promo with his usual “what do you want to talk about” catchphrase. He said we could start off by talking about WrestleMania. He said he has the utmost respect for Roman Reigns. He said Reigns is the best athlete in sports today and he looks forward to beating Roman at Mania. Cody paused to soak in more cheers.

He said he doesn’t want to talk “about” somebody, but rather “to” somebody. Cody said he knows Kevin Owens is in the back and he wants Kevin to come out. Owens made his entrance to confront Cody. A picture-in-picture replay aired of Owens getting his ass kicked by the Bloodline during Kevin’s match against Solo Sikoa this past Monday. Owens said he knows what this is about and they’ve been over this. Cody stopped and said this conversation needs three people. Cody called out Sami Zayn who made his entrance to his World’s Apart theme.

Cody stood in the middle of the ring playing the role of mediator for this intervention. Cody said he’s going to peal back the curtain a bit. Cody said he has a lot of respect and love for Kevin because when he walked away from WWE, he wasn’t confident in leaving and it was Kevin that introduced him to friends (The Young Bucks) to get him on his feet in the indies. Cody said that he’s trying to help out a friend fix things with another friend.

Kevin said he’s already said everything he had to say. Sami said he hasn’t finished saying what he has to say. Sami said they’ve done many evil things to each other, but somehow they always find a way to get on the same page as best friends. Sami said he doesn’t understand why it is different this time. Sami said Kevin can do whatever he wants, slap him, punch him, yell at him, just as long as they can get on the same page again. Kevin ignored Sami and asked Cody if he can walk away.

Cody said they are in the service industry and they have to give people what they want. Cody said Kevin needs to give him, Sami, Michael Cole, Wade Barrett, the fans, he needs to give everyone what they want, Sami and Kevin back as a team. Sami said they can do something remarkable, being the ones that take down “The Ones”. Sami said they don’t even have to be friends, they just need to be a team. Kevin said he knows because Sami has said that for weeks.

Kevin said he understands the “no friends” part, but why would he want to fight for someone who doesn’t want to be a friend? Kevin said he’s all set. Kevin shoved the mic to Cody and walked up the ramp. Sami was frozen as Kevin left…

Michael Cole hyped Sami Zayn confronting Jey Uso later in the show…

Rhea Ripley and Dom Mysterio were backstage heading to the ring for their upcoming mixed tag match…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A strong and logical opening segment to set the wheels in motion to the totally expected reunion of Sami and Kevin as as BFFs. Cody actually did a good job as mediator to the intervention and his involvement makes sense given how Cody has been putting himself in Sami’s orbit in recent weeks. Because of Sami and Kevin’s real life friendship, their interactions with each other seem natural which makes it easier to connect with. I like the added drama of Sami holding back on wanting to be Kevin’s friend because it allows Kevin’s apprehension to make sense. By the way, I’m filling in for Jason Powell this week and I’ll also be handling the member’s audio review.

Before Kevin could get in his car, Sami caught up with Kevin in the parking lot. Sami said to forget the Bloodline and everything they said in the ring. Sami said they’re not only friends, but they’re brothers. Sami told Kevin “I love you”. Kevin calmly no-sold the conversation, got in his car, and drove off…

Entrances for the next match took place. Michael Cole stressed that Rhea Ripley has brainwashed Dom Mysterio and turned him into a “loser in life”…

1. “The Judgement Day” Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley vs. “Legado Del Fantasma” Santos Escobar and Zelina Vega in a Mixed Tag Match. Dom started the match right out the gate with a dropkick and mounted punches. Escobar came back with flying forearms. Rhea Ripley tried to attack Escobar, but Escobar caught her kick. Per Mixed Tag rules, Vega came in the ring with a dropkick and basement huracanrana. Rhea was dumped to ringside and hit by a Triangle Moonsault at ringside. The show cut to commercial.[c]

Dom pressured Escobar in the corner with forearms. Dom hit Escobar with a gamengiri, jawbreaker, and slingshot swanton for a two count. Dom did the Eddie Guerrero shimmy. Escobar gave Dom a dropkick. Escobar did the Eddie Shimmy and hit him with a guillotine legdrop. Both men attempted pins, but the respective women broke the pinfalls up. Dom and Escobar crashed into each other midair.

Wade Barrett hyped up Zelina Vega being one of the presenters of the 2023 Crunchyroll Anime Awards. Zelina tagged in and hit Rhea with a Tornado DDT. Rhea hit Dom and Escobar in the corner with a Tower of Doom. Zelina hit Rhea with a crossbody and knee lift. Zelina hit Dom with a Dragonrana. Rhea Ripley caught Zelina from behind with the Rip Tide for the win.

Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio defeated Zelina Vega and Santos Escobar via pinfall in 7:22. 

Dom took the mic and Cole said “oh no, he has a mic”. Dom called out Rey Mysterio and called him a deadbeat dad. Dom said there were so many sleepless nights. Dom’s promo was cut off by the titantron showing that Rey was walking over to the ring. Off mic, Rhea assured Dom that Rey will cave-in…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A good in-ring showing for everyone involved and the right amount of time to not overstay it’s welcome. Zelina hasn’t always been the most flashy wrestler, but she was good here. Dom in particular is really benefitting from the heel turn because his grittier offense actually looks good and he gets better every week. Odd to see Escobar as Rey’s babyface little buddy, but Escobar is one of the smartest wrestlers I’ve ever reviewed and I’m sure he’ll make this work in his long term storytelling.

Michael Cole hyped up the impending Sami Zayn and Jey Uso confrontation…

Rey Mysterio made his entrance to confront his son and Rhea. Samantha Irvin introduced Rey as an inductee to the 2023 WWE Hall of Fame. Dom said Rey actually showed up. He said he went a lot of nights without a father. Rey asked Rhea if he can have a moment with Dom, alone. Rhea stepped back into the corner. Dom asked Rey where was he all those late nights. Dom said Rey took away his Mania moment. Dom said Rey is a sad and poor excuse of a father. He was about to call him a piece of shit.

Rey cut off Dom and said it was enough. Rey said Dom was right, he hasn’t always been the best, he’s missed holidays, moments, football games. Rey said despite all that “I’ love you”. Rey said Dom was Rey’s world. Rey said Dom will find out that the business is selfish and he had to survive in order to give Dom, his mom, and his family everything Rey could ever dream of. Rey talked about giving Dom all the luxury he wants and how he has always bailed Dom out of trouble.

Rey started to choke up and sob. He said he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but this hurts. Rey said he would want nothing more than to have Dom stand by him on the stage. Ray soaked in “You Deserve It” chants from the crowd. Rey said it’s maybe too late, but his greatest regret is what Dom has become. Rey said someone like Dom, a disrespectful, ungrateful, punk ass kid, if they called him out for a match at mania, he would definitely whoop his ass. A “kick his ass” chant ensued.

Rey said unfortunately, he can’t do that to his son. He said fighting Dom would be Rey’s biggest disgrace as a father. Rey said Dom is not worth breaking morals. Rey said he won’t fight Dom now, ever, or at WrestleMania. Rey walked away. Dom said Rey is doing what he does best, run away, running away from his own sun. Dom said Rey is just being a scared little man, something he taught Dom not to be. Rey continued to head to the back…

John’s Thoughts: Great stuff from the father and son. As a person who had a father who sacrificed it all to raise me and my family, I can really sympathize with Rey here. Anyone who has grown up with a family can related to this and maybe have either been Dom or know a Dom. Awesome stuff. Dom continues to be one of the most improved wrestlers in all of pro wrestling. He says all the right lines, all the goofy lines, all the bratty lines. He’s great. This and the opening promo are very similar in that they are hitting natural pathos while also leaving the viewer hanging on every word for Rey to finally challenge Dom, for Kevin to finally accept Sami.

Drew McIntyre and the Brawling Brutes were shown warming up in different parts backstage…

Michael Cole and Wade Barrett checked in on commentary. Barrett announced that there will be a “WrestleMania Showcase” match (whatever the hell that is?) and that the next match will be a qualifier match…

Liv Morgan and Raquel Gonzalez made their entrance….[c]

Tegan Nox and Tenille Dashwood had made their entrance during the break…

2. Liv Morgan and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Tegan Nox and Emma. Gonzalez slammed Nox into the corner. Liv hit Nox with a Shining Wizard for a two count. Emma tagged in and hit Liv in the corner with an Emma-mite sandwich. Liv hit Liv with a cannonball. Nox and Emma cut the ring in half on Liv while Liv continued to do her whole Masochist bit. Liv caught Nox with a backstabber and tagged in Gonzalez for a hot tag. Raquel caught Emma with a corkscrew Vader Bomb.

Liv Morgan hit Nox with a Codebreaker (which he called a Code Red). Rodriguez blocked move from Emma. Rodriguez hit Emma with a Chingona Bomb. Liv hit Emma with ObLivion for the win.

Liv Morgan and Raquel Gonzalez defeated Tegan Nox and Emma via pinfall in 3:43.

Cole clarified that this win was for the spot in some random ass four way tag team match at WrestleMania. A replay aired of last week’s Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair confrontation…

Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a yellow stripped skin-tight bodysuit…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Eh, the match was too short to mean anything and it was just a qualifier to get into the “get everybody on the show” match. I feel like Paul Levesque and crew have thrown in the towel on the women’s undercard for now, which is understandable heading into Mania season without developed characters. Hunter has done them right in the past, so I have no doubt he can fix things after mania when he presumably shakes up the rosters. What entertained me the most from this match is Cole continuing to mis-call the Codebreaker. Is this a rib at Chris Jericho, the man who invented the name back in his “Breaking the Code” days?

Cole hyped up the Jey and Sami confrontation again…

[Hour Two] Charlotte started her promo with “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. The talked about growing up always seeing a Rhodes as a challenger and Flair as a champion. Charlotte said it was that in the past and that in the upcoming Mania. She said she’s always been a star. Flair said Ripley wants to be a star and champion, but she can’t be the star and champion before going through Flair. Charlotte said Ripley couldn’t go through her back then (when Charlotte beat Rhea 3 years ago for the NXT Women’s Championship), and can’t now. Charlotte repeated the “more things change” line.

Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance. Dom stayed in the corner. Rhea said she chose Charlotte. She said she could have chose Bianca, and she’ll get back to that. Rhea talks about how everybody backs down to her out of fear, except Charlotte. Rhea said she sees zero fear in Charlotte’s eyes and that pisses her off. Rhea said Charlotte is a 14 time champ for a reason. Flair is a superstar.

Rhea said she could give Flair all the credit in the world, but she wants and NEEDS the Smackdown women’s title. She said she needs it to be a star. Rhea said after Mania, Charlotte is going to learn to call her champion as well as learn to fear Rhea Ripley. Dom got in Charlotte’s face and said that Mami is going to beat her. Rhea slapped Charlotte to leave her on her back. Rhea left the ring and Charlotte got ot her feet.

Charlotte attacked Rhea at ringside. Referees ran out to pull apart both women. The women managed to break out. Producers Petey Williams and Kenny Dykstra ran out to assist the referees. The women still escaped. Charlotte gave one of the guards a Yakuza Kick. Rhea tossed Charlotte over table. Charlotte recovered and gave Rhea a seated senton from the table.

Rhea and Charlotte continued to ignore the security and brawl. Reinforcement guards ran out to no avail. Rhea dumped Charlotte over the barricade with a tackle. The guards and Dom Mysterio managed to separate both women. Charlotte posed in the ring with the title. Rhea had to be held back from storming the ring…

John’s Thoughts: Simple stuff, but simple stuff done well. A nice and tense face-off to lead into a brawl. The nice added touch was the multi-layered pull apart. We’ve seen this a ton of times, but we don’t see it overdone as much as a few years ago. It was simple and effective to have the layers of reinforcements fail to contain the insanity of Rhea and Charlotte. Makes Rhea and Charlotte look strong as well, making this look like a Neo vs. Agent Smith battle from the Matrix where Neo and Smith are just launching NPCs away from them.

Kayla Braxton interviewed a crestfallen Sami Zayn backstage about his emotions heading into his confrontation with Jey Uso. Sami said it does hurt that his old friend left him and how the man he thought of as another brother probably wants to rip him apart. Sami said it’s ok. If Jey wants Sami to pullup, then it’s time to pullup…

Xavier Woods made his entrance by himself. Kofi Kingston isn’t around due to having ankle surgery…[c]

A recap video aired of the WWE 2k23 Launch Party at Stone Cold’s IPA brewery. Cole plugged the game and Bad Bunny DLC…

LA Knight made his entrance. A picture-in-picture video was shown of what set this match up. Knight took exception to Woods and Madcap Moss playing WWE 2k23 and beating him up. Woods challenged Knight to an IRL match…

3. LA Knight vs. Xavier Woods. Knight slammed Woods and gave Woods a boot and a “yeah”. Knight hit Woods with a DDT for a two count. Knight and Woods brawled to the top rope. Woods fended off Knight. Woods caught Knight with a missile dropkick. Cole talked about how Woods is a singles wrestler now and has only wrestled in one singles title match.

Woods caught Knight with a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Knight caught Woods with a neckbreaker and front suplex. Woods rolled up Knight with the Backwoods for the win.

Xavier Woods defeated LA Knight via pinfall in 2:20. 

Cole and Barrett checked in from the commentary table. They announced the Great Muta as an inductee to the 2023 WWE Hall of Fame. A highlight package aired as Barrett ran through some factoids on Muta…

Michael Cole hyped up the Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus match for later in the show…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Interesting to see Woods go over here. I’m all for Woods getting a singles push and development now that Kofi and Big E are out of the picture for an extended period. I’m just a bit higher on LA Knight and what he can bring to the overall WWE table. That said, I’ve seen LA Knight job a ton of times in various companies and he’s always found a way to bounce his way back to the top. He’s a trooper and a bit Teflon with good in-ring fundamentals as well as masterful mic skills. What I do like from Woods though is him using the Small Package as a finisher again. If no one else is going to do it, why can’t he. That was Bryan Danielson’s old gimmick back in the indies right? Mr. Small Package? (which also sounds like a little peen joke)

Cole hyped up the Sami and Jey confrontation…

Kayla interviewed LA Knight backstage. He brushed off Kayla and confronted Rey who was signing autographs. Knight said he’d fight Dom for Rey. Knight made fun of Rey and said Rey can continue to be a deadbeat dad. Rey clocked Knight in the face, said something in Spanish, and walked away. Knight asked “what the hell did he just say?”…

A sponsored video aired to recap how the Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus match was formed…

Entrances for the next match took place. Cole wondered if Sheamus would be lucky today due to it being St. Patrick’s Day. Barrett noted that Ireland had just beat Scotland in a Rugby league. Before the bell could ring Imperium made their entrance so Gunther could watch his title contenders up close…

The Stranger Things themed WrestleMania reenactment aired, featuring Rhea Ripley and John Cena…

4. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre for an Intercontinental Championship Title Shot at WrestleMania. McIntyre and Sheamus soaked in the moment for a bit. Drew wanted a handshake, but Sheamus respectfully declined. Sheamus and Drew started the match with a collar and elbow struggle. Sheamus landed a shoulder tackle. Drew came back with a knee to the gut. Drew hit Sheamus with a Snap Suplex for a two count. Wade Barrett asked Ludwig Keiser if he could talk to Gunther. At first he refused, but then Gunther agreed to put on a headset.

Wade asked Gunther for his thoughts on both men. Gunther said Wade is asking bad questions. Drew and Sheamus had basic exchanges. Cole interrupted Gunther berating Barrett by calling Drew’s Michinoku Driver for a two count. Both men traded stiff strikes in the ring. Sheamus hit Drew with an Irish Curse Backbreaker for a two count. Drew blocked Sheamus’s ten beats. Sheamus blocked Drew trying to replicate the move.

Sheamus lifted up Drew, but Drew escaped. Sheamus caught Drew in the corner with a big boot. Sheamus deadlifted himself to the top rope from the mat. Drew crotched Sheamus and got to the top rope. Drew hit Sheamus with a Superplex heading into the break.[c]

Sheamus hit Drew with a sitout body slam for a two count. Sheamus hit Drew with a jawbreaker and managed to get all 10 of his beats in . Sheamus tuned up for the Brogue Kick, but McIntyre ducked it and reversed it with a neckbreaker into a kip up. Drew counted down for his finisher, but Sheamus blocked it with a running high knee for a good nearfall. Barrett noted that if Sheamus could have extended his leg, he would have hit a knockout Brogue Kick.

Sheamus and Drew traded fatigued stiff right hands. Drew hit Sheamus with a headbutt and Sheamus rebounded with a knee. Both men used the corners to get to their feet. Both men hit each other with a Claymore and Brogue at the same time. Gunther entered the ring to yell at the ref because he didn’t want a double count-out.

Gunther admonished Drew and Sheamus in the ring and asked “who was it going to be?”. Sheamus and Drew backed Gunther into the corner. Giovani Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser jumped Drew and Sheamus from behind to lead to the apparent DQ.

Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre ended in an apparent Double-DQ in 11:39. 

Gunther hit McIntyre with a shotgun dropkick and Sheamus with a lariat. Gunther put McIntyre on all fours and power bombed Sheamus onto him. Gunther walked and Imperium up the ramp. He was stopped by Adam Pearce on the TitanTron. Pearce said he’s left with no choice now, Gunther will face both Drew McIntyre and Sheamus at WrestleMania with the title on the line. Gunther, Kaiser, and Vinci didn’t like the decision…

Jey Uso was shown heading to the ring from the back…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts here. The match was good, and short enough to be a good preview as to what to expect from both men when given more time. I don’t see why they went with the double-DQ finish though? I thought the double-finisher finish would have worked better as it would have not been a wrestling finish we see often. Gunther and crew could have gotten their heat after the match by beating up both fallen opponents.

Rey Mysterio vs. LA Knight was advertised for next week…

Jey Uso made his entrance first. Before he could say anything. Sami Zayn made his entrance. Sami said this is exactly what Jey wanted “my dawg… my uce…”. Sami said he’s here, he made the pull up. Sami asked Jey how they should do this. Jey said from day 1, he didn’t like Sami, he didn’t trust sami, and he didn’t want Sami around his family. Jey said, then they started to like Sami. Jimmy, Solo, the Wiseman (Heyman), and even Roman, but not Jey.

Jey said that he’s tried to protect his family and home for years, but Sami walked up on him and made him look stupid in front of the whole world. Made him look stupid by finally winning Jey over. Jey emotionally said that he thought of Sami as a brother. Jey said he figured it out now and Sami has always been a “fake ass uce”. Sami said Jey is lying about not having a choice, but Jey had the choice to not side with Roman. Sami said he loved Jey and the Bloodline.

Sami said Jey isn’t mad at Sami, but mad at himself. Sami said Jey is just mad that it wasn’t Jey who hit Roman in the back with a chair. Jey hung his head to soak the moment. A “you’re not ucey” chant ensued. Jey fired up and threw right hands ad Sami. Sami turned the tables and got the upper hand with right hands. Jimmy ran out to allow he and Jey to get the numbers advantage.

Jey hit Sami in the face with the metal steps. Suddenly, Kevin Owens’s theme played. Jimmy and Jey expected Kevin to come from the ramp, but Kevin came through the crowd wearing a hoodie. Kevin stormed the ring and attacked both Usos from behind. Kevin dumped Jimmy to ringside and put the boots to Jey. When Jimmy tried to get back in the ring, he it Jimmy with a Stone Cold Stunner.

Kevin planted Jey with a pop-up powerbomb. Kevin and Sami were left alone in the ring with both men soaking in the “hug it out” chants. Kevin took his time, but eventually embraced his longtime friend. The camera cut to Cody Rhodes getting emotional and watching the moment from the back. The camera cut back to Kevin and Sami standing tall while the Usos stood on the ramp. Michael Cole closed the show by saying that Kevin and Sami are back…

John’s Thoughts: A totally expected, but totally well done moment to get to the anticipated Usos vs. Kevin and Sami title match at Mania. Everyone shines in these promo segments from the players in this story. Jey continues to astonish me that he became the main event player from the Usos. He’s so good on the mic when he gets fired up. He also speaks like a regular person which makes him relatable. What makes a lot of these Bloodline segments work is the deep pathos, the deep emotion, the relatable emotion that these segments get into. Not only that, but they always end up in big climax moments like the Sami and Kevin hug here.

I also feel like they’ve done a decent job utilizing Cody in mending the fences between the two longtime friends from Montreal, Canada. Cody has missed out on a lot of character development during his time off, so this was a nice and swift way to make him come off as a wholesome dude. I thought they did their best with the short amount of time they had. This week’s show was a really good “road to WrestleMania” type of show. What I thought were the strongest parts were the moments of pathos, the patient Rey and Dom storytelling, the patient Sami and Kevin storytelling. The rest of the show was good too in forwarding things. The one thing that stood out like a sore thumb as “meh” was the random women’s tag match. I’ll be back soon with my audio review for the Dot Net Members and Patreon Patrons…


Readers Comments (1)

  1. The reunion’s happening tonight!

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