4/28 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Barnett’s review of the WWE Draft night one, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles, Zelina Vega vs. Sonya Deville


By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,236)
Corpus Christi, Texas at American Bank Center
Aired live April 28, 2023 on Fox

The Smackdown introduction aired and a video package played that introduced the 2023 WWE Draft. Michael Cole mentioned a sellout in Corpus Christi and Wade Barrett hyped up the main event WrestleMania rematch between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. The Usos for the unified WWE Tag Team Championships. 

Triple H’s music hit and he walked out to kick off Night One of the WWE Draft. He stood at a glass lectern set up for the draft on the stage. Triple H introduced some rules. Every superstar on Raw and Smackdown are subject to the draft. 50% of the roster will be drafted tonight, and the other half will take place on Raw. The draft pool was shown on the screen. It included people like Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Cody Rhodes, Bianca Belair, and others. Triple H then added that select NXT Superstars will also be available, and the rosters will go into effect the Monday after Backlash. 

Triple H announced that he had the first four picks in his hand. They were as follows.

2023 WWE Draft Night One Round One:

Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, and Roman Reigns to Smackdown as “The Bloodline”
Cody Rhodes to Raw
Bianca Belair to Smackdown
Becky Lynch to Raw

After the first round of the draft, Triple H introduced The Usos, who walked out and stood at the same lectern that Triple H was just standing at. Jimmy congratulated Roman Reigns on being the #1 Pick in the 2023 draft. Both Usos said they would bring some gold back to the Bloodline, and said he hasn’t responded to any of their efforts to talk to him since WrestleMania. They closed by saying that Kevin and Sami are the twos and they were the ones. Sami and Kevin then walked out on stage, and there was a face to face confrontation. 

Sami said he wasn’t there to talk sense to them, but he had one thing left to say. He asked them if they thought it was strange that Roman hadn’t said a word to them since WrestleMania, and they were out there dedicating their match to him. Sami then asked if they noticed that they weren’t drafted as a part of the Bloodline. He then said they would walk out as the Tag Team Champions. Jey said they would walk out with nothing, and JImmy added that Kevin would turn on him when it was over. Owens finally piped up and said he didn’t care what happened to them or what they thought, they were going to get them in the ring and beat them up to retain their titles.

The announce team went over the main event again. The Brawling Brutes then made their entrance in the arena. Butch will face LA Knight next…[c]

My Take: WWE decided to split up Reigns and Cody, so he immediately goes on the shortlist of people who would be expected to go deep in the tournament for the new World Championship. If the Usos get drafted to Raw and don’t win back their titles later, I would imagine Jey Uso enters that tournament as well.

Two doors representing the draft rooms from Raw and Smackdown were shown backstage. NXT talent was then shown sitting in a draft room in the Performance Center. Bianca Belair “checked in” with a pre-taped promo where she spoke about her excitement to return to Smackdown. LA Knight made his entrance for the next match. Video was shown backstage of Knight antagonizing Butch backstage, and Sheamus challenging Knight to take on Butch tonight.

1. LA Knight vs. Butch: Both men ran the ropes early and Butch landed a running forearm. He then performed some finger manipulation and stomped on Knight’s hand. Butch then landed clubs to the chest over the top rope. Knight got back into the match by catapulting Butch into the ropes, and then landed back suplex on the ring apron…[c]

My Take: It was pretty obvious that Indi Hartwell was in a walking boot in the shots of the Performance Center, confirming she suffered some sort of injury on Tuesday.

Butch landed a kick and another running forearm. He then stomped on Knights fingers and landed a kick to the back of the head for a near fall. Knight got back into the match by performing an impressive leap to the top rope followed by a Superplex. The crowd chanted for Knight, but Butch shut him down with an enziguri. Knight fired back with a running kick, but Butch avoided Blunt Force Trauma and applied an armbar. 

Knight fought his way to the ropes and broke the hold. He then quickly landed Blunt Force Trauma and got the win. 

LA Knight defeated Butch at 8:32

After the match, Paul Heyman told The Usos that they would be drafted to the Island of Relevancy or to obscurity. He said Roman gave them tonight as their only opportunity to wipe off the stain on the bloodline that was created by Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. He then handed a roll of athletic tape to Solo, and said tonight was the night no matter what. Solo began taping up his finger. Jey wasn’t enthusiastic about the way Heyman was speaking to them, and Jimmy appeared motivated by the talk.

Rob Van Dam was shown as a special presenter for Raw coming up next, and Michael Hayes will announce picks for Smackdown. 

My Take: Decent match to start things off. Heyman’s body language and choice of words made it appear that The Usos needed a win tonight or they would be handled by Solo Sikoa and removed from The Bloodline.

Rob Van Dam made his entrance for the next round of the WWE Draft. He was followed by Michael Hayes. 

2023 WWE Draft Night One Round Two:

The Street Profits to Smackdown
Imperium (Giovanni Vinci, Ludwig Kaiser, and Gunther) to Raw
Edge to Smackdown
Matt Riddle to Raw

The Street Profits made their entrance in Smackdown Blue. Ford acknowledged they were back in the blue, and said nothing had changed but the night they worked on and they still wanted the smoke. Ricochet and Braun Strowman followed, and then finally the LWO represented by Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde.

2. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde vs. Ricochet and Braun Strowman: There was chaos early on where Strowman cleared everybody from the ring, and then he and Ricochet had a brief meeting about last week before Strowman threw Ricochet over the top rope and onto the opponents on the floor…[c]

My Take: Imperium to Raw is good news. Gunther is another guy I would put at the top of the list for the new World Championship.

Ricochet and Del Toro double teamed Dawkins momentarily. Del Toro landed a missile dropkick that sent Dawkins to the floor. He then avoided an attack from Ricochet and sent him into the corner turnbuckle. Joaquin Wilde then tagged in and landed a springboard dive onto the Street Profits on the outside. Wilde then landed a Hurracarrana into a pin on Ricochet. 

Strowman entered the match and took out Wilde, Del Toro, and and Ford. He then ran around the ring and knocked them all over a second time. Dawkins flew over the top rope and absolutely smashed Strowman with a dive. Ricochet then followed with a dive onto Dawkins. Ford then tossed Ricochet back into the ring and landed a huge Frog splash and got the win. 

The Street Profits were victorious at 7:52

After the match, a video package was shown that recapped the Backlash feud between Bad Bunny and Damian Priest. Bad Bunny will be on Smackdown on Puerto Rico next week. JBL will represent Smackdown in the next section of the draft, and Teddy Long will represent Raw…[c]

My Take: They couldn’t let Teddy Long represent Smackdown? What kind of conspiracy is this?

JBL made his entrance, followed by Teddy Long. They made the next set of picks in the WWE Draft. 

2023 WWE Draft Night One Round Three:

Bobby Lashley to Smackdown
Drew McIntyre to Raw
The OC (Luke Gallows, Karl Andreson, Michin, AJ Styles) to Smackdown
The Miz to Raw

Zelina Vega made her entrance in a very elaborate headdress. Sonya Deville was already in the ring, and accompanied by Chelsea Green. 

3. Zelina Vega vs. Sonya Deville (w/Chelsea Green): There were some clumsy moments early on. Deville landed a kick and some body shots in the corner. Vega used a tarantula hold in the corner to get in some offense. Chelsea Green distracted her on the outside, which resulted in Deville getting control back with an ambush. Both women traded some fairly basic back and forth offense until Vega surprised Deville with a rollup and got the win. 

Zelina Vega defeated Sonya Deville at 3:12

After the match, Rhea Ripley kicked Vega from behind. She then landed a headbutt to Sonya Deville. She then went for a Riptide on Vega, but she reversed into a DDT and ran away up the ramp. The main event was hyped up for later…[c]

My Take: Not much of a match there, and what was there felt like it lacked chemistry. Hopefully WWE can give Vega a bit more underdog fire next week in Puerto Rico. I must admit that I didn’t believe The OC was still a thing.

Backstage, Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar gave Zelina Vega a pep talk backstage. Rey told her that he was smaller than all of his opponents, but he fought all the way to the Hall of Fame. Escobar told her to bring the title home to the LWO. 

In the arena, The OC made their entrance, with AJ Styles making his return. Mia Yim, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows followed along. Before they could say anything, Valhalla and The Viking Raiders made their way out to the ring. AJ had a microphone and told them to hold on a second. He asked if they walked out to pick a fight. He then said he was going to back up into the corner, and he told The OC to handle their business. Mia Yim quickly sent Valhalla packing and Anderson and Gallows dumped Ivar and landed the Magic Killer on Erik. Styles said they were just getting started, and landed a Phenomenal Forearm on Ivar before leaving. 

HBK was shown making some picks for Smackdown, and Road Dogg will make picks for Raw.

My Take: They got a lot of work ahead of them to heat up Gallows and Anderson, but it’s good to see AJ back. I’d like to see another match between him and Reigns, honestly.

HBK and Road Dogg entered to DX music together.

2023 WWE Draft Night One Round Four:

Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky) to Smackdown
Shinsuke Nakamura to Raw
Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn to Smackdown
Indi Hartwell to Raw

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre at the Performance Center. They said they were excited to dominate WWE Smackdown. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter then challenged them for a NXT Women Tag Team Title match on Tuesday, and they accepted. Shinsuke Nakamura was then interviewed by Kayla Braxton. It lasted 5 seconds, as he was attacked and sent into a set up shipping crates by Karrion Cross.

Backstage, The Usos asked Solo to come out to the ring with them, and Heyman let them know that Reigns has asked that the focus tonight be on The Usos tonight and Solo would remain in the back. Solo stared at his taped thumb as The Usos walked off. Owens and Zayn made their entrance in the arena…[c]

My Take: Some interesting NXT choices there, and not the ones I expected. I wonder if we’ll get more draft picks after the show released on social media.

A video was shown of WWE introducing a new World Heavyweight Championship on Raw. Cole announced that the draft will continue tomorrow morning on Smackdown Lowdown on Peacock, and then the rest of the roster will be eligible for draft on Monday’s Raw. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karrion Cross was announced for Smackdown next week, plus The OC vs. The Viking Raiders. The Usos made their entrance for the Main Event. Samantha Irvin made ring introductions. 

4. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos jumped Owens and Zayn as they handed their belts to the referee. They threw Zayn into the ringpost on the outside and then landed superkicks on Owens. Jimmy made a cover after a double superkick and got a two count…[c]

Jimmy Uso wrapped Owens’ leg around the ring post. Sami Zayn paced on the apron in hopes of a tag. Jey tagged in and continued the attack, but Owens broke free and made a tag to Zayn. Sami dumped both Usos to the floor and then landed a big dive onto both men on the floor. He then tossed Jey back into the ring and climbed to the top rope. Jey got to his feet and landed a punch, and then both men battled on the turnbuckle. Zayn landed a sunset flip powerbomb and covered for a near fall. 

Zayn continued the offense with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a close near fall. He then went back up to the top rope, but Jey popped up and kicked him out to the floor…[c]

KO landed a cannonball on Jimmy Uso in the corner. He climbed up top, but Jimmy met him up there. Owens pulled out a Fisherman’s Buster out of the corner, and climbed the ropes for a Swanton out of the opposite corner for a near fall. Heyman was shown backstage receiving a call from Roman Reigns. He thanked him for the call and told Solo that the Tribal Chief has decided tonight is his night. 

Owens landed a pop up powerbomb on Jimmy, but Jey broke up the fall. Sami Zayn dumped Jey from the ring and dove over the top rope, but Jey caught him with a superkick. Owens landed a stunner on Jimmy in the ring, and he kicked out at 2.9. Solo Sikoa made his way out to the ring, but Matt Riddle appeared from out of nowhere and took Solo out of the picture and backstage somewhere. 

The Usos landed a double superkick on Owens and Jey covered for a close near fall. The Usos landed a double superkick to both Zayn and Owens, and Jimmy covered Owens for another near fall. Jey tagged in and landed another kick and Owens got busted open at some point. He got to his feet and kept fighting. The Usos set up for 1D, but Zayn pulled Jey from the ring and sent him into the ring steps. Owens landed a Stunner on Jimmy, and tagged Zayn for a Heluva Kick and a victory.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens defeated The Usos to retain their Championships at 17:38

After the match, Owens and Zayn celebrated as the show went off the air.

My Take: It’ll be interesting to see how Monday goes. It seems that the new conflict in The Bloodline will revolve around Solo Sikoa and where his loyalty lies. Will he choose his brothers or Roman Reigns, and when will he make his choice? Another element to watch is how they approach the Tag Team Titles, as it seems like the roster split would give them an opportunity to split them up again and try to get more mileage out of a Tag Division that was largely sacrificed in order to add more prestige to The Bloodline. The additional draft picks coming up should make that a bit more clear. I’ll be back a bit later with my Smackdown Audio Review with more analysis.


Readers Comments (5)

  1. I can already see Sammy is going to give the USOS one of the tag belts on purpose some how. Since they have 2 will be his excuse lol. Still 50 minutes to go. But i’m calling it!!

  2. dawn and fire looked legit surprised. That was a nice moment

  3. I’m surprised to see teams and factions drafted, instead of split up.
    I was really hoping someone Roman never faced, namely Gunther, would dethrone him.
    After Anne of a Thousand Days, or however long it has been, the fans deserve a clean pinfall, and Gunther’s physicality would make that believable.
    I hope Cody and Gunther get traded back, rather than vie for the third world title. Can Roman’s still be called undisputed, then?
    The whole situation is an unneeded mess of their own making. They had chances to correct it, and introducing the new belt just makes it worse.
    Why should I care any more? Roman never wins clean, and no emotional stakes exist in any competitor, except maybe Cody. At this point, when Roman finally loses, it will be a relief to be done with this marathon, not a joy at the new champion.

  4. Well you called it wrong!

  5. Draft makes no sense.
    Street Profits over the tag champs and the former longest reigning champ. OC who hasn’t been on tv in months over judgement day. Rhea doesn’t even get drafted? Or theory or Rollins or sheamus but miz gets picked. The draft should be a one hour special on its own. But they try to steal some viewers with this bs.

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