By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,240)
Columbia, South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena
Aired live May 19, 2023 on Fox
Roman Reigns’ music hit as the show opened. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett were on commentary. Roman walked out with Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman. Cole plugged The Grayson Waller effect for later with AJ Styles, and commented on the absence of The Usos. Video was shown from last week when Roman announced that Solo and himself would face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at Night of Champions. Roman soaked up the boos and “You Suck” chants that started after the initial cheers. He said that’s not how we start things here, and demanded the crowd acknowledge him. Before he could say any more, Kevin Owens walked out, followed by Sami Zayn.
Footage was shown of Monday’s Raw, where Imperium assisted Judgement Day in defeating them. A Sami chant broke out after the music settled down, and Roman visibly reacted to it. Roman said this was his plan all along, and he was going to bring them out there. He said it was their turn to acknowledge their tribal chief and drop off his titles and see themselves out. Kevin tossed down his microphone and positioned himself for a fight, and Roman said it figures because of “Fight Owens Fight” and he didn’t want to talk to him anyway.
Roman turned to Sami and said he’s had a special career. He’s experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and his one regret is wasting any part of his life on him. Sami replied that he regrets not hitting him with that chair sooner, and he’s dreamed of telling him exactly what he thinks, but now that he’s here he has nothing to say. Sami said Roman has been told he’s the best his entire life, and gotten everything he wanted, but at Night of Champions he wouldn’t get the Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
Sami continued and said that he won’t get them because he’s not as good as them, and he’s not as good as The Usos for that matter. Roman paced and said that’s what he had to say for himself after all the opportunity he gave him? The Usos then appeared and snuck up on Kevin and Sami, dumping them to the outside. Roman was furious that they didn’t follow his plan, and left the ring. He bumped into Solo, who stared at Roman briefly. Roman used body language to offer an apology and left the ring…[c]
My Take: A fun opening segment. Sami has cooled off considerably since Montreal but the crowd was behind him here. The Bloodline continuing to break down and Roman isolating himself is the obvious direction here if they plan to get the title off of him eventually.
Backstage, Jey explained to Roman that they were just trying to help. Roman said that this was about all of The Bloodline, and not just them. He said he runs the plays, and he had given a good portion of his career to Sami and he had something to say to him, but now he couldn’t because of them. He got increasingly frustrated and told them to just get out.
In the arena, The Brawling Brutes made their entrance. Holland and Butch were wrestling, and were accompanied by Sheamus. Pretty Deadly were shown mixing a recipe in a bowl for Superstardom. Charisma, Talent, but most importantly Kit Wilson and Elton Prince were required. They then made their ring entrance.
1. Ridge Holland and Butch (w/Sheamus) vs. Elton Prince and Kit Wilson: Butch started the match with Kit Wilson. Pretty Deadly landed some early double team offense before Butch stomped on their fingers. Holland and Prince officially tagged in, and Holland landed a delayed vertical suplex. Sheamus joined in on commentary. A blind tag allowed Kit Wilson to enter and land a surprise DDT on Ridge. Pretty Deadly posed for the live crowd…[c]
Holland fought through a double team and landed a soccer kick to Elton Prince. Wilson tagged in and applied a sleeper to try and prevent the tag. He failed, and Butch entered and tossed both members of Pretty Deadly around with suplexes. He then stomped on both of their fingers and landed a Vertical Suplex Toss on Wilson.
Both Butch and Wilson ended up on the top rope. Wilson shoved Butch off, but he was able to tag in Holland. He picked up both members of Pretty Deadly and dumped them off of his back. Butch and Holland landed clubbing blows to Wilson and Prince. Wilson backed Holland into his own corner and knocked Butch off the apron.and into the ring. The ref was distracted by Butch falling into the ring, and Pretty Deadly landed Spilt Milk on Holland and got the win.
Pretty Deadly defeated The Brawling Brutes at 8:11
After the match, Michael Cole introduced a tribute to the late Superstar Billy Graham. It featured a number of historical wrestling figures including a snippet of Triple H’s Hall of Fame induction speech for Graham…[c]
My Take: A solid debut for Pretty Deadly. They have some work ahead of them to get over on the Main Roster, but they are talented enough to get it done.
Asuka made her entrance in the arena. Footage was shown of Asuka spraying mist in the eyes of Bianca Belair last week. Asuka vs. Bianca Belair was plugged for Night of Champions. Zelina Vega was interviewed by Kayla backstage. She was when she received that love for her people at Backlash, and she believes she’s ready to go toe to toe with the best of the best, and Asuka would see that she’s ready. Zelina then made her ring entrance.
2. Zelina Vega vs. Asuka: Vega ducked a kick and rolled up Asuka for a one count. Vega went for a 619, but Asuka escaped to the floor. Asuka landed a kick, and then dropped Vega on the announce table…[c]
Asuka stalked Vega and landed some kicks. Vega fired back with some forearms and a basement dropkick. Vega was successful in landing a second 619 attempt, followed by a Meteora for a near fall. There were some awkward transitions that led to pinfall attempts for both Asuka and Vega. Eventually Asuka applied the Asuka Lock and Vega had to tap.
Asuka defeated Zelina Vega at 6:20
After the match, Asuka refused to release the hold and Bianca Belair ran down to make the save. Asuka grazed her with the mist after a tussle in the ropes, but Belair escaped a direct shot. A video package for Night of Champions was shown that focused on the World Heavyweight Championship. The Grayson Waller Effect with AJ Styles is up next….[c]
My Take: Asuka and Vega worked well together up until the last minute or so of the match. Hard to say what went wrong but it seemed like they weren’t on the same page. I’m not sure if Belair was supposed to get a full blast of mist again or not, but I’m glad she didn’t sell it as such after Asuka didn’t quite get it.
Grayson Waller got an elaborate announcement from Mike Rome that was nearly as ridiculous as Kenny Omega’s heel announcements from Justin Roberts.
He stood behind a desk like a talk show and quickly introduced his guest AJ Styles. Waller brought up their previous interaction in NXT where Styles told him to be phenomenal for 20 years. He said he thought about that a lot, and asked AJ what it meant to him to potentially win another title. Styles brought up his injury and said it had been the longest he’d ever been away from the ring, and no one had ever trained as hard as him to get back.
Styles said he has dreamed of another opportunity at a World Title, and he wants it more than the air that he breathes. He brought up Rollins on a movie set and wondered if he was ready, because he is. Waller then said he was looking forward to their match, and especially the end, when Seth Rollins was announced as the winner. He then got in Styles face as the segment ended.
Backstage, Rey spoke to the LWO and talked about their match with The Usos later. He said The Usos might just be the best in the world, but tonight they would find out what happens when you mess with the LWO. In the arena, the Street Profits made their entrance. They will face LA Knight and Rick Boogs next…[c]
My Take: The crowd could not have cared less about Styles and Waller. There was something a little off about AJ’s promo, and Waller played it too straight before going for heel heat at the end.
LA Knight made his ring entrance and had a microphone. He said he walked through the door in WWE looking for titles, and the Tag Titles aren’t safe either. Knight said he can defeat the trash talking Street Profits with anybody, and he would prove that tonight with Rick Boogs. He then brought out Boogs, and Knight started rolling his eyes at his antics.
2. LA Knight and Rick Boogs vs. “The Street Profits” Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford: Boogs started the match with Ford, who strutted around and mocked Boogs. Ford tried a couple of shoulder blocks but got nowhere, and then Boogs picked him up for a press slam. Dawkins tagged in, and Boogs did some curling reps holding onto Dawkins. Knight tagged in, and they landed a double shoulder tackle on Dawkins.
Dawkins fought back into the match and dumped Knight to the floor. He slammed Boogs to the mat and tagged in Ford. He landed a huge splash from the top and got the win.
The Street Profits defeated LA Knight and Rick Boogs at 3:49
After the match, Knight picked up Boogs and delivered a BFT. Footage was then shown of Cameron Grimes humiliating Baron Corbin last week. Grimes was interviewed backstage and said he was excited to be associated with one of the fastest wins in WWE History. He said he wanted to go to the moon.
My Take: LA Knight continues to be mega over. I’m surprised they went with the “to the moon” gimmick already with Grimes. I was hoping he’d avoid being a comedy act right out of the gate.
A portion of Cody Rhodes’ promo was shown from Monday’s Raw. His match with Brock Lesnar was plugged for Night of Champions. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn made their ring entrance. Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon were already in the ring.
3. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn vs. Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon: Leon was quickly disposed of out of the ring. Fyre and Dawn landed a combo Gory Bomb and Russian Leg Sweep Combo on Feroz and got the win.
Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre defeated Yulisa Leon and Valentina Feroz at 1:14
After the match it was announced that Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan would have to relinquish the Women’s Tag Team Championships, and new Champions will be decided in a Fatal Four Way on Raw in two weeks. Backstage, Raquel was interviewed. She said Liv was irreplaceable, and was quickly interrupted by Bayley and Iyo Sky. Bayley said Dakota was also hurt with an even more devastating injury, and said they blamed Raquel. She challenged her to find a partner and meet her and Iyo in the ring next week. Austin Theory made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: At this point I have to surmise that the Woman’s Tag Team Championships are cursed.
Theory had a microphone and demanded respect. He said he was ganged up on by Sheamus and Bobby Lashley last week. He called Lashley obsessed with him, but thought he and Sheamus had more in common. He said they were both tough and strong, and they both had beaten John Cena. Theory did it this year, and Sheamus did it like 13 years ago. That prompted Sheamus to walk out. He grabbed a microphone, but then turned around and blasted Theory with a Brogue Kick.
Backstage, Paul Heyman informed The Usos that Roman forgave them. Jimmy asked if Roman would be ringside for their match, but Heyman said no he was a very busy man with other priorities. Heyman said it’s the LWO, they got this, and told them to make that a spoiler and not a prediction…[c]
My Take: Sheamus got a great reaction for putting Theory down. The Usos losing and getting sympathy seems like the direction this story is taking.
Styles vs Karrion Kross and Theory vs. Sheamus were announced for next week’s Smackdown. Escobar and Mysterio made their entrance prior to the break. The Usos made their entrance as the show returned.
4. “LWO” Santos Escobar and Rey Mysterio vs. “The Usos” Jimmy and Jey Uso: Jimmy and Rey started the match. Santos got a blind tag and sent Jimmy to the floor with a kick. Rey dumped Jey to the apron and swung through the ropes with a 619 attempt. The Usos were left collecting themselves while Rey was on Escobar’s shoulders in the ring…[c]
The Usos regained control during the break and isolated Santos Escobar in their corner. He attempted to drag Jimmy across the ring to make a tag but was shut down. He landed chops in the corner, and Escobar fired back with a running dropkick. Jey tagged in and knocked Mysterio down with a forearm strike on the apron. Escobar rolled up Jey for a near fall, but Jey quickly recovered and landed a hard right hand.
Escobar started another comeback with a couple of strikes, but Jey quickly shut him down. Jimmy tagged back in and landed a running hip attack in the corner. He attempted a second one, and Escobar popped out of the corner and landed a running knee strike. Rey got a hot tag and took out Jimmy with some kicks. He then landed a springboard crossbody on Jey for a two count. He then landed a Code Red a moment later for a near fall.
Jimmy interfered from the apron, which allowed Jey to land a big neckbreaker for a close near fall. The Usos attempted a double team on Mysterio, but he ducked and they flew out of the ring. Escobar got the tag and splashed them on the floor. He then landed a series of running knees on Jimmy and a top rope hurracarrana for a close near fall. He tagged in Mysterio, who landed a springboard leg drop and covered Jimmy. Jey broke up the fall. Rey sent Jimmy into the ropes. He attempted a 619, but Jimmy popped up for a Superkick.
Jey tagged in and landed a splash from the top for a close near fall. Jimmy tagged back in and they went for Stereo Splashes. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn appeared to interfere. Owens distracted the ref and Escobar knocked Jey off the top rope. Zayn shoved Jimmy into the ring. Rey landed a 619 and took out Jey on the floor. Escobar landed a big splash from the top and got the win.
The LWO defeated The Usos at 14:48
After the match, Roman Reigns was shown looking unhappy in the back. He stopped Solo from intervening when he went to get up.
My Take: A good match to close the show. There were a couple of good near falls, even though the story seemed pretty clear based on the framing of the show. As the Bloodline Turns will continue next week.
LA Knight and Rick Boooooogs??!!
So much for the brand split already with Cody appearing on Smackdown . lol
This bloodline stuff is now creeping into Nwo territory. Enough already