By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,245)
Lafayette, Louisiana at the Cajundome
Aired live June 23, 2023 on Fox
A video recapped the last week’s Main Event segment where Jey Uso emphatically left the Bloodline by kicking Roman Reigns in the face. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed the TV audience to the arena, and then The Usos made their way to the ring for a promo segment. Cole plugged The Usos vs. Roman and Solo at Money in the Bank coming up next week.
An Uso’s chant broke out. Jey started out by saying “The Bloodline”, but Jimmy nudged him and he corrected himself. Jimmy said he was feeling good, and asked Jey how he was doing. Jey said he wished he could say he was 100 right now, but he’s about to fight his family. He said that’s not how it’s supposed to work, because families are supposed to lift each other up from the bottom to the top and carry each other forever.
They said they loved each other, and Jey said they still love Roman Reigns and can forgive him. But where he went wrong was when he started to disrespect them. Jimmy said their entire family was raised and built on respect, and he began to treat them like they were nothing and they couldn’t tolerate it. Jey said they had the entire WWE on lockdown when they worked as a family, and called out forces from outside the circle for driving a wedge between them. Jey called out Paul Heyman as a snake and said his lies have driven apart their family.
He continued and said there would be a Bloodline Civil War at Money in the Bank, and that they were the best Tag Team in the game. Jey said Roman and Solo would be taken care of in London, and welcomed them to the Uso penitentiary.
After the promo, Cole introduced a video recap of the situation between Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar, and LA Knight from last week. Rey Made his ring entrance and will face LA Knight up next…[c]
My Take: A decent but not great promo from The Usos. They both stumbled verbally at points and lost the crowd, but thankfully were able to reel them back in. This program is hot so one mediocre promo isn’t going to cause any problems.
LA Knight made his entrance for the first match.
1. LA Knight vs. Rey Mysterio: Knight took control early on with some shoulder charges in the corner. He followed up with a hard Irish whip into the opposite turnbuckle. Knight landed a knee lift and a diving shoulder tackle. Rey fired back with a flying head scissors that sent Knight into the ropes. He then landed a 619, but Knight rolled to the floor. Rey then hit the ropes and slid underneath the bottom rope and landed a splash on the floor…[c]
Knight landed a neckbreaker as the show returned for a near fall. He then setup for a Powerbomb, but Rey punched his way out and sent Knight into the second turnbuckle. Rey landed a top rope seated senton and a flying cross body for a near fall of his own. Knight fired back with a powerslam and leaping elbow drop for a two count. Rey landed a tornado DDT for another near fall.
He then landed an Enziguri and went for another 619, but Knight caught him. There was a clumsy sequence of moves that led to a BFT from Knight, who picked up the win.
LA Knight defeated Rey Mysterio at 8:51
After the match, Knight attempted to remove Mysterio’s mask, but he was saved by Santos Escobar. Ridge Holland nearly ran into Solo Siko and Paul Heyman backstage and ate a Samoan Spike for his trouble…[c]
My Take: A needed win for LA Knight. It’s a shame the finishing sequence went as poorly as it did.
Adam Pearce checked on Ridge Holland backstage, and Sheamus walked up and demanded a match with Solo immediately. Pearce said he would handle it, and Sheamus said not good enough and walked off. He appeared on the stage and called out Solo, and told him he’d give him the fight of his life later tonight.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler made their entrance for the next match. Raquel Rodriguez sat at ringside next to the announce table. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn followed afterward. This match will unify the Women’s Tag Team Championships with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Mike Rome performed ring introductions.
2. Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler for the Unified WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Fyre and Baszler started the match. They traded slaps and strikes early on. Dawn tagged in and they landed some clever double team offense on Baszler. Dawn wrapped up Baszler in the ropes and Fyre landed a superkick. Dawn made a cover for a two count.
Ronda Rousey tagged in and threw Dawn around with hip tosses. Dawn fired back with a kick and tagged in Fyre. Rousey didn’t see the tag and got blindsided by a forearm strike. They continued to make frequent tags and knocked Baszler off the apron. Fyre and Dawn continued to dominate the offense. Dawn landed a running Meteora and Fyre made cover for a two count. Baszler recovered and shoved Dawn from the top rope. Rousey then landed a poisonrana on Fyre…[c]
Rousey held an Ankle Lock on Fyre, but she broke free with an enziguri. Baszler prevented a tag with a running knee strike. She grabbed the Ankle of Fyre, but she was able to break free and make a blind tag to Dawn. She entered and landed a round kick and a back suplex on Baszler. She went up top for a Meteora and landed awkwardly after stumbling a bit on the top rope. Baszler kicked out, and with some help from Rousey was able to apply the Kirafuda Clutch a moment later.
Fyre broke things up with Swanton and took out Rousey with a dive. Afterwards chaos broke out with all four women in the ring. Rousey and Baszler ended up getting the tap out victory after applying simultaneous submissions on Fyre and Dawn.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler defeated Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn at 10:22
After the match, Rousey asked why Raquel was even out there at ringside. She said she wanted a rematch for those Women’s Tag Team Titles, and Ronda asked who her partner would be. Cue the returning Liv Morgan, who walked out to a strong reaction. They had a brief staredown before Rousey and Baszler left the ring. Solo vs. Sheamus was confirmed for later, as well as Pretty Deadly on the Grayson Waller Effect…[c]
My Take: That was a solid Women’s Tag Match. The outcome never seemed in question, but Fyre and Dawn were made to look strong in defeat. Hopefully this means they’ll get a return match down the road after being rebuilt a bit. It’s nice to see that Liv Morgan was able to return without missing significant time.
Mike Rome gave Grayson Waller another bombastic introduction for the Grayson Waller Effect. He gave a brief introduction and brought out Pretty Deadly. Waller said he was happy to have people with style on his show, and they all laughed over the fact that Americans have no banter. Wilson put over the Royalty and London as the greatest city in the world, and said they were taking their title opportunity Pretty Deadly seriously.
Prince popped up and said Sami and Kevin have huge egos and said they were surprised that Pretty Deadly were the number one contenders. He asked what was surprising about them, since they had won gold in WWE before and had done it on their debut match in NXT. He said they practically share the same brain and would be doing it for the next decade dominating the Tag Team Division.
They ran through all the teams they “defeated” during the gauntlet match last week, despite entering last and only defeating one weakened team. The Street Profits took exception to this and said they were there to introduce them to the smoke. A match between the two teams is up next…[c]
My Take: Waller needs to amp up his personality, as he comes across far too casual and disengaged on his own talk show. Pretty Deadly was fine but they didn’t have the strongest material to work through.
3. Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson and Elton Prince) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins): Ford and Wilson started the match. Ford landed some strikes early and made a tag to Dawkins. Prince tagged in and Pretty Deadly landed some double team offense on Dawkins to take control. Ford tagged back in and stole the Bralet top that Prince was wearing. He put it on and both Profits dove onto Pretty Deadly on the outside…[c]
Wilson attempted a suplex from the top, but Ford turned his body and landed on top of him for a splash. Prince and Dawkins both tagged in and Dawkins landed some quick strikes and a splash in the corner. He followed up with a double underhook twisting suplex for a near fall. Ford tagged in a moment later and landed a Uranage. Dawkins collided with Wilson on the floor.
Ford tagged Dawkins and went to the top rope. Wilson knocked Ford down to the floor from the ropes. Prince rolled up Dawkins and used the ropes for leverage to get the win.
Pretty Deadly defeated The Street Profits at 9:14
After the match, there was a video package that recapped Charlotte and Bianca Belair on the Grayson Waller effect from last week. After the video Charlotte made her ring entrance. She’ll be in action next…[c]
My Take: Another shady victory for Pretty Deadly. They continue to play into the strengths of their characters and it’s working.
Lacey Evans finished her entrance as the show returned.
4. Charlotte Flair vs Lacey Evans: Charlotte chopped Evans several times to start the match. There was a clumsy exchange in the corner that led to Evans pulling Charlotte down by her hair. She then attempted a Moonsault, but Charlotte got out of the way and Evans had to land on her feet. Charlotte slammed her into the turnbuckle and tossed her with an overhead suplex.
Charlotte quickly applied the Figure 8 and got the quick tap.
Charlotte defeated Lacey Evans at 2:43
After the tap out, Asuka quickly ran in and kicked her in the face while she was still in the bridge for the Figure 8. Asuka then stomped on her a few more times before dancing and gloating her way back up to the stage. Cole introduced video that recapped Solo’s attack on Ridge Holland earlier. Solo Sikoa made his entrance for the main event…[c]
My Take: Lacey Evans did not look good against Charlotte, which is difficult to do.
Adam Pearce met with Bianca Belair backstage and told her she was barred from ringside next week from the Asuka and Charlotte Flair title match. He said the risk was too high for one of them to try and bait her into a physical confrontation, and that she should trust that she would get a shot at the winner. Bianca said that he told her to trust him last time, and she got bumped from the line. She shook her head no and walked away.
In the arena, Sheamus made his entrance for the main event.
5. Sheamus vs. Solo Sikoa: Sheamus took it to Solo early on with heavy strikes, and sent him to ringside. He followed and landed a lariat, and then stomped on Solo’s hand. Back in the ring, Solo fired back with a kick, and some forearm strikes to the kidneys. Both men traded heavy strikes, with Sheamus getting the better of it. Solo ran into a big boot from Sheamus in the corner. He then went up top and landed a diving lariat for a one count.
They battled back and forth for a bit and ended up on the apron. Sheamus picked up Solo, but he escaped and shoved Sheamus into the ring post. Solo then picked up Sheamus and delivered a Samoan Drop on the floor…[c]
Solo charged into the corner, and Sheamus flew out of the opposite corner and landed a lariat. They both traded heavy strikes, and Sheamus landed clubbing blows to the chest on the apron. He then fired up the crowd and set up for a Brogue Kick. Solo intercepted him with a superkick, and Sheamus hit the ropes and landed a running knee strike for a close near fall.
Sheamus attempted to pick up Solo, but his back gave out initially. He got him up on a second attempt and delivered White Noise for another near fall. He then setup for a Celtic Cross, but his back gave out. Solo landed a Samoan Spike, but Sheamus flew out of the ring. Solo followed him to the floor and landed a Uranage on the announce table. Solo placed Sheamus against the barricade near the time keeper’s area, and then charged through him with a hip attack.
Referee Jessica Carr called off the match at this point because Sheamus was unable to continue.
Solo Sikoa defeated Sheamus at 14:50 by referee stoppage
After the match, Solo tossed around some trainers that were attending to Sheamus. Adam Pearce finally got the situation under control when The Usos music hit.and they hit the ring. They delivered superkicks to Solo, and put him down with a double superkick. They closed the show by hitting a Double Uso Splash.
My Take: A strong main event. The finish didn’t come across particularly well because the barricade spot has been done to death and it’s never resulted in a ref stoppage. I understand the instinct to protect Sheamus a bit, but I think a different spot could have worked out better. Overall, this was an entertaining episode of Smackdown, but didn’t have the big peak of last week’s closing segment. Hopefully they can capture lightning in a bottle again when Roman returns next week.