By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,252)
Calgary, Alberta at Scotiabank Saddledome
Aired live August 11, 2023 on Fox
Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomed the audience to Calgary and said Roman Reigns will address the future of The Bloodline tonight. Charlotte Flair made her entrance for the first match of the night. Michael Cole was shown at the commentary but had yet to speak up. Patrick introduced a video package that recapped the conclusion of the Women’s Title match at Summerslam, with Bianca Belair winning the title briefly before Iyo Sky cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase and quickly absconded with it. Asuka made her ring entrance after the video package.
1. Asuka vs. Charlotte: Both women tied up and Charlotte grabbed an arm twist. Asuka used the ropes to reverse, but Charlotte returned the favor with a cartwheel. Both women traded heavy strikes, and Charlotte capitalized with a shoulder block. She then attempted to outsmart Asuka running the ropes, but got shut down with a low dropkick. Charlotte fired back with a big boot few seconds later. She followed up with another boot and then climbed to the top rope. Asuka pulled Charlotte off the top with a hair pull and then landed a missile dropkick for a two count…[c]
My Take: Kevin Patrick appears to be the lead play by play voice with Cole filling in some details occasionally. I guess we’ll see how the dynamic develops.
Charlotte dove on Asuka at ringside and followed up with a flying cross body back in the ring. She followed up with chops and and overhead suplex. Charlotte landed a spear and then went to apply the figure eight, but Damage Ctrl walked to ringside and provided a distraction. Asuka rolled up Charlotte for a two count. Bayley got on the apron, and Asuka took advantage with a double knee facebuster. Iyo sky landed a springboard dropkick that hit both Asuka and Charlotte and caused a DQ.
Asuka and Charlotte ended in a no contest at 9:01
Bayley and Iyo assaulted Charlotte after the bell and tossed Asuka into the ringpost. They gloated and Dakota Kai announced Iyo as the new Women’s Champion. A video package then aired that focused on Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso turning on his brother. A “Hail to the Chief” segment was announced for later…[c]
My Take: A good match up until the no contest finish. I hope the pendulum swings back around and we start seeing matches get more satisfying finishes on TV. The interference can serve a story purpose but in this case it just felt like a reason not to have a finish.
A video package recalled Austin Theory’s US Title reign and Santos Escobar becoming the title challenger. Kayla Braxton interviewed Santos Escobar backstage. He said he was feeling confident that he had Austin Theory’s number. Theory then ambushed him and suplexed him onto an equipment crate. He then slammed the lid of another crate onto Escobar’s knee. Rey Mysterio arrived on scene and chased off Theory. The announce team then introduced a video package from Karrion Kross.
He said Styles has shown him the importance of Brotherhood, and said a Prophet is nothing without his disciples, and soon everyone will see. AJ Styles made his entrance in the arena for the next match with Michin. He will face Karrion Kross up next…[c]
My Take: I hope they pair up Kross with Pretty Deadly. Ok, not really. I’m not sure who they have in mind to pair with Kross, but with Lashley forming an alliance with the Street Profits and The OC being around as a Trio I can’t imagine all this is a coincidence.
Trainers were working on the knee of Santos Escobar backstage. Karrios Kross completed his entrance in the ring with Scarlett.
2. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. AJ Styles (w/Michin): Styles landed a dropkick and a backbreaker to start. He then applied an inverted STF, but Kross quickly escaped. Kross landed a lariat and a heavy elbow strike. He then landed a suplex and talked some trash before making a cover. Styled kicked out at one, but was quickly thrown chest first into the turnbuckle.
Kross placed AJ on the turnbuckle, but Styles slipped out and landed a lariat that sent Kross to the floor. Styles attempted to capitalize with a soccer kick on the apron, but Kross caught him and landed a Death Valley Driver onto the announce table…[c]
My Take: So far so good. Styles and Kross and working better together here than their last couple of TV matches.
Styles was in control as the show returned and landed a leaping forearm to a seated Kross. He then setup for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Kross avoided it and applied the Kross Jacket. Styles made a move into the corner and reversed into a pinfall attempt. Kross managed to slip out and retain the hold. Styles rammed Kross into the corner. He attempted his Moonsault into a reverse DDT, but the Moonsault took Kross down awkwardly. Styles attempted to land a bodyslam into a DDT, and that went nowhere as well.
Styles managed to land a Springboard 450, but Scarlett got involved and put his foot on the ropes. Michin ran over, but Scarlett managed to fend her off. Kross landed a Saito Suplex, but Styles quickly returned the favor with a Pele Kick. Styles then setup for a Styles Clash, but Scarlett jumped on the apron. Michin pulled her off the ring apron and then tossed her over the announce table. Styles finished the Styles Clash and got the win.
AJ Styles defeated Karrion Kross at 9:49
After the match, the OC celebrated while Kross and Scarlett stewed. The announce team then introduced a video package for Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar, and the respect shown from Lesnar after the match. After the video package, Edge made his entrance to a warm Canadian welcome. He’ll deliver a promo up next…[c]
My Take: I guess Kross is going to show back up with his crew next time to face the OC? He seemed to lose at his own game here, so he could definitely use a reset. Styles would benefit from a change of pace as well. That feud with Sheamus they teased last week could be some fun.
Austin Theory was interviewed backstage and compared Santos Escobar to toilet paper. Rey Mysterio got in his face, and had to be held back by an official from attacking. In the arena, Edge said the crowd was wondering why he was there since he wasn’t advertised. He said it has been too long since he’s been there, but he had an agenda related to next week’s Smackdown in Toronto for his 25th year WWE anniversary.
Edge said he wanted a match next week with someone that he’s never faced before in WWE, Sheamus. He recalled Sheamus being the reason behind Edge’s return from his triple fusion neck surgery. Edge told the story of appearing on Sheamus’ Youtube Channel Celtic Warrior Workouts, and how wiping out on a mountain bike had planted a seed that maybe he might be able to wrestle again.
He continued and said when he was getting ready to come back in 2020, Sheamus was the guy he called to come help him work out with him and get ready for his big return. He said they beat the crap out of each other and that’s when he knew he was ready. Edge then introduced Sheamus. They played footage of Edge wiping out on a bike, and in return Edge showed a photo of Sheamus seated on Edge’s daughter Ruby’s bike.
Sheamus told a story about Edge being the only WWE Superstar in London who was willing to give him advice and put him on the right path towards a wrestling career. He credited Edge as the reason he’s standing in a WWE ring right now. Edge thanked him for the story and then pressed him for an answer on his challenge next week. He said they could have a drink of Scotch when it was over. Sheamus responded by polling the crowd and shook Edge’s hand on the condition they make it a pint of Guinness instead of Scotch. He then pulled in Edge and told he hopes he didn’t make a mistake.
Edge cracked a smile and Sheamus left the ring. Patrick introduced footage of Miz and LA Knight having their interaction on Monday, and Knight winning the Battle Royal at Summerslam. He will face LA Knight up next…[c]
My Take: A solid promo segment from Edge and Sheamus. The crowd faded a little at part of it, but they came alive for the final handshake for the match next week.
3. LA Knight vs. Top Dolla: Top Dolla was already in the ring as the show returned. He got an early advantage and choked Knight against the ropes. B-Fab and Ashante attacked Knight while Top Dolla ran interference with the referee in the ring. Knight fired back a bit and the crowd got hot with him. He knocked Ashante off the apron, landed an elbow, and then finished off Top Dolla with a BFT.
LA Knight defeated Top Dolla at 1:52
After the match, Knight fired up the crowd. He said it didn’t matter of you called yourself Awesome or if you’re name is Uncle Phil, you’re gonna know who’s game it is and that’s LA Knight. Backstage, Santos Escobar told Adam Pearce he could go. He then began limping to the ring…[c]
My Take: Knight remains mega over. Working these brief matches is exactly how to keep his momentum going.
Backstage, Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits spoke about untapped potential, and how good it felt to make themselves felt last week. They spoke about being world class and Smackdown being ready for new blood to take the place over. They toasted to everybody else falling in line.
Santos Escobar made his entrance, but was attacked again from behind by Austin Theory. Theory grabbed a microphone and said he was sorry he couldn’t defend his title tonight, and demanded that the referee raise his hand. Adam Pearce had a discussion with Escobar and the LWO and they put Rey Mysterio in his place to take the title match. Rey entered the ring and attacked Theory, and sent him into the barricade at ringside with a flying head scissors…[c]
My Take: I have to assume this was the original plan that was cut short by Rey’s injury during the match with Escobar a few weeks ago, and this situation puts the story back on track.
4. Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar for the United States Championship: The match was in progress. Mysterio tossed Theory into the corner with a head scissor and then landed a diving senton from the top. He then followed up with a springboard crossbody for a near fall. Mysterio sent Theory into the turnbuckle with a sunset flip bomb for another close near fall. Theory recovered and attempted A-Town Down, but Mysterio slipped out and landed a 619 to his lower back.
He then went for another 619, but Theory caught him. Rey avoided another A-Town Down and landed a 619. He followed up with a springboard splash and got the win.
Rey Mysterio defeated Austin Theory to capture the United States Championship
After the match, Rey celebrated with the fans and the rest of the LWO. Escobar put the title over his shoulder as some pyro went off.
My Take: Santos kicks the shit out of Rey in T-Minus 9….8….7
Sheamus vs. Edge was plugged for next week, as well as Rey Mysterio on the Grayson Waller effect. Roman Reigns’ music hit in the arena and he headed to the ring with Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. This week, Roman only wore his Unified Championship to the ring and not all three belts…[c]
Roman stood and slowly shifted his gaze around the arena. He asked for a microphone and demanded that Calgary acknowledge him. Roman asked Heyman where Jimmy was, and Heyman said he spoke to him this morning and he was rather salty with him and he didn’t know why. Jimmy materialized at ringside and eventually got in the ring and he soaked up the boos from the crowd as they told him he sold out.
Roman called him Jim and told him not to worry about the crowd because they mean nothing. He told Jimmy he owed him one, and asked if he wanted a car or a yacht. Jimmy responded that he wanted nothing from him because what happened at Summerslam had nothing to do with him. Roman reminded him of who he is and said if he wanted power or position it was his. He offered to call him the new right hand man and “Main Event” Jimmy Uso.
Jey Uso interrupted things and walked to the ring. He told Jimmy that he was about to throw 37 years down the drain unless he explained himself. Jimmy said he did it because he loved him. He explained that if he had beaten Roman then the Usos would be over, and the power would have turned him into an egotistical, manipulative asshole like Roman Reigns. Jimmy continued and said that he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he let that happen, and if he wanted to kick 37 years of pain into his face he could do it. Jey reiterated that he loved him.
Jey then turned his back on his brother and refused to face him. Jimmy left the ring and Roman cackled. He told Jey that he blew up this whole thing because he’s a stupid hot head. This night isn’t about him and his brother, it’s about acknowledging him. Jey superkicked Roman in the face and a fight broke out. Jey handled both Roman and Solo, and then asked his brother to come back to the ring.
Jimmy thought he was being forgiven and came in for a hug, but Jey blasted him in the face with a superkick. He then said into the camera that he was out. Not just out of the Bloodline, or out of Smackdown, but out of WWE. He then left through the crowd to close the show.
My Take: Well that’s an interesting development. Jey is fed up with his entire family and walked out, and Jimmy isn’t back in either, so Roman feels more vulnerable to outside threats than he has in a while. What does that mean for PPV main events? We’ll see. Overall, this was an enjoyable two hours of television with some solid story developments.