By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,253)
Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
Aired live August 18, 2023 on Fox
Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, and Corey Graves plugged Edge’s celebration, Paul Heyman sitting down for an interview, and Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley and Iyo Sky later on in the show.
Grayson Waller was introduced in the ring for the Grayson Waller Experience. He got boos and introduced himself to the crowd. Waller said he would be grateful when Edge thanks him for making him relevant again by inviting him on his show. He then told Beth (in the crowd) to calm down because he loves hot Mom’s. Waller then brought out Santos Escobar and new United States Champion Rey Mysterio. A video package aired that recapped the events of last week and Rey’s title win.
Waller congratulated Rey and asked how he was feeling. A 619 chant broke out and the crowd cheered for Rey. He said it was great to be United States Champion once again. Waller asked Santos how great it was, and asked if he could imagine it. He continued to press about tension between the two of them, and Rey said it didn’t matter because the title belonged to the LWO.
Rey said he didn’t take anything from Santos, and that it was the result of Theory attempting to execute a plan that they spoiled. Waller interjected and got passionate about legends on Smackdown refusing to let go of the glory, and said Mysterio couldn’t let Escobar succeed. Santos spoke up and aid Rey is his friend, legend, Hall of Famer, and mentor. He said he gave Rey his blessing, and he has respect, which Waller had none of.
Santos continued and said the only man he was livid at was Austin Theory. He walked down to the ring and asked where Rey’s father of the year award was. He then said Rey Mysterio was not supposed to be in that match, and he wanted Adam Pearce to come down and hand him back the title that was rightfully his. Pearce walked out and said no one wanted to hear him complain tonight, and LA Knight made his entrance.
An LA Knight chant broke out and he began his shtick. He took issue with Theory saying he was the greatest US Champion of all time. He said Theory defended his title once in three months and fumbled the ball. He congratulated Rey and said he didn’t care if it was Theory or Rey holding it that title was coming home with him eventually. He then pitched Pearce on the idea of facing Theory and the winner gets a shot at Rey Mysterio and the US Title. Pearce thought it was a great idea, and said the only way it could get better is if it happened right now…[c]
My Take: No hint of dissension between Rey and Santos yet, but the clock is ticking.
The Miz made his entrance after the break. He joined in at the commentary table.
1. LA Knight vs. Austin Theory for a US Title Opportunity: Theory jumped Knight to start and landed a fallaway slam. He followed up with some punches and kicks in the corner, butKnight popped out and replied with a lariat and a suplex. He then landed an elbow drop for a two count. Knight followed up with a slam for a two count. The action spilled outside and Theory took over. He sent Knight into the barricade. Knight fired back and slammed Theory multiple times onto the announce table.
Knight jawed with Miz, which cost him as Theory kicked him in the face. They continued to brawl on the floor, with Knight eventually throwing Theory into Miz and knocking over this chair…[c]
My Take: Fairly basic match thus far with Miz playing agitator on commentary.
Theory landed a rolling thunder dropkick as the show returned. Footage was shown of Theory sending Knight into the ring steps during the break. He continued the assault with stomps and a lariat. Theory went for a rolling facebuster, but Knight caught him and landed a back suplex. Knight sent Theory into the turnbuckles twice and then landed a neckbreaker. He followed up with a clumsy big boot and covered for a near fall.
Theory recovered and attempted A-Town Down, but Knight avoided it and landed a scoop slam. Miz jumped on the apron, but Knight sent him back to the floor. Theory attempted to sneak up behind him, but Knight planted him with a DDT. Miz distracted Knight and he gave chase around the ring, which led to the most dangerous move in wrestling, the distraction roll up.
Austin Theory defeated LA Knight at 10:24
After the match, Knight jawed with Miz as he gloated his way up the stage. Kevin Patrick then introduced a video where John Cena, Sheamus, Natalya, The Miz, Charlotte, Sami Zayn gave their thanks to Edge for his 25 year career. Edge vs. Sheamus was plugged for later…[c]
My Take: A decent match, but not something you’ll be thinking about in 20 minutes. The Miz being a thorn in Knight’s side will be fun. Maybe we’ll see them have a match at Payback.
Another Edge video package aired that showed him on Sally Jesse Raphael with Bret Hart, and then went into a career retrospective that was set to music. It was well done. It featured brief snippets from Steve Austin, Paul Heyman, John Cena, The Undertaker, Dave Bautista and Randy Orton. These were previously recorded interviews from other video productions. Edge vs. Sheamus was plugged for later tonight.
Bayley and Dakota Kai made their way out to Damage Ctrl’s music. Bayley introduced Iyo Sky, and made sure to point out that Toronto it’s used to seeing Champions. Bayely and Iyo face Charlotte and Bianca next…[c]
My Take: All these video packages must make things a bit frustrating for the live experience.
Kayla Braxton will interview Paul Heyman about “The End of the Bloodline” later tonight. Bianca Belair made her entrance in the arena, followed by Charlotte Flair. Footage was shown of the non-finish to Asuka and Charlotte’s match last week.
2. Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair vs. Bayley and Iyo Sky (w/Dakota Kai): Bayley and Bianca started in the ring. Bianca landed a shoulder tackle in the corner followed by a vertical suplex. Charlotte tagged in and landed some boots to the chest and shoulder of Bayley. Iyo was able to tag in after Bayley made a recovery, but Charlotte quickly took the action outside. She landed a somersault senton from the apron to the floor that took down both Bayley and Iyo…[c]
Bayley held into a side headlock on Charlotte. Eventually Charlotte escaped and threw Bayley into the second turnbuckle. Charlotte went up top, but Bayley intercepted and tossed her back into the ring with a slam for a two count. Iyo tagged in and applied a headlock of her own. Charlotte escaped a powerbomb attempt and tried to make a tag, but Iyo knocked Bianca from the apron.
Charlotte eventually made a tag to Bianca, who entered the match and landed a delayed vertical suplex on Sky. She then fired up the crowd and landed a shoulder tackle in the corner. Bianca followed up with the 10 punches routine, and was able to avoid Bayley as she charged in from behind. Iyo slowed down Bianca with a dropkick to the back of her knee and then tagged in Bayley.
Bianca landed a DDT/Neckbreaker combo on Bayley and Iyo. Charlotte then tagged in and landed a top rope splash on both heels. She then landed some chops and tossed Iyo with a suplex, and then a fallaway slam on Bayley. Charlotte then landed a clothesline on Bayley and covered for a near fall. She then went up to the top rope, but Bayley shoved Charlotte to the floor where she sold ankle pain. Iyo ran around to Charlotte’s location and gave her some boots. She then tagged into the match and missed a moonsault attempt. Iyo fired back with a Shotei, but couldn’t capitalize and went shoulder first into the post.
Bayley tagged in, but so did Bianca. Bianca quickly landed the KOD for the win.
Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair defeated Iyo Sky and Bayley at 13:36
After the match, we got more tribute videos to Edge from stars like Cody Rhodes, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch, Rey Mysterio, and Kurt Angle. After the video, the Street Profits made their entrance for the next match. They will face The OC up next…[c]
My Take: A solid match from the women. Are they setting up Bianca to challenge Iyo at Payback? Kind of puzzling how there hasn’t appeared to be a defined plan for what to do once Iyo cashed in.
Backstage, Bianca Belair was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. She was quickly attacked by Iyo and Bayley with chairs. They wrapped one chair around her bad knee and smashed it with another chair. WWE officials quickly intervened after the chairshot. In the arena, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows made their entrance with Michin.
3. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins (The Street Profits) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson “The O.C.” (w/Michin): Gallows and Anderson cut off and controlled Montez Ford early on. Ford fired back with a big lariat and tagged in Dawkins, and they both stomped on Anderson. Dawkins landed a suplex and then dropped Gallows off the apron with a big right hand. Dawkins then landed a twisting suplex and tagged in Ford. He landed a high elevation Frog Splash, but Gallows broke up the fall.
Gallows and Anderson attempted a Magic Killer, but landed more of a neckbreaker. They attempted it again, but Dawkins broke free. Ford sent Gallows to the floor with clothesline and then splashed him with a suicide dive. Dawkins and Ford landed a Sky High and Neckbreaker combo and got the win.
The Street Profits defeated The OC at 2:55
After the match, Ford and Dawkins celebrated with Lashley on the stage. Paul Heyman was shown contemplating something backstage…[c]
My Take: Pretty much what you’d expect between these two teams. Gallows and Anderson have lost a step or two from their peak, and Ford and Dawkins appear to be finding new levels of intensity as they take off in a new direction.
A video package was shown that went over the Bloodline segment that closed last week’s Smackdown. Backstage, Kayla Braxton asked Paul Heyman for an update on the status of the Bloodline, and he said now. She asked about the mental space of Roman Reigns, and he declined. She then brought up rumors, and Heyman went off about rumors he heard about her family, and asked why she was so interested in that instead of Rumors about his tribal chief.
Heyman then said that they could talk about Edge’s 25 year career or that flash in the plan LA Knight, but she’d rather talk about rumors instead. Heyman then took a phone call, and reported back to Kayla that Jimmy Uso will be on Smackdown next week. Kayla asked for his source, and he reported that he wouldn’t dare say.
Sheamus made his ring entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Yeah I don’t think we’re getting a Roman Reigns match on PPV anytime soon.
Edge made his entrance to a huge reaction. He wore Toronto Maple Leafs colors on his gear. He got a standing ovation after his entrance.
4. Edge vs. Sheamus: Both men tied up as a “Thank You Edge” chant broke out. Both men traded shoulder blocks that knocked each other down. Edge landed a knee strike, but Sheamus fired back with an Irish Curse backbreaker…[c]
Sheamus tossed Edge towards the ropes, but he popped back with a slingshot elbow. Edge then landed an Edge-O-Matic for a two count. A moment later, Edge landed a Powerbomb from the ring apron to the floor that looked gnarly. He then tossed Sheamus back into the ring and climbed up top. He landed a cross body block and covered for a near fall. Edge attempted a submission, but Sheamus kick his way out if it.
He then delivered a powerslam and covered Edge for a two count. Edge ended up on the apron, where Sheamus attempted some clubs to the chest, but Edge avoided it and landed a series of punches. Sheamus ended up on the apron on the outside, and Edge speared him through the ropes and off to the floor…[c]
Sheamus held Edge in the Texas Cloverleaf as the show returned. Beth was shown at ringside as Edge used punches and kicks to break free. Edge then shifted into a Crossface submission, but Sheamus was able to reach the ropes. Edge charged Sheamus in the corner, but ran into a big boot. Sheamus then pulled himself up to the top rope, but Edge was quick to land a counter punch. Edge joined Sheamus up top and landed a superplex. He then followed up quickly with an Edgecution for a close near fall.
A “you still got it” chant broke out as Edge climbed to the top rope. Sheamus quickly met him up top and landed White Noise. He followed up with a Celtic Cross for a close near fall of his own. Sheamus followed up with clubs to the chest, and Edge flipped him off. Sheamus followed up with about 20 more clubs and soaked up the boos. Edge got to his feet and floored him with a lariat. Edge went for a spear, but Sheamus landed a knee strike and a Brogue Kick for another very close near fall.
Sheamus missed a second Brogue Kick attempt, and Sheamus rolled him up for two. Edge followed up with a spear and got a close near fall. Edge followed up with a big second spear and got the win.
Edge defeated Sheamus at 20:11
Edge’s pyro went off after the match and he blew a kiss to his children in the front row. Beth and the kids were seen in tears. Sheamus and Edge embraced after the match as the show faded to black.
My Take: If that is Edge’s final match, it was an excellent capstone on a Hall of Fame career. Both men delivered in a big way and the hometown atmosphere elevated everything along with hit. I don’t know what the future holds for Edge, but I hope he’s happy with whatever choice he makes. I’ll be back tomorrow with the Smackdown Audio Review for Members.