By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,262)
San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
Aired live October 20, 2023 on Fox
A video recapped last week’s story between John Cena, LA Knight, Roman Reigns. It covered both the opening promo segment and the conclusion to the Main Event with Roman Reigns landing a spear on Knight.
Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves join in on commentary. They hyped up Iyo Sky vs Charlotte for later in the show. Paul Heyman stood in the ring and said he had some big shoes to fill in the Bloodline, and called attention to what Jimmy Uso did on Monday Night Raw. Heyman said he took the inspiration from Roman Reigns and called the play that single handedly cost Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes the Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
He then asked if everyone had heard the other news, which is that Roman Reigns will defend the Undisputed Title at Crown Jewel against LA Knight. Heyman then said it might be hard to believe, but he is like everyone in the crowd. He then dissed the crowd for being poorly dressed and poor, but said he was a fan of LA Knight. Heyman called himself an admirer of LA Knight, and then scolded the crowd for doing “Yeah!” chants while he was talking. He then told everyone to tune in on November 4th if you like LA Knight, because it was the last opportunity to see him wrestle in WWE.
Heyman then said he would be smashed by the Undisputed Champion Roman Reigns, which prompted LA Knight to walk out to the ring and grab the mic from Heyman. Knight told Heyman to take a walk as far as he was concerned, because he wanted Reigns out here right now. When Reigns didn’t come out, Knight told Heyman to get back in the ring. Knight said he had nothing but threats earlier, but nothing now that he was in his face.
Knight told Heyman that if he stepped one foot out of the ring, he’d knock his hair back to gray. He followed up and told Heyman that he took issue with him calling the spear last week a warning shot, because he’s like Michael Myers because he’ll come back over and over again. Knight told Heyman he can’t stop and won’t stop until he takes the WWE Undisputed Title from Reigns, and he would take it from him as quick as he rose up the ranks on Smackdown. He then told Heyman there would be a contract signing next week, and when he called Reigns, he better be 100% clear about who’s game it. Knight then slapped the mic into Heyman’s chest and walked away.
Montez Ford was shown getting loose for his match in the back. In the arena, Santos Escobar made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: Not the strongest promo from Heyman or Knight, but it was effective nonetheless. The contract signing for next week will be an interesting test for Knight’s promo skills, as Roman is typically very good in that setting.
Escobar had Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde with him. Montez Ford made his entrance with Angelo Dawkins and Bobby Lashley.
1. Santos Escobar vs. Montez Ford: Escobar landed a few strikes early, but Ford took control with a dropkick. Escobar attempted a sunset flip, but Ford landed a soccer kick and a running splash for a two count. Ford continued the assault and looked at the camera to say we’ll be right back after these messages…[c]
Ford landed a reverse bulldog from the second rope and covered for a two count. He then applied an arm hold, but Escobar quickly escaped. Santos fired back with a dropkick and a series of flying forearms. He followed up with a superkick and a big suicide dive. Escobar then took to the top rope and landed a splash for a near fall. He was able to land double knees in the corner, but failed to pull off a Phantom Driver. Ford went back to the top rope, but Escobar quickly ascended the ropes and pulled him back into the ring with a hurracarrana.
Dawkins pulled Ford to ringside to rescue him, but Escobar followed with a double axe handle that barely landed. Escobar tossed Ford back in the ring, but Dawkins shoved him into the ringpost. Cruz and Del Toro tried to get even, but Dawkins quickly got rid of them. Escobar returned fire on Dawkins with a running knee strike. Ford rolled him up and grabbed the tights as Escobar got in the ring and got the win.
Montez Ford defeated Santos Escobar at 8:33
After the match, Ford and Dawkins continued to stomp on Escobar. Carlito made the save and ran them off with a chair.
Backstage, Iyo Sky prepared for her match with Charlotte…[c]
My Take: A decent match with a couple of quality high spots. The finish wasn’t executed perfectly, so Escobar looked a little foolish in defeat.
Backstage, Rey walked up to Carlito and the rest of the LWO and told them they are always family. Zelina asked him if he wanted them out there as a backup when Logan Paul called him out, and he declined. He thanked them all, but Escobar looked frustrated with him.
We then saw a video package that highlighted Pretty Deadly’s victory from last week. We then got a vignette with Pretty Deadly at a spa for a pedicure. They were bragging about their victory and how they’d never see the Brawling Brutes again, until they showed up in the salon and dunked them in the water they were using to soak their feet. The Brutes then decided to go get a pint.
Elsewhere, Jimmy Uso walked in and sat down in the Bloodline locker room. He bragged about calling a successful play on Monday, and then Heyman pointed at the TV, which showed John Cena arriving at the arena. He is up next…[c]
My Take: I guess Cena is going to respond to The Bloodline next. Maybe we get Cena in a match with Jimmy or Solo at Crown Jewel?
John Cena made his entrance. He got fired up and spoke about San Antonio is sold out, and gave the crowd credit for being fired up. A Cena chant broke out and he thanked the crowd. He started to say unfortunately, and a loud “Thank you Cena” chant drowned him out. Cena thanked them again, but said he got hit with some pretty harsh truths today. He mentioned speaking about Roman Reigns impressive streak at WWE Champion, and then brought up his own streak. Cena said it had been 2002 days since he won a televised singles match. He said his last win was in 2018, and put his arms on the ropes.
The crowd cheered, but Cena pushed on and said he had to face reality and that he had been talking about retirement. He said it was time to face facts that it’s been a long time since he’s gotten a way. The crowd chanted that he still had it. Cena flipped the switch and said he still believed in himself, still believed he could go, and still thought he could bring it. He said it would be a bad night for the next person to walk down to the ring, because they were going to get smoked.
Cue Solo Sikoa, who walked straight to the ring. The fight broke out immediately. Cena got the better of it at first, but Jimmy Uso snuck up on Cena and landed a superkick (rather poorly). Jimmy Uso got pulled to the floor by a man dressed in all black with a mask and hood on, who revealed himself to be Jey Uso. The brawled around ringside and Jey sent Jimmy off the barricade and superkicked him into the timekeepers area. Cena then avoided a Samoan Spike and landed an Attitude Adjustment on Solo.
The announce team then shifted focus to Logan Paul, and aired a video package on his boxing victory last weekend. Paul was then shown getting out of an SUV and he’s up next…[c]
My Take: A fun segment that got the crowd fired up. I think Jey and Jimmy in a singles match will be further down the road, but perhaps Solo vs. Cena becomes the Crown Jewel match while we get a return match for the Tag Titles.
An Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre video aired where they explained the curse on the Women’s Tag Titles will only get worse, and they belonged to them.
A video recapped the previous segment, followed by a similar recap for the tag title change from Monday’s Raw. Backstage, Jey Uso was being scolded by GM Nick Aldis backstage. Adam Pearce walked up and tried to defuse the situation and offered to escort Jey Uso from the building. Nick Aldis had security remove the both. Pearce asked Aldis if he was kicking him out, and he said yes. Pearce responded with “Let the games begin” and left.
Logan Paul walked down to the ring. He criticized his opponent from the past weekend and called him an internet troll that hides behind the internet. He then called attention to other people that hid behind masks. Paul said he didn’t care about Mysterio, as he’d already beaten him. In fact, he beat him in his first ever WWE match. He said that the last time he beat Mysterio, Dominik was still his son and Roman Reigns still showed up to work. Paul continued and said he was no longer struggling to navigate the wrestling business, he was a WWE Superstar and he had a billion dollar hydration business.
He then said Rey Mysterio had something he wanted, and that was the US Championship. Paul said he beat up a deadbeat Dad last Sunday, and maybe he’d have to do it again. This prompted Mysterio to interrupt and walk to the ring. Mysterio said he reminded him a lot of his son. He had a lot of natural talent and a great career ahead of him, but he had a big mouth. Rey said the last time he fought Dominik he hesitated, but he wouldn’t when he whipped his ass. He then offered Paul a US Title shot at Crown Jewel.
Paul said “Good Luck, my friend” in Spanish and offered a handshake. Rey hesitated but eventually shook his hand, and they parted ways. After the promo, Kevin Patrick introduced a video package for Iyo Sky vs. Charlotte Flair. Back in the arena, Grayson Waller made his entrance with Austin Theory. They will face Cameron Grimes and Dragon Lee next…[c]
My Take: A fairly straight forward promo with Paul and Mysterio. It should be an entertaining match at Crown Jewel. Grimes and Dragon Lee feel like a very random tag team.
Grimes and Lee made their entrance after the break. Video was shown of Grimes preventing Grayson Waller’s interference in the Dragon Lee and Austin Theory match from last week.
2. Cameron Grimes and Dragon Lee vs. Austin Theory and Grayson Waller: Lee started the match with Theory and landed some flashy offense. Waller tagged in quickly, as did Grimes. The action spilled to the floor quickly as Grimes sent Waller into the post. Grimes and Lee then sent Theory into the post and fired up the crowd in the ring…[c]
Waller and Lee were in the ring as the show returned. Lee landed a tornado DDT on Waller and kicked Theory simultaneously. He then tagged in Grimes, who cleaned up on Waller and Theory. Lee dove on Waller at ringside, but then got tossed into the timekeeper’s area. Grimes went for a fall on Theory, but Waller broke it up with his rolling stunner. Theory then landed A-Town Down and got the win.
Grayson Waller and Austin Theory defeated Dragon Lee and Cameron Grimes at 6:03
After the match, we got a video recap of the introduction of Nick Aldis, and Kevin Owens return to Smackdown. We’ll get a sit down interview with Kevin Owens next…[c]
My Take: The match was ok, but WWE needs to be careful with Dragon Lee losing too much early and being associated with acts that have failed to get over like Grimes. He has a chance to be really special and they have to resist defining him into a category they don’t want him in.
The announce promoted a bunch of Bad Bunny information about his new album and upcoming tour, along with his DLC being available for WWE 2K23.
Kevin Owens was interviewed by Cathy Kelly. He spoke about his disappointment of getting separated from Sami Zayn the way he did, and that they didn’t get another shot at the Tag Team Titles. Kevin called out never having a match with Rey Mysterio or Sheamus, and said there were a lot of new faces to punch. He reiterated that his focus is making sure everyone knows whatever show he’s on is the Kevin Owens Show.
In the arena, Charlotte Flair made her entrance for the main event. She was followed by Iyo Sky, accompanied by Bayley and Dakota Kai. Alicia Taylor made ring introductions.
3. Iyo Sky (w/Bayley and Dakota Kai) vs. Charlotte Flair for the WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte attempted to apply the Figure Eight nearly immediately…[c]
Charlotte was in control as the match returned. She landed some chops and sent Iyo into the corner. Bayley grabbed Charlotte’s leg, and Iyo knocked her to ringside. She then followed up with a suicide dive to the floor. The match slowed down a bit as Iyo applied a headlock on the ground for a bit. Flair eventually powered free and landed a back suplex. Sky responded with some leg kicks. Both women got tied up in the ropes and Iyo dumped Charlotte to the floor. Iyo attempted to dive onto Charlotte, but she caught her and slammed her onto the apron…[c]
Iyo landed a gnarly sunset flip powerbomb from the top rope for a near fall. She then followed up with double knees in the corner, but only got a two count. Iyo the applied a crossface submission, but Charlotte was able to get her arm free and land a suplex. Both women got to their feet and Charlotte landed some heavy chops. She followed up with a fallaway slam and a suplex.
Charlotte climbed to the second rope and landed an avalanche Samoan Drop of sorts for a close near fall. Iyo recovered and went for a springboard flying nothing. Charlotte turned this into a Boston Crab, but Iyo reversed into a pinfall attempt for a near fall. Iyo landed a dropkick and went up top for a Moonsault. Charlotte got the knees up and landed a spear. Iyo rolled towards the ropes, but Charlotte covered her there and Bayley put her leg on the ropes.
Bayley ran away and Charlotte gave chase. Charlotte caught her and threw her over the announce table. Charlotte went for another spear in the ring, but didn’t notice that Iyo was holding the title belt and hit that instead. Iyo then covered and got the win.
Iyo Sky defeated Charlotte Flair at 13:26
After the match, Damage Ctrl continued their beatdown of Charlotte. Bianca Belair made a surprise return and helped clear the heels from the ring. Bayley saved Iyo from a KOD, but ended up taking one herself for her trouble. Bianca and Charlotte celebrated to end the show.
My Take: Good to see Bianca back. I don’t think Iyo has retained her title legitimately yet. It’d be nice if they gave her a couple of wins without going into the bag of tricks. The match itself was good, but the finish was mediocre. I liked the fact that Iyo used the title rather than having Bayley land a cheap shot on Charlotte, but it was essentially a distraction finish with extra steps to keep Charlotte strong. Overall, this was a strong show with a lot of star power. It sounds like WWE is putting in another strong effort for next week’s FS1 show, with Roman Reigns and John Cena both being advertised.