By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,267)
Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
Aired live November 24, 2023 on FS1
A video recap went through last week’s story of the formation of the Women’s WarGames match and the teams involved, culminating with Becky Lynch joining as the final member of Bianca and Charlotte’s team in the Main Event segment. Corey Graves returned and joined Kevin Patrick and Michael Cole on commentary.
A “I Mizzed in my pants” sign was shown in the crowd as the show started. I’m sure some internal conversations will result from that. Becky Lynch’s music hit and she made her entrance with Bianca, Charlotte, and Shotzi. The stage setup is different tonight due to being the same building as Survivor Series tomorrow. The WarGames cage hovered above the ring. A Becky chant broke out and she said it’s been a while since she’s come around to Friday Night Smackdown.
She addressed the elephant in the room and said she’s teaming with who she’s teaming with because she’d never pass up an opportunity to slap the head off of Damage Ctrl. Bianca spoke up and said it was time for all of them to get their lick back because now they had four members and a solid team. Shotzi screamed at nothing and said that Damage Ctrl had made her unbreakable and she couldn’t wait to unleash her frenzy of madness on them. It was a very manic and insane delivery.
Charlotte said tomorrow is a new beginning for us (looking at Becky) and said it would be the end of Damage Ctrl. This brought out Bayley, who said she’s never see the day where Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were back together fighting the good fight. Bayley tried to sow dissent by recalling personal conversations between them where Charlotte and Becky had taken shots at each other behind the others back. She instructed Bianca to be careful what kind of teammates she chose for herself.
Bayley went on to say that motherhood had made Becky soft, and that Damage Ctrl was the only real team with cohesion heading into Wargames. Charlotte responded that she was out there by herself, and asked where the rest of her squad was. Becky then said she didn’t come to Chicago to talk, she came to fight, and challenged two members of Damage Ctrl to take on her and Charlotte in the Main Event. Bayley accepted and quipped that things would implode faster than she thought.
After the segment concluded the announce team introduced a video package that highlighted the return of Randy Orton. Judgement Day members Damien Priest and Finn Balor made their entrance for the Tag Team Title match with Rhea Ripley…[c]
My Take: A solid opening segment that focused on Charlotte and Becky’s past issues, and Bayley’s overconfidence about the cohesion of her own team. Lots of directions they can go in the Main Event to create problems heading into WarGames for both squads. Shotzi was uh…..not good.
1. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins “The Street Profits vs. Damien Priest and Finn Balor “Judgement Day” for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championships: Priest and Dawkins started the match. Priest landed a kick to the gut and tagged in Balor. The Profits returned fire with a dropkick off of a blind tag from Montez Ford. Both teams traded offense and made some tags, resulting in Ford and Priest being active in the ring. B-Fab and Bobby Lashley watched the match on a screen backstage. Ford sent Priest to ringside and then splashed Finn Balor on the floor. Priest ran from around the corner and sent Ford flying into the announce table with a body block…[c]
Ford traded strikes with Priest and lost the exchange. Priest tried to follow up with a corner splash, but ate the post instead. Balor was able to tag in, but Ford eluded him and tagged Dawkins soon after. He cleaned up on both men and then tagged in Ford, and they landed a double team Doomsday Blockbuster on Balor for a near fall. Ford and Balor battled inside the ring, and Priest took down Dawkins on the floor. Priest tagged in and landed a double team suplex and leg drop on Ford. Dawkins rushed in to break up the pin.
Priest attempted a South of Heaven, but Dawkins avoided it. The Profits attempted the revelation, but it went poorly because of Priest’s height. Ford cleared Balor from the ring and went for a top rope splash, but interference from Ripley allowed Balor to recover and push Ford off the ropes. Balor then landed a double stomp from the top rope on Ford and got the win.
Judgement Day defeated The Street Profits at 9:47
Backstage, Charlotte and Becky got into an argument backstage about their plans for the main event and whether or not they trusted each other. Bianca tried to play peacemaker but it went poorly. Becky got upset when Bianca made it clear that she was the one who told Charlotte to make the call, and left while saying that she was going to go prepare to fight.
My Take: I was hoping for a title change there, but this seemed like the most likely outcome going into WarGames. I think the idea for the main event is that neither team is going to be on the same page, which makes sense given the context.
A Dragon Lee video package aired where he spoke about his family lineage and growing the physical and mental toughness to compete in Lucha Libre and WWE. In the arena, Mike Rome made introductions for the Grayson Waller Effect. Waller welcomed the crowd to the show and said he hoped tonight could be the start of a beautiful friendship. He then brought out “Kevin Owens” who was just Austin Theory in a KO outfit.
Theory acted winded when he got to the ring. Before they could say anything, the actual Kevin Owens made his way to ringside. He explained that his suspension ended today, which Theory and Waller were unaware of. Waller clarified that they were just going to make fun of him, and Owens complained that he thought they were going to bury the hatchet. Owens said he should punch them both in the face at the same time, and Waller replied that if it wasn’t for Owens a few weeks ago he would have beaten LA Knight.
Owens said you know what happens when you say somebody’s name, which prompted Knight to walk out. Knight called Theory A-Town Clown and said it didn’t matter if KO or anybodye else was there, Waller losing to him was a fact of life. Owens agreed and Waller said his opinion didn’t matter, and Owens said he’s the guest so his opinion is the most important. Theory and Waller decided to punch Owens and Knight, who then decided to punch them first. Owens and Knight cleared the heels from the ring and destroyed the set of the talk show…[c]
My Take: A mildly entertaining talking segment, but nothing you’re going to remember tomorrow.
2. Kevin Owens and LA Knight vs. Austin Theory and Grayson Waller: Knight and Owens took control early and landed some offense on Waller. Theory and Knight goofed up a spot along the ropes and Waller had to help things reset by sending Knight to the floor. Knight recovered and briefly went on the attack, but Waller and Theory overwhelmed him with numbers on the floor…[c]
KO fired up the crowd while Knight struggled against Theory and Waller making rapid tags. Knight scrambled for a tag and KO took out both Waller and Theory with superkicks. He then climbed to the top rope and landed a Swanton on Waller for a near fall. Theory and Waller turned things around with a bit of ref interference. Knight protested and made things worse, which allowed Waller and Theory to isolate Owens and make frequent tags. KO attempted a recovery, but Waller pulled Knight from the apron and Theory landed a rolling Blockbuster to Owens for a near fall.
Theory drove KO back into the heel corner, and Waller tagged in to land a backbreaker. He then attempted a middle rope elbow, but Owens escaped and tagged in Knight. He entered the match and blitzed Theory with strikes and a lariat. He then landed a DDT on Waller, and a unique over the shoulder slam that I have never seen. He followed up with a powerslam and a running elbow drop. Waller jumped in to break up the tag.
Owens jumped into the ring to prevent A-Town Down and landed a Stunner to Waller. Knight then landed a BFT on Theory and picked up the win.
LA Knight and Kevin Owens defeated Austin Theory and Grayson Waller at 11:58
After the match, Bianca Belair confronted Becky Lynch backstage and told her that she was wrong earlier. She said Charlotte was not trying to get smart with her. Bianca said there was a time when people thought she and Bianca wouldn’t be on the same page, and she needed Becky to be on the same page with Charlotte later. Becky responded that everybody seems to forget that she’s a hothead. She said she’s Irish and a fighter and Bianca is asking her to be someone else. Becky took a moment and told Bianca that she would be cool.
Carlito made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: A rather paint by numbers tag match, but the crowd was very into KO and Knight. Charlotte and Bianca’s backstage conversation was productive. They established that Becky would make an effort to chill out, and I guess we’ll see if Charlotte gives her any reason not to trust her later.
A video aired that recapped Santos Escobar’s promo from last week. Carlito had a microphone and said it had been a long time since he’d been in Chicago. He said Survivor Series would be his first match on a PLE in 13 years, and that was cool, but all he could think about was his brother Rey Mysterio and getting his hands on Santos Escobar for hurting him. He addressed Carlito in Spanish, and told Escobar that he had made a very big mistake. Santos walked out and headed to the ring.
Santos responded in Spanish at first. He accused Carlito of failing to represent the LWO, and said he didn’t have the tattoo or wear the colors. Santos said the LWO was his family, and that if it wasn’t for Carlito his family would still be together and Rey would be healthy. A brawl broke out and both men spilled to ringside. Referees broke it up eventually, but Santos made an end around through the crowd and ambushed Carlito from behind with a flying knee strike…[c]
My Take: Santos continues to be fiery in his actions and promos. The crowds already hate him and he’s just getting started. This is off to a promising start.
Carlito walked backstage and was immediately assaulted by Santos. Dragon Lee appeared on the scene and quickly dispatched Santos with some strikes and a rare backstage hurracarrana. In the arena, Pretty Deadly made their entrance for the next match. They will face the Brawling Brutes….again.
3. Butch and Ridge Holland “The Brawling Brutes” vs. Kit Wilson and Elton Prince “Pretty Deadly”: Ridge had both Kit and Elton out of sorts early on until Elton sent him out of the ring with a dropkick. Butch tagged in and Ridge left the ringside area and walked up to the stage. Pretty Deadly landed a double team chestbreaker as Ridge walked all the way to the back. Butch continued to scrap and got the better out of Pretty Deadly with some rapid fire strikes.
He landed Brogue Kick on Elton, and then used some finger manipulation. He didn’t see a blind tag, and got rolled up by Kit after landed the Bitter End on Elton. Kit picked up the surprise three count.
Pretty Deadly defeated The Brawling Brutes at 3:46
Backstage, Shotzi approached Charlotte and reminded her of how she embraced her after Damage Ctrl bullied her and forced her to shave her head. She said Becky is probably just as hurt about their past as she is, and a few key words could go a long way to changing things for the better…[c]
My Take: Are we getting a last minute PLE substitution with Dragon Lee replacing Carlito? They are going hard on the Becky and Charlotte reunion tour here. I’m curious if it gets the big reaction they are clearly expecting.
Nick Aldis was interviewed backstage and was asked for an update about Carlito. He said he’s hurt and in no condition to compete tomorrow night. Dragon Lee approached and said he wanted to teach Santos a lesson. Aldis granted his request and wished him good luck. The announce team then went over the updated Survivor Series card.
Backstage, Judgement Day cut a promo backstage. They addressed Randy Orton, and said the Judgment Day would make sure he doesn’t have another comeback. Elsewhere, Becky and Charlotte both told each other they were good. In the arena, Damage Ctrl made their entrance for the main event. They will face Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair next…[c]
My Take: Dragon Lee and Santos aren’t likely to waste that opportunity. I expect we’ll get a showcase.
Charlotte made her entrance with Shotzi and Bianca. They were followed by Becky Lynch.
4. Charlotte and Becky Lynch (w/Bianca Belair and Shotzi) vs. Bayley and Asuka (w/Damage Ctrl): Becky and Charlotte got along early on. Becky landed an exploder suplex and sent Bayley to the floor. She tagged Charlotte, who performed a moonsault and landed on Bayley and Asuka at ringside…[c]
Asuka and Bayley cut off and isolated Becky in the heel corner during the break, and continued as the show returned. Asuka held onto an arm hold, but Becky punched her way to her feet. Asuka pulled Becky’s hair to send her back to the mat. Becky scrambled and made a hot tag to Charlotte, who landed a cross body on both Asuka and Charlotte in the ring. The crowd wooed along as she landed repeated chops to both Bayley and Asuka. Flair followed up with a fallaway slam to Bayley and a front handspring into a clothesline.
Charlotte landed a big boot on Bayley and covered for a near fall. Charlotte missed a tag from Asuka, who entered and landed a Codebreaker as Charlotte attempted a Figure Four on Bayley. She covered and got a near fall. Bayley then tagged in and landed a second rope elbow, but Becky broke up the tag. Asuka and Bayley forced Becky back to the outside, but she quickly got back on the apron to take a tag.
Becky landed kicks in the corner and a double DDT on both Asuka and Bayley. She covered Bayley for a near fall. Becky landed a shotgun dropkick from the top and then transitioned into the Disarmher. Asuka provided some interference and Bayley attempted the Roseplant. Becky avoided it and managed to land the Manhandle Slam. Charlotte landed a spear on Asuka, but she landed on Becky. Charlotte and Becky argued, and Bayley shoved Becky into Charlotte and then rolled her up for the win.
Bayley and Asuka defeated Becky and Charlotte at 11:45
After the match, Charlotte and Becky had some words until Shotzi and Bianca entered the ring to play peacemaker. Becky left the ring in frustration to close the show.
My Take: Interesting booking choice to close the show. I wonder if this means the babyfaces put things together tomorrow and it’s Bayley and her squad that end up with the badly timed miscommunication? Only time will tell. I appreciate the effort to create as much mystery as possible about the conclusion of the women’s WarGames match.