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Join 411’s Live WWE Smackdown Coverage

May 26, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown Image Credit: WWE

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Hey there people, it’s another Friday and another episode of WWE Smackdown. We’re pre-taped tonight as the WWE is already in Saudi soaking in that sweet sweet blood money. Since last week was pretty smooth, my hunch is this week is the one filled with more recaps, hype packages, and general time filling but we’ll have to wait and see. On the agenda this week, AJ Styles takes on Karrion Kross, Sheamus battles the floundering Austin Theory for Theory’s US title, Raquel Rodriguez will team up with Shotzi again, Cameron Grimes will wrestle, LA Knight and Rick Boogs will have a match after their failed team last week, and we’ll get a KO Show which I’m sure wont end with any kind of violence or posing. Anyway that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

Up first, Sheamus. Man, the reactions for Austin Theory just keep getting more and more tepid. If you want another clue about how manufactured the presentation is, count the close up cuts especially when you know it’s a taped show.

Match #1 – US Title Match: (c) Austin Theory vs. Sheamus w/ Ridge Holland and Butch

They tie up, Sheamus forces Theory into a corner then Theory grabs a side headlock but runs into a shoulder block from Sheamus. Test of strength spot, Theory doesn’t like it so lands a kick but then gets clotheslined by Sheamus. Theory fights back with a dropkick then he tries the Bodhran Beats, that goes poorly as Sheamus catches his arm and lands elbows then hoists Theory on his shoulders. They wind up on the apron, Theory shoves Sheamus into the ring post then hits a back suplex on the apron to some truly poor sound editing. That sends us to break.

Theory is still landing strikes as we come back. Sheamus lands a back elbow, then a really awkward kick, not sure who messed that one up. Back elbow from Theory gets a 1 count then he grabs a chin lock. Sheamus catches a kick but eats a rolling Blockbuster from Theory for a 2 count. Now Sheamus starts to fire up, he lands a headbutt then some punches. More offense from Sheamus as he lands corner clotheslines, Theory avoids a Finlay Roll but eats an Irish Curse for a 2 count. The obviously fake crowd noise is becoming a deterrent to the match at this point. Sheamus wants an Alabama Slam but Theory slips free. Uppercut and a tilt a whirl slam from Sheamus. Sheamus tries an avalanche White Noise, Theory squirms free and climbs up there with him, landing a few strikes then pulls Sheamus into an Argentine backbreaker for a spinning slam and a 2 count. Theory to the apron, and a rolling attack is intercepted with a knee strike for a 2 count. Holland and Butch stop Theory from using a chair, which sets up Sheamus for some Bodhran Beats, he gets up to 25 this time. Sheamus wants a Brogue Kick, but Pretty Deadly jump Butch and Holland at ringside, that distracts Sheamus. Sheamus with Bodhran shots to Wilson but Theory rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the win and a ton of piped in boos.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Austin Theory retained the title

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: Decent match, the obviously fake crowd noise hurt this a ton though. The commercial break didn’t do too many favors, and if someone as good as Sheamus can only get you to this level in the ring that’s a problem.

Next, a video recap of the Usos jumping Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens then Roman Reigns reading them the riot act. Also the Usos losing to the LWO.

In the back the Bloodline brood. Roman tells Heyman to inform Jimmy and Jey about them not being in Saudi Arabia, but Roman wants to make it up to them. He wants everyone in the ring next week for the 1000 day celebration for Roman. Roman wants the whole family there, especially Jey. Jimmy gets up to leave, Roman stops him but Jimmy wont sit when Roman tells him. Roman stands and tells Jimmy to do something. Jimmy thinks about it, and Roman reminds him that he’s always been able to beat Jimmy, and Jimmy better respect, obey, and acknowledge Roman. Jey plays peacemaker and helps Jimmy out of the room. Jimmy and Roman do not have the same chemistry that Roman and Jey do.

Back to the ring, here comes Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi. Michael Cole promises we’ll see how Raquel and Shotzi became a tag team after this break. Does everyone have the memory of a goldfish here? Those two were a team for a couple of months before Shotzi’s injury led to Raquel teaming up with Liv Morgan. Anyway that sends us to break.

Post break the pretty much DOA Damage Control head to the ring and we get a recap of Shotzi helping out Raquel on Monday.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: Damage CTRL (Bayley and Iyo Sky) vs. Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi

Bayley and Raquel start us off, some evasive moves from Bayley then she tags in Iyo. Iyo and Bayley get shoved down by Raquel, then Raquel runs over Iyo and tags in Shotzi. All four women attack now, Bayley and Iyo get sent out of the ring, and Raquel holds open the ropes so Shotzi can hit a suicide dive. Shotzi and Iyo are back in the ring. Raquel tags in and runs over Iyo a few times before Bayley tags in and jumps Raquel from behind. That sends us to break.

Iyo tags in as we come back and dropkicks Raquel. Some arm wringers from Iyo, she tags in Bayley but Raquel clobbers both of them down. Raquel boots Iyo and Bayley then tags in Shotzi. Shotzi gets to run wild for a bit including a roaring elbow then a suplex into the ropes. Iyo distracts the ref, Bayley rakes the eyes and tags out. Iyo and Bayley with a double kick, then things break down. Bayley and Raquel fight on the floor as Iyo lands a kick to Shotzi. Shotzi avoids a butterfly suplex, and hits a Tiger suplex but Bayley breaks up the pin. Raquel yanks Bayley out of the ring and tags in. Shotzi and Raquel try a double team move but that’s stopped by Bayley and Iyo slams Raquel’s face into the corner. Bayley tags back in and tries a Sunset Flip, Iyo is meant to dropkick Raquel to finish the move but she jumps over Bayley to dropkick Shotzi instead as Raquel sits down on Bayley to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi won

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Average match. The breakup of Damage Control continues to build, and it’s for the best at this point.

After that, we replay part of the sit down interview with Seth Rollins from Monday. It wasn’t great then, it’s not great now.

After that we get a replay of the same AJ Styles hype package from last week. Yeah, here’s our filler segment I guess.

Here comes Hit Row, to some very fake boos. They’re wearing white ski masks, which Cole calls Mr. Wrestling 2 masks, anyway Ashante takes on Cameron Grimes after this break.

Post break, a video hype package for Grayson Waller.

Back to the ring and here comes Cameron Grimes.

Match #3: Ashate the Adonis w/ Top Dolla and B-Fab vs. Cameron Grimes

Grimes grabs a side headlock then shoulder blocks Ashante. Some rope running, and Ashante kind of botches taking a head scissors takeover, Crimes then lands a kick and a running Shooting Star Press for 2. Ashante with some body shots in the corner but Grimes gets tripped by Dolla. That allows Ashante to retain control, and lands a dropkick. Grimes flips out of a back suplex then hits some running elbows. Some sweetening of the noise for Grimes, but he hits the Cave In and pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Cameron Grimes won

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Not a bad follow up to his debut, I might have preferred more of a squash for Grimes given that Hit Row is basically enhancement talent.

Post match Baron Corbin jumps Grimes on the entrance stage. Fake boos for Corbin as he poses.

We get a recap of Asuka going full evil clown and hitting Bianca Belair with the Poison Mist for a couple of weeks, including Asuka beating Zelina Vega last week to earn a title shot.

To the ring and here comes Bianca Belair. Belair will talk after this break.

Post break commentary remind us to go see Fast X or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because former wrestlers are involved in those successful films. To the ring, Belair says the Asuka she fights tomorrow isn’t the same one who fought her at WrestleMania. That Asuka just wanted to be the RAW women’s champion, even though we’re on Smackdown. But this Asuka wants more than just the title. If Asuka wanted a rematch all she had to do was ask, instead she waited to jump Belair and humiliate her in front of her friends and family. The fake boos here are annoying. She brings up being misted “last week” and has to talk about her hands still be stained by the mist because it hasn’t actually been a week. Belair isn’t just giving Asuka a rematch, she’s giving her a fight, and she’s going to fight until she hears “and still”. This all brings out Asuka, who jumps Belair from behind and grabs an armbar. Some officials show up to separate them, Asuka charges but Belair tries a Kiss of Death that drops Asuka onto one of the suited jobbers. Asuka heads out and makes faces at Belair as Belair hugs her belt.

In the back Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens talk.

LA Knight heads to the ring. After this break we’ll get LA Knight and Rick Boogs.

Rick Boogs is coming to the ring as we come back, and get a replay of the Street Profits pinning Rick Boogs last week, then LA Knight dropping him with the BFT.

Match #4: LA Knight vs. Rick Boogs

The Street Profits come out to join commentary for the match. Boogs tosses Knight around and they head out of the ring. Knight tries to beg off but Boogs just punches him, then scoops him up for a military press onto the announce table. Back in the ring Knight attacks Boogs with strikes. Boogs overpowers Knight then misses a corner spear and posts himself. Stomps in the corner from Knight then a running knee. Knight slams Boogs down but misses a knee drop. Boogs hoists up and tosses Knight then he hits a release Norther Lights throw. Knight with some punches but Boogs is firing up and hits a high elevation flapjack. Some gutwrenches from Boogs, his strength is still impressive. Knight avoids a Boogs Cruise with an eye rake, BFT and that’ll do it.


Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Solid enough match, Boogs is still getting his legs back under him and Knight is finally picking up some steam in the ring in response to all the fan support.

Post match Knight gets a mic and tells the Street Profits that he can take out the trash, and warns they wont get the smoke, they’ll get smoked by LA Knight, yeah!

Karrion Kross talks, a stubborn man only sees one path before him, and when you become that focused you fail to see the danger lying in wait. AJ shouldn’t be worried about Seth Rollins, he should be worried about what condition he’s in after Kross gets through with him.

Back to the ring, here comes AJ Styles. AJ will take on Kross after this break.

Video for Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn as we come back.

To the ring, here comes Karrion Kross.

Match #5: AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett

Kross goes right after AJ with strikes and then bounces him off the middle turnbuckle. Corner offense from Kross then an exploder suplex. AJ fights back with a dropkick and strikes of his own. Another dropkick from AJ then he sets for the Phenomenal Forearm but Scarlett distracts him and that allows Kross to hit a superkick. Michin shows up to support AJ and she chases Scarlett to the back as we cut to break.

Kross is in control as we come back. During the break Kross hit AJ with a powerbomb into the ring post. AJ starts fighting back but Kross cuts him off with a back elbow. Face lock from Kross, AJ fights free with strikes and an enziguri that staggers Kross. AJ starts rolling and hits a Pele kick then a sliding elbow. Death Valley Neckbreaker from AJ gets a 2 count. Kross counter a tornado DDT with a Northern Lights suplex, then he floats through and follows up with a Fisherman’s Buster that gets a near fall. Kross wants a Kross Hammer, but AJ ducks it and unloads with a striking flurry, then he tries the Styles Clash but Kross shoves him away. AJ to the apron, Phenomenal Forearm and that’ll do it.


Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: Generally good, AJ can still go despite his age and he and Kross actually showed decent chemistry. AJ had to go over here, but I wouldn’t hate a rematch between these two if AJ isn’t winning the big gold belt.

That sends us to break.

AJ Styles gets interviewed at gorilla after the match, he says Seth Rollins can be anything he wants but he can’t be Phenomenal, and AJ is going to be a phenomenal beating on him tomorrow and become the first world heavyweight champion.

Commentary runs down the Night of Champions card for us, then we get a hype package for Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar.

After all that here come Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to help set up the KO Show, which will start after this break.

Post break we’re reminded that Money in the Bank qualifying matches will begin next week, along with the celebration of Roman hitting 1,000 days as Universal champion.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn welcome us to the Kevin and Sami Show. Owens reminds us about the upcoming tag team title match tomorrow, but before that there are some things to be said. He introduces Roman and company, but out comes Paul Heyman with the titles. Heyman is amazed that people still don’t get the plot around here, the Tribal Chief comes out when the Tribal Chief wants to come out. The Usos music hits and here come Jimmy and Jey with mics, Heyman looks shocked. Jimmy and Jey talk to the ring, Jey remembers what they did to them last week, they’ve got a big problem and it’s not Roman tomorrow. Sami wants to talk but Owens has this. Owens has a spoiler, he knew Roman wouldn’t come out, he wants to talk to Jimmy and Jey though. For months Sami has been saying they need to help Jimmy and Jey, well Owens doesn’t get it but Sami thinks they deserve better. Well if they wont listen to Sami maybe they’ll listen to Owens, Sami has been right about everything the whole time. He’s right about how Roman treats them, and about how the Usos deserves better. Roman walks around here claiming to be the Head of the Table, but we all know the Usos are the Heart of the Table. Without Jimmy and Jey the Bloodline wouldn’t be anything. But Roman treats them like the appendix of the table. Roman uses them, they don’t do anything unless Roman orders it. Owens wants to know how they look at themselves in the mirror, going from the greatest tag team in WWE history to being nothing more than errand boys. Jimmy is amused by this, the best tag team is here and Jimmy calls himself the Tribal Chief. That brings out Roman while Paul Heyman looks utterly aghast at what Jimmy said. Jey positions himself between Roman and Jimmy for a moment, Roman takes the mic from Jey and tosses it aside. Roman stares down Jimmy, then tosses his mic away as well. Sami gets Roman’s attention, asking if Roman knows the Bloodline is collapsing, and it’s all Roman’s fault. Roman smacks Sami’s mic away, then Owens hits a Stunner to Roman and a brawl breaks out. Owens and Sami look to be winning before Solo Sikoa shows up and drops both Sami and Owens with Samoan Spikes. Roman wants blood now and Solo tosses Sami into a brutal Spear from Roman. Jimmy and Jey pick up the fallen tag team belts, then Jey hands his set to Solo while Jimmy debates doing the same for Roman and Jey has to talk sense into him, taking the belts form him and handing them to Roman. Jey really should just let Jimmy take the ass beating that Roman’s offering. Roman gets the other belts from Solo and poses with both sets. Jimmy pouts in the corner as the rest of the Bloodline pose.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree