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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.27.23

January 27, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown Sami Zayn Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.27.23  

Well everyone, this is it. The full on go home show for the Royal Rumble which takes place tomorrow. This is episode of Smackdown is the WWE’s last chance to convince you to watch, and after last years Rumble sucked out loud they need a good one this time around. The tag team tournament continues this week with Drew McIntyre and Sheamus taking on Hit Row, please don’t let it go long, and the much better on paper Legado del Fantasma taking on Imperium. Karrion Kross will battle Rey Mysterio in a bout I’m rather interested in, and Kevin Owens looks to build momentum going into his uWu title shot at the Rumble when he meets Solo Sikoa. Might be as good a time as any to get that first loss on Sikoa’s record, he can still be the badass enforcer but if they run that streak too much the weight of it might limit his options. Brock Lesnar will be here, because reasons, or at least he’s been advertised. A bunch of Rumble related shenanigans will likely take place as well. Anyway that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

We first get a recap of the Trial of Sami Zayn from RAW. After that we see The Usos and Solo Sikoa arrive at the venue. Sami shows up to talk with Jey, he says he’s not going in the building but had to tell Jey face to face that he’ll never forget what Jey did for him and that Jey can get anything from him at any time. Sami then heads off as the intro plays.

Up first, here comes Rey Mysterio for his match with Karrion Kross.

Match #1: Rey Mysterio vs. Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett

Kross looks for power early, but Rey lands a basement drop kick then a head scissors but Rey runs into a clothesline. Kross sends Rey out of the ring, but Rey slips off of his shoulders and sends him into the ring post then hits a sliding sunset flip bomb into the barricade to send us to break.

We come back to Kross hitting a pump handle backbreaker. Kross sends Rey on the top rope, he attacks the mask of Rey but Rey fights him off only to get dropped into the tree of woe position. Rey sits up and Kross posts himself, then Rey lands an enziguri. Rey goes for the 619, avoids a trip from Scarlett and does hit the 619. Now Rey goes up top, hits the splash, but only 2. Kross stands and pulls up Rey, Northern Lights suplex then he rolls through for another but Rey grabs a crucifix and gets the 3 count. That felt off, I wonder if something happened to Rey.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Rey Mysterio won

Rating: 2 stars

Pity about the commercial break if this was always going to be so short, the interesting parts were done in replay. Also that’ll pretty much be it for Kross, went even with Drew but this didn’t do him any favors and again, Rey was down for a bit after the splash spot and I wonder if he didn’t tweak something.

We get a recap of Brock Lesnar attacking Bobby Lashley on RAW.

After that here comes Austin Theory for some reason, he’ll take up time after this break.

We come back to a replay of a Damage Control bit where they announce they’ll be in the Rumble. OK then.

Back to the ring, Theory has a mic and some slightly sweetened boos. The champ is here. OK then. Not only did Theory retain his title on Monday, now he’s going straight to the Royal Rumble which he thinks he’ll win. This is interrupted by the New Day. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods both have mics and talk on their way to the ring. Kofi says he only respects Austin Creed, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the city of Austin, Texas. Woods says Theory comes from the 3 hours show so he’s got time to waste every week, but Smackdown is efficient so let’s get to business. Kofi mocks Theory claiming to win the Rumble, but if not Theory then who? What about Woods and Kofi? Because when one of them wins, they all win the Rumble. Pretty sure that’s not how that works. Theory objects to being interrupted, calls himself the biggest star in WWE, and God help us all here comes The Miz. Miz explains to Theory that he’s been in Rumble’s since before Theory hit puberty, which Theory correctly points out just means Miz is old. Miz rolls with that, and then says he’ll be the one winning the Rumble as it’s the only thing he hasn’t won in this business. There’s nothing more dangerous than Miz with something on his shoulder. Miz and Theory attack, but here comes Bobby Lashley because who doesn’t love a revolving door segment. Bobby runs wild on everyone, Miz takes the worst Flatliner in history before Bobby cuts Theory in half with a Spear. Bobby gets a mic, since Brock Lesnar interrupted his title match he’s about to tear apart the Rumble, but here’s Brock Lesnar through the crowd. Brock with a big old F5 to Bobby and then he gets a mic, and he says he’ll see Bobby tomorrow at the Rumble. Well that was certainly a time killing segment.

In the back Kevin Owens prepares for his match with Solo Sikoa, as does Solo. That sends us to break.

Video from Rhea Ripley, she’s going to be in the Rumble and plans on winning it. OK then.

Lacey Evans is here, we’ll let’s see how this goes. She’s still acting very heelish, do they not know how to properly signpost characters anymore?

Match #2: Lacey Evans vs. Jazmin Allure

They tie up, Evans tosses Allure around to pretty much no reaction. Some trash talk from Evans then she blocks a punch and sort of hits something? Not sure if that was supposed to be a knee or a pump kick but it didn’t land either way. Part of Evans’s wrestling boot falls apart, thankfully she rolls with it. Body shot from Evans, then a Women’s Right, and Evans follows with the Cobra Clutch to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Lacey Evans won

Rating: Zucchini squash

Well, not exactly a delicious squash as there were issues but it’s nice to see Allure as she’s been making the rounds on Elevation and whatnot.

Evans gets a mic and says she’ll win the Rumble tomorrow. OK then. Evans then dumps Allure out of the ring.

In the back Kayla interviews Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. She doesn’t even reach their shoulders. Drew and Sheamus predict each other will win the Rumble with increasingly aggressive slaps. Kayla interrupts their chop fest to remind them they’re wrestling Hit Row tonight. Sheamus wants to send them back to skid row. That match will be up after this break.

Post break commentary puts over the Rumble before we send to the Cody Rhodes hype video about his rehab and return at the Rumble.

To the ring now, and here come Drew and Sheamus but they’re jumped on the entrance ramp by the Viking Raiders. Drew gets slammed in the barricade by both of them then the same for Sheamus. Erik with a knee strike to each of them, then Ivar follows up with the cross body into the barricade. Officials show up and break things up as we head to break.

Post break Hit Row is here to even less of a reaction than Lacey Evans, it seems Drew and Sheamus went back after the Viking Raiders. Adam Pearce is out here to try and sort things out. Pearce says Drew and Sheamus gave up their place in the tournament but Hit Row isn’t getting a free pass, they’ll instead face Braun Strowman and Ricochet.

Match #3 – Tag Team Match: Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Hit Row (Top Dolla and Ashante the Adonis) w/ B-Fab

Adonis and Ricochet start us off, Ricochet easily out moves him and unloads with strikes. Cross body from Ricochet then a scoop slam. Some acrobatics from Ricochet then a drop kick to send Adonis out of the ring. Ricochet sets to dive but Dolla gets in his way so he eats a kick to the face. All that allows Adonis to come in with a drop kick. Some weak ground work from Adonis then Dolla tags in. Dolla lands a big boot to utter silence. Braun and Dolla jaw jack for a bit then Adonis tags in. B-Fab with a comical punch for a cheap shot. Dolla tags back in, he and Adonis miscommunicate about what they’re doing and Adonis tags back in for a scoop slam. Ricochet with the comeback now, he lands strikes, flips out of a back suplex, then tags in Braun. Braun runs wild on everyone, calls for the end and Ricochet dives onto Dolla to set up Braun for a Last Ride style Monster Bomb to end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Braun Strowman and Ricochet won

Rating: 2 stars

I’m pretty sure Adonis and Dolla lost their spot a few different times, Adonis remains really rough in the ring and there’s 0 crowd reaction for them. Braun and Ricochet actually might have some decent tag team chemistry.

In the back Kayla interviews Kevin Owens. Owens wants to win the title tomorrow, because two years ago at the Rumble he was all set to beat Roman but the Bloodline got involved and robbed him. Roman hasn’t done anything by himself in the last 3 years, so Owens might as well take out as many of them as he can now. Jimmy and Jey walk up and the officials stop them from fighting, and Pearce ejects the Usos from the building as he’s not losing another match tonight. That sends us to break.

In the back Jimmy and Jey are escorted out of the arena. But Jey gets his phone and asks Sami for a favor.

To the ring, we get the Live in Fear music for Bray Wyatt. It’s not Bray, it’s LA Knight in a get up with a small little lantern doing a Bray impression. Knight pulls off the clothes and wants to talk to us. The biggest moment in RAW history happened on Monday when LA Knight showed up. Being the benevolent man he is, Knight gives us what we want even though we don’t deserve it. Then here comes the Undertaker to assist Bray Wyatt because neither of them could take him one on one. . . yeah! Bray has 24 hours before their match, and he wants Bray to bring everything he’s got, come out with whatever version of himself gives him a tingle, but when the match goes Pitch Black Bray isn’t coming back. That’s just a fact of life, yeah! Bray’s on the entrance stage in his rocking chair. He knows Knight isn’t smiling on the inside. The time for talking has come and gone, tomorrow night Knight is going to meet the man he’s been looking for. So enjoy yourself tonight, have a good night, because tomorrow when the lights go out, well you’ll see. Up in the rafters we see Uncle Howdy posing as we cut to break. LA Knight has done a ton to make this work and he’s getting over, serious kudos to him.

Back to the ring as we come back from break.

Match #4 – Tag Team Match: Legado del Fantasma (Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde) w/ Zelina Vega vs. Imperium (Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci)

Wilde and Kaiser get us going. They tie up and Kaiser gets Wilde in the corner. They trade a few holds with Kaiser getting the better of things. Wilde lands a chop and looks to get aerial but botches his arm drag. Right hand from Kaiser drops Wilde and he tags in Vinci. Vinci works a side headlock then some strikes. Wilde gets free and tags in Cruz. Cruz with some jabs then a chop. Vinci is amused by this and clobbers him with a clothesline. Kaiser tags in and goes back to work on Cruz. Cruz fights back with some strikes but he jumps into a right hand from Kaiser. Kaiser with headbutts then he trash talks Cruz and boots Wilde on the apron. Again Cruz looks to fight back, he’s able to tag out and Wilde starts working to send both Kaiser and Vinci out of the ring, but when they go for dives Kaiser and Vinci cut them off with clotheslines in the ring to send us to break.

Kaiser is working over Wilde as we come back, he lands a suplex out of the corner then hits a punt kick. Vinci tags in and lands a chop then a scoop slam. Kaiser tags back in but Wilde lands a few strikes only for Kaiser to cut him off with a “Nein”. Wilde hits a tornado DDT and both men are down looking to tag out. Both men tag out and Cruz gets to run wild for a bit on Vinci then kicks Kaiser and hits a double drop kick. Cruz and Wilde with stereo dives to take out Vinci and Kaiser. Back in the ring Cruz runs into a Vinci back elbow, Vinci climbs the ropes but Cruz jumps up there with him and hits a hurricanrana. Wilde tags in, hits a splash but Kaiser breaks up the pin. Cruz attacks Kaiser and sends him out of the ring but misses a baseballs slide and Kaiser slams him on the floor. Back in the ring Vinci lifts Wilde on the top rope into a massive Military Press from the top. Vinci might have tweaked his knee, he tags in Kaiser who hits the Imperial Bomb with Vinci to get the win.


Rating: 3.5 stars

Slightly generous 3.5 but enough better than 3 to earn it I think. These two had a rough road as both teams are nominal heels, but they worked pretty well together. I wouldn’t hate a rematch down the line.

Next we get the usual By the Numbers video package for the Rumble.

In the back Kevin Owens makes his final preparations for the main event as we head to break.

Post break we get a video of Xia Li saying she’s in the Rumble. OK then.

Now we get a video recap of Sonya Deville interrupting Charlotte Flair on a podcast earlier today. No one cares what Poochie is doing, please stop this. In the back Adam Pearce is approached by Poochie. Charlotte knows Sonya is annoying, and she’s annoyed her way into making Charlotte say she can have a title match. Next week that match will take place, at least it’s not on the Rumble. Also next week, Strowman and Ricochet vs. Imperium which could be all kinds of awesome.

To the ring, here comes Kevin Owens.

Match #5: Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa

We get a fight right away as both men just unload with punches. Owens grabs a side headlock then hits a shoulder block but Solo wont fall. Solo runs into Owens but Owens wont fall either and they trade shoulder blocks for a bit before Owens lands a back elbow then a senton. Cannonball attempt from Owens but Solo rolls out of the ring, so Owens follows him but Solo slams him into the barricade then the ring post then back into the barricade as we get a commercial.

We come back to some strikes being traded, Solo sets for a hip attack but Owens avoids it and lands rights. Manhattan Drop from Owens then a clothesline and another one. Solo lands a headbutt but Owens avoids a Samoan Spike and hits a DDT for 2. Owens goes up top, but takes way too long and Solo lands a right hand then climbs up there with him. Headbutts from Solo, then he tries a superplex only for Owens to fight him off with headbutts and elbows before landing a Frog Splash for a near fall. Owens lands a super kick but Solo responds with one of his own, Owens with a super kick and attempts a Stunner but Solo counters with a Samoan Drop for a 2 count. Owens avoids a corner splash, lands a couple of super kicks then hits a cannonball senton. Again Owens goes up top, hits a Swanton Bomb but Sami is here to pull Solo out of the ring and cause the DQ. Owens heads out of the ring and avoids a super kick from Solo that hits Sami, then Owens sends Solo into the ring steps. Now Owens takes apart the announce table, but Solo slams Owens into the ring post. Solo gets a chair and rams Owens with it to set him up for a running splash through the table, but Owens lives and attacks him on the barricade. Solo jumps into a super kick from Owens, then runs into a pop up powerbomb but the table wants to be on Botchamania and does not break. Owens gets a chair and menaces Sami, but instead uses the chair to knock Solo over the barricade. Owens tosses the chair at Sami’s feet and climbs the ring steps to pose.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Kevin Owens won via Disqualification

Rating: 3 stars

Suitably physical, but as much about what happens after the match as anything during it.

Owens heads out of the ring and avoids a super kick from Solo that hits Sami, then Owens sends Solo into the ring steps. Now Owens takes apart the announce table, but Solo slams Owens into the ring post. Solo gets a chair and rams Owens with it to set him up for a running splash through the table, but Owens lives and attacks him on the barricade. Solo jumps into a super kick from Owens, then runs into a pop up powerbomb but the table wants to be on Botchamania and does not break. Owens gets a chair and menaces Sami, but instead uses the chair to knock Solo over the barricade. Owens tosses the chair at Sami’s feet and climbs the ring steps to pose.

Commentary runs down the Rumble card to close the show.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This one bumps into Good on the strength of the last couple of matches and generally doing a good job of hyping up the Rumble tomorrow. Something felt very off about the Kross and Mysterio match and it felt like a few other things had to fill the time it might have taken. Imperium vs. LDF was good, as was Solo and Owens. The narrative through line about Sami Zayn and the Bloodline continues to be solid, but this also didn't have a lot of top tier talent as the event tomorrow takes priority in terms of your health and safety. Not a bad go home show by any means.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree