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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 11.10.23

November 10, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown Asuka Damage CTRL Kairi Sane Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 11.10.23  

Well everyone, it’s another Friday and that means another episode of WWE Smackdown. Survivor Series is right around the corner and anything Smackdown is doing for that event needs to get going ASAP, but between Roman on another holiday and War Games coming seemingly exclusively from the RAW side of things there might not be a whole lot of relevance coming from the blue brand. LA Knight came up predictably short against Roman at Sweet Sweet Saudi Blood Money and while you’d like to think he’d stick around the main event he’s being shunted into a match with Grayson Waller tonight, so I hope my growing pessimism is at least understandable. Kairi Sane made her WWE return at Crown Jewel, helping Iyo Sky retain the title against Bianca Belair but now there are questions about what’s up with Damage Control so Bayley will talk tonight. My sincere hope is Iyo and Kairi kick Bayley to the curb then join forces with Asuka because that’s a super group worth paying attention to. We’re also getting Carlito and Bobby Lashley tonight, so there’s that. Solo Sikoa obliterated John Cena, and with the actors strike appearing to come to an end Cena will likely be returning to Hollywood soon. Other than that, Smackdown is kind of a mess, lesser Uso is running around with not much to do, AJ Styles and the OC are nowhere to be seen, Logan Paul is the new US champion meaning Smackdown’s main champion is part time, mid card champion is part time, and hasn’t seen a tag team title bout in weeks and weeks. But again, if this trend is going to change then tonight would be a darn good time to start shifting gears. Well that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

We don’t open with a recap, color me surprised, and instead here’s Kevin Owens to replace Corey Graves since Corey and Carmella are celebrating the birth of their daughter from Wednesday. So Owens on commentary, that’ll be something.

The LWO are out in force next, Rey Mysterio, Zelina Vega, Santos Escobar, Cruz del Toro, and Joaquin Wilde. We do get a recap of Escobar basically handing Logan Paul the brass knux at Crown Jewel to give Logan the title. Rey’s got a mic and welcomes the crowd to the show. He brings up losing the US title, and thinks Logan couldn’t have beaten him without the brass knuckles and he’s going to try and get a rematch. Carlito comes out to interrupt this and gets the mic from Rey. Carlito wants to bring up that Escobar handed the knux to Logan. Escobar and Carlito get a little heated and everyone else has to keep them separate but Santos is pissed and heads out alone through the crowd. Rey goes after Escobar while in the ring Carlito talks with Wilde and Cruz. Bobby Lashley chooses this moment to make his entrance for his match with Carlito. That match will be up after this break.

Match #1: Bobby Lashley w/ Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Carlito w/ Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde

Both men circle then tie up. Bobby pushes Carlito into a corner but misses a cheap shot. Cross chop from Bobby but Carlito responds with a dropkick only for Bobby to come off the ropes with a clothesline. Corner work from Bobby, in the back B-Fab watches TV at an odd angle, that really should be Bianca Belair in this group instead of her. Some more strikes from Bobby then he tries a Hurt Lock, Carlito counters with a jawbreaker then a crossbody. Knee lift from Carlito but he can’t drop Bobby, and Bobby lands a kick then tries a delayed vertical suplex but Carlito counters into one of his own then clotheslines Bobby out of the ring. Bobby blocks a shot into the ring steps and slams Carlito into the steps, then Bobby bounces Carlito into the barricade before ramming him head first into the ring post and sending us to break.

We come back to Bobby still in control and working over Carlito as they fight on the top rope. Carlito shoves Bobby down then hits a diving shoulder block. Bobby blocks a Backstabber but gets low bridged by Carlito as we see B-Fab and Ashate talk in the back. Pescado from Carlito then they head back into the ring. Ford pulls at the leg of Carlito, this sparks a brawl between the Profits and LWO jobbers while Bobby hits a Flatliner. Escobar joins the fray at ringside but all this confusion allows Bobby to hit a Spear and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bobby Lashley won in 9:26

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Too long for these two, they work better in shorter matches, and this felt more about setting up the post match stuff than the match itself. Which is just another reason this should have been 3-5 minutes shorter.

Post match the Hurt Profits attack Carlito, and Escobar just watches from the apron until Rey comes down with a chair to chase off the Profits and Bobby. Rey and Escobar talk off mic and Rey wants them to be family but Escobar can’t accept Carlito and thinks Rey is picking Carlito over him. Escobar then attacks Rey, kicks Carlito out of the ring, and then he and Rey trade words before Rey punches Escobar out of the ring. Rey goes to apologize on the apron, but Escobar shoves him into the ring post, trapping Rey’s leg between the ring steps and the ring post and Escobar with a dropkick to the steps. Escobar says Rey was his hero, this was supposed to be the two of them and Rey made him do this. Zelina wants to know what Santos did, Santos continues claiming this was about him and Rey made him do this. Escobar retreats up the ramp as the rest of the LWO check on Rey and we head to break.

Post break Santos Escobar walks in the back, Cathy asks why he attacked Rey and all he’s got is “Rey had it coming”. OK then.

Next a recap, ah there they are, this one focused on Iyo Sky retaining the title against Bianca Belair at the Saudi show and the return of the great Kairi Sane.

Back live here comes Bayley all alone. Bayley has a mic and says she’s had a plan and vision for Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai since the beginning of Damage Control. Everything she’s wanted has come true, tag team champions, Money in the Bank, and women’s champion. Iyo’s beaten the best in the business, and Iyo’s era is all thanks to Bayley’s plan. Crown Jewel was to be Damage Control’s proudest moment, but she was left confused by the return of Kairi Sane, and asks Iyo to come out and talk with her. That does bring out Iyo Sky, with Dakota Kai and Kairi Sane in tow. Bayley wants to know what Kairi is doing here, and Iyo tells her that she had a plan. This is Iyo’s era, and Kairi is part of her plan. Isn’t Iyo retaining the title what Bayley wanted? Bayley says Kairi hasn’t been seen since she sent her packing back in 2020, and she’s concerned about having Kairi around. Dakota gets involved now, she says Kairi isn’t here to hurt Bayley, she’s here to make Damage Control stronger. They appreciate how much Bayley has done for them and wanted to take some of that pressure off of Bayley. They should all be celebrating right now, this is what Bayley wanted right? Kairi gets a mic, she respects Bayley as the leader of Damage Control, and forgives her. They want a group hug, Bayley seems uncomfortable as they all hug. Bianca Belair comes out to break up this love fest. Belair talks on the ramp, she doesn’t forgive Damage Control. Her mistake was believing that Iyo had enough confidence to face her one on one for the title, and tonight she’s going to have to have to beat all of them. Bayley laughs, and Belair brings out Poochie because having plot armor is really the best move. Charlotte is dressed to wrestle, Belair isn’t. Oh, and guess who else isn’t happy with Kairi joining Damage Control? Out comes Asuka, Kairi’s former tag team partner. Asuka gets a mic and speaks Japanese to Iyo and Kairi. We’ll get a trios match featuring the relevant women later tonight. I’m still hoping Asuka, Kairi, and Iyo team up.

Dragon Lee hype video, boy they keep trying and the crowd just isn’t buying him yet. Lee heads to the ring, he’ll take on Cedric Alexander again after this break.

Match #2: Dragon Lee vs. Cedric Alexander

We join this match technically in progress. Lee with a quick dropkick, then he runs into a dropkick from Cedric. Heat seeker dive from Cedric then they head back into the ring where Cedric hits a diving DDT through the ropes for 2. Chops from Cedric then a corner charge and a dropkick. Lee avoids a corner charge then lands a kick from the apron, and hits a hurricanrana to send Cedric out of the ring, then dives onto him on the floor. Back in the ring Lee with the Ospreay lariat counter into a Liger bomb for a 2 count. Lee charges at Cedric who catches him with a belly to belly throw into the corner, some crazy distance covered on that one. They start trading strikes now before Cedric lands a boot but gets caught with a rebound German suplex. Lee charges but Cedric catches him with a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall. Cedric charges but eats a superkick, but when Lee charges back Cedric catches him with a Michinoku Driver and a near fall. Lee counters a Lumbar Check into a roll up for 2, then lands a knee strike. Lee’s finish connects, it still looks like a running Shiranui to me, and that gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dragon Lee won in 5:45 shown

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: Spot fest, but a fast paced one and these two work pretty well together.

Next, some Logan Paul highlights focused on him winning the US title. Back to live and the commentary team have those silly NFL belts.

In the back LA Knight walks, his match with Grayson Waller will be up after this break.

Post break, here comes LA Knight to a still substantial pop. As he walks down we get a recap of his match with Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel. Back to live and Knight has a mic, and wants to talk to us. Crown Jewel didn’t go how he’d hoped, and he could apologize right now for not living up to the expectations, crowd with a “yes you did” chant to bolster his morale. He did exactly what he said he’d do, he took Roman within an inch of losing the title, dropped him on his head and had him beaten except Jannetty Uso showed up. He got robbed, plain and simple. He calls for Jimmy Uso to get a raise and a promotion because he’s the only reason Knight isn’t champion right now. Well Knight isn’t going to the back of the line, he’s not done with the Bloodline by a long shot, not until he owns that WWE title. . . yeah! Grayson Waller interrupts this and claims Knight is embarrassing himself. He advocates for honesty, maybe Knight just isn’t the guy. Knight calls him Kangaroo Jackass. Waller has a question for Knight, does he really think he belongs in the ring with Roman Reigns? Knight considers, but first he has to ask if the Waller Effect is an STD. A Saudi movie star dropped Waller at Crown Jewel, and he’s asking if Knight belongs in the ring with Roman? Knight mocks Waller’s haircut, and says he’s probably not allowed within 50 feet of a school. Well Waller played around on the internet and is going to find out now. Knight says Waller has big incel energy, and warns him that right now Waller is in the ring with an angry and frustrated Knight, so Knight is going to stomp him into the ground and the world will let him know who’s game this is. Knight tosses Waller out of the ring and douses him with water then finishes his catchphrase. Knight burying Waller on the mic was fun, and their match will be up after this break.

Match #3: LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller

Bell rings as we come back. Waller attacks right away but Knight clotheslines him down then hits a snap suplex. Waller tries to escape an arm wringer but Knight just slams him down then hits some arm breakers but Waller lands a headbutt. Now Waller takes a powder but Knight follows him and they brawl on the floor. Knight drops Waller on the apron then back in the ring he hits a slingshot shoulder block. Neckbreaker from Knight then some stomps. They trade some punches but Waller lands a discus elbow to take over. A few more elbows from Waller, Knight fires back with punches then back drops Waller out of the ring and hits a running dropkick through the ropes. Knight starts bouncing Waller off of the announce table for a bit but Waller recovers and slams Knight into the ring steps. Waller now with a sliding clothesline to the floor as Kevin Owens dislikes the amount of sparkles on Waller’s shorts (he’s not wrong) and we head to break.

Waller is still in control with a chinlock as we come back. Knight fights back with a jawbreaker, but Waller hits a nice double stomp to counter that. Waller posts Knight on the apron then grabs a half Boston crab through the ropes for a bit. Back in the ring Waller grabs another half Boston crab then starts stomping on the lower back of Knight. Waller goes to the second rope, and hits a middle rope elbow drop to the back for a 2 count. Knight fights back with a back elbow but gets slammed down. Waller tries the rope walk elbow again but this time Knight avoids it then low bridges a charging Waller. Knight counters a rolling Stunner into a back suplex. Knight is starting to roll now with punches and a clothesline. Russian leg sweep from Knight then a DDT but that’s only enough for a 2 count. Waller with some knees but he runs into a powerslam, then Knight with the Yeah Elbow and a Blunt Force Trauma to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: LA Knight won in 11:24

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Solid enough match, Waller’s control segments still lack urgency or anything that really pops but he and Knight have decent chemistry. Knight got a win he needed, and Waller doesn’t lose a whole lot in this instance.

Post match Owens brings up a replay of him punching both Waller and Austin Theory a couple of weeks ago.

In the back we see Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Charlotte Flair getting ready for the main event. After this break we’ll get another scintillating recap. Heading to break we get a video about a Medal of Honor recipient.

We come back to an old Smackdown clip, naturally it’s the debut of John Cena.

That leads into another recap, this time of the match between John Cena and Solo Sikoa where Solo Spiked Cena about a dozen times before pinning him. They’re nice enough to include the standing ovation Cena got after the match, seeing as that might really be the last match Cena ever wrestles.

Solo will be back on TV next week.

Another bit of Kevin Owens replaying his double punch of Waller and Theory. Waller and Theory walk down to the commentary area and antagonize Owens for a bit. If Owens gets involved physically with any wrestlers tonight he’s suspended. Owens can take the shove and getting water poured on his head, but they tossed the empty water bottle at his commentary colleagues and that he wont stand for. Owens charges them, beats down Theory then Stuns Waller and sends the goofs packing.

Entrances start for our main event as we head to break.

Post break Jannetty Uso in the back awkwardly talks to the camera saying he’ll take on LA Knight next week. A phone call from Roman interrupts this and changes Jimmy’s demeanor, but the match is still happening.

Back to the ring, Damage Control is there so now it’s time for the other side to get their entrances.

Match #4 – Trios Match: Damage Control (Iyo Sky, Bayley, and Kairi Sane) w/ Dakota Kai vs. Asuka, Bianca Belair, and Charlotte Flair

Bayley and Belair start, Belair with a dropkick, scoop slam, then a hand spring moonsault for a 2 count. Bayley rolls out of the ring, so Belair dives onto her and Iyo. Charlotte boots Kairi off the apron because she’s kind of a jerk and that sends us to break.

We come back to Charlotte catching Iyo Sky and hitting the Scott Hall special. Charlotte tries a Figure 8 but Iyo gets free and tags in Kairi. Kairi wants Belair, Charlotte doesn’t want to bump or sell so she happily tags out. Belair unloads on Kairi then hits a delayed vertical suplex. Kairi avoids a corner charge, Iyo gets kicked by Belair but Kairi can’t take advantage and Belair tries a suplex but Kairi snaps the arm of Belair over the top rope. High and low attacks from Iyo and Kairi to Belair put them firmly in control now. Kairi with a sliding elbow in the corner then climbs up top and hits a diving elbow to Belair that gets a 2 count. Iyo tags in, then Bayley. Bayley stomps on Belair for a bit but Belair fights out of the heel corner and clobbers Bayley with an elbow. Belair eventually tries to tag Charlotte but Kairi pulls her off the apron then Charlotte sort of falls into the steps, she’s clearly not happy about something with how she’s working. Belair now tries to tag in Asuka, Bayley eats a spinebuster though but Asuka declines the tag and just laughs at Belair. Asuka with blue mist to Belair then hits a buzzsaw kick. Asuka wants a reunion with Kairi, they hug and Asuka invites Iyo who joins in the hug. Bayley gets in on the hug but here’s Charlotte to break this up and we’ve got a No Contest.

OFFICIAL RESULT: No Contest in 8:19

Rating: 2 stars

Post match Shotzi tries to help out but Asuka joining Damage Control right now makes them too much. Shotzi takes a Rose Plant, then Iyo crushes Charlotte with Over The Moonsault. Belair is back in frame but the odds are just too much as Kairi drops her with a back fist. Kairi with the InSane elbow drop to Belair. Now do me a solid and layout Bayley too please. All five women pose, so I guess I’ll have to wait for Bayley and Dakota to get dropped. Anyway that ends the episode.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Very up and down episode this week, some good stuff but the usual glut of recaps plus a lack of the driving forces being present all kept this from getting too good. Knight rebounded by beating Grayson Waller, and dressed him down on the mic right before that, Damage Control got bigger and sets up some kind of Survivor Series style match for them opposite whatever the other side of the aisle can muster. Personally I think Bayley gets the boot around then leading to just Iyo, Kairi, and Asuka being left to run things on the women's side of the equation. But without the Bloodline, or the US champion, we got a lot of drama between the LWO members with the content being stretched for time. There was some good stuff this week, but like most Smackdown episodes without Roman it struggled to feel really meaningful.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree