wrestling / TV Reports

Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 11.18.22

November 18, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown Kevin Owens Roman Reigns Image Credit: WWE
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 11.18.22  

Hey there people, the truncated build to Survivor Series: War Games continues tonight on Samckdown. Last week the Bloodline got into a brawl with the Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre, but as War Games are usually 5 on 5 there’s still some wiggle room for participants. Sami Zayn seems like a no brainer to fill out the Bloodline side of things, while rumor has it Kevin Owens will be the fifth man for the other side. The news of the injury to Owens has raised a little bit of doubt around this point, but Owens is supposed to be here tonight and is still the presumptive final member of team babyface. To that end the Smackdown World Cup continues with Sami Zayn vs. Butch and Mustafa Ali vs. Ricochet, and our last announced match is Shotiz vs. Shayna Baszler. The Viking Raiders and Sarah Logan returned last week so that might come into play tonight, New Day will be in need of some kind of direction, and let’s see if anything comes of the budding issue between Bray Wyatt and LA Knight that seemed to kick off last week. Oh, Karrion Kross might be in need of a new feud now that his thing with Drew McIntyre seems settled at 1-1 so we’ll keep an eye out for what might be next for him. Alright, that’s enough preamble, let’s get to the action.

Up first, here come the Brawling Brutes to the music of Sheamus. They’re followed quickly by Drew McIntyre, guess it’s opening promo time. Drew, Sheamus, and Ridge (God help us) have mics. We get confirmation about Wargames, no word yet on the 5th for the Brutes but we do confirm that Sami is number 5 for the Bloodline. Sheamus plays around with the mic, making sure it’s working after his mic issues last week, then brings up his past with Drew and them beating the crap out of each other for years. People will question if they trust each other, but they respect each other after all their wars, so much so that Sheamus asked Drew to be his best man at his wedding. The truth is, cut off by a pretty loud “ucey” chant. Sheamus recovers and switches it to “brutey” which Drew says he can work with. Drew plays with the crowd then brings up being out numbered by the Bloodline more than anyone, but whenever the odds are even it’s a different story for the Bloodline. Drew wants to go to war with his brother, then he and Sheamus shake hands. Ridge tries to play with the crowd, then they give Butch the Regal “wargames” line. Drew brings up that they need a fifth man, Sheamus tries to answer but this is interrupted by Sami Zayn. Sami says the Bloodline doesn’t care who the fifth man is, because they’re feeling great, you might even say they’re feeling pretty ucey about the whole thing. Some cheap filler talk from Sami, then he guarantees the Bloodline will win Wargames, then he promises to run through Butch later tonight in their match. Sheamus is bored by this, and he warns Sami that he’s going to crap his pants when he finds out who their team mate is. He calls it the last thing he’s going to expect, somewhat anticlimactic ending there. Not exactly a strong opening segment.

Commentary runs down the upcoming card, then here comes Ricochet for our first match and to send us to break.

Post break and Mustafa Ali gets an entrance, his ribs are taped up selling the beating from Bobby Lashley.

Match #1 – Smackdown World Cup Match: Ricochet vs. Mustafa Ali

Quick go behind from Ricochet then a school boy for a 2 count. They trade pin attempts for a bit with Ricochet getting the better of things generally before Ricochet sweeps the legs of Ali and Ali starts selling the ribs. Ricochet asks why Ali is doing this, as though money isn’t the very obvious answer. Some tie ups in the corner then Ricochet lands a back elbow. Ali with a cheap shot to take over and lands a clothesline to follow up. Right hand from Ricochet drops Ali on the apron, he tries for a superplex but Ali fights back and they start messing around on the top rope. Ali eventually hits a second rope backstabber and both men are down as we head to break.

Ricochet is in control as we come back, apparently a superplex from Ricochet during the break turned the tide. Ali hits a hurricanrana and follows up with a kick. Ricochet is outside the ring right now, and Ali tries a pescado but Ricochet catches him and rolls through then crushes Ali with a Michinoku Driver on the floor. They head back into the ring and Ricochet heads up top but Ali avoids the Phoenix Splash then locks in the Koji Clutch. Ali cranks on the hold but Ricochet gets to the ropes to break the hold. Ricochet runs into a back elbow but then hits a Dragon suplex and a lariat then a Lionsault for a near fall. Ali tells the ref not to stop the match, the ref obliges. Victory Roll from Ali gets 2, then Ricochet lands a back kick to the ribs. Ali hits a diving DDT then heads up top for a 450 splash but Ricochet easily avoids it and Ali eats the mat. Ricochet pulls himself up, then heads up top and hits a ridiculous Shooting Star Press onto a standing Ali which gets the pin.


Rating: 3.5 stars

Nutty finish, and these two are quite talented but the commercial break hurt it. Under different circumstances this could have easily hit 4 stars, as it stands it’s a slightly generous 3.5.

Post match Ricochet helps Ali to the back.

In the locker room Jey yells at Sami Zayn for speaking on behalf of the Bloodline. Sami doesn’t understand what he did wrong. Jimmy shuts them all up reminding them they have to be on the same page and that Roman is on his way here. Jimmy then says they’ve got Bloodline business and they need to figure out who the fifth man is. Sami comes back in to talk briefly with Jimmy. Jey doesn’t understand how Jimmy and Solo can enjoy Sami’s company as we head to break.

Post break we get a minor break in the feed for a Bray Wyatt interruption which says “make amends.”

A video recap of the Usos vs. New Day from last week follows.

In the back Kayla interviews New Day, Woods says this isn’t the best day because now if they want their record back it’ll be a massive endeavor. Kofi laments as well, then Imperium show up to interrupt them and mock them. Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser talk about them making a mockery of their beloved sport, and now it’s up to Imperium to restore some honor to the mat. Woods and Kofi make fun of their accents, then Kofi likens Gunther to Lurch. Gunther is not amused. Woods offers to have a trios match later, Gunther thanks them for proving his point and accepts the match. Another moment of silence for Kofi’s chest.

Madcap Moss is warming up at gorilla and here’s Emma to awkwardly flirt. Moss mentions it’s been three weeks since Karrion Kross choked him out and he can barely speak still. Emma hypes him up and Moss then heads to the ring. He’ll take on Karrion Kross after this break.

Post break here come Kross and Scarlett.

Match #2: Madcap Moss vs. Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett

Moss attacks at the bell and corners Kross with strikes. Kross fires back with strikes but Moss then hits a suplex. Knee from Kross then they hit the ropes and Moss lands a back elbow. Moss clotheslines Kross out of the ring then follows him out there. Some ringside brawling then Moss sends Kross back into the ring. Kross hits a Tiger supelx to floor Moss and take over. Stomps from Kross in the corner then Scarlett gets in a cheap shot behind the refs back. That seems to just fire Moss up and he runs over Kross with some clotheslines then a shoulder block. Shoulder attacks from Moss in the corner then a fall away slam that sends Kross out of the ring. Moss follows again but gets distracted by Scarlett then Kross lands a knee on the apron before posting Moss. Kross goes for the Kross Jacket, Moss is able to slam free after botching a few points but Kross pops up and grabs it again and Moss has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Karrion Kross won

Rating: 2 stars

Moss can’t do much other than play the hits right now and while I think Kross gets more hate than he deserves he’s not a ring general at this point.

Post match Kross holds the choke until Scarlett asks him to break it. Emma runs down to check on Moss as Kross and Scarlett head to the back.

After this break we’ll get some kind of Bray Wyatt segment.

Post break here comes Bray Wyatt to the ring. Bray gets a mic and introduces himself. Lately he’s realized he’s been conditioned to be a certain way, and breaking conditioning is hard. He was supposed to be strong, to take, that fear is respect, but now he’s looking at the path behind him and seeing the ashes and blood in his wake. Why does he do what he does? And can he change? If he was LA Knight he knows what he’d do, and that makes him sad. He wants to apologize to LA Knight for attacking him. He had a moment of weakness and strayed from his path. Knight himself interrupts this with a mic of his own. He’s been replaying that cheap shot over and over in his head, and it’s getting him pretty hot. But now Bray is here to apologize. Knight is a little conflicted about that, because Bray talked about fear and respect, and right now Knight is looking into Bray’s eyes and he thinks the fact that Knight didn’t fear Bray might have earned him respect. Respect is the rarest commodity around here. Knight says no one has ever understood him like Bray claims, he’s not sure what to make of Bray’s apology but he does believe Bray respects him. And for that, Knight delivers a little slap and runs off saying he accepts the apology. Bray stews for a bit then says alright, we’re even. Even. There’s a lot Bray wants to do to Knight right now but he’s going to fight those urges, and warns Knight that the decision he’s about to make will determine the rest of his life. Bray offers a handshake, the tron has gone dark as Bray fights his inner demon, then Knight slaps him again and scurries off. The tron now flashes Uncle Howdy while Bray gets a thousand yard stare going as he looks at Knight. OK, we’re making some headway here and I was worried we’d be treading more water. I get what they’re doing, I can dig it, and I think Knight and Bray might have some good chemistry.

We get a recap of Shayna Baszler choking on Shotzi last week then Baszler comes to the ring along with Ronda Rousey for our next match which will be up after this break.

Post break Kross and Scarlett walk in the back, they come across the Usos. Jey asks if Kross is the fifth man, Jimmy says it’s not him. Kross says he’s not a follower. Jimmy wants to confirm he’s not making a name for himself off the Bloodline. Kross says when he comes for Roman’s titles, which he will, it’ll be on his own time and not as part of a pack but standing on his own.

Back to the ring and here comes Shotzi and her tank.

Match #3: Shayna Baszler w/ Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi

Shotzi gets distracted by Ronda and Baszler takes early control. Some trash talk from Baszler then Shotzi lands a clothesline. Another Ronda distraction and Baszler takes over with stomps in the corner. Kick to the back from Baszler then she starts attacking the arm of Shotzi. Shotzi fights back with strikes but Baszler clubs her down then Shotzi avoids a knee strike and lands a few kicks then a discus elbow and a kick to the head. Ronda pulls Baszler out of the ring but Shotzi follows them out of the ring. Some yelling between Shotzi and Ronda, then Shotzi lands an enziguri as it looks like Ronda had a timing issue. Baszler pulls Shotzi back into the ring as Shotzi was talking to Ronda then Baszler lands a German suplex. Shotzi gets tossed out of the ring again. Baszler then throws Shotzi back into the ring, who laid this out? Shotzi lands a shotgun drop kick then a face buster. Shotzi tries, I think it’s a Shiranui but Baszler posts her instead. Raquel Rodriguez comes out now to try and neutralize the presence of Ronda Rousey. Baszler goes to stomp the elbow of Shotzi but misses the stomp, Shotzi with a school boy and the 3 count.


Rating: 1.5 stars

That was illogically laid out, neither woman came away looking better, and Shotzi is still kind of sloppy in her work.

In the back Megan finds LA Knight leaving, Knight says he’s not afraid but as he’s leaving we see Bray in his devil mask lurking in the shadows while Knight heads out and we head to break. That was pretty well blocked and shot actually, kudos to the team.

We come back to find LA Knight buried under a mountain of debris in the back.

To the ring and here comes Imperium. Braun is out with New Day, Kofi and Woods attack Kaiser and Vinci, Kofi tries a top rope trust fall but Vinci and Kaiser catch him and plant him on the apron. Woods goes for a dive but runs into a Gunther chop. Braun objects and starts the match.

Match #4 – Trios Match: Imperium (Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci) vs. Braun Strowman and New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)

Someone’s going to have to explain why Braun is hanging around with New Day at times like these. Gunther hops out of the ring as Braun makes noise in the ring and we head to break.

We come back to Kofi hitting a jawbreaker to avoid Vinci. Vinci slams Woods down by the hair then tags in Kaiser. Spinebuster from Vinci then Kaiser follows up with a punt kick. Woods fights back with strikes and looks to tag in Braun but Kaiser is able to stop him for a bit before eventually Braun tags in as does Vinci. Braun runs wild on Vinci, then Gunther makes a blind tag and chops the crap out of Braun but Braun barely sells it. Gunther then runs from Braun leading to Braun running over Kaiser and Vinci before they get back in the ring. Another chop from Gunther, that one had more effect but Gunther runs into a spinebuster from Braun for a 2 count. Braun wants to end things with a Monsterbomb, but Gunther slips free and lands a leg kick then tags in Kaiser as Braun tags Kofi. Kofi flies in with a cross body but misses Trouble in Paradise. Woods tags in, hits a Midnight Hour onto Kaiser then Braun plays goalkeeper to keep the pin from being broken up.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Braun Strowman and New Day won

Rating: 2 stars

This was all about hinting at Gunther and Braun, sadly at the expense of Imperium which really needs to get some wins sooner rather than later.

Kofi and Woods celebrate being carried by Braun yet again.

Kayla finds Braun coming through gorilla, she asks about Braun sending a message. Braun looks forward to winning the World Cup and taking the IC title from Gunther. Ricochet shows up and objects to being overlooked and says Braun looking past him could come back to bite him.

Back to the ring, here comes Butch for our main event. That will be up after this break.

Post break here comes Sami Zayn with the Usos and Solo Sikoa in tow.

Match #5 – Smackdown World Cup Match: Butch w/ Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn w/ Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa

The tie up and Butch gets the better of Sami but working the fingers. Butch stomps on the arm of Sami then hits a La Magistral Cradle for a 2 count. Clothesline from Butch floors Sami. Sami grabs a side headlock then they hit the ropes and Sami catches a jumping Butch with a sit out powerbomb for a 2 count. Sami sends Butch out of the ring and all the people engage in a stand off as Sami sends Butch back into the ring. Butch hits a diving DDT for a 2 count then an enziguri. Sami grabs the legs of Butch to stop him from getting to the top, Butch gets up there anyway then Sami shoves him off the top and into the barricade on the floor to send us to break.

We come back to Butch and Sami on the top rope, Butch is attacking the fingers of Sami but Sami shoves him down then goes for a flying nothing but jumps into an elbow from Butch. Butch punches down Jey then Sami rolls up Butch for 2. Enizguri from Butch, Jimmy distracts the ref so Jey can land an enziguri then Sami follows up with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Things break down on the outside into a brawl. Butch snaps the fingers of Sami then heads up top to moonsault onto Jimmy and Jey on the outside. Back in the ring Butch runs into an Exploder suplex into the corner. Sami sets for the Helluva kick but Jey and Sheamus fight through his path of travel to distract him. That allows Butch to hit the Bitter End and pin Sami.


Rating: 3 stars

This was overshadowed because it’s deliberately a cog in the build to Wargames, but it’s Butch and Sami Zayn so it was always going to be at least competent.

Things immediately return to a brawl in the ring. The music of Roman Reigns settles things just a bit now as Drew is stomping on Solo in the corner. Here comes Roman and Paul Heyman, Roman calmly walking into the fray is chilling, then he lays out Ridge with a Superman punch and Spears the crap out of Butch. Drew calls on Roman in the ring, Roman obliges him then Spears Drew down. Roman stares daggers at a fallen Sami, then Sheamus comes up to stare down Roman as well. Sheamus wants to fight, Roman is willing and they start trading hands then Sami gets involved leading to Roman dropping Sheamus with a Superman punch. Roman then sets to Spear Sheamus, but the music of Kevin Owens interrupts things. Owens walks to the ring, a little gingerly, and punches Jimmy the super kicks Jey. Roman and Owens stare each other down in the ring then start trading hands. Owens gets the better of things and stomps on Roman in the corner. Sami and Owens come face to face now, which allows Roman blindside Owens with a Superman punch. Ridge and Sami start brawling as Roman runs into a knee from Owens, then Owens hits a Stunner on Roman. The Bloodline retreat up the ramp as team babyface stands tall in the ring to end the episode.

The final score: review Average
The 411
This was a very uneven episode. It opened with about as painfully generic a segment as possible, something damn near out of the early 00's RAW playbook. The booking around a few points, Imperium in particular, is a tad questionable as well because they probably shouldn't be losing at this point. The stuff with Bray Wyatt and LA Knight is a little interesting and thankfully the Bray stuff looks like it's moving forward rather than treading water. Mustafa Ali and Ricochet did what they usually do, but Shayna Baszler vs. Shotzi was kind of a mess. Karrion Kross got a win to help get back on track, and Butch vs. Sami Zayn was perfectly acceptable. This was more about the "surprise" of Kevin Owens teaming up to take on the Bloodline. Don't get me wrong, being predictable isn't always bad and while Owens was predictable he's the right call assuming he's healthy enough to work the match. All in all, a little better than Average but not much as the down stuff on this episode was really down.

article topics :

WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree