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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 6.02.23

June 2, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown Jimmy Uso Roman Reigns Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 6.02.23  

Hey there people, another Friday and another episode of WWE Smackdown. We’re charging headfirst into Money in the Bank, and to that end we’ve got qualifying matches coming up. Plus I imagine the briefcase will be hanging above the ring. Tonight we officially celebrate 1,000 days of Roman Reigns as Universal champion, but all is not well on the Island of Relevancy. Jimmy Uso turned on the Tribal Chief at Sweet Sweet Saudi Blood Money, and Jey left with his brother after they cost Roman and Solo Sikoa the chance to win the tag team titles. So there’s a lot to unpack there in terms of fall out, plus rumor has it we’ll get a new belt for the Universal title so let’s see if that happens or not. On the MITB side of things, Montez Ford will battle LA Knight while Lacey Evans takes on Zelina Vega for a spot in the women’s side. Asuka won the RAW women’s title, but since she’s a Smackdown wrestler she’ll be here, and Bianca Belair will probably have something to say about losing the title after over 400 days with it. We’ve got no concrete direction for either Bobby Lashley or AJ Styles so we’ll keep an eye on them. Pretty Deadly continue to antagonize the Brawling Brutes so we’ll see what’s new with that. Well that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

First Michael Cole and Wade Barrett mention that we’re celebrating Roman Reigns tonight, then we get a long video hype package narrated by Paul Heyman. It’s focused on the longevity, and seeing Roman’s number go up and up passing by others with long runs is kind of cool.

Austin Theory is in the ring with a mic, that’s cut off as we get a recap of Roman pinning Edge and Bryan Danielson at Mania 37. When Theory does get to talk they sweeten the boos. Theory reminds us we’re celebrating Roman’s title run, but even better than that would be combining Roman’s run with Theory’s time with the US title. He goes for cheap heat by reminding us he beat Cena at Mania, and the fake crowd noise is obvious. Theory thinks he’ll have multiple thousands of days as champion, especially if they keep giving him guys like Sheamus to wrestle. He brings out Pretty Deadly. Wilson and Prince run down the Brutes and put over Theory to tepid results. The Brutes cut this off and head to the ring.

Match #1 – Trios Match: Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch) vs. Austin Theory and Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)

Ridge and Prince start, Ridge runs over Prince then uppercuts him. Headbutt from Ridge then some corner offense, he steals Nigel McGuinness’s kick to the back followed by a downward clothesline. Butch tags in and we get a dropkick assisted suplex. Wilson tags in and attacks Butch with a jumping uppercut. Chin lock from Wilson, Butch fights up then they hit the ropes as the crowd wants Sheamus. Butch stomps on the fingers of Wilson then Wilson runs away and tags in Theory. Theory calls on Sheamus, who’s the only one with heat at the moment, and Sheamus tags in. That sends us to break as Theory takes a powder.

Prince is working the arm of Butch as we come back. Butch grabs the fingers of Prince, Prince hits him then tags in Theory. Theory with a cheap shot to Ridge then stomps on Butch. Wilson tags in and they’re working on keeping Butch isolated. Prince tags in and Butch fights back with chops. Diving tornado DDT from Butch and both men are down. Sheamus rallies the crowd and both he and Theory get tagged in. Sheamus gets to run wild for a bit, including an Irish Curse for each of his opponents. Butch and Ridge come in and we get a triple Air Raid Crash. Sheamus wants the Brogue Kick, hits it but Prince and Wilson pull Theory out of the ring. Ridge runs over Wilson and Prince, then Sheamus jumps from the top rope onto them as well, then Butch with an asai moonsault onto the pile of bodies as we get another break.

Butch is running wild as we come back, then he tags in Ridge to 0 reaction. Ridge and Butch hit a double team toss into a powerbomb then Sheamus follows up with a diving knee drop, been a while since we’ve seen Sheamus bust that one out, but Prince kicks out at 2. Razor’s Edge attempt from Sheamus, but Prince escapes and tags in Wilson then Theory tags in to follow up a Cry Martini with a spinning Torture Rack Bomb for a near fall. Sheamus responds by clotheslining Theory down. Time for everyone to get their stuff in, Theory rolls into a knee from Sheamus but that’s never ended a match for Sheamus and this one wont either. Ridge gets a tag, as does Prince. Wilson tags in but Ridge throws them both around. We get a triple set up for Bodhran Beats, Ridge looks dead tired hitting them. Northern Lights Bomb from Ridge but Theory breaks up the pin. Theory takes out Butch with A Town Down, Sheamus ejects Theory and they fight on the floor. A little modified twin magic from Prince and Wilson, then the Spilt Milk. Theory tags in to get the pin and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Austin Theory and Pretty Deadly won

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Generally competent work, the Brutes becoming bigger and bigger jokes is certainly a direction for them. This probably didn’t need to be as long as it was, and Sheamus is the only one of them genuinely over at the moment but Pretty Deadly are getting traction.

We get a highlight package for the tag team title match from Saudi Blood Money, including Jimmy turning on Roman. Jey really should just let Jimmy get the ass kicking Roman’s been promising him.

In the back Paul Heyman walks with both of the title belts before entering Roman’s locker room and we head to break.

Paul Heyman talks with Solo Sikoa in the locker room, they need to make tonight special for Roman. Heyman knows Solo feels the same way Heyman does, and Heyman goes to make sure the Usos aren’t around to ruin things.

Next, a reap of Seth Rollins winning the consolation world title from Sweet Sweet Saudi Blood Money. Can I just say again, pretending that Rollins, a guy who’s been on or near the top for a decade and is clearly Triple H’s boy represents change is just comical.

In the back the OC talk with AJ Styles and wish him Happy Birthday. AJ wants to see Gallows and Anderson take out Hit Row.

To the ring, here comes the OC, they’ll be in tag team action after this break.

Post break we’re reminded of the time Roman and Brock Lesnar had a match involving heavy equipment, a displaced ring, and Roman burying Brock under a bunch of plunder to keep him down.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: The OC (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) w/ AJ Styles and Michin vs. Hit Row (Ashante the Adonis and Top Dolla) w/ B-Fab

Ashante and Anderson start, some cheap shots from Adonis but good grief the crowd is silent for everything. Dolla tags in and they look to isolate Anderson. Some cheap heat attempts then Adonis tags back in for more stalling. B-Fab with a cheap shot, bless Anderson selling that even though she missed. Anderson hits the old cab driver slam, a spinebuster, and both men are down. AJ rallies the crowd as Gallows tags in and gets to run wild. The crowd has woken up a bit, and Gallows runs over Adonis with a back elbow. Anderson tags back in, they want the Magic Killer, hit it and we’re done.


Rating: 1.5 stars
Thoughts: Hit Row just aren’t good, the crowd doesn’t care about their heat and barely even cared about them losing. Gallows and Anderson are who they are, and if we’re setting up AJ and Dolla that’s kind of a waste.

Post match Dolla with boots to Gallows and Anderson, but AJ wipes him out with a Phenomenal Forearm.

In the back Paul Heyman talks with Adam Pearce, Pearce says the Usos had travel issues and wont be here but he’s also doubled security in case they do show up. Big pull apart confirmed. Heyman smiles and walks off looking to call Roman Reigns.

The production assistants set up the Grayson Waller Effect, he’ll interview Asuka after this break.

Apparently Monday you’ll be seeing Seth Rollins wrestle Damian Priest.

To the ring, here’s Grayson Waller for his talk show. OK, I guess that’s a thing. Waller brings out Asuka, who’s still getting a pretty positive reaction. Waller then cues up a video recap of Asuka winning the belt, because we haven’t had enough recaps tonight. Asuka laughs then speaks Japanese and celebrates. Waller couldn’t have said it better himself, then brings up the MITB briefcases. Asuka mocks Belair for crying after their match, Waller playing along though clearly not speaking Japanese is kind of great. There’s blue mist in Asuka’s mouth now, but here comes Iyo Sky to interrupt in Japanese. Iyo wants to win MITB and take Asuka’s title. Asuka trash talks her in Japanese and calls her stupid again as they go back and forth until Waller tries to get control, but here’s Bayley to interrupt things. Bayley says they’ll both qualify for the MITB match and one of them will win, then a member of Damage Control is going to win the title. Shotzi interrupts, because who doesn’t love revolving door segments? Shotzi wants to crush Bayley’s dreams with the help of cold hard steel, and if anyone’s made for the chaos of MITB it’s Shotzi. Now Lacey Evans comes out, Lacey says none of them are going to take that contract, it’s coming home with Lacey. 0 reaction to Lacey as she says she’s beating Zelina Vega tonight. Naturally that brings out Zelina Vega, she says everyone is underestimating her, just like Rhea Ripley did. Ripley won that match, doesn’t really make your point. Zelina says Lacey will never be half the woman she is, and encourages everyone to keep underestimating her. Bayley laughs at all of them, everyone starts bickering as Waller just says this is the best day of his life. Asuka has slipped to the entrance and shuts them up by reminding them that no one is ready for Asuka. Bianca Belair attacks Asuka from behind and we get a pull apart brawl between them that sends us to break. That was a very Vince segment.

We get a recap of Baron Corbin heading down to NXT and attacking Carmelo Hayes.

In the back Cameron Grimes promises to handle Baron Corbin if he comes back to Smackdown.

Apparently Lacey Evans clocked Zelina Vega with a Women’s Right as they were taking down the Grayson Waller Effect and she starts with a big advantage.

Match #3: Lacey Evans vs. Zelina Vega

Lacey with some corner stomps for a 2 count. Lacey spins Vega around, then Vega lands a kick for a 2 count. Lacey eats a kick then hits a clothesline for 2. The crowd is really dead. Another rest hold from Lacey, she lands a few knees to the head as well. Vega fights back with kicks then bounces Lacey into the corner and hits a headlock takeover. Code Red from Vega gets the 3.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Zelina Vega won

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Slow and boy that crowd just did not care about any of this. Vega in the MITB match makes sense.

Up after this break we’ll get Montez Ford and LA Knight. Our header into break is Roman Reigns beating Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber.

In the back the LWO hype up Zelina Vega, and next week Santos Escobar plans on winning his qualifying match, then we’ll get both titles to be with the LWO. They all seem like they’re having a good time with this.

To the ring for our next match.

Match #4: Montez Ford vs. La Knight

They tie up, Knight grabs a hammerlock and shoves Ford away. Audible support for Knight. Another tie up, Ford grabs a side headlock, Knight counters and they trade hammerlocks for a bit before they wind up in the ropes. Some shoving, Knight is full face reaction here as Ford lands a shoulder block. Some rope running and Ford lands a dropkick. Knight sends Ford to the apron, then clocks him to the floor to cheers as we head to break.

Ford and Knight are trading punches as we come back, Ford then lands a clothesline and looks to fire up despite the boos he’s getting. Back suplex from Ford but Knight avoids a standing moonsault and hits a neckbreaker. Knight lands a couple of elbows, then misses a springboard moonsault. Ford with a kick then a Rock Bottom for 2. “LA Knight” chants, Knight lands a kick then we get a double clothesline spot. Ford lands a kick from the apron then heads up top, Knight clocks him up there and climbs up with him. They battle on the ropes, Knight is shoved down but jump up only to get headbutted down. Ford From the Heavens but Knight rolls away, they trade O’Connor Rolls by the ropes, Knight grabs the ropes for leverage and gets the pin.


Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Nice little match here, these two have good chemistry and the crowd is seriously behind Knight.

Knight gets a ladder and poses by the briefcases.

Vide for Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre. Mostly speaking what I think is latin with some allegedly creepy imagery. Apparently they’re going by The Unholy Union now.

Triple H comes to the ring next, he’s going to be present for our celebration of Roman Reigns. Our bumper to commercial break is Roman beating Cody Rhodes at Mania 39. I’m still arguing that was the wrong call, but that’s just me.

We come back to Triple H in the ring, and a new title belt under a cloth. Trips talks, he puts over the dominance of Roman Reigns as changing the entire face of WWE. In boxing it was Muhammad Ali, in basketball Michael Jordan, in WWE it’s Roman Reigns. We’ll be talking about this for generations to come, a man you’ll tell your kids and grandkids about, the Undisputed WWE Universal champion, Roman Reigns. Roman comes out flanked by Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa. Roman’s current run will surpass Pedro Morales in a few weeks, they really might have him hold it until he beats Hulk Hogan. I mean there’s no way he’s touching Bruno, but getting someone beyond Hogan seems like something they’ll try to do. Roman and company are in the ring, Trips wants to present him with something special. He congratulates Roman on his title run, 1,000 days which hasn’t happened in almost 40 years. In celebration of that achievement he’s presenting Roman with a brand new uWu title. It looks pretty much exactly like the current ones he has, just with a gold background instead of the leather color. Roman looks at it, considers, and does lift it high. Trips puts it around Roman’s waist, and Roman gets a mic from Heyman. We’ve still got 15 minutes. Roman calls on the entire universe to acknowledge him. This is interrupted by the music of the Usos. Jimmy and Jey are here and walking towards the ring as we head to break.

Post break Jimmy is going face to face with Roman. Jey is pacing behind Jimmy, and Roman tells Jey to superkick Jimmy. Roman didn’t stutter, this is what Jimmy did and this is the only way to fix this. Jey keeps stalking around. Roman wont say it again. Jimmy says the only one who needs fixing is Roman. Jey can’t fix this, Jimmy’s the one who kicked Roman in the face. And he did it not to be the Tribal Chief, he did it because he was being a brother. Brothers treat brothers with love and respect, and Roman hasn’t been a good brother lately. What kind of brother manipulates and betrays? Roman has gone crazy, Jey is his brother and Solo is his brother, and he’ll protect his brothers. Once Roman is done using Solo he’s going to toss him aside just like everyone else. Solo thinks about that. Roman brings up the “Uso” chant, and it’s because of him. The Tribal Chief is Roman, now Jimmy’s here talking on behalf of everyone. Roman hands the mic to Solo, saying Solo has a voice and doesn’t need Jimmy to speak for him. Solo thinks, it takes some time, and he acknowledges Roman but those are his brothers. Solo hands the mic back to Roman and moves to stand by Jimmy and Jey. Jimmy asks what Roman is going to do, run this with respect or end up on the Island of Relevancy all alone. Jimmy pie faces Roman, and Heyman looks like he just saw a shooting. Jey gets between Jimmy and Roman, he doesn’t want this to go down like this. Jey needs both of them, they can’t fight like this. They’re family. Jimmy hears reason and reminds everyone that they’re stronger together. Jimmy claims Roman is a brother too, and wants them to keep running things together as The Bloodline. Roman struggles, then hugs Jimmy but holds the mic so he can say “No” as they’re hugging. Solo then Samoan Spikes Jimmy as Roman looks on. Jey checks on Jimmy as Roman slowly walks away. Solo stands over his fallen brother, glares, then leaves with Roman. On the entrance ramp Paul Heyman asks about Jey, Roman says Jey will do what he always does and fall in line. That ominous predicament, with Jimmy out and Jey’s future uncertain, ends the episode.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Kind of a rough episode this week, a ton of recaps to pad things out and then a lot of the very predictable talking segments. Frankly this felt very Vince-like in layout and some of the execution. The OC and Hit Row was basically a squash, Lacey Evans and Zelina Vega had a very abbreviated match, the Brutes and Theory plus Pretty Deadly went on too long, about the only genuinely good match was Montez Ford and LA Knight. Knight has some serious crowd support though and should probably win the briefcase this year. The only real selling point for this episode was the main event segment, where we got some predictably good drama from The Bloodline. Roman is still the best actor in wrestling, but his chemistry with Jimmy just isn't quite what you'd want. The Roman and Jey stuff that kicked off this whole saga was quite good, but Roman and Jimmy don't have that same feel. A weaker episode, saved by the dramatic tension of the last two segments.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree