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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 6.17.22

June 17, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 6.17.22  

Alright everyone, it’s Friday and time for another episode of WWE Smackdown. There’s just no getting around the elephant in the room for this one, Vince McMahon has stepped down as CEO during an investigation into his conduct and dealings. Stephanie McMahon has taken over as interim CEO during this investigation, but Vince remains employed and in charge of creative until this issue is resolved. The somewhat obvious joke is that even Vince’s “Me too” moment is about 5 years too late. Vince will be on this episode, allegedly in character, and have some kind of promo. Beyond that we’re supposed to get an Undisputed WWE Universal title match when champion Roman Reigns defends the belts against Riddle after Riddle earned a shot by beating Sami Zayn last week. The build to Money in the Bank continues in some capacity, and with both Sheamus and Drew McIntyre demanding to be entered after they fought to a No Contest last week there are plenty of spots available. Natalya and Ronda Rousey are starting to build their feud, Natalya attacked Ronda after Ronda’s match last week and locked her in the Sharpshooter for a while. Last week we were supposed to get the first client for Max Dupri’s stable but that didn’t happen. My money is still on Pretty Dangerous but it could be a lot of people. Also we’re getting the theoretical blow off to Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss when they meet in a Last Laugh match. Well that’s the preview, let’s get to the action.

We kick off the show with Vince McMahon making his way to the ring, to a pretty good ovation. Vince gets a mic, and says it’s a privilege to stand before the WWE universe, especially here in Minnesota. He’s here to remind us of “The, Now, Forever, Together” which is the WWE’s signature. He then welcomes us to Smackdown and walks off. Well that was a lot of nothing.

Now that we’re ready to start the show proper, here comes Riddle. Our CGI animals tonight are rabbits. Riddle gets a mic, and says before he takes the uWu title from Roman he wanted to take a stroll down memory lane, looking at his history with Roman Reigns. A video package of the last month or so follows. Pretty decent “Bro” chant when we come back to live, and Riddle has been waiting a long time for this opportunity. All of his friends and family are watching, as is his best bro Randy Orton. That prompts a “Randy” chant, and Riddle knows that Randy has an operation coming up but everyone here wishes him the best of luck. He pumps up Randy for his recovery, and everyone misses him and they want him back, he loves Randy. He speaks for the entire WWE universe when he says “Thank you Randy” which prompts a small chant of the same. But tonight is about Riddle’s title shot, and everyone knows he’s dedicating the match to Randy and when he comes out for the match he’s going to use Randy’s music. He tosses the mic and they do play Randy’s music for him. Solid promo from Riddle.

Cole and McAfee then send to a video recap of Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, after which Madcap Moss heads to the ring for that match which will start after the break.

Post break and here comes Happy Corbin.

Match #1 – Last Laugh Match: Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin

No update on the rules, but apparently whoever loses is going to be laughed out of the building. Moss with a leap frog then he lands a back elbow. Corbin misses a right hand and Moss lands one of his own. Now Corbin starts laying in rights but he runs into a knee then Moss hits a second rope shoulder block. Moss takes over with strikes but Corbin fights back with a right hand. More strikes from Corbin then he grabs a rest hold. Knee from Corbin but he misses a corner splash and he and Moss get tied up briefly as Moss runs the ropes then Moss hits a shoulder block. More strikes from Moss then he catches Corbin with a fall away slam. Moss wants the Punchline but Corbin spins free and posts Moss. Corbin slides out of the ring and clotheslines Moss into the time keepers area and we head to break.

We come back as Moss and Corbin are trading blows on the apron. Corbin clotheslines Moss back into the ring and joins him there. They fight on the top rope now and Moss kicks Corbin off then hits a Sunset Flip for 2. Moss hits the ropes again but runs into Deep Six for a 2 count. Corbin sets for a powerbomb, but Moss slips free only to take a chokeslam from Corbin. Moss rolls out of the ring, Corbin follows him and we get some ringside brawling. Corbin slams Moss into the ring post, Moss fires back by tossing Corbin into the announcers table, they both barely get back in the ring where Moss hits the Punchline. No cover from Moss though, he fires up the crowd and hits another one then pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Madcap Moss won

Rating: 2.5 stars

Hopefully that’s the end of this feud, the match itself was fine but not special and had a couple of awkward moments.

Post match Moss gets a mic and laughs at Corbin. OK then.

In the back the Street Profits talk. They picked a fine time to show up on Smackdown again (brand split what?) and they do their Greek chorus thing recapping what we saw and telling us what we’ll see later. They both pick Riddle to beat Roman and plan on taking the tag titles from the Usos at Money in the Bank.

Back to ringside, and Corbin has a mic. He’s got something to say and the whole world will hear it. He says he and Pat McAfee have known each other for a long time, and he’s heard McAfee making jokes at his expense since he was in his bum-ass Corbin phase. Even after Corbin hit it big McAfee still runs him down. He warns McAfee that if he doesn’t watch his mouth he’ll drag him into the ring and make him wish he was dead. Corbin got the what treatment during that bit. McAfee takes off his headset and picks up the mic, he gets a brief “Bum-ass Corbin” chant going. Next McAfee gets the crowd to laugh at Corbin as Corbin walks to the back. So I guess Corbin vs. McAfee is going to be a thing. As Corbin walks back here comes New Day, they also laugh at Corbin as they pass on the entrance stage.

New Day will take on Jinder Mahal and Shanky after this break.

Post break we find Megan in the back interviewing Natalya. Natalya isn’t just going to challenge Ronda at Money in the Bank, she’s going to beat her. If the footage from the attack last week wasn’t enough to prove the Sharpshooter is the best submission in all of WWE then she doesn’t know what is. She’d love to talk to Ronda about how it felt, but Ronda isn’t here tonight. Ronda might have found a little success with her armbar, but the Sharpshooter humbles people, and she’s about to get another first in her career when she’s the first woman to make her tap out. I get the feeling Natalya was reading that off of cue cards held off camera.

Back to the ring, and here come Jinder and Shanky. Shanky is still doing the dancing behind Jinder’s back thing. Their match will be up after this break I guess, oddly paced segment.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Jinder Mahal and Shanky

We come back as the match starts. Woods and Jinder begin things, Woods grabs a side headlock but runs into a scoop slam. Corner strikes from Jinder but Woods goes up and over then hits the ropes to hit a springboard drop kick. Kofi tags in and Jinder takes some tandem offense. Jinder knees Kofi then tags in Shanky. Kofi avoids Shanky and hits a drop kick but runs into an overhand chop that floors him. Shanky with a clothesline then goes to corner offense. Woods gets his trombone and plays his theme, which gets Shanky into a dancing mood. Jinder forces a tag as Shanky dances and he yells at Shanky for dancing, then turns into Trouble in Paradise from Kofi and Kofi pins Jinder.


Rating: 2 stars

I’m not sure exactly what they’re doing with Shanky here, but he seems to be having a good time with it. The match itself was fine, Shanky is still very green and it shows but you could pair him with worse than Jinder to help season him.

Drew McIntyre heads to the ring now, he’ll talk after this break and we’ll get a ruling from Adam Pearce about the situation between Drew and Sheamus about who gets into Money in the Bank.

Post break Drew is in the ring with a mic, and Adam Pearce is here as well with a mic of his own. At gorilla the Brawling Brutes are talking, Sheamus tells Ridge and Butch to stay in the back as Sheamus goes down to advocate for himself. Sheamus heads to the ring now. Sheamus gets a mic as well. Pearce reminds us that both Drew and Sheamus didn’t qualify for the MITB match, and he gets why they’re still here talking to him and then reminds us about the gimmick thankfully Drew cuts him off. Drew says if he’s not in the ladder match then he’ll beat someone’s ass tonight. Sheamus says putting Drew in that match would be a huge mistake, because Drew would screw it up like always, then reminds us that he won MITB and successfully cashed in to win the title. Pearce reminds us that Seth Rollins qualified on Monday, then reminds both Drew and Sheamus that they had a chance at qualifying then we get a video recap of the end of their match last week. That leads to Pearce saying that WWE management is putting Sheamus in the match. Sheamus hugs Pearce then mocks Drew but Pearce picks up his mic as Drew levels Sheamus with a clothesline. We get some brawling and Pearce calms Drew down by telling Drew that he’s also in the MITB ladder match. Sheamus is pissed, Drew is happy, and Sheamus charges Drew only to run into a Claymore. Happy to see both of those guys in that match.

In the back Sami Zayn frets outside of Roman’s locker room, trying to work up the courage to knock on the door. He turns into Kayla who scares him, and she asks him about his match loss last week. Sami says he’s not talked with anyone in the Bloodline, but he denies that there’s any ill will. Some awkward staring, then Sami leaves claiming he has to use the restroom rather than knock on that door.

To the ring and here comes Raquel Rodriguez, she’ll bein a MITB qualifying match after this break.

Post break here comes Shayna Baszler, and Lacey Evans has joined commentary for the match.

Match #3 – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shayna Baszler

Raquel attacks right away and land shoulder strikes in the corner. Baszler tries to tie up a leg but Raquel punches her out of it then clubs her down. Hard whip to the corner from Raquel, and Baszler rolls to the apron. Raquel follows her and tries a boot but Baszler catches the leg and ties it up in the ropes then starts kicking the leg. Baszler starts going for the leg back in the ring with leg kicks in the corner. Raquel cuts off a leg kick with a back elbow then a running boot. Baszler avoids a powerslam and chop blocks the leg of Raquel then hits a running knee to the face for a 2 count. Baszler grabs the Kirifuda Clutch, Raquel slams out of it then hits a Tejana Bomb to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Raquel Rodriguez won

Rating: 2 stars

Baszler’s leg work got a bit repetitive but it made sense as a target for her. Raquel winning was the right call.

We see Riddle warming up in the back, Shinsuke Nakamura offers a fist bump in support as we head to break.

To the ring and here’s Max Durpi, allegedly. Ah, Max is in the back close talking to Pearce, he wont send his models out to the ring under these conditions. He complains about the conditions, and his clients will not show up until Pearce fixes this.

We get a recap of Gunther winning the IC title last week. In the back Kayla interviews Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser, Kaiser takes her mic and says Gunther’s win was inevitable and the IC title was meant for Gunther. Kaiser runs down the kayfabe history of the IC title and says the best IC champions have been international stars but it’s also been besmirched by men like Ricochet. People who show off all that’s wrong with America, and he vows that no American will hold the IC title. The title’s prestige will be restored by the Ring General. Gunther closes by saying he’s the new IC champion. Decent promo, but the overall presentation for Gunther is pretty solid.

To the ring, here comes Riddle and this time the CGI animals are fish. After that here comes the champion, Roman Reigns with the entire entourage in tow but the Usos don’t follow him all the way to the ring. That match will be up after this break.

Match #4 – Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match: (c) Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs. Riddle

We get special intros for both men, they’re giving them plenty of time as well so this could be awesome. Riddle jumps Roman at the bell, he unloads with strikes then kicks in the corner but he runs into a powerful right hand. Roman takes over with strikes in the corner before Riddle fights back with a kick and a Fisherman’s suplex. Roman heads out of the ring, Riddle with a punt kick from the apron then the corkscrew asai moonsault to Roman and we head to break.

We come back as Riddle lands rights, but Roman drops him with a punch of his own. Mounted elbows from Roman as he retakes control. Roman chokes Riddle on the bottom rope then hits the Drive By for a 2 count. Now Roman grabs a cravat but Riddle starts fighting back and they trade strikes before Riddle hits his rolling kick. Riddle with some running attacks in the corner then an exploder suplex and a senton but Roman blocks the senton with his knees. Roman runs into a back elbow and Riddle hits the Floating Bro for a near fall. Roman avoids an elbow and hits a uranage for a 2 count. Riddle rolls out of the ring to regroup but Roman follows him. Roman with a back suplex onto the table, an Orton move, then calls out Orton to the camera as we head to another break.

We come back as Roman poses then sets for the Superman punch. Riddle staggers up and intercepts the Superman with a knee to the face, then catches a running Roman with a snap powerslam. Riddle wants the draping DDT but Roman avoids it by heading out of the ring. This time Riddle follows and hits the back suplex onto the table, but Roman posts him in response as they head towards the ring. Loud “Randy” chant distracts Roman for a moment, and that allows Riddle to hit the draping DDT. Riddle sets for the RKO, Roman just slams him down then clobbers him with a Superman punch for a near fall. Heyman talks to Roman and hypes him up, Roman fires up now and sets for the Spear but Riddle catches him with an RKO for a great near fall. Seriously, no one kicks at the last possible second like Roman does. Riddle heads up top for another Floating Bro, he hits it then wants another RKO but again Roman counters then Spears Riddle out of mid air when Riddle tried a springboard kick to pin and retain the title.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Roman Reigns retained the title

Rating: 3.5 stars

I think if we saw this absent the commercial breaks this might have hit 4 star territory, but this was designed to prove Riddle could hang with the biggest star they have right now and I think it succeeded.

Post match Roman poses with his belts and the rest of the Bloodline. Heyman hands Roman a mic now, Roman says there’s no one left to challenge him. He told everyone 2 years ago that he was here to wreck everyone and leave, well now he’s wrecked everyone. But before they go, he tells Minneapolis to acknowledge him. Before Roman can leave the ring the music of Brock Lesnar hits, and here comes cowboy Brock. Brock stares down the Bloodline from the entrance ramp before sauntering to the ring. Roman sends the Usos out of the ring and Brock climbs into the ring. Brock and Roman engage in a stare down, then Brock removes his hat and offers a handshake to Roman. Roman considers, goes to accept but Brock hoists Roman up for an F5. The Usos come in and both of them eat F5’s for good measure. Brock stands tall to end the episode.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This one sneaks into Good territory on the back of a strong main event and a bit of a genuine surprise when Brock Lesnar returned. We got the blow off to Moss and Corbin finally, a touch of clarity around Money in the Bank, and nothing terrible really stood out. I'm not sure how much longer they're going to drag out this Max Dupri thing but Dupri and Pearce have some decent comedic chemistry, and while the "Evil Foreigner" thing has been done to death I'm curious to see if Gunther and Kaiser can put a bit of a spin on it. The cap stone for me personally was Riddle's performance in his match with Roman, Roman's a very giving worker if look at the little things he does and Riddle absolutely rose to the occasion. While I'm not thrilled about another Brock and Roman program, with both men working more reduced schedules it makes a degree of sense as you could prolong it without holding up some other talent by having them wrestling the Usos every week.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree