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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 9.08.23

September 8, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown 9-8-23 Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 9.08.23  

Well everyone, it’s another Friday and that means another episode of WWE Smackdown. Last week Jimmy Uso claimed no one in the Bloodline could tell him anything, then showed up and badly whiffed his interference spot in the AJ Styles vs. Solo Sikoa match and tried to reingratiate himself to the faction only for Solo to nearly Spike him. How did Smackdown get stuck with the lesser Uso? Well speaking of the Usos, Jey is on RAW and apparently someone was “traded” to Smackdown in exchange for him, a trade after Jey had quit the entire company for all of 2 weeks. So maybe we’ll figure out who’s coming over from RAW. But in that same vein we’ve got AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Uso on tap, Charlotte Flair teaming with Shtozi to take on Bayley and Iyo Sky, we need direction for LA Knight and I sincerely hope it’s not a rematch with Miz, we had that it was fine let’s move on. Rey Mysterio could use his next title challenger sooner rather than later, Bobby Lashley and the Street Profits talked last week but they could use something to do, and my hunch is the new tag team champions wont be here. Honestly a lot of the roster is India so who knows what exactly we’ve got on tap, but that’s the preamble so let’s get to the action.

First, a recap of Payback. Looks like they’re hitting all the results so hopefully we don’t get umpteen recaps throughout the night. Oh, prolonged video intro as well. We’re definitely hard up for content tonight.

Oh, turns out Judgement Day will be here to take out the Brawling Brutes plus LA Knight will wrestle Austin Theory. It only makes sense that as the Bloodline runs down another faction that’s starting to hit diminishing returns shows up on Smackdown.

Up first, Poochie.

Match #1 – Tag Team Match: Charlotte Flair and Shotzi vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley and Iyo Sky) w/ Dakota Kai

Charlotte and Bayley start us off, Charlotte cheap shots Iyo and unloads on Bayley. Charlotte attacks both of them, Shotzi shows up and we’ve got a wild brawl for a bit. Shotzi gets ejected, Iyo then with an asai moonsault onto Charlotte and Shotzi to send us to break.

Shotzi fights away from Iyo as we come back, then Iyo hits a flapjack. Bayley tags in and they hit a double kick to a kneeling Shotzi for a 2 count. Some trash talk and stomps from Bayley, then Shotzi tries to fight back but is cut off and Bayley grabs a rest hold. Bayley prevents the tag but Shotzi fights out of the heel corner and tags out after a couple of kicks to Bayley so Charlotte can come in. Charlotte with a crossbody to both Iyo and Bayley, then she chops both women down. Fall away slam from Charlotte then her step over clothesline, and an exploder to Iyo. Bayley counters a Figure 8 with a Small Package for 2, then Charlotte just puts on the Figure 4 but Iyo saves Bayley with a Meteora. Iyo tags back in, then Bayley as Iyo hits a top rope hurricanrana to set up Bayley but Bayley is super slow climbing the ropes and then Asuka pops up behind Dakota Kai to steal Iyo’s belt. Charlotte boots Bayley and tags in Shotzi, then boots Iyo off the apron. Shotzi with the Never Wake Up and pins Bayley.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Shotiz and Charlotte Flair won in 9:01

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Acceptable enough match, but the lack of direction for the women’s division on Smackdown is still a problem and Damage Control still feel second tier despite Iyo holding the belt and Iyo being the best women’s wrestler in the promotion.

Post match Asuka carries the belt into the ring and gets in Iyo’s face, the two trade verbal barbs before Asuka just leaves.

Next, a recap of last weeks Smackdown and the Jimmy Uso stuff in particular. They really need to wrap up the Bloodline stuff, it’s been the best thing in wrestling at a few different points but it should come to and end sooner rather than later.

Paul Heyman is in the back on his phone, and here’s Jimmy to interrupt. Jimmy points out how ridiculous things are in the Bloodline story, and he says he’s in the Bloodline since no one told him he was out. Heyman says Solo isn’t here tonight, and Roman isn’t here and says Jimmy isn’t back in until Roman says so. Roman offered Jimmy a lot last time they saw each other, and Heyman says Jimmy should focus on handling AJ tonight while Heyman works on bringing the family back together. Heyman then declines a handshake and walks off where he sees AJ Styles. AJ looks at Heyman, Heyman asks if AJ really wants this on his plate as well, AJ grabs him by the throat and warns Heyman that he’s got no clout, but here’s Jimmy to start a brawl and save Heyman. Heyman calls Roman to end the segment and send us to break.

In the back Damage Control talks with Kayla, Bayley is pissed and tells Asuka to mind her own business or she’ll wind up on the shelf like Bianca Belair. Iyo then says she’s ready for Asuka and challenges her to a title match.

Back to the ring, here’s LA Knight to his usual monster pop. Knight has a mic, and wants to talk to us. He reminds us of Miz wrestling an invisible man on RAW, and then says Miz came to play and if Knight was a complete moron he’d want to look at that adjective but since he’s not a moron he wants to examine the verb. He didn’t come to play, he’s here to march to the top while Miz plays dress up and make believe. Knight didn’t as for Cena to be the ref, he didn’t need it, and he didn’t need Cena’s endorsement. He respects Cena, and Cena counted 3 and Miz has to swallow that particular bitter pill. But if Miz wants to be a cockroach that needs to be stomped out one more time, then consider- but here’s Grayson Waller to interrupt. Waller has his own mic and talks on the entrance stage. He asks if Knight is sure that’s a good idea? Before Knight gets ahead of himself he should focus on Austin Theory, then brings out Theory because who doesn’t love a revolving door segment? Theory still isn’t getting much by way of a reaction. Waller says he and Theory are the only undefeated tag team on the roster, and could be the greatest tag team of all time. The crowd is not with this. Knight says they should be proud of themselves, and invites them to tell their mother’s this and to tell her hi for him. Theory talks, and can’t do anything but remind us that he beat Cena at WrestleMania to even less of a reaction, but he’s already beaten LA Knight too. Knight is as unimpressed with this as all of us while Theory promises to end Knight’s 15 minutes of fame. Knight says Theory and Waller are cute together, but if they’re done boring everyone he’s willing to show the incel duo how this is done. He mocks Waller as a mushmouth, and Theory as a crosseyed half wit, but he’ll fight both of those crotch goblins tonight. The lack of reaction for Theory is almost comical at this point given how much effort they’ve put into him.

After this break we’ll get Theory and Knight in action.

Match #2: LA Knight vs. Austin Theory w/ Grayson Waller

Waller has joined commentary, and tells us that next week John Cena will be on the Grayson Waller Effect. That, well that’ll be something. Theory grabs a side headlock then hits a shoulder block to Knight. Another shoulder block from Theory then Knight cuts him off with a running uppercut. Running neckbreaker from Knight, then Theory shoves him into the corner and lands a few corner strikes. Suplex from Theory for 2. Knight lands a kick from the apron then a slingshot shoulder block to drive Theory out of the ring. They head to the floor and Knight starts bouncing Theory off of the announcers table a few times. Back in the ring now Knight gets hung up on the ropes by Theory, then Theory hits a neckbreaker from the apron to the floor and we head to break.

We come back to both men missing attacks. Knight with some punches then clotheslines and a Russian leg sweep then a DDT. Some stomps from Knight now then a hip attack. Theory blocks a kick and hits a left hand then a rolling blockbuster for 2. Commentary has spent as much time talking about Cena next week as anything in the match. Knight sends Theory to the floor then hits a diving dropkick through the ropes. They fight over a suplex on the floor, and Theory eventually hits it. Waller bails on commentary to expose one of the corner turnbuckles behind the refs back. Theory sees it, but Knight avoids being sent into hit and hits a powerslam on Theory. Knight with the Yeah Elbow, he wants Blunt Force Trauma but Waller distracts him. Theory is nearly sent into the corner but stops himself only to turn into a Blunt Force Trauma and Knight gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: LA Knight won around 9 minutes, sorry stopwatch issues

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: Solid match, Theory has many of the requisite tools but still has no presence. Knight is still over like rover, but I’m not sure what we’re doing with more Miz stuff other than killing time.

Post match Knight avoids a potential attack from Waller.

AJ talks in the back, if he can stand he can still fight. Jimmy can jump him as many times as he wants, he’s going to tear Jimmy’s head off tonight.

Judgement Day is here, and will be in action after this break.

Post break Paul Heyman talks with Adam Pearce, asking Pearce to handle AJ Styles but really wants to know who’s coming to Smackdown. Pearce says that trade was above his level, and here’s Knight to interrupt briefly and get his match with Miz made for next week. Heyman introduces himself to Knight and says he’s a fan of Knight’s work, and asks that Knight not interrupt him next time he’s doing business. Knight responds with “yeah” and Heyman slinks off. Knight into some kind of Bloodline adjacent program? Interesting.

Back to the ring, Judgement Day stand around while we get another recap of Payback when they won the belts after everyone and their dog got involved. Everyone has a mic and Priest plays with the crowd to moderate reactions. Balor reminds us that no one is better than them and put themselves over. Dumb Dom goes to talk, but is drowned out by real boos and fake boos in about equal measure. You can tell it’s sweetened because it drops immediately when Priest talks again. Priest says they did something even the Bloodline couldn’t, something Roman himself couldn’t do, they beat Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens and took the tag titles from them. Dom again says Jey could find a group with them but Butch and Ridge interrupt. Ridge and Butch talk, and plan to put on a banger in Boston. But Priest and Balor couldn’t have picked a worse first opponent since Ridge breaks people like that, no reaction to that. Though they should be worried about Butch. Balor laughs at that, and Butch grabs Balor’s finger and snaps it, then Ridge sends Priest out of the ring and we just wasted a whole TV segment to accomplish nothing as we head to break.

Match #3 – Tag Team Match: Judgement Day (Finn Balor and Damien Priest) w/ Dominik Mysterio vs. Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland and Butch)

We join the match in progress as Balor starts working over Butch. Butch fights back with a Fujiwara armbar then attacks the fingers of Balor. Ridge tags in and swings Balor around with a front headlock then a butterfly suplex. Well that got something approximating a reaction. Priest tags in and kicks Ridge in the head then they trade shoulder blocks and Priest drops Ridge. Ridge is trying to counter a suplex with raw power, it takes a few times but he does, then hoists Balor up as well when Balor comes in and drops both of them. Ridge makes sure Dom is in position for his distraction, he might have had to remind him, then Ridge is appropriately distracted so Priest can land a clothesline. Balor tags in and they both kick at Ridge as we see Pretty Deadly watching TV in the back. Ridge is caught in a front headlock, eventually lifting and tossing Balor and tagging in Butch. Butch gets to run wild for a bit including a Shining Wizard to send Balor out of the ring. Butch with a moonsault onto Priest and Balor as we head to break.

We come back to Butch hitting Balor with a superplex. Balor avoids a Bitter End with an Eye of the Hurricane and both men are down. Both men tag out and Ridge starts landing punches but Priest boxes the ears and lands kicks then a right hand. Ridge catches the arms of Priest for a belly to belly suplex. Butch tags in for a tandem kick and suplex that gets a 2 count. Priest with a head kick out of the corner that gets a 2 count. Punch to Butch, then a kick to Ridge and Priest hits a headlock driver for a 2 count. Butch cares not for selling and stomps on Priest. Balor tags in and Butch drops him with a rebound German suplex, then hits Dom a few times. Sling Blade from Balor then the John WOOO dropkick, but Butch avoids a Coup de Grace and grabs a crucifix for 2. They trade kicks again, then Priest tags in. Butch counters South of Heaven with a kick and tags in Ridge. Ridge with his stupid low tackle then a gutwrench but Balor shoves Butch away and Priest kills both men with South of Heaven. Balor tags in, Coup de Grace to Ridge and the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Judgement Day won in 12:20 shown

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: I wasn’t feeling this one, the Brutes have been treated mostly like second class wrestlers unless they’re with Sheamus and the lack of drama here hurt the overall match.

Post match here comes Bobby Lashley along with the Street Profits, all of them suited up. The Hurt Profits head to the ring and Lashley has a mic. Lashley and Priest go face to face and he says the Bloodline is crumbling, but Judgement Day isn’t taking over, they are. Neither side backs down as Judgement Day leaves.

In the back the rest of the OC talk, and AJ shows up. AJ asks if they know what’s going on, and wants to know where they were when Jimmy jumped him. AJ’s sick of this, and Anderson reminds them that they told him not to get involved in this. Well AJ isn’t taking this, they’ve always had each others back, right or wrong, and if they’re going to be like this then stay away from his match tonight. That sends us to break.

We get a sort of recap of the India shows that are still ongoing. Boy we are definitely hard up for stuff this week.

Commentary remind us that we’ll get Cena on the Grayson Waller Effect, plus LA Knight vs. Miz next week as well. Also in 2 weeks we’ll get Asuka vs. Iyo Sky for the title.

Asuka promo in the back, she speaks Japanese then switches to English to remind us that she never got a rematch for her title. But in 2 weeks she’s taking it back and warns Iyo chan that no one is ready for Asuka.

Back to the ring, here’s Jimmy Uso. Oh, we’re not doing anything and AJ’s entrance will be up after this break. Another segment where nothing of value happened.

Post break, here comes AJ Styles.

Match #4: AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Uso

Jimmy misses a kick and AJ goes after him with strikes and kicks to the leg. Jimmy rolls out of the ring, AJ chases him back in and Jimmy tries a series of roll ups but can’t get AJ down. AJ drops Jimmy with a right hand and unloads with corner strikes. Snap suplex from AJ. AJ with a backbreaker to retain control. Enziguri from AJ and he keeps trash talking Jimmy. Kick to the face from AJ, then he wants a Styles Clash but Jimmy rolls out of the ring. Jimmy keeps wasting time on the floor as the ref starts counting, he does get back in before the 10 count though. AJ with punches back in the ring, then Jimmy with a back elbow to cut him off. Jimmy with a headbutt for 1. Jimmy takes another powder but AJ drops him with a baseball slide. AJ to the apron but he runs into a superkick to 0 reaction. Man, the crowd just does not care about Jimmy at all. Heyman and Solo Sikoa appear on the entrance stage, this makes Jimmy smile and he bounces AJ’s head on the ring steps to send us to break.

AJ is landing strikes as we come back. Back body drop from Jimmy cuts off AJ as Heyman and Solo have meandered down to ringside. Jimmy wants a hip attack and gets it but only a 2 count. AJ fights out of a side headlock but gets pulled down by the hair. Some more time wasting from Jimmy then a chinlock. Again AJ fights back and hits a back suplex to put both men down. They start trading strikes on their knees, then Jimmy with a low enziguri but AJ counters with a Pele kick and again both men are down. AJ clotheslines Jimmy out of the ring, then dives onto him. Back into the ring AJ wants the Phenomenal Forearm, but Jimmy avoids it only to get caught in a Death Valley Neckbreaker for 2. Corner attack from AJ, but Jimmy then lands a superkick and a right hand but only 2 again. AJ with a striking flurry, but Jimmy lands a headbutt. Jumping DDT from AJ but only a near fall. AJ wants another Phenomenal Forearm, he moves to the other side of the ring post from Solo but the delay lets Jimmy hit a superkick. Jimmy sets up AJ for a cheap shot from Solo, but Solo isn’t moving to help him yet. AJ slumps to the floor, Solo walks around him but again doesn’t touch him. Jimmy comes out to confront Solo about this, and AJ punches Jimmy then kicks Solo for no good reason. Heyman backs off and AJ posts Jimmy then heads back for the Phenomenal Forearm, hits it and gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: AJ Styles won about 15 minutes, again minor stopwatch issues

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: I don’t mind a slower burn match but this was just very slowly paced, and Jimmy can’t hold the crowds interest in the ring when he’s alone.

Post match AJ scoots away from Solo and heads to the back, but here’s Damien Priest and Finn Balor to attack AJ for some reason. Priest and Balor send AJ into the ring for Solo to Samoan Spike. Solo just stares down Priest and Balor as the episode ends.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
This was a very slight episode, lots of stretching for time and drawn out segments. I get that we're both coming off of a PPV and have a chunk of the roster in India, without those extenuating circumstances this would have been lower, but I also have to call a spade a spade in that respect. Some of the matches got more time than usual, which is a good thing in general but a few of them also might have been better off shorter. AJ vs. Jimmy in particular probably would have been better as a shorter sprint because Jimmy as a singles wrestler really can't hold the audience. Knowledge of Iyo and Asuka coming up is fine enough, but the women's side of things on Smackdown is still kind of weird because you've spent time claiming Damage Control is strong but they lose most of the time and the only interesting thing they'd done was Iyo and Bayley's mini feud that was summarily abandoned. Judgement Day got a fine enough win as champs, I guess, because the Brawling Brutes without Sheamus are just one step above jobbers. The up side is a few of the seeds being planted, Survivor Series or War Games or something similar is coming up, so having a few people like AJ and Knight run afoul of the Bloodline and Judgement Day courting the influence of Solo and Roman could set up something for that event. Much of Smackdown was about Jimmy though, and Jimmy is just not interesting. I get the hurdles put in place for this episode, but ultimately even by cool down show standards this falls a hair short of Average.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree