This was a very filler episode of TV, a shame for a go home show, but very much had two major positives. The first was LA Knight, and the second was the relationship between Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa. Those two factors were the show's saving graces’ and feel like by far Smackdown’s most interesting assets. The wrestling was mostly disappointing considering the quality of the prepared card, with a good but undercooked opener and a messy main event creating a feeling of frustration, though the short but sweet triple threat was plenty of fun. The crowd were mostly very hot though from what I could hear it felt like it dipped in several segments and quite a few wrestlers got disappointing reactions, though some of the biggest reactions of the night were deafening. The show built okay, bookended by its biggest matches, but none of the matches got enough time and so they did feel a bit disjointed. In truth this is a show you could very easily skip and aside from Roman and Solo’s magnificent staredown and the continued exposure to the stardom of LA Knight you would miss precisely nothing of value for the PPV tomorrow.
Tonight, Live from London, comes the go home episode of Friday Night Smackdown before Money In The Bank. And the show is stacked high with big money matches. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens defend their Undisputed Tag Team Titles against hometown boys Pretty Deadly, while Charlotte Flair tries to take the WWE Women’s Championship from Asuka. Roman Reigns will also make an appearance on the show to hype the Bloodline Civil War encounter at Money In The Bank tomorrow night. Elsewhere on the card, LA Knight battles Santos Escobar and Butch in three way action, Bayley and Shotzi fight for a Money In The Bank ladder match spot and Grayson Waller hosts Logan Paul. With all this and more it promises to be a very busy show, so without further ado let’s get at it!!
GOOD Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs Pretty Deadly- Undisputed Tag Team Championship
Great reception for Kevin and Sami tonight, and a surprising lack of reaction for Pretty Deadly, despite them being from the UK. They do get good heat once the wrestling starts though with their heelish antics as they get one over on Sami to work him over. KO gets the hot tag and runs wild with some very fun selling from Pretty Deadly. Kevin begins to sell an Ankle Injury, which we only hope is part of the scheduled entertainment. It appears to be as it becomes a focal selling point to give Pretty Deadly their opening. Sami Zayn breaks up Spilt Milk and Kevin gets control back for a Sami tag. Wilson gets a kickout from the Blue Thunder Bomb before Pretty Deadly try their usual heel tactics for a nearfall and the faces hit their finishers for the win. This was a good enough match but it just didn’t get the time to really ramp up the nearfalls to give you any moments of fear. Also Owens ankle injury barely played into anything after it happened. A functional match that should’ve got the heels over more than it did.
Result: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn by Pinfall via Helluva Kick
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
We set up a championship contenders match between Austin Theory and Ridge Holland up next. Oh goody my favourite match type.
SQUASH Austin Theory vs Ridge Holland
Very patriotic coloured gear for Ridge. Ridge gets some fun power spots to throw around Theory and looks very good in so doing, with Theory occasionally getting himself back into it by targeting the throat of Ridge Holland before winning with a rolling dropkick. Basically one move puts Ridge down, not even his finishing move. Okay I suppose.
Results: Austin Theory by Pinfall via Rolling Thunder Dropkick
Post match Austin beats down Ridge Holland but Sheamus makes the save. This feud will, and to be honest should continue. This would’ve been a fun match to build for this show to be honest, but I digress.
Karrion Kross challenges AJ Styles to a match next week in a nice little vignette, so expect Kross to lose this as he always does.
We get a tremendous Bloodline video package for a terrific story. Really shows just how incredible this whole storyline has been.
SQUASH Bayley vs Shotzi
The UK Crowd are as expected very into their songs for Bayley. This is a very solid but very short match, though it begins to get a bit clunky by the end. Shotzi gets a nearfall from a modified sliced bread but is saved by Iyo, before Bayley hits the Roseplant for the win. Solid for what it was and shows Damage CTRL on the same page for now, which is a nice story beat ahead of the ladder match.
Result: Bayley by Pinfall via Roseplant
Backstage, Shotzi tries to start a brawl with Damage CTRL, and gets her hair cut for her troubles. Petty heels are always fun.
GOOD The Grayson Waller Effect with Logan Paul
Lots of boos for Logan here, though I hoped Logan would use the time to get some local heat ahead of the MITB match, as he had a chance to go nuclear here. Speaking of Nuclear however, LA Knight interrupts Logan’s claims about the champions he can take down to an unbelievable reaction. They barb a bit back and forth saying little of substance, but the hype for LA is very fun to see. Escobar interrupts and says nothing of value, before Butch enters and quite literally says nothing, breaking the segment down into a brawl. The scheduled triple threat begins in the commercial break. This was a nothing segment content wise, but the crowd carried it heavily through its immense love for LA, and LA’s charisma is always amazing to see, so I cannot call it any less than good.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 3 Stars
GREAT LA Knight vs Santos Escobar vs Butch
Talk about loads of fun! This was a pretty short match so I can’t really rate it any higher, but this was terrific fun with all three guys getting all their big moves in on each other in some fun exchanges. LA Knight was by far the most over here and it was nice to see him hit some really fun moves as well, nailing an incredible looking Urinagi. Ultimately LA and Logan get in each others faces before Santos hits Logan with a suicide dive. Santos takes out LA on the outside and gets back into the ring, only to be caught by a Bitter End for the win. Nice momentum for Butch here giving him a big win going into the PPV, though his pops weren’t as loud as I expected, probably because of the immense love for LA Knight.
Result: Butch by Pinfall via Bitter End
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.5 Stars
Post match, all four guys involved in this segment came out to fight for the briefcase, pulling each other down from a ladder, with Butch coming out on top. Even more momentum for him which is really great for him. Now please bring back Pete Dunne!
AJ Styles accepts Karrion Kross’ challenge backstage, saying Michin will counteract Scarlett. That was certainly a segment that happened on this show.
AVERAGE Charlotte Flair vs Asuka- WWE Women’s Championship
Immediate fashion note here, I don’t like Charlotte’s attire, which is a horrible sickly green colour. Bianca has a ticket for the match from the front row. I love the speed of these competitors but the chemistry just did not click for Asuka and Charlotte on this night. Quite a few of the spots here just look a little off, with the timings and placement wrong. The crowd are into Asuka which always helps, but it just doesn’t click, which is a shame as these two women have had great matches on TV and PPV before. We also don’t get a clean finish, as Bianca causes a DQ after hopping the guardrail to attack Asuka, hitting KOD’s on both women onto the announce table. I like the post match angle a lot more than the match itself.
Result: Asuka by Disqualification
David Sheldon WR Match Rating- 2.5 Stars
GREAT Bloodline Face Off- Recap The Story So Far Here
Roman gets a great heel reaction as expected. Roman gets angry here as he proclaims he is the only one that cares about The Usos and the only one that wants to give them another chance. He says he wants them to apologise, but of course The Usos interrupt and refuse, asking Roman what happens to him if he loses which they predict will happen at Money In The Bank. The Usos say Solo will be the next tribal chief, which creates the best moment of the entire show, a staredown between Roman and Solo with expert facial expressions by Roman, beginning in amusement but falling to real concern. This fires Roman up and a brawl breaks out, ending in Jey hitting a huge dive to the outside to close the show. This was mostly more of the same from these guys, albeit nicely chaotic and very well delivered, but the staredown between Roman and Solo is some of the best acting I’ve seen in a long time, and that is such a great hook going into the PPV. Job really well done for that!
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 3.75 Stars
This was a very filler episode of TV, a shame for a go home show, but very much had two major positives. The first was LA Knight, and the second was the relationship between Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa. Those two factors were the show’s saving graces’ and feel like by far Smackdown’s most interesting assets. The wrestling was mostly disappointing considering the quality of the prepared card, with a good but undercooked opener and a messy main event creating a feeling of frustration, though the short but sweet triple threat was plenty of fun. The crowd were mostly very hot though from what I could hear it felt like it dipped in several segments and quite a few wrestlers got disappointing reactions, though some of the biggest reactions of the night were deafening. The show built okay, bookended by its biggest matches, but none of the matches got enough time and so they did feel a bit disjointed. In truth this is a show you could very easily skip and aside from Roman and Solo’s magnificent staredown and the continued exposure to the stardom of LA Knight you would miss precisely nothing of value for the PPV tomorrow.
Matches: 0.25/1 Stars
Show Structure: 0.5/1 Stars
Atmosphere…: 0.75/1 Stars
Storytelling: 0.5/1 Stars
Production/Theme: 0.75/1 Stars
Overall Rating. 2.75/5 Stars
Photo Credit: WWE – 30th June 2023
For inquiries about the rating criteria check out the article announcing the new system here: