WWE Smackdown Review (April 8, 2022)

wwe smackdown reigns nakamura hug

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Roman Reigns talking about what’s next for The Bloodline, Ronda Rousey issuing a challenge to Charlotte Flair and more.

It was the first Smackdown after the two-night WrestleMania 38 from last weekend. I enjoyed WrestleMania 38 for the most part. Here’s my full review in case you missed it.

From the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this is Smackdown for episode #1181. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package showed highlights from WrestleMania Saturday and Sunday. It was nearly four minutes long.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show while plugging Roman Reigns making an appearance later.

Let’s Hear from Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey was introduced by Kayla Braxton for an interview. The fans cheered Rousey, who greeted some fans around the ring. Kayla said that Ronda made Charlotte tap out and they showed a clip of that, but referee Charles Robinson was down at that moment. Charlotte would go on to retain her Smackdown Women’s Title. Rousey said that she lost, she didn’t want to make excuses. Rousey said she beat Charlotte once, but not twice and not when it counted. Braxton asked Rousey’s next step, so Rousey said she wanted a rematch and she made it clear she wanted a rematch with no doubts. Rousey said that at WrestleMania Backlash, she challenges Charlotte Flair to an “I Quit” match.

Charlotte Flair appeared on the screen with her Smackdown Women’s Title saying Rousey can’t beat her in checkers, much less an I Quit Match. Charlotte said she didn’t tap out because she walked out as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Flair said that Rousey is a myth as the “baddest woman on the planet” because Rousey can’t win when it matters. Flair said “no” to Rousey’s question. Flair: “Get to the back of the line, bitch.”

Rousey told Flair that this fight is going to happen and Flair isn’t going to say “I Quit” because she’ll scream it when Rousey turns Flair’s arm backward.

Analysis: I figured there would be a rematch coming based on the match they had at WrestleMania. That’s okay with me because WrestleMania Backlash is going to have rematches and we all know that. Rousey showed a lot of confidence with her words here while Flair was her usual cocky self. Rousey should win the title from Flair there. I understand not doing it at WrestleMania since the rematch with an “I Quit” stipulation makes a lot of sense.

They showed a clip from WrestleMania when Sheamus & Ridge Holland beat New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods.

The trio of Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch were behind the curtain with Sheamus telling Butch they are going to let him off the leash. It’s Fight Night time for this trio that likes to shove eachother and get in fights.

(Commercial)

Xavier Woods made his entrance with Kofi Kingston. Poor Xavier has completely lost the “King Woods” gimmick that he loved so much. Kofi Kingston congratulated them on their WrestleMania win. Woods noted that they have a WrestleMania win, but he doesn’t have a win and Kofi said in 2019 when he won, it meant that “we all won.” Woods said WrestleMania is like the end of the season, so tonight’s Smackdown is like the season opener and all records are reset (as if records matter). Kofi said that the score between them is 0-0. Woods claimed he talked to Butch’s aunt, who can’t wait to see Woods whip Butch’s “rabies infested ass.” Okay.

Butch vs. Xavier Woods

Butch was aggressive with a clothesline followed by punches and forearms. Woods with a drop toe hold to send Butch to the turnbuckle, then Butch came back with a kick to the face and Butch pulled back on the left arm. Woods put his food on the bottom rope. Butch stomped on Xavier’s left elbow. Woods hit a side Russian legsweep, a low dropkick and Butch bailed to the floor. Butch avoided a diving attack, Butch with a forearm and Butch suplexed Woods on the apron.

(Commercial)

Butch was dominating Woods with forearms to the chest while up against the ropes. Butch was in control as he grounded Woods with an armbar and then a stomp on the arm/side of Woods. Butch had a cut on his nose, but it wasn’t that bad. Butch hit Woods with forearms to the face leading to Butch grabbing another armbar. Woods punched Butch repeatedly to break free, Woods ran the ropes twice and hit a forearm to the face. Woods with a jumping side kick that knocked Butch down. Woods with a jumping kick to the side of the head. Woods with a jumping kick, but then Butch came back with a punch, a stomp on the fingers and a kick to the head for two. Butch charged with a running kick, but Woods avoided it and got an inside cradle for the pinfall win. McAfee said it’s not a rollup, it’s the “backwoods” when Woods wins like that. It went about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xavier Woods

Analysis: *** That was a good match between two talented guys. I’m a bit surprised that Butch lost, but it was done in a way that made it look like a close loss rather than a dominant win from Woods. I’d rather see Butch win his “debut” match in that spot to make him look like a threat. I get that New Day lost at WrestleMania, so this was them getting a win back. I just thought that Butch should have got the win here.

Post match, Butch was furious about losing and his buddies had to try to calm him down. Butch even hit Sheamus and Holland with strikes until Sheamus made him stop.

A look back at Sami Zayn’s WrestleMania 38 match was next.

(Commercial)

The Doordash Highlight of the Night showed highlights of Sami Zayn’s loss against Johnny Knoxville at WrestleMania 38 in an Anything Goes Match. Knoxville got a lot of help from his Jackass friends to win this comedy match.

Analysis: I thought the match was fun, the crowd in Dallas like it, but I know some people that hated it too. Sami’s performance was great and he commented on social media that he loved it, so that’s what matters.

Sami Zayn was complaining to WWE Official Adam Pearce saying he was supposed to face Johnny Knoxville, but he had to deal with all of his friends. Sami said that he wants to get some respect back, so Sami said that the next person that walks out of the locker room, he wants to face that person and get his respect back. It was Drew McIntyre, he looked at them and left. Pearce told Sami he has to face Drew tonight even though Sami didn’t seem thrilled about it. Then Sami said that’s okay. Sami left. Pearce was handed a piece of paper from a guy with a headset. It was something about Rousey’s request from earlier.

Ludwig Kaiser is the new name of Marcel Barthel. Ludwig said this man is the epitome of elegance, the “Ring General” Gunther. Gunther was in a red coat just like Ludwig was dressed in red. That led to the big man making his entrance for a match. It’s no longer Imperium. It’s just two guys hanging out together.

Analysis: I don’t know why they needed to change the name of Barthel. He had a German-sounding name and now he has a different German-sounding name. With that said, I don’t really complain about name changes that much. Big deal. They happen, shrug your shoulders and you get used to it. I’m happy to see Gunther on Smackdown. He’s awesome and one of my favorites in all of WWE.

This Monday on Raw, Cody Rhodes faces The Miz in singles action. Plus, MVP has Omos as a guest on the VIP Lounge and Veer faces Rey Mysterio.

(Commercial)

Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser) vs. Joe Alonzo

Gunther with a hiptoss that sent Alonzo across the ring followed by some hard chops that Gunther is known for. Gunther with a boot to the head. Gunter pounded on Alonzo with chops and punches. Gunther with another hard chop to the chest. Gunther with a body slam. Gunther with a stiff chop to the chest again and a Powerbomb for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Gunther

Analysis: 1/2* A dominant win by Gunther delivering a lot of strikes and then the deadly Powerbomb. Simple enough.

There was another newcomer on Smackdown as Raquel Gonzalez was renamed Raquel Rodriguez for some reason. Kayla is so short she makes Raquel look like a giant. Raquel said that Smackdown has never seen anything like her. Los Lotharios walked up to Raquel Rodriguez welcoming her to Smackdown and they wanted to welcome her with a kiss. Raquel told them “not a chance” and the guys left. Raquel: “Are those guys always this annoying?” Kayla nodded.

Analysis: There is yet another name change. I guess it’s just a case of WWE wanting to change names when people move to Raw or Smackdown. Raquel is one of the tallest women in WWE, so she’ll probably be pushed well. Would I have changed her name? Nope. It’s also not up to me. We’ll get used to it.

Happy Corbin and Andre the Giant battle royal winner Madcap Moss made their entrance. They showed a clip of Drew McIntyre beating Corbin at WrestleMania Saturday. Last Friday on Smackdown, Moss won the Andre the Giant battle royal. Anyway, Corbin hosts his talk show up next.

(Commercial)

Happy Talk with Happy Corbin

Corbin and Moss were in the ring with Corbin saying this was supposed to be the happiest Happy Talk ever. Corbin said that they were supposed to revel in his victory over Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. Corbin said that these low points help you reflect on who you are. Corbin said he looked about what kind of man he was and what kind of man he could become. Corbin said there’s only one man to blame for his loss against Drew and that man is Madcap Moss. Corbin complained about how Moss distracted him. Corbin said that this not about how Moss felt while adding that Moss made it all about him winning the Andre the Giant battle royal trophy. The fans cheered while even starting a “Madcap Moss” chant. Corbin said that Moss is too big for his suspenders and he’s forgotten his place. Corbin wanted him to tell a joke. Moss had a joke about what to call himself when he costs Corbin a match? Madcap Loss. Corbin said that was terrible. Moss had another joke about what you would call Adam Pearce if he ran a brothel? Madam Pearce. Corbin told him that was terrible too and that aloof his jokes have been terrible. Corbin wanted Moss to tell him a funny joke like his job depends on it because it does. Moss: “What do you call a guy who treats his friends like garbage, who thinks he’s better than anybody else and a guy who dresses like he’s going to a funeral for Tommy Bahama? You call him Happy Corbin!” Happy asked if the fans thought that was funny and they cheered. Corbin attacked Moss from behind.

Corbin stomped on Moss a bit, but then Moss fought back and whipped him into a platform in the ring. Moss with a shoulder tackle and then a belly-to-belly toss across the ring. Corbin left the ring, Moss went after him and Corbin whipped Moss into the barricade. Moss sent Corbin face first into the hood of the announce table a few times. Back in the ring, Moss punched Corbin a few times followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Moss celebrated getting the advantage. Moss stomped on Corbin’s top hat and celebrated some more.

Analysis: There’s the split between this midcard heel act. It’s fine because they need more babyface singles wrestlers on Smackdown, so Moss can fill that spot. I think Corbin was slightly more interesting with Moss as an ally, but we all know those kinds of alliances aren’t going to last for a long time. Moss might do okay on his own, but I don’t know if he has a big enough personality to really stand out.

Jinder Mahal was with Shanky talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce. Mahal complained about how he wasn’t being used properly. Jinder wanted an Intercontinental Title shot against Ricochet. Pearce was trying to get out of it, but then Ronda Rousey showed up. Ronda asked if she would get her “I Quit” match. Pearce said that it’s not official yet, but it could be made official tomorrow. Rousey had a serious look on her face to end it.

Drew McIntyre entered with Angela the sword for a match up next.

A video aired about WrestleMania: Hollywood 39 next year in Los Angeles on April 1 & 2, 2023.

(Commercial)

A graphic said that WWE had over 1 billion video views across all social media platforms during WrestleMania week. If they “only” had 700 million would anybody know the difference? No. Congrats, I guess.

Sami Zayn made his entrance as Drew’s opponent. This match was set up earlier in the show.

Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn did some stalling to start the match, which is common for a heel like Zayn. Drew went after Zayn on the floor by sending him into the barricade two times. Drew got a hold of Sami leading to belly to belly toss across the ring two times in a row. Zayn bailed to the floor again, so Drew followed him out there to send Zayn into the hood of the commentary table. Drew dropped Zayn onto the top of the commentary table again. Zayn was sent back in the ring, so he left the other side of the ring near the entrance, the referee Charles Robinson was counting Sami, so Drew left the ring and clotheslined Zayn while on the floor. Drew grabbed Zayn on his shoulders and brought him into the ring. Drew wanted a Claymore Kick, but Zayn left the ring again and jumped over the barricade into the crowd. Zayn walked up the steps to run away. Drew was the winner by countout after four minutes.

Winner by countout: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: * It was just a match that saw Sami running away the whole time while Drew wanted to fight. There will be a rematch next week with Sami possibly doing the same thing again. These two could have a great match if it was booked well, but Sami’s a chickenshit heel, so I’m not sure if they are ever going to have a competitive match.

Up next is a look back at Pat McAfee’s WrestleMania experience.

(Commercial)

The Progressive Match Flo showed highlights of Pat McAfee beating Austin Theory at WrestleMania Sunday. Sadly, there was more with Vince McMahon beating Theory in a terrible “match.” At least it ended in a fun way when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin cleaned house.

A video aired with a returning Lacey Evans telling her life story. Lacey talked about how she was born in a small town in Georgia. Lacey talked about how her mother took her and other siblings to avoid her father because he was an abusive father with mental health issues. Lacey said that she moved around to different campgrounds. Lacey spoke about how she may not have the same shot to stardom that other superstars had, but that’s okay because it makes her different. She talked about how she was a mother, wife, sister, daughter, US marine and WWE superstar. Lacey said it doesn’t make her any better than any of these other superstars, but they damn sure aren’t better than her. Her story continues next week according to Cole.

Analysis: Welcome back to Lacey. She gave birth to a baby boy several months ago and she also has a daughter, so she’s a working mom with two kids. It looks like they’re going to use her in the face role. I think Lacey was a lot better as a heel in the past, but I can understand wanting to push her as a face since she was a US Marine and a tough woman that is easy to root for.

Sasha Banks entered with Naomi – they are the Women’s Tag Team Champion. Sasha’s in action after a break.

(Commercial)

They showed highlights from Raw with Banks/Naomi beating Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley clean. Ripley walked out after the match, but then they managed to get a title match next week. Ripley is probably going to turn on Morgan.

Liv Morgan was interviewed by Megan Morant with Liv saying that she’ll beat Banks. Morgan said that the momentum of that victory can help them win the Tag Team Titles. Morgan added that Ripley was not there tonight, but she will be there on Monday when they become the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Morgan made her entrance.

Sasha Banks vs. Liv Morgan

Banks hit an armdrag off the ropes, Morgan came back with a kick to the back that sent Banks into the turnbuckle. Morgan hit a missile dropkick. Banks hit a backstabber while Morgan was against the ropes and Morgan bumped to the floor.

(Commercial)

Banks hit Morgan with a suplex, then Banks went up top and hit Morgan with a Frog Splash for two. It wasn’t a great Frog Splash since it looked like Banks was a bit short with it. They showed Shayna Baszler and Natalya watching on a TV screen from a unique angle. Banks avoided a knee attack, Banks got a sunset flip and then they rolled around for a bunch of near pin attempts. Banks went for a jackknife cover, Morgan got up, Banks hit a knee and then Morgan hit a jumping knee to the face for two. Morgan with a couple of kicks, Banks with double knees and Morgan hit a running knee. Banks came back with her own running knee. Banks set up Morgan up top and Banks hit a superplex off the middle rope, then Banks put her legs up and Morgan hooked the legs for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Liv Morgan

Analysis: **3/4 It was a decent match with a finish that was done to show that Morgan can beat Banks in what many people would consider an upset. Banks had to stick her feet up after the superplex so that Morgan could get a hold of them. It’s also typical WWE booking where they have a champion lose non-title to try to build up a contender. It’s the classic “building momentum” thing that WWE loves to do. They had some cool spots in the match.

They showed Rick Boogs getting hurt at WrestleMania with a torn quad and a torn patella tendon. That’s going to be a long rehab that likely puts him out the rest of the year into early next year.

It was acknowledgment time as the “Tribal Chief” Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance along with “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman and the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Usos. It was day 587 for Reigns as the Universal Champion.

A video package aired about Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 Sunday. It was a good match for the most part, but I thought it would be better.

Reigns and The Bloodline stood in the ring together as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Next week on Smackdown: Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn and Ricochet defending the Intercontinental Title against Jinder Mahal.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Bloodline

Reigns was handed the microphone from Heyman and Reigns shouted: “Milwaukee…acknowledge me!” That led to cheers, boos and “ones” in the air as The Usos did the one finger index finger salute. Reigns said that Smackdown and the Universal Championship wasn’t enough, so he smashed “Cowboy Brock” and he took the WWE Championship from Raw. Reigns said when they talk about what’s next for the Tribal Chief, he’s not sure he can do much more. Reigns said that there is still plenty left for The Bloodline to achieve. Reigns said he saw his two titles, but then he saw his cousins only had two titles. Reigns said he’s one man with two titles while they are two men with two titles and that’s not enough. Reigns told Jey they were going to show him greatness and there’s only one way to show to do that. Reigns wanted The Usos to unify the Tag Team Championships by winning the Raw Tag Team Titles. Reigns told them to bring him those Raw Tag Team Championships, they can get them for themselves and get them for The Bloodline. The Usos seemed happy about it. Reigns: “The Bloodline is going to have all the gold soon.”

It was interruption time as the former Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance. Nakamura went down to the ring to get in Roman’s face while the fans were humming along to Nakamura’s song.

Nakamura was about to speak, Reigns told him he didn’t have to say nothing and he understands how Shin feels. Reigns said that Shin lost his partner Rick Boogs and he gets that. Reigns noted that they understand since they lost Jimmy for over a year with a knee injury in the past (Jimmy tore his ACL at WrestleMania 36 in 2020). Reigns said that this is a place of love. Reigns gave Nakamura some “bloodline love” with a hug. Reigns stepped back and The Usos gave Nakamura a double superkick to knock him on his ass. Cole said that Reigns suckered Nakamura in there. The Usos shouted about how they are going to go to Detroit (which is where Monday’s Raw is) to go after RK-Bro and the Raw Tag Team Titles.

Reigns posed with his two titles. They showed replays of Nakamura eating that double superkick. Reigns and The Usos stood tall. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It told the audience what was coming next with The Usos going to Raw to try to get a shot at the Raw Tag Team Titles held by RK-Bro. From a logical standpoint, are they allowed to do that? I guess so, but the wrestlers are supposed to be exclusive to a brand. Anyway, Nakamura stepping up to Reigns is fine with me because that’s a fresh matchup they can do. I don’t expect Nakamura to win, but it should be a good match assuming it happens at WrestleMania Backlash. I think they are just biding their time until Drew McIntyre feuds with Reigns probably in the summertime when they have three stadium shows with Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and the UK PPV in September. There’s no rush to do Reigns vs. McIntyre, so it’s about keeping Reigns busy until then.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Gunther
  3. Xavier Woods

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 6

 

Final Thoughts

It was mostly an average show. I liked some of the story progression. They are building things for the future pretty well. Roman Reigns told The Usos to go for the Raw Tag Team Titles so now we get to see if The Usos can get that done. Meanwhile, Ronda Rousey wants a title shot against Charlotte Flair in an “I Quit” match that is hopefully better than their WrestleMania match.

It would be nice if we got some better matches, but there were good ones between Woods/Butch and Morgan/Banks although both of them had a similar ending.

Some other things from the show are that Marcel Barthel is now Ludwig Kaiser while Raquel Gonzalez is Raquel Rodriguez. Was either name change really that necessary? I don’t think so, but it is WWE’s way of freshening up a character when they move to Raw or Smackdown. I’m happy to see Gunther on Smackdown getting easy wins. Lastly, good luck to Madcap Moss breaking free from Happy Corbin. I don’t know if it will work, but they might as well give it a try.

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Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport