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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (Sept. 30, 2022): What brand split?

Maybe I’m still stuck in the past as far as how WWE TV shows used to be presented, but it feels jarring to me that we could be this close to the next major pay-per-view and have a show like what we got with Friday Night SmackDown this week.

It wasn’t bad, per se, it just sort of existed.

The show was headlined by a match that was put together earlier in the evening when Austin Theory was trash talking Drew McIntyre and Alpha Academy just so happened to have also been there to back up Theory but Johnny Gargano & Kevin Owens also just so happened to be there to back up McIntyre.

You got it! A six-man tag match pitting the two sides against each other closed the show.

It was perfectly fine for what it was. Maybe I’m the one in the wrong for being so used to opening with a promo from the big star you’re expecting to see and that being what leads to the main event match featuring said big star. This just felt like a way to get through this week’s show. The ratings have been fantastic lately, so clearly what they’re doing is working.

Still, when Roman Reigns isn’t around, you really feel his absence.

Anyway, the good guys emerged victorious via a fun finish that we didn’t really see. Owens hit Otis with a Stunner on the announcer’s desk — and they weren’t on it — and then McIntyre hit Theory with the Claymore — and they weren’t on it — for the winning pinfall. We had to see them both via replay.


Ronda Rousey called herself the “most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet” before asking a simple question: “what do you think I become wielding a baseball bat?”

The most dangerous being in the Universe?!?

Get it?

I’m so sorry.

Anyway, she wrestled Natalya in a match designed to heat her up for Extreme Rules in just over a week. The match they had was short and Rousey sold a bit more than I expected her to but Nattie tapped to the Ankle Lock in the end.

After, Liv Morgan showed up dragging a baseball bat and they had a staredown before rushing each other. Morgan, despite having a bat, got kicked in the gut. A quick battle ensued and eventually they fought over said bat, going full Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar and having a tug of war over it.


Naturally, security hit the scene and despite the fact that Rousey had gotten the best of Morgan, she decided to leave the bat and walk out without causing a fuss. The champ, of course, wouldn’t stand for that and rushed her through the security detail, with commentary making clear this is how extreme she could get.

This all fell flat, and failed to accomplish what they hoped it would. Morgan came in with a bat and somehow looked weak anyway and Rousey feels so far above this despite feeling like less of a major star than she ever has.

I’m not entirely sure how the women’s division on the blue brand got here but it could badly use a few talented stars like, say, Sasha Banks and Naomi? Hell, when is Charlotte Flair coming back?

All the rest
  • This show opened with Solo Sikoa & Sami Zayn teaming up to score a win over Ricochet & Madcap Moss. The heels cheated their way to victory in a fun opener that further established Sikoa as the enforcer of The Bloodline. He’s the kind of muscle that demands respect not just for being willing and able to throw some heavy blows, but because he goes so far in his zest for doing so. If you stub his toe, he’s breaking your leg. He’s perfect for the top group in all of WWE.
  • Meanwhile, Jey Uso says he sees through Sami. Who knows what that means, but he gave him a warning shot this week.
  • Anyone else far prefer Karrion Kross with hair to the bald look? Just me?
  • Max Dupri is inching closer to becoming LA Knight once again but I will say I’m greatly enjoying how absolutely fed up he is with the Maximum Male Models and all their bullshit. It’s entertaining enough that I’m not worried about them taking their time on this one. In fact, they should!
  • Hit Row scored a relatively easy win over Los Lotharios. There wasn’t much to this one.
  • Imperium left Sheamus a battered mess, but his response was to ask “is that all you got?” That got over big with the crowd, who chanted his name in response.
  • Shotzi got her tank back! It didn’t help her win a match, as she was beaten by Bayley, who is getting ready to challenge for the Raw women’s championship. Speaking of, Bianca Belair was on this show to save Shotzi from a ladder attack. There was a brief back-and-forth with Bayley to tease out another contract signing for Raw next week.

This was one you could skip.

Grade: C-

Your turn.

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