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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (Nov. 18, 2022): A Stunner

The Sheamus/Drew McIntyre story has been a pretty damn good one when taken all together, and they were smart to lean on that to kick off Friday Night SmackDown this week in Hartford.

The Bloodline is a heel group, sure, but there are a lot of reasons to like them too. The Brawling Brutes have worked heel quite a bit and they need some cohesion to believe in them at all in a match like this. To that end, having McIntyre and Sheamus reestablish the bond they’ve long shared — lean right on into the whole brothers thing — worked well to do just that.

They wouldn’t reveal the fifth member of the team, not at first. Instead, Sheamus told Sami Zayn it would be the last person he would expect, something that seemed to indicate Kevin Owens would indeed be the guy.

But what of all those reports of a knee injury? Perhaps overblown? Maybe not as bad as previously believed?

After a tease like they would leave it a mystery, we got our answer in the main event of the show. Shortly after Zayn lost to BUTCH in the quarterfinals of the SmackDown World Cup tournament, a melee broke out when Roman Reigns finally made his presence felt. He laid out the entire opposing force, even the likes of Drew McIntyre and Sheamus.

And that’s when Owens’ music hit, to a thunderous ovation. He will indeed be the fifth member of the team.

This is fantastic not just because he’s so great at times like this but because it creates that much more intrigue in the match beyond the physical toll it will take on its participants. There may come a time when Zayn is forced to choose between Owens, who has been there forever, and The Bloodline, who have never fully accepted him (at least not all its members).

Can’t wait.


All the rest
  • They told a good story with the Ricochet vs. Mustafa Ali match. That beatdown from Bobby Lashley served its purpose, as Ali was simply too injured to overcome against a talented wrestler like Ricochet. This was as good a way to do this as any, with Ali forced to fill in for Rey Mysterio. The match was great too!
  • Emma is smitten with Madcap Moss, and boy does it come across on television. Helps that it’s real! She was there to give him some advice for dealing with Karrion Kross. She told him to just use his speed, because he’s faster. It didn’t work out for him, as he was still choked out and lost the match. Emma checked on him after, but Kross has firmly established he’s above all this.
  • Bray Wyatt was back again this week to apologize to LA Knight, who he headbutted last week when he let his bad side get the best of him. He was here to make amends for that this week. But LA Knight was never going to just accept an apology, so he hauled off and slapped him. Wyatt was prepared to accept that, and then Knight slapped him again. Bray seemed to quite literally transform in the ring, his eyes going dead, glowing red, the demons inside winning him over. Using Knight to advance this story worked perfectly here. Later, Wyatt was shown in the background of a Karrion Kross/Usos chat appearing to argue with someone. But no one else was there. Later still, Wyatt’s newest mask flashed in the dark background as Knight was trying to leave the building. He was shown laid out a short time later. Wyatt is losing the fight with himself, folks!
  • Shotzi scored a roll up victory over Shayna Baszler after Raquel Rodriguez came out to even the odds, what with Ronda Rousey causing trouble ringside. It might just be me but it felt like more of a win for Rodriguez than it did for Shotzi.
  • The New Day recruited Braun Strowman for a six-man tag team match against Imperium after a backstage verbal confrontation led to the promise of an in-ring physical one. The babyface side won in baffling fashion — Strowman quite literally scared GUNTHER away. He was about to break up the winning pin but the mere sight of a hard charging Braun was enough to send him running out of the ring. I get that the idea is to put Strowman over in that no one has ever made GUNTHER respond that way, but it’s so over the top it makes the Intercontinental champion look awful. That’s just not the GUNTHER we’ve known and enjoyed for so long now. It seemed to telegraph the SmackDown World Cup winner too, but we’ll see on that.

Not a bad show.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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