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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (May 13, 2022): Unification

Pat McAfee said it best: “Sami Zayn backs himself into TERRIBLE situations ALL the time.”

He did so again on Friday Night SmackDown this week.

Well, McAfee actually called him “Rusty,” because Riddle, who came over with Randy Orton to try to get that tag team title unification match they still want, decided Zayn’s hair is the color of rust. So it’s a whole thing now, much to Sami’s chagrin. Zayn was only out there trying to court favor with The Bloodline by convincing RK-Bro just to go back to Monday Night Raw and do their thing over there. They don’t want to get involved with anything on the blue brand.

That was coming from a self-professed “locker room leader.”

Of course, Orton tried to turn that into Riddle vs. Zayn with a title unification match on the line, and Adam Pearce went along with the idea, at least in the sense of making the match. Wouldn’t you know it, Riddle won that match, because Zayn cannot win anything ever while he is still this version of Sami Zayn.

Poor Rusty.

After, a defeated Zayn was walking backstage and ran into Shinsuke Nakamura, who gleefully told him “Roman is the head of the table but you? You are the table’s ass!”


I remain deeply entertained by Sami in this role. He actually believes he’s a genius who just keeps getting unlucky or treated unfairly, and seeing him constantly slam into a brick wall he himself was responsible for will never be anything other than amazing to me. I’ll pop for it every time.

As for The Bloodline, they responded to all this as you might expect — they completely ignored Zayn’s delusions before a turf war mentality overtook them with regards to RK-Bro’s invasion. They promised to hit the scene later and did so in the main event.

Orton told Reigns he’ll never be the wrestler John Cena is or ever was, and it was one hell of an insult that hit hard with the live crowd. Frankly, it kind of made me want Orton vs. Reigns.


Orton made clear the idea they had — unify the titles and call them the undisputed WWE tag team championships. The Usos immediately accepted the challenge for this unification match, but they’ll do it next week on SmackDown.

They went out on Riddle kneeing Reigns in the face.

They did a great job of maintaining as much hype as possible for the tag title match but I would be remiss if I didn’t note that they’re doing very little for the WWE Universal championship right now. Drew McIntyre wasn’t even on this show, and Orton may have inadvertently established himself as the best possible option there.


All the rest
  • Ronda Rousey decided she wants to be a fighting champion, so instead of talking too much (which she’s getting better at, by the way!) she simply issued an open challenge. Raquel Rodriguez, fresh off a win in her single SmackDown match a couple weeks ago, answered the call. They had a match that was a million times better than anyone could reasonably expect it to be, with Rousey ultimately retaining but shaking hands with Raquel before leaving the ring. It was a nifty way to help give Rodriguez some shine before there are any real plans for her to be in the main event scene while also putting over the champion of the division. Very simple, very effective.
  • Also enjoyed Shotzi and Aliyah arguing backstage about why they weren’t the ones to answer the call, with Shotzi claiming Rodriguez pushed her out of the way and Aliyah saying Shotzi locked her in a room. They bothered to explain a fringe detail while also kick starting an issue with a simple backstage bit. It’s the small things.
  • Madcap Moss was given the top of the second hour to continue his issue with Bum Ass Baron Corbin, who used the Andre the Giant Battle royal trophy to slam a chair into Madcap’s neck. There were a ton of boos, who knows how many of them were piped in, because the crowd mix sounded awful for the entire segment, but Moss did a stretcher job. Before he got in, Corbin stopped him and said “you’re going to the MOSSpital.” Ha ha. He he. Ho Ho.
  • Sasha Banks & Naomi successfully defended the women’s tag team titles against Shayna Baszler & Natalya in a match that didn’t quite live up to what most women’s tag matches have been of late. It was good enough for what it was, but It makes sense why it was put on this show where it was.
  • Butch won a match and just straight up took off into the crowd. He came back and celebrated while maniacally smiling. Butch is great.

A decent enough show.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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