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SmackDown recap & reactions (Oct. 20, 2023): LA Knight can’t stop, won’t stop

Paul Heyman was called upon to open Friday Night SmackDown this week, and he did so putting over the way Jimmy Uso cost Jey and Cody Rhodes the tag team titles on Monday Night Raw. Hell of a play call and execution from the better of the two brothers, or whatever.


Then, the news we’ve all been talking about: Roman Reigns will indeed defend the WWE Universal championship at Crown Jewel against none other than LA Knight. That’s a man, by the way, that Heyman is a fan of, or so he claimed here. But even so, LA is going to get smashed.

That led right on into Your LA Knight Segment of the Week:

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Knight bullied Heyman around a bit, with the idea that he was trying to look as strong as possible ahead of challenging for the top prize in all the land. He didn’t need to be the witty insult dealing promo artist here — he just needed to convey that he’s an actual threat to taking the title from Reigns.

Heyman played the scared advocate to perfection and the segment was fine for what it was trying to accomplish.

They’ll be doing a contract signing next week.

Meanwhile, John Cena still has some issues to deal with related to The Bloodline.

He talked about Roman Reigns’ long streak as champion but also brought up one of his own — he’s gone 2,002 days since he last won a televised singles match. His last victory on TV was all the way back in 2018.

He was getting emotional about it, with fans chanting “Thank you, Cena” at him and then he mentioned the word retirement and said it might be time to face the facts.

Oh, who are we kidding, it’s John Cena! You’re damn right he did his vintage overcome bit and said he still believes and he’s going to smoke whoever walks out of the curtain.

Cue Solo Sikoa.

Naturally, Jimmy Uso showed up to help but he was taken out by a figure clad in black who turned out to be his brother, Jey. They’re doing one hell of a job building to a match between these two.

Back in the ring, Cena hit Sikoa with an AA and commentary put over how he’s still got plenty left in the tank.

WWE put Charlotte Flair challenging Iyo Sky for the women’s championship in the main event of this show, and they delivered a pretty damn good match in that slot. I was just confused about how it was handled booking wise, at least as it pertains to Nick Aldis.

The new SmackDown General Manager put this match together, he said, entirely because Flair would be champion right now if it wasn’t for Damage CTRL getting involved. So, naturally, he did nothing to ensure they wouldn’t get involved this time and, wouldn’t you know it, they got involved again and, to the surprise of no one, cost Flair the title again.

Like, huh?!?

Of course, they weren’t going to do a title change here anyway, as this was always going to be a lead in to Bianca Belair making her return to help fend off a post-match beatdown. Which helps explain why Damage CTRL couldn’t be barred from ringside.

But then why mention that as a motivating factor for the match being made?

I might be looking too far into this thing.

WWE was ready with a nice cut of footage from Logan Paul’s fight with Dillon Danis, claiming he beat the trash out of that man in their boxing match. Whether that’s actually the case or not, they did well with how they presented it.

That’s the business — you don’t actually have to do the thing, you just have to be good at making it look like you did it.

When Paul got to the ring and on the microphone, he took the opportunity to run down Danis, calling him a troll who hides behind the mask the Internet affords him. Speaking of hiding behind a mask, there’s Rey Mysterio.

Who he claims he’s not actually here for.

No, he already defeated Mysterio in his first trip to pro wrestling. Rey just has something he needs — the United States championship, a coveted title he has decided he needs. He beat up a deadbeat dad in Danis, he said, and now he’ll do it again at Crown Jewel.

Mysterio hit the scene to say Logan reminds him of his own son, Dominik — he’s passionate, talented at a young age, with a promising future ahead of him. But like with Dom, he needs his ass kicked to beat some sense into him. He was hesitant with his son but there will be none of that with Paul.

It’s on!

All the rest

  • A “different” Montez Ford showed up to SmackDown this week for his match with Santos Escobar, as WWE kept trying to bring across. That different, as it turned out, was just a guy who got beat up the majority of the match and then cheated to win. Hey, they’re finally learning from Bobby Lashley! Speaking of which, Carlito helped the LWO fend off a post-match attack — even though they had The Street Profits outnumbered 3-to-2, hilariously enough — and it looks like we are indeed building to Carlito vs. Lashley.
  • Pretty Deadly won a single match after the successful #EltonStrong campaign and hit the spa to celebrate. The Brawling Brutes interrupted to beat them up and dunk their heads in feet water. So I guess this program will continue and hopefully those poor sports Ridge Holland & BUTCH get their comeuppance!
  • Nick Aldis didn’t appear until halfway through this show but when he did show up it was noteworthy — he kicked Jey Uso out of the building, much to the chagrin of Adam Pearce, the Raw General Manager, who Aldis then chose to also kick out of the building. “Let the games begin,” responded Pearce. Here we go with the rivalry!
  • Dragon Lee & Cameron Grimes teamed up only to immediately lose to Austin Theory & Grayson Waller. This was a fascinating match in that there’s so much young talent here but they’re all in a bit of a holding pattern while other, bigger stories are playing out. Getting on TV for stuff like this at all should be considered a win for now.
  • Kevin Owens got in this show in the form of a pre-taped interview where he talked about how bittersweet it is that he has to leave Sami Zayn behind on Raw while he’s back on the blue brand. He’s looking forward to all the new faces he can punch, regardless of whatever issues he may still have with The Bloodline.

The blue brand always has something to offer.

Grade: B-

Your turn.

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