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SmackDown recap & reactions (April 14, 2023): Losing patience

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn opened Friday Night SmackDown this week to talk about how uncertain things are in WWE right now, what with a Draft coming up, and no one knowing who is going where or what the hell is going to happen. The one thing they do know, however, is The Usos will be coming for a rematch for the tag team titles they lost at WrestleMania.

At some point.

The Usos showed up to agree but also to reiterate that there are no cracks in The Bloodline and, actually, they’re just as strong as ever. Instead, Jey attempted to create division between Owens and Zayn, claiming it would be Sami to turn on his “brother.”

Zayn, in the easiest position one could be in as a babyface, got to simply speak the truth. Jimmy & Jey can ignore the obvious but it doesn’t make it any less damning. It’s only a matter of time before the ticking of the clock stops.

All that’s left at that point is the kaboom.

Naturally, a fight broke out and Matt Riddle once again showed up just in time to even the odds. His beef with Sikoa goes back to last year. So Adam Pearce booked a match between the two for the main event.

Later in the show, Sami apologized to Riddle for his part in what happened to him last year while telling him to be careful. Owens said to hell with that, go get pissed off and take it out on Sikoa. Riddle settled on doing his own thing — getting payback.

Later still, just before Riddle and Sikoa could get to scrapping, Paul Heyman hopped on the microphone to let us all know a rematch for the tag team titles has indeed been booked for two weeks from tonight in Corpus Christi, Texas, with some help from The Tribal Chief himself and some muscling of WWE management. What was notable about this was the fact that Heyman made sure to say a title change would happen because Reigns is losing patience with “two of you” and while he was pointing at Zayn & Owens, he was looking towards The Usos when he said that.


Finally, it was time for Sikoa vs. Riddle and it was very much a main event style Bloodline match. The Usos and KO & Zayn were tossed out by the referee fairly early but both just flat out ignored those orders and came back later to brawl at ringside. Riddle did a dive to the outside to help deal with it but ended up eating a Samoan Spike in the ring and taking the loss.

After the match, he slammed Riddle onto the announcer’s table, which didn’t break, and then quite literally buried him by tipping it over on top of him. One hell of a way to end SmackDown, with Owens and Zayn tending to Riddle and The Bloodline standing tall.

They did a championship celebration for the new tag team champs, Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez.

Here’s my question — if Trish Stratus took out Lita so that she could work her way into the title match alongside Becky Lynch so that she could turn on her, wouldn’t that indicate she threw the match on purpose? You could have argued that she worked that match in earnest if she didn’t take Lita out beforehand but her doing so means she had to have thrown the match just to set up backstabbing Becky.

Which means they did a celebration for a team who won the titles because someone basically gave them away.

Yes, I actually did sit and ponder this for way too long, why do you ask?

Anyway, The Complaint Department, Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green, interrupted the aforementioned celebration to, you guessed it, complain about the fact that they’re being overlooked. The champs actually welcomed the confrontation and even went so far as to say they’d talk to Adam Pearce and get a tag title match booked.

A big part of the promotion for this show over the past week centered around the return of Shinsuke Nakamura, who hadn’t been seen dating back to last year. Then, for whatever reason, he wasn’t given a featured spot on the show.

It wasn’t until 9:23 pm ET that he made his entrance.


Despite this, he hit the scene with some sweet new gear to await his opponent for his return match, Madcap Moss.


Emma told Moss behind-the-curtain before his entrance that “we need this” and he needed to go out and show why he’s worth a high draft pick. Naturally, he went out and got absolutely ran through. Emma tried to get Moss to attack him after the match and Nakamura embarrassed him again.

After, Scarlett was shown with a card that had Nakamura on it. She set it on a table, just in time for Karrion Kross to slam his fist on it.

“Tick tock.”

Hey, this could be fun!

All the rest
  • After being set up with a backstage segment last week, and built to with impassioned promos on social media in the days leading up to it, Xavier Woods and LA Knight got together for a singles match. Woods mentioned there being so much more to him than anyone seems to realize and he sure looked like he was working his ass off out there. The match was far better than likely anyone suspected it would be and had an interesting finish — Knight trying to win by holding the tights on a rollup and the referee refusing to count because of it only for Woods to do the exact same thing right after and score the victory because the ref didn’t see him holding the tights. I’m interested to see where they take this from here, but it is notable they protected Knight to some degree with that finish.
  • We didn’t have to wait long to find out, as Woods went backstage and played some trumpet to interrupt an Imperium conversation. He goofed off just enough to piss GUNTHER off and they booked an Intercontinental championship match for sometime before the upcoming Draft.
  • The Judgment Day came by the blue brand this week so Damian Priest could cut a promo on Bad Bunny, warning him off putting his hands on his crew lest he end up going through a table like he did last time. This was a lead-in to his match against Santos Escobar of the LWO, which, like Woods vs. Knight before it, was way better than it had any business being. The LWO and Judgment Day getting involved only added to the fun, but it was an awesome straight up singles match even before that. In the end, Priest won with South of Heaven. Priest went to follow up the win by putting Escobar through the announcer’s table but Rey Mysterio hit the scene to fight him off, then have an awesome little short exchange with Dom before Priest and Rhea Ripley pulled him out of there. Still a ton of heat here, and just so much fun watching Rey in there with his son going crazy.
  • The Viking Raiders attacked Braun Strowman & Ricochet backstage, with Strowman getting blindside tackled out of the picture and Ricochet getting put through a table. Erik, Ivar, and Valhalla just stood there and screamed at him after doing so. Intense!

I really liked this show!

Grade: B+

Your turn.

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