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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (May 12, 2023): The Usos have a big problem

The World Heavyweight championship tournament continues, Damage CTRL loses control, Asuka turns, and Roman puts his cousins on notice on this edition of SmackDown.

Sorry, Not Sorry

Roman Reigns is a disrespectful individual. And I love it. I know internet dot com isn’t high on the Tribal Chief after he secured yet another W at this year’s WrestleMania, but there’s a reason he’s the man right now.

This week’s Bloodline segment is exhibit A.

Roman plays this mob boss role perfectly. He switches from best friend to scary overlord at the drop of a dime. Roman praised Solo for all his work since WrestleMania. He gave him props for handling the “Riddle problem” and laughed when Solo mentioned Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. According to Roman, those two aren’t problems. At least not problematic enough for Solo’s concerns.

Jimmy and Jey Uso are the real problems.

The scene illustrated Solo’s allegiance lies firmly with his older cousin. His brothers? Meh. Solo drank the Kool-Aid while his brothers are rather thirsty. No scene underlined this more than Roman putting hands on Jimmy Uso. After demanding an apology from the Usos for consecutive loses and dedicating a match to him (“I’m not even in a tag team!”), Roman took umbrage with Jimmy laughing and not taking this seriously.

The moment Roman mushed Jimmy and Jimmy squared up on Roman? Awesome and something a long time coming. Jimmy understands what it’s like on the outside of Roman’s circle. He took the battle to Roman years ago during the Tribal Chief’s birth. So it makes sense that he poked out his chest while Jey played peacemaker.

Roman got his apology from Jey, and then rubbed salt in the wound announcing that it’s he & Solo facing Sami & KO at Night of Champions for the Undisputed Tag Team championships, not Jimmy & Jey.

That’s foul. It’s also exactly what Sami said: Roman demands a lot but gives little in return. Jey & Jimmy acted shocked but the fact they didn’t see this coming speaks volumes. That Kool-Aid Solo drank? His older brothers swallowed gallons of it first. And while they’re a tad thirsty now, there’s still some aftertaste left in their throats.

My question is how they respond? Sure, they picked a fight with the LWO after the fact, but that doesn’t solve their problem. Do they interfere at Night of Champions? Do they dare stop the Tribal Chief from obtaining more gold?

They should. And I feel Jimmy wants to make it happen. But I have no faith in Jey. And until he finally figures this whole thing out, nothing changes for he and his brother.


Ray Mysterio

If you told me 23 years ago that Edge and Rey Mysterio will compete for a shot at WWE’s new championship, my laugh would echo loud enough to crack statues. I’d then ask why WWF changed their name to WWE. But anyway, the fact this match exists, with AJ Styles no less, is remarkable.

Just as remarkable was the match itself. Several very clever spots involving all three men, but I expect no less. This is the type of match where a good booker just lets them call it in the ring. They all work well together and just know the game better than most.

AJ Styles getting the W shocked me. That’s no disrespect to AJ either, just figured they give the not to Edge with his kids sitting ringside and WWE making a big deal out of that.

But the match came down to the quickest and smartest draw. AJ moved just a bit faster and thought just a bit quicker than his opponents in an excellent opening match.

Blood Brothers

It seemed like Bobby Lashley and Sheamus wished Austin Theory went away. The United States champ simply got in the way of their meaty men slapping meat-fest, but that tied into his character. Austin plays the odds and picks his spots. But he also plays with a chip on his shoulder and hates looking like an afterthought. So even when the two men threw nuclear bombs at each other, Austin inserted himself as if to say “Don’t you...forget about me.”

That dynamic made this triple threat very different from the opening. We even got a bloody Bobby Lashley after his head collided with steel steps. Props to Bobby for finishing the match with all that blood leaking into his left eye, along with the sweat. I can’t imagine how much that stung.

That said, a hard fought match that, while still good, didn’t quite get me in the feels like the opening triple threat. Bobby got the very hard-earned W, setting up him vs. AJ Styles.

I think that’s the right call, although one can argue for Sheamus as well.

Champion Sound

Once again, props to Bobby. They bandaged him up, but that only went but so far when he probably needs stitches in his head. The All Mighty bled during his match with AJ. Thankfully, they got just enough time to tell their story. AJ tried submitting Bobby, tried standing toe-to-toe with him, and of course tried flying high.

Eventually, AJ wore down his opponent and got his date with Seth Rollins at Night of Champions.

He has a date with Grayson Waller on next week’s Grayson Waller Effect. These two have history, so I assume Grayson becomes a thorn in his side before he dances with Seth in Saudi.

A solid match that didn’t do what the first triple threat matches did, but still did the job. Bobby presents a big test for anyone, even with blood dripping down his forehead. If AJ can handle Bobby, then surely he can handle Seth. Right?

All Falls Down

Baron Corbin faced Cameron Grimes in Grimes’ SmackDown debut!

Good for Cameron, terrible for Baron. Baron talked trash on the microphone, dissed Cameron’s status as the last wrestler drafted to SmackDown, and caught a Cave-In as soon as the bell rang.

Bum ass Corbin, we missed you.

The End is Near

It’s only a matter of time before IYO SKY ditches Damage CTRL. Actually, after this week, they may kick her out.

During Bayley & Dakota Kai’s tag team championship match with Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan, Damage CTRL engineered a little chicanery. IYO stood on the ring apron with a belt in hand. Bayley held out her hand for the handoff while Dakota distracted the ref.

But Raquel stopped all that, Liv pushed Bayley into IYO, and got the win for the tag champs.

Damage CTRL ran its course. I hope a breakup serves everyone well. Especially IYO, who looks like a million and one bucks after her match with Bianca at Backlash.

Surprise Party

Speaking of Bianca, we finally got an Asuka heel turn. During Bianca’s championship celebration in front of her family and hometown, Asuka spit that mist in the champ’s face. Bianca sold it like Michael Myers stabbed her in the chest with piercing creams.

These two didn’t get a great build for their WrestleMania match, but with Asuka firmly a heel and all that respect out the window, their rematch might give us a much better story.

After spending most of my time reviewing Monday Night Raw, this SmackDown gig ain’t so bad. Solid two hour show with plenty of drama, hard hitting matches, moved several stories forward, and never wore out its welcome. Plus? Everything made sense. One other minor criticism is WWE really needs to figure out what’s happening with the women’s championships. The SmackDown champ is on Raw and the Raw champ is on SmackDown. No title announcement. Just...yeah I’m confused.

The main event left a little to be desired, but I imagine longtime TNA fans wept at the sight: AJ Styles vs. Bobby Lashley for a shot at a WWE championship.

Will wonders ever cease?

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