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SmackDown recap & reactions (June 16, 2023): Bloodline breakup

The main story on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, much like nearly every other episode for some time now, centered around The Bloodline. Jey Uso was once again the focal point, as a decision on whether he would stick with Roman Reigns or side with his brother, Jimmy, loomed large.

Paul Heyman was tasked with getting some kind of answer but Jey remained steadfast in his assertion that the two will not be in the group together. If one is there, the other cannot be.

Before the decision, a run in with an old friend:

Sometimes, you don’t need to say anything at all.

When it came time for Jey to hit the ring and talk with Reigns, it was the former who opened with an ultimatum — get Heyman out or he’s gone. Roman’s response was to say it’s not the Wiseman who is the problem — oh, and the Tribal Chief chooses his Wiseman, and no one else — it’s Jimmy.

That’s when Jimmy arrived to bring the entire crew together in one right to hash this thing out once and for all. Reigns laid it all bare — Jey is the successor, the future Tribal Chief, but he can’t be that and a twin at the same time. For that matter, when Jey was pegged to be the successor only one person had a problem with it at that time.

You guessed it.

Surprisingly enough, Jimmy copped to this.

Jey, thinking this meant Jimmy was doubting him all along, became irate. He got out an apparent lifetime of frustration, that he was competing with Jimmy from day one, and always told to live up to his older brother. But it was only when Jimmy was hurt that Jey stepped up and became the main event player, and that was all thanks to Reigns.

“So guess what?!? You out!”


“And I’m out too!”

And then he turned and kicked Reigns in the face.

Holy shit.

Solo Sikoa’s reaction was perfectly timed, his face priceless.

I would have maybe liked it a bit more if Jey was a little more ambiguous in his words to Jimmy but that’s a minor criticism that doesn’t really take anything away from the moment. We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, and it was absolutely worth the wait.

An absolutely livid Reigns recovered enough to get up to scream “You don’t leave me!”

They both kicked him in the face (and he sold the HELL out of those superkicks too, oh my) and basked in the glow of finally getting their shots in, united as brothers with an unbreakable bond.

Incredible stuff.

I absolutely loved how they went about this.

First, Grayson Waller, who they love, got to share time with two of the top stars of the promotion in Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair. He was clearly geeking out about it, and whether it was real or contrived it was working for me.

He’s pretty damn good at blending in and reacting during these talk show segments. So credit there.

Meanwhile, Charlotte and Bianca’s back-and-forth was fantastic. Too often in WWE you get two wrestlers arguing in the ring and it sounds like they’re just reciting lines from a script they memorized. Not these two. Not here.

No, they actually sounded like two human beings fighting for their position, Charlotte defending her status as top contender staring at a title shot in two weeks and Belair good and pissed off about the fact that she got leapfrogged by someone who hasn’t even been around.

Every word, every facial reaction, it all felt so natural. Best of all, it made me wish these two were fighting over the title.

Perhaps soon.

Sorry, Asuka!

All the rest
  • WWE’s favorite thing to do since Triple H took over booking is multi-man matches to determine the next top contender to any given championship. In this case, we got a Gauntlet match to find the next top contenders to the Undisputed tag team titles held by Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. It was probably the least exciting Gauntlet match I can remember, though I appreciated what they were going for booking the Brawling Brutes to go the distance just to lose to Pretty Deadly in the end. I’m as equally high on Kit Wilson & Elton Prince as Triple H and co. seem to be.
  • IYO SKY lost a match to Zelina Vega she would have won if it wasn’t for Bayley getting involved. They are very clearly going back to the idea of breaking these two up now that Dakota Kai is out with an injury, and Damage CTRL appears closer than ever to dissolving. For what it’s worth, the match didn’t get much time but SKY vs. Vega was fun while it lasted and should get a bigger spotlight down the road. To get back at Bayley, SKY accepted a challenge from Shotzi to put Bayley’s Money in the Bank ladder match spot on the line.
  • Karrion Kross and Scarlett teamed up to defeat AJ Styles & Michin in a mixed tag match that was given very little time and even less effort. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like they could really have something here but they seem unwilling to commit enough time to it to make anything worthwhile. The gist of the match was Scarlett being slightly flirty with AJ to keep him off Karrion only for him to say “I’m married, bitch” and Kross taking him down and pinning him. That was pretty much it. The bones are there for more, they just have to give them time.
  • Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar were smack dab in the middle of a touching moment when LA Knight (YEAH) interrupted and put the former on his ass. Despite Knight’s popularity and the reception he’s been getting, they’re remaining steadfast in having him work heel. Even after doing such a thing, fans at the arena where chanting his name during the ensuing match. They still cheered Escobar when he rolled Knight up and scored the pinfall, though.

SmackDown rarely misses with the major angles. I thought the lower card stuff on this show wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been but the main event was money, and the Flair-Belair confrontation was money too.

Grade: A

Your turn.

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