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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (June 30, 2023): Money in London

There are plenty of episodes of Friday Night SmackDown over the past year or so where I wonder what WWE could possibly do to add any kind of intrigue to this Bloodline story. This week was another one of those times. Sure, Roman Reigns was back but with just one evening until Reigns & Solo Sikoa would take on The Usos in their CIVIL WAR match, what could they possibly add to the story at the last minute to make it that much more interesting?

As it turns out, a lot.

Reigns didn’t have much new to say — he spoke on being “The Ones” but really he’s “The One” because he runs everything around here. You know the drill. It’s what The Usos had to say that added so much intrigue.

Jimmy & Jey hit the scene to say when they emerge victorious in this “civil war,” Reigns will be OUT as Tribal Chief of The Bloodline but they don’t want to become the new leader of the group. But they do know who they think should get that spot.

They didn’t say his name, but all they had to do was look at Solo Sikoa.

Reigns laughed about it.

Solo did not.

Sure, the confrontation pretty quickly broke down into fisticuffs and when the hands started flying around Sikoa was fighting alongside Reigns against The Usos. But they absolutely planted the seeds for Reigns to lose the last bit of support he has left.

This match is going to be so much fun.

Logan Paul is a natural heel, a deeply unlikable guy with the kind of smugness that makes you want to see him get slapped up by someone you actually like.

Enter LA Knight.


Paul actually does have a compelling case to take the, ahem, case at Money in the Bank. He’s had awesome matches with both top champions and he’s guaranteed press everywhere. It’s hard to argue against that.

But man, Knight just exudes the kind of pro wrestling style charisma that only works in this setting. He was outstanding in his role in this segment, really playing up to the crowd and, for the first time, acting like a true babyface. And the folks in London absolutely LOVED him for it.

If nothing else, this served as a great preview for how incredible it would be to see Knight pull that briefcase down. Hell, let him square up with Paul for it at SummerSlam too. They were both electric, and it took them all of two minutes and get me fully invested in a match between them.

That’s how good they are.

Here, Santos Escobar and BUTCH got involved to create something of a melee as a lead-in to the triple threat match they had planned. Said match was a straight up sprint, an action packed blitz that ended with BUTCH pinning

All the rest
  • Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn kicked off this show with a successful defense of their tag team titles against Pretty Deadly. The match was better than expected considering Owens appeared to hurt his lower leg halfway through. It’s possible he was just selling but it would have been a weird way to go about it. Either way, the babyface champions were mega over and while Kit & Elton lost, they looked pretty damn good in the process.
  • United States Champion Austin Theory was back on the show after missing a few weeks. He defeated Ridge Holland in an interesting match, if only for the finish. Theory hit Holland in the throat on the outside, and then did the same back in the ring and got the pin. Holland sold like he couldn’t breathe. Of course, this was less about Holland and more about setting up Theory vs. Sheamus, who hit the scene to run Theory off after the match.
  • Karrion Kross and AJ Styles haven’t finished their business yet. The former made fun of the latter for winning their match in only three moves. The latter responded by claiming it was only Scarlett who made that possible. Next week, they link up again. Kross is fantastic in all these backstage videos. If they could find a way to make that translate to when he’s in front of the crowd, he’d be at the top in no time.
  • Triple H went ahead and booked the matches he wanted last week on this show, with Bayley putting her Money in the Bank spot on the line against Shotzi. The fans in London sang to Bayley throughout the match, and, much like she helped IYO SKY defeat Shotzi to qualify for the ladder match weeks ago, IYO returned the favor here. Bayley will remain in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. To add insult to injury, Shotzi tried to run up on Damage CTRL backstage after, got suplexed into a table, and then got her hair cut and called a “big freak.” Quite the night!
  • Asuka is still women’s champion because Bianca Belair, who was just so happy to repeatedly show off the ticket she bought for the show to sit ringside, hopped the barricade and attacked her. This instantly forced a disqualification and post-match confrontation between Belair and Flair, one that quickly came to blows. By the end of it, Belair had hit both with the KOD onto the announcer’s table. The match was uncharacteristically sloppy for who was involved but they didn’t give them much time and it’s clear they’re working towards something else anyway.

This was a pretty damn good show to set up Money in the Bank.

Grade: B+

Your turn.

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