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SmackDown recap & reactions (Aug. 11, 2023): Jey Uso’s out

Going into this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, the major point of interest was how WWE would follow up on the main event of SummerSlam, where Jimmy Uso turned on his brother, Jey, to seemingly align with Roman Reigns once more.

Or was he just acting in his own interests?

As it turns out, no. He was acting in Jey’s interests.

As Jimmy put it, he didn’t want to lose his brother to the perils of the position of being the Tribal Chief. It turns men vile and manipulative and egotistical and makes you an asshole, and one need look no further than Roman Reigns as proof of as much.

So it was about protecting Jey.

This was certainly an interesting way to go about this chapter of the story, at a time when it’s getting a bit long in the tooth and, well, something’s got to give here, right? They can’t just keep recycling the same themes and, wait, what the…

Before you know it, Jey, who had turned his back on Jimmy, called him back and superkicked him in the face. That left everybody laid out. Jey ran through the entire Bloodline before saying he was out of the group, out of the show, out of WWE.

He sure as hell sounded like he quit.

And I’ll be damned if they didn’t once again change none of the players but find a direction to take the story to keep me interested and wondering what the hell is going to happen next.

Tip of the cap to this one.

Your LA Knight segment of the week:

This time it was a match against Top Dolla and you know exactly how that played out without me even having to tell you. Despite plenty of interference from the rest of Hit Row, Knight easily took care of business, pinning Top Dolla after Blunt Force Trauma.

After, he grabbed a microphone and electrified the crowd by simply playing the hits. It’s a tried and true formula that has been working for years. No reason to go against it now.

Calgary ate it up.

Having said all that, this is where I’ll say this, because it’s appropriate — WWE absolutely has to stop calling Knight’s rise “the Yeah movement.” Like, immediately. There is no “Yeah movement.” We just really like this character and all his catchphrases are fun.

He’s cool. Let him do his thing, and don’t try to screw it up by giving it a goofy name that doesn’t fit with the character.

The way WWE built up Santos Escobar, having him defeat Rey Mysterio, who they pushed as his mentor, to earn a United States championship match against Austin Theory, all signs sure seemed to point to his winning the title.


Instead, Rey Mysterio took his place and he won the title.

The thing about it, though, is that it really worked the way they put it together. Theory took Escobar out, injuring his knee and trying to weasel his way out of the match. Escobar, good guy that he is, wanted his LWO stablemate to take his place. So he did. And he won the damn title for himself.

They embraced after in an open display of raw emotion. This is noteworthy because, well, it still seems obvious they like Escobar enough to want to set him up to succeed. To that end, wouldn’t it be better to have him win the title from his mentor in a veritable passing of the torch type of moment instead of beating Theory on an episode of SmackDown in August?

Either way, this was well put together on its own for this particular show and seeing Mysterio win the title felt good even if there isn’t a bigger plan ahead.

All the rest

  • SmackDown kicked off this week with Charlotte Flair and Asuka “reigniting their rivalry,” as WWE put it. They were having a pretty good match, too, when Damage CTRL hit the scene later to get involved, which meant it never got a proper finish and Dakota Kai — who, thankfully, is still on television — told everyone to give it up for their new champion, Iyo Sky. It makes sense to keep these wrestlers orbiting each other right now but this was a bit of a strange way to go about that.
  • AJ Styles and Karrion Kross aren’t done with their feud just yet, as the latter was given a vignette where he said Styles taught him the value of brotherhood and we’re just going to have to stay tuned to see what that means for Kross. Here, though, they wrestled a straight up singles match that was interrupted only by Michin and Scarlett fighting it out with each other ringside, much to the delight of the live audience. Michin came out ahead on the outside and Styles followed up with the Styles Clash for the pin on the inside. Fun match, fun angle with Michin and Scarlett going at it as well. Also some intrigue with Kross’s prior statement.
  • Edge made an early return to television, showing up here to set up a match for his big 25-year anniversary celebration scheduled for next week in Toronto. It turned into an unexpectedly touching segment where he established a rich backstory with Sheamus, a man he’s never wrestled before but always wanted to. It turns out Sheamus is a big reason Edge had the idea to come back at all. Well, wouldn’t you know it, it also turns out Edge is a big reason Sheamus ever got to where he did in the industry when he gave Sheamus the time of day when no one else would. What a pleasant surprise this entire thing was. And the match next week should be great.
  • Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits have decided there is a lot of power and success to be had, and together they can take what they want and give nothing back. And look damn good doing it. So that’s what they’re going to do. I’m in.

This was a hell of a show.

Grade: A-

Your turn.

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