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SmackDown recap & reactions (Sept. 1, 2023): Attitude Adjustment

We didn’t have to wait long to see exactly what WWE would have in store for John Cena, and what he would have in store for fans, on Friday Night SmackDown this week. That’s because he was the first on the scene when the blue brand hit the air on FOX.

“Let’s go to work!”

Hey, I always loved that.

Cena did his usual thing of pandering to the fans, talking about how much he loves them and how he wants to give back to them. Then he announced he will be the host of Payback, which more or less simply means he’ll be on that show too.

He’ll be around for a couple months, actually! Pretty neat, huh?!?

Before he could continue, wouldn’t you know it, none other than Jimmy Uso showed up, complete with a new theme song and everything.

He wanted to know why Cena showed up. Because the fans are far more interested in what he has to say. And that would be the same thing he said before — he did what he did so Jey wouldn’t become Roman Reigns, corrupted and on a power trip. He also didn’t want Jey to become like Cena, because he’s just like Reigns.

They both “take and take and take” but “the only difference is you do yours with a smile.”

The fans responded to that by chanting Cena’s name, for what it’s worth.

And he responded by getting in Jimmy’s face and telling him “the wrong Uso quit.” When Jim tried a superkick, Cena laid him out with the AA.

One hell of a return segment, that’s for sure. A great reminder that Cena, even all these years later, is still one of the best we’ve seen in terms of presence, delivery, and impact when he’s in the ring.

Cena’s night ended there, or at least the TV portion of it. Jimmy, however, was so good and pissed off about getting sonned he barged in on Adam Pearce and Michin, angering the OC member enough that AJ Styles decided to take up for her.

It led to some intrigue — the ensuing confrontation got to the point of pushing but then Solo Sikoa came in hot to take out Styles before telling Jimmy “you’re out of The Bloodline when we say you are.” Jimmy walked out anyway.

The saga continues.

This is actually how we got to the main event of this show — AJ Styles vs. Solo Sikoa.

Jimmy, of course, made his way back to attack Styles at just the right time, ensuring Solo won the match. After, he embraced Sikoa, like all was right in The Bloodline again, as though nothing had happened at all and he didn’t tell him before that he would do what he wanted and damn the wishes of Roman Reigns, Sikoa, or Paul Heyman.

Solo almost laid him out with the Spike, stopping only because Heyman shouted him down. He walked off and watched Jimmy put Styles down himself, throwing up the 1 in what appeared to be a show of desire to be back in The Bloodline’s good graces.

Heyman could be seen calling Reigns.

The saga continues indeed.

Your LA Knight segment of the week:

A promo battle with The Miz!

Knight tripped up a few times but he got all the insults that were going to get over with the crowd. The Miz tripped up a time or two as well but the main message here was that he absolutely is the guy who is one up on Knight, no matter how cool LA may be to all the fans right now. He’s been to the top of the mountain, and he’s succeeded in all the ways Knight has not.

That’s why this was the right match for WWE to put together — Knight needs a win like this to continue his rise, to show that he can just as much as and even more than The Miz.

To that end, this was well done.

All the rest

  • Grayson Waller & Austin Theory defeated Santos Escobar & Rey Mysterio in a tag team match after Escobar saved Mysterio from an attack from behind from Theory. He ended up taking a big shot to the bad knee, the one that gave Rey a chance to win the U.S. title he now holds, and Waller finished the job with his rolling Stunner. They didn’t follow up much on this on this show, but we’ll see what direction they take it from here.
  • Bobby Lashley finally got some time in the ring with a microphone to tell us what he’s been up to getting close to The Street Profits. His explanation? “Real recognize real, greatness recognize greatness.” Dressed to the nines, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins hit the scene to express their gratitude to Lashley for helping them become this new, more aggressive, far more successful version of themselves. Lashley made clear they’re coming for “power, control, and championship gold.” The Suit Profits are indeed here. As if to punctuate their statement, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, the tag team champions, came out before they could make it to the back. Foreshadowing?
  • Owens and Zayn were there to have a non-title match against Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro of the LWO. It wasn’t quite a squash match but it might as well have been, making the poor LWO 0-2 on the night. Hey, someone had to put the champs over the night before they defend their titles at the big show!
  • Shotzi finally got the chance to get her hands on Bayley, and they had a fairly sloppy match with a really sloppy and poorly executed finish. Charlotte Flair interrupted late to take out Iyo Sky with a miserably bad big boot. Then, Dakota Kai and Shotzi had their timing all off on one side of the ring, where they were supposed to distract the referee so Flair could hop up on the apron on the other side to take out Bayley. But her timing was off too, because the other side looked lost for a few seconds. Flair took Bayley out anyway, and Shotzi scored the pinfall victory. This was pretty bad all around.

A solid show.

Grade: B+

Your turn.

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