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SmackDown recap & reactions (Jan. 12, 2023): Treading water

Cameron Grimes vs. Grayson Waller was supposed to kick off this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown in Nebraska but was interrupted by The Bloodline, still unhappy about Roman Reigns getting booked into a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Universal championship at Royal Rumble last week. They were there to voice their displeasure with Aldis.

Nick Aldis.

The SmackDown General Manager responded to this by reiterating that the 4-Way will go on — “it’s a done deal” — and in fact we’re getting a fun main event for this show: The Bloodline vs. AJ Styles & Randy Orton & LA Knight. With Reigns not at the show, Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso would have to find a tag team partner or go in short handed.

Heyman went around trying to find a partner for them, approaching Carlito with an apple and getting turned down.

Later, he attempted to woo Bobby Lashley, who made clear he only ever wants to be in the ring with The Bloodline when he’s standing across from Reigns.

When it came time for Heyman to deliver the bad news that no one would help them out, Jimmy said he was worried about it. Solo, the tough son of a gun he is, got right in his face and said “I’m not.” Jimmy, of course, quickly changed his tune.

No yeet and all that.

Jimmy has become a comedy character to a certain degree and I’m not even sure I mind it. This Bloodline thing is getting long in the tooth, and some comedy relief works just fine for me.

What they ended up doing was Solo and Jimmy took out Randy Orton before the match could get started, making it a straight up tag team match in the end anyway. This was also noteworthy because the two guys left have a grudge against each other. Sure enough, they couldn’t get along.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Orton, of course, came back late in the match, was tagged in, ran wild, and ultimately pinned Jimmy after an RKO to give the babyfaces the victory. They all then came together to put Sikoa through the announcer’s table and stand tall to close the show.

Hey, the babyfaces gotta get their wins in now because they damn sure won’t be getting them come the Rumble.


All the rest

  • The new Legado del Fantasma got more of a spotlight and a proper introduction on this show, with Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo showcased through a slick video package and a match against the LWO’s Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro. They had a fun match, one that saw Carlito hit the scene late to brawl with Santos Escobar to the back, allowing Garza to score a pin by holding the ropes. The group is off to a pretty damn good start.
  • Logan Paul got a pre-taped promo where he threatened to get litigious with Kevin Owens for blackening his eye by using the cast on his hand to punch him in the face. He also used that to make some more threats about cancelling the match if KO shows up with the cast. At one point, I shit you not, this man called Owens a “little cheater, ya little cheater cheater pumpkin eater.” I don’t know, man.
  • BUTCH still wants to be a lone wolf but Tyler Bate wants to bring British Strong Style back because this is their chance to really do something. And then Bate made mention that BUTCH needs to go deep and look back and decide who he’s going to be. What is that name? He didn’t say it, but it sure sounds like the Bruiserweight could be coming back soon.
  • Bayley got her chance to take care of Bianca Belair, as requested by Iyo Sky last week, and she failed to do so, losing via pinfall after the Kiss of Death. At one point in the match, Bayley asked for help and Damage CTRL simply stood there. They didn’t console her after either. The breakup inches ever closer but they really are moving at a snail’s pace.
  • Kevin Owens got the chance to respond to Paul’s pre-tape with one of his own and he laughed off the idea of a lawsuit and instead offered up a face-to-face showdown on the “Kevin Owens Show” for next week. That’s the second to last stop before the match. Should be fun!
  • Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits called out Karrion Kross and his new crew, but were rebuked with a promo on the Titantron where Kross simply revealed the mission statement and the group’s name: The Final Testament. Cool.
  • Carmelo Hayes was trying to offer up something to Nick Aldis about the Royal Rumble when Grayson Waller and Austin Theory interrupted. The Grimes match never happened, so Hayes offered to beat up Grayson again. Instead, they set up a match with Theory. Said match was moving along fine until they did a spot of the top rope and both landed awkwardly on their heads. The referee immediately used the X sign, and the doctor called the match. They drew attention to the fact that the match had to be stopped for the safety of their wrestlers while hoping for the best for them. It definitely looked like a bad landing, and just as much about WWE getting across that this will be the new norm going forward. Instead of wrestlers powering through bad injuries, we need to know they’ll stop it and protect them and it’s what we need to get used to. It’s worth it.

This very much felt like a show treading water. It certainly wasn’t bad, there just wasn’t a lot going on.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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