WWE SmackDown recap & reactions: Paul returns, confronts returning Paul

It really is easy to hate Logan Paul, isn’t it? Not just for the YouTube schtick, the whole “I’m young and successful and willing to do anything for views” gimmick, but just the way he carries himself. He’s the kind of guy you’re glad to see get his ass whooped when he inevitably overextends himself against an actual tough guy.

Speaking of…

Paul kicked off Friday Night SmackDown this week to bring up the fact that he set up a match with Roman Reigns on his podcast, and he wants to have a press conference with him. Another Paul showed up to answer him, as Heyman made his long awaited return to television after a layoff to sell injuries he sustained at the hands of Brock Lesnar.

Somehow it feels like we’re a long way from all that.

Indeed, Paul’s pitch for a WWE title match, which he didn’t officially lay down a challenge for but made clear what was coming, is that he could maybe land a lucky punch and be the guy to end Reigns’ long run as champion. After all, the great Floyd Mayweather couldn’t put him down in a boxing match. Maybe Roman Reigns won’t be able to do so in a pro wrestling match.

It’s the kind of laughable claim that works in a setting like this, namely because plenty of the fans watching wouldn’t know better. And, hey, it’s a heel program, even if Paul fancies himself the babyface.

The real babyface in all this is Sami Zayn, who stepped in to handle things and got his clock cleaned by the apparently devastating punch Paul plans to use to beat Reigns for the strap. The fans didn’t like it, and you shouldn’t either.

Sami was instantly thrown into a bout with Ricochet and the two put together a beauty of a TV match. In it, Jey Uso once again butted heads with Sami, this time costing him a win and Zayn getting good and fed up with it and confronting him. Ricochet used the distraction to take everybody out with a big dive and followed up with the shooting star press for the victory.

Before The Bloodline could attack, Madcap Moss hit the scene with a chair to even the odds, standing alongside Ricochet and Paul. It was a very well put together open that made sense all around, considering Ricochet had a previously match with Zayn and Moss also had a North American title shot booked for later, and they furthered Zayn’s issues with Jey.

Just not sure how crazy I am about Paul vs. Reigns coming off this.


Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan had a confrontation backstage during an interview segment, and it was actually pretty damn good:

Rousey still doesn’t respect Morgan, despite having lost to her twice, no matter the circumstances of those defeats. The way WWE has played this, Rousey is absolutely right to act this way. Morgan is still fighting for respect, so much so that she’s the one who asked for an Extreme Rules match in their next battle.

“It’s your funeral,” Rousey responded after a chuckle.

It’s as good a setup as any for yet another showdown between the two, and the added stipulation will almost certainly give us a better match than we would have gotten otherwise.


all the rest
  • Karrion Kross got the black and white grainy film along with some spooky music to tell us he changes the tides and rewrites history and he’s going to be sure to take Drew McIntyre out. Hey, at least this time it was a vignette and not black and white picture while he’s in the ring, right?!?
  • Max Dupri was back and immediately made note of the fact that Anaheim is just a stones throw from LA. YEAH. Maxxine got him back on track to showcase the 2022 school collection. Naturally, while they were modeling, Braun Strowman decided he wanted to assault a bunch of people unprovoked again, and ran right on through Maximum Male Models. After he was done, Alpha Academy hit the scene to ambush him, with Otis attacking from behind and actually managing to get the better of him. BigBrong McMeatSong demanded a fight as the heels backed away but didn’t get one. I’m mostly just wondering when we’ll get some semblance of story here.
  • Bayley beat Raquel Rodriguez thanks to some shenanigans from Damage CTRL. The match was fine, it just seemed strange they would book it at all, considering Bayley has been set up as the next top contender to the Raw women’s championship and Rodriguez is so clearly being groomed for bigger and better things as a singles star on the blue brand. Why beat her here, even with the cheating? beats me Shotzi came out to assist her during a post-match beatdown, for reasons that were never made clear.
  • Drew McIntyre, good and pissed off about Kross attacking him, showed up unannounced, no entrance music, seemingly from nowhere, by jumping on the announce desk and making threats, namely that he’ll count down from three on him. You don’t want that, buddy!
  • Solo Sikoa successfully defended the North American championship against Madcap Moss, the first time that title has been defended on SmackDown. I quite enjoyed the match they put together. They started with the old collar-and-elbow tie-up stalemate and worked a power match from there. It was slower, but well executed on both sides. I don’t really buy this version of Moss as a babyface, but his work is pretty damn good and you can see why they use him. Besides, this was more about Zayn successfully helping Solo win and further driving a divide in The Bloodline.
  • I want to love anything as much as The New Day love Imperium’s entrance:
  • The main event number one contenders Fatal 4-Way match was a lot of fun. I love chaotic matches like this, where you can hardly keep up with all the action and guys are just flying all around doing anything to entertain. This was great.

I enjoyed the hell out of this show.

Grade: B+

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