Smackdown Review: Jan 13, 2023

Smackdown Review: Jan 13, 2023

By Jon Schaefer

For a change of pace, Braun Strowman comes out to start Smackdown (instead of Kevin Owen’s constant opening). No promos, Gunther comes out with Imperium for our opening match. 

GUNTHER V.S. BRAUN STROWMAN: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: WINNER GUNTHER

These two monsters start their match with a test of strength, won by Braun Stroman. Stroman tosses Gunther over the top rope and gives him a few open-hand face slaps to boot. Strowman does a run around the ring, lightly bashing into Gunther.

Cut to commercial. 

We come back to Gunther going after Braun’s injured left arm. Braun gets back into the match when Gunther distracts the referee, Imperium attacks Strowman.

Cut to commercial. 

Braun fights out of an arm lock and gives Gunther a german suplex. The gentlemen exchange chops. Stroman hits a spine bomb and gets a slow two-count. Between clotheslines, Gunther gets a two count. Gunther goes for a splash and another kick out. Gunther goes back up on the top rope and Braun meets him there.

Gunther punches Braun off and is able to pick up Strowman, dropping him with a powerbomb from the top rope and getting the 1-2-3

Analysis: B+

Fun match between two men big enough for Vince to have hired in the 1980s. This match was rough and tough, but it did not always look safe or realistic. 

BACKSTAGE WITHOUT THE BLOODLINE

We get a video package of Kevin Owens and The Bloodline, showing the progression of the past few weeks' feud. The package ends and Paul Heyman is backstage on the floating cam (camera that has no explanation of being there) explaining to Sami that the Bloodline didn’t come to the show tonight. Sami says he has a plan for Kevin Owens. 

Cut to commercial

SMACKDOWN CAN BE FUN!

Oh crap... Rey Mysterio is here! And he comes out with an old-school Smackdown graphic on the right side of the screen with Rey facts. So Rey is talking about Christmas and his son Dominic. Rey drops an S bomb saying “I’m pretty fed with this sh*t.” The older Mysterio proclaims he will be in the Royal Rumble when Karrion Kross comes to the ring accompanied by Scarlette. Kross talks about having goals and calls Mysterio old in a few almost intelligent ways. Kross calls out Mysterio’s parenting and asks “at the end of the day who do you hate more, your son, or yourself?” 

A scuffle nearly ends with a 619 where Sharlette interferes, allowing Kross to apply a headlock that puts the elder Mysterio out of commission. 

LIVE MORGAN AND THE SUNSHINE BAND

Liv Morgan and three female wrestlers who have the same character talk trash until Liv slaps the tall one. 

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

XIA LI V.S. TEGAN NOX: WINNER TEGAN FOX

Tegan Nox gives several still forearms and both of these ladies come in with a lot of energy and aggression at first. Xi holds Nox in a headlock, counter by Nox and Xia beats Nox into the corner. Wait..I look down to type this and it’s over? Pressing left on my PS4 controller. Ok, Xi is up rins for a kick and DAMN! Ya know what? Let’s see that again. “There it is, the Shining Wizard, from Tegan Nox!” That is a very cool kick. A very cool Kick. 

Analysis: A-

The match was too short, and the headlock was too long. But this was an exciting, technical, fairly aggressive match. I want to see more of Tegan Nox - and to a lesser extent Xia Li. 

THE DOUBLES DIVISION

There’s a recap of Solo and Drew McIntyre from last week that I do not care about, so I am going to watch that kick again. There’s a recap of the Usos winning last week, where the Viking Raiders attacked Drew and Shamus. There’s a corny/boring vignette with the Viking Warriors. Drew and Shamus will face the Viking Raiders next week, starting off a tournament. 

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

BRAY WYATT HAS IT

Bray Wyatt comes out to a very long entrance. You can feel it. Then we get a video package from two weeks ago with Uncle Howdy attacking Wyatt. Pitch black with a spotlight Wyatt, he sits on a rocking chair and talks in riddles. Bray delivers a beautiful promo where he pronounces he will be in the Royal Rumble. Cut to black and we are backstage

KEVIN OWENS AND SAMI BACKSTAGE

Sami and Kevin argue about whose fault it is that they are fueding. A short segment that was fine. Liv Morgan comes out for her match. 

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

GUNTHER BACKSTAGE

Gunther says he will be in the Royal Rumble. 

LIV MORGAN VS RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ: WINNER RODRIGUEZ

Test of strength won by Raquel. Morgan is feisty, running around the ring she eventually shows her strength with a clothesline knocking Rodriguez out of the ring. Morgan sets up a table outside of the ring, but Raquel has time to recover and makes her way into the ring. Raquel gives Morgan a standing rock bottom and she gets the pin fall win. 

Analysis: C-

I want to see Liv Morgan win matches.

Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville 

Sonya and Charlette have a backstage brawl that ends with Sonya getting tossed over a giant metal crate. Charlotte is cooling down with the refs when Sonya leaps off the crate and attacks Flair.

Cody, again.

Have you seen a Cody Rhodes injury segment? Good. 

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

SAMI ZAYN VS KEVIN OWENS: WINNER OWENS

The brawl goes from in and out of the ring fast. Sami flips over the top rope into Kevin Owens and the boys go back to punching each other. Sami drops KO on his head on the apron outside of the ring. 

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

Owens is in the corner getting pummeled. Flying elbow from Zayn. Zayn has control punching Owens in the corner. Owens counters and hits a splash on Sami. Quick two-count. Clothesline from Owens.

CUT TO COMMERCIAL

Owens misses a swanton bomb. Quick two-count for Sami. "This is awesome" chant from the crowd. Sami goes for a suplex off the top rope, KO turns that into a brain buster. Sami hits KO with a german suplex. The Usos come in and end the match, attacking KO and disqualifying the honorary Uso. The brothers taunt KO asking him to take part in their reindeer games beating up Owens.

Sami holds up the one with his Uso brothers while Solo leaps off the barricade onto Owens through the announcer's table. Sami reluctantly holds up the one over KO’s body. 

Analysis: B

Compelling match with an ending that is only done to build the story. 

OVER ALL RATING: B+

Smackdown was fun. Some things I did not care about. The matches were good. This was not a “can’t-miss Smackdown” but it was worth the watch.