SmackDown recap & reactions (Jan. 13, 2023): The Bloodline’s pawn

Sami Zayn has been tasked with eliminating Kevin Owens on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, an order given directly by Roman Reigns himself. He soon learned from none other than Paul Heyman that he was going to the show alone, as the rest of The Bloodline wasn’t even in the building.

And so he went alone, and he certainly seemed to give his all, and it seemed as if all he could win. But as he sets up for the Helluva Kick, the dogs are unleashed, Jimmy, Jey and Solo Sikoa hit the ring after Owens to force the disqualification.

Zayn looked confused and a little disappointed. Again, he felt the urge to prove himself.

My reading of it was that it was another example of The Bloodline not taking Zayn the way he wanted to. They could have trusted him to get the job done, but he didn’t. Instead, he’s going to make Owens feel like an oven here, the guy he sent to beat him up, so they can run in and pick off the scraps at the end.

There is no victory for Sami here.

They lift it up and then tear it off to lift it up again. He’s in a cycle of manipulation, and maybe tonight he’s starting to see it for himself, after Owens tries to explain it to him several times.

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However, there is still room for wiggle room and it looks like they are not ready to break up just yet. But it was another good story.

I’m sure I’ll be watched.


I’m giving it its space because sometimes I really enjoy when Bray Wyatt gets in the ring and is given the chance to just talk like Bray Wyatt.

The flashbacks to the Wyatt we knew before really stuck with me because I wasn’t entirely sure or could explain. I miss Wyatt twisting fairy tales with his tongue and telling us to “RUN” before turning off the lights. This guy felt special, like a transcendent talent that needed to be unleashed.

Perhaps part of our love for Wyatt is that this potential has long felt unfulfilled. There’s something about this guy that I want to experience completely. It seemed to come back to him somehow.

Here’s hoping for more of this in the future.


Everything else
  • The show began with Braun Strowman challenging Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship. They were a decent match, but considering the participants, it was pretty standard, and it certainly didn’t look like they gave it their all. Gunther defeated Strowman clean — Empire was interrupted during the match, but it didn’t seem to affect the outcome — and left little room for a rematch. Maybe it’s already over? Of course, they don’t seem to need to go back.
  • Rey Mysterio is fine and tired of Dominic’s shit, but he’s not going to let his own son push him around and enter the Royal Rumble and try to get big and win the damn thing. Of course, Carrion Cross interrupts to call him a bad father, and then chokes him when Rey responds violently. It’s doing a great job of making me feel really bad for poor Rey. The guy is a legend, doesn’t he deserve better?!?
  • Liv Morgan enjoys Raquel Rodriguez’s mouth. Holy shit, my friend! It was brutal! But it was also great because it showed us a whole new side of Rodriguez, who has given up on smiling and being happy in favor of being nice and angry and eager to remind everyone that she’s the biggest and baddest woman on the roster. He demonstrated this by defeating Morgan in a singles match earlier in the evening, but immediately returned to the ring after doing so. However, they have shown that it exists, and that is some progress.
  • Tegan Knox defeated Xia Li in a standard singles match. Lee’s been on more TV lately, but they’re not doing anything with him at all.
  • They announced that a tag team tournament would begin next week to determine the next top contenders for The Usos’ SmackDown Tag Team Titles (yes, they showed it). Sheamus and Drew McIntyre take on the Viking Raiders in the first round, with the latter attacking the former after last week’s show. They’re doing a lot of cinematic work to make Eric and Ivar great, but even with Valhalla, I’m not feeling it. Your mileage may vary.
  • Sonya Deville wants a rematch with Charlotte Flair, so she’s been campaigning for Adam Pearce – who says she needs to win the Royal Rumble for all of it – and when that doesn’t work, she’s brawling right backstage. It was a very nice disconnect. We’ll see if this ends with another shot from Deville or if he has a tow at the Rumble.
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It was a solid show.

Grade: C+

It’s your turn.

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