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

Sami Zayn is on a mission to take out Kevin Owens on this week’s Friday Night SmackDown episode, an order from Roman Reigns himself . Shortly after entering the show, Paul Heyman told him that he would be going it alone because the rest of Descent wasn’t even in the building.

So he went alone, he was clearly giving it his all and everything about him looked certain to lead to victory. But just as he was preparing for the Helluva Kick, the dog was released and Jimmy, Jey and Solo Sikoa hit the ring, forcing Owens to be disqualified.

Zayn looked confused and a little unhappy. Once again, he was desperate to prove himself.

My reading of this is that this is just another example of The Bloodline not really taking on Zayn the way he wants to. They could have trusted him to get things done on his own, but they didn’t. Instead, he feels more like a pawn here, someone they send to beat Owens to weaken Owens so they can sprint and pick leftovers at the end.

Sammy has no wins here.

They lifted him up and then pushed him back down so they could lift him up again. He was in a cycle of manipulation, and maybe after hearing Owens try to explain it to him so many times, he finally started to see it for himself that night.

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Still, there’s room for wiggle room, and it’s clear they’re not ready for a breakup just yet. But that’s another good story.

I’m fucking sure to keep watching.

I’ve given it its own space because sometimes I really like that Bray Wyatt has the opportunity to step into the ring and talk like Bray Wyatt.

We used to know that Wyatt’s regression was really important to me, for reasons I wasn’t even entirely sure or could explain. I miss the time when Wyatt used his tongue to make up stories and tell us to “run” before blowing out the lights. That guy feels special, like a great talent whose potential needs to be unleashed.

Perhaps part of our fascination with Wyatt stems from the long-held belief that potential has yet to be realized. This person just has something, and I want to experience it fully. It feels like going back to that somehow.

Hope the future is more like this.

  • The show kicked off with Braun Strowman challenging Gunther for the Intercontinental title. They had a decent game, but it was pretty standard considering the contestants, and it certainly felt like they weren’t giving everything they had. GUNTHER beat Strowman outright – there was some Imperium interference in the match, but that didn’t seem to affect the result – and left little room for a rematch. Maybe this is over? Definitely felt like they didn’t need to go back to it.
  • Rey Mysterio is fine, enough of Dominik’s shit, but instead of letting his son incite him, he moves forward by taking part in the Royal Rumble and trying to make it big and win the damn thing. Naturally, Karrion Kross interrupts him saying he’s a bad father, then strangles him when Rey responds violently. It made me feel so bad for poor Rey, it was awesome. This guy is a legend, he deserves better than that, right? ! ?
  • Liv Morgan puts the taste out of Raquel Rodriguez’s mouth. Like, oh my god, man! That’s cruel! But it’s also great because it shows us a new look at Rodriguez, who ditches her smiling happy-go-lucky attitude for being nice and angry and eager to remind everyone that she’s the biggest and baddest woman on the list. She proved it by beating Morgan in a singles match later in the evening, though she went back to cheese right after the bout. Still, they proved it exists, which is some progress.
  • Tegan Nox beat Charlie in a standard singles match. Lee has been on TV a little more lately, but they’ve done absolutely nothing with her.
  • They announced that the Tag Team Tournament will begin next week to determine the Usos’ next top contender for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship (yes, they specified). Sheamus and Drew McIntyre will get the Vikings in the first round, based on the latter attacking the former after last week’s performance. They did a lot of movie work to make Erik & Ivar cool, but even with Valhalla, I don’t feel it. Your travel expenses may change.
  • Sonya Deville wanted a rematch with Charlotte Flair, so she pitched it to Adam Pearce – who said she needed to win the Royal Rumble – and when that didn’t work, she just fought her backstage. This is a really nice pull off. We’ll see if in the end Deville gets another shot, or if she does get dragged in the Rumble.
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It’s a great show.

Grade: C+

now you.


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