By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,220)
Memphis, Tennessee at FexExForum
Aired live January 6, 2023 on Fox
The Bloodline jumped the barrier and started to throw furniture and inflict incredibly mild property damage to the ringside area as the show kicked off. Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance with Paul Heyman. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett joined the broadcast on commentary. Footage was shown on commentary of John Cena and Kevins Owens defeating Roman Reigns and Sami Zaynon last Friday’s Smackdown. Roman assembled the Bloodline in the ring and demanded that Memphis acknowledge him.
He then told Paul Heyman that they were going to start out a little differently tonight, and he would give the people what they want, because he wanted to hear from the Honorary Uce right now. Sami got a nice chant, and said they started this show the same way they started Raw, and all of 2023 to let people know that this year belongs to the Bloodline. He said Solo won his match, and the Usos and Sami Zayn won their match on Monday, and they are sending the message that 2023 is their year.
Roman then continued and said he didn’t want to talk about this year, he wanted to talk about last year. He asked the audience if they watched last week, and it was the biggest Smackdown match of the year against Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns. He laughed as some people say they lost, but then said Sami lost because the Tribal Chief doesn’t lose. It isn’t in his makeup. He then questioned why Sami decided to call his shot like Babe Ruth. Roman said that’s what he does, and he questioned whether Sami wanted to be him. He got in Sami’s face and screamed at him about whether he wanted to be him or wanted to run the Bloodline.
At that moment, Kevin Owens interrupted and made his entrance. Kevin said that he thinks Roman has some issues with misdirected anger. The last time he saw him like this he was the cause of it, and he thinks he might be the cause of it again. He told him he has a KO problem, not a Sami Zayn problem, and told him that he thinks it’s time he takes care of it. He challenged Roman Reigns to match at the Royal Rumble for the Undisputed WWE Heavyweight Championship. Roman accepted, and said what he really wants is for Kevin Owens to go away forever.
Owens said he would do Roman a favor and leave, but not forever, because he would see him at the Royal Rumble. He told Sami he would see him whenever he digs his balls out of Roman’s pocket. Roman looked furious as the segment ended…[c]
My Take: A solid opening segment. Roman played his part well of barely containing his anger until it was time to explode on Zayn. Owens getting that last dig in at Zayn makes you wonder if his time at the Bloodline might be coming to an end. The Royal Rumble seems like a good spot for a turning point in his story.
Charlotte Flair pulled into the arena in a convertible. Michael Cole advertised an appearance from her for later. The New Day made their entrance to the ring, with Kofi Kingston being the active competitor. Kofi will face Santos Escobar. Video footage was shown from earlier today where Santos told Kofi he would eliminate him from the Rumble, and that the sun was setting on The New Day. Legado Del Fantasma made their entrance after the video. Woods accompanied Kofi to the ring, and Escobar was accompanied by Zelina Vega, Joaquin Wilde, and Cruz Del Toro.
1. Santos Escobar with Legado Del Fantasma vs. Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods: They battled back and forth early on. Kofi celebrated after tossing Santos over the top rope mimicking a Royal Rumble elimination…[c]
Santos was in control as the show returned. He landed a running kick and scored a near fall. Woods interrupted with his trumped to cause a distraction to buy Kingston some time. He was able to roll up Escobar for a two count. He then fired back some kicks, but Escobar cut him down with a punch to the gut. Kofi fired back with an SOS and got another near fall. Both men ended up on the ropes in the corner, and Escobar attempted to pull Kofi into the ring with a superplex.
Kofi avoided the suplex with a headbutt. He then attempted a flying nothing, and Escobar intercepted him with a knee strike. Santos then made a cover for a near fall. Kofi attempted what appeared to be a jumping double stomp, but Escobar caught him. Kingston was able to shove himself off and land the double stomp anyway. After a distraction from Vega and Joaquin Wilde, Escobar landed a kick and the Phantom Drive and got the win.
Santos Escobar defeated Kofi Kingston at 10:01
Late in the match, Cole said a major announcement would happen after the match. The announcement was the confirmation that Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens would face each other for the Undisputed Universal Championship.
Backstage, Paul Heyman consulted with Sami Zayn outside of the Bloodline locker room. He wasn’t allowed in, and Heyman reminded him about what he told him last week about being three steps ahead. The Usos walked past Sami to go into the locker room. Heyman told Sami that three steps down the road might still be a bit behind. He patted Zayn on the back and told him he still loved him, but he wasn’t allowed in the locker room…[c]
My Take: A solid but not spectacular match. There wasn’t a lot at stake and the numbers advantage for the heels made the outcome seem a bit obvious.
Backstage, Liv Morgan cut a promo. She said 30 women fighting in the Royal Rumble is chaos, but she thrives in chaos. Liv said entering last would be the easy path, but if she had her way she’d enter at number one and kick the crap out of everyone that came after her.
Wade Barrett expressed excitement about Bray Wyatt being in action at the Royal Rumble. Footage was shown of Uncle Howdy delivering a Sister Abigail to Bray Wyatt last week. LA Knight was shown backstage and Kayla Braxton asked him about the encounter. He said he found himself walking through Memphis and asked himself “Do I really feel the way I feel?” Knight said he didn’t care if Uncle Howdy did his work for him, he’d be happy to kick the pieces of Bray Wyatt around when he’s done. He then said that when the lights go out at the Royal Rumble, Wyatt’s light go out, and that’s a fact.
In the arena, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their entrance in Black and White. Footage was shown of Emma slapping Scarlett a few weeks ago, which led to this match. Up next Kross will team with Scarlett to face Madcap Moss and Emma…[c]
My Take: We’ll see how much is expected of Scarlett in the ring. It hasn’t been her strong suit in previous companies.
2. Madcap Moss and Emma vs. Karrion Kross and Scarlett: The match was joined in progress. Emma and Scarlett quickly tagged in and Emma took over quickly. She threw Scarlett into the corner and landed a couple of lariats and an Emma Sandwich for a two count. She then attempted a butterfly suplex, but Scarlett spun free and landed a forearm strike. Scarlett then landed a suplex of her own with a bridge for a two count. Emma fired back with a butterfly suplex, and Karrion Kross broke up the pin.
The referee scolded him and Emma slapped him across the face. Emma backed up and Moss made a tag into the match. He hit the ropes, and Scarlett grabbed his feet so Kross could land a lariat. Emma approached Scarlett on the floor and was tossed over the announce table. In the ring, Kross avoided Moss as he charged into the corner. He then landed a Kross Hammer and the Kross Jacket for the submission victory.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett defeated Emma and Madcap Moss at 3:29 of TV Time
After the match, Kross put a Rey Mysterio mask on Moss and put a Mysterio tarot card in his hand. He addressed Mysterio by talking to the camera, and said he told him that he knew that would be him soon. Cole and Barrett put over last week’s episode as the most watched of 2022. He then gave some of the credit to Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriquez and introduced a video package for the match. It also focused on the quick title change to Charlotte Flair. Charlotte is up next…[c]
My Take: Not much of a match, but what was there worked fine. I’m surprised they didn’t get a little bit more of out of this feud, as it seems Kross is moving onto Mysterio.
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