The October 13th, 2023 edition of WWE Smackdown was a top-shelf show and epitomized the level of star power that the WWE currently has. Tony Khan has to realize that he’s talking trash on a WWE promotion that is peaking since its COVID-19 2020 bottom and has gone nothing but up riding on the back of the Bloodline while introducing newer stars to complement that storyline on the way. WWE Smackdown on 10/13/2023 had it all and it’s a DAMN SHAME that it aired on a Friday Night when most teenagers are attending High School football games. If this loaded and high quality of a show were on Monday, it would get close to 3 million viewers.
Strap in, folks, as I’m actually going to perform a show review for the first time in a long time… On my end lately, I casually watch RAW either on Hulu or from YouTube clips, while I watch Smackdown on Fridays (obviously not going to High School football games myself, but Saturday is date night for me). It’s convenient for me because I snipped Cable all the way back to August 2015, and thus Smackdown airing on Smackdown can be watched in full easily by me. Plus, with it being on FOX, WWE has pumped nothing but quality since placing the Universal Title on Roman Reigns during 2020.
First of all, Roman Reigns returned to WWE Smackdown for the first time in a while. Most whine about how Roman doesn’t defend the title nightly, but I’m from the generation where the World Champion only defended on Pay Per Views and when Pay Per Views weren’t monthly. LESS IS MORE when it comes to your top talent and your top title belts. Brock Lesnar has been great for the past decade because he DIDN’T wrestle on television or on every Pay Per View. I would be perfectly fine if Roman just wrestled on the Big 5 Pay Per Views (Rumble, Wrestlemania, MITB, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series). I’d rather have my top stars mean something than be reduced in value from over-exposure.
But Roman returns, and he confronts John Cena… But Cena, being the gentlemen (which I hope leads to a heel turn, eventually), steps aside and lets LA Knight come out and have some microphone time with Roman. Holy cow… Knight did OK… Wasn’t mindblowing, but wasn’t terrible either. He just needs more experience debating top guys with promos and that could come with time. FACT is that LA Knight was able to confront and staredown the top star of the company.
Then, later in the night, Roman stares down Cody Rhodes… You could just FEEL the tension in the air and Cody looked quite credible as someone that Roman should fear. This is a different Cody than the one Roman barely escaped from at Wrestlemania 39, which was 6 months ago by the way…
In short, Roman Reigns could very well face the following for the rest of 2023 or to help fill 2024:
(1) The Rock
(2) Cody Rhodes
(3) LA Knight
(4) John Cena
2024 could be a massive year for the WWE and probably the peak year for Roman Reigns. Could become more bonkers if CM Punk returns and gives him yet another big opponent.
I LOVED the segment with Triple H introducing the new General Managers. Granted, both guys are stable in Adam Pearce (RAW) and Nick Aldis (Smackdown), but maybe that’s what we need after years of AWFUL authority figures? Adam has been a welcome addition backstage and has been good on camera, and with Nick, he was a star outside of the WWE who could be tempted to get back into the ring. Hey, that’s another opponent for Roman! Plus with Nick there and potentially thriving, it could make way for Mickey James to return. Love that woman… One of the best female wrestlers of all time.
But what made the GM announcement segment absurd was Dominik Mysterio… What a star. Nobody is getting that amount of heat and I loved how Triple H kept mocking him for it. The BEST part was when Triple H improvised with a line about Dom’s microphone not working and switched his with Dom’s… Dom, in response to how holding Triple H’s microphone, wiped it off on the side of his leg as if he was disgusted being handed Triple H’s mic. Little touches like that, as a heel, go a long way. The segment instantly created tension between Dom and Nick Aldis which could go somewhere immediately and oddly enough, that feud could introduce Aldis to the WWE Universe. How about that? Dominik Mysterio is SO OVER as a heel that his star power, as a heel, could be used to help Aldis make a name for himself. Dom is an AMAZING story in professional wrestling and I’m so proud of what he’s doing.
Kevin Owens is back, as he was the other half of the trade that sent Jey Uso for RAW. Why not? Smackdown is the premiere show at the moment, so why not jump aboard the gravy train until the deal expires in about a year.
I don’t get to say this enough, but I’m happy that Chelsea Green is doing well in the WWE. She’s always been talented, looks great, and it was a shame that an injury slowed her previous WWE main roster attempt. She’s working out now and has actually made the Women’s Tag Team Titles relevant. How about that? For all the many top ladies who have tried to get those titles over, Chelsea has been a great handler of them.
Then, we have Charlotte confronting NEW General Manager Nick Aldis about another title shot, given that she got screwed at WWE Fastlane. Being the stand-up guy on day one, he grants Charlotte her title shot next week for Smackdown. There we go, we have something to look forward on next week’s show. However, that wasn’t the big news with Charlotte… She turns around and BOOM, there is Jade Cargill and Triple H was there to introduce her. Wow, just wow… I could really see it, next week, where Charlotte is getting screwed by Damage Control interfering and then Jade Cargill cleans house. That then allows Charlotte to finish off Iyo Sky to win another Women’s Championship and Smackdown ends with Charlotte and Jade saluting each other in the ring. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I don’t know what to think of Pretty Deadly, but I’m fascinated… Love the absurd outfits and how they are matching in pink… The names of Elton Prince and Kit Wilson… Table is set for a great heel team.
Cody Rhodes/Jey Uso vs. Austin Theory/Grayson Waller was a fun tag team, and Jey & Cody have great chemistry together. I like them together… It’s showing that Jey Uso is evolving away from the Bloodline and trying to make up for lost time as a new babyface. Then, afterward, the segment with the Bloodline was fantastic.
On top of all of this, WWE Smackdown was headlined by LA Knight vs. Solo Sikoa. What a treat… This edition of Smackdown literally set the table for WWE storylines for the rest of 2023 and much of 2024, and then we get this main event on top of that? It was good for Solo and LA Knight to get out there and show everyone how they could handle headlining a show. They did fine and had lots of heat because both of their characters were over. That’s right, much of Pro Wrestling is performed BEFORE a match happens. Many performers out there can put on in-ring clinics, but if you can’t hype a match, nobody will care about that match. WWE’s Creative Team has put real effort into making you know who both LA Knight and Solo Sikoa are as up & coming stars, and it paid off here by letting them headline.
Match ended with interference, but because both the Bloodline and babyface sides are evened out right now, they can counter each other and thus allow for LA Knight to score the win over Solo. But then, as Knight was celebrating his win, he let his guard down and Roman Reigns delivered a spear to him. Perfectly done, as Roman sees Knight as a threat and wants to know whose yard that Knight is playing in.
LAST WORD: If the rumors are really true about Endeavor empowering Triple H as the Creative Lead of the WWE right now, then my hat is off to him. This was a FANTASTIC A+++++ edition of WWE Smackdown. Full of star power, intrigue, and great moments that makes you immediately think about the future. This show, along with parts of NXT this week (such as Heyman speaking to Ava aka the Rock’s daughter), is setting the table for what should be an AMAZING 2024. If Triple H is truly in charge of Creative now and this is the output we’re going to see, then my hat is off to him. It took about a decade of Triple H having trials and errors, but he is now well experienced as a Creative Mind and Talent manager to begin thriving.
But let’s give additional credit to Roman Reigns. He’s another guy who took his bumps and bruises for the past decade to become experienced to shine in this moment. Pro Wrestling is a HARD business to figure out and takes at least a decade to truly figure things out. Hence why most wrestlers peak in their 30s and why most bookers don’t start thriving as manager of creative/talent until at least 15 years experience as a wrestler and 10 years as a backstage officer. Tonight’s show doesn’t elevate, as it did, without Roman Reigns casting a big shadow for everyone to attempt to overcome.
Some Cable/Satellite, Streaming, or even Network TV channel is going to pay, bigtime, for RAW’s broadcast fees next year. Seriously, I predict $2 billion for the RAW and NXT package.
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