Smackdown – June 17, 2022

Date: June 17, 2022
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

Say it with me: and then everything changed. Vince McMahon has stepped back as WWE CEO and Chairman of the Board due to his affair but he is still going to show up this week for…something. I have no idea what that means but we also have Riddle challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Title. Let’s get to it.

Here is Vince McMahon to open things up. He is glad to be here in Minnesota and talks about the Then, Now, Forever and Together WWE signature. Welcome to Smackdown. Then he leaves. Ok then.

Opening sequence.

Here is Riddle to talk about his history with Roman Reigns. We get a highlight package on RKBro vs. the Bloodline and Riddle talks about how much he misses Randy Orton. Riddle dedicates the match to Orton and wants him back, even playing Voices for a great moment.

Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss

This is the Last Laugh match, which doesn’t seem to be a stipulation. Corbin knocks him into the corner to start but Moss (the hometown boy) hits a middle rope shoulder. That means another knockdown from Corbin, who is taken down by a running shoulder from Moss. Corbin sends him into the post and out to the floor, only to be knocked down on the outside as well as we take a break. Back with Corbin hitting a chokeslam and they head outside again. Moss runs him over for a change but Corbin manages to beat the count back in. A pair of Punchlines finishes for Moss at 9:19.

Rating: C+. This is what WWE has been needing: they have picked someone in Moss and now they are pushing him as something. He dropped the joke stuff, is wearing regular trunks that show off his great physique (probably his strongest feature) and got some definitive wins over an established name. That is the hard part, but if WWE wants to do something with him, they have set things up properly.

Post match, Moss laughs a lot.

The Street Profits are glad to be on Smackdown and are looking forward to their Tag Team Title match against the Usos at Money in the Bank.

Back in the arena, Happy Corbin isn’t happy with Pat McAfee laughing at him when things were down. Corbin rants about the bad things that McAfee did to him and wants McAfee in the ring. As Corbin leaves, McAfee gets up to say that after a last laugh match, we should be seeing the fans laughing him out of the building. This causes Corbin to walk out rather than fight the announcer who is leading the fans to laugh at him. The new Day come out for their match and laugh at Corbin even more.

Classic Smackdown moment: Edge and Hulk Hogan win the Tag Team Titles on July 4, 2002.

Natalya is ready to beat respect into Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank. She talks about her history and how great she is before promising to make Rousey quit.

New Day vs. Jinder Mahal/Shanky

Jinder kicks Woods into the corner to start but gets caught with a springboard dropkick. Shanky comes in for a heck of a chop and a clothesline takes Kofi down. That lets Shanky dance so Jinder tags himself in, yells at Shanky, and gets Trouble In Paradised for the pin at 3:02.

Rating: D+. Do you get the idea yet? I wasn’t sure if they had hammered it into your head hard enough that Shanky likes to dance and Jinder hates it, but that’s the only thing that these two are doing together. New Day beating them is fine and that’s all well and good, but Jinder and dancing Shanky is only so interesting in the first place and now they’re going with the idea again and again.

Video on the Viking Raiders.

Here are Sheamus and Drew McIntyre, with Adam Pearce to talk about last week’s double DQ in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. After some threats of violence if they are not in the match, we see a clip of last week’s big brawl. Pearce says Sheamus is in, so Drew beats Sheamus down….and is told that he is in too. Works for McIntyre, who Claymores Sheamus.

Sami Zayn is nervous about going in to see Roman Reigns but decides he needs to go to the bathroom.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shayna Baszler

Lacey Evans is on commentary. Shayna goes for the leg to start but Rodriguez gets in a shot of her own to take over. That’s broken up and Baszler hits a running kick to the leg in the corner as Aliyah and Shotzi are watching in the back. Rodriguez runs Baszler over but her knee gives out on a running powerslam attempt. A running knee gives Baszler two but the Kirifuda Clutch is broken up. Not that it matters as the Tejana Bomb finishes Baszler at 3:13.

Rating: C-. I don’t know if I can buy Rodriguez winning the ladder match but they have started building her into something. Giving her a win here worked fine as you want to have her in the match, but my goodness sometimes I can’t get over what they have done with Baszler. She has been on the main roster for more than two years and somehow has never been Women’s Champion. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible but somehow they have pulled it off.

Here is Max Dupri to introduce his first client. The spotlight is in the ring….but there is no one there. We cut to the back where Dupri says his men (unknown) aren’t going out there under these conditions. He yells at Adam Pearce about the lighting and says we won’t be seeing their faces and bodies. Pearce has failed to titillate the people.

Ludvig Kaiser talks about how Gunther won the Intercontinental Title, following the history of the international stars winning the championship. No American will ever sully its reputation again. Gunther says he is the new champion.

Undisputed WWE Universal Title: Roman Reigns vs. Riddle

Riddle is challenging and, after the Big Match Intros, goes right at Reigns and strikes away. A heck of an uppercut cuts him down but Riddle is back with a fisherman’s suplex. Reigns is sent outside and the flipping dive drops him again as we take a break. Back with Reigns hammering away before grabbing a cravate.

Riddle fights out and hits the Floating Bro for two but Reigns hits a Rock Bottom for the same. That’s enough to send Riddle outside, where Reigns drops him onto the announcers’ table ala Randy Orton. Reigns mocks Orton to the camera and we take a break. We come back again with Riddle hitting the Orton powerslam but the hanging DDT is escaped.

Instead Riddle drops him onto the announcers’ table, setting up the hanging DDT for two. The RKO is countered with a shove and the Superman Punch gives Reigns two more. Reigns’ spear is countered into the RKO and the Floating Bro gets two. Riddle goes up for a springboard but gets speared out of the air for the pin to retain at 16:47.

Rating: B. This match did something that is very hard to do but is one of the most impressive things that can be done: they made me buy that something I knew wasn’t going to happen could happen. There was no realistic reason to believe that Riddle was going to win here but that RKO had me thinking they might actually flip the switch. That is one of the hardest things to do in wrestling and they made it work here with a heck of a match that had me wondering so very well done indeed. It was the In Your House main event level match on TV but I got pulled into this one hard.

Post match Reigns says there is no one left….and Brock Lesnar makes his return. The F5 drops Reigns to end the show. Reigns vs. Lesnar is the Jurassic World: Dominion of WWE: we’ve been here before, but they’re banking on the visuals and carnage to make up for the same story we’ve seen so many times.

Overall Rating: C+. I had a good time with this show but that ending deflated me like few others have in recent memory. Things are up in the air in WWE at the moment and Lesnar is their safety blanket, but my goodness it can be hard to take the idea of WWE going back to the well AGAIN with this match. WWE has a lot of talented people on its roster, but if they have these main event slots locked up for the same batch of people, what difference does it make? They showed that they know how to reshape and push someone with Moss, so why not do the same and make a main eventer out of it?

The rest of the show was good (again, the Moss stuff is getting my attention) and they haven’t gone overboard with the qualifying matches, though I’m not sure what they were doing with the Vince stuff. The Dupri angle is intriguing, though they better have a heck of a name ready for that first client. I liked the show overall, though the rough spots were pretty bad.

Madcap Moss b. Happy Corbin – Punchline
New Day b. Shanky/Jinder Mahal – Trouble In Paradise to Mahal
Raquel Rodriguez b. Shayna Baszler – Tejana Bomb
Roman Reigns b. Riddle – Spear



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