SmackDown Recap and Reactions (January 13, 2023): Bloodline’s Pawn

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Sami Zayn was tasked with eliminating Kevin Owens on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, an order given directly by Roman Reigns himself. He found out shortly after the show, from none other than Paul Heyman, that he would be doing it alone, since the rest of The Bloodline wasn’t even in the building.

And so he did it alone, and he certainly seemed to be giving it his all, and everything seemed certain that he was going to deliver a victory. But just as he was preparing for the Helluva Kick, the dogs were unleashed, with Jimmy, Jey and Solo Sikoa pounding into the ring to force a disqualification that went after Owens.

Zayn looked confused and a little upset. Once again, he felt like he was eager to prove himself.

My read on this is that this was just another example of The Bloodline not really accepting Zayn the way he wants to. They could have trusted him to do things himself, and they didn’t. Instead, he feels more like a pawn here, the guy they sent to take a beating and weaken Owens so they could run in and pick up the scraps right at the end.

Here there is no triumph for Sami.

They pick it up and then knock it down so they can pick it up again. He’s in the manipulation cycle and maybe this was the night he finally started to see it for himself, after hearing Owens try to explain it to him several times.

However, there is still room to move, and it seems clear that they are not ready for the breakout just yet. But this was another good story.

I am absolutely sure that I am attentive.

I’m giving this its own space because sometimes I really enjoy when Bray Wyatt is given the chance to get in the ring and speak like only Bray Wyatt can.

The throwbacks to the Wyatt we used to know really hit me, for reasons I’m not even entirely sure or couldn’t explain. I miss when Wyatt was twisting tales with his tongue and telling us to “RUN” before turning off the electric lanterns. That guy felt so special, like some transcendent talent whose potential just needed to be unlocked.

Perhaps part of our fascination with Wyatt is that the potential was long felt unrealized. There’s something about this guy, and I want to fully experience it. This felt like going back to that somehow.

Here’s hoping the future holds more like this.

all the rest
  • This show started with Braun Strowman challenging GUNTHER for the Intercontinental championship. They had a decent match, but it was pretty standard considering the participants and it certainly didn’t feel like they gave it their all. GUNTHER beat Strowman fairly (there was some interference from Imperium during the match, but it didn’t seem to affect the outcome) and left little room for a rematch. Maybe this is already over? It definitely doesn’t feel like they need to go back to that.
  • Rey Mysterio is good and he’s sick of Dominik’s bullshit, but instead of letting his own son incite him, he moves on by entering the Royal Rumble and trying to go big and win the damn thing. Naturally, Karrion Kross cut him off to call him a bad father and then strangled him when Rey responded violently. This is doing a fantastic job of making me feel so bad for poor Rey. The guy is a legend, he deserves better than this, right?
  • Liv Morgan slapped the taste out of Raquel Rodriguez’s mouth. Shit, man! That was brutal! But it was also great because it showed us a new side of Rodriguez, who ditched the smiley happy-go-lucky attitude in favor of getting hot and angry and eager to remind everyone that she’s the biggest baddest woman on the list. She proved it by beating Morgan in a singles match later in the night, though she went back to making cheese after doing so. Still, they showed that she is there and that is progress.
  • Tegan Nox defeated Xia Li in a standard singles match. Li has been on TV a bit more lately, but they’re doing absolutely nothing with her.
  • They announced that a tag tournament will begin next week to determine the next top contenders for The Usos’ SmackDown tag team titles (yes, they specified). Sheamus and Drew McIntyre will get The Viking Raiders in the first round, based on the latter attacking the former after last week’s show. They’re doing a lot of film work to make Erik and Ivar great, but even with Valhalla, I just don’t feel it. Your experience may be different.
  • Sonya Deville wants her rematch with Charlotte Flair, so she campaigned against Adam Pearce, who indicated that she’ll need to win the Royal Rumble for all of that, and when that didn’t work, he just fought her backstage. It was a very good split. We’ll see if it ends with Deville getting another chance or if she really has a trailer in the Rumble.

This was a solid show.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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