Bloodline Civil War

Welcome to WrestlePurists live coverage of SmackDown for the June 23 2023 episode.

SmackDown looks to be a pretty exciting show as WWE ramps up hype for Money in the Bank next week. Tonight’s show will feature the “beginning of the Bloodline Civil War,” a women’s Tag Team Title unification match with the Unholy Union taking on Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler. Charlotte Flair will be in action against Lacey Evans, and Grayson Waller will host Pretty Deadly on his talk show ahead of their tag team title opportunity. Also tonight, Rey Mysterio will take on the megastar LA Knight and Bayley will put her Money in the Bank spot on the line against Shotzi.


The show begins with a recap of the closing moments of last week’s SmackDown, before the Uso’s music plays and they make their way to the ring. The crowd in Lafayette is surprisingly very loud, and the Uso’s get huge cheers. Jey starts his promo with “The Bloodline…” before Jimmy corrects him to say, “The Uso’s are in your city,” while they throw up the ones. It seems they’ll be using this going forwards, as they’re both wearing ‘We the Ones’ shirts. Jey says they still love Roman Reigns, which gets a mixed reaction from the crowd, but that he messed up by disrespecting the Uso’s. He says they can’t forgive the ones on the outside of the house, especially Paul Heyman. They finish their promo by welcoming Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa to the Uso Penitentiary. It’s definitely been a while since we’ve heard that.

This was a good promo to build up to the upcoming PPV match, and I’m excited for the Uso’s face run. I’m not sure where they go after beating/losing to the Bloodline, which makes me nervous they’re going to split them up.


Before the commercial break, we see Rey Mysterio make his entrance. Curiously, no members of the LWO are seen with him. This match was initially slated to be a triple threat between Butch, Santos Escobar and LA Knight.

LA Knight makes his entrance as we come back from the break, again to a loud chorus of cheers. The bell rings and the match starts with LA Knight in control, throwing Rey between the turnbuckles. Knight moves to the apron, and as Rey scrambles in to the ring, Knight launches at him with a slingshot crossbody. Rey turns the momentum around with a hurricanrana, and sends Knight in to the corner. As Mysterio lays in some hits, LA Knight puts him in an alabama slam position, but Rey reverses with a poisonrana, setting LA up for the 619. Rey lands his signature move, and climbs to the top for the splash before Knight rolls out of the ring. Rey runs the ropes and does his trademark slide out of the ring under the bottom rope, and lands a splash on Knight.

We return from the break to Knight landing a neckbreaker on Mysterio. He once again regains momentum, bringing Rey to the middle of the ring for a powerbomb, before Mysterio once again reverses with a hurricanrana. He turns momentum around again, and tries to pin LA Knight before a kickout at 2 and a half. After a powerslam, Knight sets up for his elbow drop, but Rey kicks out. The match, which has been a solid 3 star affair, gets a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. It’s crazy to see how lively the crowds are getting for LA Knight. Mysterio sets up LA for the 619 once more, but Knight catches him. He lands the Blunt Force Trauma on Rey Mysterio after a brief scuffle, locking in the three count.

After the match, he begins to unmask Rey Mysterio, but Santos Escobar runs in to make the save. It’s good to see LA Knight get a TV win over a legend.


Before the break, we see a brief backstage segment with Paul Heyman accompanying Solo Sikoa backstage. Ridge Holland tries to walk past the two, but Solo hits him with a Samoan Spike. He’s clearly not in the greatest mood tonight.

After the break, we come back to Ridge still on the ground with Adam Pearce. Sheamus interrupts and asks for a match with Solo Sikoa.

Sheamus makes his way down the ramp and says that if Solo gets in the middle of the ring, he’s in for the fight of his life. Sheamus leaves to go backstage again.


After Sheamus returns backstage, Ronda and Shayna make their way to the ring. Raquel Rodriguez is watching from ringside. The Unholy Union enter second, and personally I’m rooting for them here.

The bell rings with Alba Fyre and Shayna Baszler in the ring. Fyre quickly tags to Isla Dawn for some innovative tag team offense. After a quick face off between Dawn and Baszler, she tags out to Ronda Rousey. The Unholy Union get some momentum up, knocking Baszler to the outside and scoring a nearfall on Rousey. Alba sets up Ronda in the electric chair position, and Isla Dawn goes to the top rope for some offense before being pushed off by Shayna. Rousey reverses the electric chair with a poisonrana, and Alba takes a slightly scary head bump.

We come back from the break to see Fyre in an ankle lock applied by Rousey. She kicks her way out of it and both Ronda and Alba try crawling to their partners. Rousey tags Baszler in, who stops Fyre from tagging out to Dawn. She scores a very close nearfall on Alba, but the momentum changes to the Unholy Union’s favour when Alba finally gets the tag to Isla. Dawn lands a meteora on Baszler, which only ends in a two count. Baszler locks in the Kirifuda Clutch but gets interrupted by Fyre with a reckless swanton. Fyre and Rousey spill to the outside, but Baszler doesn’t let up in the ring. After more brawling, Rousey and Shayna both lock in double submissions on the Unholy Union, sealing their fate.

Sad to see the Unholy Union lose here, but I can see the value of Ronda Rousey popping a rating on NXT. After the match, Ronda starts calling out Raquel. She says that she wants a rematch for the titles that “we never lost.” Shayna asks “who?” and Liv Morgan makes her return from injury and heads down the ramp to join Raquel Rodriguez. Great to see Liv return ahead of schedule, but personally I find her pairing with Raquel a little bit boring.


Grayson Waller introduces Pretty Deadly. I love the slow-motion entrance that they get. Pretty Deadly start by saying that the Grayson Waller Effect is their favourite talk show, MUCH better than the KO Show. The crowd quickly hijacks the segment with loud “Shut Up” chants. Elton speaks about how they don’t get enough respect, especially as a team that are multiple time tag team champions. They speak about how gruelling being the “iron men” of the gauntlet match was. As they run down the list of opponents they beat, the Street Profits interrupt them. The Street Profits set up a match with Pretty Deadly to take place now.

This segment really dragged, and the crowd did not enjoy them. As an avid enjoyer of both Pretty Deadly and Grayson Waller, this was a bit of a pain to watch. The match also feels very odd, and I feel as though we’re not getting half of the matches promised before the show.


The match starts with Montez Ford and Kit Wilson facing off in the ring. They trade some holds and blows before Ford tags out to Dawkins. Wilson tags in Elton, and they land some tandem tag team offense. Ford is tagged back in and leapfrogs over Dawkins for a huge dropkick. Ford takes off Prince’s “bra-let” and tries it on for himself. Both him and Dawkins hit tandem tope con hilos on Pretty Deadly before we go to commercial break.

We come back from the break with both Ford and Wilson on the top turnbuckle, Wilson goes for a superplex but it looks as though he’s unable to fully lift Montez. Montez shifts it around in to a crossbody, before tagging in Dawkins for some big offense. Dawkins multiple dropkicks, a step-up enzuigiri and a double pumphandle slam. The two teams trade some back and forth offense, before Ford hits a massive uranage on Elton prince. He moves to the top rope, but gets pushed off the top by Wilson. Prince rolls up Dawkins, the legal man, and puts his feet up on the ropes. Wilson wraps the bralet around Prince’s legs, getting extra leverage and scoring three on Dawkins.


Charlotte makes her entrance before the break. I predict this match won’t last too long, but it seems that Shotzi v Bayley has been nixed in favour of Sheamus v Solo and the previous tag match.

The match opens with Charlotte very quickly in control, starting with a takedown and some chops. Charlotte seems to be having a lot of fun in this match, hitting Andrade El Idolo’s pose in the ring. She quickly dispatches Lacey Evans with a figure eight, before Asuka runs in to beat down Charlotte.

After Solo’s entrance, we come backstage to Adam Pearce on the phone. Bianca Belair arrives and Adam Pearce advises her that she’s banned from ringside from the upcoming WWE Women’s Championship match.


Solo stands in the ring as Sheamus makes his entrance. He gets loud cheers from the crowd. A little part of me hopes that face Sheamus could get “Written in my Face” back as his theme song, but his current one has really grown on me. This should be a great test for Solo, when he was getting his weekly main events he felt quite over-exposed in the ring. The match opens quite physically, with the two exchanging stiff forearms and slaps.

The two trade momentum throughout the match, but Sheamus lands a vicious clothesline on Solo, turning the match into his favour. He sets Solo on the apron for the ten beats, but Sikoa fends Sheamus off. Sheamus lifts Solo into a fireman’s carry on the apron, but Solo once again fends him off and pushes him in to the turnbuckle. The two spill to the floor, and Sikoa picks Sheamus up for a Samoan Drop on the outside.

We come back from the break with Solo in control in the ring. Sheamus starts crawling to the turnbuckle in a seated position, but as Solo runs towards him he springs up with another wicked clothesline. Sheamus takes control with an Irish Curse Backbreaker, and Sikoa rolls to the apron. Sheamus turns to the crowd before setting Solo up for the ten beats of the bodhran. Sheamus can only manage to squeeze out six, selling his back and midsection. He goes for the Brogue kick before being interrupted by a superkick from Sikoa. He bounces back with a knee and scores a two count over Solo. The crowd once again giving the match a “this is awesome” chant.

Sheamus powers Solo up for the white noise, planting Sikoa in the centre of the ring, but he gets his shoulder up before the ref counts three. Sheamus is showing great in-ring psychology during this match, slowing down the pace of the match but still keeping it engaging. He once again lifts Sikoa up for the Celtic cross, but his back gives out and he drops Solo, who plants the Samoan Spike on Sheamus. The Celtic warrior rolls out of the ring, but Solo doesn’t let up, and lands a uranage on to the announce table. He drags Sheamus to the barricade, and launches through it with a hip attack. The two lay ringside, with the official calling the match off.


As the medical staff rush to Sheamus’s aid, Solo gets angry and starts beating them down. While going to pick up Sheamus, the Uso’s music hits. Jimmy and Jey rush down the ramp and lay Solo out in the middle of the ring with tandem superkicks. The two brothers stare down Paul Heyman, before going to the top turnbuckle and landing Uso splashes on a dazed Solo Sikoa. The show closes with the Uso’s standing in the ring with the ones pointed to the sky.


Overall, I think SmackDown felt a little bit off. The advertised Shotzi and Bayley match didn’t go ahead, and doesn’t appear to be advertised for next week’s RAW or SmackDown. Althought a fairly inconsequential match, I was excited to see how the story would progress between Bayley and IYO SKY ahead of the Money in the Bank ladder match. Next week’s SmackDown looks like an exciting show, with two title clashes being advertised as Charlotte Flair takes on Asuka for the WWE Women’s Championship and Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defend their Undisputed Tag Team Championships against Pretty Deadly. Pretty Deadly should have a great showing in front of their home crowd, especially considering the unsavoury reaction from the crowd in Lafayette tonight.

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