June 9 2023

Welcome to WrestlePurists live coverage of SmackDown for the June 9 2023 episode.

We have an exciting SmackDown to look forward to tonight, with four Money in the Bank qualifying matches ahead of their trip across the pond to the O2 Arena, a new title being unveiled for RAW Women’s Champion Asuka, and Jey Uso’s decision after the fallout from the Tribal Chief’s 1000 day celebration.

Check back throughout the show for more updates.


SmackDown opens with Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman standing in the ring. As Paul begins his intro, Jey Uso’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring to interrupt the two men. Jey grabs a mic and calls out Solo for turning on Jimmy last week. He tells Solo that he can’t forgive him, and tells Paul to continue before throwing his microphone away.

Paul immediately shifts the blame on to Jimmy, before telling Solo to back up. Heyman tells Jey that Jimmy made up both of their minds when he kicked Roman at Night of Champions, and that Jimmy is jealous of his brother because Reigns wants to make Jey Uso the next tribal chief. He says that there is a match set-up for Jey to prove himself as the next tribal chief, and it’s not a tag team match. In fact, there’s no tag team known as “The Usos” anymore. The match is revealed to be against the United States champion Austin Theory. Paul tells Jey that he could become the next tribal chief only if he accepts, and lays it on thick that he needs the answer now. Jey Uso accepts the match against Austin Theory, and Paul extends his hand, but before shaking the wise man’s hand, he stares begrudgingly at Sikoa. Jey stands back and says he’ll “get back to you on that” regarding re-joining the Bloodline.

Overall an interesting segment, it shows that Jey Uso still holds resentment for Roman, Solo and Paul Heyman, but is still vying for that elusive singles title run. We’ll see what develops further after the main event clash between Austin Theory and Jey Uso.


We go to commercial shortly after Santos Escobar’s entrance. He’s accompanied to the ring by Rey Mysterio. This should be an exciting cruiserweight clash between two of the best grapplers under 205lbs in WWE today. We come back from commercial to Mustafa Ali making his entrance, as he gets to the steel steps, “L. A. KNIGHT” blares over the speakers. He makes his way down the ramp and takes a seat at the commentary table.

The match begins with a competitive back and forth between Ali and Escobar, some hard shots and a hurricanrana from Ali sends Escobar out of the ring. The two brawl in front of the commentary table, with Escobar whipping Ali on to the steel steps. He hits Ali with an enzuigiri on the apron, and then a vicious hurricanrana from the apron to the floor. Ali escapes to the other side of the ring, but Santos keeps the momentum up and lands a senstational tope suicida. Right before the commercial, Escobar climbs back to the top turnbuckle and hits a crossbody on to Ali.

The two men trade blows on the top turnbuckle, before Escobar pushes him off the top. Ali lands on his feet, and as Escobar leaps down to attack him, Mustafa hits a dropkick. He throws Escobar back in to the ring, and heads to the top turnbuckle for the 450. As he goes for it, Escobar rolls out of the way, and slams Ali in to the middle turnbuckle. Mustafa quickly turns momentum around with a picture perfect poisonrana on to Escobar, only scoring a two count. The two trade rollups, scoring two counts each way. They brawl as Ali gets on to the middle turnbuckle, and flips backwards in to a tornado DDT. These two are having a sensational cruiserweight exchange. They move to the top turnbuckle once more, and Escobar puts Ali in a fireman’s carry after an enzuigiri. He lands the phantom driver from the middle turnbuckle, and punches his ticket to Money in the Bank. The rest of the LWO come out to celebrate him. This was a phenomenal match, with some fantastic high-flying offense. I felt as though L.A. Knight was fantastic on commentary, but slightly took away from the excellent match.

Santos Escobar joins Ricochet, L.A. Knight, and Shinsuke Nakamura as the 4th competitor in the esteemed ladder match emanating from the O2 Arena in London.


The camera pans to Jey Uso backstage, and Sami Zayn comes to talk to him. The crowd is loud in chanting for Sami, and he tells Jey that he wants to tell him something he never got to while he was still in the Bloodline. Zayn tells Jey that his time with the Usos was some of the best times in his career, in his life, and in a different world they’d still be doing it together. He makes a reference to making them all break character, with Jey ironically breaking character and laughing at what Sami says. It’s a touching moment given the storied history between these two. Zayn closes by saying that when the Tribal Chief takes over, bad things happen, and paranoia sets in. He tells Jey that Roman was constantly testing his loyalty, and that Jey should listen to his heart, not what’s being put in his head.


We come back from the break to Kayla Braxton in the ring, introducing the Unholy Union of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. These two haven’t had much time to shine so far on SmackDown, so I’m really interested to see what they’re doing. As Kayla welcomes them to SmackDown, “Bad Reputation” plays and Ronda and Shayna make their entrance.

Shayna says that she’s the only reason that the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships were created, implying that her and Nia were holding them ransom. Ronda says that her and Shayna have been running through the division so fast that soon there won’t be any tag teams left, and that WWE isn’t big enough for the both of them.

The Unholy Union accept their challenge of a title unification match. They then launch a surprise attack on Ronda & Shayna, which results in an exciting brawl. They chase off the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, and stand tall in the ring with the NXT Tag Titles.

I’m excited for this match, and was hoping that they would do this as the NXT Women’s Tag Titles have felt unnecessary considering the original Tag Titles were supposed to be defended on all three brands. Personally I’m rooting for Alba & Isla, as I believe they have a lot to prove and feel like a genuine unit, but I don’t think Ronda and Shayna are done with those belts just yet.


Commentary mention the sad loss of the Iron Sheik earlier this week, and show some comments from Hulk Hogan, SGT. Slaughter, Jimmy Hart, and the Rock. They announce they’re re-airing his WWE legends biography this Sunday in memoriam. RIP BUBBA


Bayley makes her entrance right before the commercial, she says that this one is for Dakota directly to the camera as she walks down the ramp. Michin enters with AJ Styles, and AJ joins the commentary booth. The match quickly spills in front of the commentary table, and Bayley taunts AJ with his pose. She turns around to find Mia Yim launching out the side of the ring with a picture perfect tope suicida.

The two brawl in the ring, with Mia Yim taking control. She bounces around the ropes before hitting Bayley with a DDT. Her time in IMPACT really honed her in-ring skill, and Michin has been a surefire addition to the women’s division. Bayley feigns an injured nose, tricking the referee into distracting Mia Yim. Unfortunately this doesn’t work, as Michin sees her coming and lands a kick to the face. Bayley turns around momentum, and hits the rose plant on Mia Yim. The ref counts three, but Mia’s shoulders clearly come off the mat. Maybe this will turn in to a last chance qualifying match for Mia Yim? She’s shown her prowess in ladder matches before, and would be sorely missed in the Money in the Bank match.

After the match, Scarlett comes out from the timekeeper’s area and blows red smoke in to AJ’s face. He stumbles back to the barrier, and Karrion Kross emerges from the crowd and locks in the Kross Jacket. Before Mia Yim can save AJ, Kross whisks away Scarlett and they head back in to the crowd. This should be an engaging feud between Kross and AJ, as Kross has struggled to find his footing on the main roster.


We go backstage to Bianca Belair pacing, stressed. She complains to Adam Pearce that she can’t wait to get her hands on Asuka, and is planning on interrupting the championship showcase. Pearce pleads with her to stay out of it, as he’s stressed out with organising the championship presentation and the tag title unification match. He tells Bianca that she can have her rematch, and Bianca promises to stay out of it, as long as she gets another shot at Asuka’s championship.


The camera comes back from the break to Adam Pearce in the ring, introducing the new “WWE Women’s Championship.” He invites Asuka out to the ring, and she comes down sporting her RAW Women’s Championship. Personally I can’t wait for them to change this, as it’s been a month with the women’s championships on other brands, and hopefully Rhea gets the same treatment next week.

The belt, unsurprisingly, is revealed to be the same design as Roman Reign’s new WWE Undisputed Championship, except sporting a white strap. I think the white strap actually looks nicer than the black, as the contrast of the black WWE logo looks great against the white.


As Adam Pearce fashions the title around Asuka’s waist… WOOO! Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring, the first time we’ve seen her since WrestleMania, where she lost her SmackDown Women’s Championship to Rhea Ripley. Pearce tells Charlotte that he knows what she’s trying to do, but she needs to wait in line. Charlotte exclaims her frustration: “Wait in line? I MADE the damn line!”

Flair says that she respects Asuka more than anyone else, but that she wants that new title belt. Asuka bites back in Japanese, before saying in English, “I accept.” Charlotte turns to Pearce and says that once he makes the match official, he can put that belt around her waist instead. Asuka spits the blue mist and Flair ducks, before landing a big boot on Asuka IN HEELS!

I’m not sure if Charlotte has established herself as face or heel… it makes sense for her to be a face against Asuka, but she walks the line of face and heel very closely.


We start with a replay of the segment between Jey and Paul from earlier tonight, and then cut backstage to Jey taping his wrists in the locker-room. Paul Heyman comes to chat with him, and says that he’ll need Jey Uso’s passport and suit measaurements. Jey asks why, are we going to a wedding?

Heyman explains that he needs Jey’s passport so that he can fly on the Tribal Chief’s private jet, which will one day be Jey’s private jet, all the way to London for Money in the Bank. And that he’ll need his suit measurements because next week will be a triple celebration for the Bloodline. Roman Reigns has been confirmed to appear, Jey Uso will be celebrated as the NEW United States Champion, and there will be a public acknowledgement that Jey Uso will be groomed by Roman Reigns to become the next head of the table.

Jey says he loves it, a big celebration for him, “Main Event” Jey Uso, the new United States champion. He tells Paul that “I don’t know why you’re so happy, coz if I’m in the Bloodline… that means you’re OUT of the Bloodline.” He taps Paul’s chest and laughs before leaving the locker-room.


Before this match, we go backstage with Bianca and Pearce once more. Pearce is talking on the phone, mentioning perhaps that the match between Flair and Asuka take place the night before Money in the Bank. Bianca tells Pearce that when she gets her lick back, it’ll be justified.

We go to the ring, and Mike Rome introduces special guests in the crowd for the match: Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes. They play some highlights from NXT and Corbin’s match against Trick Williams, and Michael Cole mentions that the Money in the Bank briefcase can be used for ANY championship, including Carmelo Hayes’.

Corbin grabs a mic and says that he hopes Carmelo and Trick are watching as he beats Butch and punches his ticket to MITB. He threatens Carmelo and Trick, and tells them to “sit down like the fans that you are.”

The bell rings and BUTCH springs straight in to action, landing some high enzuigiris on to Corbin. He knocks him down and heads to the top rope for a moonsault, which Corbin rolls out of the way from. Corbin hits a backbreaker and begins beating down the bruiserweight. The two trade some more blows before BUTCH starts working the fingers of Corbin. Baron flattens Dunne with a haymaker, and heads back to the middle of the ring to hit him with a clothesline. Butch turns it around in to a submission and steals a pin over Baron Corbin.

Pete “BUTCH” Dunne is the 5th member to join the ladder match, alongside the aforementioned Santos Escobar, Ricochet, L.A. Knight, and Shinsuke Nakamura. After the match, Corbin launches an attack on Carmelo and Trick. The two jump the barricade and chase Corbin off. Loud “NXT” chants can be heard from the crowd. This is a great introduction to main roster fans for Carmelo and Trick, who will be surefire stays on either SmackDown or RAW in the near future.


Shotzi enters in her classsic T.C.B. tank, and makes her way to the ring before we head to another commercial break. When we return, we come to a backstage segment with the Brawling Brutes. BUTCH says that he can’t wait to come home and grab the briefcase, Corbin interrupts and says the match wasn’t fair, before being attacked by Cameron Grimes. Corbin is laid on the floor, and we pan back to the Arena for IYO’s entrance.

The match begins with a competitive back and forth, but IYO attempts to shift momentum in her favour with a wristlock, and climbs the top turn buckle. SKY goes for a senton but Shotzi dodges, and turns it around with a bulldog, and then a suplex. IYO spills to the outside, and Shotzi goes for a tope suicida, launches out the bottom rope, and lands it square on IYO. Definitely good to see Shotzi land her dives, and she’s been on fire so far in this match.

The two move back to the top turnbuckle, and Shotzi knocks IYO off. Bayley tries to push Shotzi, but is unsuccessful. Sky gets back up to the turnbuckle, but is fended off by Shotzi once more. As she goes for the senton from the top rope, Bayley sweeps her legs out, and she hits the back of her head hard on the turnbuckle. IYO SKY drags her to the prime position and lands the over the moonsault, and qualifies for Money in the Bank with a three count.

IYO SKY joins Bayley, Becky Lynch, Zoey Stark and Zelina Vega as the 5th entrant in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.


We head backstage to Kayla Braxton, who interviews Austin Theory. He complains that he was the last person to find out about this match, and didn’t get much prep time as a result. He’s still touting the fact that he beat John Cena at Wrestlemania (albeit doing nothing since then), and tells Paul Heyman that if he gets kicked out of the Bloodline, he should check Austin Theory out tonight.

Honestly I think Heyman and Theory would make a good pairing down the line, but I don’t think Paulie is quite done with the Bloodline yet.


We go to the locker room with Kevin and Sami discussing the tag titles, before they’re interrupted by Pretty Deadly. Pretty Deadly asks if the two ever “make an effort with their appearance,” and ask them to put the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles on the line against them. They’re interrupted by the Brawling Brutes, who are interrupted by the Good Brothers, who are interrupted by Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro of L.W.O…. who are interrupted by the Street Profits. Adam Pearce comes through and promises a gauntlet match next week on SmackDown between the five teams, with the winner earning a shot against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Tag Titles.

Kevin Owens has been absolutely hilarious throughout this run with Sami, complaining that “everyone came out of nowhere and they’re all standing too close to him.” Great segment, and I’m excited to see who wins the gauntlet match.

Also next week on SmackDown will be the Grayson Waller Effect with special guest: Charlotte Flair.


Jey makes his entrance before the commercial break, standing alone. He absolutely reeks of star power through this entrance, and the crowd cheers loudly. It would be a bold prediction for Jey Uso to knock the United States championship off his perch, but not one I’d necessarily bet against with the type of momentum Jey has been building.

As we come back from commercial, they tease some of the future matches for SmackDown. Three weeks away, in London, Asuka and Charlotte Flair will lock up for the WWE Women’s Championship. Two weeks from today, the Women’s Tag Title Unification match will happen between Ronda & Shayna and the Unholy Union of Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn. Next week, there will be a mixed tag match with Karrion Kross & Scarlett against AJ Styles and Mia Yim, as well as a gauntlet match with every tag team on SmackDown.

We come back to Theory making his entrance. He gets loud boos from the crowd when he’s introduced by Mike Rome. The two lock up as the bell rings, and once again the match quickly spills to the outside. Theory goes over the announce table and Jey stands tall as we go to another ad break.

After the commercial, the two trade blows with loud “boo” and “yay” chants for Theory and Jey respectively. The crowd is really behind Jey here, and he gains momentum int he match before being hit by Austin’s roll-through dropkick. Theory scores a two-count on Jey and presses X to complain to the Ref. The United States Champion hits Jey with some more offense, and Jey kicks out at 2 again. Theory tries to get him primed for the A-Town Down, but Jey escapes and fires back with some superkicks, and Theory goes down hard, knocking the official out of the ring. Jey hits the Uso Splash on the champ, and scores a visual 10 count. He goes to grab the referee before Pretty Deadly emerge from the crowd to help Austin.

The pair begin to get some offense on Jey before a triumphant Jimmy runs the aisle at the speed of sound. He scares the two off, but out comes Solo from the crowd. Solo goes to hit the Samoan Spike on Jimmy, but Jey interrupts… right as Jimmy blasts him with a superkick. Jimmy knocks Solo out of the ring, and tumbles outside with him. Theory desperately crawls back in to the ring and scores a three after Jimmy’s superkick, retaining his United States Championship once more.


After the match, Theory leaves past the timekeeper’s area, and the camera shows Jimmy and Jey in the ring, with Solo and Paul on the ramp. Jimmy goes to console Jey, who seems to know that Jimmy’s kick was an accident. Jimmy helps his brother up, with Jey’s eyes never leaving Solo’s. He pushes Jimmy away, before exiting the ring and leaving him standing their on his own. As he passes Paul and Solo, he stares back at the two of them, then to Jimmy in the ring. Without a word, Jey walks up the ramp, alone.

Once again, we get no closer to learning Jey’s decision. Personally I believe he will side with Jimmy, which will lead to the Usos V Solo & Roman. The show ends a couple of minutes early.

Overall I would say this was quite a solid SmackDown, with the highlight of the night for me definitely being Mustafa Ali v Santos Escobar. The storyline development with the Bloodline is starting to come to a head, and teasing Jey as the next tribal chief will definitely have some implications in the weeks to come. Both Money in the Bank matches are shaping up to be exhilarating, with L.A. Knight and IYO SKY as my personal favourites to win the briefcases.

Check back in next week for another SmackDown review, and stay tuned to wrestlepurists.com for our other weekly show reviews.

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