Jey Uso leaves through the crowd at the ScotiaBank Saddleome at the end of WWE Smackdown on August 11, 2023 (photo WWE)

Smackdown was stacked. It felt important, things happened. I was genuinely surprised at more than a few moments. I’ve been enjoying WWE’s Friday ratings grabber quite a bit here in the Bloodline Era (just coined that), but in the past few weeks, it seemed like things were moving a bit too slowly.

August 18th was different. The crowd in Calgary at the ScotiaBank Saddledome was there for it, too. So here are my thoughts:

  • The first surprise was that it started with…wait for it…a match! Come to think of it, the show I went to in Montreal just before Elimination Chamber did too. Instead of an in-ring promo, we got Charlotte Flair versus Auska. It was a solid opening match until it wasn’t. I love that Iyo Sky is the new Undisputed WWE Women’s Universal Champion, but her and Bailey interfering in and effectively cancelling this match by causing a Double DQ seemed like a desperate attempt to get people to accept that Iyo is still a heel that should be booed.
  • AJ Styles defeated Karion Kross. Good, but short, match, with a proper ending. Despite the talents involved, I can’t help but seeing this as filler.
  • Edge’s surprise in-ring promo was not filler in the slightest. I love how he soaked in the love from the crowd, but at the same time made it clear they couldn’t boo Toronto while cheering him. His challenge to and reminiscing with Seamus was funny, heartfelt, and felt real, because I’m sure it was. I also think this might be setting up a Seamus heel turn and one final feud with Edge before he retired. I’m looking forward to next week.
Seamus and Edge shake hands and during Smackdown on August 11, 2023 and agree to a match the following week (Photo WWE)
  • I’m glad LA Knight won the Slim Jim Battle Royal at Summer Slam, had a great confrontation with The Miz on RAW, a show he’s not even officially on (screw the brand split), and wasn’t excluded from the show he is. It’s also nice he’s having a match and winning, instead of just talking…though, of course he did that, too…YEAH! I think his push needs a proper Smackdown rivalry. Hit Row doesn’t count. They’re hated, so at least it’s clear management sees LA as a babyface now, but they’re basically glorified enhancement talent at this point. He’s squashed both members, time for the megastar to move on.
Rey Mysterio defeats Austin Theory and becomes United States Champion on WWE Smackdown on August 11, 2023 (photo WWE)
  • And then the big surprise: Not only was there a US Title change, the first major men’s title change on Smackdown since I started watching the current project again, but the new champ wasn’t even supposed to be in the match! When I found out the title match wouldn’t be on Summer Slam, I thought it meant that Austin Theory would most likely retain. When Theory attacked Santos Escobar backstage, I was sure that would be how they justified him retaining. Rey Mysterio was injured for real two weeks prior, so no way he’s going to go from day-to-day recovery to winning a championship. I’m so happy I was wrong. I missed Rey’s previous title runs (I had stopped watching wrestling for a while after the initial brand split in 2002), so I’m glad I get to see the Hall of Fame-er carry a strap. I think this may lead to an LWO break-up and Escobar heel turn, but for now all is good!
  • So what could top a totally unexpected major mid-card title change and main event this episode of Smackdown? A Bloodline segment, of course. But not just any Bloodline segment, a holy shit, WTF, I did not see that coming Bloodline segment. We all knew we were going to get the confrontation between twin brothers Jimmy and Jey Uso, and wondered why Jimmy did what he did at Summer Slam, and whether or not he had rejoined Roman Reigns. We got it, he didn’t, and then Jey cleared the ring, delivered a superkick on his unexpecting brother, and then quit by saying “I’m out of the Bloodline, I’m out of Smackdown, I’m out of the WWE!”, but only to the camera mic. He still got massive cheers, and the people in attendance in Calgary probably left the arena, opened their phones and said “Wait, he said what?” It also prompted the much expected images like this:
Obviously not legit, but expected (and funny) nonetheless

Now, obviously this is storyline. One of the most over babyfaces in the company doesn’t just quit after main-eventing Summer Slam and cleaning house to massive cheers. Maybe they want to give Jey some time off and prolong the brother versus brother match to WrestleMania, and keep it fresh, building Jimmy in the process.

If they want to make people believe Jey really quit, shifting him to the alumni section on the WWE website isn’t enough. They should have him do some dates at affiliated or friendly indie shows before bringing him back at, I’m guessing the Royal Rumble (if they really want to wait that long.

However it turns out, this capped off one of the most eventful Smackdown episodes in a while. The WWE got back in the saddle (pun intended) with this one.

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