WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Live Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Sept. 22

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The September 22 episode of SmackDown featured a dream match with championship implications as Iyo Sky defended her WWE Women’s title against Asuka.

The contest headlined a Fox broadcast that also featured the latest appearance from John Cena and a tag team battle pitting the LWO’s Santos Escobar and United States champion Rey Mysterio against The Street Profits.

Who emerged victoriously and what else went down as the company continued the build to Fastlane on October 7?

Find out with this recap of Friday’s show.

Announced in advance for Friday’s show are:

  • John Cena appearance
  • WWE Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Iyo Sky
  • Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar vs. The Street Profits


John Cena and AJ Styles Kick Off SmackDown


Credit: WWE.com

John Cena kicked off the night’s show with the energy only he can bring. It is that energy that elevates the quality of everything he is involved in, including this opening segment, which was little more than a tease for the rest of the show.

The WWE special, if you will.

Cena was energetic and his enthusiasm to get back in the ring as an active competitor popped the crowd. It was that electricity that helped elevate what was rather uninspired creative that did not necessarily create a ton of excitement for the rest of the broadcast.



Top Moments and Takeaways

  • Cena hits the ring with so much enthusiasm that it’s infectious. We are lucky we have a living legend who cares when he comes back and still engages with the product the way that he does.
  • Cena thanked fans for the opportunities he has had to be a talk show host and a referee but he wants to be a wrestler and calls out The Bloodline. AJ Styles joined him in the ring and teased a partnership before Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa interrupted.

Santos Escobar and Rey Mysterio vs. The Street Profits

Credit: WWE.com

A week after leaving the LWO lying, The Street Profits looked to make it 2-0 against the red-hot faction as they battled United States Champion Rey Mysterio and his protege, Santos Escobar.

They would not be able to maintain that momentum, though, as they fell in defeat at the hands of the veteran luchador and his tag team partner.

It was a good match, as should be expected based on the talent involved, and the finish was certainly a surprise. Whether it is the first chapter in a rivalry between the LWO and the trio of Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, and Bobby Lashley remains to be seen, but one would hope that is the case.

Otherwise, this was an interesting time to have the Profits drop a match, even with a backstage vignette moments later confirming that Lashley berating his proteges is part of the story, mostly because it is so early in the run.


Mysterio and Escobar defeated The Street Profits



Top Moments and Takeaways

  • Ford and Dawkins need new music. If they are intended to be the heels, their traditional theme skews babyface. They need something edgier that reflects their new-found aggression.
  • The babyfaces going over was certainly a choice. The saving grace could, potentially, be Lashley using the loss as a teachable moment for Ford and Dawkins. Otherwise, it was an unnecessary defeat for a team that should be building momentum at this point, not having it interrupted. (Update: Lashley berated the team afterward, threatening to take everything away from them if they are not going to win.)
  • Austin Theory responded to a recap of The Rock’s return on last week’s show by tearing up the announce table and threatening Michael Cole. A backstage vignette with Adam Pearce, Grayson Waller, and The Brawling Brutes led to the finalization of a match later on in the show.

WWE Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Iyo Sky

Credit: WWE.com

There was a considerable amount of excitement and anticipation ahead of the WWE Women’s Championship Match between Iyo Sky and Asuka.

The action itself did not disappoint.

Champion and challenger wrestled a damn good match with the sort of in-ring action that you do not see from other competitors on the roster. There was a smoothness to it, an effortlessness to the maneuvers even. it was superbly wrestled by two competitors as good as anyone else in the division.

The booking left a bit to be desired, with Charlotte Flair factoring into the outcome as she laid out Sky’s Damage CTRL teammate, Bayley, at ringside and set up the tired distraction finish.

This likely keeps Flair in the title picture and recreates the same tension The Queen had with Bianca Belair over the summer, essentially keeping things at status quo.

Speaking of which, where was Shotzi?

She was around last week but suddenly decided that a big title match on SmackDown, in which Bayley would absolutely try to get involved, was the time to sit back and let Damage CTRL engage in shenanigans.

It makes little sense, something we should be begging for from WWE Creative when it comes to this women’s division, which has been all over the place for the better part of the last year.


Sky defeated Asuka to retain



Top Moments and Takeaways

  • Is WWE contractually obligated to have Flair around the women’s title at any and all times?
  • The Queen interrupted the opening seconds of the championship bout, making her presence felt and seemingly countering Damage CTRL’s Bayley and Dakota Kai at ringside.
  • Asuka and Sky’s strikes were unlike anything this division has seen. There is a different physicality and urgency to each one. There was also a smoothness to their counters, reversals, and transitions that just hit differently.
  • The match deserved a better finish.

Brawling Brutes vs. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory

Credit: WWE.com

The result of a backstage confrontation, Austin Theory and Grayson Waller battled The Brawling Brutes’ Butch and Ridge Holland in tag team action, upsetting the more experienced tandem to secure a big win.

The heels overcame the toughness and tenacity of the babyfaces, with Waller smashing Butch into the ring post and delivering a rolling stunner to Holland. Theory took advantage, delivering A-Town Down for the pinfall victory.

A good, competitive match, it highlighted the heels and provided a hint of things to come for them and the tag team division as Michael Cole not-so-subtly suggested Theory and Waller could be in line for a shot at the winner of the tag title match between Judgment Day and the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Raw.

If there are no better plans for Waller and Theory at the moment, they have proven to have solid chemistry to this point, and there are far worse uses for them than as tag team title contenders.


Waller and Theory defeated Butch and Holland



Top Moments and Takeaways

  • Kudos to Cole and Corey Graves for putting over Butch’s recent match with Tyler Bate as part of the Global Heritage Invitational and recommended fans check out his tournament final against Joe Coffey.

Contract Signing

Credit: WWE.com

Who will team with John Cena to battle Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa at Fastlane?

It is the question posed by the closing segment of Friday’s SmackDown, thanks to a backstage attack of AJ Styles by Sikoa that left The Phenomenal One in need of medical attention.

Back in the arena, the heels laid out an overzealous Cena, leaving him in a heap before signing a contract for the match at the aforementioned premium live event.

This was a great improvement over the earlier segment, which felt mostly unnecessary and served no real purpose in hindsight other than to set up a main event contract signing that could have been accomplished literally any other way.

The mystery of who will team with Cena is a nice touch that will create buzz and intrigue surrounding a PLE that feels very much like an afterthought. Who might that person be?

It very well could be someone whose name everyone is sayin: LA Knight!

If so, there are few more effective ways to solidify The Megastar as just that than by having him main event a show with Cena as his partner.



Top Moments and Takeaways

  • Sikoa making good on his promise to take one of the babyfaces out (Styles) and seemingly call off the tag team match at Fastlane was a nice touch and created intrigue as to what would come next.
  • The heat for Heyman rivaled that of Dominik Mysterio.
  • The idea of Uso’s hubris getting the best of him, and putting The Bloodline in tough predicaments by ruining the order of things, is an interesting development in this story.

Overall Grade

This show was going to go where two specific segments took it: the showdown between Asuka and Sky and whatever Cena was involved in.

The title bout between The Empress of Tomorrow and The Genius of the Sky was fantastic and really highlighted how great those two are.

The stuff with Cena started dicy but ended spectacularly, with the opportunity to make a genuine star out of LA Knight, if that is the direction the company takes in the absence of AJ Styles.

A good show with some much-needed focus and a damn good title match to boot.

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