WWE Smackdown Off-Air Happenings (7/23): On-site report details post-Smackdown matches including Drew McIntyre vs. Gunther, Drew’s off-air speech, crowd reactions, more


JULY 21, 2023

(This written report is derived from Ashley’s appearance on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show, which is live streamed after Smackdown, Collision, Dynamite, and Raw every week and available for download later each night. Search “Wade Keller” to subscribe to the red-logo post-show podcasts and also the blue logo regular podcasts. Listen to the full Wade Keller Post-show HERE including the conversation this report is based on with our on-site correspondent.)

-First of all, it was a great show. There were one or two slow moments, but the way they paced it from the opening match to the Bloodline segment, they laid it out well. They did a Dance Cam and Sign of the Night during commercial breaks.

-The arena was fill all the way around except for a few scattered seats, even behind the hard cam where it’s usually blocked off. They’re booking right now.

-Seeing L.A. Knight, Roman, and Dominik were my reasons for going.

-Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and L.A. Knight received the top three reactions of the night.

-I was legitimately shocked L.A. Knight didn’t win the Fatal Four-way. Everyone seemed to be.

-Jey Uso really is Main Event Jey and can be his own man. That was clear.

-There were kids who loved Roman Reigns. One kid near me was losing his voice cheering for him. Then after 10-15 seconds, it seems everyone falls into place and starts booing him after reacting to him because he’s a big star.

-Charlotte’s reaction was similar to Roman where fans react because a star is there. Then after her entrance and when she took off her robe, the buzz died down. There were some chants for Charlotte and she has her fans, but the fans are ready to get behind Iyo Sky.

-Speaking of reactions, Michael Cole actually got some love from the fans when they introduced him before Smackdown went live. In the past when he’d come out, he’d get legit boos like he just kicked a kitten. He is great, especially lately, on commentary. I was bummed when Pat McAfee left and worried Cole would revert to his former self, but I love him and Wade Barrett too.

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-They advertised A.J. Styles vs. Greyson Waller and Drew McIntyre vs. Gunther. In those matches, Styles pinned Waller and McIntyre pinned Gunther after a Claymore.

-Drew gave a speech to the fans after the match thanking the fans. He said he wasn’t supposed to be there and had been in Budapest for eight day, but he got a text at 2 a.m. and was told they need him in Orlando on Friday for a non-televised match for the Orlando crowd. Fans cheered. He said some wrestlers would have said no and call someone else, “but that ain’t me.” He said their enthusiasm and cheers for him is never lost on him. He told them their energy is what brought him there tonight. He then said he’s going to beat Gunther again for his title at Summerslam.

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-The merchandise stand was impressive and way better selection than at the last AEW event I went to.

-A side note: For the NXT event in Orlando earlier this week, fans were camped out to get in to the NXT event after sending out an email blast. They were completely sold out. Fans were camped out in the parking lot starting at 9 a.m. that morning because the Judgment Day were there. There were kids crying, one because she couldn’t see Rhea Ripley and other boy was mad at his dad because he so badly wanted to boo Dominik. That carried over to Smackdown. Kids hate him. Everyone hates him. It’s so fun to hate him and no one around him even seemed to be “that person” who cheered him. The way he has that you-know-what-eating grin when he wins is just so icing on top. Ripley’s mannerisms are just so perfect, too.

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If you attend a live WWE, AEW, or any other pro wrestling event, you are encouraged to send a match report and live notes to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. You can also volunteer to be an on-site correspondent on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show within an hour after Raw, Dynamite, Smackdown, and Collision when you attend in person. Send a note if you are interested to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com.