By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,192)
Live from Austin, Texas at Moody Center
Aired June 24, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of Roman Reigns beating Riddle to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in last week’s main event followed by the return of Brock Lesnar…
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in on commentary and hyped Reigns vs. Lesnar in a Last Man Standing match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship as the SummerSlam main event. Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
Drew McIntyre made his entrance and welcomed viewers to the show. He said that no matter how many wins he gets, Reigns keeps ducking him. He said he would have to take matters into his own hand by winning Money in the Bank.
McIntyre acknowledged Brock Lesnar getting a title shot at SummerSlam. McIntyre said that’s okay and Lesnar does things his way, whereas he does things the hard way. McIntyre was interrupted by entrance music.
Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch made their entrance. Sheamus spoke as they walked to the ring and said it SummerSlam would be the perfect time to cash in the MITB contract once Reigns and Lesnar are finished beating the hell out of each other. Sheamus and his crew entered the ring. Sheamus said McIntyre’s experience with MITB is having someone win it and cash in on him.
Paul Heyman interrupted with a “ladies and gentlemen” line from backstage. Heyman and birthday boy Adam Pearce walked onto the stage together. Heyman said Reigns would retain his championship at SummerSlam, but he said they have a problem.
Heyman said Reigns would be left vulnerable to a cash-in by someone such as McIntyre or Sheamus. He said it’s not a knock on Reigns. He said Lesnar would also be vulnerable, and then he quickly said he wasn’t saying Lesnar would win. Heyman said he was there to make sure that didn’t happen.
Pearce recalled his previous ruling that McIntyre and Sheamus would both be in the MITB ladder match despite competing to a double disqualification in a qualifying match. Pearce said that after some influence by Heyman, WWE management chose to overrule his decision. Pearce said McIntyre and Sheamus would not be part of the MITB ladder match.
Pearce said there was a path forward for both of them to qualify. He said they would need to put their issues aside and defeat the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy and Jey Uso later in the night. The Usos made their entrance and joined Heyman on the stage. Cole hyped an MITB qualifier for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Stephanie McMahon made her first good decision as the interim CEO! Okay, not really, but it was a ridiculous storyline decision that McIntyre and Sheamus both qualified for the MITB match despite fighting to a double DQ. I’m fine with this new approach and the segment was fine aside from McIntyre claiming that Reigns is ducking him when it’s already been announced that McIntyre has a title match at the Cardiff Stadium show over Labor Day weekend.
Cole announced that the Usos would not be defending the tag titles nor attempting to qualify for the MITB ladder match when they face McIntyre and Sheamus…
Shinsuke Nakamura was already in the ring. Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Sami Zayn, who said it would be a great night for The Bloodline. Zayn said “we” will always do what’s right for Reigns. Zayn dedicated his match to Reigns. He said he would win the MITB match. Braxton asked if he would cash in on Reigns or Lesnar. Zayn said he was doing this to protect Reigns. Zayn’s music played and he made his entrance…
1. Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura in a Money in the Bank ladder match qualifier. Cole expressed skepticism regarding Zayn’s claim that he wouldn’t attempt to cash in the MITB contract if he wins it. Zayn performed an exploder suplex that sent Nakamura crashing into the ringside barricade. Zayn hoped to win via count-out, but Nakamura beat the referee’s count. A short time later, Zayn caught Nakamura seated on the top rope and dumped him to ringside. [C]
Zayn put Nakamura down with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Zayn went up top and was cut off by Nakamura, who eventually crotched him. Nakamura went for a Kinshasa that Zayn avoided. Zayn rolled up Nakamura, but the referee Jason Ayers, who was mentioned by name by Cole and McAfee, caught him using the ropes for leverage.
A short time later, Nakamura went for his finisher, but Zayn rolled to ringside. Nakamura followed and blasted him with a flying knee to the head. Nakamura threw Zayn back in the ring. When Nakamura followed, Zayn blasted him with a Helluva Kick in the corner and pinned him…
Sami Zayn defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 9:55 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Powell’s POV: A good match and the usual opportunistic fun from Zayn. He wouldn’t be the sexy pick to win the MITB contract, but there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had with him and The Bloodline if they choose to go in that direction.
Cole and McAfee listed Seth Rollins, Omos, and Sami Zayn as the three entrants. A graphic showed four open slots. Cole reminded viewers that McIntyre and Sheamus could fill two spots if they beat the Usos later in the show…
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance. Cole said they would face Jinder Mahal and Shanky in a rematch from last week… [C]