It wasn’t a perfect episode, but there were far more bests than worsts. Here’s a look at some of the ups and downs of the episode this week:
#3. Best: Hit Row’s big heel turn
Hit Row finally turned heel after Ricochet defeated Top Dolla. It was a much-needed move since fans haven’t been big on Hit Row since their return to WWE last year.
They have been considered among the most underwhelming superstars since returning in 2022, but this move gives fans genuine reason to hate Hit Row. They can get all the heat out, which will hopefully be the start of a great run on SmackDown.
#2. Worst: A disappointing debut for Scarlett
Scarlett made her in-ring debut on SmackDown this week as she teamed up with her partner Karrion Kross to face the duo of Emma and Madcap Moss. It was a bit of a disappointing match that Kross won for his team after forcing Moss to submit in the Kross Jacket.
What was hilarious was that the announcer only mentioned Kross as the winner while omitting Scarlett’s name. All in all, a disappointing debut match.
#2. Best: The entire dynamic with Sami Zayn and The Bloodline on SmackDown
Sami Zayn felt like the main character on SmackDown this week. The show started with him getting berated by Roman Reigns as The Tribal Chief teased betraying him.
However, in what is a first since the summer of 2020, Roman Reigns genuinely apologized to Sami Zayn – indicating what his value truly is.
However, the real test is next week when Zayn faces Kevin Owens – who was confirmed to be Reigns’ Royal Rumble opponent.
If Sami Zayn loses, we will likely see the betrayal happen sooner rather than later.
#1. Worst: A disappointing match for Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair has seemingly replaced Ronda Rousey on SmackDown as she dethroned her last week. This week, she faced the formidable Sonya Deville in a disappointing match.
The entire bout felt awkward, and it was surprising, given the caliber of the two women. But perhaps it’s a sign that not all good wrestlers share good chemistry.
#1. Best: An epic main event
The first episode of SmackDown of 2023 was a great one. It was the perfect way to start the year. Assuming Triple H stays in control of WWE creative, SmackDown will be the show to watch in 2023.
The main event this week didn’t disappoint. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus faced The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Team Championship. This felt like it was the closest that The Usos had gotten to losing the titles, with several incredible false finishes.
Unfortunately, it’s clear that The Usos aren’t losing the titles until WrestleMania 39 this year. However, it was still a banger of a main event that the challengers should be proud of.