• John Cena makes a grand return to SmackDown and announces that he will be the host of Payback 2023.
  • Grayson Waller and Austin Theory defeat Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar in an impressive tag team match.
  • The Miz and LA Knight engage in a heated war of words, setting the stage for an exciting match at Payback 2023.

After a massive tribute to Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk last week on Friday Night SmackDown, this week’s episode featured the return of 16-time World Champion, John Cena. In addition to that, with WWE Payback 2023 just a day away, a lot of rivalries were intensified to keep fans excited about the premium live event.

John Cena’s return was initially set to be for only a couple of nights. However, WWE later confirmed that the franchise player would be a regular on the blue brand for a couple of months. This has seemingly confirmed that Cena would be engaged in a huge feud on SmackDown for a couple of months.

While Jimmy Uso’s return was advertised for last week as well, WWE pulled the segment off for Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk’s tribute. This week also featured the return of Jimmy who confronted Cena during his return. After a massive win for Rey Mysterio last week, Grayson Waller teamed up with former United States Champion Austin Theory to face Rey and Santos Escobar.

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This week’s episode of SmackDown was a decent way for WWE to get things ready for Payback 2023. Let’s take a look at what happened on the show!

8 The return of John Cena


This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown kicked off with John Cena making his grand return to WWE as the sold-out stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania, welcomed him with a massive pop. The legend kicked things off by thanking the WWE Universe for everything. Cena also announced that he would be the host for Payback 2023.

The legend was then interrupted by Jimmy Uso. Though Jimmy’s return was highly anticipated, the crowd greeted the former Bloodline star with ‘We Want Jey’ chants. Uso claimed that the WWE Universe wanted to see him rather than John Cena and called the latter corrupted.

Cena then stopped Jimmy and said that 'the wrong Uso quit' when the latter attempted a superkick. However, the kick was blocked and turned into an AA by Cena.

After a few moments, Jimmy Uso was confronted by AJ Styles backstage which then turned into a brawl. However, before Styles could get the upper hand, Solo Sikoa attacked The Phenomenal One. Though Solo and Jimmy had a face-to-face interaction, the latter was not interested in getting back with The Bloodline.

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7 Austin Theory and Grayson Waller defeated Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar


The tag team match kicked off with Mysterio and Escobar dominating over Theory and Waller. However, things turned around, and the young duo took over with some heavy-hitting action. Theory then attacked the already injured knee of Escobar, allowing Waller to deliver a stunner and pick the win.

This was an incredible tag team match, further showing that WWE seemingly has some big plans for Grayson Waller. The Dynamite from Down Under would clearly be one of the biggest stars in the future.

6 Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits announced their arrival


Former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley came out to address the question roaming around in more than a million minds, 'What's the status regarding the future of The Street Profits with The Almighty?' Lashley said that 'real recognized real' when the former tag team champions were brought out.

The Almighty then said The Street Profits were more aggressive than they ever were when the latter thanked him for his help. Lashley then announced that the trio was coming for championship gold.

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5 Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde of the Latino World Order


The match kicked off with some nerve-cracking action accompanied by some incredible athleticism by the LWO. However, the match was cut short by a Helluva Kick and a stunner from the tag team champions, sending a massive message to The Judgment Day hours before their Pittsburgh Steel City Street Fight at Payback 2023. If Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are able to retain their titles at Payback, a massive rivalry with The Street Profits might be on the cards in the future.

4 The Miz and LA Knight engage in a war of words


The Miz came out to send a final message to LA Knight before their battle at Payback 2023 when the latter came out. Knight addressed Miz imitating him on Monday Night Raw this week and said that The A-Lister wanted to be LA Knight, but he can’t.

Knight then claimed that The Miz will be broken after their battle at Payback and that then brought Maryse into the mix. The A-Lister, after a war of words, delivered a Skull-Crushing Finale to Knight, leaving the WWE Universe excited about a must-see match at Payback 2023. However, before Miz could go backstage, Knight attacked him on stage when officials came out to cool things down.

3 Shotzi defeated Bayley


Bayley kicked her match off with Shotzi by mocking the young star which turned out to be brutal for The Role Model. With a decent amount of action and storytelling, the rivalry between Bayley and Shotzi seemingly ended with their battle on Friday Night SmackDown.

Though the match turned out to be great, it wasn’t the perfect one when the rivalry between both women was kept in mind. An intensified wild-side of Shotzi would’ve been better for the battle against Bayley and the numbers' advantage for Damage CTRL.

However, WWE made the perfect move by bringing Charlotte Flair out to even the odds for Shotzi. A match between Flair and Iyo Sky can be expected in the next few weeks.

2 A video package for Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura


With Payback 2023 approaching, a video package, featuring the rivalry between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura, was shown on SmackDown. With their World Heavyweight Championship match set for Payback, the WWE Universe has been waiting on the edge of their seats to witness a banger match between both stars at the premium live event.

1 Solo Sikoa defeated AJ Styles


After the attack from Solo earlier, AJ Styles got a match against The Enforcer of The Bloodline to get revenge and send a message to Jimmy Uso as well. Styles kicked off the main event of the blue brand with some hard-hitting chops but was then taken down by the dominating force.

While Styles tried to fight back, Paul Heyman came out as a distraction, allowing Sikoa to take over. After some gruesome action, Styles went for the phenomenal forearm when Jimmy Uso attacked him. Sikoa then took advantage and delivered The Samoan Spike to get the win. Uso was seen celebrating with Sikoa when the latter went halfway to deliver The Samoan Spike to him. After a few moments, Jimmy attacked Styles to end the episode.