Preview: WWE SmackDown Tonight (2/17/23) – Friday Night SmackDown Card

SmackDown card graphic with Imperium and Madcap Moss and Emma

It’s Friday again and that means it is time for another edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown. This week’s SmackDown comes to you live from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, aka the province that is home to two of WWE’s biggest stars, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. And yet, neither of them are on the card. In fact, going off of what has been advertised, this show feels more like filler than it does a true go-home show for a pay-per-view premium live event. But as such, Elimination Chamber is just one day away and it’s a stacked card so it certainly isn’t all that surprising that the roster for SmackDown appears a little light. In a rare show without any advertised presence from the Bloodline (come on now, we all know someone is showing up…), it will be up to the blue brand’s other stars to carry the night. So let’s take a look at what WWE has in store for tonight’s episode of SmackDown.

RIP Madcap Moss

Look, it’s not that Madcap Moss isn’t a great wrestler, because he is. Stupid name but loads of talent. But on Friday he’ll be attempting to pry the Intercontinental Championship away from Gunther and that is not a prospect one should bet money on the underdog. This is Gunther we’re talking about, a man who has been on an absolute tear since reuniting Imperium on the main roster. Gunther has been Intercontinental Champion for 252 days and counting and in that span has already defeated Ricochet, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Braun Strowman. Now, this isn’t to say Moss isn’t on the same level as those guys but…who are we kidding, Moss ISN’T on the same level as those guys. Even still, WWE has been pushing Moss and his partnership with Emma for some time, so he should at the very least, not get squashed in this first time meeting. At the end of WWE SmackDown tonight however, Moss will simply be the latest victim Gunther adds to his ledger of victories.

The MMA Horsewomen Return for SmackDown Tonight

Both Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler are cut from the same cloth and as such, represent 1/2 of what had been considered MMA’s 4 Horsewomen. Fans had been clamoring for WWE to reunite the foursome at a time when all four were under contract and all four of WWE’s Horsewomen were too. But that dream match never materialized and due to various factors, fans would have to wait until November 2022 to even see two of the Horsewomen share a ring on TV. After teaming for a few house shows last summer, WWE finally pulled the trigger on a Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler pairing when the two teamed up to defeat Emma and Tamina for Tribute to the Troops. The dangerous duo made their first main roster appearance together shortly after that event was taped, defeating Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi on SmackDown. It’s been a long time coming for the two friends, who would seem a lock to be the next Women’s Tag Team Champions. But that all depends on if Rousey still has singles gold on her mind, following her swift loss of the SmackDown Women’s Championship to Charlotte Flair. Either way, standing in their way on WWE SmackDown tonight is the duo of Shotzi and Natalya, who are both looking for revenge on Baszler and Rousey for the way they have been bullying the entire women’s locker room. Revenge is certainly a good motivator but Natalya better be careful, lest she end up right back on the injury list courtesy once again of Baszler.

There Will be Carnage on the SmackDown Card

Violence, chaos, destruction. Those are just a few things to expect when Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, and the Viking Raiders prepare to do battle once more. The growing hatred between these two teams has been evident and now, both sides are ready to destroy the other. The Viking Raiders took Sheamus and McIntyre out of the SmackDown tag title tournament a few weeks ago with an unprovoked attack. Since then, the two sides have been trading barbs in an attempt to showcase their dominance. It all comes to a head tonight as the Viking Raiders have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they will emerge victorious in the midst of an epic collision. And perhaps from there, the winner of this match will set their eyes on the prize that is the Usos’ tag team titles.

No One is Ready…

Asuka is on the verge of returning to the top of the women’s title picture and it couldn’t have come at a worst time for the rest of the locker room. Because the woman before them is not the Asuka of the past. Asuka has returned with her darker, more villainous persona and seems unstoppable. On Saturday, she’ll be inside the Elimination Chamber, a daunting prospect for any wrestler. But perhaps what her opponents will have to worry about more than the ominous structure is the dangerous woman who will be unleashed inside. Liv Morgan, will be the first to experience what might await this weekend as she is set to take on Asuka tonight following last week’s six-woman tag in which Asuka attacked everyone, even her own teammates. No one is ready for what Asuka might unleash and it seems Morgan will have to learn that the hard way on WWE SmackDown tonight.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on WWE SmackDown tonight and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.