This week’s WWE SmackDown is set to emanate live from the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. Superstars advertised to appear include the Usos, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Gunther, and the newly crowned WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez. Rodriguez and Morgan are set to make their first title defense since winning the belts on last week’s Monday Night Raw. Other matches include Gunther vs. Xavier Woods and Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. The Viking Raiders. With the brand split draft looming on the horizon and superstars looking to raise their draft pick stock, tonight’s SmackDown will serve as an opportunity for the blue brand’s talent to showcase their skills. Who knows, this card may be the first and last time we see some of tonight’s matches take place. Let’s dive right in to what’s in store for this week’s WWE SmackDown.
WWE SmackDown Card – 4/20/23
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match – Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green
Last week’s Raw sent shockwaves through the wrestling world when Trish Stratus turned on Becky Lynch following the two unsuccessfully defending Lynch and Lita‘s tag team championships. While the repercussions of that heel turn have yet to be felt, Stratus’ actions happened after the match, not during. Morgan and Rodriguez won the titles fair and square with no interference or foul play as Morgan pinned Stratus to the mat. Now, the story will likely come out that Stratus was the one behind the backstage attack on Lita that left her unable to compete in her and Lynch’s scheduled defense against the challengers. Stratus may have also thrown the match, knowing the whole time her plan was for Lynch and Lita to lose the titles. But no matter how Stratus played into the outcome, it doesn’t change the result. Morgan and Rodriguez are the new champions, marking Rodriguez’ second reign with the titles and Morgan’s first. Last week on WWE SmackDown, the two champs were interrupted in the midst of their title celebration by none other than former authority figure Sonya Deville and her new gal pal, the recently promoted Chelsea Green. Deville and Green wasted no time staking their claim to the gold and as the fighting champions Morgan and Rodriguez hope to be, they were quick to offer a title match to the challengers. This match will mark the first defense for Morgan and Rodriguez and will be the first time since December of last year, that the belts are being defended on the blue brand.
Intercontinental Championship Match – Gunther vs Xavier Woods
Our cup runneth over, because this week on WWE SmackDown, we don’t just have one title match but two as Xavier Woods will look to accomplish what no other man has on the WWE roster by pinning Gunther and taking away the Intercontinental Championship. Just a few months shy of reaching the one-year mark as champion, Gunther has successfully defended his title nine times, seven of which have come on SmackDown. A fighting champion for the blue brand, Gunther’s IC title defenses have been a bright spot for SmackDown and have featured high quality bouts as Gunther has taken on opponents including Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, Shinsuke Nakamura, and others. Tonight, he’ll face Xavier Woods in singles action for the first-time ever. Since becoming a mainstay on the blue brand last summer, Gunther has only lost a handful of televised matches, all of which have come in tag team action alongside Imperium. Gunther has never been pinned or submitted in his 365-plus days on the roster. That likely won’t change on Friday. Sorry, Zavier Woods, Friday is not your day.
WWE SmackDown Grudge Match – Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. The Viking Raiders
Last week on WWE SmackDown, the Viking Raiders issued a brutal beatdown to Braun Strowman and Ricochet, keeping alive the recent feud between the two tag teams. Both are looking to rise into the tag title picture and it sure seems they will enjoy beating the other to do so. Really not much more to this than that. These two teams don’t like each other and on Friday, they’ll be sure to leave nothing in the ring but violence and carnage.
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