Karrion Kross has inserted himself into the rivalry between Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre ahead of Clash at the Castle. Kross (formerly Killer Kross) and Scarlett (formerly Scarlett Bordeaux) made their returns to the promotion on Friday's episode of WWE SmackDown.
McIntyre earned the right to challenge Reigns after defeating Sheamus in a well-received "Irish Donnybrook" match on last week's episode of SmackDown. McIntyre was ready to take the fight to The Bloodline before an unprovoked attack by the Kross.
Elsewhere on SmackDown, Shayna Baszler was crowned No. 1 contender for Liv Morgan's SmackDown women's championship. The two will collide at Clash at the Castle. Plus, Shinsuke Nakamura earned himself a shot at Gunther's intercontinental championship next week after putting down Kaiser Ludwig.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett make killer return
Undisputed WWE universal champion Reigns, flanked by The Usos, closed out SmackDown by addressing his impending title defense at Clash at the Castle. McIntyre interrupted The Bloodline and offered to put a whooping on the entire collective.
Suddenly, the screen turned black-and-white. An unfamiliar theme song echoed through the arena as a mysterious woman stood at the entrance ramp. McIntyre, distracted by the woman, was unprepared for an attack from behind. Kross emerged and made short work of McIntyre before turning his attention to The Bloodline. SmackDown ended with a close-up of Kross' doomsday clock ticking in the ring.
Kross and Scarlett were among Triple H's most promising projects during their NXT run in 2020 and 2021. Kross became a two-time NXT champion before being called up to the main roster. Kross and Scarlett were split-up when Kross made his main roster debut in July 2021, losing his Raw debut to Jeff Hardy. Kross was also repackaged with a new, much-maligned wardrobe. The pair were then released by WWE in November 2021. Their return to WWE comes just two weeks after Vince McMahon retired as chairman and CEO amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. Triple H has since taken a greater lead on creative duties.
What a surprise to close out SmackDown. Your mileage will vary on Kross, but this writer has high expectations. Kross and Scarlett had one of the best presentations during their NXT run. In an industry full of physically talented athletes, a memorable presentation goes a long way. The duo's apocalyptic depiction and Kross' hard-hitting offense were a high point of NXT during their tenure. There was an expectation the duo could return under Triple H's creative leadership, but few predicted it would happen so soon. Fresh faces, particularly in the traditionally barren main event scene, are always welcome. More than anything, it will be exciting to see how Kross and Scarlett fair on the main roster with a creative direction truer to their NXT run. Grade: A
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- The Bloodline rolled into the arena after their successful title defenses at SummerSlam. Honorary Uce Zayn was repeatedly denied his request to speak to Reigns. Zayn accused The Usos of giving him the run-around. An incensed Jey Uso warned Zayn that it was time to pull his weight around.
- Ricochet def. Happy Corbin via pinfall after hitting the shooting star press with an assist from Pat McAfee for the distraction. McAfee, Ricochet and other WWE superstars mocked Corbin's loss to McAfee at SummerSlam, leading to the match.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Ludwig Kaiser via pinfall after nailing him with the Kinshasa. Nakamura will now challenge Gunther next week for the intercontinental championship.
- Liv Morgan received a mixed reaction after her controversial win over Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam. Morgan said she only tapped to Rousey because she believed the referee had counted three. Sonya Deville interrupted and promised to take the title off Morgan.
- Shayna Baszler def. Raquel Rodriguez, Natalya, Xia Li, Shotzi, Sonya Deville and Aliyah in a Gauntlet match to become No. 1 contender for the SmackDown women's championship. Rodriguez defeated four superstars before being pinned by Baszler. Morgan vs. Baszler will take place at Clash at the Castle.
- The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) def. Tommy Gibson and Jim Mulkey via pinfall in a short squash match. Kofi Kingston attacked the Raiders with a kendo stick post-match.
- Kofi Kingston def. Erik via pinfall courtesy of a schoolboy pin.