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WWE Smackdown Review 15/3/24

The Rock is here again and that alone makes this feel important. With just over three weeks before Wrestlemania, the show is really starting to come together and there is a good chance that we’ll get a few more adjustments this week. That might include a battle of the Usos being set so let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes agreeing to face the Bloodline at Wrestlemania with quite the set of stipulations. Rhodes slapped Rock to end the show, making things a lot more serious.

Here is the Rock to get things going. After a long introduction, Rock says he usually torches every city he’s in, but this week is different. He started his career right here in Memphis on Channel 5 (big pop for that) and then at the Big Top Flea Market. Rock was Flex Kavana back then (he doesn’t get it either but he went with it) and now he is back home. Since this is the home of the blues and country, we’re going to have a little song tonight.

With some musical accompaniment, Rock sits down for a song about what he’s going to be doing to Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes. Rock threatens to beat them both, maybe even with his fanny pack, but he might even go after Mama Rhodes. That leads him into a musical story about how Cody was conceived (complete with a Stardust picture) due to cheap condoms.

As for Rollins, yeah he’s weird but he’s not even as popular as his wife. We get a shot at Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant before mocking the Cody Crybabies. The song ends and the fans cheer for Rock, who just mocked all of them because evil Rock is too good to overcome.

Rock talks about the slap from Cody and brings up Cody crying about being able to hand the title to his mother. That brings Rock to Mama Rhodes, with Rock promising to make Cody pay both nights at Wrestlemania.

The only belt Cody is going to get is a weightlifting belt that Rock pulls out, which he is going to use to beat Cody bloody. Then after Roman Reigns beats Cody, rock is going to hand it over to Mama Rhodes and say….what can I say except you’re welcome. If you smell what the final boss is cooking. This was pure Rock charisma and it’s no wonder that the fans were going nuts for him after every mean and horrible thing he said.

Match 1 Wrestlemania Tag Team Title Qualifying Quarterfinals: Legado del Fantasma vs. LWO

Angel chops del Toro up against the rope to start and hands it off to Berto, who misses a charge into the corner. Wilde comes in for a double basement superkick, setting up the double running flip dives as we…don’t take a break for a change. A double elbow and assisted springboard moonsault gets two on Berto and now we take the break.

Back with Berto elbowing del Toro for two and knocking him into the corner. A double middle rope gorilla press slam gets two on del Toro but he’s right back with a Spanish Fly for a breather. Wilde comes in to clean house but Angel throws him into a kick to the ribs from Berto for the pin at 9:10.

Official Result Legado Del Fantasma win

Rating: C+. This is one of the good ideas of a series of qualifying matches like this one as you can throw a bunch of established feuds out there with fresh stakes. The match wasn’t anything break but having people flying around all over the place is always a good way to go. It’s the kind of thing that has worked forever in wrestling and it worked well again here.

Here is LA Knight for a chat. After taking the mic from Kayla Braxton, Knight talks about how he’s been looking for AJ Styles, who thinks Knight needs to be humbled. Well he’s standing right here, so why not come out here and humble him? There’s no Styles, which doesn’t shock Knight at all.

Styles will go all the way to Australia but he can’t come to Memphis? Knight says if Styles can’t show up here, how about he shows up at Wrestlemania? We get the catchphrase and here is Styles to jump him with a chair and accept. This was checking off a box that was all set to go.

We look at Randy Orton attacking KSI and sending Logan Paul running last week.

Paul comes in to see Nick Aldis and wants to know what kind of punishment Orton is facing after last week. Aldis thinks Paul should request that apology in person, which Paul doesn’t like. How can he expect Aldis to do his job when he can’t even find Paul a Wrestlemania opponent? That’s a rookie mistake if I’ve ever heard of one.

Summerslam is coming to Cleveland.

A fired up Jimmy Uso accepts Jey Uso’s challenge for Wrestlemania.

Match 2 Randy Orton vs. Grayson Waller

Austin Theory is here with Waller. Orton spends so much time posing that Waller gets annoyed but here is Logan Paul to interrupt/join commentary. Waller jumps him to start but Orton hammers away in the corner, only to be dumped outside.

Orton takes over out there as well but stops to glare at Paul, allowing Waller to send him into the announcers’ table.

We take a break and come back with Orton fighting out of a cravate. Orton hits the powerslam and they go outside, where Waller is dropped onto the announcers’ table a few times.

Theory’s distract fails and it’s the hanging DDT but Waller bails before the RKO. Instead Orton drops Theory and now the RKO can finish Waller at 7:37.

Official Result Randy Orton wins

Rating: C. Not bad here as Orton was never going to be in any serious danger to Waller, even with Theory out there. We’re pretty clearly moving towards Paul vs. Orton, with Kevin Owens possibly involved as well, so keeping Orton looking strong over a goon is a good way to go. They didn’t have a great match or anything here, but they did what they needed to.

Post match the beatdown is on but Kevin Owens makes the save. Cue Nick Aldis to announce a triple threat match for the US Title, with Orton and Owens getting the title shots. Paul: “Oh no.”

We look at Bayley being thrown out of Damage CTRL on the way to her title shot at Wrestlemania.

Dakota Kai is ready to destroy Bayley before she can get to Iyo Sky at Wrestlemania. Damage CTRL runs the show.

Match 3 Santos Escobar vs. Dragon Lee

The rest of Legado del Fantasma is here with Escobar. Lee wastes no time in knocking him to the floor for a running flip dive. A running hurricanrana takes Berto off the apron but Lee walks into the Phantom Driver for the pin at 1:58. Remember when Lee was the next big thing earlier this year?

Official Result Santos Escobar wins

Post match the beatdown is on but Carlito makes the save. He’s taken out as well but Rey Mysterio makes the real save. Mysterio issues the challenge to Escobar for next week and promises to slap the smile off his face.

Match 4 Wrestlemania Tag Team Title Qualifying Quarterfinals: Pretty Deadly vs. New Catch Republic

Bate and Dunne take turns working on Wilson’s arm to start with Dunne shifting over to the fingers for some extra pain. Wilson manages to send Dunne outside though and Prince gets in a cheap shot to take over.

Back in and Dunne fights out of trouble without much effort, allowing the tag to Bate for the house cleaning. The very spinning airplane spin has Prince in trouble and we take a break.

We come back with Bate muscling Wilson up with a suplex, allowing the tag back to Dunne to pick up the pace. Prince has to escape an armbar and it’s back to Bate for stereo kicks to the head in the corner.

Wilson makes the save and everything breaks down, with the Republic being sent into the post. A middle rope bulldog/face plant combination gets two on Bate but Dunne is back up. The Birminghammer finish Prince at 13:11.

Official Result New Catch Republic win

Rating: C+. Good match here with Pretty Deadly getting in more offense than I would have expected. This sends the Republic on to a match with Legado del Fantasma for a spot in the six way at Wrestlemania, which is quite the complicated setup. I’m not even sure how many quality teams there are for such a match, but at least we’ll have one smaller team in there for some impressive looking insanity.

Here’s what’s coming on various shows.

Match 5 Bayley vs. Dakota Kai

The rest of Damage CTRL is here with Kai. Bayley wastes no time in starting the beating but stops to glare at Damage CTRL. That’s enough for Kai to get in a slap, which earns her a drive into the corner. The fans chant for NXT’s Trick Williams for some reason as Bayley sends her face first into the apron to take over. Kai is down on the floor and gets surrounded by Damage CTRL as we take a break.

Back with Asuka offering a distraction so Kai can get in a standing double stomp out of the corner. Bayley knocks her off the top though and there’s the top rope elbow for two.

Sane gets in another cheap shot though and it’s Kai kicking Bayley in the face. A powerbomb out of the corner plants Kai but Sky comes in with the belt for the staredown. Kai grabs Bayley’s leg and Sky decks Bayley for the DQ at 7:33.

Official Result Bayley wins via DQ

Rating: C. That’s a bit of a weird way to go as you would think that Bayley could use a win on the way to Wrestlemania. Kai is fresh back in the ring after her injury but it’s not like she is anywhere near Bayley’s level in the first place. Damage CTRL coming in is a fine way to go, but I’m a bit surprised by the lack of Bayley getting a pin.

Post match the beatdown is on so here is Naomi, who gets beaten down as well. The fans chant for Bianca Belair but have to settle for Sky hitting Over The Moonsault to end the show.

Overall thoughts

Well you can’t say they didn’t get a lot done. This show had the rather snazzy opening from the Rock plus three Wrestlemania matches being announced. That’s quite the use of two hours and as usual, it shows that things can go well even when the wrestling was just ok. Wrestlemania is shaping up and now we have a few more weeks to really set things up for Philadelphia.


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