This week's review of SmackDown
Cody Rhodes is opening the show.
Cody says he has respect for Roman Reigns, he is the greatest champion in sports entertainment. Cody says he looks forward to seeing Roman in the ring on Raw, and he looks forward to beating Roman at WrestleMania. Cody says that he doesn’t want to talk about someone, he wants to talk to someone. Says he knows that person is here and is watching, he asks for Kevin Owens to come to the ring. Owens comes out and enters the ring. Big KO chants from the crowd. Cody tells Kevin that this isn’t a conversation for two people, and asks for Sami Zayn to come out. Zayn makes his way to the ring. Crowd singing along to Sami’s music and there are huge Sami chants. The three men stand in the ring.
Cody says that he has love and respect for Owens, because Owens helped Cody when he left WWE. He introduced him to friends and helped him to become better. Cody says it is time for Owens and Sami to talk. Owens says he has heard everything Sami has to say. Sami says he hasn’t heard everything Owens has to say. Sami knows that they have hated each other and they have become friends again, they have done awful things to each other but they have always managed to come back together. Sami wants to know why this time it’s different. Sami tells Owens to do what he needs to do, he can scream, shout, hit him, whatever. Owens ask Cody if he got what he wanted and if he can leave now. Cody tells Owens that they are in a people pleasing business, and this is what everyone wants to see. Everyone wants to see Owens and Sami back together and on the same page. “Hug it out” chant erupts from the crowd. Sami tells Owens they can do something magical, they can be the ones to take down “the ones”. Sami says they don’t need to do it as friends, they just need to work together. Owens says he has heard everything Sami has said, Owens asks why he would fight for someone who doesn’t want to be his friend. Owens thanks Cody for trying to settle this, but says he is all set and leaves the ring.
Rhea Ripley & Dominik walking through the arena, they are in action next.
Backstage Segment: Outside, we see Kevin Owens walking to his car. Sami runs up to him, tells Owens to forget everything he said in the ring, forget about the Bloodline, none of that matters. Sami tells Owens that they are friends, they will always be friends. Sami says they aren’t just friends, they are brothers. Sami tells Owens that he understands if Owens doesn’t want to speak to him again, but he loves him. Owens gets into his car and drives away.
Match 1: The Judgement Day (Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio) vs Legado Del Fantasma (Zelina Vega & Santos Escobar).
Dominik strikes first with a dropkick after a distraction from Rhea. Some back and forth between Santos and Dominik, then Rhea tags in. She attempts a boot to Santos, but he catches her foot. Santos brings Rhea to his corner and Zelina tags in. She climbs the turnbuckle, jumps over Santos and hits Rhea with a seated Senton followed by a hurricanrana. Rhea rolls out the ring. On the outside of the ring, Santos hits Dominik with a dive and Zelina hits Rhea with a moonsault.
We return from the break, and Dominik is on the offence over Santos. Santos Irish Whips Dominik into the corner, runs at Dominik but Dominik slips through the ropes & hits Santos with a kick. Dominik hits a dive into Santos over the rope and goes for the pin, only gets a 2 count. Dominik remains on the attack, attempts an Irish whip but Santos reverses and hits Dominik with a dropkick, followed by a backbreaker and a leg drop. Santos goes for the pin, but it is broken up by Rhea. Rhea picks up Dominik and uses him to splash onto Santos. Dominik goes for the pin, but this time it is broken up by Zelina. Dominik back on the attack, but he starts shouting at Zelina and becomes distracted, so Santos is able to Irish whip Dominik, both men run the ropes a couple of times and they collide in the middle of the ring. Both men are laid out on the floor. Both men manage to crawl to their respective corners and tag in Rhea and Zelina. A low dropkick from Zelina takes down Rhea followed by a big knee to Rhea’s head. Zelina hits Rhea with a huge Tornado DDT and rolls Rhea up for the pin but Dominik pulls Zelina off Rhea. Santos is back in the ring and hits Dominik with a running knee. Zelina attempts to throw Rhea out of the ring, but Rhea reverses and dumps Zelina out of the ring. Dominik on the top turnbuckle and Santos hits him with a kick, Santos climbs the ropes and sets Dominik up for a superplex. Rhea gets involved and powerbombs Santos who superplexes Dominik. Zelina gets back into the ring and hits Rhea with a diving cross body from the second rope, another knee to the face of Rhea. Zelina climbs to the second rope and hits Dominik with a hurricanrana. Rhea takes advantage of the distraction and hits Zelina with the Riptide and pins Zelina for the victory. Awesome match! So happy that Zelina was able to show her skills and she wasn’t just squashed. Very good chemistry between the teams. Grade B
After the match, Dominik gets a microphone. Dominik getting very loud boos from the crowd. He tells the crowd that Rey is nothing but a disrespectful, deadbeat of a father. He claims Rey was never there for him. We see Rey on the titontron making his way through the arena.
After the break, Rey is making his way to the ring. Dominik begins to tell Rhea about all the nights he went to bed without a father. Rey interrupts and asks Rhea if he can talk to his son alone. Rhea backs off into the corner. Dominik asks Rey where he was when Dominik needed him. He tells Rey he is do selfish because he took away Dominik’s WrestleMania moment because he is a scared, pathetic excuse of a father. Dominik is about to call Rey a piece of s***, but Rey interrupts. Rey agrees that he wasn’t the best father, that he missed birthdays, Christmases, graduations and football games. Rey says just because he wasn’t there all the time, that doesn’t take away his love for Dominik. Rey says he still loves Dominik, tells him that he is his world. Rey tells Dominik that he will soon find out that the wrestling business is selfish, and Rey sacrificed so much so that his his family could have a life that Rey never had. Rey tells Dominik that the Mysterio name always bailed him out. Rey says that he is having a hard time with this entire situation. Rey wants Dominik to stand by his side when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he knows it’s too late for that. Rey says his biggest regret is what Dominik has become. Rey says that if someone like Dominik called him out at WrestleMania, he would gladly kick their ass – huge crowd chant of “kick his ass” – but Rey says that fighting Dominik would be the biggest disgrace as a father. Rey tells Dominik he isn’t worth it, Rey says he isn’t going to fight Dominik now and he won’t fight him at WrestleMania either. Rey leaves the ring. Dominik says that Rey is doing what he does best, which is run away. Dominik calls Rey a scared little man.
Backstage: Drew McIntyre and Sheamus are getting ready for their match later.
Match 2: Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez Vs Emma & Tegan Nox
Raquel showing her power in the early match. Tegan with a big slap to Raquel. Raquel lifts Tegan up by her head and throws her into the corner and tags in Liv. Double team moves to Tegan followed by an enzuigiri from Liv. She goes for a pin, but Tegan kicks out. Tegan manages to get on the offence and Irish Whips Liv into the corner and tags in Emma. Double team moves to Liv and Emma goes for the pin, but Liv kicks out. Emma remains on the offence, hits Liv with a double underhook suplex and again goes for the pin but Liv kicks out. Emma drags Liv to her corner and tags in Tegan. Tegan now on the offence but Liv manages to reverse and hits Tegan with the backstabber. Liv rolls to her corner and tags in Raquel. Tegan tags in Emma. Raquel hugely on the offence, showing dominance. Goes for a pin, Tegan breaks it up. Now Liv is back in the ring and takes down Tegan with a Code Red, she runs at Emma but Emma launces Liv out of the ring. Emma with a boot to Raquel, attempts to hit Raquel with a move but Raquel is far too powerful and holds Emma up, backs herself up into Liv who tags herself in. Raquel hits Emma with the Texana Bomb and Liv follows that up with the Oblivion. Liv pins Emma for the 3! Liv and Raquel have now qualified for a Fatal 4-way Tag Team Match at WrestleMania. I’m not sure what these matches are for, as there is one for the men as well. Hopefully we will get 2 decent matches though. This match was Ok. A god showing from all 4 women. Grade C-
Replay of Charlotte/Rhea segment from last week’s SmackDown.
In Ring Segment: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte says she is heading into her 7th WrestleMania. She has either been the Champion or the Challenger, but she has always been the star. Charlotte says that Rhea wants to the star and wants to be champion, but Rhea can’t be a star until she is champion and she can’t be champion until she goes through Charlotte. Charlotte says that Rhea couldn’t go through her 3 years ago, and Rhea cannot go through her today. Rhea comes out with Dominik and gets into the ring. Rhea says that Charlotte is 100% right. Rhea chose Charlotte, she didn’t choose Bianca because she has her reasons and she will get back to that. Rhea says when she walks through the locker room, men and women turn their backs and walk away out of fear. Everyone except Charlotte. Rhea says that Charlotte doesn’t have an ounce of fear in her eyes and that loads Rhea off. She says Charlotte is a Champion for a reason, that she is a 14 time Champion for a reason and that’s because Charlotte is a superstar and Rhea gives Charlotte all the credit for that. Rhea says she wants the SmackDown Women’s Championship, she needs it because she wants and needs to be a star. Rhea tells Charlotte that at WrestleMania, Charlotte will learn to call Rhea a Champion and Charlotte will learn to fear Rhea. Dominik gets in Charlotte’s face, telling her that Rhea is going to beat her at WrestleMania – Rhea hits Charlotte with a cheap shot. Rhea tells Charlotte she will see her at WrestleMania. Rhea and Dominik leave the ring. Charlotte takes off her title belt, rolls out of the ring and runs towards Rhea and hits a clothesline taking down Rhea. A brawl breaks out between Charlotte and Rhea. Refs and security come out to try and separate the women. Charlotte hits security guards and goes for a big boot to Rhea, but hits another security guard instead. Rhea throws Charlotte over the announcers table, Rhea is getting held back by security and Charlotte dives from the announcers table onto Rhea and the security. The brawl continues, security and refs keep trying to separate the women, bit they keep fighting. Eventually, the two of them are separated, Charlotte stands tall in the ring with her title while Rhea is being held back by refs and security.
Backstage Interview: Sami Zayn
Sami says that someone he considers a brother has driven off and left him, someone else he considered a brother is going to be in the ring tonight wanting to take him out. Sami thinks that he might be the problem, so if he has to deal with the Bloodline by himself, then that’s what he will do.
Match 3: Xavier Woods Vs LA Knight
Woods has the upperhand to start the match. Knight manages to get some separation by running Woods into the middles turnbuckle. Knight now on offence. Attempts a pin from a DDT and gets a 2. Knight lifts Woods up and sits him on the top turnbuckle, throws a couple of punches and he climbs to the top rope. Woods hits back with punches of his own and hits a headbutt on Knight, dropping Knight back down into the ring. Woods hits a missile dropkick and both men are down. Both men make get back to their feet, Woods gets on the offence, hits Knight with a delayed forward Suplex, goes for the pin but only gets a 2. Woods lifts Knight onto his shoulders, but Knight manages to escape and pushes Woods into the top turnbuckle followed by a neckbreaker. Knight drops Woods face first onto the canvas and gets a 2 count. Knight lifts Woods up for a suplex, but Woods reverses with Back Woods and gets a 3! A very short match, but when it comes about because of a video game, we can’t expect a 30 minute classic. I’m happy that Woods hasn’t been forgotten about with Big E and Kofi out injured. Grade C
Video Package of the 2nd Hall of Fame Inductee – The Great Muta.
Backstage: LA Knight walking through htge arena, Kayla Braxton attempts to interview him but he walks over to Rey Mysterio who is sat at a table signing autographs. Knight tells Rey, that he will fight Dominik at WrestleMania, to give him a WrestleMania moment. He says he could call himself LA Mysterio and be a deadbeat dad too. Knight attempts to high 5 Rey, but instead Rey slaps Knight across the face.
Match 4: Drew McIntyre Vs Sheamus – The Winner will go on to face Gunther at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Championship.
Imperium are at ringside to watch the match. Drew offers out his hand as a show of respect, but there is no handshake. Both men lock up and try to get the advantage, Sheamus manages to get Drew into a headlock, Drew Irish Whips Sheamus into the ropes and Sheamus takes Drew down with a shoulder block. Sheamus runs the ropes and Drew takes down Sheamus with a knee to the stomach. A chop and snap suplex to Sheamus, Drew goes for the pin but Sheamus kicks out immediately. Drew gets Sheamus in a submission but Sheamus clubs his way out of it, and Irish whip to the ropes and Drew goes for the hip toss, but Sheamus counters and knocks down Drew with a clothesline. Sheamus goes for a pin, but Drew kicks out. Gunther now on commentary – says he will do his duty and beat whichever man wins. Sheamus Irish Whips Drew into the corner, Drew hits Sheamus with an elbow creating space between the men. We get some more back and forth with both men again trying to get the upperhand. Drew hits Sheamus with a michinoku driver and goes for the pin, Sheamus kicks out at 1. A chop from Drew followed by a right hand from Sheamus. Both men now just hitting each other. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse Backbreaker, goes for the pin and gets a 2. Sheamus attempts the 10 Beats of the Bodhrán, but Drew blocks. Drew goes for his own version of 10 Beats of the Bodhrán but Sheamus blocks it and hits Drew with a headbutt. Sheamus drags Drew back into the ring and lifts Drew into his shoulders. Drew manages to battle out and pushes Sheamus into the corner, Drew runs at Sheamus but is met with boots to the face! Sheamus pulls himself up onto the top turnbuckle, Drew intercepted and hits Sheamus, knocking him into a sitting position. Drew hits Sheamus with a superplex and both men are down.
We return from the break and Sheamus slams Drew and goes for the pin but only gets a 2. Sheamus hits the 10 Beats of the Bodhrán, Sheamus setting up for the Brogue Kick, Drew ducks and hits a neckbreaker. Drew kips up and calls for a Claymore but Drew is hit with a knee to the face from Sheamus. Pin attempted, but Drew kicks out. Both men laid on the floor – a “this is awesome” chant erupts from the crowd. Both men now on their knees exchanging blows. They get to their feet and continue exchanging blows. Drew hits a headbutt and Sheamus hits a boot. The men are in opposite corners, run at each other and Drew hits a Claymore while Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick. Both men are down! The ref begins to count. The ref gets to the count of 8 and Gunther gets on the ring apron, begins shouting at the ref. Gunther clearly doesn’t want the match to end in a double count out. Gunther gets into the ring and continues talking to the ref, he then turns his attention to Drew and Sheamus. Shouting at them, shouting “who wants it more”. Drew and Sheamus gradually get to their feet and both men stare at Gunther. Imperium enter the ring and attach Sheamus and Drew from behind, causing the DQ. The attack continues, but Drew and Sheamus manage to throw Kaiser and Vinci out of the ring. Gunther takes down Drew with a dropkick and then takes down Sheamus with a clothesline. Gunther drags Drew out of the corner, and he powerbombs Sheamus on top of Drew! Absolutely amazing match from Drew and Sheamus. Very hard hitting and overall a great match. Grade B+
After the beatdown, Gunther and Imperium are walking up the entrance ramp and Adam Pearce appears on the titontron. Pearce announces that he has no choice but to make the Intercontinental Championship Match at WrestleMania a Triple Threat Match. So it will be Sheamus Vs Drew McIntyre Vs Gunther.
Backstage: Jey Uso is walking through the arena, making his way to the ring for his showdown with Sami Zayn.
In Ring Segment: We return from the break to Jey Uso already in the ring. Sami Zayn’s music hits and out comes Sami. Sami tells Jeh that he pulled up. Asks Jey how he wants to do this. Jey says he has a job to do tonight, but he wants Sami to know that he didn’t like him from day 1, he didn’t trust him from day 1 and he didn’t want Sami around his family. Jey says everyone liked Sami, but not him. Jey was always told to protect his family and the one time he lets his guard down, he gets betrayed. He is embarrassed and made to look stupid in front of the entire world. Jey says he called Sami his brother, but from day 1, Sami has been a fake ass Uce. Jey says he has no choice over what happens next. Sami says Jey is wrong, he does have a choice, he has had a choice since day 1, but he has chosen to take Roman’s abuse. Sami says he loved Jey, he loved the family, but he wasn’t going to take abuse every week like Jey. Sami says he doesn’t think Jey is mad at him, but he is mad at himself. Says Jey isn’t mad that Sami hit Roman with a steel chair at the Royal Rumble, but Jey is just mad that he didn’t do it first. Sami tells Jey he always has a choice. Jey attacks Sami and both men now being to brawl. Jimmy comes out to the aide of Jey. The Uso’s are now on the attack. Kevin Owens music hits and the Uso’s are ready and waiting for him. Owens comes out of the crowd behind the Uso’s and he takes them both down! He hits Jimmy with a stunner and Jey with a pop up powerbomb. Both Uso’sare out of the ring. Sami manages to stand up after the beating he took from the Uso’s. Sami and Owens are staring at each other and a huge “hug it out” chant erupts from the crowd. Owens pulls Sami into a huge hug! Owens and Sami are reunited! Owens and Sami standing tall in the ring to end the show.
Absolutely brilliant episode of SmackDown. I’m so happy that Owens and Sami are back together. I’m really enjoying how heated the rivalry between Charlotte and Rhea is getting. I’m slightly confused over the fatal 4 way tag team matches at WrestleMania, but hopefully we should get some good matches out of them. Really excited for WrestleMania, glad that it’s still over 2 days, think I’m getting too old to watch that much wrestling in one sitting.