This week’s WWE Smackdown saw Cody Rhodes go face to face with Roman Reigns, Bayley was ready to make a decision, and more.
It’s the first Smackdown since the Royal Rumble last Saturday night. It feels like it was longer than six days ago considering how much WWE news there is daily due to the awful things going on outside the ring. We’ll keep covering that in our news section, but I’m here to cover this week’s Smackdown episode. We are on the road to WrestleMania now, but first, there’s Elimination Chamber in three weeks on February 24th.
Let’s Hear from Logan Paul
A graphic said “Champion for 90 days” on it. Logan’s only match as the champion was at the Royal Rumble when he beat Kevin Owens by DQ. Graves and Wade Barrett officially welcomed us to the show.
Paul was booed and he told the crowd he didn’t want to be there because this place sucks. Paul said that he underestimated Kevin Owens since he looks like a pissed off donut. Paul admitted that Owens did more damage to Paul than Floyd Mayweather since KO made Logan bleed and nearly knocked Logan out. Paul laughed about how Owens lost. Paul bragged about being one of the toughest people on this roster. Paul mocked injuries like triceps and knee injuries. The fans chanted “WHAT” during Paul’s promo as he continued to brag.
Kevin Owens arrived for the interruption and he got a big pop. Owens sucked up to Birmingham and called Paul an unbearable idiot. Owens said even though Owens didn’t leave as the US Champion, it felt great to knock the hell out of Paul. Owens spoke about wanting to take the US Title from him. Paul said it’s too bad that Owens didn’t win his one shot at the title. Paul bragged about how he outsmarted Owens.
Owens admitted that the referee did fantastic work and he should be proud of himself. Owens told Paul when they get together in the ring again for that title, he won’t need brass knucks to beat Paul’s ass. Paul told Owens he isn’t getting a rematch. Paul said he would find a real challenger who is somebody who is definitely not Owens. Paul said Owens can face Austin Theory and Paul will talk smack about him on commentary.
Analysis: Logan Paul is good at being an annoying heel that the fans love to hate. The “WHAT” chants were annoying a bit, but Paul got through it fine. Owens is very likable as the babyface that doesn’t back down from anybody. I don’t know if they are going to have a rematch at Elimination Chamber or if Paul will avoid having matches until WrestleMania. It makes sense for Owens to want another match since it was a DQ loss, but maybe they’ll move Paul onto somebody else.
Austin Theory entered for singles action with Grayson Waller by his side.
A commercial aired for NXT Vengeance Day on Sunday night. I’ll have a live review of the show.
Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller)
Logan Paul mentioned Elimination Chamber while on commentary. Owens grabbed a side headlock on Theory. When Theory got up to run the ropes, Owens grabbed an armdrag leading to an armbar. Owens went for a senton splash, but Theory got the knees up to block. Theory worked over KO with strikes. Theory sent Owens into the turnbuckle and then Owens came back with a knockdown followed by a successful senton splash. Owens hit a cannonball splash on Theory against the turnbuckle. They battled on the apron with Theory giving Owens a back body drop on the apron. Ouch. That led to a break.
Owens got some offense going with a kick to the chest followed by a clothesline. Owens worked over Theory with lefty chops and headbutts. Owens got a boot up followed by a DDT off the middle ropes. Owens went up top and Owens hit a Swanton Bomb for two. Theory blocked a Stunner attempt by shoving Owens into the turnbuckle and Theory hit a Blockbuster for a two count. Theory punched Owens in the jaw followed by a spinning slam off the shoulders for two. That was some impressive strength shown by Theory. Waller distracted the referee, Paul tossed the brass knuckles into the ring, Owens got the brass knuckles and Owens superkicked Theory. Powens punched Waller with the brass knuckles to knock Waller off the apron. Owens punched Theory with the brass knuckles as well and Owens got the pin. It went about 11 minutes. The referee was looking at Logan Paul on the apron.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** A good match with Kevin Owens getting a big win after losing to Logan Paul at Royal Rumble. While the outcome seemed obvious, Theory got plenty of offense and looked impressive during the match. Owens ended up outsmarting the three heels by using the brass knuckles to his advantage. A cheap win for sure, but it’s okay when a babyface does it to find a way to win when dealing with three guys.
Post match, Owens chased Paul away from ringside. Paul ran out into the crowd and backstage. Owens celebrated.
Rhea Ripley, the Women’s World Champion, was shown arriving earlier in the day.
A video aired about Naomi returning to WWE at the Royal Rumble.
Naomi was shown walking outside the office of Smackdown GM Nick Aldis and she had a Smackdown contract she just signed. Bianca Belair, Shotzi & Michin were standing outside of the room and they were excited for Naomi. Tiffany Stratton also walked out of the room with a Smackdown contract. Stratton said some nasty things to the other women and shoved Michin in the face. Nick Aldis broke it up and Michin wanted a match with Stratton, so Aldis said that was fine.
Analysis: I’m so glad Naomi is back. Naomi is married to Jimmy Uso, so of course she would be on Smackdown. That’s cool seeing Tiffany Stratton on the main roster. She deserves it. Tiffany is dating Ludwig Kaiser who is on Raw, so they are apart for now, but if WWE does a draft in May then maybe they’ll be on the same show.
Pretty Deadly entered for a fatal four-way tag team match.
A video aired about Bianca Belair & Montez Ford’s reality show Love & WWE that is now available on Hulu for those of you in the US.
Bianca Belair was shown backstage talking to SD GM Nick Aldis in his office asking what she has to do to get a title match. Aldis said he had to talk to Raw GM Adam Pearce about that so that sounds like a mixed roster Elimination Chamber match. Logan Paul walked in talking about how he wanted Nick to find him somebody to wrestle. Paul said people think he’s part time, but he signed a new contract and he wants to wrestle. Paul was rude to Belair. Paul left and Aldis talked to Belair some more.
Analysis: It sounds like Logan Paul will be wrestling a bit more often this year, so that’s a good thing at least.
Santos Escobar was in a restaurant with his Legado Del Fantasma group talking about how this is a family. Escobar said welcome back to Elektra Lopez and she said she never left. Escobar talked about how they had to honor their families’ legacies and that they must eradicate Rey Mysterio’s LWO. They had a toast to end it.
Analysis: I like the group. A quick segment like that shows they are a cohesive unit.
Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate vs. LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Pretty Deadly – Kit Wilson & Elton Prince vs. Angel & Humberto (w/Elektra Lopez)
The winning team here faces the winners of a Raw fatal four-way match and the winners of that match get a title match at Elimination Chamber.
There was some action for about a minute, but then all eight guys went into the ring to fight a bit. Cruz hit a top rope hurricanrana on Humberto. Wilde tagged in for a double baseball slide dropkick. Wilde went to the middle rope while Cruz, Dunne & Bate pulled the ropes down and Wilde hit an amazing leap onto the three guys on the floor. It looked better when Wilde did that in NXT, but it was still good.
Prince was in control of Wilde with a chinlock. They showed a side angle of the assisted leap by Wilde, which was impressive. Dunne tagged in with kicks for everybody. Dunne stomped on Prince’s hands and hit a kick to the head. Dunne kicked Wilson in the head. Dunne with a suplex on Cruz and Dunne hit a forearm on Wilde. Prince kicked Dunne followed by double knees by Wilson. Bate made the save, Bate with a punch and an airplane spin on Prince. Dunne and Bate hit a German Suplex/forearm combo, but the pin was broken up. Humberto with a Powerbomb on Bate after Angel launched Bate in the air. Lopez was on the apron, so Vega tripped her up and Humberto/Cruz each hit dives on the floor. Vega hit double knees on Lopez on the floor. Wilson got a rollup on Dunne for two. Dunne did a finger snap to Wilson, who was screaming. Bate and Dunne hit a double team butterfly suplex on Wilson and Bate got the cover for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate
Analysis: *** A good match that was full of action. It really could have gone to any of the four teams. I like Dunne & Bate winning because they only came together as a regular team a few weeks ago, so now they have a big win and are a match away from getting a title match. I liked the highspots by the LWO guys. Angel & Humberto had a decent showing although they didn’t get to show that much. I liked the result.
A video aired about Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bayley on Raw from last Monday when she talked about her options as the Rumble winner.
Damage CTRL was shown in their locker room, but more specifically it was IYO SKY, Asuka & Kairi Sane talking in Japanese. Sky said in English not to worry about it because Bayley is done tonight. As the three women left, Bayley was shown in the background walking into the other part of the room so Bayley heard what they said.
Analysis: The Japanese girls in Damage CTRL turning on Bayley has been the obvious route here, so we’ll see how it’s executed.
A video aired about WrestleMania 40. It’s 64 days away. That’s just over nine weeks, my friends. I’ll be there. My hotel is booked as of this week. I just have to figure out a few more things and then I’m ready to go.
There was a video package about Cody Rhodes on Raw being told by Seth Rollins that he should challenge Seth at WrestleMania. That led to videos narrated by Rollins about how Cody should pick him instead of Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40.
Cody Rhodes was shown on his bus with his dog Pharoah thinking about his promo later in the show.
Let’s Hear from Bayley
The Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bayley made her entrance accompanied by Damage CTRL’s WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY along with Women’s Tag team Champion Asuka & Kairi Sane. No Dakota Kai this week. They were joined in the ring by Raw GM Adam Pearce and Smackdown GM Nick Aldis. Bayley shook the hands of the GM’s when she got into the ring.
Bayley talked about how at WrestleMania, she’s defended the Raw Women’s Title, Smackdown Women’s Title and Women’s Tag Team Titles. Bayley said that this year is different. Bayley said that she has had a lot of ups and downs, but she has had her girls going into this. Rhea Ripley was backstage with her Women’s World Title watching on a TV. Bayley said that they were there for the car rides, they were there when Bayley was sad and Bayley claimed that Damage CTRL was family. The three women behind Bayley were laughing about that and Bayley even turned around to see it.
Bayley spoke about WrestleMania being a time when she has to choose what she wants to do and she mentioned the Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley. Bayley spoke about how sometimes the people you thought were the biggest support system and the people you thought were your friends…sometimes you have to prove them wrong. Bayley asked if they were done laughing. Bayley spoke in Japanese to them saying that she picked that up since they say it about Bayley all the time. Bayley said all she wanted was for Damage CTRL to be the best and take this to the top to WrestleMania and she wanted to do that together. Bayley asked Iyo what happened. Bayley said ever since they came around, Iyo turned her back on her and Asuka/Sane attacked Bayley from behind. The GMs left the ring.
Asuka and Sane stomped on Bayley, who was down on the apron. Sky was laughing about it. Bayley grabbed a steel pipe that was against the steel steps. Bayley used the pipe as a weapon that she used to hit Asuka and Sane. Bayley was about to hit Sky, but then Bayley stopped herself. Sky left the ring.
Bayley picked up the microphone: “And about that announcement. IYO…I’ll see you at WrestleMania.” The crowd cheered that. Bayley stood tall in the ring while Iyo and friends were on the floor.
Analysis: There’s the babyface turn for Bayley that was expected for this story and the WrestleMania 40 match is official with Bayley going after WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY. I like how Bayley called out the three women before they did the attack because it makes Bayley more likable that she could see it coming. Bayley also fighting back makes her look smart. I mentioned in the past that it was pretty obvious what was coming in the story since Bayley has had awkward moments with the group in the last couple of months. I think Bayley will win at WrestleMania 40 too.
OH. MY. GOD.
— WWE (@WWE) February 3, 2024
It’s Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits against The Final Testament up next.
There was a replay of Bayley’s fight with the Kabuki Warriors. Bayley ended it by saying she’ll see Sky at WrestleMania.
The graphic is shown for the first match that’s official for WrestleMania 40: IYO SKY defending the WWE Women’s Title against Bayley.
The Final Testament – Karrion Kross, AOP – Akam & Rezar (w/Paul Ellering & Scarlett) vs. Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins
The six men started brawling as soon as they got into the ring. Dawkins dumped Rezar out of the ring and Ford kicked Akam out of the ring. Lashley battled Kross in the ring with Kross hitting a forearm to the head. Lashley hit a spinebuster. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, but Scarlett jumped onto Lashley’s back. B-Fab went into the ring and she pulled Scarlett off leading to a pump kick. Lashley knocked down Kross with a Spear and Kross retreated.
Analysis: No match. Just an angle to keep the feud going. They added B-Fab as support for the Lashley group to deal with Scarlett. Perhaps we’ll get the match at another time.
Bron Breakker was shown backstage talking to Smackdown GM Nick Aldis, who had a contract in Bron’s hand. Bron was looking it over when Raw GM Adam Pearce walked in. Pearce told Bron not to sign it and to see what Pearce offered him in a contract this Monday on Raw. Bron said he’ll hold onto the Smackdown contract for now and go see Pearce on Raw. Bron left.
Jade Cargill walked into the room. Aldis told Adam Pearce to leave, so Pearce made a few comments before leaving and Aldis talked to Cargill as the camera cut away.
Analysis: It’s good having General Managers who compete to sign people rather than just putting wrestlers on a brand. Bron Breakker is very ready for his main roster call up while Jade Cargill is more than ready as well. Bron and Jade should both have big years in WWE.
Tiffany Stratton made her entrance for her Smackdown debut match. It looks like new gear for her.
Michin made her entrance with The OC’s Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. I don’t remember the last time Karl & Luke had a match on TV and they weren’t in that four-way match earlier either. I think WWE needs to use that team better.
Michin vs. Tiffany Stratton
Michin hit a running dropkick followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Michin hit a gutwrench suplex. Michin hit a regular suplex for two. Stratton left the ring where she blocked a kick and tripped up Michin on the apron. Stratton said it was “Tiffy Time” as the show went to break.
Stratton was aggressive on offense with a running double knee attack for a two count. Michin locked a punch leading to a hard slap. Michin nailed a suplex followed by a superkick and a dropkick. Michin set up Stratton against the turnbuckle followed by double knees to the face and Stratton got her right foot on the bottom rope to break the count. Stratton pulled Michin down by the hair. Stratton spun around Michin leading to an Alabama Slam for two. Michin hit a jumping kick to the face. Stratton hit a rolling senton to put Michin down. Stratton went up top and did the triple jump Prettiest Moonsault Ever where Stratton mostly used her arms on the landing because she jumped a bit too far. It went about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton
Analysis: **1/2 A decisive win by Stratton, who was impressive throughout the match. Michin just isn’t that over with the crowd right now, so the fans were silent for most of it. Stratton’s triple jump moonsault is usually a move she nails perfectly, but this time she jumped a bit too far. It was still good enough to get the win.
Cody Rhodes was shown walking backstage for his WrestleMania 40 decision up next.
Next week on Smackdown:
* Pete Dunn & Tyler Bate face the winners of the Raw Fatal 4-Way Match. The winners of that match will challenge Damian Priest & Finn Balor for the WWE Tag Team Championships at Elimination Chamber.
* Nick Aldis Announces Logan Paul’s next challenger.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Bloodline
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion joined by The Bloodline’s Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa & the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman. A fan had a sign that said “Acknowledge Deez Nutz.” Good luck with that. The Smackdown GM Nick Aldis and Raw GM Adam Pearce were in the ring. Reigns took a few minutes to get down to the ring as usual.
Roman Reigns waited as the fans chanted “Cody” at him. Reigns said we’ll get to him, but first: “Birmingham, Alabama…acknowledge me.” There were lots of boos and cheers. Reigns said that he doesn’t like to recap because he likes to move forward, but things were said on Monday that we can’t let slide. Reigns said his little brother Seth Rollins claimed he had the best title. Reigns talked about how he has beaten everybody competing for that title that Rollins has. Reigns said that we should call that the Loser’s Bracket Title. Reigns mocked Rollins saying you can’t wear your wives’ clothes saying you’re the guy. Reigns mocked Rollins breaking his back and mocked Rollins for having a bad knee. Reigns said he works less than Rollins and he said he works ten times less, but he makes ten times more. Reigns asked if you want Seth’s money or Tribal Chief money. The fans cheered as if they want Tribal Chief money. Reigns said that Cody is an idiot and he doesn’t seem to care about the money. Reigns said he won’t beg Cody like the other guys. Reigns said Cody could be the best number two in this industry or he can take a crack at number one again…it’s your choice. Here comes Cody.
Analysis: I thought that was a great promo from Reigns. Roman was right that he has beaten a lot of the guys that were going after the tile held by Seth Rollins. I also think that Reigns mocking Seth’s injury is funny and also fitting for a heel like him taking cheap shots at Rollins. I also laughed at Reigns talking about how he works ten times less than Rollins and makes way more money. That’s great. It was a strong promo from Reigns. I also like that he didn’t even talk about his title defense at the Royal Rumble and he’s moving on to the future.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance with adrenaline in his soul while wearing a grey suit. The fans sang Cody’s song while shouting “WHOA-OH” right on cue. Cody greeted some fans around the ring as the show went to break.
Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns
Cody Rhodes finished his entrance on the turnbuckle as the show returned. Cody got into the ring with Reigns as the fans were getting loud with chants for Cody as usual.
Cody: “So Birmingham, Alabama…Roman Reigns…what do we want to talk about?” Cody said he imagined this conversation a bit more private. Cody asked Roman if they could have the ring to themselves. Reigns told Solo & Jimmy to leave them, so the two guys left, but Paul stayed.
Cody spoke about how he has talked to a lot of people about what he should do. Cody said that Reigns cheated him when they wrestled last year. Cody said that he had Reigns and Reigns knew it. Cody spoke about how Seth Rollins made some great points, but then he called that (Roman’s Title) the Hollywood Title. Cody said that’s the title that Bruno Sammartino held and that’s the title that his father once held before it was taken away. Cody said he still wants that title. Cody spoke about finishing the story while saying that Reigns claims that we all belong to Reigns and this is Roman’s show. Cody wondered if finishing the story is taking that championship from Reigns or is it taking everything from Reigns?
Cody made it abundantly clear saying that he wants that title. Cody said that he wants that title and he is coming for Roman Reigns, but not at WrestleMania. Cody spoke about how he took council. Cody said that one of the individuals that he talked to – he knows Roman Reigns very well.
It’s The Rock! Huge ovation for The Rock as usual. The Rock had a shirt that said “The People’s Champ – The Rock” on it. The fans were loud as Rock made his way down to the ring and Rock did his poses on the turnbuckle.
The Rock and Cody Rhodes shook hands. Rock brought Cody in close for a hug and said something into his right ear. Cody left the ring.
The Rock turned around and faced his cousin Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman spoke to Reigns, who put the Undisputed WWE Universal Title on his left shoulder. There were loud “Rocky” chants as Rock stared at Reigns from across the ring. The camera shot this from behind The Rock while getting the giant WrestleMania 40 sign in the picture as well. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as Rock and Reigns walked toward each other. Rock had a staredown with Reigns.
A graphic was shown saying that this Thursday night on Peacock and WWE digital channels, there’s going to be a Press Event in Las Vegas. That will probably be where they officially announce the Reigns-Rock match.
Analysis: I’ll be perfectly honest when I say I really wanted the Cody Rhodes-Roman Reigns match at WrestleMania 40 this year. However, when I saw The Rock getting added to the TKO Group Board of Directors it made me think this was the year where he was going to do the match with Reigns. The 40th WrestleMania sounds like a really big deal and if you’re going to do it, then it might as well be at a show like that. I still wanted it to be Cody as the guy that beats Reigns because I think it would mean that much more at WrestleMania and because Reigns has the championship that has so much history. Instead, I guess this means Cody Rhodes is going after the World Heavyweight Title held by Seth Rollins. That’s fine, but it’s not as prestigious as the title that Reigns holds. Anyway, I do get it that if The Rock is going to have a match then it should be against Reigns and it was really up to The Rock about when he wanted to do it. I’m sure we’ll learn more about this in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Another thing that I want to add is that Roman Reigns isn’t advertised for the Elimination Chamber PLE. There might be people thinking that Cody Rhodes could face and beat Reigns at Elimination Chamber. I’d be all for that too, but I don’t know if Reigns will be there. I guess that’s something that could change, but as of this writing, Reigns is off the Elimination Chamber PLE. That’s something to keep an eye on in the future.
— WWE (@WWE) February 3, 2024
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns
- Kevin Owens
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
2024 Average: 7.25
Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown
The big news coming out of this show was The Rock’s appearance to confront Roman Reigns during the main event segment. This came after Men’s Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes said he was coming after Reigns and his WWE Title, but not at WrestleMania. I wrote a lot in the review with my thoughts on that. Is it what I want? No. I wanted Cody-Reigns at WrestleMania and for Cody to win, but it doesn’t look like that is happening now. I don’t blame The Rock for wanting the match with Reigns. I like Rock too. It’s about attracting casual fans too and The Rock’s presence will get a lot of people to watch. There could be more twists and turns before we get to WrestleMania too. It is still two months away. Once again I would have preferred Cody beating Roman. I’m not going to go crazy about it not happening, but I also understand if there is some outrage about it.
The Women’s Royal Rumble Bayley was attacked by her Damage CTRL allies, but she saw it coming, so she was ready for it and fought back. Bayley went on to challenge WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY at WrestleMania 40. It also means Bayley is a babyface again for the first time in about five years. It’s been a long time.
There were only three matches, so that’s a bit disappointing. It’s also because the main event was over 20 minutes of talking. The new commentary team of Corey Graves as the lead announcer with analyst Wade Barrett did a good job together. It’s a different role for Graves, but I thought he pulled it off well.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.