The John Report: WWE SmackDown 02/16/24 Review

wwe smackdown february 16 tjrwrestling

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured The Rock and Roman Reigns on the show, plus more Elimination Chamber qualifying matches.

It feels like a big one this week since The Rock and Roman Reigns are there. The Rock has been on a few times over the last year, but those are usually surprise appearances. It’s another sellout show and feels like a big episode. They are also taping next week’s show right after this week’s episode since the crew has to head to Australia next week for Elimination Chamber just over one week away.

From the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, this is Smackdown for episode #1278. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It started with a lot of hype for The Bloodline being on the show later, which means The Rock and Roman Reigns together.

Kevin Owens entered first to cheers. Dominik Mysterio was up next trying to do a promo about The Judgment Day and the fans were booing him loudly. Dominik talked about how Finn Balor & Damian Priest will win, Rhea Ripley will win and Dominik will also win the Elimination Chamber. The fans booed Dom throughout the promo. Corey Graves and Wade Barrett were on commentary. It’s a sold out arena just like most weeks.

Men’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Kevin Owens vs. Dominik Mysterio

Owens knocked Dominik down with a shoulder tackle. Owens with another shoulder tackle, a leapfrog and an arm drag takedown. Dominik got some offense of his own with an arm drag and dropkick. Owens came back with a clothesline that sent Dominik over the top to the floor. Dominik pulled Owens out of the ring and sent Owens into the apron. Owens came back with a punch. R-Truth was at ringside looking at Owens while Owens wondered what he was doing there. I guess we are to assume that Truth was there to support his Judgment Day “teammate” Dominik although it sounded like Truth was supporting Miz, who was not out there yet. Dominik dropkicked Owens and sent Owens into the steel steps. Dominik hit a senton splash on Owens for two as the show went to break there.


Dominik remained in control by countering an Owens suplex and pulling Owens down by the shoulders for a two count. That’s similar to an Edge move. Owens came back with a kick to the gut followed by a short clothesline. Owens headbutted Dominik followed by repeated stomps. Owens ran over Dominik with a running clothesline and a senton splash on Dominik on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens hit the cannonball splash on Dominik against the turnbuckle. Owens went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Good nearfall even though KO never wins with that move. Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, Dominik avoided it and Dominik hit an X-Factor face first into the mat. It wasn’t smooth, but good enough. Dominik hit two vertical suplexes, but Owens blocked the third and hit his own suplex. Owens two suplexes and Dominik came back with a DDT. Owens avoided a splash from Dominik and Owens went up top again. Owen hit a Swanton Bomb off the top rope for two. Dominik avoided a Stunner, Dominik with a superkick and a 619 kick by Dominik for two. Dominik told Truth to get him a chair, but Truth said they told him he wasn’t in Judgment Day. Truth grabbed a chair and Truth sat on the chair, which drew cheers from the fans. Owens hit Dominik with a superkick followed by a Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match. Dominik losing isn’t a shock, but he got enough offense where he looked credible. Truth not helping Dominik was great to see to show that Truth has learned that The Judgment Day is against him. The fans were really into it since they hate Dirty Dom, so that made it a fun atmosphere as well.

That win means that Kevin Owens is in the Men’s Elimination Chamber match with Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, LA Knight and one more wrestler.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton even though Drew is a Raw guy. Drew talked about how four years ago his moment was stolen from him. LA Knight walked into the interview saying that Drew’s moment will be stolen again at Elimination Chamber. Drew said he sees through Knight. Drew told Knight if you don’t produce titles, the fans will turn on you. Knight said that Drew hasn’t been champion since Knight has been there. Knight said that Drew’s WrestleMania dreams can be buried right there with CM Punk too. Some referees showed up to break it up.

Analysis: That should set up an obvious match between Drew and Knight for next week. Since they are two of the guys in the Elimination Chamber, it makes a lot of sense to do a match like that. Also for fans of TNA/Impact, those two guys have a history together as well.

Roman Reigns was shown arriving earlier in the day. Roman hugged Jimmy Uso, who was shocked by it. Jimmy was thrilled while Roman said they’ll go fix everything that Jim messed up.

Zelina Vega entered for her Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match. Vega was joined by the entrance by her LWO buddies Carlito, Joaquin Wilde & Cruz Del Toro, but the guys stayed in the back. Vega’s match was next.

This Monday on Raw, Drew McIntyre faces Cody Rhodes, plus GUNTHER defends the Intercontinental Title against Jey Uso. Those two matches will be awesome.


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Logan Paul, the US Champion, was shown arriving earlier in the day.

Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Dunne said that things are going great and all that’s left to do is for them to walk into Perth and walk out with the Tag Team Titles. Bate said that they are due a new tag team name. Bate called them the New Catch Republic. Dominik Mysterio walked up to them saying they couldn’t beat any two members of The Judgment Day. Bate challenged Dominik to a match against Dominik & R-Truth, but Dom said Truth isn’t in the group as Dom walked away. Bate said I guess it will be Dom & JD McDonagh then.

Analysis: I don’t know about the New Catch Republic name, but we’ll get used to it. I’d certainly be fine with Bate & Dunne winning at Elimination Chamber. However, I think I’m going with The Miz & R-Truth to beat Priest & Balor at WrestleMania 40 instead. That would be a fun moment.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Tiffany Stratton vs. Zelina Vega

It’s cool seeing Tiffy Time on the main roster and her entrance looks even more spectacular on the bigger stage. I’ve reviewed all of her matches in NXT, so now we get to see her on the main roster. Vega got a headscissors takedown while Stratton came back with a body slam. Vega tripped up Stratton and kicked Stratton out of the ring. Vega hit a moonsault off the middle rope onto Stratton on the floor. Santos Escobar and the Legado Del Fantasma group were sitting in row one in the crowd, so Vega was distracted by that as the show went to break.


The LWO guys Carlito, Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde went to ringside since they saw Legado in the crowd. Vega got some offense going with a clothesline along with a trip that sent Stratton into the ropes. Stratton with a lift leading to Vega hitting an impressive DDT for two. Stratton hit an impressive cartwheel into an Alabama Slam for a two count. Vega tripped up Stratton, then Vega did a 619 kick and Vega hit the Meteora double knees for a two count. Stratton left the ring and Stratton threw Vega into the barricade by the Legado group. Elektra Lopez talked trash to Vega, so Vega brought Lopez over the barricade and back into the crowd. Back in the ring. Stratton kicked Vega and Stratton hit a spinebuster. Stratton hit the Prettiest Moonsault Ever on Vega for the pinfall win after nine minutes. Stratton’s knees went crashing into Vega’s ribs. The referee Jessika Carr checked on Vega to make sure she was okay and it looked like Vega was fine. It went nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: **3/4 Good effort by both women. The story was about how Vega was distracted by Lopez being in the crowd and going after her, so Stratton took advantage of that to get the win. I’m not surprised by the result. I think Stratton is somebody that WWE is going to be high on and they should be.

The win means that Tiffany Stratton has made it into the Women’s Elimination Chamber with Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Liv Morgan and two more women.

AJ Styles was shown in the locker room when The OC’s Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows & Michin wondered why Styles hasn’t talked to them. Karl said that Styles has forgotten where he came from. Styles slapped Karl in the face. Karl said if that was anybody else he’d fire back, but AJ just walked away.

Analysis: I don’t remember the last time The OC tag team of Gallows & Anderson wrestled on TV. I don’t know what the plan is here, but turning the whole group into heels might be the right thing to do.

The Final Testament group was shown backstage with a match coming up.


There were comments from Post Malone talking about the WWE 2K24 video game because he is the Executive Soundtrack Producer. He was called a “music icon” by Graves. The game comes out on March 3rd early access and March 8th worldwide.

The trio of IYO SKY, Asuka & Kairi Sane were backstage doing a promo. Sky spoke in Japanese with the words appearing on the screen. Sky said it was her era. Asuka warned Dakota Kai that if you think you can turn on them without consequences then you are as dumb as Bayley. They said nobody is ready for Damage CTRL, so they are keeping that name.

Authors of Pain – Akam & Rezar (w/Karrion Kross, Scarlett & Paul Ellering) vs. Javier Bernal & Beau Morris

Bernal has been on NXT many times while Morris has not but they are both NXT guys. Akam nailed Bernal with a clothesline and an overhead slam. Rezar tagged in as the AOP guys slammed Morris into the ring. Rezar beat up Morris with punches. AOP hit the Super Collider double Powerbomb spot. Akam & Rezar hit their double team neckbreaker/Powerbomb for the pinfall win after one minute.

Winners by pinfall: Authors of Pain

Analysis: 1/2* Squash city to put over AOP as a dominant team.

Logan Paul, the United States Champion, was interviewed by Byron Saxton and Logan talked about how this was his first match on TV. Logan said he’s going to knock out The Miz, he’s going to Australia, he’s going to Elimination Chamber, and rematch Seth Rollins at WrestleMania to become the World Heavyweight Champion. Logan Paul said he’ll be a double champ. That Paul-Miz match is next.


WrestleMania 40 is 50 days away. There’s going to be a setup in Philadelphia from April 4 to 8 called WWE World. It sounds like it’s replacing what WWE Axxess used to be.

There was a Progressive Match Flo replay showing some highlights from Raw. It was the Cody Rhodes-Seth Rollins promo where Seth said he had Cody’s back.

They showed The Bloodline’s locker room with servers taking food into the room.

Men’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Logan Paul vs. The Miz

This is not for Logan’s US Title. This is Paul’s first WWE TV match since his matches have been on PLE shows only. Miz hit an atomic drop when Paul tried a leapfrog. Miz sent Logan to the apron, then they did some spot where Paul went for a standing moonsault and didn’t connect, but they recovered from that. Miz trapped Logan’s leg against the ropes followed by a dropkick into the right knee. Miz kicked the left leg. They showed Smackdown GM Nick Aldis watching in a skybox with Bron Breakker, Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan. Paul hit a rolling senton. Paul nailed Miz with repeated uppercuts along with a split-legged leg drop for two. Miz came back with repeated kicks to the ribs. Miz hit a corner clothesline. Paul elbowed Miz on the apron and Paul sent Miz back first into the ring post. Paul hit a springboard clothesline. Paul hit a Frog Splash off the middle rope onto Miz on the apron. They went to break there.


The Miz got some offense going with punches followed by two clotheslines. Miz sent Paul into the turnbuckle followed by a running clothesline. Miz hit a flatliner for a two count. Paul avoided a move, then he went to the turnbuckle and Miz blocked a move followed by Miz hitting a lung blower double knees for two. Miz worked over Paul with kicks to the chest and Paul got a rollup for two. Miz hit a boot to the face. Miz trapped the leg against the ropes leading to Miz hitting a knee drop to Paul’s leg. Miz kicked Paul’s leg a couple of times. Paul grabbed the ring apron, the referee was dealing with that, Paul did an eye gouge to Miz and Paul hit a Skull Crushing Finale for two. Miz countered a move leading to a Figure Four Leglock, but Paul got his hands on the bottom rope to break the hold. Paul tackled Miz against the ring apron. Paul was handed brass knuckles by a friend at ringside, so Miz went after Paul and stopped that. Miz threw the brass knuckles down. Paul blocked Miz from going back into the ring and it was like a low blow against the ropes. Paul punched Miz in the face. Paul hit an inverted Skull Crushing Finale like an STO trip for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Logan Paul

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match. They did have a spot early in the match where they slipped up and that sort of thing happens sometimes, especially with an inexperienced guy like Paul, but they got through it fine. I thought Paul could have won with a better move. He needs a finisher. This could have gone either way although it’s not like Miz is pushed heavily, so having Paul win was what I expected here.

That win means that Logan Paul has qualified for the Men’s Elimination Chamber match with Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, LA Knight and Bobby Lashley. The winner of that match gets to face Seth “Freakin” Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 40.

Analysis: I know Drew McIntyre will be a popular pick for a winner. I think Randy Orton is a possibility and Orton might beat Rollins too.

They showed Smackdown GM Nick Aldis in the office with Bron Breakker & Jade Cargill in the office with contracts in front of them. Tiffany Stratton walked into trash talk Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan. Stratton was rude to them saying she was going to pin them in the Chamber match. Cargill said you’re not going to do this during her meeting. Aldis told Stratton to leave politely. Bron walked out of the room with Aldis and the contract that Aldis had for him.

Analysis: It appears as though Bron Breakker is going to be a Smackdown guy. I think he’ll do very well wherever he goes.

Naomi made her entrance to her new theme song. She is full of glow as usual.

A commercial aired for Elimination Chamber promoting the Women’s World Title match between Rhea Ripley and Nia Jax. That crowd will absolutely love Ripley in Australia.


There will be an Elimination Chamber Press Event next week. It’s late Thursday night for some of us in North America, but it’s on Friday in Australia.

A plug was made for the Elimination Chamber PLE featuring the Grayson Waller Effect with Cody Rhodes & Seth “Freakin” Rollins.

They showed the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman talking to Grayson Waller backstage outside of The Bloodline’s dressing room. We could not hear what they were saying.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Naomi vs. Alba Fyre (w/Isla Dawn)

This was going to be Naomi vs. Shotzi, but Shotzi suffered an injury recently. Fyre choked Naomi against the bottom rope and Dawn choked Naomi on the bottom rope. Naomi came back with a kick to the head. Naomi nailed Fyre with a slap to the face. Naomi hit a split-legged leg drop for two. Fyre bailed to the floor and Naomi kicked her into the barricade. Dawn tried to distract Naomi, but Naomi managed to send Fyre into the steel steps. That led to a break.


Naomi hit a headscissors along with a dropkick and a bulldog for two. Naomi sent Fyre face first into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi went up top leading to a cross body block for two. Fyre backed Naomi into the turnbuckle and Fyre gave Naomi a face first slam into the mat for two. Naomi got a rollup, Fyre kicked out and Dawn punched Naomi leading to Fyre getting a pin attempt for two. Naomi backed out of a move followed by a knee to the face and Naomi kicked Dawn off the apron. Naomi used her legs to spike Fyre into the mat. Naomi applied a double armbar submission for the tapout win. It went about ten minutes.

Winner by submission: Naomi

Analysis: *** There was a lot of offense for Naomi in this match and she looked impressive on her way to the clean win. This was the most obvious of the Elimination Chamber Qualifying Matches since Fyre isn’t pushed much. I did like that Dawn got involved in the match a few times to support Fyre and tease the idea that Fyre could win.

Naomi is the fifth woman in the Women’s Elimination Chamber Match with Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Liv Morgan, Tiffany Stratton and one more opponent.

Bayley was shown walking backstage. Dakota Kai said that Bayley had to help her because she saw what Damage CTRL said earlier. Bayley said she wasn’t sure who she could trust and she couldn’t do this right now, so Bayley walked away.

Analysis: I know Kai was loyal to Bayley last week, but I think Kai is going to stay heel with the Damage CTRL group.

Bron Breakker Signs With Smackdown

Nick Aldis, the Smackdown General Manager, did a promo by the entrance area. Nick announced that one of the people he was negotiating with is no longer a free agent. Aldis introduced us to the newest member of the Smackdown roster…Bron Breakker! Bron signed the contract. They had camera guys take a photo of Bron shaking hands with Aldis, who also raised Bron’s hand.

Analysis: That’s awesome for Smackdown. Bron Breakker is going to be a main event performer in WWE and he’s a big addition to the Smackdown roster. Whether face or heel, I think Bron is going to do very well.

Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage with Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso. That’s up next in the main event spot.


Next week on Smackdown:

* Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne vs. Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh

* The Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain

* Bron Breakker makes his SmackDown debut

* LA Knight vs. Drew McIntyre.

Good lineup. As I mentioned earlier, next week’s episode will be taped this week.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns & The Bloodline

The Bloodline’s Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns entered along with Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso and the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman. They took a few minutes getting into the ring as usual.

Reigns: “Salt Lake City…acknowledge me.” Reigns said that the people of Utah are idiots, which drew boos. Reigns said when we get them all together like this, they are pretty dumb. Reigns didn’t want the fans to ruin this because when his cousin comes out here, y’all might go dumb and catchphrase this, he’s so funny. Reigns told them that everything The Bloodline says has meaning. Reigns said tonight is history and tonight is the greatest night ever in WWE. There were “Cody” chants and Reigns called Cody the guy that ruined everything. Reigns said tonight is about history. Reigns said tonight is the first night that we can say that The Rock is a member of The Bloodline. The fans booed.

The Rock made his entrance to a thunderous ovation. Rock pointed at his arm to show the goosebumps as usual. Rock had on some shades along with a vest that had a unique design on the back. The graphic said “Next” because they had to go break before we could hear from The Rock.

Analysis: Huge reaction for The Rock. Reigns had a lot of pride saying The Rock was in The Bloodline, which shows they are together as a group.


Let’s Hear from The Rock with The Bloodline

The Rock was in the ring with The Bloodline. Rock said he had good news to share. Rock said that it is official that the fans have broken an indoor attendance record for Salt Lake City and the state of Utah. Rock said that they broke the record for largest gathering of trailer park trash The Rock has ever seen. The Rock ripped on the fans some more before delivering his “Finally” line. Rock insulted them for being inbred trash and things of that nature. Even though Rock insulted them, there were still “Rocky” chants.

The Rock said that you have brought out a side of The Rock that has always been inside. The Rock yelled at a fan saying he was going to slap the herpes out of his mouth. The Rock said that you had The Rock and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, but you let it go. Rock said you flushed it down the toilet. Rock said that it was the same toilet where you tweeted about Cody finishing his story. Rock asked what is Cody’s story? Rock said that his cousin Roman Reigns beat Cody’s ass last year at WrestleMania, Cody lost the match and now he wants a rematch. That’s his story? Rock said that was stupid logic. Rock said that he knows the inbreds want to chant “WHAT” but Rock had to educate their stupid asses. Rock mentioned that the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, but they didn’t get to finish their story and they moved on like men after their loss. Rock mentioned Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls coming in there (1997 and 1998 NBA Finals), he crushed the dreams of the Utah Jazz and he ended Utah’s dream story. Rock said that Jordan ended their dream.

The Rock said that the real world doesn’t give you a shot at another story just because you want it – that’s not how the world works. Rock said that you don’t understand that because you’re spoiled, entitled crybaby bitches. Rock said he’ll do everything in his power to make sure that Cody Rhodes walks out of WrestleMania as a loser. Rock said that Cody’s story is ending and The Bloodline’s story is just beginning. Rock said that they are the most dominant duo in WWE. Rock did his “if ya smell” line saying singalong is done. The Rock said “if you smell what The Bloodline is cooking” to end it. The Rock held up his hand in the air along with the rest of The Bloodline to show they were together. That was the end of the show right at the top of the hour.

Analysis: It was a promo to firmly establish The Rock as a heel. There are a lot of rumors about a possible Rock/Reigns vs. Rhodes/Rollins tag team match at Wrestlemania 40 on Night 1, but they didn’t mention it here. Perhaps it will be Rhodes/Rollins issuing that challenge when they’re at Elimination Chamber. Reigns said tonight is the greatest night ever in WWE, but I wouldn’t say it was that newsworthy. I think Reigns said it because it was confirmation that The Rock is in The Bloodline group, so that’s why Reigns is so happy about it. I think for fans wanting more news out of this, they might be disappointed by it. I’m not bothered by it because I have patience and I think if there’s a tag team match coming then they will probably do it after Elimination Chamber. There’s plenty of time until WrestleMania 40 takes place. For now, this was just another way to show that The Rock was on the same page with Reigns while taking shots at Cody Rhodes again. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Rock complaining about Cody Rhodes getting another shot at Reigns is fine, but Cody did win the Royal Rumble to earn that shot and Rock failed to mention that, which was probably on purpose because heels are jerks like that. I enjoy heel Rock a lot.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kevin Owens
  2. Logan Paul & The Miz
  3. The Rock & Roman Reigns


The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 8

2024 Average: 7.39


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

It was a good show overall, but I think last week was better. The big news is that Roman Reigns officially said that The Rock is in The Bloodline, which led to Rock doing a heel promo. The Rock was doing a lot of his old schtick and some of it fell flat a bit. For fans wanting a tag team match announcement, maybe they were disappointed by this. I think the whole point was to have The Rock make it clear he was with The Bloodline as a heel. They still have plenty of time to set up the WrestleMania tag team match with Cody & Seth at WrestleMania 40 Night 1 if that’s the plan. Maybe it will be Cody & Seth issuing that challenge. As I wrote in the review, it wasn’t that newsworthy of a segment other than Rock saying he was with The Bloodline.

There were four matches that were all Money in the Bank qualifiers. I liked the men’s matches with Kevin Owens beating Dominik Mysterio and Logan Paul winning against The Miz. Neither result surprised me. The KO/Dominik match had a creative finish with R-Truth refusing to help Dom. On the women’s side, Tiffany Stratton & Naomi picked up wins as well. That’s cool with me.

We also learned that Bron Breakker has signed with Smackdown. I expect big things for Bron, who certainly has main event potential. Smackdown adding Bron, Stratton & Naomi in recent weeks has really strengthened this roster.

The next WWE PLE is Elimination Chamber on February 24th from Perth, Australia with this lineup:

* Men’s Elimination Chamber Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Lashley vs. LA Knight vs. Kevin Owens vs. Logan Paul

* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Nia Jax

* Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi vs. one more opponent.

* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate

* Grayson Waller Effect with Cody Rhodes & Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Elimination Chamber takes place at Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia, at 5 AM ET/2 AM PT streaming LIVE on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport