The John Report: WWE SmackDown 02/23/24 Review

wwe smackdown feb 23 review

This week’s WWE Smackdown saw Drew McIntyre face LA Knight, The Street Profits against the Authors of Pain, Bron Breakker in action, and more.

It’s a taped episode of Smackdown this week, so many of us are going into the show knowing the results. They taped it a week early because a lot of people on the WWE roster flew to Perth, Australia earlier this week for the Elimination Chamber PLE on Saturday. After I write about this show, I’m going to sleep and I’ll get up to write about WWE Elimination Chamber at 5 AM ET. It’s early, but I don’t mind. I’m an early riser anyway.

Earlier on Friday, WWE announced The Rock will return to Smackdown next Friday and I think that means Roman Reigns as well as the rest of The Bloodline.

From the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, this is Smackdown for episode #1279. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

They showed some “Earlier Today” arrivals of LA Knight, Drew McIntyre, Liv Morgan & Tiffany Stratton.

Bianca Belair entered to watch the first match. It was Corey Graves and Wade Barrett on commentary.

A video aired promoting the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. They featured comments from the six women in the match: Bianca Belair, Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Tiffany Stratton & Becky Lynch, who said she was the best to ever do it.

Analysis: I’m going with Becky Lynch to win that. I think she’ll be in the final two with Bianca Belair and Lynch will get the win.

Liv Morgan vs. Tiffany Stratton

Bianca Belair was watching at ringside. Morgan hit a forearm, so Stratton bailed to the floor. Stratton: “The Elimination Chamber is tomorrow, so I need to go.” Stratton tried to leave, so Morgan brought her back to ringside and Morgan sent Stratton into the steel steps. Stratton sent Morgan into the turnbuckle followed by a discus clothesline. Morgan hit the backstabber double knees for a two count. Morgan charged right into a boot by Stratton, who followed up with a double foot stomp for two. Stratton hit a running splash against the turnbuckle, but Morgan came back with a Crucifix Driver for two. Stratton bailed to the floor as the show went to break.


Stratton remained in control with a forearm to the head. Morgan got some offense going with two running shoulder tackles and an enziguri kick. Morgan hit a running knee lift to the head followed by a double knee attack off the middle ropes for a two count. Stratton came back wit ha spinebuster for two. Stratton went for the moonsault off the top, but Morgan avoided it and Morgan hit a neckbreaker for two. The audio mixing is weird since it’s a taped show. Stratton came back with an Alabama Slam for two. Stratton set up for the moonsault, but Morgan stopped that leading to Morgan hitting a Powerbomb off the turnbuckle for a two count. Stratton left the ring where Belair was and Stratton sent Morgan into the commentary table. Stratton slapped Belair in the face. Belair on the apron, the referee was looking at her, Morgan tried a pina and Stratton kicked out. Stratton’s kickout sent Morgan into Belair on the apron so Belair bumped to the floor. Stratton did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! pin for the win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: *** Good match. I’m not surprised that Stratton is doing well on the main roster because she improved a lot in her last year in NXT and she’s going to make the most of the time she is given. Morgan is always fun to watch as a resilient babyface that knows how to have an entertaining comeback. I’m not a huge fan of the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish, but I get why they did it to give Stratton a crafty win while using Belair’s bump as part of it.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. Drew put over how big Elimination Chamber is to him. Drew said if he loses at Elimination Chamber then his entire career is about as useless as CM Punk’s return to WWE. Bobby Lashley interrupted to remark about Drew mocking Punk. Lashley also reminded Drew that he beat him at WrestleMania 37, which led to Drew looking mad. Lashley walked away laughing while Drew had an angry look on his face.

A commercial aired for Elimination Chamber promoting the Rhea Ripley-Nia Jax match.


There was a video featuring Ashante “Thee” Adonis and his new tag team partner Cedric Alexander. Adonis mocked Alexander’s clothes choices. When Alexander had brown gear, Adonis didn’t like that. Alexander was wearing leather pants, a vest and some shades, which Adonis liked. Alexander didn’t seem to like it.

Analysis: It’s a way to try to build up a new tag team. I wish Alexander and Adonis the best with it, but I’m not sure if vignettes where they decide on clothes will work that well.

A Progressive Match Flo replay video was shown. They showed Raw highlights when The Bloodline’s Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso cost Cody Rhodes his match against Drew McIntyre. Later that night, Jimmy Uso cost brother Jey Uso his match against Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER for the IC Title. Gunther won. Jimmy beat up Jey after the match.

The Bloodline was shown in the dressing room where Jimmy Uso was talking to Roman Reigns while Solo Sikoa stood in the background. Jimmy bragged about how he beat up Jey. Reigns asked who told him to that, Jimmy claimed Paul Heyman did and Reigns said it was actually himself (Reigns) who did it. Reigns refused to slap hands with Jimmy. Paul Heyman mentioned Grayson Waller, so Reigns told Paul to bring him in.

Analysis: I think Jimmy Uso is hilarious with his enthusiasm while Reigns is a total jerk to him. It makes me laugh.

Bron Breakker was shown getting ready for his Smackdown debut up next.


They showed some WWE superstars arriving in Perth, Australia earlier in the week.

Bron Breakker vs. Dante Chen

Bron lifted up Chen for a slam, Chen got a kick and Bron hit a shoulder tackle. Bron ran the ropes leading to a clothesline. Chen hit Bron with a forearm to the face, but when Chen tried a leap off the ropes, Bron caught him leading to a powerslam. Bron hit the Spear for the pinfall win in under two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bron Breakker

Analysis: * A squash win for Bron Breakker as expected. The clothesline featured Bron running the ropes very quickly while the Spear showed off his explosiveness. I’m interested to see how well Bron does on the main roster.

The Judgment Day’s WWE Tag Team Champions Damian Priest & Finn Balor were interviewed by Kayla Braxton along with their buddies Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh. Balor & Priest talked about how Bate & Dunne didn’t have a chance against them.

Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh of The Judgment Day entered for tag team action.


The LWO’s Joaquin Wilde & Cruz Del Toro were talking backstage when Cruz said they needed to take care of Legado. Elektra Lopez walked up to them saying that the LWO was dead while mentioning Rey Mysterio wasn’t around. Lopez said that maybe next time, their loyalty will be better. Angel & Humberto beat up Wilde & Cruz and held them in place. Santos Escobar said that they abandoned him, so this is the price to pay. Escobar said that this is only the beginning. Some help arrived including Carlito & Zelina Vega, which led to Legado leaving.

Analysis: That feud keeps going. Rey Mysterio should be back soon, so we’ll see where it goes after his return.

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

It started with JD hitting a shoulder tackle knockdown. Bate used his legs to send JD out of the ring. Back in the ring, Bate hit a monkey flip on JD. Dunne tagged in for a double team back body drop on JD. Bate was back in with a senton splash onto JD. Bate punched Dominik down, so JD did a hair pull to get control for the heels as Dominik tagged in with his version of a senton. Bate tossed JD out of the ring and Bate hit Dominik with uppercuts. Dunne tagged in with a forearm smash, a double knee attack on the left arm and Dunne wrenched on the arm. Dunne stomped on Dominik’s leg. Dunne & Bate stomped on Dominik’s elbows at the same time. Bate ran the ropes, JD pulled the ropes down and Bate bumped to the floor. JD kicked Bate on the floor as the show went to break.


The J-Day guys were in control of Bate with some quick tags. Dominik hit two vertical suplex on Bate, but Bate stopped a third suplex leading to Bate hitting his own suplex. Dunne tagged in with multiple kicks, a German Suplex to JD and Butch stomped on JD’s hands. Dunne hit a suplex into a slam for two. Bate tagged in as they attempted a double team move, but Dominik saved JD, so Dunne & Bate beat up Dom with punches. Bate did an airplane spin to Dom and tossed Dom out of the ring. JD tried a pin on Bate, but it only got a two count. Bate did an airplane spin into a slam on JD. Dunne tagged in leading to a double team jumping kick. Dunne hit a German Suplex after a Bate clothesline and that got a two count as Dom made the save. Dunne clotheslined Dom out of the ring. Dunne got a sunset flip pin for two. Dunne delivered some strikes to JD and JD came back with a standing Spanish Fly for two. JD went for a moonsault, but Dunne got his knees up. Dominik hit a 619 kick on Dunne that the referee didn’t see, so Bate punched Dominik off the apron. Dunne snapped JD’s fingers and Bate/Dunne hit their double team Tyler Driver for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good tag team match. They got plenty of the time and the right team got the clean win. That’s how you have an entertaining match without having random people going into the ring at all times. Dunne & Bate continue their winning ways while Dom & JD rarely win.

After the match, WWE Tag Team Champions Finn Balor & Damian Priest went to ringside. Bate punched Balor off the apron. Priest tried to slam both guys, but Dunne & Bate knocked Priest off the apron. Balor & Priest went into the ring, so Dunne & Bate left the ring. Dunne & Bate knocked down JD & Dominik in the aisle. That was it.

Analysis: I’m going with the champs retaining at Elimination Chamber, but I do like Bate & Dunne a lot.

A video package aired about the Men’s Elimination Chamber match. There were comments shown from Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley, US Champion Logan Paul, LA Knight and Randy Orton. Who will stand tall? Find out at Elimination Chamber.

They showed Grayson Waller, Austin Theory and US Champion Logan Paul talking backstage. They were all fans of eachother. Kevin Owens walked up to them saying he felt grossed out just standing next to them. Owens trash-talked Paul a bit and left. Paul Heyman walked up to Waller and said that the Tribal Chief wanted to see him. They left.

The Street Profits entered for tag team action joined Bobby Lashley & B-Fab. There’s a tag team match up next.


Dakota Kai was shown backstage limping with a referee and SD GM Nick Aldis helping her. Barrett said they didn’t know what happened as Kai was taken into the WWE Medical room.

Authors of Pain – Akam & Rezar (w/Karrion Kross, Scarlett & Paul Ellering) vs. The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins (w/Bobby Lashley & B-Fab)

Ford hit dropkicks on both opponents, but Rezar came back with an elbow smash. Dawkins tagged in with a dropkick, shoulder tackle and a flip by Ford onto Rezar. Akam got the tag leading to punches on Dawkins. Dawkins managed to send both opponents out of the ring. Dawkins hit an impressive somersault over the top onto both AOP guys on the floor.


AOP was in control with Rezar gently applying a headlock on Ford. Akam tagged in after a knee smash from Rezar for a two count. Rezar nailed Ford with a forearm to the head along with an elbow. Ford broke free after a front facelock, but Rezar avoided a dropkick. Ford sent Rezar shoulder-first into the ring post. Dawkins tagged in against Akam with clotheslines along with a leaping back elbow. Dawkins hit a corner splash, jumping kick and a double underhook slam for two. Akam nailed Dawkins with a boot to the head. Rezar tagged in for the double team/clothesline double team move, but Ford made the save. Akam sent Ford over the top to the floor. Dawkins fought off a double team move with a punch to the jaw. Ford tagged in leading to a Super Blockbuster move for two because Rezar broke up the pin attempt. Dawkins clotheslined Rezar over the top to the floor. Ford hit an enziguri kick on Rezar. Scarlett distracted the referee, so Kross shoved Ford off the top rope. B-Fab tripped up Scarlett on the floor. Lashley went after Kross on the floor. Kross rammed Lashley’s right arm against the ring post. Kross used a steel chair to hit Lashley’s right arm against the ring post. Akam kicked Ford in the head. AOP hit their double team suplex/Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Authors of Pain – Akam & Rezar

Analysis: **1/2 This was just an average match. The AOP guys are all about the power game and aren’t that exciting to watch, but I get why they wrestle in the style that they do. The chaos at ringside felt like it took over the match with Kross doing the chair attack to Lashley, so that took away from the match a bit although it did further the story between the two groups.

Dakota Kai was shown in the WWE Trainer’s room when Nick Aldis and a trainer checked on her. Bayley walked in while the guys left. Kai claimed that Damage CTRL jumped her in the locker room. Bayley said it’s because of her and Kai said it was not Bayley’s fault. Kai said she let Bayley down. Bayley said that DC won’t get away with this. Kai said she’s got Bayley’s back. Kai said if she had to earn Bayley’s trust back then so be it. Kai said they would make them pay.

Analysis: We never saw Damage CTRL beat up Dakota Kai, so it’s a case of Bayley trusting her friend. I think Kai is bullshitting here, so I expect Kai to attack Bayley from behind soon. I could be wrong on that. It’s just a feeling I have.


There were highlights of Rhea Ripley and Nia Jax having a confrontation at the Elimination Chamber press event.

The Bloodline was shown in the locker room as Paul Heyman brought Grayson Waller into the room. Waller sat where Jimmy was sitting because Reigns made Waller move. Roman Reigns wanted to tell Waller something for his ears only. The camera cut away at that point.

Analysis: Nice tease. They didn’t give anything away there.

There was a rundown of the Elimination Chamber card.

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

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

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane vs. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (KICKOFF)

* 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. Raquel Rodriguez

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

It was main event time as LA Knight made his entrance to a big pop.


* Bayley & Dakota Kai vs. The Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane

* Carlito vs. Santos Escobar in a Street Fight

As I mentioned in the opening of this review, The Rock is back next week too. They didn’t edit that into the show, but it’s all over WWE social media channels.

Bobby Lashley was shown in the trainer’s room with his right arm taped up. The trainer wanted to put ice on it, but Lashley turned that down. Drew McIntyre walked up to Lashley saying he would pray for him, which is a reference to Drew saying he prayed when CM Punk got hurt.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event. Logan Paul arrived with the US Title and he joined commentary for the match.

LA Knight vs. Drew McIntyre

Knight hit a boot to the face followed by a neckbreaker along with kicks while Drew was against the turnbuckle. Drew tried a lift, Knight got out of it and Drew hit the Glasgow Kiss headbutt. They left the ring where Knight jumped off the apron with a clothesline on Drew on the floor. Drew came back with a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on the floor. Kevin Owens arrived at ringside and sat down on commentary to join commentary for this match. Drew gave Knight a catapult into the steel beam under the ring.


Drew got some offense going after a jumping kick to the ribs. Drew hit some chops, Knight hit a chop and Drew suplexed Knight across the ring. Drew worked over Knight with chops, Drew charged and Knight got his feet up to knock Drew down. Knight hit an atomic drop followed by a running clothesline and a DDT for two. Drew nailed Knight with a forearm to the back. Drew went up top, Knight jumped up top and Knight hit a superplex for two. Drew got out of a move leading to a Future Shock DDT. Drew went for a Claymore Kick, but Knight moved out of the way. Knight pulled Drew out of the ring for some head ramming into the commentary table so the fans can chant “YES” to that. Drew punched Knight and then Drew tossed Knight into Owens on the floor. Owens punched Drew, so there’s the DQ finish after 11 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: *** They were well on their way to something decent there, but the DQ finish isn’t a surprise because WWE wants to keep both guys strong. No reason for Knight or McIntyre to lose a match like this, so that’s why they booked the cheap finish here.

After the match, the fight continued as Knight hit Drew with a BFT in the ring and Paul was fighting with Owens. Lashley went into the ring and hit Knight with a Spear. Paul hit Lashley in the right arm where the injured elbow was. Owens hit a Stunner on Paul and Lashley hit a Spear on Owens. As Lashley celebrated, Drew hit Lashley with a Claymore Kick. While Drew was in the ring, Randy Orton went into the ring and Orton dropped Drew with an RKO. Randy Orton celebrated on the turnbuckles. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: That ending is exactly the kind of thing that they usually do right before a big PLE with a multi-man match. That RKO is beloved by the fans, that’s for sure.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Tiffany Stratton
  2. Drew McIntyre/LA Knight
  3. Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate


The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 7.5

2024 Average: 7.34


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

I’ll be brief here due to needing to get up early tomorrow to watch Elimination Chamber. It was an entertaining show most of the way although there wasn’t anything that big. Match quality okay with a few of them getting plenty of time. Big wins for heels like Tiffany Stratton and AOP while Bron Breakker and Dunne/Bate got wins too. The main event with a non-finish was expected. The post match brawl was good and typical of what we see this time of year.

The taped shows don’t sound as good as the live shows since they edit in fake noise random crowd shots that feel unnatural.

There was nothing that felt must see or that important, but they did build to Elimination Chamber well, so I’ll give them that much.

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

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

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

* Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi vs. Raquel Rodriguez

* 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

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane vs. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (KICKOFF)

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