The John Report: WWE SmackDown 03/08/24 Review

wwe smackdown march 8

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins heading to the blue brand to respond to The Rock & Roman Reigns issuing a WrestleMania 40 tag team match challenge.

It was last week on Smackdown when The Rock pitched the tag team match for WrestleMania 40. This is the second week in a row where Rock is on the show and he’ll be there next week too.

From the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, this is Smackdown for episode #1281. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a brief recap of The Rock and Roman Reigns promo from last week.

The Rock was shown arriving earlier in the day in a brown truck. The Rock was alone when he arrived. There was security with him. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown walking around backstage earlier in the day. There was security there too. Cody Rhodes and Seth “Freakin” Rollins were shown earlier in the day where they saw Smackdown GM Nick Aldis and security was with them too.

Analysis: They love showing the arrivals. As I’ve said in the past, it’s similar to what you see in other sports like the NFL and NBA where arrivals are shown on the broadcast or social media.

It was Corey Graves and Wade Barrett on the commentary as the regular Smackdown team.

Let’s Hear from Logan Paul

Logan Paul was in the ring wearing black dress clothes and the US Title on his shoulder. Paul said Dallas is where he had his first WrestleMania match two years ago. The fans tried to “WHAT” him and Paul said he’s not doing it. Paul said he joined WWE to take over. Paul claimed the best rookie year of all time (I’ll go with Kurt Angle), US Champion and the most viral athlete. Paul said he’s successful. Paul said he’s not talking about all of his success on YouTube or in boxing or in his five star wrestling matches. Paul said ever since he’s been in WWE, he claims it’s the highest viewership, every PLE sold out and Paul said he is the secret sauce. Paul said that business is booming. Paul added that WWE is in its Prime. Paul presented Dallas with a surprise and it was the Prime logo in the ring. Paul said that his company Prime is the first in-ring sponsor of WWE starting at WrestleMania and every PLE from now on. Paul introduced England’s finest and his partner in crime, KSI.

KSI went into the ring to join Logan Paul and their Prime logo in the ring. Paul and KSI posed for a photo in the ring when Randy Orton’s music played for the interruption.

Randy Orton emerged from under the ring, he went for a RKO on Paul, but Paul slipped out of the way. KSI remained in the ring and Orton dropped KSI with an RKO. Orton put KSI on the Prime logo in the middle of the ring while crowd chanted “Randy” for Orton. Randy said the Prime drink was very good and poured it on KSI’s groin area along with the rest of his body. Nice.

Analysis: Congratulations to Logan Paul and his Prime company for the WWE ring sponsorship. I believe they have a deal with UFC, so it’s not major surprise since WWE and UFC are part of the TKO Group owned by Endeavor. I think Logan said “big business” during the promo too so that’s a reference to next week’s AEW show too. Anyway, good stuff from Randy Orton shutting up Paul and KSI easily there.

This Monday on Raw: The 6-Man Gauntlet match (Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable vs. Bronson Reed vs. Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. JD McDonagh) for a shot at the Intercontinental Title and Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan.


There was a video from social media earlier today with Triple H thanking WWE fans for 100 million subscribers on the WWE YouTube channel. They do a great job on the channel and that’s an impressive number. Only ten accounts have reached 100 million subscribers, so that’s great for the company.

Kevin Owens & Randy Orton vs. Austin Theory & Grayson Waller

The Prime logo that was in the ring is no longer there now. It’s for PLE’s as Paul said. Owens got an arm drag on Theory followed by a back elbow and a senton splash. Orton worked over Waller with punches along with a punch for Theory on the apron too. Waller hit a forearm to the back leading to Theory tagging in and Orton stopped that with an uppercut to Theory. Owens tagged in with clotheslines to Theory, but Theory came back with a rolling dropkick. Waller tagged in with a slide out of the ring followed by a clothesline on Owens on the floor. That led to a break.


Owens was still in the ring for his team, but he brought in Orton and Orton hit a powerslam on Waller. Theory reached into the ring to grab Orton and Waller hit a necksnap on the ropes on Orton. Owens dove onto Theory on the floor. Waller sent Owens into the barricade. Orton hit the draping DDT off the ropes. Theory was on the apron, Orton went after him and Waller got a rollup for two. Waller punched Orton in the jaw. Owens was back in illegally with a Stunner on Waller and Owens launched Theory into the air leading to Orton hitting a popup RKO on Theory for the pinfall win. I believe that Waller was the legal man, so the wrong guy took the pin, but it was a great move. It went 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton & Kevin Owens

Analysis: *** A solid tag team match with the obvious result since the babyfaces are much bigger stars than the heels. I don’t think Theory made the tag, so they pinned the wrong guy. If so, that’s rare in WWE because they usually don’t make those kinds of mistakes. Anyway, I loved the finish with Owens launching Theory for the Popup RKO by Theory. That looked amazing and it worked perfectly.

After the match, Logan Paul attacked Orton and Owens from behind with a double clothesline to the back. Paul tried using the brass knuckles to attack again, but Orton avoided them. Orton tried punching Paul with the brass knuckles, Paul was able to get away and Orton nearly punched Owens, except Orton stopped himself. Paul left with Theory and Waller.

Analysis: I thought that WrestleMania 40 might be a Logan Paul-Randy Orton singles match, but maybe Kevin Owens will be part of it as a triple threat match. I’m not sure what else Owens would be doing, so it could be what they go with.

There was a shot of the Cody Rhodes-Seth Rollins dressing room where eight security guards were standing outside.


A replay was shown of last week’s Smackdown when Dakota Kai turned on Bayley to remain with Damage CTRL. Bayley tried to fight the four women by herself, but it didn’t happen and Bayley got beat up by WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY and friends.

Bayley Interview

Bayley did a sitdown interview with Kayla Braxton backstage. Bayley said she never imagined that it would get to this point. Bayley wondered what was real, did they believe in her or did they just use her? Bayley said that Dakota used their history against Bayley and Bayley fell for it. Kayla asked if Bayley thought she had it coming. Bayley admitted she was trying to get to the top, but she did those things for IYO and Dakota while saying she didn’t care about who she hurt. Bayley said it all backfired and she’s all alone. Bayley said she’s more focused now while saying Damage CTRL underestimated her. Bayley said she can adapt, so she’ll do everything in her soul to break them.

Analysis: It was fine for a short interview that covered the story well. Bayley beating Sky at WrestleMania 40 seems very likely. It is one of those title changes that absolutely should happen.

Naomi was watching on a TV backstage while Bianca Belair walked up saying that Bayley did this to herself. Belair said that she doesn’t feel bad because Bayley put Belair in this position for the last two years. Naomi talked about having friends in the past and knowing what it’s like when it falls apart. Belair said that Naomi didn’t see the mess that Bayley created because Naomi was gone. Belair said that Bayley had to lie in the bed she made. Belair left while Naomi was left to think about it.

Analysis: That makes it seem like Naomi will become an ally of Bayley while Belair is hesitant about it. Belair beat Bayley many times in the last two years so she’s right to not want to trust her and she was right in the things she said, but I can see this leading to Belair eventually trusting and accepting Bayley. It’s like the Jey Uso story that was on Raw after he left The Bloodline. In this case it’s the new babyface Bayley trying to earn the trust of the babyface girls and she will do that.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance for singles action. Mike Rome announced him from Dallas, Texas even though I’m pretty sure he’s from Colorado, so I’m not sure what that was about. Anyway, Lashley’s match against Karrion Kross was next.


The Bloodline locker room was shown several security guys (indy wrestlers) in front of the door. I’m sure those 5’6” guys in the front will be effective security guys. Now that’s sarcasm.

Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett)

Lashley nailed Kross with a forearm to the back followed by a running clothesline. Lashley charged, Kross got a boot up and Kross hit a suplex. Lashley hit a belly-to-belly overhead suplex followed by a clothesline sending Kross over the top to the floor. Lashley tried to send Kross into the ring post, but Scarlett was standing in front of the ring post. Kross nailed Lashley with a forearm followed by Kross sending Lashley hard into the ring post. They went to break there.


Kross was in full control with an overhead suplex. Lashley tried to fight back, but Kross clotheslined Lashley out of the ring. Kross charged at Bobby on the floor, but Lashley knocked him down with a clothesline. Lashley rammed Kross into the ring post. Lashley charged, Kross avoided it and Kross sent Lashley into the turnbuckle. Kross hit a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Lashley caught a charging Kross and nailed a spinebuster. The Authors of Pain went into the ring and attacked Lashley for the DQ finish. It went eight minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match with Kross on offense for most of it, Lashley looked like he was going to make the comeback and get the win, but AOP interrupted for the DQ. That wasn’t a shocking finish considering these guys are part of feuding groups that have had issues for several weeks.

After the match, The Street Profits ran down to the ring for the save for Lashley. Dawkins knocked Rezar out of the ring while Ford dropkicked Akam out of the ring. Ford jumped onto AOP, who caught Ford and Dawkins jumped onto the pile. Lashley hit Kross with a flatliner in the ring. Scarlett went into the ring so B-Fab nailed Scarlett with a slap to the face. Lashley put Kross in the Hurt Lock briefly when AOP were back and stopped that. AOP sent The Street Profits out of the ring. Kross hit Lashley with a slam off the shoulders called the Final Prayer. Kross posed with his Final Testament group joined by Paul Ellering in the aisle.

Analysis: I hope this feud leads to a WrestleMania event for the six guys because this has been a long rivalry. It should be settled there.

There was a recap of Rey Mysterio returning last week to rejoin LWO and fight with Legado del Fantasma.

Dragon Lee was backstage on the phone when Legado del Fantasma went up to him for some trash talk. Santos Escobar said that Rey Mysterio and the LWO is in the past, dead and gone. Escobar said that Legado is the present and the future while Dragon is nothing. Angelo shoved Dragon down and said he’ll see him out there.

It’s Tiffy Time because Tiffany Stratton made her entrance. Her old theme song was better than the current song she has. A Stratton match against Michin was next.

A commercial aired for the WWE 2K24 video game. It’s out now. I’m not a gamer for over a decade, but the reviews for it were strong so that’s great to see.


A graphic was shown for the WWE Hall of Famers announced this week: Paul Heyman, Bull Nakano and US Express (Mike Rotunda & Barry Windham). Congratulations to all of them.

Tiffany Stratton vs. Michin

Stratton did a hair pull takedown, but then Michin came back with a chop. Stratton sent Michin face first into the turnbuckle. Stratton hit an impressive handspring back elbow followed by a running double foot stomp to the chest. Stratton hit a belly-to-back suplex for two. Stratton hit a running back splash onto Michin’s back. Michin came back with a vertical suplex. Michin teased a Styles Clash, yelled “Too Sweet” and Stratton hit an Alabama Slam. Stratton hit the Prettiest Moonsault Ever (triple jump moonsault) for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Tiffy Time. It looked like Tiffany had to do the first jump again after a bit of a slip, but she did it properly after that.

AJ Styles did a pre-tape promo in some darkened stairwell or something like that. Styles said this was for LA Knight and anybody else who wondered whey he flew halfway across the world to attack LA Knight at Elimination Chamber. Styles spoke about his issues with LA Knight saying he didn’t like how Knight acted like he owned the place. Styles said that Knight is an overachieving, under talented, loudmouth in need of a humbling and Styles is a phenomenal choice for the job.

LA Knight was shown watching on a TV backstage. Knight smashed the TV and threw it down onto the cement. Knight used a steel chair to attack the TV.

Analysis: The Styles-Knight match seems like a lock for WrestleMania. It should be good and I like the story of Styles going heel because he’s jealous of Knight as a popular face.

Legado Del Fantasma’s Santos Escobar, Humberto, Angel & Elektra Lopez made their entrance. Angel was in singles action after a break.


There was yet another shot of The Bloodline’s locker room where security was standing outside the room.

Tyler Bate was shown playing the WWE 2K24 when Pete Dunne walked up to him. Bate talked about how great the game is while Dunne said nothing. Bate said he’ll talk to Nick Aldis for an update on the tag team title situation. Bate left while Dunne played the video game.

Angel (w/Santos Escobar, Humberto & Elektra Lopez) vs. Dragon Lee

Lee was on fire to start the match by sending Garza into the turnbuckle and Lee hit a running dropkick on Lee. Angel did a leapfrog move and was selling a right knee injury, but it was a dirty trick by Angel, who hit a running dropkick. Angel hit a running knee attack that knocked Lee off the apron to the floor.


The match continued with Lee powering up Angel and hitting a sitout Powerbomb. There was a bit of a problem with the lift, but they got through it. Lee hit two forearms, then a superkick and an enziguri kick. Lee went up top, Angel stopped him there and Lee trapped Angel upside down leading to Lee hitting a double foot stomp. Angel was on the floor, so Lee hit a somersault dive over the top onto Angel & Humberto. Lee charged at Angel, who hit a superkick. Lee countered an Angel move with a hurricanrana into a pin for the win. It went about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dragon Lee

Analysis: **3/4 An easy win for Lee, who gets a mild push in singles while Angel is a tag team wrestler so you know he’s going to lose a match like that. Nice hurricanrana by Lee for the win.

After the match, Legado attacked Lee with punches and kicks. Barrett said that LWO wasn’t there to help Lee this week. Legado hit a triple Powerbomb on Lee and posed over Lee.

Analysis: It gets some heat on the Legado guys for the cheap attack. Lee is friends with LWO, but might not officially be in the group. Anyway, I assume Rey Mysterio was off because his son Dominik got married yesterday.

Damage CTRL’s Dakota Kai, WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY, Asuka and Kairi Sane were featured in a backstage pre-tape promo. Kai said she was always the brains. Sky said it was always IYO’s Era. Kai said she’ll see Bayley in the ring next week.

Analysis: That’s a good match for next week with Bayley facing her former friend Kai. Bayley should win, but there might be a DQ finish.

Nick Aldis, the Smackdown GM, went into the Cody Rhodes-Seth Rollins dressing room, opened the door and said they weren’t in there. Nick asked a security guard where they were, he had no idea, so Nick left with the security guys joining him.


Next Friday on Smackdown in Memphis:

* Bayley vs. Dakota Kai

* Rey Mysterio returns. That’s all they advertised.

Let’s Hear from The Bloodline Including The Rock & Roman Reigns

The Bloodline’s Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and “Wise Man” Paul Heyman made their entrance for the main event promo segment. Reigns has been Undisputed WWE Universal champion for 1,286 days. At WrestleMania 40 Sunday, Reigns will defend his WWE Championship against Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes. When Reigns and the group got into the ring, the lights went out for The Rock’s entrance.

The Rock made his entrance wearing a colorful vest. There was a HUGE reaction to The Rock with a mix of cheering and booing. The start of The Rock’s entrance featured lighting bolts on the screens because he’s the Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment. The Rock took his time walking down to the ring to join The Bloodline in the ring. After The Rock’s music played, there were some “Rocky” chants.

Reigns: “Dallas, Texas…greatness stands before you now.” Reigns extended his hand toward The Rock and The Rock shook the hand leading to an embrace. The fans booed that. Reigns: “Acknowledge us.” Interruption time.

Cody Rhodes made his entrance as his music played and the fans sang “Kingdom” but there was no sign of Cody in the entrance area. Cody made his entrance by walking down the aisle in the crowd. Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion, was walking down the steps also. They went to break there.

Analysis: It was a good way to build to the final ten minutes of the show after the break. I know fans don’t like commercials before a promo segment in the main event, but they did it the right way this time.


Let’s Hear from The Rock, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins

The show returned with Cody Rhodes and Seth “Freakin” Rollins on the ring apron. The security guys along with Smackdown GM Nick Aldis were on the floor. The rest of The Bloodline were on the floor too. Rollins was wearing a ridiculously oversized coat. The fans were singing Seth’s song as all four guys stood in the ring.

Cody said he knows it’s a little tense because there’s a lot of bad blood. Cody said he felt very lucky to be standing in this ring. Cody said they should take a moment to feel this in a sold out Dallas, Texas (cheap pop). The fans cheered. Cody told Rock he heard his challenge and he heard the stipulations for the tag team match at WrestleMania. Cody wondered if The Rock had the authority to make that stipulation. Cody said that last week, Rock acknowledged Roman as your Tribal Chief. Cody said if you wanted an answer, here’s their answer.

The Rock told Cody to shut his mouth. Rock called Rollins a walking clown show and told him to shut his mouth before he even starts talking. Rock said he wanted to drop some gospel on Cody’s ass. Rock said that he acknowledged Roman as Tribal Chief because it’s what family does – it’s what they do. Rock said if Cody & Seth beat Rock & Reigns on Night 1 then Night 2, Cody will be free of The Bloodline. Rock told Cody he would be free to achieve that story and the dream of your dad. The fans chanted “Diarrhea” at Rock based on the Rollins promo from Monday’s Raw, so Rollins laughed about it. Rock said when Reigns & Rock beat Cody & Seth on Night 1, it’s Bloodline Rules meaning anything goes, which means Rock will do everything in his power to make that Cody doesn’t walk out as Universal Champion.

Rollins yelled at Rock to shut the hell up. Rollins said they knew the stakes and he claimed the future of the industry is on the line. Rollins told Rock that he was “Mr. Mid-Life Crisis” and told Rock that he had his time, but you can’t have their time. Rollins said that the biggest tag team match of all-time: “We accept.”

Reigns mocked Cody for letting Rollins answer for him. Reigns told Cody he must be an idiot from Texas. Reigns called Seth a cross dresser. Reigns said when he beats Cody on WrestleMania, Cody doesn’t get another shot and his story is over. Rock called Rollins a “walking clown emoji, piece of s**t” and Rock said that he’s going to make sure Cody doesn’t win and that Rollins loses that title. Rock said he’s on the TKO Board of Directors so he is both of their bosses. Rock told Cody if he doesn’t win then he’ll never, ever get another shot at this again. Rock told them that Rock & Reigns are family. Rock said that their grandparents are looking down and they are proud. Rock said that Cody’s dad is one of Rock’s heroes. Rock said that Cody is the youngest in his family, his sister was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Cody’s brother is a future Hall of Famer and Rock said that Cody is 20 years younger than his siblings and you know why…because Cody was a mistake. Cody responded to that with a slap to The Rock’s face, which staggered The Rock back and he was selling it. It was 9:59 p.m. ET so the show ended there.

Analysis: It would have been nice if they had a few more minutes there, but on Smackdown they end right before the 10 p.m. ET hour so they had to end it there. I would have liked more time for everybody to speak because they all could have some more points although all four guys speaking was good and they managed to get the key points in there. I was surprised that the “Diarrhea” chant happened based off the Rollins promo from Raw. I also thought that it was interesting how Rollins was the one to officially accept the math while Reigns mocked Cody for that, which could lead to some sort of story in the weeks leading up to the tag team match.

As for an early prediction a month out, I’m probably leading toward Rock & Reigns winning the tag team match. However, I think even with Bloodline Rules for the Cody-Reigns match, there’s going to be a lot of interference and then maybe something where Rock accidentally hits Reigns, which leads to Cody beating Reigns to win. That’s kind of where I’m leaning at this point. Anyway, we have a full month to get there.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Rock & Roman Reigns
  2. Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins
  3. Kevin Owens & Randy Orton


The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 7.75

2024 Average: 7.39


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

It was a good episode, but I wouldn’t say great. The last 20 minutes were dedicated to The Bloodline story with Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins. Great promo work from the Rock, Reigns, Cody & Seth. Cody spoke first, Rock cut him off, Rollins cut Rock off and then Reigns mocked Rollins for his outfits among other things. The final insult from Rock to Cody led to Cody slapping Rock in the face as payback for Rock doing it to Cody last month. That’s the kind of thing that will endear Cody to the fans even more because he stood up to Rock and that’s what we want to see from our babyfaces.

When it comes to in-ring action, there wasn’t that much to get excited about. Kevin Owens & Randy Orton beating Austin Theory & Grayson Waller was a very predictable match that had a very good finish. Tiffany Stratton got another easy win. Dragon Lee beat Angel in a decent and then got his ass kicked by Legado right after. The Bobby Lashley-Karrion Kross match had a DQ finish, so that should lead to a six-man tag and maybe that’ll be a WrestleMania 40 match.

There was also a segment where AJ Styles talked trash about LA Knight so that’s a likely WrestleMania match too. Bayley’s interview about her issues was well done to progress her story with IYO SKY. That Bloodline segment with Rollins/Rhodes took a lot of time, but there was still plenty of good stuff in terms of advancing WrestleMania stories.

The next WWE PLE is WrestleMania 40 from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on April 6th and April 7th.

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes (SUNDAY)

* The Rock & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Seth “Freakin” Rollins (SATURDAY)

* WWE Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Becky Lynch

* WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (SUNDAY)

* WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY (c) vs. Bayley

You can watch WrestleMania 40 on April 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, streaming LIVE on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else


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

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport