The John Report: WWE SmackDown 03/15/24 Review

WWE Smackdown March 15

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured The Rock doing a concert, a returning Rey Mysterio, Bayley in action against Dakota Kai, and more.

It’s the third straight week of Smackdown where the show is sold out featuring an appearance from The Rock. On last week’s show, Cody Rhodes & Seth “Freakin” Rollins accepted the WrestleMania 40 challenge for a match against The Rock & Roman Reigns. The show ended with Cody slapping The Rock in the face for payback from when The Rock did that to Cody at the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Event last month. It was also because Rock called Cody a mistake, so there was that too.

From the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, this is Smackdown for episode #1282. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a recap of last week’s Smackdown main event segment that ended with Cody Rhodes slapping The Rock in the face.

Let’s Hear from The Rock Including A Rock Concert

The Rock made his electrifying entrance to a huge reaction from the crowd since his presence certainly led to yet another Smackdown sellout this week. The Rock was wearing a white vest along with glasses. There were a lot of “Rocky” chants before he spoke.

The Rock said usually he torches and scorches every city that he’s in, but tonight it’s different. Rock said Memphis is different. Rock spoke about how years ago, when he started his wrestling career he started right here in Memphis, Tennessee. Rock said every Saturday morning on Channel 5 and every Monday night at the Big Top Flea Market. Rock mentioned his name Flex Kavana. Rock: “Finally The Rock has come back…home.”

The Rock began his Rock Concert while pointing out two musicians who were standing on the commentary table. A lady shouted she loved Rock, so Rock said she sounded like somebody he could love since she sounded drunk and horny.

The Rock sang a song about what’s going to happen at WrestleMania 40 against Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins. The Rock sang about beating them both up while mentioning his classic fanny pack. The Rock sang a story about how Cody Rhodes was born and said Cody turned out too weird, which led to a Stardust photo. Rock sang about how Dusty found out drugs and cheap condoms were wrong. Rock called Cody a mistake again.

The Rock trashed Seth Rollins by saying that his wife (Becky Lynch) was more popular than him and Rock would make Seth’s title disappear. Rock also took a shot at Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant for his suspension with a gun last year, so the fans booed that. Rock sang about the Cody Crybabies saying that some of you have sex, but you have to pay cash. Rock sang about Cody needing stitches, so Rock trashed the crybaby bitches again. Rock said that they were going to kiss the ass of the Final Boss, which is Rock’s nickname for himself. The fans chanted “Rocky” after that.

Analysis: I thought the Rock Concert was done well. Very entertaining with some great lines. The musicians being on the table helped because it added some rhythm to it. Some of the dialogue was silly from Rock, but it really wasn’t that bad. It looked like Rock had a lot of fun doing it too.

That was all for the singing as The Rock asked Memphis if they liked it and the fans cheered. The Rock reminded us of Cody Rhodes slapping him in the face last week while admitting that he certainly felt it. The Rock said that the world was going to see how Cody was going to respond to that moment. They showed a clip of Cody saying he could hand the WWE Title to his mother Michelle because his father Dusty Rhodes isn’t here anymore. Rock mocked Cody for crying and said “you’ve gotta be sh**ting me.” Rock said that he wanted to talk to Cody’s mama. Rock said that Mama Rhodes will know The Rock. The Rock said that he’ll make Cody pay, he’ll make the family pay and make her pay. The Rock said that he and Roman Reigns will beat Cody & Seth, so that means Bloodline Rules on Night Two. Rock said that the belt would stay around the waist of his cousin Roman Reigns. Rock said Mama Rhodes would get The Rock’s belt and it was Rock’s weightlifting belt. Rock said he was going to beat the piss out of Cody, he’s going to make Cody bleed, tear his flesh and whoop him like a dog. Rock said that Cody’s blood will be on that belt. Rock said when he’s done whooping Cody and Roman is done beating Cody, Rock will walk over to Cody’s mom in the first row and put it in her lap. Rock said she’ll be crying just like Cody and that’s okay. Rock said he’s going to say: “Michelle, what can I say except you’re welcome.” That’s a line from Rock’s movie Moana. There were “Rocky” chants. Rock: “If you smell what The Final Boss is cooking.” The Rock said that as a statement and not with the charisma he usually has. It was 8:23 p.m. ET when the promo ended.

Analysis: There was a lot to take in there. I enjoyed it immensely. I’m not sure if every viewer did but it was fun to me. The fans were strongly behind The Rock even though he said he was going to whip a man with a belt and hand it to that man’s mother, which sounds like a very mean thing to do. However, the fans in Memphis love The Rock, especially with how he started the promo. As I wrote earlier, I enjoyed the Rock Concert for the most part. It would have been better if the promo at the end led to more boos from the crowd, but these fans wanted to cheer him so that’s what happened. I was entertained by most of it.

Legado Del Fantasma were shown getting ready in the locker room for a match up next. The first break came at 8:25 p.m. ET so that’s certainly later than usual.


Corey Graves and Wade Barrett were the Smackdown commentary team as usual.

WrestleMania 40 Tag Team Title Qualifying Match: Legado Del Fantasma – Angel & Berto (w/Elektra Lopez) vs. LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde (w/Zelina Vega)

The LWO guys were in the NXT Tag Team Title qualifying match and now they are in this qualifying match. Angel & Berto (shortened from Humberto) hit a double team attack on Cruz to start the match. Angel kicked Cruz in the gut. Berto tagged in, Cruz avoided him, Cruz with a kick to the face and a hurricanrana. Wilde tagged in leading to a double kick and a double dropkick. Cruz & Wilde each hit somersault dives over the top onto their opponents on the floor. Wilde and Cruz hit a double team elbow followed by Wilde hitting an assisted splash on Berto. Cruz hit a springboard moonsault onto Berto for a two count. That led to a break.


Legado were in control as Angel hit a kick on Cruz, who was on the top rope. Berto tagged in leading to Legado hitting a double press slam by Legado on Cruz for a two count because Wilde made the save. Cruz sent Berto into the ropes leading to Cruz hitting a Spanish Fly with no cover. Wilde got the tag leading to a double dropkick and an up kick on Angel. Wilde with a neckbreaker for Berto and a springboard headscissors. Wilde hit an impressive Tornado DDT on Angel for two because Berto broke up the pin. Cruz hit a springboard dropkick sending Berto out of the ring. Berto sent Cruz into the barricade. Berto launched Wilde in the air leading to Angel punting Wilde in the ribs. Berto covered Wilde for the pinfall win. It went about 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Legado Del Fantasma – Angel & Berto

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match between four talented athletes. I’m glad they got enough time to have a solid match like that. The finish was booked well with Berto taking out Cruz on the floor, so that isolated Wilde and I liked that finisher with Berto launching Wilde in the air leading to an Angel punt to the ribs for the win. It’s a good finish that you can do on any team. Since LWO won to move on in the NXT Tag Team Title tournament I figured they would lose here so the result didn’t surprise me.

The win means that Legado Del Fantasma moves along in the bracket of the Tag Team Title tournament. They are not in the Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania 40 yet.

Dakota Kai was shown arriving with Damage CTRL earlier. Bayley was also shown arriving earlier. Barrett said the Bayley-Kai match was the main event.

This Sunday on WWE Superstar on A&E programming is John Cena’s feud with Randy Orton and WWE Legends Biography of Diamond Dallas Page.


LA Knight Interview

LA Knight was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the arena by the entrance area. There were “LA Knight” chants. Kayla asked if Knight has found AJ Styles. Knight took the microphone, so Kayla went to the back. Knight said AJ Styles claims that Knight needs to be humbled, so now you’re talking Knight’s language. Knight dared Styles to come out there to humble Knight. Knight said that Styles is hiding from him. Knight said that the biggest mark walking is AJ Styles. Knight spoke about how if Styles can’t seem to show up at Smackdown, he knows of a place where AJ Styles will show up – Knight suggested a match at WrestleMania. Knight said that he might not own the place, but at WrestleMania he will own AJ’s ass. Knight did his catchphrases as the fans chanted “L-A Knight…yeah.”

AJ Styles attacked Knight with a steel chair to the back. AJ sat on the chair across Knight’s throat: “I accept.” Styles left when officials showed up.

Analysis: It was yet another cheap attack by Styles on Knight, which has been a common theme for this feud. Knight’s promo was good with the fans chanting along at the right times as usual. It has been obvious that this would be a WrestleMania match since Styles attacked Knight at Elimination Chamber and they had issues before that, so I like it as a good midcard match on the show. I think that Knight should beat Styles at WrestleMania 40 too.

There was a replay of Randy Orton attacking KSI in the ring after Logan Paul ran away.

Logan Paul, the US Champion, spoke to Smackdown GM Nick Aldis in his office. Logan wondered if Randy Orton would be punished. Logan said that Randy should probably apologize. Aldis suggested that Logan request his apology from Orton. Logan said that it is Aldis’ job to make that happen. Paul said that Aldis can’t do his job since he hasn’t found Logan a WrestleMania opponent yet.

Grayson Waller entered for a singles match against Randy Orton up next.


They played the clip of Logan Paul announcing that WWE SummerSlam will be in Cleveland at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 3rd.

The Bloodline’s Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and “Wise Man” Paul Heyman were shown walking backstage. Kayla Braxton asked Paul if they had a response to Jey Uso’s WrestleMania challenge against Jimmy. Jimmy said that growing up, Jey followed him everywhere. Jimmy said that last year at WrestleMania they were together and this year it’s Jey against Jimmy and if you want Jimmy then…YEET. I think that meant yes.

Analysis: I like that they are doing the Jey-Jimmy match. I’m sure the brothers will love it. The issue I have is that Jimmy rarely has singles matches and rarely wins those matches, so I think it’s important to try to get Jimmy some wins before WrestleMania. That’s just me wanting to build up wrestlers going into WrestleMania because if you don’t then the fans think of these wrestlers as losers.

They showed The War And Treaty at ringside. They are a husband and wife musical duo.

Randy Orton vs. Grayson Waller (w/Austin Theory)

After making his entrance, Randy Orton posed more than usual on the turnbuckles. Logan Paul, the US Champion, made his entrance to watch the match on commentary.

Waller attacked Orton from behind leading to some punches. Orton sent Waller face first into the top turnbuckle followed by punches. Waller sent Orton out of the ring by the commentary table. Orton sent Waller crashing into the commentary table hood. Waller fought off a suplex attack, but Orton threw Waller over the barricade. Orton was looking at Theory and then Paul. Waller gave Orton a flatliner onto the commentary table as the show went to break.


The match continued with Orton hitting a powerslam. Waller countered a DDT attempt by sending Orton over the top to the floor. Waller went for an attack, Orton moved and Orton hit a belly-to-back slam onto the commentary table. The fans chanted “one more time” so Orton did the belly-to-back slam onto the commentary table again. Orton was back in the ring, Theory went on the apron and Orton avoided a charging Waller, who knocked Theory down. Orton hit the draping DDT off the ropes. Theory pulled Waller out of the ring, so Orton brought Theory into the ring for the draping DDT. Waller tried a leaping attack on Orton, but Orton was ready and hit Waller with an RKO for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: **3/4 It was the usual Randy Orton match where he sells for some of it and then he hit his signature spots leading to the RKO finish. There’s not that much drama since you know Waller has no chance. Orton is super popular with the crowd, so that’s great to hear when he’s out there.

After the match, Theory hit Orton with a chop block to the back of the leg. Theory hit Orton with a forearm to the head. Logan Paul tried to attack, but Kevin Owens made the save. Owens punched Theory out of the ring while Logan escaped. Owens picked up Orton, who went for an RKO, but Owens stopped that and Randy apologized Owens hit a Stunner to Theory and Theory jumped in the air right into an RKO by Orton.

Nick Aldis interrupted to say he wanted to follow up on the meeting from earlier. Aldis asked if Logan could get that apology from Orton…it’s a no. Aldis said that he’s determined Paul’s opponent for WrestleMania and said he has determined Paul’s opponents at WrestleMania. Aldis said that Paul will defend against Owens and Orton in a triple threat match at WrestleMania. Paul wasn’t happy about it while Orton and Owens seemed to be fine with it.

Analysis: That WrestleMania match makes sense since Logan Paul cost Randy Orton at Elimination Chamber and the Paul match with Kevin Owens at Chamber ended as a Disqualification, so Owens deserves another shot. I had a reader on Twitter/X ask me if they’d do a triple threat right after Chamber and I said I didn’t think so, but here we are so kudos to that reader for getting it right. Theory jumping in the air into an RKO was a bit cheesy, but kudos to Austin for being a great athlete. Aldis did a nice job as the babyface GM in that promo.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of Damage CTRL attacking Bayley.

Dakota Kai and Damage CTRL were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Kai said that she’s going to break Bayley and anybody who feels sorry for Bayley has lost their damn minds. Kai said that they had to cut Bayley loose from Damage CTRL. Kai said that they run the show.

Analysis: I liked the confidence shown by Dakota there. I’m happy she’s healthy enough to compete again.


It was announced that WWE’s COO Triple H will be a guest on Pat McAfee’s show on Friday, April 5th at WWE World.

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

A replay was shown of last week when Lee beat Angel and Legado beat up Lee after the match.

Lee hit a headscissors that sent Escobar out of the ring. Lee ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive over the top onto Escobar on the floor. Back in the ring, Lee hit a superkick while Escobar was upside down on the turnbuckle. Lee hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Lee kicked Angel on the floor and jumped onto Escobar with a kick. Lee hit a hurricanrana on Berto off the apron and into Angel on the floor. Escobar caught Lee with a Phantom Driver for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar

Analysis: **1/4 The match was all Dragon Lee on offense until he was occupied with the guys on the floor, so Escobar took advantage and hit his finisher to win. A short match due to what happened after it was done.

After the match, Legado attacked Lee again, but Carlito made the save. Carlito hit a backstabber and spinebuster on Angel & Berto. Escobar knocked down Carlito and sent him into the ring post as Rey Mysterio’s music played.

Rey got into the ring with Escobar leading to Rey doing a hurricanrana into the ropes. Rey wanted a 619 kick, but Escobar bailed to the floor.

Rey did a promo wondering why Escobar was running. Rey said it was supposed to be the two of them together. Rey suggested a singles match with Escobar next week. Rey said from the bottom of his heart, he will slap that stupid, arrogant smile off Escobar’s face. Rey’s music played to end it.

Analysis: That’s a good match for next week with Rey facing Santos. I figured it would be saved for WrestleMania, so maybe they’ll do a cheap finish or a non-finish, which could lead to the WrestleMania match.

Bayley was shown getting ready for her match.


WrestleMania 40 Tag Team Title Qualifying Match: New Catch Republic – Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Dunne worked over Wilson’s right hand with some joint manipulation and strikes. Wilson distracted the referee, so Prince tipped up Dunne and the heels took over. Prince tripped up Dunne leading to punches. Dunne fought back with a dragon screw leg whip on Wilson. Bate tagged in with strikes along with a headscissors on Prince. Bate hit running uppercuts on both opponents and an overhead suplex by Bate on Wilson. Bate hit a standing SSP on Wilson followed by Bate doing an Airplane Spin to Prince. After Bate spun Prince around, Bate hit a spinning slam off the shoulders leading to a break.


The match continued with Bate hitting a delayed vertical suplex on Wilson. Dunne was back in with a suplex on the apron on Wilson. Dunne hit a German Suplex on Prince followed by an armbar, but Prince reversed it into a pin attempt. Dunne stomped on the fingers of Prince and delivered a kick to the head. Dunne & Bate hit a jumping kick on Prince followed by Bate hitting a forearm smash off the middle turnbuckle for two. Wilson fought back against Dunne with a clothesline. Bate hit an uppercut on Wilson, but Wilson hit a boot to the face. Pretty Deadly sent Bate into the ring post. Wilson hit an elevated bulldog on Bate for just two. Bate came back with a clothesline on Prince and Dunne tagged in for a double Burning Hammer by NCR for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: New Catch Republic – Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate

Analysis: ***1/4 I liked the match and I’m glad they got more than ten minutes. The fans weren’t into it that much, but they did react to the bigger spots. I thought this match could go either way and when PD hit that double team bulldog it seemed like a good nearfall spot. I like that Dunne-Bate double team finisher.

The win by New Catch Republic means they will face Legado Del Fantasma in the WrestleMania 40 Tag Team Title tournament. Whoever wins that match is the WrestleMania 40 Tag Team Title Ladder Match with six teams.

They showed some fan signs in the crowd, which is not something that they do every week. The announcers put over the signs and encouraged fans to bring signs.

Bayley was shown walking backstage for the main event up next.


It was announced that CM Punk will appear on Raw on March 25th in Chicago.

Next Friday on Smackdown:

* Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar

* Tag Team Title Qualifier: The Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain

* Tag Team Title Qualifier: The OC vs. Grayson Waller & Austin Theory

* Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes go Face-To-Face

It was main event time with Bayley up first. Dakota Kai was next joined by the rest of Damage CTRL.

Bayley vs. Dakota Kai (w/IYO SKY, Asuka & Kairi Sane)

It started Bayley attacking Kai with punches. The fans were chanting “Whoop That Trick” for NXT’s Trick Williams for some reason. Bayley sent Kai into the turnbuckle. Bayley tripped up Kai on the apron followed by Bayley suplexing Kai on the floor.


The show returned with only a few minutes left as Kai worked over Bayley with a headlock. Bayley came back with a running knee. Bayley charged, Asuka with a swipe and Kai hit a double foot stomp to the chest for two. Kai sent up Bayley by the ropes, so Asuka did a cheap shot. Bayley came back with a move using the ropes to stun Kai a bit. Bayley came back with an elbow off the top rope. Kai countered a slam leading to an overhead kick. Sky and Sane taunted Bayley while Kai hit a running kick. Kai went for a leaping attack, so Bayley hit a Powerbomb. Damage CTRL went into the ring, Bayley tried to fight them off and then DC did an attack on Bayley. There’s the DQ finish. It went about eight minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Bayley

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match where you knew it was going to be a DQ finish or maybe a clean Bayley win. They opted for the DQ, which is okay. Kai looked healthy and like her usual self, so it’s nice to see her back in action.

After the match, Damage CTRL continued the attack. Naomi ran out for the save. Naomi tried to clean house, but the numbers game of Damage CTRL took over and Naomi was sent out of the ring. Asuka looked like she was limping a bit. Asuka & Sane hit a double dropkick to Bayley. Sky went up to and hit Over the Moonsault. Damage CTRL posed over a fallen Bayley. End show.

Analysis: There is some storyline progress with Naomi trying to help Bayley, but Naomi didn’t do much there. We saw last week when Bianca Belair refused to help Bayley, so maybe there will be a change of heart there with Belair showing up next week to fight with Bayley & Naomi against Damage CTRL. That makes sense for the story.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Rock
  2. Randy Orton
  3. New Catch Republic – Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7

2024 Average: 7.34


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

It was a good show overall. I wouldn’t say great but I liked the heavy WrestleMania focus. The Rock’s opening promo segment was entertaining although it was too much like a babyface due to his “Rock Concert” and then when he tried to heel it up, the fans still cheered him. As I said, I did like it and it makes things a bit more personal since he took shots at Cody Rhodes’ mom. I just think last week’s promo exchange was better with the four guys in the ring. It’s tougher when it’s just one guy talking/singing for nearly 20 minutes, even if it is The Rock. It was still very entertaining to me.

There was only one match in the first hour of the show, but the second half had some good action. I liked both tag team matches. Randy Orton got an easy win yet again. The Bayley-Dakota Kai match having a DQ ending might frustrate some people. I don’t mind it because it keeps both wrestlers strong while Damage CTRL dominated the scene. Bayley did get some support from Naomi at least, so it progressed the story a bit. I guess we’ll see if Bianca Belair actually helps Bayley next week.

I like that three more WrestleMania matches became official on this show. Next week’s show has Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes “face to face” so that will be an important segment to get people more excited about their WrestleMania match. The focus has been off Roman too much so that segment should help.

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

* 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

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Sami Zayn

* United States Championship: Logan Paul (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens

* LA Knight vs. AJ Styles

* Jimmy Uso vs. Jey Uso

* Six-Pack Ladder Match For WWE Tag Team Championships: Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. five other teams.

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