This week’s WWE Smackdown was the second last episode before WrestleMania with Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in the spotlight as usual.
There were two matches advertised before the show: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jimmy Uso and Sasha Banks vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina Vega vs. Shayna Baszler.
There was an opening video package recapping the Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns story from last week with Roman and crew getting away from Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar appeared in his cowboy attire and he found his way towards the locker room of Roman Reigns. Lesnar was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Brock saying he’s not supposed to have any contact with Roman Reigns unless he’s provoked. Lesnar said he was going to go into Roman’s locker room to wait for a “good provoking.” Lesnar went into the dressing room of Roman Reigns, who wasn’t there yet. Lesnar said it was a nice room, but not as good as his. Lesnar even had some grapes. I like that. Grapes are great. Lesnar made himself at home by breaking a table with his feet.
Analysis: It’s a way to tell the audience that Lesnar and Reigns are going to do something later in the show, likely in the main event.
Rick Boogs was fired up as he made the introduction for his tag team partner Shinsuke Nakamura, who is in singles action this week. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee, who was dancing on the table as usual. They showed a replay of how Nakamura/Boogs earned their Smackdown Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania.
The Usos made their entrance as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with Jimmy competing in singles action. They have been champions for 249 days. The Usos tried a cheap attack, but then Boogs tossed Jey onto Jimmy. The wrestlers regrouped a bit and the match would start after a break.
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs)
The match started when they returned from the break as Jey ran over Nakamura with a shoulderblock. Nakamura grabbed a headlock, Jimmy was sent into the ropes, Nakamura tried a rollup and Jimmy avoided a kick. Nakamura mocked the “ones” thing while telling Jimmy to “come on.” Nakamura with a knee drop and sending Jimmy into the turnbuckle. Nakamura with a running knee lift while Jimmy was on the apron, but Jimmy recovered with a clothesline that knocked Nakamura down. Jimmy hit a belly to back suplex on Nakamura for two. Nakamura broke free, went to the apron and Jimmy hit a spinning kick on Nakamura to knock him off the apron. Jimmy charged for a dive, but Nakamura recovered with a kick to the head, which led to Jimmy bumping to the floor. The show went to break there.
Jimmy charged, Nakamura with a knee to the ribs, Nakamura set up Jimmy on the top and hit another running knee to the ribs. Jimmy sent Nakamura to the turnbuckle, Nakamura jumped off and hit a jumping knee attack. Nakamura set up in the corner while Jey knocked down Boogs from behind. Nakamura turned around, Jimmy with a superkick that was right on the money and Jimmy covered for two, but Nakamura got his right shoulder up. Jey grabbed the guitar that belongs to Boogs, but Boogs stopped him and threw Jey into the ring post. Back in the ring, Nakamura with a spin kick followed by the Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: *** A good match by two talented veterans with Jey trying to help brother Jimmy win, but Nakamura kicked out of that superkick and Boogs prevented some more cheating. Nakamura hitting two kicks to finish off Jimmy was a fine way to end it. The crowd was into the match, the guys worked hard and I thought the finish was booked well. Sometimes interference spots are booked to make wrestlers look foolish, but this one was perfectly fine with me. I’ll probably pick The Usos to retain the titles at WrestleMania although I like Boogs/Nakamura as a team too.
A Raw Rebound video aired from Monday’s Raw showing Kevin Owens doing the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin impression. Owens ripped on Austin, then Austin’s music hit teasing his appearance and Owens laughed about it, which led to more boos. Owens also hit a Stunner on a guy (indy wrestler) that tossed him beers.
The KO Show with Steve Austin as the guest is set to take place at WrestleMania on Saturday, April 2.
They showed Brock Lesnar in the Roman Reigns locker room with some grapes and he tried champagne, but then he spit it out and threw it across the room. Brock smash!
A video aired letting us know WrestleMania 38 is just eight days away. I’m going to enjoy a quiet weekend because next week is going to be wild for me.
There was a graphic reminding us that the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is on immediately following Smackdown next Friday night on Peacock/WWE Network.
They showed some media coverage about WWE announcing that the late Shad Gaspard will win the Warrior Award at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony. Shad passed away in May 2020 after saving his son while they were swimming. Shad’s son was saved because Shad made sure he was helped by lifeguards while Shad unfortunately passed away. We have more information on that announcement here.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton saying that Happy Corbin tried to end his career at Day 1, but he wasn’t successful. Drew said that he’s been making Corbin’s life hell and it makes him happy. Drew said that at WrestleMania he’ll wipe the pathetic grin off Corbin’s face permanently.
They aired a video package about Baron Corbin going through hardships last year, then he won a lot of money after Money in the Bank in Las Vegas and he became Happy Corbin. Since then, WWE has pushed him as being undefeated in singles action. They showed some of Corbin’s issues with Drew McIntyre over the last three months.
Analysis: I don’t think we needed a three-minute Corbin video, but we got it anyway.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss were talking after the video aired. Corbin suggested that they make a movie about his career since the Academy Awards are this weekend. Moss had a suggested name for a movie: Baldfellas like Goodfellas. Corbin didn’t like that. It’s the second week where Corbin didn’t like Madcap’s joke.
Ridge Holland entered for singles action with Sheamus and Butch joining him.
A video aired from last week when Kofi Kingston was distracted by Ridge Holland’s buddy Butch, so Ridge capitalized to get the pinfall win.
Kofi Kingston made his entrance with the ring announcer Samantha Irvin saying he was accompanied by Xavier Woods. Kofi did a promo saying his match is against The New Day, but not Kofi, it’s him. Woods entered with his crown while the graphic on the screen said “Xavier Woods” instead of King Woods like they were calling him before his injury. Cole was confused thinking that Kofi was in the match, but Kofi said that Woods was in the match.
Analysis: Woods was back on live events two weeks ago, so I figured he would be back soon.
Ridge Holland vs. “King” Xavier Woods
Holland with a punch, Woods ran the ropes and Woods got a kick to the knee. Holland bounced off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. When Holland tried to do another move, Woods got an inside cradle for the pinfall win in less than one minute.
Winner by pinfall: “King” Xavier Woods
Analysis: 1/2* That was quick. It was definitely rushed and a way to show that Woods is a savvy veteran that found a way to get the win with a basic move.
Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion, and Paul Heyman were shown in the back of a car. Reigns talked about how they have had a busy day, they went to a steakhouse and then stopped by Madison Square Garden where Roman busted up Brock Lesnar a few weeks ago. Reigns said that Lesnar better get out of Roman’s locker room or he is going to bust up Brock all over Brooklyn. That ended the message.
Analysis: It was yet another tease for a Reigns/Lesnar showdown later in the show.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance in jeans a leather jacket with the fans giving her a strong ovation.
There was a video package about Charlotte Flair’s cheap attack on Ronda Rousey two weeks ago. It also showed last week when Charlotte used a kendo stick to get the advantage on Rousey. Charlotte gave Rousey a Powerbomb through the commentary table to end the show.
Let’s Hear from Ronda Rousey
Rousey said that at WrestleMania, she’s going to make Charlotte tap out and Ronda is going to become the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Rousey even wondered why they even had to say “Women’s” Champion and just said Smackdown Champion. Charlotte Flair appeared on screen saying she wasn’t there while ripping on Brooklyn while saying she’s the champion while Rousey is the contender. Rousey said when she was 14 years old, she broke her first arm and she liked it. Rousey said she started keeping count until she eventually lost count. Charlotte said she’s run out of ways to hurt Rousey and if she was there she’d throw her off the Brooklyn Bridge to get some satisfaction. Rousey said that if Charlotte beats her at WrestleMania, but when Rousey beats Charlotte at her own game, Charlotte will just be another one of the lost count. Rousey left to end it.
Analysis: It was just a decent talking segment. The usual dialogue from Charlotte about being the champion while Rousey got to be more aggressive with her words by talking about the arm breaking that she has done in her career. They could have done a backstage interview in half the time and accomplished the same thing.
The graphic let us know that Charlotte Flair defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey on WrestleMania Saturday. It might be the main event, but they did not say that.
Analysis: I think Rousey will beat Flair to win the title. I also think Bianca Belair should beat Becky Lynch too, but of the two women’s title matches, I am more sure of Rousey winning the title.
Brock Lesnar was shown in the Roman Reigns locker room. Kayla Braxton asked Brock if he should leave before Roman arrives. Brock said that she should go find Roman because Brock is going to be running out of things to smash. Brock smashed a lamp. Brock smash!
Ricochet made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion. Los Lotharios made their entrance and did the Kiss Cam gimmick where they kissed a pretty girl on the cheek. That match is next.
Ricochet vs. Angel (w/Humberto)
This is not for Ricochet’s IC Title. I think they announced Humberto for the match, but it’s Angel instead. Angel tripped up Ricochet by the turnbuckle. Angel with an uppercut followed by a headbutt. Angel charged, Ricochet got a boot up and Ricochet hit a dropkick. Ricochet with a shoulder tackle, a whip into the turnbuckle, a knee and a springboard clothesline. Ricochet went up top, Humberto chased at Ricochet and Angel got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Angel
Analysis: 1/2* That was quick. Cheap finish after the distraction at ringside.
Ricochet did a promo saying that they are not going to do that tonight. Ricochet said he likes to see that the cousins stick together, but this is not going to happen like that. Ricochet invited Humberto to come down to the ring for a match.
Ricochet vs. Humberto (w/Angel)
This is not for Ricochet’s IC Title as well. Humberto with an elbow to the arm, Ricochet with a dropkick and Humberto left the ring to regroup. Back in the ring, Ricochet with a dropkick to send Humberto out of the ring. Ricochet ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top onto Humberto for a two count.
Ricochet sent Humberto to the ropes, Ricochet with a kick to the chest and with Humberto standing on the middle ropes, Ricochet hit an impressive hurricanrana. That was great! Ricochet with a running uppercut, a running back elbow and a springboard moonsault onto a standing Humberto. Angel with a distraction, Ricochet punched him down and Humberto got a rollup for two. Ricochet hit a couple of suplexes although that was possibly a brainbuster on the second move. Ricochet went up top, Angel pulled Humberto out of the ring and Ricochet jumped off the top to take out Angel with a cross body block. Ricochet hit a Tornado DDT on Humberto on the floor. Ricochet sent Humberto back in the ring while Angel grabbed Ricochet’s foot to prevent him from going back in the ring. Humberto won by countout. The referee never saw it. This match went seven minutes.
Winner by countout: Humberto
Analysis: ** A lame finish to tell the story that Ricochet can’t seem to beat these guys for some reason. It was cheap with Humberto getting the assist from Angel. Bad booking.
Sami Zayn was interviewed by Megan Morant. Zayn said that there are people that think Johnny Knoxville stands a chance against him since it’s an Anything Goes Match. Zayn said he can do anything he wants because it’s anything goes. Zayn said he’s always two steps ahead while saying he has had time to think about how to hurt this man. Zayn said that at WrestleMania, Knoxville will experience punishment in a way that has never been seen in a WWE ring before.
Analysis: Good promo by Zayn as usual. It should be entertaining at WrestleMania at least.
The commentary team was about to mention Pat McAfee’s WrestleMania match against Austin Theory. That’s when Theory showed up, he slapped the headset off Pat’s head and then ran to the backstage area. McAfee chased after Theory in the backstage area. Theory went into the office of Mr. McMahon while shutting the door. Pat banged on the door, but that was it for that segment.
The talented duo of Sasha Banks and Naomi made their entrance for a fatal four-way match.
Pat McAfee was back on commentary saying he reacted because Theory hit him in the head, so he wanted to get some payback.
There were images shown of media coverage of WWE Hall of Famer Triple H on ESPN talking about how he’s never going to wrestle again. It’s not a surprise due to the heart issue he had last year. Triple H commented on what happened to him and his recovery process. Best wishes to Triple H moving forward as he spends more time with his family while also working behind the scenes in WWE as well. Considering Triple H is 52 years old, he really doesn’t have to wrestle again anyway. We wrote a lot more about the Triple H story here.
The Women’s Tag Team Championships match looks like this at WrestleMania: Carmella & Zelina Vega (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler. Right now it’s a fatal four-way match between four women rather than teams.
Rhea Ripley (w/Liv Morgan) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi) vs. Queen Zelina Vega (w/Carmella) vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Natalya)
Sasha Banks and Rhea Ripley worked together with Banks using her speed to avoid Ripley and hit an uppercut. Banks sent Baszler into Ripley, Banks with double knees and Banks hit a bulldog on Ripley for two. Vega pulled Banks out of the ring and sent her into the commentary table. There was some chaos as six of the women went into the ring exchanging punches as the show went to break there.
Ripley got Banks in a leg submission hold, Baszler broke that up and Ripley knocked her down with a headbutt. Vega with a headscissors on Ripley. The four women at ringside were all sent to the back while Vega got two counts on all three opponents. Vega with double knees on Baszler, Banks avoided Vega and then Banks applied a Bank Statement submission on Vega. Baszler with an armbar on Vega at the same time Banks applied her move, so then Banks did a Bank Statement on both women. Ripley broke it up with a dropkick. Ripley went for Riptide, Baszler wanted the Kirifuda Clutch and Banks delivered a Backstabber. Vega with a Code Red on Banks for two as Baszler broke up the pin. Vega and Baszler threw some weak-looking punches while waiting for Ripley, who jumped onto Baszler. Vega with a headscissors on Ripley to send her into the barricade. Vega went into the ring and Banks applied the Bank Statement submission, which led to Vega immediately tapping out.
Winner by submission: Sasha Banks
Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match by the end of it. I didn’t like the first segment very much, but I guess it was a way to eliminate the women that were at ringside. The action picked up in the second half of the match with some good nearfalls and near submissions. As I mentioned last week, I really liked the interaction between Banks and Ripley, so that’s a feud I hope we get to see at some point. Banks getting the win was a smart choice that made the fans happy. I think Vega/Carmella will lose at WrestleMania although I’m not sure what team it will be. I’m probably picking Banks/Naomi at this point.
The Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman arrived in a Chevy SUV with Heyman telling the Tribal Chief he doesn’t feel so well. Reigns said that they will be fine, but Brock won’t be. Cole screamed that Roman’s here and Brock’s here as well.
A video aired promoting the WWE 2K22 video game. That is available now.
They showed a video of The Undertaker, his wife Michelle McCool, Stephanie McMahon and others at a museum honoring Medal of Honor winners.
Speaking of The Undertaker, he is driving the pace car at the NASCAR race in Austin, Texas on Sunday. That’s cool for him.
It was announced that next week on Smackdown there will be the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. They had guys that are not in WrestleMania matches.
Analysis: Sadly, I see US Champion Finn Balor and Damian Priest on the graphic. I thought they’d have a title match at WrestleMania.
Next Friday on Smackdown: Ricochet defends the Intercontinental Title against Angel and Humberto in a triple threat match.
Analysis: It sucks that something like the IC Title can’t even make it on a WrestleMania card on a show that has matches for two nights. Be better, WWE creative team.
The announcers did a rundown of WrestleMania matches. Here is the Saturday, April 2nd lineup they mentioned.
* Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin
* Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
* KO Show – Hosted by Kevin Owens with Steve Austin
There’s more on Saturday, but they didn’t go over all of it. The full card is at the bottom of this review.
The Universal Champion the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns made his entrance with the Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. The announcers went over the WrestleMania Sunday, April 3 lineup.
* Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory
* Edge vs. AJ Styles – There have been questions about what night this match is, but since they are saying Sunday on WWE TV right there then I assume it’s Sunday.
* Anything Goes Match: Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville
* Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Alpha Academy – Otis & Chad Gable
* Winner Take All – Title vs. Title: Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar
As I said, the full lineup is at the bottom of this review.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Reigns and Heyman were greeted with heavy boos as they stood in the ring. Reigns: “Brooklyn (huge pop)…acknowledge me!” That led to some boos along with some cheers. It was a lot of noise. Reigns asked Heyman if Brock is still in his locker room. Heyman said that he doesn’t know where he is except he knows that Lesnar is there in Brooklyn at the same time as Reigns. Heyman said he’s afraid, so Reigns told Heyman not to be afraid. Reigns said if Lesnar is still in his locker room, he’ll put Brock’s head through the wall.
They showed Roman’s locker room to reveal that Lesnar broke a lot of things in the locker room, but there was no sign of Lesnar. The fans chanted “Suplex City” for Lesnar. Reigns said that this is not Suplex City, it’s the Island of Relevancy. The fans booed.
Lesnar was shown in the parking lot area with a pickax as he smashed the windows. Reigns said that he has four Suburbans so that’s nothing to me. That’s small money. Reigns said no weapons allowed at WrestleMania, so Brock dropped his weapon. Lesnar picked up the WWE Title and walked towards the ring.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit in the arena as Reigns paced around the ring and Heyman was freaking out. Reigns was looking at the entrance, but Lesnar arrived in the back part of the arena and stood on the commentary table to stare at Reigns in the ring. Lesnar grabbed a steel chair while ten security guys stood in between Lesnar and Reigns. Lesnar jumped off the table (with a kick to some guy!), he destroyed some of the security guys with chair shots to the body and the back. Lesnar went into the ring while Reigns left with The Usos and Heyman. Lesnar left the ring to deliver two more chairshots to a security guy at ringside. Lesnar walked around with a busted chair, the fans cheered and Lesnar got a new chair so that he could destroy some more security guys. Lesnar stood on the commentary table with the WWE Title in his hands.
Reigns did a promo in the backstage area saying that at WrestleMania, Reigns said that Lesnar will acknowledge him as the undisputed WWE Universal Champion. A graphic was shown of the Lesnar-Reigns match at WrestleMania. Lesnar stood on the commentary table staring at the WrestleMania sign and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: It was pretty good as a hype segment for WrestleMania. Both guys are going to be on Monday’s Raw as well, so they will have another opportunity to build the WWE/Universal Title match. Reigns did the cowardly thing by talking tough, but when Lesnar did show up, Reigns busted his ass out there to avoid Brock. The fans are behind Lesnar and want to see him kick Roman’s ass, so it’s just a matter of waiting until Sunday, April 3rd for that to happen.
Three Stars of the Show
- Brock Lesnar
- Sasha Banks
- Shinsuke Nakamura/Jimmy Uso
6 out of 10
Last week: 7
It was a very promo-heavy show with only two matches in the first hour and one of them was done in about one minute. It’s WrestleMania season, so we are used to that this time of year. I don’t think it was a bad show. It just wasn’t that interesting or riveting overall, so let’s say slightly above average. The Lesnar/Reigns stuff started out the broadcast and lasted all the way until the main event, so they got a lot of screen time. No physicality between Brock and Roman, but it showed that Lesnar is confident while Reigns is scared of Brock a bit.
I liked the Nakamura/Jimmy Uso match while Sasha Banks was impressive as the winner of the four-way women’s match. I didn’t like how IC Champion Ricochet was booked against both of Los Lotharios, but they did that to set up the IC Title match for next week.
Bring on WrestleMania. I’m ready.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 38 from Dallas, Texas on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Here’s the lineup so far.
Saturday, April 2nd Matches:
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
KO Show – Hosted by Kevin Owens with Steve Austin
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura
Sunday, April 3rd Matches:
Winner Take All – Title vs. Title: Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar
Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Alpha Academy – Otis & Chad Gable
Edge vs. AJ Styles
Anything Goes Match: Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Carmella & Zelina Vega (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory
WrestleMania 38 is a two-night event steaming LIVE on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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