The John Report: WWE SmackDown 03/29/24 Review

WWE Smackdown march 29

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Randy Orton & Kevin Owens teaming up, two other tag team matches with WrestleMania 40 spots on the line, Jade Cargill making her presence felt, and more.

There was a lot of star power on Smackdown earlier in the month of March with The Rock on three straight weeks and Cody Rhodes-Roman Reigns last week. None of them are on this week so WWE will likely focus on building other WrestleMania 40 matches.

From the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, this is Smackdown for episode #1284. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a shot of The Bloodline’s Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso & Paul Heyman arriving earlier in the day. They also showed Bianca Belair and Dakota Kai arriving separately since they have a match later.

It was right to the action with Randy Orton getting a huge ovation from the sold out crowd. Kevin Owens was cheered loudly too. They are teammates here, but they will challenge Logan Paul for the US Title at WrestleMania 40 next week. It’s Corey Graves & Wade Barrett on commentary.

Randy Orton & Kevin Owens vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Orton was in control of Prince with the ten punches in the corner. Wilson got involved, so Orton was sent out of the ring. Wilson sent Orton into the ring post. Prince gave Orton a back suplex onto the commentary table. Orton did a nice job of selling that as the show went to break.


The crowd was on fire as Orton hit a back suplex on Wilson and Owens got the tag against Prince. Owens kicked Prince in the gut followed by a DDT. Owens went up top for a Swanton Bump, he had to punch Wilson and then Prince got his knees up to block. Wilson went after Orton, so Orton fought back and tried to slam Wilson through the commentary table, but Prince went after Orton with a punch to the back. The referee left the ring, so Logan Paul went into the ring and punched Owens in the jaw with the brass knuckles on Paul’s hand. Prince went back in and covered Owens for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Analysis: **1/2 A big win for Pretty Deadly in terms of getting a victory over two main event caliber wrestlers. It was also very cheap and also done to put over Paul as a cheap heel. I don’t think it hurts Orton or Owens much to lose a match like that in that manner because of how cheap it was.

The replay showed that Paul was hiding under the ring and punched Owens in the jaw with the brass knuckles. Orton watched the replay on the big screen.

Since the replay showed Paul went under the ring after his punch, Orton went looking for Paul. Orton found Paul under the ring and Orton beat up Paul with punches. Orton wanted to give Paul a move on the commentary table, but Pretty Deadly did a chop block to Orton to stop that. Paul ran away. Back in the ring, Owens was back up and he hit a Stunner on Prince. Orton gave Wilson an RKO. Orton saw Paul on the floor, so Orton chased after Paul and Owens chased after Paul as well. Paul shoved a couple of random guys down and drove away in a red sports car. Orton and Owens were frustrated about it.

Analysis: The post match was done to pop the crowd by having Orton and Owens hit their finishing moves. It also reminds us that Paul is a cowardly heel that likes to run away when he can to avoid an ass kicking. It’s a good way of booking because it makes fans want to see the guy get beat up.

A commercial for Raw let us know that the first hour of the show will be commercial-free. More writing for me. Anyway, The Rock and Roman Reigns will be there along with The Bloodline.


A video aired letting us know WrestleMania 40 is just eight days away. I’m flying to Philadelphia on Tuesday and I’ll be there until the next Monday. I’m looking forward to the festivities.

It was announced that a WrestleMania 40 Kickoff event will air on YouTube/Peacock on Friday, April 5th at 5 p.m. with some major WWE stars. That’s a couple of hours before Smackdown and the WWE Hall of Fame that night.

There was a video package featuring WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY speaking in Japanese while the translations were shown on screen. Sky said Bayley was a narcissist and claimed that she made Bayley relevant. Sky said they got tired of Bayley, they outgrew Bayley and did what needed to be done. Sky claims she’ll regret being friends with Bayley and continued to trash Bayley. At that point, Bayley showed up to attack Sky with punches and Bayley tackled Sky through a screen that was in the background of the interview area. The women were separated at that point.

Analysis: A different kind of angle to have somebody get attacked during an interview segment. The feud hasn’t been that hot, but the story is nearly two years in the making. I think Bayley beating Sky at WrestleMania 40 is a lock.

Jade Cargill Makes Official Smackdown Debut

Nick Aldis, the Smackdown General Manager, was in the ring with a blue carpet. Nick had his right bicep surgically repaired last week and he’s wearing a jacket to cover it up. Aldis said that since he’s been in charge of Smackdown, his goal has been to make this the number one show in pro wrestling. Aldis said that the signing of this superstar takes him a giant step closer to that goal. Aldis introduced Jade Cargill, who was announced as an official Smackdown signing last week.

Jade Cargill made her entrance emerging from the darkness while a spotlight was on her. She said, “A storm is coming” and then she made her entrance in a red outfit showing off her impressive physique. When Jade got in the ring, she signed the contract officially.

Jade said “it’s about damn time.” Jade said that now that it’s official, she wanted to make it clear that they have one of the best female rosters, but they are not Jade Cargill and they are not a once-in-a-lifetime superstar. Jade wanted to give us another weather update. Jade: “The storm has arrived.”

Analysis: Simple enough. I hope Cargill does well. I think by announcing her signing before WrestleMania she’ll be part of a women’s tag team match on the show, so we’ll see if that story develops for her.

Dakota Kai was interviewed with Asuka & Kairi Sane. Kai complained about Jade Cargill doing nothing except just standing there. Kai also complained about Bianca Belair getting involved in their business again. That Kai-Belair match was already announced and Kayla Braxton said that Kai takes on Bianca Belair in tonight’s main event.


The tag team of Isla Dawn & Alba Fyre were shown backstage talking to Nick Aldis. Dawn was rambling about a bunch of different things, so Fyre pulled her away. Aldis walked away and right into AJ Styles, who mentioned LA Knight. Aldis said he asked Knight not to be there tonight and Styles said: “You should have told him.” Styles left.

The Street Profits were backstage talking to Bobby Lashley and B-Fab ahead of their match to qualify for WrestleMania. They had champagne on ice to celebrate a potential victory.

WrestleMania 40 Qualifying Match: The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. A-Town Down Under – Austin Theory & Grayson Waller

The winners will join the Six-Pack Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania 40. The Judgment Day were shown watching on a TV backstage. The entire group was back there.

Waller was battling Ford early in the match. Waller tried to attack Ford on the floor, Ford moved out of the way and Dawkins hit a running Pounce to knock Waller over the commentary table. They went to break about one minute into the match.


There was a replay of Waller landing on Graves before the break. Back in the ring, Waller went for a move off the ropes, but Dawkins caught him and Dawkins hit an overhead suplex. Dawkins broke free of the legal man Theory so Ford tagged in with a springboard cross body block along with a running clothesline. Ford hit a standing moonsault on Theory for two. Ford went up top for a top rope Blockbuster neckbreaker and Dawkins pinned Theory for two. Dawkins punched Waller out of the ring. Theory did a necksnap on Dawkins, but then Dawkins came back with a sitout Powerbomb. They showed the locker room where Karrion Kross & Scarlett beat up Lashley & B-Fab, who were out on the floor. Dawkins and Ford watched that on the big screen, so Dawkins walked toward the back. Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, Theory got the knees up and Theory cradled Ford for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winners by pinfall: A-Town Down Under – Austin Theory & Grayson Waller

The win means that Theory & Waller are in the Six-Pack Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania 40.

Analysis: **1/2 It was another match with the heels cheating to win although this time it was a distraction from a backstage video rather than somebody getting physically getting involved. Considering the history between the Lashley/Street Profits and Final Testament group I’m not surprised by what happened. It was a very cheap win for Theory & Waller, who got very little offense yet found a way to get the win. I’m happy for them being on the WrestleMania 40 card.

After the match, the Authors of Pain duo of Akam & Rezar attacked Ford & Dawkins from behind. Kross joined them in the ring while Paul Ellering and Scarlett were at ringside. AOP did their Super Collider combo move that ends with a double Powerbomb. Lashley walked toward the ring to try to get revenge. Lashley clotheslined Kross, but AOP destroyed Lashley with punches. Kross hit a Kross Hammer forearm to the back of the head. Kross said nobody goes to WrestleMania. Kross told Lashley that they failed that and Lashley failed himself.

Analysis: This should set up a tag team match at WrestleMania between the two stables that have been feuding for several months now.

The Progressive Match Flo replay showed another stable war from last week that saw Dominik Mysterio help Santos Escobar beat Rey Mysterio in a cheap manner.

Santos Escobar and his Legado Del Fantasma group entered for a segment after a break.


A commercial aired for the WWE Hall of Fame broadcast airing after Smackdown next week.

Let’s Hear from Legado Del Fantasma

Santos Escobar was in the ring with Angel, Berto & Elektra Lopez. Escobar said “I told you so” about his win over Rey Mysterio last week. Escobar said that he put Rey on the shelf for months and then he got to beat Rey in the center of this ring last week. Escobar said that Rey is the greatest luchador of all time or at least he was. Escobar bragged about how he outsmarted Rey and all it took was one phone call to a man who despises Rey as much as Escobar does.

Dominik Mysterio of The Judgment Day made his entrance to huge boos from the crowd. Dominik went into the ring with the Legado group and he shook their hands. The fans were booing loudly.

Escobar thanked Dominik for his help last week. Escobar said they didn’t see eye to eye at first, but Dominik was right and they hugged.

Dominik tried to speak while the fans booed loudly. Dominik said he’d do everything in his power to make that deadbeat’s life a living hell. Escobar trashed Rey some more, so here comes Rey with the LWO.

Rey Mysterio walked out with Carlito, Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro & Zelina Vega so there were ten people in the ring for this face off. I think we all know where this is going to lead.

Rey told Dominik that he truly believed he was done fighting his son as the fans chanted “LWO” for Rey’s group. Rey said now that Santos has dragged Dominik into this, Rey said that the two men that he despises the most is truly a divine intervention. Rey said now he can beat some respect into both of them. Rey issued a challenge for him and a partner to face off against Santos & Dominik at WrestleMania. The fans chanted “Carlito” while Dominik wondered who it would be that joins Rey in the match. Rey said it would be the newest member of the LWO: Dragon Lee.

Dragon Lee walked out to the ring wearing an LWO shirt and joined the Latino party in the ring. Lopez trash talked Vega, so Vega slapped Lopez and that led to a big brawl in the ring. The girls were fighting outside the ring. Rey sent Escobar out of the ring. Carlito saved Rey from an attack from Dominik by tossing Dominik out of the ring. Lee jumped off the top with a senton dive onto the heels on the floor. Rey’s music played to end it.

Analysis: After what happened last week, it was pretty obvious that there would be a tag team match involving these guys. I thought that maybe it would be an eight-man tag or even a ten-person tag with the two women involved, but doing a 2-on-2 tag team match is fine with me. Dragon Lee is somebody that WWE is very high on putting him in a tag team with Rey at WrestleMania is a great idea to try to elevate Lee a bit. I thought all the promos were fine. The fans care about this story because of Rey so it’s working in terms of getting heat on the heels while also wanting the faces to kick their ass.

Bianca Belair was shown getting ready in the locker room. Naomi went up to Belair saying that she had her back. Belair talked about how they are together to try to take out Damage CTRL. Naomi said that they are in this together. Bianca talked about taking care of Dakota Kai tonight. Naomi had the letters “EST” in her hair, so Belair loved that.

Legado’s Angel & Berto were in the ring selling injuries while New Catch Republic’s Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne entered for tag team action.

A video aired about WrestleMania 40 featured Meek Mill saying that he would be at WrestleMania. That’s cool.


The Judgment Day was backstage in their clubhouse. Rhea Ripley told the guys that she didn’t know Dominik Mysterio was going to do that. Dominik walked in and said he wanted to make the group proud. Dominik was selling a rib injury, so JD McDonagh went with Dom to see the medical team. Priest said that this WrestleMania is very important not just for them as a group, but for them as individuals. Balor said that WrestleMania is going to belong to The Judgment Day.

Analysis: I think all of The Judgment Day will lose at WrestleMania 40. If somebody wins then it would be Rhea Ripley over Becky Lynch, but otherwise, I think the others all lose.

WrestleMania 40 Qualifying Match: Legado Del Fantasma – Angel & Berto vs. New Catch Republic – Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne

The Legado guys were in control of Dunne for about a minute. Dunne hit a German Suplex on Angel. Bate tagged in with a knee strike along with an overhead suplex and a running Shooting Star Press for two. Bate gave Berto a headscissors out of the ring. Bate jumped off the top onto both heels on the floor as the show went to break.


The match continued with Bate doing an airplane spin on Berto, but Angel made a blind tag and Angel stopped that. Berto slammed Bate while Angel hit a springboard moonsault onto Bate for a two count. The Legado guys knocked Dunne off the apron and hit a double team press slam on Bate off the top rope for two because Dunne was back in to break up the pin attempt. Dunne hit a DDT on Berto and Angel hit running knees on both opponents. Bate came back with a punch to Angel and Dunne tagged in for a double team Burning Hammer and Dunne covered Angel for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

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

Analysis: **3/4 I like all four guys and they worked hard, but it was a bit short like most of the matches on this show. I liked seeing NCR get the win here. I’m happy for them to be part of the WrestleMania 40 lineup.

That means the WrestleMania 40 match looks like this: Six-Pack Ladder Match For WWE Tag Team Championships: Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. Awesome Truth – The Miz & R-Truth vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. A-Town Down Under – Austin Theory & Grayson Waller vs. New Catch Republic – Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate.

Analysis: I think a title change is coming. My pick is probably going to be #DIY but that prediction could change.

A video package aired recapping The Rock’s brutal attack on Cody Rhodes from Raw on Monday. The video recapped Jey Uso & Seth Rollins getting taken out at ringside. That is what led to The Rock doing a cheap attack on Cody outside the building. Rock beat up and bloodied Cody to end the show.

Paul Heyman, the WWE Hall of Famer, was shown in the dressing room. Heyman said that The Final Boss took out Cody Rhodes by orders of The Tribal Chief. Jimmy Uso said that Jey Uso won’t make it to WrestleMania. Jimmy said that Solo Sikoa will face Jey Uso and Solo said he’ll miss Jey, but he has to take him out by order of The Tribal Chief.

Analysis: I read a stat that Solo Sikoa hasn’t won a match since beating John Cena last November nearly six months ago. That’s weak booking. Some of those losses were non-televised events and Solo doesn’t wrestle on TV much, but they really didn’t follow up on his win over Cena at all.

AJ Styles entered the ring for a promo.


Let’s Hear from AJ Styles

AJ Styles did a promo trashing his WrestleMania 40 opponent LA Knight. Styles blamed the fans for Knight going to AJ’s house last week and Styles said he should have had Knight arrested, but he wants to beat Knight at WrestleMania 40. Styles said he knows Nick Aldis asked Knight to not come to Smackdown tonight, but Styles said he knew Knight would be there. Styles said maybe Knight could be the camera guy and Styles shoved the camera guy, who exited the ring. A guy arrived at ringside in a hooded sweater and security grabbed him, but it wasn’t Knight. Security took the guy to the back. Styles asked if we were done with the games and Styles said they aren’t playing games at WrestleMania. Knight was dressed as a guy with fake hair and a hat, so Knight revealed himself and went after Styles.

Knight sent Styles into the ring and beat him up with punches. Knight hit a running knee smash on Styles against the turnbuckle. Knight tried to use a chair to attack, but Styles got out of the way. Styles bailed by going over the barricade and running through the crowd.

LA Knight did a promo on top of the commentary table. Knight ripped on Styles for being trash. Knight said that at WrestleMania, you will know whose game this is with everybody saying: “LA Knight. You dam right…yeah.”

Analysis: It was a solid promo from Styles leading to the “surprise” Knight attack, which was necessary to keep the feud going. Knight’s promo was fine although it sounded very much like Steve Austin 25 years ago too. I think Knight will win at WrestleMania 40.

A video aired about Tiffany Stratton in a swimsuit bragging about how talented she is and how pretty she is. Stratton said she vows to always look hot and spare your eyes from the uggos (ugly people?). Stratton said that everybody will find out what Tiffy Time is all about. Toodles.

Analysis: I like her a lot. It’s not just because she’s a pretty girl. I think Tiffany is an incredible all around talent. I have covered her entire WWE run so far from when she started in NXT about three years ago. She has grown a lot as a performer over the last year especially and being a talented athlete in her mid-20s, she has many more great years ahead of her.

Bianca Belair entered for the main event.


Next week on Smackdown:

* Andre The Giant battle royal

* Kevin Owens hosts The KO Show with Randy Orton as the guest.

* Zelina Vega vs. Elektra Lopez

* New Catch Republic vs. Grayson Waller & Austin Theory

* Jey Uso vs. Solo Sikoa

Analysis: It’s a solid lineup, but not great.

Bianca Belair vs. Dakota Kai

Belair hit two straight vertical suplexes, but Kai went to the ropes to break free. Belair was caught in the turnbuckle, so Kai hit her with a jumping knee smash (with a loud leg slap) as Belair fell to the floor, and that led to a break.


The match continued with Belair hitting a suplex. I liked the ringside camera moving around the ring and showing some different angles. Belair did some hammer fists to the head while Kai pulled on Belair’s hair. Belair hit a gutbuster and sent Kai into the mat a few times. Belair went for a moonsault, Kai avoided it and Kai pulled on the chair. Belair lifted up Light leading to a slam while Belair hit a handspring into a standing moonsault for two. Kai countered a Belair move by sending Belair into the turnbuckle. Kai stomped on the back leading to a two count. Belair fought back with punches. Kai had punches of her own and Belair nailed a forearm to knock Kai down. Kai nailed a Scorpion Kick followed by a running kick attempt, but Belair avoided it. Kai got out of lifting move and Kai tried a running knee attack, but Kai hit a running knee into the ring post. Belair gave Kai a superplex off the middle ropes. Belair was back up with a Spear followed by the KOD for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair

Analysis: *** It was a solid match with an obvious result since Belair rarely loses and rarely loses a match like this. That’s not a knock on Kai, but Belair is on another level compared to her. I did like some of the spots and I think this was the longest match on the show.

After the match, Asuka & Kairi Sane went into the ring and stomped on Belair several times. Naomi made the save for Belair with punches for both women and a kick to the head. Sane hit Naomi in the back with an object. Kai was back on, so Damage CTRL saved stomped on both women repeatedly. The fans were chanting “Bayley” but it was somebody else making the save.

Jade Cargill walked out slowly to a big ovation. Cargill knocked Asuka out of the ring with a jumping kick. Cargill hit a Powerbomb on Kai. Cargill hit a Glam Slam-style move on Sane to end the attack. Cargill even pinned Sane. The trio of Cargill, Belair & Naomi stood in the ring together while the WrestleMania 40 sign was shown in the background. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: This should set up a 6-woman tag team match with Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill & Naomi against Damage CTRL’s Kai, Asuka & Sane at WrestleMania 40. It would give Cargill a WrestleMania 40 match while Belair & Naomi certainly should be on the card. I thought it was booked well to make Jade look amazing by dominating the three opponents easily.

After Smackdown, WWE made the 6-woman tag team match official: Jade Cargill, Naomi & Bianca Belair vs. Damage CTRL’s Asuka, Kairi Sane & Dakota Kai.

Analysis: A win for the Cargill, Belair and Naomi team seems like a lock.


Three Stars of the Show

1. Jade Cargill

2. Bianca Belair

3. New Catch Republic – Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

I liked it because they focused on the midcard feuds and set up some WrestleMania matches that are based on long-term stories. The Six-Pack Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles is now officially set after two matches on this show. We also learned about a six-woman tag, Rey Mysterio in a tag team match, and likely another match involving the Bobby Lashley-Karrion Kross rivalry with their groups. I also liked the AJ Styles-LA Knight story continuing with a lot of intensity. The main event story guys weren’t on the show, so there was a lot of time devoted to the midcard and that’s not a bad thing sometimes.

The first two matches had interference/distraction finishes so that felt a bit repetitive. Bianca Belair beating Dakota Kai in the main event was fine and the longest match on the show. The three other matches were kept under ten minutes with commercials in the middle. In terms of in-ring action, it was a very average show.

Jade Cargill was booked perfectly during her promo segment and then her dominant role after the main event when she kicked ass to end the show.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 40 on April 6 & 7 from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Here’s 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. #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. Awesome Truth – The Miz & R-Truth vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. A-Town Down Under – Austin Theory & Grayson Waller vs. New Catch Republic – Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate

* Jade Cargill, Naomi & Bianca Belair vs. Damage CTRL’s Asuka, Kairi Sane & Dakota Kai

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