This week’s WWE WrestleMania Smackdown featured the Andre The Giant Battle Royal and Ricochet defending the Intercontinental Title against both members of Los Lotharios.
The month of April is here as we sit here on WrestleMania Eve. Part one of our TJRWrestling WrestleMania preview for WM Saturday is right here for you. The Sunday preview will be posted on Saturday morning.
This episode of Smackdown is a live show from Dallas, which is the site of WrestleMania. It’s followed by the 2022 Hall of Fame ceremony headlined by The Undertaker. That’s on Peacock for those of you in the US and WWE Network for everybody else including me in Canada. It’s the first time WWE has done the Hall of Fame ceremony this year, so we’ll see if it’s a good idea. It’s a long night for all of us watching, that’s for sure.
The show began with wrestlers already in the ring for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. The Andre trophy was at ringside right near commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee. There was a short video that aired about Andre, who was the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, he won more battle royals than anybody in WWE history and in 2014 the company started the Andre the Giant Battle Royal during WrestleMania weekend.
The NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrance to be part of the match. Ziggler defends the NXT Title against Bron Breakker at Stand & Deliver on Saturday afternoon. Check out my NXT Stand & Deliver preview right here. They also showed the entrance of the United States Champion Finn Balor, who is arguably the biggest name in WWE that isn’t in a match at WrestleMania.
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
Here are the names in the battle royal: R-Truth, Shelton Benjamin, Robert Roode, Erik, Finn Balor, Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa, Ivar, Jinder Mahal, Cedric Alexander, Apollo Crews, Shanky, Madcap Moss, Damian Priest, Commander Azeez, Mansoor, Reggie, T-Bar, Tommaso Ciampa and Dolph Ziggler.
The first guy eliminated was Tozawa while Reggie avoided it at first until Priest kicked Reggie off the apron the to the floor. Priest dumped out R-Truth, which drew boos. Viking Raiders worked together to eliminate Jinder Mahal. T-Bar was sent over the top to the apron, he held on and grabbed Alexander, so Benjamin hit T-Bar with a knee to knock T-Bar out to the floor to eliminate T-Bar. Moss ran the ropes leading to a shoulder tackle on Gulak, which was followed by Moss hitting a clothesline over the top to the floor. Happy Corbin went down to ringside to support his buddy Moss. Balor nearly eliminated Moss, who held on, then Balor nearly eliminated Moss, who held on again. Corbin left the ringside area. Crews sent Alexander to the apron and then Crews kicked Alexander out. Azeez helped Crews deal with Benjamin, which led to Azeez eliminating Benjamin. Ciampa hit a running knee to eliminate Mansoor. Crews was eliminated by the Viking Raiders, so Azeez dumped out Ivar and Azeez/Shanky eliminated Erik. Azeez and Shanky faced off with Azeez trying to get rid of Shanky, but then the other wrestlers teamed up to eliminate Azeez/Shanky at the same time. There were six guys left with Priest battling Balor, which saw Balor deliver an overhead kick and Balor eliminated Priest. Roode and Ziggler battled Ciampa with Ziggler eliminating Ciampa with a superkick.
The final four were Balor, Roode, Ziggler and Moss. Balor with a double foot stomp on Ziggler and a double foot stomp for Roode too. Balor tried to dump out Ziggler, but Roode saved Ziggler. Roode and Ziggler tried to eliminate Balor, then Moss got up and dumped out Ziggler/Roode at the same time. Balor with a Slingblade on Moss. Balor charged at Moss, who sidestepped Finn and Moss tossed Balor over the top to the floor. It’s a win for Madcap Moss after eight minutes.
Winner: Madcap Moss
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay for a battle royal. Sometimes a match like that can go a lot longer into a commercial, but instead, they kept it simple and full of action. I don’t mind that. Moss winning was a bit of a surprise although he does get regular TV time, so it’s understandable why he got the win. It gives a cocky heel something to brag about. I thought maybe Priest would win, but he was eliminated as the fifth last guy in the match. It was smart to have Balor last until the end because he was the most popular guy in the ring.
Madcap Moss celebrated with the trophy. Moss did a promo saying he did it all by himself. Moss claimed he always looked up to Andre the Giant. Moss did a bad joke insulting Texans leading to a line about a Cattle Royal. It was really bad. Moss laughed hysterically while the fans booed.
There was a Highlight of the Night showing Intercontinental Champion Ricochet losing two separate matches to Los Lotharios members Angel & Humberto. They were both cheap wins. That set up a triple threat IC Title match this week.
The ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the introduction for the IC Title match. Ricochet made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion. Samantha and Ricochet are dating, for what it’s worth. That match is next.
Los Lotharios made their entrance for the triple threat match. They did the Los Lotharios Kiss Cam gimmick before the match. They found a pretty woman at ringside, who they each kissed on the cheek.
Intercontinental Championship: Ricochet vs. Angel vs. Humberto
Angel threw his pants (he had trunks on) at Ricochet followed by a dropkick. Humberto held Ricochet while Angel hit a running kick and Humberto delivered a knee to the back. Ricochet with a shoulder tackle on Humberto, then a backflip to avoid Angel and Ricochet hit a double hurricanrana on the cousins. Ricochet with a running shoulder tackle on Humberto, but Angel caught Ricochet on the top rope and Humberto delivered an impressive armdrag off the top rope. Angel teased possibly rolling up Humberto, but he didn’t do it because Humberto saw Angel going for him and then Angel hugged Humberto. That led to a break while Ricochet was on the floor.
The match continued with Ricochet trying to fight back against both cousins, but then Humberto and Angel each hit corner splashes. Angel with a kick to the gut while Humberto delivered a clothesline. Ricochet with a jumping kick to Angel, but Humberto came back with a springboard kick for a two count and Angel didn’t seem happy about that. Angel went for a pin attempt of his own. Ricochet shoved Angel into Humberto, then Angel launched Ricochet into Humberto with Ricochet hitting a hurricanrana for two when Angel broke it up with a superkick. Humberto tried a rollup on Angel for a two count while Ricochet was out of the ring. Angel and Humberto argued, so Ricochet hit a cross body block off the top rope. Ricochet kicked Angel down followed by a dropkick. Ricochet kicked the legs of Humberto followed by a standing a moonsault for two for Ricochet on Humberto with Angel breaking up the pin. Ricochet sent Humberto over the top to the floor. Ricochet with a kick to Angel, Ricochet went up top and Angel grabbed Ricochet’s foot to stop him. Ricochet kicked Angel down, but Humberto stopped Ricochet on the top rope. Ricochet with a forearm to Humberto and Ricochet suplexed Humberto on Angel. Ricochet jumped off the top with a 630 Splash on Angel and a Recoil to Humberto leading to Ricochet pinning Humberto for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with a lot of cool moves by three athletic guys who are all very talented. I like how the finish was booked with Ricochet suplexing Humberto onto Angel leading to a 630 Splash and then a Recoil right after. That was really well done and a spectacular way to end the match. I don’t think there was a moment in the match where it looked like Angel or Humberto would get the win. I did like the spots where they were arguing with eachother to try to figure out who was going to get the win. I hope Ricochet has a meaningful feud with the IC Title in the coming months.
Ricochet celebrated with the title while Los Lotharios were frustrated about the loss.
Up next on Smackdown is the Kevin Owens/Steve Austin WrestleMania story.
They set up the video package for Owens/Austin with Michael Cole noting it was the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. Owens said that on Raw as well.
A video package aired for the Kevin Owens Show with Steve Austin as the guest. It featured KO’s initial challenge, Austin accepting the invitation and then they showed part of the Austin video package that aired on Raw. Considering Austin didn’t even appear on Raw to set up this segment, the video is really well done.
Analysis: It is not a match. It is a talk show segment. There will likely be physicality and I expect it to go well for Austin. The fans are going to love it.
It was time to “feel the glow” with Naomi’s colorful entrance as she was joined by tag team partner Sasha Banks, who got a big pop as well. They are challenging for the Women’s Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.
Natalya & Shayna Baszler were on the floor along with Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan on the other side of the ring.
Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Queen Zelina Vega & Carmella
This was not for the titles held by Vega and Carmella. Banks was isolated by the heel side early on. Carmella went for a kick, Naomi blocked it and hit a knee to the face. Vega was legal as she prevented a tag, Banks rolled up Vega and brought in Naomi. A kick from Naomi followed by a full nelson slam and Carmella broke up the pin. Naomi hit a running dropkick on Carmella and Vega. Banks and Naomi each hit running kicks on their opponents. Banks with a splash off the ropes followed by a Naomi hitting a split-legged moonsault on Vega for the pinfall win. It went about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks & Naomi
Analysis: ** A basic match to give Banks/Naomi some more momentum going into WrestleMania while the champions suffered a non-title loss just like WWE loves to do for the non-title matches. The team of Vega/Carmella really have no momentum at this point. I think Banks/Naomi could definitely leave WrestleMania as the champions on Sunday.
They will show Ronda Rousey training for WrestleMania after a break.
A video aired about The Undertaker’s Hall of Fame induction after Smackdown.
A video aired of Ronda Rousey sparring in the ring with Shayna Baszler with Kayla Braxton there to conduct an interview. It’s a ring that WWE sets up in the hotel. Rousey said that she can control her anger, expertly apply it and until the match, she’s going to relax with her family. Rousey said that Charlotte can either tap out or Ronda will give her family Charlotte’s arm and Ronda claimed that they will like it. Ronda went back to training with Shayna.
Analysis: It’s a bit of a surprise for WWE to show footage from the practice ring in the hotel. I guess it’s a way to provide more access while showing a superstar like Rousey when she’s away from the ring. Rousey and Baszler are very close friends as I’m sure most of you know.
There was a video package about the Smackdown Women’s Title match between champion Charlotte Flair and Royal Rumble winner Ronda Rousey. It featured comments from people talking about Flair and Rousey are two generational talents set for a clash at WrestleMania. The video featured all of the attacks that Flair has done on Rousey in the last several weeks building up to this match.
Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair
Charlotte was in some casual attire as she stood on the stage to deliver a promo instead of going to the ring. Charlotte said that the video package was epic. Charlotte talked about how the masterpiece she has created is more beautiful than the Oscar winner Coda. Flair said she’s going to destroy Rousey, the fans did “what” so she fired back with a “woo” at her. Flair reminded us she’s a 13-time Women’s Champion, the most dominant woman in sports entertainment and every woman wanting to be her while every man wants to be with her – that’s cool. Charlotte said that everybody wanting her autograph and wanting a selfie – that’s cool. Charlotte kept on talking trash about how she wants to show Ronda what cool is about. Charlotte ended up calling Rousey a “bitch” to end it.
Analysis: It was the usual Charlotte promo where she was cocky, talking about all of her title wins and delivering strong towards Rousey. I think Rousey should win.
They showed Madcap Moss looking at the Andre trophy, so Happy Corbin was there with Angela the sword. They laughed about it.
A video about Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns was up next.
There was a long video package about the Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania. It’s a Winner Take All Championship unification match for Roman’s Universal Title and Brock’s WWE Title. They showed what happened at Royal Rumble when Reigns attacked Lesnar (also when Paul Heyman turned on Brock) to cost Brock the WWE Title. Of course, Brock got the title back a few weeks later. They also showed the footage from MSG last month when Reigns beat up and bloodied Lesnar with help from The Usos. There were more clips from the feud with Lesnar trying to get after Reigns, but security was in the way, so Lesnar beat them up. Lesnar also ripped off a door handle while Reigns and The Usos drove away in a truck.
Analysis: Great video package for a long-term feud that could be the last Reigns/Lesnar match for a long time. At least I hope so because it’s time for both guys to move on to different things. I can see it going either way. Lesnar as the babyface winning makes sense, but the younger guy Reigns winning is also a logical conclusion too. I’m looking forward to it.
It was time for a wrestling match with Rick Boogs doing the introduction for Shinsuke Nakamura. While they made their entrance, Pat McAfee was dancing on the table. Pat chased Theory to the backstage area where Theory went into Mr. McMahon’s dressing room. McAfee kicked the door to open up, so Vince and Theory got in Pat’s face. Vince asked Pat if he should fire him or cancel his WrestleMania match. Pat said no obviously. Vince told Pat to go do his job, so Pat left.
Analysis: That has happened a few times with Pat chasing after Theory and the threat of Pat losing his job if he went too far. Now we get to see what happens at WrestleMania. I think Theory should probably win, but that’s another one that could go either way.
The Usos made their entrance for a singles match with Jimmy Uso facing Rick Boogs in singles action.
They showed Pat McAfee at ringside with Cole telling Pat he knows Pat wants to kick Theory’s ass, but he must wait until WrestleMania in two days.
Rick Boogs (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)
Jimmy ran the ropes going for a cross body block, but Boogs caught him and did about ten curls followed by a body slam. Jimmy came back with a whip that sent Boogs shoulder first into the ring post. Boogs got back to his feet with a press slam into a fallaway slam on Jimmy. Austin Theory made his way down to ringside again. Theory grabbed a drink from ringside and threw it onto Pat. Cole told Pat to remain professional. Balor ran out with a forearm to the back and he whipped Theory into the ring. That led to the six guys fighting in the ring, which led to a break. This match went about three minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: 1/2* It wasn’t much of a match other than Boogs showing off his power moves. They used this to set up a six-man tag team match after the break.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Rick Boogs & Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory, Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso
Nakamura was working over Jey with kicks to the throat while Pat was ripping on Theory, who was on the apron. Nakamura with a running knee to the ribs. Jey punched Nakamura, Theory tagged in and a hair whip followed by a stomp to the chest. Theory with a suplex, Nakamura with a knee to the ribs and Boogs tagged in leading to a gutwrench suplex after Boogs twisted him about ten times before the suplex. Balor worked over Theory with chops, a snapmare and a basement dropkick for two. Balor with a kick to the chest on Theory, then Jimmy got in a cheap clothesline that the referee didn’t see and Theory stomped on Balor. Jimmy tagged in, he sent Balor into the hood of the commentary table and back in the ring, Jey hit a cheap shot punch on Balor. Jimmy tossed Balor over the top to the floor leading to a commercial.
The match continued with Jimmy hitting a spin kick on Balor, who was the face in peril. Jimmy went for a corner splash, Balor moved and Jimmy hit the turnbuckle while hitting the ring post with his hand to make some noise. Jey tagged in and kicked Boogs off the apron. Balor created some space with a basement dropkick. Nakamura got the hot tag against Theory. Nakamura with a spin kick, ax kick and punch on The Usos. Nakamura with a kick to Theory’s head followed by a kick to the back and sliding German Suplex off the ropes. The Usos broke up a pin attempt with a double superkick. Boogs dumped both Usos out of the ring, The Usos sent Boogs into the apron and Balor got the tag against Theory. Balor with a clothesline to the floor followed by Balor hitting a somersault dive over the top onto the three heels. Back in the ring, Balor with a Slingblade and dropkick. Balor had to fight off both Usos, so Theory tripped Balor and Theory hit the ATL slam into the knee for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Austin Theory, Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso
Analysis: *** A good six-man tag as you would expect in a match with this many talented guys. Balor worked well as the face in peril, things picked up when Nakamura got the tag and then the heels managed to work better leading to the win for Theory. It was a logical decision since Theory has the big singles match at WrestleMania with McAfee on Sunday. Might as well give Theory some positive momentum.
After the match, McAfee exchanged words with Theory, who was in the ring. McAfee went onto the apron to have a staredown, Cole went over to Pat and advised him to come down. Pat went back to the commentary table, so there was no physical contact.
Analysis: Good way of continuing to build Pat/Austin without physical contact. The fans will strongly be behind McAfee for the match.
Happy Corbin made his entrance with battle royal winner Madcap Moss for a Happy Talk segment that will apparently be the main event of this show.
There was a plug for the WWE Hall of Fame after Smackdown with The Undertaker as the headline name. Vince McMahon will induct Undertaker.
Happy Corbin was in the ring with Madcap Moss, who said that the WWE Universe was happy for him. The fans booed. Corbin said that he expects that from Moss while Corbin mentioned he won the Andre Battle Royal in 2016. Corbin said he was euphoric, but not because of the Andre. Corbin cued up a replay of how he got the sword.
The Progressive Match Flo was shown from Raw when Drew McIntyre pinned Madcap Moss in a 2 on 1 match that also featured Happy Corbin teaming with Moss. After the match, Corbin did a cheap attack and took Drew’s sword Angela.
Corbin said that this is his good luck while adding that he won the Andre Battle Royal, he retired Kurt Angle at WrestleMania and now he will beat Drew McIntyre. Corbin said that this sword is a dangerous weapon. Corbin noted it’s named Angela after Drew’s late mother and Corbin named the sword “Euphoria” because it’s a happy name. Corbin told a joke: “What does Drew’s sword and his mother have him common – he lost them both.” Ouch. Not good.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance looking pissed off. When Moss ran at Drew in the aisle, Drew decked him with a punch. Drew brought in a chair, he threw it at Corbin and Corbin dropped the sward. Drew swung the sword, Corbin ducked it and left. Drew destroyed the Happy Talk set. Drew took the sword and broke the table with two strikes.
Analysis: Drew got the sword back. That was about it. Not much more to it.
They did a rundown of the WrestleMania matches. The full listing of the matches at WrestleMania are at the bottom of this post.
Drew McIntyre was shown in the ring again as he drove the sword into the ring a bit as some pyro went off. Drew stared at Corbin/Moss to end the show. That was it.
Analysis: Drew should beat Corbin in their match. If that doesn’t happen I’ll be very surprised.
Three Stars of the Show
- Austin Theory
- Madcap Moss
6 out of 10
Last week: 6
It was just an average Smackdown this week. I liked the IC Title match with Ricochet having an impressive performance, the six-man tag team match was very good and the battle royal was fine too.
They aired a few video packages for some of the big matches at WrestleMania, which is to be expected for the last Smackdown before WM. The videos are always well done. WWE is great at that. It also saves you from having to watch the Kickoff Show because they will show the same videos there. Some of them might air at WrestleMania as well.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 38 from Dallas, Texas on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Here’s the lineup:
Saturday, April 2nd Lineup:
KO Show – Hosted by Kevin Owens with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
Seth Rollins vs. ????? (An Opponent of Vince McMahon’s Choosing)
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin
The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland (w/Butch)
Sunday, April 3rd Lineup:
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
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos
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.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.