WWE SmackDown Review: The Road To WrestleMania Takes A Rocky Bump

WWE SmackDown
Legacy Arena — Birmingham, Alabama

The aired a WWE Royal Rumble highlight package.

Men’s Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes was showing arriving to the building with Pharaoh at 1:43pm. Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bayley was shown with Damage CTRL observing the arena. 

Corey Graves introduced Wade Barrett as his new broadcast partner for WWE SmackDown. 

Logan Paul & Kevin Owens Segment

The crowd booed as WWE United States Champion Logan Paul came out to start the show. Paul said he didn’t want to be here either. The crowd booed as Paul said Alabama sucked. Paul said underestimated Kevin Owens. Paul said Owens did more damage to him than Floyd Mayweather. Paul said Owens almost knocked him out. Paul said Owens still lost. Paul said he’s still the WWE United States Champion. Paul called the WWE roster brittle. Paul mocked CM Punk’s and Seth Rollins injuries. Paul said everyone gets hurts except himself. Paul gloated about his greatness.

Kevin Owens came out to a big reaction. Owens said Alabama was a great place. Owens said Paul didn’t mention unbearable idiot to his list. Owens said he didn’t walk out with the United States Title. Owens said it was a morale victory. Owens said it was great to knock out Paul at the Royal Rumble. Owens said he still wants the United States Title. Paul said Owens had one shot at the title. 

Paul said Owens took the bait by using the Brass Knuckles. Paul gloated about outsmarting Owens. Owens said he’s going to stop at nothing from winning a match. Owens said he got caught. Owens said the referee did a great job. Owens said next time he doesn’t need Brass Knuckles. Paul said Owens was standing too close to him and smells horrible. Owens said he bathed in Prime before coming here. Paul said it must have not been Cherry Freeze. Paul said Owens isn’t getting a rematch. Paul said he was going to find a real challenger. Paul told Owens to focus on Austin Theory. Paul said he was joining commentary. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Logan Paul was great playing such an unlikable heel. I liked Kevin Owens response saying he would do anything to win a match. Owens and Paul work well together playing off each other. The Royal Rumble finish was done to build a rematch. This was good setting up the rematch for Elimination Chamber show

Kevin Owens def. Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller)

Owens placed Theory in a wrist lock while taunting Paul on commentary. Owens went for a back senton but Theory got his knees up. Theory took control mounting Owens with grounded strikes. Theory went for a rolling dropkick but Owens moved. Owens caught Theory with a running senton. Owens followed with a running cannonball for two. Owens and Theory battled for position on the ring apron. Theory took back control planting Owens with a backdrop onto the ring apron. Owens battled back rocking Theory with a huge lariat. Owens made a comeback catching Theory with a Tornado DDT. Owens followed hitting a Swanton Bomb for two. Huge KO chants. Owens went for a Stunner but Theory blocked. Theory connected with a rolling blockbuster for a two count. Theory went for a Superplex but Owens showed him off the ropes. Theory followed hitting a Torture Rack Bomb for two. Waller distracted the referee. Paul handed Theory the Brass Knuckles. Owens nailed Theory with a Superkick. Owens rocked Waller with the Brass Knuckles. Owens nailed Theory with the Brass Knuckles for the win. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a good back and forth match as Owens and Theory usually work really well together. This was a good back and forth match. I liked how Paul trying to hand Theory the Brass Knuckles costed him the match. The finish was clever with Owens hiding the Brass Knuckles so the referee doesn’t see it like what happened at the Royal Rumble. Owens winning was good building him up for a rematch with Paul for the United States Title. 

Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley was shown arriving to earlier in the day. 

They aired Women’s Royal Rumble highlight package featuring Naomi’s return to WWE. 

Naomi was shown leaving Nick Aldis office with a SmackDown contract. Bianca Belair, Michin and Shotzi were all happy with the news. Tiffany Stratton appeared. Tiffany said she also signed a SmackDown contract. Tiffany asked where were her applause? Tiffany had a stare down with Belair. Tiffany told Belair she’s not afraid to step up to the baddest women in WWE. Tiffany told Belair she was going to remember her. Tiffany slapped Michin across the face. Tiffany left. Nick Aldis held Belair and Shotzi back. Michin told Aldis she wanted a match with Tiffany. Aldis agreed. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — So great to see Naomi back in WWE. Naomi being on SmackDown is great as she can have so many big matches. Thicould possibly lead to Naomi maybe joining The Bloodline? Really awesome to see Tiffany Stratton getting called up to the WWE main roster. Tiffany is really talented and is going to be a big star on the main roster. 

Bianca Belair spoke to Nick Aldis in his office. Belair spoke to Aldis thinking Bayley might pick Bayley Rhea Ripley for her WrestleMania opponent. Belair wondered what she had to do to face Iyo Sky? Aldis told Belair that he and Adam Pearce have been discussing something. Logan Paul appeared telling Aldis he wants a challenger but Kevin Owens. Belair told Paul she was in a conversation with Aldis. Paul said he was having a conversation as well. Paul congratulated Belair on WWE 2K24 cover. Paul said Belair was dismissed. Belair called Paul rude. Belair told Paul to find someone else to play with. Paul said this confrontation isn’t professional. Paul told Aldis to get control of his show. Paul told Aldis to treat his stars like top stars. Paul congratulated Belair on the reality show. Paul patted Aldis on the shoulder and left. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Logan Paul was so great here playing such an unlikable heel. Looks like they are setting up a cross-branded Women’s Elimination Chamber match between Raw and SmackDown. Becky Lynch wins the Elimination Chamber and faces Rhea Ripley for the Women’s World Title at WrestleMania. 

Legado Del Fantasma highlight package. Santos Escobar said his heart was filled with joy seeing Elektra Lopez, Angel & Humberto with him together. Escobar said they have an unbreakable bond. Escobar said there’s nothing more valuable in his universe than Familia. Escobar welcomed Lopez back. Lopez said she never left. Escobar said they’ve been entrusted to carry the legacy of their families and Lucha Libre. Escobar said they must eradicate Rey Mysterio’s LWO. They all had a toast.

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Santos Escobar has been on such a great roll since turning heel. This was an awesome vignette as all members of Legado Del Fantasma were presented like stars.

British Strong Style (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) def. Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson), LWO (Joaquin Wilde & Cruz Del Toro), Legado Del Fantasma (Angel & Humberto) (w/Elektra Lopez) in a Fatal-4-Way Qualifying Match

Good action early as Wilde caught Dunne with a hurricanrana. Bate caught Wilde with a hurricanrana. Toro caught Bate with a popup hurricanrana. Toro caught Humberto with a flying hurricanrana. Bate and Dunne assisted Toro who delivered an awesome Rocket Launcher onto everyone on the floor to a solid reaction. This was an awesome spot. Dunne ran wild rocking everyone with enzuigiri’s. Dunne rocked Prince and Wilson with a pair of roundhouse kicks. Dunne launched Toro with an X-Plex. Wilde went for a springboard but Dunne caught him with a right hand. Prince and Wilson responded catching Dunne with a gut buster but Bate made the save. Bate caught Prince with an Airplane Spin. Bate and Dunne delivered a German Suplex/rebound lariat combo to Wilson but Angel and Humberto made the save. Angel and Humberto caught Bate with a Launch Powerbomb combo. Toro and Wilde rocked Angel and Humberto with a double springboard dropkick. Elektra Lopez stood on the ring apron. The crowd cheered as Zelina Vega yanked Lopez off the ring apron. Toro and Wilde delivered stereo topes to Angel and Humberto. Vega connected with a flying Meteora to Lopez. Wilson caught Dunne with a rollup for two. Dunne responded snapping Wilson’s fingers. Bate and Dunne delivered a double Tyler Driver 97’ for the win. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a fun action packed match with all the teams getting a chance to shine. I liked the followup from last week’s angle with Vega getting her hands on Lopez. I liked the layout with the ongoing rivalry between LWO and Legado Del Fantasma cost both teams from winning. Good to win Bate and Dunne going on a nice little run since forming as a team. Bate and Dunne will now face the winners of a Fatal-4-Way match on Raw. Let’s see who will be the team that comes from Raw. 

They aired highlights of Bayley giving her Women’s Royal Rumble victory speech on Raw. They showed Nia Jax attacking Rhea Ripley on Raw. Bayley said she would make her WrestleMania decision on SmackDown. 

Iyo Sky Asuka and Kairi Sane were backstage in the locker room. Asuka asked Iyo if Bayley was coming for her? Iyo told Asuka and Sane to not worry about it. Iyo said “Bayley’s done tonight.” Iyo, Asuka and Sane laughed as they left with their titles. The fans buzzed as they saw Bayley was watching in the background. The camera focused on Bayley who looked sad.

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Bayley’s facial reaction was perfect finding out Iyo Sky had a plan to turn on her. They have done such a tremendous job building to Bayley babyface’s turn.

This week’s Progressive Match Flo was WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins asking Cody Rhodes what kind of champion he wants to be? They showed classic clips of Ultimate Warrior as the WWE Champion. They showed contrasting clips of Ric Flair as World Heavyweight Champion. They showed clips of Sycho Sid as WWE Champion. They showed clips of Terry Funk as World Heavyweight Champion. They showed clips of Hulk Hogan as WWE Champion. They showed clips of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes as World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins asked Cody where his heart lies? Rollins asked if Cody wants to out manipulating Roman Reigns. Rollins wondered if Cody wanted to outwrestle him at WrestleMania. Rollins asked Cody what kind of champion he wants to be? 

Cody Rhodes was shown inside his tour bus with Pharaoh. Cody would make his WrestleMania decision later.

Bayley Makes Her WrestleMania Decision 

Raw General Manager Adam Pearce and SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis were inside the ring. Mike Rome introduced Bayley as the Women’s Royal Rumble winner. Bayley came out with WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka & Kairi Sane. Dakota Kai wasn’t on the show. Bayley looked at the WrestleMania sign. Huge Bayley chants from the crowd. 

Bayley said she’s almost done it all when she thinks of WrestleMania. Bayley said she defended both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Title at WrestleMania. Bayley said she defended the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania. Bayley said she even hosted WrestleMania. Bayley said this year was different and special. Bayley looked back at Iyo, Asuka and Sane. Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley was watching backstage. 

Bayley said she didn’t get here on her own. Bayley said she’s had lots of ups and downs. Bayley said she wasn’t in it alone. Bayley said she had Iyo, Asuka and Sane with her. (Iyo, Asuka and Sane were laughing in the back.) Bayley spoke about Iyo, Asuka and Sane always being there for her. Bayley said Damage CTRL is the best group of all-time. Bayley said Damage CTRL is family. Bayley turned around as Iyo, Asuka and Sane stopped laughing. Bayley said she thinks about moments, the magic and being the best when it comes to WrestleMania. Bayley said she had to beat one of the best in Rhea Ripley. Ripley was smiling backstage. 

Bayley said she could go a different route. The crowd cheered. Bayley said sometimes it’s not about holding a championship. Bayley said sometimes it’s more personal. Bayley said sometimes it comes down to what’s in your heart. Bayley said sometimes it’s about proving people wrong. Bayley said sometimes it’s about proving doubters wrong that thought you didn’t have what it took to go all the way. Bayley turned to Iyo, Asuka and Sane. Bayley said sometimes you have to prove them wrong. 

Bayley asked Iyo, Asuka and Sane if they were done laughing. The crowd gasped as Bayley spoke in Japanese. Iyo’s, Asuka and Sane’s reaction was awesome. Bayley said that’s Japanese. Bayley said she picked that up when she heard them talking behind her back. The crowd gasped. Bayley said she’s done it all and seen it all. Bayley got emotional as she just wanted to see Damage CTRL be the best. Bayley said she wanted to go to WrestleMania together. 

Huge Bayley chants from the crowd. Bayley said Damage CTRL were close with her Dakota Kai and Iyo. Bayley said Iyo turned her back when Asuka and Kairi Sane joined the group. Asuka and Sane went behind Bayley. The crowd booed as Asuka and Kairi attacked Bayley from behind. Bayley grabbed a pipe which she was hiding. Bayley attacked Asuka and Sane with the pipe. 

Iyo grabbed the WWE Women’s Title. Bayley held up the pipe. Bayley and Iyo’s facial reaction were both awesome telling two different stories. Huge Bayley chants. Iyo looked frightened as she left the ring. Bayley’s look in her eyes was incredible. Bayley had a look like she didn’t want to do this. Bayley said she will see Iyo at WrestleMania. This got a huge reaction. Bayley pointed at the WrestleMania sign. The camera focused on Bayley who looked emotional. WrestleMania sign in the background. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was my highlight of the show. They have been planting the split between Bayley and Damage CTRL for months. I really liked the emotional aspect of the story. Bayley spoke about her vision of creating Damage CTL and wanting to get to WrestleMania together. Bayley’s vision for Damage CTRL changed when Iyo brought Asuka and Kairi Sane into the group. It was notable that Dakota Kai wasn’t involved in this angle. It will be interesting to see what side Dakota Kai takes. I also really liked how Bayley played the smart babyface knowing what Damage CTRL had planned. Iyo, Asuka and Kairi’s reaction to when Bayley spoke in Japanese was excellent stuff. The fans were ready to see the Bayley babyface turn. The fans treated Bayley as she was biggest babyface star in the division. I’m really looking forward to seeing Bayley and Iyo as they should have an awesome match at WrestleMania. 

The Final Testament (Karrion Kross, Akam & Rezar) (w/Scarlett & Paul Ellering) vs. Bobby Lashley & The Street Profit (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) ended in a No Contest

Kross came out with AOP, Scarlett and Ellering to a strong heel reaction. Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits got a strong babyface reaction. Both teams began brawling before the match began. Lashley planted Kross with a Spinebuster. Lashley called for the Hurt Lock. Scarlett jumped on Lashley’s back. B-Fab appeared rocking Scarlett with a Pump Kick. Lashley rocked Kross with a spear. B-Fab stood tall with Lashley, Dawkins and Ford inside the ring. No Match. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — There has been some interaction with Bobby Lashley and B-Fab on SmackDown in the past couple of months. This angle worked having B-Fab even the odds for the babyface to go against Scarlett. 

The crowd cheered as Bron Breakker was inside Nick Aldis locker room holding a SmackDown contract. Adam Pearce appeared. Pearce told Breakker to speak him on Raw before signing the contract. Aldis asked Pearce what he’s doing. Pearce said business. Breakker said he’s going to hold onto the SmackDown contract. Breakker said he will see Pearce on Raw. Someone was knocking on the door. Jade Cargill entered to a big reaction. Jade asked if now was a good time to talk? Aldis said now is a great time. Aldis told Pearce to leave his room. Pearce told Aldis “Be careful 00 Salesman.” Pearce left. Aldis and Jade shook hands. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — They are doing a great job making Bron Breakker feel like a big deal with Aldis and Pearce wanting him on both Raw and SmackDown. Breakker going to Raw seems to be the plan. Breakker can face Dominik Mysterio who eliminated him from the Royal Rumble. Breakker could possibly challenge Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania. SmackDown just got both Naomi and Tiffany Stratton. I’m guessing Jade Cargill will be going to Raw as well. Jade just looks like a WWE Superstars.

Tiffany Stratton def. Michin

Tiffany got her same NXT entrance with the photography flashes which is great to see. Michin came out with Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows for her entrance. Anderson and Gallows went to the back. Michin took control rocking Tiffany with a Woo Dropkick. Michin planted Tiffany with a gut wrench suplex. Michin followed with a suplex for two. Tiffany battled back yanking Michin onto the ring apron. Tiffany rocked Michin with a running double stomp for two. Michin made a comeback rocking Tiffany with a superkick. Michin planted Tiffany with a corner Codebreaker. Michin applied a cover but Tiffany grabbed the ropes. Michin called for Eat Defeat but Tiffany countered yanking her to the mat. Tiffany caught Michin with a Cartwheel Alabama Slam which got a big reaction for two. Tiffany caught Michin with a rolling senton. Tiffany climbed the ropes hitting the Prettiest Moonsault Ever which mostly missed for the win. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a good back and forth match. Michin is such a talented wrestler and is someone who should be showcased more in bigger matches. Michin was the perfect opponent for Tiffany to have her debut match against. Michin did everything you wanted her to do which was to make Tiffany look like a star in her debut match. This was a great introductory match for Tiffany as she looked great in her debut. Tiffany has really improved and was one of the quickest rising stars on the NXT roster. Tiffany just looks like a complete star. Tiffany is going to be a huge star on the WWE main roster 

Cody Rhodes was walking backstage. 

Roman Reigns Promo 

Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns came out to a huge mixed reaction. Reigns got a nice firework display. Reigns came out with Paul Heyman, Solo SIkoa and Jimmy Uso. Heyman handed Reigns the mic. Huge Cody chants from the crowd. Reigns said we will get to him. Reigns told the crowd to Acknowledge Him which got a big mixed reaction. 

Reigns said he doesn’t like to recap. Reigns said he likes to move forward. Reigns said there were some things said on Monday which he can’t let slide. Reigns called Seth Rollins by his little brother. Reigns said “Exactly, no pop!” Ouch! Reigns said Rollins got the title. Reigns started laughing. Reigns said didn’t be everyone competing for that title. Reigns said doesn’t that make them his Number 2’s. Reigns said shouldn’t we called that “The Loser Bracket Title!” 

Reigns scoffed as Rollins saying he was “the guy’”. Reigns laughed. Reigns said “You can’t be running around here for two years in your wife’s clothes and say you’re the guy.” Reigns brought up Rollins calling himself the workhorse. Reigns said Rollins broke his back in three months trying to carry that show. Reigns then asked “Do workhorses walk like this?” Reigns mocked Rollins walk because of his injured knee. Reigns brought up Rollins to attack his schedule. Reigns said it’s simple. Reigns said he works less than Rollins. Reigns backtracked. Reigns said he works 10 times less than Rollins. Reigns said he makes 10 times more money than Rollins. Reigns asked the crowd if they wanted Seth Rollins money or Tribal Chief money.

Reigns said Cody has value and all that “crap” which he said. Reigns said he’s not going to beg Cody like the other guy. Reigns said you can either be the very best number two in this industry. Reigns said Cody can take a crack at number one again. Reigns said it’s Cody’s choice. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Roman Reigns is on a completely different level. Reigns was awesome. Reigns response to Rollins promo on Raw was perfect explaining why there’s a World Heavyweight Title. Reigns went into unlikable heel mode mocking Rollins injury. Reigns saying how he works a lesser schedule but then saying he makes more than Rollins was a great comeback line. You wanted to see Cody pick Reigns as his WrestleMania opponent after that promo. 

Cody Rhodes Makes His WrestleMania Decision 

Cody Rhodes music played. Cody received a huge reaction. Cody got a huge firework display. The WOAHHH are getting louder and louder. Heyman handed Cody the mic. Huge Cody chants from the fans. Cody asked the crowd and Reigns what do we want to talk about? Cody said he imagined this conversation a little more private. Cody asked Reigns if they have the ring to themselves. Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa left the ring. Heyman stayed inside the ring watching in the background. 

Huge Cody chants from the fans. Cody said he took a great deal of counsel from friends, family and legends. Cody said Reigns cheated him. Cody said Reigns knows he had him beat. Cody said Seth Rollins made a lot of amazing points. Cody said he disagreed with one point. Cody pointed at the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. Heyman held the title. Cody said Rollins called that “The Hollywood Title!” 

Cody said that’s still the title Bruno Sammartino held. Cody said that’s the same title that was put into his father’s hand at Maddison Square Garden. (A clue) Cody said it was swiftly taken away. Cody said he still wants the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. Cody asked Reigns “What is Finishing The Story?” Cody heard Reigns say that everything is his. Cody said is finishing the story just taking the title from him? Cody asked is finishing the story taking everything from Reigns? The crowd cheered. 

Cody said “Let me make it abundantly clear.” Cody said “I want that title.” Cody said he’s moving his own goalpost. Cody said he wants the title and wants everything. Cody said he’s coming for Reigns. The crowd cheered. Cody said not at WrestleMania! The crowd wasn’t sure what to make of this. Cody mentioned he took counsel. Cody said one of the individuals knows Reigns very well. The crowd cheered. 

The Rock’s music played. The Rock came out to a huge reaction. Cody and The Rock had a stare down. The Rock offered a handshake. Cody accepted the handshake. The Rock pulled Cody in for the handshake. Cody and The Rock hugged. The Rock whispered something into Cody’s ear. Cody smiled. Cody offered The Rock the ring. Cody left the ring. Cody stared at The Rock. Cody walked to the back with a smile. The Rock nodded at Cody.

(Amin’s Thoughts)  I’m guessing WWE thought they needed to change some direction after CM Punk’s injury. I’m interested to know is what made Cody smile after hearing what The Rock whispered into his ear when they hugged. The interesting part was Cody never said he wanted the World Heavyweight Title which Rollins was holding. Cody kept saying he wants the Undisputed WWE Universal Title which Reigns is holding. I’m still sure Cody will be the one to beat Reigns for the title. I’m wondering are they saving Cody’s big moment when he beats Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title at Maddison Square Garden? Cody needs to explain why he doesn’t want the match with Reigns at WrestleMania. Cody needs to give reason for not wanting to face Reigns at WrestleMania. Cody kept telling Reigns he wants his title. Cody never said he wanted the World Heavyweight Title which Rollins is holding.

Roman Reigns & The Rock Come Face-To-Face

The crowd cheered as The Rock stared at Roman Reigns. Heyman handed Reigns the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. The crowd chanted Rocky. The Rock and Reigns had a stare down. They aired a graphic for a WrestleMania Kickoff Press Event on Thursday. The event takes place from Las Vegas. The event will be streaming on Peacock. The show ended. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Let me say this. There was something really special when Roman Reigns and The Rock had their stare down. Roman Reigns vs. The Rock is the biggest match WWE can make right now. Rock teased the match on Raw Day One. I’m guessing WWE thought they needed to change plans after CM Punk’s injury. I’m also wondering if having The Rock wrestle is a way for TKO to take some attention away to the horrific Vince McMahon news. The way they got to Reigns and The Rock was a mess. I would like if Cody somehow gets added to the match.


I enjoyed this week’s episode of SmackDown. They did a good job introducing both new and returning stars. Naomi who just returned to WWE is now part of SmackDown. They made Tiffany Stratton look like a star in her debut match on the main roster. This show was all about setting up the WrestleMania. I’m glad to see Bayley and Iyo Sky are going to have a single’s match at WrestleMania for the Women’s Title. The Damage CTRL breakup angle was well done as Bayley came off as a huge babyface star. Roman Reigns vs. The Rock is the biggest match WWE can make right now. It felt like WWE must have pivot plans with CM Punk’s injury. I’m pretty sure Cody will eventually be the one to beat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. Cody needs to give an explanation to why he doesn’t want the match with Reigns at WrestleMania. Overall, this was a good episode of SmackDown. The Road to WrestleMania has been shaken up in a huge way.