WWE SmackDown Review: The Rock Issues WrestleMania Challenge

WWE SmackDown 
Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona 

We saw a WWE Elimination Chamber highlight package. We saw an outside shot of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We are just give weeks away from WrestleMania XL. They showed fans inside the Desert Diamond Arena. Corey Graves and Wade Barrett welcomed us to WWE SmackDown. 

Roman Reigns & The Rock Promo 

Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns came out to start the show. Reigns got a huge mixed reaction and nice firework display. Reigns came out with Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso. Reigns told the crowd to Acknowledge Him. Reigns said it used to be louder. Reigns blamed the city and mentioned they were in the wrong city. Reigns said for Phoenix, Arizona to Acknowledge Him. This got tons of boos. The fans began loudly chanting for Cody Rhodes. Reigns said he’s going to try this again. Reigns said he’s fulfilled his obligations and if the fans don’t get on the same page he’s leaving. Reigns yelled telling the crowd to Acknowledge Him. This got more boos. Reigns said he’s done here. Reigns told Heyman to fire up the jet as they are done here. Heyman nervously told Reigns they have some work here and can’t leave yet. Heyman said “he’s coming out.” Heyman said the People’s Champion and the greatest movie star of all-time would appear live. Heyman told the fans that The Rock would appear after the break. The camera focused on Reigns stood in the corner looking annoyed as they went to commercial break. 

The Rock came out to a huge mixed reaction. The Rock wore another shirt this time with sleeves, a gold chain and sunglasses. The Rock is going back to his Attitude Era heel character. The Rock posed and the crowd cheered. Reigns had an annoyed look. The crowd chanted Rocky. The Rock went to speak but stooped. The fans began booing. He asked are you sure you want to boo The Rock? The Rock told the fans he had some news to share. The Rock said Glendale is apparently ten miles away from Phoenix. Rock asked the fans if there were a lot of people from Phoenix in attendance? This got some cheers. The Rock said the number one city in America for cocaine and meth use is Phoenix. The Rock said that means finally your life has meaning, because finally you cactus loving crackheads have something worth shooting in your veins. The Rock said he finally came back to Arizona. 

Reigns was still looking annoyed. Rock said he was in a good mood and so was Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa. Sikoa had his same serious look. The Rock said that’s Solo’s happy face. The Rock said pro wrestling is cool again. The Rock brought up all the sellouts of arenas. Rock said wrestling is cool against because of himself, Roman Reigns, and The Bloodline. The fans were mixed with boos and Rocky chants. The Rock said Cody isn’t cool. The Rock declined Cody’s challenge. 

The Rock had counter offer for WrestleMania Night One. The Rock said he and Reigns challenged Cody and Seth Rollins to a tag team match. The Rock said it won’t be a regular tag team match. The Rock said if Cody and Rollins win, there will no Bloodline involvement in Cody’s match against Reigns on WrestleMania Night Two. The Rock said if he and Reigns win, the WrestleMania match will be Bloodline Rules, meaning anything goes. The Rock said he could join Pat McAfee on commentary. The Rock brought up a guest referee and even said Solo Sikoa sings the National Anthem. Rock mentioned Sikoa has a great voice. The fans chanted Solo. 

The Rock told Cody and Rollins to come to Dallas and accept the challenge. The Rock said he’s the boss and there’s no general manager or vice president who can stop him. The fans chanted for Triple H. The Rock went to do his catchphrase. Reigns put his hand on The Rock’s arm and lowered the microphone. The fans reacted big to this. Reigns held out his hand and Heyman gave him a mic. 

Reigns told The Rock that he needs something from him. Reigns said he would do anything for his family, but he needs one thing. Reigns told The Rock to Acknowledge Him. Rock removed his shades and looked at Reigns. The Rock acknowledged Reigns as his Tribal Chief. Rock held up his hand. Reigns shook The Rock’s hand. They hugged. The fans chanted “You Sold Out!” The Rock said this is family and will do anything for family. The Rock said “If you smell” Rock paused and handed Reigns the mic. Reigns said “What The Bloodline is cooking.” Reigns music played. Reigns, The Rock and The Bloodline posed together. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was a tremendous segment. I enjoyed The Rock’s first promo since turning heel. That promo also felt like The Rock was playing his greatest hits. The Rock were fantastic here putting over WWE being cool. I also liked how The Rock set the stage for Cody and Rollins to appear on SmackDown to accept the match. I liked the stipulation adding more stakes which makes both WrestleMania matches even more important. The Rock also mentioning he’s the boss was interesting. They are teasing an interaction between Triple H and The Rock. I really liked how Reigns stepped up to The Rock. Reigns has been Undisputed WWE Universal Champion for over 1,000 days and he shouldn’t be playing second including The Rock. A fantastic segment here building up the WrestleMania tag team match. 

We saw Austin Theory and Grayson Waller backstage. Theory and Waller were watching the finish from the Men’s Elimination match. LA Knight appeared Theory and Waller if they’ve seen AJ Styles? They said no. Knight left carrying a chair. Theory and Waller went back to watching the Men’s Elimination Chamber finish. They were laughing after Logan Paul attacked Randy Orton with the Brass Knuckles. Orton entered the locker room and was laughing with them. Orton said he wanted to do something hilarious. Orton wanted to face either Theory or Waller on the show. Waller offered Theory for the match. Orton patted Theory on the back and left. Theory wasn’t pleased with Waller putting him in the match. 

Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi

The Rock’s segment must have gone long. Naomi didn’t get an entrance. Tiffany got an entrance. There was a “Tiffy Time” chant from the fans. Naomi shined early catching Tiffany with a handspring elbow. Naomi followed rocking Tiffany with a running dropkick for a two count. Naomi planted Tiffany with a Slingshot X-Factor for a two count. Tiffany caught Naomi with a leaping back elbow as they returned from break. Tiffany took the lead hitting a running double stomp for a two count. Naomi responded catching Tiffany with a Heat Seeker for a two count. Naomi and Tiffany exchanged big strikes. Tiffany caught Naomi with a Spinebuster coming off the ropes for a two count. Naomi responded running Tiffany in the turnbuckle. The referee held Naomi back as she tried to yank Tiffany back into the ring. Tiffany ranked Naomi in the eyes. Tiffany ran Naomi into the ring post. Tiffany delivered the Prettiest Moonsault Ever for the win. 

WINNER: Tiffany Stratton

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was a good match as both Naomi and Tiffany worked well together. Tiffany has really transitioning greatly from NXT to the WWE main roster. This was nice to see Tiffany get the win after her great showing at the Elimination Chamber. Tiffany already feels like she’s going to be a big star on the WWE main roster. 

We saw a highlight package of Bayley issues with Damage CTRL and challenging Iyo Sky at WrestleMania. Dakota Kai wanting to be Bayley’s partner to face Asuka & Kairi Sane. 

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) (w/WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky) vs. Bayley & Dakota Kai

Asuka and Kairi Sane got a strong heel reaction. Bayley and Dakota Kai got a big babyface reaction. Asuka and Kairi attacked Bayley as the match began. Sane rocked Bayley with a basement dropkick. Bayley responded yanking Asuka to the floor. Asuka showed Bayley who accidentally knocked Kai off the ring apron. Asuka and Sane delivered a Blockbuster/Codebreaker combo. Asuka and Sane followed with a Shinning Wizard/Sliding D combo to Bayley for a two count. Bayley battled back catching Asuka with a Stunner against the ropes. Bayley went for a tag but Kai leaped off the ring apron. The fans booed Kai. Bayley attacked Asuka and Sane. Bayley exchanged strikes with Kai. The match ended. 

WINNERS: No Contest

  • Iyo Sky laughed as Asuka and Sane held up Bayley for Kai. Sky rocked Bayley with a Shining Wizard. Sky taunted Bayley holding the WWE Women’s Title. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was just an angle to move forward the next steps in the Damage CTRL storyline. I was glad they didn’t drag out the Kai turn on Bayley. Kai joining makes Damage CTRL even a more stronger group. This makes Bayley even a bigger babyface as she now has to go against Kai who she trusted to be a partner. This should now lead to Bayley finding some new buddies to help face Damage CTRL. 

We saw Iyo Sky, Asuka, Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai celebrating backstage. LA Knight stormed by Damage CTRL as he continued to look for AJ Styles. Jade Cargill appeared looking lovely. Iyo and Jade had a stare down. SmackDown GM Nick Aldis appeared. Aldis told Damage CTRL he will deal with them later. Aldis told Jade he wanted to speak to her. Jade pointed at Iyo. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) I really liked the tease for a Jade and Iyo Sky match. I could see possibly either Bianca Belair or Naomi teaming with Jade against Asuka and Kairi Sane for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania. Bayley will need some buddies to face Damage CTRL. 

Bron Breakker vs. Xion Quinn

Bron Breakker got a strong babyface reaction. Breakker rocked Quinn with a spear for the win. 

WINNER: Bron Breakker

(Amin’s Thoughts) This is a great way to bring Breakker onto the main roster by just having him run through dudes. Squishy Squash Match. 

We saw a highlight package hyping the Street Fight between Santos Escobar vs. Carlto 

They aired a Virgil graphic who recently passed away this week. Sending my thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Virgil. 

Street Fight 
Santos Escobar vs. Carlito  

Carlito got a strong babyface reaction. Santos Escobar got a strong heel reaction. Carlito and Escobar began exchanging strikes. The fans cheered as Carlito brought out a table. Carlito took control running Escobar into the ring steps. The fans chanted “We Want Apples!” Carlito pulled out a kendo stick. The fans cheered as Carlito grabbed an apple. Escobar battled back catching Carlito with a tope on the floor. Escobar placed a trash can on Carlito’s head as they retuned from break. Escobar connected with a running double knees for a two count. Escobar went for a dive but Carlito responded swinging a chair into his face. Carlito placed a trash can over Escobar head. Carlito planted Escobar with a Swinging Neck Breaker onto a chair for a two count. Carlito pulled out a table. Escobar responded catching Carlito with a jumping knee strike. Escobar went for a Super Hurricanrana but Carlito responded crouching him on the ropes. Angel Garza and Humberto ran down. Escobar planted Carlito with a Tiger Driver combo for a two count. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro brawled with Garza and Humberto. The crowd cheered as Rey Mysterio’ returned to huge reaction. Escobar laughed as Rey came out with crutches. Rey attacked Garza and Humberto with crutches. Escobar challenged Rey to enter the ring. Rey ducked a swing. Carlito spat his apple into Escobar’s face. Toro and Wilde delivered stereo dives to Garza and Humberto. Rey nailed Escobar with a 619. Carlito delivered a Spinebuster sending Escobar crashing through the table for the win. 

WINNER: Carlito

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was a fun match action packed match. Rey Mysterio returning was a cool as the fans reacted to him to a big star. Good stuff here setting up a Rey and Escobar match for WrestleMania. 

We saw Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate speaking with Nick Aldis backstage. Dunne said if it wasn’t for Dominik they would’ve won the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles at Elimination Chambers. Aldis told Bate and Dunne he’s been speaking to Adam Pearce. Aldis said they will have an announcement soon regarding the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles 

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was pretty interesting as it sounded like a possible tease for splitting up the WWE Tag Team Titles. 

Aldis heard a commotion and began walking. Aldis asked Knight what he was doing? Knight told Aldis he was looking for AJ Styles. Knight said Aldis would know where Styles is. Aldis said he’s knows Knight too. Aldis told Knight he saw what happened at Elimination Chamber. Aldis said he told Styles to not be on SmackDown. Knight said Styles flew across the world to screw him at Elimination Chamber. Knight said Aldis can invite AJ Styles to SmackDown. Knight warned he will go looking for Styles. Knight said he brought Styles a souvenir which was a chair. Knight said there’s nothing Styles can do about it. YEAH! Knight said there’s nothing Aldis can do about it either. Aldis said “Oh Yeah?” Knight said “YEAH!”

Kevin Owens came out to a big reaction. Owens joined commentary for Randy Orton and Austin Theory.

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

Randy Orton got a huge reaction from the crowd. Orton singed a fan’s autograph at ringside. Orton took control early rocking Theory with strikes. The action moved to the floor as Waller pulled Theory away. Theory took advantage dropping Orton onto the announcers table. Orton caught Theory on the ropes as they retuned from break. Orton went for a Superplex but they slipped off the ropes. They someone managed to maintain control landing on their feet with Orton hitting a neck breaker. Orton made a comeback planting Theory with a snap powerslam. Orton clotheslined Theory to the floor. Orton dumping Theory onto the announcers table. Waller tried to get involved. Orton dumped Waller onto the announcers table. Orton planted Theory with a Draping DDT. Orton called for the RKO but Theory broke free. Theory planted Orton with a rolling Blockbuster for a good two count. Theory called for A-Town Down but Orton broke free. Theory rocked Orton with a sliding forearm for a two count. Theory went for a Draping DDT but Orton broke free. Theory went for a Rolling Stunner but Orton caught him an RKO which got an awesome reaction. Owens applauded on commentary. Orton covered Theory for the win. 

WINNER: Randy Orton

  • Theory and Waller attacked Orton after the match. Kevin Owens entered the ring making the save for Orton. Owens gave Theory a Stunner. Theory took an awesome Scott Hall style bump for the Stunner. Owens for a Stunner but Waller blocked. Orton gave Waller an RKO. Orton and Owens bumped fists. Orton posed on the ropes. The show ended.

(Amin’s Thoughts) This was a fun match as Orton and Theory worked well together. A good showing from Orton as it’s always fun seeing him play his greatest hits. The RKO finish was picture perfect. A simple post-match angle Orton and Owens playing buddies are they both took out Theory and Waller. I’m guessing they will build some tension between Orton and Owens when Logan Paul returns next week. Owens has been in a recent program with Paul. I could see a Triple Threat between Orton, Owens and Paul for the United States Title at WrestleMania. 


People’s enjoyment of the show will vary from The Bloodline segment. The Bloodline segment with The Rock and Roman Reigns took most of the first half of the show. The segment was entertaining throughout as both Reigns and The Rock were awesome. They did what was needed to set the stage for the WrestleMania tag team match. They also teased tension between Reigns and The Rock for their eventual showdown. We also got the return of Rey Mysterio which begins the build for his WrestleMania match with Santos Escobar. I also thought Dakota Kai’s turn on Bayley was needed to move the Damage CTRL storyline forward. I would like if there’s more balance between promos and wrestling matches. I had fun watching the matches. Overall, I thought this was a very solid episode of SmackDown. WWE is feeling really hot right now. The Road to WrestleMania is heating up.