By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,180)
Live from Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center
Aired April 1, 2022 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole and Pat McAfee sat in on commentary. The Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy stood at ringside. A pile of wrestlers were already in the ring. We got an Andre the Giant video package before the match began. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their way out after the package to enter the match. Footage was shown from NXT Roadblock of Ziggler capturing the NXT Title. Finn Balor then made his entrance as the final competitor.
1. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: It was chaos to start as you’d expect. Akira Tozawa was eliminated very early, followed by Reggie. Damian Priest and R-Truth eliminated them. Truth tried to talk some trash to them, and Priest eliminated him for his trouble. Jinder Mahal was then dumped to the floor by the Viking Raiders. Shelton Benjamin eliminated T-Bar with a knee lift after he was dumped out to the apron.
Madcap Moss eliminated Drew Gulak with a clothesline. Happy Corbin walked down to ringside after the elimination. Corbin tried to assist Moss, but he was nearly eliminated due to the interference by Tommaso Ciampa. Apollo Crews sent Cedric Alexander to the apron, and then kicked him to the floor. Commander Azeez then grabbed Shelton Benjamin by the throat and sent him to the floor. Ciampa used a knee lift to eliminate Mansoor from the apron. Shanky and Commander Azeez then formed a temporary alliance to eliminate the Viking Raiders.
The two big men then broke their truce and started trading strikes. Azeez started the process of dumping Shanky to the floor, but Roode and Ciampa. used the opportunity to send both men to the floor. Finn Balor then had a brief series with Priest, and reversed an Irish whip and clotheslined him to the floor. The final four were Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Moss, and Balor. Roode and Ziggler attempted to eliminate Balor, but Moss snuck up from behind and eliminated Roode and Ziggler instead.
Balor landed a sling blade on Moss. He then charged at Moss after waiting for him to get back to his feet, but Moss avoided it and dumped Balor to the floor.
Madcap Moss won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at 8:07
After the match, Moss tried to say he always looked up at Andre the Giant as a kid, and he was his hero. He said he was liked by everyone, just like him. Moss then told a terrible joke, and laughed himself to the ground. Cole and McAfee then introduced footage of Ricochet losing to both members of Los Lotharios last week to set up tonight’s Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship Match.
After the video package, Ricochet made his entrance…[c]
My Take: Moss seemed like a possibility last week when they announced this match, because he was up front and center in the graphics with Balor and Priest. After Priest was eliminated by Balor, I assumed Moss was the guy. This match wasn’t anything to write home about. Battle Royals just don’t have much appeal without major star power being involved.
Ricochet stared at the Intercontinental Championship. Los Lotharios made their entrance together, and did their Kiss Cam bit. The crowd didn’t care…
2. Ricochet vs. Humberto vs. Angel in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship: The two on one beatdown began immediately. Angel landed a running knee to the face of a prone Ricochet. The crowd was very cold for the match early on. Ricochet started a comeback, and took both men out with a double huracanrana that got a reaction from the crowd. He then went for a springboard, but was held on the top rope by Angel, and Humberto went up to the second rope and pulled him back into the ring with a very high angle arm drag…[c]
Humberto stomped on Ricochet while Angel stood on the ropes and taunted the crowd. They then landed a series of double team strikes while Ricochet sold his ribs. Ricochet showed a few signs of life, but Humberto cut him down with a kick and made a cover, which made Angel upset. Ricochet got sent out of the ring, and Humberto rolled up Angel for a near fall. This caused a conflict, which gave Ricochet an opening.
Ricochet landed some acrobatic kicks on both Humberto and Angel. HE then landed a standing moonsault on Humberto, and the fall was broken up by Angel. The cousins tried to get back on the same page. Ricochet sent Humberto to the floor and dropped Angel with a kick. He tried to go up top, but Angel hit the ropes and he lost his balance. He managed to send Angel back down with a punch, but Humberto rejoined the match.
Ricochet and Humberto got into position for a superplex, and traded punches. Ricochet picked up Humberto and dropped him onto Angel. Ricochet landed a 630 on Angel and then popped up and hit Humberto with Recoil and then pinned Humberto.
Ricochet defeated Humberto and Angel in a Triple Threat at 11:20 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
After the match, Ricochet celebrated his victory as Los Lotharios walked to the back…
McAfee and Cole plugged a Stone Cold and Kevin Owens rivalry recap when the show returned…[c]
My Take: It seemed like WWE was sweetening the audio pretty heavily throughout this match, as the crowd noise on TV did not reflect what the audience in the arena were doing at all. Perhaps the noise was coming from people off screen, but the audio and the visual didn’t jive. This was an enjoyable match. I’m surprised they didn’t do more with the cousins having conflict with one another earlier in the match, but what was there worked fine.
Cole introduced the video package for Owens and Austin. It was well done, and featured the recent and classic footage of Austin, and Kevin Owens entertaining brand of trash talk…
Naomi made her entrance followed by Sasha Banks in her Sailor Moon outfit. They will have a tag team match next…[c]
Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Natlaya and Shayna Baszler were all in the ring. They were announced as being in the Fatal Four-Way on Sunday…
3. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Carmella and Queen Zelina vs. Sasha Banks and Naomi in a non-title match: Ripley and Morgan watched on once side of the ring, while Bazler and Natalya watched from the other side. Carmella and Sasha started the match, and Carmella quickly sent Sasha out to the floor. Banks recovered and tried to back in the ring, but caught a knee to the face from Zelina. The champions isolated Sasha in their corner and cut her off from a tag. They made quick tags and landed some quick strikes each pass through.
Sasha landed a kick on Carmella and crawled for a tag, but Zelina knocked Naomi to the floor. She quickly got back on the apron and Sasha made a desperation tag. Naomi took out both Zelina and Carmella with a double dropkick. Sasha and Naomi then landed running kicks on Zelina and Carmella in the corner. Naomi then landed a split-legged moonsault on Zelina out of the corner and got the win…
Sasha Banks and Naomi defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Carmella and Zelina at 3:13 in a non-title match
Footage was shown of Ronda Rousey training with Shayna Baszler at her “training camp”. We’ll get comments from Rousey next…[c]
My Take: I’m not sure why Naomi and Sasha won clean here, other than to convince me they are not winning on Sunday.
Kayla Braxton was shown at Ronda Rousey’s training camp earlier today, and asked her for some comments. She asked her why she seemed cheerful since she expected her to be angry. Rousey said she can contain her anger and expertly apply it, and told Charlotte she would rip her arm off and feed it to her family if she didn’t tap out…
[Hour Two] A video package recapped the history between Charlotte and Rousey and the trajectory of their careers as game changers in MMA and WWE. It then transitioned into their current feud and physical altercations between the two…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair made her way to the ring after the video package. She said the video package was epic, and said she could have watched it all day. She said the masterpiece she created by causing Ronda Rousey pain was more beautiful than Oscar winner CODA. She said if Rousey tries to rip her arm off at WrestleMania, she will destroy her. Charlotte then said Ronda claims to have her anger under control, but we all know better, don’t we? She then called herself cool, and said every woman wants to be her and all the men want her.
Charlotte did a call and response and ended each of her sentences with “That’s Cool”. She talked about everyone wanting selfies with her, and wanted her autograph. Charlotte then claimed she would defeat Rousey at WrestleMania, and return to Smackdown as a triumphant Champion. She said she would take Ronda to school and teach her what cool is all about, and as far as everyone is concerned, she’s got her beat there too, bitch.
Madcap Moss was polishing the Andre trophy when someone stuck Drew McIntyre’s sword in front of him. He turned and saw that it was Happy Corbin, who laughed and said, “I got you.” They both laughed…
A recap of the Reigns vs. Lesnar feud is up next…[c]
My Take: The final push for Rousey and Charlotte was fairly unremarkable. This feud just never grabbed me, and nothing they did here made me any more excited about it. There’s just nobody to root for.
A video package analyzed the long history of the feud between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. A lot of time was spent on the bloody scene at Madison Square Garden, but not as much as the long term history as you’d think…
Rick Boogs rocked out and played in Shinsuke Nakamura on his guitar. McAfee danced on the announce table, but was tripped by Austin Theory, who then ran away. McAfee gave chase back to Mr. McMahon’s locker room. McAfee kicked the door, and McMahon flew out of the office. Theory stood behind Vince, who threatened to fire McAfee or cancel his WrestleMania match, then told him to go do his job…
The Usos made their entrance in the arena. Jimmy Uso vs. Rick Boogs is up next…[c]
My Take: Does Vince get involved in the match somehow on Sunday? I guess it’s in play.
4. Rick Boogs (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso): Boogs did some powerlifting with Jimmy, and then gave him a scoop slam. Uso replied by throwing Boogs into the corner post, and then landing a series of strikes. Boogs showed off more of his insane power by press slamming Jimmy from his knees all the way to his feet, and then pulling him down and landing a fallaway slam.
Austin Theory walked back down to the ringside area, grabbed a drink from a “fan”, and tossed the drink at McAfee. Cole kept McAfee calm. Theory started to back up the ram when Finn Balor ran out and hit Theory from behind. The bell rang calling off this match, and probably giving us a six-man for after the break…
Rick Boogs fought Jimmy Uso to an apparent no-contest at 3:13…[c]
5. Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rick Boogs vs. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Austin Theory: The match was joined in progress. Nakamura stomped on Jey Uso in the corner, followed by a running knee strike. He then covered for a two count. Jimmy gouged Nakamura’s eyes and tagged out to Austin Theory. The crowd chanted that Theory sucks and it got to him. Nakamura landed a knee strike and tagged out to Boogs.
Boogs showed off more manhandling power offense, and then tossed him with a gutwrench suplex. Balor tagged in and landed some chops and a basement dropkick for a two count. Theory telegraphed a back body drop, but Jimmy Uso landed a cheap shot to turn the tables. The action spilled out near the announce table, where Balor was thrown into the table and back into the ring. The heels remained in control as they tossed Balor back out to the floor…[c]
Jimmy Uso covered Balor for a two count. Balor avoided Jimmy Uso in the corner, and he hit the post. Jey Uso quickly tagged in and prevented Balor from getting to his corner. He then kicked Boogs off the apron. Jey setup for a powerbomb, but Balor escaped and landed a kick to the face. He then made a hot tag to Nakamura, who entered and landed some kicks to Austin Theory, followed by a sliding German Suplex. Nakamura covered, but the Usos broke it up with a double superkick. Boogs then re-entered and dumped them to the floor. The Usos then sent Boogs into the steps on the outside.
Balor tagged back in, and he sent Theory to the floor. Balor then dove on Theory and The Usos on the floor. He fired up with a sling blade and a shotgun dropkick in the ring. The Usos prevented him from getting to the top rope, and Theory landed his finisher on Balor for the win.
Austin Theory, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso defeated Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rick Boogs at 11:27
After the match, Pat McAfee jumped on the apron. Theory egged him on while Cole tried to pull him off the apron. McAfee eventually backed off and they went back to commentary…
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss made their entrance for Happy Talk. Corbin had Drew McIntyre’s sword with him…[c]
My Take: It was pretty clear from the setup with Theory that he would get the pin here to further get under the skin of McAfee. Based on the amount of attention it got here, I’m more inclined to believe that Mr. McMahon might play some kind of role on Sunday.
The broadcast team plugged the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony as taking place on Peacock after the show…
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss sat in chairs that were set up in the ring as part of the Happy Talk set. Moss welcomed the crowd to Happy Talk, and said it would be extra happy. Moss then said the entire WWE Universe was happy for him for winning the Andre the Gia…and Corbin interrupted him. Corbin said he expects that from him, and that he’s already done it before. Corbin then introduced a video package to show how he got Drew McIntyre’s sword Angela.
Corbin was very proud of himself, and bragged about winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and retiring Kurt Angle at WrestleMania. He said when Drew carries the sword, it’s a lame accessory, but he could decapitate someone with it. Corbin then said the sword was named Angela after Drew’s late mother, which is depressing, so he renamed it Euphoria. Corbin then joked that the one thing the sword and Drew’s mother have in common is that he lost them both.
Drew McIntyre then walked out to the ring. Moss went out to meet him and was leveled by a right hand. McIntyre grabbed a chair from the timekeeper’s area and got in the ring. He tossed the chair into Corbin and grabbed the sword. He swung the sword, but Corbin bailed out of the ring. McIntyre then tossed the Happy talk set out of the ring, and broke the table with his sword. McIntyre picked up the chair and tossed it at the bottom of the broadcast table while Corbin and Moss backed up the ramp.
The announce team then ran down the WrestleMania card. McIntyre stabbed his sword through the ring to set off some pyro in the ring posts to close the show…
My Take: Corbin’s line about McIntyre’s Mom set up the crowd for McIntyre to kill him. Hopefully some of that carries over to their match, but that remains to be seen. Overall, this show lacked star power and it was worse off for it. Lesnar and Reigns delivered their go home promos on Monday, but I might have saved one of them for this show in hindsight.