WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (2/16): Barnett’s review of The Rock and Roman Reigns, four Elimination Chamber qualifying matches

By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,278)
Salt Lake City, Utah at Delta Center
Aired live February 16, 2024 on Fox

Corey Graves narrated a video of The Rock arriving at the arena in Salt Lake City. The Bloodline including The Rock and Roman Reigns will be on the show later tonight. Kevin Owens music played in the arena as Wade Barrett joined in on commentary. The opening match is an Elimination Chamber Qualifier. Dominik Mysterio made his entrance, and got booed out of the building. He tried to speak and say the Judgment Day would dominate, but couldn’t get a word in. Dominik decided to talk over the crowd, and said the Judgment Day would retain all their titles at Elimination Chamber, and he would win Money in the Bank… 

1. Dominik Mysterio vs. Kevin Owens in an Elimination Chamber Qualifier: After some back and forth, Owens dropped Dominik with a shoulder block and the crowd erupted. He landed a second one, followed by an arm drag. Dom retreated to the floor to recover. Dominik landed a few dropkicks to return fire, but was put down with a lariat. Owens then sent him to the floor with a clothesline. He lined up for a dive to the floor, but Dom moved out of the way before he could jump. 

Both men battled on the floor. R-Truth showed up as Owens was firmly in control and caused a distraction. Dom took over and shoved KO into the steps. He then performed a slingshot moonsault into the ring for a two count. Truth showed at Dom, but called him “The Miz” and wondered where he was at on Monday…[c]

Dom controlled things during the break, but Owens turned things around with a short arm clothesline as the show returned. He then landed a lariat on the floor and a running senton. Owens followed up with a cannonball in the corner, followed by a frog splash for a close near fall. Dom fired back with a sit out facebuster. He then went for 3 amigos suplexes, but Owens reversed after the second one. KO then landed two of his own, but Dom avoided the 3rd and landed a DDT for a near fall. 

Dom went for a Frog Splash from the top, but KO avoided it. He then went up top himself and landed a Swanton for another close near fall. Owens went for Stunner, but Dom avoided it and landed a Superkick. He followed up with a rather slow moving 619 for another near fall. Dom then turned to Truth and told him he was in Judgment Day and to get him a chair. Truth grabbed a chair, but decided to sit in it rather than give it to Dom. He turned around into a superkick and a pop up Powerbomb and got the win. 

Kevin Owens defeated Dominik Mysterio to qualify for Elimination Chamber at 14:08

KO joins Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, LA Knight, and Bobby Lashley in the Elimination Chamber. R-Truth held up Kevin’s arm after the match. Drew McIntyre was then interviewed backstage. He spoke about how everybody wanted to win at the Chamber, but only he needed it, because his opportunity for greatness was stolen four years ago. 

LA Knight walked up and they got into an argument. McIntyre said he was insecure and he wouldn’t be prepared for when the crowd turned on him when he didn’t produce titles. He used himself as an example. Knight pulled out one of McIntyre’s shirts and said there was room for his name right above CM Punk for when his WrestleMania dream dies at Elimination Chamber. They started to get heated and referees showed up to sort it out. 

Zelina Vega made her entrance in the arena for an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. She will face Tiffany Stratton next…[c]

My Take: A solid opening match. Dominik got in a lot of offense and looked tough in defeat. Owens is a strong addition to the Chamber and the match looks loaded on paper.

Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate were backstage talking about their tag title shot. Bate said they needed a new team name, and proposed “New Catch Republic”. Dom Mysterio walked up and said they couldn’t beat any two members of Judgment Day. Bate challenged him to a match next week with R-Truth as his partner. Mysterio stormed off and said Truth isn’t even a member. 

Tiffany Stratton made her entrance in the arena. 

2. Tiffany Stratton vs. Zelina Vega in an Elimination Chamber Qualifier: The match spilled outside early, and Zelina took out Tiffany on the outside with a moonsault. In the crowd, Elektra Lopez got the attention of Vega as she sat with the rest of Legado Del Fantasma. Zelina jawed at her as she smiled from the crowd…[c]

Vega tripped Stratton onto the second rope. Tiffany avoided a 619 but ate a DDT instead. The LWO walked to ringside during the break. Stratton landed an impressive cartwheel Alabama Slam for a near fall. She then went up for the Prettiest Moonsault Ever, but Vega knocked her town with a 619 to the shins. She followed up with a Meteora for a near fall. The action spilled outside near Legado Del Fantasma, where Lopez talked trash with Vega. Stratton took advantage of the distraction and landed a spinebuster, followed by a Prettiest Moonsault Ever with a nasty looking landing for the win. 

Tiffany Stratton defeated Zelina Vega to qualify for Elimination Chamber at 8:40

Vega stared down Elektra Lopez after the match. Backstage, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Michin confronted AJ Styles. It seems to be curtains for the OC as Styles got in his face and slapped him. He challenged him to step up, but Gallows prevented an all out brawl. AOP will have their first Smackdown match since returning up next…[c]

My Take: There were a couple of awkward spots from Tiffany in that match. The Alabama Slam and the Moonsault required the referee to check on Zelina Vega. Hopefully it was just an off night from an ordinarily very sharp Stratton.

A video package aerie for Iyo Sky and the remnant of Damage Ctrl. Iyo called it her era and said she would embarrass Bayley at WrestleMania. They also told Dakota to sleep with one eye open because they are coming for her too. 

In the arena, AOP made their entrance with Karrion Kross, Scarlett, and Paul Ellering. Javier Bernal and Beau Morris from NXT were in the ring. 

3. The Authors of Pain” Akam and Rezar vs. Javier Bernal and Beau Morris: This was a total ass whooping as you’d expect. Akam beat down Bernal and Morris. They landed a Super Collider, and then a Sit Out Powerbomb and Neckbreaker combo and covered for the win. 

AOP defeated Javier Bernal and Beau Morris in 39 seconds. 

Logan Paul was interviewed backstage by Byron Saxton. Paul acknowledged that this was his first Smackdown match, and told the peons to go start a hashtag for him. He said he would defeat The Miz, win Elimination Chamber, and become a double champion at WrestleMania. Paul said he thought that had a nice ring to hit…[c]

My Take: A squash from AOP, a boilerplate Logan Paul promo, not much to say about that.

A replay video package aired that recapped Cody and Seth Rollins segment from Monday’s Raw. After the video, snacks were brought into the Bloodline locker room in a backstage fill shot. In the arena, The Miz made his entrance for the next match. He was followed by Logan Paul. 

4. Logan Paul vs. The Miz in an Elimination Chamber Qualifier: Paul backed Miz into the corner and poked him in the forehead with his index finger. Miz caught Paul attempting a leapfrog and pulled him into a Manhattan Drop. There was a botch with a standing moonsault that resulted in Paul being twisted out of sorts. Miz had to quickly improvise and attack Paul’s knee. Jade Cargill and Bron Breaker were shown up in a skybox with Nick Aldis. 

Paul continued to sell his knee after the moonsault botch. He landed a split leg drop into a cover for a two count. He then landed some chops in the corner, but Miz turned the table and landed some of his own. Miz then landed some kicks in the corner, but Paul escaped quickly. The Miz ended up on the apron, where Paul landed a springboard clothesline, and then a second rope splash…[c]

Miz and Paul traded blows, and fired up with a series of clotheslines. He then hit the ropes, and landed a running clothesline followed by a Flatliner for a near fall. Paul was able to avoid a Skull Crushing Finale. He was able to catch Paul with an inverted Codebreaker out of the corner for a near fall. Miz set up for a Figure Four, but Paul grabbed a hold of the apron and caused the referee to be distracted putting it back in place. He then gouged the eyes of Miz and laned a Skull Crushing Finale of his own for a close near fall. 

Miz recovered and applied a Figure Four, but Paul escaped and went to ringside. He attempted to retrieve a pair of brass knuckles from a friend, but Miz stopped him before he could use them. Miz picked up the knuckles, but tossed them aside when he was admonished by the ref. Back in the ring. Paul sent Miz groin first into the ropes, and then landed a knockout punch. He then slammed Miz to the ground and got the win.

Logan Paul defeated the Miz to qualify for the Elimination Chamber at 13:09

After the match, Tiffany Stratton bust into Nick Aldis’ suite and asked Liv and Bianca which one of them she needed to pin first at Elimination Chamber. They told her she must be confused, and then Jade Cargill took exception to them having an argument during her big business meeting. Bron Breakker was then shown with a contract, and Aldis asked him and Jade to walk with him to another location. 

Naomi made her entrance in the arena with a new theme…[c]

My Take: Miz and Paul had a good match other than the awkward botch early on that seemed to derail things for a bit. Paul rounds out the Chamber match with a strong lineup. I have to imagine Jade Cargill will end up in the Women’s Chamber, which seems to revolve around the final competitors in the Rumble Match other than the winner Bayley.

Grayson Waller was shown speaking to Paul Heyman as women with Champagne walked into the Bloodline Locker Room. In the arena, Alba Fyre made her entrance for the final match of the night. 

5. Naomi vs. Alba Fyre (w/Isla Dawn) in an Elimination Chamber Qualifier: Fyre took control early on. Dawn got involved early with a choke during a referee distraction. Naomi fired back into things with a slap to the face and a leaping split leg drop for a two count. The action spilled outside, where Naomi landed a running facebuster onto the ring steps…[c]

Naomi landed a running head scissors takedown and a drop kick. She then landed a rope assisted bulldog and covered for a near fall. She followed up with a top rope crossbody and a cover for a near fall. Alba landed a wheelbarrow drop and rolled into a cover for a near fall of her own. Naomi ended up on the second rope for another cheap shot from Isla Dawn. Fyre rolled her up for another near fall. Naomi recovered and fired back with a flying knee. She then landed headscissors spike and applied her Slay-O-Mission for the win. 

Naomi defeated Alba Fyre to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match at 10:06

Backstage, Dakota approached Bayley and asked her for help, and said they were coming after her and she didn’t know where to turn. Dakota tried to apologize, but Bayley shut her down. She said this had been going on for months and she has no idea who she can trust anymore. 

Nick Aldis was shown on the stage. He said he has been negotiating with several free agents, and he was happy to announce that one of them is no longer a free agent. Aldis then brought out Bron Breakker for the handshake and arm raise photo op. Roman Reigns was shown walking in the back with the rest of the Bloodline, but without The Rock…[c]

My Take: Fyre and Naomi was a bit of a rough outing. I’m not sure how exactly to explain it, but something just seemed a little off at times. They may just have been unfamiliar with each other, I’m not sure. Bron Breakker signing with Smackdown is a different outcome than I was personally expecting. I guess we’ll see where it goes from here. He has been shown with Heyman at various times.

Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne vs. Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh was announced for next week. The Street Profits vs. AOP was also announced, followed by Bron Breakker’s debut, and LA Knight vs. Drew McIntyre. 

Roman Reigns’ music hit in the arena, and he made his entrance with the members of The Bloodline. Cody vs. Roman Reigns was advertised for WrestleMania. 

Roman had the microphone and soaked up the crowd for a moment. He then demanded that Salt Lake City acknowledge him. Roman asked the crowd if could be honest with them, because he wanted to be honest. He then called him all idiots. Roman clarified that he didn’t mean individually, he meant collectively. He continued and said he didn’t want them to start up with the catchphrases, because everything they say and do has purpose. 

The crowd erupted in a Cody chant as Roman said this was going to be the greatest night every in WWE. He addressed Cody as the guy who ruined everything, but tonight they fixed it. Roman said that tonight was the first night they would say that The Rock is a member of The Bloodline. The Rock then made his entrance. He walked out in what looked like one of his old heel character silk shirts modified into a vest. It was gold with a Tiger on the back. He also wore sunglasses, so it seems like we’re going all the way back to ‘98…[c]

The Rock said before he dropped some gospel on the crowd, he had some good news to share. He congratulated the crowd in breaking an indoor attendance record in the state of Utah. Rock then called them the largest gathering of trailer park trash he had ever seen. He said finally….you and your 50 wives will have a story to tell your 600 inbred grandchildren about what it means to look upon greatness. 

He then did his usual “finally” bit, and then threatened to slap the herpes off the lips of one of the “fatties” in the crowd. Rock then said the crowd brought out a side of him that hasn’t been seen in years, but it’s always been there. He said they had the greatest match in WrestleMania history in their hands and they threw it away by tweeting from their toilets that they wanted Cody. He then asked them what Cody’s story was? Cody got his ass whooped by Roman Reigns and demanded a rematch? That’s not how the real world works. 

Rock went on to cite references to the Super Bowl, and Michael Jordan came into Utah to crush the dreams of the Utah Jazz, and they took their lumps like men and moved on. They didn’t whine for another chance to complete their story. He called the crowd a bunch of crybaby bitches, and claimed he would do everything in his power to make sure Cody leaves WrestleMania as exactly what he is, and that’s a loser. The Rock then went on to do his “If ya smell…” bit, but he stopped part way through to tell the crowd they had lost their privileges to chant along with him. 

He then completed his catchphrase with “What the Bloodline is cooking…” to close the show. 

My Take: A great promo from The Rock. The Cody Crybabies may have ruined The Rock’s WrestleMania Main Event, but this is the version of The Rock everyone wanted anyway, so I think it’s a win-win. He tore apart the Utah crowd and they chanted along and loved every minute of it while still giving him the heat he was looking for. WrestleMania feels much bigger with this development and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story evolves. The Rock made it clear he will abuse his power, but the methods have yet to be determined. Will he insert himself as referee? Will he force Cody to work double duty by facing him on WrestleMania Night One? Will we see a tag match that forces Seth, Cody, and Roman to work both nights? All seem plausible at this point.


Readers Comments (5)

  1. While Utah is predominantly Mormon (about 60%,) Salt Lake City is a shade under half.

    So that’s still a lot of people who would have been cheering Rock’s “50 wives” comment.

  2. This is the best Road to Wrestlemania ever. I don’t know what to believe or expect and I’m here for it

  3. Looked to me like bayley pushed past Heyman as the bloodline was headed down the hall.

  4. So, with Vince’s sex allegations and more, Rock still thought it would be a good idea to have random women as party props in the Bloodline’s room? Are they trafficked, too, now that he’s a billionaire board member?

    How out of touch are they?

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