WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (3/1): Powell’s review of The Rock’s appearance with The Bloodline, Kabuki Warriors vs. Bayley and Dakota Kai, Naomi vs. Tiffany Stratton


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,280)
Glendale, Arizona at Desert Diamond Arena
Aired live March 1, 2024 on Fox

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with an Elimination Chamber video package… A shot aired of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia while Corey Graves checked in on commentary and noted that we are five weeks away from WrestleMania. They transitioned to a shot of the exterior of the Smackdown host venue. Graves was joined on commentary by Wade Barrett, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he made his entrance with Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, and Jimmy Uso. A graphic listed that Reigns has been champion for 1,279 days.

Ten minutes into the show, Reigns told the Glendale crowd to acknowledge him. Reigns said it used to be louder. He said he knows it’s not him, so it must be the fans. Reigns did a second take and the fans were louder with their mix of boos and cheers. A “Cody” chant followed. Reigns acted annoyed and said he would try it one last time.

Reigns said if the fans didn’t get on his page, he will have fulfilled his obligation and would leave. Reigns barked at the fans to acknowledge him. “We’re done here,” Reigns said. He told Heyman to call the FBO and fire up the jet because he was done. Heyman told Reigns they couldn’t leave yet. “He’s coming out,” Heyman explained.

Heyman told the crowd that The People’s Champ, the BBE up in this WWE, and the greatest movie star of all-time would appear live. Heyman told the fans that The Rock would appear after the break. Reigns stood in the corner looking bothered by the fans as they went to commercial. [C]

The Rock’s entrance theme played coming out of the break. Rock walked out dressed in another wild shirt and stood on the stage and looked around the building. Reigns was shown pouting in the ring and was looking away from Rock, who was heavily cheered by the fans. When they cut back to Reigns, he watched Rock walk to the ring. The screen went black for a second or two a couple times.

Reigns looked annoyed while Rock stood in the ring with his shades on. A loud “Rocky” chant broke out along with some boos and the feed cut out again for another second. “Are you sure you wanna boo The Rock?” Rock asked the crowd before the feed cut out again. Ugh.

Rock told the fans that he had some news to share and that they might even be proud of. 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, which drew some cheers.

Rock said the number one city in America for cocaine and meth use is Phoenix. “And here’s what the means, finally your life has meaning, because finally you cactus loving crackheads have something worth shooting in your veins.” The feed cut out a couple more times before Rock said he finally came back to Arizona. Reigns still looked annoyed, though not as annoyed as viewers at home because the feed kept cutting out.

Rock said he was in a good mood and so was Jimmy and Sikoa, though he conceded that you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. “That’s his happy face,” Rock said of Sikoa. Rock said pro wrestling is cool again and that’s why they have been selling out. Rock said wrestling is cool against due to himself, Roman Reigns, and The Bloodline. Some fans booed and another “Rocky” chant broke out.

Rock asked the crowd if they know who isn’t cool. The damn feed kept cutting out but Rock said the fans’ hero Cody Rhodes isn’t cool. Rock brought up Cody’s match challenge and responded no. Rock said everyone wants to go one-on-one with The Rock, including every woman in the arena. There were some squeals. Rock told the crackhead Karens and meth-head Marys to calm down and said they were ready not for his 22 inches. He explained that he was talking about his biceps.

Rock said he and The Bloodline heard Cody’s challenge and they have a counter offer for him. Rock asked if Cody and his walking clown emoji friend Seth Rollins think they are tough. Rock proposed the biggest tag team match in pro wrestling history when he teams with Roman Reigns to face Cody and Rollins on night one of WrestleMania.

Rock said that if Cody and Rollins beat him and Reigns, then Cody’s championship match with Reigns on night two will be free of The Bloodline. Rock said he and the other members of The Bloodline would be barred from ringside. Another “Cody” chant broke out.

Rock said there’s always a but. Rock said that if he and Reigns beat Cody and Rollins on night one, then on night two the Reigns vs. Cody match would be fought under Bloodline Rules. Rock said anything would go and he could take a seat at ringside and Solo Sikoa could sing the national anthem. Rock said he could take his chair and bash Cody’s brains in because it would be legal.

Rock said Cody and Rollins had a lot to think about. Rock told Cody and Rollins to meet them in Dallas next week with an answer. Rock said that if they don’t accept the challenge, then he will do everything to make sure Cody doesn’t win the title. Rock said there wasn’t a man backstage who could stop him. The feed cut out again while he was saying no general manager or vice president could stop him. A “Triple H” chant broke out.

Rock said that if Cody doesn’t accept the challenge, then he and Reigns will end Cody’s story tragically. Rock told them to be at Smackdown in Dallas next week to give them their answer. Rock started his “If you smell” line, but Reigns reached over and put his hand on Rock’s arm and lowered the microphone.

Rock glared at Reigns, who looked down, then held his hand out while Heyman put a mic in his hand. Reigns told Rock that he needs something from him. Reigns said he would do anything for his family, but he needs one thing. Reigns looked Rock in the eye and said, “Acknowledge me.” The sound cut out multiple times due to whatever the fans were saying.

Rock removed his shades and looked at Reigns. “Roman Reigns, my family, I acknowledge you as my Tribal Chief,” said Rock. Rock held up his hand and then Roman shook it and they hugged. Heyman looked stunned in the background.

A “you sold out” chant started. Rock responded: “Let The Rock explain something to you idiots, this is family and we will do anything for family. Now go home and smoke some more crack… if you smell…” Reigns filled in “what The Bloodline is cooking”…

Powell’s POV: Great segment. I really enjoyed Rock’s last promo on Smackdown, but it also felt like a throwback to his late ’90s persona. This was 2024 Rock and he did a great job. Reigns was also really good with his pouty reaction to until The Rock acknowledged him. I like the stipulation for the WrestleMania night one tag team match, but I’m surprised there’s no stakes that affect Rollins and his World Heavyweight Championship match. The feed issues were annoying, but they became less frequent as the segment went on. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight while he watches his daughter crush it in a play.

Austin Theory and Grayson Waller were watching footage of the men’s Elimination Chamber finish on their phone when LA Knight entered the room and asked if they’d seen AJ Styles. They said no. Knight had a chair with him and told them to let Styles know he had something for him, and then exited the room.

Theory and Waller went back to watching the end of the Chamber match and laughed at Randy Orton thinking he was about to win. Orton entered the room and acted like he was laughing with them. He said he would do something hilarious. He said either one of them could go in the ring with him tonight and he would rip their head off. Orton said it would be hilarious. Waller said Theory wanted to fight Orton, who slammed Theory’s back and said he would see him later. Theory was upset with Waller… [C]

1. Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi. The end of Stratton’s entrance was televised while Naomi’s entrance was not televised. Naomi put Stratton down with a facebuster for a two count. Stratton rolled to the floor. [C] Stratton hit Naomi with a standing double stomp and then covered her for a two count.

Naomi came back with a knee strike, but Stratton put her down with a spinebuster for another two count. Graves said there were 15,192 in attendance. Naomi performed a jawjacker and then drove Stratton’s head on the turnbuckle. Stratton caught Naomi with a thumb to the eye and then ran her through the ropes and into the ring post casing. Stratton followed up with the Prettiest Moonsault Ever and scored the pin…

Tiffany Stratton defeated Naomi in roughly 9:00.

Powell’s POV: Stratton going over was the right call following her breakout performance in the Elimination Chamber match.

A sponsored recap spotlighted Bayley’s issues with Damage CTRL and her more recent interactions with Dakota Kai…

Graves mistakenly said the tag team titles would be on the line before The Kabuki Warriors and Iyo Sky made their entrance. Mike Rome listed the match as being a tag team match and did not mention the titles being on the line… [C]

[Hour Two] Bayley and Dakota Kai made their entrance and chased the Kabuki Warriors out of the ring…

2. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Kairi Sane (w/Iyo Sky) vs. Bayley and Dakota Kai in a non-title match. Asuka and Sane ran in and attacked Bayley to start the match. The referee rewarded the heels for some reason by calling for the bell to start the match.

Asuka sent Bayley into her corner where Bayley bumped into Kai and knocked her off the apron. Kai stayed down at ringside while Asuka and Sane double teamed Bayley. Kai returned to the apron. Bayley dove for a hot tag, but Kai dropped to the floor.

Bayley fought off Asuka and Sane and then roughed up Kai on the floor until Asuka and Sane broke it up. Asuka and Sane rolled Bayley back inside the ring. Kai and Iyo Sky entered the ring. Kai slapped Bayley and then Sky hit Bayley with a knee strike to the back of the head.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Kairi Sane fought Bayley and Dakota Kai to an apparent no-contest in 5:00 in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: I’m not sure where the referee went. He was in the ring when Bayley went after Kai and then he just disappeared. I’m not a fan of the match just being thrown out for no good reason. I’m also surprised they didn’t wait a little longer to pay off the mystery regarding where Kai stood in this battle.

Barrett hyped Orton vs. Theory as the main event of the show. Bron Breakker was shown backstage while Graves hyped him as being in action after the break… [C]

The Damage CTRL foursome was celebrating backstage and they turned their heads when LA Knight walked past them. They turned back and saw Jade Cargill looking at them. Nick Aldis emerged from his office and said he would deal with Damage CTRL later, then invited Cargill to join him…

3. Bron Breakker vs. Xyon Quinn. Quinn’s entrance was not televised. Breaker speared Quinn once the bell rang and then pinned him…

Bron Breakker defeated Xyon Quinn in 0:06.

Powell’s POV: Quinn was billed as one of the free agents coming out of the last WWE Draft. He waited a long time to finally debut and then lost in seconds. First Dante Chen and now Quinn. Boa should probably avoid making Friday night plans. Anyway, I like the dominant push they are giving Breakker to start with on the main roster.

A Legado Del Phantasma video aired with Santos Escobar addressing Angel, Humberto, and Elektra. Footage aired of Rey Mysterio being taken out and then the Escobar’s street fight with Carlito was pushed…

Powell’s POV: The name graphic listed Humberto Carrillo as “Humberto” rather than Berto despite the company recently listing him as “Berto” on the WWE website.

Carlito made his entrance with LWO members Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, and Zelina Vega. Carlito headed to the ring while the others headed to the back… [C] A memorial graphic was shown for “Virgil” Michael Jones… Santos Escobar made his entrance with Angel, Humberto, and Elektra. Escobar headed to the ring while the others headed backstage…

4. Santos Escobar vs. Carlito in a Street Fight. The crowd chanted for tables. Carlito pulled one out from underneath the ring and was cheered, but he went back to fighting Escobar before he could set it up. Carlito pulled out a kendo stick and an apple, but Escobar hit him with a dive from the ring. Escobar picked up the apple and laughed. [C]

Escobar put a trashcan over Carlito’s head and body and then hit him with double knees, which led to a two count. Escobar set up for a dive, but Carlito stood on the floor and hit him with a chair shot to the head. A short time later, Carlito brought the table inside the ring, but Escobar cut him off before he could set it up.

Escobar set up for a move on the ropes, but Carlito crotched him. Angel and Humberto ran in and attacked Carlito, which led to a two count for Escobar. Angel and Humberto set up the table. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro ran out and fought with Angel and Humberto, who quickly left them lying at ringside.

Rey Mysterio’s entrance music played and he came out using crutches. The LDF members laughed at him and then left the ring to go after him. Rey dropped one crutch and then used the other to batter Angel and Humberto with while Escobar returned to the ring.

Rey entered the ring without the crutch. Escobar yelled at Mysterio and then took a swing at him, but Mysterio ducked it. Carlito spat an apple in Escobar’s face and then put him in position for a 619. Wilde and Del Toro took out Angel and Humberto. Rey hit the 619 on Escobar, who was then put through the table by Carlito, who pinned him…

Carlito defeated Santos Escobar in 11:15 in a Street fight.

Randy Orton was shown preparing for his match while Barrett hyped the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing match with Mysterio’s return and the fan favorite table spot. But what the hell is up with all the unprotected chair shots to the head that have happened in multiple promotions lately? Awful. These companies all know better. Anyway, with Knight still looking for Styles, I wonder if they will end up playing some part in the main event.

The broadcast team listed the following matches and events for next week’s Smackdown: Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross, and U.S. Champion Logan Paul appears…

Backstage, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne spoke with Nick Aldis about getting screwed out of the tag team titles at Elimination Chamber. One of them mentioned getting a shot at WrestleMania. Aldis said he and Adam Pearce have been talking about the tag team titles. Aldis heard commotion and exited the conversation.

Aldis found LA Knight was making the background noise. Knight said he was searching for AJ Styles. Aldis said he told Styles to stay home this week. Knight threatened to take out Styles with a chair and said there was nothing that Aldis could do about it. “Oh, yeah?” Aldis asked. Knight responded, “Yeah”…

Powell’s POV: Welp, so much for my theory about Knight and Styles getting involved in the main event.

Kevin Owens made his entrance and joined the broadcast team on commentary for the main event… [C] The Raw ad listed the previously advertised Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax, and Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso matches…

A portion of Austin Theory’s entrance with Grayson Waller was shown, and then Randy Orton’s full entrance was televised. Orton stopped and autographed a sign for a young fan who was celebrating his birthday even though the sign asked Roman Reigns to acknowledge him. Footage aired of Logan Paul knocking out Orton with a pair of brass knuckles to cost him the Elimination Chamber match…

5. Randy Orton vs. Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller). Kevin Owens stated on commentary that not a lot intimidates him, but it was intimidating to be inside the Chamber structure with Orton. Owens acknowledged that Orton eliminated him from the Chamber match. He said they were all trying to win and asked what could he do.

Orton worked over Theory at ringside and slammed his head on the broadcast table. Orton set up for a move, but Waller pulled Theory away from him. Orton focused on Waller, allowing Theory to jump Orton from behind and run him into the ring post. Theory dumped Orton on the broadcast table heading into the final break. [C]

Orton returned the favor by slamming Theory on the broadcast table. Orton kicked Waller and then hit him with the same side slam onto the table, then pushed him to the floor. Back in the ring, Orton hit Theory with a Draping DDT. Orton sold his back for a moment and then struck the Viper’s Pose.

Theory cut off Orton and then performed a roll into a Blockbuster, which led to a close near fall. Theory picked up another two count while Barrett recalled Theory beating John Cena at WrestleMania. Theory went for a Draping DDT that Orton avoided. Theory clotheslined Orton over the top rope and then went for a rolling move that Orton countered with an RKO, which led to the three count.

Randy Orton defeated Austin Theory in 9:15.

After the match, Waller attacked Orton. Owens ran in and worked over Waller until Theory hit him from behind. Owens hit a Stunner on Theory. Owens went for another on Waller, who shoved him aside and then Orton hit him with an RKO. Orton and Owens bumped fists. Orton celebrated on the ropes while Graves reminded viewers that Logan Paul will be on next week’s show…

Powell’s POV: I continues to look like they’ll be going with Paul vs. Orton or perhaps more likely Paul vs. Orton vs. Owens at WrestleMania. Everything was fine between Orton and Owens again tonight, but we’ll see if things fall apart next week when Paul appears. Orton was mega over with the live crowd.

Overall, the show peaked with the lengthy opening segment involving Rock and Reigns, but the rest of the show was pretty good. I will be back tonight with our same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Smackdown by grading it below.

Join me for my live review of AEW Revolution on Sunday night.

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Readers Comments (11)

  1. I assume the blackouts are some type of delay right? Either stuff the crowd is chanting or the Rock is saying

  2. TheGreatestOne March 1, 2024 @ 7:40 pm

    40 minutes of recaps and talking and the only thing I’ve seen this week that was better was the first two episodes of Shogun.

    • Naiomi was a world champion a month ago. Did she get an entrance? They don’t forget do they.

      • TheGreatestOne March 2, 2024 @ 8:17 am

        I’m guessing that opening segment went over time, so they cut Naomi’s entrance completely and most of Tiffany’s as well.

  3. 35 min promo that literally felt like 5 min. That was so Fn well done

  4. TheGreatestOne March 1, 2024 @ 8:02 pm

    Corporatewood Rock is turning on Roman on night 2 after they beat Cody and Seth on night 1. Tama Tonga and maybe Jacob Fatu will debut that night and join him against Roman, Jimmy, and Solo after that.

  5. Front to back that was one HOT show (that may have even been Theory’s best match to date). Glad I tuned in

  6. Awesome segment with The Rock and The Bloodline, I don’t think that match stipulation matters because the backdoor here is that Tonga and Fatu will debut on Night 2 to help Roman retain. I think The Rock is setting this up, so that Cody feels like if he wins he has a chance, so that he is taken down.

    I don’t think The Rock will turn on Roman at Mania, but it will happen at some point in the future.

    Also, the other big backdoor on the program is Dakota Kai turning on Bayley, to me that isn’t really the thing that I want to talk about though. I smell that Dakota Kai will turn on The Kabuki Warriors as well with her own girls.

    If they want to do this right then I’d have Roxanne turn heel down in NXT and get the title from Lyra and have Tatum Paxley also turn on Lyra and have Paxley and Roxanne team with each other, originally it could’ve been Roxanne & Cora Jade, but since she’s out they can do it with Tatum Paxley and then Dakota Kai recruits them to join the new Damage CTRL sometime next year.

    Tiffy is a star and she is needed on that woman’s roster right now.

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