WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (3/8): Barnett’s review of Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins responding to Rock and Roman Reigns’ WMXL challenge, Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross


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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,281)
Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center
Aired live March 8, 2024 on Fox

A video recap of last Friday’s Bloodline promo aired where the challenge was issued for the tag match between Roman Reigns and The Rock vs. Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins. The Rock was seen showing up earlier in the evening in a lifted 1970s Ford Pickup. Roman Reigns was shown entering his locker room. Seith Rollins and Cody Rhodes were then shown walking past Nick Aldis and his security team. Corey Graves noted that the American Airlines Center was sold out, and then Wade Barrett plugged Cody and Seth answering the challenge for the WrestleMania tag match later tonight. 

In the arena, Logan Paul made his ring entrance dressed for a promo. Paul mentioned that he wrestled at his first WrestleMania two years ago in Dallad. He called himself a conqueror, and said he would make history tonight. He said he didn’t just join the WWE to take part, he joined to take over. Paul said everything he touches turns to gold and nobody can touch him as a viral athlete. He plugged his successful youtube show, and took credit for being the secret sauce for the company becoming more successful business wise over the last two years. 

Paul continued and said the WWE was in it’s prime, and then called for a drumroll on his “surprise”, which was a “Prime” energy drink logo in the center of the ring. He said his partnership would start at WrestleMania 40 and at every PLE after that. Paul then brought KSI into the ring from the crowd, and this entire sponsorship segment was received with boos. There was a USA chant after Paul revealed KSI flew in from the UK. 

As they setup for a photo op, Randy Orton’s music hit. He didn’t immediately appear, and tried to sneak up on Paul and deliver an RKO, but he was able to escape. Orton then landed an RKO on KSI and dragged his limp body over onto the Prime logo. He then tried a sip of the drink and told Paul it was actually very good, before pouring most of it on the groin of KSI. Orton celebrated to end the segment…[c]

My Take: WWE knew they were going to get groans and eyerolls for putting the Prime logo in the ring, so they turned it into a heat segment. Smart.

A video aired of Triple H holding up WWE’s Red Diamond award for surpassing 100M subscribers on Youtube. 

Kevin Owens completed his ring entrance. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory were already at ringside. 

1. Kevin Owens and Randy Orton vs. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory: Owens and Theory started the match. Owens landed a shoulder block and a deep arm drag. Owens continued to dominate until Theory quickly ran away and tagged in Waller. Owens then walked over and tagged Orton, who got a strong reaction. Orton backed Waller into the corner and landed a series of punches. Orton turned his back to Waller to celebrate a bit and the tables were turned for a moment. Theory tagged in, and Orton quickly gathered himself and tagged in Owen. 

Theory landed a shotgun dropkick on Owens, who rolled to the floor to regroup. Waller tagged in and knocked Orton off the apron, before landing a sliding lariat onto Owens on the floor…[c]

The heel duo dominated during the break,, and landed a double suplex on Owens as the show returned. Waller mocked Orton by setting up for an RKO by pounding his fists on the mat. Owens avoided it and knocked Theory from the apron, and then tagged in Orton. He entered the match and landed a snap powerslam on Waller. He set up for a draping DDT, but Theory broke it up. Owens landed a rolling senton off the apron onto Theory, which allowed Orton to land the DDT. 

Orton fired up the crowd and teased an RKO, but Theory jumped back on the apron and busted it up again. Waller rolled up Orton from behind and got a near fall. Owens returned to the ring and landed a Stunner on Waller. He then gave Orton and assist and popped up Austin Theory for an RKO. Orton covered and got the win. 

Kevin Owens and Randy Orton defeated Grayson Waller and Austin Theory at 10:09

After the match, Logan Paul jumped Owens and Orton. He stomped on Owens a bit and tried to hit Orton with his brass knuckles, but Orton stole them away. Paul ducked the return punch, and Orton had to pull back to avoid hitting Owens. Paul escaped and Orton and Owens exchanged a glance as the segment ended…[c]

My Take: A solid opener. The crowd was very into Owens and Orton, and it seems pretty clear that we are looking at a Triple Threat for WrestleMania.

Corey Graves plugged the WWE World fan event at WrestleMania, and then ran a video package for the ongoing feud between Bayley and the remaining members of Damage Ctrl. 

Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley backstage. She said she was hanging on by a thread, because she’s not sure if any part of her friendships was real anymore. Bayley said she fell for it, and Kayla asked her to address people who say she deserves it. She acknowledged how many enemies she created over the last few years, most because she loved the attention and wanted to get to the top, but also because she would have done anything for Iyo and Dakota. Bayley said they made a huge mistake underestimating her, and she would do everything in her power to make them pay. 

Naomi was backstage watching Bayley on the monitor. Bianca walked up and asked her why she felt bad for Bayley, because she had brought all of this on herself. Naomi sympathized with being in a group that had fallen apart, and Bianca had none of it and said that she wasn’t there to see the chaos she had been creating for the past few years. Bianca said she had to say something nice and wished Bayley good luck at WrestleMania, but she said what she said. Naomi looked conflicted. 

Bobby Lashley made his entrance in the arena. He will face Karrion Kross up next…[c]

My Take: Naomi and Bayley coming together is logical. Bayley is all along and Naomi is coming back into a different environment than the one she left. It’ll be interesting to see if Bianca eventually comes around or if she goes in a different direction entirely.

Karrion Kross made his ring entrance with Scarlett. 

2. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Bobby Lashley: Lashley landed some heavy shots early on. Kross turned things around with a vertical suplex and some stomps. Lashley fired back with an overhead suplex, and then clotheslined Kross to the floor. Lashley picked up Kross, but Scarlett stood between him and the ringpost. Kross slipped off his back and landed a hard elbow. He then shoved Lashley into the ring post…[c]

Lashley had a gnarly scrape on his chest and left shoulder. He continued the cycle of getting in a small amount of offense before getting shut down by Kross. Lashley was able to run Kross into the ring post on the floor, but was quickly shut down with a Death Valley Driver back in the ring. Lashley fired back with a spinebuster, but was quickly attacked by AOP and the match was called off. 

Bobby Lashley defeated Karrion Kross by DQ at 8:13

The Street Profits ran down and cleared out AOP momentarily. Lashley setup for the Hurt Lock, but Scarlett interfered again. B-Fab entered the ring and ran her off, but AOP recovered enough to prevent the Hurt Lock. The Street Profits and Lashley were beaten down, and Kross landed a Final Prayer on Lashley to end things. 

A video package aired for the return of Rey Mysterio last week. Backstage, Dragon Lee was confronted by Legado del Fantasma backstage. They mocked him for believing he was the next Rey Mysterio and the future of lucha libre. Escobar told him the past is dead, and the present and future is Legado del Fantasma. He got in the face of Escobar, but Angel shoved him down and told him he’d see him out there. 

In the arena, Tiffany Stratton made her entrance for the next match. She will face Michin next…[c]

My Take: I didn’t see what scraped up Lashley but the wound looked painful as hell. Tiffany Stratton continues to get positive reactions, which is interesting but might complicate whatever plans they had for her.

Michin finished her entrance as the show returned. 

3. Michin vs. Tiffany Stratton: Michin went for a backslide early on, but Stratton escaped. Michin landed a chop in the corner, but Michin got tripped charging into the corner. Stratton followed up with a somersault back elbow, and a running double stomp. She then landed a back suplex and covered for a two count. Michin recovered briefly and set up for a Styles Clash, but Stratton turned it into an Alabama Slam. Stratton followed up with the Prettiest Moonsault Ever for the win. 

Tiffany Stratton defeated Michin at 2:39

After the match, AJ Styles was shown backstage. He said this is for anyone who wondered why he flew halfway across the world to do what he did at the Elimination Chamber. He said he thought LA Knight’s shtick was funny, until he tried to get some momentum at his expense. Styles called Knight desperately in need of humbling and that he was a phenomenal choice to do the job. LA Knight was then shown beating a TV with a chair, and dared Styles to show up next week after he put everyone to sleep with that promo. 

In the arena, Angel made his entrance for the next match with the rest of Legado Del Fantasma…[c]

My Take: Another solid outing for Stratton. Styles’ promo was fine, but there’s something about his heel character that’s just not clicking with me yet. I think his promo cadence just seems a little bit off. Hopefully they find the right tone.

Pete Dunne walked up on Tyler Bate playing the WWE 2K24 video game. Dunne said nothing and Bate convinced himself he needed to go talk to Nick Aldis to get an update on the Tag Title situation. Dunne took the controller and played the game after he left. In the arena, Dragon Lee made his entrance for the next match. 

4. Angel Garza (w/Legado Del Fantasma) vs. Dragon Lee: Lee landed a shotgun dropkick to start, and then pummeled Garza in the corner. He followed up with a running dropkick and then a big slap to the chest. Garza did a leapfrog and faked a knee injury, which set up Garza to turn the tables with a dropkick of his own. He then set up Lee under the bottom rope on the apron and landed a running knee that sent Lee to the floor…[c]

Lee had to use all of his strength to get Garza into a sit out Powerbomb after a bit of a botch. Lee then followed up with a flying forearm and a chop. He then landed a head kick in the corner, and climbed the ropes. Garza tripped him onto the top rope and climbed up. Lee tripped Garza in response and landed a double stomp. He then dove onto both Carillo and Garza on the floor. Back in the ring, Garza landed a big kick and attempted a powerbomb, but it was reversed into a hurracarrana for a three count.

Dragon Lee defeated Angel Garza at 7:21

After the match, Legado Del Fantasma beat down Lee and Escobar looked into the camera and told Rey Mysterio and the LWO to never come back. After the match, we got a return promo from Damage Ctrl where Dakota claimed to be the brains of the operation from the beginning and that she would see her in the ring next week. Elsewhere, Nick Aldis approached Cody Rhodes’ locker room that was guarded by security. He peaked in the door and found no one there, and then took off to find Rhodes and Rollins…[c]

My Take: A decent match from Garza and Lee. It protected Lee and got LDF their heat back immediately, which is all I guess you could expect given the circumstances of Mysterio being unavailable this week due to Dom’s wedding.

Dakota Kai vs. Bayley was confirmed for next week’s Smackdown. Rey Mysterio’s return was also advertised. The Bloodline’s music then erupted in the arena. Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, and Paul Heyman made their way to the ring. The Rock then made his entrance separately with some new lightning effects and a different vest than the last few weeks. These two entrances took up about 7 minutes of TV time. 

Roman addressed the crowd and told them that greatness stood before them now. He then offered up a hand, and he and The Rock dapped up. He then told the crowd to “acknowledge us”, before Cody Rhode’s music hit. He and Seth Rollins were shown in the crowd approaching the ring. Rollins had tape over his mouth that he removed…[c]

My Take: That was about 10 minutes of TV just getting the entrances out of the way. A good gig if you can get it.

Seth and Cody got in the ring as the show returned. The crowd performed Seth Rollins’ chant and he cracked a smile. Cody said he was honored to be in the ring despite everything. He questioned whether The Rock could even make that stipulation since he acknowledged Roman Reigns as his Tribal Chief last week. The Rock interrupted and told Cody to shut his punk ass up and told Rollins to shut up before he started talking. He then began reiterating the stakes for the night one tag match, until a diarrhea chant broke out. Rock let it play out and then finished explaining Bloodline Rules. 

Rollins cut him off and told him to shut up. He called him a walking mid-life crisis and told him he already had his time and he sure as hell can’t have theirs. He then told him he accepted the match. Roman spoke up and asked Rhodes if he was really going to let Rollins, a crossdresser, answer for him. He then told Cody that if he doesn’t win at WrestleMania, his future is over. The Rock chimed in to remind Seth and Cody that he’s on the TKO Board of Directors that owns this company, and he is in effect their boss. 

He would do everything in his power to make sure Cody never gets another shot at the WWE Title again, and told Seth he would just make his title go away. He then brought up his family and said they are looking down at The Bloodline proudly, and turned his attention to Dusty Rhodes and Cody. He said Cody’s the youngest of three. His brother is a soon to be hall of famer and his sister was a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. He said Cody is 20 years younger than his brother, and the reason why is that he was a mistake. 

Cody looked around for a second and slapped The Rock across the face. The Rock grinned as Cody looked serious. The show clearly ran out of time as they quickly went off the air to local news.

My Take: Roman appeared to immediately regret the crossdresser line, which was an unnecessary and unfortunate down moment in an otherwise strong promo. There were a couple of good lines in there that got the crowd fired up throughout. Mr. Mid Life Crisis got a laugh out of me, and the “you were a mistake” line was a stinger. Cody is just a few years younger than his closest sister, but why let facts get in the way of a wrestling angle? Overall this was really strong, and it was good to see Rollins look fired up and more effective in this segment than he did at any other point this week addressing The Rock. The crowd seems to be very into this story and all the characters in it so the buzz is going strong.


Readers Comments (8)

  1. TheGreatestOne March 8, 2024 @ 8:05 pm

    When they finally get around to it, the build for Stratton vs Ripley is going to be amazing.

  2. Certainly don’t want hurt anyone’s feelings with the cross dressing line

  3. Original Jabroni March 9, 2024 @ 9:41 am

    The “cross-dresser” line is a nothing, right? He literally wears clothes that would normally be worn by a woman. His wife calls herself The Man. I swear, if they issue an apology for that, I’m sticking my finger in a toaster.

  4. Really? We’re upset by “cross dresser” now? Pathetic

  5. Wait a minute here! Did the Rock allude to Goldust going into the Hall of Fame?

  6. I’m sure I didn’t take a arm twist for TKO to force WWE into prime partnership since he is partners with UFC already.

  7. Negative Nancys March 12, 2024 @ 9:50 pm

    The crossdresser line was genius and true about the way Seth dresses. Crossdressers embrace that lifestyle, it shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing or dig. If we make a word negative, then it will be negative. The people are who are against Roman are why crossdressers are still looked down upon to this day because you guys don’t want to normalize it. Roman making fun of crossdressers shouldn’t had been seen as a dig. If Seth truly had a problem with it then he shouldn’t be dressed the way he dresses. If Seth isn’t bothered by the comment then it shows how strong and confident in the way he dresses.

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