WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (3/15): Barnett’s review of The Rock and Rey Mysterio’s appearances, Bayley vs. Dakota Kai, Pretty Deadly vs. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne in a WMXL ladder match qualifier


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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,282)
Memphis, Tennessee at FedExForum
Aired live March 15, 2024 on Fox

A video recap of last week’s main event segment between The Rock, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and Seth Rollins started the show. The camera panned around the arena and Corey Graves welcomed the TV audience to Memphis. The Rock’s music played and he headed to the ring to start the show. The Music shifted partway through to a remix of his Hollywood heel theme from ages ago. Corey Graves plugged The Rock and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes for Night 1, and Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns on Night 2.

After posing and taking a lap around the ring, Roman sat down at a table in the ring with some Champagne and some sheet music on a stand. It appeared to be another Rock concert segment. The Memphis crowd cheered loudly for The Rock. He said he normally torches every city that he’s in, but tonight it’s different, because this city is different. The Rock continued and said years ago he got his start in Memphis. He referenced being on TV on Channel 5, and going to the Flea Market every Monday, and his name back then was Flex Kavana and he had no idea what he was thinking. 

He did his “Finally” bit, and closed with home. He said they would have some fun tonight and referenced Memphis being the home of the blues and Elvis Presley. He introduced musicians Yella P and a guitarist Max from the band War and Treaty. He sang a song that referenced beating Cody and Seth with his fanny pack, and then said Cody was too weird and that Dusty admitted drugs and cheap condoms were a bad combination, intimating Cody was a mistake. 

The Rock addressed Seth Rollins and said his wife was more popular than him, and that he was more embarrassing than Ja Morant when he was waving a gun. He then criticized the “Cody Crybabies” saying that they pay for sex, and they can all kiss the ass of the final boss. Fun time was now over, as The Rock addressed Cody Rhodes slapping him in the face. He pulled up the footage, and then brought up more footage of Cody crying on Raw during his interview segment. The Rock then mocked him and said he wasn’t going to give the title to anyone and said he wasn’t interested in talking to Cody right now. 

He then addressed “Mama Rhodes” and said Cody took something from him, and he’s going to make Cody pay and he would make his entire family pay. First they would beat Cody and Seth Rollins on Night 1, and on Night 2 Roman would retain, and the belt he would get is The Rock’s belt when he beat Cody bloody with it. He said he would tear his skin and flesh, and whip him like a dog, and once his blood is on the belt he would hand it to her. He said she would be crying just like her son, and he would whisper in her ear “What can I say except you’re welcome” echoing his line from Moana. 

He then quietly said “If you smell what the Final Boss is cooking” into the mic before leaving.

Legado Del Fantasma was shown backstage. Angel and Humberto will be in action next…[c]

My Take: A strong promo from The Rock. He had his fun with the crowd and then shifted into business mode to sell the PPV. The crowd stayed with him the entire time and despite the early light hearted stuff they were booing heavily when he talked about ensuring Roman Reigns would retain his title.

This was a Wrestlemania 40 Tag Team Title Qualifying match. Angel and Humberto made their entrance with Elektra Lopez. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro were already in the ring with Zelina Vega. 

1. LWO (Wilde and Del Toro) vs. Legado Del Fantasma (Angel and Humberto) in a WrestleMania Tag Team Qualifier: Angel and Humberto landed a quick double team move early for a two count on Del Toro. Wilde managed to tag in and after some rapid fire offense the LWO landed stereo suicide dives on the floor. Back in the ring, Del Toro managed to land a springboard moonsault on Humberto and cover for a near fall…[c]

Humberto was in control as the show returned and tagged in Angel, who sprinted across the ring to send Wilde off the apron. Both Angel and Humberto then delivered a double team press slam from the top rope on Del Toro, but Wilde managed to break up the cover. Del Toro managed to land a standing spanish fly on Humberto, and both men made tags. Wilde managed to tag in and deliver a double dropkick to both Angel and Humberto. He then landed a tornado DDT to Angel and covered, but Humberto broke up the fall. 

Del Toro entered and landed a dropkick to send Humberto to the floor. Angel then took out Wilde with a superkick. They then landed a double team pop up soccer kick for the win. 

Angel and Humberto defeated Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro at 9:31

After the match, LDF celebrated in the ring. “Earlier today” Damage Ctrl made their entrance backstage. Bayley was then shown making her arrival as well..[c]

My Take: Wilde and Del Toro have been more relevant in NXT lately than they have on Smackdown. No surprise to see them take the loss here.

Kayla Braxton brought out LA Knight for a live interview near the stage. She asked him if he had any luck on his search for the phenomenal one. He grabbed the microphone and said he just needed to cook for a minute. Kayla walked to the back. Knight brought up Styles saying LA Knight needed to be humbled. He said he was talking his language, and told him to come out right now and humble LA Knight. Knight said they had another week where AJ Styles can’t show up. He said he wasn’t tall enough for this ride, and called him Napoleon Styles. 

Knight then said Styles can fly halfway across the world, but he can drive his ass to Memphis for Smackdown. He said he would find him where he can’t help but show up, and then challenged him to a match at WrestleMania. He then recalled Styles saying that he walks around like he owns the place. Knight responded to that by saying he may not own the place, but at WrestleMania he would own his ass. Styles then ran out onto the stage and hit Knight in the back with a chair. Styles then placed the chair over Knight and sat in it before accepting the challenge. 

Wade Barrett called back to footage from last week of Logan Paul unveiling his ring sponsorship, and then KSI taking an RKO. Backstage, Logan Paul approached Nick Aldis and asked what Randy Orton’s punishment was for last week. Aldis asked him what he wanted, and Paul said he wanted Orton to issue an apology. Aldis told him he should ask for that apology in person, and Paul replied that it was his job to make it happen, but he can’t count on him to do his job since he can’t even find him an opponent for WrestleMania.

In the arena, Grayson Waller made his ring entrance. He will face Randy Orton next…[c]

My Take: Fairly basic build for Knight vs. Styles. Hopefully we get more from Styles between now and Mania as he needs a bit more characterization.

Kayla Braxton approached The Bloodline backstage and asked if they had a response to Jey Uso’s challenge to Jimmy. He then moved into frame and accepted the match by screaming that he was the older brother that raised him, and he would get him at WrestleMania. Paul Heyman looked taken aback. Randy Orton made his entrance in the arena. The War and Treaty were shown at ringside. Before the match could start, Logan Paul joined in on commentary.

2. Randy Orton vs. Grayson Waller (w/Austin Theory): Orton got jumped from behind by Theory, and the referee rang the bell. Waller tossed Orton to ringside almost immediately. Orton turned the tables and sent Waller into the timekeeper’s area. After a distraction from Theory and Paul, Waller was able to land a rolling flatliner into the announce table…[c]

Waller had a face lock applied, but Orton broke free and put him down with a powerslam. Waller avoided a draping DDT and dumped Orton back to the floor. He then tried to capitalize, but Orton turned that into a couple of suplexes into the announce table. Theory climbed on the apron, but Waller collided with him to send him back to the floor. Orton then landed a draping DDT. He lined up for an RKO, but Theory pulled Waller to the floor. Orton then landed a draping DDT to Theory and finished off Waller with an RKO for the win. 

Randy Orton defeated Grayson Waller at 7:20

After the match, Theory attacked Orton with a chop block and called Paul in the ring. Paul got fired up for a knockout punch, but KO ran off the heels. KO tried to get Orton up onto his feet, and almost got an RKO by mistake. Theory then got hit with a Stunner into an RKO combo for a fun spot. Nick Aldis then appeared on the stage to inform Logan Paul that he would face both Kevin Owens and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania. Paul was beside himself. 

Corey Graves and Wade Barrett then introduced a video package that recapped the ongoing feud between Bayley and Damage Ctrl. Kayla Braxton interviewed Damage Ctrl backstage. Dakota told Bayley that she would break her. She addressed Bayley and said that this was her fault because she was jealous of Iyo and threatened by Kairi and Asuka. She told her she wouldn’t make it to WrestleMania, and this was a warning to all the other chicks in the locker room that they run this show….[c]

My Take: A crowd pleasing match from Orton and Waller. There wasn’t much to it, but people like watching Grayson Waller get beat up. The WrestleMania US Title match has seemed inevitable for a while. Dakota’s backstage promo was decent. She seems to be making the best of her role as the new leader of Damage Ctrl.

Dragon Lee made his ring entrance as the show returned. Santos Escobar was already in the ring. 

3. Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar (w/Legado Del Fantasma): Lee sent Escobar to the floor early with a head scissors, and then splashed him on the floor. Lee then went for a powerbomb, but Escobar avoided it. Lee followed up with a superkick and an enziguri. He then landed a sitout powerbomb for a close near fall. LDF tried to get involved, and Lee launched Humberto into Angel on the floor. Santos quickly landed a Phantom Driver as Lee got back in the ring and got the win. 

Santos Escobar defeated Dragon Lee at 2:01

After the match, LDF ran in the ring and beat down Lee. Carlito ran in for the save and took out Angel and Humberto. Escobar dropped him with a right hand and sent him into the ring post. Rey Mysterio ran down to bail out Carlito, and Escobar quickly bailed out of the ring to avoid a 619. Mysterio then challenged Santos to a match next week, and said he would slap the stupid arrogant smile from his face. Bayley was then shown backstage getting ready…[c]

My Take: Basic match that was more of an angle to setup next week. I guess we’re getting LWO vs. LDF at WrestleMania?

4. New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate) vs. Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson and Elton Prince) in a WrestleMania Tag Team Qualifier: The match was joined in progress. Dunne quickly tagged into the ring and bent up the fingers of Kit Wilson. Prince and Wilson managed to turn things around and isolate Pete Dunne for a moment. He managed to escape and tag in Bate, who took out Wilson and performed a long airplane spin in Bate…[c]

Kit Wilson put down Tyler Bate with a lariat. Bate replied with a vertical suplex and crawled to his corner to tag Pete Dunne. He landed an enziguri on both Wilson and Prince and then landed a release vertical suplex on the apron on Wilson. He then delivered a German Suplex to Prince and attempted an arm bar. Prince reversed into a pinfall attempt for a two count. Dunne and Bate landed top bins on Prince, but Wilson broke up the tag. 

Wilson and Prince landed an assisted Bulldog on Bate and covered for a close near fall. Dunne got a blind tag and Wilson was sent from the ring. Dunne and Bate landed a Burning Hammer and got the win. 

New Catch Republic defeated Pretty Deadly at 11:24

After the match, Corey Graves showed a graphic of several sports teams acknowledging Roman Reigns on Social Media. Bayley was shown walking towards the entrance for her match coming up next…[c]

My Take: The match was solid for what it was. Bummed out to see Pretty Deadly getting lost in the shuffle as of late.

CM Punk will be on Raw March 25th in Chicago. Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar was confirmed for next week on Smackdown. The Street Profits will face AOP, and The OC will face Waller and Theory next week, as well as Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns going face to face. 

Bayley made her ring entrance for the main event. She was followed by Dakota Kai with Damage Ctrl. 

5. Dakota Kai (w/Damage Ctrl) vs. Bayley: Bayley got off to a hot start, and Dakota bailed to the outside. Kairi tried to cause a distraction early, but Bayley landed a vertical suplex from the apron to the floor on Dakota…[c]

Kai was in control as the show returned thanks to interference. Bayley got back into the match with a facebuster, and climbed the corner. Bayley met her up there and set up for a superplex, but Bayley recovered and landed an elbow and covered for a near fall. Kai responded with an overhead kick that sent Bayley down in the corner. She followed up with a running kick, but Bayley caught her on a second attempt and delivered a powerbomb. 

Iyo Sky got involved at this point and the referee called for a DQ.

Bayley and Dakota Kai ended in a DQ at 7:32

Naomi ran down to make the save after the match, but was quickly overwhelmed by the numbers. Damage Ctrl dumped her at ringside. Iyo then landed a Moonsault to Bayley to end the show.

My Take: They tried to give Iyo and the heels some heat here, and the crowd responded to it for the most part, but they still have a fair bit of work ahead of them to get this program to the next level. We need some stronger promo work between now and WrestleMania.


Readers Comments (4)

  1. TheGreatestOne March 15, 2024 @ 8:08 pm

    Darby Allin legit broke his foot in that terrible match against Jay White on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, Rock has leaned into this character perfectly.

  2. Was Asuka injured during that final segment or was she just selling?

  3. Original Jabroni March 16, 2024 @ 12:13 am

    For me, this run solidifies The Rock as the most entertaining professional wrestler of all time, which by (my) definition makes him the GOAT. The number one job of a pro wrestler is to get a reaction (get cheered or get booed), right? This dude gets both from the same people! For perspective, I was 19 years old in the summer 1996 and never missed a RAW or Nitro. Austin could never have pulled off anything like this. He was (sorry) a one-trick pony. The Rock has proved at the beginning of his career (die rocky die), the middle of his career (Skydome vs Hogan), and the end of his career right now that he can change direction on a dime and give the people exactly what they need. This is so entertaining to watch and, like I’ve said before, with Brock gone it’s so great to still have at least one segment/storyline that isn’t embarrassing if a non-fan family member walks in and sees.

  4. The Rock’s still got it, and I actually think he’s better than ever on the mic. Something about him being heel makes him even more entertaining. He’s been straight cooking on the mic and Cody.

    I really think Cody won’t win, I think the new members of The Bloodline help Roman win that match. I can’t see the WWE losing the opportunity to have Roman catch Hogan’s title streak record which is set for either later this year or next year.

    Dakota Kai looks really good in the ring after coming back from injury. Great to see both Dynamite and SmackDown feature the ladies in the main event in the same week. I’ve been loving this storyline with Damage CTRL and Bayley. It’s been way better than I expected.

    I do feel like Dakota Kai is going to turn her back on The Kabuki Warriors at some point deeper into the future, I think they better watch out for Dakota.

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