WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (3/22): Barnett’s review of Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar, WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky vs. Naomi in a non-title match


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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,283)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Fiserv Forum
Aired live March 22, 2024 on Fox

[Hour One] Cody Rhodes and Damage Ctrl were shown entering the building earlier today. No mention was made of Asuka’s knee injury from the previous week… Corey Graves and Wade Barrett were at the commentary desk, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…

Rey Mysterio made his entrance for the opening match. A video package aired that summarized the Santos Escobar and Rey Mysterio feud. Escobar said during the video that Mysterio knew was was important to him and betrayed him anyways. He said he didn’t want to do terrible things to Mysterio, but he had no other choice. Escobar then made his ring entrance in the arena. Legado Del Fantasma and The LWO are banned from ringside.

1. Rey Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar: Mysterio landed a few shots early on to take control. Rey slipped on the ropes and had an awkward collision with Escobar. He slipped again a moment later and took a moment to recover. Rey managed to land a springboard head scissors, and then a baseball slide into Escobar’s groin. Escobar turned things around with a seated shotgun dropkick for a two count. Rey quickly recovered and sent Escobar to the floor, and followed up with a sliding splash under the bottom rope…[c]

My Take: An uncharacteristically rough start from Mysterio. Hopefully they get things under control the rest of the way. 

Escobar focused on the knee he injured to put Mysterio on the shelf a few months ago. Mysterio landed a a few punches in the corner, but Escobar reversed an Irish Whip and threw Rey chest first into the turnbuckles. He set up Rey in the Tree of Woe, but missed a spear attempt and collided with the ring post. Rey climbed to the top and splashed Escobar out on the floor. He then landed a top rope seated Senton and a seated dropkick. Rey then landed a springboard moonsault and covered for a near fall. 

Rey lined up for a 619, but Escobar took him out with a superkick when he rebounded from the ropes. Escobar slammed Rey face first and covered for a near fall of his own and then talked trash to Mysterio, who fired up and sent him to ringside. Rey slammed his head into the announce table and slammed the announce table collar into him. He then landed a seated senton running across the announce table that carried both men into the timekeeper’s area. 

Rey tossed Escobar back into the ring and setup for a West Coast Pop, but Dominik Mysterio showed up at ringside in a lucha mask and tripped him up, causing Rey to crash and burn. Escobar landed a 619 of his own and followed up with a Phantom Driver for the win. 

Santos Escobar defeated Rey Mysterio by pinfall at 12:21

After the match, Escobar and Dominik celebrated and Escobar told Rey that they were his two biggest failures…

Graves introduced a video package that recapped last week’s Smackdown main event between Bayley and Dakota Kai…

Bayley approached Naomi after the video and thanked her for her friendship because it’s been hard to come by. Bianca Belair walked up and told Bayley that she deserved everything that was happening to her for her past actions. Naomi eventually had to pull Bianca away to calm her down…

Grayson Waller and Austin Theory made their ring entrance in the arena. They will face the Good Brothers next…[c]

My Take: The Escobar and Mysterio match was much better after the break. The Dom interference worked, and was a nice shortcut to Legado being banned from ringside. I’m curious what the format of the WrestleMania match is after this.

Naomi and Bianca had a spirited discussion backstage about Damage Ctrl. Naomi told Bianca her feelings are valid, but she can’t fix the past and she still needs her help because she can’t do it by herself, just like Bianca couldn’t do it on her own…

The Good Brothers made their entrance with Michin. They were still calling themselves The OC, even in the absence of AJ Styles. This match will be a tournament qualifier for the Men’s Tag Team ladder match at WrestleMania. 

2. “The OC” Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/Michin) vs. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory in a tournament match for a spot in the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Title ladder match at WrestleMania XL: Gallows landed heavy shots on Austin Theory early on, who had to scramble for a tag to Waller. Anderson tagged in, and they sent both Waller and Theory to the floor. Anderson splashed both of them at ringside with a springboard drive…[c]

Waller and Theory targeted Gallow’s knee during the break. He broke free of Theory and landed a chokeslam on Theory. Michin landed an arm drag on Waller on the floor, but the referee apparently missed it. Karl Anderson tagged in and landed spinebusters on both Waller and Theory. Anderson avoided A-Town down and landed a second rope neckbreaker for a near fall. Gallows tagged in and they setup for a Magic Killer, but Waller broke it up. Anderson and Waller ended up on the floor, and Theory rolled up Gallows with a leverage pin using the ropes for the win. 

Austin Theory and Grayson Waller defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson at 7:19 to advance in the tournament

After the match, we got a vignette for Bron Breakker that labeled him as “A new level of performance”… Naomi and Iyo Sky will face off next…[c]

My Take: A good effort from the tag team match. Anderson and Gallows looked like they had a lot more life than their previous Smackdown appearances. I think it’s time to call it on The OC though, as I don’t think the faction makes a lot of sense without Styles.

A video aired of Roman Reigns on The Pat McAfee Show from earlier today, along with some hype for Cody and Roman’s face to face later in the show. Naomi made her ring entrance for the next match. Iyo Sky’s entrance music played, and Damage Ctrl minus Iyo showed up on stage. The camera went backstage, and Iyo had laid out Bayley backstage before being separated by WWE officials. Iyo then finished her entrance. 

3. WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky (w/Asuka, Kairi Sane, Dakota Kai) vs. Naomi in a non-title match: Early on Naomi gained the upper hand with some strikes and a leg choke in the corner. Iyo recovered and landed a huracanrana and a dropkick in the corner. She then choked Naomi with the second rope before getting pulled away by the ref count. Naomi recovered and landed a bulldog…[c]

Both women were down near the corner. Naomi drove Iyo into the top turnbuckle, and then landed a cross body from the top rope. She fired up the crowd and hit a seated dropkick in the corner. Naomi landed a split splash in the corner, but Iyo was too close to the ropes for a cover to be effective. Iyo fired back with a slingshot dropkick and a meteora in the corner. She then climbed to the top, but Naomi intercepted her with an enziguri. Naomi pulled her back into the ring with a superplex for a near fall. 

Naomi looked in position to secure a win, but Damage Ctrl made their presence felt and knocked Naomi from the top rope. Iyo followed up with an Over the Moonsault for the win. 

WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky defeated Naomi at 9:16 in a non-title match

After the match, Damage Ctrl attacked Naomi, and Asuka sprayed her with the poison mist. Bianca Belair ran to ringside and destroyed everyone. She threw Dakota Kai into the steps and was about to hit a KOD on Kairi when Iyo turned the tables. The numbers caught up with Bianca and they eventually took her down…

[Hour Two] Backstage, Nick Aldis was shown speaking with Cody Rhodes…

A vignette for Jade Cargill, who is officially signed to the Smackdown brand, and narrated the hype video of herself. She said she was undeniable, and they would build statues of her, and nobody has to like it. She will make her first Smackdown appearance next week…

An LA Knight video is up next, who apparently invaded AJ Styles home…[c]

My Take: A solid match from Naomi and Iyo, but it’s a shame that Iyo has not gotten any signature wins without Damage Ctrl interference. Bianca looked completely unstoppable during her run in. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with her once Jade Cargill shows up. I think the money match down the road is Jade vs. Bianca, but maybe they have them team up first to build a relationship that blows up later on?

Naomi was flushing her eyes with water backstage when Tiffany Stratton walked by and told Naomi this was a good look for her…

Nick Aldis was speaking to Kevin Owens when Pretty Deadly walked up. Owens and Pretty Deadly argued about his experience in tag teams, and KO challenged them to a match next week with his partner. Owens also bragged about punching two people at once the last time he was in this building. Orton appeared out of thin air and Owens asked him to be his partner, and he said yes. Owens and Randy then walked away excited about next week. Owens then returned to punch both members of Pretty Deadly in the face. He excitedly told Orton that he did it again…

We then saw a video of LA Knight showing up at AJ Styles house and fighting him in the front yard. Police eventually arrived and we saw dash-cam footage of Knight getting arrested and taken away by police. Styles said he would see him at Smackdown next week as he was getting stuffed in a squad…

The Street Profits made their entrance with Bobby Lashley and B-Fab…[c] AOP Made their entrance with Paul Ellering. 

4. “Authors of Pain” Akam and Rezar vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins in a tournament match for a spot in the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Title ladder match at WrestleMania XL: The Profits were in control early on using their speed to stay one step ahead of AOP. Once they sent AOP to ringside, Ford attempted to dive onto them but was caught. Dawkins had to run in and catch Ford to keep him from taking a double powerbomb into the ring steps…[c]

My Take: Owens and Orton are staying buddy buddy for now. I smell and RKO in Owens future. 

The Street Profits took over after the commercial break. Ford broke free of AOP and tagged Dawkins, who took out Rezar at ringside and then landed a spinning neckbreaker to Akam in the ring. They setup for a Doomsday Device, but Akam broke it up and kicked Ford in the face. Things completely broke down at this point as Akam and Rezar landed The Final Chapter on Ford. Dawkins had to break it up. Dawkins took out Akam and they fell to ringside. Ford managed to roll up Rezar in an inside package and get the win. 

The Street Profits defeated AOP at 8:37 to advance in the tournament

The Street Profits will face Waller and Theory next week with the winners advancing to the ladder match. The Profits celebrated on the stage…

Backstage, Paul Heyman was shown on his phone. He told Roman Reigns that Cody Rhodes was there by himself and his people await…[c]

My Take: I have to imagine AOP cost The Profits the match next week to qualify for WrestleMania, otherwise what was the point of their months long feud???

Roman Reigns was shown backstage arriving at the arena in an SUV. He met Paul Heyman and they headed towards the ring…

Roman’s music hit and he headed to the ring. Roman stood in the ring and paced around a bit while Cody chants took off in the crowd. He then said the wiseman made a promise, and he had kept his promise to come alone without the Bloodline except Heyman. Roman said it was time to bring Cody out and join the Milwaukee crowd in acknowledging him. Cody was shown on the screen heading to the ring…[c]

Cody Rhodes made his entrance after the break. Roman reiterated that he came alone, and Cody said he did too. Roman called him and said he’s a fool, stupid to him. He said he’s not cut out to be the champion or the face of the company because he’s an idiot. Roman called out his alliance with Seth Rollins, and reminded Cody that he was in a bind on Monday and Roman was nowhere to be found. He then recalled Seth telling Cody he would be his Shield, and reminded him that it ended with Rollins betraying him and their bond. 

Rhodes responded by reminding Roman that the first team to beat the Shield had the last name of Rhodes, and recalled his experience in factions while he was “off doing stuff”. Cody said while Seth may very well hate his guts, he knows that he hates Roman even more. He then pivoted to questioning whether Roman could trust The Rock at WrestleMania, and asked whether the Tribal Chief was in charge of the family or the final boss. 

Roman responded that it was old news, because Cody just said the same thing to The Rock the other way around? He said Cody twists and manipulates things like a politician, and asked the crowd if anyone needs their baby kissed since he wanted to run for governor. He said he makes promises that he never delivers on because he’s a number two. He might be the greatest number two of all time, but he’s a number two nonetheless. 

Cody then responded that when he talks about all time greats from Bruno to Flair, Hogan to Austin and Rock, and Cena to Roman Reigns, kids from the next generation will grow up wanting to be Roman Reigns. He has conceded to that fact, but when it comes to the guy that beats Roman Reigns for his Universal Championship, he’s number one. Cody offered Roman a handshake, but he backed away instead and left the ring to head to the entryway. 

Roman snapped his fingers and Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso appeared at his side by walking through the crowd. Cody stood his ground while Jey Uso and Seth Rollins appeared from the either side of Roman through the crowd and stood next to Cody on apron to close the show. 

My Take: That was a good promo, but it didn’t cover any new ground, for that reason I have to call it a bit of a miss. Roman and Cody have good chemistry together and they deliver their lines well, but I was hoping we would see some new wrinkle to the psychology here and we didn’t really get that. They have time for more promos and interactions between these two, but I was hoping for a bit more here. 

I am the guest on Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Post Show podcast tonight, so Jason Powell will be filling in for me in our weekly Smackdown audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let us know what you thought of Smackdown by grading it below.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Poll: Grade the March 22 edition

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Orton and Owens team name can simply be called RKO because Kevin’s initials..

  2. Absolute snoozefest that was. Poor trinity … a world champion and star just a few weeks ago, an afterthought now looking up at the lights. Welcome back to the fam Trin. Is there not a green brand for Jade?

    • Original Jabroni March 23, 2024 @ 10:34 am

      Roman is a terrible actor, once things get conversational. Clearly reciting memorized lines. I’m wondering where his “ethnic” or “black” or “street” lingo went (look, I’m trying not to offend anyone, and it’s near impossible. I’m sorry in advance.). Terms like “y’all” instead of you all, “gon’a” instead of going to, all his tough guy street talk disappears when it’s time to “say his lines.” His acting is as bad as his wrestling. Punch, kick, spear, clothesline, occasional samoan drop. I counted his move variety out loud a live event. He wasnt pleased. Hmmm… maybe he IS the next John Cena.

      Indie/AEW nerds take take note- nobody in the building had ANY idea what Cody was talking about with the “Bullet” comment.

      And holy crap, is Cody boring all hell when he speaks! When you throw in whatever the hell Seth is supposed to be, imagine how unentertaining this would be without The Rock.

  3. Jake I didn’t have a problem with the show closure, because it established one thing. Roman can’t be trusted and Cody knew it. It firmed the clear battlelines just to clean up any loose ends and I think it did need it. We only have one more proper Smackdown before Mania (the SD on April 5 won’t be the go home because they would be prepping for the HOF and if the past years in anything to go by we’ll get the Andre Memorial battle royal).

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