WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (4/12): Barnett’s review of the appearances of new champs Cody Rhodes and Bailey, Triple Threats for a shot at the WWE Universal Championship


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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,286)
Detroit, Michigan at Little Caesars Arena
Aired live April 12, 2024 on Fox

Footage was shown of Cody Rhodes title win on WrestleMania Night 2. In the arena, Corey Graves welcomed the audience to the show. Cody Rhodes then made his ring entrance for the opening segment. Cody chants broke out, as well as “You deserve it” as he got in the ring and held up the Universal Championship. He recalled being interrupted by The Rock on Monday. Cody then quoted his wife and said “Who told you it was open mic night, bitch!” when relaying his mental state watching The Rock walk to the ring. He called his conversation with the Rock awkward, and said he believed him when he said he would go to Hollywood and come back. 

Cody said he would be waiting for Rock when he returns. He then said he would soon head to France for Backlash, and he would face one of six competitors we would see tonight. Cody mentioned Santos Escobar, Rey Mysterio, LA Knight, AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley, and Kevin Owens. He made a quip about he and AJ Styles being some of the few to hold both the WWE and NWA Championships. Cody then acknowledged the sellout and turned to look at the entire crowd. 

He told the six competitors that “if you come at the king you best not miss”. He then introduced himself to the Smackdown crowd who may be unfamiliar with him. Cody used the “undesirable to undeniable” line and called himself the Undisputed WWE Champion.

Bayley and The LWO were shown walking into the arena earlier today. The Bloodline walked up to what would have been their former office to find Cody Rhodes log on the door. Kevin Owens walked into the room and said they weren’t invited. Solo said he would handle Owens and the situation, and Heyman told him that wins and losses matter. He called that the Champion’s locker room and they title would have to come home to The Bloodline if they wanted it back, on order of the tribal chief. 

LA Knight made his entrance in the arena. He will face Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar next…[c]

My Take: A solid opening segment. The Bloodline losing their locker room and status was a nice touch to usher in a feeling of change. Cody’s promo was fairly standard babyface fare. Nothing terribly interesting or controversial.

Bobby Lashley made his ring entrance accompanied by The Pride. He was followed by Santos Escobar with Legado Del Fantasma.

1. Bobby Lashley vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar in a #1 Contender Qualifier: Escobar got dumped to the floor early on. Lashley and Knight traded blows, but Knight was sent to the floor as well. Knight pulled Lashley to the outside under the bottom rope. They traded punches on the floor, only to get splashed by a dive from Escobar…[c]

Bobby Lashley controlled the match as the show returned. He placed Escobar on the top rope and set up for a Superplex. Escobar punched Lashley off of him, but Knight popped up to the top rope for a Superplex of his own. Lashley pulled Knight down with a powerbomb for a tower of doom spot. Lashley picked up Escobar for a Dominator, but Knight drop kicked his legs out from under him. He then went for a Crucifix Bomb on Lashley for a two count. It was awkward. 

Berto and Angel showed up and attacked LA Knight. With Escobar they landed a triple powerbomb. The then attacked Lashley, which prompted the Street Profits to get involved. Elektra Lopez got involved, which prompted B-Fab to give her a pump kick. The seconds all neutralized each other. Lashley set up for a spear on Escobar, but ran himself into the ring post instead. Knight then landed the BFT on Escobar and got the win. 

LA Knight defeated Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar at 9:27

After the match, The LWO was interviewed backstage. Rey was asked about Santos coming up short in his match, and he says the karma always comes back around. Kayla then said Escobar denied the charges of attacking Dragon Lee, and Carlito was quick to point out he was lying. Rey said he’s accomplished a lot the last few years, but was ready for another run as WWE Champion. 

In the arena, Solo Sikoa made his entrance with Paul Heyman and Jimmy Uso in tow…[c]

My Take: LA Knight moving on sets up AJ Styles to win in the Main Event for a rematch setup.

Paul Heyman revealed that Roman Reigns has ordered that The Bloodline accept accountability for what happened at WrestleMania. He recounted WrestleMania 39 and Cody being unprepared for Solo Sikoa’s interference, but at WrestleMania 40 Cody flipped the script. He called Seth Rollins a visionary for seeing that he was uniquely qualified to be Cody Rhodes’ shield as the final piece of unfinished business in Roman Reigns career. Heyman said Roman gave into temptation and revenge and turned his back on Cody, and now Cody is the Universal Champion. 

He then said Roman would rise from the Ashes like a Phoenix….and Solo stopped him. Solo said winning and losing has consequences, and losing requires change. Solo offered his brother a hug and said he loved him. Jimmy was then jumped from behind by Tama Tonga. Solo then landed a series of Samoan Spikes to Jimmy. Heyman went to grab his phone to call Roman Reigns, but Solo threw it on the ground and stomped on it. 

Solo ordered Tama to grab a chair from ringside. He then placed it over Jimmy’s head and sat him in the corner. Solo told Jimmy he loved him again, and then delivered a hip attack. Afterward, they left the ring with a disgusted and fearful Paul Heyman in tow…[c]

My Take: We’re in a new chapter for the Bloodline, as expected. Jimmy felt like a weak link to a degree with his character, and he’s a better fit as a babyface, so this will be a welcome change for everyone involved. Paul Heyman’s terrified submissiveness made for an interesting segment.

A recap of the previous segment was shown. Cameron Grimes was already in the ring. Bron Breakker made his entrance with a new generic rock theme for the next match. 

2. Bron Breakker vs. Cameron Grimes: Bron threw around Grimes early on and then landed a Steinerline after running the ropes. Grimes landed a couple of kicks, but got picked out of the air with a suplex and speared for the win. 

Bron Breakker defeated Cameron Grimes at 1:22

A video package aired after the match that recapped some WrestleMania 40 highlights. Bayley was shown walking backstage. She is up next…[c]

My Take: Good win for Bron. The new theme sounds like an elevator music adaptation of Metallica. 

AJ Styles was shown backstage. He said tonight isn’t just another match. He will fix what went wrong at WrestleMania and demolish everything on his path through LA Knight and to the WWE Championship. He said he would step over the dead bodies of Rey Mysterio and Kevin Owens, and told LA Knight to take notes. In the arena, Bayley made her ring entrance. Corey Graves and Wade Barrett said she hit gears that hadn’t been seen from her in a long time at WrestleMania. 

“You deserve it” chants broke out and Bayley thanked the crowd. She said she’s won and lost titles at WrestleMania, but this one felt special. Bayley said she’s proud to be a champion of a new era and the most talented locker room she’s ever been a part of. She then thanked the fans for not giving up on her, and for sticking with her through ups and downs and injuries. 

Bayley then started talking about giving new opportunities, and Tiffany Stratton made her entrance. She said we was a bit insulted that she wasn’t offered a chance at WrestleMania, but as the center of the universe she was happy to accept Bayley’s offer. Bayley said she didn’t have her in mind, but she was happy to meet her. She then told Tiffany that she wanted to face someone who returned at the Royal Rumble, and mentioned Naomi. 

Tiffany acted insulted, and said Naomi couldn’t win a title even if it glowed in the dark. Naomi made her entrance, and said that she’s earned every opportunity she’s ever gotten. Tiffany might have beaten her before, but she would take her on right here right now. She told Bayley she would accept her challenge after she took care of Tiffany…[c]

My Take: I could see this being a Triple Threat at Backlash, maybe?

Paul Heyman was interviewed outside the Trainer’s Room by Kayla Braxton. Before he could speak, Tama Tonga and Solo Sikoa walked up and intimidated him into silence.

3. Naomi vs. Tiffany Stratton: The match was in progress as the show returned to the arena. Naomi pulled Stratton down with a snap mare and landed a kick to the chest. She then delivered a leg drop and started to focus on Stratton’s arm and shoulder. Tiffany turned things around momentarily and applied a chinlock, but Naomi escaped and landed a knee strike. Stratton tripped Naomi onto the second rope and then landed a hip attack. The match ended up on the apron, and Naomi landed a head kick. Stratton replied by running Naomi into the ringpost and sending her to the floor…[c]

Naomi fired up and landed an enziguri, followed by a seated dropkick in the corner. She then landed a splits pin from the second rope for a near fall. Stratton avoided an attack and landed a double stomp to a seated Naomi for a near fall. She then landed an Alabama Slam near the corner, and set up for the Prettiest Moonsault Ever. Naomi rolled out of the way and folded Stratton up for a pin and the victory. 

Naomi defeated Tiffany Stratton

After the match, we got a video package featuring A-Town Down Under and their accomplishments. Backstage, The Street Profits and New Catch Republic were with Nick Aldis. He said they would find Theory and Waller challengers next week. 

My Take: Not quite Tiffy Time yet. Money in the Bank seems like it could be in her future.

Corey Graves and Wade Barrett bragged about WWE’s sellout streak and the success of WrestleMania. They then introduced a video package that focused on more WrestleMania highlights. We then got a selfie video from Logan Paul filmed from his patio where he talked about being the new legend killer and took credit for the social media views coming out of WrestleMania. 

Piper Niven and Chelsea Green made their entrance for the next match. A video was shown of them asking Nick Aldis for an opportunity earlier in the day. Jade Cargill was announced as their first opponent, and her partner was Bianca Belair. 

4. Piper Niven and Chelsea Green vs. Jade Cargill and Bianca Belair: Bianca delivered a spinebuster to Chelsea Green out of the gate. Piper Niven tagged in and demanded to get a piece of Jade Cargill. When Bianca turned around to tag, Piper grabbed her ponytail and yanked her down. She landed a Michinoku Driver, but Bianca avoided a splash out of the corner. Chelsea tagged back in, and Bianca made the tag to Jade Cargill. Jade quickly put Chelsea Green away with Jaded. 

Jade Cargill and Bianca Belair defeated Chelsea Green and Piper Niven at 1:27

After the match, Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Byron Saxton. Owens said he wanted to try out one of the cool new camera angles. He then walked and talked to the ring with the camera following him. He said AJ Styles is suffering from PTSD from LA Knight’s home invasion. He said he has a lot in common with Rey, as both of their sons are taller than they are, but his son isn’t a disappointing loser like Dominik. He told Bruce to hit his music and gave the microphone to someone named Jamie as he headed through the curtain and the camera followed…[c]

My Take: Jade and Bianca should be winning the Women’s Tag Titles and self destructing over the next several months I’d imagine.

Bayley vs. Naomi for the WWE Women’s Championship will happen next week. LA Knight will face AJ Styles or Rey Mysterio, and Street Profits vs. New Catch Republic vs. Legado Del Fantasma vs. AOP will determine the next challengers for A-Town Down Under. AJ Styles made his entrance for the Main Event, followed by Rey Mysterio. 

5. AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs. Kevin Owen in a #1 Contender Qualifier: Everybody traded punches early. Owens sent Styles to the floor with a clothesline. He then tried to throw Rey under the bottom rope onto Styles, but he was caught and slammed on the apron. Owens then tossed Styles into the barricade and landed a cannonball on the floor. Rey then jumped off the apron and landed a seated senton onto Owens…[c]

Rey landed counter DDT’s to Owens and Styles in rapid succession, and got a near fall on Styles. He then sent Owens to the floor with a dropkick and focused on AJ. He tripped Styles onto the second rope for a 619, but he got caught and Styles pulled him into an ushigoroshi. Styles and Owens then brawled for a moment until Mysterio dumped Styles to the floor. Rey made the mistake of attempting a superplex on Owens, who reversed into a Fisherman’s Buster as is tradition. 

Styles broke up the pinfall attempt. Owens replied with a superkick. He then went for a pop up powerbomb, but Styles avoided it and landed a Pele Kick. After some rapid fire position changes, Owens landed a triple stack German Suplex on both Styles and Mysterio. Owens monkey flipped Mysterio, who landed a head scissors on Styles and sent him into the second rope. Mysterio landed a 619 on Styles, but Owens landed a Stunner that sent him to the floor. He then attempted a Swanton on Styles, but AJ got the knees up. 

AJ and Mysterio battled on the ropes, and Styles landed a Styles Clash and dumped Mysterio on Styles. He then rolled through and pinned Mysterio for the win. 

AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens and Rey Mysterio at 9:13

After the match, LA Knight and AJ Styles went face to face in the ring and jawed at each other as the show came to a close. 

My Take: That was a fun main event to close the show. The three of them worked very well together and it didn’t suffer from long periods where someone sat on the sidelines while two others competed. Styles and Knight’s rematch next week should be good, and will probably have a different result given the newly babyface Champion.


Readers Comments (8)

  1. Who decided to change Breakker’s theme music? His NXT theme with the Scott Steiner ambulance siren intro was perfect. I have the same reaction to this new theme that Powell has to Dolph Ziggler’s WWE theme.

  2. Have they quietly stopped using the word “universal” in Cody’s title?

  3. Barnett: “Jade and Bianca should be winning the Women’s Tag Titles and self destructing over the next several months I’d imagine.”

    Absolutely. Starts building out relationships and stories for Jade, and gets her some ring time with others on the roster without the pressure of instant perfection.

    I’ve said for a while that she will be under intense scrutiny for the first four or five months of her active career on this roster. Any mistake or botch will be amplified, and could be a major hindrance to her ceiling. (Which is completely and patently unfair, but it’s realistic.)

  4. I was hoping better for Grimes than enhancement talent. He has such potential. I’d rather watch him than Bron.

  5. Que Jimmy and Jey reunion?

  6. Hopefully they don’t rush it.

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