In addition to the four matches WWE booked for this show, the Sin City fans also saw a contract signing (sigh) for the Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship and the return of “The Kevin Owens Show”.
WWE made frustrating choices on this broadcast, but there will be time to discuss those errors. For now, let’s focus on the positives.
What went right on the March 24 episode of SmackDown?
Cody Rhodes defeats Ludwig Kaiser and has another chat with Paul Heyman
You could argue that Cody Rhodes taking 16 minutes to beat a tag team wrestler (who received the enhancement talent entrance) isn’t the best decision with a match against dominating Universal Champion Roman Reigns looming, but Rhodes is riding such a wave of momentum that it wouldn’t have mattered if it took an hour and 16 minutes to get the job done. Ultimately, getting the win is what matters most. Plus, the match with Ludwig Kaiser was entertaining.
After the match, we got one more verbal spat between Heyman and Rhodes. “The Wiseman’s” promo doubled as an ad for the upcoming Raw and next week’s SmackDown, as he announced that Rhodes will face Solo Sikoa on March 27 and that Reigns will confront Rhodes on March 31.
Likely running on adrenaline, Rhodes responded with his trademark babyface fire, saying that he will face Sikoa and reiterating that the youngest member of The Bloodline “wasn’t ready”. The match and the angle reinforced how everything has gone right for Rhodes heading into WrestleMania. He feels like the biggest babyface in the company, which is a good sign considering he’s set to main event the biggest show of the year.
The Kevin Owens Show with Sami Zayn
To no one’s surprise, WWE bookended SmackDown with segments that furthered the overarching Bloodline story, starting things with the aforementioned Rhodes match and ending the broadcast with Kevin Owens hosting Sami Zayn on his talk show.
This edition of “The Kevin Owens” show was an easy way to get Owens and Zayn to banter with each other for a few minutes, and for good reason. Owens and Zayn’s chemistry can make even the most ridiculous ideas palatable, so fans had nothing to worry about with this talk show.
The two indulged in some playful arguing over entering separately to get their own big pop before putting over how cool it would be to win the tag team championship at WrestleMania, an aspect of this match that has gotten lost far too easily given how long the Usos have held the belts.
The fun stopped when Jey and Jimmy attacked Owens and Zayn to get some of their heat back and remind fans why they’ve been the champions for over 600 days. It was simple, effective booking by WWE.