SmackDown Grades and Reactions for March 29, 2024

There's one week left before WrestleMania 40 and the latest episode of SmackDown built toward the big event.
Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; AJ Styles enters the arena during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium.
Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; AJ Styles enters the arena during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty Deadly Vs. Randy Orton and Kevin Owens

Orton and Owens battle against each other and Logan Paul for the U.S. Championship in Philly in just over a week, but before then, the two challengers would have to work together against Pretty Deadly. Kevin Owens and Randy Orton have been working well together as a force against Logan Paul and his goons leading up to Wrestlemania, but tonight, Paul made sure they wouldn’t get the victory. The match was short-lived, but I wasn’t expecting a terribly long match between these two teams.

Paul hit Owens with the infamous brass knuckles while the referee was distracted, costing Orton and Owens the match. That didn’t stop Owens and Orton from chasing Paul out of the building. While they didn’t get the victory, very little has been done to drive a wedge between the two contenders. This is probably going to lead to the two working as a unit during their triple-threat match against Paul. Regardless, this U.S. title match will undoubtedly be one of the most entertaining matches on the Wrestlemania card. Paul has an amazing gift, Orton is a vet, and Wrestlemania moments are kind of starting to become KO's thing. Even if Paul retains, people will be talking about this triple-threat title match at Wrestlemania for years to come.

Grade: B

Jade Cargill makes her SmackDown Debut

Smackdown GM, Nick Aldis Came out to the ring to introduce Smackdown’s newest talent, Jade Cargill. Cargill comes out and cuts a very short promo. While it excited her many pre-established fans, It had little substance and felt rushed. 

With that said, Cargill’s entrance to the ring was eye-catching. But a glamorous entrance will only get you so far. With her only in-ring match being the Women’s Royal Rumble back in January, It’s about time that she steps into the ring. Holding talent back like this has almost never worked out for the said talent. This simple and short promo didn’t help her case very much.

Grade: C

The Street Profits Vs. Theory and Waller (WrestleMania tag team qualifying match)

This match is incredibly crucial for both teams. The winner advances to the six-pac ladder match for the tag titles at Wrestlemania. The losers, unfortunately, will likely not have a spot on the card this late in the game.

This match, unlike the first match of the night, was competitive and exciting. Throughout most of the match, it looked as though the prophets were going to advance, but Karrion Kross was able to distract the team by attacking Bobby Lashley backstage. Once Angelo Dawkins could see what was done to Lashley via the titantron, he booked it to the backstage area, allowing Theory to capitalize and pick up the win for himself and Waller. 

Following the upset, AOP attacked Ford in the ring and the segment ended in the Final Testament domination once again. It was predictable, and disappointing, but will hopefully result in Lashley and the Prophets facing and defeating the Final Testament at Wrestlemania. 

As for Grayson Waller and Austin Theory, It’s a good thing they have a spot on the card, but they are not walking away with the gold at Wrestlemania. Unlike Theory’s big show opener against John Cena at last year’s Wrestlemania, this year, he’ll be there just to simply take up space.

Grade: B

Rey Mysterio makes a challenge to Dominik Mysterio and Santos Escobar

After Dominik Mysterio’s surprise appearance last week, Rey Mysterio and the LWO have a challenge that will end the bad blood at Wrestlemania. Mysterio challenged Escobar and his son to a tag team match at Wrestlemania.  It was at this point where WWE’s plan kind of backfired. The crowd was thunderously chanting for Carlito’s partner, but that didn’t happen. Ultimately, Rey called out Dragon Lee as his partner for Wrestlemania and also the newest member of the LWO. 

While Rey has given Dragon Lee his blessing, the WWE fanbase hasn't responded to him well. They would much rather see their favorite cool guy, Carlito team with Mysterio instead. While this is something that will almost certainly not be changed given that Wrestlemania is so close, Carlito can't be featured during this match. His connection to both the fans and the story makes it ridiculous for him to interfere. Regardless, I knew almost instantly that it was going to be Dragon Lee. While Carlito is clearly the favorite, there's nothing wrong with giving that opportunity to a young talent who can use it to make a bigger name for himself.

This match is sure to draw some eyeballs, but adding Dominik to the story is a little silly and unneeded. Why add someone from another show when Escobar has two other men in his faction? Sure, Dom is a bigger draw, but story-wise, it’s a rather lazy move in order to make this story more interesting. The segment ended in a brawl between LWO and Legado Del Fantasma.


New Catch Republic Vs. Legado Del Fantasma (WrestleMania tag team qualifying match)

Following their brawl with LWO, Angel and Humberto faced off against Bate and Dunne for the last spot in the tag team ladder match at Wrestlemania. The match didn’t last terribly long but was entertaining to watch. Within little time, New Catch Republic put away Legado Amberto to Qualify for Wrestlemania. Now that all teams have qualified. This ladder match at Wrestlemania is looking to be action-packed.


LA Knight makes a stand against Styles

Styles came out to the ring; furious about Knight raiding his home last week.  AJ says that he could have locked up Knight, but argues that what he has in store for him at Wrestlemania is far worse. He then waited for LA Knight to come out, and it wasn’t exactly quick. There was a masked fan who jumped the barricade who Styles insisted was Knight. Upon unmasking the individual, The man was simply just a random fan (obviously this was planned otherwise he probably would have never been seen on camera.)

As Styles starts to get frustrated, The camera pans out to a crew member next to him. He then takes off his hat and glasses and reveals himself to be LA Knight. Knight chases Styles out of the building and gets the last laugh, screaming at Aj through the camera until the graphic cuts to a promo package. This feud so far has been really good for the career of LA Knight, but hasn’t been too exciting most of the time. Nonetheless, this match should be nothing short of a classic and hopefully results in elevating L.A Knight to greater heights. 

Grade: C+

Bianca Belair Vs. Dakota Kai and Jade Cargill takes down DC

Kai and Belair put on a decent main event match, but it didn’t last much longer than 10 minutes. Most could tell that there was more to the main event than just the match itself. Right after Bianca’s KOD and successful pin attempt, Sane and Asuka attacked Bianca. Naomi tried to make a save, but it wasn’t enough. 

As it seemed like the show was going to go off the air with Damage Control standing strong, Jade Cargill made her entrance (and took her sweet time. When she finally got to the ring, Damage control, as a unit, fell quickly. Naomi, Belair, and Cargil made a memorable stand as Smackdown went off air.

Grade: B-