WWE SmackDown Grades and Reactions for April 19, 2024

Solo Sikoa continues to cement himself as the leader of The Bloodline. Or is he?
Friday Night SmackDown
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L.A Knight Vs. AJ Styles (No.1 Contendership for the Undisputed Championship)

SmackDown kicked off in Pittsburgh with an epic Wrestlemania Rematch between Styles and LA Knight. While their match two weeks ago on the grandest stage of them all was a must-win for Knight's career, Friday night’s world title implications made the rematch against the two even more important. This time, for both men. With the winner slated to face Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed championship at Backlash, The two opened the show with a main event quality match.

The match was rather quick but packed. Knight and Styles certainly work well in the ring together. In both one-on-one matches, they’ve put on impressive matches that stood out on their respective cards. However, Unlike in Philly, it wasn’t L.A.’s night (Pun intended.) Styles ended with a thumb in the eye and a Phenomenal Forearm to Knight, covering him and picking up the victory. 

Many people including myself expected this. While L.A Knight is still on one hell of a hot streak on Smackdown, Putting Cody up against Knight would most likely position fans against Rhodes, which is not what WWE wants for Cody Rhodes after a colossal Babyface win against Reigns earlier this month at Wrestlemania. Styles Vs. Rhodes is sure to be a great match in France, but will almost definitely end with Rhodes walking out as Undisputed Champion. 

Grade: B+

Triple H unveils new WWE tag team championships

As Awesome Truth was awarded new titles on Monday, Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Nick Aldis would do the same with the SmackDown tag champs. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory were arrogant as ever, but this time, it was too much for Nick Aldis. When Triple H extended his hand, Waller denied it and made a joke out of it. Aldis threatened to make them both disappear if they ever did anything like that again to the boss. He then announced a fatal fourway tag team match to decide their next opponents. 

The titles themselves looked beautiful, a much-needed upgrade from the titles we’ve had for the last eight years. They have an old-school design to them, but still, a simple look that doesn’t have a giant logo on it like some of the world championships. It was definitely a smart creative decision and a great incentive for these next four tag teams.

Grade: B

Street Profits Vs. New Catch Republic Vs. AOP Vs. Legado Del Fantasma (No.1 Contendership for WWE tag team championships)

Following a rather hostile crowning of the new tag team champs, four teams would compete for a chance to challenge for the new WWE tag team championships. I knew going right into this that only really two teams had a chance of winning, those being New Catch Republic and Street Profits. Both teams have been on the rise as of late, especially with the Profits coming off a huge Wrestlemania victory against AOP and Karrion Kross. 

The match was a little over 10 minutes long and was fun to watch. Theory and Waller joined on commentary, which posed a distraction to all teams. Predictably, Ford and Dawkins win the match and earn a championship match against Theory and Waller.

Grade: C+

The Bloodline Continues to implode

Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman make their way to the ring after Sikoa already put a hit out for Kevin Owens. Heyman grabs the Microphone and starts to speak, but Sikoa doesn’t let him finish. Solo grabs the mike and talks about how he had to lose a brother last week in order to gain one. That was the queue for Tama Tonga to come out to the arena with a busted-open Kevin Owens, fulfilling Sikoa’s wishes. 

Solo and Tonga proceed to beat the life out of Owens. Even after the prizefighter got back up and ran back down the ramp, Owens didn’t have enough left in the tank to fight the two all by himself. With Heyman standing in shock, Sikoa and Tonga leave the arena. Heyman has emphasized that Solo is now making his own decisions, seeming taking matters into his own hands after the Roman suffered his loss at Wrestlemania. While it’s unclear what this means now, Roman’s inevitable return is sure to be an explosive one.

Grade: B

Santos Escobar Vs. Carlito

This match went by pretty quickly and it’s been something we’ve seen quite a few times now. It was pretty standard. This feud has been brewing since November. While Rey and Andrade won at Wrestlemania, Santos Escobar made sure to get redemption. While he wins tonight, Legado del Fantasma still seems to have only been created as opposition to the LWO. Once this storyline between them ends, Escobar, Amberto, and Angel will most likely go their separate ways. Until then, Santos and Carlito will almost certainly wrestle again on SmackDown.

Grade: C-

Bayley (c) Vs. Naomi (Women’s Championship)

This match was given very little time, considering it was a main-event championship match. This was Bayley’s first title defense since defeating Iyo Sky at Wrestlemania, not even two weeks after. Naomi was not a favorite for this match. After Bayley’s babyface turn and Wrestlemania victory, it was clear that Bayley was holding on to that championship for a while and was not losing it to another babyface.

The match was a little over 10 minutes but was competitive between the two women. Just when it started to spill outside the ring, a DQ was forced when Tiffany Stratton took out both Bayley and Naomi. She then rolled them into the ring and delivered her moonsault finisher to both of them at the same time. This is undoubtedly setting up for a championship match between Stratton and Bayley at Backlash. With France drawing closer, One has to wonder if Tiffany Stratton will have her hands on the title in the near future.

Grade: B-