WWE Smackdown Grades and Reactions for February 17, 2024

The Rock and Roman Reigns stood side by side in an epic moment on another edition of WWE SmackDown

Roman Reigns The Bloodline Jan.jpg
Roman Reigns The Bloodline Jan.jpg /

Kevin Owens Vs. Dominick Mysterio (Elimination Chamber qualifiers match)

Dominik Kicked off this week’s episode, speaking on the microphone but being booed so loudly that he could barely be heard (per usual.) His opponent, Kevin Owens, awaited Mysterio in the ring. Regardless that Rollins chooses only to give his attention to Roman Reigns and The Rock, this match, along with several others, has huge implications for Wrestlemania and the World Heavyweight Championship. 

Early on in the match, Mysterio and Owens were joined at ringside by R-Truth, an aspiring member of The Judgment Day. Despite the confusion provided by Truth, Mysterio and Owens put on a hell of a kickoff match. Owens recently lost his last title match against Logan Paul at the Royal Rumble. With Paul also attempting to Qualify for the Elimination in Perth, A victory for Owens was quite predictable. The match ended with R-truth ultimately distracting Mysterio, giving Owens the opportunity to hit the pop-up powerbomb to gain victory. Owens punches his ticket to Elimination Chamber in Perth and maybe even Wrestlemania. It was a solid match that was made even better by R-Truth’s hilarious tomfoolery. 

Grade: B

Zelina Vega Vs. Tiffany Stratton (Elimination Chamber qualifiers match)

Zelina Vega represented LWO this week, as she looked to qualify for the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Winning the match guarantees the victor a world title match at Wrestlemania, similar to the men’s version. Carlito and the NWO cheered on Vega from ringside against a worthy opponent. Stratton debuted just recently on the main roster and has been successful since. While many wanted this to be Vega’s night, Stratton landed her signature moonsault on Vega and picked up the victory to qualify for a chance to face Rhea Ripley at Wrestlemania.

Grade: B-

Authors of Pain Vs. Javier Bernal & Beau Morris

There’s not much to say here. AOP made incredibly short work of the brave stand-ins from NXT. This further builds them as a threat, even though they are not the ones who need it. It is pretty clear from the last several weeks that Karrion Kross and AOP have been dominating, particularly in their feud with Bobby Lashley and the Street Prophets. If anything, Lashley and his faction are the ones who could use the rub. Although Lashley qualified for the Elimination Chamber earlier this week, he and his stable were made to look weak at the expense of making 

AOP looks strong. While it’s not a bad thing to make Kross’ stable look good, It’s an odd choice to do it at the expense of the Almighty. Later on in the show, it was announced that next week, Lashley and the Prophets will take on AOP and Kross. Hopefully, this is the break that Lashley’s stable needs.

Grade: D

Logan Paul Vs. The Miz (Elimination Chamber qualifiers match)

In order to gain a chance at a Wrestlemania title match, United States Champion, Logan Paul and The Miz would reignite their rivalry. The two teamed together at Wrestlemania 38 and emerged victorious, but it was followed by a backstabbing skull-crushing finale from Miz that same night. Now with the roles reversed, Paul hopes to go through Miz on his potential road to becoming a double champion. Logan has held the U.S. title for almost three months and has defended it only once. That said, the thought of him even being near the World Heavyweight champion is something that scares many fans after the history between world titles and part-timers. 

The Miz, on the other hand, is a superstar that many believe deserves a spot against Rollins at Wrestlemania. Miz has been one of WWE’s residential workhorses for well over a decade. Through years of work and dedication, he has won the respect of many viewers and fans, regardless of what role he plays on TV. The match was highly entertaining and kept me guessing who was gonna come up on top. Like normal, Logan’s buddy, Jeff was at ringside to hand Logan the brass knuckles but this time, Miz wouldn’t allow Paul to wield them, ambushing him from behind before he could get the knuckles on his hand. Ultimately, Paul didn’t need them, as he defeated Miz and qualified for the Elimination Chamber anyway. Regardless of how you feel about the decision, Paul is sure to make the Elimination Chamber match even more extreme than it has been in recent years. 

Grade: B+

Naomi Vs. Alba Fyre Elimination Chamber qualifiers match)

Fresh off a Royal Rumble return, Naomi returns to the ring with gold on her brain in the qualifying match against Alba Fyre. Naomi was welcomed back by fans with open arms after her sudden departure years ago with Sasha Banks (AKA Mercedes Moné.) She looks to pick up where she left off and capture the world title at Wrestlemania for the first time. Naomi outlasted Fyre, making her submit. Naomi takes her spot in the Chamber. 

If ya smell what the Bloodline is cooking

This has been a segment that many people wondered about. Many people thought Triple H would be involved after last week. Many also speculated that Cody may show up as well but ultimately, that didn’t happen. Instead, the segment pretty much consisted of Roman Reigns and The Bloodline standing in the corner while The Rock insulted the audience. It was clear that Rock is pushing into his Hollywood persona from earlier in his career, but there are so many other ways that this segment could have been great without having Rock essentially ramble for almost ten minutes about how the people of Utah are inbred. 

One thing he did make clear is that he took the negative reaction to his supposed main event spot personally. He ridiculed the people for wanting Cody to wrestle Roman over himself. While this is just a promo, there’s certainly part of me that speculates whether there’s any actual truth to that or not. To send the show off the air, Rock murmured the words “If ya smell…what the Bloodline is cooking,” followed by all members of the bloodline holding up the one’s symbol. 

While this segment did its job of establishing Rock as part of the Bloodline, The Rock and the rest of the Bloodline could have made this a lot more interesting, especially if Rock and Roman actually interacted with each other during the segment, rather than Roman just idly standing by as The Rock goes on a tangent. Overall, it’s an exciting story, but you can clearly see the problem that a lot of fans have with The Rock being in the main event picture after ten years of not being active at all. 

Grade: B-