WWE Smackdown grades and reactions for February 23, 2024

WWE kept the momentum flowing heading into WWE Elimination Chamber in Perth.
Drew McIntyre 8.jpg
Drew McIntyre 8.jpg /

Liv Morgan Vs. Tiffany Stratton

Liv Morgan has been on her revenge tour since coming back at the Royal Rumble last month. After being injured for nearly a year, Morgan has based her return run on Vengeance, ending with Rhea Ripley at Wrestlemania. Many fans hope that Morgan becomes the number one contender at the Chamber, going on to complete her revenge tour and win the Women’s World Championship. On the other hand, Tiffany Stratton has looked strong since her call-up from NXT.  While the match was brief and rather bland, The two did a good job of furthering interest in the chamber match in Perth.

It was tough to guess who would get the upper hand but seeing Stratton get the cheap roll-up victory was not a shocker. While Stratton may have won tonight, both women have just come to Smackdown and there will be plenty of time for “revenge” in the coming weeks.

Grade: C+

Bron Breakker Vs. Dante Chen

Bron Breakker debut match on Smackdown felt underwhelming considering it was on a taped show. Not to mention, his opponent being a random NXT superstar didn’t help much either. The match predictably ended quickly, but showcased Breakker's speed, strength, and agility. He has dominated NXT since his start there and his run on the main roster should be no different. While seeing Breakker go at one hundred percent was impressive, there wasn’t much back and forth due to the match ending right after Breakker hit Chen with a spear. 

The squash matches between both brands (AEW and WWE) seem to be happening more often honestly. Matches like this aren’t fun to watch. You know exactly what to expect in these kinds of matches and it gets boring. Chen expectedly stayed down for three after Breakker's spear, putting over a man who’s destined to make an impact on Smackdown.

Grade: C-

Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne Vs. Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh

To build up for Damian Priest and Finn Balor’s tag title defense against British Strong Style, Dominick Mysterio, and JD McDonagh would give the challengers a warm-up match. While it seems very unlikely that Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne will capture the tag titles, this duo has been entertaining to watch. Dunne getting his old persona back has been a huge win for the fans and himself. The old butch persona never had the reach with the fans that the Bruiserweight persona did.  

Dominik and JD worked as a great roadblock for Dunne and Bate and it was great to see this duo work as a team once again. Expectedly, Dunne and Bate picked up the victory, following an attempted attack from Balor and Priest. Ultimately, the match was nothing new or crazy, but it was a fun match and served as a building block to the Tag Team Championship match between Judgment Day and the team of Bate and Dunne.

Grade: C+

Street Profits Vs. Authors of Pain (AOP)

AOP has been dominant since returning. They have ambushed Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits week after week. While making The Final Testament look strong isn’t a bad thing, Bobby Lashley didn’t have much time to build his new faction before being buried on TV continuously. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford made a distinct change a couple of months ago when they chose to join Lashley, but they have made no real impact on Smackdown since. While B-Fab has been added to Lashley’s group, The faction has yet to gain any advantage over The Final Testament and it’s making them look weak. 

This match was fun to watch. I was really hoping the Profits would finally look strong on TV against AOP, but the match made both teams look decent regardless. Towards the end, Lashley, Kross, B-Fab, and Scarlett all got involved in the match.  As many expected, AOP continued their mean streak by putting away the Street Profits. Karrion Kross also put down Lashley with a chair. Once again, The Final Testament remains on top.

Grade: B

Drew McIntyre Vs. L.A Knight

Just before the bell rang for this match, United States Champion, Logan Paul made his way to the commentary to talk about his Elimination Chamber competition. This barely phased either man in the ring. The actual match was physical and intense. Mclntyre always puts on amazing matches that firmly grab your attention. Just before the match’s first commercial break, adversary of Logan Paul, Kevin Owens made his way to the end of the commentary table opposite of Paul. Paul and Owens bickering back and forth over commentary was entertaining but also took away from the match in the ring.

The action was very entertaining between Knight and Drew McIntyre. The crowd expectedly rallied behind Knight, making Mclyntyre the heel that he’s progressed into over the months. After Mclntyre threw Knight into Owens, Owens forced a disqualification when he attacked Drew at ringside. After the DQ, every participant of the men’s chamber match made his way to the ring. While it seemed like Lashley was standing tall, McIntyre took him out, followed by an RKO to McIntyre from Randy Orton. Orton stands tall as the show goes off the air. An impressive finish to a go-home show.

Grade: B+

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