WWE Smackdown Grades and Reactions March 1 2024

The Bloodline was at the focal point of WWE SmackDown with The Rock finally acknowledging The Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns.

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The Bloodline makes their challenge

Smackdown started with a bang, as WWE Undisputed Universal Champion, Roman Reigns made his entrance in the arena along with Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman. After the Bloodline’s lengthy entrance (per usual,) Roman showed frustration when the Glendale crowd failed to acknowledge their Tribal Chief. Roman lost his temper, but Heyman reminded him he could not leave. This was because They were about to be joined by one of the biggest stars in the world and the newest member, The Rock.

The Rock wasted little time before roasting the Glendale audience, calling them meth heads and crack addicts. He rambled for a good ten minutes before we got the information we needed. After his 10-minute roast session, Rock finally laid down the challenge. Rather than going one-on-one with The Rock, The Rock challenged Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins to a tag match on night 1 of Wrestlemania against himself and Reigns. If they win, Cody has Roman one-on-one, preventing Solo from costing Rhodes a title match for the second year in a row. However, if Rollins and Rhodes lost to the Bloodline, Night Two would be filled with hoops for Rhodes to jump through, as his main event match against Roman Reigns would be “Bloodline Rules.” 

Many of us speculated and believed this would happen after it was rumored online for several weeks that The Rock had pitched the same match for night one of Wrestlemania 40. Even though Rock does sit on the TKO board, it’s surprising that Seth, Cody, and Roman are all wrestling two matches at Wrestlemania. Now that the challenge has been made, if Rollins and Rhodes are to accept (they will,) one may assume that both matches would main event Wrestlemania on each night.

While many undoubtedly will complain about this match being proposed (and most likely accepted by Rhodes and Rollins,) The Rock said his goal in this return run was to do something that hasn’t ever been done before in the history of Wrestlemania. This story spans both nights of Wrestlemania, puts Rhodes through his biggest challenge since returning to WWE, and keeps the Rock’s promise of doing something historic. 

Additionally, regardless of night one’s outcome, Rhodes Vs. Reigns part two is still happening the following night. We’re still getting the match that the majority fanbase called for.It could always be better, but what we are getting is still pretty damn good. Ultimately, just sit back and “enjoy the ride The Rock is taking you on”.

Grade: A-

Tiffany Stratton Vs. Naomi

After that incredibly long segment, Some in-ring action was a sight for sore eyes. Stratton has been victorious in every match she has had on Smackdown. Straight out of NXT, Stratton continues to make good use of her rookie days on the main roster, as she competes through Wrestlemania season each week for a match on the grandest stage of them all. Naomi wishes to do the same after returning at the rumble, and not being involved in any concrete story upon return. While Naomi was the crowd favorite, it was clear to at least me that Stratton would be continuing her hot streak beyond Friday Night. After another moonsault, Stratton picked up the victory once again. 

Grade: B

Dakota Kai and Bayley Vs. The Kabuki Warriors

After the implosion of Damage Control, Asuka and Sane would represent Damage Control as WWE women’s champion Iyo Sky looked on. Bayley’s recent face turn and Rumble victory have won her over the audience. Kai was seemingly shunned by Iyo Sky and won over the trust of Bayley, but that turned out to be a mistake, Dakota Betrayed Bayley by jumping from the ring apron and declining Bayley’s hot tag. 

This would lead to all of the Damage control ganging up on Bayley. Damage Control stood strong over Bayley and showed that Bayley was truly alone. This is what fans have been calling for almost as far back as Iyo’s successful cash-in at Summerslam last August. Now that Bayley is a complete face with the odds stacked against her, her victory spells out another underdog tale at Wrestlemania. 

Grade: B+

Bron Breaker Vs. Xion Quinn

There’s not much to comment on. Breaker delivered yet another squash match and won his match in under 10 seconds. While it looks impressive, it’s not. One spear (that looked pretty awful) is not anything new from Breaker. Almost every fan already knows him from NXT so there is no use doing these introductory squash matches that have never done much for anyone anyway. Give him a worthy opponent and put him over in worthy matches. 

Grade: F

Carlito Vs. Santos Escobar (Street Fight)

Carlito and Escobar have had a long-term and grueling rivalry that started back in November with Escobar’s exit from The LWO. Not to mention, it was the same time that Santos injured Mysterio and cursed his name. Carlito has since considered Escobar a top enemy, looking to get his hands on the traitor every step of the way. This is why Carlito wasted little time getting weapons from under the ring. Unfortunately for Carlito, Escobar caught Carlito off guard and gained control of the match early on.

Carlito eventually rebounded, beating Escobar with a chair with a trash can on his head. Carlito was finally putting the beating on Escobar that he swore he would months ago.

As we draw closer to Mania, it’s unclear what Wrestlemania is looking like for LWO and Legado Del Fantasma. If Mysterio were to return, it would almost certainly look like Mysterio Vs. Santos is bound to be on the card. However, Angel and Amberto screwed up any chance that Carlito had of emerging victorious, or so it seemed. Under street fight rules, Anyone can interfere and disrupt the match. Then out of Absolutely nowhere, It happened. Rey Mysterio did return from Injury, aiding Carlito in winning the match The crowd popped unbelievably and Escobar looked as if he was seeing a ghost. The Wrestlemania card begins to look clearer and clearer.

Grade: B+

Randy Orton Vs. Austin Theory

Stemming from a beef started earlier in the night backstage, Gracen Waller volunteered his friend, Austin Theory to face Orton in the main event. Orton was visually itching to get his hands on one of them after suffering the agony of defeat from the Elimination Chamber. Kevin Owens was introduced as the special guest commentator for the following match, another member in last Saturday’s Elimination Chamber match where Orton would lose the match thanks to Logan Paul.

 With KO being involved in this match, it seems that Randy and KO are likely to be in the same storyline going into Wrestlemania, especially involving United States Champion, Logan Paul. A multi-man ladder match for the U.S. title would be thrilling and could have a stacked number of participants, including Orton, Owens, Paul, Theory, and others. 

Orton enjoyed punishing Theory during the match. After being robbed of a huge opportunity last weekend, an angry viper dominated most of the match. Orton undoubtedly looks to be at one of the best places physically that he’s ever been. Even with Theory being a young spry, Orton has the body and the stamina to not only keep up with but outperform Austin Theory. With the help of a surprise RKO, Orton put away Theory in a convincing fashion. Owens fended off Waller and Theory after the match, allowing the Viper to properly celebrate his victory as Smackdown went off the air.

Grade: A-