SmackDown Notes: Rhodes vs. Sikoa added to Raw, Dominik vs. Rey official for Mania, Rousey & Baszler added

Photo Courtesy: WWE

March 24, 2023
MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV

By: John Kleinchester

SmackDown started with Cody Rhodes taking on Ludwig Kaiser. Early in the match, Paul Heyman wandered out onto the stage momentarily distracting Rhodes and allowing Kaiser to gain a brief advantage. Later in the match, Solo Sikoa joined Heyman and the two approached the ring. Rhodes went on to prevail over Ludwig despite the looming opposition outside of the ring. After the match, Heyman got on the mic and said that Roman Reigns would be there live next week on SmackDown to see him one final time face-to-face. But first, Rhodes would have to get through Solo Sikoa this Monday on Raw.

Michael Cole announced that John Cena vs. Austin Theory for the United States Championship would kick off Night One of WrestleMania. 

Charlotte Flair came down to the ring and cut a bit more of a heelish promo, including admonishing the crowd for “what’ing” her. She said she didn’t fear Rhea Ripley and name-checked a long list of women including Nikki, Brie, and Sasha saying she respected all of them. Charlotte finished up the short promo by saying she’d never apologize for continuing the greatest legacy in sports entertainment, referring to her father Ric.

Next up was Rey Mysterio taking on the increasingly over LA Knight. Shockingly, Dominik’s music hit just as Rey was perched on the top rope allowing Knight to take control. The finish of the match saw Rey attempting to go for the 619 and Dominik tripping him, allowing LA Knight to roll him up for the pinfall victory. After the match, Dominik got into Rey’s face asking if he would finally be a man and face him at WrestleMania. Rey said no yet again and Dom turned his attention to his Mom and sister sitting ringside. Dominik called his Mom a deadbeat Mom and told her and his sister to shut up. Rey had enough and decked Dominik and finally accepted Dom’s challenge. 

Our next match was a qualifying match for entry into the Women’s 4-Way Tag Team Showcase match at WrestleMania. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez sat ringside to observe the match. The finish saw Evans accidentally hit Li with The Women’s Right allowing Natalya to score the submission with the Sharpshooter. After the match, Morgan and Rodriguez got onto the apron and applauded the victors. Suddenly, Ronda Rousey’s music hit and Rousey & Shayna Baszler came out onto the stage. Baszler noted that all four women in the ring had a reason to seek revenge on them. Shayna then revealed that she and Ronda had been added to the WrestleMania Showcase match. For some reason, they did not have to qualify like the rest of the teams.

Next was the contract signing for the Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat match at WrestleMania. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus bickered back and forth before Gunther even showed up. Gunther showed up and asked Adam Pearce to justify why he could lose his title if Drew or Sheamus pinned each other. Pearce murmured something unintelligible and Gunther signed anyway. Gunther said he would beat McIntyre and Sheamus and then pointed to Moss & Butch saying he’d beat them too if need be. This incensed Butch as he jumped over the table and attacked Gunther, reminding some fans about the great feud between Pete Dunne and Walter from years ago. Gunther threw the table out of the ring nearly nailing fans at ringside and the show went to commercial. 

As we return from break, a match is underway between Butch and Gunther. In the end, Gunther pinned Butch and Gunther was hit with the Claymore, leaving McIntyre and Sheamus staring each other down to end the segment.

The Street Profits were approached backstage by Braun Strowman and Ricochet and the two teams argued about who would win the Showcase match at WrestleMania.

The main event was The KO Show featuring Sami Zayn. Kevin Owens joked that Sami asked for separate intros so that Sami could get his own pop. Sami said that WrestleMania feels different this year. Owens then presented Sami with his new “KO-Mania” shirt but revealed that that logo was on the back and the front said “WrestleZaynia”.  The pair hugged and were promptly attacked by The Usos who hit the 1D and then ran.


Announced for SmackDown Next Week in Los Angeles:

  • Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. Imperium
  • Andre the Giant Battle Royal

Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • Cody Rhodes over Ludwig Kaiser in 16:31
  • Rey Mysterio over LA Knight in 11:02
  • Natalya & Shotzi over Lacey Evans & Xia Li in 3:37
  • Gunther over Butch in 10:24 (estimated, match began during commercial)
About John Kleinchester 165 Articles
New Jersey born and raised. Wrestling fan since Lex slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the USS Intrepid. Favorite Wrestler of all time is Owen "The Rocket" Hart.