SmackDown Notes: Bobby Lashley wins Andre the Giant battle royal

Photo Courtesy: WWE

March 31, 2023 Arena – Los Angeles, CA

By: John Kleinchester

SmackDown started with The Usos cutting an in-ring promo that was quickly interrupted by Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Owens cut an impassioned promo talking about how when he first started in WWE the first people to make him feel welcome were The Usos. He said that all changed and he lost all respect for them when they started doing Roman Reigns’ bidding. Zayn noted that The Usos chose blood over loyalty and that Roman Reigns has never been loyal, especially to Jey Uso. Jey responded by saying that Sami & Kevin would lose, Owens would stab Sami in the back yet again, and tomorrow would be “Bloodlinemania”. As The Usos were walking to the back The Street Profits’ music hit and the two teams had a brief staredown on the stage. 


Next up was the Fatal 4-Way match to “build momentum” to the Men’s Tag Team Showcase match at WrestleMania. Ricochet and Montez Ford each executed high-flying maneuvers but Ricochet stole the pin with a Shooting Star press.

The Great Muta’s locker room door was shown and a WWE production person was seen leaving with a face full of green mist.

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was next with only Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman getting entrances. Every other wrestler marched to the ring in a large group. Notes from the match:

  • Former winner Baron Corbin was first eliminated in mere seconds
  • Cesaro mentioned as the first-ever winner
  • The crowd chanted for LA Knight 
  • Rick Boogs had an impressive showing eliminating a number of entrants
  • Bobby Lashley and Karrion Kross had a feature spot with dueling finishers
  • Bronson Reed and Braun Strowman had a staredown prompting Wade Barrett to say “big meaty men about to slap meat”
  • The final four were LA Knight, Bronson Reed, Braun Strowman, and Bobby Lashley
  • Bronson Reed eliminated LA Knight and the crowd chanted his name after booing Reed
  • Bronson Reed eliminated Braun Strowman
  • Bobby Lashley eliminated Bronson Reed

The next match was the Women’s version of the Fatal 4-Way match ahead of the Showcase Tag Team match at Mania. The finish saw Raquel Rodriguez catch Sonya Deville coming off the top rope, gave a big boot to Shayna Baszler, and hit the Tejana Bomb for the win.

Backstage Rey Mysterio thanks Legado del Fantasma for having his back. Santos Escobar said that if Judgment Day tried to play the numbers game at WrestleMania, they’d be there to back him up. Rey then handed each member a shirt which they revealed to be LWO or Latino World Order shirts – to which Cole said “this time Rey willingly joined the LWO”. 

Sheamus and Drew McIntyre came down to the ring for their tag team match against Imperium and McIntyre blew right by Sheamus on the entranceway, drilling in the “can they coexist” angle. Sheamus and McIntyre shockingly struggled to get along allowing Imperium to gain the advantage more than once. The finish saw the pair finally get on the same page and each hit their finishers with Sheamus getting the pin and the two quickly returned to staring each other down.

The main event was dubbed “All Rhodes Lead to Roman” with Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns going face-to-face in the ring. Cody was out first and said that he is the most prepared he’s ever been but yet feels wildly unprepared as well. He then recited a few lines of 2Pac’s California Love much to the crowd’s delight. Cody then started “shooting” and said that WWE called Roman “the guy” and it finally paid off in year eight. Cody then proclaimed himself Roman Reigns’ successor and the next head of the table. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman finally came down to the ring and instead of asking the crowd to acknowledge him, Reigns told Cody to do so. Roman’s music hit and the show went off the air. 


Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • Fatal 4-Way Match: Ricochet over Montez Ford, Chad Gable, and Erik in 9:35
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner: Bobby Lashley in 14:30
  • Fatal 4-Way Match: Raquel Rodriguez over Sonya Deville, Natalya, and Shayna Baszler in 2:53
  • Drew McIntyre & Sheamus over Imperium in 8:17
About John Kleinchester 161 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.