SmackDown Results: WWE Draft Begins, Carmelo Hayes & Kiana James Called Up

Photo Courtesy: WWE

April 26, 2024
Heritage Bank Center – Cincinnati, OH

By: John Kleinchester





  • Rey Mysterio & Dragon Lee over Berto & Angel via Project Dragon in 5:27 
  • Bron Breakker over Cedric Alexander via Spear in :16
  • Naomi over Tiffany Stratton via DQ in 6:19
  • Cody Rhodes over Carmelo Hayes via Cross Rhodes in 8:40 (Recommended


Roman Reigns Withdraws from the Draft

Smackdown kicked off with Corey Graves reviewing the WWE Draft rules which he noted were slightly different from last year. We also saw live looks into each brand’s “war rooms” with guests like JBL, Bubba Ray, D-Von, Teddy Long, Michelle McCool, Tori Wilson, and more.

Paul Heyman was then interviewed in the back by Kayla Braxton and he said that Roman Reigns has withdrawn from eligibility for the draft as he won’t return in the immediate future and wouldn’t hog a #1 spot as “That’s not what a real Tribal Chief would do”. Heyman wondered who would be drafted first and second with Reigns not eligible. 

We were then taken to the Performance Center where Jackie Redmond was with the NXT roster surrounded by fans. Jackie said tonight they were buying a vowel and it would be “Who’s Next” for NXT.

Contract Signing

AJ Styles started by saying he understood why the fans booed him and that both he and Cody had to prove themselves outside of WWE. Styles went on to talk about getting advice from Dusty Rhodes. Cody said that Dusty taught him that it’s not about winning the title, it’s about keeping it. Cody said it wasn’t a “dream match, it’s a must-win”. Cody then got up and extended his hand to shake Styles’ hand and Styles accepted saying his reign would end at Backlash. Styles then left without any physicality. As Cody was leaving, Triple H’s music hit and he invited Cody to help him announce the first draft pick.

WWE Draft – First Round

(Presented by Triple H & Cody Rhodes)

  1. SmackDown: Bianca Belair 
  2. Raw: Jey Uso 
  3. SmackDown: Carmelo Hayes 
  4. Raw: Seth Rollins 

Carmelo Hayes came out and challenged Cody Rhodes to a match. Cody teased that he forgot his gear but then accepted Hayes’ challenge for later tonight. 

LWO vs. Legado del Fantasma

Next up, Rey Mysterio & Dragon Lee took on Berto & Angel. The show began right after an ad break, there was 1:13 of wrestling as the show went to another break. As were returned, Mysterio got a hot tag and the faces won after Dragon Lee hit his Project Dragon finisher for the win. This brought out Santos Escobar who aired security footage of Carlito attacking Dragon Lee. Carlito then attacked Dragon Lee and ran off.


Bron Breakker vs. Cedric Alexander 

Bron Breakker defeated Cedric Alexander in 16 seconds.

Tiffy Time

Tiffany Stratton approached Nick Aldis and demanded a title shot after her actions last week. Aldis instead said that she would face Naomi again tonight and the winner of that match would face Bayley for the title. Bayley then interrupted and Stratton invited her to sit ringside to watch. 

WWE Draft – Second Round

(Presented by Michelle McCool & Tori Wilson)

  1. SmackDown: Randy Orton 
  2. Raw: Bron Breakker 
  3. SmackDown: Nia Jax 
  4. Raw: Liv Morgan 

The (Undrafted) Bloodline

The commentary team noted that The Bloodline was so far undrafted after two rounds. Footage of last week’s bloodying of Kevin Owens was shown as well as Aldis admonishing Paul Heyman for the rental car collision. Solo Sikoa and Tama Tonga showed up to the arena and asked Paul Heyman if they had been drafted yet. Heyman explained that Reigns withdrew from the draft and with Sikoa adding members, no one knew what they were getting if they drafted The Bloodline. With that, Kevin Owens jumped Sikoa and Tonga and security pulled them apart. 

From Bianca/Jade/Asuka/IYO to Bloodline/KO/Orton

Kayla Braxton welcomed the #1 overall pick in the draft, Bianca Belair. Belair said she and Jade Cargill will take The Kabuki Warriors’ titles at Backlash which of course brought out the aforementioned heel champions.

Asuka & IYO started yelling in Belair’s face so Jade Cargill came out to even the odds and all four were screaming at each other when suddenly Kevin Owens and Tama Tonga brawled out of the back and down to the ring. The Bloodline got the advantage and Randy Orton came out to help Owens. 

WWE Draft – Third Round

(Presented by The Dudley Boyz)

  1. SmackDown: LA Knight 
  2. Raw: Ricochet 
  3. SmackDown: The Bloodline 
  4. Raw: Sheamus 

Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi

Next up was Tiffany Stratton taking on Naomi. In the middle of the match, Nia Jax appeared and jumped Bayley, prompting Naomi to try to help but was sent into the post by Jax, causing the DQ. Stratton dragged Bayley and Naomi back into the ring and hit both of them with the Prettiest Moonsault Ever at once. 

The Street Profits / A-Town Down Under

Byron Saxton interviewed The Street Profits and B-Fab backstage and informed them that while they won’t know their draft destination until next Monday on Raw (unsure of the reasoning for this as there was still another round to go tonight), they would be getting a Tag Team Championship match against A-Town Down Under next Friday from Lyon, France.


Final Testament

The Final Testament was attacking New Catch Republic backstage and Karrion Kross said that it didn’t matter which show they were drafted to. 

WWE Draft – Fourth Round

(Presented by Teddy Long & JBL)

  1. SmackDown: AJ Styles 
  2. Raw: Alpha Academy 
  3. SmackDown: Andrade 
  4. Raw: Kiana James 

Jackie Redmond interviewed Kiana James and she exclaimed how excited she was to take her talents to Raw. Shawn Michaels then congratulated her as they threw to a highlight of Trick Williams winning the NXT Championship this past week. 

Matches Added to Backlash

Nick Aldis & Teddy Long announced two new matches for Backlash France:

  • WWE Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi
  • The Bloodline vs. Randy Orton & Kevin Owens

A new QR code flashed right after this segment as well. 


Cody Rhodes vs. Carmelo Hayes

The main event of the evening was the newest SmackDown roster member Carmelo Hayes challenging WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. This was by far the best match of the night with the crowd hot throughout. Hayes hit The First 48 and both men came flying off the middle rope toward the middle of the ring in a strange-looking spot. Rhodes came up clutching his shoulder but then caught Hayes with the Cross Rhodes for the victory. Cody patted Hayes on the shoulder after the match. AJ Styles then appeared and stared each other down and shook hands again as the show went off the air.  


Final Thoughts

The first night of the WWE Draft was a lot of talent staying exactly where they already were with a few exceptions. The two call-ups from NXT were Carmelo Hayes and Kiana James. Because of the heavy focus on the draft, there was very little actual wrestling, clocking in at a total of 20:42.

Announced for SmackDown Next Week from Lyon, France:

  • WWE Tag Team Championship: A-Town Down Under vs. The Street Profits
  • Face-to-Face: Cody Rhodes & AJ Styles
  • New Catch Republic vs. Authors of Pain
  • The “RKO Show”
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.