3/4 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on Rousey-Deville, Zayn-Ricochet IC title, Usos-Viking Raiders Tag title

By Alex McDonald, PWTorch Contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
MARCH 4, 2022
MIAMI, FL AT THE FTX ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

[HOUR ONE]

-Paul Heyman was in the back. He introduced himself as the special counsel for Roman Reigns. The screen showed still images of Reigns as Heyman spoke. Heyman said that Smackdown is blessed with Reigns’ presence tonight and the opportunity to acknowledge Reigns. Ronda Rousey was then shown, she said that she’s going to show Sonya Deville why the show is called Smackdown. Sonya Deville was then shown, she said Rousey’s first match on Smackdown will be her first loss on Smackdown. The Viking Raiders followed, they said they would destroy the Usos and win the Smackdown Tag Team titles. The Usos followed and said they would beat the Viking Raiders because they are the ones. Ricochet was next, he said they won’t be calling Sami Zayn Intercontinental Champion after tonight. Sami Zayn followed, he ran down some nicknames for himself. He said Ricochet is going to find out why he’s the master strategist and Ricochet will call Zayn the greatest Intercontinental Champion, just like everyone else.

(McDonald’s Analysis: They did a decent job of stacking this Smackdown with stuff that feels somewhat important. This was a cool way to start the show. I don’t want them to do this every week, but as a one off, it’s novel. I wish WWE would try new things like this more often.)

-Sami Zayn’s music hit and he made his entrance. Michael Cole hyped the IC title match. Cole said the show tonight has a big fight feel. Cole threw to a video package that showed Zayn winning the title from Shinsuke Nakamura. The package then showed a recap that showed Johnny Knoxville’s interruption last week. Ricochet’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said that Ricochet has been on a roll, but has never been IC Champion.

(1) SAMI ZAYN (c) vs. RICOCHET – Intercontinental Championship Match

Ricochet rolled up Zayn right away for a close near fall. Ricochet dropped Zayn with a big dropkick. Ricochet came off a springboard, but Zayn moved. Ricochet rolled through, but Zayn nailed him with a big clothesline. Zayn grounded Ricochet and applied a headlock. Ricochet hit a step up enzuguiri for a near fall. Ricochet stalked Zayn as Zayn rolled to the apron. Ricochet followed, but Zayn hit Ricochet in the gut. Ricochet countered with a big kick. Ricochet climbed to the apron himself, but Zayn recovered and dropped Ricochet on the apron with a big suplex. Ricochet rolled to the floor as they cut to break. [c]

Zayn stomped at Ricochet. Zayn went to the top rope, but Ricochet lunged over and grabbed Zayn’s leg. Zayn shoved him off and jumped off the top, but Ricochet hit a modified back drop for a near fall. Ricochet went to the apron and went for a hurricanrana but Zayn countered into a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Zayn stomped at Ricochet. Zayn went for a back suple but Ricochet hit some elbows to fight out. Zayn recovered and went for an exploder, but Ricochet rolled him up for a near fall. Ricochet then hit a standing moonsault for another near fall. Ricochet knocked Zayn to the outside with a superkick then hit a very impressive back handspring moonsault over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Ricochet climbed to the top but Zayn recovered and crotched him. Ricochet rolled to the outside of the ring. Zayn went to attack Ricochet on the floor, but Johnny Knoxville’s music hit and he made his entrance. Knoxville wore a shirt that called Zayn the Intercontinental Chump. Knoxville crawled onto the apron and distracted Zayn. Ricochet hit a hurricanrana into a pin for the win.

WINNER: RICOCHET in 10:00 to capture the Intercontinental Championship

(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. I guess the report about Ricochet getting a push was true. I hate this finish. The distraction makes sense, and I guess this means that Zayn and Knoxville at Mania won’t be for the IC title. That’s a good thing. But then again, Zayn could win the title right back next week knowing WWE. This match was good. They could have done more, but with only ten minutes and a commercial break thrown in, this was solid work. I don’t like super short title reigns like this, but if this leads to the IC title getting more air time, I’m all for it. I hope they find some good opponents for Ricochet as they transition to Zayn and Knoxville even more.)

-Cole and Pat McAfee were shown at ringside. Cole threw to a recap of the Vince McMahon interview on McAfee’s podcast. They showed a locker room door with McMahon’s name on it. They hyped McMahon announcing McAfee’s opponent tonight. [c]

-They showed a recap of the previous segment. Afterwards, Zayn was in the back. He threw some objects and screamed. He tossed over a table and threw a table. He asked the cameraman why they were following him. He said they all want to follow him everywhere. He said the cameraman is just like Knoxville following him everywhere. Zayn said that Knoxville can follow him to Dallas and see him at Wrestlemania.

-Back in the arena, Austin Theory made his entrance. The crowd booed. Theory called himself the protege of Vince McMahon and said he competes on Monday Night Raw. Theory said he’s on Smackdown because he goes wherever McMahon goes. Theory asked McAfee why McMahon was on his show. He said McMahon set him up. Theory said that McMahon does everything for a reason and everything for the WWE. Theory said that he knows that McAfee is a loudmouth and everyone wants to hear McAfee shut up. Theory asked McAfee what he’s going to do when his mouth is wired shut and he’s eating threw a straw. Theory exited the ring and got face to face with McAfee at ringside. Theory told McAfee that he’s his opponent at Mania and he’s going to beat McAfee to a pulp. Theory smacked McAfee’s headset off. McAfee stood on the announce table and called Theory a bitch. Theory stood at the top of the ramp and took a selfie or two. McAfee screamed at Theory from the top of the announce table. Cole tried to calm McAfee down. McAfee tried to put on his headset and sold that it was broken. After McAfee changed headsets, McAfee asked who Theory was. He said it was Cole’s fault and Cole knew about it. McAfee shouted again that he didn’t know who Theory was. Cole asked McAfee if what Theory did hurt. McAfee said no, but maybe emotionally.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I called that the minute Theory walked out. I’m fine with the segment, but I don’t like that Theory can just show up on Smackdown to challenge McAfee when he’s a Raw wrestler. They should have had McMahon introduce him or something. I like the idea that Theory can do what he wants because of McMahon, but this wasn’t the best way of doing that. McAfee and Theory should be interesting. I’m not against the idea. It’s a solid spot for Theory. It will be weird with McAfee as a face in this feud. His outburst at ringside afterwards wasn’t great. Based on how much of a fan he claims to be, he should know who Theory is. He should have said that he used to like watching that guy or something.)

-Naomi’s music hit and she made her entrance with Sasha Banks in tow. They showed a graphic for Naomi against Carmella after the break. [c]

-Carmella’s music hit and she made her entrance alongside Queen Zelina Vega. They showed a pretaped segment with Carmella and Vega gloating about “glowing” against Banks and Naomi at Mania.

(2) NAOMI (w/ Sasha Banks) vs. CARMELLA (w/ Queen Zelina Vega)

Carmella went to the outside and had her mask put on. She climbed to the apron and Naomi hit a big superkick. Vega distracted Naomi and Carmella took advantage. Carmella put a headlock on Naomi. Naomi fought up with a series of elbows, then hit a modified Samoan Drop. Carmella tried to recover, but Naomi hit a big kick for a near fall. Carmella knocked Naomi into the corner and pounded away. Vega tried to get involved but Banks ripped her off the apron and hit a Meteora on Vega into the steps. In the ring, Naomi hit a split-legged moonsault on Carmella for the win.

WINNER: NAOMI in 2:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: Why would I get invested in this match if Naomi and Banks can thwart every attempt of Carmella and Vega this easily? Nothing match. Carmella isn’t the best opponent in the world, but Naomi is right back to her normal level of work. Shame that Banks has been relegated to this spot. Those Disney checks must sound better and better each day.)

-Naomi and Banks danced in the ring. Happy Corbin was in the back with Mad Cap Moss and a bunch of random guys. They all played cards. Corbin told a bad joke. Corbin ran down his previous Wrestlemania accomplishments. He said Drew McIntyre will be another feather in his fedora. Corbin said he’s on the best roll of his life. Moss did a bad Scottish accent and told a joke. Everyone in the room laughed uncontrollably. They looked up at the screen as Drew McIntyre’s music hit and he made his entrance in the arena. Cole hyped McIntyre’s match with Jinder Mahal. Cole talked up the sword, for the tenth straight week. They showed a graphic for McIntyre and Mahal.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Has Corbin ever lost at Mania? Maybe in fifteen years they can hype a streak match against Corbin at every Mania until he finally loses.)

-Cole threw to another video package on the Toyota Tundra that featured Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs.

-They showed a graphic for Corbin and McIntyre at Wrestlemania. Jinder Mahal’s music hit and he made his entrance with Shanky.

(3) DREW McINTYRE vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/ Shanky)

They locked up. Cole reminded everyone of the history between the two. McIntyre took down Mahal. Mahal recovered and hit a shot to the throat then a superkick for a near fall. Mahal lock on a headlock and McIntyre fought up. Mahal came off the ropes but McIntyre recovered with a belly to belly throw. McIntyre then hit another one followed by a neckbreaker and the kip up. Shanky jumped on the apron but McIntyre knocked him off. Mahal tried to lock in the Collaus but McIntyre recovered, then counted down, hit the Claymore, and got the win.

WINNER: DREW McINTYRE in 2:00

-Kayla Braxton entered the ring. She asked if it bothered McIntyre that Moss and Corbin were making fun of him. McIntyre said he doesn’t care and neither does anyone else. McIntyre asked the crowd to raise their hands if they want to gouge their eyes out every time Corbin is on TV. He asked Kayla to raise her hand too. McIntyre called it unanimous. McIntyre said that he’s going to take Corbin out at Wrestlemania.

-They showed Corbin and Moss in the back again. Moss told a stupid joke to small laughs. Corbin stared at the screen with concern.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually have interest in this match. This whole program has gone on longer then it should, but I like both guys. Corbin is annoying and he needs a change, but if he and McIntyre can put on a really good match at Mania it could elevate both guys and really help the depth on Smackdown moving forward. It’s a shame that one of them has to lose. Clearly, McIntyre will probably win as they build him up for a big match with Reigns sometime later in 2022. With that said, if Corbin has a great showing, I hope they consider making him more serious and moving him up the card. The guy does a good job with everything he’s given.)

-They showed a recap of Brock Lesnar after the contract signing last week. Cole hyped the aftermath, next. [c]

-Ronda Rousey was in the back warming up. Cole threw to a video recap of the Reigns and Lesnar contract signing from last week.

[HOUR TWO]

-They showed a graphic for Reigns and Lesnar at Wrestlemania as McAfee hyped the match as a dream match. Rick Boogs was on the top of the stage. He did the Freddy Mercury routine then introduced Shinsuke Nakamura as he played guitar. The Usos appeared and took out Boogs and Nakamura. Referees appeared and shoo’ed the Usos away. The Usos posed at the top of the ramp. Roman Reigns’ music hit. McAfee and Cole said that’s why the Usos took out Boogs and Nakamura. Cole touted Reigns’ 551 day title reign. Reigns made his entrance alongside Paul Heyman. The Bloodline posed as the pyro went off. Cole asked how the company will change when there is only one champion in four weeks.

-Reigns stood mid-ring. There was a loud mixed response from the crowd. Reigns took the mic from Heyman. The crowd chanted “Roman, Roman”. Reigns smirked and then asked Miami to acknowledge him. Loud mixed response followed. Reigns paused. Reigns said that tomorrow night he and Lesnar will defend their titles at Madison Square Garden. Reigns said he’s going to smash whoever steps up and send them to the back of the line. Reigns said that Lesnar’s defense is interesting. Reigns said not all of us want to see Lesnar with the title, and not all of us want to see Lesnar make it to Mania. Reigns said he wants Lesnar to make it to Mania so that he can hand deliver the WWE title to his Tribal Chief. Reigns called on Heyman and Heyman delivered his spoiler line. Reigns asked Heyman if they should give Miami and the whole world a spoiler tonight. Reigns called himself Babe Ruth. He said he calls his shot and delivers every time. Reigns recalled last year’s Mania when he told everyone he would smash, stack, and pin his opponents. He said he’s going to call his shot again. Reigns said he’s going to smash Lesnar, pin Lesnar, and stand over Lesnar. He said with five million dollars in fireworks going off, Reigns is going to hold both titles and Lesnar will have no choice but to acknowledge him. Reigns snapped and screamed me over and over. He calmed back down and said that at Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar will acknowledge him. The Bloodline posed and shook hands. Reigns exited the ring with Heyman and left the Usos behind. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: I said after Reigns said that last year that I hoped that was the ending of Mania. I’m saying the same thing again this year. I really hope that is a spoiler because it would be awesome and it’s what should happen. Lesnar is the past and Reigns is the present and the foreseeable future and nothing should stand in the way of that. Reigns was excellent here. The small cracks in the armor that show how Lesnar has started to get to him are great. But it’s still subtle enough to not be overwhelming. We have some time to go, but the anticipation for this match will continue to grow. The intrigue of what they do after the titles are unified looms. I just hope they make the right choice and give Reigns the W. Imagine how crazy confident this character can become if he vanquishes Brock once and for all to become THE champion.)

-The Viking Raiders’ music hit and they made their entrance.

(4) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match

Erik tossed both Usos out of the ring in succession. He tagged in Ivar. Ivar hit a dive on both Usos on the outside. Ivar tossed Jimmy into the ring and hit a splash off the top rope for a near fall. Erik tagged in and the Viking Raiders went for the Viking Experience but Jey interrupted. Ivar was disposed of. The Usos hit a double team move on Erik. Jimmy attacked Erik on the outside then tossed him back in the ring. Jey tagged back in. Jimmy dumped Erik to the floor. Jey punched at Erik but Erik fought back. Jey recovered and tossed Erik into the ringpost. Jimmy tagged back in. The Usos threw Erik through the barricade. Cole asked if the Viking Raiders could get back into the match as they cut to break. [c]

Jimmy hit a kick on Ivar and tagged in Jey. Ivar tagged in Erik. The Viking Raiders hit a big double team for a near fall. Jimmy blindtagged in. Jey hit a big superkick on Ivar that knocked him off the apron. Erik knocked Jey to the outside. Jimmy took down Erik with a superkick. Jimmy went for a splash off the top rope but Erik got his knees up. Ivar tagged in and the Viking Raiders hit the Viking Experience. Ivar covered Jimmy but Jey broke up the pin at the last second. Jey and Erik tagged in. The Viking Raiders went for a double team, but Jimmy caught Ivar and pulled him to the floor. Jey hit a superkick on Erik. Jimmy then hit a superkick while the ref was distracted. Erik recovered and got a quick near fall on Jey. Jey recovered and tagged in Jimmy. Jimmy hit a superkick, then the Usos hit their variation of the 3-D, the One and Done, for the win.

WINNER: THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) in 9:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

(McDonald’s Analysis: That was actually better than I thought it would be. Besides the pair of two minute matches on this show, the wrestling has been pretty solid. Note to WWE, remove one of them and give the time to the one you keep. Most of us would rather that. Less matches, more ring time. Anyway, both teams did a good job here and worked hard. There was a couple of solid, believable near falls and the finish was clean and exactly what it should have been. I have no idea where the Usos go from here unless it’s the New Day. Again. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. It’s a shame Los Lotharios are a heel team because I actually think they could have a great match with the Usos.)

-They showed Big E riding the ATV in the back. The New Day’s music hit and Big E and Kofi Kingston made their entrance on the ATV. They showed a graphic for Big E against Sheamus. [c]

-Sonya Deville warmed up in the back. Cole hyped her match with Rousey. He touted it as Rousey’s first match on Smackdown.

-Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance with Ridge Holland. They paused at the ATV. Cole threw to a video package that recapped the interaction between the New Day and Sheamus/Holland last week. In the ring, Sheamus and Big E stared each other down. Sheamus held the shillelagh and pointed it at Big E. The ref stood between them. On the outside of the ring, Kingston danced on the ATV and beeped the New Day theme. Holland grabbed a chair and hit Kingston, then slammed the chair into the ATV repeatedly. Sheamus chop blocked Big E from behind then beat him down. Sheamus and Holland climbed onto the ATV and rode it up the ramp. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: Another feud we’ve seen before. It’s been a while and Holland is a new wrinkle. Plus, their matches were good last time. I’m just ready for Sheamus to have more. Sheamus is perhaps the most underrated guy on the roster. He could be a major player.)

-They showed a video of Sheamus and Holland destroying the ATV with sledgehammers during the break. Cole said they did it for no reason. Cole said that Sheamus and Holland never intended on wrestling. He said this was their plan all along.

(McDonald’s Analysis: No reason? The New Day taunted them and half attempted to run them over. If a heel did that to a face Cole would be singing their praises.)

-They showed a recap of Zayn losing the IC title after the Knoxville distraction. They then showed Zayn’s challenge to Knoxville. Kayla was in the back, she welcomed Knoxville. She asked for Knoxville’s response to Zayn. Knoxville said he showed up to remind Zayn that he’s the Intercontinental Chump. Knoxville said he’s not afraid of Zayn. Knoxville then said he’ll see Zayn at Wrestlemania. Knoxville chanted Sami sucks and asked Kayla to join him.

-Corbin was in the back. McIntyre stabbed his sword into the dartboard. Corbin ran off scared. McIntyre smirked at the camera.

(McDonald’s Analysis: The sword was cool until he started attempting to use it. Now, it makes Drew look like a murderer. And it’s lost any cool factor it once had at this point. Can anybody think of a creative way for him to get rid of it?)

-Cole threw to a video recap of last week’s segment involving Charlotte Flair, Rousey, and Deville. In the arena, Deville’s music hit and she made her entrance. They showed a graphic for Rousey against Deville. Cole and McAfee hyped the match. [c]

-They showed a graphic for the New Day against Sheamus and Holland next week. They also hyped Sasha Banks against Queen Zelina Vega. In the ring, Deville talked to the ref. Ronda Rousey got a ridiculously long intro. Rousey’s music then hit and she made her entrance. Rousey gave a pair of her gloves to a fan. She slapped hands all the way down the aisle. Rousey entered the ring and stared down Deville. Charlotte Flair’s music then hit and she made her entrance. Rousey stared her down.

(5) RONDA ROUSEY vs. SONYA DEVILLE

Deville got in Rousey’s face but Rousey smacked her. Rousey took down Deville with a clothesline, then went for the armbar. Charlotte jumped on the apron and distracted Rousey. Deville took down Rousey and hit a series of strikes. Charlotte joined Cole and McAfee on commentary. Deville hit a running knee on Rousey for a near fall. Deville put on a headlock. Cole asked Charlotte if she was concerned about Rousey at Mania. Charlotte said no and called Rousey a one-trick pony with the armbar. Charlotte said she can reverse it. Charlotte said she’s never been tapped out. Rousey fought up from the headlock in the ring. Rousey tied Deville up in the ropes and locked on a headscissors. Rousey hit a knee to he face on Deville, then hit a big kick to the gut. Rousey hit combination punches in the corner. Rousey hit Piper’s Pit. Rousey taunted, played to the crowd, then locked on the armbar for the win.

WINNER: RONDA ROUSEY in 4:00

-Charlotte said she’s not impressed by the armbar. They showed a replay of the finishing sequence. Cole put over the armbar. Rousey stood in the ring and beckoned for Charlotte to get in. Charlotte got up from the announce desk and walked toward the ring. Charlotte walked up the steps and entered the ring. Rousey jumped at Charlotte and transitioned into an ankle lock. Charlotte tapped the mat. Cole put over the fact that Rousey has more than the armbar, she has the ankle lock. Cole said Rousey has Charlotte where she wants her. Rousey stood tall in the ring as Charlotte slunk up the ramp with the ref. Rousey pointed at the Mania sign.

(McDonald’s Analysis: The match was what it was. That was exactly what I expected and I’m pretty sure it’s about what everyone else expected also. Deville got more offense in then I thought, but otherwise, a good showcase for Rousey. The end of match angle was good stuff. Cole went out of his way to put over the armbar and how deadly it is. Because of that, the ankle lock came off as a cool surprise. I hope Rousey breaks out a variety of submissions over the coming weeks. Charlotte needs to do something similar. This match will be better than people think, but they still have some work to do as far as the build goes to get people excited to see it.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: This episode was very solid. Nothing excellent or stand-out, but overall a complete and solid show. There wasn’t anything glaringly bad and they moved some stories along. The Mania card is shaping up and they made sure to aid those stories tonight. Ricochet won the IC title and that came off as a happening and a little bit of a surprise. I wonder what the plan is for Ricochet as the IC champion. As I’ve stated over the past several weeks, Smackdown could have a great IC title division if they use who they have properly. Ricochet could be a catalyst for that. He’s boring and can’t talk, but his matches are always solid. I’m fine with it if he defends against a variety of opponents over the coming weeks. I know Mustafa Ali asked for his release, but since he won’t get it, this would be a good place to bring him back. Ali and Ricochet could have some good matches and possibly even work Mania against each other. Theory and McAfee is a little weird, but I think it can work. They’re going to have to put some effort into it, but it’s a good spot for Theory and could be a small launching pad that he needs. Reigns, as always, was the star of the show. His segment was the highlight. I’m getting more excited and intrigued for the Reigns-Lesnar match by the day. Hopefully Smackdown can keep this momentum going. The roster is thin, but when they use it properly, you can’t tell as much.

 

 

 

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