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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
MARCH 11, 2022
BIRMINGHAM, ALA. AT THE LEGACY ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with footage from the house show in Madison Square Garden last Saturday. The video featured an encounter between Brock Lesnar and the Bloodline. At the end, Paul Heyman teased hitting Lesnar with a chair. When Lesnar confronted Heyman, Heyman told Lesnar he loved him and Roman Regins attacked Lesnar from behind with the chair. Reigns battered Lesnar with the steps and cut him open. Reigns then hit a Rock Bottom on Lesnar on the steps. The video ended with Reigns holding both titles over his head as he stood over the bloody carcass of Lesnar.
-Michael Cole welcomed the crowd to the show as they panned the crowd. Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he made his entrance. Pat McAfee said “the beast is in Birmingham”. McAfee also said that Lesnar must be pissed off after what happened in Madison Square Garden. Lesnar stood mid ring with the mic. Lesnar said that Reigns has changed the rules and changed the game. Lesnar said that for the last six days he got out of bed and looked in the mirror. Lesnar pointed to the cut on his forehead and told Reigns to get a good look at it. He said you don’t draw first blood on him and live to tell about it. Lesnar said he’s here for blood. He said he doesn’t care about Wrestlemania contracts or WWE titles. He called out Reigns and told him to get his ass out here because he’s here for blood. Paul Heyman appeared on the ramp. He told Lesnar to take the temperature down. Heyman said that Lesnar needs to listen to him now. He said Lesnar got bled by the Bloodline and smashed by Reigns. Heyman then teased Reigns’ arrival, but informed the crowd that Reigns is not present tonight. Lesnar told Heyman to stop talking. Lesnar asked who was going to protect Heyman if Reigns isn’t here. Heyman ran to the back and Lesnar took off from the ring to follow Heyman. Heyman bumped into security on his way to the parking lot. Lesnar appeared and battered the security. Heyman hopped in a car and drove off. Lesnar stopped and looked on.
-Back at ringside, Cole threw to a video package that recapped the ATV segment involving Big E, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, and Ridge Holland from last week. The video ended with Holland and Sheamus destroying the ATV. Megan Morant was in the back and welcomed Holland and Sheamus. Sheamus said they made the ATV better because it’s lighter and faster now. Holland said that tonight, they’re expecting a proper fight night. Morant asked why they were carrying sledgehammers. Sheamus said they brought someone along. He said that most people might know him by a different name, but they know him as Butch. “Butch” entered the screen. He looked intense. He slapped Sheamus on the chest and they walked away. Cole and McAfee played off Butch as a new protege. The New Day’s music hit and they made their entrance. They showed a graphic for Big E and Kingston against Holland and Sheamus, next. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I loved the intensity of Lesnar there. That beatdown from MSG looked awesome. I don’t know why they didn’t save that for an episode of Smackdown as that would have had a major impact. Heyman was good here too, and seemed super scared when he realized he let the cat out of the bag about Reigns. Reigns not being on the show is a bummer, but I guess they have to do that every once in a while. On the next topic, I don’t know who the Butch guy is, but I assume it’s someone from NXT. I wasn’t expecting another protege. I assume this will lead to the return of Xavier Woods and a six man tag at Wrestlemania.)
-Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance with Holland and Butch in tow.
(1) BIG E & KOFI KINGSTON vs. RIDGE HOLLAND & SHEAMUS (w/Butch)
Big E attacked Sheamus immediately as Kingston hit Holland. Sheamus rolled to the outside and paced. Sheamus and Kingston started the match. Sheamus got the upperhand then tagged in Holland. Kingston quickly recovered and took down Holland. Holland recovered momentarily, but Kingston took advantage and tagged in Big E. Big E knocked Holland down, who then tagged Sheamus. Sheamus and Big E traded right hands before Big E took down Sheamus with an elbow off an Irish whip. Sheamus went to the apron and Big E and Sheamus traded chops. Sheamus hung up Big E on the top rope, then hit the Ten Beats from the opposite direction. Sheamus went to the top rope and jumped, but Big E caught him and hit a belly to belly throw. Holland tried to attack Big E, but Big E knocked him to the floor and Kingston took him out with a dive. Sheamus was set up on the apron and Big E went for his signature splash, but Sheamus moved. Holland and Sheamus took Kingston and Big E out on the outside of the ring and posed. [c]
Holland was in control on Big E. Big E fought back and hit a belly to belly. Holland and Big E crawled towards their corners. Sheamus and Kingston tagged in. Kingston hit a series of punches on Sheamus, then hit a crossbody off the top rope. Kingston taunted then hit a Boom Drop on Sheamus. Holland jumped on the apron but Kingston knocked him off then hit an SOS on Sheamus. Holland broke up the pin attempt. Big E entered the ring and dove at Holland but Holland moved and Big E fell to the floor. Holland suplexed Big E on the floor. Kingston was rolled up by Sheamus as he looked on. Kingston recovered and went to the top rope. Butch distracted Kingston, and Sheamus hit a kick on Kingston and covered him for the win.
WINNER: RIDGE HOLLAND & SHEAMUS in 10:00
-Butch entered the ring and pounded on a downed Kingston.
-Cole threw to a video recap of Kevin Owens’ challenge to Steve Austin on Raw. Cole then hyped a response from Austin coming up next. They showed a graphic for the segment. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I recognize this Butch guy, but I don’t recall who he is. I hope Kelly Wells can help me out with that on the post show. [EDIT: Thanks to a friendly commenter, I feel like an idiot. That’s Pete Dunne. I knew there was a reason I thought he looked so familiar.] Regardless, this match was solid. I’m not a big fan of the distraction finish, but considering the circumstances it’s totally fine. Sheamus deserves better, but I do think we’re going to get a six man for Mania. Hopefully after that, Butch and Holland can be a team and Sheamus can be a valued singles act on Smackdown. The same goes for Big E when Woods returns.)
-After the break, Cole and McAfee ran down some news clippings regarding the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania against Kevin Owens. Cole then threw to a video recap of Owens challenging Austin for the K.O. Show at Mania. They then cut to the video that Austin posted on Twitter. Austin thanked Owens for bringing something out of him and accepted the challenge. They then showed a graphic for the K.O. Show featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania Night One.
(McDonald’s Analysis: If the GOAT and Reigns were going to be on the same night, I’d be booking Dallas right now.)
-Cole threw to a video recap of the Intercontinental Championship change from last week. Kayla Braxton was in the back and welcomed Sami Zayn. Zayn was upset about being referred to as the former champion. Kayla then threw to footage from TMZ. Johnny Knoxville posted a video. He flew a plane that had Sami Zayn’s phone number trailing behind it. Zayn freaked out. He said he got 10,000 text messages today. Kayla asked how Zayn was preparing for his match with Ricochet tonight. Zayn said he hasn’t had time with all of the messages. Zayn then said that management is always trying to screw him. He said Ricochet got lucky because Knoxville cost him the title. Zayn said he’s going to beat Ricochet and take the IC title to Wrestlemania.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I love Zayn. He’s really making the most of this. I feel bad for the employee that has to monitor that phone number. I hope for those that call, they got Zayn to do a funny voicemail message or something. I don’t want to root against Zayn, but I don’t want the IC title anywhere near Knoxville, so I’m ok with it if Ricochet wins the rematch tonight. Not that anyone else is counting, but we’ve had more IC title matches in the last month then we had the entire time Shinsuke Nakamura was champion.)
-Drew McIntyre’s music hit and he made his entrance. They then showed a graphic for McIntyre and the Viking Raiders against Mad Cap Moss, Happy Corbin, and Jinder Mahal after the break. Cole then threw to a commercial for the new WWE 2k22 video game that launched today. [c]
-The Viking Raiders’ music hit and they made their entrance. The Viking Raiders didn’t appear. The screen then cut to footage in the back. Corbin, Moss, Shanky, and Mahal beat down the Viking Raiders. McIntyre started up the ramp. He was met by Shanky and Mahal, who he got rid of quickly. Corbin appeared and slowly removed his hat as McIntyre stared him down. Mahal recovered and hit McIntyre from behind. The four men then ganged up on McIntyre and beat him down. They rolled McIntyre in the ring and Mahal and Shanky held McIntyre up as Corbin talked trash to him. Moss laughed behind Corbin. McIntyre fought out of the grip of Mahal and Shanky, then knocked Moss down. Corbin and McIntyre stared each other down, then Corbin exited the ring and ran. McIntyre disposed of Moss and Mahal, then hit a Michinoku Driver on Shanky. McIntyre then grabbed his sword and pointed at the Mania sign as he talked trash to Corbin, who looked on from the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I know I said this last week, but I am looking forward to the actual match between McIntyre and Corbin. I hate all of the ways we have to get there because of the characters involved. I guess adding Mahal and Shanky to this makes sense since McIntyre has destroyed Moss one too many times already. This gives him some more fodder to work with for the next few weeks. Corbin and McIntyre could really deliver when the time comes and both of them could benefit BIG time from a big time, hard hitting, good match. If they can put out something that’s around four stars, I have high hopes for their futures.)
-Cole threw to a video recap of the segment that involved Charlotte Flair, Sonya Deville, and Ronda Rousey last week. Afterwards, Rousey’s music hit and she made her entrance. Cole hyped her segment for after the break. [c]
-Rousey stood in the ring. She said Charlotte made a mistake when she called Rousey a one trick pony last week. Rousey said she has a thousand ways to get to the armbar. She said she hasn’t spent the last two years making babies and raising cows. She said she’s refined her skills on the Ankle Lock, which she learned from her first mentor in wrestling, Kurt Angle. Charlotte’s music hit and she made her entrance.
-McAfee said these two women have three weeks to prepare for each other. Charlotte took the mic and said this match will be the biggest fight of Rousey’s life. Charlotte said Rousey didn’t tap her out as she had on expensive clothes and expensive heels last week and they weren’t in a fight. Charlotte said Rousey should spend less time trying to honor her mentor and more time focusing on winning the title. Charlotte said Rousey won’t tap her out at Mania. Rousey interjected and said she has before and she will again. Charlotte told Rousey to wipe the smirk off her face because facing her at Mania is serious business. Charlotte said she’s going to embarrass Rousey and make her tap out. Rousey asked the crowd if they wanted to see it tonight. The crowd cheered. Rousey told Charlotte she can take off her heels this time. She told Charlotte to take her time. Charlotte exited the ring and said “uh-oh”. The crowd chanted “you tapped out”. Charlotte turned to the crowd and said that she’s still Smackdown Women’s Champion. Rousey told Charlotte to go ahead and leave, but at Wrestlemania, “I’m going home with your arm, or you’re going to tap out.”
(McDonald’s Analysis: The less Rousey says the better. This was no exception. It’s not even that she’s bad on the mic, she’s just so incredibly awkward it’s uncomfortable. Charlotte was good in her heel role here and of course, had an excuse for the tap out last week, which actually made some sense. I still want to see them increase the intensity of this feud somehow. I don’t know how exactly I would do that at this point, but it needs it.)
-Cole recapped the opening segment then threw to a video recap of the segment. Afterwards, Cole announced that Lesnar has left the arena frustrated.
-Sasha Banks’ music hit and she made her entrance alongside Naomi. They showed a graphic for Naomi and Banks against Shayna Baszler and Natalya after the break.
-Cole threw to another video of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs enjoying their Toyota Tundra. [c]
(2) SASHA BANKS & NAOMI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER & NATALYA
Naomi and Baszler were in the ring. Zelina Vega and Carmella were at ringside. Baszler tagged in Natalya and they double teamed Naomi. Natalya hit the Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Baszler tagged in and taunted Naomi, then she stepped on the back of her foot. Baszler locked in a knee bar as Naomi reached for Banks. Naomi fought out but Baszler tossed Naomi into the corner. Naomi recovered with a kick. Natalya and Banks tagged in. Banks went to the top rope and hit a Meteora on Natalya, then was able to take down Natalya and Baszler at the same time. Banks went for a baseball slide, but Natalya caught her. Banks recovered and headscissored Natalya into the laps of Vega and Carmella. Vega distracted Banks and Natalya took Banks down for a near fall. Banks recovered and hit a modified knees to the face on Natalya for the win.
WINNER: SASHA BANKS & NAOMI in 3:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: So, this was originally scheduled to be Banks against Vega, which obviously got changed. I assume they changed the match to a triple threat because they made Carmella and Vega look like they have no chance against the team of Banks and Naomi last week? Or did they realize they needed something for Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan to do? There was a report earlier today that a fourth team will be added. After this match tonight, I don’t know if Natalya and Baszler are credible enough to add. My vote is to bring back Asuka and have her team with Xia Li to be the fourth team.)
-Cole hyped the triple threat Women’s Tag Team Championship match for Wrestlemania. He then threw to a video recap of the attack from the Usos on Boogs and Nakamura. The video ended with a recap of the Usos victory over the Viking Raiders. The Usos’ music then hit and they made their entrance to a great pop. Cole touted them as the longest running Smackdown Tag Team Champions in history. They showed a graphic for the “Penitentiary Unlocked” as they will reveal their Wrestlemania plans after the break. [c]
-Jey and Jimmy Uso stood mid ring. They said they’ve come to your city and they’ve been champions for almost a year as Reigns has been champion for almost two years. They said management has run out of challengers for them. Shinsuke Nakamura’s music hit and he made his entrance with Rick Boogs. Boogs introduced them, then said they’re going to be the next Smackdown Tag Team Champions. The Usos asked if they wanted to face them at Mania. Jimmy said that if Boogs, who limped and had his knee wrapped, can beat Jey, they will get their match.
(3) JEY USO (w/ Jimmy Uso) vs. RICK BOOGS (w/ Shinsuke Nakamura)
Jey attacked Boogs right away. Boogs laughed and unwrapped his knee and played air guitar. Jey ran at Boogs but Boogs caught him with a bear hug, then hit a stalling vertical suplex. Boogs then military pressed Jey ten times, then dropped him. Jimmy tried to get involved, but Nakamura attacked him. Jimmy superkicked Nakamura, then distracted Boogs. Jey rolled up Boogs for a near fall. Boogs recovered and hit the Boogs Cruise for the win.
WINNER: RICK BOOGS in 2:00 to earn a Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match at Wrestlemania
-Jimmy hit the ring and broke the guitar over the back of Rick Boogs. Nakamura consoled Boogs as the Usos left up the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wade Keller called this a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t buy it, but kudos to him as he was dead on. I thought for sure we were going to get New Day and the Usos for the 1,000th time. This is better. I don’t know if Boogs can do more then the three spots they ask him to do, but at least he’s good at those three spots. Also, I’m glad that they showed Boogs and Nakamura outsmarting the Usos. It would have been better if some more time elapsed before the reveal, but obviously this match was going to be short, so not an option. I’m interested to see this match at Mania. Will they give Boogs and Nakamura a title run or are they another victim for the Usos?)
-Cole threw to a video recap of the IC title match between Zayn and Ricochet last week. Zayn’s music then hit and he made his entrance. Cole hyped the Zayn-Ricochet rematch. [c]
-They showed a package for Wrestlemania. It is now twenty-two days away. They then showed a graphic for a collision between Reigns and Lesnar for next week on Smackdown.
-Ricochet’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said Ricochet modeled a lot of his moves after watching Johnny Knoxville. Austin Theory’s music hit and he made his entrance. McAfee asked why this “boy toy” was here. They did formal ring introductions for the Intercontinental title match. Theory sat next to McAfee. Theory then got up and McAfee and Theory stood face to face. Theory smacked McAfee’s headset off. McAfee then freaked out and jumped over the announce table and took out Theory. McAfee slammed Theory’s head on the table. Officials came out and broke them up. Cole told McAfee to calm down because he’s a pro. Theory stood at the top of the ramp and security escorted McAfee up the ramp. Theory tried to run at McAfee but the security stopped him.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Ricochet modeled himself after Knoxville? Are you kidding me? That’s the dumbest line they’ve come up with in a long time. The segment between Theory and McAfee was awesome. They did an excellent job with that. McAfee snapped and Theory seemed caught off guard. That’s exactly how it should happen. Theory has a ton of potential and if this program is handled correctly it could position him very well for the future.)
(4) RICOCHET vs. SAMI ZAYN – Intercontinental Championship Match
Ricochet kicked Zayn. They broke up and teased a test of strength, but Zayn got a headlock. The two dodged each other a bit, then Ricochet hit a headscissors to take down Zayn. Ricochet attacked Zayn and chopped him in the corner. Ricochet went for a kick, but Zayn stopped and rolled out of the ring. Zayn reached out and grabbed Zayn by the hair, but Zayn hung up Ricochet on the top rope. Zayn hit the ring and hit a powerbomb for a near fall. Zayn punched Ricochet as the crowd cheered for Ricochet. Zayn hit a clothesline and got another near fall. Zayn put on another headlock, but Ricochet battled up and hit a couple of chops, then took Zayn down. Ricochet hit a springboard elbow and then measured Zayn. Ricochet went for a knee but Zayn blocked it. Ricochet got Zayn on his shoulders and hit a modified version of the GTS. Ricochet climbed to the top rope, but Zayn got up and shoved Ricochet off the top rope to the floor. [c]
After the break, they showed a recap of the Theory and McAfee segment. Cole mentioned that McAfee has been escorted from the arena and McAfee was out of line.
Ricochet went for a standing moonsault, but Zayn got his knees up and covered Ricochet for a near fall. Zayn punched at the kidneys of Ricochet. Ricochet got a waistlock, but Zayn elbowed him repeatedly until Ricochet fell. Ricochet countered a suplex attempt into a hurricanrana for a near fall. Cole marveled at the move. The two battled to their feet and traded punches. Ricochet hit a superkick, then lifted Zayn to his shoulders. Zayn fought off and sent Ricochet to the corner. Zayn teased a Helluva Kick, but Ricochet ran out of the corner. Zayn caught Ricochet with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a close near fall. Zayn shoved Ricochet into the corner and lifted him to the top. Zayn followed Ricochet up but Ricochet fought back then knocked Zayn to the mat. Ricochet went to the top but Zayn got up and crotched Ricochet. Zayn then delivered an exploder suplex off the top. Ricochet hit the Recoil, then went to the top rope and hit the 630 for the win.
WINNER: RICOCHET in 12:00 to retain the Intercontinental Championship
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was really good. As far as twelve minute matches with a commercial break in the middle go, that’s about as good as WWE style allows. I’ve said that before and it was another Zayn match. The ending was the correct one. Ricochet can be a really effective IC champ if they give him opponents and he can have matches like this every week.)
-Charlotte and Rousey were shown fighting in the parking lot as officials tried to break them up. Rousey kicked Charlotte into a wooden board and Charlotte threw Rousey into a car. Charlotte suplexed Rousey onto the hood of the car then applied a modified crossface. The officials pulled them apart. Rousey laid on the top of the car and Charlotte ran over and slammed Rousey’s head into the hood.
(McDonald’s Analysis: THAT is closer to what I’m looking for. They need to do way more of that to hype this feud. What the hell took so long? These two women need to be as intense as possible on the way to Mania.)