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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 18, 2022
CHARLOTTE, N.C. AT THE SPECTRUM CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-A replay aired of last week’s angle between Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar.
-The Bloodline walked to the ring as Michael Cole and Pat McAfee introduced the show. Cole noted that McAfee has to stay out of any physical confrontations if he’s going to remain at the broadcast table. He hyped that WrestleMania was two weeks away.
Reigns said it’s been two weeks since he smashed Lesnar at Madison Square Garden and he made him bleed all over New York. He said if he shows his face tonight, he’s going to make him bleed all over Charlotte as well. Heyman showed Reigns that his phone said Lesnar’s plane was grounded due to inclement weather in Saskatchewan and he won’t be at Smackdown. Reigns looked frustrated as Heyman said he’s so sorry to have to deliver that bad news. Fans chanted, “We want Lesnar!” Reigns said he understands their feelings. He said he has fulfilled his obligations and he is there, and he wants to smash him. Reigns said Lesnar is scared of him and he should be. He said he’s in God Mode, which is greatness on a different level, which matched the words on his new t-shirt.
Heyman tried to interject something to Reigns. Reigns was irked and told him not to interrupt him. Heyman then showed Reigns his phone with an update. “He’s landed and he’s on his way,” Heyman said frantically and in a panic. Reigns lost his composure and handed Heyman the mic and told him to “wrap this up and take it home.” Reigns and the Usos rolled out of the ring and Heyman followed closely behind.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s interesting to see Reigns being booked in a way where he talks a big game, but he is showing signs of being scared of Lesnar. He’s more likely to be booed if he’s not always the cool, confident badass ready for a fight with anyone.)
-Cole and McAfee hyped upcoming matches on the show.
-They cut backstage to Reigns, Heyman, and the Usos swiftly making their way to their SUV. Lesnar then drove at them in a forklift with a maniacally gleeful facial expression. He stabbed the windows of the SUV with the forklift as they cut to a break. [c]
-Cole commented on a replay of what happened right before the break with the forklift. They showed additional footage of what happened during the break with a close-up of Reigns, Heyman, and the Usos in the SUV in shock and covering their faces and wincing at the chaos of broken glass and Lesnar honking the horn. Then he lifted the SUV and tipped it sideways. He let out a “wooo!” The Bloodline escaped the SUV and tried to flee in a pick-up truck, but Lesnar chased them down on foot and yanked off a door. He let out an angry yell. Then he put his cowboy hat back on and smiled. He picked up the door. McAfee called him “the alpha male of our species.”
Lesnar’s entrance theme played and he walked out with the pick-up truck door in hand. McAfee said we’ve never seen a human like him before and never will again. Cole said Reigns has to face him in two weeks from Sunday at WrestleMania. He said he’s covered his career since his debut “20 years ago today.” He said Lesnar is paralyzing Reigns and the Bloodline. Lesnar entered the ring and said, “You’ve unleashed the bipolar beast, son. You can run, you can hide, but in two weeks at WrestleMania, I’m going to do more than pull the doors off. Roman Reigns, I’m coming for blood!” He stared a hole into the hard camera lens. “You best be prepared,” he said. “I’ll see ya’ in two, bud.” He then left the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: These backstage skits with trucks and forklifts and such can be a little hokey, and this had a dose of that for sure, but it was fun. Because WWE doesn’t do it too often, when they do, it feels like they’re hyping something special. It also gave the key players in the WrestleMania main event a good chance to show off their approach to the match – with Reigns talking big but being freaked out and now intimidated, and Lesnar being out for blood and on a tear. Lesnar does look like he’s having a blast right now.)
-Footage aired of last week’s Rick Boogs win over Jey Uso.
-Boogs introduced Shinsuke Nakamura on the stage with a new electric guitar in hand. [c]
(1) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS vs. LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo)
As Angel and Humberto dominated early, Cole said they’re still young but they could be tag team champions some day. Eventually Nakamura tagged out to Boogs who charged into the ring to a big pop from the crowd. He pressed Humberto over his head several times and threw him into Angel. He then curled Angel and gave him the Boogs Cruise slam for the clean win.
WINNERS: Boogs & Nakamura in 5:00.
-Highlights aired of the angle last week with Drew McIntyre and Happy Corbin.
-The Viking Raiders made their ring entrance. They were joined in the entrance area by McIntyre. [c]
-Cole hyped a Red Cross charity campaign by Fox to benefit Ukrainians who have been forced from their homes.
-Megan Morant interviewed Corbin, Madcap Moss, Shanky, and Jinder Mahal. Corbin said WrestleMania weekend will be the happiest weekend of his life and nothing can bring him down when he brings that egomaniac Drew McIntyre down a notch or two. Moss said: “What do you call an episode of Happy Talk that puts everyone to sleep? Nappy Talk!” Moss laughed. His three partners gave him dirty looks and shook their heads in disgust.
(2) DREW MCINTYRE & THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. HAPPY CORBIN & JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY
As Corbin and Co. made their way to the ring, Drew smiled and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Ivar took it to Corbin a minute in until Corbin countered with a spinebuster. He took a cheap shot at Drew, so Drew entered the ring. The ref held Drew back as Corbin taunted him. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Jinder was in coontrol against Ivar. Jinder yanked Drew off the ring apron from the floor. When Ivar tagged in Drew, Corbin quickly tagged in Shanky and then bailed out to the floor. Drew landed a Michinoku Driver followed by a kip up. Then he delivered a Claymore Kick for the win.
WINNERS: McIntyre & Raiders in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to that, but the takeaway was Corbin doesn’t want Drew within reach of him. It’s similar to the Reigns-Lesnar dynamic with a big talking heel who shows he’s actually nervous about their match.)
-They shifted to a clip of Ricochet beating Sami Zayn last week to retain his Intercontinental Title.
-A promo aired with Sami Zayn. He said he should be standing there with the IC Title, and it’s Johnny Knoxville’s fault. He called him a “glorified Hollywood crash test dummy.” He said he ruined his life with juvenile stunts. He said he seems obsessed with bringing his world to him. He said if Knoxville has the balls, they should make their match at WrestleMania “anything goes.”
-Naomi made her ring entrance. She was joined by Sasha Banks. [c]
-A vignette hyped Steve Austin being interviewed by Kevin Owens at WrestleMania followed by Austin’s plug on Twitter for his new beer.
-A clip aired of Charlotte attacking Ronda Rousey backstage last week at the end of Smackdown. Cole said Charlotte has a challenge for Rousey later.
(3) SASHA BANKS & NAOMI vs. RHEA RIPLEY & LIV MORGAN
Carmella and Queen Zelina sat at ringside with their tag title belts. Carmella was admiring herself in the reflection in the belt as Zelina did the royal-style hand wave. Ripley and Morgan then made their ring entrance together.
A couple minutes in, Sasha offered a handshake. Liv accepted, but Sasha yanked her arm and applied a headlock. Cole said that’s why she’s the Boss, whatever the means. Naomi quickly tagged in and landed a split-legged legdrop. Ripley tagged in and took control against Naomi with a basement dropkick and scored a quick two count. Sasha tagged in and head scissored Ripley to the mat. She played to the crowd. A minute later, Ripley leaped off the ring apron with a flip dive onto both Naomi and Sasha. As she celebrated, they cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Ripley was in control of Naomi. Cole called it “a proverbial barn-burner” of a tag match. Sasha and Liv both hot-tagged in. Sasha landed a Meteora for a two count. She looked up at the WrestleMania sign and nodded and got psyched up. She then set up a move, but Morgan countered with a step-up enzuigiri. Ripley leaped off the top rope with a missile dropkick for a near fall. They cut to a reaction shot of Carmella & Vega at ringside. Banks countered a Riptide attempt with a Backstabber. Naomi tagged in and landed a split-legged moonsault. Morgan broke up the cover. “What a match!” exclaimed Cole. A “This is awesome!” chant broke out. Cole said indeed the match has been awesome and fans are paying it respect. Sasha and Naomi delivered a top rope superplex with Liv helping underneath powerbomb Sasha and Naomi on the way down. All four were down and slow to getup.
Natalya and Shayna Baszler entered the ring and attacked all four women. The ref called for a no contest.
WINNERS: No contest in 11:00.
-Cole said Natalya and Baszler were trying to show they wanted to be in the WrestleMania match. As everyone brawled, Carmella and Zelina entered the ring and got involved also. With the four babyfaces down, Natalya and Baszler eyed Carmella and Vega mid-ring. Natalya pointed at the WrestleMania sign and seemed to mouth to them that they wanted to be added to the match.
-A selfie video aired of Knoxville in a bedroom with a very dirty mirror in the background. He said Sami is an awful human being who is also a great competitor. He said if he wants to make it “anything goes,” he accepts. He then laughed maniacally. “You’re toast!” he said.
-At ringside, Cole told McAfee that he is being summoned to Mr. McMahon’s office. McAfee looked nervous and said he’s kidding. Cole said he’s not kidding and it’s likely bad news. McAfee took off his headset. Cole said he suggested he apologize about what happened with Austin Theory last week. [c]
-Backstage, Sonya Deville approached Natalya and Baszler. Sonya smiled and said it was great because some of those women deserved what they got. She said they proved to be a dominant force, so she had decided to add them to WrestleMania’s tag title match. Baszler and Natalya smiled and hugged each other.
(Keller’s Analysis: At least Sonya is a heel authority figure, but what a stupid way for someone to earn a tag team title opportunity at WrestleMania – attacking wrestlers mid-match.)
-They went to Cole at ringside. He threw to a sponsored video package on the Austin Theory-McAfee angle last week.
-They cut backstage to McAfee leaving Mr. McMahon’s office. Cole said it’ll be interesting to hear what McMahon had to say to McAfee. He said maybe he has been ordered to apologize or maybe he’s been fired. McAfee had a sheepish disposition.
So McAfee entered the ring and said his life changed when he was 11 years old when “I happened upon a no-name network, the USA Network, and saw professional wrestling for the first time. My life changed immediately. I saw something that inspired me, that was magical. I saw something that would shape me forever.” He got the “What?” treatment. He said other professions got in the way, but finally after retiring, he got a call from “the greatest of all-time, Michael Cole” who offered him a job on Smackdown. He said he’s been dreaming of being in WWE and traveling to cities like Charlotte. He was interrupted by Theory’s music.
Theory made his way to the ring. McAfee told him he was just told he has to apologize to him or he will lose his dream of a WrestleMania match. Theory made it difficult for McAfee to actually apologize because he was so obnoxious toward him every time McAfee began to apologize. He stopped twice mid-sentence. McAfee finally said, “Austin Theory, I’m sorry for beating your ass last week. Austin Theory, I’m sorry your parents raised a douche bag.” He concluded, “I apologize you’re a punk bitch.” Theory took a selfie and smiled and said, “You apologized!” He shoved McAfee and then left the ring.
-Cole commented on a recap of the Lesnar-Bloodline forklift angle earlier.
-Another sponsored segment aired with Nakamura and Boogs going mountain biking together. Then they hung out around a campfire. Boogs said he’d miss hanging out on their pick-up truck adventures. Nakamura said all good things must come to an end. Boogs asked if that’s true. Nakamura blew out a flame on a roasting marshmallow. [c]
-Cole recapped the Big E injury last week, including a replay of the landing on his neck with new footage of Big E being stretchered out, but raising his thumb as he was rolled away from the ring. Then they played Big E at the hospital saying he can move his arms and legs, but his neck was broken. Then a clip aired from the next morning with Big E saying his C1 and C6 are fractured, but not displaced, and there’s no ligament or spinal cord damage, so he won’t need surgery. He said he is grateful and will be alright. They showed a Tweet from Big E who said he used to endure a lot in life and felt alone, but he felt very supported through all the social media, texts, and DMs wishing him well.
(4) RIDGE HOLLAND (w/Sheamus, Butch) vs. KOFI KINGSTON
Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch made their way to the ring. Kofi Kingston was already in the ring. Cole said Holland apologized and was gutted by what happened to Big E last week. Kofi went after Holland aggressively at the bell, nonetheless. Kofi leaped over the top rope onto Holland at ringside. Sheamus chased Kofi back into the ring. They cut to an early break. [c]
When Kofi set up a top rope move, Sheamus jumped onto the ring apron to distract the ref. Butch then shoved Kofi off the top rope. McAfee called Butch “a son of a bitch.” The ref kicked Butch out of ringside. Sheamus had to hold him back. Kingston rolled up a distracted Holland for a two count. He then hit double high knees on Holland, then threw Butch’s cane at him. Butch charged back to the ring, but Sheamus dragged him out of the ring by his boot. That distraction opened up Holland to land his Northern Grit powerslam for the three count. Butch tried to get back at Kofi again, but Sheamus held him back.
WINNER: Holland in 8:00.
-Highlights aired of last week’s Charlotte-Rousey angle.
-Charlotte made her ring entrance. [c]
-Charlotte talked up being the most dominant woman in WWE history and said no one has caused Rousey more pain than she has. She said she is the mountain Rousey must climb to achieve greatness in WWE. She said she never will match her, though, because while Rousey is “popping out another baby,” she’ll still be doing her thing in the ring. She told Rousey to come out so she can embarrass her in her hometown.
They cut backstage where Kayla Braxton caught up to Rousey who was marching toward the ring. Kayla suggested Charlotte is luring her into another trap. Rousey kept walking. Rousey’s music played and she made her way to the ring. Charlotte stood her ground in the ring, but when Rousey was about to enter the ring, Charlotte grabbed a kendo stick that she had stashed at ringside. Rousey ducked her swing, then kicked her and elbowed her. Charlotte threw a knee at her chest, but Rousey took Charlotte to the mat with a head scissors and set up an armbar. Charlotte rolled to the floor. Rousey pursued her, but Charlotte yanked her leg and knocked her hard to the floor. Rousey got up and shoved Charlotte into the ringpost twice. Rousey caught Charlotte’s leg and twisted her into an anklelock attempt. Charlotte broke free and choked Rousey with the kendo stick. When she let go, Rousey collapsed face down on the ringside mat. Charlotte then powerbombed Rousey onto the announce desk. Charlotte put her foot on Rousey’s abdomen and raised her arms in a show of dominance. They showed a close-up of Rousey wincing in pain as the show ended.