3/18 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on Reigns-Lesnar confrontation, Banks/Naomi vs. Morgan/Ripley, Kingston vs. Holland, McIntyre/Viking Raiders vs. Corbin/Shanky/Mahal

By Alex McDonald, PWTorch Contributor


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

WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
MARCH 18, 2022
CHARLOTTE, NC AT THE SPECTRUM CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with a graphic to celebrate the memory of Scott Hall. Afterwards, they showed a video package that recapped Roman Reigns’ attack on Brock Lesnar at Madison Square Garden and Lesnar’s subsequent promo. The package ended with Lesnar chasing Paul Heyman in the parking lot as Heyman got into a car and rode away.

-Michael Cole welcomed everyone to the show. Roman Reigns’ music then hit. Cole said Reigns’ title reign has reached 564 days. Reigns entered the arena flanked by the Usos and Paul Heyman. Reigns sported a new shirt. The camera panned to ringside. Cole said that Pat McAfee must apologize to Austin Theory tonight or he could lose his job. Cole also said that McAfee is not allowed to touch Theory. Cole then hyped the Mania match between Lesnar and Reigns. They showed the graphic. The Bloodline entered the ring, led by Reigns. They posed with their championships as the pyro went off.

-Reigns stood center ring and soaked in the crowd noise, then Heyman handed him the mic. Reigns asked Charlotte to acknowledge him. Loud mixed reaction. Reigns said that there’s plenty to be excited about. He said tonight is the first time he gets to see Lesnar since he smashed him in the Garden and made him bleed all over New York. Reigns said that once Lesnar shows his face he’s going to make him bleed all over Charlotte. Heyman interjected. Reigns asked what was up. Heyman informed Lesnar and the audience that Lesnar experienced bad weather and his plane was grounded, so he will not be at Smackdown tonight. The crowd chanted “we want Lesnar”. Reigns shook his head, and told the crowd he wants Lesnar to be there too since he was about to smash him. Reigns said Lesnar made a business decision because he’s scared of Reigns. Reigns said Lesnar should be afraid because he’s in God Mode now. Reigns referenced his new shirt. Heyman tried to tell Reigns something, but Reigns told him to stop talking. Reigns said that the crowd paid to see Reigns and want to hear what he has to say. Lesnar screamed to Reigns that Lesnar’s plane landed and he’s on his way. Heyman asked what they’re going to do. Reigns handed Heyman the mic and said he’s leaving. Reigns and the Usos left the ring and Heyman ran behind them.

-Cole and McAfee set the stage for the rest of the show as they ran down the advertised matches. They cut to the back where Reigns and the Usos marched down the hallway into an SUV. A loud horn blared and a forklift appeared. The driver of the forklift was revealed to be Lesnar. Lesnar drove the arms of the forklift into the rear window of the SUV. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: Reigns promo was good. I loved how he said Lesnar was afraid of him when he heard he wouldn’t be there, then tucked tail and tried to leave as soon as he heard Lesnar was on his way. The cheesy grin on Lesnar’s face driving the forklift was a little lame. The segment itself was a good throwback to the Steve Austin moments we all know and love, but I wish they had done the close-up of Brock a little differently. I don’t know if we’re supposed to read into this or not, but how is Heyman so connected to Lesnar’s every move?  Is this on person to restart some dissension?)

-Back from break, Cole threw to a recap of the moment we just witnessed. They added shots of the Reigns and the Bloodline in the SUV. They looked stunned. Lesnar used the forklift to turn the SUV on its side after the Bloodline escaped. Reigns and the Usos jumped into a nearby pick-up truck. Lesnar ripped the door off the truck as the Bloodline drove away. Lesnar smirked, put his hat back on and picked up the door. Lesnar’s music hit in the arena and he made his entrance with the truck door in hand. McAfee said that Lesnar shouted blood for blood at Reigns during the attack. Lesnar paraded around the ring with the door. Cole said Lesnar may be carrying around Reigns’ limbs after Mania. Cole said Lesnar debuted twenty years ago today. (I checked, the math checks out.)

-Lesnar took the mic. He said that Reigns unleashed the bipolar beast. Lesnar said that in two weeks he’s going to do more than blow the doors off of Reigns. He said that he’s coming for blood so Reigns should be prepared. Lesnar said he’ll see Reigns in two. Lesnar left the ring and walked up the ramp.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Ok, great recovery on the goofy smile from Lesnar before the break. That segment was great. Anything with Lesnar being a destructive force always works and this was no exception. I like that Reigns escaped and Lesnar hasn’t been able to get his hands on Reigns yet. It was odd that Lesnar said he’ll see Reigns in two weeks as if there won’t be any confrontations between them between now and then. On another note, I can’t believe Lesnar’s debut was twenty years ago today. It certainly doesn’t feel that long.)

-Cole threw to a recap of the Usos segment with Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura last week. McAfee said it was a Boogs’ ruse that led to a Boogs’ Cruise. Boogs appeared on the ramp and did his Freddy Mercury routine with the crowd. He introduced Shinsuke Nakamura and played guitar as he made his entrance. McAfee danced on Cole at ringside as he played air guitar. Cole hyped Boogs and Nakamura’s match against Los Lotharios after the break. [c]

-Los Lotharios made their entrance. They did the Kiss Cam gimmick with yet another obvious plant. It’s crazy that a pretty woman sits in that same seat every week. What are the odds?

(1) LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS

Carrillo started against Nakamura. Carrillo blew him a kiss, Nakamura caught it and threw it on the ground. Carrillo ran at Nakamura but Nakamura took Carrillo down. He hit a kick to the gut in the corner on a perched Carrillo then covered Carrillo for a near fall. Garza blindtagged in and took Nakamura down from behind. Garza and Carrillo hit a double team on Nakamura. Garza ripped his pants off and threw them at Boogs. Carrillo tagged in and Lotharios hit another double team move and Carrillo made the cover for a near fall. Carrillo put on a headlock but Nakamura fought out and hit some kicks. Carrillo recovered and tagged in Garza. Garza took Nakamura down and pounded on him. Gaza taunted Nakamura and hit a kick. Garza hit a splash in the corner and Carrillo tagged in. Carrillo whipped Garza into Boogs, which knocked him off the apron. Carrillo and Garza hit splashes in succession on Nakamura. Nakamura recovered and tagged in Boogs. Boogs hit the ring and took down Garza and Carrillo. Boogs then military pressed Carrillo ten times, then tossed him into Garza. Boogs then set up the Boogs’ Cruise on Garza, but stopped to curl Garza three times before finishing him off. Boogs made the cover and got the win.

WINNER: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS in 5:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: I really wish Lotharios were faces or the Usos were faces so they could wrestle each other at Mania. Those four could have a great match, especially Jey and Garza. Anyway, they weren’t the story here. Nakamura isn’t either. It’s Boogs. Boogs is really good at the three to five things they ask him to do. I don’t know how long it will take to find out if he can do more. With that said, Boogs’ moves are impressive and he looks legitimately strong. This is one of the more intriguing Mania matches because we haven’t seen Boogs wrestle a long match before and honestly, I don’t know who’s going to win. Both options make sense.)

-Cole threw to a video recap of the segment with Drew McIntyre against Happy Corbin, Mad Cap Moss, Jinder Mahal, and Shanky last week. Cole said McIntyre will face Corbin at Wrestlemania. Afterwards, the Viking Raiders’ music hit and they made their entrance. They stood at the top of the ramp and McIntyre’s music hit. He made his entrance with the Viking Raiders by his side. A graphic appeared on the screen for a six man tag with the Viking Raiders and Drew McIntyre against Corbin, Shanky, and Mahal. Cole plugged WWE 2k22. [c]

-Corbin, Moss, Shanky and Mahal were in the back with Megan Morant. Corbin said that Mania is going to be the best weekend of his life. He asked Moss to tell a joke. Moss told a joke about Happy Talk, which left Corbin confused and unhappy. Corbin’s music hit and the group made their entrance. Cole mentioned that Corbin is undefeated in singles matches since he became “Happy”. They showed a graphic for McIntyre and Corbin at Mania.

(2) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) & DREW McINTYRE vs. HAPPY CORBIN & JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY

Shanky started with Erik. Shanky took control on Erik then tagged in Mahal. Erik quickly recovered and took down Mahal. He then tagged in Ivar and they hit a double team on Mahal. Mahal recovered and took Ivar to the corner where he tagged in Corbin. Ivar knocked Corbin to the floor. Corbin took over on Ivar, then walked over and hit McIntyre. Corbin backed off and smirked as McIntyre tried to enter the ring. The ref stood between them and beckoned McIntyre back to the apron. [c]

Corbin was in control of Ivar, then tagged in Mahal. Mahal covered Ivar for a quick near fall. Mahal put a neck vise on Ivar as the crowd cheered Ivar on. Mahal knocked Ivar into the corner, but Ivar fought out. He then took down Mahal, but Corbin tagged in and took out Ivar. Corbin knocked Erik off the apron. Mahal ran around the ring and attempted to pull McIntyre off the apron but McIntyre took Mahal out. McIntyre finally tagged in, but Corbin tagged Shanky immediately. McIntyre took out Shanky with a Glasgow’s Kiss, then hit a belly to belly on an invading Mahal. McIntyre then hit a Michinoku Driver and a Claymore on Shanky for the win.

WINNER: VIKING RAIDERS & DREW McINTYRE in 7:00

-McIntyre celebrated in the ring as Corbin and Moss looked on nervously.

-Cole threw to a video recap of the Intercontinental title match between Sami Zayn and Ricochet last week. Sami Zayn was then shown in the back. He said he’s not IC champion because of Johnny Knoxville. Zayn said he’s going to show Knoxville what it means to step into his world. Zayn challenged Knoxville to an anything goes match at Wrestlemania.

(McDonald’s Analysis: The storyline sucks, but I’m telling you, this match between Corbin and McIntyre could end up being pretty good in the ring. Besides that, McIntyre basically killed everyone in this match besides Corbin 1,000 times now. So, assuming he beats Corbin at Mania, where does McIntyre go from there? Is there anybody else they can throw at him before Reigns at, presumably, Summerslam? On to the next topic, Zayn’s challenge makes sense. I had a feeling something like that was coming. There’s next to no gimmick matches at Mania so far and this match is going to need some help to make it come off passable. Zayn is excellent, but expecting him to carry Knoxville to anything more than awful is asking a lot. They need as many bells and whistles as possible.)

-Naomi’s music hit and she made her entrance. She stopped at the top of the ramp and Sasha Banks’ music hit. Banks then made her entrance and the pair walked to the ring together. Cole hyped the Women’s Tag Team Championship Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania. They then showed a graphic for Banks and Naomi against Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley after the break. [c]

-They showed a recap of the brawl between Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey from last week. Cole put over the fact that Rousey didn’t tap when she was in Charlotte’s submission hold. Cole hyped a challenge from Charlotte later tonight.

[HOUR TWO]

-Zelina Vega and Carmella were shown sitting at ringside. Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley made their entrance. Cole said they’ve started calling themselves “Liv for Brutality”.

(3) SASHA BANKS & NAOMI vs. LIV FOR BRUTALITY (Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley)

Naomi started with Morgan. Naomi took Morgan to the corner and tagged in Banks. Banks hit an awkward arm wrench on Morgan. The pair traded some moves back and forth, then both kipped up. Banks lured Morgan into the corner then tagged in Naomi who took Morgan down with a modified headscissors, then a leg drop for a near fall. Morgan bounced back, then tagged in Ripley. Ripley hit a big basement dropkick and got a near fall. Naomi put on a headlock, but Ripley threw her into the corner and lifted Naomi on her shoulder. Banks blindtagged Naomi as Ripley disposed of Naomi. Banks attacked Ripley and went for a vertical suplex, but Ripley blocked it and countered with a long stalling vertical suplex of her own. Ripley tagged in Morgan who got a near fall. Naomi tagged in and hit a big jawbreaker on Morgan. Morgan knocked Naomi and Banks to the floor. Morgan tagged in Ripley, who hit a cannonball off the apron onto Banks and Naomi on the floor. Morgan and Ripley celebrated in the ring. [c]

Ripley covered Naomi for a near fall. Cole called this match a barnburner. Ripley set up Naomi for a stalling suplex, but Naomi fought out and hit a springboard kick that knocked down Ripley. Both women were on the mat and tried to reach their partners. Both Morgan and Banks tagged in. Morgan went for a kick but Banks caught it and kicked Morgan. Banks went to the top and posed, then hit a Meteroa on Morgan for a near fall. McAfee called Banks “one of the GOATs around here”. Morgan hit an enzuiguiri then tagged in Ripley who hit a missile drop kick. Ripley went for the cover but Naomi broke it up. Ripley went for the Riptide on Banks, but Banks countered into a Backstabber. Banks hit a splash, then tagged Naomi who hit a split legged moonsault. Naomi went for the cover but Morgan broke it up. Banks tagged in. Banks and Naomi set up a superplex on Ripley. Morgan appeared and got underneath Banks and Naomi. All four women fell in the tower and laid on the mat. Shayna Baszler and Natalya hit the ring and stomped all the downed women.

WINNER: NO CONTEST at 11:00

-Baszler and Natalya threw Ripley into the ringpost. Naomi and Banks fought back against Natalya and Baszler. Vega and Carmella entered the ring and took out Banks and Naomi. Natalya and Baszler looked at Vega and Carmella as they posed with the Women’s Tag Team titles. Cole speculated that Baszler and Natalya had something in mind.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I really wish that Cole and McAfee would stop acting like matches like this are match of the year worthy. Yes, it was solid, maybe even bordering on good, but that’s about it. The finish was terrible. Yet somewhat predictable. So much for my guess about Asuka and Xia Li. Speaking of Xia Li, she’s disappeared again. Not looking good for her future. Anyway, I assume this will lead to the rumored four way. After this match tonight, I’ve changed my mind on the winners. They’re going to go with Morgan and Ripley. I speculated that last week on the Smackdown Post Show, but I think that’s more apparent tonight since they gave them a team name.)

-Johnny Knoxville sent in a video. He ran down some of his stunts and said he’s not smart, but he’s still standing. He said that Zayn is a great competitor but terrible to look at. He laughed at the notion of Zayn wanting an anything goes match. Knoxville said that Zayn is on and he’s “toast”.

-Cole and McAfee were at ringside. Cole told McAfee that he has been summoned to Mr. McMahon’s office. McAfee got up and started to walk away. Cole reminded him that he was asked to apologize.

-Baszler and Natalya walked in the back. They bumped into Sonya Deville. Deville said she loved what they did out there. Deville said they proved to be a dominant force and she’s adding them to the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Wrestlemania. Cole said that the four way is official.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, I guess that’s one way to get there. I wish instead of saying “questionable”, Cole would be upset and say of course they looked dominant, all the other women were down. Just say what the rest of us are thinking. Well, within reason.)

-Cole then set the stage for the McAfee segment and threw to a video recap of the angle with Theory and McAfee last week. In the back, Pat McAfee exited a door labeled Mr. McMahon. Cole speculated that McAfee may have been fired. Cole said McAfee’s future hangs in the balance after his meeting with McMahon. McAfee reentered the arena and entered the ring. He took the mic. He said that when he was eleven years old he found something on USA Network on a random Monday night. He said he saw professional wrestling for the first time and it changed his life forever. He said he saw something that would change him forever. He said he found something that he was put on this earth to do. McAfee said that other professions got in the way, but then he retired. He said Michael Cole called him and asked him to do Smackdown. He said he gave him a hell yeah, then talked about how he was dreaming about the travel. Suddenly, Austin Theory’s music hit and he made his entrance.

-McAfee said that he was told to apologize or he would lose his dream and lose his Wrestlemania match. McAfee started to apologize, but stopped. He tried again, then stopped. McAfee finally said that he’s sorry for beating Theory’s ass last week. He said he’s sorry that his parents raised a douchebag. He said he’s sorry that he made his filter face relevant. McAfee then said that he’s sorry that Theory is a punk bitch. Theory bailed out of the ring as his music hit. He talked trash to McAfee as he backed up the ramp.

(McDonald’s Analysis: That was interesting. I thought for a second that Vince would appear and force McAfee to apologize and go full heel behind Theory. Otherwise, McAfee’s story was cool, I guess. I have interest in this match because I like both guys, but I really hope they use this opportunity to help out Theory. If he jobs to McAfee that would hurt his career badly. Theory needs to be groomed to be a future star, they need to be careful and took full advantage of the opportunity.)

-Cole threw to a recap of the Lesnar and Bloodline segment from earlier in the night. They showed the graphic for Reigns and Lesnar at Mania.

-McAfee rejoined Cole at ringside. The New Day’s music hit and Kofi Kingston made his entrance. They showed a graphic for Kingston against Ridge Holland after the break.

-They showed the “final” installment of the Boogs and Nakamura Toyota Tundra series. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: Wait a minute, they don’t get to keep the truck? Oh, nevermind, they’re just going to steal it if they can’t keep it. It’s cool.)

-Cole threw to a video recap of the New Day against Sheamus and Ridge Holland. They also showed the bump Big E took and shared his Twitter messages after the injury.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Big E is the most positive human being on the planet, man. I really hope that this turns out to be a blessing in disguise. This could be the perfect opportunity for him to come back at the Rumble, get a huge pop, then win the thing and go to Mania and get back on track. We’re a long way away from there, but I want to stick to his positivity and hope for something along those lines.)

-Ridge Holland made his entrance flanked by Sheamus and Butch.

(4) KOFI KINGSTON vs. RIDGE HOLLAND (w/ Sheamus & Butch)

Kingston hit a dropkick but Holland fought back. Cole said that Holland apologized for injuring Big E. Holland threw Kingston down. Holland threw Kingston to the apron. Kingston fought back, then knocked Holland to the floor. Kingston kicked Holland from the apron, then hit a Trust Fall onto Holland that knocked him into the announce table. Kingston got back in the ring and celebrated. [c]

Holland hit a back elbow on Kingston. They showed Sheamus tripping Kingston during the break, which gave Holland the advantage. Holland went for an uppercut but Kingston moved. Kingston hit a series of kicks, then chops. Kingston then hit a flying clothesline, then a Boom Drop. Kingston taunted Holland and went for Trouble in Paradise but Holland caught him and brought him to the corner. Sheamus got on the apron and distracted the ref. Butch got on the apron and threw Kingston to the mat. The ref sent Butch on Sheamus to the back. Kingston hit double knees on Holland then threw something up the aisle at Sheamus and Butch. Butch ran down the ramp and slid into the ring. Kingston kicked him, which distracted him long enough for Holland to hit him from behind. Holland then hit his finish and got the win.

WINNER: RIDGE HOLLAND in 7:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: I don’t know how I feel about Cole saying that Holland apologized. I get the logic behind it, but Sheamus and Holland and Butch play characters that talk about “fight night” and hurting people. I’m not saying to lean into it and exploit the situation, but this isn’t the way to go either. Interesting that they went with Holland again after that. I assume it’s to build his confidence back up after an unfortunate mishap. The match actually wasn’t bad, and I think Holland has some potential. I wonder if they can reinvigorate Kingston now that he’s on his own for a little bit.)

-Cole threw to a video package that recapped the recent happenings in the Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair feud. Charlotte’s music hit and she made her entrance. Cole said that Rousey and Charlotte are both in the building. [c]

-Charlotte said she always has a plan. She said she showed Rousey last week why she’s the most dominant woman in sports entertainment history. Charlotte said no one has caused Rousey more pain than her. Charlotte said she had Rousey seconds away from tapping before the security pulled her off of Rousey. The crowd chanted “you tapped out” and Charlotte said that she can’t hear them. Charlotte said that she’s the mountain you have to climb to create a legacy in WWE. She said that she’s Charlotte Flair and her legacy is bigger than Rousey’s. She said that after Mania, Rousey will leave to have another baby, but Charlotte will be here week after week. She said Rousey doesn’t have the spine or the grace to be the thirteen time Women’s Champion. Charlotte called out Rousey.

-Rousey watched on a monitor in the back. Kayla Braxton appeared and warned Rousey that it may be a trap. Rousey’s music hit and she walked to the ring. McAfee said Rousey doesn’t care if it’s a trap. Charlotte pulled out a kendo stick. She tried to hit Rousey, but she missed. Rousey went for an armbar, but Charlotte got out and rolled to the floor. Rousey followed and slammed Charlotte’s arm into the ringpost. Charlotte tried to kick Rousey, but Rousey caught her foot and applied the ankle lock. Charlotte found another kendo stick and hit Rousey with it. Charlotte applied a crossface using the kendo stick. Rousey refused to tap. Charlotte powerbombed Rousey through the announce table. Charlotte posed over Rousey, who bled from the mouth as they went off the air.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Good segment. Charlotte was good on the mic here and hit all the right notes for me. Rousey didn’t talk, she came out to shut Charlotte up. That’s exactly what Rousey the person would do. I really appreciate that they went that direction and I want them to continue it. Charlotte got the upper hand again, which is fine given the circumstances. She was clearly prepared with somewhere in the neighborhood of ten kendo sticks hidden in random locations, right? Anyway, the quip about being on TV every week is an interesting choice. I’ve assumed this whole time that Rousey will win, but if that’s the case, I guess it could be Charlotte, after all.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Whew, that was a FULL show. I apologize to everyone for not having updates up as often as normal tonight, but they didn’t give me a lot of room to breathe here. This was actually a good episode for the most part. They’re clearly on the road to Mania and they’re getting into the hype full tilt now. The wrestling on this show was solid, not great, but that’s ok. The angles that played out all worked to get us closer to our destination at Wrestlemania. A lot of these Mania matches are predictable, but what’s going to happen in the aftermath is far from it. Reigns and Lesnar are clearly the stars of the show and that was a great way to kick things off. Charlotte and Rousey have been getting top billing for the last couple of weeks and tonight was another good showing from them after a really lackluster start. Beyond that, they’re doing a solid job at building some of the midcard guys for a change. Holland and Boogs are getting attention in a positive way and Butch was on TV again, directly leading to the finish. If Smackdown can hit with one of these guys it’s a win for all of us. Fifteen days until Wrestlemania.

Check out the PWTorch 90’s Pastcast on the PWTorch Dailycast family of podcasts. A great look back at 30 years ago this week in the PWTorch archives.

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