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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 9, 2024
CHARLOTTE, N.C. AT SPECTRUM CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
Announcers: Corey Graves, Wade Barrett
Attendance: WrestleTix reports today that 12,069 tickets have been distributed so far; arena set up for 12,838.
-They opened with an aerial shot of Charlotte, N.C.’s skyline. Corey Graves said they would hear from Paul “Triple H” Levesque about the fallout from the WrestleMania LX Kickoff Show the previous night that aired live on Peacock and YouTube. They showed Levesque backstage.
-A video package recapped the happenings with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and The Rock. They zoomed in on “We Want Cody!” chants and signs. Then they showed the family tree graphic with Rock saying there is only one royal family in pro wrestling and they are bound by blood. Then they showed Cody confronting Reigns and asserting it’s his choice whom he faces at WrestleMania and he was choosing Reigns.
-Graves said Cody will try to finish his story against the most dominant champion of the modern era as the camera panned the impressive crowd filled to the last row. They even went to a wide shot of the stage showing the full lower deck on both sides of the stage.
-Levesque made his way out onto the stage. Graves said last night was controversial and he likely has a lot on his mind. Wade Barrett said Levesque has had to spend 50 percent of his time soothing bruised egos and the other 50 percent of his time taking this industry to new heights. Adam Pearce and Nick Aldis were also standing in the ring.
Levesque said it certainly sounds like they’re on the road to WrestleMania. He said the Kickoff event got them started, “but at some point it took a hard left turn and now that road is on fire.” He said it feels really good. He said he wanted to clear up one thing. Fans began loudly chanting, “Rocky sucks!” He said there was some confusion in the air and perhaps some people don’t know their role. “I feel like there were people who went out there and tried to assert their authority when they don’t really have any.” He said he really doesn’t care where someone sits, there is one thing that is abundantly clear whether people like it or not, the answers come from one place and one place only, “and right now, you are looking at him.” He leaned into the camera and stared with certitude that he’s in charge.
Levesque said at WrestleMania, Roman will defend against Cody in the main event. Mostly cheers, some boos. Levesque said there some people in the back who… at which point a loud “Cody! Cody!” chant took over. He said there will be some people who will be disappointed in that decision. “But here’s the thing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you like that decision.” He welcomed everyone to the Road to WrestleMania.
Aldis then said it’s time to shift attention to Seth Rollins. He said his challenger will be determined in the Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia. He said they kick things off with qualifying matches tonight. Pearce pointed at the big screen which showed the ten wrestlers who will battle to qualify: Randy Orton, Bronson Reed, Kevin Owens, Logan Paul, A.J. Styles, The Miz, Bobby Lashley, Ivar, Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn, Dominik Mysterio, L.A. Knight. He announced Styles vs. Drew was up first.
-McIntyre made his entrance. He wore the shirt with a gravestone saying C.M. Punk’s comeback lasted from 2024 to 2024. He thanked everyone for showing him with their wallets they feel the same way about Punk as he does. He said his shirt is selling better than Punk’s. He promised everyone that Punk won’t see a penny of the profits. He said everybody is happy that Cody chose Reigns. He said he played with everyone’s emotions and played games, and he helped motivate him to finish the story. “You’re welcome!” he said. He said he saved WrestleMania by taking out Punk and motivating Cody to finish his story, so now all he has to do is save the World Hvt. Title. He said he’ll win the Chamber and finally have his moment at WrestleMania. He said he’ll give everyone a champion they can be proud of who is best for business.
-Styles made his entrance next.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was good to see Levesque reassert his authority after shrinking in the presence of The Rock last night. The announcement of the Chamber determining Seth’s challenger would seem to point away from Seth being part of a WrestleMania tag match with Cody against Rock & Reigns. Drew is so entertaining now going after Punk the way he is. He’s working hard, and effectively, at not getting lost in the mix despite so much focus on Rock, Reigns, and Cody lately.) [c]
-They showed Randy Orton getting off a bus. Graves said he was forced to miss WrestleMania last year, but now he shifts his focus to Seth. They showed Sami arriving earlier. He said this year he doesn’t have a clear path to WrestleMania. Barrett said they’d face off later.
(1) A.J. STYLES vs. DREW MCINTYRE – Chamber Qualifier
As Styles and Drew faced off and the bell was about to ring, Knight’s music played and he walked out. The bell rang 22 minutes into the hour. Styles went after Drew’s leg early. Drew chopped Styles off the top rope to the floor. He limped after him and threw him into the ringside barricade and into the time keeper’s area. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, Styles landed a tornado DDT. Both were down and slow to get up. Knight asked if Seth’s actual middle name is “Freakin’.” He said they need to check his birth certificate. Barrett said his loins were tingling because Knight joined them at ringside. “You better calm down over there,” Knight said.” (Funny.) Drew blocked a Styles Clash set-up and chopped away at Styles’s chest. Drew lifted Styles onto his shoulders and then climbed to the second rope. Styles slipped free and turned it into a running sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Fans chanted, “This is awesome!”
Styles lifted Drew onto his shoulders, but Drew fought free and landed a Future Shock DDT. Drew kipped up, but clutched his knee after he landed. He held himself up by the ropes as he made his way into position for a Claymore. Styles ducked the Claymore and then applied a Calf Crusher. Drew reached the ropes. When Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, Drew knocked him out of mid-air to the floor. Drew tossed Styles over the announce desk. Knight moved out of the way and then poured his water bottle on Styles. Styles stood up and eyed him. Knight offered him a drink. Drew shoved Styles into Knight.
Back in the ring, Styles kicked the middle rope into Drew’s crotch as he re-entered. Styles rolled up Drew, but Knight jumped onto the ring apron and distracted the ref. Styles got up and angrily knocked Knight to the floor. Drew hit a Claymore and got a three count.
WINNER: McIntyre in 12:00 to advance to the Chamber.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Who is the face or heel in the Styles-Knight conflict that heated up here?)
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Sami Zayn backstage regarding facing Orton later. Sami said the last week has proven nothing is certain in WWE. He said last year he was in the main event of WrestleMania and this year he is watching that window close quickly. He talked up Orton and then said if he wins, he’ll be facing Drew among others in the Chamber. He said it’s not an easy path, but it’s a path, so he’ll take it. [c]
-They showed race car driver Ryan Blaney arriving at the arena and checking out the venue earlier in the day.
-A vignette aired with Pretty Deadly. Elton Prince saw Queen Elizabeth in the sky. Kit Wilson was down because his hand was injured. Prince said it’s WrestleMania season so they need to show everyone what Pretty Deadly is all about in WrestleMania season.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is one of those skits where there are magic invisible cameras filming them from four angles.)
-They showed Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate backstage. Then they showed Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa backstage. Graves hyped the match later to earn a shot at the tag titles at Elimination Chamber.
-They went to Graves and Barrett who threw to a video package on the break-up of Damage CTRL last week.
-They showed Bayley arriving at the arena with a rolling suitcase.
(2) BIANCA BELAIR vs. MICHIN – Chamber Qualifier
Michin was accompanied on the stage with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows during her entrance. Barrett said Michin wants to bring The O.C. back together. Michin landed three kicks to Belair in the opening seconds for a one count. Belair rolled to ringside. Michin landed a running kick to the chest from the ring apron. They cut to a break a minute into the match. [c]
Michin mounted Belair in the corner and superplexed her to the mat. Belair landed a K.O.D. for the win seconds later.
WINNER: Belair in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: No surprise at all Belair won. What aired of the match was solid.)
-They showed Bayley walking backstage looking sullen and pensive. [c]
-Graves said there were over 12 million social media views of clips of last night’s WrestleMania “press event” in the first 12 hours, a new record, including over 4.7 million live viewers worldwide on all platforms.
-Bron Breaker approached Levesque backstage. Bron said he’s received two great offers and isn’t sure what decision to make. He asked for advice. Paul Heyman walked in and smiled and shook Bron’s hand and said it was wonderful to see him. Bron left. Heyman told Levesque that’s one hell of a talent from a really wacky family. Levesque seemed like he wasn’t in the mood to deal with Heyman. Heyman said he’d be back next week with his Tribal Chief Roman Reigns and The Rock. (Fans booed, wishing they were there this week.) Levesque said he’s looking forward to it.
-Bayley made her entrance. Graves said she stunned the entire WWE Universe last week on Smackdown. Bayley smiled at the reception she received. She said she’s been having a tough time deciding how to put words to what happened last week. She said she feared some fans thought he had it coming. Fans chanted for her. She smiled wider. “I’ll take it,” she said. “Maybe I had it coming. Who knows?” She said maybe they’re cool with each other now. She said the fans been on the journey with her and they know what’s in her heart when it comes to WWE. She said Damage CTRL meant everything to her.
She said she gave and gave and gave, and all they did was take from her. She talked about them laughing behind her back. She said Iyo Sky will learn a lesson the hard way at WrestleMania. Dakota Kai came out and said she’s been texting her all week. She asked if she’s ghosting her. She denied knowing anything about what happened last week. Bayley said she was laughing with the others every week and knew what was going on the whole time.
Dakota said she was put in a really tough spot, but she always believed in what Bayley created. Fans booed, skeptical of her. She said Iyo believed too until Kairi Sane arrived. She said she got in her head. Bayley asked why she didn’t tell her. Dakota said she wanted to. Fans booed. She said Iyo and the two of them had each other’s backs. She said Bayley has always been a mentor to her. She said it seemed her plan was working. She said she won the Royal Rumble and they were so close to having it all. She said she thought the situation with Kairi and Asuka would blow over, but it never did.
Bayley asked what now. Sky’s music played and she walked out with Asuka and Kairi Sane. Dakota picked up a chair and Bayley looked fearful, but she swung at Iyo, Asuka, and Kairi instead. Those three bailed out to ringside as Bayley asked Dakota if she really has her back.
(Keller’s Analysis: Bayley was good here and the fans have certainly embraced her quickly. Dakota seemed sincere and it’s nice that it wasn’t a swerve, or at least not yet.)
-Kayla interviewed Orton about his match with Sami later. Orton said he knows more than anyone that it’s not a given to make it to WrestleMania. He said watching from the sidelines last year was horrible. He said a viper always knows when to strike, and they always know when to strike. He said as far as Reigns is concerned, he can sit back and wait. He said his Road to WrestleMania has taken a detour. He said if things go his way, he’ll head to the Chamber next. He closed with “R-K-O.”
-Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne made their ring entrances. [c]
-A promo aired with Bobby Lashley, B-Fab, and The Street Profits. They talked about Lashley facing Bronson Reed next week on Raw in a qualifier.
(3) PETE DUNNE & TYLER BATE vs. D.I.Y. (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) – Winner earns WWE Tag Title match at Elimination Chamber
Ciampa and Gargano’s entrance aired after the break. The bell rang 19 minutes into the hour. Barrett talked about these four wrestlers wanting to be on a WWE premium live event, noting how long it’s been and how infrequent it’s been for them. Graves touted the “return to form” for Dunne. He said he put the brakes on the aggression and is more focused on strategy now. They fought at ringside, with DIY getting the advantage as they cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Bate lifted Gargano onto his shoulders and then swung Ciampa around with a swing before dropping Gargano onto him. Gargano made a comeback and tagged in Ciampa. Bate and Ciampa battled mid-ring. Gargano came up bleeding from the mouth or nose. Ciampa tagged in Gargano. They set up Meet in the Middle. Dunne leaped onto the ring apron and grabbed Ciampa fingers and snapped them. (Imagine the years of special training it takes to learn how to do that!) Bate took over against Gargano and then leaped over Gargano with a dive onto Ciampa. Dunne entered and finished Gargano by punching him out of mid-air and hitting The Bitter End.
Dunne and Bate offered fist-bumps afterward. Ciampa reluctantly did. A groggy Gargano had a bloodied face and didn’t return the fist bump.
WINNERS: Dunne & Bate in 8:00 to advance to the Elimination Chamber.
-Byron Saxton interviewed Dom backstage. He said he’s going to win the Chamber and face Seth and then he and Mami will have matching titles. Saxton said Dom still has to qualify. In walked KO, who revealed he’s his opponent next week on Smackdown. KO said he can call his shot all he wants, but he’ll give him the beating of a lifetime next week and dedicate it to the greatest Luchador ever, Rey Mysterio. Dom turned and left. R-Truth walked in and called KO “Miz.” He said he’s supposed to be on Raw. KO looked confused. “Don’t let Nick catch you. Nick Aldis,” he said. KO said he’d be careful.
-They showed the exterior of the Spectrum Center.
-Backstage, Logan Paul interrupted a conversation with Pearce and Aldis. “Qualifying matches are for unqualified people,” he said. “I’m qualified.” He touted his resume to Aldis. He said he should get the Rock treatment. He said he should be able to step off a private jet and call his shots. (This almost feels like passive-aggressive digs at Rock.) He took a deep breath and then agreed he’d wrestle next week in Utah, but he doesn’t like it. He said he’ll win the Chamber and then beat Seth and walk out as a double-champion. He asked to know who he’s wrestling. Aldis said he’ll face Miz.
-Barrett hyped Raw features Knight vs. Ivar and Lashley vs. Bronson. Graves hyped Logan vs. Miz and KO vs. Dom next week on Smackdown. Barrett said Naomi vs. Zelina Vega and Shotzi vs. Tiffany Stratton in qualifying matches for the women.
-Sami made his ring entrance first. Then Orton. [c]
-A commercial hyped Rock and Reigns on Smackdown next week.
(4) RANDY ORTON vs. SAMI ZAYN – Chamber Qualifier
The bell rang 45 minutes into the hour. Orton shoulder checked Sami to the mat. Barrett said Sami drew the short straw by ending up with perhaps the toughest of all possible opponents. Sami side-stepped Orton and tossed him to the mat. Orton stepped out of the path of Sami, and Sami stopped short and backflipped off the ropes to center-ring. Orton returned to the ring. Orton beat up Sami at ringside. Sami fought back and dropped Orton onto the table. They cut to a break at 4:00 with Sami playing to the crowd. [c]
Orton superplexed Sami at 7:00. Sami landed a Blue Thunder Bomb at 10:00 for a near fall. Barrett said he might have just thrown his best shot at Orton. Orton then caught Sami with an RKO for the win.
WINNER: Orton in 11:00 to quality for the Chamber.
-As Orton celebrated, Drew entered the ring and stared down Orton to close the show.