WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS (3/1): Keller’s report on The Rock addressing Cody’s challenge, Kabuki Warriors vs. Bayley & Dakota Kai, Carlito vs. Escobar in a Street Fight

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


MARCH 1, 2024

Announcers: Corey Graves, Wade Barrett

Attendance: WrestleTix reported earlier today that 11,497 tickets were distributed so far; arena set up for 11,579.



-The show opened with a video package of highlights from Elimination Chamber last Saturday.

-They showed the stadium in Philadelphia hosting WrestleMania 40. Then they showed the exterior of the Desert Diamond Arena and then the crowd inside the arena as Corey Graves introduced the show.

-The Bloodline made their entrance. Roman Reigns walked to the ring followed by Paul Heyman holding up the Undisputed Universal Title belt, Solo Sikoa, and Jimmy Uso. Graves hyped the Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes main event at WrestleMania. As they entered the ring, WWE showed several new camera angles highlighting how full the arena was to the very last row of the well-lit upper deck.

Ten minutes into the show, after soaking up some boos, Reigns said, “Glendale, Arizona, acknowledge me.” Fans cheered and booed. He said it used to be louder. He said maybe he said the wrong city. He said, “Phoenix, Arizona, acknowledge me!” More cheers and boos. A “Cody!” chant broke out. He rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration and said, while wincing, “I’m going to try this one last time, and if you don’t get on my page, I’ve fulfilled my obligation and I’m leaving.” He yelled for Glendale to acknowledge him. Similar reaction as the previous two times, followed by the loudest “Cody!” chant yet.

Reigns said, “Call the FBO, fire up the jet, you’re welcome, we’re done here.” Heyman approached Reigns and stammered as he said they have some other business and can’t leave. “He is coming out,” Heyman said. “Just give me a moment.” Heyman announced, “In just a moment, The People’s Champ, the BBE in this WWE, the greatest movie star of all time, will be here live after this commercial break.” [c]

Back from the break, The Rock’s music played. He played to the crowd for a couple minutes as his music played. A “Rocky!” chant broke out. He teased speaking, then stopped and boos broke out. It’s 20 minutes into the show at this point. He finally said: “Are you sure you want to boo The Rock?” He said he had some news to share that they might even be proud of. “Apparently, Glendale is ten miles away from Phoenix.”

He asked who was from Phoenix. He said he did some research and found out that the no. 1 city in America for cocaine and meth use is Phoenix. “Finally, your life has meaning because you cactus-loving crack heads have something worth shooting into your veins.” He then said, “Finally, The Rock has come back to Arizona!”

He said he’s in a good mood and everyone in the Bloodline is in a good mood. He said Solo doesn’t look like it, but that’s his happy face. He said it’s been decades, but professional wrestling is cool and exciting and electrifying once again “because of The Rock, Roman Reigns, and The Bloodline.” Fans chanted “Cody!”

Rock said Cody is not cool. He said Cody challenged him and his answer is no. He said everyone wants to challenge him one-on-one, including every woman in the arena. “Now you settle down you Crackhead Karens,” he said. “You Meth-head Marys. You ain’t ready for Rock’s 22 inches of heaven.” He said he wasn’t talking about his “Holy Moses,” but rather his 22 inch guns that he’ll wrap around Cody. He said they heard his challenge and laughed at his challenge and now have a counter-offer.

He said Cody thinks he’s tough along with his walking clown emoji best friend, Seth Rollins. He proposed “the biggest tag team match in the history of professional wrestling” – him & Reigns vs. Cody & Seth. He said if they beat them on night one, then on night two Cody’s title match will be free of The Bloodline and barred from ringside. He said Cody would then be able to finish his story one-on-one against Reigns.

He said on the other hand, if they beat them on night one, then it’s Bloodline Rules and “anything goes” in his title match. He suggested he could end up on commentary or Heyman provides a foreign object or Solo sings the National Anthem. He said the thought of Solo singing is funny, but he has a good voice. Fans chanted, “Solo! Solo!” He said he might use the chair he’s sitting on as a weapon.

He said if Cody and Seth don’t accept their challenge, he will do everything in his power to make sure he doesn’t win that title. He said he sits on the Board “and The Rock is your boss.” He said there’s no general manager or vice president who can stop him. Fans began chanting, “Triple H! Triple H!” He said if they don’t accept his terms, they will end Cody’s story tragically. He told Cody and Seth to give them their answers next week on Smackdown. He was about to say, “If you smell what The Rock is cooking,” but Reigns pushed the mic down and stopped him. There was tension. Heyman looked shocked. Reigns looked down at the mat. Rock glared at Reigns. Fans chanted, “Holy shit!” (The best thing about Smackdown moving to USA Network later this year is no more muting the crowd like they kept doing throughout this.)

Reigns said he’ll do anything for his family and his friend, “but I need this one thing – acknowledge me.” He looked right at Rock as he said it. Rock looked irked and breathed a few times. Reigns kept staring. Rock took off his sunglasses and lifted the mic slowly and said, “Roman Reigns, my family, I acknowledge you as my Tribal Chief.” Reigns nodded subtly in satisfaction. Rock offered his hand. Reigns shook it. They shifted to a hug.

The fans chanted, “You sold out!” Rock called the fans idiots and said they are family and they will do anything for family. He told them to go home and smoke some more crack. He closed with, “If you smell!” He paused and handed Reigns the mic. Reigns said, “…what The Bloodline is cooking.”

Graves called it “an absolutely stunning turn of events.” Wade Barrett said Cody must be pulling his hair out.

(Keller’s Analysis: Epic segment. Reigns got his time doing his thing. Rock did his heel work centered on the local fans, but then shifted to a counter-offer with special stips. The moment where Rock acknowledged Roman was really tense and really important to keep Reigns from seeming like he’s an underling, while also setting up what will eventually be as Reigns vs. Rock match down the line. The relationship between Reigns and Rock is going to be a big story for the next year, I suspect. The only aspect I’m not crazy about is the real-life board position Rock holds and that being part of the on-air story since, if he has such pull, why does he need to win a special tag match in order to get Roman an advantage? Also, how does this affect Seth’s situation? Apparently he’s wrestling on night one before he defends against Drew McIntyre on night two, which weakens the impact of Drew’s win since Seth will be coming into the weekend with an injured knee and now pulling double-duty. It’s notable and refreshing that Rock didn’t say “sports entertainment” and opted for using the term “pro wrestling.”)

-In the locker room, Austin Theory and Grayson Waller were laughing as they watched footage from the Elimination Chamber on Waller’s phone. L.A. Knight walked in and asked if they’d seen A.J. Styles. They said they hadn’t. Knight showed off the busted chair used against him. Randy Orton walked into the background and looked over their shoulders and laughed and said it’s hilarious. He said since they’re laughing at what happened to at the Chamber, he’s going to beat up one of them in hilarious fashion. Waller volunteered Theory. Orton patted Theory hard on the shoulder and left. “First Australia, and now this? You’re throwing me under the bus.” said a frustrated Theory. Waller said it’s a great opportunity. [c]


The bell rang 45 minutes into the hour. Graves and Barrett talked about Stratton’s 79 rating in the WWE video game. Graves asked Barrett why WrestleMania is so important to wrestlers. Barrett said it’s the biggest payday of the year. He said there’s plenty of other reasons. Naomi landed a leaping faceplant for a two count. Stratton rolled to ringside. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]

Back from the break, Stratton landed a handspring elbow in the corner and then a running basement dropkick for a two count. Naomi drove Stratton’s head into the mat with a leaping double knee squeeze while they battled in the ropes. That led to a two count. Stratton came back with a spinebuster for a two count. Graves claimed 15,129 were in attendance. (WrestleTix’s tally this morning was under 12,000.) Stratton raked Naomi’s eyes and rammed her into the ringpost. She followed by landing The Prettiest Moonsault Ever for the win.

WINNER: Stratton in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Giving Stratton a mostly clean win is a good move. Beating a credible opponent like Naomi sends the message Stratton is a rising star.)

-A sponsored video package aired on the Damage CTRL saga.

-The Kabuki Warriors made their ring entrance. [c]

-Bayley and Dakota Kai made their entrance after the break. The heel trio bailed out to ringside.

(2) THE KABUKI WARRIORS (Asuka & Kairi Sane w/Iyo Sky) vs. BAYLEY & DAKOTA KAI – Women’s Tag Team Title match

The bell rang at the top of the hour. Asuka and Kairi attacked Bayley from behind as Bayley and Dakota were figuring out who would start the match. It looked slightly suspicious. Kairi knocked Bayley off the top rope as Asuka distracted the ref. Fans chanted, “Bayley! Bayley!” Asuka whipped Bayley into Kai, knocking her off the ring apron to the floor. A “Let’s Go Bayley!” chant rang out. Asuka and Kai double-kicked Bayley for a two count. Kairi rammed Bayley’s head into the mat over and over.

At 3:30, Bayley countered the heels and dove for a tag to Kai who had just crawled onto the ring apron again and reached her arm out. Asuka held Bayley back. Dakota leaped off the ring apron. Bayley looked crestfallen. “What the hell?” gasped Graves. Bayley looked crushed that she let herself believe Dakota was on her side. She charged after Dakota at ringside. She got the better of her until Asuka and Kairi joined in the fight.

WINNERS: No decision in 4:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s annoying when a match just ends without any attempt to reveal an official outcome. Dakota seemed just sincere enough in recent weeks to not make Bayley seem too naive for giving her a chance to prove her loyalty.)

-Barrett confirmed Theory vs. Orton was booked as the main event. They showed Bron Breakker backstage getting ready to head out for another match.) [c]

-They showed Kairi, Asuka, Iyo, and Dakota gloating together about what they did. Knight walked past them with a chair, still looking for Styles. Jade Cargill then showed up and eyed them. Nick Aldis stepped out of his office and told Damage CTRL he’d deal with them later, but then invited Cargill into his office.


Graves said Breakker is “intensity personified.” Barrett said Quinn has everything it takes to become a major star, and disrupting Breakker’s momentum is the fastest way to do it. Breakker, though, immediately speared him and scored a three count.

WINNER: Breakker in 0:05.

-They went to Graves and Barrett at ringside. They reacted to Breakker’s win, and then shifted to a video package on Legado del Fantasma and the LWO saga.

-Carlito made his ring entrance. [c]

-A graphic acknowledged the death of Michael Jones, a/k/a Virgil, the former assistant to Ted DiBiase.

(4) SANTOS ESCOBAR vs. CARLITO – Street Fight

The bell rang 19 minutes into the hour. They fought to ringside early where Carlito got the better of Escobar. Carlito looked under the ring and found an apple. He paused and smiled. Escobar recovered and dove onto him. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]

Graves and Barrett said Escobar’s rating on the video game was only 78. Carlito bashed Escobar on the skull with a chair as he dove through the ropes. (That was rather unprotected and stiff.) Back in the ring, Carlito threw a trash can into the chest of Escobar. When Escobar raised his arms to block a trash can shot, Carlito put the trash can over his head. He then bashed the can with a chair. Carlito followed up with a neckbreaker onto a chair for a near fall. Carlito pulled a table out from under the ring. Escobar fought back. Carlito dropped him over the top rope crotch-first. Angel and Humberto ran out and attacked Carlito. Graves said it’s legal under street fight rules. (Why’d they wait so long to interfere?)

They triple-teamed Carlito, but only scored a two count. Escobar called for the table to be set up. Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde charged out to even the battle. Angelo and Humberto threw them into ringposts. Rey Mysterio then made his return, which got a big pop. He came out on crutches, but he used the crutches as a weapon when Humberto and Angel charged at him in the aisle.

Back in the ring, Carlito spewed chewed up apple pieces at Escobar and set up a 619. Rey hit a 619. Carlito then slammed Escobar through the table (rather sloppily) for the win. Del Toro, Wilde, and Carlito lifted Rey onto their shoulders. Zelina Vega joined in the celebration.

WINNER: Carlito in 11:00.

-They cut to Orton warming up in his locker room. [c]

-They plugged next week’s Smackdown: Logan Paul returns plus Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross.

-Backstage, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne made a case to Aldis that they came so close to beating the champs, so they want to earn another title match at WrestleMania. Aldis said he saw what they did, but he has been talking to Adam Pearce and would have an announcement soon regarding the tag titles. Aldis heard a ruckus. He walked over and saw Knight who was still looking for Styles. Aldis said he told Styles not to be at Smackdown tonight. Aldis said Styles found it fitting to fly across the world to screw him at WrestleMania to keep him away from a World Title match at WrestleMania. He promised revenge and told Aldis there’s nothing he can do about it.

-Kevin Owens made his entrance and joined in on commentary for the main event. [c]

(5) AUSTIN THEORY (w/Grayson Waller) vs. RANDY ORTON

Theory came out first accompanied by Waller. Owens insulted them. Then Orton’s full ring entrance aired. The bell rang 47 minutes into the hour. Orton got early advantage. At ringside, Orton was about to slam Theory on the announce desk when Waller intervened. Theory then shoved Orton into the ringpost and then slammed him onto the announce desk. Theory stood on the second rope and struck Orton’s pose as they cut to a break. [c]

KO said all their monitors are broken now. Orton set up a superplex off the second rope. Orton slipped and then Theory seemed to turn it into a Blockbuster, but Theory sold it as if he took the worse of it and Orton no-sold the landing. Weird. The ref checked on Theory, who was fine. KO said the ropes are very slippery. He said it should be illegal how oiled up Theory is. Orton gave Theory a snap powerslam and then clotheslined Theory over the top rope to the floor.

Orton slammed Theory onto the announce desk and then threw him into the ring. Orton then slammed Waller onto the announce desk. KO untied Waller’s shoe and bragged about it. Orton then gave Theory a draping DDT. Fans chanted, “RKO! RKO!” Orton pounded the mat and then went for an RKO, but Theory blocked it and then rammed Orton shoulder-first into the ringpost. He followed with a Blockbuster for a two count. Theory elbowed Orton in the head and scored a two count. Theory snapped Orton’s neck over the top rope, but when he followed up, Orton countered with an RKO for the win.

WINNER: Orton in 9:00.

-When Waller attacked Orton, Owens charged into the ring for the save. Theory attacked KO. KO fought back and gave Theory a stunner. He the went for a Stunner on Waller, but Waller blocked it. Orton then surprised Waller with an RKO. Orton and KO eyed each other with a little trepidation, but then smiled and fist-bumped.

(Keller’s Analysis: Looks like we’re headed to an RKO-KO (R-KO-Squared?) tag team match against Waller & Theory.)


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