WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS (4/12): Keller’s report on Cody and Bayley celebrating their title wins, Owens vs. Styles vs. Rey, Knight vs. Lashley vs. Escobar

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


APRIL 12, 2024

Commentators: Corey Graves, Wade Barrett

Attendance: WrestleTix reports today that 13,296 tickets were distributed so far; arena set up for 13,297.



-They opened with the new “Then, Now, Forever, Together” with Paul Levesque doing the voiceover.

-A clip aired of Cody Rhodes being introduced as the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

-They cut to a wide shot of the arena as Corey Graves said at WrestleMania 40, history was made, destinies were realized, champions were crowned, an empire was toppled, and a story was finished. He welcomed everyone to a new era.

-Cody made his ring entrance. He asked, “Detroit, what do you guys want to talk about?” He said last Monday he was interrupted by The Rock. A “Rocky sucks!” chant broke out, which overwhelmed a competing “Rocky” chant. “Who the hell told you it was open mic night, bitch?” he said. He then said, “Forgive me for cursing; I don’t know what’s gotten in to me.” He said it was uncomfortable and awkward, but he believed The Rock when he said he was going off to Hollywood and he would be coming back to look for him. He said he won’t have to look very far because he’ll be standing right there. He said that’s in the rear view, but now they have to look forward.

He said in three weeks, he’ll be flying to the first of their international premium live events in France for Backlash. He said he’s going to face one of the six wrestlers competing in two three-way matches later. He listed each of the names rather methodically. He said he’s noticed that the arena is packed. He said he was going to turn his back to the camera because he wants to see everyone. He turned. A “Cody! Cody!” chant broke out. He said he is no longer the hunter, but the hunted. “If you come at the king, you best not miss,” he said.

He mentioned he was once undesirable, then undeniable, and now the Undisputed WWE Champion.

(Keller’s Analysis: Nice enough promo. It’s Cody being Cody, and it’s working really well. He can just talk casual and have the fans hanging on his every word, which comes across as earnest and genuine. Not every Cody promo has to be epic or ostentatious, and this was dialed down and came across as a humble celebration.)

-They showed Bayley arriving earlier. Then they cut to Rey Mysterio and his crew arriving.

-Backstage live, Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman walked up to a door that said, “American Nightmare.” Kevin Owens walked past them and said they’re not invited as he walked in. He pointed them toward a broom closet. Solo said he’d take care of him. Heyman said winning and losing matters and there are consequences to losing. He said that’s the champion’s locker room and Cody occupies it. He said to get it back, they have to win the belt back. “And that’s by order of the Tribal Chief,” Heyman said.

-L.A. Knight made his ring entrance first. [c]

-Highlights aired from WrestleMania 40.

(1) L.A. KNIGHT vs. BOBBY LASHLEY vs. SANTOS ESCOBAR – Qualifier to Advance to No. 1 Contendership match for Backlash

Lashley’s ring entrance took place. Santos Escobar came out last. An inset interview aired with Legado del Fantasma. Escobar smiled and said no one in LDF attacked Dragon Lee last week. Wade Barrett said if true, then “who the hell was it?” The bell rang 22 minutes into the hour. Lashley threw Knight to the floor seconds into the match. Then he fought him at ringside. Escobar leaped through the ropes and tackled both of them. They cut to a very early break. [c]

Back from the break, Knight leaped to the top rope and set up a superoplex on Escobar. Lashley came up behind them and powerbombed them and then scored a two count on Escobar. Knight clipped Lashley as he had Escobar in the air. Knight gave Lashley a Crucifix Driver for a two count. Escobar landed running double knees into Knight in the corner, but Knight fought back with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam and then a leaping elbowdrop. Knight set up his finisher on Escobar, but Angel and Humberto attacked him. They joined Escobar in giving Knight a triple powerbomb.

Lashley charged at Escobar, but Angel and Humberto stomped away at him. The Street profits ran out and went after them. Elektra Lopez jumped into Angelo Dawkins’ path. B-Fab then kicked Lopez as Dawkins laughed. Ford landed a running flip dive on Angel and Humberto at ringside. Escobar rolled up Lashley for a two count. Lashley delivered a flatliner on Escobar and then went for a spear. Escobar sidestepped him. Knight then Escobar his BFT for the win. Barrett said there’s a whole arena with tingling loins.

WINNER: Knight in 8:00 to advance.

-Kayla Braxton interviewed Rey Mysterio and the LWO. She asked him to comment on Escobar’s loss. Rey called it karma. He accused Santos of attacking Dragon Lee and said it will come back to bite him. Kayla said he denied it. Carlito interjected that of course he denied it. Rey said the truth will eventually surface no matter how much you twist it. Rey talked about being inducted into the Hall of Fame and forming the LWO, but he said deep down he truly feels he has another run as WWE Champion. The LWO cheered and clapped.

-The Bloodline’s Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, and Jimmy Uso made their entrance. [c]

-More WrestleMania clips aired.

-Heyman stood mid-ring and introduced himself. He said by orders of The Tribal Chief, they make no excuses for what happened at WrestleMania. He said they don’t blame John Cena, the Undertaker, or even Jey Uso. He said The Tribal Chief has ordered that they accept accountability. He said at WrestleMania 39, Cody took his eye off the ball just one second, distracted by Solo, and then Roman took advantage and retained his title. He said at WrestleMania 40, Cody flipped the script. He said when Reigns had a chair in his hands at WM40 and he could’ve smashed Cody with it legally, he didn’t. “Why?” he said. “Because after ten years of waiting on revenge on Seth Rollins and that betrayal of The Shield, Reigns gave in to temptation. He said Reigns was distracted by his lust of revenge on Rollins. He said Cody was prepared and strategic and ready “and like that, it was over.” He calmly said Cody is the new Undisputed Champion.

Heyman’s voice got louder as he said Reigns will rise from the ashes. Solo interrupted and stared intensely at Heyman. He said if winning and losing matters, then there are consequences to losing. “So that means consequences need change,” he said. He pushed Heyman aside as Heyman looked concerned. He took a step toward Jimmy, who asked if he is blaming him. He hugged Jimmy and said he loves him, and then stepped away. Tama Tonga, in a hoodie, attacked Jimmy. Graves said that’s the son of Haku, who has been wreaking havoc in Japan for years. Heyman’s reaction indicated he wasn’t in on this plan. He took off his hoodie and lifted Jimmy. Solo then gave him a Sampan Spike as Heyman yelled, “No!” He landed several more strikes and then let out a loud yell as Heyman gasped in the corner. Solo turned to Heyman who cowered in fear. Solo asked him to raise his arm in the air, and he did. With his other hand, he told his phone to call Roman Reigns. Solo yanked the phone out of his hand and stomped on the phone.

Tonga brought a chair into the ring. Solo put it over Jimmy’s head. Heyman yelled, “This is not what the Tribal Chief wants!” Solo charged and hip attacked Jimmy and the chair. Heyman hesitantly walked past Solo and Tonga who followed him to the back, a terrified Heyman not taking his eyes off of them.

(Keller’s Analysis: They pivoted quickly. Heyman and via proxy Reigns were babyfaces here, making no excuses for how Reigns beat Cody. Solo attacking Jimmy despite protests from Heyman sets up a really interesting dynamic of Heyman, Reigns, and Jimmy on one side and Solo and Toma on the other, but there are moving parts yet to settle including Jey.) [c]


The bell 52 minutes into the hour. Graves ran down Breakker’s family – father Rick and uncle Scott. Bron blocked a takeover by Grimes and overpowered him. Grimes threw a superkick that showed a ton of light to the point that it basically looked like Bron leaned back to avoid it by a good 18 inches. Grimes flew at Breaker, but Greakker caught him mid-air and slammed him, speraed him for the win. Graves said Breakker is going to be a problem for the entire roster.

WINNER: Breakker in 90 seconds.

-A sponsored video package aired with more WrestleMania highlights, including Bayley’s win. [c]

-A soundbite aired with A.J. Styles saying tonight isn’t just another match, it’s a chance for him to fix what went wrong at WrestleMania. He vowed to demolish everything. “This isn’t personal; it’s necessary,” he said. “I will step over both of your dead bodies to get what I want.” He addressed Knight: “The damage I caught tonight will be just a taste of what you’re going to get next week.”


-Bayley made her entrance, proudly wearing her title belt. Fans chanted, “You deserve it!” She said it feels great. She said title reign feels different and special because the locker room of talent is better than ever and because of the fans. She said they’ve been there for all of the ups and downs and injuries and setbacks. She said they never gave up on her vision. “I thank you so much,” she said. She was interrupted by Tiffany Stratton.

Stratton walked out and said it was a little rude that she wasn’t given an opportunity at WrestleMania. She said she’s clearly building to some kind of open challenge, and she accepts. “Because it is Tiffy-time,” she said. Bayley said she wasn’t about to issue an open challenge. She said she had someone in mind, Naomi. Stratton said she couldn’t even win a title if it glowed in the dark. Naomi marched out to her music. Stratton told Naomi she was interrupting her and said she already beat her. Naomi said she has beaten her before, but she has earned every single thing he has achieved in WWE and she doesn’t plan on stopping now. She told Bayley she can’t accept her challenge yet because she wants to take on “clueless Tiffany right here and right now.” They cut to a break as Graves called for a referee. [c]

-Braxton stood outside of the trainer’s room. Heyman stepped out and looked solemn. She asked if Jimmy was okay. Tama walked up to Heyman, who looked terrified again. Tama said, “By orders of the Tribal Chief.” Solo walked up to Heyman and looked at his taped thumb. Then they both walked away. Heyman said, “What the hell does that mean?”

(4) NAOMI vs. TIFFANY STRATTON – Winner Faces Bayley for the Women’s Title

They joined the match in progress 12 minutes into the second hour. Bayley watched from ringside. They cut to a break at 4:00. [c]

Naomi won with a Jackknife pin.

WINNER: Naomi in 9:00 to earn a Women’s Title match.

-A vignette aired with Austin Theory and Grayson Waller reflecting on their WrestleMania victory. They showed scenes of them out on the town with the tag belts with them everywhere.

-They cut to The Street Profits, Pete Dunn & Tyler Bate, and Nick Aldis. Aldis said they’d find them challengers next week.

-They showed Rey warming up backstage. Graves asked if he has one more run left. [c]

-More WrestleMania highlights aired.

-A vignette aired with Logan Paul taking credit for WWE having their biggest events since he arrived. He touted the social media views he generated. He said it’s the “Logan Paul Levesque Era.”

-Chelsea Green and Piper Niven made their ring entrance.

-A clip aired from earlier of Chelsea Green asking Nick Aldis if he’d ever keep them off WrestleMania and she made a pitch for Aldis to draft them. Niven said they want an opportunity to show what they can do together. Aldis said he would find them opponents. Naomi said he’s not insufferable and asked Green what she was talking about.


Jade made her entrance. Barrett asked if she even needs a partner. Belair then made her entrance. The bell rang 35 minutes into the hour. Belair tossed Green down. Green immediately tagged in Naomi who slammed Belair and then landed a cannonball in the corner. Naomi went for a swing splash out of the corner, but Belair moved. Green tagged in, but so did Jade. Green looked for a tag, but Naomi wasn’t there. Jade dominated Green and landed a quickly Jaded for the win.

WINNER: Jade & Belair in 2:00.

-Byron Saxton interviewed Kevin Owens backstage about this opportunity. KO said asked about the cool camera shots the last few weeks where they follow wrestlers to the ring. He asked for Bryon’s mic and then talked as the camera followed him to the entrance stage and to the ring. KO said he and Rey both have sons taller than themselves, but his son isn’t an idiot loser. [c]

-Barrett plugged next week’s Smackdown: Bayley vs. Naomi, Angelo & Humberto, AOP, New Catch Republic, and The Street Profits in a four-way, plus Knight vs. the winner of the main event.

(6) KEVIN OWENS vs. A.J. STYLES vs. REY MYSTERIO – Qualifier to Advance to No. 1 Contendership match for Backlash

Styles made his ring entrance next followed by Rey. The bell rang 47 minutes into the hour. They cut to an early break. [c]

All three were down on the mat after a German suplex by Owens of both Rey and Styles. When Owens went for a top rope swanton, Styles lifted his knees. Styles climbed to the second rope. Rey rose from the floor and set up a huracanrana. Styles blocked it and turned it into a Styles Clash onto Owens. Styles then pinned Rey.

WINNER: Styles to advance to face Knight next week on Smackdown to earn a WWE Title match against Cody at Backlash.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A newsworthy show, and not much Draft talk. They set up a Women’s Title match, a contendership match for Cody’s title, a big Bloodline development, and a Cody celebration segment, plus promos and vignettes with other key players such as Logan Paul and Theory & Waller.


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