Welcome to the Fightful.com live discussion & coverage for the 3/24/2023 edition of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX from Las Vegas, Nevada.
We will bring full results and breakdowns for every match and segment on the show. Follow Fightful on Twitter.com/Fightful and Facebook.com/FIGHTFULONLINE
Here's what is set for the show.
WWE SmackDown (3/24/2023)
- The Kevin Owens Show, with Special Guest Sami Zayn.
- LA Knight vs. Rey Mysterio.
- Cody Rhodes vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/ Giovanni Vinci).
- Dominik Mysterio to confront his family.
- Drew McIntyre, Sheamus & GUNTHER Join Contract Signing for Intercontinental Title Match at WrestleMania 39.
Refresh the site for the latest updates as the show happens.
- After a video recap of the feud between The Usos and Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, Michael Cole & Wade Barrett welcomed the audience to the broadcast before transitioning to the opening match.
Cody Rhodes vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/ Giovanni Vinci).
The match began with Kaiser & Rhodes locking up in Rhodes's first match on SmackDown in seven years. Kaiser leaned Rhodes in the corner before hitting a jab on his abdomen. Rhodes got Kaiser in a Standing Suplex position before hitting Kaiser with a face-buster as Paul Heyman walked down the ramp. Rhodes hit a running PK Kick on Kaiser before staring daggers at Heyman before the commercial break.
After the commercial break, Kaiser hit two uppercuts on Rhodes for a near fall. Kaiser got a headlock on Rhodes before laying a series of punches on Rhodes as he stared at Heyman at ringside. Kaiser got Rhodes's leg on the ring post and tried to slam Rhodes's knee on the post, but Rhodes slammed Kaiser onto the post before placing Kaiser on the broadcast table and laying in the punches on Kaiser. Back in the ring, Rhodes went for the Cody Cutter, but Kaiser caught him on the ropes with a chop block before hitting a PK Kick on Rhodes for a near fall. Kaiser drove Rhodes's face into the corner before he argued with the referee, which allowed Vinci to punch Rhodes so Kaiser got a near fall on Rhodes. Kaiser got another headlock on Rhodes before hitting a double stomp to the face followed by a sliding uppercut on Rhodes for a near fall. Kaiser got Rhodes up and hit a slap, but Rhodes responded with two jabs before Kaiser hit a chin-breaker. Kaiser launched Rhodes into the corner before going for a running splash, but Rhodes tossed Kaiser with a Bandera before hitting a Disaster Kick on Kaiser. Rhodes went for a Pedigree on Kaiser, but Rhodes stopped himself as soon as he saw Solo Sikoa make his way to the ramp with Heyman. Kaiser took advantage and hit a chop block on Rhodes before sending him outside and slamming Rhodes into the stairs before the second commercial break.
Back from the second break, Kaiser & Rhodes laid each other out with stereo lariats as Sikoa & Heyman watched the match from ringside. Kaiser & Rhodes exchanged multiple jabs before Kaiser hit a gut kick, but Rhdoes responded with a shoulder tackle, a drop slap & a power slam o Kaiser for a near fall. Vinci tossed his jacket to the ring to distract the referee, which allowed Kaiser & Vinci to hit a variant of the Hi-Lo on Rhodes for a near fall. Kaiser hit a corner uppercut and went for a diving uppercut, but Rhodes caught him as he went for a Crossroads, but Kaiser reversed it with a Victory Roll for a near fall. Kaiser & Rhodes got back up as Kaiser went for a lariat, but Rhodes evaded and hit the Cody Cutter on Kaiser before hitting the Crossroads for the pinfall win.
Winner: Cody Rhodes.
- After the match, Paul Heyman & Solo Sikoa confronted Cody Rhodes, saying that he would only be able to cease his pothole to WrestleMania after he went one-on-one against Solo Sikoa. Heyman said that if Rhodes even survived against Sikoa, all roads would still lead to Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who would greet Rhodes face-to-face next week on SmackDown. Rhodes ran down on Heyman for trying to move the goalposts for him, but he said that it did not matter to him before saying that Sikoa was not ready for him & stating that Reigns would find out at WrestleMania that he was not ready for Rhodes either.
- Michael Cole announced that the United States Championship Match between Austin Theory & John Cena would be the opening match for Night One of WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, California.
- SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair came to the ring to cut a promo a week ahead of her match on WrestleMania 39 against Rhea Ripley for the title. Flair acknowledged Ripley's comments on Flair saying that she did not fear Ripley, but she did respect her. Flair said that she was only afraid of her potential. She addressed the claims of "nepotism" made against her & her dad Ric Flair, which she refuted by saying that she would never apologize for continuing the greatest legacy in Wrestling history, and that those who do not like it have to learn to respect it.
LA Knight vs. Rey Mysterio.
Mysterio attacked Knight in the corner with chest kicks before hitting a shotgun dropkick. Mysterio went for a monkey flip, but Knight dropped Mysterio onto the mat. Knight went for an elbow drop, but Mysterio evaded before hitting a Monkey Flip on Knight. Mysterio hit a series of jabs on Knight in the corner, but Knight got back up and hit a face-slam on Mysterio before stomping him down. Knight slammed Mysterio into the corner before laying his boot on Mysterio's neck and hitting a neck breaker on Mysterio. Knight hit a jab on Mysterio before slamming Mysterio's head into the corner. Rey ran the ropes and hit the Tijeras before hitting a dropkick through the ropes and a sliding Frog Splash on Knight to the outside. Rey climbed to the top rope but was distracted by Dominik Mysterio making his entrance, which allowed Knight to hit a cheap shot and dropped Mysterio off the top rope before the commercial break.
After the commercial break, Knight & Rey exchanged punches before Rey got a Schoolboy Roll-up into a shotgun dropkick on Knight. Rey ran the ropes, but Knight caught him with a running boot kick on Rey for a near fall. Knight hit a knee drop on Rey's back before hitting a sheer-drop Back suplex on Rey. Rey ran the ropes, but Knight caught him and hit a Powerslam on Rey before going for a leaping elbow drop, but Rey evaded to make Knight crash onto the mat. Rey hit a back elbow drop before hitting a Wheelbarrow Bulldog on Knight. Rey climbed to the top rope and hit a diving seated senton followed by a springboard crossbody on Knight for a near fall. Knight went for another Suplex, but Rey landed on his feet and went for a Tornado DDT, but Knight reversed it with a Reversed Powerslam for a near fall. Rey hit a shotgun dropkick on Knight and went for the 619, but Knight caught him. Rey hit the Tijeras on Knight and went for the 619, but Dominik pulled Rey's legs, which allowed Knight to get a Schoolboy Roll-Up for the pinfall win.
Winner: LA Knight.
- After the match, Dominik confronted Rey Mysterio in the ring and asked him if he was going to be a man to accept his challenge to a match. Rey said no and walked to the ramp. Dominik then saw his mother & sister (Angie & Aliyah) in the audience area and confronted them at ringside. Dominik ran down to the two before Dominik shouted at Angie to shut up and told them to sit down. Rey immediately confronted Dominik and knocked him with a Shibata-like slap. Rey said that he did not want to hit Dominik, but Dominik made him do it for insulting his wife. Rey accepted Dominik's challenge, setting up a match between father & son at WrestleMania 39.
Women's WrestleMania Showcase Qualifier Match.
Natalya & Shotzi vs. Lacey Evans & Xia Li
Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez watched the match from ringside.
Evans & Shotzi began the match locking up, with Shotzi getting a waist-lock on Evans but Evans slammed Shotzi to the mat in response for a near fall. Evans hit a corner spear on Shotzi before tagging in Xia Li. Xia li hit a forearm strike before hitting a rising knee strike into a T-Bone Suplex on Shotzi for a near fall. Evans tagged in and hit a Bronco Buster on Shotzi before slamming Shotzi's face repeatedly into the mat for a near fall. Evans hit a cheap shot on Natalay, but Shotzi saw this and got a Schoolboy Roll-up on Evans for a near fall. Shotzi hit an enziguri kick on Evans as she tried to tag in Natalya, but her absence in the corner allowed Evans to hit a lariat on Shotzi for a near fall. Li & Evans tried to double-team Shotzi, but Shotzi hit a kick and a chin breaker on Evans. Evans went for a jab on Shotzi but hit Li instead before Shotzi tossed Evans out of the ring and hit a Tope Suicida to the outside. Natalya tagged in, which led to Shotzi & Natalya hitting the Hart Attack before Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter on Xia Li for the submission win.
Winners: Natalya & Shotzi.
- After the match, Shayna Baszler & Ronda Rousey got on the ramp and ran down on the team of Morgan & Rodriguez and the team of Shotzi & Rousey. Rousey & Baszler then informed that they were inserted in the Women's WrestleMania Showcase match for WrestleMania 39.
- WWE Official Adam Pearce moderated the Intercontinental Championship Contract Signing for WrestleMania 39. Sheamus (w/ Butch & Ridge Holland) ran down on Drew McIntyre, who was already in the ring, for trying to steal his spot for the Intercontinental title. McIntyre was dumbfounded by Sheamus's statements and said that Sheamus had a big temper for not splitting what was personal and what is business. Sheamus & McIntyre stared daggers at each other, but Pearce demanded them to sign the contract to make sure their paths continue their crash course. Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER walked down the ramp and entered the ring before demanding Pearce to justify the decision to make it a Triple Threat match to his face. GUNTHER then begrudgingly signed the contract and said that he would beat everyone in the ring before starting at Butch and asking him what was he looking at. Butch launched himself onto GUNTHER, which caused GUNTHER to toss the contract table out of the ring before demanding a rematch from their 2019 NXT Takeover: New York for the NXT UK Championship against Butch ahead of the commercial break.
GUNTHER vs. Butch (w/ Sheamus & Ridge Holland).
Butch hit a series of chops on GUNTHER, but GUNTHER responded with a running boot and a vicious body slam on Butch. Butch hit an uptick and a slap before locking in a Kimura Lock, but GUNTHER reversed it with a Death Rider on Butch. GUNTHER hit a vicious chop on Butch before hitting a short-hand chop on Butch. GUNTHER hit another short-hand chop on Butch before slightly kicking Butch's head, which lead to Butch locking in a Triangle Choke on GUNTHER, but GUNTHER reversed it with a Boston Crab on Butch before transitioning into a Crossface, but Butch broke the hold by bending GUNTHER's fingers, but GUNTHER responded with a chop. Butch hit two enziguri kicks, but GUNTHER evaded a third and hit a Release German Suplex before placing Butch on the top rope and kicking him out of the ring before the commercial break.
Back from the break, GUNTHER teased going for the 10 Beats of the Battering, but Butch caught GUNTHER's hand and snapped GUNTHER's fingers. Butch hit an enziguri kick, a diving double-stomp on GUNTHER's arm, and went for a wrist hold on GUNTHER, but GUNTHER reversed it with a sleeper hold before Butch got a rope break, but GUNTHER immediately went for a German Suplex, but Butch landed on his feet and hit a roundhouse kick on GUNTHER. Butch saw GUNTHER outside and went for a diving Moonsault on GUNTHER outside, but GUNTHER evaded and hit a chop on Butch. Butch accidentally attacked McIntyre, which caused McIntyre to distract Butch briefly. McIntyre brawled with Sheamus & Ridge Holland outside, which distracted Butch long enough to allow GUNTHER to hit a lariat into the Emerald Flowsion for the pinfall win.
Sheamus & GUNTHER confronted each other after the match, but McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on GUNTHER before the Banger Bros locked eyes.
- Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) cut a promo backstage and called Ricochet & Braun Strowman "Smooth Operators" for their baldness. They were interrupted by Braun & Ricochet before the duo told the Street Profits that they would prove who is the better team on the WrestleMania Showcase on WrestleMania 39.
- In the Main event segment, Kevin Owens hosted a special edition of "The Kevin Owens Show" with the special guest, his tag team partner Sami Zayn. Owens asked if the introduction came out well, and Zayn said that he wanted something subdued. Owens made a lighthearted jab at Zayn for wanting to get his pop for the entrance, but Zayn said that he wanted to talk about the Tag title match against The Usos on WrestleMania 39. Zayn said that WrestleMania felt differently to him this year, which Owens agreed to it before gifting Zayn a WrestleMania Themed KO-Mania T-Shirt, with the front of the shirt having the lettering "Wrestle-ZAYN-nia". Zayn was ecstatic for the new t-shirt and immediately put it on before the two embraced, but The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) attacked them from behind. Jimmy & Jey hit a double thrust kick on Owens before hitting the 1D on Zayn. The Usos escaped the ring after Owens swung a chair at the, The Usos, Zayn & Owens stared daggers at each other to end the broadcast.
- Check out the post-show podcast for a full review of the show on Fightful's YouTube & Twitch channels. You can check Fightful's Results Section here.