WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Live Grades, Reaction, Highlights From March 8

Credit: WWE.com

Cody Rhodes and World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins rolled into American Airlines Center in Dallas Friday night for SmackDown and with a very important answer to The Rock’s challenge for a match against him and Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns on Night One of WrestleMania 40.

Did The American Nightmare and The Visionary accept the challenge, setting up a second, massive main event for The Showcase of the Immortals?

Find out with this recap of the March 8 show, which also featured the latest chapter in the rivalry between Bobby Lashley and Karrion Kross as they clashed in one-on-one action.

Match Card

1 OF 8

Announced in advance for Friday’s show were:

Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins answer The Rock’s challenge
Kevin Owens and Randy Orton vs. Austin Theory and Grayson Waller
Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross
Logan Paul appearance

Logan Paul Returns to SmackDown

2 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

United States Champion Logan Paul kicked off the show with a special announcement of a historic first for WWE: his Prime Hydration will be the center ring sponsor of all Premium Live Events moving forward, beginning with WrestleMania.

He introduced his business partner, KSI, only for their victory lap to be interrupted by Randy Orton. Paul fended off an RKO but KSI ate the finisher before Orton stood tall to close out the opening segment.

WWE has never had an on-canvas sponsor in its long history. While it will take some getting used to, it is a regular occurrence in combat sports and even in other wrestling companies, and will likely make the company a ton of money.

As for the Orton-Paul feud, this essentially solidifies the idea that they will square off in Philadelphia, though it would have been nice to see The Viper a bit more revenge-minded given that the United States Champion cost him a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania.


Grade

B


Top Moments and Takeaways


“I am the secret sauce. In the WWE, business is booming. One could almost say that the WWE is in its prime,” Paul said.
KSI took a hell of an RKO for a guy who is not a trained worker.

Randy Orton and Kevin Owens vs. Grayson Waller and Austin Theory

3 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

On the heels of Randy Orton’s victory over Austin Theory in the main event of last week’s show, The Viper teamed with Kevin Owens to battle the former chosen one and Grayson Waller in tag action.

The heels had the opportunity build heat, even if the outcome was never really in question. Orton received the hot tag late, unloaded on the opposition, and then joined Owens for a sweet pop-up RKO to Theory for the win.

After the match, Paul attacked both men and teased using his brass knuckles on them. Orton wrestled the weapon away and swung at The Maverick, who ducked. The Viper stopped just shy of plastering Owens, which hinted at dissension between them.

This is heading toward a Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship and if Paul’s previous WrestleMania performances are any indication, it should be a good one.


Result

Orton and Owens defeated Theory and Waller


Grade

B


Top Moments and Takeaways

Waller absolutely uncorked a clothesline on Owens that flattened the former Universal champion ahead of the commercial break.
The pop-up RKO combo from the babyfaces was a great finisher.
WWE is subtly telling the story of Theory making the save for Waller, or getting put in tough situations because of him and appears to be poised to split the two up. Babyface Theory doesn’t sound like someone the WWE Universe is ready to accept.

Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross

4 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

Backstage interviewer Kayla Braxton sat down with Bayley, who admitted it has been a tough week for her after Dakota Kai betrayed her a week ago. She vowed to tear down the very Damage CTRL that she constructed.

Back in the arena, the rivalry between Bobby Lashley and Karrion Kross continued as The All-Mighty squared off with the leader of The Final Testament in singles competition.

The combatants had a physical, heavy-hitting match that was rarely pretty but never needed to be.

Late in the match, Lashley downed Kross with a spinebuster and set up for the spear when Akam and Rezar, The Authors of Pain, hit the ring to cause the disqualification. The Street Profits attempted to make the same but the fury of The Final Testament proved to be too much and the heels stood tall to close things out.

It appears as though the company is going to milk this feud for another couple of weeks, presumably with the hopes of blowing it off at WrestleMania in a six-man tag team match.

Top Moments and Takeaways

“I’m all alone,” Bayley told Braxton to wrap up her interview.
Bianca Belair expressed zero sympathy for Bayley. It was the latest addition to the edge that she has expressed lately. There was attitude ahead of Elimination Chamber, she let her confidence shine inside the cage, and tonight’s back and forth with Naomi served as the latest example. Could a heel turn be on the horizon (even if she is justified in her opinion)?

Scarlett stood between Lashley and the ring post, preventing the former WWE champion from driving Kross into it.
Lashley bled from the shoulder but it was not enough to stop him from driving Kross into the post later in the match.

Michin vs. Tiffany Stratton

5 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

Tiffany Stratton sought to build on her recent momentum as she squared off with Michin, who was looking to reverse her own recent misfortunes.

On this night, it was Tiffy Time as Stratton downed her opponent and delivered a picture-perfect Prettiest Moonsault Ever for another impressive win.

This was another showcase for Stratton more than anything and she continued to rise to the equation. Stratton is the future of the women’s division and every time she shows out against a veteran performer such as Michin, it becomes more apparent.


Result

Stratton defeated Michin


Grade


C+


Top Moments and Takeaways

Stratton has mastered the art of presentation. From her facial expressions to body language and how she taunts the crowd, she understands how important that aspect of her performance is and that understanding is what helps to set her apart from her opponents.
After the match, AJ Styles cut a scathing pretaped promo on LA Knight, who responded by obliterating the television he was watching with a steel chair. Seemed like a bit of overkill.

Dragon Lee vs. Angel Garza

6 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

Dragon Lee dealt Legado def Fantasma a blow Friday night, defeating Angel Garza in a match set up earlier in the broadcast.

Much of the contest took place during the commercial break, making it nearly impossible to judge its quality but as a means of heating up LDF after last week’s return of Rey Mysterio, this was efficient, if nothing else.

The heels beat down Lee, a known associate of LWO, and stood tall to re-establish some dominance. Now, the promotion turns to what will likely be Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar in Philadelphia and if that is the case, it could very well be a dark horse candidate to steal the show.


Result

Lee defeated Garza


Grade

C+


Top Moments and Takeaways

Angel feigned an injury to his right knee and rocked Lee with a dropkick to turn the tide in his favor. The camera caught a great shot, from the ground up, of the heels standing over Lee heading into the break.

The Answer

7 OF 8

 

Credit: WWE.com

Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins will square off with Roman Reigns and The Rock on Night One of WrestleMania 40 on April 6.

That much we know following the main event segment of Friday’s SmackDown.

There are still countless unanswered questions, however, ahead of the Showcase of the Immortals.

Despite Rock acknowledging Reigns as The Tribal Chief a week ago, there is still obvious tension between them and it was on full display in some of the looks and facial expressions exchanged between them.

Rhodes slapped Rock to close Friday’s show, a receipt for the embarrassing strike he endured back at the WrestleMania Kickoff Event. The smile on Rock’s face suggests the action was exactly what he wanted out of The American Nightmare and now that he also established, on-screen, that he is his boss, it will be interesting to see what direction things head moving forward.


Grade

A


Top Moments and Takeaways

The Rock had a fancy new lightning bolt addition to his entrance this week. In other news, Black Adam was still a flop.

“Do you have the authority to issue that challenge because I believe last week, you acknowledged Roman as your Tribal Chief,” Rhodes said, questioning The Great One’s power.
“You listen to me, Mr. Midlife Crisis!” Rollins exploded after remaining quiet for the entirety of the segment.
Rock leaned into the idea of himself as the boss, citing his place on the Board of Directors of TKO.

Overall Grade

8 OF 8

WWE has a clear vision of what this year’s WrestleMania is going to look like and took the necessary steps Friday to make sure that vision comes to fruition.

We got the latest in the rivalries pitting Lashley and The Street Profits against The Final Testament, as well as the LWO vs. Legado del Fantasma. We know Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, and Logan Paul are on a crash course for a United States Championship match, and the main event segment spoke for itself.

The women’s division could use some more attention, especially as the show continues to feature Tiffany Stratton, Bianca Belair, and Naomi, but has no direction of note for any of them at this particular moment.

That aside, WWE is rolling right now.


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