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SmackDown RunDown 3/29/24:The Storm is Coming

Updated: Apr 5

Pretty Deadly vs. Randy Orton & Kevin Owens 

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter ***

Pretty Deadly Orton Kevin Owens

The match was fine, and it was fun to watch the after-the-match shenanigans, where KO and Randy hit their finishers on Pretty Deadly and chased Logan Paul out of the arena. It was really close to mattering, but it didn't do much for anybody. This segment/match maintained the momentum the feud had but didn't increase it. Also, this could have been a cool moment for Pretty Deadly. They just got a win over Randy, and Kevin Owens after Logan knocked Kevin out for them. Plus, they were already holding their own, but the moment was dampened at the end. Randy and Kevin Owens didn't need to get Pretty Deadly back immediately. They could have let them escape with the win and chased Logan out of the arena. 

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

I assumed this match was going to set up some tension between Kevin Owens and Randy Orton, but it didn’t at all. Instead, Logan Paul attacked both of them, while Pretty Deadly helped Paul for no reason other than they are both heels. It took away a big moment from Pretty Deadly and did nothing to sell the match. 

Bayley Attacks IYO 

Reverse Hipster: Mattered *****

IYO Cuts promo

IYO cut an excellent promo in Japanese about how Bayley only used Damage Control to prop herself up, and IYO and Dakota felt obligated to help her after she helped IYO win the title. However, they outgrew Bayley, and eventually, they just had to get rid of her. She called Bayley an embarrassment and a tragedy and said she would always regret considering her a friend. IYO's delivery was perfect. I felt like I was watching a villain in a movie. Bayley wasn't a big fan of the promo, so she ambushed IYO. She hit her with the lights and tackled her through the green screen till she was pulled off of IYO. It was an excellent segment. The bad blood is being brought to a boiling point, and the build gets better each week. This feud should be the main event on WrestleMania night one. 

Rob: Mattered ***

So far, the feud has largely been between Bayley and Damage CTRL. Iyo Sky had to cut a big promo to make it personal, and I think this did the trick. It felt like Iyo was the one leading Damage CTRL when they were bullying Bayley, and Bayley snapped. This stands no chance of main eventing with the Rock and Roman Reigns tagging, but they have definitely earned their spot as a championship match at WrestleMania.

Jade's Debut, The Storm is Coming

Jade Cargill entrance

Reverse Hipster: Mattered **

Jade's debut was very simple. She came out and declared she was the best. It's definitely not going on an all-time debut list, but it was effective. Jade had epic entrance music, dark lighting, and fake snow to show The Storm is Coming. WWE debuted Jade as a star, and that was the point.

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

The last two weeks of Jade Cargill’s presentation have been a miss for me. Cargill’s entrance reminds me a lot of her AEW entrance (see also: Goldberg in WCW and WWE). Cargill was not a particularly strong talker in AEW, so I think they should just let her performance in-ring do the talking. So far, the best we’ve seen of her is in the Royal Rumble match. 

Dakota Kai Makes Fun of Jade and Bianca 

Damage control interview

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter **

Dakota Kai did a backstage interview before her match with Bianca. She said Bianca wasn't even on her radar, but she stuck her nose in their business, and maybe if she was the smartest, she wouldn't have. The interviewer brought up Jade, but Kai dismissed her by saying all she did was stand there, which is true. This segment was unnecessary and didn't add much to the show.

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

Echoing what Reverse Hipster said, we already knew Bianca Belair and Damage CTRL were feuding, and this didn’t add anything to the feud.

Nick Aldis Bombarded Backstage 

Nick Isla Dawn

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter **

Isla Dawn ran up to Nick to try and get him to change their theme song, and she had to be dragged away by her partner. AJ then scolded Nick for asking LA to stay away instead of telling him. It's not a completely irrelevant segment, but you could definitely skip it. 

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

When I see a segment like this, I’m always hoping it will turn into something later, but I’m not necessarily optimistic, especially in Isla Dawn’s case, that there will be a payoff. For now, it didn’t matter to the rest of the show.

Steet Profits. vs. Austin Theory & Theory 

Montez Ford Austin Theory

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter **

The Street Profits were winning handily, but then the Final Testament jumped Bobby and B-Fab, which distracted Thr Profits and cost them this match and jumped the Street Profits. I know they cost the Street Profits on purpose, and that's the only reason this gets two stars. This pisses me off because the The Street Profits are the best tag team in WWE. Yet, WWE keeps finding reasons to keep them out of the tag picture. 

First, it was because of the Bloodline story. However, it seemed like they would be the ones to beat the Usos at Wrestlemania. But no, Sami and KO got them as a last-minute tag team because they needed a constellation prize since they couldn't beat Roman. That decision undermined Wrestlemania. The tag match didn't deserve the main event. The Tag titles themselves still haven't returned to relevance, and Sami Zayn is worse off than before he won them. This year, the Street Profits are written out for this faction feud. Just putting the titles on The Street Profits would be a moment and would restore the titles to glory. WWE better have a hell of a match for the Street Profits this year. 

Rob: Didn’t Matter **.5

If you got smart to WWE’s formula, you knew this match didn’t matter before it started. The Street Profits and Bobby Lashley were already feuding with Karrion Kross and AOP, and the distraction finished the Street Profits. It doesn’t exactly give off a WrestleMania-worthy feud. For what it’s worth, I’d rather see Street Profits get a chance at the tag team championships. 

LWO and Legado del Fantasma

LWO vs. Legado

Reverse Hipster: Mattered *

This segment mattered because it set up a Wrestlemania match, but make no mistake about it. It was bad. Santos comes out to brag about outsmarting Rey and putting him on the shelf, and Dominik comes out and does more of the same with more boos. Then Rey comes out with the LWO and faceoff with Legado & Dominik. Rey challenges Santos and Dominik to a tag match. You heard that right.

In one fell swoop, Rey turned most of his faction and most of Legado into cheerleaders. They could have had a lumberjack match or a big mixed tag match, but instead, we are getting two-on-two, which makes no sense. But it gets worse. Rey then chose Dragon Lee as his partner. Rey chose a flailing Dragon Lee or Carlito and the guys that actually had his back. If they turned on him, I'd understand. I will give Dragon Lee credit. I've never seen an up-and-comer swoop in and steal time like a part-timer at WrestleMania. 

Rob: Mattered ***

This set up a WrestleMania match, and the inclusion of Dragon Lee makes it a much more interesting match. Rey Mysterio can pass on the torch to Lee while finishing the feud with Santos Escobar and Dominik Mysterio. It was a little bit of a bummer that the rest of LWO and Legado were a non-factor in this, but I think the brawl afterward paid it off. 

Bianca and Naomi Backstage

Naomi reps EST

Reverse Hipster: Mattered ***

Naomi is so necessary. She just brings such good energy wherever she goes, and watching her get Bianca to unite with her and forget the past was a welcomed positive moment on SmackDown. Bianca has made her stance clear she has Naomi's back and this is about them not Bayley.Also Naomi showed her support for her SmackDown sister Bianca by putting EST in her hair. Wholesome. 

Rob: Mattered ***

I think this could have been such a good story if it was built over two months instead of two weeks. Regardless, Naomi and Bianca Belair have done good character work, and they have made it believable that they could get on the same page in a short period of time.

Judgment Day Meeting

Rhea and Damian

Reverse Hipster: Matterd ***

The Judgment Day wasn't happy to see Dominik join Legado against Rey. They seemed concerned he would be leaving them. After Dominik tried to reassure them, Damien decided that this Wrestlemania was very important for all of them individually. Then Rhea was like is there something you need to tell us? It seems all of Judgment Day is afraid that they will drift apart and won't have the support of the group because of their individual goals. This was a quick segment, but it was also very effective and very quickly set up a very large plot point. Could this Wrestlemania be the end of the Judgment Day?

Rob: Mattered ****

This was the most interesting Judgment Day has been to me in a long time. Dominik Mysterio clearly disobeyed line of command by going out and helping Legado del Fantasma without consulting the others. Damian Priest hinted that he has his eye on single’s success, potentially hinting at a huge cash in at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Rhea Ripley is trying to keep everyone together while Judgment Day is getting attacked on all fronts. Will WrestleMania be a huge night for the Judgment Day or the beginning of the end?

The New Catch Republic vs. Legado 

New Catch Republic

Reverse Hipster: Mattered **

The New Catch Republic won their way into the WrestleMania tag team 6-pack challenge, and they deserve it. However, the match was cheap because Legado got beat up before the match started, and to be honest, too many matches in the tag tournament had funny circumstances. 

Rob: Mattered ****

I expected this to be a throwaway match as Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo limped into the match. Instead, they slowly worked up to an amazing in-ring pace with Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate. New Catch Republic has been awesome in a tag team, and Garza and Carrillo showed that they could be tag team championship contenders in this match. The tag ladder match should be a contender to steal the show with the talent involved.

Orders of the Tribal Chief

Jimmy Paul Heyman

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter **

Basically, the Bloodline tried to pretend the Rock's epic beatdown of Cody was ordered by Roman so that Roman could get the credit and clout the Rock is getting. However, that was a very ineffective strategy. Next, Roman declared that Solo would fight Jey next week, but let's be real, this could have happened next with a minute of setup before the match, and we would all understand. This was an unnecessary segment. 

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

I agree with Reverse Hipster here that this could have been conveyed some other way. Reviewing SmackDown segment by segment has shown me that a lot of these character promos are often ineffective and a waste of time. 

AJ Styles Gets Attacked by LA Knight 

AJ Styles LA

Reverse Hipster: Mattered ***

This was a pretty funny segment. AJ called out LA Knight, saying he knew he was hiding somewhere. He jumped the cameraman because it's not uncommon for people to pretend to be cameramen to attack people. Then someone tried to hop the barricade, but the man was restrained by security(shocker), and it turned out to be just a run-of-the-mill loon. Then  AJ started talking trash once he felt like LA Knight was not there, but then right behind him, La Knight started taking off his ridiculous security guard costume and whipped Aj's butt. Aj ran out of the stadium, and LA Knight said that AJ couldn't run at Wrestlemania. WWE has done a great job keeping this feud entertaining and heated.  

Rob: Mattered ***

I think this narrowly mattered because it kept the feud hot. LA Knight’s personality made this particular encounter more entertaining. I still think the energy of the feud necessitates making a stipulation match, and there is still time before WrestleMania to announce it.

Tiffany Vignette 

Tiffany Stratton lips

Reverse Hipster: Didn't Matter ***

Tiffany had a vignette showing how hot and perfect she is at everything. Don't get me wrong—I love Tiffy Time—but this felt late. We already know Tiffany, and she's taking WWE by storm and is undefeated. This would have been a fine vignette if she hadn't debuted yet, but now that she has, I feel like these Vignettes need to go somewhere if we are going to get them now. 

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

I agree with Reverse Hipster. We already know Tiffany Stratton, and she does a great job conveying her character in better ways on the mic and in the ring. Let’s hope there is still an opportunity for her to get a big moment at WrestleMania.

Bianca Belair vs. Dakota Kai

Reverse Hipster: Mattered ***.5

Bianca Slams KAi

Dakota Kai and Bianca's match was decent. Kai brought more aggression than I would have expected from her. Although Kai had a good showing in the end, Bianca showed why she is the EST by overcoming Kai and hitting her with the KOD. The real magic started after the match. Damage control missed breaking up the pin by inches. They started jumping. Bianca and Bayley didn't help, but Naomi did. They kept beating up both Naomi and Bianca, but then Jade arrived instead of Bayley. Jade cleared the whole ring by herself and stood tall with Naomi and Bianca. I don't know where this is going, but this should have been Jade's debut on SmackDown. These two are like Team Bad 2.0, the Queendom. It was a wonderful moment of unity to end SmackDown. But we are still left wondering where IYO and Bayley were.

Rob: Didn’t Matter **

Frankly, this didn’t feel like a main event-worthy match. Bianca Belair is now aligned with Naomi and Jade Cargill, and it seems destined they will face Damage CTRL in a three vs. three match. I’m also upset because I think Belair is worthy of a singles match. I would have loved to see her square off with Tiffany Stratton or Jade Cargill to make a new star in the process of WrestleMania season. Perhaps this match could still do that, but for right now, I’m not bought in. 

Reverse Hipster's Final Grade 7.8/10 C

Bianca Naomi Jade

I'm enjoying the WWE Gang Warfare. Everyone is being split up into factions, and these factions allow for more superstars to shine. I like it. It reminds me of the attitude era. However, this episode of Smackdown was in the okay territory. It had moments of substantive entertainment. However, there were also some big moments that did not matter in important feuds, and there isn't a single match on the card worth raving about. This was a step back for SmackDown. 

Rob’s SmackDown Final Grade 7/10 C

Bayley Attacks IYO

This week’s SmackDown felt like a step in the wrong direction. Aside from a couple of great moments, a lot of SmackDown didn’t matter, or it was a hold for a feud we already knew existed. Here’s hoping that means WWE saved something great for the go-home show.

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