Friday 2 February 2024

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WWE Smackdown Live 2/2/24 February 2nd 2024


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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Live Grades, Reaction, Highlights After Royal Rumble

Zazi Baloch


    On the heels of a blockbuster Royal Rumble premium live event, WWE hit the Fox airwaves Friday night with a star-studded edition of SmackDown, headlined by an appearance from Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

    What did The Tribal Chief have to say about his successful title defense against LA Knight, AJ Styles, and Randy Orton, and would Men's Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes confront his prospective WrestleMania 40 opponent?

    Find out the answer to those questions and more with this recap of a February 2 episode with plenty of implications for The Showcase of the Immortals.

Match Card

1 OF 8

    Announced in advance for Friday's show were:

    • Roman Reigns return
    • Bayley's WrestleMania opponent revealed
    • Logan Paul's Royal Rumble controversy
    • An appearance by Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes

Logan Paul Kicked Off SmackDown, Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory

2 OF 8


    United States Champion Logan Paul kicked off SmackDown by taking verbal shots at Alabama and his Royal Rumble opponent, Kevin Owens.

    The Prizefighter emerged from the back and engaged his rival in a round of back-and-forth before Austin Theory entered the arena for his opening match against Owens.

    It was not a surprise by any means that Theory and Owens had a good match because both are quality in-ring competitors with long histories of delivering between the ropes.

    Theory controlled enough to retain his status as an upper-mid-card heel who can mix it up with any opponent while Owens fended off interference from Paul and Grayson Waller to pick up a hard-fought victory in which he outsmarted his heel opposition.

    He chased Paul to the back and stood tall among the people to close out a more-than-solid start to the show.


    Owens defeated Theory



    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • Corey Graves officially announced the new SmackDown commentary team comprising of himself and Wade Barrett, the first time a former pro wrestler has filled the play-by-play role since Gorilla Monsoon.
    • Paul insulted Owens, telling him he smelled bad. Owens responded, "I bathed in PRIME before I got here," to which the champion said, "It must not have been Cherry Freeze." Cherry Freeze is, in fact, a fire flavor, for those wondering. 
    • Graves pointed out how Owens obscured the brass knuckles from referee Jessika Carr, a great observation that played on the Rumble finish that doomed his US title aspirations.

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Contender's Match

3 OF 8


    LWO (Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro) vs. Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate vs. Legado del Fantasmo (Angel and Humberto) vs. Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)

    "The Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate moved one step closer to a shot at The Judgment Day and the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship in Perth, Australia at Elimination Chamber by way of their victory over LWO, Legado del Fantasma, and Pretty Deadly Friday night.

    The match featured nonstop action from all four teams, each getting an opportunity to shine en route to the British Strong Style tandem earning the win.

    The match not only highlighted what is low-key an uber-talented tag team division on Friday nights but also allowed the individual feuds to shine. LWO and LDF have unfinished business and the team of Bate and Dunne reconnected during their ongoing feud with Pretty Deadly.

    Was it a show-stealing match, something possible given the talent involved? No, but it was an entertaining sprint full of unflinching athleticism and the right team went over.


    Bate and Dunne defeated LWO, Legado del Fantasma, and Pretty Deadly



    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • Wilde recreated his jaw-dropping dive from the ropes onto the heels at ringside entering the commercial break.
    • The action here was relentless. All movement, all the time. 
    • Zelina Vega pulled Elektra Lopez off the ring apron, held the ropes open for LWO to wipe out LDF, and added a Meteora to her new rival.

Bayley Makes Her WrestleMania Decision

4 OF 8


    Backstage, before the commercial break, Bayley overheard her Damage CTRL teammates mocking her and claiming, "Bayley is done tonight," setting the stage for a big angle.

    In the ring, Bayley was joined by WWE Women's Champion Iyo Sky and Women's Tag Team Champions Asuka and Kairi Sane. She propped up Damage CTRL, calling them "family" and saying she would not have accomplished what she did without them.

    She teased choosing Women's World Champion Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 40 before turning to her teammates and asking them why they never saw anything in her and if they were done laughing at her now.

    She fended off a beatdown by Damage CTRL with the assistance of a lead pipe and laid down the challenge to Sky for The Showcase of the Immortals.

    This well-executed segment started with a callback to the demise of Evolution, where Batista overheard Triple H and Ric Flair talking trash, then severed ties with the group later in the night.

    Bayley had the people on her side and she will be the overwhelming fan-favorite when she takes to the squared circle in Philadelphia for what will, arguably, be the biggest match of her Hall of Fame-worthy career.



    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • "Sometimes, the people you thought were your friends...sometimes you have to prove them wrong," Bayley said.
    • The moment Bayley turned around and spoke in Japanese to her teammates drew a great reaction from the fans. It was her "thumbs down" moment to her (closest) doubters.
    • "And about that announcement...Iyo Sky, I'll see you at WrestleMania!"

Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits vs. The Final Testament

5 OF 8


    The battle for SmackDown dominance continued Friday night as Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits battled The Final Testament's Authors of Pain and Karrion Kross.

    The match never got underway, though, as a brawl broke out. Kross and Lashley squared off but Scarlett interfered before The All-Mighty could apply his Full Nelson finisher. This brought former Hit Row member B-Fab into the ring and she leveled Scarlett with a big boot.

    The babyfaces stood tall to close out the brief segment.

    This was more about evening the odds and introducing B-Fab than anything. We have repeatedly seen brawls and beatdowns between the two teams but no actual match to this point. Expect that to change soon, perhaps by Elimination Chamber on February 24.


    No contest



    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • It was nice to see Triple H and the creative team pay off those previous backstage interactions between Lashley and B-Fab here, even if it feels a bit late.
    • Backstage, SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis talked with Bron Breakker before Adam Pearce interrupted and suggested the former NXT Champion sign nothing until he talks to him Monday at Raw. Jade Cargill entered the picture and Pearce warned her about Aldis' business methods.

Michin vs. Tiffany Stratton

6 OF 8


    Tiffany Stratton passed every test put before her in NXT and Friday night, she made her in-ring debut on SmackDown, defeating Michin in a competitive match.

    Stratton had plenty of opportunity to shine, seizing control entering the commercial break and maintaining it coming out of the timeout. Michin fought back and looked like she may have a chance at victory, but Stratton downed her and delivered the Prettiest Moonsault Ever for the win.

    Michin was the perfect first opponent for Stratton here in that she is a veteran worker, knows how to shine others up, and is selfless between the ropes. She sold well for the newcomer and let her get her stuff in, ultimately putting her over in a match that started slow but had fans more engaged by its conclusion.

    This was as great first introduction to Stratton on the main roster. Her star is bright and will only further illuminate the WWE Universe with more standout performances against respected opponents like Michin.


    Stratton defeated Michin



    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • The crowd was not totally into this one early but Stratton is a star, and Michin is among the most underrated competitors on the WWE roster, and they won the fans over by the end of the match.
    • Stratton delivered a cartwheel Alabama Slam that was simply fantastic.
    • The newcomer overshot her moonsault but it did not matter because her athleticism won the crowd over and had them counting along with the pin.

Cody Rhodes' Decision

7 OF 8


    The decision.

    After World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins pled his case to Cody Rhodes for a match at WrestleMania on Monday's Raw, The American Nightmare made his way to SmackDown to announce the champion he will challenge at WrestleMania 40.

    After waxing poetic about the concept of finishing his story and what that actually means, Rhodes revealed, "I'm coming for you...just not at WrestleMania."

    From there, The Rock emerged from the locker room to a thunderous ovation and engaged Reigns in a staredown to close out the broadcast, with a graphic announcing a press event in Las Vegas Thursday.

    And with that, the year-long journey back to WrestleMania and the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship victory that eluded Rhodes in Los Angeles was for naught.

    Worst of all, how it was all handled here lacked sense, felt unnatural, and did a disservice to The American Nightmare.

    Rhodes stepping aside for Rock felt all too much like the horrendous conclusion of WrestleMania IX, where Bret Hart did the same for Hulk Hogan. It hurt Hart and took him a solid year to claw his way back to the top of the company again.

    Rhodes already put the work in, earned the fans' respect and admiration, and won the Royal Rumble to set up the return match with Reigns. Why would he allow himself to "take up counsel" from Rock and simply walk away from his WrestleMania dream because The Great One advised him to?

    It will be imperative that Rhodes offer up answers Monday night in an attempt to make sense of this conclusion. Because that, coupled with the fact Reigns responded to Seth Rollins' criticisms by cooking him and the World Heavyweight Championship on the mic suddenly has a prospective showdown between The Visionary and Rhodes less appealing.

    There is no denying the electricity between The Rock and Reigns to end the show, but to book that ahead of a match—featuring your top babyface—that was a year in the making feels like a long-term creative misfire.


    A, only for the buzz the segment will generate; from a creative execution perspective, it left A LOT to be desired

    Top Moments and Takeaways

    • "Exactly, no pop," Reigns, waking up and choosing violence, said of the lack of reaction to Rollins' name.
    • "I work 10 times less than you and make 10 times more than you," Reigns said as he continued to cook Rollins.
    • "Cody, I'm not going to beg you like the other guy. You can be the world's best No. 2 or take another crack at the No. 1."
    • "Does 'finish the story' mean taking that title or taking everything?" Rhodes questioned.

Overall Grade

8 OF 8

    This was the sort of Road to WrestleMania episode of SmackDown that fans love.

    It was noteworthy in that it featured the return of The Rock and the setup for what is almost certain to be a main event clash with Roman Reigns in Philadelphia, the revelation that Bayley knew what Damage CTRL was up to all along and her official challenge to Iyo Sky for The Showcase of the Immortals, and introduced some new faces with questions about which brand they will call home.

    Add to that a spotlight for Logan Paul and his feud with Kevin Owens and you have plenty to sink your teeth into.

    The fact that ongoing stories featuring LWO and Legado del Fantasma, as well as Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits vs. The Final Testament were not sacrificed in the process only helped to make this one of the better broadcasts of the last six or so months.

    That finale, though, needs some monumental explanation.

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