WWE Friday Night Smackdown Highlights 16th March 2024

Published on 16 March 2024 at 16:00

WWE Friday Night Smackdown was brought live to the people of Memphus, Tennessee at the FedEx Forum arena. And with it comes a stella night of matchcards including the opening promo of The Rock hosting a Rock Concert with the intention to trash talk 'The American Nightmare' Cody Rhodes and Seth 'Freakin' Rollins heading to WrestleMania 40.


The Rock hosts a Rock Concert to trash talk Cody Rhodes and Seth "Freakin" Rollins

In a surprising turn of events, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the renowned actor and WWE superstar, hosted an electrifying rock concert that drew in a massive audience with its promise of high-octane entertainment. The event was a vibrant mix of music and showmanship, with The Rock taking to the stage not just to perform but to engage in his well-known smack talk.


During the course of the evening, The Rock took a moment to address two of WWE's top-tier talents, Cody Rhodes and Seth "Freakin" Rollins. In his trademark style, he unleashed a verbal tirade, blending his charisma and humour to "trash talk" them. The jabs were all in good fun, typical of the WWE universe's theatrics, where larger-than-life personas clash in a blend of reality and performance. The Rock's barbs were part of the spectacle, delivered with the same gusto as his iconic catchphrases. Fans of the WWE know this is all part of the show, where feuds and friendships are as dynamic as the matches themselves.


Legado del Fantasma Defeats The LWO – WrestleMania XL Tag Team Championship Qualifying Match

In an intense clash that had the WWE Universe on the edge of their seats, Legado del Fantasma triumphed over The Latino World Order (LWO) in a critical WrestleMania XL Tag Team Championship Qualifier. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo, collectively known as Angel and Berto, displayed an impressive combination of agility and raw power to secure their victory against the formidable duo of Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro.


The stakes were as high as the top rope from which Del Toro was spectacularly hurled by his determined opponents. The athleticism on display was nothing short of breathtaking as Wilde, the aerial maestro, soared into the fray, momentarily shifting the momentum in favour of LWO with his acrobatic prowess.


However, Legado del Fantasma's strategy was impeccable. They managed to single out Wilde, cutting off his attempts to rally. In a display of sheer force and precision, they executed a perfect press slam that sent Wilde crashing down, only to follow it up with a devastating kick to the abdomen that sealed their path to victory.


This win marks a significant milestone for Angel and Berto, edging them ever closer to their ultimate goal of wrestling on the grandest stage of them all - WrestleMania. With this qualifying match behind them, they've shown the WWE Universe that they are a team to be reckoned with, and their dream is well within reach. The match was a testament to their tenacity and a sign that WrestleMania XL might just be the moment where they shine the brightest.


Randy Orton Defeats Grayson Waller
In a thrilling display of his enduring prowess in the ring, WWE legend Randy Orton proved once again why he's known as The Viper, delivering a decisive victory over the up-and-coming Grayson Waller. The match, which had an extra layer of spectacle with United States Champion Logan Paul providing his commentary at ringside, saw Orton in top form, executing a punishing offensive that left the audience in awe.


Despite Waller's tenacity and determination, Orton's experience and cunning were on full display. He dismantled Waller's defences with a series of calculated moves, culminating in the merciless delivery of his feared DDT right on the announce table, not once but multiple times. The highlight came when Orton, true to his moniker, struck with an RKO out of nowhere, showcasing the deadly precision that has defined his storied career, earning him the pinfall.


But the drama didn't end with the bell. Post-match, Austin Theory's interference and Logan Paul's antagonistic presence at commentary boiled over into a physical confrontation, with Orton as their target. However, just as the situation escalated, Kevin Owens stormed to the ring, his intentions clear as he made the save, siding with Orton against their common foes.


The chaos was cut through by the authoritative voice of SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis, who seized the moment to make a blockbuster announcement. In a twist befitting the Road to WrestleMania, Aldis declared that Randy Orton and Kevin Owens would be jointly challenging Logan Paul for the coveted United States Title at WrestleMania XL. This revelation sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe, setting the stage for what is sure to be a monumental triple-threat encounter at the most spectacular event in sports entertainment.


Santos Escobar Defeats Dragon Lee

Santos Escobar solidified Legado del Fantasma's dominance on a night to remember, clinching a significant win against the formidable Dragon Lee. This victory marked a milestone, being the second triumph for Legado del Fantasma, further asserting their presence as a force to be reckoned with in WWE.


Dragon Lee, known for his explosive start and high-flying manoeuvres, set the tempo of the match early on, launching himself over the top rope in a breathtaking splash that captivated the audience. Yet, the seasoned Escobar was unfazed. He endured this early onslaught with the resilience of a seasoned warrior, gradually imposing his will upon the match and swinging the momentum back in his favour.


The battle between these two ring technicians was a display of agility, skill, and raw determination. Lee, ever the fighter, poured every ounce of his being into the contest. However, it was Escobar's night, and with a perfectly executed Phantom Driver, he not only quelled the uprising spirit of Lee but also secured a definitive pinfall, much to the elation of his followers.


However, the night was far from over for Escobar. As the adrenaline of victory pulsed through the arena, WWE legend Rey Mysterio emerged, wasting no time in laying down a challenge to Escobar, electrifying the crowd. A match was set for the following week's SmackDown, promising to deliver another thrilling chapter in the ongoing saga of Legado del Fantasma. This confrontation with Mysterio, a revered figure in the world of professional wrestling, presents another opportunity for Escobar to cement his legacy within the squared circle.


New Catch Republic Defeats Pretty Deadly – WrestleMania XL Tag Team Championship Qualifying Match

The tag team division witnessed an exceptional display of synergy and might as Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate of New Catch Republic stood victorious over Elton Prince and Kit Wilson of Pretty Deadly in a gruelling WrestleMania XL Tag Team Championship Qualifier. This intense matchup not only showcased the prowess of New Catch Republic but also set the stage for a high-stakes encounter with Legado del Fantasma, with the prize being a coveted spot at the grand spectacle of WrestleMania 40.


From the opening bell, Dunne and Bate exhibited a level of dominance that underscored their tag team credentials. Dunne, with his characteristic intensity, unleashed a relentless offensive that threw Pretty Deadly off balance, disrupting their rhythm and keeping them reeling throughout the match. Bate, living up to his reputation as "The Big Strong Boi," displayed feats of strength that left the WWE Universe in awe.


The crescendo of the match arrived when New Catch Republic executed a flawless Burning Hammer, a manoeuvre that not only highlighted their impeccable teamwork but also symbolically hammered the final nail in the coffin for Pretty Deadly's hopes of victory. With this move, Dunne and Bate decisively punched their ticket to the SmackDown bracket finals, signalling their readiness to face any challenge en route to the grandest stage in sports entertainment.


As the reality of their triumph sank in, the implications were clear: New Catch Republic had thrown down the gauntlet, issuing a statement win that reverberated throughout the tag team landscape. The battle lines were drawn, and with Legado del Fantasma awaiting them, the path to WrestleMania glory promised to be as thrilling as it was daunting.


Bayley Defeats Dakota Kai by Disqualification

In a contest that was steeped in personal history and rivalry, Bayley, the 2024 Royal Rumble Winner, secured a disqualification victory over Dakota Kai, a former ally turned adversary from the ranks of Damage CTRL. The tension between these former teammates was palpable, spilling out into every exchange within the squared circle. Yet, it was Bayley who emerged as the dominant force, proving why she is known as "The Role Model" in WWE.


As the match unfolded, Bayley exhibited the kind of technical mastery and ring awareness that has become her trademark. But the dynamics changed abruptly when WWE Women's Champion IYO SKY, driven by a volatile mix of frustration and anger, intervened. Unable to restrain her fury, SKY lashed out and struck Bayley, leading to an immediate disqualification but sending a clear message to her WrestleMania XL adversary.


The chaos, however, was far from over. Post-match, Naomi rushed to Bayley's aid in a show of solidarity, only to be caught in a maelstrom as Asuka and Kairi Sane joined the fray alongside the champion, IYO SKY. What ensued was a display of unity and strength as these three warriors laid waste to their opposition, standing united and unchallenged in the centre of the ring.


This skirmish, while ending the match on a note of disarray, set a dramatic tone for WrestleMania XL. With alliances tested and new battle lines drawn, the WWE Universe is left in eager anticipation of what is shaping up to be a series of explosive confrontations on the grandest stage of them all.


If you would like to see how last night's events of WWE's Friday Night Smackdown unfolded then click the video below!

Aaron Teasdale

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