Finishing this up after having watched the whole show, and, in particular, the ending, I think it’s important to mention here, for reasons that will become obvious that I’ll be presenting my thoughts in real time as they occurred to me after watching each part of the show.

All right, Cody Rhodes will choose between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as his WrestleMania opponent, and the Tribal Chief will be in the building. Bayley’s scheduled to announce her Mania opponent, so just maybe we’ll get that Damage CTRL split tonight.

WWE SmackDown was in the sold out Legacy arena in Birmingham Alabama these are my thoughts:

  • I’m still a fan of opening the show with shots of people arriving at the arena. And no one is more stylish walking a dog than Cody Rhodes.
  • Corey Graves is now doing play-by-play, and Wade Barrett is still on on color commentary, but now back on Smackdown. I’m look forward to hearing this and I’m glad for both of them
  • All the star power and we’re starting with Logan Paul? I kid I kid. He’s such a top-notch total dick on the mic that he not only did the classic heel move of dissing the Alabama crowd, but he also made fun of CM Punk’s injury, someone he’s not in a feud with, but is on a completely different show. Paul also brought up Seth Rollins’ injury, but those two at least did fight it out a few times earlier last year, including at Mania.
  • Kevin Owens was great in response, and I love how he put over the referee who disqualified him at the Royal Rumble for doing his job well. Logan’s saying no to a rematch, but I think we’ll get there some way.
Kevin Owens confronts Logan Paul on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • Austin Theory’s music hit, Logan headed to commentary, and we got a solid, mostly mat-based contest between two pros. Owens did hit a Cannonball, and Theory impressively turned a power bomb into a back drop on the ring apron. But eventually, it turned into a repeat of the Paul/Owens Rumble match finish, but this time with Paul and Grayson Waller, who was in Theory’s corner, trying to get brass knuckles to Theory. Owens got them instead, and used them when the referee’s back was turned, but this time, he got rid of them before the pin.
  • KO is making a strong argument for using brass knuckles being a babyface move, as long as the heels are the ones to bring it in, and you don’t get caught. It really fits KO’s character.
Kevin Owens hits Logan Paul with brass knuckles on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • I like how KO was framed next to the WrestleMania sign after Paul ran away after the match, possibly implying he will face Paul again at Mania. Or just reminding us that he will be at Mania. After all, he main evented the last two ones.
  • He did Main Event the last two manias after all I’m sure he’ll be part of the card this time.
  • Naomi and Tiffany Stratton are both on Smackdown. Cool. I can see Naomi possibly feuding with Damage CTRL. Not sure about Tiffany (aside from a match with Mia Yim later tonight), but she’s clearly a heel.
  • Logan Paul and Bianca Belair is not an interaction I expected to see, but it was fun to watch, especially since they threw Nick Aldis into the mix. Backstage segments are bringing their a-game tonight.
  • So Legado Del Fantasma are going back to their previous style of videos from when they were a heel faction a year and change ago. I think it’s a good way to re-establish them with new members Angel Garza, Humberto Carrillo, and Elektra Lopez, but I hope there’s not one every week. Santos Escobar is beyond the introduction phase.
  • The Fatal 4-Way tag match to determine who will face the winner of a similar match on RAW, to then face Finn Bálor and Damian Priest for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships at Elimination Chamber was as fast paced as you’d expect it to be. It was also a bit chaotic. I figured Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate would win, and they did. Pretty Deadly aren’t getting another push right now. The LWO’s Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro, as well as Garza and Carillo areonly in the match to further their rivalry, and to allow Zelina Vega to pay Lopez back for last week.
Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate double-team Kit Wilson to win the Fatal Four-Way Match on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • So the Damage CTRL split is going down tonight. Iyo just said it, and Bayley overheard her. Of course Bayley could have just watched the show, as Iyo said it into a giant camera…but I digress. Suspension of disbelief, engaged.
  • We all knew the split was going to happen, they have been dropping hints for months, but the way it went down was some solid emotional storytelling. Bayley revealing that she could speak Japanese, and understood all of their backtalk was a nice touch, and good way to reveal she was prepared. While The Kabuki Warriors did the attacking, and Bayley got blows with the pipe in on only Asuka and Kairi Sane, the real emotion was between Bayley and her original Damage CTRL teammate Iyo Sky. They will come to physical blows at WrestleMania, and probably not before. Interesting that Dakota Kai wasn’t there. I suspect she’ll side with Bayley, then betray her, but not sure.
Bayley and Iyo Sky almost come to blows before Bayley challenges Iyo for WrestleMania on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • Bayley not only turned babyface, but judging from the crowd reaction, she’s an over babyface, and a smart one, too (because she saw the turn coming). I’m glad Bayley will have her moment, and this match at Mania will be fire!
  • So you’re telling me they flew Rhea Ripley to Birmingham Alabama just so she could walk into the arena and look at a screen backstage? Couldn’t they have just not shown her arrival, and shot the screen looking somewhere else?
  • It’s cool that B-FAB is now with Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits, counteracting Scarlett’s presence in The Final Testament. I also liked the way she introduced herself into the scenario, by ripping Scarlett off Lashley. There’s one thing I’d like to know, though: Was that supposed to be a match? I see potential in these factions and their feud, but maybe start off with Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins versus Akam and Razar in a tag match? Or maybe right to Lashley versus Kross, and build from there? There can be interference, and Paul Ellering, Scarlett, B-FAB, and all those not involved in the match can be there and interfere. So far we’ve got the interference, but no real match.
B-FAB rips Scarlett off of Bobby Lashley on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • I suspect Adam Pearce will succeed in bringing Bron Breakker to RAW (maybe to face Gunther), while Nick Aldis will sign Jade Cargill, because her versus Bianca Belair is just too good an opportunity to pass up.
  • At first I thought Tiffany Stratton gave off real Chelsea Green vibes, but then watching the match, seeing her wrestle with power moves, and trash talk, it seemed more like if Gunther had turned into a Barbie doll. It was an impressive Main Roster debut, or rather, her Smackdown debut, as the Rumble was technically her debut, but I digress. This match was a good showcase for Stratton, and even though she took the pin, Mia Yim didn’t look bad, etither. And her finisher is really called The World’s Prettiest Moonsault? Nice.
Tiffany Stratton hits the World’s Prettiest Moonsault on Mia Yim to defeat her on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • Wade Barrett’s Groundhog Day comment about Roman and his Challengers was pretty apt.
  • Roman ripping on Seth, and burying his title was interesting, and had me thinking they may do a title unification triple threat.
  • Going to commercial in the middle of Cody’s walk-in was amusing. Do they think he’s Roman?
  • Cody’s segment had me on the edge of my seat. It seemed like he was going to pick Roman at Mania, and the Rollins interaction was just a swerve to build excitement. Until it wasn’t.
Cody Rhodes confronts Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024
  • When Cody paused after telling Roman that he was coming for him, I knew his next words would be “but not at WrestleMania”, and they were. I never thought I’d be disappointed at hearing “If you smell…” while watching the current WWE product, but I was. Yes, the crowd in Birmingham exploded, as I probably would have, had I been in that arena. “Wait, this is happening here! It’s The Rock!” But I wasn’t, and watching at home, it only felt like we were getting a dream match at the wrong time. Taking everything from Roman, as Cody had said, seemed more like a job for The Rock, after Cody had finished his story at Mania. Rock versus Roman with the belt on the line seemed like an obvious loss for The Rock. And I was hoping that the World Heavyweight Championship would go to a heel like Drew, or Gunther, or a heel CM Punk, if he didn’t get injured (he has proven to be a great heel). That way, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, and other RAW babyfaces could have a crack at it. With the title being Cody’s consolation prize, that would not be the case.
  • I’ll admit that the Roman/Rock staredown was epic, and I only hope I’m wrong.
The Rock and Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns stare each other down on WWE Smackdown February 2 2024

If I figure out the tech stuff needed to launch a podcast and YouTube channel for this site, I’ll have more to say about this there. Or maybe I’ll write an opinion piece on it here. But this is a review of the February 2 WWE Smackdown, which, overall, was an excellent show. I was really hoping stuff like the Bayley/Damage CTRL segment, Tiffany’s debut, or the new commentary team, doesn’t get overshadowed, though by now I know it has. That’s unfortunate, because, overall, this was an excellent episode.

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