So earlier in the day, The Rock released yet another promo video on Instgram and X. This one was even better than the last. It wasn’t 22 minutes, but it was still long. Also, SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis released a video on social media talking about how he had added extra security for the evening’s show because Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins were coming to answer The Rock and Roman Reigns. This show feels huge.

WWE SmackDown on March 8th, 2024 was in the yet again sold out American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. These are my thoughts:

  • We start out with The Rock’s arrival. We find out that he has another really nice car. Also he’s a terrible parker, just doesn’t care. I think he parked across three spots. He also likes to wear cowboy hats when he’s in Texas, and he’s a bit of a litterbug. He’s soon confronted by some of the security.
  • Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman arrive. They’re also greeted by security. Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes are also greeted by security. We get it, things are tense. Let’s go!
  • Logan Paul comes to the ring with massive heel heat. He’s really not having the “What?” chants tonight, and even tells the audience “we’re not doing that today”. Usually he just works with it, which he eventually does here. But then things get really surreal because he unveils the image of a Prime bottle on the ring canvas and announces that Prime is going to have sponsorship on the ring canvas starting at WrestleMania and for every WWE Premium Live Event going forward.
Logan Paul announcing the Prime ring canvas sponsorship on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • I was thinking this was a joke at first, but then I found out that no, it’s real. I knew, at some point, WWE would have ring the canvas advertising, I just didn’t think it would be Prime. I thought it would be something bigger, say Slim Jim. Of course, I’m Canadian and we don’t have that much Prime here. Maybe it’s bigger in the States. I don’t know. It just seemed like Ric Flair’s Woo Energy Drink sponsoring AEW is the equivalent to Prime sponsoring WW, because I see Prime as a Logan Paul vanity project, which it apparently isn’t.
  • Logan calls out Prime co-owner KSI, and with the two of them in the ring, we hear Randy Orton’s music. As they’re waiting for him to come out, he just sort of creeps up, not through the crowd, maybe from under the ring. He almost gets the RKO on Logan, but Logan rolls out, and poor KSI’s stuck there in the ring. He probably knows Randy’s behind him, but he doesn’t sell that, and then Randy hits him with the RKO, picks up the Prime Energy drink, drinks it, says it’s actually quite good, and then pours the rest of it on KSI’s groin. It was a funny way to mix a real announcement about sponsorship in with storyline. And Logan Paul and Randy Orton are definitely always great for doing business.
Randy Orton pours Prime out on KSI on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • Randy’s, of course, there for the first match of the evening. He’s teaming with Kevin Owens to fight Austin Theory and Grayson Waller. It’s a good match with a lot of back and forth, and the heels did have a chance to get some heat, despite effectively being overmatched by the babyfaces. They start off strong, and we go to the commercial break with Owens outside of the ring.
  • After the break, Theory and Waller execute a really nice tandem suplex on Owens, and they evade an RKO, and stop a hanging DDT attempt. There’s some fighting outside of the ring where Owens gets a nice Cannonball in. There’s a hot tag to Orton. Waller even gets a pin attempt. There’s the hanging DDT executed successfully, and it ends with an assisted RKO on Austin Theory.
Randy Orton, with the help of Kevin Owens, catches Austin Theory in an Assisted RKO on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • The babyfaces celebrate, but of course not for too long, because the real intention was to get them in the ring so Logan Paul can come back, knock them both down, and pull out the brass knuckles. But Orton gets the knuckles off him and Logan Paul escapes. They’re definitely putting Kevin Owens and Randy Orton into the Logan Paul picture. It might be a triple threat match or, or maybe a tag match involving KSI. But I’d much rather see the U.S. title actually defended at WrestleMania…because I want Logan Paul to lose it.
Logan Paul surprise attacks Kevin Owens and Randy Orton on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • We get a shot of the group of security officers backstage, “security officers”, that is. It must be a great week to be an independent wrestler looking for work in Dallas, because WWE clearly was hiring.
  • I thought the backstage interview with Bayley by Kayla Braxton was great. Bayley admits she’s done wrong in the past, and that she did it for herself, but also for Damage CTRL. This isn’t an apology tour. She’s acknowledging what she did, but not expecting to be forgiven. She just wants to destroy the group she created. Very honest sounding, very believable, and passionate promo, which is definitely what we need from this angle.
  • I also loved the responses. We’ll talk about the Damage CTRL one later because it came later in the show, but Naomi watching the interview and sympathizing with Bailey, and Bianca Belair definitely not was great consistent stroytelling. Bianca should think Bayley is at fault for all of this. She hasn’t forgotten what Bayley and Damage CTRL did to her when Naomi was away. She’s not going the Drew McIntyre route, though, and I think Naomi might be able to convince her to tag against The Kabuki Warriors at Mania.
  • I was thinking it might be Bianca and Jade Cargill last week, but now I’m thinking it might be Naomi and Jade, but Naomi and Bianca makes sense. After all, Bianca Belair’s always challenging for a championship or defending one at WrestleMania, and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships are the only ones left.
  • This is also around when Corey Graves quotes the attendance figure, 16,900 and change. Now, WWE famously exaggerates attendance numbers. In this case, though, by all accounts it’s not that much of an exaggeration. This is their sixth consecutive TV sellout in a row. Things continue to feel big.
  • Bobby Lashley versus Karrion Kross, with Scarlett in his corner, succeeded in giving Kross the heel heat he’s been seeking for the past couple of years, but just hasn’t got. It did so both in the match and after it officially ended. In fact, Kross dominated for most of the bout. He got a modified Death Valley Driver, a number of two counts. He had Lashley outside of the ring. Scarlet at one point did do a distraction and he got Lashley down then as well.
Bobby Lashley setting up The Hurt Lock on Karion Kross with Scarlett approaching on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • Of course, when Lashley finally started to make a comeback, and was about to apply the Hurt Lock on Kross, here come the Authors of Pain. Here come the Street Profits. Scarlett gets involved. Here comes B-Fab. Eventually the Final Testament get the advantage. Everyone’s down and Kross is able to apply The Final Prayer on Lashley. So Lashley won by disqualification, but of course, Final Testament were the ones standing tall, before they met up with Paul Ellering, who was just standing creepily in the entranceway.
  • I think they’re going to continue this to WrestleMania. Might be a six-man match. Who knows? But I’m now somewhat interested in Karrion Kross, which I definitely wasn’t a year ago.
  • We get a reminder or an announcement of all the people being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024. So far, it’s Paul Heyman, Bull Nakano, and US Express. All very deserving. US Express is Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda, who we know as IRS, and was also the father of the late Bray Wyatt, who I’m almost sure will be inducted this year as well.
  • The top of the hour is Tiffy Time this week, and the crowd’s definitely still behind Tiffany Stratton, even though she’s still the heel. And she’s fighting Michin, which is a rematch from Tiffany’s first SmackDown bout, which she won. It was a good match back and forth, but Tiffany dominated and ended up winning with the Prettiest Moonsault Ever.
Tiffany Stratton lands The Prettiest Moonsault Ever on Michin on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • I’m glad Tiffany’s getting this push, but I really think Michin needs a win. It seems like she’s being jobbed out. I’d say more, but it was a really short match.
  • We did get a great Wade Barrett quote, though: “It’s all pretty until someone stamps on your chest like that.”
  • We get AJ Styles’ promo in a very dimly lit room. Get it? He’s a bad guy. He’s in the dark. He tried to explain his rationality for flying across the world to hit a guy with a chair. And he sort of did. Also, AJ, it’s schtick. Not stick. Schtick. With an H.
  • I liked LA Knight’s response of simply attacking a flatscreen TV with a chair. Of course, we didn’t actually see the front screen of the TV, so it was probably already broken. Still I love Wade Barrett bringing the show’s sponsor, Progressive Insurance, into it, saying “I hope we had Progressive Insurance on that TV”. Another nice bit of mingling product placement with storyline.
  • As for LA Knight and AJ Styles… I can get behind this feud. I really wanted LA Knight in a championship match or in a bigger feud at WrestleMania. Now, admittedly, I watching when AJ Styles was in his prime. I came back and started watching full time in 2022. So I don’t really see the appeal of AJ Styles. And I don’t think he’s a good opponent for LA Knight. Your opinion might differ.
  • And next we get Angel accompanied by all of Legado del Fantasma versus Dragon Lee on his own. I think we can see how this one’s going to go. It was a quick start to a quick match. Angel took an early lead, and we went to commercial with all of Legado celebrating over a downed Dragon Lee.
Dragon Lee stares at Santos Escobar during his match with Angel on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • We don’t know what happened when we come back from commercial break, because Lee’s in charge. He hits a nice sit out power bomb, and wet get a really nice side shot of the ring, kind of like the walking side shot that we’ve been getting on RAW. Lee kicks Angel out of the ring, and a bit later hits a Double Stomp Through the Heart, knocking Angel down. He also counters a Pop Up Powerbomb and gets the three count.
  • But then, of course, all of Legado del Fantasma come into the ring. We’re talking Santos Escobar, Humberto, even Electro Lopez. And they give Lee the beatdown. So Lee ends up with the victory, but it’s a pyrrhic victory. The LWO, by the way, were not in the building tonight. We found that out after the match, and I was wondering when they were going to come down.
  • Damage CTRL respond to Bailey’s interview with a bilingual video promo. By bilingual, I mean English and Japanese. Dakota Kai talks in English and the Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors, Kairi Sane and Asuka, as well as WWE Women’s Champion Io Sky, all talk in Japanese with English subtitles. The subtext is that Dakota was the brains the whole time, and it was never about Bayley’s story. It’s always been Iyo’s Era. But what I liked is the fact that this group now has an English spokesperson and Japanese spokespeople, I love this new direction. When Japanese wrestlers are able to talk in their own language, their promo skills get better.
  • Then Nick Aldis finds out that Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins aren’t in their dressing room. They’ve somehow escaped despite all the security outside. I think it’s Main Event time, and by this I mean Main Event promo time. With 25 minutes left in the show, Roman Reigns’ music hits. Roman takes his usual long time along with Paul Heyman, Jimmy Uso, and Solo Sokoa, to get to the ring. He’s about to talk, but then the lights go down.
  • We get The Rock’s entrance, which was also very long, but I’m not complaining, because it was epic. The way it looked, the way it was shot, the lightning on the Titantron in the dark arena. The Rock comes out. He’s silhouetted. The camera goes all around him. He looks like the huge star that he is. A really impressive new heel intro. It still has the same music, but maybe they’ll change that next. Who knows. For now, I’m quite satisfied.
The Rock walks to the ring after his lightning bolt entrance on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • Roman asks Dallas to “acknowledge us”. So Reigns is now including The Rock, and presumably the rest of The Bloodline, in the ackgnowledgement. And then we go to commercial.
  • We come back and Cody Rhodes’ music hits, but no Cody. He and Seth are coming through the crowd, a la The Shield. Cody’s dressed in his usual business attire for doing business. Nice suit. And Seth a fancy outfit on, but he’s dressed all in black. I guess he’s about to be serious.
Cody Rhodes enters through the crowd on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • Cody starts off by being magnanimous, asking them to just take in the atmosphere, but then he gets really catty. He asks The Rock actually had the authority to suggest the match stipulations, given that he had acknowledged Roman Reigns as his Tribal Chief. As in, shouldn’t it be Roman’s decision? And The Rock’s not too happy by what Cody said, so he cuts him off before he can answer the challenge.
  • As The Rock speaks, the crowd starts chanting “diarrhea”. I did not think that would come back on SmackDown and I’d once again hear over 15,000 people chanting “diarrhea”. But that’s wrestling in 2024. Seth’s loving this, too. But as The Rock goes on, Seth cuts him off and gives one of the angriest most fiery promos I’ve ever seen him do. He calls Rock “Mr. Mid-Life Crisis” and promises that “you’re not going to take our time”. He builds to a crescendo, finally screaming “We accept!”
World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins confronts The Rock on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • Roman interjects by asking Cody if he’s going to let “this crossdresser” speak for him. It’s been pointed out online that maybe it wasn’t the best choice of words. We are in 2024. And while juvenile, it’s also a transphobic statement. I don’t think we’re going to cancel The Tribal Chief, but it also seemed out of character for Roman. Too juvenile, more of a Rock thing. Maybe Roman’s trying to be the rock. Maybe he’s a little bit envious, but still, they could have done it with a different word.
  • Cody starts firing back, but then The Rock reminds everyone that he’s on the Board of Directors, and everyone’s boss, and he wants to make that World Heavyweight Championship go away. Maybe that’s a hint to Seth Rollins – betray Cody and you get to keep your championship.
  • And then Rock gets personal. He says that what you see here is about family. He talks about his grandfather and Roman’s grandfather. But then he talks about Cody’s father, Dusty Rhodes, who was his hero. He brings up Cody’s sister, who was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. He talks about Cody’s brother Dustin Rhodes, aka Goldust in WWE, who is currently in AEW. I don’t know how long he’s staying there. Rock calls Dustin a Hall of Famer, but then quickly corrects himself with “future Hall of Famer”. Maybe he knows something that we don’t about the Hall of Fame. We already have a member of the Bloodline going in, Paul Heyman. Maybe we’re going to have another member of the Rhodes family going in this year as well. So both Roman and Cody could induct someone into the Hall of Fame. Anyways, I digress.
  • Rock’s point was that Cody is 20 years younger than his siblings. I think he’s only 20 years younger than Dustin, maybe not his sister, as she pointed out herself on X. But his point was… wait for it… that Cody was a mistake. At this point, Cody’s trying to compose himself. He picks up the microphone like he’s going to talk. He puts it to the side and he slaps The Rock, a return slap for what happened at the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event. The Rock reels back and we go off the air.
Cody Rhodes slaps The Rock on WWE Smackdown March 8 2024
  • I don’t think WWE was planning to go off the air so quickly. There were videos shot in the arena from the crowd showing somebody on the production team motioning to The Rock to wrap it up because they had to go off the air. Unlike cable, and unlike what being on Netflix will be like, on network TV, on Fox, there’s a hard out at 9:58pm. The segment obviously went long, possibly because of the crowd responses, or the introductions, though I imagine they had timed the latter out. So when the Rock and Roman open the show, they go really long. They have to cut things later. When they end the show, they have to shorten their segment. Rock and Roman are back next week on SmackDown. So I think maybe they’re going to try them in the middle of the show, at the nine o’clock hour. Would have been nice to have a bit more in this segment, but still, we waited all show for it, and it really delivered.
  • Oh yeah, we’ve also got the presumptive WrestleMania Night One Main Event officially confirmed.

WWE is firing on all cylinders right now. Each RAW and SmackDown is building off the previous one. We have so many irons in the fire, but of course, the main one is the story of Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and The Rock, which I imagine is going to keep building right till WrestleMania. Nick Aldis referred to this as the Renaissance Era. And I agree with him. And I’m going to do a video on that. I think it’s appropriate. Because we really are in a pro wrestling renaissance in the WWE.

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