On the eve of WrestleMania 38 night one, a special “WrestleMania SmackDown” takes place tonight.
The 2022 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is set for tonight’s SmackDown episode. United States Champion Finn Balor, Drew Gulak, Reggie, Mansoor, Madcap Moss, R-Truth, Jinder Mahal, Ivar, Erik, Shanky, Robert Roode, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa, Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, and Damian Priest have been announced for the match.
The Intercontinental title will be on the line tonight as Ricochet defends against Angel and Humberto in a triple threat match. Last week, Angel pinned Ricochet in a championship contender’s match after Humberto caused a distraction. Ricochet immediately challenged Humberto to a singles match but lost via countout when Angel grabbed his leg.
Happy Corbin hosts a new edition of Happy Talk tonight with his special guest: Drew McIntyre’s sword Angela. Corbin stole the sword from McIntyre on Raw this Monday.
McIntyre takes on Corbin at WrestleMania night one tomorrow.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Winner: Madcap Moss (7:10)
Participants: NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler, US Champion Finn Balor, Drew Gulak, Reggie, Mansoor, R-Truth, Jinder Mahal, Ivar, Erik, Shanky, Robert Roode, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa, Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, Tommaso Ciampa and Damien Priest
This was a typical but fun battle royal. There wasn’t anything spectacular about it and was pretty basic.
Some of the participants were already in the ring to start SmakDown. They showed the trophy at ringside and a video looking at Andre’s career.
They recapped Ziggler beating Bron Breaker for the NXT title. Cole noted that Breakker’s father Rick Steiner goes into the Hall of Fame tonight following SmackDown. Cole added that Breaker takes on Ziggler tomorrow on Stand & Deliver.
Reggie and Tozawa went over the top rope, but only Tozawa hit the floor. Reggie held on and did a flip on the apron to avoid Tozawa. Priest then booted Reggie off the apron. R-Truth laughed at Tozawa and Reggie as they left. Priest then dumped out Truth.
The Viking Raiders threw out Mahal next. T-Bar ended up on the apron and tried to pull out Alexander. Benjamin saved Alexander and knocked T-Bar off the apron with a knee. Moss then dumped out Gulak. Happy Corbin walked down to ringside as Moss celebrated.
Corbin pulled down the rope and tried to help Moss. Of course, Moss went over the rope but landed on the apron. Moss jumped back in the ring. Corbin and Moss argued, and Corbin walked off. Crews knocked Alexander off the apron for the next elimination, and Azeez threw out Benjamin. The Viking Raiders threw out Crews.
Shanky and Azeez worked together and dumped out the Raiders. Azeez and Shanky squared off. They ended up against the ropes when the rest of the participants helped dump them out. Preist and Balor went back and forth. Priest rocked Balor with a forearm, but Balor responded with a Pele kick. Balor threw out Priest. Ziggler then eliminated Ciampa with a superkick.
It came down to Ziggler, Roode, Moss, and Balor. Ziggler and Roode tried to eliminate Balor when Moss came and dumped all three over the ropes. Ziggler and Roode hit the floor, but Balor hung on. Balor hit the sling blade on Moss to gain control. He charged at Moss, but he moved out of the way and eliminated Balor for the win.
After the match, Moss said he did it all on his own and claimed he always looked up to Andre the Giant. Moss then told a bad joke insulting the fans. Moss celebrated his victory big time.
Triple Threat match: Intercontinental Champion Ricochet defeated Angel and Humberto to retain (11:14)
This was a really good triple threat match. It started slow but picked up after the commercial break.
The ring announcer explained the rules and stressed that it’s every man for himself.
Angel and Humberto worked together and beat down Ricochet. They were firmly in control, but Ricochet fought back. He caught both Los Lotharios with a hurricanrana to gain the upper hand. He went for a springboard clothesline, but Angel stopped him mid-move. Ricochet was standing on the ropes when Humberto ran up the corner and caught him with an arm drag.
Back from the break, Los Lotharios continued to beat down Ricochet. They slowed the pace down, working over the neck and arm. Ricochet tried fighting back, but Humberto scored a near fall. Angel was angry that Humberto attempted to win the title.
Angel tried to sneak in and win, but Humberto stopped him. They argued, but Ricochet broke it up. Humberto rolled up Angel for a close near fall. Angel and Humberto argued again. The fans erputed when they argued and teased fighting each other. Ricochet then hit a huge springboard flying crossbody.
Ricochet hit a standing moonsault for a very close two-count. Ricochet then dumped out Humberto and climbed to the top rope. Angel cut him off, but Ricochet kicked him in the head. Ricochet went for another splash on Angel, but Humberto cut him off.
Ricochet fought back and dropped Humberto onto Angel. The finish was awesome. Ricochet hit the 630 splash on Angel, got right up to his feet, and hit the recoil on Humberto in one fluid motion. Ricochet then pinned Humberto for the win.
They recapped Kevin Owens calling out Stone Cole Steve Austin and previewed Austin’s appearance on The KO Show tomorrow night.
Non-title match: Sasha Banks & Naomi defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Carmella & Queen Zelina (3:27)
This was a fine match, although the crowd was pretty dead.
Before the match, Banks & Naomi, Carmella & Zelina, Natalya & Shayna Baszler, and Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan were standing in the ring. The ring announcer then announced that all four teams face off Sunday night.
The heels had the early advantage as they isolated Banks in their corner. Carmella then slowed the pace down with a chin lock. Carmella taunted Banks until Banks rocked her with a knee. Banks tried to tag out, but Zelina knocked Naomi off the apron.
Banks fought back, and Naomi got the hot tag. She hit a sit-out full nelson bomb on Zelina for a near fall, but Carmella broke up the pin attempt. The finish came when Naomi hit the split-legged moonsault on Zelina for the win.
Cole noted that Kayla Braxton visited Ronda Rousey’s camp earlier today as they showed Rousey and Baszler sparring in the ring.
Earlier today, Braxton interviewed Rousey during her training session with Baszler. Braxton thought Rousey would be in a bad mood, but she seemed happy. Rousey admitted that she was angry, but she’s not walking around mad. She promised to rip off Charlotte Flair’s arm tomorrow night.
They recapped the Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey feud with a good video package. It included Trish Stratus, Stephanie McMahon, and UFC President Dana White.
Charlotte Flair segment
SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair walked out to the stage. She noted that the video package was epic, and could watch it all day. Flair pointed out that Rousey was very angry because she’ll destroy her at WrestleMania. She promised that the arm bar wouldn’t stop her.
The crowd started a “What” chant but she responded with a woo. Flair bragged about her accomplishments. She promised to defeat Rousey at WrestleMania and walk out as champion.
They showed Madcap Moss shining up his trophy when Happy Corbin showed up with Drew McIntyre’s sword. They both laughed.
They recapped the Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar feud with another good video package featuring Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long.”
Rick Boogs introduced Shinsuke Nakamura, and Pat McAfee started dancing on the announce table. Suddenly, Austin Theory jumped out of the crowd and grabbed McAfee’s leg. McAfee fell backward and landed hard on the table. Cole screamed that Theory’s an idiot and to get him out of there.
McAfee chased Theory to the back, but he ran into Mr. McMahon’s office. McAfee stopped in front of the door and started to leave. He turned back around and kicked the door down.
McMahon and Theory charged out of the office. McMahon threatened to fire McAfee or cancel his WrestleMania match. He told McAfee to do his job. The fans erupted in boos.
This was a good angle. McAfee and McMahon were good in their brief encounter.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) ended via DQ (3:08)
Boogs and Jimmy had a fine match, but it was more of an angle to further the Theory and McAfee feud. It also set up the six-man tag next.
Boogs had the early advantage and curled Jimmy ten times. Jimmy took over when Boogs missed a tackle in the corner. Jimmy beat Boogs down to his knees. Boogs fought back, and press slammed Jimmy from his knees. He transitioned from a press slam to a fallaway slam.
During the match, Theory came back to ringside and taunted McAfee. Cole called Theory an idiot again. Theory grabbed a fan’s drink and threw it in McAfee’s face. McAfee jumped to his feet, but Cole held him back. As Theory walked off, Finn Balor ran down and attacked Theory.
Balor threw Theory into the ring for the disqualification. Nakamura, Boogs, and Balor brawled with The Usos and Theory.
Austin Theory and The Usos defeated Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rick Boogs (11:26)
This was a good six-man tag team match.
Adam Pearce set up the match during the break. McAfee and Theory continued to argue throughout the match.
The faces were in control until the heels fought back. Theory tagged in, and the fans erupted in boos. The fans broke into a loud “Theory sucks” song.
The faces regained control and cut Theory off from his corner. Balor caught Theory with a base dropkick for a near fall. Balor was firmly in control when Jimmy interfered from the apron. The heels took over and isolated Balor on their side of the ring.
Back from the break, Jimmy scored a near fall on Balor. Cole reminded McAfee that he couldn’t attack Theory or that McMahon would fire him. Balor tried to tag out, but Jey knocked Boogs off the apron. Balor fought back and caught Jey with a basement dropkick.
Nakamura got the hot tag and ran wild on Theory. He hit a kick to the back of the neck and hit a sliding German suplex, but The Usos broke up the pin with a double superkick.
Boogs jumped back in and tossed The Usos out of the ring. The Usos threw Boogs into the stairs. Balor got the hot tag and ran wild on Theory. He threw Theory out of the ring and hit a huge flip dive, wiping out the heels.
Balor hit the sling blade and climbed to the top rope, but The Usos cut him off. Theory took advantage and hit ATL for the win.
Theory looked right at McAfee and challenged him to come in the ring. McAfee jumped on the apron, but Cole convinced him to save it for Sunday. The fans broke into a loud “Micahel Cole” song.