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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (Mar. 24, 2023): Cody Rhodes vs. Ludwig Kaiser

WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Mar. 24, 2023) with a live show emanating from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming WrestleMania 39 two night extravaganza scheduled for Sat., April 1 and Sun., April 2 in Inglewood, California.

Advertised for tonight: Cody Rhodes is back on the blue brand to take on Imperium’s Ludwig Kaiser in a singles match.

Elsewhere on the card: Rey Mysterio vs. LA Knight, Dominik Mysterio confronts his own family as part of his quest to fight his father at WrestleMania, and more!

Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (Note: Links to illegal streams are prohibited. Pics and GIFs are allowed.)


Quarter past midnight, sittin’ here in the moonlight. No offense my dear, I hope you know, tonight I write this here liveblog for you folks.

The show opens with a recap of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens making up last week.

“American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes vs. Ludwig Kaiser

Kaiser on the offensive early, Rhodes catches him in a front chancery and turns it into a delayed vertical suplex. Paul Heyman comes to the stage to watch, Ludwig comes in with a waistlock, Cody with a heel trip and a Penalty Kick that sends Kaiser to the floor and us to break.

Back from commercial, Kaiser with an arm drag and a cover for two, headlock into mounted punches, pressing the attack at some length but of course he can’t keep the American Nightmare down. Kick and an uppercut, still just two, whip across, Cody with a back body drop to the apron!

Punch connects, Beautiful Disaster follows, thinking about Cross Rhodes but he gets distracted when Solo Sikoa comes to the stage! Kaiser with a chop block, Cody rolls to the floor and Sikoa and Heyman advance down the ramp! Whip reversed, Rhodes goes knee-first into the steel steps and we go to break!

Back from commercial, both men go for lariats and end up down and out in the middle of the ring! Back on their feet, trading punches, whip reversed, Cody with a forearm, the drop down slap, snap scoop powerslam... SO CLOSE! Kaiser with a lariat for two, uppercut and kick in the corner, snap suplex, off the top, Rhodes gets him but he reverses to a victory roll!

Cody Cutter connects, Cody stares Solo and Paul down before grabbing the inverted headlock...

Cody Rhodes wins by pinfall with Cross Rhodes.

Post-match, Paul Heyman gets on the mic and says Cody is owed an apology and he’ll be the one to deliver it. He blames the ring announcer for doing a lousy job with that announcement, and does a mock victory announcement focused on Rhodes being Roman Reigns’ challenger.

Paul tells him he’s got a match against Solo Sikoa on Monday, and if he survives, all roads lead to WrestleMania, and Roman will see him one final time, face-to-face, on SmackDown next week. Cody accuses him of moving the goalposts again, and is he expected to say “no” to a match against Sikoa?

He should have said “no” to wrestling with half of his body dangling limp against Seth Rollins, but Solo’s not ready, and after he finds out he’s not ready, Roman Reigns will find out the same thing at WrestleMania.

Commentary informs us that John Cena will be opening night one of WrestleMania against Austin Theory.

We see Charlotte Flair walking backstage and we go to break.

Back from commercial we get a recap of Charlotte Flair’s brawl with Rhea Ripley last week.

Charlotte Flair makes her entrance and gets on the mic.

She says she’s a 14-time world champion, and that’s not built on fear, insecurities, or nepotism. Everyone uses the same line against her since she started in this business, and what is fear even? It’s a lack of understanding, of ignorance, and this business wasn’t built on fear, it was built on respect.

She doesn’t fear Rhea Ripley, she respects her, and the only thing she fears is her own potential. She respected Nikki and Brie, Sasha, Bayley, Trish, Asuka, Nattie, Becky, and damn right she has insecurities. She built this house out of every brick that’s been thrown at her these past seven years.

Lastly, nepotism. That’s right, Vegas, she loves her dad and she’ll never apologize for continuing the greatest legacy in sports entertainment. And whether you like it or don’t, you better learn to love it, because diamonds are forever, and so is Charlotte Flair.

We see Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens chatting backstage.

Rey Mysterio makes his entrance and we go to break.

Back from commercial, we see Piff the Magic Dragon in the front row.

LA Knight vs. Rey Mysterio

Fast-paced from the jump, Mysterio with a corner dropkick, Knight counters but Rey keeps the speed rolling and gets a monkey flip. Mounted punches in the corner, LA catches him with a pop-up drop! Putting boots to Mysterio, right hands, whip across, Rey ducks some lariats and snaps off a tijeras!

Knight to the floor, dropkick through the ropes, off the ropes, the low dive through the bottom rope connects! Back inside, perching up top, Dominik Mysterio makes his entrance for the distraction and LA knocks dad to the floor and we go to break!

Back from commercial, Mysterio firing punches, Knight clips him with a knee, Rey with a schoolboy roll-through, dropkick to the face, crawl under but LA blasts him with a big boot... NOPE! Back suplex follows, powerslam, off the ropes, Mysterio rolls out from under an elbow!

Rey on the comeback, land on his feet off a back suplex but LA catches him with a weird tilt-a-whirl back body drop! Mysterio with a DDT, drop toehold sets up the 619 but Knight catches him! Trying for a slam, tijeras connects, off the ropes and Dom trips his dad up!

LA from behind...

LA Knight wins by pinfall with a schoolboy.

Post-match, Dominik confronts his dad and demands a match, shoving at him. Mysterio the Elder walks away, and Dom asks his mom how it feels to be married to a pathetic loser who can’t even be bothered to stand up to his own son. He jaws at her and calls her a deadbeat mom, and his sister Aliyah steps to him.

He calls her stupid and his mom takes the mic, but before she can say anything he takes it back and screams in her face for her to shut up. This finally gets Rey to turn around... AND HE LAYS DOMINIK OUT WITH A RIGHT HAND! He says he didn’t want to hit him but he made him and you don’t disrespect your mother like that.

Rey finally accepts his challenge! They’ll fight at WrestleMania!

And so we go to break.

Lacey Evans & Xia Li vs. Natalya & Shotzi Blackheart (WrestleMania Showcase Qualifying Match)

Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez are seated at ringside for this one.

Evans and Blackheart to start, go-behind, shift ot wristlock but Lacey takes her down and covers her for one. Whip into the corner, shoulder thrust, tag to Li. Shoulder thrust, quick tags, working Shotzi over. Eventually there’s a malfunction at the junction, Evans nails Li with a Woman’s Right, Nattie gets a boot in and Blackheart dives on her!

Tag made, Hart Attack, Nattie steps through Xia’s legs...

Natalya & Shotzi Blackheart win by submission with a Sharpshooter from Natalya on Xia Li, earning a spot in the women’s WrestleMania Showcase match.

Post-match, Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler make their entrance, mics in hand.

Shayna points out that all four women in the ring have reasons to want revenge on them, and lists off all the things she’s broken on them. She wants to give them an opportunity tonight but Ronda holds her back, saying Las Vegas doesn’t deserve it. Baszler accepts and says they’ve been added to the WrestleMania Showcase.

We get a recap of the Intercontinental Championship scene.

Drew McIntyre makes his entrance and we go to break.

Back from commercial we get a recap of Rey Mysterio finally snapping, hitting his son, and agreeing to a WrestleMania match.

In the ring, Adam Pearce welcomes us to our Intercontinental Championship contract signing, but before he can introduce Drew McIntyre, Brawling Brutes make their entrance.

Sheamus gets on the mic and says people have been asking him why he’s so mad at Drew, and he spins a story about your best friend going behind your back to steal your dreams away. Drew cuts him off and tells him to imagine shutting up, and every week he tries to guilt trip him about it like a teenage girl, and it’s embarrassing.

Last week they were in this ring reminding everyone why they’re the most physical superstars in WWE, they beat the hell out of each other, and after they should have been hanging out in the bar, but Sheamus can’t separate business from personal. He accuses McIntyre of making it personal, and Drew says he’s beaten Sheamus, he knows he can beat GUNTHER, and history shows that the Celtic Warrior can’t.

They square up but Adam Pearce tells them they can beat the hell out of each other next week but right now he needs three signatures on the contract. They both sign the contract.

GUNTHER makes his entrance.

He gets in Adam Pearce’s face and demands he justify why he’s in this match. Pearce quietly asks him to sign it and he does so. GUNTHER asks if he’s happy now and says he’ll do whatever it takes to defend his championship, and he’ll beat the both of them and if he has to he’ll beat Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland as well.

Dunne jumps him, GUNTHER fends him off and gets in Pearce’s face as we go to break.

GUNTHER vs. Pete “Butch” Dunne

Match joined in progress, GUNTHER in control but Dunne fires back with kicks and gets a bodyscissors Jim Breaks Special, but the Ring General reverses into a half-halch suplex! Wristlock, Pete fighting from guard, he pops up into a triangle attempt but GUNTHER reverses into a Boston Crab!

Arm wringer to escape, wishbone the fingers but GUNTHER swats him down! Enzuigiri follows, another one, the Ring General swats a third aside and hits a sleeper suplex! Hanging him in the ropes, big chop, stepping on his chin for as much of the five count as he can get away with as we go to break!

Back from commercial, GUNTHER looking for the Beats of the Bodhran to send Sheamus a message but Dunne blocks and snaps his fingers in the wishbone! Corner enzuigiri, off the second with a double stomp to the arm, GUNTHER grabs a sleeper hold! To the ropes for the break, the Ring General with a German suplex but Pete lands on his feet!

Enzuigiri sends GUNTHER to the floor, looking for a moonsault off the apron but the champion dodges and lays him out with a chop! Three-way staredown, Dunne off the table, GUNTHER swats him into McIntyre! Back inside, Butch with a kick combo, Drew gets on the apron to jaw at him, Sheamus pulls him down and eats a headbutt!

McIntyre puts Holland into the post, Sheamus clobbers him with a knee, GUNTHER with a lariat...

GUNTHER wins by pinfall with the Last Symphony.

Street Profits are backstage talking about WrestleMania to hype up their showcase match. They question Braun Strowman and Ricochet’s legitimacy as a tag team and of course they immediately roll up to jaw at the Profits.

Kevin Owens makes his entrance to send us to break.

Back from commercial, commentary hypes up next week’s show, including the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in Memory of Andre the Giant.

Kevin Owens welcomes us to the KO Show and introduces his guest, his tag partner, his friend, his brother, the one and only Sami Zayn.

Owens asks Zayn if he liked the big intro but Sami says he’s the guest and he didn’t need a big intro. Kev points out it was Zayn’s idea for separate entrances so they could both hear their theme songs and they have a good laugh about it.

Sami points out they’re on the verge of winning the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship together at WrestleMania, and Kevin says he told Sami all those months ago that he needed a new shirt and he got him one, and he shows him the new KOMania shirt, but points out the KOMania is actually the back of the shirt.

There’s only one person who can say he’s been the MVP of the company these past twelve months, and that’s Zayn. So he tosses him the shirt so he can see the front, and the front says WrestleZaynia. Sami is so very excited, and Kev takes his hoodie off to reveal that he’s already wearing one.

Zayn calls for a hug and Kev briefly tries to deny him but goes in— AND THE USOS ATTACK FROM BEHIND! They lay Owens out with a Superkick Party and put Sami off the ropes for the 1D!

The Usos head out up the ramp and throw their ones up.

That’s the show, folks.

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