SmackDown airs tonight (Feb. 9) with a live show emanating from Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the second episode of SmackDown during the four week build towards Elimination Chamber 2024, which takes place on February 24.
There aren’t enough WrestleMania main events to go around
WWE spent a good chunk of last night’s WrestleMania Kickoff event in Las Vegas to four men arguing over who should be featured in the main event of WrestleMania 40.
After The Rock turned heel to align himself with WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns opposite the babyface duo of Cody Rhodes and World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, fans are scrambling trying to figure out which WrestleMania matches are coming out of that story, and wondering if the announced main event of Reigns vs. Rhodes will soon be changed. As it stands right now, Reigns vs. Rhodes is one of the two WrestleMania main events that will come our way on the weekend of Apr. 6 and Apr. 7 in Philadelphia.
Co-host Big E observed that a tag team match looks like it’s on the table, and the rumor mill already has a potential match of Rock & Reigns vs. Rhodes & Rollins tentatively penciled into the main event of night one of WrestleMania. A scenario like that could mean both of this year’s WrestleMania main events are dedicated to the story between these four men.
I’m pretty sure Royal Rumble winner Bayley isn’t on board with those early assumptions and predictions. She has vowed to main event WrestleMania this year; in order to do that, not only will she have to take one of those main event matches away from The Rock’s story, but she will also have to outshine Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley and (probably) Becky Lynch. Bayley is already an underdog to claim a WrestleMania main event, given the fact that Ripley vs. Lynch was highlighted at last night’s WrestleMania Kickoff event whereas Bayley was lost in the shuffle.
The best way for Bayley to secure her WrestleMania main event is to maximize fan investment in her championship chase. To that end, she did a hell of a job last week on SmackDown when she revealed that she actually understood the Japanese trash talk that her fellow Dmage CTRL members used to recently mock her. Bayley turned babyface in a clever way, challenged WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY to a title match at WrestleMania, and had a pipe waiting around to fend off the expected group attack from Asuka, Kairi Sane, and SKY.
The next chapter in this story should play out tonight on SmackDown, where perhaps it’s time to see how Dakota Kai feels about Bayley’s departure from Damage CTRL. Will we learn about what match is in store for Bayley and SKY in Australia at Elimination Chamber?
You’ll have to tune into SmackDown tonight to see Bayley continue her pursuit of the other highly coveted WrestleMania main event spot.
The rest of the title scene
United States Champion Logan Paul has no interest in giving Kevin Owens a rematch after escaping Royal Rumble with a disqualification finish. For his part, Owens was better about hiding brass knuckles last week when he knocked out Austin Theory, but that might not help him get a rematch with the YouTube douchebag. SmackDown GM Nick Aldis plans to name Logan’s next challenger tonight (for a title match at Elimination Chamber), which means Nick’s office might be crowded early in the show as folks like Owens and LA Knight make their case for the GM to choose them for the title match in Australia.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are coming over from Raw tonight to take on the hot team of Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate. The winning pair moves on to challenge The Judgment Day for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship at Elimination Chamber.
WWE’s web site says Raw stars Cody Rhodes and Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER will be in the building tonight, while Reigns, Rollins, and The Rock are nowhere to be seen. Cody might as well appear on TV to address last night’s events and at least confront the wise man of The Bloodline, Paul Heyman. As for GUNTHER, he might only be there for a dark match.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Bianca Belair is trying to find her path to a title match against Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania. She will be the heavy favorite in tonight’s bout against Michin, where the winner qualifies for the women’s Elimination Chamber match in Australia.
- WWE is in no rush to deliver an actual match in the feud of The Final Testament vs. Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits. AOP has yet to work a match since returning to WWE TV over one month ago, and the momentum of this story is beginning to sputter out with all the delay tactics.
- Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles did not factor at all into last week’s episode of SmackDown after failing to beat Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble. Will some of these stars find their way into a men’s Elimination Chamber match in Australia? Will there even be a men’s chamber match?
- Naomi returned to WWE at Royal Rumble and is now on the SmackDown roster. I imagine she will eventually join the field in that women’s Elimination Chamber match.
- Bron Breakker and Jade Cargill are at the center of a bidding war between Raw GM Adam Pearce and SmackDown GM Aldis. When will Bron and Jade make their big decisions on which brand to sign with?
- Humberto Carrillo is now going by the abbreviated name Berto. I guess it doesnt matter what he calls himself, Rey Mysterio will be happy to give him a 619 either way whenever he’s able to return from injury and rejoin the war between LWO and Legado del Fantasma.
- Will the current NXT story between Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes spill over onto SmackDown TV?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown?