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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 2.23.24

February 23, 2024 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown 2-23-24 Drew McIntyre Image Credit: WWE
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 2.23.24  

Hello there everyone, it’s Friday and time for the go home episode of WWE Smackdown in their last chance to sell you on Elimination Chamber. Elimination Chamber is just a handful of hours away since it’ll be live in prime time in Australia, and given the time and travel issues that means this weeks episode was recorded last week. If you want spoilers they can be found here. I expect a lot of Bloodline related stuff tonight, especially backstage segments that they could easily tape last week. As for action, tag team stuff between a couple of Judgement Day guys and the team of Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate is on tap, Bron Breakker will make his main roster debut, The Street Profits will take on the Authors of Pain, and we’ve got Drew McIntyre vs. LA Knight. I’m sure other stuff will show up as well, and expect a lot of Elimination Chamber hype packages. These pre-taped shows are about 50/50 but given the generally good quality of Smackdown since the calendar flipped over I’ve got decent expectations. Well that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

We open with some highlights of people arriving, and a conspicuous lack of location acknowledgement.

Anyway here comes Bianca Belair to stand around. While she heads to the ring, here’s a hype package for Elimination Chamber. After that package here comes Liv Morgan for our first match.

Match #1: Liv Morgan vs. Tiffany Stratton

Liv with some strikes then Stratton takes a powder. Stratton heads out claiming she needs to get to the PPV on time, might be a little late for that now, but despite that Liv chases her and starts tossing her into the barricade. Back in the ring Stratton takes over with a clothesline. Some corner work from Stratton but Liv counters a scoop slam with a Backstabber which leads to a 2 count. Liv fires up with a flurry but runs into a boot, then Stratton follows up with a double stomp for a 2 count. Whoever did the post editing on the sound mixing made the ambient crowd noise a hair too loud and it’s a little distracting. Liv hits a Crucifix Driver for a 2 count and we head to commercial.

Stratton is working a rest hold as we come back. Liv tries to fight free but gets clubbed down. A little bit of trash talk from Stratton then Liv rights back with strikes. They trade counters into the ropes then Liv hits a shoulder block. Liv fires up with a flurry of kicks then a high knee in the corner. Flying Codebreaker from Liv gets a near fall. Slam from Stratton then she wants the Prettiest Moonsault Ever but Live avoids that and stomps her down. Bridging leg sweep from Liv but she still can’t keep Stratton down. Jawbreaker from Stratton then her cartwheel Alabama Slam for another near fall. Liv blocks a moonsault and hits a slightly slow motion sunset powerbomb off the ropes but again Stratton wont stay down. Outside the ring Stratton slams Liv into the announcers desk, then she slaps Belair. This leads to Belair distracting the ref and missing a Liv visual win via O’Connor Roll but Stratton kicks Liv into Belair then grabs a School Boy for the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Tiffany Stratton won in 11:42

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: A tad spot reliant and the sound mixing was definitely an issue, but ultimately this was solid work from both women.

Mic time for Drew in the back with Kayla, he feels everything’s lead to this moment. His greatest love and most dysfunctional relationship is with wrestling, and if he loses at the Chamber or at Mania his career is as useless as CM Punk’s return. Bobby Lashley comes in to put over Drew’s meme game, but then references making Drew pass out in the Hurt Lock at Mania years ago. Drew does not take kindly to that as Bobby walks off and we get a break.

We get a little video about Ashante The Adonis and Cedric Alexander becoming a tag team and bickering over wardrobe. OK then, I guess that’s a thing for those two to do.

Next, a recap of The Rock’s promo from last week and Jannetty Uso messing around on RAW to cost Cody Rhodes a match and then cost Jey Michaels his title match with Gunther.

In the back we see The Bloodline and Jimmy yacks for a bit at Roman Reigns, but Roman asks who sent them to RAW. Jimmy blames Paul Heyman, and Roman blasts him for stooging out Heyman like that, because Roman is the one who called things. Heyman is here and says that Grayson Waller is here and Roman is about to be amused by him.

Elsewhere in the back Bron Breakker warms up for his debut, which will be up after this break.

Post break some Elimination Chamber hype then we head to the ring for Bron Breakker.

Match #2: Bron Breakker vs. Dante Chen

Quick go behind and mat return from Bron then he levels Chen with a shoulder block. Bron into the ropes for a hard clothesline. Chen tries to fight back from the apron then heads up but flies into a World’s Strongest Slam. Bron is done here and cuts Chen in half with a Spear to end it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bron Breakker won in 1:18

Rating: Spaghetti. . . SQUASH
Thoughts: Delicious squash.

At gorilla Kayla talks with Judgement Day, Finn Balor dismisses Dunne and Bate then Priest says after Dumb Domb and the human Funko Pop get done with them all they’ll have to do is clean up at Elimination Chamber. Dom and Roger the Alien head to the ring as we head to break.

Post break Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde talk, and up comes Elektra Lopez. Elektra says the LWO is dead, following Rey has ruined them and they should consider loyalty. She walks off and Angel and Humberto attack the job squad from behind before Santos Escobar walks up and tells them this is the price for abandoning him. Officials come over to break things up.

Back to the ring so we can get the entrance for Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne. Still no team theme for them though.

Match #3 – Tag Team Match: British Strong Style (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate) vs. Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh

JD and Bate start us off, they tie up and trade arm wringers and escapes with Bate generally being the better wrestler. Shoulder block from JD then they hit the ropes for a little bit but nothing comes of it. Bate with a head scissors then climbs the ropes holding them and then launches JD out of the ring. JD in the ring and gets monkey flipped then Dunne tags in. Double back body drop to JD then Dunne with a snapmare. Bate tags back in for a rolling senton off the top and that gets 2. Bate knocks down Dom then gets slammed down by the hair via JD. Dom tags in and hits a hilo for a 1 count. Quick tags from the heels now before Bate tosses JD out of the ring then mule kicks Dom out of the corner and tags in Dunne. Dunne runs over Dom and then knee drops his arm. Finger work from Dunne then a stomp to the ribs. Dunne slams the knee of Dom into the matt then cranks the ankle before tagging in Bate for a double arm stomp. Bate gets low bridged hitting the ropes though then eats a punt kick from the apron while Dom cheap shots Dunne and sends us to break.

JD is working over Bate as we come back. Bate starts fighting back but eats a knee to the face then Dom tags in. Dom stomps away at Bate then tries the 3 Amigos but only gets 2 before Bate counters into a stalling suplex because Bate is a big strong boy. Both men tag out and Dunne runs wild with kicks to everyone. A flurry of kicks to JD then a German suplex and hand stomps. Buzzsaw kick from Dunne then a rolling release suplex for a 2 count. Bate tags back in and they try a double suplex but Dom saves JD only to then get punched down by Dunne and Bate. Bate keeps unloading on JD and Dom then an Airplane Spin for Dom before he gets tossed out. JD tries a roll up for 2, but then Bate takes him out with another Airplane Spin before Dunne tags in. Dunne and Bate with double kicks in the corner then a Clothesline German combination and Dom has to break up the pin. Bate gets tossed out of the ring, then Dunne ejects Dom. JD and Butch don’t quite hit a Canadian Destroyer counter and they just trade some counter spots until JD hits a running Spanish Fly for a 2 count. JD up top, but his moonsault is countered by knees from Dunne. Dom sneaks in a 619 to Dunne but Bate takes him out with a Bop and Bang. Dunne snaps the fingers of JD, then tags in Bate so they can hit the double Tyler Driver to get the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: British Strong Style won in 13:19

Rating: 3.5 stars
Thoughts: Pretty good stuff here, it’s not surprising that Dunne and Bate are very very good at this and this was a nice teaser for what they’ll be able to do against Priest and Balor.

Post match Finn Balor and Damien Priest show up, Balor gets punched down then Priest gets punched out by both Dunne and Bate. Balor and Priest charge the ring again but Bate and Dunne slide out and lay out Dom and JD on the ramp then stand tall on the entrance stage while Balor and Priest fume.

Hype job for the men’s Elimination Chamber match.

In the back Logan Paul, Grayson Waller, and Austin Theory stand around and here’s Kevin Owens to make fun of them. He asks where Theory’s shirt is before leaving. Logan asks why they didn’t jump him. Paul Heyman wanders into frame as everyone says they hate Kevin Owens, then Heyman tells Waller to go talk with Roman Reigns.

To the ring, here come the Street Profits, they’ll look for some revenge on the Authors of Pain after this break.

In the back Dakota Kai limps around with help from Nick Aldis and a ref, further setting up her turn to evil at Mania when she screws over Bayley.

Back to the ring and here come the Authors of Pain.

Match #4: Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) w/ Bobby Lashley and B-Fab vs. Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) w/ Paul Ellering, Scarlett, and Karrion Kross

Ford and Akam start us off, Ford with dropkicks to both opponents but then he’s cornered and Rezar tags in. They club down Ford for a while then Dawkins tags in and dropkicks Rezar. Double shoulder block to Rezar drops him. Akam tags in and starts punching Dawkins. Dawkins fights back with a boot then tosses Akam and Rezar out of the ring, that sets up Dawkins for a dive which then sends us to break.

Rezar is in control of Ford as we come back, he starts cranking the neck of Ford. Akam tags in and they hit an assisted knee strike that gets 2. Rezar tags back in as they keep isolating Ford. Ford fights back from the apron but gets punched down. Rezar with a front headlock but Ford breaks his grip and fights free with a kick then a shot to Akam. Rezar avoids an enziguri but then Ford posts him and everyone’s down. Dawkins wants in and both men ultimately tag out so Dawkins can run wild on Akam for a bit. Corner combination from Dawkins connects. Akam slips off the shoulders of Dawkins then boots him down. Rezar tags in and they hit a clothesline and Russian leg sweep combination but Ford saves the match. Akam tosses Ford out of the ring then gets tagged in. Dawkins tries to fight back again then tags in Ford, they try a Doomsday Blockbuster and it connects but Rezar breaks up the pin. Dawkins and Rezar head out of the ring together. Akam catches a kick but Ford slips away from him and hits an enziguri. Ford up top but Scarlett distracts the ref so Kross can toss Ford down. Things break down now with B-Fab attacking Scarlett and Bobby charging at Kross. Kross and Bobby brawl but Kross slams Bobby’s arm into the ring steps then gets a chair and crushes his arm against the post with it. Ford gets kicked down in the ring then Rezar tags in. Powerbomb Neckbreaker combo to Ford and the Authors of Pain get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Authors of Pain won in 11:21

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: The AOP are a little slow in the ring and work a more methodical style, which isn’t bad but they need to find ways to make that still feel engaging instead of just plodding.

In the back Dakota Kai is getting examined by a trainer when Bayley walks in. Bayley wants to know what happened, Dakota blames Damage Control. Bayley apologizes but Dakota is super understanding about Bayley being mistrustful, then Bayley promises they wont get away with this. Dakota again says she’s got Bayley’s back, and they’re going to make Iyo, Asuka, and Kairi pay.

After this break we’ll get our main event of LA Knight vs. Drew McIntyre.

We come back to a brief hype package for Elimination Chamber.

In the Bloodline locker room Jimmy still can’t shut up and then Heyman introduces Waller. Roman tells Jimmy to move and Waller to sit. He wants to tell Waller, but this is only for Waller and not his buddies. Waller seems interested as we cut away before learning anything else.

Commentary run down the Elimination Chamber card again.

After that we head back to the ring for our main event entrances, and LA Knight is still getting very large pops. Drew will get his entrance after this break.

Post break commentary runs down next week for us. Bayley and Dakota Kai take on the Kabuki Warriors, Carlito will meet Santos Escobar in a Street Fight and that’s all they announce.

In the back Bobby Lashley is getting his elbow checked out, and Drew wanders over to deliver a “I’ll pray for you” before he heads presumable towards the ring.

Speaking of the ring, Knight waits and here comes Drew. Before their match starts out comes Logan Paul to join commentary.

Match #5: LA Knight vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew and Knight tie up, they fight for position around the ring while Logan get’s distracted by a “Logan sucks” chant. To things that matter Drew lands a chop but then runs into a boot and Knight hits a second rope clothesline. Running neckbreaker from Knight then he stomps on Drew in the corner. Drew avoids a Blunt Force Trauma and absolutely blasts Knight with a headbutt. Knight rolls to the apron and Drew then gets back dropped to the floor, Knight then hits a diving clothesline from the apron to the floor. Drew with a belly to belly suplex on the floor, but here comes Kevin Owens through the crowd to also join commentary. Drew then hits a guillotine catapult to Knight under the ring, rattling the ring frame as we head to break.

Knight is fighting out of a rest hold as we come back, but he tries an up and over out of the corner only to take a shot to the gut from Drew. Drew with mounted punches then a corner chop. Knight fights back with chops but Drew kicks his leg then chops him again and hits a release suplex. More chops from Drew but then he runs into a corner boot from Knight. Knight fires up with punches then a Manhattan Drop and a clothesline. DDT from Knight but that’s only good enough for a 2 count. Drew avoids a Blunt Force Trauma and drops Knight with a clubbing blow. Drew climbs up top but Knight runs over and jumps up there with him to hit a big superplex for a near fall. Knight tries a suplex but Drew counters into a Future Shock DDT. Drew wants the Claymore, but Knight avoids it and Drew crashes to the mat. They head out of the ring and Knight bounces Drew off the announce table for a bit. Knight jaw jacks with Logan which allows Drew to club him down, then Drew tosses Knight into Owens. Owens then attacks Drew and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Drew McIntyre won via disqualification in 11:47

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Another match that was unsurprisingly good, Drew and Knight meshed well enough here and without the schmoz ending this could have gone higher. That said, the schmoz was inevitable and kind of the point but I wouldn’t hate more of these two squaring up in the future.

The brawl is on now as Knight drops Drew with a Blunt Force Trauma but here’s Bobby with a Spear. Logan attacks Bobby then gets Stunned by Owens, Bobby Spears Owens because he can. Well we’re only missing on, Bobby tries to stand tall but here’s Drew with a Claymore to interrupt his music. Drew tries for the final visual, but we still don’t have Randy so he comes from behind and floors Drew with an RKO and it’s the Viper standing tall to end the episode.

The final score: review Good
The 411
For a go home show this was pretty good, only really suffering from some minor pacing issues and the usual reliance on video packages that pad out most of these pretaped shows. But this was generally effective at hinting at the PPV matches, didn't really have a bad match on it, and seeded a few things for beyond the PPV as well. Good trending towards Very Good, but honestly the technical stuff like over boosting the fake crowd noise at times hurt this as well. Still, if this is the standard for taped go home shows we should all be pretty happy.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree