WWE SmackDown announced a long-awaited duel between Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns ahead of their WrestleMania 39 main event. WWE also promoted Sami Zayn against Bloodline member Solo Sikoa and Liv Morgan – the last person to defeat Rhea Ripley – and feuded Ripley in singles actions.
Last week’s broadcast of Montreal’s SmackDown attracted 2.408 million viewers.
WWE SmackDown Results | March 3, 2023
- Defeated Rhea Ripley. Liv Morgan
- Dominic Mysterio defeated. Santos Escobar
- Shayna Baszler defeated. Tegan Nox
- Solo Sikoa defeated. Sami Zain
WWE SmackDown Ratings
- February 24, 2023 | 2.408 million
- February 17, 2023 | 2.383 million
- February 10, 2023 | 2.438 million
- February 3, 2023 | 2.384 million
- January 27, 2023 | 2.544 million
- WWE SmackDown Venue: Capital One Arena (Washington, DC)
- WWE SmackDown tickets distributed: 12,271
- Available maps: 236
WWE SmackDown winners and grades
Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns face off
Fans cheered wildly for Roman Reigns and The Bloodline, but erupted even louder for Cody Rhodes.
Cody Rhodes mentioned that he and his friends sold out a 10,000-seat building, and the all-out reference got a huge pop.
Roman Reigns edited a good promo about WrestleMania, the main eventing, and his relationship with Dusty Rhodes, but it was a shoddy version of a similar promo that Paul Heyman edited on Rhodes weeks ago.
This segment felt like a WrestleMania main event. WWE not only slows down storytelling, it also slows down physicality. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reigns and Rhodes didn’t touch until they got to Inglewood.
Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns Faceoff Note: A
Defeated Rhea Ripley. Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan was the last woman to beat Rhea Ripley in May last year and I wish that would be played more.
Rhea Ripley continues to be featured as a monster bound for WrestleMania. If she takes the title, she could run similarly to Roman Reigns unbeaten.
Rhea Ripley vs. Liv Morgan Grade: B-
Dominic Mysterio defeated. Santos Escobar
Roman Reigns wasn’t even the top seller on his own show, as that award went to Dominik Mysterio.
Mysterio’s heel work is reinforced by Michael Cole, who is outraged by Mysterio’s actions, much like Lance Russell is in Memphis wrestling.
After Mysterio’s victory, he ripped Santos Escobar’s gifted mask from Rey Mysterio thanks to Rhea Ripley’s Riptide. He eventually returned the mask to Mysterio, but not before attacking his father once more.
WWE continues to borrow from the Undertaker vs. Kane 1998 playbook as Rey Mysterio refuses to get physical with his son just as Undertaker refused to shake hands with Kane.
Dominik Mysterio vs Santos Escobar Grade: B
Drew McIntyre challenges GUNTHER
Drew McIntyre feels like Batista during the 2008 WrestleMania season.
McIntyre called GUNTHER and got Sheamus. Then it morphed into a cavalcade of WWE Superstars unrelated to WrestleMania, including LA Knight, The New Day and Karrion Kross.
Intercontinental Championship Contender Segment Grade: C+
Shayna Baszler defeated. Tegan Nox
Shayna Baszler wasted no time marching to the ring while Rousey wore an arm brace, which was also her black belt from judo.
Shayna Baszler made quick work of Tegan Nox and Baszler and Ronda Rousey were described as recklessly running through the women’s roster. Maybe that’s true, but it wasn’t treated the way it should have been.
Shayna Baszler vs. Tegan Nox Grade: C+
Bobby Lashley calls Bray Wyatt
After proving to be a big seller in the Brock Lesnar storyline, amid a possible Hurt Business reunion, Bobby Lashley was right back to smiling and shaking hands during his surprise SmackDown appearance.
Backstage, Roman Reigns continued to manipulate Jimmy Uso to get rid of Sami Zayn while Jey Uso continued to flock.
Segment Bobby Lashley vs. Bray Wyatt: B-
Solo Sikoa defeated. Sami Zain
Roman Reigns said if Jey Uso doesn’t show up next week, Reigns will blame Jimmy.
Michael Cole did a great job laying out the narrative of The Bloodline and how Roman Reigns may need to look in the mirror to invite Zayn into the group early on.
Despite his loss, Zayn narrowly escaped a caning and snuck in a Helluva Kick for his troubles. The Bloodline didn’t finish Sami Zayn, and next week’s SmackDown, which may see the return of Jey Uso, will be interesting.