With WrestleMania 38 just over two weeks away, SmackDown takes place tonight from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar collide tonight when they meet face-to-face. At WWE's Madison Square Garden house show earlier this month, Reigns attacked Lesnar and left him a bloody mess.
Last week, Lesnar was out for blood and demanded Reigns come to the ring. Instead, Paul Heyman interrupted and told Lesnar that Reigns wasn't there that night. An enraged Lesnar then chased Heyman to the back, but Heyman escaped in a car.
Three matches have also been announced for tonight's show. Sasha Banks & Naomi will take on Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan, Kofi Kingston will face RIdge Holland, and Drew McIntyre will team with The Viking Raiders against Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss & Jinder Mahal.
Holland will have Sheamus and Butch in his corner tonight. Pete Dunne was renamed Butch in his SmackDown debut last week.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
They aired an In Memory graphic for Scott Hall. RIP Scott Hall.
They recapped Roman Reigns attacking Brock Lesnar at the MSG house show and Lesnar chasing Paul Heyman last week.
Michael Cole noted Pat McAfee isn't allowed to touch Austin Theory, and management suggested he apologize to Theory. McAfee didn't seem to like the idea of apologizing.
Roman Reigns and Brock Lensar Collide
This was a good segment, but some of the best parts happened during the commercial break. Lesnar went from appearing to not appearing because of a grounded flight to his plane suddenly landing to showing up at the arena driving a forklift in seconds.
Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and The Usos slowly walked to the ring. Reigns demanded that the fans acknowledge him, and he got a mixed reaction. Reigns bragged about attacking Lesnar in MSG and is excited to smash Lesnar tonight.
Heyman interrupted and informed Reigns that weather patterns caused Lesnar's flight to be grounded. Heyman announced that Lesnar wouldn't be at the show tonight. The fans erupted in boos.
Reigns claimed he was disappointed that he doesn't get to smash Lesnar. Suddenly, Heyman kept interrupting Reigns with more news. Reigns noted that fans are at the show to hear him speak. Heyman told Reigns that Lesnar's flight landed, and he's on his way. Heyman wondered what they should do.
Reigns freaked out, gave the mic to Heyman and told him to wrap this up. He jumped out of the ring and took off with the Usos and Heyman.
Cole and McAfee ran down the line-up for tonight.
In the back, Reigns and the Usos jumped into their car. Suddenly, they heard a horn, and Lesnar pulled up in a forklift. Reigns jumped into the car, and Lesnar drove the forklift into the windows. They cut to commercial.
Back from the break, they showed what happened during the commercial. Reigns, Heyman, and The Usos were trapped in their SUV. Lesnar laughed at them, but they escaped out the other side. Lesnar then flipped the SUV over and destroyed it.
Reigns and The Usos ran over to a second vehicle, which was conveniently nearby with the door open and keys in it. Lesnar ran over as they tried to drive off and pulled off the door. Reigns and The Usos drove out of the arena. Lesnar picked up the car door and walked to the ring.
Lesnar jumped in the ring with the car door and destroyed it. He mocked Reigns for running and hiding from him. Lesnar noted that he's out for blood and promised to beat Reigns at WrestleMania.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs defeated Los Lotharios (4:53)
They had a good opening match.
They recapped Rick Boogs defeating Jey Uso last week to earn a title shot for Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 38 against The Usos.
Los Lotharios did the kiss cam as they entered.
Nakamura backed Humberto into the corner and followed up with a running knee. Humberto got a side headlock, but Nakamura fought back. Angel made a blind tag and jumped Nakamura to gain control. The heels followed up with a double basement dropkick.
Los Lotharios isolated Nakamura on their side of the ring and cut him off from Boogs. Humberto tagged in and knocked Boogs off the apron. He then scored a near fall on Nakamura.
Boogs tagged in and ran wild on the heels. He threw down Angel and gave Humberto a press slam. Boogs did ten reps with Humberto in the press slam before dropping him on Angel. Boogs then hit the Boogs Cruise on Angel for the win.
They recapped Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Jinder Mahal, and Shanky attacking The Viking Raiders last week. The heels then attacked Drew McIntrye until he fought them off.
In the back, Megan Morant interviewed Corbin, Mahal, Shanky, and Moss. Corbin claimed his plan went exactly as he wanted it to last week. Moss made a bad joke, but none of the heels laughed. Cole and McAfee admitted the joke was terrible, but he's getting better.
Drew McIntyre & The Viking Raiders defeated Jinder Mahal, Shanky & Happy Corbin (w/Madcap Moss) (7:12)
This was a fine match. The story of the match was Corbin avoided McIntyre and tagged out anytime he entered the ring.
Cole pointed out that this match was supposed to happen last week.
Erik jumped Shanky at the bell for the early advantage. Shanky fought back and tagged in Mahal. Erik rocked Mahal with a spine buster to take back over. The heels isolated Ivar, and Corbin taunted McIntyre until he got in the ring.
Back from the break, Mahal was firmly in control with a chin lock on Ivar. Ivar fought back, but Corbin prevented the tag. Corbin beat down Ivar, but he broke free and tagged in McIntyre. Corbin quickly tagged out and jumped out of the ring.
McIntyre ran wild, knocking Mahal out of the ring and hitting a Michinoku Driver on Shanky. He then hit the claymore kick for the win.
They recapped Ricochet beating Sami Zayn last week to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
In the back, Zayn claimed that he should be champion, but he's not because of Johnny Knoxville. Zayn promised to show Knoxville what it's like to step into his world. He challenged Knoxville to an anything goes match at WrestleMania.
Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan ended via DQ (11:46)
They had a good match until the weak DQ finish.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Carmella & Queen Zelina watched the match from ringside. On commentary, Cole pushed that Zelina feels Carmella's too distracted with her boyfriend, Corey Graves.
Banks had the early advantage after running up the corner into an arm drag. Morgan rolled up Banks for a near fall. They traded pin falls back and forth.
Banks and Morgan both went for a dropkick. They had a brief stare down. Banks teased shaking Morgan's hand but instead backed her into the corner.
Naomi hit a split-legged leg drop for a two-count. Ripley tagged in and rocked Naomi with a dropkick to the head to take over. Ripley was firmly in control until Banks made a blind tag.
Banks rocked Ripley with a knee to the head and followed up with the head scissors. Ripley and Morgan sent Banks and Naomi to the floor. Ripley followed up with a cannonball off the apron as they cut to commercal.
Back from the break, Ripley went for a vertical suplex, but Naomi broke free. Naomi avoided Ripley and hit a springboard kick. Banks and Morgan tagged in at the same time.
Banks hit the double knees in the corner and hit a Meteora for a close near fall. Morgan recovered and hit an enziguri. Ripley followed up with a huge missile dropkick on Banks for a close near fall.
Ripley went for the rip tide, but Banks hit a backstabber instead. Naomi hit the split-legged moonsault on Ripley, but Morgan broke up the pin attempt.
There was a brief "This is awesome" chant. Banks and Naomi gave Ripley a double suplex as Morgan gave them a double powerbomb.
Natalya and Shayna Baszler ran into the ring and attacked everyone for a disqualification. Carmella and Zelina jumped in to help Natalya and Baszler.
The champions posed next to Baszler and Natalya. Baszler and Natalya stared at the champions. Natalya then pointed out the WrestleMania sign.
Johnny Knoxville responded to Sami Zayn's challenge from earlier. Knoxville noted he once fought Butterbean and got knocked out. He also strapped himself to a rocket. Knoxville accepted Zayn's challenged and broke out laughing.
Zayn vs. Knoxville in An Anything Goes match is official for WrestleMania 38.
Cole and McAfee discussed Knoxville and Zayn when Cole got a message from the back. He informed McAfee that Mr. McMahon summoned him to his office. McAfee noted they're live on the air, and Cole assumed it couldn't be good news.
In the back, Sonya Deville approached Natalya and Baszler. She was happy with their actions and added them to the Women's tag title match at WrestleMania.
Pat McAfee-Austin Theory Segment
McAfee was good in the segment.
They recapped Pat McAfee attacking Austin Theory last week. They showed McAfee exiting McMahon's office. Cole wondered if McAfee was fired for his actions last week. McAfee walked back to the ring.
McAfee jumped in the ring and grabbed the mic. He mentioned watching professional wrestling for the first time when he was 11 years old on a Monday night. The fans gave him the "What" chant, but it didn't disrupt him.
McAfee recounted when Cole called him to join the commentary team. McAfee noted it's his dream to compete in front of the WWE fans. McAfee started doing his catchphrases, which are actually Steve Austin and Rock's catchphrases.
Austin Theory interrupted and made his way to the ring. McAfee noted that McMahon told him to apologize or risk losing his match at WrestleMania. McAfee apologized that he beat up Theory and said he's sorry that Theory's a punk.
Theory smirked and pushed McAfee. He jumped out of the ring and bragged that McAfee apologized. McAfee went back to the commentary table. Cole admitted he's happy McAfee still has his job. Cole noted McAfee technically apologized to Theory.
Ridge Holland (w/Sheamus & Butch) defeated Kofi Kingston (6:52)
Kingston and Holland had a fine match. The commentators referenced Butch went by a different name before but never mentioned Pete Dunne. They added that Butch is close friends with Sheamus and Holland.
Cole and McAfee discussed Big E's neck injury from last week. Cole added that Kingston is out for retribution for what happened to Big E.
They showed footage of New Day vs. Holland & Sheamus and the spot where Big E was injured. It also included footage not shown on T.V. and Big E giving the thumbs up as he left on the stretcher.
They showed Big E's message on social media. Cole noted that Holland apologized to Big E and hopes he gets better soon.
Kingston rocked Holland with a dropkick at the bell. Holland briefly fought back, but Kingston caught him with a kick to the chest. Kingston followed up with a springboard crossbody to the floor.
Back from the break, Holland rocked Kingston with a back elbow to regain control. During the break, Sheamus pulled Kingston out of the ring and hit a clothesline. Holland slowed the pace down with a chin lock, but Kingston fought back.
Kingston took Holland down with a clothesline and hit the boom drop. He set up for the trouble in paradise, but Holland caught him. Kingston broke free and climbed to the top rope. Sheamus distracted the referee, and Butch knocked Kingston off.
The referee didn't see the interference but sent Sheamus and Butch to the back anyway. Holland rolled up Kingston for a near fall. Butch tried to jump back in as they were leaving, but Sheamus pulled him out. Holland took advantage of the distraction and hit Northern grit for the win.
Charlotte Flair-Ronda Rousey Segment
This was a good segment. The fans were into the brawl and popped big for Rousey.
They recapped the Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair feud.
Charlotte Flair made her way to the ring. She noted that she always has a plan. She bragged about slamming Rousey on the hood of a car last week. Flair claimed she almost made Rousey tap out, but the referees pulled her off. The fans broke into a loud "You tapped out" chant directed at Flair.
Flair claimed that her legacy is bigger than Rousey's. She added that Rousey would leave and have another baby when she loses at WrestleMania. Flair noted she's not going anywhere and that Rousey doesn't have the passion to be a 13-time world champion.
Flair said she didn't want to wait until WrestleMania and demanded Rousey come to the ring in her home city, Charlotte. Flair wooed and challenged Rousey to come to the ring. The fans gave Flair a positive reaction for that comment but still treated her like the heel.
In the back, Rousey was walking to the ring when Kayla Braxton approached. She asked Rousey if she thought this was a trap. Rousey ignored her and kept walking. McAfee thought Braxton asked a great question.
Rousey marched to the ring, but Flair had a kendo stick. Rousey avoided the kendo stick and rocked Flair with rights and lefts. She sent Flair to the floor, but Flair fought back. She threw Rousey into the side of the ring.
Rousey recovered and locked on the ankle lock, but Flair hid another kendo stick near the time keepers' table. She rocked Rousey with the kendo stick and choked her out.
Flair then gave Rousey a powerbomb onto the announce table. Flair posed over Rousey's body in the broken table to end SmackDown.