Friday Night Smackdown! 3/17/2023 Review: A Saint Patrick’s Day Showdown!

Arriving in Kansas City, Friday Night Smackdown! comes on just days away from the biggest event of the WWE calendar year: WrestleMania. Do these competitors have what it takes to get to WrestleMania 39 and win on the biggest stage?

Friday-Night- Smackdown!- 3172023- Review-A- Saint-Patrick's-Day- Showdown!

The path continues toward WrestleMania 39 on tonight’s Friday Night Smackdown! More answers must be discovered for the competitors entering the two-night extravaganza in April. What will happen when Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn try co-existing in the same building? What can we expect when Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley enter the same ring together?  

You can catch all the action of Friday Night Smackdown on Fox. 

***This review will contain full spoilers for the entire episode.***


Credit: JoBloStreamingTV

Story: Getting Closer to WrestleMania

Friday Night Smackdown! is a weekly live event that pits professional wrestlers and their respective feuds together. This happens inside an arena, inside a ring, and surrounded by a large crowd. Both men and women enter the squared circle to compete and see who can capture a victory in a match.

With just days away from the WrestleMania premier event, Friday Night Smackdown! enters the city of Kansas City. Tonight’s show was pretty decent. It didn’t try too hard to move the plot forward. The show also accomplished what it needed to before we got to WrestleMania 39. The show had a handful of matches, some backstage segments, and a nice closing. 

Characters & Performances: Matches and Mayhem

A string of matches and confrontations ensued throughout the night. 

Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens 

Cody Rhodes tries to play peacemaker between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in this segment. Both Sami and Cody make their cases to Kevin Owens on why the two (Sami and Kevin) should bury the hatchet with one another. But Kevin Owens was having none of it. I enjoyed Kevin Owens’ attitude and demeanor throughout this entire segment. He was good at playing the “I’m not buying it” role. 

Cody, Sami, and Kevin standing in the ring

Cody, Sami, and Kevin standing in the ring

Legado Del Fantasma, Dominik Mysterio, Rhea Ripley, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio

This was when we got an inter-gender match between Legado Del Fantasma against Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. The match was okay. Rhea Ripley picks up a win for her team after pinning Zelina Vega. It wasn’t until after the match that things started picking up steam. Dominik Mysterio is becoming a man comfortable with the gimmick he is showcasing to the world. I enjoy it immensely. He started to berate his father, Rey Mysterio, for not being there for him. Suddenly, we see Rey Mysterio come to the ring. The subsequent promo encounter was very intense. In the end, Rey Mysterio said there was no way he was fighting his son at WrestleMania

Rey Mysterio going to the ring

Rey Mysterio going to the ring

Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley have a face-to-face moment for their match at Mania. Rhea Ripley tells Flair why she wanted a match with her at WrestleMania for the Smackdown Women’s Championship… because she realizes that everyone else but Charlotte fears her. She wants to change that at WrestleMania, as she tells Charlotte Flair that she intends to beat her for the title at WrestleMania 39

Ripley interrupts Flair

Ripley interrupts Flair

Xavier Woods Vs. LA Knight 

With Kofi Kingston out with an ankle injury (which he currently underwent ankle surgery for,) Xavier found himself competing against LA Knight. This was a nice little match, which Xavier wanted to have with LA Knight to try to shut him up, in which case, Xavier beat LA Knight in the end. After the match, the commentary team congratulated The Great Muta for joining this year’s WWE Hall of Fame

Sheamus Vs. Drew McIntyre

So it has come down to this. Sheamus and Drew McIntyre want to have a match with Gunther at WrestleMania to capture the Intercontinental Championship. But, before they can do that, they must go through each other first. This Friday Night Smackdown! match against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre was for the opportunity to face Gunther at WrestleMania 39. The former duo, the Banger Bros, needed to shed off their truce with one another and battle each other. With Gunther at ringside, Drew and Sheamus’s match was fun. Two brutes are clobbering one another. Sheamus tried to do the ten beats but Drew countered.

Drew vs Sheamus to face off against Gunther

Drew vs Sheamus to face off for a chance against Gunther

The match kept picking up as it continued. It even got a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. The match almost resulted in a double count-out until Gunther and his crew got involved. He took both of them out in the middle of the ring. Adam Pearce then made a match for WrestleMania that involved all three wrestlers…Drew, Sheamus, and Gunther…In a triple threat match. 

Sami Zayn and Jey Uso 

Tensions increase between Sami and Jey. Sami listens to Jey as he pours his emotions onto Sami. After a back-and-forth, Jey and Sami brawl until Jimmy helps beat Sami down. Just then, Kevin Owens’ music plays…and he attacks Jey and Jimmy Uso as the crowd chants Kevin’s name. He leads a one-man wrecking crew onto the Usos. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn stare each other down; the crowd erupts once the two embrace each other. Their friendship is rekindled once again. A great and powerful segment between Sami and Jey…followed by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn teaming up together to join forces against the Bloodline. 

Cinematography & Sound: Pretty Colors

The show is so bright, and all the talent on the roster looked good in their attire. I liked the theme music of the wrestlers, as well as the camera angles that were used throughout the show. Excellent work by the crew in the back to set up a stage of this brightness. Great camerawork as the camera picked up the action throughout the night. The staging made for a great and enjoyable time watching it. Wonderful stage setup. The sound inside the arena was crisp, and it didn’t take much effort to hear what needed to be heard. Not the least bit distorted. 

Pacing & Editing: Not Too Fast

Overall, the show tried to keep at least a study pace of the main storylines. Nothing was rushed. I appreciated how they initially allowed Kevin Owens to be hesitant in the show. Then, once he realized that the Bloodline wouldn’t stop with how Jey Uso talked to Sami Zayn, he transitioned to the “I need to join forces with Sami or fall” type of attitude at the end. The overall show flowed really well. I enjoyed the start, middle, and ending of the show. Once the show ended, I didn’t think that much was overly out of place, and it didn’t need any major rearrangement on the placements of segments. This allowed everyone the chance and opportunity to understand what they were watching inside the arena, including the final moment where both Sami and Kevin made amends. 

All in all, this episode of Friday Night Smackdown did what it needed to do regarding the path to WrestleMania. Kevin Owens was the person no one knew what he was planning to do, which made the ending even more special. Cody Rhodes continues to play the good guy solidly. I like the fact that we are getting a triple-threat match at Mania. It adds an extra layer to the already combustible match that is Gunther vs Sheamus. Decent little show.
  • Decent plot
  • Mostly solid matches throughout the evening
  • The crowd chanting "what?"

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