WWE SmackDown 3/22/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE SmackDown," the show where Kevin Owens can hit two people in the face simultaneously with a single punch. That's right, he did it again, this time to Pretty Deadly, and it was AMAZING. The only reason we're not writing about it here is it because it transcends such base concepts as "love" and "hate," instead belonging to its own elevated magical tier that exists outside the good/bad spectrum. As a result, the only place you can read about it is our "SmackDown" results page, which also happens to have coverage of the entire show, not just the things that stood out to the WINC staff in a positive or negative way. That's what this column is for.


So! Did we pop for Dominik Mysterio's mask reveal? Did we applaud for the Babyface Avengers assembling to take down Roman "Thanos" Reigns? And most importantly, IS JADE CARGILL HERE YET???  Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 3/22/24 episode of "WWE SmackDown."

Hated: Rey vs. Dominik 2? In this economy?

I don't think I'm insane for expecting Rey Mysterio to take on Santos Escobar at WrestleMania. Like, that was a reasonable expectation, right? That this feud that's been built up for like a year now would blow off at the big show? I just assumed that would be a thing that happened. Silly me.


Instead, Rey took on Escobar on this week's "SmackDown" and won thanks to the interference of Dominik Mysterio. So now I have to assume Rey and Dom are having a rematch from last year's Mania? I mean, I guess this could be building to a big multi-man LWO vs. Legado del Fantasma match, with Dom joining Escobar, Berto, and Angel to take on Rey, Carlito, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro. That might be a thing. But I would say the singles match is more likely, and really in either case ... what the hell? Dominik and Rey haven't been involved with each other in forever. Dom has been hanging out on "Raw," losing matches and trying to figure out how he went from sleeping with Rhea Ripley to sleeping with JD McDonagh. Now, two weeks before Mania, he just suddenly cares about screwing over his dad again? It's really hard to imagine a lazier build than this, no matter what the final match is.


So yeah, not thrilled about this. Rey vs. Escobar was an incredibly deserving Mania match and would have been a significantly bigger stage for Escobar's win. The fact that WWE chose to blow off the long-term feud two weeks before Mania in favor of a rushed Dominik feud is maddening, and indicative of the generally sub-par quality of 2024's WrestleMania storylines.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: Where does Bianca Belair stand with Bayley and Naomi?

IYO SKY defending the Women's Championship against Bayley is the match I am most looking forward to at WrestleMania this year, and Friday night only made me more excited for it.

"SmackDown" has a smaller roster in comparison to "Raw" and the majority of competitors in the women's division often find themselves involved in one overarching story rather than smaller ones or competing in random matches every week. While on paper it may seem like it could make for boring programming or could be messy to follow, it actually works out perfectly and makes it stand out.


The storyline between Bayley and SKY has primarily been centralized around Damage CTRL (as it should obviously be), but including other players like Naomi and Bianca Belair as WWE did tonight makes it all the more compelling to watch. Belair has a storied history with Bayley and Damage CTRL while Naomi is quite familiar with Bayley, so to have them have differing views and feelings about her without either of their perspectives feeling forced or invalid is refreshing. Having Bayley being attacked backstage before Naomi's match with SKY and forcing Naomi to be alone at ringside only made things all the more better and allowed for the Naomi and Belair relationship to take center stage and progress the story. Honestly, my only complaint about this was that it didn't get more television time.


Written by Olivia Quinlan

Hated: The Good Brothers losing

While I still don't really fully understand how anyone is qualifying for the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship Six-Pack Challenge at WrestleMania since they made it way more complicated than it needed to be, I do know this: The Good Brothers (okay, The OC, I guess) didn't need to be involved in this at all if they weren't going to make their way into the actual title match. Seasoned vets though they be, surely willing to elevate whomever they must at this point in their careers, this wasn't that, and instead, losing tonight to Grayson Waller and that other guy was a tough pill to swallow.


It wouldn't matter whatsoever if they weren't also entwined in a similar tag team 27-car pileup in NXT for yet another multi-squad match at Stand & Deliver. But they are. And because of that, them losing here makes them less than they should be there.

Moreover, their inclusion in both brackets, or scrambles, or whatever we have going on here, doesn't make sense in the least. If they're in both, theoretically, they could win both. And that was never going to happen. I get suspension of disbelief — if you've been a fan of professional wrestling for as long as I have, that just comes with the territory — but things have to make sense. Okay, fine, MOST things have to make at least A LITTLE sense.


Now, for the record, I don't think The OC is competing at Stand & Deliver either, but at least that makes sense in that whichever team topples them gets the rub and goes on to the big(ger) stage with that equity in their back pockets. But that doesn't excuse their loss tonight. Somebody else could have easily played that role and I, at least, would be sitting here less confused. Of course, somebody else wouldn't have had Michin along for the ride and the more of her we get, the better. So there, I'm keeping it positive in the end.

Written by Jon Jordan

Loved: We're on Storm Watch!

You can expect storms every Friday night from next week forward, because tonight, Jade Cargill publicly announced that she was headed to "WWE SmackDown" via a video package. Besides confirming her home for the foreseeable future, Cargill took the opportunity to let the WWE Universe know that she is the coolest kid on the block, and did so with a signature classiness that will surely become her defining mark very soon, if it hasn't already.


Cargill should be the first person that comes to mind upon hearing the phrase "effortlessly cool", because she truly does make it look so easy. With chiseled muscles and sleek, stark-white hair, she commands the room just with her strong gaze. She is full of suave winks and gentle smirks that let the entire room know who is the toughest in the room without saying a word. Quiet confidence radiates off of her, and her presence commands attention without being flamboyant or overbearing.

While her raw strength and luxurious aesthetic are appealing, they are also things that can be found in multiple other female Superstars. No, It is that silent self-assuredness that makes Cargill so uniquely appealing. She doesn't need to shout to get your attention — just one glance from her cool gaze, and she can grip an entire fanbase. In a ring that so often has people talking loudly, all vying for your attention with their volume and their showiness, Cargill is a cool relief from that hustle and bustle. To be able to make such an impression with so little words is a great talent.


Cargill was genuine and honest when she said that she doesn't even need to speak to become a trending topic. As I'm writing this, Cargill's name is trending right alongside "SmackDown" on X (formerly known as Twitter) — and that is immediately after a showdown between The Bloodline and Cody Rhodes, "Main Event" Jey Uso, and World Heavyweight Champion Seth "Freakin'" Rollins. She is so powerful that even with six of the company's top male stars closing out the show, she commands the attention of the WWE Universe. Might I remind you: she didn't even appear in-person tonight! There was just a video package that announced that she was headed for Friday nights, and that was in the earlier parts of the show. For her to have that kind of pull when she's not even there is incredible, and speaks volumes to her popularity and to the effectiveness of her quietness. The people have already seen the loud, the brash, and the flamboyant Superstar. Cargill's classy confidence is her most attractive quality.

All of a sudden, I'm investing in storm-chasing equipment, because you better believe that this writer will be keeping a close eye on Cargill from next week forward.

Written by Angeline Phu

Hated: Increase the stakes or axe the story

Usually, long term storylines have growing stakes or tensions, and they are necessary in order to help a storyline progress further. However, with the feud between The Street Profits, Bobby Lashley, and B-Fab and The Final Testament, it feels as though that's not happening and the story is at a bit of a standstill.


Putting The Profits up against Authors Of Pain with a spot in the WrestleMania Six-Pack Ladder Match for the Undisputed Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania without any of their stablemates at ringside is fine, but it just feels a little boring and almost an easy way out. Something like having one of the teams cost the other the match would've been a better avenue, as it would've increased tensions between the two teams and given them an even more interesting reason to fight one another with or without their stablemates (perhaps at WrestleMania).

Yes, WWE currently has another stable vs. stable storyline going on between LWO and Legado Del Fantasma, but the differences between that and The Street Profits, Bobby Lashley, and B-Fab and The Final Testament are night and day. See, LWO and Legado has increased the stakes and tensions every week with whatever segment in whatever amount of time they're given and included a handful of fun surprises such as the returns of Rey Mysterio and Elektra Lopez to the main roster. If WWE were to find a way to include things like that into The Street Profits, Bobby Lashley, and B-Fab and The Final Testament, then it would give some new life to a story that otherwise has very little.


Written by Olivia Quinlan

Loved: Reigns and Rhodes get back to business

Say what you will about the back-and-forth verbal spat between The Rock and Cody Rhodes of late. I say Rock's resorted to juvenile Attitude Era potty humor (by design of course) and Cody's been positioned as a master of the mic, with this past Monday's promo rebuttal on "WWE Raw" serving as Exhibit A. Whether you like it or not — and no, I don't care what Bully Ray has to say on the matter — it's working. The hype for both the tag match on Night 1 of WrestleMania and Reigns and Rhodes running it back for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship on Night Two continues to rise. But tonight, we cut the s***. We got back to business thanks to the two parties who run the roost as far as that goes. And that's how it should be heading into Mania.


Everything else is filler. Everything else is back story. At the end of the day, WrestleMania 40 will largely be remembered for the end result of the main event of Night Two far more than anything else, and tonight's "SmackDown" main event segment got us back on track for just that — a renewed focus. In a storyline that, for a time, got so convoluted that nobody even knew if the purported only guarantee in wrestling (the Royal Rumble winner calling his or her shot come Mania) was actually going to happen for, like, a week or so, this was refreshing. And by jove! We didn't even have to resort to diarrhea jokes or your momma cracks or The Rock's usual nanny-nanny-boo-boos that yielded Cody's own big boy words.


Granted, Reigns' verbiage did include some typical heel stuff, like, "You're a Number Two," "You're a fool," "You're an idiot," etc. but that's acceptable. At the end of the day, or at least this episode, we had our primary combatants at WrestleMania staring each other in the face, with their closest allies by their respective sides. (And, not for nothing, but the fact that Rocky wasn't anywhere to be seen could end up being a big tell too.)

Written by Jon Jordan