WWE SmackDown 24th of March 2023

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WWE delivered a star-studded episode of WWE SmackDown on March 24.

Cody Rhodes vs. Ludwig Kaiser (with Giovanni Vinci)
Rhodes and Kaiser lock up and feel each other out. Paul Heyman walks onto the stage and briefly distracts Rhodes. Kaiser gains the upper hand and distracts Rhodes. “The American Nightmare” rallies and takes the fight to Kaiser on the outside. Kaiser takes control again and kicks Rhodes in the face. Vinci hits Rhodes with a cheap shot when the referee isn’t looking. Kaiser continues to maintain the advantage. Rhodes keeps fighting, but he is again distracted as Solo Sikoa comes down to ringside. Kaiser capitalizes and slams Rhodes into the stairs.
Rhodes fires up and trades blows with Kaiser. A series of strikes gives Kaiser some momentum. Rhodes goes for the Cross Rhodes, but Kaiser counters. Rhodes hits the Cody Cutter for a two count. He then hits the Cross Rhodes for the win.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
After the bell, Paul Heyman gets into the ring and says Cody is owed an apology because the announcer didn’t do a good job hyping him him. Heyman announces Rhodes as the winner but mostly focused on Reigns. He says Sikoa will be a pothole in Rhodes’ to WrestleMania. Heyman says the road after that leads to Roman Reigns, who will be live on SmackDown. Rhodes responds by noting that Sikoa might be undefeated, but he’s not ready. Likewise, he says Reigns will also find out that he’s not ready at WrestleMania.

In-Ring Segment: Charlotte Flair
Flair comes to the ring and notes that WrestleMania 39 is right around the corner. She highlights how she is a 14-time champion and states that the same criticisms have been used against her throughout her entire career. Flair names a number of top stars from the past of the women’s division, including Sasha Banks. She brings up her legacy as a Flair and says she loves her dad, and she’s proud to honor his legacy. Flair says diamonds are forever, and so is she.
The broadcast team announces that John Cena’s match with Austin Theory will kick off WrestleMania 39.

Rey Mysterio vs. LA Knight
Mysterio greets his family, who is sitting in the front row. Rey and Knight feel each other out, and the legend gains an early advantage. Knight briefly takes control, but Rey catches him with a dropkick. Mysterio hits a splash at ringside. Dominik Mysterio comes down the ramp, and Knight capitalizes by grounding Rey. Knight dominates Rey for a minute, but he rallies with a flurry of offense. Knight counters the 619. Dominik trips Rey up when he goes for another 619. Knight takes advantage of the situation and pins Rey.
Dominik confronts Rey after the match and challenges him to a match. Rey again walks away, and Dominik calls him a coward. He turns his attention to his mom and asks her how it feels to be married to someone so pathetic. Dominik asks her if she knew Rey was a deadbeat when she married him. Dominik calls her a deadbeat mom and tells her to shut up. Rey gets in Dominik’s face and hits him. He says that he tried not to fight his son, but Dominik gave him no choice. He accepts Dominik’s challenge to a match at WrestleMania 39.

WrestleMania Showcase Match: Xia Li & Lacey Evans vs. Shotzi & Natalya
Evans and Shotzi start the bout, and Evans gains the upper hand. Li tags in and takes the fight to Shotzi. A kick drops Evans, and Shotzi tries to rally, but Evans drops her. Shotzi fights off a double team move, as she ducks a Woman’s Right and causes Evans to floor Xia Li. Shotzi dives onto Evans at ringside. Shotzu and Natalya hit Xia Li with a double team move. Natalya forces Li to tap out.
Winners: Shotzi & Natalya
After the match, Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey come out and announce that they have been added to the WrestleMania Showcase match.

Contract Signing for WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus discuss their history and go back and forth, with Sheamus saying McIntyre made it personal. 
McIntyre says Sheamus has such a temper, and tensions rise when WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther gets involved. He gets in Adam Pearce’s face and tells him to justify the decision for the three-way match, where he doesn’t have to be pinned or submitted to lose the title. A brawl breaks out, and Butch gets involved. Gunther tells Adam Pearce to make the match.

Gunther vs. Butch (with Sheamus and Ridge Holland)
Gunther overpowers Butch early on. Butch wrenches Gunther’s arm. The champion slams Butch and hits him with some stiff strikes. Butch targets Gunther’s hand, but “The Ring General” locks in a double-legged crab. He transitions into a crossface. Gunther chops Butch again. Butch wrenches Gunther’s fingers and kicks him. He stomps on the champion’s arm. Gunther locks in a sleeper hold. Butch knocks him to the outside. Gunther levels Butch with a chop. McIntyre and Sheamus stare Gunther down at ringside. Butch accidentally takes McIntyre down. Butch gains the upper hand. Sheamus and McIntyre brawl at ringside, and Holland gets involved. Ginther slams Butch for the win.
Winner: Gunther
Sheamus confronts Gunther after the match. McIntyre drops Gunther with a Claymore and stares down Sheamus.

Backstage, The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) hype up WrestleMania 39. Braun Strowman and Ricochet confront them and look forward to the WrestleMania Showcase match.

KO Show with Sami Zayn
Owens and Zayn discuss their reunion. Owens says Zayn wanted to come out separately so he could get his own pop. Zayn notes that they were on the verge of doing something unthinkable, as they have the chance to win the tag team titles at WrestleMania. Zayn says WrestleMania feels different this year, and Owens agrees. He says he got Zayn a new “KO-Mania” shirt. Owens shows Zayn the front of the shirt, as he says it’s not about “KO-Mania”. He says that this year, it’s about Sami Zayn because he’s been the MVP of WWE.
Zayn flips the shirt, and it says ‘Wrestle-Zayn-ia” Zayn says he loves it, and he puts the shirt on. The Usos attack Zayn and Owens. They hit Zayn with the 1-D. Owens fends them off and stares them down.

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