Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos and Sami Zayn Exchanged Words
Everyone's anticipation level for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania 39 was already incredibly high, so there wasn't much more that needed to be said here. They did an effective job of recapping their rivalry and emphasizing what will be at stake on Saturday. As has been said by many for weeks, this feels like the true main event of Night 1, but we'll see if WWE makes the right call.
Ricochet def. Chad Gable, Montez Ford and Erik in a Fatal 4-Way Match
Based on what we saw in the eight-man tag team match on Monday's Raw as well as in this match, all signs point to the men's WrestleMania Showcase match being a blast on Saturday. Ricochet won both bouts for his team, so although I originally predicted Ricochet and Braun Strowman to win at 'Mania, I may have to change that. Nonetheless, this was a lot of fun with all four guys getting some time to shine in addition to their tag partners at ringside. There was nothing on the line here, but it served as a nice preview in the Showcase matchup.
Bobby Lashley Won the 2023 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This may have been the second best Andre Battle Royal yet behind the first one in 2014. It featured more star power than your average Andre Battle Royal and it had its fair share of enjoyable moments. The biggest takeaway for me was the loud reaction LA Knight received before he got eliminated. To not have him appear on either night of WrestleMania would be a crime. Lashley winning was fine considering he got screwed out of a 'Mania match when Bray Wyatt disappeared from programming (presumably due to an injury).
Raquel Rodriguez def. Sonya Deville, Natalya and Shayna Baszler in a Fatal 4-Way Match
This existed for the same reason the men's Fatal 4-Way did earlier in the evening, except it wasn't nearly as entertaining. No disrespect to any of the women involved because they're all talented, but it felt disjointed and the crowd didn't seem to be rallying behind any one person in particular. Maybe their Showcase match on Sunday will exceed expectations, but much like with the men's, it feels like the bathroom break of the show because it hasn't been said that the winners will earn a tag team title opportunity.
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus def. Imperium (Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci)
This match was nothing new from these four, but that isn't necessarily a negative thing. They had a good match and I appreciated that Kaiser and Vinci weren't totally squashed. The end result was never in doubt, but they scored enough offense to make this competitive. This established that McIntyre and Sheamus are willing to coexist against Imperium but that it will be every man for themselves in the Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champion Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes Exchanged Words
The "All Rhodes Lead to Roman" tagline for this segment was just fantastic. That's just the writer in me marking out a bit. The segment itself was solid stuff. The opening segment was stronger since it was more of a back and forth, but this obviously did its job of leaving me looking forward to Reigns vs. Rhodes. Rhodes did a majority of the talking and I would've liked to hear a bit more from Reigns, but the fact we got a final face-off at all was cool. The build to this bout has been brilliant and the unpredictability surrounding the outcome only adds to the excitement.
The go-home edition of SmackDown before WrestleMania tends to be throwaway every year, but I appreciated the effort put into this show. The build for Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair got the video package treatment, but the top two matches at 'Mania were hyped exceptionally well with the opening and closing segments. The Battle Royal was also better than I thought it would be, so it turned out to be a thumbs-up episode.