WWE SmackDown 4/19/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

The April 19 edition of "WWE SmackDown" has plenty of people talking. WWE fans have a No. 1 Contender for Cody Rhodes' WWE world title. Women's champion Bayley faced off against Naomi in the main event. Solo Sikoa once again got his hands on a microphone and Tama Tonga once again impacted the night's proceedings.There are new No. 1 contenders for the tag titles as well, courtesy of a Fatal Four-Way.

As we approach the 2024 WWE Draft, questions linger as to where fans' favorite WWE stars will end up. Will your favorite "WWE Raw" star end up on "WWE SMackDown or vice versa? And how will "WWE NXT" come into play, as General Manager Ava Raine has made it seem like WWE's developmental brand will be a factor in the aforementioned proceedings. While WWE fans will have to wait to see wherever everyone ends up, there was still plenty of action to be had on Friday night, as "WWE SmackDown" emanated out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Loved: The Street Profits bringing the smoke to A-Town Down Under

While I didn't think the fatal four-way tag team match tonight pitting the Street Profits, the Authors of Pain, Legado del Fantasma, and the New Catch Republic was anything to write home about, I absolutely loved the outcome. The Street Profits are just so consistently good, especially in their roles alongside Bobby Lashley (are we calling them "The Pride" still? Did we ever really start?) and after their lackluster feud with The Last Testament that seemingly culminated in their WrestleMania 40 street fight, I think they deserve better. And I truly believe this is going to be that for them. Outside of maybe Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne, they're the most believable number-one contenders for A-Town Down Under.

I truly believe that Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford should beat Grayson Waller and Austin Theory for the newly-designed WWE Tag Team Titles. That team needs some gold around their waists, and having Lashley behind them will only make them look better. When Waller and Theory (and The Miz and R-Truth on "Raw," for that matter, as well) won the titles at WrestleMania, I didn't think they'd be keeping them for long. I think dropping them in their first title defense will make for a great story as A-Town Down Under may then head for a breakup, and Ford and Dawkins can go on to have amazing matches with the likes of New Catch Republic, Legado del Fantasma, and the LWO. "SmackDown" has no shortage of great tag teams, but I believe the Street Profits to be the absolute best.

The only problem I have with this is the fact WWE wasn't entirely clear on just when A-Town Down Under would be defending their titles. Is that going to be next week on "SmackDown," like how we're crowning a new women's champion on "Raw" on Monday without much fanfare? Because if they're going to do a title change and crown Ford and Dawkins, it should be in France at Backlash. While they did have a WrestleMania moment with their win in the street fight, I think it would be awesome to see them capture gold on a premium live event, not just a regular ol' "SmackDown." But, I'll take that any way I can get it, and I believe it's going to happen. Even if it doesn't, I simply love the believability of this all, and I think it will be a solid match, thanks mostly to the Profits.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Hated: You Like These New Titles? They Cost Exactly Three People's Salaries.

On Monday, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque came out on Raw to thunderous applause and unveiled a new set of tag titles for the red brand, the WWE World Tag Team Titles. They were gorgeous! Looked a little like the world title! Then Levesque did the exact same thing on Friday, this time with the WWE Tag Team Titles. They were gorgeous! Looked a little like the old WWF World Tag Team Championship belts!

Then WWE released three people and the whole thing felt a little gross. Even if -hypothetically- WWE was gifted the new title belts by some wealthy donor and didn't spend a dime, revealing them the same week that three people have to pack their bags and leave the company makes it look like WWE just spent the equivalent of Xyon Quinn, Xia Li, and Jinder Mahal's contracts on new title belts. The fact that both ceremonies took place in the same week and followed the same script of Levesque getting a chance for everyone to applaud what a great executive he is just added to the curdled feeling in my stomach. WWE is under investigation for sex trafficking and Paul Levesque feels like he is soaking up as much applause as possible, while the walls close in on him.

I could hem and haw and say "oh but it's only three people, as opposed to the mass bloodletting WWE usually does just after WrestleMania and tax season," but that just rings hollow. They're buying titles, touting historic attendance and ticket sales, and telling you they don't have the money to pay you anymore. This is the same company it's always been.

Written by Ross Berman

Loved: Interference done right.

Okay, hear me out.

Storyline disqualification finishes usually err on the "miss" side of hit or miss. Normally, they are a cheap way to extend a feud past its shelf life, and the best thing that these finishes will do is introduce new talent into a feud's equation, sometimes. Disqualification finishes are usually underwhelming, and leave us hung to dry without any hope of cathartic release. There is no one, two, three; there is no tap out. The bell rings, and what should be the signal of the end of a great match fades into the background as chaos unfolds, and we are left to wonder what could have been.

However, when used sparingly and conscientiously, a storyline disqualification finish can do wonders in protecting the talent involved while laying seeds for a third party to get included in a feud. Such was the case for tonight's finish in the women-made main event, which saw Bayley defending her WWE Women's Championship for the first time against Naomi.

Things were gridlocked in that ring. For everything Bayley threw at Naomi, she had an answer for, and vice versa. The minutes of the show were speeding by, and by the time Naomi and Bayley's fight spilled to the outside, the match genuinely looked like it could have been anybody's game. In a flash, a set of pink gear and a head of blonde hair darted into the frame to strike Bayley, and the final few minutes of "WWE SmackDown" were on Tiffy Time.

This storyline disqualification finish works for a few reasons. Naomi is currently experiencing a revival — between a win at WrestleMania 40 to a victory against fan favorite Tiffany Stratton, she is on an upward trajectory. Bayley is also white-hot right now: she is just coming off a monumental singles win where she came out victorious in one of the best feuds of this past WrestleMania season, period. Both women are incredibly talented, and it genuinely felt wrong to imagine one of them with their hand definitively raised. Both of them are established babyfaces who have expressed great respect for each other, so a dirty win was unlikely and would have been uncharacteristic, given that there has been no build for a heel turn. So, as the minutes ticked by, the options for a finish that would not waste Bayley and Naomi's momentum while also offering an official end to the match became more and more rare.

Enter Tiffy Time. Stratton is similarly white-hot — she is bound to get reactions regardless of what she does, but especially when interfering in the main event of "SmackDown" — and she is a viable challenger for Bayley's WWE Women's Championship, regardless of how young she is. Getting her involved in the mix not only establishes her as a legitimate contender and threat in the "SmackDown" women's locker room but also helps WWE actually wrap up the match without costing Bayley or Naomi their credibility. Sure, the lack of a decisive ending was unsatisfying. The storyline disqualification finish, however, not only allowed for Bayley and Naomi to continue their upward mobility but gave a new star a tangible stake in the world title scene.

Obviously, we shouldn't be gratuitously booking these less-than-satisfying disqualification finishes, especially in longer feuds when the stakes are far too high to prolong a satisfying ending. However, in this case, all parties were protected in the finish, and the seeds were planted for a more decisive match-up later down the line.

Written by Angeline Phu

Hated: Cody Rhodes misses SmackDown as No. 1 Contender determined

Let me start this off by saying I'm very glad that fans across the pond got to see the awesomeness that is our Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. It would be selfish for me to want to see Rhodes all the time and keep all that adrenaline to myself, in my own soul.


With Rhodes just appearing on "WWE Raw" on Monday and saying that it wasn't "his show," and he was just allowed to show up when he's actually supposed to be a "SmackDown" star (unless all of this changes in the upcoming draft, of course), it didn't make much sense for Rhodes to be on the company's European tour when the number one contender for a shot at his newly-won championship was being determined on tonight's episode. Not that I thought Rhodes was going to come down and interfere or anything as the blue-eyed babyface that he is, but I found it strange he wasn't booked for television after making those comments on "Raw." Everyone watching WWE TV wants to see Rhodes now that he's finished the story, and we're all still so invested in him and this new story, it was a crying shame he wasn't on my TV tonight. But, again, as the hard-working, fighting champion that Rhodes is, I'm glad London and other parts of Europe are getting to see him compete. I just hate it for all of us watching here at home.

Rhodes did appear in a video on the broadcast, but he didn't say too much, and it wasn't nearly as effective as seeing him in the middle of the ring with the crowd "WHOAH-ing" like crazy to his music. I did like that he acknowledged that he and Styles are both "Georgia boys," but that's something he could have brought up at a later date when they were actually face-to-face. Which, will thankfully be soon.

It was announced that Rhodes and Styles will both be on "SmackDown" next week for a contract signing ahead of Backlash. I'm usually not one for a stereotypical contract signing segment, but if Rhodes is going to be there, sign me up. I hated that Rhodes wasn't on "SmackDown" in person tonight, especially with the hype train still steadily rolling for him, and the fact that he's hands down my favorite at the moment, so I hated it for my own, selfish reasons. Thankfully, WWE made it up to me with this contract-signing announcement.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Hated: Carlito and Santos Escobar need to be separated.

At this point, someone needs to be put into the Witness Protection Program, because there is no reason for Carlito and Escobar to be at each other's throats for this long.

I made the same joke with Cody Rhodes and Shinsuke Nakamura's centuries-long feud back in January, and it truly sucks how applicable it is to a wholly different storyline on an entirely different show. Carlito and Escobar have been fighting each other since January 2024, and their tense relations can even be dated back to November 2023, when Carlito accused Escobar for Rey Mysterio's loss at WWE Crown Jewel. Even though they have had approximately three matches with each other, it does genuinely feel like they've been stuck with each other every week since their respective factions are feuding every Friday night. Regardless, there are too many people on the roster to excuse revisiting the Carlito/Escobar or LWO/Legado del Fantasma match-up for the umpteenth time. This is especially true in light of the recent release developments — you're telling me that none of the talent that departed from WWE could've been put in a storyline with either Carlito or Escobar?

I get that as of right now, tensions between the LWO and Legado del Fantasma are unresolved in light of the vicious attack on Dragon Lee, where Escobar and Legado del Fantasma are the prime suspects. I do also think that this whole feud between the LWO and Legado del Fantasma should have been wrapped up and stored in the archives a long, long time ago. At this point, their matches feel like stale filler. We all understand that LWO and Legado del Fantasma loathe each other, so what's the point of having Escobar and Carlito go back and forth in a match where Carlito takes a clean loss and Escobar is none the better for it? Letting Carlito and Escobar run it back yet again is tired, corny, and played out — especially when there are ready and willing Superstars waiting in catering for their big break, more so than ever.

The feud between the LWO and Legado del Fantasma has hit the ceiling. There is nowhere else to go but down.

Written by Angeline Phu

Loved: The Entire Women's Roster Gets One Last Bow Before The Draft

"WWE SmackDown" has a pretty solid women's division. Bayley, Naomi, Damage CTRL, Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair, and the newly added Tiffany Stratton, the women's roster is thoroughly stacked and also set to be shuffled and redistributed as a result of the upcoming WWE Draft. This is why it was nice that the end of this week's "WWE SmackDown" was seemingly a sendoff for the many women who make the blue brand what it is.

Initially, I was non-plussed by Tiffany Stratton's attack on Bayley and Naomi, ending this week's "SmackDown" main event in a disappointing non-finish. But with Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, and Damage CTRL watching the attack from the luxury boxes, a different picture took shape. This was one last curtain call for the division and also a chance for fans to see just how deep the roster is as they begin to fantasy draft for the various brands. That Stratton was also making such a big impact so soon after her main roster debut spoke well for the former WWE NXT Women's Champion.

The end of things tend to make them whole, and now that we see how deep the roster is, the more we understand why "SmackDown" has had more going for it than just the endless Bloodline saga. It had some of the best women WWE has, and now some of them have to fly away.

Written by Ross Berman