The Road to WrestleMania Goes Hollywood continues tonight.
WWE Friday Night SmackDown returns this evening from the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri at 8/7c on FOX.
On tap for tonight's show is Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a match to decide GUNTHER's opponent for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania.
Also scheduled is Sami Zayn confronting Jey Uso of The Bloodline following the savage attack he endured last week, Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio vs. Zelina Vega & Santos Escobar, as well as an appearance by "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes.
Featured below are complete WWE Friday Night SmackDown results from Friday, March 17, 2023. The following report was written by Rajah.com reporter Matt Boone (@MattBoone0709) as the show aired live from 8-10pm EST. on FOX.
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN RESULTS (3/17/2023)
This week's show kicks off with the usual "WWE Then. Now. Forever. Together" opening signature narrated by John Cena. We then shoot inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City where we see the giant WrestleMania Goes Hollywood sign hanging above the ring.
Cody Rhodes, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn Have A Conversation
Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcome us to the show as the camera pans the venue. Then, the two run down the advertised lineup for tonight's show. After that, we hear the familiar sounds of Cody Rhodes' theme music.
"The American Nightmare" emerges and stops half-way down the ramp for the firework explosion as the fans sing along with the "WHOA!" portion of his entrance tune. He heads to the ring and poses on the top-rope, where more fireworks erupt.
He settles inside the ring on the second "WHOA!" in his theme and then grabs a mic and the tune fades down. The crowd noise, however, picks up considerably and then shifts into an even louder "Cody! Cody!" chant.
Rhodes begins with his new catchphrase, "So, [enter city name here] ... what-do-ya wanna talk about?" He then talks about WrestleMania season and how he has the utmost respect for our current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. He says he's excited to see him in the ring on Raw and beat him at WrestleMania.
He then goes on to mention how he wants to talk directly to somebody. He mentions Kevin Owens and asks him to come on out. "The Prize Fighter" heads to the ring as Cole runs through split-screen highlights of his ongoing solo battle against The Bloodline.
Owens settles in the ring and says he thinks he knows what this is about. Cody cuts him off and asks him to hear him out. He says he thinks this isn't a conversation between two people, but instead between three. He then asks Sami Zayn to come out.
Sami Zayn's theme hits and out he comes as Owens looks annoyed. Cody says when he told WWE good look in their future endeavors, he did it with a confidence that wasn't warranted. He says Owens helped provide that with some contacts that helped make his life better. He says with that in mind, let's have 'the conversation' between Owens and Sami.
Kevin says with all due respect, he's heard everything there is to hear. Sami says that's true but he hasn't and tells Kevin to say whatever he needs to get things back to them working together. He says say what you want, do what you want, if you want to punch me, do it, but get it done so we can be friends again.
Owens asks Cody if he did what he wanted, and can he leave now. Cody tells him he wants it, the fans want it, everybody wants it. He asks he and Kevin to get back on the same page. Sami says we need to get on the same page so we can be the ones to take down "The Ones."
Owens again mentions he's heard it all before and says they can all work on taking down The Bloodline. He says they don't need to be friends to do it. He says why would he want to fight with someone who doesn't even want to be his friend.
He tells Cody thanks for trying but he's all set. He walks off. The segment ends on that note and we head to a commercial break as we see Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio heading towards the entrance to the ring.
Sami Zayn Catches Up With His Brother In The Parking Lot
When we return from the break, we see Kevin Owens exiting the building and heading to his car. Sami Zayn stops him. He tells Owens to forget everything he said about The Bloodline and fighting. He says forget everything that was said in the ring, they're friends.
They're brothers. He says even if he never talks to him again, he loves him. That's it. Owens face breaks a little but he doesn't say anything. He gets in his car, looks back real quick and pulls off.
Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio vs. Zelina Vega & Santos Escobar
From there, we head back inside the arena where The Judgment Day theme hits and the team of Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley make their way out and head down to the ring for our first match of the evening. They settle inside and their music dies down.
Now the theme for their opponents hits and out comes the team of Santos Escobar and Zelina Vega. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one. After a slight distraction at the start, we see Dom charge across the ring and catch Santos with a drop kick. From there, Santos takes over and works him over.
Dom eventually breaks free and scrambles to his corner to make the tag. Ripley comes in and tries to blast Santos with a big boot, but Santos catches it and pulls her back hopping on one leg to make the tag to bring in Zelina. She works Ripley over and knocks her out to the floor. She heads to the top and hits a moonsault on her on the floor.
Afterwards, she heads in the ring and gets on Santos' shoulders. The two taunt The Judgment Day duo as we head to a mid-match commercial break as the action in this mixed tag-team opener continues.
When we return from the break, we see Dom working over Escobar in the ring. Escobar starts to take over. They end up coming off the ropes and colliding into each other before making the tags to their respective partners.
In comes Zelina Vega off the hot tag, working over Ripley and dominating the offense. She hits a huge DDT and goes for the cover but Dominik hits the ring to break it up. Santos hits the ring and blasts Dom with a knee.
We see Ripley throw Vega out to the floor and then runs over and helps power-bomb Santos off the ropes in the corner. Vega then hits Ripley with a cross body off the top-rope. She heads back up and hits a hurricanrana to Dom but then Rhea hits her with her Rip-Tide finisher for the pin fall victory.
Winners: Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio
Dominik Mysterio Once Again Calls Out Rey Mysterio
Once the match wraps up, we see Dominik Mysterio grab a microphone. The fans get on his case with boos and negative chants. Ripley tells him to ignore them and say his piece. He does, which is more about how the fans' WWE Hall of Fame legend for this year's class is a deadbeat father.
He mentions many sleepless nights and then we see Rey Mysterio appear on the big screen. He's shown walking towards the ring from the backstage area as we head into a commercial break.
We return from the break and we see Dom and Ripley still in the ring. Rey Mysterio's theme hits and out comes the first inductee of the class of 2023 for the WWE Hall of Fame. The fans show him a ton of love as he heads to the ring.
Dom again mentions how many nights he spent without a father. Rey asks Ripley if he can talk to his son alone. There's not 20,000 other people in the room, no worries. She obliges and then Dom goes on about Rey being a pathetic excuse for a father. He says there's something he wants to get off his chest.
He goes to call Rey a piece of you know what, but Rey cuts him off and says something in Spanish. He admits not being the best father in the world. He says he missed some birthdays, Christmases and graduations. He says that doesn't take away his love for him.
Mysterio talks about making sacrifices so his son and family could have the finer things in life. He gets choked up and says he's having a hard time coping with all of this. He says he's being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and this with Dom hurts. He would love nothing more than to have him standing by his side on that stage.
The fans break out in an extremely loud "You deserve it!" chant. He says what bothers him the most is what Dom has become. He says he's a pathetic punk-ass ungrateful kid that he would gladly whoop the ass of at WrestleMania if he wasn't his son.
The fans chant "Kick his ass!" He says unfortunately and pats Dom on the chest. Rey moves his hand away. Rey says fighting his own son would be the biggest disgrace as a father. He tells Dom he's not worth it. He says he's not fighting him now or at WrestleMania. He drops the mic and walks off.
Dom asks why not. He says is Rey doing what he does best -- run away? Rey turns and looks but then keeps walking. Dom calls Rey a scared, scared little man. He asks him if that's all he's got. Rey stops and does the "Thinker" pose and the segment ends on that note.
WrestleMania 4-Way Qualifier
Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Emma & Tegan Nox
We see Drew McIntyre and Sheamus backstage getting ready for their match later tonight. Now we shoot to the commentary desk where Cole and Barrett mention a men's and women's four-way tag match at WrestleMania. He says qualifying matches start tonight -- right now.
With that said, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez make their way out and head to the ring. They settle inside and their entrance tune fades down. They square off against Emma and Tegan Nox -- next. On that note, we head to another commercial break.
As we settle back in from the break, we see Tegan Nox, who has her arm taped up after being attacked by Shayna Baszler last week, and Raquel Rodriguez kick things off for their respective teams. Tegan chops the hell out of her which only angers her larger opposition.
Rodriguez tears into Nox and then tags in Morgan, who picks up where she left off. She blasts her with a Paige Van Zant flying KO kick from UFC's past-style shot to the dome for a close near fall. Nox fights back and after a knee to the grill of Morgan, she takes over.
Emma tags in and picks up where Nox left off, taking it to Morgan and splashing her in the corner. Nox follows in with a drop kick and then Emma goes for a cover. Morgan kicks out after the count of two. Emma hits a double under-hook throw for another near fall attempt and then she tags Nox back in.
Liv catches Nox with a Back-Stabber to buy herself some time. She uses it to make the much-needed tag to Raquel. Emma also tags in, but it is Rodriguez who takes the hot tag and goes on an offensive spree. She hits a spinning elbow for a close near fall that Nox hits the ring to break up.
Rodriguez hits the Tahana Bomb and Morgan tags in. She hits Oblivion and goes for the cover. She gets the 1-2-3 and Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan get the win to advance to the match announced for WrestleMania.
Winners and ADVANCING to women's four-way at WrestleMania: Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan
Charlotte Flair & Rhea Ripley Talk WrestleMania, Brawl Wildly
We see highlights from past shows of Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley hyping up their SmackDown Women's Championship showdown on "The Grandest Stage of Them All" at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood next month.
From there, we head back inside the T-Mobile Center where the theme for "The Queen" hits. The reigning SmackDown Women's Champion emerges and heads to the ring as we head to a commercial break.
As we settle back in from the break, we see Charlotte in the ring and her music dies down. She talks about how she has been at WrestleMania as a champion or challenging for a title every year, but was the star each time. She tells Ripley she wants to be a star but needs to win the title first. She says to do that she must go through her.
Rhea Ripley makes her way out and heads out with Dominik Mysterio by her side. She says there's a reason she picked her for her opponent at WrestleMania when she won the Women's Royal Rumble.
She talks about every man and woman in the back turning away from her out of fear. She says Charlotte doesn't. She is staring her down as we speak and quite frankly, that pisses her off. She says she needs to be a star and when WrestleMania is done and over, Charlotte is gonna have to call her champion and she will learn to fear her.
The two stare each other down and as Dom gets in Charlotte's face, we see Rhea use the opportunity to sneak attack her. She drops her and walks off with Dom. Charlotte kicks her shoes off and then chases after Ripley.
She attacks her at ringside and the two start brawling. A ton of officials run out to break them up. They keep fighting and throwing each other into the ring post and barricade anyways. Charlotte charges with a big kick attempt but Ripley moves and "The Queen" blasts an unsuspecting security guard.
Ripley throws Charlotte over the barricade. Charlotte runs off the commentary desk and splashes onto Ripley. The officials keep separating them but they keep re-engaging over and over again. Ripley breaks free and now she tackles Charlotte. The two crash into the crowd and finally things seem to be broken up.
Charlotte heads back into the ring, grabs her title and raises it high. Rhea goes nuts again and tries charging her but the sea of officials stop her from doing so. That's how the wild segment comes to an end.
Sami Zayn Ready To Pull Up To Jey Uso
We shoot backstage and Sami Zayn is interviewed about his interaction with Kevin Owens and scheduled face-off with Jey Uso later tonight. She asks if the Owens issue earlier tonight is going to bother him going into the Uso meeting.
Sami says it's been a wild night. He says a guy he used to consider his brother just left him high and dry again. He says another guy who used to call him a brother is waiting to tear his head off.
He says enough people tell you you're wrong and you start to believe it. He says he's ready for whatever happens. He says Jey Uso wants him to pull up, he'll pull up and whatever happens, happens.
Xavier Woods vs. LA Knight
We head to a commercial break after The New Day's theme hits and Xavier Woods makes his way out and heads to the ring. When we return from the break, we see Woods in the ring waiting on his opponent.
His theme dies down and LA Knight's music hits. He makes his way out to the ring as split-screen footage is shown of Knight interrupting Woods' video game-playing to set up this match. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one.
Knight jumps into an early offensive lead on Woods as Cole wishes Kofi Kingston a speedy recovery from ankle surgery that he underwent today. We see Knight continue to dominate the action until out of nowhere, Woods rolls him up and scores the pin fall victory.
Winner: Xavier Woods
High-Five For Dead-Beat Dads!
As we return from the break, we see LA Knight walking backstage and he is stopped for an interview. He says "Let me talk to-ya," but then asks her to hold on as he sees Rey Mysterio at a table signing something.
He asks if he's signing autographs and then jokes about how if he won't fight his son Dominik at WrestleMania, he will and he'll call himself LA Mysterio. He tries to high-five Mysterio for dead-beat dads.
Rey pretends to put one hand up for the high-five but pops him with the other. He says something to him in Spanish that seemed to be partially edited off the broadcast. Knight with giant wide eyes asks "What the hell did he just say?!"
WWE Intercontinental Championship Eliminator
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
Now we head back inside the T-Mobile Center where we hear the familiar sounds of Sheamus' theme music. "The Celtic Warrior" emerges from the back as Michael Cole informs us that it is, indeed, fight-night.
Sheamus settles in the ring for this title eliminator to determine who faces GUNTHER for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood. Cole mentions this being St. Patrick's Day and how that's a good omen for Sheamus.
Now his tune dies down and the equally familiar sounds of the theme for Drew McIntyre plays. "The Scottish Warrior" emerges with his massive sword and heads to the ring for what Cole predicts will be one of the most physical battles fans will ever witness.
Both guys point to the giant WrestleMania Goes Hollywood sign hanging in the rafters. The Imperium theme hits and out comes GUNTHER and his Imperium pals. They head out to get an up-close look at this one as we head to a quick pre-match commercial break.
We return and the bell sounds to get this one officially off-and-running. Drew extends his hand for a handshake, but Sheamus wants nothing to do with it. The two collide and start to get after it as Cole and Barrett talk about how unlikely it seems that Sheamus would lose on St. Patrick's Day.
McIntyre jumps into an early offensive lead, blasting Sheamus with a knee to the gut and a slam for a near fall attempt. Wade Barrett tells Cole he's gonna try and get a chat with the champ. He convinces GUNTHER to put a headset on and join them on special guest commentary for a quick talk.
GUNTHER accuses them of wasting their time and not having prepared questions. He simply states that he'll fulfill his duties and defeat whomever emerges victorious in this title eliminator when they meet on "The Grandest Stage of Them All" at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood.
Sheamus starts to slow down McIntyre's momentum. He hits an Irish Curse Back-breaker and shifts the offensive momentum into his favor. He gets McIntyre bent over the ring ropes and looks for the Ten Beats on the Bowery, but McIntyre has it well scouted and avoids it.
We see Drew McIntyre fight back into competitive form and then things build to a high spot in the corner, where "The Scottish Warrior" hits a super-plex off the ropes on "The Celtic Warrior." After that, we head to a mid-match commercial break as the action continues.
When we return from the break, we see both guys down. They each get back up and start brutalizing each other and nearly finishing off the other. We hear the fans chanting "This is Awesome." The two hit each other at the same time with a big boot to the face. The ref counts to ten.
Winner: Double Count-Out
Who Is Facing GUNTHER At WrestleMania Goes Hollywood ...
GUNTHER hits the ring and says this can't happen and demands to know who he's facing at WrestleMania. His Imperium pals attack Sheamus and Drew McIntyre from behind. Adam Pearce appears on the big screen and informs GUNTHER that he'll now be facing McIntyre and Sheamus both at WrestleMania.
Sami Zayn & Jey Uso's Kansas City Showdown
We return from the break and WWE announces LA Knight vs. Rey Mysterio for next week's show. From there, Jey Uso's music hits and The Bloodline member heads down to the ring. He settles in and his music dies down.
Now the theme for Sami Zayn plays and out he comes to a huge reaction. Uso says he considered Zayn family after being the one person in The Bloodline who always didn't like him. He says the one time he let his guard down, Sami betrayed him.
Sami says Uso had a choice and always has the choice to quit taking Roman Reigns' crap. Finally the two have heard enough and the fight is on. They brawl it out until Jimmy Uso runs down and the two-on-one game turns into a disaster for Sami.
The Usos beat down Sami for a bit and then Kevin Owens' theme hits. "The Prize Fighter" comes out to a huge pop and beats down both Jimmy and Jey Uso as Michael Cole talks on commentary about him finally coming to his senses.
Zayn finally gets back up and the fans chant "Hug it out!" as he and Owens stare at each other. Owens walks over and grabs Sami and gives him a big hug. The crowd goes bonkers as the two embrace. We see a shot of Cody Rhodes looking pleased with a big warm smile on his face.
Cole says truly great friends are hard to find and difficult to leave and they're impossible to forget. He says Kevin Owens did not forget. Friendship is not an accident. KO and Sami are back. With those words said, the show goes off the air on that note. Thanks for joining us!