WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: The Rock challenges Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins to WrestleMania tag match

The Rock and Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins is nearly a sure thing after Friday's episode of WWE SmackDown. The Rock laid out the challenge for WrestleMania 40 with stipulations that could help or harm the undisputed WWE world champion.

It's unclear what Dwayne Johnson's intentions are but the options are very compelling. The Rock planted the seeds for an epic tag team match at WrestleMania 40 amid some tension between him and Reigns. The ball is now in Rhodes and Rollins' court. Expect the heroic duo to answer the challenge on Monday Night Raw.

SmackDown also saw development in storylines involving Bayley and Damage CTRL, LA Knight and AJ Styles, plus more heading into WrestleMania. Randy Orton was in action and a street fight took place between former LWO stablemates Carlito and Santos Escobar.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Rock lays out the challenge on SmackDown

Reigns, Paul Heyman, Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa kicked off the show. Reigns repeatedly asked the crowd to acknowledge him but they were more invested in their "Rocky" chants. A frustrated Reigns was ready to leave but Heyman insisted there was business to conduct. Heyman introduced The Rock to Reigns' chagrin.

The Rock received a chorus of boos upon taking the microphone. Rocky said he had good news for the fans so they should lighten up. The Rock turned down an offer to wrestle Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 40 but laid the challenge down for a tag team match. Rock and Reigns vs. Rhodes and Rollins were offered for Night 1 of WrestleMania on April 6. The match came with unique conditions. 

If Rhodes and Rollins win one Night 1, then The Bloodline will sign a contract barring them from interfering in Reigns vs. Rhodes on Night 2. That would give Rhodes a fair chance to finish his story after The Bloodline cost him the undisputed WWE universal title at WrestleMania 39.

If The Bloodline wins, Reigns vs. Rhodes will be a "Bloodline Rules" match. The Rock said anything goes under those circumstances. The Rock could call the match. Maybe Uso would be the referee. Heyman might bring a weapon or Sikoa might sing the national anthem. The Rock reminded Rhodes and Rollins that as a member of the TKO board, he's the boss.

The Rock capped off his address with his "If you smell" catchphrase, but Reigns snatched the microphone from him. Reigns told his cousin he needed something from him. Reigns assured he'd do everything for his family on the condition that The Rock acknowledges him. The Rock -- after a long pause -- acknowledged Reigns as his Tribal Chief as they embraced. The audience showered them in "you sold out" chants.

The Rock laying out the challenge for night one of WrestleMania 40 is a major development. Reigns' jealousy towards his more famous cousin is an interesting narrative wrinkle, as is The Rock suggesting a stipulation that could harm Reigns. The signs are pointing to some sort of coup between Rhodes and Rock to corner Reigns into a fair fight for the undisputed world title. That could lead to an eventual Rock vs. Reigns match down the line. Whether or not they go there, it's great that the story has multiple directions it can take. It's also nice that Rollins will get such a big WrestleMania match after his bout with CM Punk fell through. Grade: A

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • LA Knight, wielding a steel chair, was on the hunt for AJ Styles all night. SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis informed Knight that Styles was told to stay home. Knight said nobody could stop him from getting revenge.
  • Tiffany Stratton def. Naomi via pinfall after a rake of the eyes and the Prettiest Moonsault Ever.
  • Bayley and Dakota Kai vs. Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) ends in a no-contest. Miscommunication led to a fallout between Bayley and Kai. The segment ended with Iyo Sky knocking out Bayley after a three-on-one attack by Damage CTRL.
  • Damage CTRL ran into Jade Cargill backstage.
  • Bronn Breaker def. Xyon Quinn via pinfall in a squash match.
  • Carlito def. Santos Escobar via pinfall in a street fight after driving him through a table with a spinebuster. Rey Mysterio returned, hitting Escobar with a 619 late into the match.
  • Randy Orton def. Austin Theory via pinfall after hitting an RKO. Kevin Owens saved Orton from a post-match attack by Theory and Grayson Waller.

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