WrestleMania Smackdown: Jey vs. Solo turns into a brawl

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The final stop before WrestleMania 40, which happens Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia, was Friday Night SmackDown.

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In a show that was heavy on hype but lacking in actual wrestling matches, the focus on Friday was on what lies ahead. Only three matches took place inside Wells Fargo Center.

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The evening’s main event featured Jey Uso, who will take on his real-life brother Jimmy at WrestleMania, taking on their younger brother, Solo Sikoa. The fast-paced match ended when Jimmy Uso interfered from the crowd, leading to Solo’s disqualification. Solo and Jimmy attacked Jey, until Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins came to his rescue.

The trio then attacked Sikoa and Jimmy Uso, with Rhodes taking the mic and vowing to defeat The Rock and Roman Reigns on Saturday when he and Rollins take on the Tribal Chief and Final Boss, much to the delight of the Philly faithful.

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One of the loudest ovations of the night came when LA Knight was introduced, setting up his WrestleMania match with AJ Styles. In one of a series of promos on the night, Knight lit the Philly crowd up with his vow to defeat Styles on Sunday.

Earlier on Friday, Knight attacked and bloodied Styles during Media Day interviews at the downtown Philly hotel where talent were meeting with hundreds of press ahead of the weekend.

In one of the other matches on the night, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, known together as the New Catch Republic, took on A-Town Down Under, which features Austin Theory and Grayson Waller, in tag-team action. Both teams will be in the 6-Pack Ladder Match for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship on Saturday at WrestleMania that will feature four other teams competing for tag-team gold. That match ended with members of The Judgment Day attacking all four combatants after New Catch Republic scored the victory.

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In other hype segments, Naomi and Bianca Belair were joined by Jade Cargill in the ring to talk about their WrestleMania match, which will see them take on Damage Ctrl on Saturday.

Representing the LWO, Zelina Vega took on Elektra Lopez of Legado Del Fantasma. After Lopez scored the pinfall win, members of Legado Del Fantasma took turns attacking Vega and Rey Mysterio, until Andrade turned on Legado and aligned himself with Mysterio, much to the delight of the vocal Philly crowd. Mysterio, who last year was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, was a longtime wrestler for Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling in the 1990s before joining WWE for his legendary run.

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The opening match of the night featured Big Bronson Reed winning the annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which featured 25 superstars in an over-the-top rope elimination challenge. All entrants started the match in the ring and one by one were eliminated. Reed earned a massive trophy in the likeness of the late hall of famer.

The show kicked off with a bang on Friday as Montreal native Kevin Owens opening the show with a segment of his KO Show, welcoming one of his opponents at WrestleMania, Randy Orton, to the ring. Both men will face Internet sensation Logan Paul for the United States Championship. During the segment, Paul appeared on screen inside Wells Fargo Center, while standing on the entrance ramp for WrestleMania, which is being held at the nearby Lincoln Financial Field, where he taunted his opponents, who then bolted from the arena headed for the stadium.

The segment carried over as Orton and Owens pursued Paul, who later appeared back at the Wells Fargo Center, only to be greeted by Owens and Orton, who both hit with their finishers.

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