Io Shirai Works SmackDown Dark Match – 4 NXT Superstars worked the pre-show dark matches at tonight’s SmackDown taping from the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO.
The matches featured Io Shirai defeating Dakota Kai, and Tommaso Ciampa defeating Roderick Strong.
Ciampa defeated Pete Dunne in the SmackDown dark match on January 7, then defeated T-BAR on the January 14 edition of WWE Main Event, and went over Akira Tozawa on last week’s Main Event. Strong took a loss to LA Knight in the January 21 SmackDown dark match, and lost to T-BAR on this week’s Main Event.
This was Shirai’s first main roster bout since the 2019 Survivor Series pay-per-view, where Team NXT defeated Team RAW and Team SmackDown in the 5-on-5-on-5 Traditional Elimination Match. Kai worked several SmackDown dark matches in the summer and fall of 2021, last competing at the November 12 SmackDown, where she defeated Cora Jade.
The dark main event after SmackDown went off the air saw Seth Rollins and The Viking Raiders defeat The Bloodline (WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos).
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