Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
We start the show off with Promo Time with Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and Jey Uso. Roman goes on about his glorious title defense at Elimination Chamber. He then brings up Edge picking the Universal Title match for WrestleMania, which is what Roman wanted last week. This week, Roman wants to give Edge the opportunity to back out of the match. Um, you are getting the match you wanted there, Roman. Anyway, Daniel Bryan showed up and asked why wasn’t the head of the table at the main event at Elimination Chamber? Oh, that’s right, Bryan went bell to bell in the Chamber and Roman was afraid of Bryan being ready for the match. Bryan issues a challenge for a title match at Fastlane. Uso attacked Bryan so the heels can leave. I like Bryan getting a legitimate title match instead of that farce at Elimination Chamber. That does put a wrinkle in Edge/Roman for WrestleMania, but it’s not like we know Bryan will lose at Fastlane.
Backstage, Edge asked “Not WWE Commissioner” Adam Pierce what happened to the tag match at Fastlane between him (Edge) and Bryan against Reigns and Uso? I like the title match idea better than the tag match.
Our opening match has The Mysterios taking on newly heel Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis). What happened to Buddy Murphy? The match was just for Rey to put over heel Otis and he was successful in his role. I’m not sure about heel Otis yet, as the face gimmick was going well until there were no more crowds and then Mandy and Tucker were shipped to Raw. Once Fastlane is out of the way, I expect The Mysterios to be in the tag title picture for WrestleMania.
Up next, we take a look at the heel turn for Apollo Crews from last week on Big E. Apollo cuts a promo and actually gives us a character and not just some dude smiling. The promo was excellent in setting up Apollo’s new character. I expect him to win the IC Title at WrestleMania. His match with Shinsuke Nakamura was really good in establishing the new character. I wish they hadn’t changed his finisher but Nakamura did his job, making Apollo look great. Nakamura’s run should start after WrestleMania.
There was a quick shot backstage has Heyman telling Reigns that the Bryan/Uso match was on and Bryan gets his title match at Fastlane if he wins.
Up next, poor Liv Morgan has to make Tamina look good. The match was passable by Tamina standards with Tamina winning. I’m all for making more women’s tag teams but why must the Riott Squad keep enduring these stop/start pushes? We still remember when the Riott Squad was positioned to win the tag titles a couple of months ago.
It’s Bianca Belair’s WrestleMania match choice time with Adam Pierce and Sonya Deville in the ring with her. Bianca gave a great speech about making this decision. Reginald comes out to his music to interrupt. Reginald puts Sasha over and that brings her out. Sasha threatens Reginald and challenges Bianca. Bianca tells Sasha it’s on and points at the WrestleMania sign to ignite the awaiting pyro. This should be an excellent match with Bianca capturing the title. It doesn’t make any sense to get Reginald involved in this, but it’s not like that’s stopped Creative in the past. I’m the most worried for Asuka now, even though we knew Bianca was going to pick Sasha. We don’t need another Charlotte Flair title match, so I guess Rhea Ripley? More on that in the next Raw Reaction.
Back to in-ring action, we have Sami Zayn and King Corbin taking on The Street Profits. The Street Profits pick up the win as expected with Montez Ford continuing to impress with the height he gets off his frog splash. Nice touch having Sami’s entrance graphics look like the old Raw is War graphic. Sami is doing great annoying heel work and Corbin is still bland and boring. I don’t think a gimmick change will work for him. The Street Profits should be in the tag title match at WrestleMania if it is the usual multi-team match. I doubt they win the titles back there though, maybe SummerSlam.
Seth Rollins is back up in the same gimmick but his old music. It just doesn’t fit. Rollins complained about how everyone walked out on him during his big return and out comes Cesaro. Rollins asked Cesaro to join him. Cesaro gave Rollins two swings instead. I’m really excited for this feud and expect Rollins to put Cesaro over at WrestleMania to set up a run to SummerSlam.
It’s main event time with Daniel Bryan taking on Jey Uso. If Bryan wins, he gets a Universal Title match at Fastlane. The match was as hard-hitting as one would expect. Bryan sells the left knee all match. The end comes with a double countout with both fighting outside the ring. Bryan traps Uso in the Yes Lock and Roman comes out to break it up. Bryan locked Roman in the Yes Lock before Uso broke it up. Bryan suffers the double team beat down to close out the show, with no Edge appearing to make the save. The heel numbers game is getting tiresome and makes the faces all look stupid. But that seems to be the only way WWE knows how to book their faces. The Fastlane match is still undecided and there are two options on the table. We’ve got a week or two to get that settled.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
I’m really digging the new Apollo Crews character. It’s a shame it’s taken Creative this long to figure this out. I foresee a solid midcard run this year with IC gold at WrestleMania. If Creative doesn’t fumble like usual, I think Crews could dip into the main event scene at some point next year.
I’m also glad that Cesaro is finally getting the push he’s deserved for years now. I thought his best chance at the title was when he was doing the James Bond gimmick, but I think he’ll be in the main event by Survivor Series. I’m hoping for a good solid push into SummerSlam to help set that stage.
What did Liv Morgan do to deserve a Tamina match? She’s a bit more safer than Nia Jax, but still. I thought The Riott Squad were Women’s Tag Team Champions bound.
The Roman/Jey weekly beat down on the single face is getting tiresome. It’s been going on for months now and you’d think that the face would bring a friend along given this history.
I should be a little bit more regular now with my columns and hope you enjoy my insight.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.