Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can read John’s full in-depth report here.
The opening video package reminds us of the WrestleMania main event between Edge and Roman Reigns for the Universal Title.
Live inside the award winning (what award?) Thunderdome, we start off with Promo Time with Daniel Bryan. The Yes chants were strong and Bryan pushed the idea that he was never asked about tagging with Edge at Fastlane. Bryan gets fired up as he runs through the Elimination Chamber events video package. He’s never felt like a failure until Edge speared Roman and pointed to the WrestleMania sign to indicate that Edge wanted Roman in the main event. Bryan is ready to fight in the cage to take on Roman to claim who will face Edge at WrestleMania in the main event. Roman’s music cued up and we’ll hear from him after the break. Bryan’s promo was absolute fire, call the fire department for it.
Back from break and it is Roman’s turn to offer counter point. Roman said that Bryan was best as the underdog with no ambition. Smackdown needs Roman. Uso says Bryan won’t get through him. So, Bryan tossed Uso from the ring to end the segment. A nice sales pitch for the steel cage main event.
The Street Profits come out and they are in action next. Can we please find them blue Solo cups to color coordinate the shows?
Sami Zayn comes out with his documentary team and then Corbin comes out saying that the WWE Universe does not want to see them lose to The Street Profits again and, as much as it pains me, I agreed with Corbin. The Street Profits deserve better. Corbin proposes two singles matches instead. Street Profits accepted. Unfortunately, Corbin won his match against Montez Ford, so that meant Sami had to lose his match with Angelo Dawkins.
Dawkins won his match against Zayn after the most feared move in all of sports entertainment, the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! It was unnecessary, but fit the story being told. After the match, Sami beat up one of his documentary guys. I hope someday there’s a point to all of this.
Carmella is shown backstage firing Reginald because he’s been getting more TV time than she was. Well, when one is more talented than the other…
Our next match has Dominik Mysterio taking on Chad Gable, with both of their respected tag partners at ringside. The match could have been far better if they were given more than three minutes (them again?), but it did advance the Mysterios/Alpha Academy storyline along. Dominik picks up the win and Rey wipes out Otis after the match.
We are treated to a replay of Seth Rollins swinging by last week with Cesaro before going live with Rollins backstage with Kayla Braxton. Rollins wants Cesaro to embrace the hate, um, vision before Murphy, of all people, walks up. Rollins doesn’t want to see him so Murphy left. I guess somebody got dumped. Not like that was going anywhere after the Rollins angle ended anyway.
Our Women’s Division match for tonight has Bianca Belair taking on Shayna Baszler. Nia Jax was in Baszler’s corner while Sasha Banks Was in Belair’s corner. Reginald also wandered down to ringside. Surprise surprise, we get another short match. The match seemed to care more about the hang arounds outside the ring more than those inside the ring. The match closing had Reginald get into it with Sasha, who knocks him back into Nia. Nia tossed him back and charged, wiping out Sasha after he moved. Belair then picked up the win after the KOD. After the match, Sasha slapped Reginald and walked away. Hopefully this ends Reginald’s pointlessness with Sasha. Also, a solid win for Belair building towards WrestleMania.
Jey Uso gets a pep talk from Roman backstage before we go back to the ring.
Another quick match with Murphy taking on Cesaro is up next and Rollins comes out to commentary to observe. Murphy looked good before Cesaro picked up the win after the Cesaro Swing into the Sharpshooter combo attack. Cesaro gets a decent win heading into his feud with Rollins.
Reginald was backstage and Sasha sends him packing literally. Baszler pokes a little bit of fun at him before Nia says that he’s kinda cute. Baszler looked for a barf bag and they leave Reginald standing there. I voted to send him packing. What storyline must he try to ruin next?
Uhaa Nation or Apollo Crews is up for Promo Time to get over his new heel persona. We found out earlier that Big E will return next week. Crews puts over his Nigerian royalty heritage while talking about trying to be accepted for who he really was. Crews demands another match with Big E for the Intercontinental Championship. I’m hoping that this match takes place at WrestleMania, to give Crews the big win on the grandest stage of them all, but Fastlane is in a couple of weeks and the build is already in place.
Backstage, Natalya and Tamina are complaining that they should have the tag title match at Fastlane instead of Sasha and Belair. Adam Pierce said sorry and Sonya Deville said she would have made a different decision. The not commissioner has been face too long so we need to turn him heel. Can I get a Picard Facepalm please?
Bryan knocked Uso down backstage while Kayla was trying to interview him. Also backstage was Bayley’s Ding Dong Hello talk show because we need to stall for time to construct the steel cage for the main event up next. Can we please ditch the talk show and find something of meaning for Bayley?
The steel cage is constructed and Corey Graves is inside to sell it. Props to the cameraman who climbed the cage with the camera to shoot down into the ring. The cage match itself was pretty good as we would expect after last week’s match between these two. Uso focused on the knee from last week while Bryan focused on an arm. Roman watched the back and forth match from ringside. The ending came when Bryan locked Uso in the Yes Lock in front of Roman. Uso grabbed the bottom rope as usual, but there are no rope breaks inside the cage and Uso had to tap out to send Bryan to Fastlane with a Universal Title match. The match was good and got more than three minutes like the rest of the matches tonight. Two things though; nobody realistically expected Uso to win tonight and nobody should be expecting Bryan to win at Fastlane. The Fastlane match is going to be a great one, but the outcome is more predetermined than usual.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows.
Bryan’s opening promo was just perfect and set the stage for the cage match. He and Uso pulled off another good match and I’m enjoying the main event push of Jey Uso. It’s been working perfectly and I think he can be a singles star.
Storylines advanced quite nicely tonight; Apollo/Big E, Mysterios/Alpha Academy, and Cesaro/Rollins.
This episode felt like an old ROH on HDNet show. Promos, three minute matches, and a nice long main event. I realize that they were pressed for time because the steel cage had to be constructed during the show and was not hanging above the ring, but a couple of matches could have been cut to allot some additional time to the matches with running feuds. I think just focusing on those matches would have made the show a bit better.
That’s all I’ve got. Until next time.