This recap is properly titled “The future” because there are many men and women in WWE who are indeed the future of wrestling. Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, Apollo Crews, Bianca Belair, Dominik Mysterio, Liv, Ruby, and Billie Kay are just some of those names.
Hulk Hogan has no place in that future, and it’s time for the business to move on from him.
Hogan right before the Black History Month video package? Hmm. I am not interested in hearing from ol’ red and yellow talking about the Andre the Giant match or any of his opinions on what’s going on right now. And I’ve got a bridge to sell you if you think that he’s even interested in the modern era of wrestling.
Total contrast to the 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble winner Edge. Edge is not here for himself. You could see it on this show, and you could see it throughout his interactions with people. You can see the happiness in his face. This is not even comparable to Goldberg, and yeah I’ve seen that and it’s a dumb comparison.
The future of wrestling is bright. Time to stop trotting out the legends of yesteryear to “pop a rating”. Build up the performers who this generation will want to look to in 20 years. SmackDown generally does the right thing, and did with this show too, with one miss I’ll touch on in a moment.
Let’s get into the main hits and misses of this show. For a full rundown of SmackDown, check out the live blog by Rev. Claire Elizabeth!
Building the suspense
Reigns started the show, talking about looking to the future. (Hey I did that, too!)
He demanded Edge come out to make his decision because Edge should be begging to face him, but Heyman had to inform him that Edge was not here yet.
Dude got MAD. He demanded an answer from Edge by the end of the night.
This promo wasn’t even over yet and I wanted Edge to pick Roman. Immediately was sold on this match. I haven’t seen him as irate as he was since his feud with Jey Uso. Angry Roman is… is something, isn’t he?
Edge came out later and put over all the WWE champions throughout the brands. Reigns came out with a very creepy Uso stalking Edge and Edge called him out for having back up. Reigns told Uso to go back to the bus and said he insulted his family, and he wants to be acknowledged. All of a sudden, Kevin Owens hit the Stunner on Reigns. Edge smirked and got out of the ring to close the show.
The way Jey Uso stalked Edge was frightening, by the way. I just needed to mention that. Jey’s fully enrolled in Fight Club with Roman Durden. We all know the first rule…
This was a brilliant finish. Accomplished multiple things. For starters, I said on my Royal Rumble recap that the ending of Owens and Reigns should not be the last time they interact. Seeing this Stunner likely means one more match? I’ll take it. We need a placeholder until WrestleMania. Secondly, the suspense. And it’s already killing me. Edge and Drew would be fun, as would Edge and Balor.
But Edge and Reigns? After this show, sign me up.
Who’s the bEST?
People are blowing up Belair’s phone because of her Royal Rumble win.
She put over the Empress of Tomorrow and The Boss Sasha Banks’ Mandalorian appearances, and said both would be incredible opponents.
Enter Reginald. He offered advice, saying picking Asuka would be way better because she’ll never beat Banks. Carmella came out and said she beat Banks twice and Belair wouldn’t be able to beat her.
Banks made her grand entrance and put Belair over hard. She’s been paying attention to the EST and her record breaking win, but she’s not the bEST. Reginald tried to butt in again and Belair whipped him with her ponytail.
The emotion and presence did not match from last Sunday, but that’s really because WWE has no clue how to book babyfaces. Bianca is a damn star. Let her talk. She was brilliant after her win on Sunday. She didn’t even need to sell it because that was real. We need more of that.
Big E defeated Apollo Crews and Sami Zayn
Big E knew he signed up for fights by being champion. He really is such a wonderful talker.
Crews’ strength was on full display here. He launched himself over the top rope and took out Big E, and then did a moonsault from the apron to the floor. Even my gut hurt from that. Zayn tried for a Blue Thunder Bomb but couldn’t get E up. E sent Crews of the rope and I almost jumped because it looked nasty. But he came back in and got a near fall on Zayn. Incredible height on a frog splash! Crews took Zayn out but fell to the Big Ending. This was a great match and boy did Crews look pissed. I’m excited to see what comes of that!
Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan
These two locked up immediately. Bryan had urgency and aggression right from the jump. Cesaro threw Bryan up for an uppercut but Bryan took him down and tried for the Yes Lock. Cesaro’s head was already bleeding. Bryan stomped on that bleeding head and went for the running knee and Cesaro transitioned into a Backbreaker. I did not expect Cesaro to make Bryan tap, but as Bryan’s said in the past, he wants to put guys over. Cesaro going back to show respect to Bryan was intriguing! Rumor mills swirled saying that Cesaro was originally planned to be in the Nakamura spot weeks ago, so maybe a face turn incoming?
Bayley defeated Ruby Riott
I really hope they never make this Billie Kay stuff bad. It’s so so good, y’all. She was at commentary claiming that she didn’t take Riott’s and Morgan’s discussion as them telling her they didn’t want her around. Some really awesome spots in the match, like when Bayley launched Riott into the top turnbuckle head first and I nearly gout Carmella from the Royal Rumble vibes. She also sold her arm like it was broken, and of course Kay tried to help but it didn’t work. Loved Billie going up to Bayley with her resume.
Dirty Dawgz defeated Otis and Chad Gable
Roode and Ziggler have new music, and it sounded pretty good! Y’all I have no clue what happened in this match because I was totally distracted by the new box that popped up with the Street Profits doing Cole’s and Graves’ jobs. All I know is Roode and Ziggler have new music, and Roode and Ziggler won. My apologies to Otis and Gable.
Dominik Mysterio defeated King Corbin
Dominik was the super underdog for most of this match, but I actually like what they did here. Both Corey and Corbin were selling Dom needing to split from his father in order to become something, while Cole was selling Dom’s babyface qualities linked with his father. Corbin got out of the 619 path and hit the Deep Six. Rey crawled under the ring and grabbed Corbin’s leg and Dom took advantage with a 619, frog splash, and victory.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?