Live from ThunderDome!
In the span of less than a minute at Fastlane, some very important things happened in SmackDown’s Universal title story. Though the record books won’t reflect it, we all know the Reigns-ing, defending champion submitted, and that means Daniel Bryan can beat the Tribal Chief. What stopped him doing so last Sunday was a chairshot from the Royal Rumble winner. That would seem to indicate Edge is done taking the high road - the Ultimate Opportunist is back.
This new version of the story is infinitely more interesting.
Roman Reigns has been fantastic as the Head of the Table, but his stories have started to feel predictable. This followed the same basic formula (talk a big game, then need outside help to get the job done), but the image of Roman meekly tapping while Bryan wrenched back on the LeBell Lock hits different.
Helping to ensure no referee would see Reigns tap frees Edge up to play the role he’s always excelled at: a guy who’s only in it for himself. I wouldn’t call it a complete heel turn, at least not yet. Although his recent promos have been reading “jerk”, Bryan’s made it perfectly clear they aren’t on the same page, so he has reason to thwart the YES Man. Letting Edge play around in the gray areas not only makes him more fun to watch, it makes him feel like more of a threat to leave WrestleMania 37 with the belt.
And then there’s our boy DB. Sure, the underdog fighting alone against multiple opponents the powers-that-be would rather have atop the card is a remix of his WrestleMania XXX story. But his WrestleMania XXX was story was damn near perfect, so I’m not gonna complain too much. If this really is his last ‘Mania main event - and overblown Hall of Fame rumor aside, there’s no reason to believe it isn’t - let him play his greatest hit.
It felt like there was no way a babyface Edge was going to dethrone the Tribal Chief. Once Bryan is officially added to the match, I could see any of them leaving Raymond James Stadium with the blue belt.
They don’t have much time, but Fastlane’s ending gave this program a much needed boost. We’ll see how they keep the momentum going tonight.
The title scene
Main event or no, the SmackDown Women’s championship feud got a boost of its own when Sasha Banks slapped the **** out of Bianca Belair on Sunday night. With the focus now on two women who each believe they’re the best, and the Rumble winner positioned as the wrestler fans should cheer for, this feels pretty main event worthy to me. It looks likely the next challengers for WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler will come from Raw, so fingers crossed Reginald stays on Monday nights with them and leaves The Boss & The EST alone.
A poorly executed spot overshadowed an intense Big E vs. Apollo Crews match at Fastlane. But with his beatdown of the Intercontinental titleholder after being (kind of) pinned, Crews kept his heat... and helped ensure this program will continue.
It’s a three car pile-up of potential challengers for The Dirty Dawgs’ SmackDown Tag Team championship. After Alpha Academy beat the Mysterios after they beat Street Profits last Friday? Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler better prepare themselves for a WrestleMania Fatal 4Way.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Seth Rollins sincerely hopes CESARO watched EVERY SECOND of his MASTERPIECE victory over Shinsuke Nakamura!!! I think they Drip Master would also ask the Swiss Superman, and all of us, to NEVER DISRESPECT HIM AGAIN!
- Speaking of disrespect, Sami Zayn still can’t believe they called his match against King Corbin the least anticipated in SmackDown history. No wonder he had to Helluva Kick Kevin Owens right in the face for not having his back.
- Ding Dong, Hello! Somebody better find something for Bayley to do at WrestleMania...
It’s the Fastlane fallout show / three weeks until WrestleMania 37!
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?