WrestleMania is once again too big for two nights.
So it was announced that next week’s SmackDown is essentially WrestleMania night one, with the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal and the SmackDown tag team titles will be featured matches.
Earlier in the week, we found out that there would be no pre-show for the first event with non-digital fans next weekend. I saw that as a good thing, because we really didn’t need it in the first place. WrestleMania would typically be long enough that a pre-show isn’t necessary. Usually the Andre is pre-show match and that makes sense, and with fans back, I thought it would get featured as a sort of “Royal Rumble” style return to get the crowd pumped.
Well that isn’t happening and SmackDown will host it instead. Upon finding that out I said ”Okay cool!” But then they also announced the tag title match, and that does not make sense to me. The Raw tag titles will be defended at WrestleMania. More than likely, so will the women’s tag titles. So why not the blue brand’s tag titles? There’s two nights for the big show and having Otis, Gable, Ford, Dawkins, Ziggler, Roode, Rey and Dom be denied a WrestleMania tag title victory for the first event with real people isn’t cool. I feel bad for these teams.
I’m sorry guys. And if it’s who I think will be the winners, not having the first father/son tag title win be cheered by a happy crowd stinks.
Let’s get to the main hits and misses of this show. For a full rundown of SmackDown, check out the live blog by Rev. Claire Elizabeth!
Bryan stands tall
Edge started SmackDown talking about how maybe it was inevitable that he’d hit a few speedbumps on the road to WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan inserted himself into the match and if anyone should have seen an opportunist coming, it’s him.
He said he’s mad at Bryan but had to thank him because he looked in the mirror and finally liked what he saw - The Rated-R Superstar is back.
Roman Reigns and Bryan aspire to be him, and last week he felt the cold steel chair in his hands and he liked it. He won’t hesitate again if he gets the opportunity. This was a really good promo from Edge.
Later on, Edge cemented his tweener role while on commentary. And it’s the best role for him.
In the main event, Bryan and Jey Uso had a Street Fight. Bryan really brought the aggression in this match. After Uso introduced a chain and took him out for a portion of the match, Bryan wrapped it around his arm and pummeled Uso’s face. He dragged Uso out of the ring and slammed his head onto the announce table multiple times.
The dynamic between Bryan and Edge was really great. Every time Bryan got near Edge and the table, he would lean forward and like commentate at Bryan to make sure he was hearing him. When Jey was looking at Edge, Edge told him to pay attention to Bryan and he also said on commentary that he didn’t care about either man getting hurt.
Bryan won, and then gave Edge the running knee and slammed his head into the post. Reigns had come out to watch Jey Uso fail once again, and Bryan charged at him. Roman’s response was to just toss the chair he was sitting in at Bryan, but Bryan ducked it and got Roman in the Yes Lock.
What I also appreciated was Bryan not letting go of the Yes Lock, and he had to be pulled off by referees and Adam Pearce. That’s how it should be done, y’all. I hate seeing a babyface attack a person and then as soon as referees tell them to get off, they let go of the hold.
This felt like a go home segment. With WrestleMania SmackDown next week, maybe they’ll be too busy making the show a pre-show for the weekend to have another segment between the three men.
But if they do have a segment, with Edge standing tall last week, and Bryan standing tall this week, we know who will stand tall next week.
Trailer of the century
Sami Zayn finally debuted the trailer we’ve been waiting for.
Logan Paul himself actually came to the ThunderDome as Zayn’s special guest, and Sami introduced him while getting down to whatever music they had playing for Paul’s entrance.
Before playing the trailer, Zayn asked Paul to be his special guest at WrestleMania and he accepted.
And then the trailer.
Very well produced! But most of these types of videos are, aren’t they? Sami trying to make some connections with shredded paper and a bin of garbage, flat earth was thrown in, but my favorite was the big board with all the referee pictures and Owens as a possible conspirator.
After the video, Zayn asked Paul what he thought about the “masterpiece” and Paul said that it looked like a lot of effort was put into it, but mentioned Owens talked to him backstage before coming out about Zayn being delusional. That set Sami off but he kept his cool only for Owens to blindside him with a stunner!
He said he’ll stun Sami until the conspiracy nonsense is out of him, and then he walked by Paul and shoved him.
I wasn’t into Logan Paul being used for this, but he did pretty well in this segment. They had him kind of looking uncomfortable that Sami wanted to be so violent against KO, but then confused and a little pissed when KO shoved him. He’ll be at WrestleMania, but we don’t know who’s side he’s on. It’s better that way.
Sami attacked Owens in the back as Owens was being interviewed, so he got his comeuppance for the night.
Take a swing
That suit. My goodness.
Seth Rollins thought he was going to be able to keep his cool.
Corey Graves went to Cesaro first, and Cesaro said his first singles match at WrestleMania is the biggest of his career. Seth may have some truth to his words about Cesaro’s shortcomings, but he’s not going to fail because there’s something different in the air. He sang about “swing” being in the air and I started to groan.
Rollins interjected and said it’s WrestleMania season and he’s unshakable at this time of year. He listed his WrestleMania accomplishments of stealing the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns as his crowning achievement.
Cesaro said he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t know that he could beat Seth, and not only that, he knows he can embarrass him.
And then Rollins did exactly what he said couldn’t happen - he got shook.
He got in Cesaro’s face and Cesaro said “take a swing” but Rollins backed out. This was a good interaction, made better with Rollins work here. I got nervous when Cesaro started singing because of course they can’t just book a babyface to be a serious bad ass without some dumb childish nonsense. Drew Mac seemed to be the exception last year.
This should be a fun match and I don’t really know who’s going to win this. My hope is that they aren’t just giving Cesaro a slightly longer push than Nakamura to just have him get beat and fade away. But this is WWE after all.
Bianca Belair defeated Carmella
Belair had a good promo before the match to try and make up for the month of awful booking WWE cast onto this historical feud. Carmella attacked Belair before the match started, and she took control for a portion of the start. She used Belair’s hair against her, and you just don’t do that! Bad Carmella! She paid for it though as Belair hit the KOD to win.
As she celebrated, Sasha Banks got in the ring and was going to take advantage of Belair having her back turned. She didn’t get to do the backstabber though, because Belair whipped around and she backed out of it. Smart of her, because why would you follow through with the attack if your attackee is aware of it? Sasha looked great in that body suit though, didn’t she? This was a good way to continue getting heat for this feud after the botch of the year by WWE.
Nigerian drum fight
Apollo Crews said that he has never been disrespected, nor has his ancestors, like he was at Fastlane. He said he won’t stand for it and he now has the chance to make it right at WrestleMania, in a Nigerian drum fight. This is a fight created by Nigerian ancestors with no rules or limitations. The beatings are so loud that they sound like drums, hence the name. Crews challenges Big E and likely next week, we’ll hear him accept.
This promo was fine. Kind of felt a bit old school foreign heel a bit to me, but maybe that was just how I took it. How did you feel about this promo, Cagesiders?
Dirty Dawgz and Alpha Academy defeated The Mysterios and Street Profits
Hey look! It’s an eight man tag team match featuring all of the guys who will be facing each other for the SmackDown tag team titles. How will they all coexist?!? They ended up coexisting for this match, with no one turning on the other or drama for the sake of drama. Also we’re literally seeing the same thing next week. None of this mattered.
Natalya defeated Shayna Baszler
Are you kidding me with this nonsense? Natalya pinned Shayna Baszler in like 40 seconds. I cannot believe how badly they have positioned her in the past few months. She has been the loser in most of her matches in singles and tag team competition. She’s the better woman in her tag team but they’ve been positioning her as the weak link. And it’s really all for the Reginald stuff. It’s a shame. There was a huge brawl after the match with I believe every single main roster women’s tag team that saw Tamina and Natalya stand tall.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?