Following on from the disappointment of Super ShowDown, the Blue brand looked to progress things forward on the Road to WrestleMania. With the main points for discussion being what the hell is going on at Elimination Chamber in just over a week, the hotly anticipated return of Hollywood superstar John Cena and who will be the next opponent for the newly crowned Universal Champion Goldberg? Let’s find out “who’s next?” Welcome to the most must-see SteelChair review in history; welcome to… the SmackDown Review.
– Naomi and Lacey Evans defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks in a tag team match.
– Robert Roode defeated Kofi Kingston.
– Daniel Bryan defeated Curtis Axel.
– The Usos defeated Miz and Morrison in a tag team match.
Bradley’s Best Bits:
Hot off of his Universal Championship win, Goldberg made his way to the ring and opened the show to a chorus of boos. Whilst the result at Super ShowDown might have been disappointing for most, the two-time Universal Champion soaked up the atmosphere to perfectly deliver a line which may suggest he will play the heel in his next match.
Disregarding his previous opponent, Big Bill declared, “It’s not about who was last. It’s all about who’s next!?” With that, Roman Reigns made himself known with all the swagger of a man that is just happy enough to be facing someone other than King Corbin for the first time in over three months. With all the intensity in his eyes, The Big Dog grabbed a mic to simply say “I’m next” as he looks to make Goldberg a mere transitional champion at WrestleMania.
Arguably the best match of the four last night, Kofi Kingston took on Robert Roode in singles competition following the New Day losing the SmackDown Tag Team titles to Miz and Morrison in Saudi Arabia.
With their respective tag partners at ringside, it was a solid match between the two with both landing key offence. That was until Big E found himself ejected from Kofi’s corner after Roode did his best Eddie Guererro impression by pretending that the big man had slammed him into the ring steps.
Now having the advantage, Ziggler was able to help his pal put his foot on the ropes and break the pinfall when the former WWE Champion hit the Glorious One with an SOS. Distracted by the cheating antics, Kofi was rolled up by Roode with a handful of tights for the win.
It was great to see Curtis Axel back on TV again and against Daniel Bryan no less. This wasn’t the best bout of the night but it continues the story of where The Yes Man now goes following his defeat to The Fiend back in January.
Drew Gulak has been the man that has said there are flaws in the game of the former Planet’s Champion and himself, the master of the PowerPoint presentation, was on commentary to watch this exhibition match with Bryan winning. What happens next will have to move on quickly before this becomes stale, but it does peak the interest of how great a match we could get between two of the best technicians in the company.
The centrepiece of the night was the return of Hollywood sensation John Cena. Coming out to a hero’s welcome, Big Match John made an emotional speech about listening to the fans and that he will not compete to save taking a spot from those that have worked so hard to be there. The Fast 9 star went on to say that he wasn’t sure when he would be back again and that this is only goodbye for now as he left the ring to a huge response from his hometown crowd.
As the Franchise Player gave us one last salute to close the show, the lights went out and The Fiend appeared behind him as they came back on. The demonic figure pointed to the WrestleMania logo to which – disregarding everything he said just minutes ago – Cena tipped his cap in acceptance!
For Fox Sake:
The first match of the night saw a rematch between Bayley and Naomi quickly turn into a tag team match.
After Bayley introduced the returning Sasha Banks to the ring, The Boss would attack Naomi from behind seconds into her match with Bayley to cause a disqualification. This then brought out Lacey Evans to defend The Glow because I guess that’s what babyfaces do without explanation?
It would be an expert sunset flip from Naomi with a pin on the SmackDown Women’s Champion that would seal the victory for her makeshift team, but other than continuing Naomi’s title chase, this match didn’t do much to make a great deal about the return of Sasha Banks.
In yet another contract signing, Braun Strowman met Sami Zayn and the Business International in the ring to put pen to paper on the Intercontinental Championship rematch with Shinsuke Nakamura at Elimination Chamber.
Only, the Monster Among Men would find himself on the end of a loophole when his own words ended up making the title match a 3-on-1 handicap match. Whilst signing the contract, Strowman would say that it doesn’t matter if he had to fight all three as he has grown confident in beating them all in recent weeks. Zayn decided to take this literally and made sure to sign himself and Cesaro into the match alongside Nakamura.
Whilst having three men hold the title at the same time could be interesting, history all but dictates that Strowman will be walking away with this one unless the three men can come to an arrangement on who gets to have the belt at their house on Sundays. It could, however, lead into a multi-man ladder match for the gold at WrestleMania which I’m sure we’d all enjoy!
In the oddest segment of the night, Miz and Morrison were in the ring to brag about their SmackDown Tag Team Title victory over the New Day at Super ShowDown. This wasn’t the strange part, as we’d expect the Dirtsheet Duo to be so braggadocious by now, but it was how they were interrupted which caught as all a little off-guard.
Before an impromptu match between The Usos and Miz & Morrison, Greg Hamilton was informed by a referee that the Tag Team Championships would be defended inside the Elimination Chamber itself against The New Day, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, The Usos, and Ziggler & Roode.
The way in which this was presented was surprising and, not least, disappointing. Whilst some of these teams have faced each other as an extension of the prolonged Reigns vs Corbin storyline, there has been a complete lack of build-up for everyone involved. To simply have a ring announcer declare the match will be happening in a weeks time after just being told be a referee really does show how little WWE thinks of its own tag team division right now.
This announcement took away from what was a good match between The Usos and the current champions. The main highlight being the finish which saw Jimmy Uso land a rare Canadian Destroyer from the turnbuckle on John Morrison to set up Jey for the splash victory and ensure the Samoan brothers have all the momentum heading into next week.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE