Are you ready for a good time? I know I am, especially with how we left things last week on SmackDown with Daniel Bryan emerging victorious to gain a Universal Title shot against The Big Dog himself at Fastlane. Now that’s a match I’m not only super hyped for, but extremely curious as to the ramifications for WrestleMania. If Bryan loses, what’s his place at the biggest show of the year? But surely, Roman Reigns isn’t dropping the belt? I’ll be intrigued to see where they go with it. For now, let’s see how the last few parts fall into place before Fastlane next week.
Who loves it more?
Ah, there he is. The Rated R Superstar. I did wonder where he’d been hiding lately as he didn’t seem to be interested in saving Daniel Bryan recently. Edge has worked damn hard on his comeback and despite all the respect in the world he has for Bryan, this is something that he loves and that he wants to succeed at and there’s no one that he’ll let stand in his way. He has his WrestleMania main event slot locked in and he’s earned that, so seeing how Daniel gets second chances and thinks he deserves it more irks him a little.
Of course, Edge wasn’t allowed to just stand in the ring by himself to open the show this week as Bryan felt he needed to give his input too. He respects Edge and all of his accomplishments but it’s time he goes into business for himself because who knows how many main event opportunities he’ll have left in his career – especially on the grandest stage of the year. You could feel the tension between both guys this week and I could only imagine Roman sitting backstage and Paul Heyman having that little smirk on his face seeing two fan favourites having a little conflict. Only time will tell as to who Edge gets to face at WrestleMania but I think Bryan’s got an uphill struggle as always.
Street Profits, Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Otis & Chad Gable
As much as I’m not a huge fan of Ziggler and Roode as the tag champs, I have to admit that they work very well together as a solid heel team – nothing flashy, nothing like trying to play up to the fans but simply heel tactics and making you want to cheer for the other team. You can’t ask for more than that. Otis and Gable are obviously new to the heel side but they’re also working well together and this week followed the dastardly antics of their teammates and certainly tried to cheat their way to victory.
Thankfully good overcame evil with the Street Profits continuing their roll towards earning another tag title shot while the Mysterios contributed their fair share in overcoming the tag champs and Alpha Academy. Rey is still in fantastic shape and moving like it’s 1996 all over again while Dominik must be learning so much from being in the ring with some fantastic guys on the SmackDown roster. With a hot frantic pace throughout, both teams looked like they could have won but it came down to Montez Ford and that incredible jump off the top rope to once again have his hand raised in victory. WrestleMania sounds like a good place to regain those straps right?
Cesaro vs Murphy
Well, it’s nice to see Murphy appear again although I feel like he’s just there as fodder for Cesaro to wind up Seth Rollins on a weekly basis. I hope he gets something better to sink his teeth into, even if it’s stepping back alongside Rollins and getting to perform at the level he should. He’s obviously done with the whole Mysterios stuff so he deserves to get something else to properly work with. At the moment he’s just a pawn in the Cesaro and Rollins story and getting swung around a lot. Poor guy probably wishes he was back in Australia.
Unsurprisingly Cesaro was pretty dominant again this week with the usual uppercuts and impressive feats of strength showing Seth that he should be worried if they ever face off. However, Rollins and his very unusual dress sense aren’t really known for being all that patient or smart sometimes so he jumped Cesaro while he was trying to swing Murphy and delivered a number of stomps while verbally abusing him and reminding him that he’s not on his level. Oh, I can’t wait for Cesaro to actually get his hands on that snivelling little whiny messiah. It will be so satisfying.
The EST of the KO Show
As we all know, WWE chat shows are peaceful affairs where nothing ever goes wrong. Especially when they involve Kevin Owens and his very official-looking tie and T-shirt. He’s had a challenging few months but it’s nice to see he’s surviving and he’s now shining the spotlight on two of the best in WWE – Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair and the SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Again, much like Edge and Daniel Bryan, there’s a respect there but also an appetite from both superstars to be champion. Yet the stakes are higher because at Fastlane they have another opportunity to dethrone Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, as well as get revenge on Jax’s new boo Reginald. Speaking of the champs, they obviously made their way to ringside but this time for commentary as Bianca and Sasha got a warm-up match before Fastlane…
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs Natalya & Tamina
I’m liking the fact that Natalya and Tamina have colour coordinated outfits. That’s a nice touch. I’m all for real tag teams, although I doubt they’ll last long. Belair and Banks on the other hand will likely last even less time as they’re going to implode very soon – if not over the title then certainly over Reginald and his sneaky distracting ways. Jax made him stand on the announce table and show off his outfit on a number of occasions during the match and eventually this all led to Tamina pinning Bianca and… well, seriously?
Come on now. In all this convoluted mess of a build-up towards WrestleMania, you have Belair being pinned by Tamina? TAMINA. No thank you. I think someone at WWE is trolling the hell out of me and I am not here for it. Don’t make me cancel my Network subscription, damn it. Okay, I wouldn’t, but I’ll definitely moan about it on Twitter at least.
Ohhhh, STEELCHAIR READERS. DON’T YOU DARE BE SOUR. Sorry, I still expect that to happen every so often. But hey, let’s just be happy that Big E is back and in good health, throwing off all those bandages and everything else on the way to the ring and it’s time to get serious. This week we got a Big E that wasn’t all smiles and gyrating but someone who wanted Apollo Crews to know that he’s ready and he’s waiting and he’s got revenge on his mind. Damn what a promo from Big E proving everyone wrong if they were worried about him being too dancey and messing around all the time. This guy can damn well switch it on when he wants to and the intensity was off the charts this week. But instead of Apollo coming out for an IC title opportunity, we got… King Corbin? No, Sami Zayn! He gets in the ring first so gets the spot.
Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge – Big E vs Sami Zayn
Okay so it’s not Apollo but the former – sorry Sami – champion who’s back to reclaim what he doesn’t think he actually lost in the first place. I’m glad he’s still finding some time to wrestle in between all that documentary making. He seems to have calmed down a little bit on the conspiracy front this week anyway rather than beating up his crew. Zayn channelled all that anger towards Big E instead and certainly gave him a good run for his money.
Sadly in typical Sami style, he started worrying about the crew again, allowing Big E to capitalize on the distraction with a Big Ending and E rolls on to call out Crews again. His music hits but the sneaky bastard jump attacks the champ and uses the ring steps once again. Apollo stands tall and we’ve got at least another week to wait again for revenge. Poor Big E.
Fastlane Contract Signing – Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns (with Heyman and Jey Uso)
Much like the chat shows, contract signings always go so well. It’s strange how the ones that happen backstage never seem to have any drama but stick them in the ring and suddenly everyone’s deciding to beat each other up. It’s so unprofessional. Adam Pearce decided to risk his life again by being in the same ring as Roman Reigns but thankfully it didn’t end too badly for him this time. Of course, this still wasn’t the straight-forward contract signing you would hope for but instead another step in a long line of manipulation attempts by the Head of the Table. He has certainly learned a lot from Paul Heyman in recent times.
Bryan however was all too happy to sign the contract and then he knew what he needed to do. Reigns said he didn’t feel like signing this week but Daniel goaded him into it by suggesting maybe he could be the new Head of the Table instead and he never thought Roman would be scared. He even made Jey quit and that’s something he couldn’t do. That was enough to push him over the edge and the contract got signed. And of course, they all left happily… no, I kid. Jey suggested he could be the special enforcer at Fastlane but Edge came out and put his name forward so both men will do battle next week with the winner taking that job. And after a few choice words, Edge and Bryan attacked Reigns and Uso, getting the upper hand only for Edge to shove Bryan away and then Daniel leaving him laying with a running knee. Oh, it’s all so chaotic and I love it. Give us a triple threat at WrestleMania!
The Best of SmackDown
- Big E – Delivering one of the best promos he ever has
- Street Profits – Edging closer to that title shot
- Daniel Bryan – Passionate on the mic and standing tall at the end
- Reginald – Gotta admit he’s pretty damn stylish
The Worst of SmackDown
- Bianca Belair – Losing to Tamina is just embarrassing
- Sasha Banks – Far too distracted by Reginald for her own good
- Otis and Gable – Back on the losing side again
- Sami Zayn – Needs to regain focus
Another hectic yet enjoyable couple of hours from the Blue brand and definitely building strongly towards Fastlane. I’m struggling to see beyond that Triple Threat idea at WrestleMania because if that’s not where they’re going then they’re spending an awful lot of time on Daniel Bryan, aren’t they? Saying that they’re also spending a lot of time on Reginald and it seems unlikely he’ll be getting a Women’s Championship match so who knows. In a world where Tamina is beating ANYONE, it’s fair to say that logic isn’t at the forefront of booking decisions. Anyway, I’ll get over it. One episode left next week and then it’s time for that instant classic in Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns. I hope they get to do a proper match this time…
All images and videos courtesy of WWE