Well, here we are. The last stop before Fastlane and then right on to WrestleMania. A lot of the card for the biggest PPV of the year is still undecided so it’ll be interesting to see how things take shape after this Sunday. The biggest offering on the SmackDown side is Roman Reigns defending his Universal Title against Daniel Bryan, with the winner going on to face Edge. But before then Edge has got some business of his own to take care of – a main-event match this week against Jey Uso to find out who will be the Special Enforcer for the title match on Sunday. So let’s get right to the action, although we’re not kicking off with Roman Reigns for a change…
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (c) vs Nia Jax (w/ Shayna Baszler)
Backstage before the match Bianca Belair had a few choice words for Banks, thinking she’s a little crazy for taking on Nia Jax before WrestleMania and, of course, before their tag team title match at Fastlane. Sounds like Reginald is still in Sasha’s head too but who can blame her. Bianca said that she wouldn’t be coming out to help Sasha and obviously The Boss didn’t care about that because she’s stubborn as hell. Jax has always been a dangerous opponent – quite literally a lot of the time – and so it wasn’t surprising to see Sasha at the wrong end of a beating for a lot of the match. Throw in a very distracting Baszler and things were looking ropey for the champ.
Of course, Bianca couldn’t keep out of it so she did come down to the ring eventually, helping Sasha by stopping Shayna from interfering – well, sort of anyway. In all the craziness, the former 2-time NXT Women’s Champion managed to kick Nia in the face by accident and allowed Banks to pick up the win and escape with her title. Could she have managed it without Belair? Who knows, as we’re all about the messy wins and feuds these days. I do wonder if after Fastlane we might get the opportunity to settle down this title feud between Bianca and Sasha and actually allow them to compete in a way that’s fit for two of the most talented women in the wrestling world. Unfortunately, we’ll probably be stuck with all this Reginald stuff until the PPV instead. Lucky us. As I’ve said before – there’s a time and a place for Reginald and this isn’t it.
Burning Down the Disrespect
You know, as much as I know I’m meant to hate Seth Rollins right now, I can’t help but love his entrance theme and want to dance a little. And then I see him coming out wearing the most outrageous fashion I’ve seen in a long time and part of me really enjoys him. Certainly far more than his messiah stuff previously anyway. Seth kept it short and sweet this week with an in-ring promo aimed at Cesaro, calling him a failure and highlighting his inability to grab that brass ring (no, not that stupid one on the AEW PPV) while he’s a bona fide WrestleMania main eventer.
No Cesaro appearance this week but Nakamura was happy to come out, tell Seth to shut up and then knee him in the face. Another bad week for Seth and now he’s got a match with Shin at Fastlane.
Street Profits vs Rey & Dominik Mysterio
This is a match I’ve mentioned previously that would be a decent one to have over the tag titles. Sadly they’re on Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode at the moment so instead this is about two teams vying for that top contender spot. There’s good respect between all the men and they gave it their all this week, albeit in quite a short match. Some great athleticism, speed and general action in the match but they were definitely holding back for something better in the future – I hope anyway! Despite me thinking the Street Profits were rolling straight through to WrestleMania, Dominik and Rey actually managed to steal a win this week which really surprised me. But their joy was short-lived as their recent enemies Otis and Chad Gable came out to challenge them…
Alpha Academy vs Rey and Dominik Mysterio
Well, you can’t say that the tag division isn’t trying to make things more interesting and competitive lately. Over the last few weeks, a lot of different teams have managed to show promise and potential and give people a reason to believe they’re the ones that should be getting a title shot. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in charge of that decision as it’s a tough one. Having already had a match, Rey and Dominik were tired but gave it their all. Unfortunately, the much bigger Otis was the difference-maker again this week, flying off the turnbuckles to deliver a winning splash. He’s certainly doing well recently, isn’t he? Looks like we might be heading towards a multi-team match at WrestleMania don’t you think?
Shooting Lightning Out Of Your Ass
Yes, that might be the weirdest subheading I’ve ever written but it makes sense in context. Honest. Daniel Bryan made an in-ring appearance this week with a mic in his hand to address the WWE Universe about his ambitions going into WrestleMania season. Obviously, he has a hugely important match at Fastlane and plans to tap out Roman Reigns. Do you know who doesn’t believe that will happen? Roman Reigns. He made his way out to the top of the ramp with Paul Heyman and basically chuckled at the leader of the Yes Movement, suggesting he had no chance in hell (sorry, Vince) of tapping him out or beating him at all. Reigns would rather die than tap out to Bryan, while Bryan is happy to either tap him out or have him die apparently. It all got quite serious by the end and I honestly can’t wait for them to have a classic match together – as long as it doesn’t get too messy with the Special Enforcer.
Sami Zayn vs King Corbin
Despite begging Kevin Owens backstage to listen to his conspiracy theories, Sami didn’t have much luck this week and instead had to go to the ring for his match which WWE were advertising as the least anticipated match in the history of SmackDown. No wonder Zayn is upset! Poor guy deserves more respect than that and hey even Corbin does… probably. I’m sure they can put on a fantastic show-stealing match right? Well, no not really.
Sami tried to cheat with his foot on the ropes and the ref caught him. Then he tried to get a turnbuckle pad off and turned around right into an End of Days. Poor Sami. Frustrated with everyone around him he delivered a damn painful-looking Helluva Kick to Kevin Owens who was sitting ringside at commentary. Does this mean we’ll maybe get Zayn and Owens at WrestleMania? I think I’m okay with that.
Vengeance Is Coming
No, not the old PPV. Sorry about that. Instead, Big E is throwing out the V-word in relation to Apollo Crews because that man has no time whatsoever for reconciling. That friendship is long gone and it’s all about one thing now – the Intercontinental Championship. Apollo wants what Big E has but the champion certainly isn’t going to just let Crews take it. They’re officially facing off at Fastlane and Apollo will be bringing his newfound Nigerian warrior side to beat down Big E’s booty. But hey, why wait till Sunday? Big E didn’t want to, so he jumped into a golf cart (because why not?!) and hunted down Apollo, throwing him from pillar to post and unleashing some of that vengeance he spoke so sternly about. Sadly some officials broke the fight up and Crews managed to escape on the golf cart. Where would we be without golf carts these days? I am really looking forward to the IC title being defended at Fastlane and all credit to both men for making it a must-see match.
Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler (w/ Nia Jax)
This match was requested by Baszler off the back of her mistake earlier in the night where she cost Nia the match against Sasha Banks. Shayna wanted to prove herself to her tag partner and get revenge on Bianca too. You would think Sasha would be grateful for Bianca’s help before and support her but she simply came out, said ‘you’ve got this!’ and went to watch in the back instead. Jax walked off too, leaving Bianca and Shayna to get on with it.. or so I thought until Natalya and Tamina jumped both women and left them lying. They’re still after the tag titles and well I just hope that doesn’t happen because the idea of Tamina being a champion in 2021 makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
Main Event – Jey Uso vs Edge (Winner becomes Special Enforcer at Fastlane)
I do hope Jey Uso has negotiated a far better paycheck in recent times than he was getting before. The man has been an absolute machine in recent months and he’s going out and delivering classic solo matches all over the place. Edge, on the other hand, is well-rested and hasn’t really done a huge amount lately at all. But for someone who we all thought wouldn’t ever step foot in the ring again, he’s not having a bad 2021 by all accounts. He’s got the WrestleMania main event locked in already and he’s just finding ways to kill time until then. So why not be a special enforcer during the Universal Title match at Fastlane? I’m sure Roman would much rather have Jey out there watching his back.
With Daniel Bryan on commentary, both Jey and Edge gave it their all this week. Jey managed to dominate most of the match but Edge looked in good shape, delivering some of his most famous moves alongside some newer mat-based techniques. For the most part, it really looked like Jey would be able to pick up the win but Edge focused well on targeting Uso’s shoulder and took advantage once he’d hit a frog splash and landed on it, delivering a spear shortly after for the 1-2-3. Sadly for Edge, that wasn’t the Spear that ended the show on as Roman snuck into the ring and gave one to Edge and Daniel Bryan to remind everyone who’s the head of the table.
The Best of SmackDown
- Big E – getting a small amount of revenge on Apollo and more is coming
- Edge – picking up an important win and now gets an interesting spot at Fastlane
- Sasha Banks – still the women’s champ
- Reginald – getting some nice time at the spa
- Sami Zayn – starting to show some fire finally
The Worst of SmackDown
- Apollo – after all that talking he ran like a coward
- Jey Uso – letting down the family once again
- Tamina – just for existing
Everything has come together nicely for Fastlane. Seth’s got a WrestleMania warm-up against Nakamura which should be great. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns will be a top-class matchup with Edge looking on. I’m still irritated by the way they’ve dealt with the Sasha and Bianca feud but still hold on to the hope that they might give it a little killer instinct soon. And the men’s tag division is heating up nicely and they’re making it seem like the titles mean something which is always an important move. Fastlane should be a pretty solid event so let’s catch up next week and see where the pieces have fallen for WrestleMania. Hope you all enjoy it!
All images and videos courtesy of WWE