We’re getting further and further down the Road to WrestleMania, I can almost see the finish line. In fact, this week looks like the final ‘proper’ SmackDown before WrestleMania as WWE have announced next week to be a Special WrestleMania Edition of SmackDown. What does that mean I hear you ask – well, we’ll be getting a Fatal 4-Way for the SmackDown Tag Team titles featuring the Dirty Dawgs defending against the Street Profits, Alpha Academy and the Mysterios. And we even get treated to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – and Tucker is in it. Thank the Lord. Exciting times ahead on SmackDown but we’ve got to get there first. Will Edge address his actions last week? Will any tag teams get the upper hand before the title match? How’s Reginald doing these days? Let’s find out…
The Rated-R Superstar Is Back
No, I know he’s been around for weeks now but, apparently, we’re tapping into the real Rated-R Superstar now. As Edge took to the mic in the ring this week it was clear that there was a fire and energy that hadn’t been there before. He doesn’t believe that any of this should be happening. He’s the one that won the Royal Rumble and it should be as simple as him vs Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania in the main event. Instead, he’s been blindsided by Daniel Bryan’s involvement and now he’s facing a scenario he never saw coming. So much for seeing clearly.
As with all good heels, he definitely has a point but the triple threat is going to be a fantastic match at WrestleMania, especially now Edge is back with a vengeance and taking no prisoners. As he reminded us, he is a Hall of Fame legend and he believes Roman and Daniel can only dream of achieving what he has during his career. Strong fighting words from the former champion but will he be able to back them up at the biggest PPV of the year? We’ll have to wait for that answer, but he’s certainly starting to remind people of why he’s been champion so many times before.
Alpha Academy and Dirty Dawgs vs Street Profits and Rey & Dominik Mysterio
With the titles finally on the line next week there’s only one opportunity left for someone to gain some momentum going into that match. Otis and Chad Gable have had their ups and downs but with the new vicious side of Otis on display lately, they’ve definitely been looking more of a threat. The Street Profits will always be close to being champions because they’re just too damn talented to be treated otherwise. And Rey’s pursuit of tag gold with his son has the emotional edge but their team-ups haven’t always been successful. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler have become a very solid old school tag team and it’ll be difficult for anyone to take those straps away from them.
This match did a great job of showing that all four teams could potentially win next week. All it takes is one mistake. It could be a botched high flying move from Dominik or a slip of concentration from Gable again. No doubt it’ll be chaos like this match was as everyone tried to get that upper hand but it came down to Ford missing a top rope move and Otis hitting his devastating splash again for the 1-2-3. Alpha Academy take the top spot this week but can they carry it on when it matters next week? My money is on the Mysterios for the emotional win.
Swing Is In The Air
Seth ‘Engaged to Becky Lynch’ Rollins was looking rather dashing again this week in a purple suit. I don’t know who he’s getting styled by these days but it’s definitely working for him. Cesaro’s always looked pretty swish too in all fairness but I’d give the win to Seth in the fashion stakes. Thankfully, it’s not going to be a cat walk at WrestleMania but an actual match so that’s good. Seth considers himself to be the new Mr WrestleMania while this is Cesaro’s first singles WrestleMania match so there’s certainly a gulf in experience there, but will that drive Cesaro to perform at a new level?
Rollins tried to play it cool this week in the interview segment with Corey Graves but it was clear that Cesaro is getting under his skin with all the swinging lately. You just know he’s going for some kind of record swing at WrestleMania and I can’t wait to see how many he can manage to do. It feels like the right time to try and cement Cesaro as a singles star so I think Rollins will go out there and give him the match of a lifetime. This could be a genuine show-stealer if they’re given the time and I’m really looking forward to seeing what both men come up with. Seth won’t lose anything in defeat but a win for Cesaro on such a big stage could mean everything to him.
Shayna Baszler vs Natalya
Well, it’s really close to WrestleMania and I honestly have no idea what they’re doing with the women’s tag titles. Does anyone? It’s strange how they can go and face anyone on all the brands and yet the titles feel completely meaningless because they’re more interested in doing funny skits involving Nia Jax and Reginald (who were at ringside this week). Or using the tag champs as furthering other feuds such as Bianca vs Sasha or Asuka vs Rhea Ripley. I would say that the women’s tag titles mean absolutely nothing right now and I can’t wait for them to move onto a proper tag team that can build them up again. They’re laughable at the moment.
Do you know what else is laughable? Shayna lost via roll up in about 10 seconds this week. Way to make your tag champs look good. And then there was the messiest brawl I’ve seen in forever involving Natalya, Tamina, The Riott Squad and then teams from RAW like Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose and Naomi and Lana because hey who cares about the brand split anymore. It’s WrestleMania season so screw it. I don’t know if this was meant to get me excited about the women’s tag division but nearly everyone looked awful in this segment and I felt a bit embarrassed by the end. Come on now.
The Red Carpet Of Conspiracy
I needed something better to wash the bitter taste out of my mouth after that women’s segment and we got… oh, it’s Logan Paul. I hate that guy. All personal opinions aside, he’s a great get for social media hits and all that I suppose, so fair play getting him involved in the Sami Zayn conspiracy documentary craziness. This week was the big debut of Sami’s movie trailer and I think it looks great. I can’t wait to see the full thing. Logan Paul was not as convinced though and it sounded like Kevin Owens had been getting in his ear backstage. What a sneaky man.
Zayn believes his documentary is a masterpiece and can’t wait to show the world. He even invited Logan Paul to WrestleMania as his guest and he thinks they’re friends now. Logan did try to be polite and say he can see Sami has put a lot of effort into it but Owens couldn’t care less so he just ran into the ring, delivered a Stunner to Zayn and told him he’ll keep doing so until all this nonsense stops. I wonder if Logan Paul will be taking any bumps at WrestleMania? Or maybe he’ll side with KO and help him win? DON’T FORGET THAT PIRATE SHIP.
Carmella vs Bianca Belair
Oh, it’s Carmella. I remember her. I love how they spent so long building her up as a valid threat to Sasha Banks and her title only to basically forget about her after a while. I wonder if she’s starting to wish she was back dancing with R Truth because at least then she had something to do. Now she just seems like an afterthought in all this Reginald craziness and that kinda sucks. I wouldn’t rate Carmella up there with the best that WWE has to offer but she’s definitely a solid all-rounder that deserves more than just sitting backstage sipping whatever dodgy drink she’s got these days.
Once we got past Corey Graves and his orgasmic sounds during Carmella’s entrance, this match was more another display of success for Bianca Belair before her big moment at WrestleMania. Another victory this week as The Boss watched on and then snuck into the ring after. Belair said not this week but to wait until WrestleMania which seemed pretty damn boring but that’s exactly what they did. Why? If there was ever a good time to pull the trigger on giving this feud some edge before the PPV then that was it. Instead, they left in peace and I was disappointed once again. You know a feud isn’t that great when the most exciting thing to happen is they got a mural done in Camden. Again this should be a really big deal but it’s just not.
Street Fight – Daniel Bryan vs Jey Uso
Oh hey, there’s a match we haven’t seen before. Sorry I’ll try to turn my sarcasm off for a while and just enjoy what will be a great match despite having seen it before. I am not entirely sure why Jey Uso is seen as a threat by anyone these days. Why does Roman let him go out as some kind of first line of defence? It never works. He might be Main-Event Jey Uso but he’s also very good at losing. Even with Edge on commentary, it didn’t make a huge difference to the Leader of the Yes Movement as he was on absolute fire this week. No messing around – the Daniel Bryan we got this week was as hard-hitting as we’ve ever seen him.
Not only did Daniel get the upper hand on Uso again but he beat him down with a steel chain and then forced him to tap out much as Roman did – although Reigns now claims that was morse code to Paul Heyman, I have my suspicions. Edge looked on and tried to claim that he was just as capable of delivering such a beating but he got a dropkick in the face for his troubles and then thrown into the ring post. Bryan wasn’t done there though as he then took on the Head of the Table at the top of the ramp, delivered a running knee and then put on the Yes Lock once again to humiliate him. With the Yes chant filling the ThunderDome to close the show this week, the Universal Championship picture has been blown wide open. It’s anyone’s to take at WrestleMania.
The Best of SmackDown
- Daniel Bryan – showing everyone what he’s capable of
- Bianca Belair – another important win before WrestleMania
- Otis – could be a tag team champion this time next week
- Seth Rollins’ suit – it was nice
- Logan Paul – not a terrible celebrity appearance
The Worst of SmackDown
- Jey Uso – maybe he’d like to stop losing sometime
- Shayna Baszler – an embarrassing loss
- Street Profits – a devastating loss before a huge opportunity
- Apollo Crews – he wants a match with drums? Why?
There was a lot of talking this week. A lot. And sadly a number of reminders that certain people have been let down in this WrestleMania build. The Bianca and Sasha feud deserves better. The women’s tag titles deserve better. Bayley is where exactly? I even feel sorry for those appearing on SmackDown next week rather than WrestleMania itself. I get that they don’t want to drag out a pre-show and instead have huge reactions for the main card but still – these talents have worked their arses off over the past year in very difficult circumstances and I wish they could all have their opportunities in front of a crowd. Yes, even Tucker. There’s just a lot WWE could be doing better going into this WrestleMania and while I’m sure all the matches will deliver on the nights, it’d be nice if some of the feuds were a bit hotter in the run-up to such a huge show.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE