Roman Reigns is not in Friday Night SmackDown this Sunday.
Jimmy Uso, too, was out SmackDown.
As it turned out, that was because Reigns wanted Jimmy to stay home and watch his brother, Jey, confront Sami Zayn through his grief. Paul Heyman explained more backstage earlier in the show. As Jey leaves, none too happy about it, Heyman tells Solo Sikoa “either he solves Sami Zayn’s problem tonight, or you solve our problems tonight.”
Later, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn met backstage. The former said it was a good opportunity to put The Bloodline behind them. Beat Jey Uso here, and they can advance.
Naturally, Zayn has feelings.
That feeling, as he explained, was a sense of obligation and he couldn’t shake the thought that maybe they should talk to Jey. KO didn’t even try to talk to him, instead laying out the facts — it was a bad idea.
Sami says she’s right, and then tells her not to worry.
But it didn’t seem to allay any fears of what was to come.
Later, Zayn actually caught up with Jey and had the same message for him as before — it didn’t have to be this way. Hey, look around: Jimmy’s gone, Reigns is mad, Heyman’s selling lies, and Solo looks ready to drop the hammer. Sami did what he said he was going to do, taking the tag team titles at WrestleMania, and he’d prefer Jey if he had to. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Just then, Sikoa attacks Owens, crushing his leg as Jey looks on, looking unsure of himself.
Finally it was time for the match.
They played it straight, a typical Bloodline match. Late in the match, Sikoa got involved, hitting the Samoan Spike and allowing Jey to get the win. Then, he helped Jey up and everything seemed fine.
Sikoa beat down Sami so Jey was stopped. It got a big pop and a hell of a tease… That lasted all of a few seconds, when Jey delivered a superkick and ordered Solo to grab a chair so they could finish Sami off properly.
Matt Riddle, of all people, shows up to save the day. There’s some storyline continuity there, as it’s Sikoa who brings him out when they have to write him out. It still feels like an odd fit for him to plug in here, though.
Maybe it’s just me.
They did leave the door open long enough for Reigns and Jey to still be in trouble here, but we’ll see.
Triple H’s big announcement, as it turns out, is the return of the Draft:
The Draft is one of the easiest wins of the year for WWE, as it generates automatic interest just to see the results of it but I’m having a hard time getting all hyped up for it considering Triple H spent big value. over the past year more or less ignoring the brand split. Wrestlers switch back and forth from Raw to SmackDown weekly.
So what does it matter if they’re technically on a roster anyway?
Oh, who am I kidding, I’m going to join this big time when it comes here. It’s a draft! It’s always a good time, and they always manage to throw a thing or two in there.
Good thing they have something special lined up this year as Triple H hyped it up here.
- Although GUNTHER won a triple threat match for his Intercontinental championship against Drew McIntyre and Sheamus in WrestleMania 39, they kicked off this week’s show with a six-man tag team pitting Imperium vs. The Brawling Brutes. They spent most of the build up to the match with Sheamus getting the hot tag so he could compete with GUNTHER again, and Portland really liked it. Maybe this thing still has legs? The match was great fun, one of about six guys that just broke down in the chaos, with bodies flying everywhere. In the end, Sheamus pinned Giovanni Vince after a Brogue Kick. I don’t hate going back to GUNTHER vs. Sheamus at Backlash.
- Ricochet defeated Ivar of The Viking Raiders in a match where both Braun Strowman and Erik were blocked at ringside. They played it like a typical little vs. big style match-up with Ricochet using his high flying to score the win but also proving he has the muscle to hang with a wrestler like that. It was a fun match with the crowd happy to see the babyface go.
- The new number one contenders to the women’s tag team titles, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez, defeated Natalya and Shotzi — calling themselves “ballsy baddies” — in a match that Wade Barrett admitted on commentary before it started designed to sharpen their knife ahead of next week’s championship challenge. They won in relatively short order, and looked fine in the process.
- Rhea Ripley and The Judgment Day are here, with the new SmackDown women’s champion introducing herself as the new Queen of the blue brand. Finn Balor made it look like he was the real winner against Edge, because he was still standing. When Dominik Mysterio tried to speak, he was drowned out by boos. It’s unbelievable. It’s fun to hate this guy. He said that he restrained his father, Rey, and WrestleMania. Damian Priest comes in, and says he forgives Bad Bunny for making him do what he did to him on Raw. We’re definitely going to get that tag match at Backlash, and the charts should be unfathomable for it.
- The tag team match that followed was a ton of fun, with Priest pinning Santos Escobar after South of Heaven despite Rey’s best efforts. I’m not a huge fan of Escobar being made to look inferior here, mostly because I think he has all the potential in the world to be a huge star for WWE, and he needs to be booked better than here. But the larger drama story of the Mysterio family still hits hard enough that I can’t blame them for playing things this way. There was also a nice little teaser for a Ripley vs. Zelina Vega here.
- They set the LA Knight vs. Xavier Woods on this show, where the former complained about not getting on the card at WrestleMania and the latter do not want to listen to those complaints. “You have to do something yourself,” and all that. I don’t think it was meant to be ironic, but hey, point taken. It seemed like it was headed for a match but they didn’t get it this week. Quite appropriate. They did announce it for next week, at least!
The matches were fun this week, and the main story got some major development.