SmackDown recap & reactions: It’s Sami Zayn’s time

There are so many little things WWE has done well in this story with The Bloodline. They continued that this week on Friday Night SmackDown when Roman Reigns was raging at Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa about Jey Uso having up and disappeared ever since Royal Rumble.

When Jimmy didn’t do exactly as he pleased, as quickly as he did, Reigns ordered him to go find Jey. But when he did so, he said “I want to know where your brother is.”

Not “our.”

It speaks to Reigns and the way he chooses to control the group as a whole. You are in with him only when you’re actively an asset to him and when you are not, he doesn’t claim you. It’s a classic manipulation tactic that keeps those who care on a string, always looking for that approval, always being let down.

Until they finally get out, like Jey did.

Roman’s chief concern wasn’t Jey and how he’s feeling but the timing of this going down at all. It’s WrestleMania season and there are threats to the throne and he needs the family to be a cohesive unit now more than ever. “If we’re not, there ain’t no more of this.”

When it came time, Reigns sent Jimmy and Solo off to eat catering so he could hit the ring himself and tell us how he feels about Sami Zayn. He wanted to talk Cody Rhodes — someone who actually deserves his attention, he said — but the fans wanted him to talk about Sami, so he told us what he learned when he looked into Sami’s eyes.

That he’s greedy. He just wants more and more when Roman has already given so much.

The bastard.

Zayn, to the delight of everyone, showed up to attack him from behind. When Reigns got the upper hand, Sami hit him with a Spear. He grabbed a chair but before he could deliver another cathartic smack, the champ bailed out of the ring. Zayn made it clear with his words shortly after that he never wanted anything before but he damn sure does now.

The championship.

Jimmy and Solo showed up then, right there to do what The Bloodline always does. Before they could fully take Zayn out with a chair around his neck, Reigns put a stop to it and granted Sami’s wish, so that he could really send a message.

They’ll fight for the title in Montreal at Elimination Chamber in front of Sami’s entire family, so he can take Sami away from them like Sami took Jey away from him.

This was all really great, a perfect follow up to what happened at Royal Rumble.

You didn’t think this thing was over, did you?

Of course it’s not!

You didn’t think they would speed up the pace a little, did you?

Of course they didn’t!

Okay, I’m mostly messing about here. I’m not crazy about all this supernatural stuff but at least they’re telling an involved story that they’re making sure we know they’re going to continue on with. It’s a low bar but I’m giving them the credit for clearing it. And, hey, if that’s actually who we think it is playing Uncle Howdy there’s a LOT more potential in all this.

So I’ll do what so many love to tell me to — wait and see.

All the rest

Braun Strowman & Ricochet def. Imperium to win the SmackDown Tag Team Title Contender’s Tournament. They’ll get their shot at The Usos next week. This was the end result they had to get to, considering they weren’t going to book a heel program and they decided against having The Banger Bros go up against the champions right now. This match was fine, and next week’s match will likely be solid too, but it feels out of place with everything else going on around The Bloodline right now. They could use that to play into things, and I’ll give them credit if they do, but I’m not terribly excited about this one.
They shot an angle involving NASCAR with drivers backing Rey and Dominik Mysterio en route to the two racing each other on the track. This was just some good old brand synergy, with FOX getting promotion for both shows. Rey won the race after quoting Ricky Bobby and Dom claimed foul play while blaming the absence of Rhea Ripley on his loss. This was actually kind of cool, even though I haven’t been into racing since the 90s.
Charlotte Flair successfully defended her SmackDown women’s championship against Sonya Deville, tapping her with the Figure Eight. The match was solid, and they’re still finding their way navigating Flair as a babyface champion. I’ll admit it didn’t feel all that natural, no pun intended, this week but if the idea is to just let her go out and have some good matches with talented wrestlers while actively defending her title, I’m not at all against that.
The Viking Raiders beat up The Brawling Brutes, and that was simply a way to get to The Banger Bros hitting the scene to put the boots to them. They didn’t go anywhere else with it beyond that, at least not yet, but it’s clear there’s more to come. And when it does, it should be a … sigh … banger.
Natalya won a Fatal 4-Way to earn entry into the women’s Elimination Chamber match later this month in Montreal. It was a pretty good 4-Way for being a TV match that was never going to get a ton of time. Nattie doesn’t seem to be a favorite to win the eventual Chamber match but they had to get her on the card in Montreal. I mean, come on, right?

It’s pretty rare that SmackDown doesn’t deliver an enjoyable show. This was no different.

Tell me how you felt about it.


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