WWE SmackDown Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from March 6
The March 6 edition of WWE SmackDown Live showed just how important Sunday's Fastlane will be to the future of the brand. Stars in every division took chances to make their statement going into the last event before WrestleMania 34.
This led to an impressive set of successful nights for the top stars on the blue brand. The show opened with Ruby Riott further establishing herself as a threat to SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair, while Jinder Mahal may have earned himself a future shot at WWE United States champion Bobby Roode.
Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella was less successful in building her own title credibility as she fell to Becky Lynch. However, the night ended with one more major victor as Sami Zayn emerged from a preview Fatal 5-Way match with a victory over almost the entire field he will fight on Sunday.
These successes and failures are preludes to Fastlane, and they have helped to establish who is worth watching on the pay-per-view as well as who to keep an eye on all the way to The Showcase of the Immortals.
Winner: Ruby Riott
It has been Riott's month as she continues to get the most momentum of any woman on SmackDown in preparation for her first-ever clash with Charlotte. This week, she opened the show by telling her opponent why she had targeted the SmackDown champion.
The promo added an extra layer of heat between the two, with Riott almost getting a physical edge before Charlotte's Mixed Match Challenge partner Roode interrupted.
It was a clear sign Riott is a certain threat to The Queen even if it is hard imagine the Riott Squad leader heading to 'Mania as champion.
This feud has been the best-told story on SmackDown with the most personal stakes. Riott is not just after Charlotte's title but also her legacy, while The Queen is trying her best to look confident even with the problematic numbers game as Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan constantly loom.
It may still just be filler before Asuka arrives, but it is impressive how quickly Riott has established herself on the main roster. While The Riott Squad looked like a pale imitation of Absolution at first, the trio have made far more of an impact lately, with Riott more credible a threat than either Mandy Rose or Sonya Deville.
Charlotte should not lose the championship to Riott now, but Riott as champion in 2018 is looking more likely by the week.
SmackDown has needed stars to step up, and The Punk Rock Princess has more than done that.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
Going into SmackDown, Jinder Mahal had no match at Fastlane despite repeatedly getting the best of both men competing for the United States Championship on Sunday.
This week, the mind games got him a huge victory as he pinned Randy Orton after The Viper ran into Roode on the apron.
Unfortunately, Mahal still couldn't get his spot in the title match, but that may be because he is positioning himself for a shot at the champion at 'Mania. This could mean the plan is Roode vs. Orton vs. Mahal on April 8 or that there will be more stars added to proceedings.
Either way, it would be the first time Mahal ever got a championship match at WrestleMania. In fact, it would be the first time he has been on The Grandest Stage of Them All beyond the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
The Modern Day Maharaja has been through a complete evolution since last year's 'Mania, and it would be nice to see him at least represented on the card this year. He has revitalized his career and become a solid heel presence in SmackDown's midcard.
The former WWE champion has been the most interesting part of Roode and Orton's feud, which has not gotten off the ground. His antics are far more effective than the two faces arguing over placement on a top-10 list.
There may not be a woman on the current SmackDown roster more likely to be champion after Charlotte than Carmella, who still holds the Money in the Bank briefcase.
With over 250 days as Ms. Money in the Bank, she is less than a month away from being the longest reigning MITB holder in history.
That's not exactly the highest honor, and it hints that Carmella will soon be cashing in. This week, she fell to Becky Lynch by submission despite being as aggressive as she has ever been. The Princess of Staten Island has been struggling to build any momentum for months.
While losing to Lynch is far from an embarrassment, a hopeful soon-to-be champion just weeks away from WrestleMania cannot afford such a clear loss. Imagining Carmella cashing in right now and stealing the title is just too unbelievable.
Carmella was one of the hottest acts on the roster when she won the briefcase. Her story with James Ellsworth was the center of the women's division. Since then, she has fallen into the background with her secret weapon Ellsworth being released.
While she does not need Ellsworth, it was just the last move in a long list that has obscured Carmella's relevance on the roster. At a time where the women's division on SmackDown needs more stars, she is a performer being completely wasted at the worst time.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Early on in the second hour, it looked like the stars of the show would be AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler, who did end up working that entire hour, but it was Sami Zayn who stole the show.
As a preview for Fastlane, five of the six men in the Six Pack Challenge fought for bragging rights. In the end, Kevin Owens' Guardian Angel proved he was his own man, catching KO with a Helluva Kick to take the victory. This followed Zayn reiterating his promise he would lay down for Owens on Sunday if the opportunity arose.
The former underdog of WWE made clear he is the best on the roster, and he wants to prove it on Sunday. While anyone winning that Fatal 5-Way would have been a huge winner this week, Zayn's victory felt even bigger as he took a huge step forward, potentially turning away from Owens.
As good as they both are, Zayn and Owens have been held back lately by their story together. The best thing they can do is separate on the Road to WrestleMania. Perhaps this could even lead to a match between the long-time rivals on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
While there are many possibilities for the Fastlane main event, the WWE Championship can only stay with Styles to make for the best stories at The Showcase of the Immortals. However, if anyone was going to take the title from him, Zayn would be the best choice.