WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from March 5

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from March 5

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A week ago, Vince McMahon replaced Kofi Kingston with Kevin Owens in the WWE Championship match at Fastlane, and the repercussions of that decision were still felt across the SmackDown brand Tuesday night.

    Just five days from the pay-per-view extravaganza, what would Daniel Bryan have to say about his new challenger, what message would Owens have for the champion and how would Kingston factor into the final hype for Sunday's WWE Network presentation?

    Those questions was addressed Tuesday, as were rivalries pitting SmackDown tag team champions The Usos vs. Shane McMahon and The Miz, and SmackDown women's champion Asuka vs. Mandy Rose.

    What went down as the blue brand put all of its efforts in building the stories and Superstars who will star at Fastlane?

    Find out with this recap of the March 5 episode.

The New Daniel Bryan Kicks Off SmackDown Live

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    A video package recapped the events of last week's show, in which Kevin Owens replaced Kofi Kingston in the WWE Championship match at Fastlane, leaving the entire SmackDown brand reeling in the process.

    WWE champion Daniel Bryan addressed the situation Tuesday night, calling Kingston a supporting player not worth him talking about and admitting a "nobody" such as Owens is dangerous because he has nothing to lose.

    Owens interrupted and said Bryan's assessment that he has no friends is correct, and he is OK with it. He didn't need friends last week when he pinned him. KO said he never meant to rob Kingston of a title shot, but he would be taking the belt from The Beard on Sunday.

    Rowan came face-to-face with Owens, who drove the big man to the floor.

    A brawl between champion and challenger broke out until Rowan reintroduced himself and flattened The Prizefighter to close out the segment.






    This didn't really do anything to add excitement or anticipation to the WWE Championship match at Fastlane. Nothing was advanced, Kingston is still the most over babyface on the brand not named Becky Lynch and fans still want to see him win the championship.

    What this did do, though, was hint at the role Rowan will play in Bryan potentially retaining his title Sunday night.

    The champion's reign may be dependent upon Rowan's involvementor so it was suggested herewhich will only play into the drama of the bout and potentially protect Owens if he does eat the loss.

Jey Uso vs. The Miz

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    A back-and-forth exchange gave way to a match dominated earlyand into the commercialby The Miz.

    The Hollywood A-Lister grounded Jey Uso, forcing the tag team champion to fight from underneath.

    He did and appeared to have victory in hand as he scaled the ropes for a big splash. Miz got the feet up, but Uso avoided it. From there, he tried a roll-up that brother Jimmy assisted, drawing the ire of Shane McMahon, who was at ringside.

    Shane-O-Mac blasted Jimmy with a clothesline and Miz pinned Jey to earn momentum ahead of Sunday's SmackDown Tag Team Championship match.



    The Miz defeated Jey Uso






    There was nothing particularly special about this that makes anyone want to see another showdown between the teams Sunday night.

    With the victory, Miz gets back some confidence, which may be just enough to spark the betrayal of McMahon fans have expected for the last four months.

    The question is whether it comes too late for anyone to care.

R-Truth's United States Championship Open Challenge Match

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    R-Truth and Carmella were in the ring for this week's United States Championship Open Challenge.

    Truth said he was exhausted but vowed to make his childhood hero, John Cena, proud Tuesday night. Lacey Evans interrupted the proceedings, doing the walk-through she has become known for.

    Eventually, Samoa Joe, Andrade and Rey Mysterio all hit the ring, prepared to accept Truth's challenge.

    Joe was a wrecking ball of a competitor, punishing his opponents. He brushed off all attempts by Mysterio, Andrade and Truth to slow him. That changed with a dropkick to the back by the champion, sending Joe sternum-first into the guardrail.

    Truth would mount a comeback later in the match, unloading a series of corner splashes and delivering a double Five Knuckle Shuffle to both Joe and Mysterio in homage to Cena.

    With the champion disposed of at ringside, Zelina Vega ate a superkick from Carmella that provided enough of a distraction for Mysterio to plant Andrade and deliver a top-rope splash.

    Joe broke up the pin with a running senton and then obliterated Andrade with a uranage to claim the win and the title.



    Joe defeated Mysterio, Andrade and Truth to win the United States Championship






    From Truth's antics to Mysterio and Andrade's escalating rivalry to Joe's unbridled rage, everything about this match was a hit.

    Could it have benefited from not having the commercial break in the middle? Of course, but it was still a fine television match that ushered in the reign of Joe and protected Truth from a defeat that may have otherwise proved his reign a fluke.

    Mysterio and Andrade could work each other every week and the results would be worth watching.

    Joe as champion is interesting in that this was easily the best he has been booked since the Brock Lesnar feud two years ago. He looked like the unstoppable force he should have been from the beginning and now reigns over one of the most talented midcards in the sport.

    Motivated and dangerous, the question now becomes which Superstar can legitimately beat Joe in this form?

Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Bar

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Ahead of Sunday's Triple Threat match for the Raw Tag Team Championship in which they will be one of two teams (Bobby Roode and Chad Gable the other) challenging The Revival, Ricochet and Aleister Black battled former titleholders The Bar.

    The heels slowed down the match and isolated Ricochet coming out of the break, using tag team expertise and a strength advantage to wear down the smaller of their opponents.

    A hot tag to Black sparked a babyface comeback, though.

    A flurry of strikes softened up the heels, and the 630 senton by The One and Only earned the makeshift tandem of NXT favorites the victory.

    After the match, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura appeared, and a four-on-two attack ensued until The Hardy Boyz made the save. The heroes stood tall to close out the segment.



    Black and Ricochet defeated The Bar






    The pace of televised matches has picked up over the last two weeks and that has affected the overall quality of the in-ring product, although Ricochet, Black, Sheamus and Cesaro still had a thoroughly entertaining tag match here.

    The outcome was never really in doubt, as The Bar have seemingly taken to putting others over in the wake of their latest reign. The post-match beatdown sets up an inevitable eight-man tag next week, which should be good if given more time than Tuesday's match.

Naomi vs. Mandy Rose

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just five days before a championship opportunity at Fastlane against Asuka, Mandy Rose was accompanied to the squared circle by Sonya Deville for a match with longtime nemesis Naomi.

    Naomi started hot, but a distraction from Deville opened her up for a running knee from Rose, who scored the win in a time-strapped match.

    After the bout, the heels made their way up the ramp until Asuka's music played and the SmackDown women's champion appeared.

    The Empress of Tomorrow sent Deville into the stage and pummeled Rose before acknowledging former partner Naomi to close out the segment.



    Rose defeated Naomi






    What a rushed mess this was.

    So much attention has been paid to Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch in recent weeks that the writing team has completely neglected the SmackDown women's title, leading to messes like this.

    Asuka looks like a complete afterthought, and if anything, this segment sets up Rose to win the title Sunday based on the company's 50-50 booking strategy.

Kevin Owens vs. Rowan

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Kevin Owens vs. Rowan never really got started, as the massive heel and WWE champion Daniel Bryan attacked KO at ringside. They slammed him on the floor and stomped away at him until Mustafa Ali's music played and the returning Superstar made the save.

    His onslaught was short-lived, as Bryan caught him with a running knee.

    In the ring, the champion looked to further the beating of his one-time rival until Owens delivered a stunner.

    The heels retreated, leaving the babyfaces standing tall in the center of the ring.






    After the opening segment, in which it was made clear Rowan may play a role in the outcome of Sunday's Fastlane match, Ali returned here to even the sides and create some doubt about Bryan's ability to rely on his monstrous companion.

    That makes up for not delivering a match that probably would not have been all that special in the first place.

    With so many moving pieces, it is beginning to look like the WWE title picture heading into WrestleMania 35 may be a crowded one.

Final Build to Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just 24 hours after enduring a wicked beating at the hands of Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch came face-to-face with Charlotte Flair in the middle of the ring in the night's final segment.

    The Queen mocked The Irish Lass Kicker as she made her way to the ring, still hobbled by her knee injury suffered at January's Royal Rumble.

    Lynch responded to Flair's disingenuous concern for her health by reminding everyone she took Rousey's best and is still there ready for a fight.

    The Man reminded everyone she has beaten Flair numerous times in recent months, which caused The Queen to attack and turn the relatively tame confrontation into a physical one.

    Flair went for the knee of her Fastlane opponent, but Lynch staved off the attack and applied the Dis-arm-her. The Queen escaped to the sanctuary of the floor and held her arm in pain as The Man stood tall to close out the show.






    Sometimes, less is more.

    Monday's segment, which featured Rousey beating the hell out of Lynch, would have been a much better and more suitable final build to Sunday's show because it would have created doubt that The Man could even compete.

    Instead of letting it be, WWE Creative went with this rather dull back-and-forth that ended exactly as you thought it would and without the levity of Monday night's angle.

    A misstep creatively, though Sunday's match should be another blockbuster showdown between the two best in-ring performers in the women's division.