WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 28
Thursday's Super ShowDown event in Saudi Arabia saw the SmackDown landscape change quite a bit. Not only are The Miz and John Morrison our new SD tag team champions, but Bill Goldberg defeated Bray Wyatt to become the new universal champion.
The 53-year old Hall of Famer had to employ a few spears and a Jackhammer before he was able to put The Fiend down for the pin.
This means Goldberg will likely be our champion until WrestleMania 36, and he may even hold the title longer than that if his current deal involves more matches.
With Elimination Chamber coming up on March 8, we should start seeing more people entering the titular chamber matches in an attempt to earn a title shot at WrestleMania.
Let's take a look at how SmackDown dealt with the fallout from Super ShowDown and how it set up the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Goldberg came out with his brand new Universal Championship to kick off the post-Super ShowDown episode of SmackDown.
He asked "who's next," and Roman Reigns' music hit. The Big Dog came out to a great reaction from the WWE Universe.
They stared at each other for a long time before Reigns said: "I'm next." This looks to be our official setup for the Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 36.
Honestly, this was the smartest approach WWE could have taken here. Having either man give a long speech would have done nothing.
WWE used silence to build tension before Reigns officially made the challenge. Sometimes less really is more, and this is one of those times.
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Naomi and Lacey Evans
The Super ShowDown opponents met for another match, but before it could start, Bayley grabbed a mic and said she shouldn’t even have to be here right now because she made history last night.
She said she was there to introduce a future award-winning artist and introduced Sasha Banks. The Boss has been out with an ankle injury and recorded an album during her time off.
As Naomi stared at Banks, Bayley attacked her from behind. Banks attacked Naomi as soon as she took control and the ref called for a disqualification.
Lacey Evans ran down to make the save before several officials pulled everyone apart and restarted it as a tag match. Most of the action took place after the commercial break.
The Boss and Hug Connection dominated the match until The Sassy Southern Belle got the tag from Naomi. After an exchange of tags and double team moves, Naomi pinned Bayley with a textbook sunset flip.
This didn't feel like the most effective way to bring Banka back into the fold, but she has had so many returns from injury that WWE is probably running out of options.
Bayley was strong in this segment. She hasn't always clicked as a heel, but her promo and facial expressions really sold her evil persona.
The match itself was fine, but Evans had a few close calls that made it look sloppy at different points. Having Banks lose her return match was also a weird booking choice.
Kofi Kingston vs. Robert Roode
The New Day lost the SmackDown tag titles Thursday at Super ShowDown, and Kofi Kingston was looking to get back to his winning ways in a match against Robert Roode.
The Glorious One took control early, but Kingston made a comeback by countering a monkey flip and nailing him with a dropkick.
Roode took a page out of Eddie Guerrero's playbook and tricked the ref into booting Big E from ringside by pretending the powerhouse threw him into the steel steps.
Mandy Rose was shown watching the match backstage after the break. The former WWE champion made a comeback, but Ziggler helped his friend score the win in the end.
This seemed like it would be a forgettable match at first, but Roode's heel work was great in this bout, especially when he fooled the ref into thinking Big E had attacked him.
The action in the ring was better than expected, too. The two veterans have worked together in tag matches many times, but seeing them in a singles bout showed the kind of chemistry they have built up.
Ziggler was perfect in his role as the outside antagonist.
Another Contract Signing
Shinsuke Nakamura and Braun Strowman had a contract signing for their upcoming Intercontinental Championship match at Elimination Chamber on March 8.
As usual, Nakamura was accompanied by Cesaro and Sami Zayn. The Monster Among Men was alone and did not look intimidated by being outnumbered.
Zayn ripped into Strowman for causing Nakamura to have nine staples put into his head last week after Strowman slammed him on a piano.
He said he didn't care if he had to fight all three of them and signed the contract. Zayn took that literally and changed the contract to make it a Handicap match.
Strowman tried to get the better of them, but all three men teamed up to take him down before leaving the ring.
This was a good segment for Strowman. He showed more personality than usual and came across as a fearless champion.
Zayn's legal maneuvering wouldn't hold up in court, but for storyline purposes, it worked to make this feud a little more interesting.
WWE just had a contract signing on Raw, so it would have been nice to see management come up with something else for this segment. However, the four men involved made it entertaining.
Daniel Bryan vs. Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel started strong and stomped Daniel Bryan into the corner to get this match going. Drew Gulak sat with the commentary team so he could offer his analysis.
While The Yes Man was able to get in some offense, Axel controlled a surprising amount of the action. This was a decent bout that reminded us how good Axel can be in the right situation.
Bryan countered the Perfectplex and applied the Lebell Lock to score the submission victory.
If WWE doesn't give us Gulak vs. Bryan soon, then what is the point of any of this? Anyone who watches 205 Live knows that Gulak is right up there with Bryan as one of the best technicians in the company.
His personality worked well on commentary, but he should have been the one in the ring with The Yes Man. Hopefully, that happens sooner rather than later.
At least Heath Slater is no longer involved in this storyline. We can only watch him lose so many times.
The Usos vs. Miz and Morrison
The Miz and John Morrison came out and bragged about beating The New Day for the SmackDown tag titles at Super ShowDown.
The A-Lister did the lion's share of the talking while Morrison cheered him on. They tried to get the crowd to chant a victory song with them but only a few people joined in.
A referee appeared at ringside and told Greg Hamilton to announce a tag title bout with The New Day, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, Ziggler and Roode and The Usos inside the Elimination Chamber. Jimmy and Jey Uso came down to face the new champions in an impromptu bout.
These are four veterans who all know each other well, so it came as no surprise when this ended up being a fun match. The Usos picked up the win to help them build momentum heading into the Chamber.
This was a strange way to announce an Elimination Chamber match. It might end up being a lot of fun, but there will be no build behind it.
The match between The Miz, Morrison and The Usos was good, but the promo and announcement beforehand were unnecessary. WWE could have built the Chamber match many different ways, and it went with the laziest option.
About halfway through the match, a clearly intentional graphical glitch occurred, but the announcers never mentioned it. This feels like a teaser for something, but it was impossible to tell what it was.
John Cena Returns
John Cena came out to a raucous response to close the show. He promised fans that no matter how successful he becomes, he will always be a WWE Superstar.
He addressed his status for WrestleMania and said he is going to do something different. He knows how hard the WWE Superstars work for a spot at 'Mania, and he said he is going to listen to the WWE Universe.
He said he shouldn't be part of WrestleMania because it is the right thing to do for the future of WWE. He doesn't think spots on the card should be handed out. They should be earned.
He almost made it sound like a retirement speech toward the end by saying this wasn't goodbye forever, just goodbye for now. As he posed on the stage, The Fiend appeared behind him and pointed to the WrestleMania sign.
Cena tipped his hat to accept the challenge as the show ended.
While it was obvious Cena wasn't showing up just to announce he wouldn't be competing at WrestleMania, this was still a good segment.
The crowd was hot for Cena and bought every word of what he was saying. The moment The Fiend appeared behind him on the stage, the crowd lost its mind.
We have seen Wyatt vs. Cena before, but this is a new Fiend that Cena has not encountered. The buildup for this match should be a lot of fun.