Roman Reigns Pushing Jey Uso, Sami Zayn Makes WWE Better, More SmackDown Fallout
WWE SmackDown has made a dramatic change for the better. The blue brand has gone from the promotion's weakest show to arguably its best. This is all thanks to the fresh perspective provided by Roman Reigns' return.
The Tribal Chief returned to action with a new attitude and has elevated the company. He has also helped to aggrandize his fellow competitors, especially his cousin Jey Uso.
The longtime tag team wrestler is now winning in main event matches against top competitors like Sheamus and King Corbin. He also seems to be helping Reigns find his full character, growing darker and more dangerous by the week.
Another returning star who has elevated the show is Sami Zayn. The Critic of the Critics has brought life to a WWE Intercontinental Championship scene that was in need of a fresh angle.
He has tormented AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy in his quest to remind everyone that he never lost the IC title. Friday was no exception with a great match between him and The Phenomenal One.
While Alexa Bliss makes her own changes fueled by an encounter with The Fiend, becoming a stronger character on the blue brand, Nikki Cross is falling behind. She needs her own restart if she hopes to avoid retreating into The Goddess' shadow.
Otis may have lost Mandy Rose to a dramatic trade facilitated by The Miz, but he is still Mr. Money in the Bank. The A-Lister and John Morrison are wasted in this angle, which is getting worse by the week.
SmackDown has improved immensely of late, but there is still work to be done. The best elements could take the show to the next level. The worst may just drag it back down.
Roman Reigns Has Made Jey Uso a Top Star Just to Knock Him Back Down
In a Samoan Street Fight, Roman Reigns finally fought right alongside his family Jey Uso. After Uso used the WWE Universal Championship to knock out King Corbin, the two men won with a combination Spear and Uso Splash. Afterward, The Tribal Chief glared at Uso behind his back for touching his title.
This story has not been a dramatic and bombastic main event rivalry to date, but its subtle build has made it all the better. There is an air of greatness behind this growing angle.
Jey was barely used with Jimmy Uso out of action, and he has made the most of his opportunity. He is performing at a high level—as expected. It just was not expected that he would feel like he belonged in the main event.
With repeated victories in which he looked dominant over former singles champions, he has gained credibility while Reigns lets him do all the work. The universal champion knows his cousin is beneath him in terms of accomplishments. Jey is a little fish in a big pond, and Reigns enjoys the power he holds over his cousin.
However, the facade of family love is fading, and it is thanks to Jey's repeated strong performances. Rather than just having Reigns turn against his family right away, the slow build makes both look better.
The biggest question that remains is how far Jey will fall after his family turns against him. Reigns can transform into the deadly heel champion, but will Jey be able to carry this momentum past one loss?
Otis' Feud with The Miz and John Morrison Has Gone Off the Deep End
Otis cannot catch a break. After silencing The Miz and John Morrison on The Dirt Sheet, he was served with a lawsuit by The A-Lister. He was given one week to decide whether he would go to court or forfeit the Money in the Bank briefcase.
This story gets worse by the week. With Mandy Rose sent unceremoniously to the red brand, The Heavy Machinery star is left as a charismatic big man with little credibility. He should be fighting top potential title contenders.
Instead, Otis is fighting to save his contract in a lunch box against the attacks of two men who have forgotten how to wrestle. Miz and Morrison come off as buffoons, attempting the impossible against a man who barely cares.
The whole storyline lost its heat months ago. Miz sending away Rose does not change the fact that Otis will always defeat The A-Lister one on one. The Shaman of Sexy is also not exactly picking up steam with his win-loss record.
Otis needs to get away from this silly angle. WWE may never take him seriously, but it would be appreciated if the comedy were at least funny.
Nikki Cross Needs Her Own Evolution to Not Be Outshone by Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss invited Nikki Cross to A Moment of Bliss, where The Goddess put over her friend's big No. 1 contender victory. Cross attempted to change the subject to Bliss' obsession with The Fiend, but Lacey Evans interrupted. Cross defeated The Sassy Southern Belle and then The Goddess gave her a Sister Abigail.
At this point, the end goal for Bliss isn't clear. Will she turn heel? Has Sister Abigail taken over her, only coming out when The Fiend is invoked? Will she be added to the Firefly Fun House cast?
The questions are intriguing, and The Goddess has sold her slow transformation. She has gone from an afterthought to one of the most interesting parts of SmackDown again. However, this has left Cross without a strong focus.
While she needed to break off on her own, Cross has still been overshadowed by his best friend. The lighthearted spitfire gimmick can only go so far. It's hard to get excited about another fight between her and Bayley at WWE Clash of Champions.
However, that title match and the story surrounding it will gain steam if Cross starts to bring out more of her personality. She has always teetered on the edge of instability. Bliss held her back. This may be the time for her to unleash her twisted persona on SmackDown.
If she does not, this friendly break-up may leave Bliss on top with Cross far below.
Sami Zayn Has Reinvigorated the Intercontinental Championship Scene
Sami Zayn demanded respect as the "true" WWE intercontinental champion. Instead, AJ Styles attacked him from behind and won their match by rolling up Zayn with a handful of tights. Jeff Hardy laid out both men with a ladder and announced he would face them in a ladder match at Clash of Champions on Sept. 27.
Hardy vs. Styles may not have gotten much time to shine on its own, but it was hardly exciting. The Critic of the Critics instantly elevated the story by adding needed energy and intrigue. His time off has helped revitalize him as a heel, and his claims are showing how much the title means to him.
Zayn was always one of the most talented stars in WWE. However, he has rarely gotten his due. He spent a year as a manager and the years before that as the wrestler who could never win a meaningful match.
The reset has made it easy to forget how he won the gold in the first place or how much he needed help to retain his title at WWE WrestleMania. He comes off as a legitimate contender. The next few months will decide whether he remains as such.
If The Critic of the Critics can win back his gold, it would finally solidify why Zayn is one of the best in the business. He can elevate anyone on his best day and knows how to bring life to the driest storylines.