Belair and Edge Tease 'Mania Opponents, Big E Retains and More SmackDown Fallout
Friday's SmackDown followed up on a great Royal Rumble pay-per-view by giving us a handful of entertaining matches and segments.
Bianca Belair and Edge celebrated their respective Rumble victories in separate segments. Belair was joined by Reginald, Carmella and Sasha Banks, while Edge had to contend with Roman Reigns' ego.
We also saw Daniel Bryan and Cesaro have a rematch after The Swiss Cyborg's recent victory over the former world champion.
The main event saw Big E defend his Intercontinental Championship against the two men who have been hounding him for weeks, Apollo Crews and Sami Zayn.
Let's look at these four segments from Friday's show and what they could mean for the future.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro Steals the Show Again
Two weeks ago, Cesaro picked up what some might call an upset victory over Bryan. When The Swiss Cyborg made The Yes Man tap out Friday, nobody was calling it an upset.
Cesaro has been on a bit of a roll lately, while Bryan has suffered a few losses as he tries to figure out what his place is at this year's WrestleMania.
WWE may be building up Cesaro for something specific as we get closer to WrestleMania. That could be as simple as making him look credible before including him in the Elimination Chamber, but it feels like this is bigger than that.
With Big E having a great singles run as the intercontinental champion, there is a good chance WWE puts him with Cesaro for a WrestleMania feud.
As two of SmackDown's best performers, they would be able to tear the house down and honor the legacy of the IC title with a hard-hitting showdown. It's too early to tell what the plan is, but as long as Cesaro is winning clean, WWE is doing something right.
Bianca Belair Plays Coy with WrestleMania Announcement
Belair appeared on Friday's SmackDown to celebrate winning the women's Royal Rumble match Sunday, but she wasn't alone for long.
She was joined by Carmella, Reginald the sommelier and SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks. For some reason, Reginald was trying to say Belair wasn't good enough to beat The Boss instead of putting over Mella.
It looked like The EST would name her WrestleMania opponent but she ended up whipping Reginald with her braid until he rolled out of the ring. Even Carmella chuckled as she watched him take a beating.
While she did not challenge Banks, it seems obvious this is the route WWE is going to take. They have great chemistry on the mic, and it stands to reason they would work well as opponents too.
This is the money match for the women's division. Almost everyone has predicted this is the bout we will get at 'Mania since Belair won the women's Rumble. If WWE does anything different, there would be a backlash from the WWE Universe.
Make the right decision, Vince. Put Belair and Banks in the ring together and let them create magic.
Big E Retains the Intercontinental Championship Again
Big E and Crews were having a good IC title match on the previous week's SmackDown when Zayn interfered, so Friday saw all three men battle over the belt.
In what ended up being the most exciting contest of the night, Big E retained his title by pinning Crews after Zayn was taken out at ringside.
WWE has been giving Big E a lot of screen time in recent months, and it has allowed him to shine brighter than he ever has before. But the real story here was how Crews reacted.
As Big E hoisted the belt in celebration, Crews could be seen seething behind him. It looked like he may attack, but he ended up heading to the back. This could be the first sign of a possible heel turn.
Crews has always been an amazing performer between the ropes, but his character has lacked direction. Turning heel could be exactly what he needs to get himself back on track. Next week will give us a better idea of what the plan will be moving forward. If Crews wants another title shot, he may resort to underhand tactics to get it.
Roman Reigns Wants an Answer from Edge, Gets Stunner Instead
The Royal Rumble winner gets to pick which title they challenge for at WrestleMania, so it's usually them calling the shots. That is now how Reigns sees things.
The Tribal Chief said he was insulted that Edge was even considering challenging anyone but him, and he confronted The Rated-R Superstar at the end of the show.
The Ultimate Opportunist did not reveal what his plan is, but if Reigns wants an opponent, Kevin Owens is clearly ready to face him again.
At the end of SmackDown, Owens delivered a Stunner before walking away. He didn't say a word. He just took out the champ and left as Edge looked on with an amused smile.
While Drew McIntyre would be a good choice, Reigns sold this feud in one night. He and Edge need to have a match at WrestleMania, and it needs to be made official soon so WWE can start building up to it.
This was a strong show for SmackDown both in terms of storytelling and in-ring action. With Belair and Edge likely challenging their respective champions on the blue brand, this year's WrestleMania could solidify the Friday night program as the A-show of WWE.