WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from March 19
Two nights before WWE Fastlane, the blue brand hit the Fox airwaves with a high-stakes main event pitting Edge against Jey Uso.
With the opportunity to be the special guest enforcer in Sunday's pay-per-view main event between Daniel Bryan and Universal champion Roman Reigns, would Edge make his in-ring return to SmackDown for the first time in 10 years a successful one, or did Uso spoil the comeback?
Find out the answer to that and more with this recap of a special go-home edition of SmackDown.
- Winner is the Fastlane Special Enforcer: Edge vs. Jey Uso
- SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
- Michael Cole interviews intercontinental champion Big E and Apollo Crews
- Seth Rollins will appear (and bring "LOTS of DRIP!")
Already announced for Friday's show:
Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair kicked off the broadcast with a backstage argument that ended with The EST adamant that she would not come to The Boss' aid tonight. From there, Banks made her way to the ring for a title defense against one-half of the women's tag team champions, Nia Jax.
Jax's partner Shayna Baszler accompanied her to the squared circle for the match.
The uber aggressive Banks attacked front he opening bell, wiping Baszler out and stomping Jax into the corner. A double knee attack, followed by a bulldog, followed before The Boss tried for a Bank Statement. Jax fought back and delivered a gorilla press slam for two.
Jax added a second slam and an elbow drop for another near-fall. She executed a perfect Samoan Drop but, again, could only keep the champion down for two. Belair's music played and the 2021 Royal Rumble winner made her way to the ringside, checking on Banks heading into the break, despite her backstage warning moments earlier.
Back from the commercial, Jax targeted the left leg of her opponent, applying a stretch muffler before swinging Banks into the corner. She reapplied the submission, but Banks escaped and delivered a reverse Meteora.
As the action broke down, Baszler entered the ring and inadvertently struck her own tag team partner, allowing Banks to score the jackknife rollup for the win.
Banks defeated Jax
This preview of Sunday's women's tag team title match, in which Jax and Baszler will defend against Banks and Belair, was a welcome change to the tired formula. There was no long, bloated in-ring promo used to set up the night's main event. Instead, we had a brief backstage back-and-forth that directly transitioned into a high-profile title match.
The match was a solid one that forced Banks to fight from underneath and featured an alert Belair, knowing full well she has greater odds of leaving WrestleMania 37 with the women's title if she faces The Boss instead of The Irresistible Force, appearing to support her.
Corey Graves calling out Baszler for possibly intentionally kicking Jax was an interesting development.
Jax fought for the title herself, and if she had won, it almost certainly would have taken up her focus, leaving her tag title reign with Baszler to suffer. Did The Queen of Spades purposely cost Jax to benefit herself? That is certainly one interpretation.
What is for certain is on Sunday night, the two teams battling for the tag titles have their own tension to overcome if they wish to leave the event with the gold. As a result, an otherwise pedestrian match features considerable drama for the creative team and performers to draw from.
Seth Rollins Addresses Cesaro, Edge Talks Main Event and More
Edge joined Kayla Braxton for a backstage promo in which he talked about Jey Uso's potential to be a star if he can manage to break out of Roman Reigns' shadow. He also reminded the audience of Daniel Bryan's running knee to the face from last week, but he admitted he would have done the same thing.
Elsewhere, Shayna Baszler vowed to dish out the beating of Bianca Belair's life, presumably later tonight.
In the ring, Seth Rollins hit the ring in another ludicrous suit for another promo. He claimed Cesaro disrespected, humiliated and embarrassed him when he walked out on The Vision a few weeks back. He touted his WrestleMania main events while Cesaro has, in his words, been "an abject failure."
He played a video from last week of him beating down Cesaro and mocked his attempts to seize the brass ring before Shinsuke Nakamaura interrupted the proceedings.
The Artist told Rollins to shut up, and when mocked, he blasted the former WWE champion with a Kinshasa and left him lying to close out the segment.
Rollins fired off the typical reasons for attacking a fan favorite before Nakamura defended his former tag team partner Cesaro, leaving the heel lying and presumably setting up a match with Rollins in the near future.
From a booking perspective, it makes sense that Nakamura would defend someone he has been so close with over the last year. Plus, it keeps Rollins busy without overexposing a potential match with Cesaro before WrestleMania.
Will it benefit Nakamura in any measurable way besides television time? Probably not, but there are far worse ways to get to Rollins-Cesaro.
Edge foreshadowing some payback for Bryan by bringing up his running knee was a nice a touch, as was his effort to put Uso over as a genuine star in the industry.
As for Belair vs. Baszler, it is a match we just saw not that long ago. Adding it to the card feels like an attempt to kill time and a potential overbooking of a program that was nicely highlighted to start the show.
The Mysterios vs. The Street Profits; Mysterios vs. Alpha Academy
SmackDown tag team champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode watched from the commentary position as The Street Profits battled Rey and Dominik Mysterio in a babyface vs. babyface match.
A fast-paced match saw Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford control the majority of the action and appear poised to pick up the win. An alert Rey pulled Ford off the top rope, and Dominik rolled up Dawkins for the upset win.
After the match, Chad Gable and Otis appeared and took exception to the idea that the Mysterios were suddenly in tag team title contention, potentially over them.
The babyfaces cleared the heels out of the ring heading into the break.
Back from the timeout, the Mysterios battled Alpha Academy in the latest entry in their budding rivalry.
Rey caught Gable with a 619 but soon saw his momentum halted as Otis overpowered him and tossed him around the ring with a punishing bodyslam. He trapped the future Hall of Famer in a bearhug, looking to squeeze the breath out of his smaller opponent.
Rey bit his way out of the submission but again fell prey to a slam. The veteran competitor tagged Dominik into the match, sparking a babyface comeback. The rookie competitor's roll came to an end when Gable caught him in another 619 attempt and delivered a rolling German suplex.
Otis added a big splash to earn the win.
After the match, the team engaged in a staredown as Michael Cole touted the red-hot division.
The Mysterios defeated The Street Profits; Alpha Academy defeated The Mysterios
The SmackDown tag team division is significantly ahead of its Raw counterpart, with four teams really establishing themselves as credible championship threats.
The match between The Street Profits and Mysterios was all-energy, a babyface-heavy match that gave Rey and Dominik a much-needed win, only to have the uber aggressive Gable and Otis ruin their celebration and beat them immediately after.
Meanwhile, the champs sat back and talked trash on commentary, hyping themselves up despite a noticeable lack of title defenses since capturing the gold.
This will all come to a head, presumably at Fastlane or in a multi-team match at WrestleMania, but all signs point to Ziggler and Roode having to pay the proverbial piper in the form of a massive title defense against their top contenders.
Daniel Bryan Addresses Fastlane, Edge and Roman Reigns
Daniel Bryan kept the tension between him and Edge alive moments into his in-ring promo, shining a light on their issues before WWE universal champion Roman Reigns entered the ThunderDome with Paul Heyman by his side.
Reigns took exception to Bryan claiming to tap him out Sunday at Fastlane: "Paul, he's got a better chance of shooting lightning out of his ass than tapping me out.'
The Tribal Chief said he would rather lose his arm or, better yet, die in the ring than tap out to someone like Bryan.
Bryan said that might be a bit much, but he will beat Reigns Sunday at Fastlane for the universal title, whether he taps him out or not.
Reigns was great here, really hammering home the alternatives he would rather endure than tap out to Bryan on pay-per-view. It also sets up an in-ring story in which Reigns becomes so intensely focused on evading submissions that he opens himself up to Bryan's vast knowledge of holds, counter-holds and pin-falls.
Bryan was his typically fine self on the microphone, and his early mentions of Edge continued to hint at a potential showdown or angle between them by night's end.
King Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
In the "Least Anticipated Match in SmackDown History," Sami Zayn battled King Corbin in singles competition. Kevin Owens, fresh off a backstage promo in which he attempted to talk sense into longtime best friend Zayn, watched from the commentary position.
A ferocious Corbin attacked early and often, overwhelming the former intercontinental champion with his power advantage. Corbin missed a blind charge into the corner, and Zayn rolled him up, holding on to the ropes for added leverage, but he could not earn the win.
Zayn nearly collided with the official, allowing Corbin to deliver End of Days for the win.
After the match, the conspiracy-minded heel implored Owens to back up his claims of fraud and lies. When Owens didn't, he caught him with a sickening Helluva Kick that left his former best friend lying and Zayn a ranting mess.
Corbin defeated Zayn
If we had to sit through that entirely meaningless match between Zayn and Corbin to get to Zayn vs. Owens on the WrestleMania stage, so be it.
Anyone familiar with Owens and Zayn's work as opponents should be absolutely thrilled over the idea of them clashing on the grand stage. Even if it is in an undercard match, they have the opportunity to bring their careers full circle, graduating from high school auditoriums to the biggest show of the year in the same venue that hosted the Super Bowl.
The setup was excellent, with Owens trying to talk some sense into his friend only to drive him fully over the edge. It was a great start to a program that should only intensify in the weeks to come.
Michael Cole Interviews Big E and Apollo Crews
During a sit-down interview moderated by Michael Cole, intercontinental champion Big E addressed top challenger Apollo Crews for the first time since the latest sneak attack just a week ago.
Big E suggested Crews take time to enjoy the crispness of the March air and his functioning limbs because he will experience neither after Sunday.
Crews cut a promo with his Nigerian accent, further infuriating Big E and causing the IC champion to find a golf cart and meet the No. 1 contender backstage. They brawled, and Big E blasted Crews with a trash can before officials split them up.
Big E had that seething anger, the sort that precedes tears of rage, as he addressed Crews here. He was great, expressing frustration in a way that everyone can understand and relate to. Speeding around the ThunderDome, confronting Crews and not letting the sneak-attacking heel wait until Fastlane was exactly what you would expect from a fighter who knows the target of his emotions is in the same building.
Big E whupped ass, and the referees pulled him away from his foe to keep some air of mystery for Sunday.
What will be interesting to see is if Crews can exploit those emotions to his advantage, using them against the champion and catching him for the win. It is a story we have seen before and one that would allow the program to continue into WrestleMania, if nothing else.
Natalya and Tamina Attack Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair
Unlike earlier in the night when she provided support for Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair would be left to go it alone against Shayna Baszler in singles competition.
Frustrated with her own partner, Nia Jax left Baszler on her own.
The EST and Queen of Spades barely had any time to do battle as Natalya and Tamina hit the ring and attacked, making their case for a Women’s Tag Team Championship opportunity. They left Baszler and Belair lying, standing tall and sending a message to the women’s locker room.
Banks and Jax leaving their respective partners high and dry was a nice touch and only adds to the dissension that exists within the two teams. Then, just as those teams struggle to remain cohesive, the united tandem of Natalya and Tamina attack and enter their names in tag team title contention.
Why this could not possibly have been accomplished in the opening segment remains to be seen, but this did what it set out to and added to the list of challengers for the tag champions.
Not unlike we saw earlier in the show with the men’s division.
Edge vs. Jey Uso
In the high-stakes main event of this week's show, with the right to be the special enforcer for this Sunday's Universal Championship Match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan up for grabs, Edge found out just how arduous the road to WrestleMania is.
The Rated R Superstar found himself on the receiving end of a targeted attack by Uso, who worked over the ribs of the Hall of Famer. Edge survived steel stairs and the ring post to the midsection as Main Event Jey attempted to drive the fight out of his opponent.
It did not work.
Edge survived a superkick and caught Uso with a spear to win the match and cash his ticket to Fastlane.
After the match, he stared down Bryan, opening him up to a spear from Reigns, who stood tall to close out the show.
Edge defeated Uso
The match was good, as the focus remained on the dynamic between Edge and Bryan, while Reigns put an exclamation point on the hype for the Fastlane main event.
All of those things considered, this was a successful show-closing segment.
That Uso was able to shine to the extent he did, really looking good as he dominated the action and put Edge on the defensive, only added to the overall quality of it.
On a night when WWE needed to generate excitement for a show that feels very much like a filler card, they hit it out of the ballpark, creating an air of mystery around the two sets of tag titles, adding layers to the women's storylines, further hinting at intensifying dislike between Edge and Bryan, and putting Reigns at the forefront as the show came to an end.
SmackDown remains the best property in WWE, and it has not really been close since Reigns returned to the show last August.