WWE SmackDown Fallout: High-Stakes Reigns vs. Bryan Match, Aleister Black ReturnApril 24, 2021
WWE SmackDown Fallout: High-Stakes Reigns vs. Bryan Match, Aleister Black Return
WrestleMania may be behind us, but WWE has continued many of the feuds that made up the pay-per-view in the weeks since it aired.
Edge may not be around, but Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan are still at each other's throats. Cesaro also wants a shot at the Universal Championship despite having to deal with an angry Seth Rollins who's looking to avenge his 'Mania loss.
After Natalya defeated Shayna Baszler on the previous week's SmackDown, their partners met Friday when Tamina took on Nia Jax. The real-life family members had a memorable exchange at 'Mania and were looking to recapture some of that magic.
Apollo Crews defended the Intercontinental Championship against Kevin Owens, but Commander Azeez ended up being the deciding factor in the outcome.
We also saw the SmackDown tag team division continue to rely on the same four teams that have been fighting for the titles for the past couple of months.
Let's take a look at the biggest moments from Friday's show and what they could mean for the future.
Aleister Black Is Back
Aleister Black hasn't been seen on WWE television for months. After Zelina Vega was released, many expected Black, who is her husband, would soon follow. That is not the case, as The Dutch Destroyer returned to television Friday with an odd video package.
Black sat in a chair surrounded by candles and read from a book called Tales of the Dark Father. What followed was an animated video narrated by the returning Superstar.
The video was cryptic, to say the least, but it let us know Black is still around and that WWE appears to be looking to give him a renewed push. If the company were just going to bury him or use him as a midcard stepping stone, it wouldn't have gone to the trouble of producing a cartoon and filming a video. He would have just quietly returned at some point.
We will probably get a few more of these videos before Black gets back in the ring for a match. Money in the Bank in June could be the perfect time for him to make his comeback if WWE wants to drag this out a bit.
Roman Reigns Gives Daniel Bryan a Rematch on 1 Condition
SmackDown opened with Cesaro coming out to cut a promo, but he was quickly interrupted by Rollins. Jey Uso and Bryan joined in on the fun.
Reigns came out and verbally thrashed Bryan and Cesaro. Predictably, this was turned into a tag team match, with Bryan and Cesaro taking on Uso and Rollins. They were given a lot of time to work and showed off their unique skills. As usual, Reigns watched from his dressing room.
After The Messiah left his partner high and dry, Cesaro and Bryan scored the win over Uso. They gave a promo together directed at Reigns while The Swiss Cyborg swung Uso by his ankles a few dozen times. Bryan called out Reigns to save the cousin who has kept him in power all of this time, but The Tribal Chief never arrived.
It seemed like Bryan was advocating for Cesaro to get a title shot instead of trying to get one for himself, which is not a common occurrence in pro wrestling. People support each other, but we rarely see a non-tag team partner go to these lengths for someone else.
The Yes Man threw down a challenge for Reigns to defend the Universal Championship against Cesaro, but Reigns had other plans. In the final segment of the night, everyone met in the ring to find out what The Big Dog was going to do.
Instead of granting Cesaro his wish, he offered Bryan another shot at the title next week on the condition that if Bryan loses, he will leave the blue brand forever. The Swiss Cyborg encouraged Bryan to accept the challenge, so he did.
Jeremy Lambert of Fightful.com recently noted that Bryan's contract expires soon, and he has stated a desire to wrestle for WWE and other companies while transitioning into more of a part-time role, so this could be WWE's way of taking The Yes Man off of television until negotiations are done.
Tamina Scores a Win over Nia Jax
On April 16, Natalya and Shayna Baszler met for a singles match that ended with The Queen of Harts picking up the win. On Friday, their tag team partners fought when Jax battled Tamina.
The two powerhouses started off with a physical and competitive exchange of strikes and takedowns. It wasn't pretty, but it had plenty of intensity.
Reginald and Baszler did everything they could to help Jax, but the sommelier found himself on Baszler's bad side late in the match. They ended up inadvertently distracting Jax, allowing Tamina to roll her up for the win.
The women's tag champs have lost two weeks in a row in singles competition, which means Natalya and Tamina will almost definitely find themselves with another title opportunity at WrestleMania Backlash.
Reginald seemed to take most of the blame for what happened, but Baszler is not innocent. WWE has been teasing more friction between the champions recently, so losing the titles will probably facilitate a breakup.
Backlash is set to place on May 16, so that gives WWE three more episodes of SmackDown between now and the PPV. Let's predict how this story will play out in the coming weeks:
- April 30: Natalya and Tamina demand a title shot. Jax and Baszler try to deny them the shot, so Adam Pearce books a No. 1 Contender's match for the following week.
- May 7: Tamina and Natalya win a title opportunity at WrestleMania Backlash.
- May 14: The champs and challengers brawl.
- May 16: Natalya and Tamina win the titles. Jax and Baszler break up after the match.
Apollo Crews Retains the Intercontinental Title Against Kevin Owens
Owens was given a shot at the IC title Friday, but before he could face Crews, Big E made sure to let KO know he was jumping the line. Big E felt he deserved a rematch, and it led to their exchange becoming tense.
Crews came out with his new enforcer, Commander Azeez, and the big man's presence had an impact on the match.
As The Prize Fighter gained some momentum, Sami Zayn came out to watch the action from the commentary table. Obviously, his presence was also designed to take Owens' focus from the task at hand.
Crews defeated Owens thanks to a distraction from Azeez, so his new heavy is already paying dividends. The big man attacked KO after the match with a move called the Nigerian Nail, which is the same thing as Umaga's Samoan Spike.
Zayn ended the segment by dancing over his former best friend as he struggled to breathe, so it's clear his feud with Owens will continue. As for Crews, he has to keep an eye out for an angry Big E now that he is back and looking to regain the IC title.
One or both of these feuds will end up on the card for Backlash. We should have a better idea of what will happen after next week's show.
Which Tag Team Will Get the Next Title Shot?
The SmackDown tag team division comprises four teams, and all of them have their sights set on the SmackDown Tag Team Championship held by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
The Street Profits told The Dirty Dawgs they wanted another shot at the titles, but The Mysterios and Alpha Academy showed their desire through their actions.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio defeated Chad Gable and Otis on Friday, giving them more ammunition when the time comes to make an argument for why they deserve the next shot at the belts.
The size of the division makes it difficult to tell compelling stories when we see the same four teams interact every week, but each duo's uniqueness helps make it more palatable.
Alpha Academy represents traditional wrestling. The Mysterios represent lucha libre. Ziggler and Roode are classic heels. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are exciting babyfaces with comedic personalities.
Considering WWE did a Fatal 4-Way with these teams on the SmackDown before WrestleMania, it's unlikely we will see the same thing again right away. One team will earn a shot at The Dirty Dawgs within the next week or two. With the way things have been going, the Profits and Mysterios are the front-runners.