WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 7
WWE went retro Friday night on Fox with a special Throwback edition of SmackDown, headlined by a WrestleMania rematch between Cesaro and Seth Rollins.
With momentum on his side and a showdown with Universal champion Roman Reigns seemingly inevitable, would The Swiss Superman make it two-in-a-row against The Architect, or would Rollins end a singles match win streak that dates back to May 29, 2020?
The answer to that question and more lies in this recap of this week's broadcast.
Announced for Friday's broadcast:
- Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins in a WrestleMania rematch
Coverage begins at 8 p.m.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns Kicked Off The Show
Universal champion Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Jey Uso made their way to the ring to kick off the show. Heyman, the advocate for The Tribal Chief, eulogized the career of Daniel Bryan.
Reigns said he is a man of his word, having sent Bryan packing. Reigns said they got rid of Bryan, and in his place, they've got someone who certainly will acknowledge the champion: Jimmy Uso. The returning twin brother of Jey embraced the men in the ring until Cesaro interrupted the proceedings.
The Swiss Superman took exception to the idea of anyone replacing Bryan, drawing laughs from Reigns and a sneak attack from Seth Rollins.
Teddy Long appeared on this special throwback episode of SmackDown and revealed that if Cesaro beats Rollins, he will challenge Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash.
Paul Heyman doing the 10-bell salute himself cracked Reigns in a pretty funny moment.
Beyond that, this was a solid opening segment that reintroduced Jimmy Uso to the fray, played on the throwback gimmick with Long's appearance, and heightened the stakes for Cesaro and Rollins' WrestleMania rematch.
Not to shabby, especially if WWE decides it has to kick things off with a promo segment.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
After a sneak attack prior to the match saw Rollins send Cesaro shoulder-first into the steel steps, the Swiss Superman found himself on the defensive early. He overcame the shoulder pain and a repeated attempt to take his knee out from under him to level The Architect with uppercuts and a clothesline that turned his opponent inside out.
Rollins halted Cesaro's momentum, delivering a superplex and floating over into a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall.
Back from the timeout, Cesaro rocked Rollins with a double stomp and scored a two-count. Rollins earned one of his own. He then tried for the stomp, but Cesaro caught him and tossed him on the top rope. Rollins looked for the sunset flip buckle bump, but Cesaro rebounded with a devastating clothesline.
Rollins sent Cesaro to the floor and refused any assistance from The Usos, claiming he didn't need their help, unlike Reigns. Jimmy Uso rocked Rollins with a superkick, only for Cesaro to wipe him out at ringside with a plancha.
Back inside, the Swiss Cyborg delivered the Neutralizer and pinned Rollins for the win.
After the match, cameras caught a displeased Reigns watching from the locker room.
Cesaro defeated Rollins
Cesaro and Rollins just are not going to have a bad match together. This was an ultra-competitive match that saw Rollins do everything he could to defeat Cesaro before his own hubris got the best of him and allowed him to become distracted by The Usos. Cesaro neutralized them and put the former WWE champion away.
It will be interesting to see if Rollins finds himself in the crosshairs of The Usos and Reigns after the events that unfolded in this match. Given the lack of genuine main event talent on the babyface side, perhaps this is the gateway to a Rollins babyface turn and a showdown between the former Shield teammates.
Backstage, Seth Rollins confronted Reigns about the Usos costing him the win. He threatened Reigns, telling him to take care of his family before Rollins does.
Elsewhere, Sami Zayn joined Teddy Long and Sonya Deville. Long teased him with a match against The Undertaker(!) or King Booker(!!) before announcing a big 10-man tag team match later in the night.
Back in Reigns' locker room, a defiant Jimmy Uso told The Head of the Table that he won't be talked to like his brother.
Thank you! Rollins and Reigns have history. A storied, complicated history. Rollins would absolutely stomp backstage and have that conversation with Reigns, unfazed by this idea of a Tribal Chief or Head of the Table. His words, as well as the actions that led to them, set up a potential showdown between former Shield mates.
Furthermore, Jimmy standing up for himself in the face of Reigns provides the Universal champion further opposition. One week after he sent Daniel Bryan packing, he now faces threats from Cesaro, Jimmy Uso and Rollins, ensuring that his kingdom is anything but secure.
It's great storytelling and the sort of engaging programming that will keep fans tuning in.
If only the rest of the WWE product could be this good.
Ruby Riott vs. Carmella
The Riott Squad's Ruby Riott, accompanied by Liv Morgan, battled Carmella in singles competition.
Riott dominated the action, sending Carmella face-first into a turnbuckle before utilizing a modified uranage. Carmella answered with a big boot and rollup while propped on the ropes. Morgan alerted the referee, but she could not save the match for her tag team partner, who succumbed to the Code of Silence submission as Carmella earned the big win.
Carmella defeated Riott
There wasn't much to this one. It was rushed, didn't give much of an opportunity for either woman, and created questions about the eventual endgame for those involved.
That there was no real flow to the match, and the finish was relatively clunky, did not help matters.
A disappointing segment, if only because these women do not get nearly enough screen time so they really need to be allowed to maximize their minutes.
Something this did not do.
Bayley made her way to the ring for a celebration of women's champions. Running down the likes of Alundra Blayze and Jacqueline, The Role Model could not help herself, backhandedly complimenting them while propping herself up.
This brought out Bianca Belair, who said she would be winning at WrestleMania Backlash en route to establishing herself as the new longEST women's champion in SmackDown history.
Bayley laughed that idea off and tried to take Belair down. Bianca blocked that but could not stop Bayley from using her earrings and hair to down her and leave her lying in a heap to close the segment.
Been here, seen this.
Bayley underestimates Belair as an opponent, openly disrespecting her by laughing in her face. That will come back to bite her come WrestleMania Backlash, but it was nice to see her get some offense and put Belair on the defensive.
The match will be really good, especially if Belair can summon the excellence that led to one of WrestleMania's best matches, but the story certainly leaves a lot to be determined.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Earlier in the afternoon, Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships was added to the WrestleMania Backlash card.
Much like Bayley did with Bianca Belair moments earlier, Ziggler entered the ThunderDome, accompanied by tag team championship partner Roode, and poked fun at the idea of Dominik Mysterio being a wrestler on the level of his father.
Dominik laid down the gauntlet for a match, and the performers wasted little time getting things underway.
After a minute or two of in-ring action, Mysterio caught Ziggler with an inside cradle for the win.
Mysterio defeated Ziggler
This might have landed better had we not just seen the exact same storyline play out in the segment before it.
The overconfident Ziggler took his focus off of Dominik and paid for it with a humiliating loss. It is a story we have seen many times and one that did nothing to help drum up excitement for WrestleMania Backlash's tag title match.
Tamina vs. Reginald
The rivalry between women's tag team champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler and Natalya and Tamina continued this week as Tamina battled WWE's resident sommelier Reginald in an intergender singles bout.
Reginald evaded his opponent, showing agility and athleticism, before Tamina dropped him with a superkick. She scaled the ropes for the Superfly Splash, but Baszler and Jax interfered, drawing the disqualification.
Baszler stomped on the exposed elbow of Tamina before Jax delivered a Samoan Drop into the guardrail. The heels stood tall as Michael Cole hyped the title match on next week's show.
This was not particularly good, if only because the presence of Reginald and his eventual comeuppance are overshadowing what should be hard-hitting matches between champions and challengers.
Instead of that, though, we got another sports-entertainment heavy feud that cannot be saved by Baszler and Jax suddenly striking a more serious side of themselves.
10-Man Tag Team Match
Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews, King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Chad Gable and Otis battled Big E, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura and The Street Profits.
The heels worked over Montez Ford of the Profits before a hot tag sparked a huge brawl between the teams, leading to a chaotic battle entering the commercial break.
After the timeout, Owens found himself on the defensive and at the mercy of the opposition. Crews teed off on The Prizefighter before KO delivered an inverted atomic drop and followed with a superkick. Owens added a heel kick to create separation and make the tag of Nakamura.
The Artist reignited his feud with Zayn, rocking him with a big kick. The action broke down again, with each competitor hitting their signature stuff. Just after Ford wiped out the opponents at ringside with one of his trademark dives, Corbin flattened Nakamura with End of Days to pick up the win.
Crews, Corbin, Zayn, Gable and Otis defeated Big E, Owens, Nakamura and The Street Profits
This was all action, a dynamic tag team match that highlighted some of the ongoing mid-card feuds without reverting to yet another Big E-Crews showdown.
Gable continues to look like the most underrated star in WWE, a guy just as likely to wrestle the mat game with any other superstar as he is to throw a suplex or six and establish dominance. His performance here was strong, even in short doses.
The heels going over was probably the right call. Why the decision was made to put Corbin over is the question, especially when he has nothing of any real note going on right now.
Roman Reigns' Ultimatum
After the events of earlier in the night, Universal champion Roman Reigns made his way to the ring once more, this time with a stern ultimatum: fall in line or take your ass home.
Jimmy Uso rolled to the floor, torn by the decision in front of him. Would he join brother Jey in aligning with Reigns and strengthening the family, or would he stand on his own.
Before he could make his decision, Cesaro came from out of nowhere, attacking Reigns and Jey.
Jimmy hit the ring to defend his family, but in the end, it was the Swiss Superman who stood tall to close out the show.
The Usos story is one that will have long-reaching effects on the SmackDown product.
While Cesaro has the next shot at the Universal Championship, it will be Jimmy and his ability to influence Jey that will be one of the more intriguing storylines on the blue brand. The moment the twins band together to finally extinguish whatever pull The Tribal Chief has on them, the Usos will be the biggest babyfaces in WWE.
Until then, the family drama will be a great side story to whatever feud Reigns is in, this latest being Cesaro.