Throwback SmackDown Fallout: Cesaro Earns Title Shot, Jimmy Uso Returns and More
Friday's SmackDown was a special throwback episode featuring some classic elements from the blue brand's past, but management still made sure to focus on setting up the WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view on May 16.
The retro show featured an appearance by Teddy Long, a CGI fist over the stage and Michael Cole in an all-denim outfit to be period-appropriate alongside Pat McAfee in his powder-blue suit.
Jimmy Uso made his long-awaited SmackDown return. His reunion with his brother, Jey, and Roman Reigns did not exactly go as planned.
Cesaro faced Seth Rollins in a WrestleMania rematch with the added stipulation that if the Swiss Superman won, he would earn a universal title shot at Backlash.
Dominik Mysterio picked up an upset victory over Dolph Ziggler, and four feuds were featured during a chaotic 10-man tag team match.
Let's take a look at what happened on Friday's show and how storylines will be affected moving forward.
Jimmy Uso Is Back
Reigns came to the ring flanked by Paul Heyman and Jey Uso to kick off the show. They gave Daniel Bryan's career a eulogy, with Heyman giving a verbal 10-bell salute.
Then The Tribal Chief brought out Jimmy Uso to reunite with his family. He looked ecstatic to be back, and unlike the last time we saw him, he was there to support The Head of the Table.
This is big for the tag team division. The Usos are one of the most decorated and talented duos WWE has had. They will immediately elevate the SD tag titles if they win them while Reigns has the Universal Championship.
Jey has done an excellent job as a solo act, but the brothers are stronger when they are together. With teams like Otis and Chad Gable, The Street Profits, The Dirty Dawgs and the Mysterios, WWE can put together several first-time encounters with The Usos.
Later in the show, Reigns admonished the brothers for costing Rollins the match against Cesaro. Jimmy did not like being talked down to, and he made sure to voice his opinion. The Usos had a heated exchange about what is best for the family.
The final segment saw Reigns give Jimmy an ultimatum. He was going to leave, but once he saw Cesaro beating up the champ and his right-hand man, Jimmy had no choice but to jump in. The No. 1 contender took out all three men to end the show.
If Jimmy and Jey break up over this, it will be a huge mistake by WWE management. Let's hope the brothers stick together regardless of whether they support The Head of the Table.
Dominik Mysterio Upsets Dolph Ziggler
Rey Mysterio was set to face Ziggler in a singles match, but after The Showoff taunted his son about being a nepotism case, Dominik decided to challenge Ziggler himself.
The young luchador hit a flurry of moves before Ziggler tripped him on the apron to stop him in his tracks. He big-timed Dominik with some trash talk, but the younger Mysterio was able to steal the win with an inside cradle.
They don't have a lot to work with, but Ziggler did a great job creating animosity in a single promo. Even if this feud is over in two weeks, it should be fun while it lasts.
These two teams will collide at Backlash for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. If Rey and Dom win, they will be the first father and son team to hold the belts in WWE.
Cesaro Gets His Shot
While Reigns and The Usos were celebrating their reunion, Cesaro came out to tell them Bryan can never be replaced. Seth Rollins attacked him from behind before Teddy Long made a surprise appearance.
The former blue-brand GM said he had been granted the power to book Cesaro vs. Reigns at Backlash if The Swiss Superman could defeat The Messiah in this bout.
The Usos stayed at ringside to watch the action while The Tribal Chief and his advocate watched from their dressing room.
The rivals fought hard and put on a fantastic match that showcased why they are two of the best in the world at what they do. After a brief argument at ringside, Jimmy delivered a superkick to Rollins while the ref was distracted, leading to Cesaro scoring the win.
This sets up The Swiss Superman vs. The Tribal Chief for the Universal Championship at the PPV. This is the biggest match of Cesaro's career by far, so we should expect to see him pull out all the stops to prove he belongs in the main event scene.
Teddy Long Books 10-Man Tag Team Match
To get the most out of Long's cameo, WWE had him book a supersized 10-man tag team match as the final contest of the night.
Otis, Chad Gable, King Corbin, Sami Zayn and Apollo Crews took on The Street Profits, Kevin Owens, Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura.
With this many talented people in one ring, things were bound to get out of control. The action spilled to the outside several times and featured some high-impact bumps.
The heels ended up winning when Corbin hit Nakamura with The End of Days. This was a somewhat surprising outcome because The King and The Artist don't have a feud that is as high-profile as Zayn vs. Owens or Crews vs. Big E.
This did nothing to advance any of the major storylines, but it was a lot of fun. All 10 men put in maximum effort to make sure this match wasn't overlooked.
The Backlash card has five matches so far. Raw makes up three of them, so there is a strong possibility WWE books one more for the blue brand to even it out.