Seth Rollins Loses It, Aleister Black Is Back and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
We are roughly halfway between WrestleMania Backlash and Hell in a Cell, so this is usually when things slow down for WWE in terms of storytelling.
Feuds were kept alive through rematches and promos, a surprising performer made his main-roster debut and a returning Superstar set his sights on somebody new.
Natalya, Tamina and Bianca Belair teamed up to face Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and Bayley in a six-woman tag match to kick things off.
Rik Boogs, originally known as Eric Bugenhagen, helped Shinsuke Nakamura make his entrance to face Baron Corbin by playing guitar during his entrance music.
We also saw Seth Rollins unleash a brutal attack against Cesaro, and Aleister Black returned to the blue brand for a surprising attack during the Fatal 4-Way with Sami Zayn, Big E, Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews.
Let's look at the biggest moments from Friday's show and what they mean for the future.
SmackDown opened with a parade of champions sans Roman Reigns. After Sonya Deville introduced and hyped each champion, Bayley showed up to voice her displeasure.
This led to Belair confronting her. Baszler and Jax helped The Role Model attack The EST, which brought Tamina and Natalya down the ramp to help.
All of this turned into a six-woman tag match. It's clear WWE wants to continue these feuds but doesn't have any substantial ideas to keep them interesting.
This bout was the definition of filler. There were no stakes, and it did nothing to advance the storylines being highlighted, but it did include a few fun moments. The trio of champions ended up losing.
Jax and Baszler were given a rematch for the titles on Monday's Raw, but we did not get an official announcement regarding Bayley, so WWE probably wants to stretch that out to build toward a pay-per-view match.
An Unexpected Debut
Corbin battled Nakamura after The Rockstar stole The King's crown during their previous encounter, but the real news has to do with who accompanied Nakamura to the ring. Boogs debuted by shredding on his electric guitar during Nakamura's entrance.
Boogs remained at ringside to cheer on Nakamura and got a lot of attention from the announcers and social media. It's unclear whether this was a one-time appearance or the start of a new partnership.
If Boogs seems familiar, it might be because he won the 24/7 title twice during a series of Old Spice commercials during WrestleMania weekend while going by the name The NightPanther. Obviously, R-Truth got his baby back.
It would be odd if WWE just did this one time for a random SmackDown. Odds are good that Boogs plays some kind of role on the blue brand going forward. Whether that includes wrestling remains to be seen.
Has Seth Rollins Lost It?
An injured Cesaro came out to confront Roman Reigns during a promo, but he was quickly taken out by an irate Seth Rollins.
The Messiah is still sore about his WrestleMania loss to the Swiss Superman, but he took things to a new level Friday by delivering three Stomps to his fallen rival.
The Tribal Chief watched with a smile before quietly making his exit. When we went backstage, Rollins claimed he blacked out during the attack and seemed to be losing his grip on reality.
The medics wheeled Cesaro nearby, and Rollins yelled at him, believing he was to blame for his inability to control his violent impulses.
WWE seems to want to keep Cesaro in feuds with both Rollins and Reigns, which means a Triple Threat match between the three is highly likely.
Cesaro's injuries will probably keep him out of action for a week or two to sell the severity of the attack, so he probably won't be challenging for the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell unless WWE makes it seem like he has made a speedy recovery.
Aleister Black Is Back
Friday's main event saw Crews defend his Intercontinental Championship against Zayn, Owens and Big E, but what happened at the end is what got the most attention.
As Big E looked like he was about to regain the IC title, Aleister Black appeared in the ThunderDome for the first time in 2021 to deliver a Black Mass to the powerhouse.
His interference cost Big E the win and allowed Crews to retain the belt. WWE obviously wants to set up a feud between Big E and Black, and this was the first step.
Zayn and Owens will continue their feud judging from the way they went after each other, so this leaves Crews without a clear rival moving forward. This gives someone else an opportunity to step up.
The next episode will likely produce an explanation for Black's attack while giving us some kind of indication of who will go after Crews next.