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With a little more than two weeks until WWE Fastlane on March 21, management needs to light a fire under its own butt and start booking some matches.
Friday’s SmackDown was not hyped too much in advance. In fact, WWE only announced two segments before the show.
Daniel Bryan faced Jey Uso inside a Steel Cage. The Yes Man has been in a feud with Uso and Roman Reigns for a little while, and this week gave Bryan another chance to prove he is one of the blue brand’s best.
We also saw Bianca Belair take on Shayna Baszler. These two will be opponents in a women’s tag title bout at Fastlane, so Sasha Banks and Nia Jax could find themselves in the ring next week.
Let’s take a look at everything that happened on Friday’s SmackDown.
Make sure to refresh this page throughout the show for updated results.
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SmackDown opened with Bryan giving an extended promo about his match against Uso and the possibility of facing Reigns at Fastlane if he wins Friday’s Cage match. It was a long and passionate speech about why he wants this title shot so much.
After a commercial break, Reigns and Paul Heyman were in the ring to respond. The Tribal Chief said he was confused by Bryan’s words because he doesn’t see the drive needed to be a winner. Uso tried to take a cheap shot at Bryan but he was thrown out of the ring. Reigns did not try to help his cousin at all.
This segment did not need to continue after the commercial break. Bryan’s long promo was the best way to open the show. Having Reigns and Uso give a quick response was unnecessary.
Bryan has always been great at giving this kind of promo. He has real passion for the business and it always comes across when he speaks.
Reigns’ speech was good but it was exactly the same thing we have heard him say for weeks. A separate response at a different point during the show would have been better.
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We were expecting to see a rematch from last week but King Corbin came out and said he hated Sami Zayn and refused to be his tag team partner again. He issued a challenge for a singles match and Montez Ford accepted.
Ford used his speed to take control immediately but one spinebuster from Corbin almost kept him down for a three-count. After taking some more offense, Ford turned things around and hit a standing moonsault for a near-fall. Corbin nailed The End of Days for the win thanks to a distraction from Zayn.
Zayn asked Corbin to help him in the same way but after Angelo Dawkins knocked Zayn into him, The King left him to fend for himself. We returned from a break to see the second match already in progress.
The Great Liberator managed to take control and choked him against the middle rope while taunting Ford. Zayn became distracted when Ford was messing with his camera crew and it allowed Dawkins to roll him up for the win. Zayn attacked his own crew after the match and seemed overtaken by his own conspiracy theories.
Corbin and Zayn not getting along was a nice bit of continuity. Just because two guys are heels does not mean they should be friends. It was kind of fun to see Corbin take the high road for once.
The King worked clean but the distraction from Zayn helped him keep up his heel persona. It was perfectly in line with his character to leave Zayn alone after a small miscommunication.
Dawkins picking up the win after his partner lost evened the score but also made this entire sequence of events a wash. Both matches were short but did have some decent action. It just wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of logic in how everything was booked.
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After turning heel recently, Chad Gable was looking to continue building momentum in a singles match against one of the men he and Otis beat last week, Dominik Mysterio.
Gable demonstrated his technical ability with a quick takedown but Dom was able to send him through the ropes to the floor. Gable took him down with a spinning drop toe hold and began focusing on his leg.
Dom hit a hurricanrana from the middle rope and sent Gable into the middle turnbuckle. The former Olympian countered a tornado DDT into a beautiful tiger suplex for a two-count.
After kicking out, Dom was able to use a nice pinning combination to score the win.
This was quick but it also ended up being one of the best technical performances we have seen from Dominik. It’s no surprise that it was against Gable.
The Alpha Academy leader is among the best pure wrestlers WWE has to offer. He can elevate just about anybody because he is that smooth in his delivery and execution. Pairing him with Dominik was a smart call.
This is another example of 50-50 booking but this feud is just getting going, so they can afford to trade wins until WWE decides which team is going to come out on top.
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The match started out with a competitive exchange of counters as Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair struggled to take control. Belair had the power advantage but Baszler’s experience gave her the edge.
The Queen of Spades went after The EST’s arm early on to soften her up and take away her power game. Baszler followed up with a running knee for a two-count.
The No. 1 contender to the women’s title started to make a comeback but Baszler was able to send her through the ropes. Belair shoved Reginald to the ground and he tripped into Nia Jax. She tried to run him over but he moved and she hit Banks.
Meanwhile, Belair hit Baszler with her finisher in the ring for the win. Banks slapped Reginald after the match and told him to stay out of her business.
Baszler does so many little things to make her offense look painful. Whether she is manipulating joints or laying in her strikes, she is always convincing.
The shenanigans at ringside were unnecessary but didn’t take away from the action in the ring. Hopefully, this was the end of Reginald’s involvement because he has added nothing to this feud.
Banks and Belair get along but they aren’t acting like best friends, so there is a good chance they lose at Fastlane and one turns on the other.
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Earlier in the show, Seth Rollins was giving an interview when Murphy approached him and offered to help deal with Cesaro. Rollins told him to go away but he ended up coming out to watch the match anyway.
Cesaro grabbed Murphy and took him down in a waistlock right after the bell. He caught Murphy mid-jump and hit a backbreaker for a two-count. Murphy was able to send him out of the ring and hit a huge dive to take him down.
The Juggernaut hit a meteora from the top rope for another near-fall. Cesaro caught him with an uppercut to give himself time to recover. The Swiss Superman swung Murphy around by his legs for several seconds before locking him in a Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
Had they been given twice as much time and didn’t have Rollins distracting us on commentary, this could have been the match of the week.
Cesaro and Murphy showed great chemistry and used their skills to make each other look good. The only thing that could have made this better would have been getting more time with them.
Rollins didn’t seem impressed with Murphy’s efforts and made no effort to help him, so this might have been a one-time interaction for the former allies.
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Corey Graves gave a special introduction to this Cage match. While it was unnecessary, he did help make it feel like this was an important bout for both competitors.
Uso quickly took control and punished Bryan against the cage wall as Reigns looked on and encouraged him to keep going. Bryan stopped Uso from escaping through the door but he was unable to do much else.
The Yes Man hit a missile dropkick and kicked Uso’s arm like he was going for a field goal. He rammed Uce into the cage and kept working on his arm. Uso stopped him from climbing out of the cage and hung him in the tree of woe.
We returned from a break to see both men on top of the cage. Bryan pulled Uso back into the ring and hit a series of kicks while they stood on the top rope. Uso fired back with a superkick and a huge splash but only got a near-fall.
Bryan and Uso beat the life out of each other with strikes. Bryan hit a suplex from the top rope and applied the Yes Lock. Uso was forced to tap as Reigns watched with a look of disappointment across his face.
Bryan and Uso beat each other senseless and put on a fun Cage match to end what was an uneven episode of SmackDown.
Both men looked great and used the cage in smart ways. They weren’t constantly throwing each other into it, so it had more impact when they did use it to their advantage.
Bryan vs. Reigns at Fastlane will be great but the outcome is predictable. This week’s show had some fun wrestling but didn’t do a lot to further the ongoing storylines.