Roman Reigns Confronted Universal Champion Goldberg
I was expecting Goldberg to receive a negative reaction after beating The Fiend at Super ShowDown and the Boston crowd did not disappoint. He probably would have been booed louder if his promo was longer than 10 seconds. Reigns answering his open challenge of sorts was super predictable and sets them up for their rumored WrestleMania match. Here's hoping this means the men's Elimination Chamber for SmackDown (which was hinted at last week) is off. Reigns received a fairly favorable reaction when he made his entrance, so it'll be interesting to see how that changes heading into WrestleMania and if he'll be as heavily cheered when he inevitably wins the title.
Naomi def. SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley by Disqualification (Non-Title); Naomi and Lacey Evans def. Bayley and Sasha Banks
This whole segment was weird. Firstly, Bayley vs. Naomi was over within minutes. Secondly, they made a big deal of Banks coming back, only for her to lose in the tag team match. Granted, she wasn't pinned, but she has been a complete afterthought since coming to SmackDown. It was a good match that likely sets up Naomi to challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Elimination Chamber, but my guess is that plans changed and it will be Bayley vs. Banks at 'Mania instead of Bayley vs. Naomi.
Robert Roode def. Kofi Kingston
The New Day are fresh off losing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship to The Miz and John Morrison at Super ShowDown, so I'm not sure why these teams are feuding aside from how they clashed in a eight-man tag team match last week. That should fuel speculation that it will be a Fatal 4-Way for the tag titles at WrestleMania (also involving The Usos). As for this match, it was perfectly fine, but it wasn't terribly exciting. The distraction roll-ups are so lazy.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn Attacked Intercontinental Champion Braun Strowman During a Contract Signing
This Intercontinental Championship feud has been so one-sided that I'm shocked Strowman is defending the title again against Nakamura. If automatic rematch clauses for former clauses are a thing of the past, why is Nakamura getting another shot at the strap? He hasn't won a televised match in months. Worse yet, we just had a contract signing on Monday's Raw! This was paint-by-numbers stuff that did nothing to get me excited about their upcoming rematch.
Daniel Bryan def. Curtis Axel
Bryan is so directionless at this point that I assume WWE is merely biding time before his WrestleMania program kicks off in the next week or two, and no, he won't be facing Drew Gulak at the event. Maybe on the Elimination Chamber Kickoff show, but not at WrestleMania. I thought Gulak might be Heath Slater's new manager after what we saw last week, but it looks like Gulak is trying to manage Bryan instead. This lasted a little longer than I thought it would, but Bryan going over was never in doubt. Where was Bo Dallas?
The Usos def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Miz and John morrison (Non-Title)
It was announced following Miz and Morrison's hilarious celebration that they will be defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championship next Sunday at Elimination Chamber inside the Elimination Chamber. I guess that means we won't be getting Chamber matches with the men and women of SmackDown after all (which is a positive), but this also feels unnecessary since Miz and Morrison just won the titles on Thursday and shouldn't lose them any time soon. Sure, they could win the Chamber, but it's ridiculous how many champions have escaped the Chamber with their titles intact over the years despite the odds supposedly being stacked against them. At any rate, this was a very fun match with a hell of a finish, but I hated how Miz and Morrison lost one day removed from becoming champs. Morrison being the one to get pinned was a mind-boggling move, too.
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt Challenged John Cena to a Match at WrestleMania 36
Did anyone honestly believe Cena when he said that he wouldn't be competing at WrestleMania this year? Putting aside that lack of logic (and how he immediately accepted The Fiend's request to face him at 'Mania even though he had just listed his reasons for not wanting to wrestle), Cena knocked it out of the park with his promo and the crowd ate up every second of it. His mic work wasn't consistently great back in the day, but he has been known to deliver the occasional gem and this was one of them. Unfortunately, Wyatt vs. Cena at the event makes no sense to me, especially without a title being at stake. Wyatt winning is basically a foregone conclusion, but that doesn't change how random it is to begin with. On a side note, I could do without Wyatt pointing at the WrestleMania sign. That looked silly.
This may have been the best SmackDown in many weeks by default because of how there was actual build for WrestleMania and yet I still feel apathy for the blue brand. It could not be more apparent that the SmackDown side of the WrestleMania card will be thrown together without much forethought. Goldberg vs. Reigns and Cena vs. Wyatt have potential, but the lack of long-term booking is frustrating. It isn't much better with the women, either. I'd say the tag team division has been a highlight lately, but that Chamber match is a waste and the champions lost in non-title action on this show. Speaking of Elimination Chamber, what the hell is that pay-per-view going to consist of next Sunday? This wasn't a completely boring edition of SmackDown, but the brand clearly has issues that must be addressed ahead of WrestleMania. Goldberg and Cena being featured attractions on the show for matches that aren't intriguing on paper is not the answer to SmackDown's recent woes.
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