This week, WWE SmackDown advertised finding the next challenger for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship. While the angle could’ve gone in many different directions, WWE decided to book a standard Battle Royal to determine the number one contender.
Charlotte Flair and Toni Storm had an ordinary segment that ended with the latter splashed with pies in her face. It was surprising to watch the fiery Storm stand there without reacting.
Sasha Banks and Naomi teamed up to defeat Natalya and Shayna Baszler. The victory will allow the babyfaces to continue their rivalry with Sonya Deville. However, WWE should bring Aliyah into the rivalry to give her a push.
Ridge Holland made his SmackDown debut this week, while Edge’s return was announced for the upcoming episode of WWE RAW. It will be exciting to see what the WWE Hall of Famer decides to do in the weeks to come.
This week, SmackDown had some ordinary matches and segments that helped build towards future matches. Take a look at the five things WWE got right on SmackDown this week.
#5. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman talked down the threat of Brock Lesnar’s return on WWE SmackDown
Kayla Braxton took to the ring early on WWE SmackDown. She was ready to bring up the topic of Brock Lesnar’s potential return before Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman interrupted.
Heyman called out Braxton for her “rumors,” and took shots at the interviewer. He dismissed her from the ring before Reigns took the mic to address the WWE Universe on SmackDown.
He made it clear that he had already defeated Lesnar and wasn’t afraid of him. Reigns also took shots at the WWE Champion, Big E. He said he was ready to beat anyone because he was The Tribal Chief.
The Head of the Table ended the segment by saying that the entire world would acknowledge him once his time around was over. It was a great way to kick off SmackDown, especially after the recent “rumors” of Lesnar’s potential return.
The Beast Incarnate will likely shoot back into the Universal Championship picture whenever he returns. Heyman was phenomenal and did well to talk down Braxton. Once Lesnar returns, Heyman’s loyalty will be tested again.
#4. Drew McIntyre and Jeff Hardy picked up a tag team victory on WWE SmackDown
The heels took Hardy down and isolated him from his partner. The Scottish Warrior got the hot tag after some time and unloaded on his opponents. He used his signature moves to keep the heels down.
Hardy recovered and came back into the ring for the final moments of the contest. He climbed to the top rope and delivered a Swanton Bomb for the win.
The match was ordinary, but it did well to keep McIntyre and Hardy in the zone. It was also good to watch the hometown hero pick up the win and stay relevant on the show.
WWE should not pair the two men up for long as there are far too few credible babyfaces on SmackDown. It would be good to see Hardy move into the Universal Championship picture for some time.
#3. Cesaro defeated Ridge Holland to ignite a potential rivalry on WWE SmackDown
The Swiss Superman unloaded with a few uppercuts, but Holland matched his strength. He hit Cesaro with a massive clothesline and tossed him around.
Sheamus cheered Holland as the newcomer dominated Cesaro. A distraction allowed The Swiss Superman to capitalize, and he rolled over the debutant for a win.
Holland and Sheamus were visibly upset as Cesaro celebrated the win. WWE could have given the two men some more time to perform on SmackDown. The contest was good, and WWE made the right call to award the victory to Cesaro.
Holland had a good debut, but there was no reason for him to pick up a win. Instead, his partnership with Cesaro’s former partner could lead to an interesting storyline in the weeks to come. SmackDown could book a few matches between Cesaro and the heels before all three men unite to possibly form a new faction.
#2. Sami Zayn surprised WWE SmackDown with a major Battle Royal victory
Several participants from SmackDown took to the ring for the final match of the night. A Battle Royal was booked to crown the next challenger for Roman Reign’s Universal Championship.
Surprisingly, Drew McIntyre wasn’t added to the match even though superstars like Mansoor, Mace, and Madcap Moss got an opportunity. That did not keep The Scottish Warrior away as he came out with his sword and tried to clear the ring before Adam Pearce ordered him to leave.
The Viking Raiders were dominant and eliminated a few superstars. During the scuffle, Sami Zayn fell through the ropes to the floor and was not eliminated.
Ricochet, Jeff Hardy, Happy Corbin, and Sheamus were the last four in the ring. After Sheamus eliminated Ricochet, the heels ganged up on Hardy. The babyface managed to overcome their alliance and tossed them over to the floor.
As Hardy prepared to celebrate his win, Zayn came back into the ring and dumped him over the top rope for the win. The Universal Champion scene has been far too good to have a Battle Royal crown the next challenger.
The match was ordinary, but it was refreshing to see Zayn pick up the win. It’s unclear whether he will get a match against Roman Reigns for the title or not. However, the SmackDown Superstar will get a chance to push his conspiracy theorist character regardless of the outcome.
#1. Kayla Braxton announced the return of Brock Lesnar for next week’s WWE SmackDown
Sami Zayn’s celebration was short-lived as Kayla Braxton reentered the ring in the final moments of SmackDown. She interviewed The Conspiracy Theorist before making a big announcement.
Braxton claimed to receive news that Brock Lesnar‘s suspension had been lifted and that he’d be back next week. Zayn was shocked by the announcement as the camera cut backstage. A dismayed Roman Reigns exchanged looks with Paul Heyman to end the show.
The Battle Royal was sub-standard but the segment that followed was good enough to pull it back up. Fans will remember what happened to Sami Zayn at the 2019 Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
Next week on SmackDown, Lesnar could return to rob Zayn of an opportunity to challenge for the Universal Championship. It’d be a great way to move The Beast Incarnate in the Universal Championship picture again.
Paul Heyman will again be under the radar after his tall claims. His loyalty will be tested next week, and Lesnar will likely make a controversial statement that could land Reigns’ special counsel in a lot of trouble.