WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Apollo Crews retains intercontinental title as Aleister Black returns


On Friday night, WWE held the first episode of SmackDown since WrestleMania: Backlash took place. In the main event of the evening, Apollo Crews defended the intercontinental championship in a fatal four-way match against Big E, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. 

Big E appeared to have the intercontinental title all but won before a returning Aleister Black completely snatched Big E's championship dreams from him. Black kicked Big E's lights out with a Black Mass and Crews was able to retain his championship.

In addition, Roman Reigns celebrated his universal championship win over Cesaro. Reigns' special counsel Paul Heymanwent through Reigns' accolades before Cesaro came out and demanded another championship match with Reigns at Hell In A Cell. As Cesaro made his way down the ramp, Seth Rollins blindsided him and attacked him for the second time in less than a week. Rollins focused on the injured arm of Cesaro yet again and delivered a stomp on the entrance ramp. Cesaro was taken out of the ThunderDome on a stretcher.

CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action from the ThunderDome inside Tampa's Yuengling Center.

Crews retains, Black costs Big E intercontinental championship

Late in the match, Crews attempted to hit Big E with an Olympic Slam, but Big E was able to counter and connected on a Big Ending on Crews with Owens and Zayn incapacitated. As Big E pinned Crews, Crews' enforcer, Commander Azeez, pulled Big E out of the ring and attempted to subdue him since the fatal four-way match was no disqualification. Big E was able to get free and when he got back into the ring  mysterious bright lights came on and fog appeared. When the fog lifted, Aleister Black made his long-awaited return and delivered a Black Mass to Big E. With Big E knocked out, Crews pinned Big E to retain the intercontinental title.

We've been seeing cryptic vignettes from Black for the last several weeks and figured it would only be a matter of time before he returned. Considering that Black has been off television since October, his return had to be a big one and it didn't disappoint. Black will instantly be involved in what should be a very entertaining feud with Big E.  Grade: A

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Bayley, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax def. Bianca Belair, Tamina, and Natalya via submission. Natalya was distracted when Bayley attempted to get back into the ring after Bayley delivered a Bayley to Belly suplex on the outside. With Natalya's attention diverted, Baszler was able to lock in the Kirifuda Clutch and Natalya was forced to tap out. Later in the night, it was announced that Tamina and Natalya will defend the WWE women's tag team titles against Baszler and Jax on Monday Night Raw next week.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura def. King Corbin via pinfall with a small package. Prior to the match, King Corbin called Nakamura disrespectful for taking his crown following their match last week. Corbin was interrupted by Rik Boogz, who played guitar during Nakamura's entrance. During the match, Boogz got up onto the announce table and distracted Corbin by playing his guitar. That was when Nakamura rolled up Corbin for the victory.
  • It was announced that Jimmy and Jey Uso will reunite to take on the Street Profits in a tag-team match on next week's installment of SmackDown.
  • Dominik Mysterio def. Robert Roode via pinfall. Mysterio connected on a 619 and followed it up with a frog splash off the top rope. Much like WrestleMania: Backlash, Mysterio was able to pin Roode.
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