We are cruising down the Road to WrestleMania, and Friday night's SmackDown marked the go-home television offering ahead of one of the crucial stops along the journey. The annual Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event takes the spotlight this Sunday, and while Friday's show placed much emphasis on this weekend's show, the sole focus was on a dream matchup that likely lays ahead.
The main event on Friday featured the six participants in Sunday's Elimination Chamber match on the SmackDown side, but the main talking point coming out of the show will be centered around Edge setting his sights on Roman Reigns come WrestleMania. The universal champion sent a message to Edge to open the night, and then he sent a much more violent one to close the go-home show, making it almost obvious at this point what the 'Mania match will be for the Royal Rumble winner.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down during Friday's go-home edition of SmackDown ahead of Elimination Chamber.
Roman Reigns lays out Edge
Edge was out to open up SmackDown this week. The 2021 men's Royal Rumble winner discussed the choice he has ahead of him considering the plethora of men who all have a chance to walk out of Elimination Chamber on Sunday as a world champion. He called it the biggest decision of his life before he was ultimately interrupted by Reigns who was, of course, flanked by Jey Uso and Paul Heyman.
Once in the ring, Reigns told Edge he doesn't have 13 men from which to choose -- he only has one. Edge fired back by telling Reigns he didn't even realize he was being played like a fiddle. He then told Reigns that when he looks in his eyes, he sees insecurity before saying that he was given too much too soon and cracks under the pressure.
Sami Zayn was out to interrupt next, documentary crew in tow, claiming he was being disrespected by both men. He commanded his camera crew get a shot of him pointing at the WrestleMania sign before he was laid out by a superkick from Uso. After Zayn was floored, Reigns put his hands behind his back and calmly whispered something to Edge which clearly struck a nerve with the "Ultimate Opportunist."
Throughout the night, Edge had personal interactions backstage with the participants in the Elimination Chamber match, and then was out for commentary during the main event.
Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens & Cesaro def. Sami Zayn, Jey Uso & King Corbin via submission. Bryan got the win for the babyface team after making Zayn tap to the YES! Lock. Chaos ensued in the ring between the participants, leading up to Edge entering the ring from commentary and spearing Uso. The final message heading toward Elimination Chamber would be delivered by the champ, however, as Reigns emerged and laid out Edge with a spear of his own to close the show.
While matchups against WWE champion Drew McIntyre or even NXT champion Finn Balor are enticing, it's abundantly clear the match to spotlight inside Raymond James Stadium come April is Edge challenging Reigns for the universal title. Friday night was more proof of that as the energy between the two and the excitement they bring when in the ring together are undeniable. After tonight's attack, Edge will no doubt be gunning for the "Head of the Table" after Reigns likely comes out of Elimination Chamber still reigning champion upon defeating one of the six men who were featured in the main event. Grade: B
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Shinsuke Namakura def. Apollo Crews via pinfall. Big E, who was on commentary, stopped Crews from using the steel steps during a post-match attack on the outside. Instead, Crews nailed the intercontinental champion with the steps from behind as he was attending to Nakamura. After Big E rolled to the outside and the referee pleaded with Crews to drop the steps he was then holding over his head, he dropped them to the outside onto the champ.
- Seth Rollins was out to cut a promo on the stage. He said every one of his friends turned their backs on him by walking out last week before he called on a video package to relive the moment. He called it unacceptable in the workplace and revealed that he's taking legal action because his moment was ruined by a "bunch of losers." Rollins finished by calling out Cesaro for being the biggest loser of them all and telling everyone to "embrace the vision."
- Tamina & Natalya def. The Riott Squad via pinfall. Billie Kay was out during the match and tried to celebrate with the winners, but she was laid out by Tamina.
- Reginald, Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair def. Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler & Bayley via pinfall. The match came about after chaos ensued during the women's tag champs' appearance as guests on "Ding Dong, Hello!" Reginald pinned Jax with assistance from Banks.
- Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio def. Otis & Chad Gable via disqualification after Otis failed to break a five count. Post-match, Otis hit Rey Mysterio with a splash off the top rope as Gable held the legend down.