WrestleMania and the Superstar Shakeup out of the way, all eyes right now are on Money in the Bank, which takes place on Sunday, May 19. Tuesday night's edition of SmackDown Live gave us a clearer picture of what we're going to see from the blue brand at the event (aside from the Money in the Bank match), including the beginning of Roman Reigns' fight against the authority as well as a women's title match that we're very much all too familiar with. But most importantly, a heel turn we all saw coming has set up the next WWE title program.
Let's have a look at everything that went down on Tuesday's edition of SmackDown.
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WWE SmackDown results, grades
Shane McMahon baits Roman Reigns: The commissioner of SmackDown started the festivities off on SmackDown this week. He said we're here this week to talk about Roman Reigns -- more specifically, what he did to his father, Vince McMahon, last week. McMahon wondered what sort of repercussions should be handed down, including termination. He decided they're going to settle this right now, and he ordered Reigns to the ring. Reigns strolled down and teased saying something on the mic before he threw it down. McMahon threw his down, and as the two were about to throw down in the ring, Elias attacked from behind. Reigns fought valiantly for a bit but the 2-on-1 advantage got the best of him as Elias eventually hit the Drift Away. Backstage, McMahon and Elias were bragging about the beatdown. Later in the evening, Elias, via song, challenged Reigns to a match at Money in the Bank before getting into a limo with McMahon. This was a challenge that was happily accepted by the "Big Dog."
The whole "Roman Reigns vs. authority" storyline is certainly not necessary here in 2019, but at least we're getting Shane in the role of evil boss trying to thwart the top babyface instead of Vince. The McMahon heel character on SmackDown is still pretty fresh, which should keep this somewhat entertaining for a bit as we get the possibly a few Elias matches, and yes, even a Reigns vs. McMahon match somewhere down the line. But this absolutely can't be dragged out too long as Reigns should simply be in the mix with the top superstars on his new brand. Grade: C
Finn Balor def. Andrade via pinfall: In Gorilla position prior to the match, Andrade and Vega accused Balor of running from them in the Superstar Shakeup, which was the best way to explain the sudden move back to the blue brand for the duo just one week after joining Raw. Andrade then said that he doesn't just want the intercontinental title, he wants to destroy the myth of Balor as well. He got off to a bad start in that mission, though, as Balor picked up the win this time around with the Coup de Grace in this non-title match. Grade: B+
Kairi Sane def. Peyton Royce via pinfall: Sane was successful in her first singles match on the main roster after putting Royce away following the Insane Elbow. Yes, another quick loss for one-half of the women's tag team champions. Following the bout, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville -- who confronted former mentor Paige earlier in the day -- emerged and condescendingly clapped as Paige stood tall with her new team of Asuka & Sane. Grade: D+
Aleister Black promo: The newest member of SmackDown cut a pre-taped promo saying that you know who he is, but you don't know what he is. The name and the persona are not aren't the same thing, but in due time, you'll find out you'll understand the tragedy of the character. Grade: B-
Lars Sullivan wreaks havoc again: Chad Gable was scheduled to face Jinder Mahal but that never took place as Sullivan attacked Gable from behind during his entrance. Mahal bolted, but the Singh Brothers took some punishment from the monster. R-Truth, who was attacked by Sullivan last week, came out to try and get some revenge but was unsuccessful as Sullivan again stood tall. Grade: D
Bayley wants her chance: In the ring, Charlotte Flair recalled the main event of WrestleMania 35, and of course, pointed out that she did not take the fall in MetLife Stadium. She demanded that Becky Lynch come out to explain why she deserves to be SmackDown women's champion. Lynch said that, no, she didn't pin Flair because she was too busy pinning the woman that Flair couldn't beat, Ronda Rousey. Flair assumed that she's in Lynch's head because even though she's feuding with Lacey Evans on Raw, all the double-champ still talks about is her on social media and in her promos. Lynch said she's tired of Flair standing in the way of other women getting a chance at the top, and one of the women she specifically pointed out emerged -- Bayley. Bayley reminded everyone that Lynch has never beaten her and told Flair they should see tonight who really deserves a shot. Flair told Bayley to get to the back of the line and was ready to chastise her further before the mic was violently batted out of her hands.
Charlotte Flair def. Bayley via pinfall: These two put on a great television match which concluded after Flair escaped a surprise small package attempt from Bayley and quickly hit a beautiful spear before getting the 1-2-3. With the win, Flair became No. 1 contender to the SmackDown women's title, and interestingly enough, Lynch revealed backstage after the match that she'll be making that defense at Money in the Bank in addition to facing off with Evans for her Raw women's title.
The match was very good. The outcome -- was not. It's OK to say that we've seen enough of Lynch vs. Flair at this point, and now we have to push through another outing on May 19, which will hopefully be the last time for a while. And let's also hope this isn't the last we see of Bayley chasing for the top prize in her new home. If there's anything to take solace in, it's the fact that while we may not be looking forward to another Lynch-Flair battle, the Money in the Bank setting adds a needed layer of intrigue. Grade: C
Kofi Kingston def. Shinsuke Nakamura via disqualification: You'll be stunned to learn that Kevin Owens turned heel on the New Day, folks. Kingston's fantastic match with Nakamura was ruined after Rusev interfered, and Owens and Xavier Woods came in to make the save. Shortly after saving Kingston, Owens nailed him with a surprise superkick and began decimating him both inside and outside of the ring. Owens staked his claim to the WWE title and told Kingston he'll be taking it from him soon. Woods tried his best to aid his friend, but he ate an apron powerbomb for his efforts. Owens stared maniacally from the top of the ramp as Kingston tended to Woods.
Some may say that Owens turning on Kingston and Woods was done too soon, but the truth is, it needed to be done. Owens is the perfect heel challenger for Kingston and the WWE championship, and during this feud, they could even tie in a little bit of reality with Owens claiming that WrestleMania should have been his moment upon his return. It was nice to see flashes of babyface KO, but in this current landscape, we need the psychopath he's so great at portraying. Grade: A