Last week's installment of SmackDown focused on Cesaro wanting to challenge Roman Reigns for the universal championship. That never ended up happening as Jey Uso would step up and face Cesaro instead. Before their match was over, Seth Rollins, who lost to Cesaro at WrestleMania, interfered and attacked the Swiss Superman.
Friday's episode of SmackDown began with Cesaro and Rollins picking up their feud. Daniel Bryan, Jey Uso, and Roman Reigns also became involved in the situation with Reigns taking offense that Cesaro wanted to challenge him. Bryan came out to have Cesaro's back and even the odds. Bryan and Cesaro ended up taking on Rollins and Uso in a tag-team match as a result of the confrontation.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action from the new ThunderDome inside the Yuengling Center.
Reigns challenges Bryan to title match
Seth Rollins began SmackDown by saying that Cesaro, who began the night in the ring, had fulfilled his potential at WrestleMania with his victory. Rollins took credit for Cesaro's big moment because Cesaro was in the ring with Rollins himself.
Cesaro responded saying he wanted to prove that he can beat Rollins a second time, just before Jey Uso also came out and got in the mix saying that Cesaro disrespected Roman Reigns with his challenge last week. Rollins and Uso planned to surround the ring and attack Cesaro, but Daniel Bryan came out to even the odds and allying himself with Cesaro. Reigns finally made his made his way out and called Bryan and Cesaro "losers."
After Reigns left the stage, Bryan and Cesaro began brawling with Rollins and Uso, which led to a tag-team match being made official to start off the show.
After winning the tag-team match, Bryan got on the mic and called out Reigns. Uso attempted to attack Cesaro who brutalized Roman Reigns' right hand man, while the universal champion never emerged to defend his cousin from Cesaro's beatdown
Following the commercial break, Uso was interviewed backstage about what transpired. Uso still remained loyal to Reigns and said that Cesaro was going to get destroyed by Reigns in the future. Reigns' counsel, Paul Heyman, later cut a promo revealing Reigns would answer Cesaro's challenge by the end of the night.
At the end of the SmackDown, Reigns came out and and told Cesaro he's the one that issues the challenges and challenged Bryan to a title match on next week's episode of SmackDown. Reigns added a stipulation that if Bryan loses next week, that he never wants to see Bryan on SmackDown again, which Bryan accepted.
Daniel Bryan and Cesaro def. Jey Uso and Seth Rollins via pinfall. The four men began brawling and a tag team match was made official to start off SmackDown. Cesaro even started a "Yes" chant with the WWE universe during the match. Deep into the match, which took up most of the first hour of the show, Rollins screamed that he doesn't need this and stormed out of the ring, leaving Uso left all by himself, Bryan was able to hit a running knee on Uso and score the win for his team.
This was one of the lengthier matches that WWE programming has seen in quite some time. It was a nice way to intertwine the storyline between Cesaro and Rollins and Cesaro wanting a shot at Reigns' universal championship, but did get a little complicated at times. Having Rollins walk out on Uso was a nice touch showing Rollins really only cares about himself. Then Bryan got to point out that Reigns wasn't coming out to save Uso despite Uso always having Reigns' back. A tag-team match between four of SmackDown's biggest stars definitely was an exciting start to the show and was a nice lead up to Reigns challenging Bryan. Grade: A
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Tamina def. Nia Jax via pinfall. Tamina was able to stack up Jax and got enough leverage for the pin.
- Apollo Crews def. Kevin Owens via pinfall to retain the intercontinental championship. Midway through the match, Sami Zayn came down to the ring to distract Owens. K.O was able to regain control, but for the finish Commander Azeez got up on the ring apron and distracted Owens allowing Crews to score a roll-up pint retain his title. After the match, Commander Azeez attacked Owens with his patented Nigerian Nail. It was announced at the end of the show that Crews will defend the intercontinental championship against Big E next week on SmackDown.
- A vignette is shown for Aleister Black. Black was featured in a dark vignette reading from a book called "Tales of the Dark Father." This was Black's first television appearance in six months since being drafted to the SmackDown brand in October.
- Bayley is interviewed backstage. Bayley said that she plans to take back her SmackDown women's championship and defeat Bianca Belair. The match has been made official for WrestleMania: Backlash.
- Rey and Dominik Mysterio def. Otis and Chad Gable via pinfall. Rey Mysterio was able to apply a drop-toe hold and connect on the 619 on Chad Gable. Mysterio followed the 619 up with a frog splash and record the pin. Now the Mysterios could be in line for a SmackDown tag team title shot against Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.