WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Sami Zayn officially an 'Honorary Uce,' tag title match headlines
Zayn is finally part of The Bloodline after a slight misdirection
Sami Zayn is officially in with The Bloodline. After months of winning over members of Roman Reigns' faction on WWE SmackDown, Zayn was properly welcomed into the fold on Friday night.
This week's episode of the blue brand opened with The Bloodline at full strength. An orchestrated moment of tension between Zayn and Reigns opened the door for a big development in their relationship.
Friday's main event featured a title match between undisputed WWE tag team champions The Usos and Brawling Brutes. Braun Strowman wrestled his first WWE match in nearly 18 months and SmackDown women's champion Liv Morgan got mean in an action-packed episode of SmackDown.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Vivant Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Zayn officially welcomed into The Bloodline
The Bloodline was in full force for the first time on Friday night: Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman and honorary member Zayn were all in the ring. Reigns demanded that Sikoa, the group's new enforcer, acknowledge him. Sikoa obliged. Reigns' music hit as the group was prepared to exit. Zayn, who had been ignored during Heyman's earlier speech, took the microphone and asked for the music to stop playing.
Zayn thanked Reigns and company for welcoming him into the group despite the fact that he is not blood. Reigns appeared upset by Zayn's interruption. Reigns verbally tore down Zayn for hanging around and wearing The Bloodline's shirt. He demanded that Zayn take off the shirt as Jey Uso, who has had tension with Zayn from the beginning, barked in agreement. Jey tore the shirt off Zayn's body and Zayn was visibly distressed at the sudden change in his relationship with the faction, but was all a ruse: Reigns presented Zayn with his very own shirt reading "Honorary Uce." Zayn celebrated with allies Jimmy Uso and Sikoa before acknowledging Reigns and hugging him. Jey looked on in disbelief.
Later on backstage, Madcap Moss and Ricochet approached Zayn, stating that Zayn has changed and had his head far up Reigns' rear-end. Sikoa viciously assaulted Moss and Ricochet, further establishing his friendship with Zayn.
A video package narrated by Heyman, in advance of the main event, documented how The Usos' title reign has surpassed teams such as The Dudley Boyz, Road Warriors and the Hart Foundation in WWE history. Only Demolition and New Day have longer reigns as tag team champions.
The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) def. Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland and Butch) via pinfall after pulverizing Butch with 1-D. The Usos leaned on their experience advantage as a duo to control and punish the challengers for much of the match. Holland took a particularly nasty bump outside of the ring early in the match. Butch, forced to operate solo late in the match, went on an absolute tear. He took the fight to the champions with dynamic actions, landing an apron moonsault on Jimmy outside before planting Jey with a German suplex in the center of the ring. Butch survived a number of near-falls before tagging in Holland, who displayed ridiculous power in lifting both Usos and dropping them on their backs. All three members of Imperium blindsided Sheamus after "The Celtic Warrior" tried to stop Zayn from interfering in the match. The Usos took advantage of the chaos and finished off Butch.
WWE deserves a lot of credit for their patient, caring approach to this storyline. Zayn has slowly and believably curried favor of each member of The Bloodline, excluding Jey, over the course of months. The storyline is rich with subplots and is the best thing being presented by any North American pro wrestling organization. The eventual split between Zayn and The Bloodline will be a big deal that should establish Zayn as a main event player. The Usos vs. Brawling Brutes was great as well. The ending was never in doubt, but it helped showcase the under-utilized talent of Butch and the emerging strengths of Holland. Grade: A-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Liv Morgan def. Lacey Evans via pinfall by hitting Oblivion. Morgan -- who faces Ronda Rousey in an "Extreme Rules" match at the upcoming pay-per-view of the same name -- attacked Evans with a kendo stick and drove her through a table.
- Hit Row, Street Profits and Shinsuke Nakamura partied backstage. More and more superstars attended the party over the course of the night. Los Lotharios (Humberto Carrillo and Angel Garza) attacked Hit Row at the party after being booted from it in a previous segment.
- New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) def. Maximum Male Models (man.soor and ma.ce) via pinfall in a short match. Max Dupri threw a tantrum post-match.
- Braun Strowman def. Otis via pinfall after landing a massive powerbomb. This was Strowman's first WWE match in 16 months.
- Sheamus announced an intercontinental title rematch against champion Gunther in two weeks on SmackDown.
- Drew McIntyre challenged Killer Kross to a strap match at Extreme Rules. Kross and Scarlett attacked McIntyre, putting him to sleep and accepting the challenge.
- Raquel Rodriguez def. Dakota Kai via pinfall following a distraction by Shotzi. Damage Control (Kai, Bayley and Iyo Sky) attacked Rodriguez and Shotzi post-match but were sent packing.