WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: The Bloodline remains a united front but doubts linger


The Bloodline is stronger than ever in the aftermath of Survivor Series WarGames. The friction between Sami Zayn and Jey Uso gave way to friendship on WWE SmackDown, but it appears some baggage remains. 

Jey Uso and Zayn repeatedly cost each other victories in the lead up to Survivor Series. Generally, these were not intentional as much as collateral damage of in-fighting. Zayn's decision to choose The Bloodline over his friendship with Kevin Owens mended those fences. Jey Uso directly aided Zayn in scoring an important victory on Friday night, even if questions about Zayn's honesty linger in The Bloodline.

The blue brand closed out Friday's show with the finals of the SmackDown World Cup. Ricochet and Santos Escobar fought tooth and nail to not only win the tournament but to earn a shot at GUNTHER's intercontinental championship.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

Zayn levels up, inaugural SmackDown World Cup winner cemented

The Bloodline opened the show as Zayn credited The Usos, WWE's longest-reigning tag team champions, for securing their squad the victory at Survivor Series WarGames. Jimmy Uso interrupted and gave Zayn full credit, insisting that this night was about him. Jey Uso agreed. The trio celebrated their newfound chemistry with a group handshake.

The Brawling Brutes interrupted the celebrations, setting the stage for SmackDown's opening match.

Sami Zayn def. Sheamus via pinfall courtesy of a sunset flip. Sheamus bullied Zayn for much of the match with a Cloverleaf hold, White Noise and Beats of the Bodhran. Zayn got a couple of licks in with a tope con giro and Blue Thunder Driver. A brawl ringside between The Bloodline and the Brutes opened the door for Jey Uso to superkick Sheamus, aiding his former rival Zayn to victory.

After the match, Zayn informed The Usos and Solo Sikoa that he was leaving the arena. Jimmy Uso insisted on Sikoa going with Zayn for protection. Afterwards, Jimmy Uso expressed enthusiasm about seeing Jey Uso and Zayn get along. Still, Jimmy Uso was curious if Jey Uso approached Zayn about lying to his face on the SmackDown before Survivor Series. Jey Uso pondered the question but dismissed it. Group leader Roman Reigns believed in Zayn and Zayn proved himself worthy inside WarGames. 

Their brotherly conversation was cut short by Sheamus, who laid the tag team champions out with his shillelagh. 

SmackDown World Cup (finals) – Ricochet vs. Santos Escobar via pinfall after landing a 630 splash. All three members of Legado Del Fantasma were ejected from ringside early in the match. What followed was an exciting, competitive match between the athletic superstars. Ricochet threw caution to the wind with a suicide dive, top rope superplex and springboard moonsault. In an amazing feat of balance, Ricochet ran up the staircases, landed on the barricade and cat-walked it. Escobar effortlessly hopped onto the barricade and snapped off a ridiculous hurricanrana to the floor. Ricochet learned his lesson the second time, countering a top rope hurricanrana and landing on his feet. Ricochet endured a number of Escobar's signature moves before landing the cup-winning 630 splash. GUNTHER stared down Ricochet to end the show.

It wasn't a particularly memorable episode of SmackDown in terms of plot development beyond the pageantry of the World Cup finals, but not every episode can be. What we got was a rather great match between Ricochet and Escobar. It was awesome to see Ricochet, a superstar who was woefully underutilized in the Vince McMahon era, and the relatively fresh Escobar given a main event platform. Fans were also treated to the continued elevation of Zayn and the positive development in The Bloodline's chemistry with just a hint of friction. Grade: A-

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • GUNTHER def. Kofi Kingston via pinfall after landing Emerald Flowsion. Braun Strowman cleared out Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to even things out. Prior to the match, Kingston challenged any member of Imperium backstage and announced his entry into this year's Royal Rumble.
  • Bray Wyatt cut a promo backstage about how spoiled people have become with phones and technology, reminding the audience they were once wild animals. Wyatt insisted he wasn't the one who attack LA Knight a few weeks ago.
  • Shayna Bazler def. Emma via submission after locking in the Kirifuda Clutch. She laid out an interfering Shotzi post-match. A storyline injured Raquel Rodriguez got Bazler to back off. Pre-match, Emma gave Madcap Moss a kiss on the cheek for his support.
  • A video package hyped up Lacey Evans' marine background.
  • Liv Morgan, wielding a kendo stick, and a returning Tegan Knox sent Damage CTRL packing.
  • Karrion Kross and Scarlett starred in a cryptic video. Scarlett revealed tarot cards with images of The Emperor and Rey Mysterio.
  • Uncle Howdy, Wyatt's alter ego, shared a cryptic message.
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