Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns are working hard to curry favor with Jey Uso in The Bloodline's civil war. Reigns pulled strings to get Jey Uso a United States championship match on SmackDown while Jimmy Uso did more damage than good.
Driving a wedge between the twin brothers won't be easy, but Heyman is trying his hardest. A U.S. title shot and the promise of being the next "Tribal Chief" of The Bloodline were among Heyman's attempts to lure Jey Uso to Reigns' side.
It was a busy episode of SmackDown with lots of new matchups on the way. Money in the Bank qualifiers, a women's tag team unification match and a tag team contenders gauntlet are among the next steps in WWE matchmaking.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Jey Uso is pulled in two directions as The Bloodline tears apart
SmackDown opened with Solo Sikoa and Heyman in the ring. Jey Uso immediately hit the ring and scolded Sikoa for backstabbing their older brother. Heyman intervened as he said that Jey Uso was the righthand man of Reigns and is being groomed as the next "Tribal Chief." Heyman accused Jimmy Uso of envying his twin brother and said The Usos were no more. Heyman revealed that Reigns had used his leverage to secure Jey Uso a United States championship match against Austin Theory. Heyman described it as Jey Uso's first step towards world heavyweight champion and "Tribal Chief" of The Bloodline. Jey Uso agreed to challenge for the U.S. belt but was not committal to abandoning Jimmy Uso.
Sami Zayn crossed paths with Jey Uso backstage. Zayn described his time with The Bloodline has some of his best memories. He accused "The Tribal Chief" of being the family's great plague. Not Reigns specifically, but the anointed leader poisoned by the words of Heyman. Zayn advised Jey Uso to follow his heart, not the voice in his ear.
Heyman informed Jey Uso that he would be flying to Money in the Bank in a private jet with Reigns, Heyman and Sikoa, noticeably omitting Jimmy Uso. Heyman also tried to woo Jey Uso with the promise of a custom suit, a championship celebration next week and an official acknowledgement that he is the heir to The Bloodline's thrown. Jey Uso expressed his enthusiasm but wondered why Heyman was so happy. Jey Uso said his condition to remain in The Bloodline was for Heyman to leave.
United States Championship -- Theory (c) def. Jey Uso via pinfall after eating an inadvertent superkick from Jimmy Uso. Theory and Jey Uso had a back-and-forth match that was trending in Jey Uso's direction when the referee was knocked unconscious. Jey Uso hit a top rope splash and would have secured the three count had the ref been present.
Pretty Deadly attacked Jey Uso, spurring Jimmy Uso's arrival. Jimmy Uso fought off Elton Prince and Kit Wilson, but Sikoa appeared out of nowhere and set up Jimmy Uso for a Samoan Spike. Jey Uso stopped Sikoa and Jimmy Uso used the opportunity to launch a super kick at Sikoa, but the little brother sidestepped and Jimmy Uso inadvertently kicked Jey Uso. Theory covered Jey Uso for the pinfall while Jimmy Uso and Sikoa brawled.
Jimmy Uso tried to console Jey Uso afterwards but was shoved away. Heyman tried to console Jey Uso but he walked off. The show went off the air with Heyman, grinning ear-to-ear, calling Reigns.
SmackDown had a very "Game of Thrones" political twist to it. There was some solid stuff with Heyman being portrayed as a snake in the grass and Reigns trying to woo Jey Uso with championships and status. My only complaint is the climax of the main event. Jimmy Uso inadvertently super-kicking Jey Uso was an uninspired choice. That shouldn't meaningfully influence Jey Uso in abandoning his twin brother. It's pro wrestling after all. People are constantly striking their friends by mistake. Theory's matches never end clean and it's getting redundant. The more inspired choice would be for Jey Uso to win the U.S. championship. It would validate Reigns' status as someone with pull, elevate the U.S. title and be a rare, unexpected title change. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Santos Escobar def. Mustafa Ali via pinfall after hitting an avalanche Phantom Drive. Escobar qualifies for the men's Money in the Bank ladder match.
- WWE women's tag team champions Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler challenged NXT women's tag team champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn to a unification match. The NXT champs got the better of Rousey and Baszler in a brawl.
- Bayley def. Michin via pinfall with a Roseplant to qualify for the women's Money in the Bank ladder match.
- Scarlett blinded AJ Styles with red dust, allowing Karrion Kross to emerge from the crowd and choke out Styles with a Krossjacket.
- Asuka was presented with a new SmackDown women's championship. A returning Charlotte Flair challenged Asuka to a match. The champion accepted before failing to get the upper hand on her challenger.
- Butch def. Baron Corbin via pinfall to qualify for the men's Money in the Bank ladder match. Corbin was distracted by Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams at ringside.
- Cameron Grimes laid out Corbin backstage
- Pearce announced a gauntlet match between Street Profits, Pretty Deadly, LWO, Good Brothers and Brawling Brutes next week to determine No. 1 contenders for the tag titles