WWE SmackDown results: Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes meet as The Bloodline continues to crack


Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes had a deeply personal face-to-face ahead of their main event meeting at WrestleMania 39. Reigns and Rhodes met on WWE SmackDown for the first time since Rhodes won the Royal Rumble in January.

Rhodes promised to defy expectations at WrestleMania, something he's made a career of doing. Reigns evoked the name of his opponent's late father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes in an effort to get under the challenger's skin.

Reigns is looking ahead to WrestleMania but is still dealing with the aftermath of Elimination Chamber. The champion is visibly stretched thin while dealing with Rhodes, strategizing against Sami Zayn and the continued absence of The Bloodline's Jey Uso. 

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.

Reigns and Rhodes exchange barbs, Zayn continues to split the champ's focus

The Bloodline, absent Jey Uso, made their entrance to kick off SmackDown. Reigns dropped his trademark "acknowledge me" line but was soon after interrupted by Rhodes. "The American Nightmare" invited Reigns to send away Jimmy Uso, Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa so that they could speak privately. 

Rhodes proclaimed that he has made a career of defying expectations: from growing beyond being Randy Orton's lackey to recovering from his maligned Stardust alter ego and even selling out a 10,000-seat independent show -- the latter a callout to the "All In" event that sparked the creation of All Elite Wrestling. 

Reigns mocked Rhodes for never headlining WrestleMania, let alone competing for a WWE or universal championship. The undisputed champion then spoke fondly of Rhodes' late father, Dusty Rhodes. Reigns explained how Dusty Rhodes often told Reigns that he was the future of the business, yet noted that Dusty Rhodes never once mentioned his son. The segment closed with a fiery Rhodes promising to dethrone Reigns before shaking hands with his WrestleMania opponent.

Backstage, Reigns inquired about Jey Uso's whereabouts. Jimmy Uso said that he spoke with Jey Uso and that his twin brother only needs time. Reigns asked how much time Jey Uso needed. Jimmy Uso insisted that his brother was doing better day by day. Reigns warned that he was running out of patience with Jimmy Uso.

WWE commentator Michael Cole threw to a Twitter video from Sami Zayn posted earlier in the day flanked by WWE fans. Zayn boasted that Reigns was feeling the heat, well aware that The Bloodline was crumbling. Zayn assured that he would not go away until The Bloodline was gone for good.

Reigns followed up with Jimmy Uso later in the evening. Jimmy Uso was told to leave Jey Uso "the hell alone." Reigns could not comprehend how Jey Uso could treat his family so poorly. Reigns suggested it was Zayn's influence that made Jey Uso greedy and selfish. Reigns demanded that Jimmy Uso get rid of Zayn tonight. Reigns was confident that Zayn's absence would bring Jey Uso home to The Bloodline.

Sikoa def. Zayn via pinfall after hitting the Samoan Spike. Zayn rushed the ring and took down Sikoa before the match officially started. He tossed Sikoa and Jimmy Uso to the outside and floored them with a swanton dive over the ropes. The camera turned to Reigns backstage seething over Zayn's early success. Sikoa and Zayn fought a spirited contest once the bell rang. Zayn nearly sealed the deal with a Blue Thunder Bomb and Helluva Kick, but Jimmy Uso yanked Sikoa out of the way. Sikoa capitalized on the opening and took out Zayn with a Samoan Spike for the victory.

Jimmy Uso and Sikoa laid into Zayn post-match. Jimmy Uso wrapped a steel chair around Zayn's face as Sikoa prepared to land the fatal blow. Jimmy Uso stopped his brother, insisting that he would be the one to finish Zayn off. The hesitation allowed Zayn to recover as he hit both members of The Bloodline with the chair before fleeing into the crowd. 

The opening segment between Rhodes and Reigns was stellar. Both are fantastic talkers with very different cadences and are quickly building a big match feel at WrestleMania. The best stories in pro wrestling borrow from real life. Everything Rhodes said about overcoming expectations -- from surviving Stardust to launching AEW -- was true. As was Reigns harkening back to his time training with Dusty Rhodes in WWE's developmental program. Bonus points for including Reigns in the ongoing drama with Jey Uso and Zayn. The Bloodline is Reigns' kingdom and he's clearly having a difficult time patching all the holes in his family. This split focus may be the catalyst of his downfall at WrestleMania. Grade: A

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Rhea Ripley def. Liv Morgan via submission with a bent-over inverted cloverleaf hold.
  • Dominik Mysterio def. Santos Escobar via pinfall following a frog splash preceded by a Riptide from Ripley ringside. Pre-match, Escobar challenged Dominik Mysterio in order to defend the honor of Rey Mysterio.
  • Dominik Mysterio hit Rey Mysterio with a cheapshot post-match.
  • Drew McIntyre challenged GUNTHER to an intercontinental title match at WrestleMania, drawing the ire of his friend Sheamus. LA Knight, New Day and Karrion Kross all interrupted the segment, leading to a brawl in which Kross came out on top.
  • Shayna Bazler def. Tegan Nox via submission after locking in an armbar. Bazler and Nox brawled earlier in the evening after Nox injured Ronda Rousey's arm.
  • GUNTHER accused Adam Pearce of poor leadership for not yet announcing his opponent for WrestleMania.
  • Bobby Lashley chokeslammed Uncle Howdy after Bray Wyatt's associate tried to blindside Lashley.
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March 4, 2023, 1:01 AM