Featuring a tag match that could lead to a title opportunity, this February 26th episode of SmackDown features a weird production glitch.
I am happy to announce that Roman Reigns, who comes out tonight to kick off the show, still has an entrance so long and boring that my hair is now a lovely shade of gone. He rambles on about how he’s saved SmackDown, and he also talks about how he crushed Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber. He’s angry because “his night” was ruined by Edge. Awww, poor baby. He gives Edge a chance to back out of their WrestleMania match. Wasn’t he just begging Edge to pick him? Top tier writing here everyone, take notes.
Daniel Bryan comes out, thankfully, to cut off Reigns. Bryan sarcastically agrees that Reigns’ night was ruined, saying that if it wasn’t for Edge, Reigns’ night of coming out and beating up a man who had already gone through an Elimination Chamber match would’ve been perfect. Bryan also says that some “other people backstage” would say that Reigns is a coward. Bryan is also confused that Reigns wasn’t in the main event of Elimination Chamber, since he’s the Head of the Table. Bryan challenges Reigns to a Universal Championship match at Fastlane, but Jey Uso butts in, saying Bryan is just making excuses for his loss. Reigns gets in Bryan’s face and smack talks him, and Jey sucker punches Bryan and tosses him over the barricade.
Backstage, Edge catches up with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. He says that they need to talk about how Daniel Bryan could be getting a title shot before he does, even though Edge won the Rumble that Bryan was also in. Pearce and Sonya don’t have much to say about that.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio VS Alpha Academy
Otis starts off against Rey, who gets plowed over by Otis. Otis drops an elbow and tosses Mysterio hard before spearing Rey in the corner. Gable has to get Otis to calm down before tagging in and delivering a gutbuster. Rey avoids a takedown from Gable and tags in Dominik, who comes in and drives Gable’s head to the mat with a tornado DDT. He tags in Rey, and they deliver a spinebuster/seated senton combo.
They deliver a double 619 and Rey hits a Frog Splash, but Otis breaks up the pin and takes out Dominik with a double ax handle. He gets Gable to the corner and tags himself in before catching Rey off a crossbody attempt and slamming him to the floor. He climbs the ropes and delivers a massive splash to get the win for the Alpha Academy.
Winners via pinfall: Alpha Academy
Match Rating: 3/5
We see Apollo Crews stretching backstage, and as he does, at 28:14 in the show, a line of text flashes across the bottom of the screen for a brief moment: “Still to come LIVE on SmackDown: Roman Reigns vs Goldberg WrestleMania Contr.” It cuts off at the end, it’s pure white Arial font text, and it disappears ridiculously quickly. Funnily enough, Crews is looking right down at it as it happens. It was obviously a mistake on the production crew’s part, but did they just accidentally give us a major spoiler, or is this just something from last WrestleMania? I’ve never seen anything like this before, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they really just messed up that badly.
Crews comes out to the ring, grabs a mic, and puts on a scarf. He says for far too long, he’s been humble, and he hasn’t gotten anything in return. He talks about how his ancestors are Nigerian royalty, and their power is what he represents. He says that Nakamura will face the same fate as Big E, but Nakamura cuts him off with his highly superior entrance music.
Apollo Crews VS Shinsuke Nakamura
Crews attacks Nakamura before the match even starts, tossing him outside the ring. He looks to use the steel steps on him, but the ref stops him as we go to commercial. When we come back, Crews is in control, dropping Nakamura with a clothesline and locking in a chinlock. Nakamura fights his way out, but Crews tosses him with a German suplex. Nakamura sort of lands on his feet and delivers a single leg dropkick, as well as a few other roundhouse kicks.
The King of Strong Style stacks Crews on the ropes and delivers a knee before delivering a running knee to Crews. Crews retaliates by slamming Nakamura with a series of German suplexes. Nakamura fights back with a kick and a sliding German suplex before looking for the Kinshasa, but Crews rolls to the outside.
Nakamura goes outside after him, but Crews grabs him and whips him into the steel steps. He brings him back inside and goes for a slam, but Nakamura locks in a sleeper. Crews grabs his scarf, which is wrapped around the ringpost, and pulls on it to drive Nakamura into the turnbuckle. Crews keeps up the assault with an enziguri, and an Olympic Slam to put away Nakamura.
Winner via pinfall: Apollo Crews
Match Rating: 3/5
Liv Morgan (w/ Ruby Riott) VS Tamina (w/ Natalya)
Tamina uses her power early to shove Liv around, but Liv retaliates with a hurricanrana that sends Tamina into the corner. Tamina fights back with a powerful superkick that drops Liv, before tossing her across the ring with a Biel. She delivers a running hip attack for 2. Liv tries to fight back, but Tamina attacks with a back elbow. She keeps up the attack with a suplex for 2, and Liv tries to fight back again, but she gets slammed face-first to the floor.
Liv looks for a backslide, Tamina powers out of it, but Liv delivers an enziguri, a kick, and a shotgun dropkick from the second rope for 1. Liv goes for an attack in the corner, but Tamina dodges her and delivers a Samoan Drop. She grabs Liv and delivers her version of the Black Hole Slam to put Liv away.
Winner via pinfall: Tamina
Match Rating: 3/5
Odd, no Billie Kay shenanigans. Just a clean win by Tamina. Not that she doesn’t deserve all the wins, it just seems like they were going hard on that storyline.
Bianca Belair comes out to make her choice for her WrestleMania opponent. She is quickly interrupted by Reginald, who now has a theme song that sounds absolutely awesome, from the five seconds we get to hear. He says the same thing as usual, that if Bianca challenges Sasha, Sasha will win. Sasha makes her entrance and grabs Reggie’s mic, reminding him that she told him never to speak for her. She says once again that Bianca isn’t the B-E-S-T, she is. Bianca tells her that she is the best, and she’ll prove it when they face each other at WrestleMania.
Sami Zayn and King Corbin VS The Street Profits
Sami starts off against Ford, who quickly shoves Sami into the corner. Sami strikes with a boot to the gut and a chop, but Ford whips Sami to the ground with an arm drag. Both wrestlers tag out, and Dawkins and Corbin go at it. Corbin runs into Dawkins with a shoulder tackle, but Dawkins fights back with a dropkick. Dawkins locks in an arm wringer, and Corbin fights out and goes for his ring-around-the-ringpost clothesline, but when he goes outside, Sami’s documentary crew is in the way.
Dawkins catches him with a forearm as he comes back into the ring, and Ford strikes with a missile dropkick that sends Corbin to the outside as we go to commercial. When we come back, Corbin is taking the fight to Ford with some elbows. He tags in Sami, who chokes Ford on the ropes. Sami tags Corbin back in and the King goes for an attack in the corner, but Ford strikes with an enziguri. Corbin tags in Sami, who looks to prevent Ford from reaching Dawkins, but he’s unable to, and Dawkins comes in and roughs up Sami with a corkscrew back elbow, a spinning splash and a bulldog for 2. Corbin comes in, but Dawkins dumps him out of the ring.
Sami strikes with a DDT for 2, and we look outside to see Sami’s documentary crew is filming Corbin. The King doesn’t like that, and shoves one of them away. Sami gets frustrated at him, and Ford and Dawkins take advantage of the distraction. Ford jumps over Sami and takes out Corbin with a Swanton, Dawkins delivers a butterfly neckbreaker to Sami and tags in Ford, who delivers a Frog Splash to pick up the win.
Winners via pinfall: The Street Profits
Match Rating: 3/5
Kayla Braxton interviews Daniel Bryan, who is focused on his match with Jey Uso tonight. Bryan says that he has a better chance at beating Roman than Edge does. Edge comes in and gets in his face a little, and says that if Bryan beats Roman, he and Edge would face off at WrestleMania. He wants to know who Bryan thinks would win that match, but Bryan says he’ll keep that opinion to himself.
Seth Rollins comes out and talks about his complaint he sent to WWE, but he is quickly interrupted by Cesaro. Rollins calms him down by hyping him up and listing his accomplishments. Rollins says that Cesaro is missing the killer instinct he needs to become a successful superstar, and Rollins can help give him that killer instinct. He wants to help him become the best superstar he can be, and invites him to join him. He tells Cesaro he can take some time to think it over, but Cesaro has his answer right away, as he grabs Rollins and gives him a Giant Swing that lasts a truly unreasonable amount of time.
Reginald brings Carmella a nice glass of wine, and she assures him that she’s not mad about him helping out Sasha Banks earlier tonight. She tells him that she knows he’ll “do the right thing,” whatever that means. She takes a sip of wine, and it’s obviously not to her liking, as she splashes it in Reggie’s face and sends him to get another drink.
Daniel Bryan VS Jey Uso
Jey rains rights and lefts right out of the gate, but Bryan fights back with a hip toss before focusing on the left arm of Jey. Bryan catches Jey with a running elbow and then delivers a dropkick and a series of kicks in the corner. He then stacks Jey up on the top rope and delivers an avalanche hurricanrana. Jey rolls to the outside of the ring to collect himself, but when Bryan goes for a suicide dive, Jey catches him with a superkick. He slams the bad leg of Bryan into the announce table and the ringpost as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Jey is continuing the assault on the left leg of Bryan. Bryan looks for the Yes! Lock, but Jey escapes by attacking the leg once more. Bryan looks to mount some offense, but Jey drops him with a Samoan Drop for 2. Jey goes for the Uso Splash, but there was no water in the pool, as Bryan moves out of the way and then delivers the Yes! Kicks. The leader of the Yes! Movement dumps Jey to the outside and delivers a wrecking ball dropkick and a flying knee.
He brings him back into the ring and looks for a missile dropkick, but Jey dodges him and locks in a single leg crab. Bryan tries to kick his way out, but Jey locks the crab back in. Second time’s the charm as Bryan kicks his way out and delivers a kick to the head of Jey for a close 2.
Bryan looks for the running knee, but Jey catches him with a brutal chop block and a superkick for a very close 2. Jey once again goes to the top rope and looks for the Uso Splash, but Bryan meets him at the top, delivers a butterfly superplex, and looks to roll into the Yes! Lock, but Jey crawls to the bottom rope. Jey crawls to the outside and Bryan follows him, but Jey slams Bryan into the steel steps. Neither man gets back into the ring and the ref counts to 10, and the match ends by count out.
Result: Double count out
Match Rating: 2/5
After the match, Jey brings Bryan back into the ring to punish him more, but Bryan locks in the Yes! Lock. Roman Reigns comes to the ring to attack Bryan, but he gets put in the Yes! Lock as well. The numbers game becomes too much for Bryan though, and Jey and Roman beat him down. Roman delivers a spear to Bryan, and the show ends with Bryan laying defeated at the feet of the man he could’ve faced at Fastlane.
SmackDown February 26
Another all right show, I’m frankly super excited about Banks VS Belair. And man, I’ve really never seen anything like that weird text before, so that was cool. Boy, I really hope Bryan isn’t just done with Reigns after tonight.