Kevin Owens doesn’t need a helping hand. Owens put down The Bloodline en masse on WWE SmackDown ahead of his undisputed WWE Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Friday’s episode of SmackDown was as much about the strained relationship between Sami Zayn and Reigns as it was about Reigns vs. Owens. The tumultuous chemistry between The Bloodline members continues to sidetrack the faction from the very real threat of Owens.
SmackDown also started and completed the opening round of a tournament to crown the No. 1 contenders for the undisputed tag team championships currently held by The Usos. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus, Imperium, Brawling Brutes, Legado Del Fantasma and Viking Raiders were among the tandems involved.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.
Owens stuns The Bloodline, Zayn and Reigns feel tense
SmackDown began when The Bloodline arrived in the arena parking lot. Zayn was in a good mood playing with The Usos before Reigns fended off a punch.
Zayn requested an audience with Reigns later that night. Reigns asked for fairness and Zayn expressed how he felt belittled by The Bloodline last week. Zayn had been tasked with beating Owens and was about to do so when The Usos and Solo Sikoa intervened. For a split second, Zayn thought about whether Owens was right about The Bloodline using him. This turned Reigns off. The undisputed champion was pissed off about Zayn executing his game plan. Reigns demanded that Zayn leave the locker room, suggesting that it was time for Zayn to stop using The Bloodline and return to Owens.
During the second half of the program, Heyman calmed down a seething Reigns. The special counsel asked Reigns to consider Zayn’s return to The Bloodline en route to a match against Zayn’s estranged best friend. Heyman later approached Zayn and told him that Reigns wanted to speak to the “Honorary Uce”.
Reigns apologized to Zayn for his outburst and credited Heyman for bringing him in. Reigns understood that Zayn just wanted a clear line of communication. Reigns pointed out that they are both perfectionists. Reigns said it was his mistake to expect the same kind of love from The Bloodline that he gives to the family. Zayn assured him that The Bloodline loves Reigns and that Zayn will always put the group first. Reigns asked Zayn to sort out all of The Bloodline’s departure details so they can leave as soon as the contract to wrestle Owens is signed.
Reigns sat comfortably at the negotiating table in the closing segment of SmackDown. Owens snuck up to The Bloodline, dropped Solo Sikoa, and planted Reigns with a blast. Owens sidelined The Usos and then blasted Reigns through the table with a pop-up power bomb. Owens signed the contract and took on Zayn before fleeing into the crowd.
The Bloodline, Zayn and Owens have continued to deliver some of the most compelling pro wrestling television for quite some time. Originally, members of The Bloodline feared that Zayn was making his way into the group. It now becomes clear that while Zayn is completely devoted to his adopted family, Reigns is manipulating his pawn. Owens – for his part – has been presented as a strong challenger to Reigns and got the best of everyone in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin fashion this week. Quality: A+
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Defeating Drew McIntyre and Sheamus. Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) via pinfall after Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Ivar. McIntyre and Sheamus advance to the second round of a tournament to crown the No. 1 contenders for the tag team titles.
- L.A. Knight defeats. Greg Jones via pinfall after the landing of a snapmare driver.
- Bray Wyatt’s “Firefly Funhouse” returned while provoking Knight prior to their Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. Uncle Howdy was also featured.
- Hit Row (Top Dolla and Ashante Adonis) def. Los Lotharios (Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo) via pinfall after Adonis rounded up Carrillo with help from B-Fab. Hit Row advanced to round 2 of the tag team tournament.
- Braun Strowman announced his participation in the men’s Royal Rumble agreement.
- Sonya Deville dazzled Charlotte Flair during a verbal confrontation.
- Lacey Evans showed off the Cobra Clutch in a military-themed vignette.
- Imperium (Kaiser Ludwig and Giovanni Vinci) defeats. Brawling Brutes (Butch and Ridge Holland) via pinfall after hitting the Imperium Bomb to Holland. Kaiser also hit Butch out with a brain teaser. Imperium advances to round 2 of the tag tournament.
- Legacy Of The Ghost (Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Model) def. Maximum male models (Mace and Mansoor) via pinfall after hitting a combination of enzuiiri and Russian side leg swing on Mansoor.