– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown on FOX opens up with a video package to hype the WrestleMania 37 feud between WWE Hall of Famer Edge and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
– We’re live from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida as Corey Graves welcomes us to The ThunderDome.
– Graves sends us to the ring, where Michael Cole is waiting with a mic. He says as we just saw, WrestleMania 37 could be headlined by Edge vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Title, or not, if his guest has anything to say about it. Cole introduces Daniel Bryan and out he comes to a pop and a “yes!” chant from the virtual crowd.
Graves hypes Bryan vs. Jey Uso in a Steel Cage for tonight’s main event, with Bryan earning a shot against Reigns at WWE Fastlane if he wins. Bryan will have to acknowledge Reigns as the best wrestler on the planet and The Head of The Table if he loses. Cole asks Bryan about tonight’s main event and the stipulations. Cole mentions how a win for Bryan would throw a wrench in the originally planned Fastlane main event, which was Edge and Bryan vs. Uso and Reigns. Cole asks why Bryan has turned his focus to Reigns and the title, and why he passed on the tag team main event.
Bryan says Cole is making assumptions, the biggest being that anyone ever asked him if he wanted to be in the tag team match. Bryan says no one felt the need to run anything by him because they know he will show up and work his butt off no matter what. Bryan understands why Edge or Reigns didn’t bother asking him. Bryan says he’s making a change. He’s not going to be the old Daniel Bryan anymore. He knows they have this Edge vs. Reigns dream match for WrestleMania and he gets it. Everyone wants to see the Attitude Era vs. ThunderDome dream match, except for him, and he will do anything he can to make sure it doesn’t happen. Bryan excuses Cole and says he will take it from here. Bryan shows us a video package on the big screen.
The video shows how Bryan won the recent Eliminator Chamber match and came close to defeating Reigns in the title match that same night. We also see how Edge hit Reigns with a surprise Spear to end the pay-per-view, confirming that he was picking Reigns as his WrestleMania opponent. We come back to Bryan in the ring by himself now. Bryan says he’s lost a lot in his career, he’s gotten beat up a lot, so you’d think after winning his third Chamber match and fighting as valiantly as he could against Reigns, that it wouldn’t be a big deal but never in his life has he felt like such a failure like he did when he saw Edge point up at the WrestleMania sign that night.
Bryan says a lot of people don’t know this but they say Bryan doesn’t have a lot of ambition. He recalls how WWE did these personality tests a while back and the lady said he has the lowest ambition she had seen, and she wondered how he was so successful. The only answer he had was that he loves doing this and he doesn’t feel like he’s worked a day in the past 20+ years because he loves it so much. Bryan says for the last year he’s taken on being a dad more than a full-time wrestler, so he’s put other talents before himself. So when Edge pointed at the WrestleMania sign and Bryan felt like an absolute failure, it was because he failed himself. Bryan then realized he has a lot more ambition than that personality test could ever show. He knew then that he should be in the WrestleMania main event, not Edge or Roman, but him. He got upset at them being in the main event because he loves this.
Bryan says in the last three weeks he’s wrestled more matches than Edge and Bryan have combined in the last three months. He does this because he loves what he does. Bryan goes on and says he can be the absolute best. He keeps hyping up tonight’s match and earning the Universal Title shot until the music interrupts and out comes Reigns, Uso and Paul Heyman. Reigns stops on the ramp and raises the title in the air as the pyro goes off and the boos continue. We go to commercial as Reigns stares Bryan down from the ramp.
Back from the break and Team Reigns is in the ring facing off with Bryan. More pyro goes off around the ring as Reigns’ music plays. The boos get louder before Reigns takes the mic. Reigns is looking at the same guy but he doesn’t sound like the same guy. Reigns says the way Bryan is talking is confusing, so he knows the fans are confused. Reigns says Bryan is ambitious and driven now. No, Bryan is the underdog, their little guy, the lottery winner. Bryan is the guy who waits on an opportunity and sometimes it works out. Reigns says Bryan is not ambitious, guys like Reigns, and there aren’t many, are ambitious. Reigns says Bryan also doesn’t love wrestling, he needs it because he has nothing else. Reigns goes on and says he does love this business. He doesn’t need it, he does it because everybody needs him, SmackDown needs him, the roster and the crew all need him. The camera man, Heyman, Uso and Bryan all need Reigns.
Fans chant “you suck!” now. Reigns says once Jey whoops Bryan’s ass tonight, he will know he needs Reigns, in his heart, and he will acknowledge Reigns. Uso takes the mic and steps to Bryan, ranting and talking trash about tonight’s cage match. Uso says Bryan’s Road to WrestleMania ends tonight. He shoves the mic in Bryan’s gut. Uso walks away but turns to attack. Bryan counters and sends him out of the ring. Bryan stares Reigns down in the middle of the ring as his music starts back up. Fans chant “yes!” as Bryan watches Reigns makes his exit with Heyman. Uso clutches his arm and backs up the ramp while staring Bryan down.
– Still to come, Bianca Belair vs. Shayna Baszler.
– We see how The Street Profits defeated Sami Zayn and King Corbin last week.
Montez Ford vs. King Corbin
We go back to the ring and out comes The Street Profits – Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. It starts raining red Solo cups. Fans chant “we want smoke!” as Ford and Dawkins head to the ring for this rematch from last week.
Back from the break and out comes Sami Zayn with his documentary film crew. He admits The Profits pulled off a fluke win last week, but they will prove tonight that it was just that – a fluke. He’s interrupted by King Baron Corbin. Corbin goes on about how he and Sami are not tag team partners, and he’s not teaming with Sami tonight. Corbin says he is a singles competitor. He asks The Profits if they’d like a singles match. They’re up for it and Dawkins is ready to start with Sami. Sami asks if this is a setup that they’re all in on. He didn’t agree to this, he agreed to a tag team match. The Profits rant about wanting the smoke as Corbin heads to the ring for a singles match.
Corbin and Ford start things off. Corbin rocks Ford but Ford comes back with a big dropkick, and another. Corbin catches Ford with a big Spinebuster for a 2 count. Corbin takes Ford to the corner and works him over with body shots, beating him down as the referee warns him.
Corbin whips Ford into the turnbuckles and he goes down. Corbin lifts Ford and drives him into the mat in the middle of the ring. Corbin taunts Ford as he tries to get back up while Dawkins cheers him on. Ford jumps on Corbin’s back with a Sleeper but Corbin rams him back into the corner. Ford stays on his back and lands on his feet to break it. Ford unloads with a dropkick into the corner. Ford keeps fighting and catches Corbin in a big DDT off a counter.
Ford kips up and hits a standing moonsault for a quick pin attempt. Sami approaches Dawkins and rants at ringside. This distracts Ford but he still rocks Corbin and hits an enziguri. Corbin comes back and drops Ford with End of Days in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
Winner: King Corbin
– After the match, Corbin stands tall as his music hits. Corbin rolls to the floor and Sami Zayn wants some of the same help he just gave Corbin. Angelo Dawkins runs and knocks Sami off the apron back to the floor. Sami and Corbin argue at ringside now. Corbin walks away and tells Sami he’s on his own now. Sami isn’t happy. Dawkins looks on from the ring as we go back to commercial.
Sami Zayn vs. Angelo Dawkins
Back from the break and Angelo Dawkins is taking Sami Zayn from corner to corner as Montez Ford watches from ringside. Sami fights back and applies a headlock. Dawkins drops him with a shoulder. Dawkins runs the ropes and Sami leaps over him. Dawkins ducks a clothesline and hits a big dropkick for 2.
Sami rolls to the floor for a breather. Dawkins follows and gets kicked in the gut. Sami slams Dawkins face-first into the barrier and works him over as the referee counts. Sami brings it back in at the 7 count and drops Dawkins with a shot to the back of the neck for a 2 count.
Sami taunts Dawkins while keeping him down with kicks and punches. Sami puts a knee to the back on the middle rope while taunting Ford. Sami with a big clothesline for a 2 count, and another, and another out of frustration. Sami with more trash talking and strikes. Dawkins levels him with a big clothesline, and another. Dawkins with a big corkscrew back elbow, then the leaping splash in the corner. Dawkins with a bulldog for a close 2 count in the middle of the ring.
Sami fights off a suplex attempt. Dawkins with the double underhook swinging neckbreaker, The Silencer, for another close 2 count. Sami rolls to the apron and Dawkins grabs him but Sami hangs him up over the top rope. Dawkins blocks a Blue Thunderbomb attempt. Sami dodges a big splash in the corner and hits the Exploder suplex into the turnbuckles.
Sami stalks Dawkins now but stops when he sees Ford talking trash to his camera crew at ringside, and throwing water on the camera. Dawkins takes advantage of the distraction and rolls Sami up for the win.
Winner: Angelo Dawkins
– After the match, The Street Profits head to the back celebrating as the music hits. Sami goes to ringside and starts ranting about answers. He points to one documentary crew member and says he never hired this guy, who are you? Sami attacks the guy and rants some more about wanting answers.
– Carmella approaches Reginald the sommelier backstage. She accuses him of betraying her for obsessing over SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. He tries to say he’s doing this all for her. She flips over the tray in his hand, spilling the champagne all over him and in his face. Carmella says Reginald is fired. She walks off and he looks shocked.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable
We go back to the ring and out comes Dominik Mysterio with Rey Mysterio. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get a hype video for WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E. It’s announced that he will be back next week after being away due to the injury caused by Apollo Crews. We go back to the ring and out comes Chad Gable with Otis as The Mysterios watch from the ring. We see recent happenings between these two teams.
The bell rings and they go at it. Gable slams Dominik first. Dominik counters and sends Gable through the ropes for a pop. Gable runs back in but Dominik arm drags him and grounds him as Otis and Rey watch from ringside. Gable turns it around and controls Dominik now. Gable levels Dominik and goes to work on the left leg now for a 2 count.
Gable goes right back to work on the knee. We see Rey selling the rib injury from Otis’ splash on last week’s show. Dominik fights free and hits an enziguri after Gable catches a kick. More back and forth now. Dominik sends Gable into the turnbuckles face-first. The tornado DDT is blocked by Gable. Gable goes on and hits a big Tiger suplex for a close 2 count.
Gable goes to the top for a moonsault but he lands on his feet. Dominik blocks a German suplex as they trade more counters and pin attempts. Dominik rolls Gable up for the three count.
Winner: Dominik Mysterio
– After the match, Rey apparently stops Otis from attacking, sending him into the edge of the announce table. Rey leaps off the apron with a senton to Otis. Rey joins Dominik on the ramp to celebrate as Alpha Academy seethes in the ring.
– The Progressive Match Flo replay shows Cesaro hitting the Cesaro Swing on Seth Rollins last week.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with Seth Rollins now. He agrees that the Cesaro Swing went on forever last week. Rollins goes on about Cesaro being afraid of him and wanting to humiliate him. Rollins promises he won’t forget that. Murphy appears next to Rollins. Rollins looks at him but then stares straight ahead. Murphy says he was thinking he could assist Rollins with the Cesaro situation. Rollins tells Murphy to get out of his sight, now. Murphy walks off.
Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair
We go back to the ring and out comes the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions – Shayna Baszler with Nia Jax. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and out comes Bianca Belair. Cole hypes Belair and SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks vs. Jax and Baszler at WWE Fastlane. Before the match begins, the music hits and out comes Belair’s WrestleMania 37 opponent. Banks walks down the ramp but here comes Reginald the sommelier. Banks isn’t thrilled to see him. The bell rings and Baszler goes to work on Belair’s hand. Belair scoops her but Baszler slides out and applies a headlock.
They go into the corner and come out. Belair handsprings and clotheslines Baszler. Belair taunts Baszler some. Belair goes for a dropkick but Baszler swats her out of the air. They tangle some more and Belair rolls her for a quick pin attempt. They trade counters some more before Baszler ties up the arm again. Belair takes a big kick to the arm from the corner. She rolls around in pain as Jax smiles and applauds.
Baszler with a running high knee in the corner for a 2 count. Baszler grounds Belair and works on the arm and wrist some more. Belair side-steps another high knee attempt. Baszler comes right back but Belair scoop slams her. Belair unloads with shoulder thrusts in the corner now. Belair with more offense in the corner as fans cheer her on. Belair with a suplex and a kip up for a pop.
Belair with a back-drop in the middle of the ring. Baszler counters a Glam Slam and sends Belair out to the floor. She gets up and shoves Reginald. Belair runs back in the ring but Baszler kicks her in the mouth. Jax shoves Reginald now. Jax charges Reginald but he moves and Jax runs over Banks at ringside instead.
Baszler takes advantage of the distraction and applies a Kirifuda Clutch to Belair but can’t get it locked in all the way. Belair counters and scoops Baszler for the KOD. She manage to hit it in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
Winner: Bianca Belair
– After the match, Belair stands tall and her music hits as we go to replays. Belair goes out as Reginald tries to console Banks, who is still down. Belair tells Banks that this is all Reginald’s fault, and she needs to fix the Reginald problem. Belair walks off up the ramp. Reginald pleads with Banks and smiles at her. She drops him with a big smack to the face and says she told him to stay out of her business. Banks walks away while talking trash to Reginald as her music hits. We get a replay of the big slap. Reginald holds his face as Banks poses on the ramp.
– We see Jey Uso backstage with Roman Reigns. Reigns says the title is safe until WrestleMania if Jey can win tonight, but if not, Reigns has to defend it at Fastlane and that’s fine, but if Jey loses he not only embarrasses himself, he embarrasses the family. Reigns tells him not to embarrass their family. Uso says he’s got this. He walks off. Graves hypes the Steel Cage match as we go back to commercial.
Murphy vs. Cesaro
Back from the break and Murphy is already in the ring. Out next comes Cesaro. Before the match can begin, the music interrupts and out comes Seth Rollins.
The bell hits and Cesaro charges, slamming Murphy for a pop. Rollins joins Cole and Graves on commentary. Cesaro with another power throw to Murphy for a quick pin attempt. Cesaro catches Murphy in mid-air with a big backbreaker for a 2 count. Murphy counters and sends Cesaro through the ropes to the floor. Murphy knocks Cesaro back to the floor. Murphy runs the ropes and leaps over the top, taking Cesaro down on the outside.
Murphy brings it back in the ring and goes to the top. Murphy with a top rope Meteora for a 2 count. Cesaro fights back but runs into a boot in the corner. Murphy comes off the top but Cesaro nails a big uppercut on the way down. Cesaro with running uppercuts from corner to corner now as fans cheer him on. Cesaro drops Murphy with a running knee to the face.
Cesaro calls for the Cesaro Swing in the middle of the ring and he hits it as fans cheer him on. Cesaro goes into the Sharpshooter and Murphy taps out for the finish.
– After the match, Cesaro stands tall as his music hits. Rollins stands up at the announce table and applauds Cesaro as Cesaro stares him down.
– We see Reginald backstage with his luggage, apparently leaving. He stops at Sasha Banks’ locker room and knocks. She opens the door and yells “No!” in his face, then slams the door. Reginald keeps walking. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler stop him. Baszler says he reeks of failure. Baszler taunts Reginald and threatens him. Jax calms her down and asks if Baszler sees what she sees – Reginald is kind of cute. Reginald looks a bit confused as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get another hype video for WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E and his recent feud with Apollo Crews. Big E will be back next week.
– Cole plugs the new “HEAVEN” documentary on female high school wrestler Heaven Fitch, and the new “Goldberg At 54” documentary on WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg, both premiering this Sunday on the WWE Network.
– We go back to the ring and out comes Apollo Crews, carrying a spear and wearing his scarf. He has two men wearing combat boots and fatigues behind him. They enter the ring first and Crews follows. The muscle stand guard in the middle of the ring as Crews enters and stands between them. Fans boo as Crews takes the mic. He says everyone is saying how they don’t like the new Apollo. He says this is not the new Apollo, this is the real Apollo. This is who he is and this is how he talks. He’s a descendant of Nigerian royalty, and he’s a real African American. The men with him are real Nigerian elite guards, who protected his family for many generations.
Crews goes on about how he always wanted to be like everyone else in school, but they never accepted him. They asked him if he lived in a jungle and rode lions. Crews was ashamed when the truth is his Nigerian ancestors were feared in the country and dominant. Crews says history is repeating itself because WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E tried to beat him and humble him, but every time he tried he heard his ancestors telling him to stand up and fight. Crews knows Big E is at home nursing his injuries and he fears what Crews is saying.
Crews is happy Big E is coming back next week because Crews is no longer the man Big E once knew and once dismissed. Crews goes on and demands a rematch for the Intercontinental Title. Fans boo. Crews says Big E will fall before his feet and he will leave Big E a broken man for the rest of his life, and Big E will be haunted by Crews’ complete and total victory. Crews drops the mic and stands tall as the music hits, posing with his elite guards.
– Natalya and Tamina Snuka are backstage complaining to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville about why Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair are getting the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles shot from Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler instead of them. Pearce says he’s sorry but that’s the match that was made. He walks off. Deville also can’t help them.
– Kayla stops Jey Uso and asks about pressure going into tonight’s main event. Jey is confident and isn’t sweating no cage. Daniel Bryan suddenly attacks out of nowhere and lays Uso out. Fans in the arena chant “yes!” as Bryan walks off. We go to commercial with Uso down on the ground, trying to recover.
– Back from the break and Bayley is backstage for her “Ding Dong, Hello!” talk show segment, which is set up in the backstage wrestling ring set used for interviews, instead of the main ring in the arena like usual. Bayley steps through her front door and takes a seat. She says this is a test run for a “Sweet Tweets” segment she’s doing on her show, reading fan comments from social media that show her in a positive light. She goes to read the third and final comment but stops and balls up her index card, apparently it wasn’t positive enough. She walks back through the front door and closes it to end the segment.
– We get a Cricket Wireless-sponsored video on the Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns feud.
Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso
We go back to the ring and the Steel Cage is around the ring as the familiar music plays in the background. Graves is in the ring talking about how dangerous the cage is. We see a camera man sitting on top of the cage. Graves says this is one of our best camera men who is in position to show us how dangerous the climb is. Graves says our competitors will both leave a little piece of themselves in the cage tonight.
Out first comes Daniel Bryan to a pop. If Bryan wins this match, he gets to challenge WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at Fastlane. If he loses, he must acknowledge Reigns as The Head of The Table and the best wrestler on the planet. Bryan leads a “yes!” chant as he enters the cage. Out next comes Jey Uso, who is upset over the backstage attack by Bryan. Uso enters the cage but before they can begin, the music interrupts and out comes the WWE Universal Champion with Paul Heyman. Fans boo as Reigns stands on the ramp to pyro going off. Heyman pulls a chair over to the bottom of the ramp and Reigns takes a seat as fans chant “you suck!” at him. Bryan stares Reigns down and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and the bell hits as they go at it. Bryan with kicks. Uso comes back and launches Bryan into the steel wall. Uso traps Bryan between the ropes and the steel, working him over as Reigns watches from his chair. Reigns gets up and walks over to the cage as Uso presses Bryan’s face into the steel. Fans boo but Uso drops Bryan. Reigns says “more” to his cousin.
Uso drives Bryan into the steel again and calls for the door to be opened. Uso walks through the door but Bryan rushes to stop him. Uso unloads while Bryan is down by his leg. Uso drops Bryan and now climbs the cage to escape. Bryan climbs after him. They trade shots into the steel on the top rope now. Uso drops Bryan’s leg out and he gets crotched on the top rope. Uso with a big uppercut as Reigns and Heyman look on. Uso launches Bryan into the corner. Bryan blocks in another corner and slams Uso into the turnbuckles and the steel. Uso goes down.
Bryan goes to the top and hits a big missile dropkick. Bryan works Uso over and focuses on the arm now. Bryan sends Uso shoulder-first into the steel. Bryan with more focus on the arm now, softening him up for the Yes Lock. Heyman looks concerned now. Bryan avoids an attack and climbs to escape. Uso stops him in the corner and climbs up, turning Bryan upside down in a Tree of Woe. Uso stomps away on the hurt knee while Bryan is upside down in the corner. Uso pulls himself to the top of the cage but struggles due to his hurt arm.
Bryan climbs up and they both trade shots while hanging on to the top of the cage now. Bryan headbutts Uso back to the top rope. Uso gets Bryan on his shoulders and hits a huge Samoan Drop from way up high. Fans pop and Reigns looks on as both Superstars are laid out in the middle of the ring from the super Samoan Drop. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re both sitting on the very top of the cage now, trading shots. Bryan brings it back to the top rope as they keep fighting. Bryan with Yes Kicks as they stand on the top rope now. Fans chant along with him. Uso superkicks Bryan to the mat. Uso follows up with a big splash from the top rope but Bryan kicks out at 2 as Reigns and Heyman look on.
Uso slowly crawls for the steel cage door as the referee opens it. Bryan grabs his ankle. Uso gets up and nails Bryan with a kick to the face but it just stuns him. Bryan comes back with a kick of his own. Uso superkicks Bryan down for a 2 count. Uso and Bryan are both down next to each other as Reigns watches. Bryan pulls Uso into a 2 count. Bryan unloads with elbow strikes while they’re on the mat now. Bryan goes for the Yes Lock but Uso fights him off and delivers big right hands on the mat. Uso catapults Bryan face-first into the cage wall as fans boo. Uso gets to his feet first, looking over at his cousin and Heyman.
Uso climbs the cage wall now. He makes it to the top but here comes Bryan, trying to pull him back over the top rung of the cage. Bryan with headbutts at the top of the cage now. Uso is knocked to standing on the top rope now. Bryan gets his legs over the top of the cage but Uso grabs him and drags him back over to stop him from escaping. Bryan fights on the top rope now, slamming Jey into the steel. Bryan with a big super Butterfly suplex from the top. Bryan goes right into the Yes Lock in the middle of the ring as fans pop.
Uso crawls over and grabs the bottom rope but it doesn’t matter inside the Steel Cage. Uso holds out a few more seconds and then taps out for the finish.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
– After the match, the music hits and Bryan starts celebrating as fans chant “yes!” with him. The announcers confirm Bryan vs. Reigns for Fastlane with the Universal Title on the line. We go to replays. We come back and Bryan is sitting on top of the cage now, leading the “yes!” chant with fans. Reigns is still sitting in his chair at ringside, looking up at Bryan’s celebration. SmackDown goes off the air.