The Bloodline is a mess and Kevin Owens remains the biggest threat to Roman Reigns’ dominance in quite some time. Owens got the better of Solo Sikoa, Sami Zayn and The Usos ahead of his undisputed WWE universal championship match against Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Reigns was noticeably absent from the final SmackDown before the Royal Rumble. Reigns may want to reconsider his media obligations in the future as The Bloodline completely deteriorated in what should statistically be a one-sided rivalry against Owens. Another week of failure for The Bloodline further puts Zayn’s future with the group into question.
This week’s episode of SmackDown also featured a brief cameo from Brock Lesnar. The former WWE and UFC champion officially announced himself as an entrant in the men’s 2023 Royal Rumble match after laying out his rival, Bobby Lashley.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Sames Auto Arena in Laredo, Texas.
Owens continues to get the better of Reigns, Zayn and The Bloodline
Sikoa and The Usos arrived at the arena in an SUV to kick off SmackDown. Once Jimmy Uso and Sikoa exited the frame, a hooded figure called out to Jey Uso. It was Zayn hiding. Reigns had demanded that Zayn stay home between Monday Night Raw and the Royal Rumble. Zayn said he had no desire to ignore orders but wanted to thank Jey Uso for coming to his defense during Monday’s “Trial of Sami Zayn.”
The Usos attempted to confront Owens backstage but authority figure Adam Pearce and security separated the two sides. Pearce ordered The Usos out of the building.
Jey Uso made a phone call on his way out of the arena. He asked the person on the other line, presumably Zayn, if he was still in town and said he was in need of a favor.
Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa ends in a no-contest after interference by Zayn. The two competing superstars engaged in a hard-hitting match. Owens and Sikoa thumped for the better part of 15 minutes. Owens landed a frog splash and DDT; Sikoa returned fire with a Samoan drop. Owens crushed Sikoa with a senton bomb and settled into what should have been a match-winning fall. Zayn emerged from under the ring and dragged Sikoa out of the ring to break the fall. No winner or outcome was made official by the ringside announcer.
Post-match, Sikoa accidentally hit Zayn with a super kick. Sikoa tried to splash Owens through the announcer’s table but was countered and clocked with a steel chair. Owens spared Zayn the same fate as Zayn cowered ringside.
It’s really hard to think of a bad week of WWE programming when the focus is on The Bloodline. The secret to the storyline’s success is the many moving parts that subvert expectations. Everyone is responsible for The Bloodline’s latest failure. The Usos’ attitude got them sent home early. Jey Uso undermined Reigns by asking Zayn to interfere in the main event. Sikoa miscalculated his attacks: almost losing to Owens clean, striking Zayn and getting laid out by Owens post-match. Zayn’s lack of aggression towards Owens falls somewhere between complicit and cowardly. Reigns was too busy shmoozing with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” to lead his group. All of this results in Owens’ continued success against The Bloodline and more questions than answers as to how Zayn’s inevitable ousting from the group occurs. Grade: A
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Rey Mysterio def. Karrion Kross via pinfall utilizing a crucifix pin.
- Brock Lesnar announced his participation in the Royal Rumble match after attacking Bobby Lashley. A brawl between New Day, Theory and The Miz also took place.
- Lacey Evans def. Jazmin Allure via submission courtesy of a Cobra Clutch.
- The Viking Raiders attacked Drew McIntyre and Sheamusdictating their removal from a tag team tournament semifinal match against Hit Row.
- Braun Strowman and Ricochet def. Hit Row (Ashante Adonis and Top Dolla) via pinfall after Strowman landed a Monster Bomb on Adonis. They advance to the finals of a tag team tournament to crown new no. 1 contenders after replacing McIntyre and Sheamus.
- LA Knight, walking to the ring using Bray Wyatt’s old cult leader gimmick, and Wyatt exchanged barbs ahead of their Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. Uncle Howdy appeared in the crowd.
- Imperium (Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci) def. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro) via pinfall after landing the Imperium Bomb. Imperium advanced to the finals of the tag team title tournament.