The Bloodline is a mess, and Kevin Owens remains the biggest threat to Roman Reigns’ dominance in a long time. Owens defeated Solo Sikoa, Sami Zayn and The Usos before his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match against Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Reigns was notably absent from the last SmackDown before the Royal Rumble. Reigns may want to re-evaluate his media commitments 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 puts Zayn’s future with the group in further doubt.
This week’s episode of SmackDown also featured a brief cameo from Brock Lesnar. The former WWE and UFC champion officially announced himself as a participant in the 2023 men’s 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 goes on to win over Reigns, Zayn and The Bloodline
Sikoa and The Usos arrived at the arena in an SUV to kick off SmackDown. As Jimmy Uso and Sikoa exited the frame, a hooded figure called out to Jey Uso. It was Zayn in 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 called 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 needed a favor.
Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa ends in a no contest after interference from Zayn. The two competing superstars engaged in a hard-hitting match. Owens and Sikoa pounded for the better part of 15 minutes. Owens landed a frog splash and DDT; Sikoa responded with a Samoan drop. Owens crushed Sikoa with a senton bomb and mounted what should have been the match-winning pinfall. Zayn emerged from under the ring and pulled Sikoa out of the ring to break the fall. No winner or outcome was made official by the ringside announcer.
After the match, Sikoa accidentally hit Zayn with a superkick. 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.
It’s really hard to think of a bad week of WWE programming when the focus is on The Bloodline. The secret to the story’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: lost almost cleanly to Owens, beat Zayn and was laid out by Owens after the match. Zayn’s lack of aggression towards Owens falls somewhere between complicit and cowardly. Reigns was too busy 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 ouster from the group comes about. Grade: A
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Rey Mysterio def. Karrion Kross via pinfall using a crucifix needle.
- 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 Sheamuswhich dictates that they be removed from a tag team tournament semi-final 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 #1 contenders after replacing McIntyre and Sheamus.
- LA Knight, walks 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.