WWE SmackDown Results: Kevin Owens posts The Bloodline alone ahead of the 2023 Royal Rumble

Kevin Owens doesn’t need a helping hand. Owens laid out The Bloodline a lot 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 derail the faction from the real threat of Owens.

SmackDown also started and completed the opening round of a tournament to crown the No. 1 contender 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 Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Owens surprises The Bloodline, Zayn and Reigns are feeling strained

SmackDown opened with The Bloodline arriving in the arena’s parking lot. Zayn was in a good mood, bantering with The Usos before Reigns tripped a fist.

Zayn requested an audience with Reigns later in the evening. Reigns asked for honesty and Zayn expressed how he felt slighted by The Bloodline last week. Zayn had been tasked with defeating Owens and was on the verge of doing so when The Usos and Solo Sikoa intervened. For a split second it crossed Zayn’s mind if Owens was right about The Bloodline using him. This set Reigns off. The Undisputed Champion was annoyed at running his game plan by Zayn. 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 assess Zayn’s value to The Bloodline heading into a match against Zayn’s estranged best friend. Heyman later approached Zayn and informed him that Reigns wanted to speak with “Honorable Uce.”

Reigns apologized to Zayn for his outburst, and credited Heyman for drawing him in. Reigns understood that Zayn just wanted a clear line of communication. Reigns pointed out how they are both perfectionists. Reigns said it was his fault to expect the same kind of love from The Bloodline that he gives his family. Zayn assured him that The Bloodline loves Reigns and that Zayn will always put the group first. Reigns told Zayn to sort out all of The Bloodlines’ departure details so they can leave as soon as the contract to break Owens is signed.

Reigns sat comfortably at the bargaining table in SmackDown’s closing segment. Owens snuck up on The Bloodline, dropped Solo Sikoa and planted Reigns with a stunner. Owens sidelined The Usos and then drove Reigns through the table with a pop-up powerbomb. Owens signed the contract and confronted Zayn before fleeing into the crowd.

The Bloodline, Zayn and Owens continue to deliver some of the most compelling pro wrestling television in a long time. Initially, members of The Bloodline feared that Zayn was worming his way into the group. It is now becoming apparent that while Zayn is fully committed to his adopted family, Reigns is manipulating his farmer. Owens – for his part – has been presented as a strong challenger to Reigns and got the best of everyone this week in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin fashion. Grade: A+

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Drew McIntyre and Sheamus def. 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 #1 contenders for the tag team titles.
  • LA Knight def. Greg Jones via pinfall after landing a snapmare driver.
  • Bray Wyatt’s “Firefly Funhouse” returned when he provoked Knight ahead of 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 rolled 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 match.
  • Sonya Deville blindsided Charlotte Flair during a verbal confrontation.
  • Lacey Evans showed off the Cobra Clutch in a military-themed vignette.
  • Empire (Kaiser Ludwig and Giovanni Vinci) def. Brawling Brutes (Butch and Ridge Holland) via pinfall after hitting the Imperium bomb to Holland. Kaiser also hit Butch with a brainbuster on the outside. Imperium continues to round 2 of the tag tournament.
  • Legado Del Fantasma (Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Model) def. Maximum male models (Mace and Mansoor) via pinfall after hitting an enzuigiri and Russian side leg combo on Mansoor.

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