Friday, 26 March 2021

WWE SmackDown Highlights 26 March 2021

 

WWE Smackdown Live 3/26/21 March 26th 2021




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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 26

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    The Road to WrestleMania continued Friday night on Fox with an episode of SmackDown that wrote the latest chapter in the saga surrounding the Universal Championship, continued the escalating hostility between SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair, and saw Sami Zayn join longtime friend-turned-rival Kevin Owens on The KO Show.

    What went down, how did it affect key Superstars ahead of the most prestigious event of the year, and what did it mean for the storylines involved?

    Find out now with this recap of the March 26 show.

Match Card

1 OF 8

    Announced for Friday's Fox broadcast are:

    • Sami Zayn guests on The KO Show    

       

    Coverage begins at 8 p.m. 

Daniel Bryan Kicks Off SmackDown With A Championship Proposal

2 OF 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    Daniel Bryan kicked off SmackDown and immediately reminded fans that Roman Reigns tapped out at Fastlane despite vowing he never would. Though he said he would rather die than tap, he did.

    Unfortunately for Bryan, he is not the Universal champion, nor is he heading to the main event of WrestleMania because Edge hit him across the back with a steel chair. He said he’s not asking anyone to gift him anything. He is willing to earn the title, to earn a shot at WrestleMania. All he asked for was a match with Reigns tonight. He said he wasn’t going anywhere until he got it and took a seat in the center of the ring heading into the break. 

    After the commercial, Adam Pearce made his way into the ThunderDome and revealed that he cannot give Bryan a title opportunity tonight. Bryan pitched immediately facing the winner of Edge vs. Reigns, to which Pearce pointed out the unfairness, despite Bryan did the same thing back at Elimination Chamber.

    Bryan pitched Edge vs. Reigns at WrestleMania’s first night with the winner facing him on night two. Before Pearce could accept the offer, Edge made his way to the ring.

    The Rated R Superstar pointed out that Bryan lost twice, he won the Royal Rumble, and he’s got the title match. “You don’t deserve the match, you son of a bitch!”

    A brawl between the competitors gave way to Edge laying Bryan out, then bashing his hip with the steel chair. He left, staring a hole through Bryan along the way. 

         

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Bryan saying he wants to earn a title match with...a title match made no sense whatsoever and immediately made him sound disingenuous, whether that was intentional or not.

    The idea of him facing the winner of Reigns and Edge on night two isn’t a bad one but this smells like a feud destined to end in a Triple Threat Match, and that’s perfectly acceptable, too. It has been the best story in WWE for the last month and deserves a conclusion of epic proportions on wrestling’s grandest stage. How that happens, outside of the terrible “immediate title shot” first proposed by Bryan, matters not.

    The biggest takeaway from the segment? Edge is very much a heel now. As if his actions did not reflect that, the piped-in boos sure did. WWE is openly acknowledging it, which essentially admits the returning babyface story failed.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins

3 OF 8

    Credit: WWE

    Backstage, Roman Reigns ordered Paul Heyman and Jey Uso to go retrieve Adam Pearce. “Use force, if necessary,” he told Uso.

    Back in the arena, Seth Rollins made his way to the ring for a Fastlane rematch against Shinsuke Nakamura.

    The Artist started hot, rolling heading into the commercial. After the break, Rollins controlled the bout coming out of the break, working over the former NXT and United States champion. Nakamura fought back and delivered a sliding German suplex for two.

    He set up for the Kinshasa but Rollins evaded it, rocked him with a springboard knee strike, and added a falcon arrow for the count of two.

    Nakamura caught Rollins in a triangle choke but Rollins powered out and broke the hold by driving his opponent into the mat. The stomp followed and The Architect picked up the hard-fought victory.

    After the match, Rollins beat down Nakamura until Cesaro hit the ring, firing away on Rollins with a series of rights and lefts, followed by a popup uppercut. He teased the Cesaro Swing but Rollins narrowly escaped.

         

    Result

    Rollins defeated Nakamura

         

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    Rollins and Nakamura could probably sleepwalk their way to an above-average match at this point. Their chemistry is undeniable and the flow of their matches is so smooth.

    Rollins picking up the win was the right call, even if it does further diminish Nakamura’s credibility. The former WWE and Universal champion is primed for a WrestleMania appearance and, whether it’s right or not, Nakamura is not. Rollins needs to stay strong for his showdown with Cesaro.

    Speaking of The Swiss Superman, she showed great fire here, unloading on Rollins and expressing the sort of emotion critics have always wondered if he was capable of. He was great here and really added heat to a feud that will likely culminate in one of this year’s show-stealing matches.

Big E and The Street Profits vs. Apollo Crews, Otis and Chad Gable

4 OF 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The rivalry between Intercontinental champion Big E and Apollo Crews continued this week, manifesting itself in a Six-Man Tag Team Match in which the babyface teamed with The Street Profits to battle Crews, Otis and Chad Gable.

    The heels earned control of the match by cutting the ring in half, isolating Montez Ford from partner Angelo Dawkins and Big E.

    Ford created separation and tagged the IC champion, who exploded into the match like a bowling ball, rolling over anyone in his path. 

    The action broke down, each competitor hitting their signature offense, before Crews downed Big E and pinned the champion to earn the win for his team.

        

    Result

    Crews, Otis and Gable defeated Big E and The Street Profits

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Crews winning a match was a nice start to his path to WrestleMania, where he will challenge for the Intercontinental Championship. He has lost too often, despite a renewed push, and needed the win to explain why he is worthy of yet another title opportunity.

    Had they not and yet another showdown for the title would have lacked even more logic than the last one.

    The match itself was standard multi-man tag fare in WWE, with each man shining down the stretch before the finish. No one was hurt by anything that went down and Crews built some momentum, so it was at least a success in that regard.

The KO Show with Sami Zayn

5 OF 8

    Credit: WWE

    Kevin Owens attempted to introduce this week’s edition of The KO Show when Sami Zayn interrupted.

    He expressed regret for his actions last week, when he blasted Owens with a Helluva Kick, then announced a red carpet premiere for his conspiracy documentary. Then, he revealed YouTube sensation Logan Paul will be on hand for the big event.

    “I don’t care,” Owens started to say. Zayn cut him off again and began ranting until Owens yelled, shutting him up.

    “You. Me. One-on-one at WrestleMania. Yes or no?” Owens asked a flabbergasted Zayn.

    Backed into a corner, Zayn agreed to the match. Owens responded by beating him down and dropping him with a stunner. He exited as Zayn nursed his hurt jaw.

        

    Grade

    B+

        

    Analysis

    Longtime fans of Owens and Zayn know how much this opportunity to compete against each other at WrestleMania must mean for them. Two kids out of Quebec battling on the biggest stage in their profession is the stuff of fairy tales and on April 10 or 11, they get to make it a reality.

    Their previous encounters have been nothing short of stellar so if they are given the opportunity to have the match we know they can, we may have a show-stealer on our hands.

    Zayn was extraordinary here, a completely unhinged conspiracy theorist whose delusions now include genuine happiness to be associated with Logan Paul. Owens’ reaction was perfect, avenging the kick from last week and getting his former friend to agree to the Mania match all at the same time.

    Solid storytelling, a great performance by one of WWE’s best heels, and a fan-favorite WrestleMania match help make this a winner of a segment. 

Bianca Belair vs. Natalya

6 OF 8

    Credit: WWE

    A week after Natalya and Tamina attacked Bianca Belair and Nia Jax, The EST battled The Queen of Harts in singles competition. Tamina accompanied Natalya to ringside.

    Natalya controlled the match coming out of the break, trapping the 2021 Royal Rumble winner in a surfboard submission as SmackDown women’s champion Sasha Banks watched on from the floor.

    Belair fought back, dealt a huge slap to Banks in retaliation for a similar strike at Fastlane, and delivered the Kiss of Death to Natalya for the pinfall victory.

    After the match, Banks escalated things with Belair, dropping her with the backstabber and standing tall to end the segment.

        

    Result

    Belair defeated Natalya

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Belair vs. Natalya is one of those matches you wish would be given 10-plus minutes to really develop because the styles of the competitors mesh relatively well. With plenty of time to work with, they could tell a hell of a story and deliver something special.

    As it was, this was fine for what it was but was essentially overshadowed by the presence of Banks and Tamina at ringside.

    Belair winning was the right call considering he place on the Mania card, but it was interesting to see Natalya eat the clean pinfall loss when she and Tamina had been building momentum in recent weeks.

    Why bother spending time putting Nattie and Tamina over when they are going to turn around in a singles match like this and lose right away? 

Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler

7 OF 8

    Credit: WWE

    As the competition in the tag team division continued, SmackDown tag team champion Dolph Ziggler (with partner Robert Roode) battled Rey Mysterio (with son Dominik) in singles competition.

    Heading into the break, The Show Off sent Mysterio crashing to the ThunderDome floor, powerbombing him over the guardrail in a shocking display of barbarism. 

    Back from the commercial, Ziggler continued his unforgiving assault of Mysterio. The resilient babyface, though, fought his way back into the match. Ziggler cut him off, driving him face-first into the canvas.

    Ziggler caught Mysterio mid-flight with a Zig-Zag but Mysterio valiantly shot his shoulder off the mat at two, much to the disbelief of the heel. Rey recovered, delivered the 619 and a top-rope splash for the win.

         

    Result

    Mysterio defeated Ziggler

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Ziggler’s breakout performance in WWE came during his feud with Mysterio and the barnburner they delivered to kick off the 2009 SummerSlam. This was not that match. It was, instead, a relatively subdued television match that further diminished the tag team champions’ credibility at a time when it was already difficult to find a reason to care about them.

    Ziggler and Roode are too talented to be utilized so lethargically by WWE Creative, who seems content to build every other team but them. Yet here we are, watching one-half of the champions lose to a Mysterio who was left for dead heading into the break. 

    If Ziggler can’t beat Rey after he took that spill, how will he and Roode beat any of the competing teams at the inevitable multi-team match at WrestleMania?

Adam Pearce's Big Decision

8 OF 8

    Credit: WWE

    Adam Pearce made his way to the ring for the main event promo segment, followed by Roman Reigns, Edge and finally, Daniel Bryan.

    Pearce ran down all of the points made throughout the night by the three men jockeying for the Universal Championship. The WWE official concluded by announcing a Triple Threat Match for the main event of WrestleMania between the champion and his top two contenders.

    Reigns, infuriated, confronted Pearce while Edge and Bryan teed off on each other.

    Reigns rocked Bryan with a Superman Punch before demanding Jey Uso retrieve him a steel chair.

    Edge speared The Tribal Chief and Uso before unloading on the opposition with steel chair shots. He placed Bryan and Reigns’ heads on chairs and grabbed another chair. He teased a con-chair-to but Uso intervened.

    WWE officials hit the ring to try and stop the unhinged Edge but the Rated R Superstar blasted both Pat Buck and JAMIE NOBLE BOY(!) with chairs before taking a seat and staring maniacally into the camera to end the show.

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    The idea that Pearce announcing Bryan’s entry into the match would drive Edge to madness is an intriguing one. After all, Edge’s long, winding journey back to the top of the industry has been an emotionally draining one and now, he has one more hurdle to overcome to achieve the goal he set for himself.

    Given how vapid and one-dimensional most WWE storylines are these days, it is almost amazing that the creative team has managed to produce something this compelling.

    From a larger-picture standpoint, Bryan vs. Edge vs. Reigns is going to tear the house down and probably be a legitimate Match of the Year candidate. It is the match WrestleMania deserves, especially a show like this year’s, where part-time legends are few and far between

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