Jimmy Uso Confronted Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Jey Uso
Virtually anything Reigns is involved in is must-see television and this was no exception. Reigns did a great job of addressing his upcoming title defense against Cesaro at WrestleMania Backlash and responding to The Usos' actions last week. Obviously, Jimmy isn't aligned with Reigns and company (at least not yet), which his shirt made pretty clear. Not only did everyone play their roles well, but the segment also successfully set the stage for the night's main event.
Natalya and Tamina def. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler to Win the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship
I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't given two shits about this feud over the last two months. Natalya and Tamina bore me to tears while Jax and Baszler haven't been portrayed as dominant at all (despite holding the gold for the better part of the past eight months). To their credit, they had a better bout than I was expecting and I'm sure that moment meant a lot to them, but the titles have been neglected almost since the beginning. I don't see that changing now that Natalya and Tamina are champions.
Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews, Big E, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens Brawled
This started off as a "Medal of Honor Ceremony" for Commander Azeez, which felt like it was ripped straight out of Star Wars: A New Hope. It wasn't long before all hell broke loose and the four Superstars currently embroiled in a feud over the Intercontinental Championship brawled with each other. It was short, sweet and straight to the point. What surprised me was that the Fatal 4-Way was announced for next week's SmackDown instead of Backlash. That sounds like a pay-per-view-worthy match to me, so doing it on TV instead seems strange.
Rey Mysterio def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler
This match was originally advertised for last week before Ziggler challenged Dominik Mysterio to an impromptu match and lost. Considering Dominik beat Ziggler in a matter of minutes last week, it probably shouldn't have taken Rey as long as it did to beat him, too. Nonetheless, this was a well-wrestled affair while it lasted, giving the babyfaces an additional momentum boost before they challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match on Sunday.
Bayley Interrupted SmackDown Women's Champion Bianca Belair
I don't think the outcome of Belair vs. Bayley at Backlash is much in doubt, and although this segment did nothing to make me think otherwise, both women cut good promos. The storytelling has been simple and they've done everything they could to get people excited for their match. It's nice to see Bayley back in a prominent role on SmackDown for the first time in months and she's making the most of it.
King Corbin def. Shinsuke Nakamura
As if Nakamura getting pinned by Corbin in last week's 10-man tag team match wasn't bad enough, Corbin beat him here again. I know Nakamura attacked him afterward, but who could possibly bring themselves to care about this feud when Corbin is considered a dead end for most midcarders and Nakamura has been spinning his wheels since turning back babyface? The match itself was decent, but Nakamura stealing Corbin's crown was pretty stupid. I'd rather he destroy it so we can say goodbye to the king crap forever.
Cesaro def. Jimmy Uso by Disqualification
Jimmy claimed that Reigns couldn't beat Cesaro. Reigns asked him if he could beat Cesaro, which was what led to this match being made. Considering it was Jimmy's first match back in over a year, I thought he looked pretty good. They were having an enjoyable main event up until the interference from Reigns. Post-match, Reigns and Jimmy almost got into it while Cesaro laid out Jey in the ring. We all know Cesaro isn't winning at Backlash, so I'm glad he's stood tall more often than not leading into the event to make people think he could.
I thought the last two editions of SmackDown were absolutely excellent. This one didn't quite reach those levels, it did serve as a solid go-home show for WrestleMania Backlash. I feel like you're either sold on the pay-per-view or you're not. In other words, this SmackDown wasn't going to move the needle one way or another, but the build was well done. I've been digging the Universal Championship picture and the Intercontinental Championship, SmackDown Tag Team Championship and SmackDown Women's Championship pictures have also held my attention. Other aspects of the show need more creative attention (Corbin vs. Nakamura, the women's tag title scene), but the good outweighs the bad with the blue brand more often than not.