– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown on FOX opens up with a video package looking back at last week’s post-WrestleMania 37 edition of the show.
– We’re live from the ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida as Michael Cole welcomes us. He’s joined at ringside by Pat McAfee.
– We go right to the ring and Cesaro is already out, with a mic. He goes to speak but the music interrupts and out comes Seth Rollins with a new theme.
Rollins speaks from the stage and starts mocking Cesaro but congratulates him on finally reaching his potential, because he was in the ring with Rollins at WrestleMania 37. Fans boo. Rollins says he took Cesaro from way down at the bottom, and gave him the performance of his life, bringing him all the way up to the Promise Land. Rollins asks where his thanks is because he hasn’t heard anything, but he has heard that Cesaro is planning on moving on from Rollins and has his eyes on the WWE Universal Title. Rollins said it last week and will say it again – this isn’t over, because nothing is over until Rollins says so.
Rollins blames God and Mother Nature on creating a rain delay at WrestleMania that threw him off his game. If it wasn’t for that, Cesaro can’t beat Rollins on Rollins’ worst day and Cesaro’s best. Cesaro says he’s having a great day but it would be even better if Rollins came in the ring so he can prove that he can beat Rollins again. Rollins asks if that’s a challenge. He starts marching to the ring talking trash but the music interrupts and out comes Jey Uso.
Jey says Cesaro better listen to Rollins. Jey goes on about how Cesaro can’t beat him or Roman Reigns. His family disrespected Cesaro and he’s going to do the same thing again tonight. Jey drops the mic and heads for the ring but Rollins stops him to talk strategy, and how they should double team Cesaro. They surround the mic as Cesaro gets ready for a fight. The music interrupts and out comes Daniel Bryan to a pop and a “yes!” chant.
Bryan joins Cesaro in the ring as Rollins and Uso pace around at ringside. Bryan takes the mic and asks where they’re going. He gets it – they didn’t actually come out for the reasons they said they did. He knows Uso came out because Cesaro wants a title shot from Reigns, Rollins came out because he’s embarrassed and upset over the loss to Cesaro at WrestleMania. Bryan believes Reigns probably sent Jey out. Bryan says he came out here to make sure Cesaro finally gets what he deserves. Fans pop. Bryan hasn’t done this for Rollins or Jey because he has an infinite amount of respect for Cesaro, because he’s worked harder than everybody, including Bryan, Jey, Rollins and even Reigns. Bryan says Reigns is only where he’s at because of family connections, and Cesaro hasn’t got one break his entire career for the Universal Title.
Bryan asks if Rollins and Jey are going to come fight them? Probably not. Is Reigns going to come out and accept the challenge from Cesaro? Probably not. Bryan says Reigns doesn’t like to wrestle or fight. Bryan speculates that Reigns will come out and they will triple team he and Cesaro. Bryan would rather stand next to no one but Cesaro if there’s going to be a fight like that. The music interrupts and out comes the WWE Universal Champion with Paul Heyman as the boos get louder.
Rollins watches from half-way down the ramp as Jey joins Reigns and Heyman on the stage. Reigns taunts Bryan for the beating he delivered at WrestleMania 37, to Bryan and WWE Hall of Famer Edge. Reigns shows off his new t-shirt that featured the stacked pin. Reigns says Bryan is the guy on the bottom, meaning he’s a loser, and Cesaro is a loser for letting Bryan speak for him. He goes on and calls the top tier losers, main event losers. The boos get louder as Reigns goes on talking trash. Reigns says they’re dumb losers for talking trash while surrounded by people that want to kick their ass. Reigns wishes good luck and walks off as his music starts back up. Rollins and Uso look to be heading to the ring as we go to commercial.
Cesaro and Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins and Jey Uso
Back from the break and Seth Rollins is brawling with Cesaro while Daniel Bryan is brawling with Jey Uso in the ring. Rollins goes to the floor for a breather. Bryan is backed off Uso by the referee.
The bell rings and Bryan attacks Uso and goes to work. Bryan with a throw to the mat for a 2 count. Rollins talks some trash at the announce table as Uso gets double teamed off Cesaro’s tag. Cesaro drops an elbow for a 2 count. Rollins gets knocked off the apron by Cesaro. Cesaro with a long vertical suplex to Jey now as fans cheer him on. Cesaro finishes it with one hand but Jey kicks out at 2.
Rollins comes in but Cesaro unloads with uppercuts and body strikes into the corner. Cesaro misses in the opposite corner and Rollins nails a Slingblade for a 2 count. Rollins drops a strike on Cesaro and mounts him with more shots to keep him on the mat. Rollins takes it to the corner and tags Uso in for the double team. Uso drops Cesaro in the corner and charges in with the Rikishi splash. Uso with more splash before Rollins comes back in. Rollins with a running knee drop for a 2 count as Bryan reaches for the tag.
Rollins grounds Cesaro with a headlock but Bryan rallies the crowd. Cesaro fights up and out but runs into a boot in the corner. Rollins comes off the second rope but Cesaro catches him with a big tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Bryan tags in with a missile dropkick. He then knocks Uso off the apron. Bryan with Yes Kicks to Rollins now. Rollins ducks the roundhouse kick. Bryan blocks the pele kick and applies the ankle lock. Rollins resists but Bryan nails a German suplex for a 2 count. Bryan leads a “yes!” chant as he waits for Rollins. He goes for the running knee but Rollins catches him and delivers a Buckle Bomb. Uso immediately follows up with a Superfly Splash but Cesaro breaks the pin up at 2.
Rollins and Uso dominate, sending Cesaro to the floor and following him for a double suplex on the outside while Bryan is still down in the ring. We go to commercial with Rollins and Uso in control.
Back from the break and Rollins has Bryan stuck on the ropes and the apron, working him over. Rollins with a running boot to the face from the floor. Rollins rolls Bryan back in for a 2 count. Rollins keeps control and rocks Bryan in the back of the neck for a 2 count, and another quick pin attempt. Uso tags in and delivers a big kick while Rollins holds Bryan. Uso dominates while Bryan is down. Uso rocks Bryan into the corner and Rollins taunts him. Uso also talks some trash before putting boots to Bryan in the corner. Fans boo them.
Rollins with cheap shots on Bryan in the corner while Uso distracts the referee. Bryan fights both opponents out of the corner but Uso nails a Samoan Drop out of nowhere for a 2 count. Fans chant “yes!” to rally Bryan but Rollins keeps control. Rollins slams Bryan into the turnbuckles and puts a knee to him as the referee counts. Rollins yells at Bryan while keeping him down in the corner as the referee warns him. Bryan counters a move and they collide in mid-air, both going down in the middle of the ring.
Cesaro and Uso tag in at the same time. Cesaro unloads with uppercuts as fans pop. Cesaro with a clothesline for a 2 count. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing but Uso resists and kicks him away. Cesaro blocks a kick but Uso nails the enziguri. Cesaro comes right back with the corkscrew springboard uppercut for a close 2 count. Cesaro calls for the Neutralizer but it’s blocked. Cesaro lifts him for the big mid-air uppercut but Rollins breaks the pin up at 2.
Bryan comes in and goes at it with Rollins. Bryan dumps Rollins to the floor, then nails a big suicide dive. Cesaro gets knocked to the floor. Uso goes for a suicide dive but Cesaro meets him and rocks him at the ropes with an uppercut to the jaw. Cesaro goes to the top and flies but Uso superkicks him in mid-air on the way down. Cesaro is laid out as fans boo Uso and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Cesaro trades big blows with Rollins in the middle of the ring. Cesaro blocks a neckbreaker and goes for the Swing but it’s countered for a roll-up. Cesaro goes for the Sharpshooter now and he locks it in the middle of the ring. Uso breaks it with a big kick to Rollins from behind as fans boo. Rollins drags himself to the corner and in comes Uso. Uso goes to the top but Cesaro uppercuts him down.
Rollins starts walking away now, heading up the ramp and saying he doesn’t need this because he’s Seth f’n Rollins. Cesaro with a big superplex to Uso now. Bryan tags in and leads a “yes!” chant from the corner while Uso tries to recover. Bryan charges and nails the running knee to Uso for the pin to win.
Winners: Cesaro and Daniel Bryan
– After the match, Bryan and Cesaro celebrate as the music hits and we go to replays. Bryan takes the mic now and calls out WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, taunting him on the mic. Uso tries to attack from behind but Cesaro catches him and drops him. Uso takes the Cesaro Swing now as fans pop and Bryan counts the rotations. Bryan continues taunting Reigns on the mic. Uso gets up but Cesaro puts him right back down with the uppercut. Bryan doesn’t know if Reigns is coming to answer Cesaro’s challenge because he’s probably afraid after those swings. Cesaro taunts Reigns also on the mic now.
Cesaro says Reigns not saving his cousin shows he’s not a family man, and shows what kind of man he truly is. Bryan says maybe Cesaro should swing Cesaro again. Fans agree with another “yes!” chant. Cesaro swings Uso again as Bryan tries to taunt Reigns into coming out and saving his cousin. Bryan goes on about how Reigns couldn’t beat him or WWE Hall of Famer Edge without help, and he knows he can’t beat Cesaro. Bryan says Reigns knows if he faces Cesaro one-on-one then Cesaro will become the new Universal Champion. Bryan leads another “yes!” chant to the idea of Cesaro being champion as Cesaro’s music hits.
– Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce are talking backstage when WWE Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews walks in with Commander Azeez. Crews is furious about having to defend his title tonight. He threatens to have Azeez hit Big E with another Nigerian Nail if he has to face him again after beating him at WrestleMania. Pearce says Big E will get his shot when he’s able to, but tonight Crews has to defend against Kevin Owens. Crews stares at Pearce to end the segment.
Nia Jax vs. Tamina Snuka
We go back to the ring and out come the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions – Nia Jax with Shayna Baszler. They stop on the stage and Jax is all smiles as she waves for Reginald to come out, making his return after having a few weeks off while he was sick. Reginald heads down the ramp with Jax and Baszler as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Kayla Braxton stops Jey Uso in the back, asking about what just happened with his partner walking out on him. Jey says he doesn’t give a damn about Cesaro or Seth Rollins because he’s about to throw up. He goes on ranting about the disrespect from Cesaro and says he’s about to get put down. Uso walks off. We go back to the ring and see how Tamina Snuka looked strong and had fans chanting for her at WrestleMania 37. Tamina is in the ring now. Natalya watches from ringside.
Jax takes it to the corner with shoulder shots. She whips Tamina across the ring and splashes her in the corner. Jax with a big headbutt now but she’s still coming. Jax talks some trash and keeps pushing Tamina around. Tamina powers up and fights back. Tamina with a big Thesz Press and right hands for a pop. Tamina stays on Jax and beats her around.
Baszler grabs Jax to pull her to safety but Tamina keeps fighting. Jax drops Tamina as things get a bit sloppy for a minute or two. Jax goes to the mat for a breather. Tamina attacks again but Jax rolls to the floor for a breather. Tamina attacks again and sends her into the barrier. Tamina slams Jax’s head into the barrier over and over.
Reginald and Baszler end up on the apron to distract but Baszler gets kicked off. Baszler has words with Reginald at ringside now, forcing him to trip over the steps and go down. This distracts Jax, allowing Tamina to superkick her for the pin to win.
Winner: Tamina Snuka
– After the match, the music hits as Tamina joins Natalya at ringside. Jax is emotional as Baszler and Reginald hit the ring now, pleading with an angry Jax. There is trouble between the champs, and Reginald.
– Kayla is backstage with Kevin Owens. He says it’s been years since his last Intercontinental Title shot and he’s been waiting for this. He’s thrilled, delighted. He wasn’t expecting this opportunity and he’s not going to turn it down. A lot of people want to take the title from Apollo Crews and he will gladly be the one. Big E comes up laughing, saying Owens jumped the line because we all know this is Big E’s match, and his title. Owens jokes that Big E lost the title at WrestleMania, but he’s probably right about getting a rematch, but it’s not happening tonight because this is Owens’ opportunity, and it’s next. Owens says he will have fun because when he wins, the title will be his. They keep forcing laughs between the two until Owens walks off and Big E stares him down. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Daniel Bryan approaches Adam Pearce in the back about getting the Universal Title shot set up for Cesaro. Pearce says it’s not that easy but he will try. Bryan tells him to do more than try.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens vs. Apollo Crews
We go back to the ring and out first comes Kevin Owens. WWE Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews is out next with Commander Azeez.
The bell rings and they lock up, taking it to the corner and breaking. Owens with a single leg takedown. He keeps control and grounds Crews with a headlock now. More back and forth on their feet now. Owens with a big senton and a clothesline, sending Crews over the top rope in front of Azeez. Owens runs the ropes to fly to the floor but Azeez is standing in front of Crews. Fans boo. Crews takes advantage and drops Owens on his way back in.
Crews with a snap suplex in the middle of the ring for a quick 1 count. Crews works Owens over and keeps him down now. Crews drops Owens in the corner and stomps away. They end up on the floor. Crews misses a moonsault and Owens levels him with a big kick. Owens brings it back in and hits the big Swanton from the top rope. Crews kicks out at 2. The music interrupts and out comes Sami Zayn to boos. Owens looks at Sami and he’s not happy. Sami applauds as he walks down the ramp and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Sami is on commentary. Back and forth in the ring. Owens with a big superkick for another close 2 count. Crews comes back and delivers another big German suplex for a close 2 count. Owens ends up nailing a second corner cannonball but Crews kicks out at 2. More back and forth now. Crews blocks two Stunner attempts. Owens with a big superkick.
Owens catches Crews with the Pop-Up Powerbomb but he still kicks out at 2. Azeez ends up getting on the apron and yelling at Owens. Crews takes advantage of the distraction and rolls Owens up for the pin to retain.
Winner: Apollo Crews
– After the match, Owens drops Crews with a Stunner. Azeez comes in and lays Owens out with the Nigerian Nail. We go to replays. Crews makes his exit with Azeez as the music hits. Sami enters the ring and dances over Owens while he’s laid out. Fans boo Sami as he taunts Owens and dances over him.
– Kayla is backstage with Paul Heyman, asking if Roman Reigns will accept Cesaro’s challenge tonight. Heyman goes on about admiring and respecting Cesaro, and loving him, in a professional way. Heyman goes on and doesn’t answer the question but says we will hear from Reigns before the night is over. We go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and new backstage correspondent Megan Morant is waiting for WWE Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews. Crews walks in and he’s celebrating his win over Kevin Owens. He says let what happened be proof of what will happen to anyone foolish enough to come for the title. Crews is suddenly attacked by Big E. Big E drops Crews but is pulled away by officials. Commander Azeez runs up and checks on Crews as Big E is taken away. Azeez stands up from Crews and he’s not happy. McAfee wonders where Azeez was when Big E attacked.
– We get a new vignette for the return of Aleister Black. Black sits in a chair and says he wants us to know the truth. He talks about how people aren’t honest. He reads the first chapter from “Tales from the Dark Father: The Dragon” and talks about a child whose father took him to other people’s funerals, celebrations of life and death. He was too young to understand but his father became cold and distant. He learned not how to defeat the dragon but to become the dragon. Black says people are weak-minded and turn their children into bigger monsters than they are. Black says people need to be scorched from Earth to make room for more fertile things. Smoke fills the room as the vignette ends.
– Kayla is backstage with SmackDown Tag Team Champions Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. She asks who will win the Alpha Academy vs. Mysterios match tonight. Ziggler goes with Alpha Academy. He believes Dominik Mysterio has some big shoes to fill with Rey Mysterio. Kayla asks who’s next for Roode and Ziggler. The Street Profits interrupt and they want another title shot after losing last week. Ziggler tells them to get to the back of the line and they face off. Bayley gets in between them and calms things down as the two teams go their separate ways.
Bayley goes on about her WrestleMania Backlash match against SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. Bayley takes credit for helping Belair get ready for the title and says she’s rude, so she’s taking back what’s hers at Backlash, and going back to the top of the division. Bayley tells Kayla that she can go tell Belair that. Montez Ford wanders back over and he has his wife on speakerphone. She says she will be right there to deal with Bayley. Bayley is ready to say it to her face. We go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and announced for Talking Smack tomorrow is Cesaro, Bayley, and Sami Zayn. Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman will co-host as usual.
– We go back to Kayla and she’s with SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. Bayley is with them. Belair asks about the trash Bayley was talking earlier. Bayley changes her tune and congratulates Belair on her big WrestleMania win, and says she’s honored to be her first challenger. She goes on about how she handled Sasha Banks and says again it’s going to be an honor to face her at WrestleMania Backlash. That’s it, she says. Bayley walks off and Belair tells Kayla that’s not what she was expecting. Bayley walks back over and has one more thing… she starts laughing at Belair uncontrollably. Belair stares at her as she walks away.
Alpha Academy vs. The Mysterios
We go back to the ring and out first comes Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio. Alpha Academy is out next – Otis and Chad Gable.
Gable looks to start but Otis tags himself in to start the match and now we get started. He goes right to work on Dominik and levels him. Otis misses the big splash as Dominik rolls away. Dominik rocks Otis but Otis comes right back with a big clothesline. Otis stands tall to boos in the middle of the ring. Dominik crawls for a tag but Otis grabs him and nails a big slam while staring at Rey and yelling at him.
Otis continues taunting Rey. Otis goes to the second rope but Rey pulls Dominik to ringside to safety. Otis follows and hits a double clothesline on father and son. Gable comes over and takes Rey back down as Otis brings Dominik back into the ring. Otis stands tall over Dominik for more boos as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Gable is dominating Dominik on the mat for a 2 count. Dominik ducks Gable and decks Otis on the apron but he doesn’t go down. Gable tangles with Dominik but hits a Butterfly suplex for a close 2 count. Gable drops Rey off the apron with a cheap shot. Gable holds Dominik as Otis comes in and punches away. Rey watches from the apron as Otis levels Dominik with another big shot. Otis gets more boos from the crowd. Otis scoops Dominik for a big slam, then drops a shoulder into the mat.
Otis with more trash talking and playing to the crowd. Otis sends Dominik to the corner for a big shoulder thrust. Gable tags in for more thrusts in the corner. Otis tags in, mocks Rey, and then charges into the corner with a big splash on Dominik. Gable comes back in and covers for 2. Gable grounds Dominik with a submission now. Gable works on the arm as Rey tries to rally the crowd for his son.
Dominik fights up and out but Gable catches him with a big belly-to-belly suplex, then another throw. Gable goes for a German in Rey’s face but Dominik lands on his face. Dominik drops Gable into the top rope. Rey tags in and runs wild on Gable as fans pop. Rey with a big scissors takedown and a Destroyer in the middle of the ring for a 2 count. Gable charges but hits the ring pot when Rey moves. Rey goes to the top but Gable climbs up and cuts him off. Rey counters the big move up top and sends Gable to the mat with a hurricanrana for a 2 count.
Dominik comes in and they double team Gable. Rey slides under him to the floor and rocks him. Dominik then slides under Gable and hits the Sunset Bomb into the barrier. Otis gets knocked off the apron as Gable gets double teamed again. Dominik leaps to the floor but Otis catches him. Dominik slides out and Otis gets sent over the announce table. Rey hits Gable with 619 and then goes to the top for the big Frogsplash to get the pin and the win.
Winners: Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio
– After the match, Rey and Dominik celebrate as the music hits and we get replays. Cesaro’s music hits as he comes out with Daniel Bryan. They greet The Mysterios on the ramp as father and son head to the back. Cesaro and Bryan enter the ring as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Cesaro is in the ring with Daniel Bryan.
Cesaro takes the mic and says he’s ready for an answer from WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Reigns isn’t coming out. Cesaro says they can come back there and get an answer from Reigns if they have to, it’s up to him. They wait and the music hits as Reigns makes his way out with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman.
Reigns enters the ring and raises the title in the air as fans boo. He raises it in Cesaro’s face as the boos get louder. A “you suck!” chant starts up. Reigns can’t believe Cesaro is going to challenge him. He says Cesaro doesn’t deserve it and hasn’t earned it. Reigns says this will always be his because Cesaro can’t get on his level. Reigns says the champ issues the challenges around here and he challenges… he looks over at Bryan and says the challenge goes to him.
Reigns doesn’t like Bryan, has never liked him and never will, but will give him one more opportunity. He tells Bryan he will get one more title opportunity next week on SmackDown. What do you have to say? Cesaro tells Bryan he has to take the title shot, you can do this, you have to. Reigns tells Cesaro to shut up as he steps to him. Reigns says when Bryan loses, he never wants to see Bryan again. He wants Bryan to disappear, vanish, never to be seen on SmackDown again. Do you understand me? Bryan steps to Reigns and accepts the challenge. Fans pop.
A “yes!” chant starts up as Reigns and Bryan face off. Reigns raises the title in his face and taunts him with it. Reigns says Bryan will never have this, it’ll always be his. He keeps the title in the air and makes his exit as the music hits, still taunting Bryan. Cole says Bryan will be banished from SmackDown forever if he loses next week. The match is confirmed for next Friday with Bryan’s career on the line, but for just SmackDown? Bryan and Cesaro look on from the ring as Reigns, Uso and Heyman march up the ramp. SmackDown goes off the air.