As has been the case for the last few months, SmackDown largely focused on the ongoing Bloodline saga. After Jey Uso turned on Sami Zayn as the March 6 episode of Raw ended, fans were eager to see how the promotion would follow things up four days later. Additionally, we saw Dominik Mysterio continue to torment his father, Rey Mysterio, as the journey to their inevitable match marches on.
So, what did WWE get right on this episode of SmackDown? Well, let’s take a look at a couple of things that went well on this show.
The show-closing segment with The Usos, Cody Rhodes, and Sami Zayn
Before SmackDown officially started, Jey Uso told Kayla Braxton that he would explain why he betrayed Sami Zayn. That explanation came during the show’s final segment. With his brother, Jimmy, by his side, Jey said that he kicked Zayn’s head off because “he had to”, declaring that his actions were driven by his love for his brother. He then blamed Zayn for being selfish and failing to “fall in line” behind Roman Reigns.
Jey’s reasoning for turning on Zayn sounded nearly identical to his brother’s, which lends credence to fan speculation that Jey operating as an “inside man” working to dismantle The Bloodline. Performance-wise, Jey sold his inner conflict well before parroting the Bloodline propaganda. His role in this adds a bit more intrigue to the Usos’ presumptive tag title match against Zayn and Kevin Owens, once Owens and Zayn finally reconcile.
Until then, Zayn had to settle for Cody Rhodes’ assistance, “The American Nightmare” helped Zayn fend off the Usos to close the show. WWE deserves praise for seamlessly integrating Rhodes into the Bloodline story without suppressing Zayn’s momentum. As a result, it is benefitting from having two hot babyfaces buttress Raw and SmackDown every week.
Dominik Mysterio once again dares Rey Mysterio to hit him
During the episode, WWE announced that Rey Mysterio would headline the WWE Hall of Fame induction class of 2023. Rey’s nearly-34-year career speaks for itself, as there’s no one who would argue against the high-flyer receiving this honor.
Well, unless you’re Rey’s son, Dominik.
Seconds after Rey started to address the audience, Dominik and the rest of the Judgment Day interrupted him. Dom ranted about Rey being a “deadbeat dad” and said that his father was too old and washed up to be a Hall of Famer (clearly, no one told Dom that most Hall of Famers are past their primes).
This drew out Legado Del Fantasma, who would not stand for Dom’s disrespect of Rey and wanted to get an early start on their scheduled trios match with Judgment Day. Unfortunately, the match didn’t go the way LDF hoped, as the heels scored a shady win over Santos Escobar’s crew.
After the match, Dom once again tried to goad Rey into hitting him. Rey once again refused to strike his son (even after Dominik said he should have been “Eddie’s son”), but he did avoid Dom’s blindside attack while reiterating that he won’t fight Dom (yet).
Based on how the crowd reacted to this segment, WWE has to be encouraged by how this feud has played out. Even though Dom’s performance as the fake tough guy with a clear Oedipus complex leaves a lot to be desired, WWE has done its best to book around his limitations, even if it’s debatable whether the heat he generates is the good, money-drawing variety.
The moment when Rey finally punches his son would get a huge reaction from the crowd, and you know the newly-minted Hall-of-Famer will do everything in his power to ensure his son’s first big WrestleMania singles match is a success.