The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Tournament took off this week as eight tag teams competed in four matches during the night. The show mostly hosted tag team matches as the creative team looked for the next challengers for The Usos.
The Banger Bros faced off against The Viking Raiders, while Legado Del Fantasma defeated Maximum Male Models. Meanwhile, Hit Row took on Los Lotharios, and Imperium and The Brawling Brutes put on another great show.
WWE also booked another segment between Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville that headed nowhere. However, Deville will likely challenge The Queen for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble.
LA Knight also competed in a match during the night before being interrupted by Bray Wyatt. Karrion Kross appeared on the big screen to announce his entry into the men’s Royal Rumble match.
Take a look at the five things WWE SmackDown got right on this week’s show.
#5. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus progressed in the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus met The Viking Raiders in a tag team match two weeks after suffering a beatdown from Erik and Ivar. They competed in the opening match of the SmackDown Tag Team Titles Tournament.
The match was hard-hitting from the opening bell as the two heavyweight teams unleashed on each other. Sheamus took control for his side after McIntyre was wiped out and hit the Beats of Bodhran before Ivar took him down.
The babyfaces did not back down and continued to counter some of The Viking Raiders’ best moves. They worked well together, and The Scottish Warrior got the Future Shock DDT before Sheamus nailed Ivar with the Brogue Kick for the win.
It was surprising to see The Viking Raiders pick up a loss so soon after their return, that too in the opening match of the tournament. WWE could have saved this booking for the semi-finals, at least.
McIntyre and The Celtic Warrior will be the favorites to win the tournament and challenge The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship again. It would be good to see them go after the titles at the Royal Rumble Premium Live Event.
#4. LA Knight picked up a win before Bray Wyatt took over
LA Knight took on Greg Jones in a singles match on WWE SmackDown this week. The NXT export cut a short promo before the match, promising to beat Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble in the Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match.
Knight was in control of the match when the lights started to flicker and the former Million Dollar Champion was distracted. Jones took advantage of the situation, but it didn’t take Knight long to hit him with his finisher for the win.
The Firefly Funhouse music played and its characters showed up one by one on the screen before Wyatt came on. The Eater of Worlds talked about his match against Knight at the Rumble before Uncle Howdy interrupted. The masked figure reminded Wyatt that all he needed was a little push.
It’s not clear where Wyatt's story is heading, but things will likely get much more transparent following Royal Rumble. The Eater of Worlds’ first match back in WWE will surely have an impact on the future of the blue brand. Alexa Bliss could well be on her way to joining Bray Wyatt once again.
#3. Hit Row picked up a much-needed win on WWE SmackDown
Top Dolla and Ashante "Thee" Adonis of Hit Row took on Los Lotharios’ Angel and Humberto in the second WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament match of the night.
It wasn’t clear what role Los Lotharios were playing in the match as the focus was on Hit Row. The heel team stayed on top for most of the contest before Angel and Humberto mounted a comeback.
They hit tandem dives and looked to be in control before B-Fab caused a distraction. Ashante rolled up Angel for a three-count and scored the win for his team.
The match wasn’t anything special but it was good to see Hit Row pick up a win. When they first returned to SmackDown, it looked like WWE would give them a better run. However, recent losses have hurt the faction’s value.
It will be interesting to see if they can overcome Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in their match next week. This one will surely be a fun watch.
#2. Imperium humbled The Brawling Brutes after a highly physical contest
The third WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament of the night saw familiar foes The Brawling Brutes and Imperium come face to face. They went hard at each other from the opening bell, and Imperium took control right away.
Ridge Holland and Butch made a comeback and had the heels reeling late in the match. Giovanni Vinci used his strength to hit a Brainbuster to Butch before working with Ludwig Kaiser to get the Imperium Bomb for the win.
The two teams churned out another banger that was likely the best match of the night. It was great to see Imperium progress as they are among the best teams in the company. Having the two men face Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in the finals of the tournament will be the right call.
Later in the night, Legado Del Fantasma defeated Maximum Male Models to progress in the tournament. They will face Imperium next week on the Friday Night show.
#1. Kevin Owens took out Roman Reigns to make a statement ahead of the Royal Rumble
Sami Zayn was elated at seeing The Bloodline arrive on WWE SmackDown. However, Roman Reigns ignored a fist bump attempt from The Honorary Uce.
Later in the night, Zayn visited Reigns’ locker room and The Tribal Chief vented his anger at the superstar. Reigns said he was not happy at seeing Zayn’s reaction after The Usos attacked Kevin Owens last week and told him to find his own Bloodline.
In the main event of WWE SmackDown, The Head of the Table took center stage for a contract signing ceremony with Kevin Owens. However, KO took out Solo Sikoa before hitting Reigns with a Stunner. He put the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion through a table in the ring with a pop-up powerbomb.
Owens signed the contract and exited before Sami Zayn could come out to make the save. It was another solid segment that increased tensions among The Bloodline. Zayn was asked to stay back by The Tribal Chief, and the move proved to be costly.
The final stare-down between Zayn and Owens was also intense. Fans will likely see The Honorary Uce go through the most organic babyface turn in WWE before teaming up with The Prizefighter.