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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre added to WrestleMania Backlash

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Roman Reigns will no longer take a backseat in The Usos’ campaign to become undisputed tag team champions. Reigns made a major play in the impending WrestleMania Backlash match between SmackDown tag team champions The Usos and Raw tag team champions RK-Bro.

The captivating rivalry between The Usos and RK-Bro took an interesting turn with the additions of Reigns and Drew McIntyre. Paul Heyman, special counsel to the undisputed world champion, attempted to pressure authority figure Adam Pearce into making a six-man tag team match at WrestleMania Backlash. If he succeeds, the tag team titles may be unified in a match pitting The Bloodline vs. RK-Bro and McIntyre.

A loaded episode of SmackDown — which was pre-taped in Albany, New York last week — also featured SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey in Beat the Clock “I Quit” challenges, plus Ricochet defending his intercontinental title.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from MVP Arena in Albany.

Reigns makes a desperate power move, McIntyre enters the fray and the tag team titles continue to shine

The Usos and RK-Bro met in the center of the ring to sign their contracts for a tag team title unification match at WrestleMania Backlash. Randy Orton and Riddle engaged in some trash talk with Jey and Jimmy Uso as authority figure Adam Pearce watched on. Tension boiled over as The Usos dove over the table and a brawl ensued.

Enter Roman Reigns, flanked by Paul Heyman. Reigns distracted RK-Bro long enough for The Usos to blindside the Raw tag team champions. Reigns tore up the contract, stuffing the remains in Riddle’s mouth.

McIntyre stormed the ring, clearing out the SmackDown tag team champions and staring down the undisputed world champion. Reigns took the bait, entering the ring and promptly receiving a belly-to-belly suplex from McIntyre.

Afterwards, Heyman entered Pearce’s office. Heyman implored Pearce to add Reigns and McIntyre to the tag team match at WrestleMania Backlash. Pearce informed Heyman that he can’t simply change a title match. Heyman threatened to take things up with the WWE board should Pearce refuse Reigns’ request.

WWE announced after SmackDown that the six-man tag team match was official for WrestleMania Backlash; however, no mention was made of the tag team titles.

An interesting, meaningful development in the tag team title unification match between The Usos and RK-Bro. The believable, intense performances delivered by the four men thus far have made the tag team division feel more important than it has in ages. The additions of Reigns and McIntyre may ultimately harm the final product. For now, it is an interesting wrinkle to the story. Riddle beat Jey and Jimmy Uso in one-on-one matches on the previous two episodes of SmackDown. Reigns, who demanded The Usos unify the titles in the first place, may not have faith in his cousins’ chances. What better way to assure The Bloodline’s continued success than to insert himself into the equation. Heyman trying to strong-arm Pearce further exemplifies Reigns’ desperation. Solid stuff. Grade: B+ unless the tag team titles are no longer being contested, in which case: C-

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

Drew McIntyre def. Sami Zayn via pinfall in a steel cage after hitting a Claymore.

Madcap Moss laid the whooping on Happy Corbin after Corbin planned to smash Moss’ Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy with a sledgehammer.

Ricochet (c) def. Shanky via pinfall with a sunset flip to retain his intercontinental championship.

Raquel Rodriguez def. Cat Cardoza via pinfall in her SmackDown debut match.

Ludwig Kaiser hyped up Gunther while a video package showed Gunther power bombing and chopping superstars.

Naomi def. Shayna Bazler via rollup pinfall. Natalya attacked Naomi post-match. Sasha Banks fended off Natalya, but the villains got the better of the women’s tag team champions.

Xavier def. Ridge Holland via pinfall courtesy of his signature small package. A video package played before the match asking “Where’s Butch?” Sheamus and Holland were unable to find Butch and New Day asked the same question.

Sheamus def. Kofi Kingston via pinfall after dropping him with the Brogue Kick. This was an impromptu match. Afterwards, Holland powerbombed Woods through a table set up outside.

Lacey Evans opened up about being kicked out of home, finishing high school and joining the military in a new video package.

Ronda Rousey def. Shotzi at 1:41 into their Beat the Clock Challenge “I Quit” match.

Charlotte Flair failed to defeat Aliyah within 1:41. As a consequence, Rousey won the Beat the Clock Challenge. An irate Flair attacked guest timekeeper Drew Gulak after the match.


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