WWE Friday Night Smackdown Matches & Results, Roman’s Return & More

WWE may be in the midst of a tournament to crown a new World Heavyweight Champion, but on Friday night SmackDown, the return of Roman Reigns stole headlines.

The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion made his first appearance since the post-WrestleMania 39 episode of Raw and wasted little time addressing fans and peers.

What did The Tribal Chief had to say, and did anyone step up to challenge him ahead of the upcoming Night of Champions premium live event on May 27?

Find out with this recap of Friday’s broadcast, featuring star-studded Triple Threat matches and a Women’s Tag Team Championship.

Roman Reigns Returned to SmackDown

The demise of The Bloodline story in this post-WrestleMania 39 landscape was greatly exaggerated.

Friday night, Roman Reigns returned and berated Jimmy and Jey Uso for their failures since The Showcase of the Immortals. After praising their brother, Solo Sikoa, he humiliated and disrespected his cousins, going as far as to insultingly pie-face Jimmy.

Jey ultimately apologized to The Tribal Chief on behalf of him and his brother.

His insistence that they would regain the tag titles fell on deaf ears. Paul Heyman revealed that Reigns and Sikoa would seek to bring that gold back into The Bloodline when they face Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship at Night of Champions Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

This was fantastic storytelling, with Jimmy taking being dressed down in front of the world seriously. At the same time, Jey is doing what is necessary to protect his sibling in the face of a potential beatdown by The Head of the Table and The Enforcer.

Reigns was a manipulative heel, too, knowing exactly how things would play out before twisting the proverbial knife by dedicating his title match to the best team in WWE history…The Wild Samoans, Afa, and Sika.

The story is nearing three years in totality. It appears to be coming full circle, with Reigns pushing Jey to the point that the subservient attitude he has expressed since their Hell in a Cell match in 2020 is about to give way to the vengeful spirit of The Right Hand Man.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Matches & Results, Roman's Return & More
Roman Reigns

Best Moments

  • “We’re the only ones that will ever main event both nights of WrestleMania,” Reigns said of The Bloodline.
  • “Let’s be honest, Solo swims like a shark,” Reigns said, admitting concern about him running with The Bloodline on the main roster, but he has battled the best in the business and keeps succeeding.
  • “There’s a problem, but it’s not Sami and Kevin. There is a problem, a real problem, but the problem is your brothers,” Reigns said, finally pointing the finger at Jimmy and Jey Uso.
  • “Why are you devoting a tag team match to me? I’m not even in a tag team. I’m the greatest singles champion of all time. I’m not in a tag team!”
  • Reigns berated The Usos, infuriated that Jimmy laughed at him.
  • “You gonna do something?” Reigns taunted Jimmy after shoving him. Paul Heyman, recognizing the combustibility of the situation, stepped out of the ring.
  • Heyman revealed that at Night of Champions, Reigns and Sikoa will challenge Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.

Match Card

  1. Edge vs. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio

Three of the greatest wrestlers of their, or any, generation kicked off SmackDown with a Triple Threat Match that was as good as advertised.

Edge, Rey Mysterio, and AJ Styles put their experience and creativity to work, delivering a dramatic match full of fun and original spots. It culminated with The Phenomenal One taking advantage of a momentarily hesitant Rated R Superstar and scoring the win with The Phenomenal Forearm.

It matched expectations and provided fans with a match including Edge and AJ Styles that did not disappoint, something that could not be said about their series of showdowns from a year ago.


Styles defeated Edge and Mysterio

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Matches & Results, Roman's Return & More
AJ Styles

Best Moments

  • Styles and Mysterio were already in the ring as the show started. Edge hit the call to a thunderous ovation and showed love to his kids in the front row.
    • Wade Barrett put over Styles for jumping right into the “deep end” with a high-stakes match against two Hall of Famers, fresh off a substantial absence because of injury.
    • Styles slid Mysterio into Edge, then dropkicked the Rated R Superstar into a DDT in an excellent, innovative spot.
    • Edge speared Mysterio and Styles through the ropes and off the apron to the awe of the fans in attendance.
    • Edge applied consecutive Edgecators, one for Mysterio and one for Styles, but could not force a Tapout from either man.
    • Styles delivered the Phenomenal Forearm to a hesitant Edge and scored the pinfall victory.
  • Cameron Grimes vs. Baron Corbin

Baron Corbin talked a big game ahead of his match against the debuting Cameron Grimes. Unfortunately, he failed to back it up.

Grimes defeated the former King of the Ring in seconds, using the Cave In to shut him up and make an emphatic statement in his first SmackDown match.

There was not enough here to decide how Grimes’ run on the main roster may play out, likely because of timing issues with the rest of the show. Still, it is always nice to see a new face go over an established competitor definitively, and this was certainly that.


Grimes defeated Corbin

Best Moments

  • Before the match, Grayson Waller pitched Adam Pearce on the debut episode of The Grayson Waller Effect for next week’s show.
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Sheamus vs. Austin Theory

For the second time in a week, Bobby Lashley and United States Champion Austin Theory shared the ring in a Triple Threat Match, this time with Sheamus. Unlike last Saturday’s showdown in Puerto Rico, where Theory stole another victory, this time it was The All Mighty picking up the win at the expense of the brash young star.

A hard-hitting, physical showdown that saw Lashley bloodied along the way concluded with Sheamus blasting Theory with a Brogue Kick, only to be dumped to the floor.

From there, Lashley scored the win on Theory, cashing his ticket to a showdown with Styles in the night’s main event.

There are zero issues with Theory taking this loss, as he has repeatedly benefited from openings that have allowed him to steal victories.

Here, Lashley, often a victim of that deception and quick thinking from the US champ, turned it against him and earned a big win on his first night with SmackDown.

Lashley vs. Styles is a match that has occurred only once in WWE: August 15 of last year, making it a relatively fresh matchup that should pique the fans’ interest.


Lashley defeated Theory and Sheamus.

Best Moments

  • Lashley bowled over Theory coming out of the break, hoisted him on his shoulders, and sent him face-first into the ring post.
    • A rewind caught Theory dotting Sheamus right in the face with a dropkick, breaking up a Hurt Lock by Lashley in the process.
    • Lashley caught Sheamus with a spear, breaking up the Brogue Kick, but Theory sent him into the ring post in a spot similar to the three-way from Backlash.
    • Theory tried to springboard his way out of the Hurt Lock, but Lashley blocked it. Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick from nowhere, catching Theory and allowing Lashley to dump him to the floor. The All Mighty, bloodied throughout the physical match, gained revenge by pinning Theory for the win.
  • Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Damage CTRL

Bayley cannot catch a break, descending into frustration and numbness with every passing match. Friday stayed the same, as the interference from Iyo Sky backfired. This prevented The Role Model and tag team partner Dakota Kai from dethroning Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez as tag champions.

The match, solid if unspectacular, accomplished two feats: it continued what appears destined to be the downfall of Damage CTRL. It presented the possibility that Morgan and Rodriguez may soon find themselves confronted by the challenge of NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn.


Morgan and Rodriguez defeated Bayley and Kai to retain

Best Moments

  • Backstage, The Usos confronted LWO.
    • Kai teased a knee injury, allowing Iyo Sky to attempt to hand off the women’s tag title to Bayley for use in the match, but Rodriguez prevented it, and Morgan retained with a rollup for the babyfaces.
    • Backstage, Pretty Deadly introduced themselves to The Brawling Brutes in a segment that should net an entertaining rivalry if for no other reason than the fact that Kit Wilson and Elton Prince are pro wrestling gold.
  • Asuka Dampens Bianca Belair’s Championship Celebration

Bianca Belair may have defeated Asuka to extend her historic reign as Raw Women’s Champion at WrestleMania 39. Still, The Empress of Tomorrow got revenge Friday night in The EST’s hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, by blinding her with blue mist.

Belair sold it expertly, putting over the severe effect of the mist while Asuka celebrated her devious actions.

The outcome at WrestleMania always felt like the start of the feud between the two rather than the end, so it was no real surprise to see Asuka come back and reignite a rivalry that will likely net her the title.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Matches & Results, Roman's Return & More
Bianca Blair
  1. Bobby Lashley vs. AJ Styles

AJ Styles will battle Raw’s Seth Rollins to crown the new World Heavyweight Champion following a win over Bobby Lashley in the main event of Friday’s SmackDown.

The Phenomenal One defeated The All-Mighty in a physical event that again saw Lashley bloodied. Yet, the former amateur wrestler battled through it before coming up just shy of the all-important victory.

We had seen Styles and The OC take on considerable screen time in their first two weeks on SmackDown, setting the stage for the former’s big win.

It remains unlikely that he will defeat Rollins considering Raw’s need for a world title at the top of the card. Still, the emphasis on The Phenomenal One is welcome after he fell into the background over the second half of 2022.

On a night Roman Reigns returned to the blue brand, it was given that two Superstars destined to challenge him at some point over the next year showed out in the main event.


Styles defeated Lashley.

Best Moments

  • Styles applied the Calf Crusher to Lashley, and Barrett, on commentary, put over the idea that there was no third competitor to help break it up this time.
    • The Phenomenal One slipped through the ropes, forcing Lashley to break the Hurt Lock and saving his championship aspirations.
    • Lashley again bled as the wound from earlier night reopened in yet another physical encounter.
    • Styles scored the win and celebrated with The OC to close out the win.
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About WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., doing business as WWE, is an American professional wrestling promotion. A global integrated media and entertainment company, WWE has also branched out into other fields, including film, American football, and various other business ventures.

WWE shows are sports entertainment, featuring story line-driven, scripted, and partially choreographed matches; though including moves that can put performers at risk of injury, even death, if not performed correctly. It was founded in 1953 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and is the largest wrestling promotion in the world. It is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


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