WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Bray Wyatt issues a new challenge, more WrestleMania 36 changes – CBSSports.com

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WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Bray Wyatt issues a new challenge, more WrestleMania 36 changes – CBSSports.com

The penultimate pre-WrestleMania edition of WWE SmackDown saw more changes to the card for the biggest show of the year. As will be the case for WrestleMania 36, SmackDown took place inside the empty WWE Performance Center for the third consecutive week as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In the biggest news coming out of the show, Bray Wyatt changed the terms of his WrestleMania clash with John Cena to a Firefly Funhouse match, though the specifics of the match were not laid out and Cena still needs to accept. Also, The New Day and Usos battled for a shot to face The Miz & John Morrison for the SmackDown tag titles at WrestleMania, only to see the champs interfere and inadvertently end up trapping themselves in a triple threat ladder match.

All that and more, including Daniel Bryan’s ticket to a ‘Mania title shot being punched, went down from the Performance Center. Let’s take a look at everything that highlighted the final SmackDown of March.

WWE SmackDown results, grades

Bayley and Sasha Banks opened the show with an in-ring promo. Bayley blamed Paige for putting the five-way match at WrestleMania together. Banks agreed with Bayley that Paige’s plan to pit them against each other at WrestleMania was out of line, but seemed to hesitate at the idea they are “better together” before Lacey Evans interrupted the duo. After Bayley and Banks again invoked Evans’ daughter, Naomi was the next to interrupt. Evans threatened to break Banks’ jaw, Naomi promised “the glow will shine through” and, unsurprisingly, the four women were interrupted by the match’s final participant, Tamina. Tamina took out Naomi with a headbutt and then Evans with a superkick, allowing Banks and Bayley to pounce on Naomi briefly before bailing after a Tamina staredown. A few short quotes from each woman isn’t really enough to build a WrestleMania title match, even under these odd circumstances. Grade: C-

Drew Gulak def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall after a jackknife pin. Gulak was wrestling in an effort to give Daniel Bryan a chance to challenge Sami Zayn for the intercontinental title at WrestleMania. Nakamura ran in for a Kinshasa but Bryan grabbed Gulak’s arm, moving him out of harm’s way. Gulak then scored a roll-up into a jackknife pin for the victory, earning Bryan his title shot. The match was about five minutes too short to live up to the high-quality TV match it could have been. Grade: B-

Dolph Ziggler was shown speaking on a phone backstage before Otis and Tucker busted in. Ziggler said he wanted to embarrass Otis with the world watching and laid down a WrestleMania challenge. “Serious Otis” was on display again here, which has been a welcome revelation over the past two weeks. Ziggler was again shown backstage later in the show, this time telling Sonya Deville their plan was going according to plan. Mandy Rose interrupted and said she wouldn’t stop Ziggler from wrestling Otis, but would not allow them to fight over her.

Elias performed a song about King Corbin, calling him “a turd.” As Elias addressed the “capacity crowd,” Corbin charged in and attacked Elias, hitting him with his scepter before knocking Elias off the elevated stage. After a bit of camera trickery in the editing, Elias was shown on the concrete floor where he was helped by WWE staff.

Alexa Bliss def. Asuka via pinfall after a DDT. Nikki Cross was on commentary for the match, leading chants and comeback clap bits for Bliss in the empty building. The two women put on a hard-hitting match that was probably Bliss’ best match in a long time. Bliss eventually picked up the win with a DDT, overcoming a shoulder that was worked over by Asuka from the jump. Grade: B

Triple H gave a backstage interview, offering perspective on the advertised WrestleMania 36 match between Goldberg and Roman Reigns as one of the few to have wrestled both. That was odd as reports have surfaced that Reigns was out of the event out of protection for his health due to the coronavirus pandemic and his previous battles with leukemia.

A new segment of Firefly Funhouse with Bray Wyatt aired. Wyatt said he now has the recipe to beat John Cena after failing at WrestleMania 30. He added a mixture of ingredients to a blende labeled, “disappointment,” “self loathing,” “rage and resentment” and a dash of hot sauce. He then stuck Ramblin’ Rabbit in the blender to represent “unnecessary and irrelevant opinions” as the final ingredient. Finally, Wyatt made the official WrestleMania challenge to Cena for a Firefly Funhouse Match. In usual Funhouse style, the segment was a bit all over the place, but the idea of a Firefly Funhouse match is, admittedly, intriguing. Cena is advertised as appearing on next week’s SmackDown to answer the challenge. Grade: B

The New Day vs. The Usos ended in a no contest after Miz and John Morrison attacked both teams. Miz and Morrison were on commentary, with the winner of the match facing them for the SmackDown tag team titles at WrestleMania 36. The extraordinary chemistry of The Usos and New Day was on display, though the lack of crowd took away from another great effort given by the four men. Big E was taken out for a big section of the match, with his return to the bout signaling a step up in action down the stretch. The unfortunate end came when Miz and Morrison ran in from commentary and attacked New Day and The Usos, leading the referee to call the match off. This resulted in the announcement they would defend the titles against both teams in a ladder match at WrestleMania. A good match cut off by a run in that took place in an empty arena places it low on the list of all-time New Day vs. Usos clashes, though still a fun enough watch. Grade: B

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The New Day vs. The Usos ended in a no contest after Miz and John Morrison attacked both teams. Miz and Morrison were on commentary, with the winner of the match facing them for the SmackDown tag team titles at WrestleMania 36. The extraordinary chemistry of The Usos and New Day was on display, though the lack of crowd took away from another great effort given by the four men. Big E was taken out for a big section of the match, with his return to the bout signaling a step up in action down the stretch. The unfortunate end came when Miz and Morrison ran in from commentary and attacked New Day and The Usos, leading the referee to call the match off. This resulted in the announcement they would defend the titles against both teams in a ladder match at WrestleMania. A good match cut off by a run in that took place in an empty arena places it low on the list of all-time New Day vs. Usos clashes, though still a fun enough watch. Grade: B

New Day vs. Usos with a shot at SmackDown tag champs Miz and John Morrison at WrestleMania on the line. These four men have amazing chemistry and it will be interesting to see how it translates to a match in an empty building.

A new segment of Firefly Funhouse with Bray Wyatt aired. Wyatt said he now has the recipe to beat John Cena after failing at WrestleMania 30. He added a mixture of ingredients to a blende labeled, “disappointment,” “self loathing,” “rage and resentment” and a dash of hot sauce. He then stuck Ramblin’ Rabbit in the blender to represent “unnecessary and irrelevant opinions” as the final ingredient. Finally, Wyatt made the official WrestleMania challenge to Cena for a Firefly Funhouse Match. In usual Funhouse style, the segment was a bit all over the place, but the idea of a Firefly Funhouse match is, admittedly, intriguing. Cena is advertised as appearing on next week’s SmackDown to answer the challengeGrade: B

Dolph Ziggler was again shown backstage, this time telling Sonya Deville their plan was going according to plan. Mandy Rose interrupted and said she wouldn’t stop Ziggler from wrestling Otis, but would not allow them to fight over her.

Triple H gave a backstage interview, offering perspective on the advertised WrestleMania 36 match between Goldberg and Roman Reigns as one of the few to have wrestled both. That was odd as reports have surfaced that Reigns was out of the event out of protection for his health due to the coronavirus pandemic and his previous battles with leukemia.

Triple H now on screen, giving perspective on the match between Reigns and Goldberg, which is already known to not be happening.

They are still acting as though Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns is happening at WrestleMania and now we’re back to WrestleMania 2016 for the replay of Reigns vs. Triple H

Alexa Bliss def. Asuka via pinfall after a DDT. Nikki Cross was on commentary for the match, leading chants and comeback clap bits for Bliss in the empty building. The two women put on a hard-hitting match that was probably Bliss’ best match in a long time. Bliss eventually picked up the win with a DDT, overcoming a shoulder that was worked over by Asuka from the jump. Grade: B

It’s now time for Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss.

Elias performed a song about King Corbin, calling him “a turd.” As Elias addressed the “capacity crowd,” Corbin charged in and attacked Elias, hitting him with his scepter before knocking Elias off the elevated stage. After a bit of camera trickery in the editing, Elias was shown on the concrete floor where he was helped by WWE staff.

Dolph Ziggler was shown speaking on a phone backstage before Otis and Tucker busted in. Ziggler said he wanted to embarrass Otis with the world watching and laid down a WrestleMania challenge. “Serious Otis” was on display again here, which has been a welcome revelation over the past two weeks. 

We are getting a replay of Otis’ massive emotional break from last week’s SmackDown, where he destroyed Miz and John Morrison before being calmed down by Tucker.

Drew Gulak def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall after a jackknife pin. Gulak was wrestling in an effort to give Daniel Bryan a chance to challenge Sami Zayn for the intercontinental title at WrestleMania. Nakamura ran in for a Kinshasa but Bryan grabbed Gulak’s arm, moving him out of harm’s way. Gulak then scored a roll-up into a jackknife pin for the victory, earning Bryan his title shot. The match was about five minutes too short to live up to the high-quality TV match it could have been. Grade: B-

Next up, Drew Gulak battles Shinksuke Nakamura for Daniel Bryan’s right to face Sami Zayn at WrestleMania in a perfect example of wrestling logic.

Bayley and Sasha Banks opened the show with an in-ring promo. Bayley blamed Paige for putting the five-way match at WrestleMania together. Banks agreed with Bayley that Paige’s plan to pit them against each other at WrestleMania was out of line, but seemed to hesitate at the idea they are “better together” before Lacey Evans interrupted the duo. After Bayley and Banks again invoked Evans’ daughter, Naomi was the next to interrupt. Evans threatened to break Banks’ jaw, Naomi promised “the glow will shine through” and, unsurprisingly, the four women were interrupted by the match’s final participant, Tamina. Tamina took out Naomi with a headbutt and then Evans with a superkick, allowing Banks and Bayley to pounce on Naomi briefly before bailing after a Tamina staredown. A few short quotes from each woman isn’t really enough to build a WrestleMania title match, even under these odd circumstances. Grade: C-

Sasha Banks and Bayley are out to open the show. Last week we learned Banks would be one of the women to challenge Bayley next weekend at WrestleMania.

Tonight’s classic match that will replay is Triple H vs. Roman Reigns from WrestleMania 32. That will air later tonight.

The broadcast for SmackDown is underway now and we will be with you all night long.

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