A high-stakes Universal Championship match headlines tonight's episode of SmackDown.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns will put his title on the line against Daniel Bryan in tonight's main event. If Bryan loses, he'll be banished from SmackDown.
Bryan pushed for Cesaro to get the next Universal title shot during last week's SmackDown. Reigns refused to give Cesaro a title shot. He noted the answer will always be "no" because Cesaro's not at his level.
Instead, Reigns demanded to face Bryan in a title match. Reigns said he's sick of Bryan and wants him to leave SmackDown. Bryan agreed to face Reigns after Cesaro encouraged him to accept the challenge.
A second title match will also occur on tonight's show as Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews defends against Big E. At WrestleMania 37, Crews won the title from Big E in a Nigerian Drum Fight after Commander Azeez interfered. Crews made his first title defense last week, defeating Kevin Owens after getting more help from Azeez.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee discussed the Universal title match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. They pushed it as being one of the greatest matches in SmackDown history.
Bianca Belair Segment
SmackDown Women's Bianca Belair made her way to the ring. They piped in an "EST" chant, and McAfee pointed out the audience loves her.
Belair welcomed everyone to the show and started introducing The Street Profits, but Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode interrupted. They told Belair they're taking over and began to speak.
The Street Profits interrupted immediately. Montez Ford couldn't believe that the heels interrupted the SmackDown Women's Champion and WrestleMania main event.
Bayley's music hit and interrupted The Street Profits. She jumped in the ring and grabbed the mic from Belair.
She then began to cackle uncontrollably.
Belair knocked Bayley down and attacked her. The Street Profits and Ziggler & Roode jumped in, and a brawl broke out.
They announced that next week's SmackDown is a special retro/throwback edition.
Bianca Belair & The Street Profits defeated Bayley, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode.
This was a good opener and fun tag match.
The match started during the commercial break. Bayley was firmly in control, but Belair fought back. Bayley rolled out of the ring. All six started brawling again.
Ford dropped down to tie his shoelace, and Belair knocked down Bayley. Ford then hit a dive to the floor, wiping out the heels.
The heels regained control and isolated Ford on their side of the ring. Ziggler and Roode gave Ford a double suplex for a near fall.
Ziggler slowed the pace down with a chin lock. Ford fought back, but Ziggler hit a splash in the corner.
Ziggler attempted a superkick, but Ford hit a superkick first. Dawkins got the hot tag and ran wild. He gave Ziggler a suplex and hit a twisting splash on Roode. Dawkins then hit a neck breaker on Roode for a near fall.
Belair tagged in and lifted Ziggler on her shoulders. Bayley cut her off, but Belair hit the KOD. The heels fought back, and Roode rolled up Dawkins. Belair made the save by whipping Roode with her hair.
Dawkins then gave Roode the spine buster, and Ford hit the frog splash for the win.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Daniel Bryan. Bryan noted that his career is on the line but so is Reigns title. He promised to tap out Reigns again tonight.
Bryan said that after he wins the title, his first title defense will be against Cesaro, not Reigns.
Seth Rollins gave his prediction for the Reigns vs. Bryan match. He mocked Bryan for promising to defend the title against Cesaro. Rollins picked Bryan to win the title, but Cesaro won't be getting the first title shot.
They recapped Tamina beating Nia Jax.
In the back, Megan Morant interviewed Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald. Baszler noted they lost in singles matches but promised to win tonight. Suddenly, Natalya and Tamina attacked the champions.
Non-Title Match: Natalya & Tamina defeated WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
This was a fine match.
Tamina attacked Jax at the ring of the bell and ran wild. She knocked Baszler off the apron and attempted the splash off the top rope. Jax got her knees up, and the heels took over. They isolated Tamina on their side of the ring.
Tamina tried to fight back and picked up Jax for a slam but fall backward. Baszler tagged in and attacked Tamina's arm. Tamina fought back and slammed down Baszler.
Baszler had nobody to tag because Jax rolled to the floor. Natalya ran wild and hit a release German suplex for a near fall. Tamina tagged back in and climbed to the top rope.
Reginald tried to interfere, but Natalya pulled him down. She tried to put him in the sharpshooter, but Baszler locked on the Kirifuda Clutch. She then threw Natalya over the announce table.
Baszler attempted a superplex, but Tamina knocked her off. She then hit the Superfly Splash for the win.
Booker T gave his prediction and picked Roman Reigns. After the break, Shinsuke Nakamura gave his thoughts on the title match and picked Bryan.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Rey & Dominik Mysterio. They talked about becoming the first father and son tag team champions.
They aired a twisted mind of Aleister Black vignette. Black read from the Tales of the Dark Father again. He read the second chapter, which is titled Reality. It told the story of people going through life and making all the conventional choices.
His father told him the truth. He learned there's something wrong with everyone else. He could give you the keys to escape, but he chooses not to.
They recapped Apollo Crews vs. Big E from WrestleMania.
Megan Morant interviewed Big E behind the curtain. Big E wants his baby back tonight. He promised to win and become a three-time Intercontinental Champion.
They showed Crews and Azeez talking in the back.
Big E entered the ring for the match, but they showed a series of different videos and went to break. After the break, Big E was waiting in the ring, and they showed a video of The New Day giving their prediction for the Universal title match.
They recapped Crews beating Kevin Owens last week.
Big E defeated Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (w/Commandor Azeez) via DQ
Big E and Crews had a good hard-hitting match until the finish.
They traded waist locks early, but Big E overpowered Crews. Big E then caught Crews in the abdominal stretch. He followed up with a back elbow for a near fall.
Big E dragged Crews onto the apron and hit a series of forearm shots. He followed up with the big splash on the apron for a near fall.
Crews fought back and dropped Big E on the top rope. He then gave Big E a suplex on the floor.
Back from the break, Big E gave Crews a suplex, but Crews fought back. He sent Big E to the floor and hit a moonsault off the apron.
Big E avoided a frog splash and hit a belly-to-belly suplex. He followed up with a splash for a near fall.
Big E attempted the Big Ending, but Crews avoided it and hit a kick to the face. Crews attempted a splash in the corner, but Big E hit the uranage for a close near fall.
Big E attempted the spear off the apron, but Crews avoided Crews and hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron. He followed up with the frog splash for another close near fall.
Big E recovered and hit the Big Ending on Crews. Azeez then pulled Big E out of the ring for the DQ.
After the match, Crews and Azeez beat down Big E until Kevin Ownes ran down. The heels overpowered Owens, but Big E jumped back in to even the odds.
Suddenly, Sami Zayn gave Owens the Helluva kick. The heels worked together to beat down Owens and Big E.
Crews was furious when Zayn picked up the title. Zayn kept saying they have no problem, but Azeez hit the Nigerian Nail on Zayn anyway.
The Miz and Cesaro gave their predictions for tonight's title match.
In the back, they showed Universal Champion Roman Reigns. They recapped the angle between Reigns, Cesaro, and Daniel Bryan.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Paul Heyman. Heyman's sick of hearing Bryan's name. Heyman gave a great interview discussing Bryan's accomplishments while constantly saying "yes." Heyman wondered if Bryan can win the title tonight and said "no."
They recapped Daniel Bryan beating Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista at WrestleMania 30 to win the WWE Championship.
King Corbin gave his thoughts on the Universal title match as well.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the title
Bryan is banished from SmackDown
They did a great job of making this match feel important and pushed it all night.
Reigns got new entrance music. They also did the special ring introductions.
Reigns and Bryan had a really good match that told a great story.
Bryan hit a running dropkick at the ring of the bell. Reigns recovered and rocked Bryan with a right hand.
Bryan fought back and went for the Yes Lock. Reigns rolled to the floor, but Bryan continued his attack. He rocked Reigns with a sliding dropkick and followed up with a dive off the apron.
Back from the break, Bryan was firmly in control as he targeted Reigns arm. He followed up with the running dropkicks in the corner. Reigns recovered and rocked Bryan with a clothesline for a near fall.
Reigns took over and hit a snap suplex for a two-count. Reigns slowed the pace down and applied a chin lock. Bryan fought back and ran up the turnbuckle, but Reigns caught him with a back elbow.
Bryan dropped Reigns face-first into the second turnbuckle. Bryan attempted a hurricanrana off the top rope, but Reigns countered and hit a powerbomb for a close near fall.
Back from the break, Reigns beat Bryan down around ringside. He threw Bryan back in the ring for a near fall. Reigns placed Bryan on the top rope, but Bryan slipped out.
Bryan then hit a back suplex from the top rope for a very close near fall. Bryan followed up with the Yes Kicks, but Reigns avoided the last kick and hit a Samoan drop.
Reigns attempted the superman punch, but Bryan kicked the injured arm. Bryan continued to target the arm and sent Reigns to the floor.
Bryan attempted a suicide dive, but Reigns caught him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Reigns attempted the spear on the floor, but Bryan moved out of the way. Reigns then crashed through the barricade.
Back from the break, Bryan hit a diving head butt from the top rope for a near fall. Bryan went from the running knee, but Reigns hit the superman punch for a close two-count.
Reigns attempted the spear, but Bryan countered with a small package for a near fall. Bryan then hit the running knee for another close near fall, but Reigns got his foot on the bottom rope.
Bryan stomped on Reigns face and applied the Yes Lock. Reigns countered the Yes Lock and scored a near fall.
Reigns jumped to his feet and hit the spear for another very close two-count. They struggled to their feet but Reigns locked on the guillotine submission.
Bryan broke free and applied the Yes Lock. Reigns crawled to the ropes, but Bryan pushed back to the middle of the ring.
Reigns broke free and hit Bryan with a series of shots. He followed up with a powerbomb and more forearm shots. Reigns then hit a second powerbomb.
Reigns tried to apply the guillotine, but Bryan fought free. Reigns then switched to the good arm and re-applied the guillotine. Bryan eventually passed out, and Reigns retained the title.
On commentary, McAfee and Cole pushed that Bryan is now banished from SmackDown.
After the match, Reigns grabbed two chairs and brought them in the ring. He placed Bryan's head on one of the chairs. Suddenly, Cesaro's music hit, and he ran down for the save.
Cesaro ran wild on Reigns until Jey Uso attacked Cesaro. They tied Cesaro up in the ropes. Reigns then gave Bryan the conchairto in front of Cesaro.
Next Week: On a special throwback edition, Seth Rollins goes one-on-one with Cesaro.