Tonight's Throwback SmackDown is a special retro episode and continues the build to WrestleMania Backlash.
Last week, Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan to retain his title and banish Bryan from SmackDown. Bryan's WWE contract legitimately expired last Friday at midnight.
After the match, Reigns went to give Bryan a con-chair-to, but Cesaro made the save. Cesaro beat down Reigns but was eventually tied up in the ropes after being attacked by Jey Uso. Reigns then gave Bryan a con-chair-to as Cesaro was powerless to help Bryan.
Cesaro goes one-on-one with Seth Rollins tonight. Cesaro defeated Rollins at WrestleMania 37 last month, but Rollins has continued to target Cesaro since. Rollins was offended that Cesaro wants a Universal title shot and promised him that their feud isn't over.
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler is also set for tonight's show. Ziggler & Robert Roode are defending their SmackDown Tag Team titles against Rey & Dominik Mysterio at WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 16.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
They used the old 80s WWE signature at the start. The opening video featured old clips from the 80s and 90s. It focused on The Rock and included the voices of Gene Okerlund, Gorilla Monsoon, and Vince McMahon.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee opened up the show at ringside. McAfee dressed like Vince from the 90s WWF Superstars, and Cole dressed like late 90s Cole.
They showed clips of the first SmackDown main event from August 26, 1999, featuring The Rock against Triple H.
The set features the old WWE 80s and 90s logo. Sadly, there's no giant fist, although they did have a CGI version.
Roman Reigns Segment
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman made their way to the ring. They recapped Reigns beating Daniel Bryan last week.
Cole stressed that Bryan's barred from SmackDown.
Heyman held the title and did a eulogy for the career of Daniel Bryan. All three stood in the ring with their heads down as Heyman did a ten-bell salute for Bryan's career.
They piped in loud "you suck" chants. Reigns noted he's a man of his word, and he gives everybody what they want. He said Bryan didn't want to be on SmackDown or, he'd acknowledge him as the head of the table.
Reigns said they replaced him and introduced the returning Jimmy Uso. Jimmy was thrilled to be back and hugged Jey. He then embraced Reigns and shook Heyman's hand.
Cesaro's music interrupted, and he walked out. He noted that Reigns claimed he replaced Bryan, but that's not possible.
Seth Rollins jumped Cesaro, and they brawled around ringside. Suddenly, Teddy Long's music hit, and he danced onto the ramp. Long announced that if Cesaro beats Rollins tonight, he gets a Universal title shot at WrestleMania Backlash. Long noted Adam Pearce gave him the power to make the match.
Reigns knocked Cesaro to the floor from behind, and Rollins sent him into the stairs. This was a good opening segment.
Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins
Cesaro and Rollins had a really good fast-paced match.
The Usos stayed at ringside but Reigns watched the match from the back.
Back from the break, Rollins jumped Cesaro and hit the sling blade for a near fall. He threw Cesaro into the barricade and side of the ring for a two-count.
Rollins slowed the pace down. Cesaro blocked a suplex attempt and countered with a suplex of his own. Cesaro fired back and hit a series of uppercuts in the corner. He followed up with a discus clothesline for another near fall.
Cesaro climbed to the top rope, but Jey jumped on the apron. Rollins took advantage and hit a superplex into the falcon arrow for a close near fall.
Back from the break, Rollins and Cesaro traded pin attempts until Cesaro locked on the sharpshooter. Rollins avoided the cross face and scored a close near fall.
Rollins attempted the curb stomp, but Cesaro caught him and placed him on the top rope. Cesaro went for a gut-wrench superplex, but Rollins slipped up.
Rollins then hit a buckle bomb, but Cesaro bounced out of the corner and rocked Rollins with a clothesline. Rollins regained control and sent Cesaro to the floor.
Rollins prevented Jey from attacking Cesaro. He yelled that he's not Roman and to stay out of his business. Rollins threw Cesaro back in the ring, and Jey tried getting his attention again.
Rollins pushed Jey down, so Jimmy rocked him with a superkick. Cesaro hit a plancha onto Jimmy and threw Rollins back in the ring. He followed up with the Gotch neutralizer for the win.
Cesaro takes on Universal Champion Roman Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash.
Back from the break, Rollins went into Reigns' dressing room. Rollins was furious. He wanted to know if he should be mad at Reigns or his cousin. Reigns noted he's also upset because Rollins lost. Reigns promised to deal with his family.
They played the old WrestleMania theme from the 80s. They showed Stone Cold Steve Austin attacking Booker T in the supermarket from the December 2001 SmackDown.
In the back, Teddy Long spoke with Sonya Deville. Deville's excited to run SmackDown with Long tonight. Sami Zayn approached and talked about his conspiracy theories against him.
Long tried to help Zayn and announced a match against The Undertaker. Zayn pointed out that Undertaker's retired. Long then announced at ten-man tag match and said one of Zayn's partners is King Booker. Deville corrected him that it's King Corbin. Long, Deville and Zayn danced to end the segment although Zayn wasn't in the mood to dance.
Roman Reigns spoke to Jimmy and Jey in his dressing room. Reigns was furious that Jimmy helped Cesaro win earlier. He pointed out that Reigns and Jey had a good operation going, and he let Jimmy be a part of it.
Jimmy stood up for himself and told Reigns not to talk to him like he talks to Jey. Jey glared at Jimmy.
Jimmy left, and Reigns told Jey to speak to him. This was a great segment.
Carmella defeated Ruby Riott (w/Liv Morgan)
This was fine, and they kept it short.
Carmella had the early advantage until Riott sent her head-first into the middle turnbuckle. Riott climbed to the second turnbuckle, but Carmella cut her off. She followed up with a superkick for a near fall.
Morgan jumped on the apron, but Carmella knocked her off. Riott and Carmella trade pin attempts until Carmella locked on the code of silence for the win.
The SmackDown Moment of The Week featured Edge and Hulk Hogan winning the SmackDown tag team titles on July 4, 2002.
They showed clips from June 12, 2003, SmackDown featuring Brock Lesnar against Big Show and the ring imploding.
This was a good segment. Belair and Bayley were good in their roles.
Bayley talked about her long reign as SmackDown Women's Champion. Bayley noted she's not out here to talk about herself. She wants to talk about former champions. She showed images of Alundra Blayze, Jacquline, Lita, Trish Stratus, Ivory, Beth Phoneix, and Molly Holly. She praised them all but also took shots at them too.
Bayley then showed a picture of current SmackDown Women's Champion Bianca Belair. She mocked Belair and called her insecure. Bayley noted she's not only Belair's first challenger but also her last. She promised to win the title at WrestleMania Backlash.
Belair's music hit, and she made her way to the ring. Belair noted she lives her best life, and it's only about to get better at Backlash. Belair appreciates Bayley's concern but thinks she should worry about herself.
Belair said she's on her way to becoming the longest-reigning SmackDown Women's Champion. Bayley started laughing in Belair's face. Eventually, Belair and Bayley started brawling.
Belair beat down Bayley around the ring. Bayley fought back and pulled at Belair's earring. She beat down Belair to end the segment.
In the back, Jey approached Jimmy. Jey wanted to know if Jimmy meant what he said. Jimmy got in Jey's face and noted he's the reason Roman Reigns is the Universal Champion. Jimmy noted they're family, and he's asking for his bother's support.
Jimmy then talked about The Usos becoming the tag team champions and to think about that. This was another good segment involving this angle.
The Throwback SmackDown Moment of the Week featured the June 27, 2002 match between John Cena and Kurt Angle. It was Cena's debut and included Undertaker praising Cena after the match.
Dominik Mysterio (w/Rey Mysterio) defeated Dolph Ziggler (w/ Robert Roode)
Ziggler dominated the match, with Dominik getting very little offense.
Before the match, Ziggler mocked Dominik and noted he doesn't belong with them in the ring. He claimed Dominik doesn't belong in the ring or the company. Ziggler noted he's just Rey's son and told him to get out of the ring.
Dominik demanded to be in the match instead of his father.
Ziggler got in Dominik's face and slapped him. Dominik fought back and slapped Ziggler back.
He sent Ziggler to the floor and jumped onto the apron.
Ziggler recovered and dropped Dominik on the apron.
Ziggler continued to mock Dominik throughout the match. Ziggler attempted a suplex, but Dominik countered and used a small package for the win.
They recapped Tamina and Natalya beating Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler in a non-title match last week. They also showed Tamina's promo from Talking Smack.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Reginald, Jax, and Baszler. Braxton noted Reginald takes on Tamina tonight. Reginald promised to defeat Tamina.
They showed an old 80s commercial for the WWF Ice Cream bars featuring Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the voice of Lord Alfred Hayes.
Paul Heyman approached Roman Reigns in his locker room. Reigns told Heyman to bring him his cousin. Heyman asked which cousin, and Reigns glared at him. Heyman knew what that meant.
Tamina (w/Natalya) defeated Reginald (w/Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler) via DQ
This wasn't good and wasn't really a match. It was more of a showcase for Reginald and had a weak finish as well.
Tamina tried to attack Reginald, but he avoided her with flips and rolls. He tried to slide between her legs, but Tamina caught him. She threw him into the corner, so he climbed to the top.
Tamina chased him, but he flipped over her. He started celebrating and dancing, but Tamina rocked him with a superkick. Tamina climbed to the top rope, but Jax pulled Reginald out of the ring. Baszler shoved Tamina off the top for the disqualification.
The heels beat down Tamina and Natalya after the match. Baszler stomped on Tamina's elbow, and Jax gave her a Samona Drop into the barricade. They announced that next week Jax & Baszler defend the titles against Tamina & Natalya.
In the back, Apollo Crews, Otis, Chad Gable, Sami Zayn, and King Corbin talked about the upcoming ten-man tag team match. Crews praised everyone on his team but had nothing for Zayn.
Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, and The Street Profits cut a promo too.
Apollo Crews (w/Commandor Azeez), Otis, Chad Gable, King Corbin & Sami Zayn defeated Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Street Profits & Kevin Owens
This was a good ten-man tag team match.
The faces had the early advantage. Montez Ford caught Gable with a standing dropkick for a near fall. Apollo Crews gained control for his team, and they worked over Ford.
Ford fought back and rocked Zayn with a dropkick. Big E and Corbin went back and forth. Big E rocked Corbin with a back elbow. Corbin pushed Big E into his corner, and the heels attacked him.
The faces jumped in, and a brawl broke out between all ten men. Owens hit a frog splash off the apron onto Zayn.
Back from the break, the heels were firmly in control. Otis hit a big splash on Owens in the corner. Michael Cole noted that during the break, Gable worked over Owens' leg.
Crews avoided a stunner and kept Owens from tagging his partners. Otis attacked Big E on the floor, Owens rocked Zayn with a spinning heel kick in the ring, and Nakamura got the hot tag.
Nakamura caught Zayn with a knee of the second turnbuckle, but Corbin broke up the pin attempt. Owens jumped in the ring and caught Crews with a stunner.
Otis dragged Owens to the floor, but Owens fought back. He rocked Otis with a series of superkicks, but he wouldn't go down.
Gable then caught Owens with a German suplex.
Dawkins knocked down Gable, but Otis rocked Dawkins with a clothesline. Ford then hit a dive onto Otis.
Nakamura attempted the Kinshasa, but Zayn avoided the move. Corbin made the blind tag and hit the end of days on Nakamura for the win.
Roman Reigns spoke with Jey Uso in his dressing room. He talked about everything they accomplished and noted they'd deal with Jimmy Uso in the ring.
They aired clips of Eddie Guerrero and Vince McMahon in Guerrero's low rider in a SmackDown flashback.
Roman Reigns, Jey, and Jimmy Uso Segment
This was a good closing segment. The angle played out well throughout the show.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman stood in the ring. Reigns began to speak, but Jimmy Uso interrupted. Jimmy wanted to know where Jey stands.
Jimmy showed clips from Hell in a Cell from last October. Reigns battled Jey in an I Quit Hell in a Cell match. Jey wouldn't quit until Jimmy jumped in the ring. Reigns caught him in the guillotine submission, and Jey quit to save Jimmy.
Jimmy got in Reigns' face and noted he wouldn't quit. Reigns told Jimmy to fall in line and acknowledge him. Reigns noted if Jimmy doesn't want to, he can go home and watch SmackDown with his kids.
Jimmy turned around and jumped out of the ring. He started to walk away but stopped. Jey chased after Jimmy in the aisle. He tried to convince Jimmy to align with them.
Suddenly, Cesaro jumped Reigns in the ring and beat him down. Initially, Jimmy stopped Jey from saving Reigns. Jey finally jumped in the ring, but Cesaro beat him down too.
Jimmy jumped in to save Jey, but Cesaro rocked him with a pop-up uppercut. Cesaro then gave Jey the Gotch neutralizer.
Cesaro then picked up Reigns and hit the Gotch neutralizer on him as well. Michael Cole yelled that Cesaro proved he could beat Reigns for the title.
Next Week: WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defend against Tamina & Natalya.