Roman Reigns’ run as universal champion has already been built up to feel like it has the potential to be one of the most interesting title runs in modern wrestling history. Reigns made his first televised title defense of his current title reign on Friday’s edition of SmackDown, facing off with former rival Braun Strowman in the night’s main event.
The lasting memories of the show, however, will be yet another stellar segment between Reigns and his cousin, Jey Uso. After his match, Reigns pleaded with Uso to not force his hand by going through with their Hell in a Cell “I Quit” match on Oct. 25. Uso delivered his response with his fists, feet and a steel chair.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing highlights and recaps of all the action from SmackDown. Read on for everything you need to know.
Jey Uso refuses to hear Roman Reigns’ message
WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) def. Braun Strowman via submission with a guillotine choke. Reigns immediately took the fight to Strowman, hitting him with an early Superman punch and then a drive-by dropkick. Reigns continued to dominate until Strowman was able to mount a comeback outside the ring, slamming Reigns into the ring post and tossing him over the announce table before knocking him over the ringside barricade. Strowman had to make another comeback, hitting a dominator and a chokeslam, but Reigns hit a low blow as he kicked out, leaving an opening for a spear for a Reigns near fall. Reigns tried for another spear, but Strowman avoided the hold. Reigns was able to lock in a guillotine choke, however and used the hold to force Strowman to tap out.
Following Reigns’ victory, Jey Uso’s music hit and he made his way to the entrance ramp. Reigns looked at Uso and signaled for him to watch before hitting Strowman with a post-match spear. Reigns motioned for Uso to come to the ring, which Uso obliged before Paul Heyman handed Reigns a steel chair. Reigns pointed to Strowman and said, “This is how we eat. If I’m not on top, we don’t do this.” Reigns followed up by issuing a dire warning to Uso, saying, “If I can do this to him, imagine what I can do to you.” Reigns then laid into Strowman with the chair before chasing off WWE officials and continuing the assault. Uso climbed into the ring as Reigns said, “I love you, I would never do this to you, but you forced my hand.” After Reigns told Uso that he had forced his hand, he told him to swing the chair and turned his back. Uso threw down the chair, yelling that he would not before punching Reigns and dropping him to the canvas with a superkick. Uso then unloaded on Reigns with the chair before officials stopped the attack, allowing Reigns to hit a Superman punch before leaving the ring in a mix of frustration and sadness.
It’s no surprise at this point that putting Reigns and Uso in the ring produces a weird kind of magic. Genuine emotion isn’t a strong point in modern wrestling, but it has been what has made Uso and Reigns a special program. The bout between Reigns and Strowman was fine for a TV main event, and Reigns breaking out a submission to win is a nice wrinkle. But this was all about Uso and Reigns, with Strowman serving mostly as a prop to the bigger story. Grade: B+
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
Lars Sullivan def. Jeff Hardy via pinfall after a Freak Accident. The match came after a show-opening brawl between nearly the entire SmackDown locker room. Sullivan popped up from a Twist of Fate before hitting his finish.
The New Day def. Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura & Sheamus via pinfall after hitting The Midnight Hour on Sheamus. This was presented as something of a “goodbye” for the team as they were split in the WWE Draft. The match itself was an excellent, fast-paced bout with some big spots and a very strong final stretch before New Day got an emotional win.
Seth Rollins found himself outnumbered by Daniel Bryan, Murphy and Rey & Dominik Mysterio. Rollins interrupted Bryan’s promo addressing his return to action, leading to a brawl before Rollins was chased off. But before he could escape the ringside area, the Mysterios entered the picture and Bryan left them to their business. Murphy appeared, seemingly evening the odds, but then attacked Rollins. The Mysterios still weren’t buying Murphy’s actions, refusing to shake his hand at the end of the segment.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Street Profits (c) def. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode via disqualification when Ziggler and Roode continued to double-team after the referee’s warnings. This was clearly a set-up for what will be SmackDown’s main tag program for the near future, so no clear ending was likely from the jump.
Bayley refused to sign the contract for her Hell in a Cell match with Sasha Banks. After a fiery promo by Banks, Bayley shoved the contract across the table and left the ring saying, “I don’t have to sign anything.” Banks called her a coward and said she would sign the contract one way or another.