Smackdown has been can’t miss television lately with the feud between Sami Zayn and the Bloodline, and the latest episode is no different. Columnist Rob Pasbani takes a look at the latest progression in the story, plus where is Japanese star Jay White headed next, an update on Jerry Lawler and all the wrestling on TV this week!
With WWE Elimination Chamber just one week away, the latest chapter in the epic Bloodline saga last night on WWE Smackdown had some major storyline advancements from the Royal Rumble. After Sami Zayn disobeyed Roman Reigns’ orders, the entire Bloodline (except for Jey Uso) attacked Zayn. This eventually lead to the announcement of Zayn vs. Reigns at the Elimination Chamber.
Paul Heyman kicked off the show in the ring, speaking on behalf of the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion when Sami Zayn crashed the party to warn Heyman that Zayn is not a threat to be taken lightly and that he’s going to beat Reigns at the Chamber. It was an excellent exchange:
The big question of the night was would Jey Uso show up for his tag team title defense with his brother Jimmy. Throughout the show, Jimmy said he hadn’t heard from his brother since the Rumble but he’s sure that Jey will show up. And Jey did end up showing up, and they had an awesome title defense against Braun Strowman and Ricochet.
After the match, backstage, Jimmy tells Jey it’s been hell since Jey has been gone from the Bloodline. Jimmy asks Jey if he’s in or out of the Bloodline. Jey says he doesn’t know and walks off. Paul Heyman is stalking the two backstage and sees the exchange.
After Jey walks off, he discreetly appears and asks Jimmy if Jey said anything and Jimmy said no. Jimmy is caught lying for his brother by the wise man!
The highlight of the night was Sami Zayn finally confronting Jey Uso backstage, where they assumed nobody was looking (except uhh the giant camera in their faces, but lets forget about that I guess). Zayn thanked Jey for what he did at the Rumble, and to remind him that Reigns will never forget what Jey did. After, Zayn said that since he probably wouldn’t have another chance to say it, “I acknowledge you.” Jey is visibly moved and eventually even gives Zayn a pound before telling him to get outta there.
As a quick epilogue at the end of the show, Heyman told Jimmy that he just spoke to Roman Reigns and Reigns wants the Usos to just stay home next week. “Sometimes you see things on TV, that you don’t see when you’re here live.” Heyman noted.
Another awesome chapter of the storyline that leaves me incredibly excited for the big match next Saturday at Elimination Chamber.
Overnight, New Japan Pro Wrestling held their massive event “The New Beginning in Osaka,” and one of the featured matches on the card was Jay White vs. Hikuleo in a Loser Leaves Japan match.
A fine Redditor has compiled an excellent highlight reel of the match, which of course reveals that Jay White, the man who was just IWGP World Champion a month ago, lost a Loser Leaves Japan match. If somehow, the video below doesn’t embed, you can watch it here.
The wording of the stipulation, that the loser leaves Japan, and not New Japan Pro Wrestling entirely, leaves open the possibility that White might only perform on New Japan’s non-Japanese events. They hold tons of events in the United States as well as other parts of the world. But, Jay’s exit seemed rather conclusive.
For one thing, he gave Tanahashi, one of his archnemeses, a pound on his way out:
And one of his greatest rivals, Will Ospreay, posted a touching tribute, which seemed to be out of character:
There are conflicting reports as to the length of Jay’s contract length. Some reports say it expired at the end of January, and previous reports from years past indicated he had years left on his contract.
There has been interest from both WWE and AEW, but you have to think if Jay is leaving, he would be WWE-bound, since they could easily outbid the competition, and Jay is somebody you can throw into the upper mid-card programs immediately. I can already see a Cody Rhodes vs. Jay White feud being big business. Then again, if Jay goes to AEW, he can still work the New Japan US dates, which typically do not clash, schedule-wise with AEW shows. It will be interesting to see where he lands. Check out full results of the New Japan show here.
Tonight, NWA Nuff Said is happening in Tampa, Flordia streaming on FITE and PPV:
WWE Monday Night Raw is on this Monday at 8pm on USA Network and have announced:
WWE NXT on Tuesday at 8pm on USA Network has:
AEW Dynamite on Wednesday at 8pm on TBS has a loaded show announced:
Impact on Thursday night on AXS has:
Smackdown, next Friday, the day before WWE Elimination Chamber on Fox has already announced:
AEW Rampage next Friday on TNT has announced:
Great news for Jerry Lawler. After suffering what looked to be a terrible stroke, Lawler is expected to make a full recovery. He has been checked out of the hospital and will be returning home for outpatient care.
The Impractical Jokers got put through a table on AEW Rampage this week after trying to steal Chris Jericho’s bat.
Paul Wight told UK’s Metro that he is scheduled to undergo knee replacement surgery and is hopeful to get back in the ring. “That knee was bad for 12 years, so it could’ve gone any day. It’s like kind of like that tire on your car that you know you should change but keep driving anyway. But, we’re good now, and hopefully we’ll be back in the ring in March. Everything’s on schedule, so we’re looking good,” he said.
After MJF’s controversial promo on Dynamite on Wednesday, there were rumors that Nassau County’s police department got a ton of calls in relation to the crime MJF admitted to on air. Those rumors were false! ESPN’s Marc Romandi tweeted “Not to break kayfabe, but I contacted the Nassau County (N.Y.) PD and reports that hundreds of people have called about the MJF promo from AEW don’t seem to be true. The public information officer didn’t know what I was talking about and said such calls would go to his office.”
PWInsider reports that JBL is not expected to be on WWE programming regularly in the future. He has been written out of the Baron Corbin storyline because WWE officials didn’t think it was working.
PWInsider also reports The Bunny may have suffered a concussion or a possible broken orbital bone in her match on Wednesday on Dynamite, which is why they quickly ended the match.
Paul Heyman told Variety he thinks WWE should be nominated for an Emmy for the Bloodline story.
AEW announced a deal with ESPN to broadcast their programming in Australia and New Zealand.
MLW announced two big shows for April. On April 6th at the Melrose Ballroom in NYC, they will have their “War Chamber” match, a take on War Games. Two nights later in Philly will be their annual Battle Riot event featuring a Royal Rumble-style match.
Keiji Muto has his final match scheduled for next Tuesday, but he’s going into the match with two injured hamstrings. He’s badly beaten up ahead of his final match with Naito.
AEW’s video game is expected soon and has finally got a T for Teen rating. The preview indicates there will blood, barbed wire and more weapons!
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.