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Friday Night Smackdown preview: Quick thoughts about Feb. 3 episode

Friday Night Smackdown comes live from Greenville, SC, tonight and I provide some quick thoughts and opinions before the show.

Wrestling: WWE Royal Rumble Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

WWE Friday Night Smackdown comes live from Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC, tonight as the company dives into the fallout from last Saturday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in San Antonio. And let me tell you, there is a ton to dive into on the Smackdown side of things.

As we prepare for another episode of Smackdown tonight, I’ll give some of my quick thoughts about the show and what’s in store on the card.

Roman Reigns-Sami Zayn-Kevin Owens

Wow, where do I begin with this. The ending of the 2023 Royal Rumble is up there with some of the best storytelling I’ve ever seen from the company. The actual main event showdown between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens was a good, but not great match in my opinion, but it became immediately clear why that was the case afterwards.

For months, I’ve wondered when they were going to pull the trigger on the Bloodline finally turning on Sami Zayn. It could’ve happened on numerous occasions, from the night Reigns bestowed the “Honorary Uce” t-shirt onto Zayn to Survivor Series WarGames where he could’ve theoretically cost his team the match. They could’ve even done it during last week’s “Trial of Sami Zayn” segment during the 30-year anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw last week. Instead, they chose the Rumble and it was actually Zayn who did the turning.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are forever linked at the hip and the even during the periods of time where they are mortal enemies, they still care about the other. So it would make sense for Zayn, who was already showing signs of reluctance during the match, to not want to participate in the brutal post-match beatdown of his former friend. He got brought to a point where for the first time in months, he stood up for himself. And he stood up for himself by striking Roman Reigns in the back with a steel chair in the same manner that Seth Rollins struck him years ago to break up the Shield. That struck a nerve inside the mind of the “Tribal Chief” and Zayn paid the price by getting destroyed.

This is cinema man. Pure cinema. I would say that it doesn’t get any better than this, but then I remember that Elimination Chamber in two weeks is going to be in Montreal, the hometown of both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Reigns might need a police escort in and out of the Bell Centre if they are planning any type of match between him and Zayn. This storyline is the best.

Jey Uso

One thing I didn’t mention was Jey Uso refusing to take part in Sami’s beating and exiting the ring. That right there is a piece of storytelling that spans back well over two years.

When Reigns first began this run after SummerSlam 2020, Jey was the first person he psychological broke down and manipulated. He became a hardened enforcer within the Bloodline and opposed anyone who got near the group, Sami especially. After months and months of Zayn proving his worth, Jey finally relented and accepted him as part of the group. He even stuck up for him when Reigns began to question his loyalty. And then Saturday happened and it mentally broke Jey. We hadn’t seen him this conflicted since this entire thing started and could mark the beginning of the end of the Usos’ record-breaking tag title reign.

Again, this story has layers. Pure cinema I tall ya.

Charlotte Flair vs. Sonya Deville

Flair will win to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship, that’s a foregone conclusion. What wasn’t a foregone conclusion was Rhea Ripley choosing her as her Wrestlemania opponent. As soon as Ripley eliminated Liv Morgan to officially win the women’s Royal Rumble, I thought an encounter between her and Bianca Belair was a lock. I did not expect and was somewhat disappointed that they are seemingly going to run back to Flair-Ripley feud from a few years ago. I hope it delivers and exceeds my expectations in the coming weeks.