Reigns and the Usos
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The Three Count: Jimmy Uso’s Return Reignites SmackDown’s Soap Opera

Jimmy Uso’s return has the potential to restore the exciting passion that was evident on WWE SmackDown throughout the fall. Roman Reigns’ feud with Jey Uso was a highlight of 2020, and Jimmy’s presence should deliver a sequel that could surpass its predecessor. In the course of just two hours, The Bloodline (Reigns and the Usos) took the fans on a roller coaster in which the brothers’ allegiances to “The Tribal Chief” were up in the air. Every step of the way, SmackDown kept viewers on the edge of their seats because this situation felt like a powder keg; would Jimmy fall in line by siding with Reigns, or would Jey betray “The Head of the Table” by joining forces with his brother against the champion?

WWE is at its best when it gives fans unpredictable stories, and Friday’s show was an excellent example of how the company can masterfully weave a story in just one night. Jimmy’s return started with a joyful union when he hugged his family members. But it wasn’t long before his defiance of Reigns’ tyranny strained both his association with Reigns and Jey’s previously-firm loyalty. Later, Jimmy’s attempt to convince his brother to leave the champion’s side and chase tag team gold as The Usos amplified this increasingly heated situation, as it was genuinly unclear where the three members of The Bloodline would be left standing by the end of the show.

As it turns out, the answer was wonderfully inconclusive. When confronted on the matter, Jimmy walked out on “The Head of the Table,” seemingly unwilling to serve as his soldier. But when Cesaro attacked Reigns and Jey, Jimmy ran to the ring, hoping to help his brother. “The Swiss Cyborg” left all three men lying, so at least they had that in common. Still, these closing moments left fans with a fascinating question — what does the future hold for Jimmy Uso? Whether it’s a feel-good run with Jey as babyfaces reclaiming their throne, or a heel turn akin to Jey’s allegiance with Roman, the road forward feels like an all-win scenario. Given the captivating way WWE told the story about Reigns and Jey in the fall, it’s fair to hope that this chapter will be just as successful.

An Overdue Reunion Opens The Door For More Possibilities

The Bloodline wasn’t the only subject of the remarkable storytelling on display this week.

The Usos might be Reigns’ family, but Seth Rollins has been the champion’s proverbial brother for years. Dating back to their run as The Shield, Rollins and Reigns have always been linked together. The two stars have also feuded during their careers, adding even more substance to their unbreakable link. But since Reigns’ triiumphant return to WWE last summer, he has barely interracted with Rollins on-screen.

At first, the two former stablemates were on separate brands, so the distance was perfectly explainable. But as soon as the WWE Draft brought “The Monday Night Messiah” to Friday nights, many fans were curious to see how the two stars could coexist. As fate would have it, the two maineventers simply did their own thing on SmackDown without crossing paths. The longer this pattern continued, the more questionable it became. With Reigns’ growing dominance of SmackDown, it was more than fair to question how Rollins felt about the champion’s methods. Did Rollins’ vision of the “greater good” include “The Tribal Chief”?

As of this writing, WWE still hasn’t answered this question, but this week’s show brought fans a taste of one potential future, where Rollins and Reigns could reignite their rivalry. The scheduled WrestleMania between Rollins and Cesaro naturally roped in Reigns because “The Swiss Superman” is the current threat to the champion’s reign. A wonderful cameo from Teddy Long upped the ante by adding a signifcant stipulation — a Cesaro victory would clinch his spot in the title match at WWE WrestleMania Backlash.

As one might have predicted, Cesaro won the match. But the road that took him there was even more notable than the destination. When Rollins shoved Jey, Jimmy blasted “The Messiah” with a superkick. This interference directly cost Rollins the match, so he confronted Reigns backstage about the undesirable outcome. This interraction was fairly brief, but it still left many fans hoping for more. Reigns told Rollins that he would “handle” the Usos, but the former “Architect” of The Shield left him with a warning. Essentially, Rollins told the champion that he’d handle Jimmy and Jey himself if he had to. It’ll be quite interesting to see if WWE follows up on the branch of this storyline; on paper, revisiting Rollins vs. Reigns could take SmackDown to new heights this year.

It’s Time For Change

This last point is plain and simple. It’s time for Nia Jax and Shayna Baszer to lose the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship and part ways.

The two powerhouses have ruled atop the women’s tag team division for the better part of a year. As two-time champions, Jax and Baszler are practically synonymous with the titles at this point. But their breakup is long overdue. For months; Baszler’s booking has been questionable. Some weeks, she looks like a dominant force of nature. Others, she’s taking embrassasingly quick losses to Natalya and, dating back to January, Dana Brooke. “The Queen of Spades” deserves better than this. She should be wreaking havok in the women’s division on a regular basis. Having her break away from Jax can help her refresh her standing on RAW. In theory, she could regain her status as one of the baddest women in WWE with just a few impressive wins. But the clock is ticking; the longer she stays in this team with Jax, the less imposing she seems, based on the way she’s presented far too often.

So WWE should put the titles on Natalya and Tamina, This duo should have won the gold at WrestleMania, where the hot crowd rooted Tamina on. WWE can still salvage this storyline by giving the veterans the gold and seeing what they can do with it. After an uninspiring reign from Jax and Baszler, what’s the harm in trying something new and rewarding two deserving wrestlers?

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For a discussion about Friday’s show, please check out the latest episode of the SmackDown Double Down, where co-hosts Colin Tessier and Robert DeFelice share their thoughts about the blue brand.