• Matty Paddock

SmackDown Results 26/2/21: Belair finally confirms Banks challenge

Bianca Belair made her WrestleMania intentions clear on Smackdown while Roman Reigns continues to rule supreme.

Belair finally confirmed what has been remarkably clear since her Royal Rumble win in January - she'll be going after the brand's Women's Champion Sasha Banks. With Reginald somehow still involved in the mix - likely leading to some involvement for Carmella before Mania - the EST of WWE stepped up to the plate and said she'd make Banks "eat her words" by defeating her on the company's biggest show of the year.

WWE's biggest hindrance right now remains the yawning gap between the Rumble and Mania in respect of its weekly television time, and so rather than necessarily building towards its big storylines for the show, they're having to find ways to fill weeks in the lead up, which can sometimes be harmful. The case in point could be Reigns - he stood tall over Daniel Bryan at the end of the night as Bryan eases himself into the Universal title picture that clearly belongs to Edge at WrestleMania.

The fact that they're having to fill the void as a necessity isn't all bad, though; few will gripe at seeing Bryan getting more in-ring time. He stepped up to Reigns to start Friday's show and insisted he wanted a shot at the Universal gold at Fastlane - something Adam Pearce was happy to make happen so long as Bryan could beat Jey Uso. That bout ended in a double countout, meaning we'll plod on another week before moving further.

The final shot of the night saw Reigns again standing tall, this time over Bryan. After the match, Bryan had snared each of them in the Yes Lock before the numbers game eventually told and proved too much as the pair put the boots in.

One of the most interesting character developments on Smackdown in recent weeks is that of Apollo Crews. Fresh from putting Intercontinental champ Big E out with injury, Crews cut an impassioned promo getting at E, before being rudely interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura. The two promptly had a match which Crews won with an Angle Slam.

Rey and Dominik Mysterio's woes at the hands of Otis and Gable continued as they went through essentially a rinse and repeat of their tag team defeat to the duo from a week prior. Nursing battered ribs from that first outing, Rey took another round of heavy, heavy hits, eventually being pinned after an Otis top rope splash.

A dominant Tamina picked up a fairly one-sided win over Liv Morgan, while attempts by Sami Zayn and King Corbin to team up and get the better of the Street Profits failed miserably, the two bickering their way to a tag team defeat after a neat Montez Ford frog splash on Zayn.

A potential alliance between Cesaro and Seth Rollins was also teased. Much has been expected for the former since he signed a new WWE contract recently and so, too, Rollins after his return to the ring. Rollins appeared to be getting through to Cesaro when giving him a motivational sales talk on how the two ought to combine forces, before Ceasro left the former Monday Night Messiah laying with an uppercut.

Image - WWE