• Matty Paddock

SmackDown Results 26/3/21: Universal title picture finally confirmed

WWE finally confirmed the status of the Universal title match at WrestleMania on Friday night's episode of SmackDown.

Universal Champion Roman Reigns has been brooding in recent weeks with both Edge and Daniel Bryan eagerly laying claim to being the worthy contender for his championship.

Fans have long suspected that both men would be given the nod to go up against Reigns at Mania next month, with that decision finally given the proverbial rubber stamp by on-screen official Adam Pearce.

The call came at the end of yet another tense night on the blue brand - Edge and Bryan continued to battle verbally and physically at different stages, while Edge did all he could to lobby Reigns' support to keep it at a singles match and better his own chances of taking the gold.

As it was, it was the Rated R Superstar who stood tall at the close of the show, taking out Bryan and other officials with a chair while Roman slipped out of the ring and out of trouble.

More action was confirmed for WrestleMania, not least in the shape of another confrontation between long-time pals Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The Canadian duo have played friends and foes on screen throughout their careers and there's little doubt that this latest instalment will be well worth the watch. Owens cornered Zayn on SmackDown, insisting he accept his Mania challenge before hitting him with a stunner.

Apollo Crews will get another stab at the Intercontinental Championship at next month's Show of Shows; he'll go into the challenge against incumbent Big E with some real momentum, once again getting the better of his rival on SmackDown in pinning him to win a tag team match that pitted E and the Street Profits against Apollo, Otis and Gable.

While it was nice to see the Profits, Otis and Gable break away from the endless cycle of matches involving Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode and the Mysterios, there's no question they still each have business in the SmackDown tag title picture. This week that action centered on a match between Rey Mysterio and Ziggler, with Mysterio coming out on top in the battle of the veterans thanks to 619 and top rope splash.

The tedious faux friendless between SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks and her WrestleMania challenger Bianca Belair now seems a distant memory, things continuing to get more and more heated between the pair this week. Belair had dispatched Banks on her way to a singles win over Natalya, but Banks would retort with the last laugh for the night by hitting the Royal Rumble winner with the backstabber.

Meanwhile, Cesaro continues to be well under the skin of Seth Rollins ahead of the impending big match between the two at Mania. Rollins had beaten Shinsuke Nakamura in a solid match, and went on to attack him after the bell - drawing out Cesaro who duly made the save, eventually giving Rollins the Cesaro Swing backstage, seconds after the former Shield member had vowed he'd never suffer that fate again.

Image - WWE