• Matty Paddock

SmackDown Results 5/3/21: Daniel Bryan nets WWE Championship match

Daniel Bryan secured himself a Universal Championship match at Fastlane after beating Jey Uso on Smackdown.

Bryan has been in hot pursuit of champ Roman Reigns in recent weeks as he bids to be the man to take the title to WrestleMania where the incumbent will tackle Royal Rumble match winner Edge.

With the present incarnation of Reigns happy to get away with doing the minimum amount of work possible, Bryan had been dodged at pretty much every corner. This week his path was at last fairly clear: win a steel cage match against Uso and he’d have his shot, which Bryan duly managed by mankind Reigns’ cousin tap out with a Yes Lock.

Bryan had earlier given an impassioned promo about how his general happiness at just being able to perform and wrestle on a regular basis was being overtaken by his desire and “ambition” to taste championship gold again. He’ll have his chance later this month, but it’s still hard it’s see a Wrestlemania picture that doesn’t involve Reigns.

Elsewhere on the blue brand, an equally persistent if less intense pursuit is that from Sami Zayn of King Corbin as he continues his insistence that the duo will make a good tag team. He seemed to be making progress having assisted Corbin to a win over Montez Ford a week after the duo had been beaten by the Street Profits. Corbin refused to acknowledge the assist or that it might mean the two should combine, Zayn’s quest then less helped by his own defeat to Ford’s partner Angelo Dawkins.

The Mysterios finally managed to make a dent in the armour of Otis and Gable as Dominik rolled up Gable to win a relatively short match which was nonetheless extremely pleasing on the eye thanks to their undoubted abilities - Rey finally managing to avoid another attack by Otis after the match, having taken more than his fair share of punishment in recent weeks.

There was plenty hinted at during the show as the slow build towards Mania via Fastlane continued. Murphy returned and appeared to offer his help to former mentor Seth Rollins, which is odd in enough in itself given how the pairing parted only a matter of months ago - those advances were spurned as Murphy went on to lose a match against Rollins' current foe Cesaro, but it's not likely to be the last we've heard of it. Similarly there appears to be something afoot between Carmella and Reginald - after being 'fired' by her, the former sommelier was also sent packing by Sasha Banks. One can't help but suspect Carmella may be weaving together something different entirely.

Reginald's dismissal by Banks came after the former had almost cost Bianca Belair a match against Shayna Baszler for which Banks had been at ringside. As it was, the in-form Belair managed to turn aside Baszler's challenge impressively enough, but she angrily urged her WrestleMania opponent to "take care of" Reginald, who promptly got a slap to the face for his troubles.

The episode seemed a little light on in-ring action on the whole, but there were other talking points. Bayley took exception to what appeared to be a mystery insult left for her as she read comments from fans online, while Apollo Crews again demanded another shot at Big E's Intercontinental Championship. Complete with a new persona of 'Nigerian Royalty' including an accent that asked more questions than it answered, he said the Champion would "fall at his feet and be left a broken man."