12 Ups & 2 Downs From Last Night's WWE SmackDown (Mar 5)

In which Samoa Joe FINALLY wins his first main roster title.

Samoa Joe US Title

SmackDown's writing team had a tall task on their hands last night. Not only did they have to deliver a follow-up to last week's excellent episode, but they were once again charged with delivering a memorable pre-Fastlane show in spite of the company's tired modern go-home format.

They knocked it out of the park on both fronts.

This was another top-notch blue brand offering marred only by a couple of very, very minor Downs, the likes of which never threatened to spoil the show outright, but need to be mentioned regardless. Such is the column's format.

Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens continued their pre-PPV verbal sparring in the night's opening segment, leading to a singles bout between 'The Prizerfighter' and Rowan, and an unexpected comeback. Elsewhere, there were developments in the Raw women's division as Charlotte Flair invited the injured Becky Lynch to the ring ahead of their big pay-per-view collision. There was tag action as Ricochet and Aleister Black teamed to face The Bar, Mandy Rose picked up a quick squash victory before facing Asuka, and oh yeah... Samoa Joe is the new United States Champion. That's pretty sweet.

Fastlane feels considerably more exciting after last night's show. Its quality was supreme, and long may it continue.


A caffeine-dependent life-form from the frozen wastes of north east Scotland. He once tried to start a revolution but didn't print enough pamphlets, so hardly anyone turned up. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.