WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: John Cena steals contract to face Roman Reigns at SummerSlam

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Heading into SmackDown on Friday night, it appeared that Roman Reigns was on a path to defend his title against Finn Balor at SummerSlam. By the end of the night, John Cena had instead inserted himself as Reigns’ opponent at the upcoming event in Las Vegas.

Reigns had turned down Cena’s challenge last week, instead agreeing to face Balor. When the two men sat down to sign the contract to make the match official, chaos broke out. In the confusion, Cena took the contract and signed his own name, which WWE officials decided was enough to make the SummerSlam match between Reigns and Cena official.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from the Target Center in Minneapolis.

John Cena steals contract to face Roman Reigns

John Cena opened the show with an in-ring promo, recapping Roman Reigns turning down his challenge, calling the universal champion “a scared little kid.” Cena claimed Reigns only changed his personality because he didn’t believe in himself and the fans don’t believe in him either. He ended his promo saying Reigns ducked his challenge for SummerSlam because he knows what would happen. Baron Corbin came to the ring, begging Cena to help him, either financially or by putting him in the next “Suicide Squad” movie, leading to Cena hitting him with an Attitude Adjustment.

Later in the night, Reigns sat down with Finn Balor for a contract signing. Reigns said he “digs” that Balor is hungry and driven, unlike Cena, who is just a tired act before vowing that he would smash Balor and send him back to NXT. Balor didn’t hesitate before grabbing the contract but was blindsided and attacked by Corbin, who tried to sign the contract himself. Cena then ran to the ring, took out Corbin and signed the contract. When confronted by Paul Heyman, Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville said that they considered the contract officially ratified and the match between Reigns and Cena is now official for SummerSlam.

Nobody is asking WWE to get into contract law, but this is as clunky a way as possible to get to Cena vs. Reigns. You can’t just steal another man’s contract and put your signature above his name and make it an official document. That’s just not how these things work. These things are just insulting to the intelligence of the audience. Balor will get Corbin as a consolation prize and we get Cena vs. Reigns at SummerSlam, which is all fine. There just has to have been a better way to get here. Grade: C-

Sasha Banks makes her return, turns on Bianca Belair

Sasha Banks made her return, saving Bianca Belair from Carmella and Zelina Vega. Carmella and Vega were demanding matches with Belair before attacking. Banks’ music hit and she ran to the ring to chase the two challengers off before she shared a hug with Belair. This led to the night’s main event.

Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair def. Carmella & Zelina Vega when Banks locked Carmella in the Banks Statement. As Belair and Banks celebrated their victory, Banks hit Belair with a backstabber and followed up with punches and a tornado DDT before locking in the Banks Statement on the champion.

This was a necessary development since it didn’t make sense that Banks and Belair were now best gal pals. They had a heated rivalry heading into WrestleMania and Banks’ character is one who would not be content to just fade away after losing the belt. Belair also desperately needs an opponent who seems on her level — which means someone who isn’t Carmella or Vega — and Banks fits the bill. Grade: B+

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Rey Mysterio def. Jimmy Uso via pinfall with a crucifix. The ending came when Dominik Mysterio pushed on his father’s back with his feet to secure the pin, same as the Usos had done in two previous matches against the Mysterios.
  • 24/7 Championship — Reginald (c) def. Chad Gable via disqualification after interference from Otis. Gable was a surprise opponent for Reginald, who was about to win when Otis jumped in the ring to attack.
  • Big E, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura def. Apollo Crews, Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler via pinfall after Nakamura hit Crews with a Kinshasa.
  • Seth Rollins attacked Edge as Edge was coming to the ring. After the attack, which included Rollins hitting Edge with a television camera, Rollins cut a promo saying that if he can’t be the universal champion, neither can Edge.

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