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Bloodline Storyline, Part 3: The Honorary Uce

Nick Simon is taking you back through the entire WWE Bloodline storyline heading into Wrestlemania 2023. Here, he takes a look at the group following Wrestlemania 38 and an unexpected character taking center stage.

Syndication: Worcester Telegram Photo/Dylan Azari / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wrestlemania 39 will take place from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, this weekend and the two most anticipated matches stem from the same story. The Usos will defend the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens on Night 1 and Roman Reigns will defend the undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Cody Rhodes in the main event of Night 2.

Since the summer of 2020, the Bloodline story has been the most layered and detailed storyline the WWE has produced in recent memory. We have seen several chapters play out on television, including different character pivot points, high-stakes matches, and the longest world title reign in the modern history of the company. Should Reigns and the Usos drop their respective titles this weekend, it will truly mark the end of an era.

With the help of the WWE releasing its own two-hour Bloodline video a few weeks ago, I’ve decided to go back myself and go over this story blow by blow. After Parts 1 and 2, I’ll pick this up after Wrestlemania 38, where an unexpected new character becomes a central figure in the story.

Part 3

Smackdown, 4/8/22

Having unified the WWE and Universal titles, Roman Reigns declares that the next mission for the group is to unify the tag titles. Shortly after, a title unification match between the Usos and Raw tag champs RK-Bro is made for the coming weeks.

Smackdown, 4/22/22

Fresh off losing to Johnny Knoxville at Wrestlemania, Sami Zayn, who was now feuding with Drew McIntyre, approaches the Bloodline in the locker room for the very first time.

He acknowledges Reigns from the beginning and informs him that McIntyre and RK-Bro had been saying disrespectful things about their family. He then enlists their help to beat McInytre, emphasizing that beating him would help restore credibility to his name.

In the coming weeks, The Bloodline would go on to defeat McIntyre and RK-Bro in the main event of Wrestlemania Backlash.

Smackdown, 5/20/22

The Usos, with an assist from Reigns, defeat RK-Bro to officially unify the tag titles. Outside of the midcard belts like the Intercontinental and United States titles, the Bloodline now holds all the gold on the main roster.

Smackdown, 5/27/22

After a month of collaborating with the group, Sami Zayn proposes that he become a member of the Bloodline...or at least an honorary member. Jimmy coins the phrase “Honorary Uce.” Jey is visibly annoyed by Zayn’s presence, which becomes a running theme for the rest of the year.

The following week’s Smackdown, Zayn sneaks into the production truck and plays Roman’s Reigns’ music during the Usos’ rematch with RK-Bro. That distraction allows for Jimmy and Jey to retain, marking a major instance of the new “Honorary Uce” going out of his way for the group.

Smackdown, 6/17/22

In a braggadocious promo, Reigns declares that there is no one left for him to face before Brock Lesnar returned and attacked the Bloodline. It was announced afterwards that the two would meet in a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam the following month.

Outside of this development, it’s a brief quiet period for the group. Reigns does not appear at either the Hell in a Cell or Money in the Bank pay-per-view’s while the Usos put another successful title defense under their belts when defeating the Street Profits at MITB.

SummerSlam, 7/30/22

Reigns manages to once again defeat Lesnar in an insane Last Man Standing match where Lesnar lifted the ring with a forklift. The Usos also once again defended their belts against the Street Profits that night, with Jeff Jarrett serving as the special guest referee.

Smackdown, 8/5/22

After months of doing their bidding and collaborating, a frustrated Sami Zayn confronts the Usos about whether or not he’ll be a full-time member of the group. Jey snaps at him, saying that he has to start pulling his weight.

Over the next few weeks, Zayn begins to throw himself in the line of fire for Reigns as the champ feuds with Drew McIntyre.

Clash at the Castle, 9/3/22

Reigns defeats McIntyre to retain his titles in the main event with the help of a debuting Solo Sikoa. Fresh from NXT, the younger brother of the Usos arrived in a hoodie and pulled the referee out of the ring as he was about to count three for McIntyre. Off the distraction, Reigns plants McIntyre with a spear for the win. This officially solidifies the champ’s two-year reign on top.

Sikoa would briefly return to NXT in the coming weeks to defeat Carmelo Hayes for the North American Championship. That creates a brief moment where all the main players of the Bloodline are holding championships. However, he’d be force to vacate it shortly afterwards.

Smackdown, 9/23/22

It’s explained on the episodes of Smackdown after Clash that Sikoa was sent by the elders of the Anoa’i family to help protect Reigns and he acknowledges the Tribal Chief immediately.

Reigns then turns his attention towards Zayn, questioning why he’s tagging along with the group and wearing their shirts. He demands Zayn to take the Bloodline shirt he’s wearing off before Jey physical rips it off himself. It looks like he’s about to be attacked and thrown out of the group before Reigns tosses him a shirt that says “Honorary Uce.” The crowd and Sami explode with excitement. Jey is still furious at Sami’s involvement with the group.

Smackdown, 10/7/22

Ahead of their title match at Crown Jewel, Logan Paul gets into the head of Bloodline. He asks when people refer to the “Tribal Chief”, are they talking about Roman Reigns or Jey Uso, the one who actually does the dirty work.

Meanwhile, Sami continues to try to pull his weight with the group and even tries to endear himself to Jey. And for laughs, this is where the term “Ucey” is born. (Side note: there was a stretch here where you could tell Zayn was trying to get the Usos to break character and laugh in each segment. It was great).

Smackdown, 10/21/22

With various groups colliding during the Smackdown World Cup tournament, The Bloodline, with Zayn, attacks the Brawling Brutes and injures Sheamus.

Crown Jewel, 11/5/22

Roman Reigns successfully defends his title against Logan Paul in the main event with the help of the Bloodline. The Usos also successfully defended their tag titles against the Brawling Brutes earlier in the night.

Smackdown, 11/11/22

The Usos successfully defeat the New Day to break the New Day’s record for the longest tag title reign in WWE history. That same night, Sheamus returns to get revenge on the Bloodline, along with the Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre. On the following episode of Smackdown, longtime Bloodline enemy Kevin Owens joins in and a WarGames match between the two groups for Survivor Series is made official.

Given their history, Sami Zayn’s loyalty is questioned when dealing with his former best friend Kevin Owens. Zayn is still eager to prove his allegiance to the Bloodline.

Survivor Series WarGames, 11/26/22

The Bloodline defeat the team of Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, and the Brawling Brutes in the main event WarGames match. The match is decided by Sami Zayn hitting Owens with a low blow and a Helluva Kick, allowing for the team to get the win. Zayn finally proves his loyalty to the group and even wins over Jey Uso in the process.

On the episodes of Raw after Survivor Series, KO says that he’s happy that Zayn has finally found a group that he belongs to, but emphasizes that he’s not he’s not their blood and never will be. He also emphasizes that he wants nothing to do with Zayn moving forward.

The Bloodline continues to hum as a cohesive unit throughout the holiday season, but Zayn is still not a full-time member at this point. Even still, he continues to get over as a babyface and draws huge reactions from the crowds.

Smackdown, 12/31/22

Laying down the challenge over the holidays, Kevin Owens and a returning John Cena defeat Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in a tag team match on the final Smackdown of the year. Zayn, of course, takes the pinfall in the match. Afterwards, it is announced that KO would face Reigns for the title at the 2023 Royal Rumble.

Meanwhile, this is around the same time that Cody Rhodes had announced that he was returning from his torn pectoral muscle injury and would enter the Royal Rumble match.