Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. The next WWE PPV is Extreme Rules on Sunday, September 26, so that’s just over a week away.
From the Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, this is Smackdown for episode #1152. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s get to it.
The show began with highlights of Seth Rollins beating Edge in their match after repeated superkicks and The Stomp. Edge did a stretcher job since he works a limited schedule, so hopefully he enjoys the break.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
It was a familiar start to Smackdown as the Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance to begin the show. They showed highlights from last week when Brock Lesnar made it clear he wants to face Roman Reigns, then Lesnar was able to fight off The Usos and Reigns left. After that, Reigns said he would face Brock Lesnar after he’s done with Finn Balor. That led to Balor appearing as “Demon” Finn Balor. Reigns will face Finn Balor at Extreme Rules on September 26 and then Reigns will face Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel in October. After about five minutes, Roman was in the ring with The Usos and Paul Heyman. The Smackdown announce team was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee.
Analysis: I think Roman’s entrance is slower than The Undertaker. I know it gives us time to acknowledge him, but it really does take a long time.
Reigns told Knoxville to acknowledge him. Heyman was told to educate them on how to acknowledge Reigns. Heyman sucked up to Reigns saying he has acknowledged him since he was a little boy. Heyman said that The Tribal Chief defends his position as the head of the table every single day, week and month. Heyman said that Reigns defends the position of being your Tribal Chief and the fans booed. Heyman noted that Reigns fears no man, no beast and no demon, but they all fear Roman Reigns. The fans booed, so Heyman told them they know that it is true. Heyman wondered if Finn Balor doesn’t fear Reigns then why does he have to tap into his inner demons to challenge Reigns? Heyman claimed that Brock Lesnar fears Reigns. Heyman said he’s known Lesnar for 20 years and he didn’t see fear in Lesnar all those years. Heyman mentioned last week at Madison Square Garden…and here comes the new WWE Champion Big E.
Big E ran down to the ring, around the ring and into the ring with the WWE Championship in his hands. Big E stood across from Reigns while fans chanted “you deserve it” chants for Big E. Reigns held up his Universal Championship as he stood across from Big E, who held up the WWE Championship.
Finn Balor was dressed in normal gear looking like he was ready for a match. No “Demon” look this week.
Analysis: I assume that Big E is going to be a Raw only guy when we get to the WWE Draft in a few weeks. I doubt Reigns is moved off Smackdown, so that makes logical sense. Anyway, since Balor and Big E were in their ring gear, it was an obvious setup for a tag team match.
This match was made during the break.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Finn Balor & Big E
This is not for The Usos’ Tag Team Titles. Balor hit a running dropkick on Jimmy. Big E tagged in against Jey with a back elbow. Big E set up Jey on the edge of the apron leading to a running splash for two. Jey managed to drive Big E into the turnbuckle leading to the Usos punching Big E repeatedly. Jimmy choked Big E across the bottom rope while Jey got in a cheap shot punch. Jey worked over Big E a bit with kicks as the fans chanted “Big E” and Jimmy was back in with a punch to the face. Jimmy missed a corner splash when Big E moved, Balor with a tag leading to a kick and Balor punched Jey off the apron. Balor with a running chop, Jey tagged in and tripped up Balor. Jey sent Balor into the barricade. Jimmy hit a suicide dive onto Balor on the floor leading to a bump into the barricade. That led to a break.
The match returned with Balor isolated as Jimmy drove Balor face first into the top turnbuckle. Balor fought out of a headlock with a Pele Kick. Big E got the hot tag with two belly to belly suplexes, then a belly to belly side slam and a running attack right into Jey hitting a Samoan Drop. Big E caught Jey with uranage and hit a running splash on Jimmy. Big E charged at Jey, who got a boot up. Jey jumped off the top, Big E moved and Jey hit a superkick for two. Balor got back into it with a Slingblade on Jey and a Coup de Grace on Jey while Big E picked up Jimmy with the Big Ending for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Finn Balor & Big E
Analysis: ***1/2 This was really good as usual for an Usos match since they always deliver in the ring. Big E and Balor are experienced guys, so they know their role of selling a lot in Balor’s case leading to Big E getting the hot tag for the win. I liked how Big E and Balor hit finishers at the same time. While I don’t like seeing The Usos lose non-title because that weakens them a bit, I get why WWE booked it that way since they are closely associated with Reigns, so it gives Balor and Reigns some momentum.
Roman Reigns was in his dressing room with “Wise Man” Paul Heyman. Reigns asked if Heyman had anything to say. Reigns kept on pushing. Heyman said that he had no idea that Brock Lesnar was going to show up at SummerSlam. Heyman noted that Lesnar was dealing with a fear of Reigns, so the way he deals with that is a false narrative that Heyman knew he was going to SummerSlam. Heyman said that’s how he knows Lesnar fears Reigns. Roman asked if Lesnar was going to show up at Extreme Rules. Heyman quickly answered “no” and Heyman said if Lesnar fears Reigns then he won’t show up. Reigns reminded Heyman that he pays him to know this stuff in advance. Heyman said nothing as the scene ended.
Analysis: They are doing a nice job of pushing the story that Heyman knew Lesnar would be at SummerSlam while Heyman continues to deny it. Is Heyman telling the truth about Lesnar fearing Reigns, or is it Heyman lying as he tends to do? It’s up to the viewer to decide.
Rick Boogs had the electric guitar as he did the introduction for the Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura. McAfee was going crazy as usual while dancing on the chair. Boogs is in action up next.
Rick Boogs (w/King Nakamura) vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler)
Roode has been working on his tan. That is for sure. Anyway, Ziggler did a brief distraction, so Roode connected with some chops. Roode with a boot to the face followed by a Blockbuster neckbreaker for two. Boogs countered a DDT into a squat and a Samoan Drop. Boogs hit two overhead suplexes across the ring. Boogs with a running bulldog. Boogs picked up with a pumphandle powerslam called the Boogs Cruise for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rick Boogs
Analysis: * A quick match to put over Boogs again as he remains undefeated. Roode is like Ziggler at this point in his career as a veteran wrestler that’s there to put over younger, newer talent for the most part.
Post match, Boogs and Nakamura celebrated with Pat McAfee at ringside until Commander Azeez showed up with a boot to Nakamura’s face. Apollo Crews joined Azeez for a cheap attack at ringside as they sent Boogs into the steel steps and whipped Nakamura into the side of the announce table. Crews tossed the IC Title on Nakamura.
Crews did a promo with his Nigerian accent asking: “Is this your king?” Crews said that Nakamura has made a mockery of the Intercontinental Championship and he was there to demand a rematch.
Analysis: The IC Title has been forgotten a bit recently, so now they have a bit of a story with Crews wanting the title back.
Happy Corbin was shown walking backstage for a match up next.
There was a Progressive Match Flo replay showing the past issues between Happy Corbin with Logan Paul and Kevin Owens. It ended with Corbin hitting Owens with a Chokeslam.
Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Megan Morant. Owens said he was sick of hearing about Corbin. Owens said that two weeks ago Corbin hit him with a cheap shot. Owens blamed himself for not listening to his instincts in the past and that backfired. Owens claimed that after tonight it won’t be Happy Corbin, it will be Happy Kevin.
Kevin Owens made his entrance. Corbin attacked Owens from behind and sent him into the barricade. Corbin gave Owens a Chokeslam onto the ring apron, so Owens was down. There was no match.
Analysis: Poor KO. I guess it will lead to a match next week or down the road. Owens used to deliver a Powerbomb on the apron in his heel days, but now he was the one taking the move on the ring apron. The feud hasn’t been that great, but it’s a way to get both guys on the show.
There were highlights shown from last week with Edge getting taken away on a stretcher due to Seth Rollins hitting him with The Stomp.
Seth Rollins made his entrance wearing a shiny silver suit and a silver tie. Promo time with Seth after the break.
Paul Heyman was shown walking down a hallway, Kayla Braxton mentioned a rumor that Brock Lesnar could be going to Raw in the upcoming WWE Draft. Heyman shouted about how he is not Lesnar’s advocate anymore. Heyman yelled at her to stop flirting with him. Kayla was not doing that, but that’s what Paul accused her of. When Heyman walked away, Big E was there. Heyman congratulated Big E for becoming WWE Champion while adding that he never would have been able to cash in and beat Roman Reigns. Big E said we’ll find out at Survivor Series unless it’s Paul’s other boy Brock Lesnar or maybe Finn Balor. Big E laughed at Paul while The Usos showed up with a superkick to Big E. The Usos whipped Big E into some equipment cases in the backstage area. The Usos tossed Big E into another case that was backstage. Roman Reigns was shown walking in the background, then he walked away and The Usos left while Big E was down.
Analysis: A cheap attack from The Usos that came as a bit of a surprise, but showed that Reigns didn’t like being interrupted earlier in the night. It set up a match for Raw on Monday as we found out later in the show.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Rollins said that he had one of the greatest matches of his career last week when he defeated Edge in Madison Square Garden. Rollins said what happened to Edge was unfortunate, unsettling and it was scary. Rollins said when his boot came down on the back of his neck, he heard a pop, he felt a crunch and he doesn’t know how to describe it. Rollins said it was like when you step on a cockroach, there’s a crunch and you know there’s a lifeless body under it. Rollins asked for footage from last week.
There was another replay of Rollins beating Edge in a competitive match with Rollins hitting The Stomp to win. Edge did a stretcher job post match. This took a few minutes.
Rollins said he understood why the fans were booing. Rollins asked: “What did you think was going to happen?” Rollins asked it again. Rollins said that was one of the greatest wins of his career yet he couldn’t enjoy it. Rollins said that this company said what he did was unconscionable and that he went too far. Rollins asked the fans if he went too far while adding that he used a legal move in a match that he has used during his career. Rollins said that Edge went too far because he’s a family man that knew the risks and consequences, yet he still got in the ring with Rollins. Seth told the fans that they were really to blame. Rollins said that this entire time, you goaded Edge into goading Rollins. Seth said when Edge called Rollins “Edge-Lite” you cheered. Rollins said you cheered when he poured black gunk on his head to ruin his $3,000 suit, the fans cheered. Rollins said that you cheered when Edge beat him at SummerSlam. Rollins said you can’t blame him because you have to blame Edge, the people in this arena and everybody watching at home. Rollins noted that he’s not done with Edge. Rollins said that this past week on NXT, Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix said Edge was at home recuperating, so maybe Edge is watching this. Rollins said he knows what Edge is thinking because Seth would be thinking the same thing. Rollins wondered if Edge was physically capable of getting back into this ring and emotionally capable of getting back into this ring? Rollins said that he saw the look in Edge’s eye when they loaded him into the ambulance. Rollins said he saw fear in Edge’s eyes like that before. Rollins said for a second, he felt sorry for Edge and that has been eating him alive for the past week. Rollins said he can’t feel sorry for somebody like him. Rollins said that either he shows up at Edge’s cabin and beats him up in front of his family or Edge crawls back into this ring so they can dance one more time. Rollins said for his own sanity, he has to finish Edge one way or another.
Analysis: This was fine, but it went a bit long since it was over ten minutes of a guy talking. It was a typical heel promo where a guy blames the fans for what he did. Rollins is a good promo. I just think it went on too long. Based on what Rollins said, it likely means that whenever Edge is back on TV, they will set up a match between the two guys one more time since their series is 1-1 now.
Becky Lynch, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, was interviewed backstage. Lynch said tonight is Bianca’s Homecoming so tonight is her night. Lynch said she has never been to a homecoming, so maybe she’ll check it out.
Zelina Vega and Carmella made their entrance for tag team action. They’re against Toni Storm and Liv Morgan after the break.
Liv Morgan & Toni Storm vs. Carmella & Zelina Vega
Carmella punched Morgan off the apron, Storm was legal and Carmella brought in Vega. Storm with a kick into the turnbuckle. A Carmella distraction led to Vega with a kick and a running knee. Storm hit a suplex on Vega. Morgan tagged in against Carmella with kicks and a kick that sent Carmella nose first into the barricade. Carmella was freaking out about her nose, Vega helped her and the referee counted Carmella out. They only got about two minutes.
Winners by disqualification: Liv Morgan & Toni Storm
Analysis: 1/2* Lame finish. Good to see the women in a match, but the ending sucked.
Post match, Morgan did a promo asking if she broke Carmella’s nose? Morgan said she’s not sorry at all because she’s tired of Carmella running her mouth and running away. Morgan said if Carmela accepts she will make her look as hideous on the outside as she is on the inside.
Analysis: Interesting threat by Morgan there. I didn’t expect them to have a match at Extreme Rules, but it’s fine to have another women’s match on the show.
The Street Profits were backstage for a promo with Montez Ford referencing his wife Bianca Belair being in her hometown. Angelo Dawkins said that they were hungry for that championship gold. Ford said that The Usos were coming off a loss, they’re distracted and they will lose their titles. The Street Profits said that they are up and they want the smoke.
Analysis: It’s The Usos vs. Street Profits at Extreme Rules. They have had good matches in the past. I don’t expect a title change, but it should be solid again.
Finn Balor tells the tale of The Demon after a break.
Carmella and Zelina Vega were shown in the trainer’s room. The WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were there. Thanks to Zelina Vega, Carmella realized that she still looks gorgeous. Carmella accepted Morgan’s match and Vega said Morgan has to face her first.
Analysis: At least the PPV match will probably go longer than this match on Smackdown. I guess Morgan will beat Vega next week.
Finn Balor said that the demon comes from the inside. Balor said he doesn’t come from a wrestling family like Roman Reigns does. Balor said that the Demon unlocks a rage inside of him that cannot be controlled. Balor said that The Demon summons him. Balor said that the fire that burns inside of him burns much brighter than the fires that burn all around him. Balor said that you are looking at Finn Balor the challenger, but at Extreme Rules, you will see the face of The Demon, the Universal Champion. There were some special effects after that to show Balor in his Demon gear.
Analysis: A quick promo from Balor to explain why he becomes The Demon to give him strength and show the rage inside of him.
Dominik Mysterio made his entrance for a match. Rey Mysterio entered to support his son while noting that Dominik wanted Rey to stay in the back. Rey joined commentary for the next match.
— WWE (@WWE) September 18, 2021
This Monday on Raw: A 6-man tag team match with The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) facing The Bloodline (Roman Reigns & The Usos).
Analysis: Big match for Raw. Get Roman on the show to provide a bit of a boost to Raw. Most of the Smackdown roster is heading to the UK for four shows from Sunday to Wednesday including London, England on Monday. Some Raw guys like Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal are part of it too because Drew wanted to be in front of the UK fans again, which is smart. Reigns and The Usos are not going (Jimmy might have problems leaving the US due to legal issues), so WWE is smart to put them on Raw.
Sonya Deville was shown talking on the phone backstage. Naomi walked up to her asking when her match is. Sonya mentioned she can figure out something for next week. Naomi reminded Sonya she has been there longer than her, she has accomplished way more than her, she is a two-time Women’s Champion and one way or another she will get her match.
Analysis: That has gone on for several weeks with still no resolution. Maybe it leads to Naomi going heel or maybe she finally gets a match. I don’t know.
Sami Zayn entered for a match against Dominik Mysterio again.
Sami Zayn vs. Dominik Mysterio
Zayn left the ring, then back in and stomped on Dominik. Zayn with a running clothesline on Dominik. Rey said he was not overbearing while noting that Dominik will be better for him and he’s working on it. I doubt Dominik is better. Dominik hit an impressive springboard armdrag and then Zayn got a boot to the face. Dominik countered Zayn by sending him onto the top rope to crotch Zayn. Dominik hit a springboard cross body block over the top onto Zayn on the floor. That led to a commercial two minutes into the match.
The match continued with Dominik countering a move into a headscissors for two. Dominik with a back elbow followed by a DDT off the ropes for two. Dominik with a dropkick into the ropes followed by the 619 kick connecting. Dominik went up top, Rey wanted him to go faster, Dominik jumped off with a Frog Splash, Zayn got the knees up and countered into a pinfall for the win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: *3/4 We only got to see about three minutes due to the commercial. They timed that one badly. Anyway, Dominik hit some big moves, then he took too long going up top and the savvy Zayn had the right counter to get the win. This story has gone on for several weeks now.
Sami Zayn signaled “three” signifying his three wins over Dominik. Zayn went over to Rey to tell him that his son isn’t ready.
Analysis: It is slowly building to Dominik likely turning heel against his father Rey. They didn’t push it that much this week, but it seems like it is coming in the future.
There was a video shown about Bianca Belair traveling around Knoxville including visiting her old high school.
The familiar music of WWE Hall of Famer Kane hit as the Mayor of Knox County Glenn Jacobs made his entrance to a big pop in the city where he’s mayor. The Bianca Belair celebration is next in the main event.
A video aired about the WWE Draft on October 1 Smackdown and October 4 Raw.
Next week on Smackdown in Philadelphia:
* King Nakamura defends the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews.
* Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega. It should be an easy win for Morgan.
Bianca Belair Homecoming Celebration
Kane did a promo saying it felt great to feel that entrance again. Kane said as the Mayor of Knox County, it was his honor to introduce Knoxville’s own Bianca Belair. There were balloons all around the ring and something under a table that was covered. They had pictures of Belair’s career at ringside.
Bianca Belair got a huge pop as she wore some orange that was familiar to fans of the Tennessee Volunteers. Belair gave a shoutout to her family and friends that were there. Bianca’s family was at ringside. Belair said that Knoxville made her into the EST. Belair said her daddy (who was there) saying if somebody starts something with you, then you better finish it. Belair said that she’s been down before, but she always fights her way to the top. Belair said that at Extreme Rules, she will take back her Smackdown Women’s Championship. Kane said after she wins the title back, they will have a huge celebration in her honor.
Kane said it was his honor to present Belair with the key to their county. There was a huge key in the ring and Belair held it up in the air as the fans chanted “EST” for her. Belair thanked her family, her high school and the University of Tennessee – she said she is proud. Belair said she wanted to celebrate Knoxville. Belair wanted to sing their song “Rocky Top” so Belair led the crowd in singing it, but here comes Becky Lynch.
Becky Lynch, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, had on a yellow jacket with yellow shades. Lynch was rude in congratulating Belair while saying that Kane lied to her saying she would be the champion. Lynch said that she can be Knoxville’s champion.
Lynch got into the ring with Belair, who asked why Lynch was even there. Belair did her line: “You don’t even go here.” The fans chanted “You don’t go here” at Lynch. Lynch said that Belair has been getting a lot of attention under Lynch’s shadow. Lynch said that SummerSlam was her night, Extreme Rules will be too and tonight will be Belair’s night, so she wanted a handshake. Becky wanted a handshake, Belair was reluctant to shake it and Belair shook the hand. Lynch tried an attack, Belair lifted her and Lynch gave Belair the Manhandle Slam. Lynch left with her Smackdown Women’s Title while Belair was back up selling her back after taking that move. Lynch posed on the stage, Belair was in the ring and that was it.
Analysis: It’s typical WWE to have the hometown wrestler get upstaged by their rival and in this case, it was Lynch getting the upper hand over Belair to end the show. I thought they should have had Belair hit her finish to stand tall. It doesn’t hurt anybody if they do that and the fans would like that. Instead, WWE would rather get some heat by having Lynch stand tall. It’s a weird way of thinking, but it’s something we, as WWE fans, are used to. Anyway, it was nice to hear the hometown reaction for Belair. This segment didn’t establish that much except to further position Lynch as a heel now.
It’s worth nothing that after the show aired, Bianca hit Becky with the KOD to send the fans home happy. That was after the cameras stopped rolling, though.
Three Stars of the Show
- Finn Balor/Big E
- The Usos
- Bianca Belair
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 8.5
2021 Average: 7.06
This was a big step back after last week’s great show. The first match with Balor/Big E beating The Usos was definitely the best match while the rest of the matches were mostly average. Some of them were really short too. Lots of talking this week for some reason.
I like most of the stories on Smackdown right now, but they really didn’t further anything that much. It was mostly just an average show to me.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Extreme Rules on Sunday, September 26. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. “Demon” Finn Balor
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
United States Championship: Damian Priest (c) vs. Sheamus
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
Carmella vs. Liv Morgan
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.