Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 08/13/21 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review on TJRWrestling. We are just eight days away from SummerSlam in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 21 in front of 40,000+ people. I’m really looking forward to that. We know most of the card by now since eight matches are official after WWE made Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal official tonight. That might be the whole lineup for SummerSlam (you can find the full card at the bottom of this review), but there could be some more additions over the next eight days because I think we will see AJ Styles/Omos vs. Riddle/Randy Orton added as well.

From the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this is Smackdown for episode #1147. 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 a shot of the crowd in Tulsa. The announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on hand to call the action.

John Cena made his entrance to a big pop as usual. The ovations are consistently loud everywhere that Cena goes. A Progressive Match Flo replay showed a clip from two weeks ago when lefty John Cena signed the contract to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at SummerSlam.

Let’s Hear from John Cena

Cena welcomed Tulsa to Smackdown saying we are on for SummerSlam. Cena said that this would be a great occasion to give Roman Reigns a report card since school is back. Cena called Reigns a “D” and a D-head and a D-bag and a “disappointment” as well. Cena said that for ten years, WWE has been selling you Roman Reigns and the only one buying was Roman himself. Cena said that at SummerSlam, he’s going to give Roman an F. There was a “Cena” chant as John said he wanted to give a pop quiz. Cena asked if Reigns will beat the hell out of Cena at SummerSlam and it was mostly boos and people chanting “no” to that. Cena: “Roman Reigns will beat the hell out of me at SummerSlam, but I also know that Roman Reigns will lose at SummerSlam and there ain’t a damn thing he can do about it.”

Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion, made his entrance with Special Counsel holding the Universal Championship for him. Reigns posed with the title on the stage as some pyro went off. While Reigns stood there, Cole and McAfee promoted what’s coming. The Reigns/Cena “Face to Face” is coming up after a break.

Analysis: That’s interesting that they would go to break after nine minutes instead of just continuing on like we have seen many times over the years. Cena’s promo was very good as usual. The fans like him a lot and he’s showing a lot of confidence going into SummerSlam.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns & John Cena: Face to Face

Reigns finally got into the ring with the Universal Championship as more pyro went off. McAfee pointed out accurately that Reigns was as confident as ever.

Cena said here is after some fireworks and joined by Paul Heyman, it’s Roman Reigns! Cena thanked Reigns for joining them. Heyman handed Reigns his microphone while Heyman held up the Universal Title. Reigns said don’t waste his time, let’s get to it. Cena said that he’s not going to waste his time, but he’ll embarrass him in eight days at SummerSlam on the biggest stage of them all.

Reigns asked if that’s all you got? Cena said when he looks at Roman, he sees a guy waltzing around here thinking it’s his show and they all have to play by Roman’s rules and that it is Roman’s company. Cena said that everybody knows it belongs to them (the fans). Cena said that he knows Roman thinks that he is so far above everybody else, but Cena said that he is back because he is the only one to shut him up. Cena said that Reigns is still here after a decade because he’s the best shot that they have. Cena said that they asked him to come back because he’s going to serve Reigns some Humble Pie when he beats Roman’s ass at SummerSlam. Cena said that it will be Team Reigns or Team Cena. Cena said that SummerSlam is going to be history and you can count on that.

Reigns thought that Cena would give him something fresh and original because he came at him with D jokes, penis jokes and he wanted something original. Cena said that Reigns will beat his ass with a punch named after a superhero (Superman Punch) with Cena saying it’s another DC superhero. Cena took a shot at Heyman too. Cena said that if he wins that championship then he would be a 17-time World Champion in WWE and it would make history. Cena said that he’s there to help Reigns.

Reigns said that he respects Cena. Reigns said that they do compelling storytelling here. Reigns said that Cena is arguably the greatest of all-time, underappreciated and not enough respect on this man’s name. Reigns said that Cena was on the cusp of being a 17-time champion. Reigns said that Cena could take every spot on Mount Rushmore. Reigns said that they don’t have enough time on Smackdown to promote all of Cena’s movies and claimed he had like four movies out there right now. Reigns said that Cena is good enough to verbally joust with anybody, he’s good enough to be in the ring with the Tribal Chief and Reigns said that Cena is good enough to win the WWE Championship, but not the Universal Championship. Reigns said that 20 plus years of Missionary might have been good enough for John, but it wasn’t good enough for Nikki Bella. The crowd did an “ooohhh” for that. Reigns said he’ll smash him and send him back to movie sets and send him back to Hollywood. Reigns said that this might be the last time we see John Cena.

Cena said that Reigns hasn’t been embarrassed, he’s been protected. Cena said that Reigns was protected by The Shield, he almost ruined Seth Rollins, he ran Dean Ambrose out of WWE (ouch) and Reigns has main evented five WrestleManias, but it still isn’t working. Cena said that Reigns is right about so much. Cena said that Heyman knows as much as anybody about how much punishment he can take and all he has to do is to get the 1, 2 and 3. Cena said then Reigns would be an answer to a trivia question about who did Cena beat to be a 17-time World Champion. Cena said that Reigns can put on a hell of a show, but then Cena is going to hang in there with the 1, 2 and 3. Cena said he’ll run out of Allegiant Stadium as fast as he can and maybe even blow a kiss goodbye (CM Punk reference). Cena said that nobody can protect Reigns anymore because the champ is gone…one, two, three. Cena left to a big ovation as Reigns posed with his title.

Analysis: This was great. It was hard to get everything they said, but I did my best as always. There was a lot to digest there. I thought Cena was absolutely tremendous while Reigns more than held his own. Cena did a lot more of the talking. Cena did a great job of making the point that he can take a beating from Reigns all match long, but Cena can take punishment and come back to find a way to win. I liked the personal shots they took with Reigns mentioning Cena’s ex-girlfriend Nikki Bella while Cena claimed that Reigns is why Dean Ambrose left WWE. Cena’s point about how Reigns would be in the history books as the guy that lost the title to Cena for Cena’s 17th WWE/Universal Title, so that’s something to think about as well. Anyway, the first 30 minutes of Smackdown was talking with John Cena’s solo promo to start and then the Cena/Reigns face off. I think it was very effective in terms of getting us even more ready for SummerSlam next week.

King Nakamura was shown warming up with Rick Boogs for Nakamura’s match up next.

(Commercial)

The end of King Nakamura’s entrance was shown.

Intercontinental Championship: Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) vs. King Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs)

Crews with a suplex for two. Nakamura with a kick, but then Azeez did a distraction and Crews took over. Crews with a running back elbow. Nakamura hit a running knee lift on Crews by the turnbuckle. Nakamura went for a superplex, but Crews knocked him down with a headbutt. Crews was on the top rope, but Boogs was on the apron playing the electric guitar, so the referee ejected him from ringside. Azeez tried getting into the ring, so the referee ejected him as well. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Nakamura getting a nearfall. Nakamura slowly climbed the ropes, but Crews stopped him with a jumping kick to the head. Crews hit a superplex while standing on the middle rope for a two count. Crews with a kick to the gut, then a Powerbomb and a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Crews went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash and Nakamura got the knees up to block. Nakamura charged, but Crews hit a step up enziguri for two with his feet on the ropes. Crews with a German Suplex for two. Nakamura with a jumping kick and then a sitout slam off the shoulders for two. Nakamura with a reverse Exploder Suplex across the ring. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall win after ten minutes. It was Nakamura’s second time winning the IC Title. Big pop from the crowd for the title change.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: King Nakamura

Analysis: *** Good match leading to a title change as Nakamura’s positive momentum continued. Once the guys were ejected from ringside I figured Nakamura might get the clean win because it makes sense with no Azeez out there to interfere. Crews got in plenty of offense, but then Nakamura hit a few moves in a row and that was it. The fans cheered the title change as expected. It’s nice to see Nakamura with some gold again.

Nakamura celebrated with the Intercontinental Championship. Rick Boogs went over to the announce table to play the guitar and dance with McAfee. Nakamura joined in on the celebration.

Analysis: Nakamura has been winning a lot more since becoming King Nakamura and now he’s put an end to Apollo’s IC Title reign. Crews held the title for over four months.

There was a replay of the feud between The Street Profits and Alpha Academy over the last two months. Basically, Otis beat up Ford and Dawkins a lot, but The Street Profits came back last week to show they were back.

The Street Profits were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Montez Ford said that now he’s back in action, he’s excited. Angelo Dawkins said that Ford is his brother, his family and now that Ford is fully healed, they are up and they want the smoke!

The Street Profits made their entrance for tag team action. Good reaction for them. The Tulsa crowd was making a lot of noise.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: In addition to all the show reviews I do on a weekly basis, I’ve been writing a lot of other content too. Here’s a ranking of every WWE SummerSlam PPV event ever with links to all 33 shows counting down to number one…I went old school with retro PPV reviews over the last week with a detailed review of the 1985 WWE Wrestling Classic PPV and I also wrote about This Tuesday in Texas from December 1991. While I wouldn’t call either show an all-time classic, it is fun for me to write about any historical shows. It’s what I enjoy doing…Moving back to the present day, John Cena is scheduled to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at SummerSlam on August 21. Since it is SummerSlam time, I decided to rank Cena’s 14 SummerSlam matches from worst to best. Two things that I found interesting were that Cena has a losing record at SummerSlam (6-8) and the four best matches in his SummerSlam career were all losses! It shows that John was willing to put over other wrestlers on a big stage like SummerSlam even though he obviously did win a lot in his career.

The end of Alpha Academy’s entrance was shown as they returned from a break.

The Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Ford and Gable battled over a wrist lock with Gable turning it into an armbar. Gable with a trip into an armbar. Gable charged, Ford jumped over him, they each did an armdrag and Ford got a rollup attempt. Ford with a jumping kick to the head as Gable backed into the corner. Otis tagged in against Ford as Ford hit a dropkick. Otis tossed Ford into the air leading to a front slam. Dawkins got the tag, he hit a corner splash, but Otis avoided a bulldog and Otis caught Dawkins leading to an overhead slam across the ring. Otis with shoulder tackles, Gable with shoulder tackles and the Alpha guys kept on doing quick tags. Otis with a running shoulder tag to knock Dawkins down. Gable touched Otis on the shoulder to encourage him, the referee considered that a tag and Ford hit a dive over the top onto Otis on the floor. Otis came back by whipping Ford into the barricade. Dawkins hit the lifting corkscrew neckbreaker on Gable for the pinfall win. It went about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Analysis: ** The Street Profits are building momentum. Gable being the guy that got pinned was no surprise since Otis is protected a lot, so that finish was what I figured it would be. The tag was done with Gable slapping Otis to encourage him, then the referee made Gable go in the ring, Gable didn’t want to and that was the downfall of the Alpha Academy. I think Otis getting right back up after Ford’s dive made Ford look a bit weak, but they always want Otis looking dominant. Good job of Dawkins getting the win.

Seth Rollins was shown in the production truck telling them that they know what he asked for and he needs this to be done.

This Monday on Raw, Goldberg comes face to face with WWE Champion Bobby Lashley for the last time before SummerSlam. That’s all they promoted.

(Commercial)

Still to come: Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks in a contract signing segment for SummerSlam.

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins made his entrance in one of his ridiculous-looking suits. Rollins faces Edge at SummerSlam.

Rollins informed the crowd that Edge wasn’t there. The fans chanted “We Want Edge” at Rollins. Seth said that according to Edge, you’ve got the next best thing – Edge Light. Rollins said that it makes perfect sense since Edge is a Hall of Famer that has done everything there is to do in WWE and Edge can’t stand that Rollins has done everything better. Rollins said that we had documented video proof.

Rollins called for a video package as a voiceover guy talked about how Seth has improved on Edge’s career by blazing a trail to even greater heights. When Edge arrived in WWE, he was part of stables with minimal success, but then Rollins was part of the most dominant group in WWE history, The Shield. Edge cashed in Money in the Bank to become WWE Champion, but that has been forgotten compared to Seth’s “Heist of the Century” at WrestleMania 31. Edge won the Royal Rumble twice, but has fallen short at WrestleMania. When Rollins won the Royal Rumble, he won the Universal Champion at WrestleMania. They said that Edge would always be beneath Rollins as well with a clip of Rollins putting his foot on Edge’s neck from seven years ago. The fans booed when the video ended.

Analysis: Good video that made a lot of strong points at least from the perspective of Rollins.

Rollins said that the video footage doesn’t lie. Rollins said that he had a bit of a revelation saying that Edge should be thanking Rollins. Seth said that not just Edge, but all of you should be thanking Rollins. Seth said that if he stopped Edge in 2014 then they would never have this match at SummerSlam. Rollins spoke about how all of these Edge moments never would have happened without him. Rollins ranted about how Edge could be in a wheelchair right now pushing his daughters on a swing set. Rollins said that Edge has pushed him too far, but he’s put himself between Rollins and the Universal Championship too many times. Rollins said that is compromising the future of his family. Rollins stared into the camera saying it’s not 2014 anymore. Rollins said that at SummerSlam he will not hesitate, he will not hold back, he will stomp Edge’s head into the mat and if that puts Edge out for good then so be it. Seth’s music played to end it.

Analysis: A strong promo from Rollins as usual. I think Seth is better when he’s playing off somebody else in a promo segment, but he did fine here. Rollins using a serious tone at the end of the promo was needed as well because sometimes Seth is a goofy heel, so having him be serious like that will help him look like more of a threat.

Rey and Dominik Mysterio were shown behind the curtain talking. Rey didn’t want Dominik to be overconfident. Rey telling his son to take care of business the Mysterio way.

The Mysterios made their entrance for tag team action against Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode after a break.

(Commercial)

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode

Roode sent Rey into the ropes, Rey with a headscissors and Roode came back with a backbreaker. Ziggler tagged in with a running kick/legsweep combo on Rey. Ziggler with a kick to the ribs, Roode tagged in to set up Rey on the top rope and Rey headbutted Ziggler to knock him down. Rey with a senton off the top on Ziggler. Dominik with a cross body block off the top on Ziggler and a neckbreaker. Dominik with a rollup for two. Ziggler with a Fameasser for two. Dominik with an enziguri that sent Ziggler into the ropes. The Usos appeared on the big screen shouting “619” to distract. Dominik and Rey were both watching the screen. Rey shoved Dominik to save his son from a charging Roode with Rey telling Dominik to pay attention. Dominik hit a leaping pin attempt on Roode and sat on top for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: *3/4 It was fine for a shorter match. The Mysterios winning was the right call since they are getting the title shot at SummerSlam while Roode/Ziggler are there to put over their opponents most of the time, but they can win sometimes. Dominik’s pinfall win over Roode was impressive because it came after Dominik was distracted, so it showed that Dominik was able to overcome that to get the win.

Post match, The Usos said that they would see the Mysterios at SummerSlam for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles as The Usos held up the titles. Rey and Dominik celebrated in the ring.

There were highlights shown of the Reigns/Cena promo from earlier in the night. Cena told Reigns that nobody can protect him anymore, the champ is gone and it’s going to be one, two, three for Cena.

Baron Corbin made his entrance (to no music) in the same white shirt he wears every week. Corbin had his bad haircut along with the disheveled look. Corbin is up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Baron Corbin

Baron Corbin said that he has been really down on his luck lately. Corbin said that it’s so much worse than that. Corbin said if it doesn’t turn around quickly then he might have to file for bankruptcy. Corbin claimed that in society today, when somebody like him falls, you want to keep them down. Corbin talked about how this is the last time he’ll ask for help. Corbin said he wants a minimum of $1,000 from each of you and Corbin said he had a credit card scanner on his phone.

The nice guy Kevin Owens made his entrance. Corbin said he knows Owens is out there to contribute. Corbin said he’s not sure if it works with Canadian credit cards and Owens said this needs to stop. Owens said he tried to help Corbin. Owens summed up Corbin attacking Finn Balor and then Corbin wanted $100,000 from Drew McIntyre on Raw. Corbin said he’s not leaving this arena until Owens gives him a minimum of $1,000. Owens asked if he should give Corbin $1,000? Owens told Corbin if he beats Owens then he gets $1,000. Owens said if Corbin loses then he has to stop begging for money and he helps himself instead. Corbin agreed to it. Corbin said he wouldn’t be in this situation if Owen’s wasn’t a cheap piece of…Owens with a kick to the chest and a Stunner by Owens.

Analysis: This storyline is silly for sure, but it makes me laugh sometimes, so I enjoy it. Owens is a guy that has been underutilized in recent months. At least KO has something to do now with this story involving poor Baron Corbin.

Sasha Banks was shown walking backstage getting ready for her contract signing later.

They showed a replay from two weeks ago when Sasha Banks turned on Bianca Belair on Smackdown.

The match between Owens and Corbin is next.

(Commercial)

Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin

Corbin went for a rollup for two. Corbin countered a suplex into a cradle for two. Owens with a clothesline followed by a senton splash. Owens worked over Corbin with chops. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and back in with KO hitting a superkick. Owens hit a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle. Owens went up top, Corbin stopped him and Corbin punched Owens off the apron to the floor. Corbin wanted a countout win, Owens went back into the ring and Corbin punched him a few times. They were on the apron with Corbin teasing a suplex, but then punched Corbin a few times and Corbin gave Owens a back body drop on the apron.

During the match, we learned this important information as well!

(Commercial)

The match returned with Owens on the top rope, Corbin tried a superplex and Owens hit a headbutt to knock him down. Owens hit a Senton Bomb off the top for two. Corbin with a boot to the face, then a Chokeslam and that got a two count. Owens with punches, a headbutt and a charge right into a Deep Six slam by Corbin for two. Corbin charged, he blocked an Owens kick, Corbin sent Owens into the turnbuckle and got a rollup for two using the ropes. Owens with a sunset flip on Corbin for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: **1/2 A solid match to put over Owens while Corbin’s losing ways continue. The sunset flip finish was a bit of a surprise, but it showed that Owens can find multiple ways to beat somebody in a match. Corbin’s bad luck continues.

Post match, Owens went up to Corbin, kick to the ribs and Owens hit a Stunner to continue to celebrate the win.

They showed Bianca Belair backstage hanging out with Big E holding a white board while Bianca wrote out her first name to practice for the contract signing.

The Belair/Banks contract signing is up next in the main event slot.

(Commercial)

Baron Corbin was shown backstage with Kayla Braxton going up to him to ask what now? Corbin ran away, saw Big E sitting at a table and Corbin stole the Money in the Bank briefcase from Big E. Corbin ran away with the briefcase.

Analysis: It wasn’t a comedy segment, but it made me laugh because of how silly it was. Big E should get payback next week.

Belair/Banks Contract Signing

The ring was full with a table along with a blue carpet. WWE Official Sonya Deville talked about how Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks made history at WrestleMania. Deville introduced Sasha Banks, who looked stylish as always in some black leather attire. Bianca Belair made her energetic entrance as usual with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist. Belair sat down in a leather chair while Banks was also seated in a chair.

Belair asked if Banks is ready or if she’ll run away again or if she’ll stab Belair in the back again. Belair said she should have known that Banks was going to stab her in the back. Banks said that Belair’s hair left her with a scar for months. Banks called her a bitch so they argued. Deville made them stop yelling and told them both to sign the contract right now.

Banks teased signing. Banks said before she signs this, she is going to need some witnesses. Carmella and Zelina Vega made their entrances to support Banks. Banks said she’s always two steps ahead and Banks signed the contract. Belair signed the contract right after Banks as well.

Belair threw the contract at banks and then she took out the other girls. Belair did a flip over the table and landed on top of Banks. Belair punched Vega repeatedly and sent Carmella out of the ring. Banks was back in with a Backstabber. Carmella and Vega were punching Belair repeatedly. Banks told them she’s got this. Banks pulled on Belair’s hair and kicked her in the head. Banks sent Belair’s face into the table. Banks applied the Bank Statement submission on the table while using Belair’s hair to cover Belair’s mouth. Nobody tried to help Belair as Banks said she’ll see her at SummerSlam. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It was fine for a contract signing. Belair was made to look like a fool with the veteran Banks outsmarting her by getting some help in the form of Carmella/Vega. I think they should have had referees or somebody else show up when Banks attacked Belair because it went on for a couple of minutes without anybody trying to help Belair at all. Anyway, I have liked the build for Banks and Belair for the most part.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. John Cena
  2. King Nakamura
  3. Roman Reigns

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2021 Average: 7.08

 

Final Thoughts

It was a promo heavy edition of Smackdown as they focused on the key rivalries going into Summerslam. John Cena’s promo face off with Roman Reigns was terrific and I really enjoyed all of it. Cena reminded us just how special of a talent he is when it comes to promos. Reigns more than held his own, but this was about Cena getting a lot of promo time. Since that opening segment went 30 minutes, that meant a quarter of the show was that promo. I think the Reigns/Cena story needed it. It made me care more about their match.

Everything else on Smackdown was solid. There weren’t any matches that really stood out or anything like that, but I liked seeing King Nakamura winning the IC Title again. Other matches were on the short side.

Overall, I thought it was a good Smackdown that did a nice job of building up the SummerSlam matches, especially Reigns vs. Cena.

The next WWE pay-per-view event is SummerSlam in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 21. Here’s the lineup so far:

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. John Cena

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Bill Goldberg

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Sasha Banks

Seth Rollins vs. Edge

Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal

Raw Women’s Championship: Nikki A.S.H. (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley

United States Championship: Sheamus (c) vs. Damian Priest

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

You can watch SummerSlam on Saturday, August 21, streaming at 8 ET/5 PT exclusively on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.

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