Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review on TJRWrestling. This is the first Smackdown following SummerSlam from last Saturday, which was a big night for the blue brand. Becky Lynch returned and left with the Smackdown Women’s Title, much to the chagrin of Bianca Belair. Also, Brock Lesnar returned after the main event to confront the Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who defeated John Cena clean. Smackdown has lost Cena for the time being, but they have added Lynch and Lesnar at least until the next draft in October. Lesnar was not advertised for this show, but we assume he’ll be on Smackdown soon.
From the Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas, this is Smackdown for episode #1149. 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 opening video package focused on the return of Becky Lynch at SummerSlam, which led to Becky beating Bianca Belair to win back the Smackdown Women’s Title. Lynch won after a handshake, a cheap shot punch and the Manhandle Slam to get the win.
The crowd in Arkansas was ready to go. Michael Cole was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Kevin Owens. Pat McAfee was home dealing with Coronavirus. He noted he was fully vaccinated, he still got it and hopefully, he’ll be back soon.
Analysis: My guess was they would bring in Corey Graves, which is cool. Kevin Owens should be a fun addition to Smackdown commentary tonight. Best wishes to Pat. He’s a good dude. Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do.
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch made her entrance to a big pop. Becky said it was good to be back and it feels good to be back on top. Becky said that giving up the Raw Women’s Championship a year and a half ago was tough because it was like she was giving up her identity, but she’s been working hard to get back to where she was. Lynch said that if you thought she was deadly when working for herself, you have no idea how deadly she can be now (insinuating that she’ll be even stronger now that she’s a mom).
Lynch mentioned SummerSlam with some fans booing her. Lynch said that she was sorry, which drew boos, and then said: “for absolutely nothing.” Becky laughed about it. Becky said that everything is about timing. Becky said all she needed was an opportunity and if you don’t think she was preparing for it then you haven’t been paying attention to her career. Here comes Bianca Belair.
Bianca Belair made her entrance doing her dance on her way into the ring. Belair said she is not going to make excuses. Belair said that’s not her style. Belair said that she has been working too hard, for too long and then Becky walked in to erase all that in 26 seconds. Belair said that she accepted Lynch’s challenge, so how about Belair faces Lynch on Smackdown tonight?
Zelina Vega made her entrance in her ring gear for a promo. Vega mocked Belair crying for a rematch. Vega got into the ring telling Belair she already got embarrassed before, so we don’t want to see that again. Vega said that Belair should fall back and Vega should be the one to face Lynch.
Carmella joined the promo party with Corey Graves getting excited for his girlfriend. Carmella said that Becky should be facing the most beautiful woman in all of WWE…which Carmella claims is herself. Carmella said that they told her one hour before her match that she was Sasha Banks’ replacement. Carmella said that tonight she is prepared.
Liv Morgan was the fifth to show up saying that Carmella and Vega get beat week after week after week. Liv said if Becky is looking for a contender, Liv is right there. Carmella mocked Liv sitting in catering for the last two months. Belair said that all three of them have lost their damn minds. Belair said that this is between her and Becky while telling her to forget them. Belair wanted that match with Lynch and the fans cheered for that idea. Lynch: “Nah.” Becky left to her music.
Analysis: It wasn’t a complete heel promo from Becky Lynch, but she certainly showed signs of it especially by the end of it. A babyface champion accepts a challenge like that, but Lynch is apparently now a heel and heels say no to challenges. Lynch saying she was sorry “for absolutely nothing” is also heelish, so that’s clearly the direction for her. I thought Bianca did a nice job of getting in Becky’s face to demand a rematch. Morgan had an accurate line about how often Carmella/Vega lose, which I’m sure fans are aware of, yet WWE keeps putting them in matches as if they are contenders.
The four women were left in the ring, so Belair decked Vega with a forearm, Carmella went after Belair and Morgan sent Carmella out of the ring. Lynch left without any physical contact. Belair was pulled off the apron by Vega and Carmella. Morgan knocked Vega and Carmella off the apron. That led to a break.
Analysis: It’s the classic WWE booking to set up for a match after a break.
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega vs. Carmella vs. Liv Morgan
The winner gets a future Smackdown Women’s Championship Match.
Belair with a suplex on Carmella to send her out of the ring. Belair with a press slam, then a handstand to knock Morgan off the apron and a splash on Vega. Carmella pulled on Belair’s hair and then Vega/Carmella worked together briefly to get a two count on Belair. Morgan back in with a dropkick to Vega. Carmella pulled on Morgan’s throat against the ropes. Vega with a sunset flip pin attempt and a kick to the head of Vega. Carmella and Vega argued after Carmella went for a rollup. Belair back in, she knocked down Vega and tossed Carmella out of the ring. Belair hit the KOD (Kiss of Death) on Vega for the pinfall win.
Zelina Vega eliminated by Bianca Belair
Carmella got a hold of Belair on the floor and sent her into the barricade. Back in the ring, Morgan hit Carmella with her impressive move where she hit a flatliner off the ropes for the pinfall win.
Carmella eliminated by Liv Morgan
Bianca Belair faced off with Liv Morgan as the show went to break. This was about four minutes into the match.
Analysis: It makes no sense for Vega or Carmella to be in a match to earn a title shot considering how much they lose. It’s WWE booking, though. they don’t care about wins and losses.
The match returned with Belair hitting a kick and then a shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle. Belair to the middle rope, she jumped over Morgan, but Morgan got a knee up and hit a headscissors. Morgan with a double foot stomp to the back for two. Belair with a forearm, Morgan with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle and Belair avoided a charging attack. Belair hit an impressive spinebuster for a two count. That was a good-looking move that Belair should do regularly. Morgan went for the flatliner off the ropes, Belair blocked it and Morgan countered a suplex attempt into the double knees in the face. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Morgan charged, Belair lifted her and sent her into the turnbuckle. Belair lifted up Morgan in a Powerbomb position and sent Liv face first into the top turnbuckle. Belair hit the KOD (Kiss of Death) slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Liv Morgan eliminated by Bianca Belair
Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair
Analysis: *** The rating is mostly for Belair and Morgan since they carried the match. Carmella and Vega did fine in their minor roles. Morgan is one of the people on the main roster that needs a bigger role, so seeing her get chances like this is a nice thing to see. Belair winning made sense here. I doubt anybody was surprised by that. I liked how intense and aggressive Belair was throughout the match.
The win means that Bianca Belair will get a Smackdown Women’s Title match against Becky Lynch in the future.
Paul Heyman was shown walking backstage looking at his phone. Kayla Braxton showed up mentioning that Brock Lesnar returned at SummerSlam and she wondered where Heyman stands. Heyman said he stood with the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Heyman ended it by saying he had to help prepare for a Family Celebration, but then the door was locked to Roman’s dressing room. Poor Paul.
Analysis: I like the idea that they will push the story that Reigns is upset at Heyman for not knowing that Lesnar was coming back at SummerSlam. That’s a good story to push.
On another note, here’s the new NXT logo. It’s colorful.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 28, 2021
They showed highlights of Roman Reigns beating John Cena at SummerSlam. After the match, Brock Lesnar made his return to WWE after about 17 months.
Paul Heyman was shown outside the Roman Reigns locker room with Kayla Braxton still hanging around. The Usos opened the door and said that “Big Uce” Roman wasn’t there yet. The Usos asked Heyman if Heyman knew that Brock Lesnar was going to show up. Heyman said that he had no idea and he would not ruin what they have built up. Jimmy asked Paul why he sent them to the back before Roman’s match at SummerSlam. Paul said that was Roman’s decision. Jimmy said that this family was built on trust. Jey asked another question, Heyman didn’t answer and The Usos went into the locker room.
Analysis: More doubts about Heyman from The Usos, so that story should continue.
Otis and Chad Gable made their entrance with Gable set to face Cesaro. They showed Cesaro giving Gable the “Cesaro Swing” in the past.
Cesaro made his entrance for a match against Gable of the Alpha Academy. They don’t use this man on Smackdown enough.
Cesaro vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)
Cesaro with two running uppercuts, then a corner splash and Gable avoided a Swing attempt. Gable took down Cesaro with an armbar followed by two knee drops to the left arm. Gable with a shot to the throat followed by a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Gable went up top and hit a moonsault (for the Academy) for a two count. Gable went for an armbar by the ropes, but Cesaro came back with an uppercut, Cesaro went to the top rope and hit a hurricanrana off the top rope. Cesaro did the Cesaro Swing, so Otis went into the ring to punch Cesaro for the DQ finish. It went three minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Cesaro
Analysis: ** It was fine for a short match. More time would be nice, but I wasn’t surprised by that kind of ending. I’d like to see Cesaro featured more than he is.
Post match, Otis hit a running clothesline into a German Suplex from Gable. Otis went to the middle rope and he jumped off with a splash. Otis made angry faces. Gable: “For the Academy!” After some replays, the camera had a closeup of Otis.
Analysis: Otis continues to be booked in a dominant way. They really aren’t doing much with him in terms of interesting storylines, but he usually dominates whenever he is out there. I’m not sure what babyface they have to team with Cesaro against these guys.
Kayla Braxton was shown in the parking lot as a car was shown driving up to the building. Braxton said she was there to talk to Roman Reigns. It was Baron Corbin in a nice car and he had nice clothes as well as a hat. Braxton wondered what happened with Corbin saying he’s been posting about it on social media – that he won money in Las Vegas. Corbin said that he’s Happy Corbin now because he’s filthy rich and he’s happy.
Analysis: The “Happy Corbin” name was trademarked a few months ago by WWE, so there’s the name.
This Monday on Raw: Bobby Lashley vs. Sheamus. They also announced The Miz vs. John Morrison, but that was not mentioned in the commercial.
Let’s Hear from “Happy” Baron Corbin
There was a video for “Happy” Baron Corbin, who has a video introduction that has some Las Vegas-style graphics. Corbin entered with a suit, he had a hat and he finally shaved his beard. There was some champagne in the ring. Corbin said that he almost went bankrupt, he was wearing the same shirt for weeks, he lost everything including his wife, but look at his life because he’s doing incredible. Corbin cued up a video package.
They showed a video of Corbin saying after SummerSlam that he only had $35 left. They showed some of Corbin’s videos from Las Vegas that he posted on social media. Corbin claimed he won a lot of money.
Corbin bragged about the expensive clothes, the Bentley he drove, his wife welcomed him home and he had some Wagu beef as well. Corbin wanted us to call him Happy Corbin. Corbin called out Big E.
Big E made his entrance as the Money in the Bank contract holder with the fans cheering him. Corbin said he appreciated him coming out there and bragged about how he was filthy rich. Big E said that he’s happy for Corbin and glad he doesn’t smell anymore. Corbin wondered if he could buy the Money in the Bank contract briefcase. Corbin offered $20,000 at first. Corbin suggested $50,000 with Big E saying no thanks. Corbin said you might cash in and lose because that happens to people with Big E saying do you mean people like you? Corbin said yeah it happened to him. Corbin offered to pay $100,000 for the contract. Big E said it’s a lot of bread, but his answer is “hell no” to that as well.
Big E had things he can spend the money on. Big E had a half-eaten sandwich, pencil he found, an Arkansas Razorback toy and the fans cheered. Big E tossed it into the crowd. Corbin said he’s way too rich and too happy for this. Corbin said that when Big E loses, he’ll regret not accepting Corbin’s $100,000. Big E said he’s done with Corbin, he’s done with his game and threatened Corbin by telling him to leave or he’ll slap the smile off his face. Corbin left smiling.
Analysis: This was okay although it dragged in and was boring in parts. The lack of physicality was a surprise. I don’t know about the Happy Corbin name, but I guess WWE is committed to it now. Big E didn’t even fight the guy. It was just a promo exchange, it took a bit too long and then it ended with a whimper.
The Progressive Match Flo was shown with highlights of Edge beating Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. It was the best match of the show.
They showed a promo from Edge earlier in the day. Edge said that SummerSlam was satisfying because he beat Seth Rollins, but he paid for it. Edge said he had to find the most savage version of himself and it affected him at home as well as wherever he went. Edge said that he is moving on to what Seth cost him in the first place…the Universal Championship.
Seth Rollins was shown in the backstage area. Rollins claimed to have only one thing to say to Edge: “Congratulations.” Rollins said he had a week to think about what happened. Rollins said that some people were calling it Match of the Year, it was one of Edge’s greatest victories and for Seth it taught him about himself. Rollins said he admired Edge, he admired his Hall of Fame career and his life. Rollins said if he wants to fight his way back to the Universal Championship, maybe he has to be more like Edge, “so thank you and congratulations.” Rollins had a creepy smile on his face.
Rick Boogs was on stage with the electric guitar. Boogs introduced the Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura. That led to Nakamura’s entrance as the two men entered for tag team action.
Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage wearing “The Bloodline” t-shirt that appears to be new. Reigns walked up to his locker room door with Paul Heyman standing outside the door. Reigns asked what he’s doing outside, Heyman opened the door and Reigns asked if he was going in, Heyman said “yes my Tribal Chief” and they went in the room.
Analysis: Heyman was acting nervous there. He’s a good actor.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs vs. Dolph Ziggler & Rick Boogs
Boogs used his power to flip Ziggler around, play some air guitar and hit a suplex across the ring. Ziggler came back with a back elbow, Roode tagged in and Ziggler sent Boogs in the boots of Roode, who hit a neckbreaker. They showed some pre-tape comments from Apollo Crews complaining about Nakamura Roode and Ziggler did some double team moves leading to a double suplex by the heels on Boogs. That led to Boogs breaking free as Nakamura got the hot tag. Nakamura with a running kick on Roode, an Exploder Suplex on Ziggler and Nakamura hit the sliding German Suplex. Roode got a rollup with tights for two. Nakamura with a boot to the face while on the apron, Nakamura went to the floor and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on the floor. That led to a break.
Ziggler hit a splash on Nakamura, then the heels did a double team knee/legsweep combo for two. Roode hit a suplex for two. Nakamura hit a kick to break free. Boogs got his own hot tag with an elbow smash, overhead suplex, splash against the turnbuckle and a bulldog. Boogs went for a pumphandle slam, Roode saved his partner and Boogs with a suplex on Roode. Ziggler with a superkick on Boogs, but Nakamura made the save. Nakamura with a knee that sent Roode out of the ring. Ziggler knocked Nakamura out of the ring and Boogs got a rollup for two. Boogs avoided a Fameasser and hit a Pumphandle Powerslam for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good tag team match with Boogs picking up the big win. Ziggler and Roode did the usual nice job of being the veteran that is always in the right place at the right time to make their opponents looks good. I thought Nakamura would get the win for the team, but it’s actually smarter to have Boogs win. Now that Boogs is getting in the ring more, it makes sense to try to push him a bit alongside Nakamura. Perhaps they can be a tag team, but right now Nakamura is the Intercontinental Champion. They have a lot of options.
Sonya Deville was shown in the office with Naomi walking up to her saying she was so happy being on Smackdown. Naomi wanted to know her first match. Sonya said she didn’t know Naomi was coming to Smackdown and nobody even told her. Sonya said that maybe Adam Pearce did it behind her back. Naomi said she was a two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and Deville was basically ignoring her. Sonya said she might have something for her next week. Naomi left.
Rey Mysterio was shown talking to Dominik Mysterio backstage. Rey told Dominik he wants him to fly solo and for Rey to step back. Dominik seemed confused by it. Rey said he believed Dominik was ready. Rey said that he got Dominik booked in a match, he doesn’t know the open, but Rey thinks Dominik can secure the W.
Dominik made his entrance. Rey went out there with him, but then Rey went to the back.
Sami Zayn made his entrance as Dominik’s opponent. Good. They haven’t used Sami in a while.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn worked over Dominik with punches while up against the turnbuckle. Dominik with a headscissors that sent Zayn towards the turnbuckle. Dominik blocked a charging Zayn with a back elbow, Dominik with some impressive leaping moves off the ropes and a headscissors into the ropes. Dominik went for a 619 like move, but Sami pulled the rope and Dominik bumped to the floor. That was a painful bump. Rey went out to ringside to support his son.
The match returned with Rey at ringside, Zayn was trash-talking him and Dominik got an inside cradle. Dominik tripped up Zayn into the ropes leading to Dominik getting the 619 kick. Dominik up top, Zayn rolled away and Zayn hit him with an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: **1/4 It was okay with Dominik getting some offense and the fans were getting into it more after he hit the 619, but Zayn used his veteran savvy to get out of the way. That led right into the finish. I don’t remember Zayn winning clean very often. It makes sense in this instance since it’s a veteran like Zayn outsmarting a younger guy like Dominik. It was booked well.
Post match, Rey checked on his son in the ring with Dominik putting his hand up and not wanting sympathy from his father. Rey told Dominik it’s okay because we all have bad days. Dominik walked ahead of his dad instead of with him.
Analysis: It looks like there will be a split coming with Dominik turning heel on his dad. I think it’ll be a slow burn kind of thing. I’d rather them not do it, but WWE loves doing stuff like that.
The Bloodline were standing backstage with Roman Reigns and The Usos while Paul Heyman was there too. Heyman presented Reigns with the title. Reigns wondered what he was doing and Paul said it was a family thing. Reigns told Heyman that he is part of the family. They made their entrance on the stage as the show went to break.
Roman Reigns Family Celebration
Roman Reigns, The Usos and Paul Heyman were in the ring for the main event promo time. Paul Heyman did a promo saying we can all acknowledge the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Heyman also mentioned The Usos as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Heyman said that we have all “Cena Nuff” of John thanks to the beating by Reigns. Heyman said it was all because Cena was beaten by the Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
It was interruption time with Finn Balor making his entrance in a leather jacket. Balor said that Reigns knows Balor got screwed out of SummerSlam by John Cena and he hasn’t forgotten about him. Balor said now Edge is talking about Universal Championship and now Brock Lesnar is back. Balor said he was going to challenge Reigns to a Universal Championship match at Extreme Rules. Balor said that he’s not waiting in line, so he’s challenging Reigns to a Universal Title match next week. Reigns didn’t reply with a comment.
Balor punched Reigns and The Usos got involved, so Balor was against three guys. The Street Profits made their entrance to help Balor and they went after The Usos. Montez Ford hit a jumping kick on both Usos, Angelo Dawkins with a shoulder tackle on Jimmy, Finn Balor went up top and hit a Coup de Grace double foot stomp. Reigns was in the aisle looking back at Balor. That was it for Smackdown this week.
Analysis: I liked the attitude shown by Balor. He doesn’t want to wait for Extreme Rules in a few weeks, he wants to face Reigns now and it’s probably going to happen. I think it was smart to involve The Street Profits as well because then that sets up an obvious six-man tag team match while The Street Profits can go for the Tag Team Titles held by The Usos. It makes sense to me.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bianca Belair
- Becky Lynch – Welcome back.
- King Nakamura/Rick Boogs
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
2021 Average: 7.04
It was a weaker episode of Smackdown this week. There was a decent amount of in-ring action here, but nothing that really blew me away. I was glad to see the women get the first 30 minutes of the show because it gave them more of the spotlight. Bianca Belair really got a chance to shine while Becky Lynch showed some heel mannerisms for sure although she wasn’t fully there yet.
The main event was done to build to next week. That’s fine although it’s not exactly an exciting way to end the show. I was a bit surprised by the lack of Brock Lesnar. It’s probably a case of WWE wanting to save him until the build to Crown Jewel for his match against Roman Reigns. If you bring him back before Extreme Rules then maybe people will think that’s the match, so they are probably just saving Brock.
There’s nothing set for Extreme Rules yet. They have plenty of time before September 26 to set up some matches, so that’s not a surprise at all.
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