Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/03/21 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review on TJRWrestling. It feels like a bigger show than usual because Roman Reigns is scheduled to defend the WWE Universal Title against Finn Balor.

From the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1150. 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 the end of last week’s show with the Roman Reigns/Finn Balor story leading to their Universal Championship match on this week’s show.

There was an impressive pyro display to start the show with the Jacksonville making a lot of noise. Michael Cole was joined by Corey Graves, who was filling in for Pat McAfee. Cole said Pat was doing better after dealing with Covid-19 since last week (Pat was vaccinated so he’ll be okay) and Pat is expected to be back for Smackdown at Madison Square Garden next week.

Analysis: I watch Pat’s weekday sports show regularly and he definitely looked closer to normal by the end of the week. I don’t mind Graves, but I’m glad that Pat will be back.

The Usos made their entrance as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They were wearing those brand new “The Bloodline” shirts. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were watching on a TV backstage although Heyman was staring at Roman instead of looking at the TV.

The Usos did a promo with Jimmy wondering why The Street Profits wanted to stick their nose in the family business. Jey asked why and Jimmy said maybe they are trying to prove themselves. Jey said that they disrespected the Head of the Table and The Bloodline. Jey said if you want to prove yourself, do it to The Usos because “we are the ones.” That’s what it says on the back of their shirts.

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance with microphones in hand. Ford mocked The Usos whining about what happened last week. Dawkins wondered what The Usos were doing in the ring without their permission slips. Ford said that The Usos are the ones…that are going to get their asses whooped in Jacksonville (cheap pop). The Street Profits did their “we want the smoke” line to end it.

Analysis: Good promos from both sides. I guess The Usos have dropped the “Uso penitentiary” bit and will use the phrase “we are the ones” moving forward. Nice job by Street Profits mocking Usos for working with/for Roman Reigns too.

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

This is a “Championship Contenders” match that is what WWE calls a non-title match where the non-champions can earn a title shot if they win.

Jey with a shoulder tackle, then some celebrating and Dawkins took over with a corner splash. Ford tagged in with dropkicks on both Usos, who retreated to the floor. Ford jumped off the apron onto both Usos, but the brothers caught him and slammed Ford into the barricade.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Jey working on Ford, but Ford broke free and hit an enziguri kick. Jimmy tagged in, punched Dawkins off the apron and Ford avoided a charging Jimmy, who hit the ring post. Reigns was watching while Heyman watched Reigns. Dawkins got the tag to a big pop as he hit Jey with a clothesline, but Jey came back with a Samoan Drop for two. Jey with a running hip attack on Dawkins against the turnbuckle. Dawkins fought off both Usos, jumped over Jimmy and then Jimmy hit an enziguri kick, but Ford got the tag. Dawkins with the spinebuster, Ford off the top with a twisting Frog Splash for two. Jey made the save and tossed Ford into the ring post. Jey whipped Ford into another ring post. The referee called for the bell for the DQ finish. It went about eight minutes.

Winners by disqualification: The Street Profits

Analysis: **1/4 It was a nice tease of what these teams can do together. I’m sure they’ll work together more at live events, so they can get used to eachother more. The DQ wasn’t that bad, but Jey was the illegal man and he whipped Ford into the ring post twice, so the referee called for the bell. In other wrestling companies, the match would keep going, but at least WWE referees are booked to be competent in situations like this. I’m not surprised by a DQ finish because it furthers the story without having the champions lose non-title, so that’s fine with me. Ford’s Frog Splash was amazing since he twisted in mid-air, but it’s no surprise since he has done that kind of thing before.

Post match, both Usos tossed Dawkins into the steel steps. The fans booed The Usos. While The Usos were on the floor, Ford went diving over the top and crashed on top of both Usos on the floor. Ford looked like he had a rough landing, but he was able to get up quickly and celebrate.

Analysis: I’m glad Ford is okay. It looked like a rough landing, but he got up right away.

Roman Reigns was shown with Paul Heyman with Roman telling the “Wise Man” Heyman to bring Roman his cousins. The Street Profits left while The Usos slowly got back up.

Paul Heyman was shown walking backstage with Kayla Braxton showing up to tell Paul there’s a whole lot going on tonight. When Paul was standing there holding his phone, Brock Lesnar’s music played on the phone. The fans cheered when they heard it. The phone rang a second time. Paul told the person that “timing is a little off” and Paul had a conversation on screen saying he doesn’t have a lot of privacy right now. Heyman said that he will deliver the message. Kayla smiled saying she was enjoying this moment. Heyman nearly walked into a janitor, but it was Big E, who held up the Money in the Bank briefcase and laughed at Heyman, who put his head in his hands.

Analysis: We are to assume that Brock Lesnar was the one calling Heyman there. Heyman did a nice job of acting nervous with Brock calling him and then freaking out a bit when Big E was there. Kayla’s interaction with Heyman is always funny too since they worked together a lot on Talking Smack in the Thunderdome era. Heyman is just so great at the little things when he’s on camera. He is fun to watch.

Becky Lynch, the Smackdown Women’s Champion aka The Mana aka The Mom made her entrance looking great. The fans gave her a big pop. Lynch entered for a promo.

A Progressive Match Flo was shown from last week with Bianca Belair winning a four-way elimination match to earn a shot at Becky Lynch’s title.

Becky Lynch promo time is after a break.

There was a video featuring the new NXT colors noting that September 14 is when the new NXT begins.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch

Becky said that “The Man has come around to Jacksonville” for a cheap pop. Lynch noted that last week she walked out to the ring to no “you deserve it” chants and now the fans chanted it. Lynch said she talked about her victory at SummerSlam until she was interrupted by the women’s locker room. Becky said she didn’t get to talk about Bianca Belair, who is one hell of an athlete and the most athletic woman in WWE. Becky said that Bianca is the only woman other than herself to win in the main event of WrestleMania. Lynch said that she was looking forward to facing Belair at SummerSlam, but somehow in all of this, she’s being portrayed as the bad guy. Lynch said that she saved Belair’s match since Sasha Banks was absent and the powers that be called on Lynch. Becky said that Bianca can’t cry about not being ready while Becky was ready. Becky said just because she hasn’t played this game in a while doesn’t mean she has forgotten how to win. Lynch said that Belair can fool the people with flips and tricks and Lynch said that all it took was one fist to her jaw to end Belair’s title reign.

Analysis: That was more of a heelish promo from Becky. It also sounded like WWE might have edited the crowd reaction because they were cheering Lynch initially.

Bianca Belair made her entrance to a good ovation with fans chanting “EST” before Belair could speak. Belair said that championship was more to Belair than just a title. Belair said that moment at SummerSlam keeps replaying in her head, so let’s talk about it. Belair noted that she accomplished so much and she lost all of that in 26 seconds. Belair said she’s not afraid to admit she was embarrassed, she’s still hurt and that’s her truth, but she won’t build herself up by bringing another woman down. Belair said she’ll never make excuses for herself. Belair noted that Lynch doesn’t know her. Belair did her promo about being the “EST” of WWE while running down her credentials saying she’s the toughest, greatest and that is just straight facts. Belair said that she earned her title shot. Belair said that Roman is defending his championship tonight then why doesn’t “Big Time Becks” do the same thing as Roman tonight? Lynch waited for the crowd to finish chanting “EST” before she answered. Lynch said that she doesn’t give a damn what Roman Reigns does: “No!” Lynch slammed the microphone and was booed by the crowd.

Analysis: Lynch started the promo getting cheers and by the end of it she was booed, so the goal of making a Lynch a heel appears to be working. I don’t know if they messed with the crowd volume during Lynch’s initial promo, but I guess it’s possible. Belair’s promo was very strong and effective because she comes across as a genuinely nice person that admits she lost at SummerSlam, yet she’s willing to put in the hard work to bounce back. Fans like people like that. Lynch getting booed at the end shows that her arrogant attitude and refusal of a title match will get her heat.

Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were shown walking backstage with Ziggler saying it was their time to shine. Ziggler saw Toni Storm standing there. Ziggler asked if Toni wanted to watch her match. Ziggler invited Toni to sit in his corner for the match. Toni said she’s actually rooting for Rick Boogs and Ziggler said Boogs is a nice guy, but he’ll see her around.

Analysis: It’s nice to see the creative team has remembered Toni Storm is on the Smackdown roster. Put her in a match, please.

Rick Boogs did the electric guitar introduction of the Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura. Boogs is in his first singles match on Smackdown after the break.

(Commercial)

Dolph Ziggler entered with Robert Roode.

Rick Boogs (w/King Nakamura) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode)

Ziggler went for a takedown, Boogs managed to power out of it and did an overhead press slam to show off Rick’s power. Booger went for the powerslam, but Ziggler did an eye rake and a jumping DDT for a two count. Boogs came back with a Pumphandle Powerslam for the pinfall win in under two minutes. The announcers said, “Boogs Cruise” instead of “Booze Cruise” so maybe that’s the finishing move name.

Winner by pinfall: Rick Boogs

Analysis: * Easy win to put over Boogs, who continues to pick up wins, this time in a singles match. Ziggler didn’t get to do much here other than make Boogs look dominant.

Becky Lynch was shown with her Smackdown Women’s Title on her shoulder. The WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville walked up to Lynch to inform Becky she’ll defend the title against Bianca Belair at Extreme Rules. Next week on Smackdown in Madison Square Garden, Becky and Bianca will have a contract signing.

Analysis: It’s a big match for Extreme Rules. That’s the first match announced so far. If Lynch doesn’t wrestle before that then it will be her first match on TV since April 2020.

Cesaro made his cool-looking entrance for singles action.

A video aired about September being Childhood Cancer Awareness month while also mentioning WWE’s Connor’s Cure charity. They will likely mention it all month.

(Commercial)

Seth Rollins was interviewed backstage with Seth saying he learned from Edge what it takes to win. Seth said this is a new beginning for him. Rollins made his entrance. The announcers talked about WrestleMania with Cesaro winning, but didn’t mention Rollins beating Cesaro after that.

Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins

Cesaro got a hold of Rollins with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Rollins left the ring, so Cesaro hit him with a running forearm against the barricade. Back in the ring, Cesaro ran the ropes leading to Rollins hitting a dropkick. Cesaro came back with a dropkick of his own. Rollins avoided a Cesaro Swing attempt, Rollins went for a kick, Cesaro avoided it and Rollins hit a kick to the ribs leading to a lifting Edgecution DDT that Edge does. The announcers didn’t pick up on the fact that it was an Edge move. Anyway, it got a two count leading to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Rollins sending Cesaro face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins went up top, but Cesaro met him with an uppercut. Rollins slipped out of a superplex attempt and Rollins hit a Buckle Bomb into another turnbuckle for a two count. Rollins wanted a neckbreaker, Cesaro a backslide attempt and Rollins hit a sitout neckbreaker (Edgeomatic) for a two count. Rollins charged right into Cesaro, who caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Cesaro came back with repeated uppercuts, the fans cheered and Cesaro hit a discus clothesline for the late Luke Harper (Graves did the “yeah yeah yeah” shoutout) for a two count. Cesaro went for the swing, but Rollins countered into a pin attempt for two. Cesaro was able to apply the Cesaro Swing for about 20 rotations. I didn’t count, but it was close to that at least. Cesaro with a Sharpshooter, but Rollins got his hand on the bottom rope. Cesaro flipped Rollins over the top to the floor. Cesaro went for a running attack again and this time Rollins held up a steel chair for the DQ finish. It went about ten minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Cesaro

Analysis: *** This was a good match as usual from these guys. A lot of the spots that they usually do plus Rollins doing some Edge moves to show what he has learned from Edge. It’s awesome how popular the Swing spot is. It works so well to get a reaction from the crowd as if the fans have never seen it before. The finish was lame especially since they booked a DQ in the first match of the show as well.

Post match, Rollins hit Cesaro with the chair to the back and Rollins sent Cesaro into the ring post. Rollins brought a chair into the ring with Rollins stomping the steel bar off the chair. Rollins applied a Crossface submission with the steel bar in Cesaro’s mouth just like Edge had done in the past. Rollins had a crazed look on his face. Rollins: “Where you at, Edge?” Rollins followed his attack with The Stomp on Cesaro. Rollins brought two steel chairs into the ring. Rollins teased delivering a Conchairto to Cesaro, but that led to Edge making the save with a chair in his hands. The fans popped big for Edge saving Cesaro with some “Edge” chants. Edge had a staredown with Rollins, who walked away through the crowd.

Analysis: I’m all for Edge vs. Rollins again since they had a terrific match at SummerSlam. Edge took his time getting out there, but he got a nice pop when he did.

Roman Reigns was shown talking to The Usos saying they need to stick to the script and follow the game plan. The Usos left. Heyman tried to speak to Roman, who said that he’s going to smash Finn Balor tonight. Heyman informed his Tribal Chief that they have a problem with Brock Lesnar. Reigns said that Heyman has a problem with Lesnar and Reigns will smash him. Heyman said that Lesnar told him that he’s going to be at Smackdown next week in Madison Square Garden. Reigns asked how he figured that out and Heyman said Lesnar told him. Reigns wondered if Lesnar was watching the show, Heyman said maybe Fox is big in Saskatchewan, Reigns asked how did you know he was there, Heyman said maybe he was in Minnesota and Reigns wondered if Brock was right there in Jacksonville. That tease ended it.

Analysis: The fans cheered the Lesnar references. Brock should do well as a face. This was good. Heyman is so great in these kinds of segments.

Baron “Happy” Corbin was shown driving up in a new car. Mckenzie Mitchell (from NXT) was there to ask a question, but then Corbin thought she was the valet and gave her the keys.

Kevin Owens was up next to host the KO Show.

(Commercial)

Edge was interviewed backstage saying he knows what Rollins was doing. Edge said he was challenging Rollins to a match next week on Smackdown in Madison Square Garden. Edge said he burned Seth down once and when he does it again, Seth won’t be the same. Edge said he told him this doesn’t end well.

The KO Show with Happy Corbin

Kevin Owens was in the ring hosting his talk show with a tie on top of his shirt. Owens introduced his guest Happy Corbin, who has a nameplate that says “Happy Corbin” now. No more “Baron” on his name.

Corbin said that he was so happy to be part of the Kevin Owens Show. Corbin thanked Owens for helping him where he was today with Corbin bragging about his expensive clothes, then he talked about winning in Vegas and talking about his Wagu beef meals. Corbin said that Owens wants his $100 back, but Corbin left it in his Rolls Royce. Corbin brought out his special guest, a social media star who went the distance with Floyd Mayweather and brought out Logan Paul, who was booed like every time he appears on WWE TV.

Logan Paul got into the ring with his buddy Corbin. Logan was booed as soon as he got into the ring. Owens told Logan he didn’t invite him and said he wouldn’t subject these people to that. Owens mentioned Big E beating Corbin at SummerSlam and Logan mentioned Jake Paul beating Tyron Woodley. Owens said that these two hanging out sounds like the worst time ever. Owens said that Corbin and Logan have a lot in common since Logan is a “useless piece of trash” and he ripped on Corbin too. Logan gave Owens the $100 back saying that Owens could use that money a lot more than Logan could. Owens said he didn’t need his money, he told Logan to get out of his ring, walk to the back and never show your face in WWE again. Owens slapped the money from Logan’s hand and Logan shoved Owens. Owens shoved back. Owens charged at Logan, so Corbin punched Owens and Corbin hit Owens with a Chokeslam. Logan threw the money on Owens and the fans booed the heels some more.

Analysis: This was effective in terms of getting heat on Corbin and Logan Paul, who is not liked by WWE fans. We know that after he was booed at WrestleMania and SummerSlam as well. Owens has had a bit of a storyline with Owens in the past, so that continued here. I guess it will lead to more of a rivalry with Corbin and Owens leading to a match in the future. Corbin comes across as a guy that’s easy to hate with the fans booing him consistently and it was smart to put Logan with him here. It’s going to want to make fans want to see KO kick Corbin’s ass. I’d call it an easy story to tell. It’s simple, and it works.

Up next is a match between Dominik Mysterio and Sami Zayn in a rematch from last week.

(Commercial)

There was a video informing us that Carmella was the Most Beautiful Woman in WWE. The camera panned over to Liv Morgan laughing and saying “seriously.” I think the camera was on Morgan more than Carmella during this ten-second segment.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn

Rey was part of Dominik’s entrance, but then Rey went to the back. Dominik with an armbar, so then Zayn did a hair pull for a takedown. Dominik hit an impressive armdrag off the ropes, but Zayn came back with a clothesline. Dominik with a headscissors into the ropes, Zayn bailed to the floor and avoided the 619 kick. Zayn tried to leave, so Rey Mysterio appeared in the aisle, which led to Zayn going back towards ringside. Dominik jumped over the referee with a somersault dive on Zayn on the floor. Dominik told Rey he’s got this. When Dominik went back in the ring, Zayn hit him with a Helluva Kick for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: *1/4 The veteran Zayn found a way to win again while Dominik was talking to his dad, so it’s a finish where Dominik can blame Rey for the loss. I’m glad that Zayn is getting some wins at least.

Post match, Rey went into the ring to check on his son with Dominik looking frustrated.

Analysis: It feels like they are teasing a split with Dominik turning on his dad Rey, but it wasn’t teased that much here.

Sonya Deville was talking on the phone speaking to somebody about next week’s show. Naomi walked up to Sonya saying that Sonya told her last week she’ll have a match this week and then Sonya said to talk to her next week. Sonya went back to talking to “Karen” and left.

Reigns vs. Balor is next.

(Commercial)

Next week on Super Smackdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City:

* Brock Lesnar returns.

* Edge vs. Seth Rollins

* Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair have a Smackdown Women’s Championship contract signing for Extreme Rules.

Analysis: Good lineup. John Cena was advertised for it when tickets went on sale, but he may not appear on camera. It should be a big crowd and a vocal crowd too. I expect Lynch to fully cement her heel turn there.

Finn Balor was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage before his match. Balor said that for five years people have asked him what would have happened if he didn’t get injured in 2016. Balor said that tonight he answers that question.

Finn Balor made his entrance to a big pop. The announcers reminded us of the story that Balor was forced the relinquish the Universal Title after SummerSlam 2016 due to a shoulder injury, so now he can get that title back.

When Balor got on the ring apron, The Usos attacked him with a kick to the face. The Usos whipped Balor into the steel steps and into the barricade. The Usos hit Balor with the top half of the steel steps three times in a row. The Usos sent Balor in the ring to do more, but then The Street Profits ran out to ringside to chase The Usos through the crowd. Balor was checked on by the referee in the ring.

Analysis: A cheap attack to weaken Balor before the match. I’m glad that The Street Profits made the save to continue that story.

Roman Reigns made his entrance as the dominant Universal Champion with his Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. This past Monday (August 30) marked one year of Reigns as the Universal Champion. Reigns held up the Universal Title as the show went to break.

This Monday on Raw: Charlotte Flair defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Nia Jax (ugh). There will be seven teams in a Tag Team Turmoil to see who gets the next title shot at the Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton and Riddle. Those are the matches…unless Vince McMahon rips up the script and changes everything.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns was posing in the ring while the WWE Medical Team was checking Balor in the ring. Balor told the referee he was ready to go. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the championship introductions. For some reason, Hamilton didn’t announce Balor’s weight. I noticed that because he did announce Roman’s weight. Reigns was booed heavily during the introductions.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Finn Balor

Reigns tossed Balor across the ring with Balor selling the rib/chest injury after getting attacked. Reigns sent Balor into the turnbuckle two times. Reigns delivered the corner clotheslines that he used to do all the time during his babyface days. Balor with a running dropkick to the left knee and kicks to the back of the left leg. Reigns with a headbutt, Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker and he set up in the corner. Balor charged with Reigns hitting an uppercut punch. Reigns with a uranage slam for a two count.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for MSG Smackdown next Friday (September 10) saying WWE comes home when it matters the most. It’s one day before 20 years of the 9/11 tragedy. They promoted Brock Lesnar’s return along with Edge vs. Seth Rollins. And now back to the main event.

The match returned with Balor making a comeback with strikes, then Reigns with an uppercut and Balor hit an overhead kick. Balor countered a Reigns move into a trip leading to a double foot stomp. Balor with repeated shoulder tackles to the ribs, then a kick to the leg and Reigns tossed Balor out of the ring. Balor tripped up Reigns on the apron and trapped Reigns against the ring apron. Balor hit a somersault dive over the top onto Reigns on the floor. Balor went up top, he jumped off with a Coup de Grace double foot stomp, Reigns moved and Reigns hit a Superman Punch for two. That’s what that move usually gets. Reigns charged at Balor, who kicked Reigns and got an inside cradle for two. That was close. Balor with an elbow to the chest into a reverse DDT for two. Balor was feeding off the crowd as Balor hit a running dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, he jumped off and hit a Coup de Grace double foot stomp for one…two…and no Reigns kicked out with his left arm that he used to hit Balor in the groin with a low blow (the replay showed it). Reigns was on top of Balor with punches. Reigns applied a Guillotine Choke, Balor tried to fight it and then he passed out. Reigns wins after 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match for the time given. I would have liked to see them go 15-20 minutes or something like that, but it’s a TV match, so sometimes they are shorter. Balor was great during that flurry of offense, the fans were behind him and then Reigns did the low blow kickout that he has done in the past and that led to the quick finish. It’s no surprise that Reigns won, but I think based on that finish with the low blow that there could be a rematch coming at Extreme Rules.

After Roman Reigns left the ring with Paul Heyman, there was a brief pause in his music for some red light to appear. WWE posted it on Twitter so they want to get people talking. The announcers also mentioned Brock Lesnar coming after Reigns and Brock is back next week. The show ended there.

Analysis: Is it “Demon” Finn Balor coming back perhaps? The heartbeat is a sign of that, so that’s probably what it is. Maybe The Fiend returns if WWE wants to bring back Bray Wyatt, but I don’t know if he would be brought back. I think it’s for Demon Balor. Anyway, it’s something to remember for the future. Maybe they do Reigns vs. Demon Balor at Extreme Rules later this month.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Finn Balor
  3. Seth Rollins/Cesaro

 

The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 6.25

2021 Average: 7.06

 

Final Thoughts

A pretty good Smackdown this week with a nice mix of good matches and some promos that were entertaining. The storyline advancement was effective in most cases. It would have been nice if the Reigns/Balor match got more time, but I think we’ll be seeing it again soon.

There was a lot of star power with Becky Lynch showing her heel ways again while Edge was there to set up the match with Seth Rollins next week. They heavily promoted Brock Lesnar being back next week at MSG too. It’s a big one next week for sure.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Extreme Rules on Sunday, September 26. Here’s what we know so far.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

More Reviews