Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 10/08/21 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. The WWE Draft wrapped up this past Monday on Raw. The new rosters won’t begin officially until Friday, October 22, which is one day after the WWE Crown Jewel pay-per-view. Meanwhile, the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournaments begin this week on Smackdown, which is being called the “Season Premiere” episode of this show that has a new episode every week. I don’t make the rules. I just write about the show, pal.

From SAP Center in San Jose, California, this is Smackdown for episode #1155. 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 started right away with the contract signing segment.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Contract Signing

The contract signing had a unique look with Bianca Belair in the ring along with the WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Becky Lynch was seated by a table in the aisle while Sasha Banks was standing on the announce table where Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were seated. They had some new graphics for the show, but still the usually blue/white format for Smackdown. A replay was shown of last week when Banks beat Belair due to Lynch interfering. They showed highlights from Raw when Becky Lynch attacked Belair on Raw and then Sasha Banks attacked both of her opponents. They introduced Belair first, then Banks and Lynch was last.

Lynch did a promo saying that “The Man has come around to San Jose.” Lynch called Bianca “Ester” again. Lynch mocked Banks for being a “disco ball looking” fool and attacking Lynch from behind. Banks said she was “the conversation” as if it’s a nickname now or something. Banks spoke about how her spotlight was bigger than both women combined. Belair spoke about how Banks likes to return just to cheapshot Belair. That led to Belair saying that Lynch had an opportunity and was lucky to beat Belair at SummerSlam. Belair said that both of them are coming for her because Belair is at the center of all this. Belair dared both women to get in the ring because she’s ready now as fans chanted “EST” for Belair. Belair tossed a leather chair out of the ring. Lynch kept on ripping Belair because she beat her in 26 seconds. Banks attacked Belair from behind, then Lynch went after Banks and Lynch hit a jumping kick. Belair rocked Lynch with a forearm. Belair lifted up both women briefly, then Banks slid off, Belair used Becky’s legs to kick Banks on the table in the ring and Belair gave Lynch a KOD slam on Banks through the table! Nice spot. The crowd popped big for it. Belair celebrated.

Analysis: It was supposed to be a contract signing segment without a contract getting signed. That happens sometimes in WWE where contract signings end up being a mess. I liked that they didn’t show the full introductions. That can take up too much time. They got right down to it to start the show. Based on the last Raw and Smackdown, it made sense for Belair to have the advantage here since she was attacked on both of those shows. I thought the table spot was very good to end it and it popped the crowd, so it worked very well.

Rey Mysterio was shown behind the curtain with his son Dominik and Kayla Braxton asked Rey about winning King of the Ring. Rey said that other than being Universal Champion, the best thing could be King of the Ring because then you’re the King of WWE. Rey said something like the worst thing is if Sami Zayn was the King of the Ring. Dominik told Rey he would watch from backstage. The microphone didn’t pick up Dominik saying it, so Cole said it. Rey looked a bit sad that Dominik didn’t join him at ringside. Rey was in action up next against Sami Zayn.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn was backstage where he talked to Dominik Mysterio saying he thinks it was smart for Dominik to stay in the back because Rey treats him like a kid. Sami said he thinks Dominik is better than his father.

They showed the King of the Ring tournament brackets (finals at Crown Jewel) with eight wrestlers in the tournament:

Sami Zayn vs. Rey Mysterio
Cesaro vs. Finn Balor
Jinder Mahal vs. Kofi Kingston
Xavier Woods vs. Ricochet

That means that Mahal and Zayn are the only heels in the tournament. I’m surprised by that. I don’t have a prediction other than I want Xavier Woods to win just because he has talked about it for years.

King of the Ring – First Round: Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn

Rey jumped off the top with a headscissors takedown. Rey went for a move off Zayn’s shoulders, but Zayn hit him with a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Rey with a headscissors into the ropes, Zayn to the floor, so Rey jumped over the top and hit a hurricanrana on the floor. That was great. Back in the ring, Rey jumped off the top with a superfly splash for a two count. Rey worked over Sami with punches followed by an Eddie Guerrero-like shake leading to some “Eddie” chants. Zayn was able to slip out of a move and slid Rey left shoulder first into the ring post. Dominik went down to the ring to check on his dad at ringside.

(Commercial)

Zayn avoided a charging Rey and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn charged, but Rey hit a hurricanrana for a two count. Rey with a Sunset Bomb for two. Rey went for a move by the turnbuckle, Zayn tried to fight it and Rey hit a springboard hurricanrana while Zayn was on the middle rope and it sent Zayn to the mat. There was an issue with my feed for about a minute (I watch on my laptop with a big screen connected to it off Sportsnet Now streaming service here in Canada). Zayn had exposed a turnbuckle, so Dominik tried to put it back. Rey told Dominik to get down, Sami shoved Rey into Dominik and Sami got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Rey for the pinfall win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match by two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. More time would be nice, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. They did a lot of big moves early on and going for pinfalls right away, so that put over the importance of the match. Since the story has involved Rey’s issues with Dominik and Zayn trying to be a part of that, it made sense for them to book a finish like that with Zayn sending Rey into Donovan and then getting a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to win. I don’t love that finish normally, but it made sense based on the story.

Sami Zayn celebrated by putting on a king’s cape and crown that was on the ramp as part of the set. Zayn will face the winner of Cesaro vs. Finn Balor next week.

Seth Rollins was shown backstage for an interview up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video package that aired about the Hit Row group consisting of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis and B-Fab. They were picked in the draft last week and they have been impressive in NXT.

The announce team of Cole & McAfee talked about the draft picks that Smackdown made. They showed a graphic with the new Smackdown roster.

A video package aired about the story involving Seth Rollins and Edge. Last week on Smackdown, Edge was in the ring calling out Rollins, but Seth was actually at Edge’s house in Asheville, North Carolina. Rollins went into the house that was unlocked, had some orange juice, an apple and mocked some things in the house. Anyway, Edge called his wife Beth Phoenix and told her not to take the girls home and to go to her brother’s house. That was it.

Seth Rollins was interviewed talking about beating Edge on Smackdown in Madison Square Garden with a legal move. Rollins said that he was demonized for beating Edge even with a legal move. Rollins said that he has challenged Edge week after week while claiming he hasn’t heard anything from Edge. Rollins said he told Edge he was going to his house to get an answer to the challenge and that’s what Seth did. Rollins said that he still hasn’t got an answer to his challenge. Rollins wondered why he was even talking to her about it. Rollins said he’ll find somebody with the power to do something about it.

Analysis: The usual heelish promo from Rollins with confidence and being a jerk. It didn’t really accomplish much, but they are building to another match.

Zelina Vega made her entrance for a match in the Queen’s Crown tournament. Vega did a pre-tape promo calling herself Queen Zelina. Toni Storm faces Vega up next.

(Commercial)

Toni Storm entered to not much of a reaction since she has barely been used on Smackdown. Storm’s gimmick is that she is a “Wild Child” of the 1980s, so that’s her gimmick now. Storm likes rock n roll too. Cool. She’s a good wrestler also.

The Queen’s Crown brackets look like this:

Toni Storm vs. Zelina Vega
Liv Morgan vs. Carmella
Doudrop vs. Natalya
Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke

Queen’s Crown – First Round: Toni Storm vs. Zelina Vega

They exchanged some holds. Vega took control with a kick and then dragon sleeper type hold. Storm with punches, then an atomic drop and clothesline. Storm with a running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Storm went for a move, but then Vega countered to a Code Red for the pinfall win in about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Zelina Vega

Analysis: * I was just settling in for the match and then it ended. That was rushed, but it’s a win for Vega, who doesn’t win that much. It’s only Vega’s second win this year. I thought Storm might win here. Nope. I guess Vega needs a win too, so that’s fine. I just think it sucks for the women in the tournament to have such a short match. You have to give them more of a chance.

There was a Progressive Match Flo replay video about Roman Reigns being the number one pick in the WWE Draft last week. Reigns was also confronted by Brock Lesnar on Smackdown.

Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Universal Champion with Special Counsel Paul Heyman while the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos joined them as well. There was a loud reaction for Reigns and The Bloodline. Promo time up next.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns

It was near the end of the first hour as Reigns held up his Universal Title while The Usos held up their titles. The announcers plugged Reigns vs. Lesnar at Crown Jewel on October 21. It is a Thursday show less than two weeks away.

Reigns took his time speaking. Reigns: “San Jose…acknowledge me.” That led to boos with some cheers too. Reigns said that his Special Counsel had one job to do before tonight and that’s to make sure that The Usos were drafted to Smackdown. Reigns said that’s what he did, so Reigns wanted San Jose to acknowledge Heyman. That led to boos. Reigns put his arm around Heyman. Reigns said that he loved Paul, Reigns said he loved the Tribal Chief. Reigns said his cousins love Paul too. Reigns said Paul is the “Wise Man” to the Bloodline and he wants him to be wise right now. The fans chanted “Suplex City” at Reigns. Roman said that Suplex City doesn’t exist here because this is the Island of Relevancy. Reigns said he wanted Heyman to admit that he is responsible for Brock Lesnar’s free agency. Heyman said he’s loyal and faithful to the Tribal Chief, he’s been with your family for 40 years and Reigns lifted up Paul’s head up. Heyman said that Reigns knows that Heyman is the Wise Man. Heyman said he’s been accused of many things and he’s guilty of many more things. Heyman said he has never been accused of being stupid. Heyman said that there was no way he was going to turn on Reigns to help Lesnar. Heyman claimed that Lesnar was lying. Heyman said that Lesnar can’t stand the fact that the Conqueror will be conquered by Roman…and Roman asked for the microphone. Roman wanted Paul to look into the camera to tell Brock. The fans chanted “We Want Lesnar” for Brock.

Heyman stared into the camera that was in the ring. Heyman said he gave Brock a ton of credit and said he outsmarted the Wise Man on this one. Heyman said Brock knows what will happen to him at Crown Jewel. Reigns said that Lesnar has met his match and his name is Roman Reigns. Heyman said that Lesnar will learn at Crown Jewel one thing: The winner and still WWE Universal Champion, “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns. Heyman said that’s not just a prediction, that’s a spoiler. Heyman: “And you can believe that.” Heyman dropped the microphone, then got down to his knees and presented the Universal Title to Reigns.

Analysis: This was about Reigns wanting Heyman to prove that he was loyal to Reigns and he wasn’t going to do something to Reigns to help Lesnar win at Crown Jewel. The promo work was good here as usual from these guys. I just don’t think the subject was that interesting. It was just going over the same stuff they always talk about in this story so it didn’t feel like it was as interesting as most of their promos.

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were shown in the WWE Officials office. Seth Rollins showed up to talk to them to ask if Edge was going to be there. Pearce said that Edge was supposed to be there before Edge broke into his house. Rollins had a framed photo of Edge and Beth with him, which he told Sonya and Adam to give to Edge if they see him. Rollins said that he was going to go out there and call out Edge.

Carmella made her entrance. They showed a replay from last week when Carmella’s match with Liv Morgan didn’t happen after Carmella put on a mask and hit some cheap shots. They face off in the Queen’s Crown tournament.

(Commercial)

Liv Morgan made her entrance. Carmella left the ring where some ladies put a silver mask on her face.

Queen’s Crown – First Round: Carmella vs. Liv Morgan

Morgan with punches and a jackknife cover. Carmella applied her submission with her legs around the throat, Liv pulled at the mask to break free. Liv hit a jumping knee attack for two with Carmella getting her foot on the ropes for the two count. Carmella with a kick to knock Morgan down. Morgan with a kick. Morgan went for a move near the ropes, Carmella avoided it and Carmella hit a superkick on Morgan for the pinfall win. It went two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Carmella

Analysis: * That result surprised me. Since a heel Vega already won I thought Morgan would win here. Nope. They went with Carmella. I would say getting only two minutes surprised me, but sadly WWE has been doing that far too often with women’s matches on Smackdown unless they’re the main event. At some point, WWE needs to book Morgan better than this.

Zelina Vega will face Carmella in the semifinals in the Queen’s Crown tournament.

Mace was interviewed by Kayla Braxton since Mace was drafted to Smackdown. Mace is a lot taller than her. Mace said that there isn’t anybody who can match his strength or his disposition to dominate. Mace said he’s not there to compete, he’s there to annihilate.

Happy Corbin made his entrance with his buddy Madcap Moss. Their gimmick is to laugh obnoxiously. Corbin’s talk show is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder in their third World Heavyweight Championship boxing fight on Saturday night. It’s on pay-per-view and they plugged the Fox Sports app as a place where you can purchase it.

Happy Talk hosted by Happy Corbin

Happy Corbin was in the ring with Madcap Moss to host the “award-winning” (heels lie) talk show, Happy Talk. Madcap Moss told a bad joke and they laughed loudly like a couple of idiots.

Kevin Owens made his entrance to confront these two guys that he doesn’t like. Moss left the ring, Corbin beat him up with punches and sending him into the barricade. Corbin got into a brawl with Owens, then Moss joined in and Corbin/Moss whipped Owens into the turnbuckle with Owens doing a flip bump. Madcap Moss gave Owens a neckbreaker. Corbin and Moss celebrated.

Analysis: This was boring. I believe Michael Cole said that The Street Profits would be guests on this bad talk show, but there was no sign of them. Owens continues to look dumb by fighting two guys on his own and getting beat up. I feel bad for the fans in attendance having to sit through this.

Naomi was shown in the WWE Officials office with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Naomi complained about not being in the Queen’s Crown tournament. Sonya said that Naomi’s not worthy of being in the tournament. Naomi asked Adam to trade her to Raw. Sonya told Naomi she’s not done with her on Smackdown yet because she has a match next week. Naomi asked against who? Sonya said the match is against her. The crowd reacted to that a bit, so that’s good.

Analysis: There’s that Naomi/Sonya match that’s been building for a while. At least there’s a story to it.

Finn Balor made his entrance for his King of the Ring tournament match. His match is next.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about the new Smackdown roster that begins in two weeks.

Cesaro made his entrance for the King of the Ring first round match. The winner of this match faces Sami Zayn in the semifinals next week and the finals in two weeks at Crown Jewel.

King of the Ring – First Round: Finn Balor vs. Cesaro

Balor with an armbar and then a headlock on the bigger man Cesaro. Balor ran the ropes leading to Cesaro hitting a backbreaker for two. Cesaro with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Cesaro ran the ropes leading to a leg drop. Cesaro with an uppercut along with a forearm to the back. Balor with a double leg takedown leading to a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor sent Cesaro over the top to the floor. Balor ran the ropes, but Cesaro was back in the ring and hit an uppercut for two. Balor rolled out of the ring to the floor for a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Cesaro going for a power move, Balor slipped out and hit a reverse DDT with an elbow drop for two. Cesaro sent Balor into the turnbuckle three times with uppercuts and then Balor came back with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Cesaro charged, Balor moved and Balor kicked Cesaro in the head. Balor went up top, but Cesaro stopped him with a vicious uppercut. They battled on the top rope and Cesaro delivered a superplex off the middle rope for two. Cesaro with a Crossface submission. When Balor broke free, he got a rollup where he sat on top for two. Cesaro charged, Balor moved and Cesaro went shoulder first into the ring post. Balor with a somersault dive over the top onto Cesaro on the floor. Balor with a running dropkick that sent Cesaro into the turnbuckle. Balor up top and he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/2 This was really good. At least they got a decent amount of time here. Two experienced guys that know what they are doing out there with some big spots and clever counters throughout the match. No surprise that Balor won since he has been pushed more than Cesaro of late. When Balor hits that somersault dive, corner dropkick and double foot stomp finisher it’s an impressive sequence of moves that are always going to pop the crowd. Hopefully Balor gets a big push on Raw while Cesaro is used better on Smackdown in the weeks ahead.

Balor’s win means he faces Sami Zayn next week in the King of the Ring tournament. Since Zayn likely isn’t going to work the Crown Jewel show (he has not done Saudi Arabia shows in the past), that should be a Balor win.

They showed highlights from earlier in the night when Bianca Belair put Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks through the table.

Becky Lynch complained to WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Lynch said that this is her show. Lynch said that she has delivered on every request asked of her. Lynch complained saying that she gave the people the biggest match possible. Sonya said that they know how good Becky is. Sonya had the contract, so Becky signed it and threw the contract at Pearce in a low blow position.

Seth Rollins made his entrance wearing a suit for a main event promo segment.

This Monday on Raw, Big E and Drew McIntyre go face to face. Plus, Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair face Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch. Plus, the two tournaments continue.

(Commercial)

Next week on Smackdown on Fox Sports 1: Brock Lesnar is back, Sami Zayn vs. Finn Balor, Carmella vs. Zelina Vega and Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. It said it’s a “Supersized” Smackdown because it’s going for 2 hours and 30 minutes. It’s on FS1 because Fox has Major League Baseball playoffs.

Analysis: Being on FS1 is bad for WWE, but it happens this time of year. That means they are going to have a smaller audience watching on TV, but it’s smart to advertise big matches like Lynch vs. Banks and a Brock Lesnar appearance. It also means the last 30 minutes of Smackdown will go up against AEW Rampage from 10pm ET to 10:30pm ET so that might interest some people obsessed with television ratings on cable TV on a Friday night.

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins was in the ring for a promo with less than ten minutes left in the show. Rollins said that he wanted Edge to answer his challenge. Rollins said that you can name the time, place and stipulation. Rollins suggested that they could even have the match in Edge’s living room with Edge’s wife and daughters cheering him on. Rollins bragged about beating Edge with The Stomp at Madison Square Garden. Rollins said if Edge doesn’t answer then that means that Edge concedes that Rollins is better in every conceivable way. Rollins said that this isn’t about him while adding that Edge is disappointing the fans. Rollins added that Edge is disappointing his family. McAfee asked if Edge was there. Rollins said he can’t imagine what it’s like for Edge’s little girls to know that Edge is no longer an inspiration because he’s a coward. There was a truck that was shown pulling up to the building. It was Edge.

Edge made his way down towards the entrance area and he entered the arena while Edge’s music played. Big pop for Edge. Rollins grabbed a steel chair, Edge got into the ring and Edge hit Rollins with a Spear! Edge tackled Rollins over the announce table. Edge choked Rollins with a cable from McAfee’s headset. Edge grabbed a steel rod from a chair at ringside and he went for an attack, but Rollins elbowed Edge to break free. Rollins went up the ramp.

Edge: “You. Me. Hell in a Cell.” The fans popped huge for that. Rollins had a bit of a concerned look on his face.

Edge stood tall in the ring with a steel chair in hand. The fans were cheering. Edge was smiling. The show ended there.

Analysis: Great segment to end the show because we got to see the babyface Edge shut up the cocky Rollins by beating him up, then Rollins left and then Edge challenged him to a brutal match – Hell in a Cell. This feud has been going on for a few months, so it makes sense to end it in Hell in a Cell. Rollins sold it perfectly by looking hesitant about it while Edge was confident as ever. I thought it worked really well. Edge is awesome while Rollins is consistently great as well. This might be the best WWE feud of the year too.

After Smackdown, Edge vs. Rollins was made official for WWE Crown Jewel and it’s going to be a Hell in a Cell match.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Finn Balor
  2. Sami Zayn
  3. Edge/Seth Rollins

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2021 Average: 7.02

 

Final Thoughts

This felt like a bit of a step back from the usual Smackdown show. A lot of talking this week since they started with the contract signing involving the women, then Reigns/Heyman promo midway through and the Edge/Rollins promo main event. Plus there was that boring Happy Corbin talk show along with several backstage segments. Some of the promos were fine of course, but it’s a lot of talking and we needed more action this week.

The two King of the Ring matches were very good with Zayn beating Mysterio and Balor beating Cesaro. They were both over three stars to me, so that’s cool. I just wish there was more of that on the show.

I feel sorry for the four women’s wrestlers that were a part of two matches that were under two minutes. They deserve to get more time and it’s frustrating that some of these matches are so short.

The WWE Crown Jewel lineup from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia looks like this.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship: Big E (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

Hell in a Cell Match: Edge vs. Seth Rollins

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

No Holds Barred Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Bill Goldberg

Raw Tag Team Championships: Randy Orton & Riddle (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos

WWE Crown Jewel is live on Thursday, October 21, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.

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

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

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