By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,120)
Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired live on February 5, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a memorial graphic for the late Butch Reed… A video package recapped Edge and Bianca Belair winning the Royal Rumble matches… Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in on commentary and hyped appearances by Edge and Belair…
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman made their entrance while the broadcast team recapped the Reigns vs. Kevin Owens match from the Rumble. Reigns stood in the ring and said he’s not big on the past or recapping, but he pointed out that he beat Owens like he said he would because he’s a man of his word.
Reigns said he wanted to talk about the future. Reigns assumed that the future is Edge because he won the Royal Rumble. “Who’s the main event around here?” Reigns asked. Heyman enthusiastically pointed and said Reigns’ name.
Reigns questioned why Edge wasted his time going to Raw. He said Edge should be groveling at his feet praying to be let on the island of relevancy. Reigns asked Heyman why he was out there first. Reigns took issue with Edge making him wait. “He’s here?” Reigns asked. “Get his ass out here, Paul.”
Heyman called for Edge’s pyro. A production worker spoke to Heyman, who then spoke to Reigns, who did not look pleased. Reigns said Edge wasn’t there. Reigns said Edge must think he’s a fool. Reigns asked Heyman if he looks like a man who wants to wait and play games.
“Why would you play games with me?” Reigns yelled. “The last man who played games with me, his name was Kevin Owens and he’s no longer here anymore because I whooped his ass. He’s history. He’s gone. You’ll never see him again.”
Reigns looked into the camera and addressed Edge. “You’re going to give me your decision by the end of the night,” he said. Reigns repeated himself and then dropped the mic. Reigns left the ring with Uso and Heyman following behind him…
Powell’s POV: A great opening. Reigns was arrogant and petulant. The line at the end demanding to have Edge reveal his decision tonight is a really nice hook. It was interesting to hear Reigns say that Owens is finished and won’t be seen again. Is he moving to Raw or NXT? Was it just heel talk?
Cole hyped the Intercontinental Title match, and said Hulk Hogan would appear to discuss his match against Andre the Giant from The Main Event, which took place 33 years ago today…
Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio made their entrance. King Corbin attacked Dom from behind, then kicked Rey and threw him off the stage. Corbin left both my lying and then smirked as he headed to the ring… [C]
1. Dominik Mysterio vs. King Corbin. Cole noted that Dom eliminated Corbin from the Rumble match. Rey was shown being tended to by trainers next to the stage. Dom performed a springboard dive onto Corbin at ringside. Rey limped his way toward ringside heading into the break. [C]
Dom sent Corbin to ringside. Rey climbed under the ring. When Corbin tried to return to the ring, Rey held his leg, then Dom hit him with a 619. Dom followed up with a frogsplash and scored the pin…
Dominik Mysterio pinned King Corbin in roughly 9:45.
Powell’s POV: The family that cheats together stays together?
A sponsored recap showed Sami Zayn taking out Big E and Apollo Crews last week…
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Big E on the ring set. Big E said they were going to fight and said his opponents weren’t ready…
Daniel Bryan made his entrance for a match against Cesaro… [C] Cole hyped that Sasha Banks will be the honorary starter of the Daytona 500 on February 14. The race will be broadcast on Fox… Cesaro made his entrance…
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro. Shinsuke Nakamura was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cesaro suffered a cut on his head early on. Cesaro put Bryan in a Torture Rack and followed up with a backbreaker. Cesaro performed The Swing, then applied a Sharpshooter and got the submission win.
Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan in 4:10.
After the match, a dejected Bryan sat in the corner. Cesaro walked over to him and stuck his fist out, then Bryan gave him a fist bump…
Powell’s POV: A nice television match, but obviously they could have used a lot more time. It’s nice that Bryan is trying to elevate his friends, but he has to be judicious with his losses or beating him won’t mean anything.
Bianca Belair was interviewed by Braxton on the backstage ring set. They showed footage of Belair’s mom and dad celebrating the win, which included her father falling over the side of his reclining couch. Belair said her parents wouldn’t be walking her down the aisle at WrestleMania, but they will still be there with her. Braxton asked Belair which champion she will face. She said she would be ready to make her decision soon…
Bayley made her entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Belair has come off a bit too competitively arrogant on the main roster at times to the point that she seemed heelish, but she’s in a much better place coming out of the Rumble. Her emotional post match promo and the endearing footage of her parents really humanized her.
3. Bayley vs. Ruby Riott (w/Liv Morgan). The Riott Squad entrance wasn’t televised. Billie Kay sat in on commentary and had her headshots with her. Late in the match, Bayley applied an arm hold on Riott. Kay left the broadcast table and wanted to enter the ring, but Morgan stopped her. Riott came back with a near fall, then Bayley hit her face plant finisher and scored the pin.
Bayley defeated Ruby Riott in 4:00.
After the match, Kay chased down Bayley to give her a headshot… An ad for Raw focused on the Drew McIntyre and Sheamus saga… [C]
Powell’s POV: Bayley’s finisher looks great. Kay’s attempt to get in the ring didn’t change anything. In other words, it wasn’t done in a way that protected Riott, who ended up losing clean.
The WrestleMania video aired. We are 64 days away… Edge was shown walking backstage where he crossed paths with Sonya Deville…
Ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair.
[Hour Two] Belair said her life changed overnight when she won the Rumble. She said her phone has been blowing up. She mentioned the possibility of challenging Asuka and put her over as “The Empress of All Day Every Day.” Belair also spoke of facing “my girl” Sasha Banks.
Belair was interrupted by Reginald, who said he wanted to offer her advice before she made her decision. Reginald entered the ring and said that Belair knows damn well that she can’t beat Banks. He said she can’t even beat Carmella, who made her entrance.
Carmella entered the ring and boasted that she beat Banks in her first match against her. She boasted that she beat Banks twice. Carmella said that despite all of Belair’s hype, she was sure she could do the same to her.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks made her entrance. Banks told Carmella that she was going to stop looking in her rearview and focus on the road ahead. Banks said Belair has her attention. She said Belair has been in two Rumble matches and set records both times.
Banks entered the ring and said she watched Belair pick up Otis, so she knows she’s the strongest. She watched her race Bayley and knows she’s the fastest. But Banks laughed at the idea of Belair being the best. Banks said Belair might have it all, but she doesn’t have the Smackdown Women’s Title.
Reginald cut in and told Belair that she will lose if she chooses to face Banks at WrestleMania. Belair used her ponytail to whip Reginald, who fled to ringside. Belair danced while Banks and Carmella stood behind her in the ring…
Powell’s POV: It’s interesting that Carmella and Reginald were involved in the angle. I’m hoping they are just setting up Belair vs. Carmella as a pre WrestleMania program rather than teasing a Triple Threat at WrestleMania.
Cole hyped Hulk Hogan’s appearance, while Graves hyped the possibility of Edge making his decision…
Roman Reigns was shown sitting backstage with Jey Uso. Paul Heyman informed Reigns that Edge was in the building… [C]
Braxton interviewed Sami Zayn on the ring set while his documentary crew filmed behind him. Zayn said he would finally get some happy footage for his documentary when he wins the Intercontinental Championship later in the show…
4. Smackdown Tag Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode defeated Otis and Chad Gable in 3:30 in a non-title match. A Gable pre-tape aired with him talking about how Otis is continuing to train with him. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins appeared in an in-set and delivered obnoxious commentary of the match, which Roode won with a Glorious DDT on Gable…
Powell’s POV: Rejoice!!! Rejoice!!! Rejoice!!! Dolph Ziggler finally has new entrance music. Thank you, eight pound, six ounce newborn infant Jesus!!! This is the greatest night in the history of our sport. 33 years from now, Dolph Ziggler will be interviewed on Smackdown about the night that his shitty entrance music was finally replaced. Hallelujah!!!
Cole hyped Fox’s coverage of the Daytona 500…
Footage aired of Andre the Giant beating Hulk Hogan on The Main Event on February 5, 1988 with the Hebner twins finish. Hogan checked in with Jimmy Hart standing by. Hogan said 33 million people watched him face Andre, which makes him think about Edge and his decision of a lifetime. Hogan said Edge can face Drew McIntyre or Roman Reigns. Hogan said the Hulkamaniacs are watching Edge’s back…
Apollo Crews and Big E made their entrances for the Intercontinental Championship match… [C]
Edge was shown talking with Shinsuke Nakamura in the backstage area… Sami Zayn made his entrance..
5. Big E vs. Apollo Crews vs. Sami Zayn in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Crews performed an early flip dive onto E at ringside. Crews followed up with a moonsault from the apron onto E on the floor. Zayn clotheslined Crews heading into a break. [C]
Zayn dropped Big E with a Helluva Kick and had him covered, but Crews pulled Zayn to the floor. Zayn complained to the referee that it was a three count. Crews worked over Zayn with punches at ringside, then pressed him over his head and tossed him into the timekeepers area. Crews returned to the ring and immediately took the Big Ending and was pinned by E.
Big E defeated Apollo Crews and Sami Zayn in a Triple Threat in 12:00 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Big E celebrated on the middle rope afterward while Crews got up and seethed. Crews left the ring while E continued to celebrate…
Powell’s POV: A really fun match. There’s no storyline need for a rematch, but I won’t complain if we get one.
Edge was shown walking backstage while Graves said he would appear next… [C]
Big E, Bianca Belair, and Adam Pearce were announced as the guests for Saturday’s Talking Smack… Cole hyped Seth Rollins’ return to Smackdown for next week, and then a Rollins video package aired…
Edge made his entrance. Edge delivered a promo about his rehab and how he dreamed of coming back home. He said he dreamed of winning the Royal Rumble and main eventing WrestleMania.
Edge questioned whether to choose Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, or Roman Reigns to challenge at WrestleMania. Edge said he gets different answers from his family and friends, and said he pulled over and asked a “nice guy” named John on the street, who gave him a different answer.
Roman Reigns made his entrance with Paul Heyman and Jey Uso. “You had to bring backup?” Edge asked. “You already sweating me, man, because I’m out here alone.” Reigns gave Edge his word that Heyman wouldn’t make a move on him without his blessing.
Edge said can already see that he’s renting space in Roman’s head and that’s why Uso was with him. Reigns told Uso that he would meet him on the bus. Uso left the ring while Heyman stood on the apron. Reigns said Edge disrespected him and therefore disrespected his family. Reigns told Edge to acknowledge him as the main event of WrestleMania and the champion of truth.
Reigns told Edge to say his name. “That’s your cue, go,” Reigns said. Kevin Owens entered the ring and dropped Reigns with a Stunner, then immediately left the ring. Edge smirked as he surveyed the damage to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good show closing angle with just a taste of the mic work that these two are capable if they go with Edge vs. Reigns as expected. I like that they are holding off on having Edge and Belair declare their intentions. We’re over two months away from Mania, so they can take a little time and play up the mystery. I was happy to hear Edge mention Finn Balor, as the NXT Champions didn’t get any love from anyone else on this show.
Overall, a strong episode of Smackdown (and not just because of Ziggler’s new music). I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by giving it a letter grade below.