By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,122)
Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired live on February 19, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary. Cole welcomed viewers to the show and plugged the insurance company sponsor…
Edge made his entrance and delivered an in-ring promo about his options as the Royal Rumble winner. Edge mentioned the two title matches at Elimination Chamber and how Drew McIntyre is defending his title inside the Chamber unlike Roman Reigns. Edge said the WrestleMania decision is the biggest decision of his career.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Cole spoke about how Reigns’ opponent at Elimination Chamber will have to go through a full Chamber match first, and won’t be 100 percent when the challenge Reigns for his championship.
Once in the ring, Reigns held out his hand and then Heyman gave him the mic while “you suck” chants were piped in. Reigns said Edge doesn’t have 13 potential opponents to choose from, there’s only one. Reigns said Edge could pick a main eventer or he could pick the main eventer.
Edge recalled Reigns claiming that he saw fear in his eyes. Edge said he actually saw a guy who was playing him like a fiddle and he didn’t even realize it. Edge said he saw Reigns lose his cool a couple weeks back and it’s because Reigns needs him to be the main event of WrestleMania.
Edge ran through other potential opponents and said his match against any of them would be the WrestleMania main event. Edge conceded that Reigns is firing on all cylinders. He asked if Reigns really wanted him to focus on his weaknesses.
Sami Zayn made his entrance and was shadowed by his two-man documentary crew. Zayn spoke about being disrespected by both men. Zayn labeled himself the master strategist and said that should worry Reigns and Edge. Zayn called for his documentary crew to get a shot of him pointing at the WrestleMania sign. As Zayn pointed at the sign, Uso superkicked him.
Reigns and Edge continued to stare at one another. Reigns put his hands behind his back and approached Edge. Reigns said something to Edge that wasn’t picked up by the microphones. The broadcast team wondered aloud about what Reigns said. Reigns backed off and left the ring with Uso and Heyman…
Graves told Cole that it was very apparent that Reigns wants to face Edge at WrestleMania. Cole shifted to talking about the Elimination Chamber and the six-man main event of Smackdown. Graves hyped Bayley’s talkshow…
Intercontinental Big E made his entrance. Cole said Big E would sit in on commentary for the Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Apollo Crews match… [C]
Powell’s POV: The opening segment continued the build to what I assume will end up being a WrestleMania match between Reigns and Edge. It’s worth noting that Edge had been pretty much the only person on Raw or Smackdown mentioning the NXT Championship option, but he focused on the two Elimination Chamber match entrants and Reigns this time around.
Nakamura made his entrance. Kayla Braxton interviewed Crews at the Gorilla Position and asked if Crews’s desire to win the Intercontinental Title was hurting his friendship with Big E. Crews said he’s always respected Big E, but now E sees him as a charity case. Crews said E never got to know the real Crews, and he’s intimidated by who he really is. Crews made his entrance…
Powell’s POV: WWE piped in boos for Crews during his promo, so he’s officially a heel now.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Apollo Crews. Big E sat on a small couch next to the broadcast table and ate a TV dinner. Nakamura and Crews went to ringside early. Crews threw Nakamura onto Big E, who was soaking his feet while sitting on the couch. Big E stood up and jawed at Crews. [C] Late in the match, Crews went for a military press, but Nakamura avoided it and rolled him into an armbar and got the pin.
Shinsuke Nakamura beat Apollo Crews in 5:55.
Afterward, Crews hit Nakamura from behind and then tossed him to ringside. Crews ran Nakamura into the ringside barricade. Crews grabbed the top piece of the ring steps. Big E stood up and told Crews that the match was over and Crews needed to walk away. Crews dropped the ring steps. Big E turned his attention to Nakamura.
Crews picked up the steps and rammed them into Big E. Crews tossed Nakamura over the barricade, then told Big E that it’s not over until he says it’s over. Crews threw the top piece of the ring steps into the ring. Crews threw Big E inside the ring, then picked up the steps. Big E rolled to ringside while the referee tried to talk down Crews, who ended up tossing them from the ring onto Big E at ringside. Trainers ran over and tended to Big E… [C]
Powell’s POV: They didn’t actually show the ring steps hitting Big E. The Crews heel turn is complete. Nakamura got the win, but he clearly wasn’t the focus of this match.
Big E was being stretchered up the stage when Seth Rollins’ entrance music played. Rollins walked out and looked at Big E before he was taken to the back. Rollins said it’s a tragedy when you are betrayed by your friends like Big E was. He said he knows the feeling because all of his so-called friends turned their backs on him by walking out on him last week.
Rollins set up a video package that recapped his appearance last week with the wrestlers walking out on him, followed by his attack on Cesaro. Rollins said what happened was emotional trauma and it shouldn’t happen at the workplace. Rollins said he and his lawyers drew up a legal letter and sent it to WWE. Rollins said they would win.
Rollins said months and months went into planning his return to Smackdown and it was ruined. “Not by my friends, but by a bunch of losers,” Rollins said. Rollins called them cowards and said they are afraid because they want to divide. He said there are millions out there who have already embraced the vision of a better Smackdown.
Rollins said the biggest loser out of all of them is Cesaro. Rollins said it was his homecoming and Cesaro made it about himself by staying after everyone else left and disrespecting him. Rollins declared that “we” are powerful and winners, then said goodnight…
Powell’s POV: Rollins isn’t calling himself The Messiah. This character feels very similar thus far, but hopefully he has something fresh in mind that needs time to set up.
Backstage, Kevin Owens, who wore a Bivens Enterprises t-shirt, shook hands with Edge, who said he appreciates the way that Owens just keeps getting up. Owens said the last two months have been hell. He said he’s come close to winning the title three times and now the only thing he can think about is winning the Chamber match and then beating Reigns for the title. Edge said he respects that, and said it would be good to face him at WrestleMania. Owens said he agreed…
Big E was shown being stretchered toward an ambulance. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were both present… [C]
2. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan vs. Natalya and Tamina. Neither team’s entrance was televised. Cole framed it as an important match when it came to both teams trying to earn a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Riott and Morgan were in offensive control when Billie Kay skipped to ringside wearing Natalya-like cat ears. In the end, Tamina slammed Riott and pinned her.
Natalya and Tamina defeated Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan in 3:05.
Afterward, Kay tried to celebrate with Natalya and Tamina, but Natalya shoved her into a Tamina superkick…
Powell’s POV: The match was fine. Riott Squad seem to lose more than they win and their recent matches always seem to include a Billie Kay appearance. Is the Kay silliness going somewhere or they just making it up as they go along?
Cole set up a video package of Sasha Banks’s appearance at the Daytona 500. She raved about it being a once in a lifetime experience and said it was an honor to be there…
Backstage, King Corbin approached Edge and asked if he could feel it. Corbin said it felt like the main event of WrestleMania. Corbin said the next time someone approaches him in a $10,000 suit and a wearing $39,000 timepiece, Edge should bow down. Edge said he had a timepiece of his own. Edge took out his phone and said it even takes pictures…
The production team was shown setting up Bayley’s talkshow set in the ring… [C]
Bayley walked through the door of her “Ding Dong, Hello” talkshow set and welcome viewers to the second edition of her show. Bayley, who was wearing large square glasses, opened the door after the doorbell rang. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler walked through the door as her guests.
[Hour Two] Bayley took a seat on a chair while Jax and Baszler stood. Bayley claimed there’s a rumor that she might be taking Ellen’s job. Jax praised Bayley for ditching Sasha Banks, and Baszler grumbled about Bianca Belair.
Reginald interrupted the talkshow while saying he could not let them disparage the name of Sasha Banks. He entered the ring and said that Banks is the greatest champion in the world. He said that if she teamed with Belair, then Jax and Baszler would be former champions. Jax and Baszler got in Reginald’s face.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks made her entrance and entered the ring while Bayley yelled at her to use the door. Banks told Reginald that he does not speak for her. Banks said Belair would choose to face her at WrestleMania because the division revolves around her.
Bianca Belair made her entrance and told Reginald that she’s nobody’s sidekick. Belair entered the ring and told Banks that winning the Royal Rumble means she’s the star of the division. She said people who don’t revolve around her get beat by her. Banks and Belair had a tense moment, but Reginald took the mic and called for a match where he would team with them to face Jax, Baszler, and Bayley. Everyone bickered heading into a break… [C]
3. Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, and Reginald vs. Bayley, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler. Reginald and Bayley worked the match in their regular clothes. Jax and Reginald ended up in the ring together. Jax dominated him until he avoided a legdrop. Jax wanted to tag out, but Baszler was pulled off the apron by Banks and Belair. Jax caught Reginald going for a cross body block, but Banks and Belair entered the ring and performed a double dropkick that put Reginald on top of Jax for the win…
Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, and Reginald beat Bayley, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler in 5:00.
Powell’s POV: I have no idea what they are going for with Reginald and his newfound Banks fandom. Are we supposed to think he’s sincere or that he’s still aligned with Carmella? Either way, they haven’t made me care
Backstage, Braxton said the ending of the previous match was shocking. She interviewed Cesaro about what Rollins said. Cesaro said he was actually at ringside respecting Rollins, because he and everyone else was hoping that the old Rollins would return, not the same smug SOB that he’s being.
Cesaro spoke about winning the six-man tag, the Chamber, and the WWE Universal Title. Edge showed up and told Cesaro that he has the grit that he’s been talking about. Cesaro thanked him and said that after he wins at the Chamber, he would see Edge at WrestleMania…
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance… [C] Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance…
4. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable and Otis. Smackdown Tag Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode sat in on commentary and had red cups with them in a Street Profits taunt. Otis wrestled in a new singlet and dominated the Mysterios with his power. Gable entered the ring and gave instructions to Otis. The referee ended up disqualifying Gable for not leaving the ring when she told him to.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio beat Chad Gable and Otis by DQ in 1:30.
After the match, Otis followed Gable’s instructions by performing a second rope splash on Rey. Production piped in boos…
Powell’s POV: The Smackdown tag division is desperate for heel teams, but I didn’t think they would actually turn Otis.
Backstage, Edge thanked Daniel Bryan for fighting to get his career back and making him think that he might be able to do the same. Bryan said that he had an idea if Edge wanted to express his gratitude. Bryan asked Edge to choose him as his WrestleMania opponent if he wins the Universal Championship at Elimination Chamber. Edge said some would call it a dream match. Bryan said some might call it long overdue… [C]
Dom and the referee helped Rey up the ramp…
Backstage, Owens approached Bryan and Cesaro and asked if they wanted to talk strategy. Bryan said they were just talking about what would happen if they were hit with Stunners during the match. Bryan and Cesaro spoke about Owens’ history. Owens said he gets it, but they don’t have to worry about it because they are a team and he really wants to win the match. “Oh, but Sunday, you probably have to worry about a Stunner or two or three or four,” Owens said. After he walked away, Cesaro said at least he was honest. Bryan asked if he actually was being honest…
Backstage, Reginald brought Carmella a glass of wine and him asked what took him so long. Carmella called him out on being in the ring and then stopped him from answering. Carmella said she knew he would do the right thing. “Because if you don’t, well, let’s just hope it doesn’t get to that.” Carmella took a drink of her wine and spit it in Reginald’s face while complaining that it was disgusting. She ordered him to get her another glass…
The broadcast team announced Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles for the Elimination Chamber event…
Powell’s POV: So we might not get Jax and Baszler defending the titles against Dusty Cup winners Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez on the March 3 edition of NXT after all.
Uso, Zayn, and Corbin made their entrances for the main event. Edge made his entrance to sit in on commentary… A Black History Month video aired with WWE wrestlers reading quotes from Nelson Mandela… [C] Jey Uso, Reginald, and Crews were announced as the guests for Saturday’s Talking Smack… Owens, Cesaro, and Bryan made their entrances…
5. Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Cesaro vs. Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and King Corbin. Edge spoke about how he didn’t walk away to pursue other things, he fought to get back to WWE and to main event WrestleMania. The babyface trio cleared the heels to ringside early on. Uso and Corbin threw Zayn back inside the ring where Cesaro gave him the Swing. Zayn tagged in Corbin, who immediately took the Swing from Cesaro, who struggled to get him up and fell over heading into a break. [C]
Cesaro was performing the Swing on Corbin coming out of the break. Paul Heyman was also on commentary. Edge questioned what would happen if Uso won the Elimination Chamber match. In the ring, Zayn ducked a grand finale kick from Bryan and rolled him up for a two count. Zayn performed a Blue Thunder Bomb and went for the pin, but Cesaro broke it up. Bryan rallied with a suplex from the top rope on Zayn and then put him in the Yes Lock for the submission win.
Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Cesaro defeated Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and King Corbin in roughly 13:00.
Afterward, Corbin hit his finisher on Bryan, Owens Stunned Corbin, Zayn performed an exploder suplex on Owens, Cesaro hit an uppercut punch on Zayn, and then Uso superkicked Cesaro. Edge entered the ring and spared Uso, then Reigns appeared out of nowhere and speared Edge. Reigns taunted Edge with his title belt and then held it up while Heyman walked from the corner of the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Zayn losing here means he’s winning the Elimination Chamber match, right?!? Let me dream. Anyway, the six-man tag match was well worked, but I can’t say this or all of the Edge lip service segments with the Chamber entrants moved me on their match. WWE would have a hard enough time convincing the masses that any of the entrants would beat Reigns in a straight up title match at the Chamber, let alone beating him after they’ve gone through a full Chamber match. On the bright side, I am looking forward to the expected Reigns vs. Edge match at WrestleMania.
I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by giving it a letter grade below. Stop back on Sunday night for my live review of WWE Elimination Chamber.