By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,128)
Taped April 1, 2021 in Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired April 2, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] The show opened with a recap of the recent developments in the Roman Reigns, Edge, and Daniel Bryan saga… The broadcast team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in while the WrestleMania sign was shown…
Edge made his entrance and was introduced as the Rated R Superstar by ring announcer Greg Hamilton. Edge stood in the ring and said that what happened at Fastlane and last week didn’t need to happen. He said he may have been naive to think he could travel on the road to WrestleMania without hitting a speed bump or hitting a roadkill.
Edge said he assumed that Bryan would understand where he was coming from, and he meant it when he said that Bryan’s return inspired his own. Edge said he was so focussed on Reigns that he didn’t even see Bryan coming.
“If anyone should see a manipulator coming, if anyone should see an opportunist coming it’s me,” Edge said. He added that he was simply outplayed. He said he looked in the mirror and he finally liked what he saw. He said that he saw the man who does whatever he has to do when his back is against the wall. “I finally saw the Rated R Superstar,” he said.
Edge had the Triple Threat graphic appear on the big screen. He said he finally woke up. He said he’s the man that Reigns and Bryan aspire to be. He said he is the ultimate opportunist and he is once again the Rated R Superstar. Edge said it felt good when he felt the chair hit Bryan’s body. He said he was so close to taking both men out. He said it would happen again and when it does he won’t hesitate…
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso in a street fight was hyped for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good promo. Edge has pivoted nicely from a character standpoint from feel good babyface into his Rated R Superstar persona. He comes off as bitter, yet I like that he has good heel logic to back up his change in attitude.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Edge, who said he wouldn’t feel bad if Uso took out Bryan in the street fight and he was unable to work at WrestleMania…
Chad Gable and Otis stood in the ring. Gable boasted that he unleashed Otis’s inner alpha. He said they would outshine their own partners and would complete their journey by winning the Smackdown Tag Titles next week. Gable said that when the do, they will do it for the academy (both men pointed upward).
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrance to Ziggler’s apparently un-retired awful entrance theme (boo!!!). Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance while a pre-tape showed them talking about their desire to win the tag titles. The Street Profits made their entrance. They also had a pre-taped promo and, yes, they still want the smoke…
1. Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, and “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Chad Gable, and Otis in an eight-man tag match. The babyface team cleared the heels to ringside, then the Mysterio and Ford did dives onto them heading into a break. [C]
Cole hyped next week’s four-way involving all four teams for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Late in the match, Otis tagged in before Gable performed a suplex on Ford. Otis splashed Ford from the middle rope and pinned him…
Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Chad Gable, and Otis beat Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins in 9:35.
Powell’s POV: I continue to enjoy the Gable and Otis heel pairing more than I ever expected I would. I wonder if they got the win in this match because the Profits will take the titles next week, and then Alpha Academy will already be set up for a tag title match.
Paul Heyman approached Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and said Roman Reigns wanted him to talk to them. Heyman requested a hold harmless agreement for Jey Uso in the street fight. Pearce started to respond, but Deville interrupted and said she thought Heyman made a good point. “So do I,” Heyman said before walking away…
Seth Rollins made his entrance… [C]
Graves stood inside the ring with Rollins and Cesaro. Graves noted Cesaro’s match with Rollins would be the first singles match that Cesaro has had at WrestleMania. Cesaro said he can’t fail and will not fail. He said there’s something different and something in the air, then he started to sing before Rollins interrupted him.
Rollins spoke about “the heist of the century” being the biggest WrestleMania moment of them all. Rollins also boasted that he’s on a higher level than Cesaro. He said he would embarrass Cesaro so bad that he won’t even have his potential to fall back on.
Rollins got worked up and said he would end Cesaro’s dream on the spot. Cesaro told Rollins to take a swing and then dropped the mic. Rollins backed down by leaving the ring while the production team piped in boos…
The broadcast team hyped Peacock as the home of WWE Network and WrestleMania…
Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald were walking backstage when they came across Carmella. “Oh, you didn’t treat my guy very well, did you?” Jax asked Carmella before walking away… [C]
The WrestleMania video aired. Believe it or not, we’re only eight days away…
2. Shayna Baszler vs. Natalya (w/Tamina). Baszler was in the ring coming out of the break, while Natalya received a televised entrance. Nia Jax sat in on commentary while Reginald stood by. Baszler set up for her finisher, but Natalya countered into an inside cradle. Baszler rolled it over for a moment, but Natalya reversed it and got the pin.
Natalya beat Shayna Baszler in 0:35.
After the match, Carmella was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. In the ring, Jax and Baszler roughed up Natalya and Tamina. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan ran in and ended up performing a spike DDT on Jax. Baszler put her finisher on Riott. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke ran out and joined the fight. Lana and Naomi ran out and fought the other teams. Natalya and Tamina performed a modified Hart Attack clothesline on Lana and were the last team standing…
Carmella was shown watching everything on the backstage monitor. Billie Kay showed up with headshots. Carmella blew her off initially, then called her back and took a headshot…
Powell’s POV: I assume that means Carmella and Kay will be forming a temporary team for whatever multi team match they end up having for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. On as side note, I wish the WWE broadcast teams would stop killing their credibility by talking about how dominant Jax and Baszler have been when we see them lose singles matches on a regular basis.
Sami Zayn stood by a red carpet backstage. A limo arrived. Logan Paul exited the limo and shook hands with Zayn and then hugged him. Zayn said he was thrilled that Paul was there… [C] Sami Zayn made his entrance for his documentary premiere segment.
[Hour Two] The ring was covered with a red carpet and there were director chairs set up. Zayn, who was wearing a wild tuxedo, spoke about how his movie would showcase the conspiracy against him. Zayn gave Paul the big buildup before introducing him.
Logan Paul made his entrance and saluted while standing on the stage. Paul applauded Zayn before entering the ring. Paul offered a handshake, but Zayn hugged him instead. They sat on the director chairs. Zayn thanked Paul for “standing with the oppressed.” Paul thanked Zayn for inviting him and said it was cool to be in the ThunderDome and in a WWE ring for the first time.
Zayn invited Paul to be his guest at WrestleMania. “It would be a pleasure, Sami,” Paul said. Zayn acted like he was over the moon. Zayn said Paul would get to see firsthand what he will do to Kevin Owens. Zayn called for a drumroll and then pointed to the big screen for the trailer of his documentary.
The trailer included footage of him pondering a flat earth and then various footage aired from his recent matches and segments, focussing heavily on when the referees would stop their counts because he was using the ropes for leverage.
Zayn asked Paul what he thought. Paul said it was a lot to take in. Paul told him that he spoke with Kevin Owens, who told him that Zayn is delusional and there is no conspiracy. Zayn said Paul was his guest of honor, not Owens’ guest of honor.
Zayn apologized and said he could see that he offended Paul. Zayn said he knows what Owens thinks and he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t want him poisoning Paul’s mind. Zayn asked Paul what he thought. Paul said he could tell that Zayn put a lot of effort into his trailer.
Owens showed up and gave Zayn a Stunner. Owens stood over Zayn and told him that if he couldn’t talk sense into him, he would beat sense into him at WrestleMania. Owens moved Paul out of the way before heading to the back…
Powell’s POV: It looked like Paul was turning on Zayn, but that stiff-arm from Owens at the end planted a seed of doubt.
Backstage, Edge told Pearce and Deville that the street fight main event is a good idea, and he would be on commentary for the match…
Carmella made her entrance for a match against Bianca Belair… [C]
Kevin Owens, who wore a KO Mania V t-shirt, was interviewed backstage. Owens said he was trying to send a message that he can stun anybody at any time. Zayn hit Owens from behind. Zayn yelled that he would see Owens at Mania. When Owens showed signs of life, Zayn ran away…
A sponsored recap focused on Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks…
Braxton interviewed Belair on the Gorilla Position set. Belair spoke about how she got to see the real Banks last week. She said she’s been waiting on the Banks who would do whatever it takes to be the queen bee. Belair said Carmella has a chip on her shoulder and is the reason we all have to put up with Reginald. She said she wasn’t looking past her, but she would plow through her.
Belair made her entrance. Carmella attacked Belair before the opening bell for their match and worked her over at ringside… [C] A Bad Bunny vs. Miz video package aired…
3. Bianca Belair vs. Carmella. The match was joined in progress. Carmella was in control early due to her pre-match attack. Belair came back with a big clothesline, then threw a lousy dropkick before popping right up. There was a lousy spot where Carmella moved long before Belair went for a handspring into the ropes and some type of splash. Belair hit her KOD finisher and got the pin.
Bianca Belair beat Carmella in roughly 2:30 of television time.
Afterward, Sasha Banks entered the ring and grabbed Belair from behind. Belair twisted away and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Banks backed off and left the ring…
Roman Reigns was shown talking with Jey Uso inside Reigns’s dressing room… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was clunky in a couple of spots. The post match angle was fine in terms of being a quick teaser for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania.
The broadcast team narrated highlights from Monday’s Raw of King Corbin attacking Drew McIntyre. In a shocking development, McIntyre vs. Corbin was announced for Monday’s Raw…
King Corbin delivered a backstage promo. He said he was tired of being disrespected on Smackdown. He said he is a king (ugh) and demands respect. Corbin said that when Bobby Lashley offered anyone who took out McIntyre a title shot, he looked at his $45,000 watch and realized it was his time. He said everyone will be forced to respect and bow down to the king…
Powell’s POV: When will the creative forces finally concede that the cliche king gimmick is holding back Corbin?
Apollo Crews delivered a backstage promo while using his Nigerian accent. He said he was disrespected by Big E at Fastlane. He said they would do it the right way by having a Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship. He said the match was created by his ancestors for those who were wronged to make it right. He said there are no rules and or limitations, just a beating so loud that it sounds like a drum. Crews officially challenged Big E to the Nigerian Drum Fight…
Paul Heyman approached Edge backstage and assumed they saw things the same way. Heyman spoke about how the match hurts Roman Reigns and Edge’s chances mathematically. Edge cut him off and said he didn’t know what Heyman had planned for the Triple Threat, but he was going to ringside. Edge made his entrance and stared at the WrestleMania sign… [C]
Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Natalya, and Tamina were announced as the guests for Saturday’s Talking Smack… Entrances for the main event took place. Jey Uso was out first. Cole reminded viewers of the hold harmless agreement. Edge said Reigns needs Uso more than Uso needs Reigns. Daniel Bryan made his entrance…
4. Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso in a Street Fight. Edge was on commentary. Bryan went right at Uso and the bell rang to start the match. Uso caught Bryan with an elbow and dumped him to ringside. Uso ran Bryan into the barricade next to Edge, who barked at Uso to focus on Bryan and not worry about him.
Bryan rallied and set up for a suicide dive, but Uso held up a chair that stopped Bryan in his tracks. Uso worked over Bryan with the chair. Uso wrapped Bryan’s leg in a chair. He went for a top rope splash, but Bryan moved. Bryan grabbed the chair and struck Uso with it three times before Uso rolled to ringside.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. Paul Heyman brought an office chair out. Reigns sat down on the chair heading into a break. [C] Uso pulled a chair out from underneath the ring and clotheslined Bryan with it. Uso wrapped the chain around his fist and then punched Bryan.
Uso performed a top rope splash, but Bryan kicked out. Uso brought Bryan to ringside and ran him into the ring steps. Uso overheard Edge saying he fears no man and told him that he should. Edge told him to pay attention to what he’s doing.
Bryan came back with a suplex off the bottom piece of the ring steps. Back inside the ring, Bryan wrapped the chain around his arm, then delivered elbows to the head of Uso. Heyman put his hand over his mouth while standing behind Reigns on the stage. Bryan applied the Yes Lock and got the submission win.
Daniel Bryan beat Jey Uso in 13:05 in a Street Fight.
After the match, Bryan charged Edge and hit him with a flying knee, then slammed his head into the ring post three times. Bryan glared at Reigns, who remained seated. Bryan walked up the ramp. Reigns stood up and threw his chair at Bryan, who avoided it. Bryan blasted Reigns with a running knee, then put Reigns in the Yes Lock. Adam Pearce and several referees came out. Bryan released the hold and headed back to the ring where he did the Yes bit for the virtual fans…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. It was Bryan’s week to shine and get the better of his WrestleMania opponents. Edge had last week, so I assume that next week will be about putting heat on Reigns. Overall, the hype for the bigger WrestleMania matches was solid. I will have more to say in my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade below. Have a great weekend and happy Easter to those of you who celebrate the holiday.
These WWE slapnuts make Roode and Ziggler a tag team yet they use DOLPH’S theme rather than the S-tier GLORIOUS ffs I hate this company
Ziggler’s enterance music…. I told you they wouldn’t stop useing it. buy ear plugs lol
“When will the creative forces finally concede that the cliche king gimmick is holding back Corbin?……………I doubt it since being King of the Ring helped Bret and Owen Hart as well as Austin and HHH it didn’t hold them back they all went on to bigger and better things and their careers soared.
as for Corbin he’s just a mid or upper card star…they seem to see him in that position.
AS a fan you think differently which is cool…but obviously Vince doesn’t agree.
“This has been a Good Friday for Daniel Bryan.”
Well played, Michael Cole. Well played
So if Bryan had won at Fastlane Edge would have still been in the main event at WM right? Christ is this storyline weak.
Edge attacked Bryan at Fastlane because Bryan accidentally hit him with a steel chair and Edge snapped. Edge’s actions caused Bryan to get added to the main event, thus further angering Edge and driving him heel. Strong story, perhaps over your head.