By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,134)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired May 14, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Jey Uso stood in the ring and said he’s known as the right hand man, main event Jey Uso. He said his brother Jimmy Uso disrespected the head of the table and left them no choice but to handle family business.
Jey introduced Roman Reigns, who made his entrance with Paul Heyman. The broadcast team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in from ringside and set up a video package that recapped last week’s drama involving Reigns and the Usos.
Reigns told Jey that they have some problems, one of them being his brother. Reigns addressed Cesaro and said that he likes him and he’s regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the world. Reigns got Heyman to confirm that he is more than that.
Reigns asked if people really think that WWE wants Cesaro in his place. Reigns had Heyman confirm that Cesaro has never had a singles match for a world championship. Reigns turned the focus to Jimmy Uso. Reigns told Jey that Jimmy got to see how it works.
Jimmy Uso’s entrance music interrupted Reigns. Jimmy said Reigns was running his mouth while his brother stood by him acting like his bitch. Jimmy told Jey that it’s time to jump on his team because he doesn’t know if Reigns will make it past Cesaro on Sunday.
Jey told Jimmy that Reigns is their cousin. Jimmy said he’s all about family. Reigns said that if Jimmy is all about family, then he should be all about him because of everything he’s done for their family. Reigns asked Jimmy if he really didn’t think he could beat Cesaro. Jimmy said no.
Reigns assumed that Jimmy thought he could beat Cesaro and fill his shoes. Jimmy said no, but together he and Jey could. He spoke of how they could win the tag titles and be the head of the table. Reigns said that’s not how it works. Reigns said he’s the one who puts the food on the table and is the face of the company.
Reigns told Jimmy that if he really thinks he can be the man, then he should do it. He told him to show the world that he could defend the Universal Championship against Cesaro or even show that he could beat him. Reigns asked Jimmy if he could beat Cesaro.
Jimmy called for Cesaro and said that he’s been out for a year and now he’s ready to get up in there. Jimmy challenged Cesaro to a match and then asked Reigns if that was good.
Cesaro made his entrance dressed in a suit. Cesaro stood on the stage and accepted the challenge. Cesaro told Reigns that he would beat Jimmy and then beat Reigns to win the WWE Universal Championship on Sunday…
Cole said that WWE official Adam Pearce would need to make the match official. Cole shifted the focus to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match. Cole and McAfee narrated highlights from last week’s show of the segment involving the champions and their challengers. Tamina and Natalya were shown backstage. Cole said Tamina has never held a championship in WWE. McAfee said the tag title match was coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A decent opening segment. Jimmy came off stronger on the mic last week. Reigns and Heyman were very good, as usual. More importantly, for anyone who may have missed the news on the main page shortly before Smackdown started, Jerome “New Jack” Young died today of a heart attack at age 58.
McAfee noted that “Tiny Riot” by Sam Ryder is the official theme song of WrestleMania Backlash… Cole noted that WrestleMania Backlash is presented by Army of the Dead, but there was once again no mention of Batista starring in the movie…
1. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (w/Reginald) vs. Tamina and Natalya for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. The broadcast team discussed a tweet from Bret Hart regarding the match. Reginald climbed onto the apron to distract the referee from an early Natalya pin attempt on Baszler. The ref ejected Reginald. Meanwhile, Jax performed a Samoan Drop that drove Tamina into the barricade. [C]
Natalya was worked over by the champions while Tamina was still down at ringside coming out of the break. Tamina eventually returned and slammed Baszler onto Jax, who was trying to pin Natalya. Tamina tagged in and went on the offensive against Baszler.
A short time later, Jax checked in and went for a superplex, but Tamina headbutted her off the ropes. Natalya pulled Baszler off the apron to prevent her from interfering and then performed a German suplex that resulted in Baszler’s head hitting the bottom of the barricade. Jax pulled Natalya into the ring and gave her a Samoan Drop, but Tamina performed a top rope splash onto Jax and then pinned her..
Tamina and Natalya defeated Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax in roughly 8:00 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
Tamina and Natalya both looked emotional while celebrating with the belts after the match. Kayla Braxton entered the ring and congratulated the duo. Natalya said this was for anybody who thought their dream passed them by. Tamina thanked Natalya for believing in her thanked the fans. Pyro shot off while they held up their tag title belts…
Powell’s POV: A nice moment. The creative team deserves credit for taking a pair of veteran singles wrestlers who weren’t doing anything meaningful and turning them into a powerhouse tag team in short order.
Backstage, Apollo Crews was shown walking with Commander Azeez, who slammed his scepter (or whatever that is) and made crew members scurry. McAfee said Crews would present Azeez with the Nigerian Medal of Honor… [C]
Cole said Adam Pearce made the Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso match official for later in the show…
Backstage, Braxton asked Heyman whether Jimmy could beat Cesaro. Heyman said he didn’t know if Jimmy could win, but he said he did know that Reigns could and would beat Cesaro on Sunday…
Commander Azeez stood on a green and white platform in the middle of the ring. Apollo Crews said the fans would get to witness a very special presentation. Crews praised Azeez for helping him become the Intercontinental Champion for live. Crews presented Azeez with the Nigerian Medal of Honor.
Big E appeared on the big screen and said the ceremony was the biggest sham since Macklemore won album of the year. Sami Zayn made his entrance and said he appreciates a great award ceremony. Crews took issue with Zayn showing up uninvited. Azeez threw the big platform to ringside.
Kevin Owens made his entrance and chased Zayn into the ring. Zayn escaped while Crews and Azeez attacked Owens. Big E showed up and joined the fight. Owens avoided Azeez’s spike and pulled him to the floor. In the ring, Owens superkicked Big E and Crews, then gave Zayn a Stunner. Big E hit the Big Ending on Owens and tried to do the same to Crews, who was pulled to ringside by Azeez…
Powell’s POV: How dare Big E, Zayn, and Owens all interrupt such a prestigious ceremony. Given the way Owens and E went at one another, I assume this is leading to a four-way for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania Backlash rather than a tag team match.
The broadcast team set up a recap video of Dominik Mysterio beating Dolph Ziggler last week. Rey and Dom made their entrance or Rey’s match against Ziggler… [C] Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrance to Ziggler’s abomination of an entrance theme…
2. Rey Mysterio (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode). Cole said Rey told him that winning the tag titles with his son would be the highlight of his entire career. Ziggler took offensive control and told Rey that he doesn’t have what it takes anymore. Mysterio rallied, sent Ziggler to ringside, and then performed a baseball slide under the bottom rope and onto Ziggler on the floor. [C]
[Hour Two] Rey went for the 619, but Ziggler avoided it and put him down with a Fameasser for a near fall. “The Fameasser has taken out sports entertainers forever,” McAfee said in a cringe worthy moment. A short time later, Ziggler went for a bodyslam, but Mysterio countered into an inside cradle for the win.
Rey Mysterio beat Dolph Ziggler in 12:40.
After the match, Roode entered the ring and went after Rey, but Dominik cut him off and then celebrated with his father…
Powell’s POV: I’ll suffer through that terrible Ziggler entrance music if Aliyah beats him next week and Angie beats him the week after that.
Megan Morant interviewed Cesaro in the backstage area. He said he always has a voice in his head saying “I think I can.” He said he wasn’t bred for the business like Reigns and he doesn’t ask people to acknowledge him. Cesaro said he tries to earn it. When it comes to WrestleMania Backlash, he doesn’t just think he can, he knows he can beat Reigns and then the fans will acknowledge him as the WWE Universal Champion…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance… [C]
Braxton interviewed Rey and Dom backstage. Rey said he was ready to make history alongside Dom. Roode and Ziggler showed up. Roode said daddy got lucky, but they would take him out for good on Sunday…
Cole stood inside the ring and interviewed Belair, who wondered where her challenger Bayley was. Cole said he was sure she would be asking that question after last week, then set up a video package of last week’s Belair and Bayley segment.
Bayey appeared on the big screen and laughed at the footage concluding with her standing on Belair’s braid. Belair said she would love to show Bayley her braid. Bayley said she was far away and appearing via satellite. Bayley said she would take back the title on Sunday.
Belair ran through some EST lines. Bayley laughed at her. Belair taunted Bayley for being tossed down the ramp at WrestleMania while she won the Smackdown Women’s Championship in the main event. Bayley got serious and spoke about how she felt like she was watching her own past and the fairytale doesn’t end well. She said she would end it for good on Sunday…
Powell’s POV: I am looking forward to Belair vs. Bayley on Sunday, but this verbal exchange was forgettable.
King Corbin was shown putting his crown on in the backstage area. Shinsuke Nakamura for a match against Corbin. A brief Nakamura pre-taped promo aired. He spoke about the King of Strong Style facing The King… A WWE vaccination PSA aired… [C]
3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. King Corbin. Corbin also had a brief pre-taped promo aired while he made his entrance. Nakamura caught Corbin in an armbar. Corbin powered him up, then just sort of fell onto him and got the pin.
King Corbin beat Shinsuke Nakamura in 3:05.
After the match, Corbin tossed Nakamura to ringside. Corbin got his crown and put it on his head, but Nakamura returned and knocked Corbin down with a kick, then hit hm with a Kinshasa. Nakamura picked up the crown and eventually put it on his own head…
Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping that this is the end of King Corbin. I’m sure they will feud over the stupid crown, but the one dimensional king gimmick continues to hold back Baron Corbin.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were talking backstage when Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez showed up. Crews took issue with his ceremony being interrupted. Pearce said they were trying to figure out who he would face next week. Deville brought up the idea of Crews facing all three men. Pearce said it was a hell of an idea and booked Crews vs. Owens vs. Big E vs. Zayn in a four-way for the Intercontinental Championship for next week’s Smackdown…
Jimmy Uso was shown walking backstage wearing a “Nobody’s Bitch” t-shirt… [C] Nakamura was shown displaying the crown on his head in a backstage area…
The latest Aleister Black video aired. He read from his Tales From the Dark Father book and spoke about how Father taught him about the cruelties of life. He said he was cut from steel while you were made from dirt. He said he could help teach you a lesson, but he won’t because you’re not a participant, you’re a spectator…
Jimmy Uso was interviewed by Braxton on the Gorilla Position set about having his first match in over a year. Jimmy said he thought his first match back would be a tag team match with his brother. He spoke about showing what he could do and then fist bumped Braxton before making his entrance. Meanwhile, the broadcast team ran through the pay-per-view lineup. Cesaro made his entrance… [C]
4. Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso. Uso teased a knee injury, then kicked Cesaro once he let his guard down. Cole said that was the Jimmy Uso that we know and love. What?!? Cesaro came back briefly, but Uso avoided him charging in the corner. Uso clotheslined Cesaro over the top rope to the floor. Uso ran the ropes and performed a suicide dive and then clutched his left knee. [C] Late in the match, Reigns and Jey Uso showed up at ringside where Reigns attacked Cesaro for the DQ.
Cesaro defeated Jimmy Uso by DQ in 9:35.
Jimmy told Reigns that he had him. Jimmy left the ring. Roman chased after Jimmy and barked at him. Jimmy said it’s always about Reigns. Meanwhile, Cesaro attacked Jey inside the ring. Reigns stopped bickering and rushed the ring to help Jey.
Cesaro set up to hit his finisher on Reigns, but Jey broke it up. Jey called for Jimmy, but he remained at ringside. Cesaro worked over Jey. Jimmy climbed onto the apron and was superkicked by Cesaro. Reigns joined Heyman on the stage and watched while Cesaro gave Jey a Neutralizer after telling Reigns that it would be him on Sunday. Cesaro taunted Reigns and then gave Jey a second Neutralizer…
Powell’s POV: We’ve seen a lot of bickering between Reigns and Jimmy, but it’s yet to result in any physicality. So my official guess remains that Jimmy will help his cousin win on Sunday and the Bloodline will be reunited. Overall, a solid show and a mixed bag when it comes to the final hype for the pay-per-view. 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 grading it below.
Join me for my live review of WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday.