5/21 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of Apollo Crews vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a four-way for the Intercontinental Championship, the latest with Roman Reigns and Jimmy Uso

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,135)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired May 21, 2021 on Fox

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a parade of champions. Smackdown Tag Team Champions Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio, Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews and General Azeez, and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya and Tamina were on the stage. The broadcast team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in and hyped the Intercontinental Championship four-way match.

Sonya Deville stood in the ring and hyped WWE leaving ThunderDome and going back on the road in July. Mainstream media headline graphics were shown touting the news. Deville introduced the champions. Crews interrupted her and spoke about how he would retain his championship and each of his challengers would fall one by one. Crews kissed his title belt and said, “I love you.” Deville went back to introducing the champions.

Roman Reigns was introduced by Deville. Paul Heyman stepped in front of the champions on the stage. “How nice, a parade of champions, except it’s not a parade of champions, it’s a parade of titleholders,” Heyman said. “Roman Reigns is not a title holder, Roman Reigns is a champion, not just a champion, the champion.”

Heyman said that when someone buys a ticket to the upcoming live events, they will do so knowing that WWE is represented by the preeminent champion. Heyman said there would be a “parade of champion” at Reigns’s leisure later in the night. Heyman left the stage. Deville said that was the first surprise of the evening and probably not the last. Deville asked for a round of applause for the champions, who held up their title belts.

Bayley entered the ring and took issue with not being celebrated as the longest reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion in history. She said she should be thanked for carrying the company on her back. She mocked Dominik for riding his father’s coattails. She said she was inspired by Natalya and Tamina until they won the titles and cried about it. Bayley said Belair should be thanking her for everything. She complained that Belair used her ponytail to win the title and then to beat her at WrestleMania Backlash. Bayley said Belair is a criminal.

Belair headed to the ring and held up her title belt in front of Bayley. Shayna Baslzer and Nia Jax entered the ring from behind Belair (after she conveniently moved into the right position) and attacked her. Bayley joined the attack. Natalya and Tamina tried to help, but they were quickly outnumbered. The heel trio stood tall going into a break… [C]

1. Bianca Belair, Tamina, and Natalya vs. Bayley, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax. The match was joined in progress. Cole cited the brand to brand invitational while explaining why Baszler and Jax were on Smackdown. He also said Reginald was still being treated after the ring post “exploded” on Raw (the Alexa Bliss/Lily angle).

Belair performed a cross body block from the top rope onto all three opponents at ringside and then came up holding her knee going into a break. [C] Belair was isolated, but she eventually tagged out. Tamina and Natalya took turns working over Bayley. Tamina put Bayley down with a superkick and went for the pin, but Bayley grabbed the bottom rope to break it.

Bayley made a blind tag. Natalya put Bayley in the Sharpshooter, but Baszler broke it up with a kick. There was a sequence of rapid fire big moves. Belair went for a handspring into the ropes, but Bayley pulled her to ringside and gave her a Bayley to Belly on the floor. Natalya kicked Bayley through the ropes, but Baszler put Natalya in the Kirifuda Clutch and got the submission win…

Bayley, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax defeated Bianca Belair, Tamina, and Natalya.

Powell’s POV: I like the idea of celebrating the return to running in front of fans again. The parade of champions concept was better than having the entire roster stand on the stage together, and I like that Reigns big timed the other champions. The match was solid and it was logical to put some heat on the heels rather than giving the babyface champions team the win.

Kayla Braxton interviewed Big E on the backstage ring set. Big E spoke about being in the ring with the three of the best and said it made him happy that he would be able to win the title and prove that he is a deserving Intercontinental Champion…

An image showed Roman Reigns holding up the title with Cesaro down on the mat at WrestleMania Backlash. Cole hyped that Reigns would appear for what Heyman called “the parade of champion”… [C]

Cole and McAfee hyped WWE returning to the road beginning July 16 as more mainstream headlines were shown…

Aleister Black read from his Tales of the Dark Father book. He said powerful lessons are etched into his body. His tattoos were shown while he spoke about how there is an art to being cruel. Black said you al live proudly in your cesspool of sins and denial because it’s all that you are and it has become your identity to be loathsome and blind. He said it’s time to cull the heard…

King Corbin made his entrance without his crown. Footage aired of Shinsuke Nakamura stealing the crown last week. Still shots and video footage showed Nakamura doing various things while wearing the crown throughout the week. Corbin took the mic and said he was going to let his actions do the talking, but then he saw the Nakamura clips, which he called disrespectful.

Corbin said Nakamura calls himself the King of Strong Style, but he is not a real king. Corbin said a real king wears $40,000 watches and drives a Ferrari, and owns mean hungry dogs of war, not some fat, shabby, tabby cat. Corbin said a real king respects the crown. He said he would punish Nakamura and take back his crown. Corbin called out Nakamura.

An electric guitar played. Rik Boogs introduced himself and said he came out to rock with Nakamura, who made his entrance to his usual theme. Boogs played his guitar, and then McAfee stood up and played air guitar while Cole crouched in his chair… [C]

Powell’s POV: Boogs previously went by his real name of Eric Bugenhagen and then as Rik Bugez. He has been in the NXT system since 2017 and had crowd pleasing air guitar gimmick.

2. Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rik Boogs) vs. King Corbin. The match was joined in progress. Boogs stood at ringside with his guitar while Cole praised his “incredible performance.” Nakamura went for his finisher at one point, but Corbin avoided it and suplexed him before covering him for a near fall. With Corbin in control, Boogs stood on the ramp and played Nakamura’s entrance theme to distract Corbin. Nakamura avoided End of Days and caught Corbin in an inside cradle for the win…

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated King Corbin in 5:20 of air time.

Powell’s POV: It was comical to listen to McAfee rave about Boogs while also cheerleading for Corbin during the match. Boogs playing air guitar was a big hit with most NXT fans, and I got a big kick out of the air guitar skit that he did with a referee and ring announcer Alicia Taylor at an NXT house show I attended a little over a month before the pandemic started.

Backstage, Sonya Deville was on her phone when Jimmy Uso arrived. He told Deville that they were reforming the Uso Penitentiary. Deville said she thought Jey Uso was still with Roman Reigns. Jimmy said he wouldn’t be there if he didn’t know that Jey had his back. Deville booked The Usos vs. The Street Profits for next week. Cole wondered what Jey and Roman Reigns thought about that development…

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and Jey Uso made their entrance… [C]

Kevin Owens delivered a backstage promo and recalled being labeled a prizefighter earlier in his career because of how many titles he won. Owens spoke about what he would do to win the title, including shoving Apollo’s commander’s thumb “so far up his own…Azeez”…

A sponsored recap aired of Roman Reigns defeating Cesaro at WrestleMania Backlash followed by Seth Rollins attacking Cesaro afterward…

In the ring, Reigns said he considers himself a humble man. He said he teaches his sons about humility.

[Hour Two] Reigns said he doesn’t like to brag, so he would let his special counsel celebrate him. Heyman said this was a surprise. Heyman said Reigns has been unbeaten since returning and spoke about some of his conquests, including how he scared The Fiend back in Raw, caved in Edge’s face, and retired Daniel Bryan. Heyman also touted that Reigns beat Cesaro at his own game without any help.

Heyman said it was a career highlight for him to celebrate and acknowledge the preeminent champion in WWE and all of sports entertainment. Heyman told Reigns that his whim and his wish is his command and asked what else he could do for him. Reigns told Heyman to bring him his cousin. Heyman barked at someone at ringside to hit Jimmy Uso’s music.

Cesaro made his entrance dressed in a suit and with his right arm in a sling. Cesaro said he was looking for Seth Rollins backstage and couldn’t find him. Reigns asked Cesaro what he was going to do with one arm. Cesaro said he would fight Reigns with no arms and challenged him to a match at Hell in a Cell.

Seth Rollins attacked Cesaro from behind. Rollins targeted the bad arm and pulled it out of the sling. Several producers and referees ran out to pull Rollins off of Cesaro. Rollins headed to the stage, but then ran back and attacked Cesaro again. Rollins gave Cesaro a Stomp on the floor. The producers and referees talked Rollins down again, but he ended up giving Cesaro another Stomp on the floor. EMTs came out with a stretcher and tended to Cesaro… [C]

Powell’s POV: Reigns and Heyman were a lot of fun. They doubled down on Rollins attacking Cesaro despite teasing the possibility of Cesaro challenging Reigns again. Given the level of heat they are trying to put on Rollins, I assume that he will end up facing Cesaro in a Hell in a Cell match, but that’s just a guess.

Backstage, Rollins told backstage interviewer Megan Morant that he blacked out. Cesaro was wheeled into the area on a stretcher. Rollins grabbed Cesaro by the collar and asked why he makes him do this…

Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance. Footage aired from WrestleMania Backlash of the duo defeating Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to win the Smackdown Tag Titles. Roode and Ziggler made their entrance. Roode had a mic and told Dom not to let the win go to his head. Roode said Rey did all the work and Dom just reaped the benefits. Roode said bring your son to work day is over. Roode said Dom doesn’t belong here…

3. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rey Mysterio) vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler). Cole noted that Dom pinned Roode to win the tag titles at WrestleMania Backlash. Dom performed a huracanrana and set up Roode for the 619, but Ziggler stood on the apron and distracted Dom. Rey took out Ziggler at ringside. Dom ended up hitting a 619 moments later, then performed a frogsplash on Roode and pinned him…

Dominik Mysterio defeated Robert Roode in 2:45.

Powell’s POV: A quick win for Dom. It looks like Rey and Dom are moving on to work with other tag teams.

Backstage, Jimmy Uso told Jey Uso about the tag team match he got booked for next week. Jimmy told Jey that it’s about them, not about Reigns. Jey said he needed to tell Reigns about the tag team match. “I owe him that,” Jey said… [C]

Cole and McAfee hyped WWE returning to the road and showed more mainstream media headline graphics. McAfee stood up and spoke enthusiastically about fans returning. Cole noted that the first show would be in Houston on July 16 for Smackdown…

Inside Reigns’s dressing room, Jey told Roman that Jimmy booked the match against The Street Profits and he had nothing to do with it. Reigns took issue with Jey saying “we” at one point. Reigns said everything they do represents their family. Roman hugged Jey and spoke into his ear, but it was tough to make out what he said…

Backstage, The Street Profits mocked Jimmy and Jey Uso. They still want the smoke…

Sami Zayn was interviewed by Kayla Braxton on the interview set. Zayn accused her of trying to plant negative thoughts in his head moments before his match. He said he wasn’t surprised because she’s a corporate hack. Zayn said he would never forget the conspiracy that’s been perpetrated against him. Zayn said he would reclaim his title and his status as the champion of the people…

Zayn made his entrance. A graphic noted that he travels everywhere with his documentary crew, but they did not accompany him during his entrance. Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event… [C] The WWE vaccination PSA aired…

Cole hyped Natalya and Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles for Monday’s Raw. McAfee hyped The Usos vs. The Street Profits for next week’s Smackdown… Big E made his entrance followed by Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez…

4. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a four-way for the Intercontinental Championship. Cole emphasized that there are no disqualifications in a four-way match and pondered how Azeez could factor into the match. Big E splashed Crews and Zayn on the apron simultaneously. Owens performed a flip dive over the top rope onto E at ringside. [C]

Crews performed a Death Valley Driver on Owens on the ring apron. Big E speared Crews through the ropes and both men tumbled to the floor. [C] A “WWE is coming home” video aired to tout the return to the road for the first three dates in Texas. Cole emphasized that tickets go on sale on Wednesday.

Late in the match, Owens dumped Crews into the timekeepers area, but he returned to give Owens a wicked suplex on the floor. Zayn returned to the ring and charged, but E caught him and gave him a uranage slam. Big E performed The Big Ending on Crews and had him pinned, but Azeez pulled him to ringside.

Big E ran Azeez into the ring post. E returned to the ring and the lighting changed. There was a bunch of fog in the entrance area. Aleister Black emerged from the fog and entered the ring. Black hit his Black Mass finishing kick on Big E. Crews covered E and stole the pin…

Apollo Crews defeated Big E, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn in 21:50 in a four-way to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Crews celebrated in the ring with Azeez while Black watched from the floor. Black, who has a funky contact in one eye, smiled at one point…

Powell’s POV: The main event was nonstop action. It was a very entertaining match and I’m happy the finish was more than just Azeez interfering. You had to know they had something else in mind when Cole immediately mentioned the possibility of Azeez getting involved due to four-ways not having disqualifications.

Overall, a good show without much filler. They made a big fuss over returning to the road in July and rightfully so. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below. Have a great weekend.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. If Rik Boogs is kept with shinsuke can we start calling him the king of string style!

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