By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,140)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired June 25, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of Roman Reigns beating Rey Mysterio in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the WWE Universal Championship match last week…
Backstage, Paul Heyman told Roman Reigns that Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio are acknowledging Reigns from their hospital beds. Jimmy Uso entered the room and informed Reigns that Jey Uso was a no-show. Jimmy said Jey told him that he isn’t coming back.
Reigns said he took Jey from being one of the Usos to being the right hand man and now he doesn’t show up for work. Jimmy said he has Reigns and was present. Reigns asked if Jimmy was saying that he could do what his brother does and be the right hand man. Jimmy said he could. Reigns told him to prove it…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee (Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer) checked in on commentary and recapped Belair beating Bayley at Hell in a Cell.
Belair touted that the company is three weeks away from going back on the ring. Belair said Bayley threw everything but the kitchen sink at her. She said she would never forget all the pain that Bayley put her through, but she can’t stop smiling because she walked out with the title. Belair declared that the witch is dead.
Seth Rollins made his entrance for the mixed tag match. Rollins said he and Belair both overcame adversity at Hell in a Cell. He said he overcame more adversity than Belair by dominating Cesaro. Rollins said Belair squeaked by Bayley. “Some would call it a fluke,” Rollins said.
Rollins offered Belair a high-five, which she ignored. Belair pointed out that Rollins is teaming with Bayley. Rollins said it would be hard to high five Belair after Bayley destroys her.
Bayley made her entrance and claimed she was going to congratulate Belair, but Belair came out and bragged. Bayley called Belair’s win a fluke and said she doesn’t look at her any differently. Belair knocked Bayley down with a forearm. Rollins got between them. Bayley used Rollins to get a shot in on Belair.
Cesaro made his entrance and went right after Rollins and clotheslined him to ringside. Bayley tossed Belair to ringside. Bayley told Cesaro that it was all her fault. Belair returned to the ring and Cesaro picked up his partner and swung her legs into Bayley, who was knocked to ringside heading into a commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid opening segment. Belair’s promo felt repetitive, but I like that they took the time to build up the mixed tag match rather than just throw it out there.
1. Bianca Belair and Cesaro vs. Bayley and Seth Rollins in a mixed tag match. Belair tagged in. Cesaro sent Rollins to the floor. Belair and Bayley ended up at ringside. Bayley shoved Belair shoulder-first into the ring post. [C]
Rollins had Cesaro pinned, but Belair broke it up. Rollins yelled at Belair and Cesaro, who fired back with shots on Rollins until he tagged out. Cesaro and Rollins ended up fighting at ringside. Belair set up for a KOD on Bayley, but Rollins returned and bumped into them to break up the move. Bayley got up and drilled Belair with a running knee, then followed up with her Rose Plant finisher and scored the pin…
Bayley and Seth Rollins beat Bianca Belair and Cesaro in 11:30 in a mixed tag match.
Powell’s POV: This was on the high end of mixed tag matches. Bayley needed the win and now it feels like a lock that she will be getting another title shot, presumably at the Money in the Bank event or perhaps even on Smackdown before then.
Jimmy Uso was shown pacing outside of Roman Reigns’ dressing room… The production crew was shown setting up the ring for the coronation of Shinsuke Nakamura… [C]
Backstage, Paul Heyman told Jimmy Uso that if Jey didn’t want to show up, it could be “Main Event” Jimmy Uso. Jimmy asked what he needed to do. Heyman spoke about getting Jimmy a match and then implied that it would not be a good thing if Jimmy failed to win the match…
Rick Boogs stood in the ring next to a throne and spinning podium with the crown on it. Boogs gave an over the top introduction to Shinsuke Nakamura, then played his guitar along with Nakamura’s entrance theme. Nakamura came out dressed in all white.
Nakamura entered the ring and took a seat on the throne. Boogs placed the crown on Nakamura’s head and proclaimed him the new king of Smackdown. McAfee stood on the table and rocked out as Nakamura’s entrance music continued to play.
Baron Corbin was shown watching it all play out on a backstage monitor. Kayla Braxton showed up and asked him for a comment. Corbin was mopey and pouted about losing the crown. “What’s the point?” Corbin asked before walking away…
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were shown rocking out in their office while watching the coronation. The music stopped shortly after Seth Rollins entered the room. Rollins brought up the forthcoming Reigns segment. Rollins made his case for being the next challenger for the WWE Universal Championship. Pearce said they weren’t ready to make any decisions. Deville said they would take it under advisement…
Big E made his entrance for the Money in the Bank qualifier… An ad for Raw hyped Kofi Kingston confronting Bobby Lashley and MVP, and the Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles second chance qualifier… [C]
The broadcast team hyped WWE returning to the road. Cole set up a video package on how destructive Otis has been lately… Apollo Crews made his entrance…
2. Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) vs. Big E in a non-title Money in the Bank qualifier. Big E went on the offensive, but Crews came back with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. [C]
[Hour Two] Big E put Crews in a stretch muffler. Azeez reached in and pulled Crews to the ropes. The referee warned Azeez. “What’s a warning gonna do?” McAfee asked. Crews went up top and was cut off by Big E, but Crews ended up kicking E back into the ring.
Crews performed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Crews followed up with a German suplex for another near fall. A short time later, the referee caught Azeez shoving Big E into the barricade and ejected him from ringside. Back inside the ring, Big E hit the Big Ending and scored the pin…
Big E defeated Apollo Crews in 12:55 to qualify for MITB.
Powell’s POV: For the record, hitting someone with the flimsy plastic piece from the broadcast table results in a disqualification, but a military sidekick shoving a guy into the barricade is only good for an ejection. Anyway, yes, Crews and Big E have had too many matches, but this was a good one. Big E joins Drew McIntyre as my favorites to win the MITB even though McIntyre hasn’t qualified yet. I like that Smackdown appears to be stretching out their qualifying matches rather than having them all take place on one show.
The broadcast team recapped Sami Zayn beating Kevin Owens at HIAC…
Backstage, Braxton interviewed a joyful Zayn. He said he started to see the world as meaningless chaos, but he sees order to everything now that he beat Owens. Braxton asked Zayn if he was concerned that he had to face Owens in a MITB qualifier next week. Zayn acted shocked by this development and stormed off…
Sonya Deville made her entrance. Cole said Deville would make her first selection for the women’s MITB ladder match… [C]
Powell’s POV: So much for KO taking time away, I guess. Meanwhile, the Raw women qualify via tag team matches, while Deville is apparently picking the Smackdown MITB entrants.
Cole announced Jimmy Uso vs. Dolph Ziggler for later in the show. McAfee said it’s not just a match, it’s proving time for Jimmy…
Backstage, Zayn tried to talk Pearce out of having him face Owens. He said he should just qualify or even be handed the briefcase. Pearce said that Zayn would have to face Owens and it would be in a last man standing match. Zayn told Pearce that he’s playing a very dangerous game with karma…
Deville stood in the ring and introduced Carmella as a two-time MITB winner. Carmella thanked Deville for making the obvious choice. Carmella laughed while saying the fans are mad. She boasted that she’s the most beautiful woman in WWE.
Liv Morgan made her entrance and said that declaring yourself the most beautiful woman in WWE apparently gets you an automatic opportunity. Morgan pointed out that she beat Carmella last week and belongs in the MITB match.
Carmella laughed at Morgan and said the match is for the real stars. “Look at me, honey, and look at you,” Carmella said. Morgan knocked her down with a shot to the head. Deville stood between them and said that was a way for Morgan to make a statement. Deville said Carmella was staying in the match, but Morgan could prove she belongs by having an immediate match against Carmella… [C]
3. Liv Morgan vs. Carmella. The match was joined in progress. Carmella was in offensive control at ringside and ordered Cole to call her the most beautiful woman in WWE. Deville watched the match from ringside, and Natalya and Tamina were shown watching on a backstage monitor.
Inside the ring, Carmella boasted about winning MITB twice and then slapped Morgan. Carmella and Morgan traded near falls. Morgan went to the ropes and was hit with a couple of forearms and a kick from Carmella, who used her legs to flip Morgan inside the ring. Morgan rolled through and got the pin.
Liv Morgan defeated Carmella.
After the match, Carmella had the ring announcer say that she is still the most beautiful woman in all of WWE…
Powell’s POV: I’m digging Carmella’s vain heel act. This was a nice win for Morgan. I don’t know if this means she’s qualified for MITB or if Deville is going to make her jump through additional hoops.
Braxton spoke with Jimmy Uso on the Gorilla Position set. She said the pressure was on. He agreed and said he hoped that Reigns was watching. Jimmy made his entrance… [C] Dolph Ziggler’s shitty entrance music played and he made his entrance…
4. Jimmy Uso vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode). Ziggler wore a rainbow wristband, had a rainbow flag on his tights, and rainbow braids in his hair in honor of Pride Month. Uso sent Ziggler to ringside. Uso followed up by performing a suicide dive that was meant for Ziggler.
Roode, shoved Ziggler out of the way and took the suicide dive himself before tumbling over the broadcast table. Ziggler hit a Zigzag that sent Uso onto the ring steps. [C] Ziggler went for a Fameasser, but Uso stuffed it. Ziggler rolled Uso into a pin for a two count. When they stood up, Uso superkicked Ziggler and pinned him…
Jimmy Uso beat Dolph Ziggler in 9:35.
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown watching the highlights on a monitor in the Gorilla Position. Uso showed up and was looking for praise. Reigns offered him none. Heyman said something to a Jimmy that indicated this wasn’t the time, then followed Reigns through the curtain. Reigns and Heyman made their entrance for the “State of the Universal Championship Address”…
Powell’s POV: Perhaps Reigns was also left wondering how beating Ziggler in 2021 could possibly prove that Jimmy is main event? Anyway, it was a good match with an odd finish. I didn’t expect the superkick to be the finish and it clearly caught Cole by surprise based on the way he called it. Meanwhile, I wish Dolph would have made his entrance to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” just to be consistent with his gear. Okay, fine, it’s because his regular entrance theme is f’n terrible! But good for him for sending a positive message. My relentless hatred of his wretched theme song is never personal.
Cole hyped Owens vs. Zayn in a Last Man Standing match Money in the Bank qualifier for next week…
Reigns and Heyman stood in the ring. Heyman set up a Reigns video package. Production piped in “Roman suck” chants. Heyman said the Head of the Table does not suck.
Heyman said The Fiend got frightened, Braun Strowman got slaughtered, Kevin Owens got KO’d, Edge and Daniel Bryan got pinned, emasculated, neutered, and humiliated at WrestleMania. He said Bryan came back and got shipped right the hell back out. Heyman said the Mysterios were shipped to hell.
Heyman said Reigns has wiped out the entire division in less than a year. He said that Reigns needed to change course and would do something that has never been done on network television before. Heyman said Reigns would enlighten viewers because they have no other choice, as there’s no one left. Heyman slipped the mic to Reigns, but he was interrupted.
Edge made his entrance and Reigns acted shocked. Reigns tried to stop Edge from entering the ring, but Edge clotheslined him over the top rope and then roughed him up at ringside before sending him inside the ring.
Reigns blasted Edge with a Superman Punch. Reigns went to ringside and grabbed a chair and returned to the ring with it. Edge speared Reigns before he could use the chair. Edge placed Reigns’ head over the chair and then grabbed another chair from ringside.
Jimmy Uso came out and knocked Edge off the apron. Jimmy threw repeated punches at Edge on the floor, but Edge ended up whipping him into the ring steps. Edge speared Jimmy through the ringside barricade. Edge stood up and rolled inside the ring. Reigns and Heyman were on the stage. Edge looked into the camera and asked, “Where you at, Roman? Where you at? You want me, I’m right here”…
Powell’s POV: A strong return for Edge. I thought they might save Edge coming back for the build to SummerSlam, but I’m not complaining. Edge will need to deliver a strong promo to explain away the double pin at WrestleMania, but he’s one of the best talkers in the business, so I’m sure he’ll be able to sell a lot of viewers on a singles match with Reigns, presumably at MITB.
Overall, this was another good episode of Smackdown. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below. I will be back with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown shortly.
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