By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,141)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired July 2, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of Edge’s return last week… Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on commentary. Cole noted that it was the PENULTIMATE edition of Smackdown in the ThunderDome…
Edge made his entrance and was introduced by ring announcer Greg Hamilton. Once in the ring, Edge said WrestleMania was supposed to be the culmination of a ten-year story. He said it would have made for a hell of a story to win the championship ten years after he was forced to retire.
Edge said he envisioned it so much. He said it didn’t happen and it rocked him. Edge said he watched the match back and normally doesn’t do that. Edge recalled Daniel Bryan broke up a Crossface that he had on Reigns, and also broke up a pin. He said he could also complain about Jey Uso getting involved in the match.
Edge said the 2006 version of him would have complained about those things, but in 2021 he has to understand that there will always be excuses and obstacles. He said he spent his entire career knocking down obstacles or he wouldn’t be standing there. “I don’t stop,” Edge said.
Edge said he knows that he can beat Reigns, and Reigns knows it too. He said he knew that Reigns would never admit it, but he had proof. Edge pointed to the big screen. A still shot appeared of Reigns locked in a hold. Edge had the production team zoom on in the look of panic on Reigns’ face, and then zoom in on his own.
Edge said Reigns knows deep down that he has his number. Edge said it’s inevitable and it’s only a matter of when, but he will become the WWE Universal Champion…
Powell’s POV: The Edge promo was strong. I like the way that he mentioned certain points in the match where he would have won had it not been for Bryan breaking up pins and submission holds. Edge did a good job of making it seem like he has Roman’s number even though Roman scored the double pin over Edge and Bryan.
Paul Heyman was shown inside Roman Reigns’ dressing room watching Edge on a television screen. Jimmy Uso showed up and took issue with Edge’s comments. Jimmy said he has Roman’s back, just as Roman has his back. Jimmy said that he and Reigns would put Edge down and stamp their family flag in the middle of his heart. Heyman never said a word…
Rick Boogs played his guitar and introduced Shinsuke Nakamura. The broadcast team recapped the last couple weeks of Nakamura getting the better of King Corbin. Big E made his entrance as Nakamura’s partner. A graphic listed them as facing Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin… [C]
1. Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez). The entrances of the heels were televised. Corbin was still moping and his head and face were unshaven. Crews was isolated as Corbin pouted in the corner and looked like he wanted to be anywhere else.
Crews slapped Corbin’s chest to tag him into the match. Big E knocked Crews to ringside and followed. Corbin ended up dumping Big E into the timekeepers area. [C] Boogs announced the plate number of a car that was being towed. Of course it was Corbin’s car, so he was distracted, hit with the Big Ending, and pinned by Big E.
Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura beat Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews in 9:00.
After the match, McAfee wondered if the car had been repossessed. Corbin sat in the ring feeling sorry for himself…
Powell’s POV: Cheer up, Baron, things could be worse. It’s not like your lawyer is barred from practicing law in his home state or you have a corporation that’s been charged with massive tax fraud. Anyway, WWE trademarked the name Happy Corbin recently, so they clearly have a direction in mind for Corbin.
Bayley made her entrance… [C] Bayley stood in the ring and boasted that she proved Bianca Belair is a fluke by pinning her in a tag match last week. Bayley said Belair is physically strong and mentally weak.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance and joined Bayley in the ring. Belair said the only way to end the feud is to embarrass Bayley to the point of no return. Belair said that if officials will allow it, she would put her title on the line against Bayley in an I Quit match.
Bayley said she’s never quit anything in her entire life. Bayley said she’d probably quit Smackdown or even WWE or even competing if Belair made her quit. Bayley said Belair has no chance of winning the match. Bayley accepted the terms. Belair laughed at Bayley, who asked what was so funny. Belair said she’s excited to hear Bayley said the words I Quit…
Powell’s POV: There’s a big difference between Bayley saying she would “probably” quit Smackdown, WWE, and competing than it being the official match stipulation. I guess we’ll see what the official stipulations area.
Backstage, Jimmy Uso told Paul Heyman that he assumed Roman Reigns was waiting for him to step up. Uso said he was going to call out Edge and beat him all over the place. Heyman smiled…
Kevin Owens made his entrance… An ad for Raw hyped Bobby Lashley and MVP vs. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, and Miz TV with Raw’s men’s Money in the Bank ladder match participants… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess they changed their minds about the Lashley vs. Woods rematch that was previously announced for Raw.
2. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing match to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match. The match spilled over to ringside. Owens set up on the barricade for a move, but Zayn threw him off the barricade and Owens bounced off the broadcast table. [C]
[Hour Two] Owens stacked up two tables at ringside. Zayn regained offensive control and then performed a flip dive onto Owens on the floor. Back inside the ring, Zayn performed an exploder suplex. Zayn followed up with a superplex attempt, but Owens countered into a fisherman’s suplex from the ropes. Both men beat referee (and birthday boy) Charles Robinson’s count.
Owens set up for a move from the ropes, but Zayn slipped away and shoved Owens from the ropes through the two stacked tables below. Owens got back to his feet at the nine count. Zayn acted shocked. [C]
Zayn performed a wicked suplex on the apron, but Owens still got back to his feet. Zayn blasted Owens with a pair of Helluva Kicks. Zayn held up Owens after the second one and told him that the next one was for everything he’s ever done. Zayn hit Owens with another Helluva Kick. Owens rolled out of the ring onto his feet to keep the match going.
Zayn went to ringside and tried his dive between the ropes in the corner, but Owens dropped him with a superkick. Back inside the ring, Owens performed a Popup Powerbomb. Owens kicked Zayn and gave him a Stunner.
Zayn rolled to the floor. Owens followed and powerbombed Zayn through the broadcast table. Owens picked up Zayn and powerbombed him through regular table on the floor. Owens picked up Zayn and powerbombed him on the ring apron. The referee counted and Zayn was unable to stand up…
Kevin Owens beat Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing match in 23:30 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Powell’s POV: That was one hell of a match. Excellent effort from both men. Zayn’s three Helluva Kicks on Owens created a believable scenario for Owens dropping the match, and I like the way that Owens rolled to the floor and landed on his feet to remain in the match. It’s a holiday weekend so I’m sure plenty of people are missing this match. If you’re one of them, go out of your way to watch it.
Backstage, Edge told Megan Morant that he assumed he would beat down Jimmy Uso and then Roman Reigns would attack him in a two-on-one situation. Edge said he didn’t care. He said he’s tired of the whole family and if they wanted to try to trap him then they could go ahead…
Sonya Deville made her entrance. Footage aired of Deville announcing Carmella as the first Smackdown entrant in the women’s MITB ladder match. Cole said Deville would announce the brand’s second entrant after a break… [C]
Cole officially announced Bianca Belair vs. Bayley in an I Quit match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship for the MITB event…
Backstage, Rick Boogs told three corny king jokes to needle Baron Corbin. Corbin asked if it was funny to taunt someone while they are down. “Screw you, man,” Corbin said…
Deville introduced Zelina Vega as the second Smackdown entrant in the women’s MITB match. Vega made her entrance and joined Deville inside the ring. Vega said it was Deville’s honor to announce her return, just as it would be her pleasure to win the contract and cash in on the champion.
Liv Morgan made her entrance and complained that Deville put Carmella in the match without having her qualify for it, and now gave Vega a spot in the match. Morgan entered the ring and said Vega hasn’t competed on Smackdown all year and doesn’t deserve to be in the match.
Vega taunted Morgan for saying it wasn’t fair. Vega said she deserves it because she’s competed in rings for years and is one of the most popular performers in WWE history. Vega said she would run circles around Morgan and embarrass her. Morgan slapped Vega and told her to prove it in a match. Deville agreed to the match… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Vega back. Will her husband Tommy End/Aleister Black rejoin her? Meanwhile, there was a lot of fan grumbling over Morgan not being added to the MITB match after she beat Carmella last week. The idea was clearly established that Morgan had a chance to prove herself to Deville, but she was never promised a spot with a win. In other words, Deville is making Morgan jump through hoops to earn the spot.
3. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega. The match was joined in progress. Carmella was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor while sipping champagne. Late in the match, Vega rolled up Morgan and held the tights, so the referee stopped her count. Morgan rolled up Vega and pinned her.
Liv Morgan beat Zelina Vega in 2:00 of television time.
Powell’s POV: It wasn’t the big splash return for Vega, but they are clearly telling a story with Morgan. Long shot fantasy booking scenario. What’s stopping Sonya Deville from adding herself to the MITB match either before it happens or even while it’s taking place?
Backstage, Deville was talking with Adam Pearce when Seth Rollins interrupted them. Rollins introduced himself. Deville said they know him. Rollins said he was unsure because they gave Edge the title shot at MITB rather than him. Deville said Rollins could win the MITB ladder match and cash in successfully, but only if he could beat Cesaro in a qualifier next week. Rollins looked upset, then started laughing out loud and walked away…
Otis made his entrance for a match against Angelo Dawkins… [C] The WWE vaccination PSA aired… Zelina Vega, Bayley, and Kevin Owens were announced as the guests for Talking Smack, which will be co-hosted by Kayla Braxton and Pat McAfee… A video package recapped Otis destroying the Street Profits in past segments…
4. Otis (w/Chad Gable) vs. Angelo Dawkins. The Dawkins entrance was televised. Otis performed a second rope splash. Otis dragged Dawkins closer to the ropes and then performed a second splash and scored the pin. Cole said Otis is becoming “a major force” on Smackdown…
Otis beat Angelo Dawkins in 2:00.
Powell’s POV: I continue to enjoy heel Otis. Comedy Otis was fun, but it felt like it was running out of steam. It will be interesting to see if creative sticks with Otis and Gable as a team or if they have singles plans for Otis with Gable in more of a managerial type of role.
Jimmy Uso approached Paul Heyman on the Gorilla Position and asked where Roman Reigns was at. He said Reigns needed to know about what Edge was saying. Heyman said the Tribal Chief operates on his own time. Heyman said everything Reigns does is for his family. Heyman told Jimmy that the only thing he needed to do was go out there and be “Main Event” Jimmy Uso. Jimmy got fired up and made his entrance… [C]
The broadcast team hyped Rollins vs. Cesaro, and Nakamura vs. Corbin in MITB qualifiers for next week’s Smackdown…
Jimmy Uso stood in the ring and called out Edge while saying he didn’t need Reigns because he could handle Edge all by himself. Uso said it wasn’t a trick, he was just calling out Edge, who then made his entrance.
Edge stood on the stage and asked Jimmy what happened to his backbone. He asked what happened to the guy who said he was nobody’s bitch. Edge said Reigns was just using Jimmy like he uses the rest of his family. Edge said Reigns didn’t set a trap for him, he set a trap for Jimmy.
Edge fought with Uso and dominated him until Uso caught him at ringside with a superkick. In the ring, Edge caught Uso with a kick and the put him in a crossface. Edge released the hold and then speared Uso.
Edge rolled to ringside and kicked a piece of a chair off. Edge returned to the ring and shoved the piece of the chair into the mouth of Uso and wrenched back on it, just as he did to Reigns at WrestleMania. Edge released the hold and then looked into the camera and said “I don’t stop” to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good segment that made Edge look strong while also giving Uso something to think about. Reigns clearly had the night off, but they did a really nice job of making it seem like he could show up without actually advertising him. The highlight of the night was the Owens vs. Zayn match. It was also newsworthy with Vega returning and being added to MITB. The days of WWE phoning in holiday/holiday weekend shows appear to be over.
I will return shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below. Be smart, be safe, but have a great time this weekend.