By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,142)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired July 9, 2021 on Fox
A video recap aired that told the story of Jimmy Uso, Roman Reigns, and Edge over the past couple of weeks. It ended with the beat down that Edge delivered to Jimmy at the end of Smackdown last week. Backstage, Jimmy Uso approached Roman’s locker room, and was stopped by Paul Heyman. He told Jimmy that Roman was too busy for him now, but he was going to get his full attention later in the show. Jimmy was pacified and walked away. The Smackdown intro package then aired.
Roman Reigns was then shown in Gorilla. Paul Heyman walked up and took the Universal Title from him, and they began their ring entrance. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee are on commentary, and said this is the last show from the Thunderdome. Roman Reigns vs. Edge was plugged for Money in the Bank one week from Sunday. Roman sucks was piped into the Thunderdome.
He stood quietly and held the microphone. Roma opened and said that a lot of people at home didn’t like that he wasn’t present last week. He didn’t like a lot about last week either. Roman said that he really didn’t appreciate liars like Edge, who said that he was afraid of him, and got in his head. Roman said that there was 10 seconds in that match at WrestleMania, there might have been a little fear, but what it did was propel him to smash and stack his opponents so he could print a shirt.
He then said the only reason Edge was able to get a hold of him a couple of weeks ago was because he wasn’t focused on him. He had a lot of family trouble, so Edge wasn’t a worry on his mind. Since they were on the subject of family, it was a good time to handle some business. Jimmy Uso then made his entrance. He asked Roman why he thought he got in Edge’s face last week. It wasn’t for him, it was for us, for the Family. He said he stepped up while Roman was on vacation or whatever. Roman said he didn’t ask him to make decision for us.
He said he doesn’t take vacations, and he was being doing his job too, because he was unable to get it done. Jey Uso then made his entrance and joined them. He said he was back as Roman right hand man. He said he was back for all of them. Jey said he had Jimmy’s back, even in tough times, and told him he wanted to be the next Tag Team Champions. Roman said that’s all he’s ever wanted, even if that’s not what they heard. He then called them both in for an embrace, and Roman looked like he was satisfied with the outcome.
Backstage. Baron Corbin was interviewed. He said his life is a mess right now. He lost his money, his car, and he’s missed a few payments on his house. Baron said he needs to win the Money on the Bank contract, because it’s his only chance to turn his life around. A Money in the Bank qualifying match between Corbin and Nakamura is up next…[c]
My Take: I think it’s clear WWE is not going to change it’s plans in response to Jimmy Uso’s DUI issues. The opening segment appeared to be Roman’s family getting on the same page, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Edge’s beat down of Jimmy Uso didn’t appear to shake his loyalty, at least yet.
Baron Corbin was already in the ring. Big E made his entrance and joined in on commentary. A video package aired that recapped hard luck Baron Corbin’s bad couple of weeks. Big E invited Pat McAfee to commentary. Another video was shown from earlier in the day where Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura bought his Mercedes G-Wagon at auction and drove it to the arena. They made their ring entrance, but Corbin assaulted Nakamura when he reached the bottom of the ramp…[c]
My Take: WWE must exist in a universe where time passes differently. Otherwise Corbin would have had his car repossessed and auctioned before he could have possibly missed any payments.
1. Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: The match was joined in progress after the commercial break. Baron Corbin was in control of the offense. Big E was on commentary and said winning Money in the Bank would be his first World Title shot. Nakamura started a comeback with a single leg dropkick. He then landed another kick and an enziguri. Nakamura then placed Corbin on the top rope and landed a running knee to the chest. He then landed a sliding knee and covered for a two count.
Corbin fired back with a drop toe hold and then applied a single leg crab. He followed up with a back suplex for a two count. The action spilled outside, and Corbin landed a brainbuster on the announce table and left Nakamura in a heap on the floor…[c]
Nakamura avoided a charge in the corner from Corbin and sent him shoulder first into the post. He followed up with a kick, and then ran right into a Deep Six from Corbin. Nakamura rolled to the apron, but Corbin suplexed him back into the ring for a near fall. Nakamura fired back with a triangle choke. Corbin tried to powerbomb his way out of it, but Nakamura held on. Corbin looked to be near passed out, but his leg was under the ropes and Nakamura had to break the hold. He then set up for Kinshasa, but Corbin replied with a lariat. He then went for End of Days, but Nakamura replied with some kicks.
Nakamura then backed up and landed Kinshasa and got the win.
Shinsuka Nakamura defeated Baron Corbin at approximately 9:51
After the match, Corbin coughed and wheezed on the outside, and Nakamura celebrated in the ring. Backstage, Jey and Jimmy Uso were having a conversation backstage. Jimmy apologized for what he had said in the past, and Jey said they’ve been fighting and making up since they were kids. Jey sprung the idea of taking care of Edge “for the family”, and Jimmy was left to think about it. Natalya and Tamina will face mystery opponents making their debut next…[c]
My Take: Nakamura vs. Corbin was fairly similar to their previous matches. Not bad, but not great either. Hard times Corbin is a fun change of pace for him. I assume they’ll get a few laughs out of this and then try to start him on a comeback babyface run. It’ll be interesting to see if crowds buy it.
Natalya said they had opponents in a non-title match that no one had ever seen before on Smackdown. Natalya and Tamina acted insulted that anybody would have the gall to challenge them….and Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox made their entrance. They apparently are called “Shotzi and Nox” now, because two names are too difficult apparently.
2. Shotzi and Nox vs. Natalya and Tamina: Nox and Natalya started the match. Nattie applied a wristlock, and Nox did a complicated reversal. She tagged in Shotzi, and they landed a double team kick. They continued to make quick tags and landed a double team cannonball. Tamina broke up the pin. Tamina tagged in and went after Shotzi. She landed a kick to the face and covered for a two count. She then landed a knee, followed by a short arm clothesline. Tamina grabbed a headlock and landed some punches to the kidneys.
Tamina elbowed Nox off the apron. Everybody was in the ring and there were some pile ups due to unfamiliarity. Nox cleared Tamina from the ring, and Shotzi landed a running clothesline and a splash from the top for the win.
Shotzi and Nox defeated Natalya and Tamina at 5:43
After the match, Shotzi and Nox celebrated while Tamina and Natalya looked shocked. Backstage, Edge was interviewed. He was asked about Roman, and said he was going to call out Roman later, and asked if he had the jewels to come out himself or if he needed his backup with him. Sonya Deville made her entrance to announce Bianca Belair’s new challenger for Money in the Bank next…[c]
My Take: Shotzi and Nox feels like more names shortened for no reason. The match lacked some chemistry, but had good energy and it was nice to see the debuting team get a win. I’m not sure why they needed to pin the champions immediately, but I guess that’s just how depleted the division is at this point.
Sonya Deville stood in the ring. She said this is the kind of announcement that she hoped that she’d never have to make. Sonya said Bayley will be out for at least 9 months, and could not compete at Money in the Bank. Video was shown of Bayley from earlier today. She said you’re probably thinking this sucks, because everyone wanted to see the longest reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion regain her title. Bayley then said on second thought, the fans don’t care at all, and it was all the fans fault for pushing her to work so hard. She didn’t care who they put in her place because they are not as good as her.
Sonya said after careful consideration, Bianca Belair will no longer be defending her championship at Money in the Bank, she will be defending her title next week on the first live Smackdown in Houston. She the introduced the new challenger, Carmella.
She made her entrance, and said he understands why people would be mad, she’s hot and they are not. Carmella said Sonya made a mistake, and left out the fact that she’s the most beautiful woman in WWE. Liv Morgan interrupted and accused Sonya of favoritism, and said she can’t just appoint Carmella to everything. She asked how many times she has to beat Carmella before she gets an opportunity. Sonya said if you would have let her finish, she was going to appoint Carmella’s replacement in Money in the Bank, and gave her the spot. She then told Morgan to walk away before she changes her mind and never gets another opportunity. Morgan then turned around and told Carmella that she hopes she wins the title, because she would cash in on her when she wins Money in the Bank.
Bianca Belair interrupted, and Morgan walked past her and pointed at Money in the Bank. She addressed Bayley, and said she’s not sure if the injury is real, but if it is, she respects her skills even if she doesn’t like her. She looks forward to facing her when she returns. Bianca then told Carmella that she would see her next week.
Backstage, Heyman approached Roman Reigns, and said Edge intends on calling him out to the ring tonight. He apologized to Reigns, and said Edge had questioned his manhood. Roman stared off into the distance. Seth Rollins made his ring entrance to face Cesaro…[c]
My Take: I guess I can’t say I’m surprised by the Carmella and Morgan choices, as the Smackdown Women’s roster is razor thin at this point.
A Toni Storm vignette aired, and she’ll also be on her way to Smackdown soon. Cesaro made his entrance in the Thunderdome.
3. Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins: There was some early back and forth. Cesaro landed a tilt a whirl backbreaker and got a two count. He then went up top and landed a cross body for a near fall. Rollins bailed out to the floor to regroup and sold frustration. He ruffled the announce desk and tore off the cover. Kevin Owens was on commentary. He was very worried Seth was going to damage his phone…[c]
Seth gained control during the break. He dropped a knee as the show returned and covered for a two count. After some back and forth, they fought to a stalemate in a backslide attempt. Rollins broke free and landed a head kick and covered for a near fall. Cesaro landed a slam and covered for a two count of his own. Cesaro went up to the top rope, but Rollins met him there and landed a superplex. Rollins went to follow up with a Falcon Arrow, but Cesaro powered him up for a suplex instead and they both tumbled to the floor…[c]
As the show returned, Cesaro was on his twelfth spin of Rollins. He then attempted a Sharpshooter, and Rollins rolled him up for a two count. Cesaro replied with a press european uppercut. He then went for a Neutralizer, but Rollins escaped. He then pulled him out of the turnbuckles into a powerbomb for a near fall. Cesaro went for a Neutralizer again, but Rollins reversed out. He then went for a corkscrew uppercut, but Rollins hit him with a forearm shot. Rollins sent Cesaro into the exposed turnbuckle and rolled him up, but Cesaro kicked out.
Cesaro was busted open in the corner. Owens questioned whether or not Charles Robinson should fix the turnbuckle. Cesaro rolled to the floor, but Rollins pursued and sent him into the barricade and the announce table. The ref began a count out, but Cesaro returned to the ring. Rolling landed another forearm shot to the back of the head, and sent Cesaro to the floor. Rollins gave chase and landed a DDT on the ramp. The ref made a count, and Cesaro returned to the ring at 9.
Rollins went for a stomp, but Ceasro rolled through for a two count. He eventually landed the stomp a moment later and got the win.
Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro at 13:38
After the match, Seth Rollins celebrated by holding his arms up to the briefcase. The Money in the Bank field is now complete…[c]
My Take: An enjoyable match, but the outcome never felt in doubt for me. Cesaro gets a short push every few years, and it appears the latest one is already over.
Backstage, Jey and Jimmy Uso tried to break into Edge’s locker room, but he was gone. Kayla Braxton interviewed Seth Rollins. He said a loser like Cesaro never had a chance against him. He recalled cashing in his last Money in the Bank contract on the Tribal Chief at WrestleMania, but maybe this time he’ll cash in on the same night if the mood calls for it. Edge approached from behind and said Rollins hadn’t changed his whining ways since 2014. He said he was going to go to the ring and do something he wasn’t man enough to do, and that’s call Roman out.
An Otis and Gable video package aired. Backstage, Gable said there was something beautiful about a demolition video, isn’t there? He called Otis a human wrecking ball, and said it doesn’t matter who you are, if you step to Alpha Academy the result is the same. Otis said he would destroy anyone. In the arena, Edge made his entrance…[c]
My Take: Good to see Otis being built up as a monster in a credible way. WWE needs new stars in a big way right now.
Edge said congratulations are in order. Roman reunited his family and had a nice group hug. He asked if they were registered anywhere so he could get the matching lei’s. Edge said he doesn’t care how many minions Roman brainwashes, he’s found the cracks in the table. He put up side by side photos of Jimmy Uso and Roman in the crossface with a chair leg in their mouth. Edge said he was calling Roman’s punk card and wanted him to be a man and come out there right now.
Backstage, Roman told his family to stay there, and he would handle this on his own. Roman made his entrance. Jey and Jimmy Uso said something didn’t feel right, and they made their way out too. Roman told them he would handle it. Roman and Edge traded blows in the ring. Rey Mysterio’s music played, and Rey and Dominik took out The Uso’s. Edge got the better of Reigns, and worked him over in the ring. Roman fired back with a headbutt, but Edge returned fire and planted him with a DDT. Edge set up for a spear, but Jimmy and Jey managed to hold him back.
Rey and Dominik got in the ring and landed a 619 on both Jimmy and Jey. Roman escaped to the top of the ramp, and Edge grabbed a chair. He broke off a piece as Rey and Dominik held Jey Uso in the ring. Edge applied a crossface on Jey with the piece of steel from the chair. Roman stood at the top of the ramp and didn’t intervene.
They ran out of material with a few minutes left in the show, so they aired a replay of what we just saw. Edge applied the crossface again on both Jimmy and Jey to close the show…
My Take: That segment didn’t sell me on Roman being vulnerable, especially since they already hinted at a feud with Rollins in the previous segment. Roman being able to escape relatively unharmed was the other aspect of it that fell pretty far short of any satisfaction in terms of comeuppance. I think Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan both had stronger segments where they got the better of Reigns, but perhaps they are saving that for next week in front of a live crowd.