By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,145)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Amalie Arena
Aired August 6, 2021 on Fox
The show opened with Sasha Banks making her entrance, and she introduced a video package that summarized her betrayal of Bianca Belair last week. She spoke about how the WrestleMania Main Event wouldn’t have existed without her, and that she was unwilling to tolerate the disrespect Bianco showed her while she was sitting at home. Sasha said Bianca was nothing without her. She called herself the Boss, and said she was back on Smackdown to make Bianca pay.
Bianca made her entrance to interrupt her. She said Sasha had begged her to choose her after she won the Royal Rumble, so they could make history together. She said it’s not about getting credit, it’s that Sasha can’t stand her shine. Bianca climbed in the ring and said she’s been representing. Sasha bailed to the announce table and called herself a legend. Bianca granted her that, and said if she wants her title, it’s on.
Zelina Vega then walked out and said “This right here isn’t happening right now”. She told Bianca to look at her when she’s talking to her. She asked if she was lost, because she could help find her in this situation. She got on the apron, and Bianca warned her about stepping in the ring. Zelina stayed on the apron, and said that Bianca already accepted her challenge before the ratchet vulture Sasha swooped in.
Sasha asked her what she was going to do. Bianca told her no one was talking to her, and that she’s the champ. She told Sasha she’d see her at Summerslam, and she’d see Zelina later tonight.
Bianca walked to the back, and we got a video package of Rey Mysterio stealing a win from Jimmy Uso last week. Backstage, Rey asked Dominik why he asked for a match with Jey tonight? Dominik said he was just doing what Rey told him, and wanted to get in his head. Rey told him that they can’t afford to take a loss, because it would kill their momentum. He said he won last week with Domonik’s help, not that he needed it. Dominik told Rey he’d make him proud, and that he didn’t need his help either. Back in the arena, The Usos made their entrance…[c]
My Take: Sasha, Bianca, and Zelina had a solid opening segment. Everybody looked comfortable on the mic and delivered their lines well. They heavily tipped their hand on Sasha interfering in the main event, but I guess we’ll see how the execution works out. Rey talking about momentum as if it was a tangible and not a contrived buzzword made me sad.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin was advertised for later. Dominik Mysterio then made his entrance accompanied by Rey. They Mysterios and The Usos will face off at Summerslam.
1. Dominik Mysterio vs. Jey Uso: Dominik landed some strikes, but Jey quickly replied with a shoulder block. Dominik landed an arm drag, but was quickly shut down. Jey landed a backbreaker and covered for a two count. He then landed a hard right hand, and Dominik rolled to ringside. Dominik managed to kick Jey into the barricade, and then landed a sunset flip bomb underneath the bottom rope to the floor, and sent Jey into the barricade…[c]
Jey landed a pop up neckbreaker on Dominik and covered for a near fall. He then picked him up for a Samoan drop, but he slipped free and landed a neckbreaker of his own for a two count. He then landed a moonsault for another two count. Jey went for an enziguri, but Dominik was able to escape. He then landed a running body scissors that sent Jey into the turnbuckles.
Chaos broke out as Jimmy and Rey brawled at ringside. Dom went up top, but jumped into a superkick. Jey then landed an Uso splash and got the win.
Jey Uso defeated Dominik Mysterio at 9:12
After the match, Cole and McAfee narrated over a video package of Seth Rollins taking out Edge with a TV Camera. Edge was interviewed backstage, and called Seth Rollins a rotten selfish bastard. He said the issues with him and Seth go way back. He said when Seth gets to the arena, he can meet him in the ring and he’ll show him what a rotten bastard he can be.
Rick Boogs played a guitar solo and introduced himself. He then brought out Shinsuke Nakamura, whose entrance is very over. He’ll have a non-title match (I refuse to use Championship Contenders Match) next…[c]
My Take: An alright match between Jey and Dominik. They tipped off the loss with all the momentum talk, and so there was no surprise to the finish. Boogs and Nakamura are getting the finish over pretty big, which is nice to see.
Apollo Crews made his entrance with Commander Aziz.
2. Apollo Crews vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: They started out with some rapid fire back and forth. Apollo took control with a hot shot onto the top rope, and a big lariat. He then tossed Nakamura into the corner, but ran into a knee lift. Apollo slipped to the outside and landed a kick. He climbed to the top, but Shinsuke dropped him with a series of knees. He then landed a single leg dropkick.
Shinsuke landed more knees and went for a cover, but Aziz pulled him outside. Nakamura tossed Apollo into Aziz, but the match ended in DQ because of Aziz getting involved.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Apollo Crews by DQ.
Kayla Braxton was shown waiting outside Roman’s locker room for an interview. Video was shown of the contract signing that ended with John Cena stealing the contract last week. The match is being billed as “The Greatest of His Time” vs. “The Greatest of All Time”.
Heyman walked out of the locker room and asked Kayla what she wanted. Kayla asked what Roman thought of what happened last week. He accused John Cena of being a thief. He asked if he could hit Tom Brady with a chair and sign his contract and steal his 75 million dollar contract? He accused WWE of being an ultimate enabler, and that John Cena is sliding into a match that he doesn’t deserve. Paul said Roman Reigns has nothing to say to John Cena or Kayla Braxton.
Heyman turned away and walked right into Big E, who giggled at him while holding the briefcase…[c]
My Take: I get what they were going for with Big E giggling like a fool there, but in execution it came across more odd than intimidating. Just standing there and nodding might have worked a little better. Nakamura and Crews didn’t have much of a match, so there’s not much to say about it.
Tamina was already in the ring. Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox made their way out. Tegan Nox is competing with Tamina.
3. Tamina vs. Tegan Nox: Shotzi remained in the tank at ringside. Tamina landed an early clothesline that put Tegan on the back food. Tamina tossed her into the corner, but she avoided the incoming splash and landed a side kick. She then landed some cannonballs into the corner for a two count.
Nox went for a shining wizard, but Tamina avoided it. She picked her up for a Samoan Drop, but Shotzi fired her tank football for a distraction. Shotz then rolled her up for the win.
Tegan Nox defeated Tamina at 2:04
Backstage, Adam Pearce told Zelina Vega that her match later would be non-title, because they can’t do it on such short notice due to lack of promotion. Sonya Deville reminded Zelina that Bianca doesn’t make matches around here, she does. Zelina said she would prove she could take out Bianca later, and they better give her a title shot.
Back in the arena, Edge made his entrance…[c]
My Take: I’d guess Shotzi and Tegan get a title shot at Summerslam if Natalya is healthy enough. I wouldn’t mind them winning the Women’s Tag Titles, but….then what? The division is still in shambles.
Edge stood in the ring and thanked the Tampa crowd for their reaction. He said Rollins isn’t there tonight, but that’s good for Edge, because if he was he’d end up in jail. He said he was willing to let the past go, but Seth couldn’t. Edge said if their positions were reversed, he’d probably do the same thing. He said their path together is not going to end well, and if he was there tonight, it would end.
Rollins appeared “via satellite” and said they were a lot a like. He said he should have aseen ti coming last week, because it was right out of his playbook. Rollins said if he was half the man that “The Architect” was, he would know the value of having a plan B. Edge replied that he did have a plan B, and it was Edge vs. Rollins at Summerslam.
Rollins said he would think about it. But more importantly, he asked Edge to think about it. He asked what Edge thought would happen when he stomped on somebody’s neck when it had been fused 3 times. He asked Edge what kind of man and father he would be after that? Edge fired up and said he should shut up about his family.
Edge said he helped take him out of the 2020 Royal Rumble, and eliminated him by himself in 2021. He called out Rollins for not finishing the job in 2014, and it’s biting him in the ass. He called Edge a light imitation of himself, and Rollins got angry. Edge said he was a mixture of a televangelist and Colonel Sanders. Rollins then said he was not a light version of him, he’s better than him in every way and he knows it. He told him if he wanted him at Summerslam….he’s on.
Backstage, Finn Balor was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. He said that a title opportunity was stolen from him last week. Balor accused Corbin of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, and that he would teach Baron Corbin the importance of integrity the hard way. When he was done, he had a bone to pick with John Cena.
Back in the arena, The Street Profits made their entrance…[c]
My Take: MJF’s ears are ringing after that Rollins promo. Edge and Rollis did well there, but it wasn’t a home run. There’s just something off about Rollins in this character. He feels a bit disconnected from it in the way he delivers his lines. Finn Balor is showing some confidence, but he needs to work on believable facial expressions. He could be reading from a book off the teleprompter and it would sound exactly the same.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrance.
4. The Street Profits vs. Ziggler and Roode: Montez Ford and Robert Roode started the match. Ford missed a standing moonsault early on, but recovered and landed dropkicks on both Roode and Ziggler. Roode fired back with an uranage and covered for a two count. Ziggler tagged in and landed a running knee. He covered, but Dawkins broke it up. Roode tagged back in as they continued to isolate Ford.
Ford popped up with a dropkick and made a hot tag to Dawkins. He entered and landed a clothesline and a spinning neckbreaker on Dawkins. Ford and Roode got involved, but both ended up at ringside. Ziggler landed a Fameasser for a near fall. Dawkins landed a big spinebuster, and tagged out to Ford. He landed his sky high splash from the top for the win.
The Street Profits defeated Roode and Ziggler at 4:50
After the match, Cole and McAfee showed some photos of Bianca Belair at Megan Thee Stallion at Lollapalooza, and the social media war between Sasha and Bianca. Bianca then made her entrance for her non-title match with Zelina Vega…[c]
My Take: Solid return win for the Profits. Bianca continues to get superstar reactions every week.
Zelina Vega made her ring entrance for her match.
5. Zelina Vega vs. Bianca Belair: There was some brawling early on. Vega rolled up Bianca for a two count. Biance then picked her up by her arms, but Vega slipped out and choked her with a crucifix in the ropes. She then grabbed her hair, and broke on a 4 count. Belair recovered and kicked her off the apron to the floor.
Bianca went to ringside and picked up Vega for a press slam, but Sasha’s music hit and Vega slipped free. She landed a head scissors into the ring steps, and sent Bianca into the ring for a cover and near fall…[c]
Bianca landed a shoulder block. Vega pulled Belair into an arm bar, but she just picked her up and tossed her. She followed up with a moonsault, but Vega kicked out at two. Belair jumped on Bianca’s back, but she used her power to maneuver her around and land a suplex. She tired for another suplex, but Vega reversed it into a DDT.
Vega sent Bianca to the floor with a knee. She dove at her, but Bianca caught her and swung her into the barricade. She followed up with the KOD in the ring for the win.
Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega at 9:28
After the match, Bianca celebrated and Zelina seethed. The announce team said Sasha has to avoid the KOD. Paul Heyman informed Roman Reigns that Finn Balor and Baron Corbin is up next. Roman said “I’m interested”. Finn Balor made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: A solid match from Belair and Vega. Bianca continues to look like a star, and Vega gave her best performance since her return.
Baron Corbin walked out without music.
6. Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor: Corbin grabbed a microphone right away and said what he did wasn’t cool, and tried to apologize. Finn refused to accept, and knocked Corbin around the ring. Finn slipped out to the apron, but Corbin shoved him into the ring post and landed a hard right hand. He continued the assault with strikes, but Balor turned things around with a Pele kick. He then grabbed a double leg and landed punches and a double stomp. Balor then fired up the crowd and continued the stomps against the ropes.
Corbin grabbed Balor for chokeslam, but Balor escaped and landed a slingblade. He then landed a shotgun dropkick into the corner, and went up top. He then landed the Coup de Grace from the top for the win.
Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin at 2:39
After the match, Balor grabbed the mic and said that the Finn Balor from 3 years ago would have smiled and accepted it. But that Finn is dead, and if he has to go through John Cena to get his title match, that’s what he’s willing to do. Finn said name the time and place….and he was interrupted by Roman Reigns music…[c]
My Take: I thought we might see Finn Balor and Corbin end up on PPV, but this was a nice surprise. His promo after the match was strong, and him calling out his former smiley self was a nice touch.
Roman and Finn went face to face in the ring. Cena chants happened in the crowd. Roman told Finn that he understands why he’s upset, and why he’s running his mouth about John Cena. He told Finn to remember that he tried to help him and give him an opportunity. Roman then told him to keep his name out of his mouth when he comes out on his show. Roman threw the mic at him and walked away, but Finn shoved him and he spilled out of the ring.
Balor made his signature finger guns at Roman, and he scowled and turned back to the ring. The Usos then jumped Balor from behind, and beat him down. Roman walked away from the ring. Jey Uso went up top, but Finn popped up and tripped JImmy in the way of Jey’s splash. Finn stomped on both Usos and sent them to the floor. Finn then dove on The Usos on the floor.
Roman took his jacket off and headed to the ring. They brawled, and Finn landed a slingblade. The Usos recovered and protected Roman. They threw Finn into a Superman Punch. Jimmy landed an Uso splash. They stomped him out one more time, and then Roman held the Universal Championship over a fallen Balor to close the show.
My Take: It was nice to see Finn not get completely owned by The Bloodline instantly. He showed renewed confidence, and I’m guessing he’ll be Roman’s challenger after Cena is out of the picture. Overall, a middle of the road episode of Smackdown. WWE’s major acts are over, but the current stories being told aren’t maximizing the talent on the show. Both Men’s and Women’s tag divisions are in a dire position, and the Intercontinental Championship continues to be treated like a trinket.