By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,148)
Live from North Little Rock, Arkansas at Simmons Bank Arena
Aired August 27, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a video package that recapped Becky Lynch’s return at SummerSlam and her win over Bianca Belair… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Kevin Owens were on commentary. Cole noted that Pat McAfee was home recovering from COVID-19…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance to a big ovation. “The Man has come around to Little Rock,” Lynch said to start her in-ring promo. She said it was good to be back and back on top.
Lynch said she missed the fans. Lynch spoke about how hard she’s worked to get back and said if you thought she was dangerous before, you have no idea how deadly she will be. Lynch said that brings her to SummerSlam. There were some boos. She said she heard the fans and there has been a lot of controversy about her actions. Lynch said she wanted to take this time to say she was sorry… for nothing.
Bianca Belair made her entrance. She said that she wasn’t going to make excuses, but she wasn’t cool with what happened at SummerSlam. Belair called for a rematch so they could tear the house down.
Zelina Vega made her entrance and mocked Belair for being reduced to begging for a rematch like a little dog. Vega said she wanted a match against Lynch.
Carmella made her entrance. She called herself the most beautiful woman in all of WWE, then complained that she found out about her SummerSlam just an hour in advance. Carmella complained that she didn’t have time to get her hair and nails done. Graves was sympathetic.
Liv Morgan made her entrance. She said she didn’t understand why Vega and Carmella feel they deserve to be in the title picture when they get beat week after week. Owens said that was a good point and asked Graves if he agreed.
Belair said Vega, Carmella, and Morgan must have lost their minds because this had nothing to do with them. Belair asked Lynch to give the fans the match that they want. “Nah,” Lynch replied before leaving the ring while her entrance music played.
Belair blasted Vega with a shot that sent her to ringside. Carmella attacked Belair and cleared her to ringside. Morgan cleared Carmella to ringside and stood tall in the ring heading into the first break. [C]
Powell’s POV: Whew. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do live coverage tonight because the Vikings game is airing on my local Fox affiliate and the Fox app wasn’t cooperating initially. I missed a bit of Lynch’s promo, but I think I got the bulk of it. Lynch played to the fans as a babyface, but her actions with Belair certainly play into the idea that she will be a heel. It still remains to be seen whether she’s ready to work regular matches or if she was rushed back due to Sasha Banks missing SummerSlam.
1. Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Carmella vs. Zelina Vega in a four-way elimination match for future a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship. The match was joined in progress. The broadcast team explained that the made was made during the break and the winner will get a title shot.
Carmella and Vega worked together and went for a double pin on Belair that didn’t result in a three count. Carmella rolled up Vega to end their alliance. “I can’t believe it,” Owens said unenthusiastically. “I didn’t see it coming.” Funny. Moments later, Belair hit the KOD on Vega and pinned her.
Zelina Vega was eliminated by Bianca Belair in 3:15 of television time.
Carmella ran Belair into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Morgan pinned Carmella.
Carmella was eliminated by Liv Morgan in 4:05.
Belair and Morgan went face to face as the final two entrants heading into a break. [C] A multi-colored NXT logo teaser video listed “NXT Coming.”
Morgan avoided a powerbomb by performing a nice huracanrana. Morgan followed up with a standing double stomp to the back of Belair’s neck and covered her for a near fall.
Belair came back with a spinebuster for a near fall of her own. Morgan avoided a suplex attempt and performed a Codebreaker, which led to another near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Belair rallied and set up for her finisher. Morgan avoided the move, but Belair was able to send her face first into the turnbuckle. Belair hit the KOD on Morgan and then pinned her…
Bianca Belair defeated Liv Morgan, Carmella, and Zelina Vega in a four-way elimination match in 12:10 to earn a future shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match, particularly once it came down to the final two. Morgan gained something in defeat. Unfortunately, Carmella and Vega have been really damaged by all of their recent losses. It’s too bad because I enjoy Carmella’s character and was hoping that Vega would be booked well in her return to the company. Oh, and is that really the NXT logo? I would complain, but the current logo looks like a bad heavy metal band logo.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton asked Paul Heyman where he stands with Brock Lesnar. Heyman said he stands where he always stands, behind and kind of to the side of his Tribal Chief. Heyman excused himself and tried to enter Reigns’ locker room, but the door was locked… [C]
Cole hyped the Roman Reigns championship celebration for later in the show and then set up a video package that recapped Reigns beating John Cena followed by the return of Brock Lesnar. The footage included Lesnar suplexing Cena and giving him an F5…
Backstage, Heyman asked a smirking Braxton if she had something better to do or someone to harass and stalk. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso exited the room and were friendly with Heyman, who said the door was locked. They said Reigns wasn’t at the building yet, they assumed that Heyman knew Lesnar was going to show up. Heyman swore that he didn’t know. They wondered why Heyman sent them to the locker room before Roman’s match with Cena. Heyman said it was actually Reigns who sent them back to the locker room. The Usos said the family is built on trust. The Usos went back inside the room without Heyman…
Powell’s POV: A big part of the fun of Lesnar returning is that it creates this situation where Heyman has to choose between his two cash cows.
Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance for Gable’s match against Cesaro… [C] Cesaro made his entrance…
2. Cesaro vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis). Cesar hit Gable with an uppercut to start the match. Gable came back and hit a moonsault for a near fall. Cesaro came back and started to perform The Swing on Gable, but Otis attacked him for the DQ.
Cesaro beat Chad Gable by DQ in 2:25.
After the match, Otis and Gable hit a clothesline into a suplex double team move on Cesaro. Otis followed that up with a second rope splash…
Powell’s POV: I continue to enjoy Otis and Gable, but it’s hard to tell if there’s really a plan for them or if the creative forces are just killing time.
Braxton stood outside the building and said she’d been told that Roman Reigns would be arriving shortly. A car pulled up as she was talking. Baron Corbin exited the car and was dressed well and his head was clean shaven. He told Braxton that she could refer to him as Happy Corbin. He asked if she’d been following his social media. He stated that he’s filthy rich an happy…
An ad aired for Raw and focused on WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Sheamus in a non-title match… [C]
SummerSlam still shots were shown… A graphic listed the “Roman Reigns’ Family Celebration” for later in the show…
Baron Corbin entered to new music and a new video wall that included a slot machine graphic. Corbin was over the top happy and had a velvet rope inside the ring along with a liquor stand. Corbin said he thought he hit rock bottom, but now he looks incredible. Corbin said the best part is that he did it all by himself and now he’s the happiest man in the world.
Corbin pointed to the screen for a video package that recapped his broke ass Baron Corbin days followed by his Las Vegas success streak. Back in the ring, Corbin said he was the Mayor of Jackpot City. He boasted about how expensive his attire and his new Bentley was. He said his wife welcomed him home and had wagyu beef on the table. A small “you deserve it” chant broke out. Corbin agreed.
[Hour Two] Corbin said he wanted to be called Happy Corbin because he’s the happiest man alive. Corbin said there’s one thing that could make him happier and the fans couldn’t help him with that. Corbin called out Big E while saying he wasn’t going to hurt him.
Big E made his entrance with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Corbin said he appreciated Big E coming out and boasted that he’s filthy rich. Big E said he’s happy for Corbin and is also happy that he doesn’t smell anymore.
Corbin said he wanted to make things square after stealing the MITB briefcase. Corbin said he wanted to buy it. Corbin offered $20,000. Big E passed. Corbin raised it to $50,000. Corbin said Big E would probably cash in and lose because that happens to people. “You mean people like you,” Big E replied. Corbin said it did happen to him.
Corbin offered Big E $100,000 for the MITB briefcase. Big E said it’s a lot of bread and his kids need braces. “My answer is hell no,” Big E said. He told Corbin that he had some items that he could spend that money on. Big E pulled out a sandwich, a pencil, and an Arkansas Razorbacks stuffed animal, which popped the crowd.
Corbin said he’s too rich and too happy for this. Corbin told Big E to be miserable. He said Big E would cash in and fail and then regret that he didn’t take the money. Big E said he was finished with the games and told Corbin to hit the bricks or he would smack the smile off his face. Corbin left the ring and was still in a celebratory mood…
Powell’s POV: For all the times I’ve grumbled about lousy sports entertainment silliness over the years, this an example of fun sports entertainment. The Broke Ass Baron Corbin character entertained me and his transition to Happy Corbin is far fetched, silly, and downright fun.
Cole checked in with Graves and Owens and once again noted that Pat McAfee was at home recovering from COVID-19… A video package recapped Edge beating Seth Rollins at SummerSlam…
Footage aired from “earlier today” of Edge saying that SummerSlam was satisfying, but he also had to go to a dark place to find the most savage version of himself. He said it affected him wherever he went. Edge said now that the albatross of Rollins is no longer around his neck, he’s moving on and pursuing the WWE Universal Championship…
Backstage, Seth Rollins said he only had one thing to say to Edge. Rollins smiled and congratulated Edge. He said he had a week to think about what happened. He said some people were calling it the match of the year and it was one of Edge’s greatest victories. Rollins said that it was a loss that taught him something about himself.
Rollins said Edge won his respect and admiration at SummerSlam. Rollins said he admires Edge’s Hall of Fame career and the life that he’s built for himself. Rollins said that if he wants to fight his way back to the WWE Universal Championship, maybe he needs to be a little more like Edge. Rollins smiled while looking into the camera and then thanked Edge and congratulated him again…
Powell’s POV: Good stuff. I expected a Rollins tantrum, but this was better. He’s obviously not sincere, so it will be interesting to see what he meant when he said he needs to be more like Edge.
Rick Boogs played his guitar on the stage and introduced King Nakamura for their tag team match… [C]
Roman Reigns arrived. Paul Heyman was petrified while standing in front of the locker room door. Reigns asked if he had to open his own door. Heyman opened the door while referring to Reigns as “my Tribal Chief.” Reigns asked if he was going to come in…
3. King Nakamura and Rick Boogs vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. A portion of the heel entrance was televised. During the match, a pre-taped promo with Apollo Crews (with Commander Azeez standing behind him) complaining about Nakamura soiling the Intercontinental Championship. The heel duo took control heading into a break. [C]
Nakamura was down at ringside for a stretch. Boogs fought off both heels for a bit, but once they won the numbers battle, Nakamura returned to break up a pin attempt. Boogs avoided a Fameasser and then performed a powerslam style move on Ziggler before pinning him clean.
King Nakamura and Rick Boogs beat Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler in 9:45.
After the match, Owens played up that it was big for Boogs to beat a former world champion. Boogs grabbed his guitar and played along with Nakamura’s entrance music…
Powell’s POV: It’s not Ziggler’s fault that he’s been booked the way he has, but pointing out that Boogs beat a former world champion just didn’t pack a punch in this case.
Backstage, Naomi told Sonya Deville how excited she was to be the newest member of the Smackdown roster. She asked about her first match. A disinterested Deville said she didn’t know that Naomi was coming to Smackdown. Deville texted while telling Naomi that she would think about it and get back to her next week…
Rey Mysterio told Dominik Mysterio in the backstage area that he felt it was time to let Dom fly on his own. Rey told Dom that he didn’t know who his opponent was, but he told him to keep his chin up and focus. They shook hands and hugged, then made their entrance together. Dom headed to the ring without his father, who clapped for him. The broadcast team said Dom would face a surprise opponent after the break… [C]
More SummerSlam still shots were shown… Sami Zayn made his entrance as Dom’s opponent while Cole reminded viewers that Zayn is Owens’ former best friend…
4. Sami Zayn vs. Dominik Mysterio. Cole noted that Dom has only been competing in WWE for a year. Dom had an early offensive flurry that caused Zayn to regroup in the corner for a moment. Zayn came back briefly, but Dom rallied and went for a 619, but Zayn pulled the middle rope, causing Dom to crash at ringside. Rey Mysterio walked out to check on Dom. [C]
The brief “NXT Coming” video played again. In the ring, Zayn was in offensive control and jawing at Rey, who was standing at ringside. Dom came back with a series of elbows to the head of Zayn, who then ducked a kick. Dom connected with an enzuigiri and then hit the 619.
Dom went up top, but Zayn rolled away, causing Dom to give up on going for a move. Zayn came right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb and followed up with a Helluva Kick and then scored the pin.
Sami Zayn beat Dominik Mysterio in 8:00.
After the match, Rey entered the ring and tried to check on Dom, who was upset and didn’t want his father to touch him. Dom left the ring while Rey tried to talk to him while walking behind him…
Powell’s POV: I continue to assume that this is leading to a father vs. son feud. I like the slow build if that’s where they are going with this Rey and Dom drama.
Reigns, Heyman, and the Usos stood at the Gorilla Position set. The Usos made their entrance. Heyman tried to give Reigns the WWE Universal Championship belt. Reigns asked what he wanted him to do with that. Heyman said it was a family celebration. Reigns told Heyman that he is family and then they made their entrance with the Usos. Heyman looked leery of Reigns while walking beside him. [C]
Reigns, Heyman, Jimmy, and Jey stood in the ring. Heyman presented Reigns with the microphone. Reigns stopped and told Heyman to tell the fans to acknowledge him. “Ladies and gentlemen, your Tribal Chief has granted you permission to acknowledge Roman Reigns.” Reigns said something to Heyman, who then said it was the crowd’s lucky day, because they get to acknowledge the undisputed Smackdown Tag Champions.
Reigns spoke to Heyman again. There was an “U-So” chant. Heyman said this was the moment in the show that we all get to celebrate the fact that “we have all Cena-Nuff of John” thanks to Reigns.
Finn Balor’s entrance music interrupted Heyman and he walked onto the stage with a mic in hand. “Hey, Roman, you know that I got screwed out of our match at SummerSlam by John Cena,” Balor started. Balor added that he hadn’t forgotten about Cena and would deal with him in due time.
Balor said Edge is talking about the WWE Universal Championship and now Brock Lesnar is back. Balor entered the ring and said he was going to challenge Reigns to a match at Extreme Rules, but he doesn’t trust anyone and isn’t waiting in line. Balor challenged Reigns to face him in a championship match on next week’s Smackdown.
Balor threw a punch at Reigns. The Usos immediately put the boots to Balor. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins ran out and worked over the Usos. Balor hit a running dropkick on one of Usos in the corner while Reigns was shown walking to the stage. Balor performed a Coup De Grace on one of the Usos. Cole wondered whether Balor would get his title shot against Reigns next week on Smackdown in Jacksonville as the show concluded…
Powell’s POV: Well, no Brock Lesnar. Unfortunately, it looks like that might be the Crown Jewel match. I hope I’m wrong and they save it for a bigger event. But I liked the final angle and that Reigns hasn’t addressed Heyman’s relationship with Lesnar yet. Jimmy and Jey were all over Heyman about it, but Reigns acted like everything was normal and there was nothing to address.
Overall, this was a good show. It was light on the in-ring product, but that’s kind of the norm on Smackdown. If they are going with Reigns vs. Balor next week, then they would have been wise to advertise it. I wonder if we’re getting the obvious six-man tag match instead next week with Reigns vs. Balor being saved for Extreme Rules. I will have more to say in my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
Check out Colin McGuire’s review of AEW Rampage via the main page.