By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,151)
Live from Knoxville, Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena
Aired September 17, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of Seth Rollins beating Edge after a Stomp on last week’s show. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on commentary. Cole said we’d learn the fallout over Edge being Stomped on his surgically repaired neck…
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance along with Paul Heyman and Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso. Footage aired from last week of the segment involving Brock Lesnar. Cole hyped Reigns vs. Lesnar for the Crown Jewel event. He also played up Reigns being at day 380 of his title reign.
Reigns told the fans to acknowledge him, then told Heyman to educate them on how to properly do it. Heyman said he acknowledged Reigns’ greatness since he was just a little boy. Heyman said he’s in awe of his greatness. Heyman gushed over Reigns and said he fears no man, no Beast, and no Demon. “But they all fear Roman Reigns,” Heyman said.
Heyman asked why Finn Balor needed to resort into his “inner Demon” to challenge Reigns if he doesn’t fear him. Heyman Brock Lesnar fears Reigns. Heyman said he has known Lesnar intimately on a professional basis even more than his own family for twenty years and he never saw fear in his eyes until last week at MSG.
WWE Champion Big E interrupted Heyman and made his entrance. Big E entered the ring and played to the crowd by raising his title belt in the air. E stood in the middle of the ring and raised the belt, then looked at Reigns, who smirked at him. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. Reigns held up his title belt.
Finn Balor made his entrance heading into a commercial break. [C]
Powell’s POV: If they stick with the Survivor Series format, there’s a good chance that the show will be headlined by Reigns vs. Big E, so I wonder if that’s what they are planting the seed for. As much as I would enjoy that match, I still wish they would scrap the annual battle of brand supremacy, especially since it happens shortly after the WWE Draft.
1. Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Big E and Finn Balor in a non-title match. Cole said Adam Pearce made the tag match during the break. Yes, he billed it as a Championship Contenders Match (ugh). Big E performed a splash on the apron onto Jey, then covered him in the ring for a two count.
The Usos isolated Big E, but he eventually tagged out. Jey made a blind tag and pulled Balor to ringside and shoved him into the barricade. Jimmy followed up with a suicide dive on Balor. [C] An NXT 2.0 ad aired and focussed on a lot of the new faces.
Jey performed a Samoan Drop on Big E, who came right back with a uranage slam. A short time later, Jey caught Big E with a superkick for a near fall. Jimmy tagged in. Balor performed a sling blade clothesline on Jey. Big E hit the Big Ending on Jimmy while Balor simultaneously performed a Coup De Grace on Jey. Big E covered Jimmy and scored the pin…
Big E and Finn Balor defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso in 12:20 in a non-title match.
Roman Reigns was shown watching the match backstage. Heyman sat down beside him. Reigns asked if there was something Heyman wanted to tell him, then asked if he was sure there wasn’t something he needed to know. Heyman once again insisted that he did not know that Brock Lesnar was going to appear at SummerSlam. Heyman said Lesnar fears Reigns and that’s why he made up this false narrative.
Reigns asked if Lesnar was going to show up at Extreme Rules. Heyman said no. Reigns asked how he would know. Heyman squirmed and said that if Lesnar fears Reigns, that left him under the impression that he wouldn’t dare show up at Extreme Rules. Reigns said he doesn’t pay Heyman to be under the impression, he pays him to know in advance…
Powell’s POV: The tag match was competitive and entertaining. I’m typically not a fan of established tag team champions losing clean to makeshift tag teams, but I thought it was fine in this case since they are trying to build up Balor for Extreme Rules and Big E is hot after winning the WWE Championship on Monday. Reigns making Heyman squirm continues to be highly entertaining.
Rick Boogs played his guitar and introduced himself before playing King Nakamura to the ring. Meanwhile, Cole hyped previously advertised segments. Cole hyped Boogs vs. Robert Roode for after the break… [C] A Connor’s Cure ad aired…
2. Rick Boogs (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler). The entrance of the heels was not televised. In the end, Boogs performed a bulldog and a pump-handle slam and got the pin.
Rick Boogs defeated Robert Roode in 2:00.
After the match, Nakamura and Boogs jammed out with Pat McAfee at ringside. Commander Azeez showed up and hit Nakamura with a boot to the head. Azeez tossed Boogs into the ring steps. Apollo Crews arrived and pressed Nakamura overhead and dropped him onto the broadcast table. The heels ran Nakamura into the front of the broadcast table.
Crews and Azeez entered the ring. Crews pointed at Nakamura and asked Azeez if that’s your king. Crews said Nakamura has made a mockery of the Intercontinental Championship. Crews demanded a rematch…
Powell’s POV: They kept the match brief since the focus was on the post match angle. I assume we’ll get the IC Title match on next week’s Smackdown or at Extreme Rules.
Happy Corbin was shown walking backstage. Cole hyped Corbin vs. Kevin Owens as coming up after the break… An ad for Raw recapped Big E’s WWE Championship win… [C] Imagery was shown from the host city and then a sponsored recap Corbin’s appearance on The KO Show with Logan Paul…
Backstage, Kevin Owens was interviewed by Megan Morant. He played up his frustration with Corbin and said he would use his anger to beat the hell out of Corbin so that we could have Happy Kevin…
Kevin Owens made his entrance. Happy Corbin attacked him from behind and ran him into the LED board on the apron. Corbin chokeslammed Owens on the apron. Corbin put his hat on and laughed at Owens…
The broadcast team narrated highlights of last week’s Rollins vs. Edge match… Seth Rollins made his entrance… [C] The broadcast team played up Bianca Belair’s homecoming celebration and her collegiate history…
Paul Heyman was walking backstage when Kayla Braxton startled him. She said her sources were telling her that Brock Lesnar could be headed to Raw in the WWE Draft, and she wondered what Roman’s reaction was. Heyman mocked Braxton for thinking he’s still Lesnar’s advocate and the idea that she has sources. He accused her of having lust in her eyes and told her to stop flirting with him.
Heyman turned to storm away and ran into Big E, who showed off his WWE Championship. Heyman congratulated him and said he made the right decision to not cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Reigns. Big E brought up the idea of facing “your boy” at Survivor Series. He questioned whether that would be Reigns or Lesnar, and then played up the possibility that he would face Finn Balor at Survivor Series because Heyman was overlooking him.
Big E turned to walk away and ate a superkick. The Usos attacked Big E and ran him into a pair of production crates. The Usos left Big E lying after throwing punches and kicks at him. Roman Reigns showed up and looked at the Usos, but he never even looked down at Big E before walking away…
Powell’s POV: I love the way that Heyman and Braxton have turned WWE’s bizarre fetish for having backstage interviewers pop up out of nowhere into something fun. The Usos attack on Big E was vicious and I assume this means we haven’t seen the last of Big E on Smackdown since he’ll be seeking revenge.
[Hour Two] Seth Rollins stood in the ring and said it was unfortunate that nobody helped out Big E. Rollins boasted about beating Edge last week at Madison Square Garden. He said everyone has had a week to process their feelings about the match. He said what happened to Edge was unfortunate, unsettling, and scary.
Rollins had footage from the match and Edge being stretchered out of the building air on the big screen. Rollins said he knew it was difficult to watch and he understood why the fans were booing. “What did you think was going to happen?” Rollins asked while getting fired up.
Rollins sad it one of the greatest wins of his career, but he didn’t get to enjoy it because everyone was looking at him out of the corner of their eye backstage. He said his own employer called his actions unconscionable. Rollins said he used a legal move and won the match the same way he’s won matches for the majority of his career.
Rollins said Edge went too far because he’s a family man who knew the risk and the consequences and he still got in the ring with him. Rollins said the fans were truly to blame for what happened to Edge. He accused them of goading Edge into goading him.
Rollins assumed that Edge was watching. He wondered if Edge is emotionally able to return to the ring. Rollins said Edge showed fear as he was being loaded into the ambulance. He said he even felt sorry for Edge and that feeling has been eating at him all week. Rollins said he had to move on. Rollins said he could attack Edge at his cabin in front of his family or they could meet one more time. For his own sanity, Rollins said he has to finish Edge one way or another…
Kayla Braxton stood on the backstage ring set and introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Braxton asked if the homecoming celebration would give Bianca Belair momentum heading into their match at Extreme Rules. Lynch said Belair had a lot of momentum before she ran into her at SummerSlam. Lynch said tonight is Belair’s night, then said she’s never been to a homecoming and might have to check it out…
Carmella and Zelina Vega made their entrance for a match against Toni Storm and Liv Morgan… [C]
3. Toni Storm and Liv Morgan vs. Carmella and Zelina Vega. The babyface entrances were not televised. Cole explained that Storm’s mom listened to “eighties rock-n-roll” and said Storm enjoyed it. Morgan kicked Carmella into the corner. Carmella’s face hit the turnbuckle pad. Carmella rolled to the floor and went into Marcia Brady mode by yelling “My Nose” repeatedly until she was counted out.
Toni Storm and Liv Morgan beat Carmella and Zelina Vega via count-out in 2:15.
Morgan took the mic and said she wasn’t sorry that she broke Carmella’s nose. She challenged her to a match at Extreme Rules and said she would make sure that she looks as hideous on the outside as she is on the inside…
Powell’s POV: This match was bumped from the MSG event last week. Cole has done solid work with McAfee lately, but he couldn’t have made Storm’s gimmick sound any less cool if he tried. There was nothing to the match and I’m not sure why the Morgan vs. Carmella match would be saved for pay-per-view when it has television match written all over it.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins delivered a backstage promo. Ford hyped up Bianca Belair’s celebration and then turned the focus to The Usos… Cole hyped a look at The Saga of The Demon… [C]
In a trainer’s room, Carmella pulled her hands away from her face to show that there was nothing wrong with her nose. Carmella told Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville that the match was on for Extreme Rules. Zelina Vega told the authority figures that Morgan needs to go through her first…
Finn Balor delivered a backstage promo. He said he was born into a family of railroad workers and wasn’t supposed to be in WWE. He said he scratched, fought, and clawed to make it. He said The Demon is a manifestation of anyone who has ever told him no, doubted him, or disrespected him. He said the Demon unlocks a rage inside of himself that he can’t control. Balor said he doesn’t summon the Demon, the Demon summons him. Balor said he was the face of the challenger, but at Extreme Rules we would see the face of The Demon, the Universal Champion. Balor’s face morphed into The Demon…
Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio made their entrance for Dom’s match against Sami Zayn… [C]
Cole announced Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods vs. Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso in a six-man tag match or Monday’s Raw…
Deville was on the phone backstage when she was interrupted by Naomi, who told her to get off the phone. Naomi said she’s been patient and respectful. She demanded to know when her match would be. Deville told her to check with her next week. Naomi said she’s accomplished more than Deville and is a former two-time champion. She said she would get her match one way or another. Deville didn’t respond. Naomi walked away…
4. Sami Zayn vs. Dominik Mysterio. The tail end of Zayn’s entrance was televised. Rey Mysterio sat in on commentary. Cole questioned if Rey is a Little League Dad. Rey denied it and said his son will be better than him. Dom performed a dive onto Zayn at ringside. [C]
Cole announced that WWE had fined Naomi for insubordination. Late in the match, Dom went up top and attempted a Frogsplash, but Zayn put his knees up and then pinned him.
Sami Zayn beat Dominik Mysterio 6:05.
After the match, Zayn went to ringside and told Rey that Dom isn’t on his level. Rey entered the ring to check on Dom…
Highlights aired of Bianca Belair making appearances in Knoxville. She went back to her high school and there was also a shot of her with Glenn “Kane” Jacobs…
Kane’s music played. Glenn Jacobs walked out dressed in a suit. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Jacobs as Kane for Belair’s homecoming celebration… [C] An ad aired for the WWE Draft…
Kane pumped his arms and fire shot off. Meanwhile, Cole hyped Nakamura vs. Crews for the Intercontinental Championship, and Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega for next week’s Smackdown in Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center.
“That never gets old,” Kane said. Balloons were tied to the ring posts. Kane noted his position as Mayor of Knox County and then introduced Bianca Belair, who made her entrance to a big ovation from the hometown crowd.
Belair said everything that happened in the past shaped the future. She credited Knoxville with making her. She pointed out her father in the front row. She said she would take her championship back at Extreme Rules. Kane said they would have a huge celebration for Belair once she regains the championship.
Kane presented Belair with the key to the county. He uncovered a big key that was set up on a table in the ring. Belair held up the key and thanked the fans, her family, her high school, and the University of Tennessee. Belair said she wanted to celebrate Knoxville. She led the crowd in singing Rocky Top.
Becky Lynch’s entrance music interrupted. Lynch came out and sang a line from the song horribly. Lynch walked through some photos that were set up of Belair at ringside after pointing out that she’s Knoxville’s Champion and not the Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Lynch entered the ring. Belair said Lynch doesn’t go here. A “you don’t go here” chant broke out. Lynch shut it down. She said SummerSlam was her night, but this was Belair’s night and she was there to show her respect. Lynch offered her a handshake. Belair didn’t accept. Lynch goaded her into it.
Lynch turned to leave, but Belair held onto Lynch’s hand. Lynch took a swing at Belair, who ducked it. Belair set up for her KOD finisher. Lynch escaped it and performed a Manhandle Slam. Belair sold her back while Lynch headed to the stage. Lynch’s music played and she held up her title belt to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Well, at least they didn’t do anything to humiliate Belair in her hometown. I’m not sure why they didn’t just make this her night and let her get the better of Lynch rather than close with Lynch celebrating, but I can’t say I’m surprised given WWE’s usual approach of going for heat at the expense of a hometown babyface.
Overall, this was a solid show that peaked early. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members, who will also hear Colin McGuire’s audio review of AEW Rampage later tonight
Join Colin McGuire for his live review of AEW Rampage via the main page.
Vince McMahon’s Sports Entertainment is in full effect tonight. More talk, less wrestling. Fox wants more wrestling. Vince said, “No Chance in Hell”
More talk, less wrestling was the hallmark of every boom period pf pro wrestling in the last 40 years. The problem isn’t the quantity of talking, it’s the badly scripted content.
I’m still not sure if the Becky heel character was going to work, but she’s putting everything into it. Interrupting Rocky Top is such a classic heel move and she did everything right with it.
Am I the only one who, at first glance, can’t tell Charlotte and Carmella apart?
Um, definitely. Couldn’t be further apart, for me at least.
Well, it’s official.
Dirty Dawgs entrance = Dirty Dawgs theme
Dolph Ziggler singles entrance = Dolph Ziggler theme
Bobby Roode singles entrance = Dirty Dawgs theme
That’s right, they actually DID retire effing GLORIOUS while keeping DOLPH’S shitty theme!
I called this months ago, and I hate hate hate that i’m usually right about dumb stuff WWE is about to do
Roode’s “Glorious” entrance doesn’t work for a heel because it’s too damn hard to not sing along with. If he makes a face turn, they better use it for him again.
Didn’t he debut as a heel with that theme?
Yes, and the whole crowd sang along and basically turned him babyface just because of it.
*Dirty Dawgs entrance = Dirty Dawgs theme
Dolph Ziggler singles entrance = Dolph Ziggler theme
Bobby Roode singles entrance = Dirty Dawgs theme