By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,152)
Live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Wells Fargo Center
Aired September 24, 2021 on Fox
As always, Pat McAfee and Michael Cole were at the broadcast table on commentary. Becky Lynch’s music hit and she headed to the ring to open the show. She got a strong reaction from the live crowd. A video package was shown that recapped Becky spoiling Bianca Belair’s homecoming in Knoxville last week. After the video, the crowd gave Becky a mixed reaction. She asked the crowd if they were expecting a Becky party tonight? She then said they threw Bianca a very nice party last week, presumably for making it out of Knoxville and making something of herself.
Lynch then put herself over for coming back less than a year after having a child and winning the title in record time, and nobody threw her a party. Becky said she went down last week to show her respects, but Bianca had to show her dominance by not letting go of her hand. She claimed WWE is the law of the jungle hit or be hit, so what choice did she have? Becky claimed she didn’t want to embarrass Bianca in front of her family and friends, but what choice did she have?
At that point, Becky said she was goaded into another match after SummerSlam, because she wanted to give Bianca time after her embarrassment at SummerSlam, but what choice will she have on Sunday? Bianca made her way to the ring in an EST letter jacket of sorts. EST chants started and Becky looked around with a pouty face. Some Becky chants could be heard and she smiled.
Bianca told Becky to keep her Mom and Dad’s name out of her mouth. She then acknowledged being embarrassed at SummerSlam and Extreme Rules. She said that ain’t going to happen on Sunday, and that she wasn’t prepared at SummerSlam. Becky replied that she knew she was having a match, she just didn’t know that she would be facing the greatest woman to ever hold the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
The crowd booed, and Bianca replied that she was the strongest because she could lift Becky over her head with heels on, and while Becky was gone she had a faster rise to the top than Becky ever did. Becky replied that she showed everyone the path to being great. Bianca replied that on Sunday the match would last a lot longer than 26 seconds, and she was looking at the next Smackdown Women’s Championship. Bianca held out her hand for a handshake, but Becky slapped her across the face.
After some brief back and forth, Becky held Bianca for another Manhandle Slam. Bianca broke free and landed the KOD and left Becky laying in the ring. Bianca then left up the ramp and flashed a smile at Becky in the ring. Becky looked back angrily.
Nakamura and Boogs are up next…[c]
My Take: A good opening segment. Both women made their points, and Bianca finally got one over on Becky after weeks of losing verbal and physical battles. Both women had the crowd reacting when they were speaking, and the crowd reacted very positively to Bianca putting Becky in her place. Overall, the program has been successful even if turning Becky heel wouldn’t have been my first choice.
Rick Boogs was on the stage with his wall of Marshall Amps, and played in Shinsuke Nakamura. He was followed by Apollo Crews.
1. King Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) for the Intercontinental Championship: They battled back and forth early on, until Apollo picked up Nakamura and tossed him over the top and out to the floor…[c]
Boogs played a guitar solo to try and bring Nakamura back into the match. He eventually did with a dropkick. He then landed several kicks to Apollo, followed by an enzuigiri. Nakamura followed up with a sliding German Suplex, and a cover for a two count. He then went up top for a flying nothing, and ate a dropkick to the face. Nakamura rallied with an axe kick and a second rope leaping knee strike for a near fall.
Nakamura set up for Kinshasa, but Crews avoided it and landed a Samoan Drop for a two count. Crews landed a powerbomb. He picked up Nakamura for a second one, but Nakamura flipped out and landed a kick to the head. He attempted Kinshasa again, but Apollo rolled to the outside. Azeez tried to get involved, but Boogs landed an impressive suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Nakamura took down Crews with a crucifix and pulled his legs in for a pinfall victory.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Apollo Crews at 7:54 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
After the match, footage of the Raw match between New Day and The Bloodline was shown. Bobby Lashley was shown costing New Day the match, and then we saw the finish of the Main Event.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Montez Ford. He said he had a lot of feelings about Sunday, but he knows they will reclaim their Smackdown Tag Team Championships. He said Dawkins was at the nuptials of a dear friend, but he would be back in time for Extreme Rules. Ford said Roman has been running the Usos ragged, treating them like bloodline bitches rather than cousins. He then said profits are up, and we want the smoke.
Elsewhere, Roman Reigns asked Paul Heyman what Montez just said. Paul repeated the Bloodline Bitches line, and said he wanted a match with him tonight. Heyman tried to talk him out of it this close to Extreme Rules, but Roman insisted and sent him off to make it happen…[c]
My Take: A crowd pleasing match from Nakamura and Crews. I hope Shinsuke gets some better feuds lined up post draft. Apollo is crazy talented but they have really lost interest in keeping him strong on Television. Ford and Reigns should bring on the Demon.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were approached backstage by Paul Heyman. They told him they can’t tell him where Brock Lesnar will be drafted. He asked they were in on this Brock thing too, and then pitched the Ford vs. Reigns match for the Main Event. Pearce said he thought he could do that. Heyman walked away…and then walked back and said they could talk about the draft after the match.
We then got a video recap of Seth Rollins promo from last week, with some highlights of what had happened to Edge the week before. After the video, Seth sat backstage in a Red Suit with a magenta shirt. It was hideous. He complained he hadn’t heard from Edge yet, and his silence means he’s hurt and hurt bad. Seth accused Edge of being afraid to admit that he was the reason he could never compete in a WWE ring again, and while that’s mildly amusing to him, he needs an answer.
Rollins demanded that Edge show up to Smackdown next week, crawl to the ring, and tell the world that he is superior to him in every single way. Seth also added that Edge would have to admit that he was the man that ended his career. Seth then said that if Edge doesn’t do as he says, he would find him where he sleeps, and beat the words out of him in front of his wife and children.
In the arena, Liv Morgan made her entrance. Liv vs Carmella was advertised for Sunday…[c]
My Take: An intense promo from Rollins. At the end of this feud, I think someone has to die (or be drafted).
Zelina Vega made her entrance after the break. Video was shown of Liv and Toni Storm vs. Zelina and Carmella from last week, and the match challenge for Extreme Rules. Before the bell could ring, Carmella made her entrance and walked to the broadcast table for commentary.
3. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega (w/Carmella): Liv landed a dropkick and then choked Vega on the second rope. Carmella was asked about her nose on commentary. Zelina applied a reverse headlock, and Liv eventually fought her way out. Vega landed some kicks in the corner, but Liv reversed and landed the same move on Vega that caused the damage to Carmella’s nose last week. Carmella interfered, which opened up Morgan for a running kick. Vega then landed a Code Red and got the win.
Zelina Vega defeated Liv Morgan at 2:48
After the match, Vega and Carmella celebrated. We then got a video package where Happy Corbin bought expensive suits. He said tonight would be the first Happy Talk on Smackdown. He then made his entrance for his Talk Show…[c]
My Take: Morgan losing there might be a good sign for her on Sunday? Either way the match got too little time to really show me anything. Happy Corbin doing a talk show seems to fit the gimmick pretty well.
Happy Corbin had his hats on a hat rack in the corner. There were also some leather chairs in the ring. Corbin said he felt so good, he felt like whistling a tune. It was awful. Corbin said this talk show would be different than any other Smackdown talk show. It wouldn’t be like Kevin Owens show where he makes everybody sad, it would be about making everybody happy. Corbin then thought long and hard about his first guest, and….it was him. He bragged about being rich and good looking, and his recent meals and fancy clothes. He then showed footage of him kicking Kevin Owens ass last week, and said it made him happy.
Corbin said it was incredible, wasn’t it? He said Owens is one of the toughest guys on the roster, and he did that with ease. Corbin said something else had been making him happy lately, and….Kevin Owens walked out. A hooded person attacked him as he neared the ring, and revealed himself to be Riddick Moss. They double teamed Owens at ringside, and gave him a double chokeslam onto the ring steps. Both Moss and Corbin laughed their asses off…
Kayla Braxton asked Montez Ford backstage if he regretted his Bloodline Bitches comment from earlier. He said no, because he was sick of the locker room tiptoeing around the Bloodline. Ford said his mouth had gotten him an opportunity, and “I” want the smoke…
Back in the arena, Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley made their ring entrance as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Nikki will take on Natalya next…[c]
My Take: Happy Corbin and Riddick Moss as a pairing doesn’t do much for me at first blush. Maybe they’ll change my mind. Nikki and Rhea being on both shows is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. The Women’s Championships having fresh faces and feuds could be a lot of fun.
Cole and McAfee said Edge will be at Smackdown next week. Natalya and Tamina made their entrances.
3. Nikki A.S.H (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. Natalya (w/Tamina): After a bit of back and forth, Nikki landed a couple of drop kicks and covered for a two count. Natalya recovered and sent Nikki into the turnbuckles in three different corners. She then landed some stomps and a suplex out of the corner for a two count. Natalya placed Nikki on the top rope, and Nikki grabbed her for a Tornado DDT. Tamina jumped up on the apron, and Rhea pulled her down. There were some pinning reversals and Nikki got the win.
Nikki A.S.H. defeated Natalya at 2:34
After the match, Shotzi and Nox rode down to the ring in their tank, and shot off their air cannon. It appears they are up next…
We then got a video recap of Sami Zayn and Dominik Mysterio’s lopsided feud. Rey and Dominik were shown backstage, and Dom was upset that Rey was nitpicking his matches. He said if Rey wasn’t at ringside, he might have beaten Sami Zayn. Rey said he would give him his space because he wasn’t thinking straight.
Sami Zayn walked up and said he shouldn’t feel bad, because he’s beaten some of the best in the world. He told Dom that he got better each time they got in the ring, and that he should start trusting his instincts a bit more and listen to his Dad less…
In the arena, Naomi made her entrance in the arena. We then saw a video of her getting in the face of Sonya Deville last week. Cole commented that she’d not scheduled for action…[c]
My Take: Another women’s match that was less than 3 minutes? This is becoming a troubling pattern. I hope Shotzi and Nox have the kind of matches with Nikki and Rhea that I think they are capable of, But they need time to do it. Personally, I’m having a hard time getting invested in Dominik Mysterio. Maybe Sami Zayn can change my mind.
Naomi had a microphone in the ring. She blew a kiss to the crowd, and said she came to Smackdown to compete. Naomi said Sonya Deville refuses to put her in a match. She said she’s been fined and disrespected, and she was done putting up with the nonsense. She demanded a match, and said it would happen right now tonight. Sonya walked out and told her it wasn’t happening, because she makes the matches around her, not her.
Naomi demanded she make her a match against her. Sonya said no, and said everyone knows she would knock the glow off of her, but she’s her boss and not a competitor. Naomi said she wasn’t a very good one, since she couldn’t do the one thing she was supposed to do and make the match. Naomi started a make the match chant, and Sonya demanded production cut her audio. She then had security come out and grab her. She told Naomi that she would send her backstage to TikTok Dance in obscurity, because she’s dropped the ball on every opportunity she’s had.
Backstage, The Usos and Roman walked towards the ring. Alpha Academy ran into them backstage and stared at Smackdown Tag Team Championships. In the arena, Montez Ford made his entrance first…[c]
My Take: A really good segment between Naomi and Sonya to set up a future program. If Roman and Ford are really taking up the final 30 minutes of the show, I might have borrowed 5 of them and split them up between the two minute matches from earlier.
We got a video recap of the opening segment between Lynch and Belair. Backstage, Becky said Bianca might be the strongest, but she’s also the dumbest. She said she’s been a champion every day she’s been in WWE since WrestleMania 35, and there’s no terrible way to win. She said on Sunday, she wouldn’t just beat Bianca, she would break her.
Roman Reigns made his entrance for the main event. The broadcast team then ran down the Extreme Rules card.
4. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman vs. Montez Ford: Roman grabbed a headlock early on, but Ford shoved him off and landed a dropkick. He then sent Roman out of the ring with a second kick…[c]
Reigns landed some hard punches on Ford and choked him with the second rope. Ford pawed at him in the corner, but Roman replied with a big lariat. After a slow minute, Ford showed some life and clotheslined Roman to the floor. He then followed to the outside and sent him into the barricade. Ford went to stand on the announce table, but it just collapsed underneath him.
McAfee speculated that it was his fat ass dancing earlier. Ford remained on his feet and used the ring steps instead to vault himself at Roman. Both men got back in the ring, and Roman sent Ford high in the air and let him pancake to the mat. He then sent him back out to the floor…[c]
Roman choked Ford on the top rope until the ref counted 4. Ford landed a kick to the face and a cross body off the top for a two count. He then fired up with a couple of punches and kicks, and then followed up with a blockbuster for another two count. Ford went up top again, but Reigns avoided another splash and landed a uranage for a near fall. Roman went for a Superman Punch, but Ford replied with a DDT for a close near fall.
Reigns charged at Ford in the corner, but ended up going shoulder first into the post. Ford sent him into the ring steps on the outside, and then tossed him back into the ring. He went up top and tried for a big splash, but Ford got caught in a guillotine instead. Ford tapped out very weakly as he passed out.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated Montez Ford at 16:09 in a non-title match.
Heyman told Roman after the match that this was not enough punishment for his sins. He told Roman to show Ford, The Demon, and even Brock Lesnar what happens when Roman Reigns takes it to the extreme. The Usos then made their entrance. They grabbed some chairs and tables from under the ring.
Roman worked over Ford with a chair. The Usos set up a table at ringside. Roman then put Ford through the table with a Uranage and asked him who the bitch was now. The lights went Black and The Demon stood over them on the ring post. He dove and took them down, and then took out the Usos with a kendo stick. Roman tossed him into the ring, but he landed a sling blade immediately. The Demon then took out all three men with the chair, and then dove at Reigns at ringside. The Demon stood tall over Reigns to close the show.
My Take: Ford getting smashed into sawdust was pretty easy to see coming, but I really liked the fire and aggressiveness he showed during the match. The match was good, but limited somewhat by the lack of doubt about the outcome. The post match was good, but I’m not sure it convinced anyone that The Demon is going over on Sunday. I think they might have needed to do a little more to accomplish that.