By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,153)
Live from Baltimore, Maryland at Royal Farms Arena
Aired October 1, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a video package for the WWE Draft… Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in on commentary. Cole plugged the sponsor and then he explained that the brand split rules coming out of the draft will go into effect on October 22. They also hyped Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks as the main event…
Ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville, who received some boos as they walked on to a podium that was set up on the stage. Deville announced the first pick of the draft.
Roman Reigns to Smackdown.
Big E to Raw.
Charlotte Flair to Smackdown.
Bianca Belair to Raw.
Powell’s POV: I assume that Belair moving to Raw means that the Street Profits will be joining her, which would explain why they put over the Usos last week. I also assume that Andrade, er, never mind. It’s interesting that they are going with each brand getting two picks per round rather than giving Raw the extra pick. I like this approach because it’s easier to follow and they can always fill things out afterward when the free agents who are not drafted are able to sign with either brand, according to the storyline rules.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman walked out. Highlights aired of Reigns beating The Demon to retain the title at Extreme Rules. Reigns boasted about being the first pick and then told the fans to acknowledge him. There were a lot of cheers.
Heyman scolded the crowd for not being loud enough. Heyman said Roman’s match against Brock Lesnar will not be held in Suplex City. Heyman said reigns will keep the title and smash Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance. Heyman looked shocked while Reigns kept his cool. Cole gushed that Reigns vs. Lesnar could be one of the greatest matches that WWE has ever put together.
Lesnar entered the ring and smirked as he went face to face with Reigns. Lesnar spoke to Reigns, who spoke back to him and then threw a punch at him. Reigns hit Lesnar repeatedly and knocked him down to one knee. Lesnar got up and gave Reigns a pair of German suplexes.
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso ran out to help, but Lesnar quickly destroyed them while Reigns fled to ringside. “Get in here,” Lesnar said. Reigns teased returning to the ring, but he dropped off the apron. Lesnar picked up Jimmy and gave him an F5. When Reigns didn’t return, Lesnar picked up Jey and put him down with an F5…
Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was shown with Kayla Braxton on the backstage ring set… [C]
The broadcast team hyped Reigns vs. Lesnar for the WWE Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. McAfee said he was told that viewers hadn’t seen the last of Lesnar tonight…
Backstage, Braxton interviewed Flair, who said of course Fox took the most decorated female in the history of sports entertainment. “Long live The Queen,” Flair said before letting out a “wooo” to close the interview…
Kevin Owens made his entrance while a sponsored recap showed Happy Corbin and Riddick Moss attacking him last week. Corbin made his entrance and was joined by Moss. A pre-tape aired with Corbin introducing Moss as Madcap Moss…
1. Happy Corbin (w/Madcap Moss) vs. Kevin Owens. Owens attacked Corbin to start the match. Moss tripped Owens and then laughed hysterically heading into a break during the opening minute of the match. [C]
Cole said next week is the season premiere of Smackdown. Owens followed Corbin to the floor and got distracted by Moss. Corbin took advantage of the distraction and hit End of Days on the floor. Back inside the ring, Corbin hit End of Days again and scored the pin…
Happy Corbin beat Kevin Owens in 7:25.
A clip aired for the King of the Ring and Queens Crown tournaments starting next week on Smackdown’s season premiere… [C]
Powell’s POV: The over the top laughing from Corbin and Moss is getting old in a hurry. And that’s coming from someone who enjoyed the transformation from Baron to Happy Corbin. Meanwhile, I wondered why they didn’t with with the October 22 show as the season premiere since that’s when the brand split will go into effect. But it makes sense now that they touted the start of the two tournaments for next week’s show.
Pearce and Deville announced the second round picks.
Drew McIntyre to Smackdown.
Randy Orton and Riddle to Raw.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to Smackdown.
Edge to Raw.
Powell’s POV: McIntyre was the first pick last year. One of the big flaws of the draft is that there’s no explanation for things like the entire New Day trio not being drafted as a unit when that has happened in the past.
Braxton interviewed Drew McIntyre on the backstage ring set. He said he started on Smackdown and was dubbed The Chosen One and things didn’t work out. He said he’s never forgotten that. McIntyre established that his goal is the WWE Universal Championship and pointed his giant sword at the camera…
Edge made his entrance. Cole hyped Edge confronting Seth Rollins after the break… An ad for Raw hyped the second night of the WWE Draft and an appearance by Goldberg… [C]
Highlights aired from the recent Edge and Rollins developments, including part of the promo that Rollins delivered last week…
Edge stood in the ring and thanked the Baltimore crowd for the great reaction and fired them up again. Edge said he realized today that he is the only remaining WWE wrestler who was on the first edition of Smackdown. He said he was drafted to Raw. The fans booed. Edge stopped the fans from booing and said he’s happy about it because it means fresh opponents and new challenges.
Edge brought up Rollins challenging him to another match even though he knows that he hasn’t been medically cleared yet. He said it’s well played because Rollins knows that he has to answer the challenge. Edge invited Rollins to come out and say what he said last week to his face.
Seth Rollins appeared on the big screen and was laughing. He said Edge wasn’t announcing his retirement or telling the world that he’s not Edge Lite or accepting his challenge. Rollins said he doesn’t believe a word that comes out of Edge’s mouth, whereas he’s an honest man. Rollins said he’s not at Smackdown. The camera pulled back to show that he was at Edge’s home (based on the “Copelands” sign on the wall. Edge ran backstage.
Rollins knocked on the door and tried the handle and was surprised to find it unlocked. Rollins called out for Beth Phoenix. “I know you live in the middle of nowhere, but lock your doors, man,” Rollins said. He scoped out the fridge and pulled out an apple and some juice and then sat down and put his feet up on Edge’s kitchen table.
Rollins noted some child artwork on the wall and said he knows Edge’s girls are young, but the art was rotten. Rollins closed the front door and saw Edge’s daughters’ backpacks. He then discovered a family photo on the wall and said Edge’s daughters are gorgeous. “Thank God they look like Beth,” Rollins said.
Rollins plopped down in a living room chair and said it was the coziest home he’s ever been in. Rollins said he could stay there all night. Rollins tossed the apple he’d been eating on the floor.
Backstage, a frantic Edge was on the phone with Beth Phoenix and told her to go to her brother’s house. He said “Daniel and David” would be there. On commentary, McAfee was the voice of reason for saying forget Daniel and David, and call the police…
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to have a color commentator who isn’t afraid to state the obvious, as it saves me the trouble.
[Hour Two] Carmella made her entrance and then Liv Morgan followed with her entrance… [C] Carmella approached Morgan, who hit her before the referee could start the match. Carmella rolled to ringside and called Morgan a bitch over the house mic. She had two women put a glittery mask on her face. Carmella returned to the ring and hit Morgan, then put her down with a facebuster. Carmella took the mask off and gloated (the match never started)…
Pearce and Deville announced the next wave of picks.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss to Smackdown
WWE Women’s Tag Champions Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH to Raw.
Hit Row (Isaiah Scott, Top Dolla, B-Fab, and Ashante Adonis) to Smackdown.
Keith “Bearcat” Lee to Raw.
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance for an eight-man tag match against Otis, Chad Gable, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler…
Powell’s POV: I like the decision to call up Hit Row. It’s a really good act and I’d love to see Legado Del Fantasma follow. Oh My God! I just realized that if Ziggler and Roode are split in the draft, I’ll be subjected to hearing that terrible Ziggler entrance theme on a regular basis. Please, anything but that.
2. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins vs. Otis, Chad Gable, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler in an eight-man tag match. Ford still had his ribs wrapped to sell his injuries from last week. Otis caught Ford going for a dive and then dropped him ribs first on the apron. Otis ran Ford into the ringside barricade. [C]
Dawkins tagged in, but the heels ended up isolating him. Roode went for his DDT finisher, but Dawkins avoided it and tagged in Kingston, who tagged in Woods. The New Day duo hit a double stomp combo move and then Woods pinned Roode…
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins defeated Otis, Chad Gable, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler in 9:40 in an eight-man tag match.
Bianca Belair was shown warming up for her match against Sasha Banks… [C]
Powell’s POV: The eight-man tag match was a crowd pleaser in that they really seemed to enjoy both babyface tag teams.
A video package aired on the Boys and Girls Club…
Pearce and Deville came out to make the final draft picks of the night. Deville said the first pick obviously wasn’t her choice.
Naomi to Smackdown.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio to Raw.
Jeff Hardy to Smackdown.
Austin Theory to Raw.
Cole called the Theory selection a sleeper pick. McAfee said Theory is “a superstar in the making”…
Braxton interviewed Jeff Hardy on the backstage ring set. Hardy was excited about being moved to Smackdown. Brock Lesnar showed up. An intimidated Hardy left the set. Lesnar said he’d like to thank his good friend Paul Heyman for making him a free agent. He said it’s all because of Heyman that he gets to do whatever he wants to do. Lesnar tossed the mic aside…
Powell’s POV: Hardy showing intimidation just moments after being drafted isn’t exactly a hot start for his character. Then again, at least he won’t be chasing the WWE 24/7 Championship around as long as Reggie stays put.
Roman Reigns was shown in his locker room seated on a couch with Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso. He repeated the “my good friend Paul Heyman” line, which made Heyman squirm. Reigns asked Heyman if they were good friends. Heyman said Reigns is his tribal chief.
Reigns asked if his cousins were drafted to Smackdown. Heyman said they could be drafted to Smackdown on Monday night. He said it’s a strategy and it’s all figured out. Heyman told Reigns that he’s the wiseman. Reigns barked that Heyman is only the wise man when he says he’s the wise man.
Reigns told Heyman to go to Raw on Monday and make sure that his cousins are drafted to Smackdown. Reigns asked Heyman if he understood. “Yes, my Tribal Chief,” Heyman said. Heyman thanked Reigns and left the room.
Reigns told the Usos that he wants them to go to Raw with Heyman and make very clear that they are to be drafted to Smackdown. Reigns told them that if they’re not drafted to Smackdown, they should leave Heyman for dead on Raw…
Entrances for the main event took place… [C]
Powell’s POV: Reigns apparently didn’t listen to the Pearce and Deville, who explained that only half the roster was eligible to be drafted on night one, while the other half will be eligible to be drafted on Monday. He should feel pretty good about the Usos staying put given that Naomi remained on Smackdown. All kidding aside, it is disappointing that WWE didn’t list the wrestlers who were eligible to be drafted on each show.
A graphic displayed the wrestlers who were drafted to Smackdown, and then the broadcast team hyped the continuation of the draft on Monday’s Raw…
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance before the referee could call for the bell to start the main event. Cole hyped Lynch vs. Belair vs. Banks in a Triple Threat match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at the Crown Jewel event…
3. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks. Lynch sat in on commentary. She said she doesn’t understand why she has to defend her title against two opponents at Crown Jewel. Belair went for a KOD, but Banks landed on her feet. Belair blasted Banks with a running forearm that caused Banks to roll to the floor. [C]
Lynch barked at Cole while telling him that she understands how a Triple Threat match works. In the ring, Belair performed her handspring into the ropes and came off with a standing moonsault for a two count. Banks fired back with a couple of punches and then double knees in the corner.
Banks used her knees to drive Belair’s head into the turnbuckle. Banks hit a clunky tornado DDT for a near fall. Belair rallied and then Banks rolled under the bottom rope. Belair followed her to the apron and set her up for a KOD, but Banks slipped away and then hit Belair with a knee to the head.
Banks slipped under Belair and went for a powerbomb, but Belair backflipped and landed on her feet. Belair and Lynch jawed at one another. Belair tried to return to the ring, but Lynch grabbed her braid. Banks rolled up Belair while Lynch released the braid and then Banks got the three count.
Sasha Banks beat Bianca Belair in 13:20.
After the match, Charlotte Flair entered the ring and hit Banks and Belair with big boots. Flair held up the Raw Women’s Championship, and then Lynch stood on the broadcast table and held up the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Cole played up Smackdown having two women’s champions and then hyped the continuation of the draft for Monday’s Raw…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining main event with a logical finish of Lynch costing Belair the match rather than going with a clean finish before three women meet in the Triple Threat at Crown Jewel. Barring a trade or even the long shot possibility that WWE is going to unify their women’s titles, it seems likely that Lynch (and therefore Seth Rollins) will be Raw bound on Monday.
Overall, this was a talk-heavy show even by Smackdown standards. But you had to know that was going to be the case with this being the first night of the draft. Raw should be more in-ring heavy than Smackdown was due to having the extra hour to fill. As far as the draft picks, Hit Row actually felt like the most notable move. Jake Barnett and I discussed it as a possibility during Thursday’s Dot Net Weekly, but it didn’t feel like a slam dunk that the group would be called up. The rest of the picks felt logical in terms of roster placement. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
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