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LINDBERG’S ALT PERSPECTIVE WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 5, 2021
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. AT TROPICANA FIELD (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcers: Greg Hamilton
-The show kicked off with a video package showcasing Edge’s Royal Rumble win, and his decision to face Roman Reigns’ Universal Title at WrestleMania.
-Corey Graves welcomed the audience to the show and threw to Michael Cole standing in the ring. He introduced Daniel Bryan, the man behind the “Yes” movement, to join him in the ring. Brian did his “Yes!” gesture down the ramp as Corey Graves plugged the cage match against Jey Uso later in the night. Cole said that “Tonight you face Roman Reign’s unhinged cousin Jey Uso in a steel cage tonight.”. He said that the winner will face the Universal Champion at Fastlane.
-Bryan was supposed to team with Edge against Roman and Uso at Fastlane. When asked why he gave up an opportunity for that high profile match and shifted focus to Roman. Bryan said that Cole was making assumptions and that nobody actually asked him if he wanted to be in that Fastlane tag match. He said he’s making a change, he won’t be the old Daniel Bryan anymore. The WWE Brass want Edge vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, that’s the match they want to see. He said he doesn’t want to see that and will do everything in his power to thwart it.
Bryan excused Cole from the ring and threw to a video package at Elimination Chamber, down to the final few moments where he won against Jey Uso. The video package then showed Roman’s immediate entrance and the subsequent Universal Title match where he lost to Reigns, and Edge’s spear on Reigns.
Back in the ring with Bryan, he said that he’s lost a lot and gotten beaten up in his career. You think that him getting a shot against the Universal Champion wouldn’t be a big deal. But when Edge interfered at Elimination Chamber, he felt like a failure. He said a lot of people don’t know that he isn’t an ambitious person. He decided to sit out this past year and be a dad, put other people over part time. But because he wound his career down, he failed himself and he had more ambition than anyone. He knows he can be the best, and after beating Uso, he’ll beat the best to become the champion.
-Reign’s music hit and Roman, Jey Uso & Paul Heyman entered the arena to a myriad of fireworks and pyro as they cut to the first commercial break.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Daniel Bryan can be one of the best with a mic in hand when allowed the opportunity to speak from the heart. With the passion and energy that he spoke with during this promo, it absolutely hyped me up for not just this angle but for the entire night. If you’re going to kick off a show with a promo, give it some oomph like this.)
-Back from commercial, Reigns and Bryan stood opposite one another in the ring. Heyman & Uso stood behind Reigns. Roman’s music began to die down and he said, “You look like the same guy, but don’t sound like the same guy.” The way that he’s speaking is confusing. “You’re the little guy, the underdog.” He said that men like him are ambitious, taking the things they want.
-“You don’t love wrestling, you need it.” He said that Bryan has nothing else without wrestling. Reigns said that he loves wrestling because wrestling needs him. He said that after Jey beats him, Bryan will acknowledge him. Jey Uso pushed Bryan out of the way when he went to speak. Uso said that Bryan didn’t request a cage match to keep Roman out, but to keep him in. Bryan threw Uso out of the ring as Reigns looked at Bryan slightly annoyed, and left the ring with Heyman. Bryan’s music played as Cole and Graves played up this new “ambitious” Daniel Bryan.
(Lindberg’s analysis: Considering this is the first time I’m really getting to talk about Roman, I am very high on a heel Reigns. He finally feels like the big deal that Vince has always wanted and it certainly comes across here. Reigns looks and carries himself with more confidence than I’d ever seen out of him as a face. This was a long opening segment, but one that did draw me into the angle.)
-A graphic showcasing Bianca Belair w/ Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax later in the night before showing the end of Street Profits vs. Corbin & Zayn from last week.
(1) MONTEZ FORD VS. BARON CORBIN
-The Street Profits made their way to the ring, solo cups raining from the ceiling of the ThunderDome as they cut to commercial. Back from the commercial break, Zayn’s music hit as he entered the arena with his documentary crew. He said “Last week, you pulled off a fluke victory and he’s going to prove that this week.” Corbin came out from the back and said “We aren’t partners! I don’t like you Sami and I refuse to be your partner.” He challenged one of the Profits to a singles match since he’s a single competitor.
-Montez Ford accepted the challenge leaving Dawkins to call out Zayn for a singles match. Zayn complained that he was prepared for a tag match, changing it up isn’t fair at the last second. The profits said that they want the smoke as the match began.
Ford and Corbin circled one another in the ring. Corbin took down Ford with a kick and whipped him to the turmbuckle. Ford countered with a series of flips then dropkicked Corbin twice to bring him to his knees. Corbin countered with a spinebuster for a near fall. Corbin backed Ford into the corner and delivered punches to the gut before whipping Ford across the ring. Ford hit the ground and was picked back up by Corbin, slammed to the mat seconds later. Ford regained his wits and with a series of dropkicks tried to take Corbin down. Corbin caught him, and Ford reversed with a DDT for two. Zayn and Dawkins started bickering ringside, providing the distraction for Corbin to land End of Days on Ford for the win.
Winner: Baron Corbin in 2:33
After the match, Zayn and Corbin argued outside the ring. Corbin wouldn’t stay to watch Zayn’s back, causing Zayn to look increasingly terrified as they cut to commercial.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: A bit of a re-hash from last week, extrapolating the Tag Team match into two singles matches. It was a short match that showcased Ford’s technical ability and prowess and Corbin’s power. That said, it was your average, short TV matchup.)
(2) ANGELO DAWKINS VS. SAMI ZAYN
-The match was in progress as they returned from break. Dawkins solidly in control of Zayn. Zayn countered a strike from Dawkins and went for a clothesline but was body blocked by Dawkins. The action spilled to the outside and Zayn bashed Dawkin’s head off of the apron before rolling him back in for a two count. Zayn stomped the head of Dawkins and delivered a few strikes to the face, before choking Dawkins on the middle rope. He broke the choke at the ref’s four count. He whipped Dawkins across the ring and clotheslined him for another near fall. He covered him two more times in rapid succession, unable to secure the win.
-Zayn went for another clothesline, but was met by a series of clotheslines by Dawkins for a two count. Dawkins landed his “Silencer” neckbreaker, but couldn’t put Zayn away. Zayn went for the Blue Thunder Bomb but couldn’t lift Dawkins at first. Instead, he went for an exploder suplex to the corner. Montez Ford caused a distraction with Zayn’s documentary crew, allowing Dawkins to roll Zayn up for the win.
Winner: Montez Ford in 4:37 (partial time)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: An outcome as predictable as the sunrise. With the distracted finish in the first match and Corbin not sticking around, it was just a matter of time before Ford got involved to return the “favor”.)
-After the match, Sami Zayn berated his documentary crew. He beat one of them up asking if he worked for the company, leaving the poor photographer laying as they cut backstage.
-Carmella walked up to Reginald and asked if he wanted to play the game “Who’s the Snake?”. She said that one of them took a chance on a lowly somalia and the other betrayed that person. “Game over! You’re the snake!” she smacked the wine out of his hands and told him that he was fired. Reginald looked incredibly hurt as they cut back to the arena.
(3) DOMINIK MYSTERIO w/ Rey Mysterio vs. CHAD GABLE w/ Otis
-Dominik and Rey made their entrance as the show cut to a commercial break.
-Back from break, they showed a video package hyping the return of Big E.
-Chad Gable and Alpha Academy partner, Otis, entered the arena. They showed replays of Otis’ win over Rey last week.
-The bell rang, and Gable and Mysterio locked up. Gable took Mysterio down with a waist lock. Mysterio fought back and threw Gable out of the ring. Gable rolled back in and the two once again jockeyed for position in the ring. Gable took Mysterio down with a dragon screw and a series of strikes to the left leg of Dominik.
He locked Dominik into a leg lock who was able to fight his way out. Dominik made it to his feet and hit an enziguri. He climbed to the top and hit a top rope hurricanrana. Gable landed on his feet, and went for a tornado DDT. It was reversed into a chicken wing suplex to a bridging pin by Gable for two count. Gable went up top looking for a moonsault and Dominik rolled out of the way. Gable landed on his feet again. The two attempted to roll each other up until Dominik was able to leverage his size and weight against Gable, rolling him up for the win.
Winner: Dominik Mysterio in 3:05
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Dominik continues to improve in the ring, though I wish he was given an NXT run to hone his skills first. He’s better in the ring than your average bear, but you can tell that there is some polish that needs to be added with his performances. Otherwise, a solid performance by both men. Chad Gable is always a treat to watch if you are a fan of amateur wrestling.)
-When the match ended, Rey Mysterio attacked Otis before Father and Son celebrated their retribution over Alpha Academy as they walked up the ramp.
-They cut to a replay package of Seth Rollins trying to recruit Cesaro from a week ago. Cesaro said “no thanks” with a Big Swing to Rollins.
-Rollins was interviewed backstage in a pinkish, red suit about that big swing. He said it went on “forever”, and that Cesaro has never done that to another wrestler before. Rollins asked why before answering himself. Rollins said that Cesaro was scared and used the swing to humiliate him and that he’d never forget that.
Buddy Murphy walked up to Seth’s right side and said that he could assist Rollins with the Cesaro situation. Rollins told him to get out of his sight and Murphy walked off.
(4) SHAYNA BASZLER w/ Nia Jax vs. BIANCA BELAIR w/ Sasha Banks
-Shayna Baszler entered before the commercial, Bianca after commercial. Sasha Bank’s made her entrance and made a spectacle out of it to boot. Reginald followed Sasha to the ring
-The match started and the two women locked up and traded headlocks. Graves and Cole alluded to them knowing each other well but refused to acknowledge that they knew each other from NXT.
-The two women continued to trade different arm locks until Bianca covered for a two count. Shayna sent Bianca flying into the corner and then kneed her in the face for another two count. Baszler locked in another arm lock on a prone Bel Air, supposedly trying to break her arm according to commentary.
Bianca sends Shayna into the corner who came back at her with a clothesline. Bianca reversed it into a body drop and backed Shayna into the corner with a series of strikes. She landed a vertical suplex and kipped up. She whipped Shayna and got her into a chicken wing. Shayna countered and sent her flying out of the ring next to Reginald who was flattened by Nia Jax. Jax also took Banks out by accident in doing so. Belair used the distraction to land her reverse death valley for the win.
Winner: Bianca Belair in 4:31
(Lindberg’s Analysis: While I do like the fact that the women’s storylines are kind of woven together via Reginald, I can’t stand his overall character. His original purpose as a manager to Carmella was fine but all of this involvement otherwise is growing tiresome.)
-After the match they replayed Bianca’s win and cut to Reginald and Sasha ringside. Bianca said that her loss was both of their faults as she retreated backstage.
-Reginald asked Sasha if they were okay. Sasha said yes before slapping him into next week, telling him that she said to leave her alone.
– Jey Uso and Roman Reigns were shown in Roman’s locker room. Roman said that if Jey wins, the title is safe. If not, Roman needs to defend the title and will embarrass the family. Uso said “I got this, Uce.” and left the room.
(5) CESARO vs. BUDDY MURPHY
-Back from commercial break, Cesaro entered the arena while Murphy was already inside the ring. Seth Rollins made his way to the ring to join commentary.
-Bell rings, and Cesaro immediately dropped Murphy with a waistlock takedown. Cesaro hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and covered for two. Murphy attacked Cesaro’s leg, causing Cesaro to retreat ringside. Murphy launched himself over the rope and took Cesaro down. He immediately rolled Cesaro back into the ring and covered for two. Cesaro made his way back to his feel and backed Murphy into the corner. Cesaro went for his multiple corner uppercuts before kicking Murphy in the head. He called for the big swing, and swung Murphy before locking in the sharpshooter for the win.
Winner: Cesaro in 3:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: So glad to see Cesaro getting a spotlight. Whether or not its the spotlight he deserves to get is still yet to be determined, but the fact that he is in a high profile feud with Seth Rollins keeps me hopeful.)
-After the match, Rollins stood at the commentary table and clapped for Cesaro.
-Reginald was shown backstage with his luggage as he passed Bank’s locker room. He knocked and asked if he could talk. Banks slammed the door in his face. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler saw this and chastised Reginald before Jax said that Reginald was kind of cute as they cut to commercial.
-Back from commercial, they replayed Big E’s injury at the hands of Apollo Crews and hyped his return.
-Cole hyped “Goldberg at 54” and “Heaven”, two upcoming WWE Network Documentaries.
-Apollo Crews made his way to the ring accompanied by two men dressed as soldiers. He grabbed a mic and said, in his awful fake accent, that this is the real Apollo. He’s always talked this way and he is a real African American. He said that these men are the Nigerian Elite Guard and remembered the stories his father told about them. He said that he just wanted to be like them, but was chastised by his American friends. These men are real warriors and will hunt you for generations if you attack them.
-He said that Big E tried to humble him, but he heard his ancestors telling him to take Big E out. He’s happy to see Big E come back next week. He’s no longer the old Apollo Crews and demands a rematch for the IC title.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I’ve yet to make a decision on whether or not I like the new Apollo yet. I’m glad that they are giving an awesome talent an opportunity to shine. I think that ultimately, this is a good direction for him but the accent is too much. Akin to “King Booker” adopting a British accent, changing your dialect is just odd. It can show delusion from the heel, but ultimately I think it comes off way too contrived for that.)
-Adam Pierce and Sonya Deville were backstage with Tamina and Natalya, with the latter two upset that they’ve been dominant but they aren’t in the Tag Team Title match at Fastlane, especially upset with Sonya that she broke her word.
– Jey Uso was about to be interviewed about his upcoming cage match, but was given a taste of his own medicine when Bryan attacked him from behind before heading to Gorilla.
-A vignette for “Ding Dong Hello!” aired where Bayley said they were rehearsing for her new show, reading “sweet tweets”. She read off a bunch of tweets that humorously hyped her up until reading one that upset her to the point of walking out of her “APA” inspired, disembodied door.
-Replays of Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso from last week were shown, including the double count out finish and Reign’s attack.
-The cage was shown being lowered as Corey Graves was inside of it, explaining the rules of a cage match. The way he was explaining it was almost as if this was a brand new match type, never before seen by the WWE audience.
-Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring and entered the cage. Jey Uso entered next. Reigns & Heyman also made their way to the ring to stand watch over the match.
(6) CAGE MATCH – DANIEL BRYAN vs. JEY USO
-The bell rang Uso threw Bryan into the cage right away, using it like a cheese grater against Bryan’s forehead. Reigns looked on, stoically, before ordering “More”. Uso picked Bryan up and drove him headfirst into the cage.
Uso called for the door to be opened, and he attempted to walk out but Bryan pulled him back in. Uso knocked Bryan down and went to climb out of the ring. Once again, Bryan caught up to him and prevented him from doing so. Uso knocked Bryan from the cage onto the top rope, landing between his legs. Bryan sold the effects of that for a bit before regaining control and sending Uso into the cage. He followed it up with a massive missile dropkick and a punt to the arm of Uso. Bryan continued to work that left arm, send Uso into the cage over and over by his left shoulder.
Bryan tried to escape the cage and climb out, but Uso pulled him back down. Bryan landed in a tree of woe, allowing Uso time to try and escape. Bryan and Uso both climbed to the top of the cage with Uso delivering a samoan drop to Bryan from the top rope.
-Back from commercial break, the two were on top of the third rope, using it light a tightrope. Uso knocked Bryan off and then springboard splashed him for a two count. Uso tried to escape through the door again. Bryan stopped him, but was dropped again for a two count. Bryan and Uso jockeyed for position for awhile before Uso sent Bryan into the cage once again. Uso went to climb out of the cage, and Bryan was able to stop him again. The two traded headbutts, Bryan not selling the effects of headbutting a Samoan for some reason.
-Bryan landed a butterfly suplex from the top rope into a Yes Lock. Uso made it to the rope which doesn’t count in a cage match, ultimately forcing him to tap to Daniel Bryan
Winner: Daniel Bryan in 15:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Little doubt in my mind that Bryan wouldn’t come out on top here, but that didn’t take away from the match itself. While certainly not the best cage match in the world, it was effective in making both men seem isolated from the Universal Champion.)