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LINDBERG’S ALT PERSPECTIVE WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 12, 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 recapping Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns journey thus far, including Jey Uso’s involvement through last week’s cage match.
-After Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show, Edge made his way to the ring. Edge stared at the WrestleMania logo, grabbed a mic and said that he had things to address. The past few weeks, people “had his name falling out of their face”. He started with Reigns who said that a man like Edge shouldn’t face a man like him. Edge said he picked up on the fact that he and Heyman are great spin doctors. He said that Roman wanted him to acknowledge him as the head of the table, so he chose Reigns. Before Reigns backtracked, wanting to face Bryan.
He then switched to Bryan, saying that Bryan shouldn’t be upset that Edge isn’t here on a weekly basis. He’s earned his spot over the years and that he loves this business whether he’s wrestled less than Bryan or not.
Bryan’s music hit, and he walked to the ring with a mic in hand. The music cut, and Bryan waited for the faux “Yes” chants to subside. He said “As the ultimate opportunist, I thought you could respect me going into business for myself!” He said that he has nothing but respect for everything Edge has accomplished. Bryan said that challenging Reigns for the title isn’t about Edge, its about him. He’s not sure if this is his last attempt at the title, but he’s gonna give it the best shot he can.
Edge said he had mutual respect for Bryan, but he doesn’t like the way he went about getting a shot for the title. “You’re better than this, but you aren’t better than me”, and Edge walked out of the ring, leaving Bryan in the ring.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Both Edge and Bryan are able to cut some of the best promos in the company comparative to the average superstar. Edge may not come off as a major star to some, but I’ve always had a soft spot for him. He’s improved so much on the mic compared to his initial run with the company. While I think the general consensus is that he’s better off as a heel, I like the way they are reintroducing him here after his injury. On his podcast and other media platforms over the years, he’s been such a likable guy. I think they are playing off of that, getting the newer crowd to love him, before twisting the knife turning him heel.)
-A recap of Big E’s injury at the hands of Apollo Crews played as well as a little segment for the Kevin Owens Show.
(1) STREET PROFITS, DOMINIK & REY MYSTERIO vs. ALPHA ACADEMY, DOLPH ZIGGLER & BOBBY ROODE
-As the faces were making their entrance, all four heels attacked them from behind on the ramp. They cut to the first commercial break of the night.
-An ad for WrestleMania tickets played, on sale this Tuesday in Tampa FL.
-Dawkin’s and Roode kicked things off, trading strikes at first before Dawkins was able to tag in Ford. Ford was in for a cup of coffee and tagged Dominik in who was double teamed by Roode and the recently tagged in Gable. Gable quickly tagged in Otis who used his size and strength against the young Mysterio.
Gable was tagged back in who gave a bridging suplex to Dominik for a two count. Roode tagged in, methodically attacking the legs of Dominik, limiting his ability to fly high. That didn’t stop Dominik from landing a tornado DDT in the corner to finally get the hot tag to Dawkins. Ziggler tagged in as Dawkins took out all four of his opponents. He tagged in Ford who went to the top rope and was pushed off by Roode as they cut to a commerical break at 4:01 into the match.
Back to the action at 6:53 into the match, Ziggler and Ford were the legal men with Ford trying to escape from a headlock. Ford was backed into the heel corner but fired up and took out all three of the non-legal men. Ziggler jumped on Ford’s back, locking in a sleeper hold.
Ford barely made it over to his corner but managed to tag Dawkins in as Roode distracted the ref. The ref didn’t count the tag as Ford was dragged back to the heel corner. Roode actually tagged in this time and delivered a backbreaker to Ford for two.
The heel team continued to trade tags and keep Ford isolated from his team for quite awhile until Ford reversed a german suplex from Gable. Ford finally made the hot tag to Rey Mysterio who explosively took out all four men and tried to cover Gable after a DDT. Rey went for a 619 but was thwarted by Roode. Dominik and Rey set Roode up for a double 619 and then vaulted over the ropes to take out everyone but Ford, who was pinning Roode in the ring for the win.
Winners: Street Profits, Dominik & Rey in 11:45
(Lindberg’s analysis: You have to hand it to Rey. When I think of Smackdown, Rey Mysterio is one of the first that comes to mind after his historic run during the first brand split. Here he is, 15ish years later, still able to hang with the rest of them. While I generally find 8-man tags to be a bit chaotic, this didn’t quite fit that mold. Somewhat selfishly, I would like to see the Mysterio’s win the Tag gold at least once before Rey retires)
-Cole announced that over the weekend that Molly Holly was the first entrant to the Hall of Fame and played “The Bump” clip where The Hurricane, Shane Helms, told Holly that she was the first.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Molly Holly is one of the most underrated female wrestlers of our time. She not only dared to be different during an era when sex was supposed to be the biggest selling point for the women, but she regularly wrestled with the guys. A fantastic talent, and so very deserved.)
-Jey Uso walked up to Heyman backstage who was standing outside Reign’s locker room. Heyman wouldn’t let him in saying that Reigns was still upset with him for tapping out last week against Bryan.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Rollins about Cesaro and played the clip from two weeks ago when Cesaro swung him for an extended period of time. Rollins was irritated at watching the clip and asked why we are still talking about this. He said that Cesaro has all the potential in the world and that he just tried helping him to reach that potential. When asked about the Murphy vs. Cesaro rematch tonight, he smiled and walked off screen.
-The Progressive Match Flo recapped the Sasha & Bianca vs. Nia Jax & Baszler from last week, including Reginald’s involvement.
-Nia and Shayna took Reginald on a shopping spree. They walked into a nice, upscale boutique and Nia told Reginald to buy whatever he wanted. Shayna sat looking bored as heck as Reginald went through a “Queer Eye” style montage, showing off all the new outfits to Jax.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: If you aren’t familiar with me, I’m one of the co-hosts of PWT Talks NXT. What in the heck has the main roster done to Shayna? She was a fierce competitor in NXT and even showed signs of that on the main roster after her debut against Becky. But since then, she’s been booked to be a shell of her former self. This angle with Reginald is tired and cold. Why continue to put this much time into the man?)
-Cole and Graves hyped Sasha & Bianca vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler at Fast Lane.
(2) CESARO vs. MURPHY
-Before the match began, Rollins made his way to the ring with a folding chair in hand. Stealing a page from Tommaso Ciampa from NXT he sat on the ramp to watch the action.
-The bell rang and Cesaro and Murphy began trading explosive blows. Cesaro landed a big boot, knocking Murphy to the apron. At this point, YouTube TV cut about a minute forward in the matchup, not allowing me to go back.
-When I came back, Rollins was mid-swing on Murphy and Rollins rushed Cesaro in the ring. He delivered a Curb Stomp and berated Cesaro. “You think you’re on my level? Stand up you coward!” Cesaro struggled to his feet and Seth attacked again with another Curb Stomp. He rolled out of the ring and grabbed another chair. Returning to Cesaro, he folded Cesaro’s head between the seat and back of the chair. Officials stopped him before he could further injure Cesaro.
Seth made his way back stage where he was confronted by Nakumura. They glared at one another before Seth walked off.
Winner: Cesaro by DQ in approx 2:00
-Kevin Owens was approached by Sami Zayn and his documentary crew backstage. Sami said that he wanted KO to be a part of the documentary. KO said thanks but he had to go do the KO show. Sami kept pushing KO to be a part of exposing “all of it” until KO said he’d think about it and walked off, prompting the cut to commercial.
-Edge approached Jey Uso backstage. He said he’s known Jey since he was 10, known the whole family a long time. He came to talk to Jey man to man. “What are you doing?”. He said that in 2015, Jimmy and Jey worked a match that helped Edge realize he still loved the business. Now, he’s acting as a lap dog to the big dog. Jey looked like it was getting to him before turning the tables, saying that Edge needed to fall in line with his family.
-The Kevin Owens Show began with KO welcoming the audience to his slice of paradise. He said the last few months have been rough mentally and physically. He said he’s not down and out, he’s gonna keep on fighting. But enough about him, he said. He then introduced Bianca Belair then Sasha Banks to the ring.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Does the Women’s Champion on each brand always need to be in the WWE Women’s Tag Title mix? I feel like it takes two divisions to a crawl. If you are going to do it, do it less often than they have been as of late.)
-KO had a fact about their Fastlane match that could make their WrestleMania match even bigger. Only John Cena & Shawn Michaels have gone into a singles title match at WrestleMania as a tag champion.
He brought up the fact that they couldn’t beat Nia & Shayna before and that there might be tension between the two women. He also brought up Reginald. Sasha swooned over him prompting Bianca to say that he is going to be the downfall of their team. Sasha flaunted her title and mocked Belair.
Sasha said she would be Two Belts Banks when they beat Shayna and Nia, walking into WrestleMania as a double champ.
Nia & Shayna came to the ring with Reginald in tow, decked out in a new suit. They joined commentary as Nattie & Tamina made their way out to face Banks & Belair.
-A PSA for COVID vaccinations played where various superstars pleaded for people to get vaccinated.
(3) TAMINA & NATALYA NEIDHART vs. SASHA BANKS & BIANCA BELAIR
-Sasha and Tamina kicked the match off with Tamina quickly tagging Nattie in. Sasha was in control knocking Nattie to the outside. Baseball slide by Sasha, she rolled Nattie back into the ring and mouthed off to Reginald, Jax and Baszler on Commentary.
Nattie & Tamina traded tags, pummeling Sasha and keeping her separated from her partner. Banks finally made the hot tag to Belair. Belair landed a spinebuster on Nattie for a cover, but the ref was distracted by Reginald and didn’t see the pin attempt. Nattie knocked Bianca down with a lariat and covered for two. She tagged in Tamina as Sasha chased Reginald through the ring. She got knocked down by Tamina accidentally, causing a distraction for Bianca, causing her to get rolled up and lose the match.
Winners: Nattie & Tamina in 3:38
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Sasha is way above chasing a random guy around the ring, causing her a victory. I can’t imagine that she is on board with this angle. Inserting a male so heavily into the women’s storylines just feels wrong.)
-Big E’s injury at the hands of Apollo Crews played again.
-Sasha and Bianca were backstage fighting over Reginald.
-Big E made his way to the ring with fake bandages and a crutch. He shed all of that fake stuff as he walked down the ramp, psyched to be back. He grabbed a mic and said he had plenty of time to think when he was out injured. He said he hopes that Apollo knows what he did. He crossed the line and opened pandora’s box. There is no coming back from what he did, no “sorry” to fix this.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Such a departure from the Big E of New Day. This was an impassioned promo showcasing the range that Big E has. He came off very upset and frustrated at Apollo, looking like a serious competitor rather than a pancake throwing comedy act. This has been his gimmick for awhile now, but its the first time I’ve really bought into it.
He called Apollo out, who never answered the call. So, he issued an open challenge instead.
-Baron Corbin came to the ring and said “If you’re gonna open a challenge for the title, I’m not dressed to fight, but I’ll tear up this suit and get in the ring!” Sami Zayn came out and said that he accepted it, not Corbin. Big E said, whoever gets in the ring first gets the match. Zayn sprinted to the ring and was met with a big suplex for his troubles as they cut to break.
-A plug for Talking Smack aired.
(4) INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: BIG E vs. SAMI ZAYN
-Big E dominated Zayn early on with Zayn getting very little offense in on the current champion. E whipped Zayn into the corner and ran for a splash, but was caught by knees to the face.
Zayn used the ropes to choke E, breaking before the ref’s count of 5. He climbed to the 2nd rope and delivered a diving elbow to E’s head.
He went back to the 2nd rope but was caught into a belly to belly suplex. E gave another suplex and Sami retreated out of the ring. E chased him and threw him back in. E went for a splash on the apron but Zayn moved, sending E on to the hardest part of the ring as they cut to commerical at 3:33 into the matchup.
-Back from break at 6:41 into the match, Sami and E were perched on top of the turnbuckle with Sami battering E. He powerbombed E for a very close two count.
Zayn slapped E over and over again, causing E to hulk up and deliver a massive lariat to Zayn into a Big Ending for the win.
Apollo Crews attacked Big E after the match. He brought the steps back into the ring, looking to injure E in the same way he did a few weeks ago. He drove the steps into E’s shoulder, causing E to writhe in pain.
Winner: Big E in 8:02
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I like this version of Big E, focused and determined. He’s had the ability to be a singles star for some time now and I’m glad to see him shine. Apollo Crews still doesn’t feel like a major player to me, but I’m willing to give the new gimmick a chance before passing judgement.)
-Nia and Reginald were backstage making fun of Sasha thinking that she’ll ever be a double champ. Reginald said that she should challenge Sasha next week and become a double champ first.
-Roman Reigns, Jey Uso & Paul Heyman made their way to the ring.
-Nia vs. Sasha for the title was made for next week.
-Bryan made his way to the ring for the contract signing. Adam Pierce officiated the contract signing between Bryan and Reigns.
He asked who wanted to sign first and Reigns got in Pierce’s face asking him for a chair. Pierce grabbed the chair that Reigns was standing next to and moved it to the head of the table.
Reigns said he wouldn’t sign because Bryan didn’t deserve it. Bryan grabbed the contract and signed it. “Who would have thought the head of the table would be afraid to face me?” Bryan said that he proved he was better than Reigns when he made Jey Uso quit, something he couldn’t do. Maybe Bryan should be the head of the table?
This caused Reigns to angrily sign the contract saying that he was going to smash Bryan.
Bryan said he had a message “I’m gonna tap you out like I made Jey Uso tap”. Uso threw the table out of the ring and declared himself the special guest enforcer for their Fastlane match.
Edge’s music hit. He said he liked that idea. But next week Edge wants a match vs. Uso. Winner becomes special enforcer at Fastlane.
A brawl between Edge, Bryan, Uso and Reigns broke out. Bryan gave Edge a running knee leaving Edge laying as they went off the air.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I’m actually okay with a special guest enforcer. Assuming that Uso wins, a heel enforcer could add an added level of protection for Reign’s title.)