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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MARCH 12, 2021
TAMPA, FL. IN THE THUNDERDOME AT TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
Match Results and Exclusives from Last Week
- King Corbin defeated Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins). Angelo then defeated Sami Zayn.
- Dominik Mysterio (w/Rey) defeated Chad Gable (w/Otis).
- Bianca Belair defeated Women’s Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax).
- Cesaro defeated Murphy.
- Daniel Bryan defeated Jey Uso in a Steel Cage match to earn the right to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Fastlane.
Here’s Rey & Dominik Mysterio, the Street Profits, Sami Zayn, and Natalya & Tamina in WWE exclusives:
Items Advertised by WWE
We continue to head towards Fastlane, which comes to us one week from Sunday. We still only have two matches scheduled, both from Smackdown. Tonight’s show will have an impact on both of those matches. Here is what’s advertised in WWE’s preview:
- Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship contract signing for WWE Fastlane.
- Bianca Belair and SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks to appear on “The KO Show.”
- Intercontinental Champion Big E returns.
Contract Signing: Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan Sign for Fastlane
Daniel Bryan opened Smackdown talking with Michael Cole (remember when Cole used to make fun of Bryan?) about the match that was originally (supposedly) scheduled for Fastlane, which would find him teaming with Edge to face Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his cousin Jey Uso. He said nobody talked to him about the match, and then discussed recent happenings. They played the video of him winning Elimination Chamber but losing immediately to Roman. He felt like a failure after Edge speared Roman, indicating his desire to face him at WrestleMania for the Universal title. Ultimately, he realized he had put himself on the back burner but wanted to get back to the main event of WrestleMania.
Later in the evening, he defeated Jey in a Steel Cage match to earn the right to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Fastlane. He finds himself challenging Roman for the title before Edge, who won the 2021 Royal Rumble. Edge made his gripe known not too long ago to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Tonight, Bryan and Roman sign the contract for the match. It’s not their first rodeo at Fastlane, as they faced each other at the first Fastlane in 2015 for the right to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s interesting that they’re not doing this on the go home show, which is next week. That said, Edge is just to have an issue with Bryan getting the title shot before him, since they both took part in the Royal Rumble and Edge won. That could factor into the signing tonight and whatever they have planned for the go home show next week. Logic would dictate that Bryan loses at Fastlane and Roman goes on to face Edge, right? You never know with WWE these days as they like to switch things up at unexpected times.
KO Show: Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair
There are a lot of moving parts between Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair these days. At Fastlane, they will challenge Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. After that, they will face each other at WrestleMania for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Bianca won the 2021 Royal Rumble and chose Sasha as her opponent.
Last week, Bianca defeated Shayna (who doesn’t these days) after countering Shayna’s Kirafuda Clutch and hitting her signature Kiss of Death. Sasha and Reginald were at ringside, and after the match Sasha slapped Reginald. He was “fired” by Carmella earlier in the evening but appeared alongside Nia and Shayna this past Monday on Raw. Tonight, Sasha and Bianca will appear on the KO Show as a guest of Kevin Owens, making his return to Smackdown.
Frank’s Analysis: This is another talking segment that’s hard to talk about because they do them so much, and often times a match ensues out of the segment. That said, I think there’s a fairly good chance Sasha and Bianca win these titles. I could see WWE wanting them to defend the titles at ‘Mania as well as facing each other for the Smackdown women’s title. That’s getting two of your top women on the card twice, and with a two-night WrestleMania it’s possible. There’s also nobody I need to see Nia and Shayna wrestle at this point.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Returns
It was made known last week that Big E would return for tonight’s episode of Smackdown. Apollo Crews attacked him several weeks ago after he lost a match to Shinsuke Nakamura. For the past two weeks, Apollo has been coming out in his new “character,” which has put an emphasis on his Nigerian heritage. He claimed he hid from said heritage so he could fit in when he was younger. He said his father told him about his ancestors who dominated everyone who stood up to them.
Big E and Apollo had a series of matches for the Intercontinental Championship. Apollo claims he is not the same person that was in those matches and wants another match for the title. Big E returns tonight, and we’ll see what he has to say or what he likely wants to do to Apollo after the attack several weeks ago.
Frank’s Analysis: Apollo has certainly distinguished himself from his previous character, which to be honest wasn’t much of a character. He smiled a lot and showed athleticism and every once in a while, said he was tired of being overlooked. Last year he had a run as U.S. Champion, and to solidify this new character, I could see him winning the IC title from Big E.
Next Episode of WWE Then and Now
I will be recording the next edition of VIP-exclusive show WWE Then and Now this Sunday with PWTorch.com contributor Brandon LeClair. It will be interesting to do a “side by side” comparison of the first Fastlane PPV from 2015 to the upcoming show, which features the same main event (Bryan vs. Roman). The stakes are different, and Roman’s character is certainly different, so it’ll be fun to look at the two different time periods. Go VIP to hear this show!
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!