SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MARCH 19, 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
- The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and Rey & Dominik Mysterio defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode and the Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable).
- Cesaro defeated Murphy via DQ because of outside interference by Seth Rollins.
- Natalya & Tamina defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair.
- Big E defeated Sami Zayn to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Apollo Crews attacked Big E after the match. Apollo will challenge for the title this Sunday at Fastlane. Here he is in an exclusive as well as Sami who blames a referee for his loss:
Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s episode of Smackdown will be the final show before this Sunday’s Fastlane PPV. There will be implications for the show as well as WrestleMania. Here is what’s advertised, both of which we know about before Smackdown went off the air last week:
- Edge to battle Jey Uso to become the Special Enforcer at WWE Fastlane.
- Sasha Banks to put her SmackDown Women’s Title on the line against Nia Jax.
Edge vs. Jey Uso: Winner to be Special Enforcer for Universal Championship Match at Fastlane
This Sunday at Fastlane, Universal Champion Roman Reigns will defend his title against Daniel Bryan. Ironically, these two went at it during the first Fastlane back in 2015. VIP members check out the most recent episode of WWE Then and Now where Torch contributor Brandon LeClair and I went back and reviewed that show and discussed scenarios for the upcoming match.
2021 Royal Rumble winner Edge opened the show last week and explained why he took issue with Daniel Bryan wedging himself into a title match against Roman at Fastlane. He said he went into business for himself, and years ago while Bryan was wrestling once a week Edge was working many nights wrestling a who’s who of WWE legends and Hall of Famers. Bryan came out and told Edge he had to get into a match with Roman at Fastlane because it was his way to the main event of WrestleMania.
Later, Edge ran into Jey Uso backstage and questioned what he had be doing lately. Edge told Jey how he and his brother “woke him up” back in 2015 but doesn’t recognize him now as he plays lap dog to his cousin Roman. Jey didn’t like that and told Edge he should spend as much time with his family as possible because he won’t enjoy anything after Roman gets his hands on him.
Roman, with Jey and Paul Heyman, and Bryan came out at the end of the show to sign the contract for their match. When Bryan told Roman that he was going to tap him out just like he tapped out Jey, Jey didn’t like that and said he was disrespecting him. He said this match needs an enforcer, and that’s him. Edge then came out and said that’s a great idea, but proposed he have a match with Jey to determine that enforcer. A brawl broke out involving all men to close out the show.
Tonight, Edge wrestles his first match on Smackdown in nearly a decade against Jey for the right to be the enforcer in the Universal Championship match between Roman and Bryan at Fastlane.
Frank’s Analysis: While I’m intrigued by the whole thing, I will say the enforcer bit feels manufactured and contrived and a way to have an Edge vs. Jey match tonight. On the good side, it adds intrigue to the match at Fastlane and creates multiple scenarios for WrestleMania. Does Bryan get screwed and make a case to be in the Universal title match, making it a triple threat? Do they do the WrestleMania 10 or New Japan formula where Edge faces Bryan on night one and the winner faces Roman on night two, or if Bryan wins the Universal title match is a triple threat? Where Jey fits in and what he potentially does at WrestleMania can’t be ignored. Does this balloon into a fatal four-way? Does Bryan wrestle Jey one more time and then the winner faces Edge and if that person wins, they’re added? We can go all day on this. I will say, even though the enforcer bit is contrived as I mentioned, I’m very engaged into what happens and how things play out at WrestleMania. In addition, I wonder if all of this is a long way to get Daniel Bryan one more run as a champion.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (champ) vs. Nia Jax
Nia Jax will challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship for the first time when she takes on Sasha Banks tonight. Last week, Reginald got involved in a tag team match involving Sasha and her WrestleMania opponent, Bianca Belair against Tamina & Natalya. This caused friction between Sasha and Bianca, whom ironically are challenging Nia and Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship this Sunday at Fastlane.
This past Monday on Raw, Shayna was beaten by Raw Women’s Champion Asuka in a non-title match. When Shayna tried to do a post-match attack, Asuka countered and beat her down in a rage.
Frank’s Analysis: Shayna getting beaten down by Asuka doesn’t make me want to see her and Nia defend the titles. I have zero expectation for Nia to beat Sasha tonight for the title, and she shouldn’t. It’s a matter of what angle they run which will likely involve Reginald and show more potential friction between Sasha and Bianca. There’s adding good intrigue to a match and then there’s adding intrigue for the sake of doing so, and it feels like that’s what’s going on in this situation.
Other Expectations and Additional Thoughts
Look for more build on the match between Big E and Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship. It’s another strange situation because Big E hasn’t been a champion for awfully long, and Apollo just established this new character. Apollo losing could stun the momentum, if the character does have any and I suspect WWE has interest in him (for now, we’ve been there with Apollo).
I’m curious what’s going on with Sami Zayn and King Corbin. I don’t see Sami turning babyface, but I do see Corbin. The King gimmick is dead for me and I would be curious to see how he does in that role, putting people like Sami in his place amongst others. Give it a try, why not?
I’m really curious what’s next for Kevin Owens. I expressed concern on Wrestling Night in America as to what would be next after the feud with Roman Reigns. They’re likely biding time with him, but we’ll see as nothing seems to be on the horizon for him at WrestleMania or should I say KOMania.
Brandon LeClair and I talked about the Cesaro-Rollins feud. It’s a shame that there are no stakes in it, as I think they can have really great matches. Perhaps one is on the horizon for them at WrestleMania, but my guess is they run a few on Smackdown. I am happy they are working together, and hope something good comes out of it for Cesaro. While I’m not into the “Embrace the Vision” character, Rollins still has a lot to offer.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!