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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 26, 2021
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. AT TROPICANA FIELD (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcers: Greg Hamilton
-They opened with a video recap of Edge attacking Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns with chairshots just as it appeared Bryan was about to score a tapout win over Reigns last Sunday at Fastlane.
-They went to a wideshot of the ThunderDome as the camera panned the audience.
-Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance, carrying a chair with him. Cole said many people believe he was shafted last Sunday by Edge. Bryan said everybody saw Reigns tap out, something he said he’d never do and would never happen. Bryan said he had never tapped out and he said he’d rather die than tap out to someone like him. He said Reigns is alive and well, and he tapped out to him. He said in a perfect world, he would be standing there as the WWE Universal Champion heading to the main event of WrestleMania. He said neither of those things are true. He said as he was making Reigns tap out, Edge hit him with a steel chair.
He said Edge had told him in recent weeks he wasn’t going about things the right way. He said he’s had enough of letting everybody have a dream match that they didn’t even earn while he stands on the sidelines. He said he earned the title match at Fastlane and he earned the main event at WrestleMania. He said he’s willing to earn it all again. He said he wants a rematch against Reigns for the Universal Title tonight. He said he is not leaving the ring until he gets what he wants. He opened the chair and sat on it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Bryan, as usual, was outstanding on the mic. My only issue is that he’s not expressing more outrage with Edge.) [c]
-They replayed a clip of Bryan from before the break.
-Bryan sat mid-ring. Graves said they have to move on with the show, so Bryan needs to just accept the loss. They showed Bryan still sitting mid-ring, looking like he wasn’t going anywhere. WWE executive Adam Pearce walked out to the stage and said he cannot grant him a rematch tonight. He said Reigns’s next defense will be at WrestleMania against Edge. Bryan said if that’s the case, how about he gets an immediate rematch. Pearce said it’d be unfair to make the winner wrestle again right afterward. Bryan asked if it was fair what happened to him at Fastlane. Bryan proposed instead that Edge and Reigns wrestle on Saturday, and then Sunday he faces the winner. Before Pearce could answer, Edge’s music played. Edge marched out and looked at Pearce and yanked the mic out of his hand violently. Then he headed to the ring.
Edge entered the ring and said for the last month, he’s sat back and watched Bryan act all altruistic. He said every match could be his last match, and he spent ten years dreaming of this moment. He said this is everything he has worked for, and now Bryan wants to take it all away. He said Bryan just wants to pick the bones of the winner the next night. “Very heroic of you, Daniel!” he said. Edge said he outlasted everyone including Bryan in the Rumble. He said he lost twice to Reigns. “So here’s the deal,” he said. “You don’t deserve the match at WrestleMania, you son of a bitch.” Bryan dropped Edge. Edge popped up and speared Bryan. Bryan stayed down as Edge stood up and looked over at the chair. “Don’t do this, this isn’t necessary,” said Graves. Edge wound up and then smashed Bryan across his back with the chair. Graves said Edge looks like a man possessed. He said no mortal man will stand in the way of the Rated-R Superstar. The camera zoomed in on Edge, who was huffing and puffing with a deranged look and hard blinks.
(Keller’s Analysis: This Edge is a lot more interesting. It’s hard to imagine they’d put Edge and Reigns in the same ring one-on-one if their goal is for Reigns’s first match back in front of a crowd of fans to be as a heel who actually gets booed. Let’s see how they get to where they’re going.) [c]
-They replayed what happened with Edge and Bryan before the break.
-Backstage, Reigns was soaking up what happened between Bryan and Edge as Jey Uso and Paul Heyman looked at him for cues on how to react. Reigns told Heyman to go get Pearce. Heyman said, “With pleasure.” He left. Reigns told Uso to help, and use force if necessary. Jey was happy to comply.
(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Seth Rollins walked out to the ring. They replayed Cesaro giving him the Cesaro Swing last month. Cole said it was a record-setting 22 revolutions. Graves said vertigo is a bad thing. Nakamura took over after an intense opening minute. He landed a running knee to the back of Seth’s head as he was lying on his stomach on the edge of the ring apron. Graves said this is the most aggressive he’s seen Nakamura in years. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Nakamura was in control during the break. Seth caught a charging Nakamura with two boots. Nakamura came back with his sliding released snap German and scored a quick two count. Seth avoided a charging Nakamura in the corner and hit a springboard knee to Nakamura’s head. Cole called it a “glancing knee,” but it looked good. Seth hit a falcon arrow for a near fall. Nakamura caught Seth with an armbar. Seth leveraged Nakamura into a lift-and-drop powerbomb and a quick Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really strong match. Start to finish intense and crisply executed. Nakamura looks inspired. It’s almost too bad it’s to help be a transitional player in the Seth-Cesaro feud.)
-Afterward, Seth attacked Nakamura. Cesaro’s music played as Seth was setting up another stomp. Cesaro ran out in street clothes and gave Seth a gut-wrench suplex. Then he gave Seth a lift-and-drop European uppercut. He went for another Swing, but Seth slipped free and retreated up the ramp.
-Backstage, Heyman was talking up Reigns when Uso showed up with Pearce. Heyman said Pearce was pressured to make a very bad decision, and thanked him for not caving to the pressure. Reigns stood and told Pearce: “We don’t thank you, you thank us. The reason you are here is because at WrestleMania, you get me for one night and only one title defense. It’s that simple. Now you can thank us.” Pearce said he understands Roman’s point and he’s inclined to agree with it. He said he had more to consider, and everyone will have his decision by the end of the night. He excused himself.
(Keller’s Analysis: If they land at a triple threat match, this is a good path to get there as they’re taking a journey where it seems like the only equitable landing place given all the factors.)
-Big E made his entrance. The Street Profits joined him on the stage. Montez Ford slid on his back down the ramp. He’s not helping Big E show his serious side. The announcers hyped Peacock and a 50 percent off coupon to get premium service for $2.50. [c]
-Seth was yelling backstage, “Did you see that?! Did you see that!?” Kayla Braxton approached him and he said he’s sick of the disrespect and being embarrassed week after week “by that failure, Cesaro.” He said he warned him if he stepped in his lane again, bad things would happen. He said he’s a man of his word. He challenged Cesaro to a match at WrestleMania where he’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget. He ranted about how he’ll never be swung by Cesaro again. Cesaro then came up behind him and threw him into the storage crates. Cesaro then gave him another Cesaro Swing. Pat Buck and several referees yelled at him to stop. Cesaro let go after about eight revolutions. He looked down at Seth and yelled, “Challenge accepted!”
(2) BIG E & THE STREET PROFITS vs. APOLLO CREWS & OTIS & CHAD GABLE
Big E was all worked up before the bell and had to be calmed down. The Profits hit an early double-dropkick on Otis. Otis powerslammed Ford out of mid-air, then tagged in Gable. Big E tagged in and rallied against Gable and hit a running Big E Splash. He clapped and set up a Big Ending, but Gable countered. When Gable charged Big E, Big E turned it into a uranage. Otis clotheslined Dawkins as Gable suplexed him onto his head. Ford came back with a flip dive onto Otis and Gable on the floor. Admist the chaos, Crews gave Big E an Olympic slam for the win.
WINNER: Crews & Otis & Gable in 5:00.
-They replayed the Sami Zayn giving Kevin Owens a Helluva Kick at ringside last week. They showed Owens walking backstage. Cole said KO has invited Sami to be a guest on the KO Show to get to the bottom of things. They showed Sami ranting to his documentary cameras in the back hall.
-A commercial for Raw hyped a contract signing with Asuka and Rhea Ripley, plus Bobby Lashley looks for someone to help take out Drew McIntyre for him. [c]
-Backstage, Edge aggressively asked Pearce what kind of ship he is running there. He asked for assurances he wouldn’t add Bryan to WrestleMania. Edge said he gets Reigns one-on-one because he won the Rumble and Bryan has lost twice to Reigns. Pearce said his job is to serve the interests of WWE, not him or any other single wrestler. He said his job is to get all the facts and consider all options and make a decision, and at the end of the night, he’ll make a decision. Edge said, “Let’s hope you make the right decision, or else.”
-KO Show: Kevin Owens said he has tried to make it clear to Sami that even though he doesn’t believe in all his crazy conspiracy theories, he’s on his side. He said for that he almost got his head kicked off his shoulders. He said the only person who can answer his question is Sami. He called him to the ring and said he’s not in the mood to wait.
Sami walked onto the stage and said he crossed the line and had no right to kick him so hard, or kick him at all. He said the conspiracy stuff has gotten to his psyche and he crossed the line. He said he’s sorry. Owens said that’s not what he wants an answer to. Sami said he knows Owens wants to know if he can still be in his documentary, and he can. He said he was about to drop bombshell news. He said next week he will have a red carpet premiere of his release for the trailer of his documentary that will expose the conspiracy against him. He said he has been going back and forth with a certain Logan Paul, a global YouTube sensation with 23 million subscribers on YouTube. He said he’s into the documentary. He said he’s going to help him get new eyeballs on his documentary. He said he’d be at the red carpet premiere next week. He said it’ll be huge. He showed an image of him and Paul on the big screen. He said then everyone will see the truth, and KO can be a part of it.
Owens chuckled and said he doesn’t care about his documentary or Logan Paul or even if he’s sorry about last week. Sami interrupted him as he entered the ring and said Owens owes him an apology. He said he’s like everyone else who thinks he’s crazy. Owens yelled him for him to shut his mouth. He said he has a question for him that he will answer now. “You me, one-on-one at WrestleMania,” he said. “Yes or no?” Sami asked Owens to listen to him because they need to work together. Owens yelled, “Yes or no?!” Sami said, “Fine, fine, fine.” A distressed and distraught Sami paused and said, “Yes! Are you happy now?” Owens said now that he has that answer, he’s going to beat him senseless. Owens attacked Sami and stomped away at him in the ring and then clotheslined him at ringside. Then back in the ring, he gave him a stunner.
Cole said in a stunning announcement, Sami has agreed to face Owens at WrestleMania. Graves said the truth will come out next week, then Sami will kick Owens in the face at WrestleMania.
-Backstage, Bryan told Pearce he used to be the G.M. of Smackdown and he knows what he’s going through. He said deep down, he knows what the right decision is, though. He said all he has to do is make it. [c]
-A sponsored clip aired of the latest with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair.
-Backstage, Braxton asked Belair about Sasha’s slap last week. She said she’s bigger and stronger than Banks, so she could have slapped her into last month, but then she wouldn’t have made it to WrestleMania. She said her mama told her sometimes you have to be the bigger person so you can focus on your business, and last week she was the bigger person so she can focus on WrestleMania, which is her business. She said Banks calls herself the Blueprint and the Standard. She said she’s just a little bit better, though. She said she’s going to make history and show her that a rookie can end her reign at WrestleMania. She said to everybody watching, keep your little kids out of the room because nobody should see what she’s about to do.
(Keller’s Analysis: Belair brought it there. That was top shelf confidence and delivery. It was confident and self-assured and sufficiently threatening in a way that kept her babyface and made you want to see the fight.)
(3) BIANCA BELAIR vs. NATALYA (w/Tamina)
Natalya and Tamina made their way to the ring. Belair shoulder tackled Natalya, so Natalya retreated to ringside. Back in the ring, Belair took it to Natalya in the corner. Belair scored a two count with a jackknife cover, then bodyslammed her. She climbed to the top rope. Sasha Banks’s music played. Cole called it convenient timing. Natalya tried to take advantage of a distracted Sasha. Tamina kicked Belair off the ring apron. Banks asked Belair how she was doing in a sarcastic tone. They cut to a break. [c]
Sasha joined the announcers on commentary. Banks was obnoxious. Cole said rumors are floating around the locker room that she’s extremely worried about losing her place atop the women’s division. Banks asked how she can be jealous when Bianca chose to face her. She let out her awful guttural laugh. Banks said she’s there to scout her opponent, that’s all. Natalya landed a discus lariat for a near fall. When Natalya knocked Belair to ringside, Sasha stood and taunted her. Belair slapped her hard again. Sasha dropped to the ground hard. Belair returned to the ring and gave Natalya the K.O.D. for the win.
WINNER: Belair in 9:00.
-Banks attacked Belair afterward from behind with a Back Stabber. Cole said she reminded everyone who’s the boss. Sasha looked over at the WrestleMania sign.
-Edge approached Reigns, Uso, and Heyman backstage. Reigns said it takes balls to come in there like that. “I almost respect that,” he said. “But if you don’t get to your point, I’m going to let the pitbull off his leash.” Edge said he wanted to talk to him about Bryan trying to steal their spotlight. He said he did the same thing before. He told Roman that if he has the stroke he says he’s got, now is the time to lose it. He said if Bryan’s involved in the match, then Edge said he can beat Bryan instead of him to win his title. “Think about that,” he said. [c]
(4) DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Robert Roode) vs. REY MYSTERIO (w/Dominik Mysterio)
They cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
Later, Ziggler hit Rey with a Zig Zag after Rey was distracted by Roode. Rey kicked out. Rey came back and landed a 619. Rey then hit a slingshot splash for the three count. Dominik held Roode’s legs to keep him from breaking up the cover.
WINNER: Mysterio in 11:00.
-Cole congratulated Great Khali for being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. They also talked about Kane being inducted this year.
-Pearce made his way to the ring for his decision. Then Reigns’s music played and he walked out with Heyman and Uso. Reigns circled Pearce as they cut to a break. [c]
-As Reigns stared down Pearce, WWE piped in a “You tapped out!” chant. Reigns snarled and clenched his jaw. Edge’s music then played and he walked out to his pyro. Bryan finally made his way to the ring. A “Yes!” chant was piped in. Pearce said he understands each of their positions. He listed them all. Pearce said Reigns will defend his title one time at WrestleMania. He said at WrestleMania, for that Universal Championship, the three of them will compete in a Triple Threat match. Pearce looked scared but determined to assert his authority as he said that.
Reigns and Edge were upset. Bryan smiled. Then Bryan charged at Edge. Reigns gave Bryan a Superman Punch. Edge then speared Reigns. He speared Uso, too. Edge picked up a chair and blasted Uso with it. Then he bashed Bryan across his back with it. Then Uso again. Then Bryan. “Edge has snapped!” said Cole. Edge punched away at Uso, then looked outside the ring like a madman. He grabbed another chair and jabbed Uso with it, then bashed him two more times. Reigns and Heyman, meanwhile, retreated. Bryan gasped for breath as Edge pulled him by his boots back to center-ring. Edge elbowdropped him and set up a Conchairto. Pat Buck and Jamie Noble ran in. Edge hit them with chairs. Edge sat on a chair in the ring as his music played again. Reigns and Heyman looked on from the stage.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hot closing angle. Edge feels a lot more relevant in this role than he did just a few weeks ago when he came across more like a cool chill guy selling you a bicycle at a bike shop in Portland, Oregon.)