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LINDBERG’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 16, 2021
AT “THUNDERDOME”, UNIVERSITY OF S. FLORIDA
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcers: Greg Hamilton
– The show kicked off with a recap of Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Edge at WrestleMania and Roman’s dominant win.
-Michael Cole welcomed Pat McAfee to the broadcast booth, newest addition to the WWE Broadcast team.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Adam Cole to SmackDown within the year, I call it now!)
-Roman, Jey & Heyman made their way to the ring, with Reign’s cockily holding the belt above his head while pyro blasted through the ThunderDome. They slowly made their way down the ramp, and through the ropes to be met with more pyro once inside the ring. Boo’s were piped in, so loud that you could barely hear Cole & McAfee. A loud and sustained, yet clearly fake “You Suck!” chant blared through the ThunderDome. Roman finally spoke and said it’s no secret that they’ve put a lot of eyes on SmackDown. He told Heyman to tell the new viewers who his opponents were at SmackDown.
Heyman went on to explain exactly who Edge and Bryan were, stacking all of their accomplishments against Reigns. Who beat them in what he called a “handicapped” match at WrestleMania. Reigns said he called his shot and said he was going to win, and he did. That’s when they acknowledge him, the Tribal Chief. He humiliated these hall of famer’s (also acknowledging that Bryan is a future HOF’er, not one just yet) and showed the world why he is the Chief.
Cesaro’s music hit, and the ultimate swiss underdog made his way to step up to the Tribal Chief. A former Heyman guy vs. Heyman’s current guy, face to face stare down until Reign’s and co. retreated up the stage before Cesaro could speak. Cesaro threw down his mic and they never gave him a chance to speak before cutting to Cole & McAfee to recap Cesaro vs. Rollin’s at WrestleMania.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Yet another fantasic promo by Reigns. Effective, though it didn’t telegraph his next move. Cesaro would make a great next opponent for Reigns, and would make for competitive and compelling stories. McAfee, while a great promo, didn’t impress me on commentary right off the bat. His cadence was a little too raw, and he seemed just a little lost. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and pass judgement later, as this is his first rodeo as a full time announcer on the brand.)
-Cesaro approached Adam Pierce and Sonya Deville, demanding a non-title match against Roman, Deville said she would talk to Roman and get back to him.
(1) OTIS w/Chad Gable vs. REY MYSTERIO w/ Dominik
-Otis ran Mysterio over to start the match and pummeled him with those meaty fists over and over. He gorilla press slammed Mysterio, and threw him outside. Mysterio rebounded and hangman’d Otis. He climbed to the top rope, but Otis knocked him down causing him to land in the Tree of Woe. Mysterio eventually got the upperhand and hit the standing senton. He went for a springboard crossbody but Otis caught him and slammed him to the mat for two.
Otis climbed to the top for a splash, but Mysterio moved out of the way. Mysterio set Otis up for the 619 and McAfee freaked out as it was his first time seeing it live. Otis caught Rey as he went for the final springboard, and it looked like Otis was about to pin Rey when Rey shifted his weight and pinned Otis for the win.
Winner: Rey Mysterio in 3:14
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Glad to see Rey get a TV win, even if it is over a mid-carder like Otis. I feel like more often than not, Rey is putting a talent over. Win or lose, Rey is a bonafide legend in the business but I’d like to see him kept relatively strong. The stronger he is, the more he’ll be able to put talent over in the future. It may be counterintuitive now to have him go over talent to eventually put them over. But its all in the booking, baby.)
-Paul Heyman was shown backstage talking to Kayla Braxton, inaudible to the TV audience. Back from commerical, Braxton asked him about Cesaro’s challenge. Heyman danced around the question in typical Paul E. fashion for a few moments until accepting. But not for the match Cesaro demanded, but against Jey Uso.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Cole and McAfee started talking about Cesaro at WrestleMania, and at this point McAfee felt much more comfortable in his performance. Maybe it was start of the show jitters, but he didn’t bother me after this point)
-Sami Zayn made his way to the ring as Cole and McAfee talked about Logan Paul’s involvement at WrestleMania. Sami went off on his conspiracy theories of the company being against him. Logan Paul was supposed to help him and no, that’s not how it happened. Paul’s mind was poisoned by Kevin Owens, the fans, Michael Cole, etc. Sami, just as crazed as ever said he won’t be denied his revenge and called Owens out. Owen’s made his way out as they cut to commercial
(2) SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS
-A match made during the break, Owens and Sami immediately began fighting outside the ring and spilled back into the ring. Owens backed Sami into the corner but Sami reversed and shot him into the opposite corner. Owens reversed with a clothesline and a senton. Owens went for the cannonball, but Zayn rolled out of the way. Zayn in control, choking Owens on the middle rope for the ref’s count of 4. Zayn and Owens traded blows, strikes and headbutts. Owens went for a vertical suplex but threw Zayn on the top rope instead. He carried him to the top turnbuckle Zayn started fighting back, hitting the Sunset Flip powerbomb on Owens for two. McAfee called that the coolest move he’d ever seen as they cut to commercial.
Back from commercial, Zayn got hit with a superkick for a two count. Owens went to the top and hit a Swanton for another two count. Zayn wisely rolled out of the ring, and Owens pursued tossing him back into the ring. Owens went for the pop-up powerbomb but Sami blocked it. Owens set Sami up for a package piledriver but instead drove his neck into Owen’s knee for another two count.
Owens went for the stunner, and Zayn yet again went outside for a breather. Zayn just walked up the ramp and let the ref count to 10.
Winner: Kevin Owens in 10:06 by count out
After the match, Owens attacked Zayn and hit the stunner for the satisfying ending to the segment.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I actually liked this finish. It showed how cowardly Sami Zayn is, wanting nothing to do with Owens, allowing himself to be counted out rather than continue to get beaten down.)
-Apollo Crews and his new henchman, Dabba Kato celebrated his win over Big E at WrestleMania. They re-dubbed the former Babatunde, and now former Dabba Kato as “Azi” (Spelling?), Apollo’s new head of the Nigerian royal army.
-Street Profits made their way to the ring next as solo cups rained from the ceiling. A blue carpet was laid out in the ring in preparation for Montez Ford’s wife’s major coronation. That’s right, a celebration for the brand new SmackDown Women’s champion, a woman breaking down barriers for women of color in wrestling, Bianca Belair.
-Montez Ford grabbed the mic and sang about how he’s feeling right on Friday Night. He and Dawkin’s spat back and forth in their typical humorous fashion. They raised their solo cups high to their new inspiration, their new motivation. A match, historical glass ceiling shattering WrestleMania Main Event. A video recap of Bianca’s win over Sasha Banks at WrestleMania played, set to inspirational music, the video package was very well put together.
With all of the Pride that a husband can have for his wife, Montez Ford announced for the first time ever on SmackDown, the new Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair. Belair’s music hit and she made her way to the ring with the biggest smile on her face. Ford handed her the mic, and an “EST” chant was piped into the arena. Belair said she feels like she’s still dreaming. Despite all the setbacks and struggles she never doubted that this moment was possible. She thanked her family, and said that if she was asked a year ago if she was going to main event WrestleMania and win the SmackDown women’s championship, she… would have said yes. She and the Profits laughed. She said that’s not cockiness. She said that’s believing in yourself and always being the “EST”. If you can dream it, you can do it.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Covering Belair’s career through the Mae Young Classic and through NXT, I was extremely happy to see her win at WrestleMania. She is more than deserving, and she comes across like a star. Years ago, we were talking about Bayley being the female John Cena. No, they’ve just made the next “female John Cena” in Belair. If she continues this message of positivity and is booked correctly, I can see her being a role model for young people, regardless of race or gender)
-Sasha was interviewed backstage by Braxton. All Sasha did was show off the whip mark from Bianca’s hair at WrestleMania and huff off camera.
-Bayley stepped into the interview instead, hyping her WrestleMania “hosting” duties and jawing off at Bianca Belair. Bayley said she wants to restore dignity to the title and challenged Bianca for the title.
(3) WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – STREET PROFITS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE
-Ziggler & Dawkin’s kicked things off, with Ziggler in control at first. Dawkins managed to tag in Ford who dropkicked Ziggler for a quick two count. He dropkicked a sitting Ziggler again for another two count. He tagged Dawkins back in, who climbed to the top. Ford held Ziggler, and Dawkin’s axe handled Ziggler’s arm. Ziggler was able to tag Roode in, and they spent the next few minutes double teaming both Ziggler and Roode.
Dawkins and Ford looked directly into a ringside camera, screaming that they want the smoke as they cut to commerical.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I’ll talk about the match later. Is there anyone out there who irrationally hates that Baron Corbin biker Snickers commercial as much as I do? Something about him in colorful spandex just… ugh. Talk about breaking kayfabe.)
-A WWE 2K22 teaser featuring Rey Mysterio and Cesaro played, hyping up this recapper for it’s release.
-Dawkins and Roode were the legal men back from commercial. Dawkins in control, knocking Ziggler off the apron but Roode reversed with a spinebuster for two. Roode tagged Ziggler in who knocked Ford off the apron. Neckbreaker to Dawkins for two. Ziggler tagged Roode in again, cutting Dawkins off from his partner. Vertical suplex to Dawkins for two before tagging Ziggler back in. Ziggler punched Dawkins a few times before jawing off to Ford. Just enough time for Dawkins to recover, and he sent Ziggler face first to the turnbuckle. Hot tag to Ford, Ziggler tagged in Roode. Ford cleaned house taking out both champions. Lariat to both Ziggler and Roode, followed by a back suplex to a standing moonsault for two on Roode.
Both champions rolled out of the ring and Ford flew to take them both out. Dawkins threw Roode in, Ford hit a splash for two. Ford pummeled Roode in the corner but Ziggler made a blind tag. He nailed a zig zag from behind and retained the titles.
Winners: Ziggler & Roode in 10:11
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I wish they would pull the trigger and put the belts back on the Profits. They’ve seemed directionless as of late and Ziggler and Roode feel like stale champions. A switch up might invigorate the division.)
-Cesaro told Braxton that he would beat Uso tonight.
-Roman, Uso and Heyman were backstage talking about a strategy against Cesaro.
(4) SHAYNA BASZLER (w/ Nia Jax) vs. NATALYA (w/ Tamina)
-Back from commercial, both women were already in the ring ready to rumble. Bell rang, and the two locked horns. They traded waist locks, head locks and strikes early on until Nattie looked for the Sharpshooter. Nia Jax pulled Shayna out of the ring to save her. Tamina made her way over to the two of them, and Shayna jumped back into the ring.
-Shayna in control of Nattie tried to lock in the armbar, but Nattie would not let her arm be bent. She hit Shayna with a spinning lariat and went for a sharpshooter once again but Nia distracted the ref and Nattie allowing Shayna to hit Nattie from behind. But Nattie reversed and rolled Shayna up for the three count.
Winner: Natalya in 2:29
(I wish the women would get a bit more time on SmackDown to tell stories. Shayna Baszler could be a major star on the brand yet she’s in a mid-card tag team with Nia Jax, feuding with two members of the womens division who, while extremely talented, have never been main event players. NXT Shayna Baszler was incredible, dominant and intriguing. Let that Shayna shine.)
-Uso cut an intense promo saying he’ll beat Cesaro. Reigns followed it up saying “You heard the man, now he’s going to show you.)
-A commercial featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin for WrestleMania from Dallas next year played.
(5) JEY USO vs. CESARO
-Recaps of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, and Uso’s win, played. Uso was next to the ring with the trophy coming back from that video package. Cesaro made his way to the ring next.
-Bell rang and Cesaro was explosive out of the gate, going for an early two count. Uso spent some time working both of Cesaro’s arms, hopefully preventing him from doing the “UFO”. The action spilled outside the ring as they cut to commercial.
-Uso was in control with the action in the ring as they came back. Uso was still working the arms of Cesaro until Cesaro was able to block a suplex and turned it into a vertical suplex of his own. Cesaro came back with a massive cross body off the top rope, and brought Uso to the top rope to hit a superplex. Instead, he hit a gut wrench superplex but Uso kicked at two.
The two traded offense for the next few minutes, strikes and suplexes. Uso hit a back body drop for two, and Cesaro kicked out really selling his arm. Uso grabbed Cesaro by the head, slapped him over and over again. This enraged Cesaro who exploded with punches, kicks and a massive lariat for two. He caught uso in the Big Swing, and swung uso five times before Seth Rollins attacked Cesaro, revenge from swinging him multiple times over the course of the last few weeks.
Winner: Cesaro by Disqualification in 9:58
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I was only so-so with this finish, I would have liked to see Cesaro get a clean win over Uso in a perfect world. This keeps Seth relevant in what I considered to be a hot feud with Cesaro. You can pull from Seth’s history with Reigns as to why Seth attacked as well if you wanted to, or keep it totally separate. Seth might wind up being the “Daniel Bryan” of this feud as too, somehow interjecting himself into the title picture with Cesaro.)