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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
APRIL 30, 2021
TAMPA, FL. IN THE THUNDERDOME AT THE YUENGLING CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Pat McAfee
Match Results and Exclusives from Last Week
- Cesaro & Daniel Bryan defeated Jey Uso & Seth Rollins. This followed Rollins interrupting Cesaro who opened the show and anticipated discussing his challenge to Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. Jey would follow saying Cesaro didn’t belong in the ring with Roman. Bryan came out in support of Cesaro.
- Tamina defeated Nia Jax.
- Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez) defeated Kevin Owens due to a distraction by Azeez to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
- Dominik & Rey Mysterio defeated Otis & Chad Gable.
Key Non-Wrestling Segments
- Aleister Black made his first television appearance in quite some time in a pre-taped dark foggy segment. He talked about his father teaching him to become a dragon and no one will ever help him.
- Bayley and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair hyped their upcoming title match at WrestleMania Backlash. Bayley talked about taking Bianca under her wing and it would be an honor to be her first challenger and was impressed with her performance at WrestleMania. Later, she laughed in sarcasm.
Items Advertised by WWE
We continue on our way towards WrestleMania Backlash with another edition of Smackdown. Thus far only two matches are announced for Backlash, including the Smackdown Women’s Championship match mentioned earlier. As far as tonight is concerned, we have two championship matches, both of which we learned about during last week’s episode:
- Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan set for high-stakes Universal Title clash.
- Apollo Crews and Big E set for Intercontinental Title rematch.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (champ) vs. Daniel Bryan with Consequences
Things are not over between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. Tonight, Roman puts the Universal Championship on the line with condition that if Bryan loses, he is banished from Smackdown. This was set up during the closing segment of last week’s show where Cesaro, accompanied by Daniel Bryan, was awaiting Roman’s answer to Cesaro’s challenge for the title. Roman balked at Cesaro saying he doesn’t deserve it, and then turned his attention to Bryan. He said he’s never liked him, but said he gets one more title opportunity. If he loses, Roman said he never wants to see him again.
Roman and Bryan’s history runs deep, going back to 2015. Roman, then a babyface, won that year’s Royal Rumble while Bryan returned from injury after having to surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Roman then defeated Bryan at that year’s Fastlane to retain the right to go to that year’s WrestleMania and challenge Brock Lesnar. This year, Bryan won the Elimination Chamber for the right to challenge Reigns for the title but came up short. He then lost to Reigns at Fastlane, and in a triple threat match at WrestleMania involving Edge. Here’s Roman on Twitter:
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) April 29, 2021
Frank’s Analysis: It’s so crazy how these two men will always be linked. I will always wonder if there wouldn’t have been so much pushback from the fans regarding Roman had the WWE just played ball with the fans back in 2015 and had Bryan win that Rumble and face Brock at WrestleMania. That said, with Bryan’s contract rumored to be up “soon,” it’s very possible this is the end. He has said he wants to spend more time home with his family and has been involved with creative backstage. They could also do some kind of shenanigans like where Roman gets counted out or DQ’d or there’s a double count out and technically Bryan doesn’t “lose” and they do one more match at WrestleMania Backlash, especially if they want to do another Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins match where the winner of that gets a title shot.
Intercontinental Championship: Apollo Crews (champ w/Commander Azeez) vs. Big E
Big E gets a rematch from WrestleMania when he challenges Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship tonight. After Apollo retained the title over Kevin Owens with the help of Commander Azeez, Big E attacked him while he was being interviewed. Earlier in the evening, Big E interrupted Kevin during an interview where he was discussing his title shot. He said he was “jumping the line.”
Prior to WrestleMania, when Big E held the title, he and Apollo had a series of matches including one at Fastlane where Big E retained in controversial fashion. Apollo won the title at WrestleMania in a Nigerian Drum Fight where Commander Azeez made his first appearance by Apollo’s side.
Frank’s Analysis: I hadn’t thought about this until now, but are they planting seeds for a Big E heel turn? He interrupted two interviews and used heel tactics both times. I don’t think it will happen because I ultimately think he’s a better babyface, but the thought crossed my mind. That said, I see Apollo holding the title for a while and don’t see Big E regaining it tonight. How long a “while” is remains to be seen.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!