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LINDBERG’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 21, 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 Michael Cole welcoming the audience to the ThunderDome for tonight’s Smackdown. All of the Smackdown champions appeared on the stage to start the show, sans the Universal Champion. Apollo Crews, Bianca Belair, Natalya & Tamina, and the Mysterios showed off their gold. They then hyped the fatal four way IC title match between Big E, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Apollo Crews.
-Sonya Deville was in the center of the ring and said that the news broke today that in July, WWE will return to touring on the road. They showed a series of mainstream media articles touting this return to the road, then she introduced each of the champions standing on the stage. Aziz grabbed a mic for Apollo Crews who then said that Sonya Deville dishonored him by saying he would be defending not retaining his title. He said he’d unleash destruction on each of the three other participants in the match. He then kissed the IC title and said he loved it.
Sonya then welcomed Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion, to the stage. His old Shield music hit, and Paul Heyman walked to the ramp. He said that this was a nice parade of title holder, not champions. Roman Reigns is the only champion in on the brand and all of WWE and sports entertainment. Heyman said that there will be a parade of Champion later, but it won’t be now. Deville asked for everyone to applaud the champions when Bayley came out of the crowd and into the ring, upset that nobody was honoring her since she was the longest reigning Smackdown champion. She ran down each of the champions on stage. She demanded Bianca give her a rematch for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship. Belair stormed the ring and the two jawed off at one another. Bayley looked to back off when Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax attacked from behind. Tamina and Nattie tried to make the save but the heels were dominant. (c)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Let me guess, when we come back from the break we’ll have a six person tag? I liked this segment in a way, as the news of returning to a normal schedule in a couple months time is welcomed news. Having all of the champions out there made it feel like an important announcement, even if it was Deville giving it. Reigns not coming out perfectly fit his character, so totally fine with that as well.)
(1) SIX WOMAN TAG – SHAYNA BASZLER, NIA JAX & BAYLEY vs. TAMINA, NATALYA & BIANCA BELAIR
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Called it.)
The match was already underway when we came back from commercial with cousins, Nia Jax and Tamina squaring off in the ring. Jax was in control with a big elbow on Tamina for a near fall. Jax choked her on the middle rope for a 4 count before the ref backed her off allowing Baszler to take a cheap shot. Baszler tagged in, attacking Tamina in the corner followed by a snapmare for a two count. Bayley tagged in, Tamina trying to fight back to her corner with little success for a few moments before finally getting the tag to her partner, Natalya. Natalya was swiftly taken down by Bayley, as she tagged Shayna back in. Baszler attacked the arm before tagging Jax back in.
Nattie finally made the tag to Belair as Jax tagged in Baszler. Shayna went for the kirafuta clutch, but the Smackdown Women’s champion reversed. She climbed to the top and took out all three opponents, standing outside the ring, before commercial. (c)
Bayley and Bianca were the legal competitors, Bayley working on a tweaked knee of Belair. Belair tagged Tamina in, who came in like wildfire to take Bayley out. She knocked Baszler and Jax off of the apron and then tagged in Natalya. A german suplex to Bayley saw Tamina tagged back in. She superkicked Bayley and covered her. Bayley reached the bottom rope to break the pin. Shayna made a blind tag, bringing all six women into the ring. Chaos broke out, leaving Shayna and Nattie alone in the ring. Shayna locked in the kirafuta clutch on Nattie in the center of the ring for the win.
WINNERS: Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Bayley in 15:00 (approx)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: For a predictable opening match, this wasn’t half bad. All six women looked great, Nia and Tamina included. I’m not usually super high on their work, but tonight they played their powerhouse roles well.)
-Kayla Braxton introduced Big E backstage who popped up with a big smile. He said he was in a great mood. Tonight he stands in the ring with dogs, not terriers or yorkies. But men who will be future HOFers. Tonight he’ll be the rightful IC Champion. (c)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: E never really got back to the dogs comment. This was a typical Big E promo. Charisma and energy for days, but a little bit cryptic otherwise.)
-Alistair Black introduced another “Father’s Lesson”, cryptically talking about pain and the markings on his body. Once again, brilliantly animated with hieroglyphics. This time, a lot of his tattoos were showcased up close, adding to his cryptic story.
(2) KING CORBIN vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/ Rick Boogs)
Last week, Nakamura stole King Corbin’s crown, calling himself the new king. Nakamura has called himself the king of strong style for years, and he’s apparently been wearing it every day since. They showed a bunch of social media posts with him wearing it.
Corbin grabbed a mic and said that he saw those social media posts and it was incredibly disrespectful. He might be the king of strong style, but he is no king. A real king respects the crown. He said tonight, he’s going to grind Nakamura’s face into the mat with the heel of his boot, and take his crown back once and for all.
Rick Boogs, the former Erik Bugenhagen from NXT, made his debut with an electric guitar, playing along to Shinsuke’s music. Nakamura came out in a robe and the crown. (c)
The match was underway when we returned from commercial. Corbin was in control, taking Nakamura out with a lariat. Boogs was outside the ring, cheering Nakamura on. Nakamura began his comeback. He went for a high kick which Corbin turned into a powerbomb for a near fall. He wrenched Nakamura’s arm, then backed him into the corner beating him with stiff left hands.
Nakamura fought back, but was swiftly back elbowed by Corbin for another near fall. He went for a scoopslam, which Nakamura turned into a backstabber into a running knee to the face. He hit an uranage on Corbin for a near fall, then set up for the Kinshasa which was side stepped by Corbin. He hit a massive belly to back suplex for a two count on Nakamura to regain momentum.
Corbin hit the Deep Six for another near fall. Corbin was furious that Nakamura kicked out. At that moment, Boogs got on top of the announce desk with his guitar and began shredding Nakamura’s music. Corbin, distracted, was thwarted by the most powerful move in the history of pro-wrestling. The roll-up pin.
WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Rick Boogs in approx 5:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: When Boogs took the stage, I opened Skype and sent a message to Tom Stoup of PWT Talks NXT. “Hey, Boogs just debuted on Smackdown.” He said, “Oh, cool. I heard someone might tonight.” I replied “As Shinsuke’s hype man…” To which Tom replied “Oh, well now that just sounds fake.” Eric Bugenhagen was never a mainstay on NXT tv, but Tom was more familiar with his work from dark matches or the coconut loop. He’s not somebody that was remembered in a favored light, and he was the namesake of the “Boogs List”, that Tom informally put together on PWT Talks NXT to shame wrestlers who were in the audience of NXT tapings without masks, or wearing them as a chin strap. While I don’t have the highest opinion of Boogs, if all I had to go off of him was tonight… my opinion may be different. He reminds me of a cross between Elias and Mojo Rawley, which I feel could compliment this iteration of Shinsuke very well.)
-Jimmy Uso was shown backstage talking with Deville. He said that the best tag team in the world was back together and they were ready to add names to the Uso Penitentiary. Sonya questioned if Jey was on board, but Jimmy said that he was sure his brother was on board. Sonya made the match official between the Usos and Street Profits for next week.
-Roman Reigns made his way to the ring using his new music. Heyman entered earlier in the night with the old Shield theme. A nice touch to separate Roman from Heyman. Heyman and Jey uso accompanied the Universal Champion to the ring. (c)
-Kevin Owens was shown backstage talking to the camera. He said that he used to be called the Prizefighter. He intends on living up to that name again tonight, winning the Intercontinental title once again.
-Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman stood in the ring. Roman said that he thinks he’s a humble man, and always takes an opportunity to teach his kids about humility. He doesn’t like to brag on live TV, so he would allow his special counsel to celebrate him. Heyman took the mic and said that he has a moment here to acknowledge the Tribal Chief and listed his accolades since his return to WWE TV. He welcomed everyone to acknowledge the champion, and asked what else he could do for Reigns.
Cesaro’s music hit and he made his way to the ring. Reigns said to cut his music. Cesaro said he wasn’t in the mood for this. He was in the back looking for Rollins and all he can hear is Roman flapping his gums. Cesaro then challenged Reigns for the title once again at Hell in a Cell. Rollins attacked Cesaro from behind after that challenge. Cesaro was busted open the hard way, and the officials needed to separate them. Rollins broke free from officials and assaulted him once again. Cesaro was left seemingly unconscious on the ramp with a stretcher being used to take him away. (c)
(3) DOMINIK MYSTERIO vs. ROBERT ROODE
Roode came out energetic, immediately taking Mysterio to the mat repeatedly. Dominik reversed a suplex into a rollup for two, but didn’t stay in control of the match. Roode powered Mysterio to the top rope and was pushed down by Mysterio. He hit a cross body on Roode for two. Dominik looked for a tornado DDT, but was bieled across the ring instead by Roode. Dominik looked for the 619 when Ziggler jumped on the apron to distract the younger Mysterio.
Roode couldn’t capitalize on the distraction, and was hit with a 619 followed by a frog splash from Dominik for the win.
WINNER: Dominik Mysterio in 3:00 (approx)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: A quick match that, when looked at closely, really exposed a lot of Dominik’s weaknesses in the ring. While the talent is undoubtedly there, the polish still isn’t. He is far from the worst wrestler I’ve seen, but everything he does either looks a millisecond mistimed or too perfect and choreographed. With time, I think he’ll be great. But I wish he went through NXT rather than jump to the main roster to hone his talents. That said, I am kind of fond of the father/son title reign however.)
-Jimmy told Jey backstage that they had a match next week. Jey was not happy about this, and Jimmy tried convincing Jey once again that things aren’t about Roman. Jey said he needed to go and tell Roman about the tag match, he owed Roman that at least. (c)
-Back from commerical, Jey walked into Roman’s locker room and explained what happened with the tag match. When he said “we”, Roman asked who Jey meant by “we”. He said that “We” should be he and Jey, not Jey and his brother. He then hugged Jey and said he loved him, that everything was for the family and then walked off.
-The Street Profits cut a promo on Jimmy and Jey, hyping the match for next week.
-Sami Zayn was shown in Gorilla getting ready for his match. Kayla Braxton said to him “As a former champion…” when Zayn freaked out, saying that Braxton was trying to throw him off his game before going out there for the match. He said he would reclaim his IC title and reclaim his status as the champion of the people.
(4) SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS vs. BIG E vs. APOLLO CREWS
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn broke off and began fighting outside the ring as Crews and E squared off in the ring. Big E dropped Crews with an elbow, but was taken out by an enziguri from KO. KO was then tackled by Zayn who hammered him with a series of forearms.
Big E tossed Zayn out of the ring, and then went after Crews. He threw both men into the ring and delivered forearms to both of them as their heads were sticking out under the bottom rope. KO cannonballed over the top rope, taking Big E out to signal the commercial break. (c)
Big E and Crews were in the ring, Crews in control with a massive dropkick for a near fall. The action spilled out of the ring again, all four men on the ground in pain. Apollo bashed KO’s head off the steps before doing a moonsault off the apron to take out Big E. Zayn attacked Apollo from behind, screaming that it’s his title. He flipped off the barricade to take out the champion, but was thrown into the ring by KO and hit by a Swanton for two.
Big E broke up the pin and then he and KO squared off in the ring. E hit KO with a lariat, then hit by Crews with a series of German Suplexes. KO broke up that pinfall attempt with a senton, but was immediately hit by an exploder suplex by Zayn. KO reversed the helluva kick with a stunner, which was also reversed by Zayn into a Michinoku driver for two. Big E and Crews were taking a nap outside the ring as KO hit Sami Zayn with a brainbuster from the top rope. Crews managed to break up that pinfall attempt. Big E speared all of the men off of the apron to signal the second commercial break of the match. (c)
Back from break, Big E was on a roll, suplexing everyone in the ring before being hit by Zayn. Zayn escaped KO’s pop up powerbomb attempt at first, but he managed to get him with it moments later for a two count. KO went to the top rope, fighting Apollo in the corner. He was stunned on the top turnbuckle, but hit a frog splash on Big E moments later for a two count.
KO remained in control of Zayn and Crews and hit cannon balls on both. Big E looked to hit KO from behind but hit him with a cannon ball as well. Sami Zayn got up quickly and was able to nail a Blue Thunder Bomb on KO for a two count.
KO hit superkicks on Big E and Zayn followed by a pop up powerbomb on Crews for a near fall. The action spilled outside the ring again and KO was nailed with a suplex by Zayn. Big E hit Crews with the Big Ending when Aziz broke up the pin. No DQ in a fatal four way. Big E drove Aziz into the ring post and got back into the ring when all of the lights went dark. Then went super bright. Alistair Black emerged from the stage and then gave a black mass to Big E. Crews jumped on top of Big E, pinning E for the win.
WINNER: Apollo Crews
(Lindberg’s Analysis: It’s about time we saw Black again, but we have no idea why he came out tonight to help Crews. The announcers played it off as a mystery as well. While this was a bit of an anticlimactic finish to this long main event, a potential kickstart to this newer iteration of Black intrigues me. While Black may not have moved the needle much as NXT Champion, I still believe he was underrated as a champion. He’s got the charisma as well as the in-ring skills to be a star if pushed correctly within the promotion.)