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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 18, 2021
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA IN “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
-They opened with a video package on the Mysterio Family-Roman Reigns saga.
-Cole welcomed viewers to the ThunderDome and hyped the Hell in a Cell match. They showed the cage lowering as Cole said for the first time in Network Television history, there’d be a Hell in a Cell match this night.
-Rey Mysterio made his ring entrance. Cole said the news broke last night that this match would happen tonight. McAfee quoted Rey’s tweet saying he couldn’t wait until Sunday, and then Reigns agreed because it’d be his pleasure to disgrace what’s left of the Mysterio family name on any night of the week. Rey looked into the camera and said any parent knows the feelings of pain, hurt, and sadness he is feeling. He said he told his son Dominik of the risks of competing in the ring. He said he can walk, but who knows when he’ll be back in the ring. He said Reigns tossed his son like a bag of bricks over the ropes onto the floor. He said he’d never forget the sound and the helpless look in Dominik’s eyes as he suffered in pain. He said he’ll never forget the man who did that to him. He said that’s why he wants the match tonight, because he can’t wait another day. Rey said he knows he agreed to the match on Twitter, but he wants to hear it from his mouth right then and there. He paused. “Get out here, you son of a bitch,” he said. Still no answer after ten seconds. Then the cage began to lower around Rey. Cole said Rey will be in the HIAC structure for the first time tonight. McAfee wondered why the cage was lowering. “Who’s calling the shots around here?” he asked.
Reigns music played. Cole said he does things on his time. Reigns said what he did to Dominik was PG compared to what he’ll do to him tonight, so is he sure he wants this match. Rey said he’s never been more sure of anything. Reigns said he tried to be diplomatic, “but now we do it my way.” He handed Paul Heyman the mic and walked off. Heyman followed. They showed Rey looking around the HIAC cage.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another strong promo from Rey, among his better career promos. Reigns was his usual stellar self in how he reacted to Rey. It’ll be very interesting to see if a 24 hour notice of a big PPV match being moved to Smackdown affects viewership numbers much. Smackdown has drawn under 2 million live and same-night viewers since the throwback episode in early May.)
-They went to McAfee and Cole at ringside who pivoted to plugging Commander Azzez’s debut later.
-Apollo Crews and Azzez made their ring entrance. A soundbite aired of Crews excitedly telling Kevin Owens and Big E they will know true pain. Azeez said they’d feel his boot. [c]
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Owens and Big E backstage. Owens said he’s not worried despite how big Azzez is because Big E is the strongest wrestler in the locker room. Big E said KO is talented, but didn’t gush. KO asked, “That’s it? I just showered you with praise.” Big E said the wound is still fresh. Big E then broke into preacher mode and said they will not be deterred because Azeez and Crews will feel their power. He looked over at Owens.
(1) COMMANDER AZEEZ & APOLLO CREWS vs. KEVIN OWENS & BIG E
Sami joined the announcers on commentary. Cole gave Sami a hard time for his documentary will being in production after all this time. Azeez tagged in a minute into the match and gave Big E a boot to the jaw to drop him. Big E rolled to ringside. Azeez, who wrestled in his “military uniform,” bodyslammed Big E. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Azeez was in control against Big E. Crews tagged in and went for a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. Big E countered and dropped Crews onto the ring apron. KO then tagged in and landed a quick Swanton for a two count. Azeez charged at Owens, but Owens ducked and Azeez flew over the top rope. He landed on his feet, though, and threw KO into the ringpost. Sami charged at KO for a cheapshot, but a DISTRACTED Owens turned and saw him, so Sami backed off quickly. When KO returned to the ring, Azeez caught him with a surprise Nigerian Nail for the three count. Azeez delivered another Nigerian Nail to Owens after the match.
WINNERS: Crews & Azeez in 9:00.
-Sami backstage relished the condition of KO who was gasping for breath. He said he could watch that on the monitor forever.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m sensing an Owens vs. Sami match will be added Sunday, maybe inside the Cell. Azeez was about what you’d expect. Showed a little bit more than Omos.)
-A brief video package hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. King Corbin up next. [c]
-Cole plugged Reigns vs. Mysterio again.
-The camera showed Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce chatting about how big tonight’s main event is. Owens barged in, coughing and gasping for breath, and he asked for Sami. Sonya asked if he’s sure. He said yes. Pearce said he’d give him Sami on Sunday.
(2) KING CORBIN vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Rick Boogs) – Battle for the Crown
Boogs introduced himself on the stage as he played his guitar. Next to him was the crown on a table. He introduced Nakamura as the King of Strong Style. McAfee gushed that he’s the greatest musician on Earth. He said it gets better every week. Corbin took control at the bell. When Nakamura made a comeback, he played air guitar next to Boogs at ringside as they cut to a very early break. [c]
Back from the break, Corbin had Nakamura grounded. He then hit a Deep Six for a two count. When McAfee said they were battling for the most important crown in Sports Entertainment, Cole said it’s the only crown in Sports Entertainment. McAfee said that makes it the most important. (Cole worked with Jerry Lawler for decades and he’s ignoring his King status with a crown!?) Nakamura finished Corbin with a running Kinshasa for the win. Nakamura was introduced as the “one true king of WWE.” Nakamura and Boogs celebrated on the stage. Corbin was shown reacting to his loss. Cole said he appeared on the verge of crying.
WINNER: Nakamura in 9:00 to capture the crown.
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin losing clean to Nakamura isn’t great for his perception as a potential top act on Smackdown, but it’s a fair trade off if he drops the King Corbin gimmick and repackages himself a bit.)
-They showed Bianca Belair twirling her hair backstage. [c]
-A video recap aired of the Bayley talk show segment last week where Belair cartoonishly laughed at Bayley after her set was destroyed.
-Belair smiled and danced in the ring as her music played. She said it felt so good to put Bayley in her place last week when Ding Dong Hello turned into Ding Dong Goodbye. She said it’s just like a bully to dish it out, but not be able to take it. She called Bayley out. She said Bayley laughing at her brought her back to the playground when bullies laughed at her for being “less than” when in reality she was “more than they could ever dream of being.” She said she’s not that little kid anymore. She said she doesn’t let anyone define her because she worked hard to get to where she is. She is loud, proud, and apologetically her.
She said Bayley will give it her all on Sunday. “Bay, Sunday, I don’t just want you in the ring, I want you inside Hell in a Cell.” The camera cut to a view of the Cell. She said Bayley won’t be laughing when she drags her face across every side of the Cell. “I’m going to do you so bad, you’re going to beg for me to stop,” she said. She said at first they try to ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.
Bayley’s music then played. Bayley went after Belair in the ring. Belair tossed Bayley to the floor, then head-first into the announce desk. Bayley took control with a yank of Belair’s braid and then slammed her face-first into the mat. She stood center-ring, holding up the women’s title belt. Cole wondered if that was Bayley’s way of accepting the HIAC challenge by Belair for Sunday. Bayley holding up the belt took over all the screens in ThunderDome.
-They went to Cole and McAfee. Cole said Rey has never been in a HIAC match, but he will face Reigns tonight, noting Reigns has never lost a Hell in a Cell match. Cole threw to a video package on Reigns and his cousins, the Usos.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good promo from Belair. Nice brawl afterward to add some intensity to the feud beyond laughing at each other. Moving the match into the Cell makes sense given the lack of a Reigns-Rey match on Sunday.)
-Backstage Jimmy Uso approached Reigns. Reigns stood and asked, “What’s up?” Jimmy said he thought about what he said last week about representing the family. “You’re right,” Jimmy said. “I may not agree with everything you say or be 100 on everything you do, but we’re blood, we’re family.” Reigns nodded and asked where his brother is. Jimmy said he hasn’t heard from him all week, and he swung by his crib the other day and he wasn’t there. Jimmy said he’s there if he needs him tonight. Reigns said, “No, I need your brother. Our family best when it’s completely together.”
-Otis and Chad Gable began their ring entrance. [c]
(3) ANGELO DAWKINS vs. OTIS (w/Chad Gable)
Cole said Montez Ford suffered torn cartilage and partial rib fracture from last week’s attack by Otis, so he’s not there tonight and his return date is yet to be determined. Gable took a cheap shot at Dawkins. Dawkins chased him at ringside. Otis knocked Dawkins over. Gable and Otis threw Dawkins shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Otis clotheslined Dawkins into a nasty German suplex onto the back of Dawkins’ head. The ref checked on Dawkins after he fell to the floor. Cole noted the match never officially started. Cole said Gable has turned Otis into a dangerous machine. The referees checking on Dawkins apparently called off the match, but an overt gesture or announcement by them never took place. They just cut away.
WINNER: Match Never Officially Started.
-They showed Rey warming up backstage. Cole and McAfee hyped the Reigns-Mysterio match was up next. [c]
-They showed Reigns wrapping his forearms backstage as Heyman stood behind him and watched intently.
-McAfee said he’s been mesmerized by the Cell since he was a child, and this is his first time seeing it in person. As they showed the Cell slowly being lowered, Cole threw to a sponsored video package on the Seth Rollins-Cesaro feud.
-Kayla interviewed Cesaro backstage in the ring. She asked if he’s concerned their feud has escalated so far. Cesaro said it hasn’t escalated far enough, noting Seth stomped his head and put him out on a stretcher. He said he loves what he does and has worked very hard to get the opportunities he’s had. In walked Seth, cackling. Cesaro stood up. Seth told him to calm down because he’s not there to fight, he’s a professional and a gentleman who showed up to have a conversation. He politely asked Kayla for the mic so he could conduct the interview. She had a “good riddance” demeanor as she handed him the mic and then turned and left. Seth told Cesaro he disgusts him. He said everything he does and everything he stands for is a disgrace. He said he doesn’t deserve even a single ounce of respect. He said he’ll show him and everyone like him on Sunday what he does deserve when he puts him in his place. He said it calmly, but stated each syllable with a precision. Cesaro said he’d see him on Sunday, and then he knocked him over.
-Rey’s ring entrance took place. Cole again noted this is the first HIAC match in Mysterio’s career. The on-screen graphic noted he joined WWE over 18 years ago. McAfee said Rey might want revenge for his son more than he wants the Universal Title. Cole said Reigns has turned Rey into an emotional powder-keg. [c]
(4) ROMAN REIGNS vs. REY MYSTERIO – Hell in a Cell match for the Universal Title
Reigns and Heyman made their ring entrance after the break. Cole said Big E told him earlier that they should all pray for Rey tonight. McAfee said they all love Rey, and this isn’t a good decision by him. Charles Robinson was the referee for this match. Rey jabbed Reigns with a chair at the bell. Reigns blocked another swing and sent Rey flying to ringside. Rey sprayed Reigns with a fire extinguisher and then rammed him in the head with it. They cut to an early break. [c]
Rey put a chair against Reigns’s back on the ring apron, then slidekicked it. Rey put Reigns’s head into the chair and then shoved Reigns into the side of the cage. Cole asked, “Is that a look of panic on the face of Reigns?” Reigns charged at Rey at ringside, but Rey moved and Reigns crashed through a table leaning in the corner. Reigns made a comeback. Reigns lifted Rey and swung him into the side of the Cell by his legs. McAfee compared Rey to a bag of bones. With Rey down at ringside, they cut to another break. [c]
The announcers talked about Reigns absorbing Rey’s early barrage and surviving long enough to take control. Reigns beat up Rey in the corner. Reigns hit Rey with a Superman Punch. Rey punched Reigns mid-air and set him up for a 619, but Reigns nailed him with a punch instead. Reigns charged at Rey in the corner, but Rey moved and Reigns went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Rey landed a 619 and then bashed Reigns across his back and chest a few times. He put the chair on Reigns, then climbed to the top rope and flew off with a frog splash onto the chair. Rey sold a rib injury and didn’t make the immediate cover. Rey climbed to the top again and landed a splash for a two count.
Reigns caught Rey flying at him and then threw him over the top rope into the cage. Cole compared it to what happened to Dominik last week. Heyman yelled, “Oh my God!” Reigns dragged Rey back into the ring and put him in an inverted guillotine for a tapout win.
WINNER: Reigns in 16:00 to retain the Universal Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well done. Straight forward.)
-After the match, the cage was raised. Jimmy Uso ran out and raised Reigns’s arm. Reigns looked down at Rey who was struggling to crawl over to the bottom rope. Reigns eyed him and handed Heyman his belt. Reigns’s music stopped. Rey pulled himself to his feet, gasping if not crying. Reigns began shaking and then he put Rey into another inverted guillotine. Cole said Rey is helpless. He threw him down. Jimmy looked on. Reigns held his belt in the air and trash-talked Rey as the show ended.