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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 25, 2021
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA IN “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
CHECK OUT OUR SMACKDOWN POST-SHOW FOR ANALYSIS AND LIVE CALLER INTERACTION…
-They opened with a recap of last week’s Hell in a Cell match between Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio with the closing line by Cole, “How do you stop Roman Reigns?”
-They cut to Paul Heyman and Reigns backstage. Heyman kneeled next to Reigns and said from their hospital beds, Rey and Dominik are acknowledging their Tribal Chief. Reigns stood. In walked Jimmy. Reigns asked where his brother was. Jimmy said he’s “a no-show tonight.” He said he’s called and texted him a hundred times and he finally got a hold of him. Reigns asked what he said. Jimmy said Jey said he’s not coming back. Reigns was disgusted he wouldn’t show up for work. Jimmy said, “I ain’t nobody’s bitch, and tonight I’ve got you,” he said. He said family bonds them. Reigns asked Jimmy if what he’s saying is he’s willing to be his right-hand man. Jimmy hedged on whether he could do what Jey did the way he did it. Reigns took exception and asked if he was saying he couldn’t then. Jimmy re-calibrated and said he could. Reigns told him to prove it.
-Cole and McAfee said they’d have a State of the Universal Title Address.
-Bianca Belair made her way to the ring twirling her hair and skipping. They piped in a loud “EST!” chant and Belair smiled. She talked about facing Bayley. She said she likes to shine up her title so she can see her reflection clearly. She said “not to be vain, but to remember the girl in that reflection, oh, she did that, she persevered.” She said Bayley tossed everything she could at her and she even tried to use her hair against her. She said despite all that, she can’t stop smiling because she walked out with the title belt. She said she is so proud of the “girl” she sees in that reflection because she didn’t allow the bully Bayley to get to her. She said to anyone out there struggling with their own Bayley, let her win be a reminder that she and all of them are more powerful than the bullies. She said they can laugh in your face like the Wicked Witch of the West, “but ding dong, the wicked witch is dead.”
Seth Rollins’ music played and he made his way to the ring acting as obnoxious as usual. He said they are celebrating because, at Hell in a Cell, they both overcame adversity. He said they both overcame a huge amount of adversity, overcoming haters and trolls. He said he’s now working his way up the ladder to the tip tip top. He told Belair that unlike him, she just squeaked by Bayley. “Some would call it a fluke,” he said. He said they should party tonight. He held up his hand for a high-five. Belair looked at him like he was crazy and asked, “Who do you think you’re talking to?” She said he’s teaming with Bayley later. Seth said all the more reason to high-five now because Bayley’s going to knock her face-first onto the mat.
Bayley came out and said she was going to come out and congratulate her on her victory, yet all she’s done is brag and brag. She said that’s not the kind of champion the fans need and deserve. Belair said she can show her in the ring what kind of champion she is. Seth said, “Be careful what you ask for!” Bayley entered the ring and got in Belair’s face. She said Belair’s win over her was a fluke and she still sees a pathetic Bianca Bel-loser. Seth cackled. Belair punched Bayley. Seth stepped between them. Bayley leaped at Belair and beat her up in the corner.
Cesaro came out next, running to the ring. He ducked Seth trying to use the mic as a weapon, then knocked him to the floor. Bayley told Cesaro it’s all his fault and he ruined her show. Cesaro lifted Belair who then swung around and kicked Bayley. Cole said they’d start the mixed tag match after the break.
(Keller’s Analysis: One of Belair’s better promos. I like WWE putting out an anti-bulling message, and Belair was proud and confident without going into the territory she did when she was trying to get heel heat in NXT for being off-puttingly cocky. She just glows with charisma when she’s her natural self and not needlessly amping it up to “11” and becoming a cartoon caricature. Bayley and Seth claiming her win wasn’t sufficiently convincing is a good heel tactic to build up viewers wanting to see them get their comeuppance against Belair & Cesaro next.) [c]
(1) BIANCA BELAIR & CESARO vs. BAYLEY & SETH ROLLINS
After Seth and Cesaro battled, Bayley and Belair battled. Bayley countered a charging Belair at ringside, dropping her chest-first over the ringside barricade and then shoved her into the ringpost. They cut to a break. [c]
Bayley was still in control after the break. Eventually Belair hot-tagged Cesaro, who charged Seth, knocking him off the ring apron. He took it to Seth at ringside with a rapid-fire attack of uppercuts and banging his head into the ring apron. Back in the ring he landed a top rope crossbody into a near fall. Cesaro gave Seth a Cesaro Swing next. Bayley teased jumping into the ring, causing a DISTRACTION. Seth rolled up Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro came back with a corkscrew uppercut for a two count. Bayley leaped at Cesaro. Cesaro caught her. Seth punched Cesaro and then gave him a forearm to the back of his neck. Belair entered to break up the cover with a diving shove of Seth off of Cesaro. Cesaro made a comeback until Seth tagged in Bayley. Cole wasn’t sure Bayley was happy about that. Belair tossed Bayley into the ring, then shoved Seth into a Cesaro uppercut on the floor. Belair landed a spinebuster on Bayley for a two count. She lifted Bayley for a KOD, but Rollins ran into the ring and knocked Belair off balance. Bayley then hit a running knee followed by her finisher for the win.
WINNERS: Bayley & Rollins in 12:00.
-They showed Jimmy Uso pacing backstage.
-They showed the ring being prepared for the coronation of Shinsuke Nakamura. [c]
-Jimmy asked Heyman what it means that he has to prove something. Heyman his family needs Reigns to have a right-hand man. He said if his brother won’t, then “Main Event” Jimmy Uso is what the family needs. Jimmy asked what he can do 35 minutes into the show. Heyman said if Reigns understands anything, it’s winning. Heyman suggested a match tonight. Jimmy was up for it. Heyman warned him that not winning could be bad.
-A sponsored recap aired of the Nakamura-Corbin saga.
-In the ring, Rick Boogs stood in the ring with his guitar and introduced the ceremony. McAfee went bonkers celebrating the arrival of Nakamura. “What a moment!” he said. “We have a brand new king.” Cole said he was going to hurt himself. They cut backstage to Kayla Braxton asking “King, I mean Baron Corbin” for a reaction. He was sullen, dejected, and crestfallen as he watched a monitor of Nakamura’s celebration. He said, “I lost my crown… What’s the point?” He then walked off.
-They cut to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville dancing to Nakamura’s music when Seth walked in, cackling. He said the time has come and the time is now. He said tonight, Reigns has a State of the Universal Championship Address. He said he should be his next challenger. He told them how accomplished he is, and he assured them he has never been more prepared in his life for that challenge. He said no one on the roster deserves the opportunity more than him. Pearce said he is inclined to agree with him, but they’re not ready to make the decision yet. Deville said they’d take it under advisement.
-Cole noted Seth is a former Mr. Money in the Bank. Big E made his ring entrance. [c]
-Cole said WWE is returning to the United Kingdom in September for the first time in two years. Cole shifted to saying Otis has been destructive lately.
(2) BIG E vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Commander Azeez) – Money in the Bank Qualifier
Some back and forth action early. They cut to a break after Crews gave Big E a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. [c]
Back from the break, Big E was elbowing out of a Crews headlock, but Crews landed a dropkick for a one count. Apollo controlled the action for a while, then swiveled his hips Big E-style over Big E when he was down.
Big E gave Crews two overhead suplexes and then a belly-to-belly. McAfee said Big E has dinosaur strength. Big E landed a running splash for a two count, then began clapping. Crews made a comeback with a counter to a uranage attempt followed by three German suplexes for a two count. Big E made a comeback and applied a stretch muffler on Crews, but Crews grabbed onto the bottom rope with help from Azeez pushing the bottom rope toward him. Both were slow to get up. Crews landed a frog splash off the top rope for a near fall. Big E landed a uranage at ringside and then rolled Crews back into the ring. Azeez shoved Big E into the barricade and set up a Nigerian Nail. The ref blocked it and ordered him to return to the back. Azeez put up a little verbal push-back, but apparently is used to complying with orders as he did return to the back. That DISTRACTION, though, led to Crews rolling up Big E from behind for a two count. Big E then hit a Big Ending for the win.
WINNER: Big E in 13:00 to advance into the MITB match.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good match. WWE isn’t cutting back on distractions during matches, but they are at least mixing it up so that there are a lot of distractions that don’t actually lead to the finish, which is almost a palatable middle-ground.)
-They shifted to a recap of Sami Zayn beating Kevin Owens at HIAC.
-Kayla Braxton tried to interview Sami, but he interrupted her and rambled about being persecuted and being part of a world of meaningless chaos. He said beating KO showed him that the universe is a machine meant to deliver cosmic justice. He said he isn’t one to exaggerate, but he thinks this might be the best week of his life. Braxton broke the news to Sami that he is scheduled to face KO in a MITB qualifier. Sami said he already beat KO and got the justice he was looking for, but now they’re trying to stick it to him again. He said now they’re not just messing with him, but they’re messing with the cosmos. He closed by saying this might be the worst week of his life.
-Deville walked out to deliver news on who would be in the Women’s MITB ladder match. [c]
-Cole said Jimmy will face Dolph Ziggler later.
-Sami told Pearce he should just put him in the MITB match instead of making him qualify. He said, “Better yet, in all honesty, you could just give me the contract. It’d be good for me, it’d be good for you – from a karmic standpoint.” Pearce said he of course won’t do that. He said it’ll be a Last Man Standing match. Sami asked Pearce to verify that just giving him the briefcase is off the table. Pearce confirmed that. Sami said he’s playing with karma.
-Deville stood mid-ring and announced Carmella as the first Smackdown entrant into the MITB match. Cole said she calls herself the most beautiful woman in WWE. She made her entrance and thanked Deville for making her the obvious choice. They piped in boos. She laughed like Sasha Banks and said they’re mad. She said she’s the most beautiful woman in all of WWE. She asked Deville to do things the right way. Liv Morgan’s entrance interrupted. She walked onto the stage and asked if declaring yourself as the most beautiful woman in all of WWE apparently gives you an opportunity. Liv entered the ring and said she beat her last week and she deserves it more than Carmella. Carmella broke into that guttural Sasha-style laugh. She said this match is for the real stars and said Liv was “so cute.” Carmella asked everyone to look at her compared to her. Liv punched Carmella. Deville stepped between them and said that is a way to make a statement. Deville asked Liv to prove she belongs in the match by taking on Carmella right now. [c]
(3) CARMELLA vs. LIV MORGAN – MITB Qualifier for Morgan
Carmella was in control after the break. They showed Natalya & Tamina watching on a monitor backstage. Cole wondered if they are on Deville’s list of women to enter the MITB match. Carmella mouthed off to Liv, slapped her, and shoved her. Liv exploded with a springboard face-plant for a near fall, with Carmella stopping the count with her boot over the bottom rope. They replayed in slo-mo an earlier kick by Carmella to Liv’s throat. Liv rolled up Carmella seconds later for a win. McAfee said she did it twice in a row. Cole wondered if Liv did enough to impress Deville.
WINNER: Morgan in 4:00.
-Carmella told the ring announcer after the match to announce she is still the most beautiful woman in all of WWE. Carmella celebrated like the loss didn’t matter.
-Kayla asked Jimmy about the pressure being on. Jimmy enthusiastically dedicated his upcoming win to the family and Jey in particular. He said he hoped Roman was watching. [c]
(4) DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Robert Roode) vs. JIMMY USO
Ziggler came out chomping on gum. He was wearing pride emblems on his wristband and tights. He confidently told Uso, “Not tonight.” Uso was aggressive early. Ziggler took over and raked Jimmy’s eyes over the top rope, then landed a standing dropkick. Ziggler then settled into a chinlock and bodyscissors. Uso backdropped Ziggler over the top rope a minute later, then dove through the ropes into Roode at ringside, knocking him over the announce table. Ziggler then caught Uso at ringside with a Zig Zag onto the stairs. [c]
Back from the break, Uso stopped a Ziggler rally with a clothesline and a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Ziggler came back with a Zig Zag for a near fall. Uso fought out of the corner with chops. He landed a superkick for a clean win.
WINNER: Uso in 10:00.
-Afterward backstage, Jimmy told Reigns proudly, “I did it!” He was all smiles. Reigns, expressionless, turned and made his way to the ring. Jimmy was going to follow, but Heyman smiled and explained he should stay put. Cole said that wasn’t the reception Uso was hoping for or expecting. Uso’s excitement turned to confusion and concern.
-Reigns made his entrance with Heyman. He held up the Universal Title belt as Cole said he’d address the State of the Universal Title next. [c]
-Cole hyped next week’s Last Man Standing match.
-Reigns’s music faded. Heyman said he has many flaws, but being inarticulate is not one of them. He said he is there to acknowledge the Tribal Chief, and the footage they’re about to show speaks almost as eloquently as he does. They aired clips of Reigns beating up Rey and Dominik. Back in the ring, they piped in a loud “Roman’s Sucks!” chant. Heyman said, “The Head of the Table does not suck.” He said The Fiend got frightened, Braun Strowman got slaughtered, Kevin got KO’d, Edge and Daniel Bryan got pinned, stacked, emasculated, neutered, embarrassed, humiliated at WrestleMania, and shipped off. He said Bryan was man enough to come back, but he got shipped back out. He said Cesaro got clobbered, then the Mysterios got launched – literally, figuratively, metaphorically – straight to hell. He said they’re watching him from their hospital beds now. He said Reigns has wiped out the entire division in less than a year, so the Tribal Chief will have to change course to something that’s never been done on network television before. He said they have no other choice because there’s no one left.
Heyman looked at Reigns and handed the mic over to him. Reigns paused. They piped in a “You suck!” chant. Edge interrupted. Reigns turned and got wide-eyed. Edge went after Reigns and clotheslined him off the ring apron and bashed him into the announce table. Back in the ring, Reigns caught Edge with a Superman Punch. Reigns brought a chair into the ring, but Edge speared Reigns before he could use it. “Roman Reigns is in trouble!” Cole said. Edge put Reigns’s head on a chair. He grabbed a second chair. Cole called it payback and retribution. Jimmy punched Edge off the ring apron and pummeled away at him. McAfee said he showed he is the right-hand man. Edge whipped Jimmy into the steps. Edge speared Jimmy through the ringside barricade. He entered the ring and said, “You want me?! I’m right here!” Edge’s music played as Reigns, Uso, and Heyman retreated up the stage.
(Keller’s Analysis: Edge looked like he put on weight – muscle and fat – to just be thicker overall, and it made him seem more like a physical threat than in the lead-up to WrestleMania. He has a bit of a caveman look with a thicker beard and unhinged demeanor. When Heyman complimented Bryan for coming back after WrestleMania, it dropped the hint that Edge was heading back. I was expecting WWE to save returns like Edge for in front of live crowds. Maybe WWE thinks they can’t wait three weeks to start kicking things up a few notches given the string of audience levels below 2 million in May and June. We will forever be curious what Reigns was going to say had Edge not interrupted, I suspect.)
CHECK OUT OUR SMACKDOWN POST-SHOW FOR ANALYSIS AND LIVE CALLER INTERACTION…