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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JUNE 25, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT YUENGLING CENTER (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Backstage Correspondent: Kayla Braxton
Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest a co-host to break down the show with live callers and emails.
•STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
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(Hazelwood’s Take: Just thought I’d let everyone know I’m sitting down to watch the show in my brand new Nation of Domination long-sleeved shirt.)
-They began with a video recap of last week’s Universal Championship Hell in a Cell match between Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio, which saw Mysterio use all manner of weapons to gain a believable amount of offense. He still fell victim to Reigns, with the exclamation point being when Reigns powerbombed Mysterio from the ring and into the Cell before choking him out with his modified guillotine/anaconda choke. They also showed Jimmy Uso coming down and aligning himself with Reigns before Reigns locked in the choke again.
-They returned with Heyman talking to Reigns, but what he said was drowned out by the boos. He said from their hospital beds, they will acknowledge their Tribal Chief. Reigns stood, looked to his right as Jimmy Uso approached, and asked about Jey Uso. Jimmy said he’s a no-show, but he finally got a hold of Jey. Reigns asked what he said. Jimmy paused, then said Jey said he isn’t coming back. Reigns shook his head, mouth twitching, then said he took him from being “one of The Usos to being ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso” and he doesn’t show up for work?
Jimmy said he “ain’t nobody’s bitch, but I’m here,” saying he has Reigns’ back. Reigns asked if Jimmy will be the righ-hand man. Jimmy said he isn’t Jey. Reigns grinned and said so you can’t do this. Jimmy defiantly said he can: he can do what his brother did. Reigns said prove it. Jimmy walked away as Reigns looked at him questioningly.
-Michael Cole & Pat McAfee welcomed fans as they hyped the show with Reigns’ celebration. They then played Bianca Belair’s music for her mixed tag team match with partner Cesaro against Bayley & Seth Rollins. They showed some photos of Belair vs. Bayley inside the Cell, which saw Belair emerge victorious. She took a mic as they piped in “EST” chants.
She said wow, what a night, it’s Friday, we’re on the road to Money in the Bank, and we are three weeks out from leaving the Thunderdome and “seeing you guys live and in-person.” She said tonight, she’s about to whoop up on Bayley yet again, laughed, then said after she won on Sunday, she hasn’t been able to stop celebrating or shining her title because she likes it to be so clean she sees her own reflection. She said it’s not to be vain, but to remember that the person in the reflection “did that.”
She went over some of the play-by-play of their Cell match, then said even through all the pain, she couldn’t stop smiling because she walked out with her title held high. She said she’s proud of the person in the reflection because she overcame a Bayley, sorry, she meant a bully, and to let this be a reminder to everyone that anyone out there is much more powerful than those scheming bullies, like the Wicked Witch of the West…but ding dong, the witch is dead. Rollins’ music hit as he interrupted.
He strolled to the ring, laughing maniacally, then said it’s a night to celebrate as he introduced Belair (she danced along). He said they both overcame adversity on Sunday, diminished hers, then really hyped his and called Cesaro “Casaro.” He said he beat Cesaro bell to bell, pillar to post, and now he’s moving on up. He said Belair didn’t dominate “kind of in the way I did. You squeaked by, some would call it a fluke.” She laughed while he said that’s no reason no to celebrate.
He put his hand up then down for a high-five and she said, “Who do you think you’re talking to?” and asked if he knows who he’s teaming with. He said of course, but once Bayley’s through with running you through the mat, we can’t high-five.
Bayley entered and said she was going to congratulate Belair, but all she heard was Belair bragging all over again and she just can’t take it because that’s not the type of champion the people need and deserve. Belair said stop talking and come in the ring and she’ll show her what kind of champion she is. Rollins was egging them on from the corner.
Bayley entered and said after her fluke victory, she doesn’t look at her any differently. She looked deeply into the championship, and said she still sees the same pathetic “Bianca Bel-loser.” Belair struck Bayley, but Bayley gained the advantage when Rollins stepped in. Cesaro then entered and took care of Rollins. Bayley threw Belair out, then turned and said this was all Cesaro’s fault for ruining her show. Belair came in and used an assist from Cesaro to hit a dropkick to send out Bayley. They cut to break. [c]
(1) BIANCA BELAIR & CESARO vs. BAYLEY & SETH ROLLINS – Mixed tag team match
They returned with Cesaro immediately hitting a go-behind and slamming Rollins, then rotating on him a bit before lifting and slamming him one more time. Rollins hit a back elbow, but then suffered a big Swiss uppercut and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Rollins made the tag, so Belair was forced in.
She handsprung over Belair, then taunted her. Belair tagged in an unsuspecting Rollins, who went outside and ran, then missed as he tried to land a knee to a reentering Cesaro. Cesaro hit an uppercut from the floor, reentered, but then ate a flatliner into the second turnbuckle and a slingblade for a one-count.
Rollins dropped a knee to the face of Cesaro, then slowed things down. He slammed Cesaro face-first into the mat, then held a neck crank that turned into a rear chinlock. Cesaro fought to his feet with Rollins on his back, but Rollins slid off and landed a kick and chop. Cesaro responded with an uppercut, then three more before Rollins kicked him, hit a snapmare, then a running PK to the back.
Rollins whipped Cesaro into the ropes, but held on and hit a knee to the gut, then did the same thing before going for the Falcon’s Arrow. Cesaro blocked it, went for a vertical, Rollins blocked, standing switch, Rollins rolled out of a belly-to-back, then Cesaro, which allowed Belair to tag in.
Belair went to work, then hit a dropkick-kip up combo twice. She hit a backbreaker, held on, then hit a gut buster and a standing moonsault for a two-count. Belair rammed her shoulder into Bayley’s gut in the corner, but Bayley rolled outside and hit a flapjack on Belair across the barricade, then threw her into the ring post before quickly retreating into the ring as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Bayley holding Belair in an armlock, maybe a hammerlock, then slamming Belair down. They showed the replays that Belair hit the post with her arm that was compromised during their Cell match. Bayley applied a modified Kimura, then slammed Belair down to prevent the tag for a two-count.
She immediately went back to working the arm, but Belair flipped her over with a modified backbody drop. Belair tagged in Cesaro, who came in and kicked Rollins off of the apron. He followed outside and hit a running boot to Rollins against the barricade. He rammed Rollins’ head onto the apron several times, threw him inside, then hit a top rope crossbody for a two-count. He set for the Cesaro Swing, and hit five rotations (I think) befor setting for the Sharpshooter. Bayley acted like she was going to enter, then thought better.
Rollins rolled up Cesaro for a two-count, but then ate a springboard corkscrew uppercut. He set for the Neutralizer, but Bayley jumped, causing him to catch her. Rollins hit an enziguri, then his forearm to the back of the head. Belair broke up the pin to Rollins’ anger. He yelled that she was what’s wrong with the place. Cesaro fought back, but then Rollins tagged in Bayley.
Bayley wasn’t happy, but rolled up Belair for a two-count before being hit with a spinebuster for a two-count. Belair lifted Bayley for the KOD, but Rollins bumped into her, causing her to drop Bayley. Bayley hit a running knee and the Rose Plant for the victory as Cole emphasized she pinned the champion.
WINNER: Bayley & Seth Rollins at 12:04 (Rose Plant)
-They showed Jimmy pacing outside of Reigns’ personal room as Cole reminded viewers of Reigns’ orders. They then showed crew changing the mat for the coronation of the new king of WWE, “Kingsuke” Nakamura. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Belair’s promo started out going down the path of arrogance, but she brought it back nicely with making it about being proud of herself and using that as a message to fans. Rollins cackles so much, and saying “fluke” victory is particularly heelish considering Belair won with her finisher and Rollins won with a rollup on Sunday. With Bayley bringing it up as well, you knew we were heading for a rematch, and this finish definitely suggests a rematch at Money in the Bank.)
-They returned with Jimmy still pacing as Heyman exited. Jimmy asked what Reigns meant about prove. Heyman said the family needs a Tribal Chief, and they do in Reigns, but they also need a right-hand man. He said if Jey doesn’t want to show up, then “Main Event” Jimmy Uso needs to show up. Jimmy said we’re 35 minutes into the show, what can he do. Heyman said if Reigns understands anything, it’s winning, so win a match tonight. Heyman said he’ll get him a match tonight. Jimmy said he’ll win. Heyman said he knows, because if he doesn’t win, he just gave him a pat on the back and left.
CORONATION OF SHINSUKE NAKAMURA AS NEW “KING OF WWE”
They were playing regal court music as Cole shifted to the Progressive Match Flo to show how this came to be (Rick Boogz was in the ring dressed in white with a white guitar waiting to play in the new King). They showed replays of last week’s match where Nakamura won clean and Corbin started crying for losing the crown.
Boogz said hear ye, hear ye, and gave his usual energetic intro. He said he’s introducing the one true King of WWE, Shinsuke Nakamuraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! He began playing him in as McAfee started going nuts, as expected. Nakamura entered in all white and sat on his throne, with McAfee saying it was fit for a king. Boogz then slowly placed the crown on Nakamura’s head. Nakamura rose to his feet and began doing his dancing as Boogz told everyone to hail the new King of Smackdown. McAfee clapped two bottles of water together and started chugging like Austin.
Kayla Braxton approached Corbin in the back, who looked dejected. He said he lost his crown, but it was hard to hear him over Boogz playing. He then said what’s the point and walked off.
-They showed Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville air guitaring along until Rollins approached saying the time is now. He said Mr. Pearce, Ms. Deville, it’s what he can do for them and for the entire WWE Universe. He said tonight Reigns has a state of the Universal Championship address. He said if this address happens to be about his next challenger, you’re looking at him.
He said he doesn’t need to list off all of his accolades because they know, but he did say he has never been more prepared in his life for this challenge. He said most importantly, no one deserves an opportunity more than him. Pearce said he’s inclined to agree with him, but their not ready to make that decision yet. Deville said they’ll take it under advisement. Rollins said the time is now and walked off.
-They shifted to the ring where they showed the MITB briefcases hanging above the ring. Big E made his entrance for his qualifying match against Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I wonder if this means Corbin’s showing up on Raw as a draft pick with a new/old gimmick. Also, when Rollins got serious about being the challenger, THAT’S the Rollins that works, even as a heel. He doesn’t need to be a hyperbolic cackler.)
-They returned with headlines about their return to touring in the United Kingdom for the first time in two years in September. Cole then shifted to a video on Otis, “a man who’s been destructive as of late.” It showed him laying waste to The Street Profits over the past few weeks.
(2) BIG E vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Commander Azeez) – Money in the Bank qualifying match
They shifted back to the ring where E was waiting and his opponent made his entrance. Cole reminded fans three men qualified on Monday night, with a last chance triple threat this coming Monday. They began with a lockup and Crews making the break with a face mush in the corner. They locked up again, and this time, E shoved Crews to the outside instead of a clean break, a little turnabout is fair play.
Crews took his time reentering the ring, then kicked E in the gut and delivered some heavy blows. He came off of the ropes, but E exploded into him for a two-count. E threw Crews into the corner, ate a boot, but then delivered a clothesline for a two-count. E looked like he was enjoying himself. He gave Crews a stiff shot across the chest, joined him on the apron, but ate a gut kick and a Death Valley Driver on the apron as Crews yelled out. They cut to break. [c]
They returned with Crews holding a rear chinlock on E, who fought to his feet. E came off of the ropes, but ate a good dropkick for a two-count. He stood over E, then delivered a straight punch to the forehead. He gave E a kick to the head, then reapplied the rear chinlock, this time with E lying on the mat. E fought to his feet, but Crews brought him down quickly for a one-count before reapplying the hold.
E fought back to his feet, sidestepped a rushing Crews, but then ate a snap suplex for a two-count. Crews mocked The New Day’s clap and hip swivel while shoving his boot in E’s face. He lifted E for a belly-to-belly, but E got the underhooks and hit two belly-to-belly overhead suplexes, then his belly-to-belly followed by the big running splash. He didn’t cover, instead doing the clap and readying for the Big Ending.
Crews dodged and landed a punch, then countered E’s corner uranage into an arm drag, then hit three German suplexes maintaining the hold for a two-count. McAfees said it was a drive through of Suplex City. Crews went for the Olympic Slam, but E countered into a rollup, then a stretch muffler sub. Crews handwalked to the rope that Azeez pushed toward Crews. Crews hit an enziguri while holding onto the top rope, flooring E.
Crews went to the apron, climbed to the top, but E met him with a few strikes. He climbed to the second rope, had to regain his balance, then ate some strikes from Crews. Crews dropped to the apron and hit an enziguri, dropping E to the mat. Crews climbed again and hit a frog splash for a two-count. Crews immediately hit a deadlift German suplex for a two-count. Crews yelled in frustration.
E rolled outside as Azeez approached. Crews followed, but this time ate the uranage, only on the outside. E lifted Crews and rolled him back in. Azeez grabbed E and shoved him into the barricade, but the ref grabbed his arm before he could hit the Nigerian Nail, tossing him. Crews used the distraction to rollup E, but only for a two-count. E then hit the Big Ending for the victory. He pointed at the briefcases.
WINNER: Big E at 12:56 (Big Ending)
-They cut to the announcers, where McAfee was standing in excitement. They showed photos of the Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn match from Sunday, which saw Zayn win by Helluva Kick. Braxton was in the back as Zayn appeared. He interrupted Braxton and said the persecution he suffered the last year made him see the world as a dark place of chaos and injustice, but after winning, he sees that there is order and that the universe is a cosmic machine meant to deliver order. He said this is the greatest week of his whole life. She asked if he’s not concerned about facing Owens next week in a qualifying match. He asked what she was talking about because he beat Owens and sought the justice he was seeking. He yelled she’s not just messing with him, “You’re messing with the cosmos!” He stormed off saying it was the worst week of his life.
-Deville made her way to the ring as Deville reveals the first competitor from the show to be in the women’s ladder match. No qualifying match, huh? Deville just choosing like that? OK. Please say it’s Mia Yim.
-They returned with a graphic for Jimmy Uso vs. Dolph Ziggler later tonight. They showed Pearce in the back as Zayn approached asking why he has to beat Owens again to qualify. Zayn said he’s done more than enough to qualify. He said in all honesty, just give him the contract. Pearce said no, he’s going to have to qualify against Owens next week. Zayn asked why, and then Pearce said it will be Last Man Standing. Zayn asked if the contract was off of the table. Pearce said yes. Zayn said Pearce is playing a dangerous game…with karma!
-They shifted to the ring where Deville said it was her honor to announce the first woman in the ladder match as two-time winner, Carmella. She did her sultry dance entrance behind the curtain before heading to the ring. Cole called it a “truly great pick” as this is one of those contrived times where brand loyalty matters. Carmella took a mic and said thanks for making the obvious choice, but if she could add a note, she’s also the most beautiful woman in all of WWE (not that she’s a former Women’s Champion?).
Liv Morgan interrupted and said declaring yourself as the most beautiful woman in all of WWE automtically gets you an opportunity? Wow. She said she beat “this conceited princess last week,” and knows she belongs in the match way more than Carmella. Carmella said pardon me, then laughed, said oh sweetie, this match is for the real stars. She said look at her as she twirled, then said look at you. Morgan responded with a stiff right to the jaw.
Deville intervened. She said that’s a way to make a statement. She said she wasn’t taking Carmella out of the match, but Morgan needs to prove it, so face Carmella right now. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I might be in the minority, but Zayn is just entertaining as all hell right now.)
(3) CARMELLA vs. LIV MORGAN – If Morgan wins, she might qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match
They returned with the match in progress on the outside, with Carmella in control. She bashed her head into the announce table and the apron, then rolled her into the ring. They showed Deville watching from ringside. Morgan sidestepped a charging Carmella and thrust her into the middle turnbuckle with her feet. She missed a leaping stomp, then ate a superkick to the gut, then to the head as she was on her knees.
Carmella put Morgan in the corner and hit a series of back elbows as they showed Natalya & Tamina watching in the back. Carmella hit a running stomp or something to Morgan as she sat in the corner for a two-count. Carmella slapped Morgan as she yelled at her. Morgan hit a move off of the ropes for a close count, but Carmella put her foot on the bottom rope. As Morgan tried dragging her away by her arms, Carmella brought her down for a pin and a two-count.
Morgan was sat on the top rope, then ate a superkick. She went for her handspring head scissors, but Morgan rolled with it into a deep stacked cover to win the match. The announcers asked if that was enough to get her into the match. Carmella forced Mike Rome to announce her as still the most beautiful woman in WWE, to his chagrin (then don’t do it!).
WINNER: Liv Morgan at 4:07 (stacked matchbox cover; started timer during commercial break)
-Braxton approached Jimmy in Gorilla and said the pressure is on. He agreed, and said they don’t fold, but go right through. He dedicated the match to the family and Jey, then said he hoped Reigns is watching. He made his entrance to piped-in boos. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with Jimmy waiting in the ring, sitting in the corner like Edge used to when he prepared for the spear, just not bouncy. Ziggler then made his entrance, Robert Roode in tow. The announcers really put over Ziggler’s accolades, saying it’s not an easy task for Jimmy as Ziggler is a former World Champion and a holder of near 20 titles in WWE. Cole reminded viewers about Ziggler’s memorable cash-in.
(4) JIMMY USO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Robert Roode)
Jimmy quickly came off of the ropes and hit a shoulder tackle for a quick one-count, then beat on Ziggler until Ziggler retreated to the apron. Ziggler sent Jimmy off of the ropes, but ate another shoulder tackle and then an enziguri for a two-count. Ziggler rolled to the apron, then back in and elbowed Jimmy in the gut. He followed by rubbing Jimmy’s face across the top rope and hitting one his picture-perfect dropkicks for a two-count before cinching in a full body lock.
Ziggler rolled it into a side headlock, but ate a few elbows before using the hair to drag down Jimmy and delivering a huge jumping elbow for a two-count. Cole reminded viewers that Jimmy is best known as a tag team competitor and not a singles competitor. Ziggler put Jimmy into a rear chinlock, then tossed Jimmy into a corner. Jimmy hit Ziggler with a back elbow, then a boot, then sent Ziggler over the top and to the floor with a backbody drop. Jimmy then hit a tope on Roode, sending him over the table, as Ziggler dodged. Ziggler then hit a Zig Zag into the stairs, hurting both men, as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Ziggler holding Uso in a side headlock, but Jimmy fought back. Ziggler went for a neckbreaker, but Jimmy shoved him off, delivered a clothesline, then hit a Samoan Drop for a two-count as they showed a split-screen replay of the Zig Zag before the break. Jimmy missed a superkick and ate a Zig Zag, but he kicked out at two!
They started beating on each other, then Jimmy lifted Ziggler from a Fame-Asser attempt, rolled it into a sunset flip, but then ate a superkick on their feet for the victory. He celebrated after the match by looking relieved.
WINNER: Jimmy Uso at 9:55 (superkick)
He walked back up the ramp as they showed Reigns & Heyman in Gorilla watching replays of the superkick. Jimmy stepped through, looking pleased. Reigns grinned, nodded his head, then just started walking to the ring as his music hit. Jimmy said let’s do it, but Heyman stopped him. Damn. Reigns took his time, of course, making his entrance as Heyman held the title high from behind. Reigns paused at ringside, looked around, then slowly proceeded to the steps, where he paused again. He entered the ring, accepted the title from Heyman, raised the title, and had pyro go off as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Good match for Jimmy, and he looked pretty smooth. I like the story of him feeling like he’s done enough and being pleased only for Reigns to diminish him because he isn’t Jey. I keep saying Jimmy should challenge Reigns at SummerSlam, possibly winning Money in the Bank, and maybe the constant diminishing will be the deciding factor.)
-They returned with a graphic about next week’s Owens-Zayn Last Man Standing match before shifting to Reigns in the ring. Heyman had a mic and said ladies and gentlemen, he has many flaws, but being inarticulate isn’t one of them. However, as they’re there to acknowledge the Tribal Chief, the footage speaks as eloquently as he does. They showed footage of Reigns manhandling Rey & Dominick Mysterio over the past few weeks, including last week’s Cell match and choking out both of them. They punctuated it with Reigns powerbombing both out of the ring.
They cut back to the ring where they piped-in “Roman sucks” chants began, which brought a chuckle from Reigns. Heyman said, “The Head of the Table does not suck.” He said what sucks is that The Fiend got frightened, Strowman got slughtered, Owens got KOd, and Daniel Bryan & Edge were stacked and pinned. He said Bryan was man enough to step up again, but was shipped right back out. He said Cesaro stepped up, but was clobbered. He said the Mysterios were launched, literally/figuratively/metaphorically. He said in less than a year, Reigns has wiped out the division.
He said Reigns needs to change the course and enlighten us with something that’s never been done on television before because they have to, there’s no one left. He handed the mic to Reigns, who looked agitated, though Heyman gave it away by laughing behind the title. Edge’s music hit. He came to the ring and went after Reigns. He leaped off of the apron with a clothesline, then bashed Reigns’ head onto the announce table over and over again. He tossed Reigns back into the ring, but ate a Superman punch.
Reigns recovered a bit, looking like he didn’t know what him, then went outside and grabbed a chair. He reentered only for Edge to hit a spear. Edge grabbed the chair and laid it under Reigns’ head. He went outside to grab another chair for a Con-Chair-To, but Jimmy appeared and knocked Edge to the floor. He beat on him in front of the announce desk, but Edge reversed an Irish whip and sent Jimmy into the steel steps for a second time. He then speared Edge through the barricade. Reigns was at the top of the entrance ramp with Heyman, recovering, as Edge reentered the ring, glaring at Reigns. He looked to the hard camera and said, “Where you at Roman, where you at? If you want me, I’m right here!” He was to your right, Edge.
(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, this still means Jimmy could challenge at SummerSlam, but it seems more like that Edge will as I don’t think they’ll use an Edge match for MITB. I’m not the biggest Edge fan so I’m not excited about this, but I know a lot of people love Edge and are probably excited, even considering his limitations in-ring at this age and after his injuries. As Heyman was running through the names, you knew something like Edge or John Cena was coming, but I’m more interested in what Reigns was going to say.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: An episode that had a bit of everything for everyone. The brisk pace of two hours makes covering Smackdown much more palatable than the three-hour Raw. There are some story issues to shore up (like Deville just announcing Carmella, but they only have three or so women outside of Belair right now), but the overarching angles are working, and the builds are coherent. They left a big hook for fans with Edge’s return, so let’s see if he kicks off the show next week.