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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Alex McDonald’s debut as the WWE Smackdown “alt perspective” TV reporter. He follows in the footsteps of Brandon LeClair and Nate Lindberg in recent years who have held this position at PWTorch.com. Bruce Hazelwood has been filling in after Nate had to step away from this slot recently (although he still contributes NXT Hits & Misses and is part of the weekly “PWT Talks NXT” podcast). He will be by tomorrow night also with coverage of the first Smackdown back on the road in front of fans.
-Wade Keller, editor
WWE SMACKDOWN “ALT PERSPECTIVE” TV REPORT
JULY 9, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT THUNDERDOME
REPORT BY ALEX MCDONALD, NEW PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
-A video played from two weeks ago showing when Edge attacked Jimmy Uso and Roman Reigns. They then moved to a recap of last week. Jimmy looked around for Roman, who never came, which Michael Cole pointed out. They showed Edge using the crossface on Roman with the bar splicing in him doing the same to Jimmy, while they played Edge’s promo about seeing fear in Roman’s eyes and being Universal Champion.
-Jimmy tried to see Roman but Paul Heyman stopped him. Heyman told him Reigns is busy but Jimmy will get his full attention soon.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I can’t believe Jimmy is on the show. Never mind, yes I can.)
-They showed the video intro.
-Roman and Heyman were in the back, then Roman made his entrance. Cole called Roman the star of the ThunderDome era and mentioned it was ending. Cole said Edge thinks he has Reigns number, and we will find out a week from Sunday. McAfee said the only person who has caught Reigns off-guard the entire era was Edge. They piped in “Roman Sucks” chants. Roman remains quiet and lets it fade out before speaking. Roman said that people at home didn’t like that he wasn’t there last week, and there were a lot of things he didn’t like about last week. Roman doesn’t like liars like Edge. Roman said to ask any fighter, even Brock, fear can happen in a fight, and that he felt fear for maybe 10-20 seconds, but it fueled him. Then he “smashed em, stacked em, pinned em, and we printed a shirt. Roman said he was busy thinking about the family, which is why Edge caught him off guard. Roman said since they’re talking about family, it’s time to handle some business.
Jimmy Uso came out to his music. He told Roman he got in Edge’s face for them, and Roman must have been on vacation. Roman said he never told him to do that, and he earned a vacation, but didn’t take one. He was busy doing Jimmy’s job. Jey’s music then played and he made his entrance to the same Uso music.
Jey said he’s back, for all of them. “Your right hand man is back, uce.” He told Jimmy that he always has his back, even through the hard times right now, and they need to become tag champs for the 7th time. Roman said that’s what he’s been saying all along, and they can accomplish it together, because no one can touch them if they do it his way. Roman dropped the mic and embraced the Usos while his music played. Cole said the family is solid again and this doesn’t bode well for the locker room, especially Edge.
(McDonald’s Analysis: This was short and to the point, but good. I can’t believe they’re not disciplining Jimmy for anything, but I’m glad to see Jey back. I wonder if the “family problems” reference is Jimmy’s DUI? Interesting that Brock was brought up again after being brought up on Raw this week too.)
-They cut to Corbin in the back with Kayla. He said he needs to win because his life is a mess. He mentioned that the bank is threatening to foreclose on his house. He said winning Money in the Bank is the only chance he has to turn his life around.
-Corbin came out to no music as they hyped his Money in the Bank qualifying match with Nakamura as they went to break.
-They showed Titus congratulating the Tampa Bay Lightning for winning the Stanley Cup. He presented them with a custom WWE championship. Pretty cool, as I’m a Lightning fan.
-Big E made his entrance in a Bayley shirt. They showed a video recap of Corbin’s last couple weeks. Including his car getting repossessed. They showed a video of Nakamura and Boogs with Corbin’s Mercedes they bought at auction. Boogs introduced Nakamura and Shinsuke made his entrance as McAfee danced while in Big E’s foot bath. Corbin slid out of the ring and attacked Nakamura on the ramp as they cut to commercial break.
(1) BARON CORBIN vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – Money in the Bank Qualifier
They came back from break with Corbin on Nakamura in the corner. Cole mentioned that 80 percent of MITB winners win the championship. Big E chimed in and said that he’s been in WWE for 9 years without a world title opportunity. Corbin was on offense for the beginning and Nakamura came back, hitting the back roll into a high knee in the corner. Nakamura hit a sliding knee for a near fall. McAfee asked Big E who he’d rather face. Big E said both can go, and made fun of Corbin’s hairline. Big E said he wants to see Corbin keep spiraling. Corbin hit Boogs on the outside then gave Nakamura a brainbuster on the announce table as they cut to commercial.
Back from break Nakamura reversed an irish whip to the corner and Corbin hit the post. Corbin hit the Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin looked up at the briefcases and gave Nakamura a suplex from the apron back into the ring for another near fall. McAfee said Corbin needs to save his life by winning and called him the “man with the hairline.” Nakamura locked Corbin in a triangle arm bar. Corbin got his foot under the rope so the ref broke the hold. Nakamura set up for his finish but Corbin countered with a clothesline. Nakamura hit some knees to the face and then hit the Kinshasa on Corbin for the pin. Boogs and Nakamura celebrated while Corbin sold being upset.
WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura to advance to the Money in the Bank Ladder match.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Solid TV match, nothing great. The Deep Six looked awesome. This whole Corbin thing is weird. He comes off as such a loser, you feel bad for him. I don’t know if that’s what they’re going for. Boogs and Nakamura kind of come off as bullies. Also, why is everyone in MITB a face? Morrison is the only heel.)
-Jimmy and Jey were shown in the back. Jey said it took someone like Edge to bring the family back together. He asked Jimmy if he wants to take care of business together.
-Natalya and Tamina made their entrance. Cole teased their opponents, calling them a debuting tag team. They cut to commercial.
-Natalya said they were told they were having a non-title match with a debuting tag team. Tamina told them to hurry up and get out here so we can get this over with already. Shotzi and Tegan Nox made their debut. They entered on a tank. They were announced as Shotzi and Nox.
(2) NATALYA & TAMINA vs. SHOTZI & NOX
Nox starts against Natalya. Nox and Natalya roll around a little bit. Nox tags in Shotzi. They do a double-team move on Natalya. Shotzi gets a near fall. She pushes Natalya into the corner, tags Nox, they do a double-team move into the corner, then tag again and do another double-team maneuver. Shotzi goes for a cover but Tamina breaks up the pin. Tamina gets a near fall on Shotzi. Tamina goes on offense; Cole says “Nobody is mean-a than Tamina.” Tamina-Nox Tegan Nox off the apron. She tags in Natalya. Tamina hits a super kick on Shotzi. Nox comes in a tags Tamina. Natalya wipes out Nox who rolls out of the ring. Shotzi goes to the top rope and hits a ballpit on Natalya for the win.
WNNERS: Shotzi & Nox.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Too short to really tell anything. Yet again a champion loses to a challenger in a non-title match. Can honestly say I didn’t expect to see either of them tonight. Cool surprise.)
-Edge is interviewed backstage. Says he’s happy to see the family back together – he’s going to make Roman regret it. “That’s not a prediction. It’s a spoiler.”
-Sonya Deville makes her entrance as they cut to commercial.
-Cole tells us Bayley has been injured. Sonya will make the announcement on who will face Bianca at MITB. Sonya said Bayley will be out for nine months and cut to a video from Bayley. Bayley is on a couch with her knee in a brace. Bayley said we all wanted to see her beat Bianca at MITB, but now that she thinks about it she knows we don’t care. She blames all of us. They cut back to Sonya. Sonya said Bianca will not defend the title at MITB. Instead, she will be defending next week on SmackDown, in Houston, in front of fans, against Carmella. Carmella makes her ring entrance. McAfee calls Carmella the most beautiful woman on WWE. Carmella said “I get it because I’m hot and you’re not”. She thanks Sonya and corrects her, saying she’s also the most beautiful woman in WWE. Liv Morgan interrupts. Liv Morgan complains about favoritism; tells Carmella she’ll smack that smile off her face. Liv Morgan gets in Sonya Deville’s face. Sonya cuts her off and tells her that Liv is Carmella’s replacement for MITB Ladder Match and she has 30 seconds to get out of the ring. Liv said she hopes Carmella wins the title so that when she wins MITB she can cash in on her. Bianca makes her entrance. Liv points Bianca to the ring. Bianca insinuates Bailey’s injury may not be real but if it is she looks forward to her returning. Bianca raises the championship and tells Carmella she’ll see her next week.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was ridiculously predictable. Nobody thinks Liv is actually going to win MITB anyway, nor is Carmella going to win the title. No one is really benefiting here.)
-They show Roman in the back with Heyman. Heyman says that Edge will call Roman out tonight. He apologizes to Roman and said Edge questioned Roman’s manhood. Roman looks irritated and they cut away.
-Seth makes his entrance. Cole says this is for the final spot in MITB. Seth and Cesaro is next. They show the match graphic as they cut to commercial.
-They show a promo for Toni Storm coming soon.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Jeez, they are bulking up this Women’s Division. Awesome! Have to think this has something to do with Bayley, and possibly the upcoming draft.)
-Kevin Owens is on commentary. Cole says this will be his fifth MITB Ladder match, then corrects himself to say fourth. Cesaro makes his entrance.
(3) SETH ROLLINS vs. CESARO – Money in the Bank Qualifier
Cesaro on offense early. Rollins comes back before Cesaro hits a big crossbody off the top for a near fall. Owens said we all saw what he’s capable of last week as Seth goes to the outside. They cut to commercial with Seth yelling at Cesaro in front of Owens.
Cesaro back on Seth as we come back from break. Rollins gets clotheslined over the top, then counters Cesaro and slams him on the announce table. Owens said he’d rather face Cesaro because Seth has had so many opportunities before. Owens said all the competitors deserve it and earned their way in. Owens mentioned past issues with Roman and Lashley, so he could cash in on either one. Seth flips out of a backslide attempt, misses a stomp, then hits Cesaro in the back for a near fall. Cool spot. Seth argues with Charles Robinson. Cesaro recovers and hits Rollins with uppercuts. They trade a couple of counters and Cesaro hits a nice suplex for a near fall. Cesaro goes to the top and Seth jumps up for a superplex. Cesaro rolls through and they fall over the top rope to the floor as it cuts to break.
Back from break Cesaro had Rollins in the swing. He went for a sharpshooter but Seth counters into a small package for a near fall. Cesaro hit a powerbomb out of the corner and Seth took off the turnbuckle pad. Owens says Cesaro needs to stay out of the corner because of what Rollins is capable of. Cesaro goes for a springboard uppercut and Rollins catches him with a forearm. Rollins hit a hurricanrana on Cesaro who hits the exposed turnbuckle. Rollins gets a near fall. Cesaro is busted open. Cesaro rolls to the outside and the referee starts counting. Cesaro gets up to the ramp and Rollins runs out to DDT Cesaro on the ramp. Cesaro gets back in the ring at a count of 9. Cesaro gets a near fall on a cradle. Seth hits a Curb Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Seth Rollins to advance to the Money in the Bank Ladder match
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was really enjoyable. Seeing blood on WWE TV is borderline shocking at this point. Don’t know if that was a blade job or not, but could this be a sign of things to come? I’m glad Seth got the win, it puts another credible challenger in there, and we needed another heel. I honestly think that’s who I’m rooting for now. With all that said, I hope this is the last time we see these two together for a while.)
-Cole recaps the MITB field, he calls it star-studded. Owens is looking forward to it.
-The Usos are backstage and they come up to Edge’s locker room. Jimmy goes to barge in, but Jey stops him and tells him to wait for Edge to come out. Uce. They cut to break.
-Jimmy and Jey burst through the door, but Edge isn’t there. Just a bunch of his stuff.
-Rollins is backstage with Kayla. He mispronounces Cesaro’s name. Seth talks about the last time he won MITB and who he cashed in on. He brags about waiting for the perfect moment to cash in on Reigns, then beating him. He said he might cash in at MITB. He said he should be in the match. Edge shows up. Edge said he wanted to hear where the whining was coming from. Seth said “Kayla”. Edge said he’s going to do what Rollins can’t, go and call out Roman.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Seth answering “Kayla” to Edge was hilarious. I’m looking forward to the rumored feud between these two.)
-They show a recap of Otis beating Dawkins last week. Gable and Otis are in the back. Gable says there’s something beautiful about Demolition, and his wrecking ball, Otis. He says they’ll destroy anyone as they zoom in on Otis’ face.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I have high hopes for the new Otis. I hope this goes somewhere and they keep building him. I’m trying to forget his goofy past. WWE is doing a good job of distancing him from all that though. I wouldn’t mind an Otis-Kevin Owens feud at some point.)
-Edge makes his ring entrance. McAfee asks if Roman will answer. They cut to break.
-They show graphics for a four-way with the MITB participants and the Women’s Championship match for next week.
-Edge said congratulations are in order for Roman’s family reunion. He said he’ll check their registry and get them matching leis. Edge said he’s revealing the “cracks in the table.” Edge pointsedto the screen, showing pictures of Jimmy and Roman in the crossface with the bar in their mouth. Edge said he will become Universal Champion and Roman’s island means nothing without it. They showed Roman in the back with the Usos and Heyman. Roman told them to stay behind, he has to handle it on his own. Edge said, “Come on Tribal Chief, where you at?!”
They cut back to Roman, who handed the title to Heyman before making his entrance. By himself. McAfee said Roman is all alone. They showed the Usos, Jey said it feels like a trap. They disappeared, then made their entrance. Roman looked annoyed. He tells the Usos he’s going to handle this. Roman removed his jacket and got in the ring. Edge and Roman exchange fists. The Mysterios’ music plays and they come from the crowd, hitting the Usos with chairs while their backs were turned. The Usos took over on the Mysterios outside. Edge hit an Impaler DDT on Roman. Edge went for a spear but the Usos attack him. The Mysterios recover and attack the Usos. Dominik hits a 619. Roman escapes to the ramp. He watches as the Mysterios hold down Jey. Edge gets the chair bar and gives Jey the crossface with it. He completed the trifecta! They show a recap. Edge and the Mysterios gang up on the Usos and Edge goes back to the bar crossface on both brothers. Roman looks on and walks off disgusted. Cole said next week is the last stop on the way to Money in the Bank.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. Well done. They are really pushing the narrative that Edge is in Roman’s head. I don’t remember the last time someone has looked this strong week after week against Reigns. Clearly this is going to lead to the Usos-Mysterios rematch we’ve all been waiting for. Maybe at MITB, maybe next week. This remains the best storyline in wrestling by a large margin. I was worried the Jimmy situation might throw a wrench in things, but as of now, so far so good.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, a solid episode. The matches were good, we’ve just seen Nakamura/Corbin and Seth/Cesaro so many times now, they’ve lost their luster. I really hope that next weekend starts some new stories and we can move away from some of these tired ones. The influx of talent for the Women’s division is very welcome. I’m not super excited about Shotzi and Nox being a team. I’d rather they were in singles, but new blood is new blood, and the division needs it. Bayley being out sucks, and highlights the need for Sasha more than ever. The timing is also bad, as Bayley could have been reinvigorated after the draft and some fresh opponents. As one of the MVP’s of the Pandemic/Thunderdome era, it’s almost cruelly fitting that she would get injured right before crowds come back. Here’s to hoping this weird holding pattern we’ve been in is over and things feel fresh again with crowds next week.