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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JULY 16, 2021
HOUSTON, TX. IN THE TOYOTA CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Pat McAfee
Match Results and Key Segments from Last Week
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Baron Corbin to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
- Shotzi & Nox (NXT’s Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox) defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya & Tamina in a non-title match. Shotzi & Nox made their Smackdown debut.
- Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
- Edge called out Roman Reigns, whom he will be challenging for the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank. Reigns made his way out and specifically told his cousins the Usos (Jimmy & Jey) not to come out and help. They failed to comply, and after Roman and Edge started to go at it combined with the Usos getting involved, Smackdown Tag Team Champions Rey & Dominik Mysterio made their way out. The show closed with Edge giving both Jimmy and Jey the cross-face with a metal bar. Roman looked on and failed out to help. Bear in mind, he made it clear to his cousins at the beginning of the show that they were stronger together.
For the first time since March 6, 2020, I can preview an arena in which Smackdown will take place other than the Performance Center or Thunderdome! Tonight’s episode of Smackdown will emanate from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX with fans in attendance. You’d have to go back to November of 2017 to see when Smackdown last took place in this arena. It was a full weekend of WWE with the first NXT version of WarGames at their Takeover, Survivor Series, and Raw. The building opened in October of 2003 and is home to the NBA’s Houston Rockets. It will interesting to say the least how fans will react after nearly a year-and-a-half of the Performance Center and Thunderdome settings and the storylines currently being run.
Three matches have been advertised for tonight’s show.
Six-Man Tag Match: Universal Champion Roman Reigns & The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. Edge and Smackdown Tag Team Champions Rey & Dominik Mysterio
At Money in the Bank, Edge will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship as I mentioned earlier. I talked about what took place in the closing segment, which has led to a six-man tag match. Edge will pair with Rey & Dominik Mysterio to take on Roman and his cousins, the Usos.
Edge wrestled Jey earlier in the year for the right to be the enforcer in a Universal Championship match at Fastlane between Roman and Daniel Bryan. He has history wrestling the Usos’ father & Roman’s cousin, WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, during his first run back in the early 2000s. Let’s not forget Edge & Rey were the second WWE Tag Team Champions, defeating initial champs Chris Benoit & Hall of Famer Kurt Angle back in November of 2002. (Those titles are now the Raw Tag Team Championship. Don’t ask me to explain that though.) Edge and Rey opposed each other many times.
Frank’s Analysis: Last week’s episode was pre-recorded. Jimmy Uso’s arrest for DUI had not taken place yet. There may have been subtle indications they were addressing it, but nothing of substance. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s replaced in the match, or they just sweep it under the carpet. I can see Edge and the Mysterios winning to show Edge has a chance against Roman on Sunday, even though that may not be the case.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (champ) vs. Carmella
We learned last week that Bayley would be out for nine months due to a knee injury. This caused her to be removed from the I Quit match which was scheduled for Money in the Bank in which she would challenge Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
WWE official Sonya Deville anointed former champion Carmella as Bianca’s opponent, and set the match for tonight. Carmella was set to participate in the Money in the Bank ladder match as a result of being anointed by Sonya, who replaced Carmella with Liv Morgan. Bianca and Carmella had a match several weeks ago which saw Bianca win. Liv owns two victories over Carmella.
Frank’s Analysis: In theory, Liv should get the title match, however I think it’s smart to put Carmella in the title match. Bianca can get a win in front of fans that won’t hurt Carmella (this is what she’s here for). Liv can be featured in the Money in the Bank and potentially move up the card.
Fatal Four-Way: Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Big E vs. Seth Rollins
There will be a fatal four-way involving the Smackdown participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Kevin Owens will take on Shinsuke Nakamura who takes on Big E as well as Seth Rollins. WWE did something similar with the women on Raw on Monday night.
I mentioned earlier how Shinsuke and Rollins qualified. Owens qualified by beating Sami Zayn two weeks ago in a Last Man Standing match. Big E qualified several weeks ago by beating Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews.
Frank’s Analysis: This is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure for you non-aviation people) for WWE in advance of a Money in the Bank PPV. They put the participants in tags, fatal four-ways, singles, and assorted variations. There’s not much to analyze unless you think they’ll run some big angle, which is certainly possible, but not worth the speculation.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!