SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN “ALT PERSPECTIVE” TV REPORT
JULY 16, 2021
TOYOTA CENTER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
-They opened with a video package that said “something’s been missing”. They then showed various clips from the past with a “Welcome Back” message at the end.
(McDonald’s Analysis: The video package was really well done. I love when WWE does this.)
-Michael Cole welcomed everyone and said “Damn we have missed you”. 14,496 was the announced attendance. They showed the new stage. It is very minimalist, basically a huge screen with no stage. The fans look closer than normal.
-Vince McMahon’s music played. He got a huge pop. McMahon said “Where the hell have you been?!” and walked off the stage. Cole said only the boss could make an entrance like that and leave.
-Roman Reigns made his entrance to a LOUD mixed reaction. They redid the CGI for his entrance. The new one is really cool. It showed the CGI Reigns looking down, then doing the “Oooo Ahhh” pose. Michael Cole mentions Reigns’ dominance over the Thunderdome era. Cole said he has been champion for 320 days. The Usos appear next to Roman in the ring. Cole hypes the six man tag as they show a graphic for the Usos vs Mysterios at Money in the Bank for the Tag Team Championships.
-The Mysterios made their entrance to a decent pop. They wore new yellow and blue gear and hammed it up with the audience.
-Edge made his entrance to the loudest pop of the night. Texas loves Edge, apparently. They showed still shots of Edge with the chair bar crossface on Reigns and the Usos. Pat McAfee said the ultimate opportunist has picked off the family. Reigns grinned at Edge and the Mysterios as they cut to commercial. [c]
(1) ROMAN REIGNS & JIMMY & JEY USO vs. EDGE & THE MYSTERIOS (DOMINIK & REY)
Jey Uso attacked Edge from behind to start the match. Edge fought back and tagged in Dominik who took down Jey and tagged in Rey. Jey tagged in Jimmy. Rey took over on Jimmy then tagged in Edge. Edge and Rey hit a double team move on Jimmy. Dominik took over and got a near fall off a springboard moonsault. Jey attacked Dominik from behind and Jey tagged him in. Reigns tagged in and ripped Dominik off the apron to the floor. He got a near fall then shoved Dominik back to the floor. McAfee said all Roman wanted was for the whole family to be together. Reigns powerbombed Dominik on the announce table and said “Acknowledge me!” to the crowd as they cut to break. [c]
They come back with Dominik and Jimmy on the ground. They tagged Edge and Jey respectively. Edge came in and cleaned house. He took down Reigns with a clothesline of the outside. Rey tagged in and hit a senton and a flying DDT on Jey for a near fall. Dominik tried to hit a plancha on Reigns outside the ring. Reigns caught him and threw him into the post. Edge hit Reigns with a spear on the outside. Jey rolled up Rey for the win.
WINNER: Reigns & The Usos in 13:00.
-A brawl broke out after the match. Edge brought a chair into the ring. Reigns knocked out Edge with a Superman Punch. He took the bar off the chair. Edge recovered and hit the spear on Reigns. Edge picked up the bar and put Reigns in the crossface again. Reigns tapped out. McAfee said Edge could win his 12th World title. Edge draped the Universal Championship over Reigns and left.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, having crowds back is awesome. Edge got a huge pop, he’s super over as a face here. The Vince thing at the beginning was very odd. Reigns is awesome and he got exactly the reaction I thought he would. The match was solid, was what it was. No one was going to do anything major. My guess is the Mysterios will retain and so will Reigns. The real news was the angle with Edge getting the upper-hand again. This bar spot is clearly going to be a huge focus on Sunday.)
-They hype the Fatal Four Way and cut to commercial. [c]
-Edge was backstage with the Mysterios and Kayla Braxton showed up to interview him. Edge said he made Reigns “tap like a bitch.” Seth Rollins interrupted Edge laughing. He said Roman has Edge’s number. Rollins said he wants Edge to win, so he can cash in the briefcase on him. He wants to finish what he started seven years ago.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Awesome. I can’t wait for this feud. I appreciate when WWE and the stars bring up the past. It makes watching and remembering it yourself more special.)
-Sami Zayn made his entrance. He said he’s being excluded from the MITB Ladder Match. He said the fans and new stage are to distract everyone from the conspiracy against him. He said the people have seen him victimized. He asked the fans to stand and chant “justice for Sami”. Some fans chanted. He ripped on the Texas fans. He said he doesn’t need the fans, he needs justice. “If there was justice in this world, this briefcase would be lowered right now and it would be handed to me on a silver platter.” Finn Balor’s music hit and he made his return! Sami said welcome back and Balor took him down. Balor hit the Coup de Grace and stood in the ring. Cole said “no conspiracy here, Finn Balor is back.”
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. Balor on Smackdown could be a very good thing. I didn’t expect to see him. I’ll give WWE credit there. Balor and Sami would be a good way to change things up for now. If Balor is kept strong he could be a good opponent for Reigns in the fall or winter.)
-They showed a recap of the women’s tag match from last week. Shotzi & Nox made their entrance. [c]
-They returned from break with a video package on Apollo Crews.
-Natalya and Tamina made their entrance. Zelina Vega and Liv Morgan are with Cole and McAfee at the announce table. Cole said Tamina and Natalya will be in the MITB Ladder Match.
(2) SHOTZI & NOX vs. NATALYA & TAMINA
Tamina and Shotzi start the match. Shotzi hit a sloppy kick on Natalya. Liv told Zelina she can’t win MITB because she hasn’t beaten anyone in the match. Natalya beat on Shotzi in the corner. Shotzi fought out and crawled through Natalya’s legs to tag in Tegan Nox. Nox hit Tamina and knocks her off the apron. Nox hit the shining wizard on Natalya for a near fall. Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega get up from the announce table and brawl at ringside. Natalya got caught watching the brawl and Nox rolled her up for the win.
WINNER: Shotzi & Nox in 3:30
Tamina and Natalya took out Vega. Morgan fought them both off and stood tall in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Not good. That was very short and did nothing to help Shotzi and Tegan Nox. This entire segment was a way to get over the MITB Ladder Match, which, normally, would be fine. Not when you’re introducing new characters and attempting to get them over. Morgan is not winning MITB on Sunday. This confirmed it. Also, two for two on roll-up finishes tonight.)
-They showed Bianca Belair walking backstage. Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode cat-called towards her. She kept walking. [c]
-They returned and showed tweets of former WWE stars talking about fans returning.
-Carmella made her entrance. They showed an entrance-like video on a CGI screen.
-Bianca Belair made her entrance. They showed a highlight of the ESPY awards. Sasha Banks and Belair won Best WWE Moment for the WrestleMania main event.
(3) BIANCA BELAIR vs CARMELLA – Smackdown Women’s Championship
Belair shoved Carmella down. Carmella gets out of the ring and ran away. She got back in the ring and Belair took her down with a shoulder tackle. Belair hit a dropkick and then a knip-up. Carmella countered in the corner and pandered to the fans. She hit a version of the Bronco Buster for a near fall. Belair took control in the corner but Carmella reversed to knock Belair’s shoulder into the ring post. Carmella threw Belair into the barricade as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Belair on the attack. Belair hit a back hand-spring moonsault for a near fall. Carmella took control and put Belair on the top turnbuckle. Belair reversed and dragged Carmella to the top for a superplex. Carmella reversed. Carmella hit a sloppy hurricanrana for a near fall. Carmella rolled Belair up for a near fall. Belair reversed for a near fall of her own. Carmella put a guillotine on Belair. Belair muscled out and hoisted Carmella up. Belair hit a stalling vertical suplex. Carmella rolled to the apron and pulled Belair’s hair. Belair chased her out and whipped her hair at Carmella. She missed and hit the stairs. They got back in the ring. Carmella grabbed Belair’s hair. Belair reversed and whipped Carmella with her hair. Belair hit the KOD for the win.
WINNER: Belair in 11:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
(McDonald’s Analysis: That wasn’t bad. Carmella is better than she gets credit for. She came off credible here. The guillotine into the stalling suplex was a cool spot. The KOD remains the best female finish by a mile. It looks great every time. I’m curious to see where they go with both of these women following this. The Women’s Division could get very interesting if they book it properly. With all that said, I was hoping Belair would get a better reaction. It wasn’t bad, but not crazy.)
-They cut to Otis and Chad Gable in the back. Gable said they whisper “Otis” in their presence. He asked Otis what they smell in the locker room. Otis said “fear”. Cesaro showed up. He said he smells bull. Gable said he has Otis’ full attention. Otis hit Cesaro in the gut and shoved him into storage bins along the wall. [c]
-They showed a Toni Storm video package. She debuts next week.
-Otis made his entrance with Chad Gable. They showed a recap of Otis destroying the Street Profits. Cole said “they’ve ticked off this man, the Swiss Superman.” Cesaro made his entrance. They showed a video package on the CGI thing again. It was feats of strength by Cesaro. Mostly him swinging people.
(4) OTIS vs. CESARO
Otis attacked Cesaro right away. Cesaro fought back for a second. Gable distracted him and Otis hit a slam. Otis hit the post and Gable hit the ring. He hit a German suplex on Cesaro for the disqualification. Cesaro took down Gable and gave him the swing. Otis came to and attacked Cesaro. Otis hit a big splash on Cesaro.
WINNER: Cesaro by DQ in 1:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, Cesaro’s push is super done. Otis looks like he’s going to use Cesaro as a stepping stone. I don’t know how much that will do for Otis, but as I said last week, at least they’re trying. The only problem with Otis’ push, is he’s a heel. Smackdown needs more faces pushed properly to face Reigns.)
-They showed a recap of the six man tag match earlier. McAfee said if he can do this on Sunday, the entire table will be in disarray. They replayed the big points of Edge’s promo. He has to be “the most selfish, manipulative son of a bitch” he can be on Sunday.
-Kayla interviewed Paul Heyman. Heyman laughed about Edge believing he has the upperhand. He said Reigns will win and it is a prediction, not a spoiler. Big E showed up laughing at Heyman. Big E said Edge has a hold of Reigns. He mocked Heyman about Edge locking in the crossface again. He kept laughing at Heyman and walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I wish Big E would have been more serious here. Maybe he’ll get drafted to Raw and have a fresh start? Wait, I thought the same thing last year.)
-Baron Corbin made his entrance. McAfee said his life has been awful lately. [c]
-They showed a video package of Corbin’s horrible luck since losing the crown. His car repossessed and his loss to Big E ended the video. They go back to the ring, which is now surrounded by ladders. Corbin said he’s lost his crown, his car, his investments, and his savings. He said the bank is calling and wants to foreclose on his house. He said his daughter is sick because she has to eat spaghetti out of a can instead of wagyu beef. He said they may need to move in with his in-laws. He said he started a crowd-funded website called Corbin fund. They showed it on the screen. He asked for $100,000. He gave the website. He got down on his knees. Cole said this is humbling. He begged. Kevin Owens’ music hit and he made his entrance. Corbin said he knows Owens has a good heart and can help him. He said he knows Owens has money because he doesn’t spend it on his wardrobe. Kevin Owens hit Corbin with the Stunner.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Okay, so, Corbin IS still a heel. Is this all a scam? Does someone think it’s funny? I don’t know where this is going. At least it seems like he’ll be feuding with Owens instead of the 400th Nakamura-Corbin match. Also, can’t say I missed the “What?!” chants.)
-Big E’s music played and he made his entrance. Cole said the fatal four way is next. [c]
-Rick Boogs introduced Shinsuke Nakamura. He played his guitar and Nakamura made his entrance. Cole said “Nakamura will incite you tonight.” The crowd was singing Nakamura’s theme.
-Seth Rollins made his entrance. Cole said this is Rollins’ second MITB ladder match. He said he won the first time and cashed in. They showed the video of Rollins cashing in at WrestleMania 31. They showed the graphic for the MITB Ladder Match on Sunday. Cole said “more than 80 percent of the time a new champion is crowned.”
Rollins tried to leave. Big E dove out and took him out. Owens then made the dive, followed by Nakamura. All four men are down as they cut to commercial. [c]
(5) KEVIN OWENS vs. BIG E vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs SETH ROLLINS
Owens and Big E are in the ring. Nakamura came in and Big E threw him out. Big E went for a superplex on Owens. Nakamura came up and they hit a double superplex on Owens. Rollins went for a frog splash but missed. Nakamura took Owens down and set up a Kinshasa. Big E intercepted him and gave Nakamura the Big Ending. Rollins threw a ladder into the ring. Rollins attacked Nakamura on the outside. He beat him onto the announce table. Rollins went to climb the ladder, but Owens took him down. Owens hit a huge flying elbow off the ladder onto Nakamura through the table. Back in the ring Seth Rollins hit a stomp on Big E on a ladder for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 8:30
Rollins climbed to the top of the ladder and grabbed the briefcase. He was patting the briefcase as they went off the air.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was pure chaos by design. Seth’s win is a good thing, but it means nothing. Based on WWE rules, I’d say we can rule him out now, making it either Big E or Riddle. The big spot by Owens was cool. Happy to see them do that with the fans back. All 4 guys came off well here, even if the match was short and chaotic for the sake of being chaotic.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, I forgot how awesome crowds are. With that said, I wonder how much their reactions tonight were because of the excitement of being back. Were they playing along on purpose? How long until the hi-jacking returns? Hopefully, not soon. I think WWE did a good job to start the re-touring era. It seems we have a few new feuds (Cesaro-Otis, Owens-Corbin, Rollins-Edge), some new members of the Women’s Division, and the return of Finn Balor. Overall, this show did a good job of hyping the PPV for Sunday. Reigns-Edge, MITB Ladder Match, and Usos-Mysterios is a pretty strong half of the show for Smackdown. In closing, I hope WWE builds on this show and gives fans something to want to come back for after the novelty wears off. If they do this correctly, we could be back to some hot crowds week after week, but they have to take advantage and avoid missteps.