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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
LIVE FROM PHILADEPHIA, PA. AT WELLS FARGO CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
-They went live to a wide shot of the crowd as Michael Cole introduced the show. Then Becky Lynch made her ring entrance. A big pop, followed by what felt like a crowd “second-guessing” their enthusiasm for her. They showed a girl holding up a “Big Time Becks” sign. As Becky entered the ring, they threw to a video recap of last week’s “Homecoming” ceremony for Bianca Belair interrupted by Lynch. Cole plugged that they’d face off on Sunday at “
Extreme Rules.” Pat McAfee acknowledged the mixed reaction for her (unlike Dynamite announcers, who didn’t acknowledge the “mixed reaction” for Cody Rhodes).
Lynch said she wasn’t sure why Knoxville was celebrating Belair last week. She said she wasn’t sure what for, but perhaps for making it out of that town and succeeding. She said she herself has succeeding at having a baby and winning the WWE Title in her return match in less than a minute. She said Belair then tried to assert her dominance unprovoked by grabbing her hand. She said she had no choice how she responded. She said greatness isn’t made in the body, it’s made in the mind. “It’s hit or be hit,” she said. “So what choice did I have?” She said she didn’t want to embarrass her in front of her mom and dad and high school teacher. She said she is the better man, so she gave her time to recalibrate “after her shameful, embarrassing defeat at Summerslam.” She said instead she goaded her into a rematch at Extreme Rules. She was then interrupted by Belair’s music.
Fans chanted “EST!” Belair stood in front of Becky. Becky looked away and largely ignored her. Then a soft “Becky!” chant broke out. She nodded her head and smiled. Belair told Becky to keep her mom’s and dad’s names out of her mouth. She said she did embarrass her in her hometown. She said that’s not happening on Sunday. She said she didn’t know she was facing her at Summerslam. Becky jumped in and said she knew she was having a match, but just didn’t know it was her, “the greatest man to ever hold this title.” She asked if the “EST” is just a catch-phrase, because she should be the “EST” at adjusting on the fly.
Belair listed her accomplishments while Becky was gone, and said she accomplished it on one-quarter of the time. She told Lynch to put some respect on her name. Becky got rattled. She yelled that Belair had success only because she showed her how to be great. Belair said she’s hanging on to her 26 second win at Summerslam. but on Sunday the story will be different. She listed all the things she is the “EST” at Summerslam. Belair offered a handshake. Becky slapped her and held up the Smackdown Title belt. Belair regrouped, then attacked Becky. Becky threw Belair face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Belair came back with a Kiss of Death. Her music played and she marched to the back. Cole said she wants her championship back and her opportunity is Sunday at
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment, but a step back in some ways for Belair. Becky tried hard to be the heel, and getting rattled at Belair bragging about how quickly she accomplished so much was well done. However, Belair teetered from confident into cocky territory here like back in her NXT days as a heel. I just think she hangs too much on the whole “EST” hook, and where she can really become a transformative star is getting past that and being more real and focusing more on her opponents’ lack of integrity and bad attitudes than just trying to one-up them with over-the-top bragging. I just don’t think fans relate to that, and there aren’t any parents out there who are looking at her as a role model when she rattles off accolades about herself constantly. This is a case of writing her promos around her gimmick rather than moving beyond a mid-card gimmick hook (“EST”) to something with more upside and broader appeal.)
-They went backstage to Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs with Toni Storm rocking out with them. [c]
(1) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Rick Boogs) vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Commander Azeez) – Intercontinental Title match
As McAfee went bananas standing on the table, Cole asked what he’ll do if Nakamura wins the IC Title on Sunday. He said he’d cry and poop his pants. An inset soundbite aired with Crews talking about taking his title back. Crews took control early and they cut to a quick break. [c]
Back from the break, Crews was still in control as Boogs played Nakamura’s theme song at ringside. Nakamura was apparently inspired as he made a comeback. Crews took over again and scored a two count after a modified Samoan Drop. Nakamura came back with a kick and set up the Kinshasa, but Azeez pulled Crews out of the ring. Nakamura kicked at Azeez. Boogs came up behind Azeez and overhead suplexed him at ringside. Back in the ring, Nakamura countered Crews and scored a leverage pinfall.
WINNER: Nakamura in 8:00 to retain the IC Title.
-Cole and McAfee narrated a recap of Reigns’s appearance on Raw.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Montez Ford about the tag team match against the Usos on Sunday. Ford said he and his partner will regain the belts. She asked where Angelo Dawkins was. He said he was called upon to witness some nuptials of a dear, sweet friend, but he’ll be there on Sunday. He said Roman Reigns has been treating the Usos like “bloodline bitches.” He said the want the smoke.
-They cut to Reigns backstage, with Paul Heyman sitting behind him smiling. Reigns sat there for a few seconds, then asked, “What did he just say?” Heyman said he just called the Usos “bloodline bitches.” Reigns said he wants a match against him tonight. Heyman began to explain why that was a bad idea, but saw Reigns’s reaction and froze, then shifted to saying he’d make it happen. Reigns asked Heyman why he was still there. Heyman scurried away. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Philadelphia, Pa.
-Backstage, Heyman approached Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Heyman welcomed them to Philadelphia. Heyman said he has a main event for them tonight – Roman Reigns vs. Montez Ford. He gestured to the sky as if it was on a giant billboard. Pearce looked at Deville, then said, “I think we can do that.” Heyman said he knows they can, and then after the match they’ll talk about the Draft.
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside who reacted to the main event. Cole then threw to a video package on Seth Rollins vs. Edge.
-Backstage, Seth said it has been seven days since he laid out an ultimatum at Edge’s feet, and he’s heard nothing. “That’s okay, because the sound of your silence is deafening,” he said. “And it reveals the truth. The truth is, you’re hurt, and you’re hurt bad.” He said he must be afraid to admit he is the reason he will never compete in a WWE ring ever again. He said that’s mildly amusing to him, but it’s not good enough. He said he wants an answer, and he doesn’t want to wait anymore. He said as a result, he’s going to show up to Smackdown next week and crawl himself to the ring and look him in the eyes and tell the entire world the truth, that he is not Edge-lite and he superior to him in every single way, and that he is the man responsible for ending his career. He said he can choose not to do that, but he will not be made a liar of. He said he will find him where he sleeps and he will beat those words out of him in front of his wife and children. He got sinister, then chuckled and said the choice is his.
-Liv Morgan made he ring entrance.
(Keller’s Analysis: Her entrance mannerisms are right out of the Diva’s era and just feels undignified for a professional athlete. It’s not conveying anything about being an athlete heading to a fight, but someone trying to titillate desperately horny lonely men. It comes across as patronizing and not appropriate for a simulated athletic competition if she’s not doing Carmella’s gimmick or Eva Marie’s gimmick – and she’s not. She should be above that as a rising babyface star. If she’s going to be a top tier star as some are advocating for, she should adjust her gimmick to something more serious and dignified than lace leggings and the words “Watch Me” on her ass.) [c]
-A video recap aired of the Morgan countout win over Carmella last week.
(2) LIV MORGAN vs. ZELINA VEGA
As the match was about to begin, Carmella came out. Morgan launched a dropkick at Vega at the bell and connected. Carmella joined the announcers on commentary at ringside. She sat on the table, legs stretched out. She took a shot at the “mouth-breathers who live at home in their parents’ basements.” She asked Cole to stop drooling at her. Morgan dominated until Carmella DISTRACTED her at ringside. Morgan grabbed her hair. Vega hit Carmella from behind and then gave her her finisher for the win.
WINNER: Vega in 2:00.
-A video aired on Happy Corbin who was out shopping for custom suits. He promoted his first ever “Happy Talk” segment on Smackdown.
-Happy Corbin made his entrance. Cole said it’s being billed as “the happiest talk show on television.” Corbin came out in a blue suit coat and hat. [c]
-McAfee hyped Reigns vs. Ford. He said Ford could catch Reigns sleeping.
-Happy Talk: Corbin said life is so good, he feels like whistling a little tune. He whistled. Then he went on and on about a great meal he had a fine restaurant. Then he touted to his great watch and $9,000 suit. “Even the inside of this thing is amazing!” he said. Fans chanted, “We don’t care!” He threw to a video package of him attacking Kevin Owens last week on Smackdown. Back live, Corbin said it brings him great joy to be that powerful. Owens interrupted. Fans cheered. A man dressed in all black attacked Owens from the side. He pulled his hood down and revealed himself as Riddick Moss, which McAfee identified. Corbin stepped onto the ring apron and applauded. KO tried to fight back, but Corbin joined in and whipped Owens into the ringside steps. Fans chanted, “You suck!” They slammed him onto the base of the steps. Then they laughed together uproariously.
-Braxton asked Ford if he regrets calling the Usos bitches. He sang no and said the truth shall set him free. He said he doesn’t like the locker room being scared what they do or say around the Bloodline. He said he just wishes Dawkins was around to see what he’ll do tonight against Reigns. He closed with, “We want the smoke.”
-Nikki A.S.H. made her ring entrance followed by Rhea Ripley. Ripley seemed to get a much bigger pop. [c]
-A graphic on the screen showed Edge telling Seth, “I’ll see you next week.”
(3) NATALYA (w/Tamina) vs. NIKKI A.S.H. (w/Rhea Ripley)
A couple minutes in, Natalya was trash-talking Nikki. When Tamina leaped onto the ring apron. Ripley yanked her to the floor. Nikki then reversed a small package on Natalya for the win.
WINNER: Nikki in 2:00.
-As Nikki & Ripley celebrated, Shotzi & Nox drove a tank to the ring. She blasted a missile at them. Ripley and Nikki ducked.
(Keller’s Analysis: Shotzi’s tank gimmick is so lame, made worse by how self-satisfied she is with herself driving it out there like a proud toddler who had too much sugar and is way too hyped up.)
-As Rey Mysterio showed Dominik Mysterio video footage of his loss on his phone in the locker room, Dominik told Rey that he is suffocating him and his nitpicking has cost him. He said he would have defeated Sami Zayn the last two weeks if it weren’t for him. Rey said he is going to step away because it’s clear he’s not thinking straight. Dominik looked saddened by his dad’s reaction to him standing up to him. Then in walked Sami and he said Dominik has the tools to be as good as anybody. He said when they’ve been in the ring, he’s get better each time. He said he doesn’t have to take his advice, but he should listen less to his dad and trust his instincts more. Dominik seemed to consider his words.
(Keller’s Analysis: This continues to be a well-executed, patiently developed ongoing storyline on Smackdown. Dominik is playing his part well. So are Rey and Sami.)
-Naomi made her ring entrance. Cole said it’s so refreshing to have her back on Smackdown. A clip aired of Naomi telling Deville that she’s going to get her match on Smackdown one way or another. Cole said she was fined for that “insubordination.” He said she’s not scheduled to wrestle and they’ll find out what she’s doing there next. [c]
-Naomi’s music faded. She said she came to Smackdown to compete, but Deville won’t give it to her. She said she’s been fined, disrespected, and ignored. She said she is demanding a match tonight. She asked who from backstage would like to feel the glow. Deville walked out and said it’s not happening. “Sorry, honey,” she said. “I make the matches around here, not you.” Naomi challenged her to a match. Deville said everyone knows she’d smack the glow off her face, but she’s not a competitor anymore, she’s a WWE official and her boss. Naomi told her to make the match and do her job. Deville asked her mic to be cut as she started a “Make the match!” chant. (It’s like C.M. Punk all over again!) Deville called for security. Deville smiled as two security guys entered the ring and ordered Naomi to leave the ring. Deville that said after her ring entrance, it’s all down hill. She said she’s been given chance after chance, and she always drops the ball. Deville said Naomi can Tik Tok dance her way to obscurity as she creates the future of Smackdown. Security escorted Naomi to the back.
(Keller’s Analysis: Naomi was largely good here, although Deville did have a good point about her having a more memorable ring entrance than impressive winning record.)
-Backstage, Heyman watched Reigns exit his locker room and followed behind. The Usos joined them. The Usos noticed Chad Gable & Otis and stopped and held up their tag belts in front of them.
-Montez Ford made his ring entrance. Cole said next would be a rare in-ring appearance for Reigns on Smackdown. [c]
-A clip aired of the Becky-Belair angle earlier. Then Becky spoke backstage and said Belair has pushed her too far. She said Belair might be the strongest, but she’s also the dumbest. She said she’s been champion every active day she’s been in WWE since WrestleMania 35. She said everything in her life may have changed, but the canvas is the same. She said she’s going to make Belair suffer. She said at Extreme Rules, she won’t just beat Belair, she will break her.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good, intense, mean-spirited promo.)
(4) ROMAN REIGNS vs. MONTEZ FORD
Ford’s music faded and then Reigns’s played. As Reigns came out, the announcers hyped the
Extreme Rules line-up. Cole said it’s possible that Reigns will no longer be part of Smackdown because of the WWE Draft next week. McAfee said he can’t imagine Roman representing any show except for “thee premiere show in sports entertainment.” Cole said it’s possible the Street Profits could be broken up, too. The bell rang 40 minutes into the second hour. Ford knocked Reigns to the floor with two dropkicks in the opening minute. They cut to a break as Reigns shot Ford an evil eye. [c]
Reigns was in control after the break. Ford made a comeback with a barrage of chops to Reigns’s chest followed by an enzuigiri. He then clotheslined Reigns to the floor and whipped him into the barricade. Cole said he’s showing “a mean streak… an aggressive streak.” (My hunch is Vince McMahon corrected him on saying “mean” regarding Ford.) Ford stepped on the ringside table, and it completely collapsed. (That makes all those times wrestlers crashed through announce tables seem less devastating.) Ford leaped off the ringside steps instead. Back in the ring, Reigns made a comeback. McAfee wondered “if it was my fat ass dancing on it” earlier that weakened the table. Reigns landed a flying clothesline. He signaled for the Superman Punch as Ford recovered at ringside. [c]
Back from the break, Reigns eventually went for a Superman Punch, but Ford avoided it and landed a sudden DDT for a two count. Reigns bailed out to ringside. Ford kicked him and threw him into the ringside steps. Ford then leaped off the top rope with a splash, but Reigns lifted his knees and then applied a guillotine. As Cole talked about it finishing so many opponents, Ford eventually tapped.
WINNER: Reigns in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was longer than I would have expected them to book Ford to last against Reigns. Ford lost, but he looked like he belongedin there.)
-Heyman told Reigns afterward, “That was not enough for his sins.” He counseled Reigns to show the Demon and Brock Lesnar what happens when Reigns takes it to the extreme. Heyman called for the Usos. They made their way out to the ring. Reigns gave them instructions. They handed Reigns a chair, which he used against Ford, bashing him across his back repeatedly. Reigns tossed Ford to the floor and yelled, “Who’s the bitch now?” He then slammed Ford through a folding table. (I assume that was supposed to be the announce desk, had it not collapsed already.)
The lights went out and Cole asked, “What the hell is going on?” The Demon then showed up on the top rope. The lights in the arena were red. Demon leaped onto the Usos and Reigns. He used a kendo stick against all three heels. McAfee asked if they are just two days away from the end of Roman’s reign as champion.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s good they got around to promoting the main event of Sunday’s PPV there!)