SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
OCTOBER 15, 2021
ONTARIO, CA. AT THE TOYOTA ARENA
AIRS ON FS1, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Pat McAfee
WWE returns to the Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA. for the first time since June of 2018. The building opened in 2008 and has hosted WWE events since 2014.
Tonight’s episode will air on FS1 as opposed to Fox to accommodate the game one of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. It is being billed as a “supersized” episode since it will be two and a half hours with the final half hour being commercial free. They will go head-to-head for that half hour with AEW Rampage. I will join Tyler Sage for the Rampage post-show exclusively for PWTorch VIP members.
Pulling the curtain back somewhat, I am starting this at 3:45 p.m. local time on Thursday. WWE’s preview is already up. Their preview is seldom up before noon on the day of the show, if not a few hours beforehand. There is a concerted effort to go after AEW to not just go up against Rampage, but to pull viewers from potentially watching Dynamite which was pre-empted to Saturday night to accommodate the NHL on Wednesday (which sucked for me since the Rangers got stomped by the Capitals … but it’s not about me … but to me it is … anyway).
Four matched and an appearance are advertised for tonight.
Advertised Matches & Segments
Brock Lesnar Appears
Brock Lesnar is challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Crown Jewel. They have a long history going back to 2015 when Roman won that year’s Royal Rumble and earned the right to challenge Brock for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at that year’s WrestleMania. They faced off again three years later at WrestleMania, the Greatest Royal Rumble, and eventually SummerSlam where Roman defeated Brock for the Universal Championship.
Through all those times Paul Heyman was by the side of Brock. Things have changed as Paul is now the “wise man” to Roman, the “tribal chief.” Last week, Paul and Roman tapped into their recent history where Paul admitted that Roman rescued and save him and chose him to be his special counsel. At the behest of Roman, Paul cut a promo on Brock going back to when he defeated the Undertaker. He said the Undertaker had met his match and now Brock has met his in Roman. In classic fashion, Paul said Roman would still be Universal Champion and that’s not a prediction, that … is a spoiler. Calling back to Roman’s days with the Shield, he then said, “and you can believe that!”
Brock appears tonight ahead of their match at Crown Jewel.
Frank’s Analysis: One of the biggest feuds I looked forward to was Brock vs. Roman, mostly due to the dynamics of Paul Heyman. It’s a shame it’s going to play out in Saudi Arabia where a lot of people are likely not going to watch. That said, my money is on Roman retaining, but I don’t rule out a title change. That gives them a reason to do another match. Where they would do it remains to be seen, but the Royal Rumble is a possibility. That’s if they change the title at all.
Non-Title Match: Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Becky Lynch will defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair in a triple threat match at Crown Jewel. Tonight, Becky goes one-on-one with Sasha. There is a history with these women going back to their time at NXT. Their more recent history takes up back to 2019, where they had a Hell in a Cell match.
Last week they attempted a contract signing between Bianca, Becky, and Sasha but things ended up in a brawl. Later, Becky signed the contract. Things broke down this past Monday where Becky teamed with Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair to take on Sasha and Bianca. They brawled before the match started until Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville restored order. The match started, but still ended in a no-contest when the reluctant partners fought each other. Becky and Bianca are members of the Raw roster while Charlotte and Sasha belong on Smackdown. Here’s Becky in a WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: WWE is in the business of putting out the biggest TV they can, so a match between Becky and Sasha is big. I should be excited, but I’m not. Nobody came out of Monday looking good and it’s another match in a long line of matches they advertise where they don’t give a finish and thus why waste your time watching. Does every match need a clean finish? You can debate the answer, but when they do the same thing repeatedly it loses value and I think people tend to become numb to what they’re seeing and eventually tune out.
Carmella vs. Zelina in a Queens Crown Tournament Match
Carmella goes one-on-one with recent “partner” (so to speak) with Zelina Vega in a Queen’s Crown Tournament match. Last week Carmella defeated Liv Morgan, who had defeated her in multiple matches some time ago. Zelina defeated Toni Storm in about two minutes.
The winner of this match goes to the finals at Crown Jewel to face the winner of Shayna Baszler vs. Doudrop which will take place on Raw.
Frank’s Analysis: This has Carmella written all over it. Come on, you can’t see Queen Carmella? It’s not like she’s winning a title any time soon, nor should she. I’m fine giving it to her since it means nothing. If this was meant to push someone to another level, I’d give it to Doudrop.
Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn in a King of the Ring Match
Finn Balor takes on Sami Zayn in a match to determine who will go to the finals of the King of the Ring tournament. The winner will face the winner of Jinder Mahal vs. Xavier Woods which will take place on Raw.
Last week Finn defeated Cesaro while Sami defeated recent rival Rey Mysterio. Finn last faced Sami a week after he interrupted his promo during his return to Smackdown, the first episode in front of live fans since the beginning of the pandemic.
Frank’s Analysis: I think it’s common knowledge that Sami can’t go to Saudi Arabia, so Finn seems like a lock tonight. Here me out though. If they want Xavier Woods to win this, they can have Sami win, and have the finals match on Smackdown instead next week since both guys are members of the roster and it gives them a big match. I don’t know if they’re obligated to have the King of the Ring in Saudi though, so if that’s the case then Finn goes over tonight.
Naomi vs. Sonya Deville
Naomi goes one-on-one with Sonya Deville tonight. It’s Sonya’s first match since losing to Mandy Rose at SummerSlam 2020. She has been a WWE official since her return, working alongside Adam Pearce.
Naomi has been lobbying Sonya Deville to have a match on Smackdown she became a member of the roster. She showed up several weeks ago, before the draft, and told Sonya she was on the show. Naomi was drafted to Raw in 2020 but was never officially moved off the roster. Sonya has told Naomi in so many words she has gotten pushes before, but it went nowhere. She’s turned Naomi down for a one-on-one previously claiming she’s “no longer an active competitor.” Last week, Sonya reversed course and told Naomi they would be having a match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: I like trying to do something different with Naomi, but I don’t have faith in WWE that it will go anywhere. Given they gave the Queen’s Crown matches about two minutes, what’s to stop them from having Sonya beating Naomi in two minutes or vice versa, and the story dropped the following week. I’m sorry to be so cynical but we’ve seen it so many times, so I’m not going to spend mental energy trying to figure out where this is going.
Match Results and Segments not Advertised for Follow-Up
- Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss ran an episode of Happy Talk. They were to have the Street Profits, but Kevin Owens came out to attack both men. Owens got at both men, but it ended in a two-on-one beatdown.
- They ran an “in defense” segment for Seth Rollins, who talked about his invasion of Edge’s household during the previous week. He said he wanted Edge to admit he wasn’t Edge Lite and he was the man that ended his career. Later, he called out Edge who speared Rollins. He choked him with a cable and was going to do the choke-out with the piece of the chair he did to the Usos over the summer. Rollins got away, and Edge said “You, me, Hell in a Cell!” That match is set for Crown Jewel.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!