SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
OCTOBER 15, 2021
ONTARIO, CA AT THE TOYOTA CENTER
AIRED ON FS1
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with the Super Smackdown logo and a new intro video. They showed a graphic for a Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar contract signing and a graphic for Sasha Banks-Becky Lynch. They also advertised a Tag Team Championship match between the Usos and the Street Profits.
-Edge’s music hit to a HUGE pop. Michael Cole threw to a video package recapping the Edge-Seth Rollins feud. Cole said Edge wants to finish things with Rollins at Crown Jewel next week. After the package, Edge sat mid-ring in a chair. Edge said all of this started seven years ago when Rollins tried to use Edge as a stepping stone. Edge said Rollins has been calling him out, but he wasn’t cleared to compete. He said Rollins got greedy. He said Rollins crossed the line, he went into Edge’s home where he breaks bread with his family and reads to his girls at night. He said Rollins pissed all over it. Edge said he underestimated Rollins. He said he shouldn’t have. Edge said he and Rollins are alike, they see mistakes and capitalize on them. Edge said Rollins is the only one that comes close to matching his passion and intensity for this. He said close, but not quite. Edge said Rollins is not Edge-lite, he’s his own man, Seth freaking Rollins. They showed Rollins celebrating in the back. Edge said he has to finish this. He said he could go to Edge’s house and have a “chance encounter with Becks”. Edge said feeling sorry for him would be a mistake. He said Rollins shouldn’t feel sympathy for a devil, and that’s what he and Rollins are. Edge said he won’t hesitate. He said it’s fitting their trilogy ends in Hell in a Cell. Edge said he’s going to scar Rollins’ soul, and it’s a scar you never, ever, heal from. Cole hyped the match as Edge rose from the chair and stared off. They showed the graphic for Crown Jewel.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was intense. I really like the new intense Edge. The only problem with it is all of his feuds have to be deeply personal so he can act this way and play to this strength. It may be in his best interest to turn heel upon his move to Raw. He would make a good opponent for Big E, and that would help keep him and Rollins away from each other, after WWE screwed up and drafted them to the same show, again. Rollins smirking in the back when Edge called him his own man was a nice touch. I’ve stated many times, I love this feud. I hope the payoff is worth it. It’s a shame its at NOON on a THURSDAY in a country where real fans aren’t paying for tickets to see it.)
-Cole and McAfee hyped Crown Jewel at 12 noon next Thursday. They threw to a video package recapping the King of the Ring matches from last week. Finn Balor’s music hit and he made his entrance to a solid pop. They showed a pre-taped interview with Balor as he made his entrance. Balor said being King of the Ring would be the achievement of a lifetime, but he wants to shut up Sami Zayn for good, as that would be a bigger achievement. [c]
-Back from break, Cole said Balor is two wins away from being King of the Ring. He announced the finals for Crown Jewel. Sami Zayn made his entrance. They showed a pre-taped interview of him as well.
(1) FINN BALOR vs. SAMI ZAYN – King of the Ring Semi-Final Match
Zayn backed into the corner as they showed a graphic for the King of the Ring semi-final. Balor locked on an arm bar but Zayn fought back. Zayn hit a couple kicks to Balor’s gut, then a big chop. Zayn went for a sunset flip and got a one count but Balor rolled out and hit a basement dropkick. Zayn recovered and whipped Balor off the ropes. He hit Balor with a clothesline and went for three consecutive covers, all near falls. Zayn choked Balor with the middle rope, then locked on a sleeper on a downed Balor. Balor fought back and whipped Zayn off the ropes, then threw him over the top and to the floor. Balor hit a suicide plancha over the top to the floor on Zayn as they cut to break. [c]
Back from break, Zayn was in control. He used his knee to choke Balor on the middle rope once again. Zayn went for punches but Balor blocked and hit rights of his own. Zayn recovered and hit a big right that rocked Balor, but Balor hit a pele kick out of nowhere. Both men were down for a while. Zayn went to the apron and Balor attacked. Zayn recovered and climbed to the top rope. Balor recovered and hit a big chop. Balor went for a superplex, but Zayn head-butted Balor to the mat. Zayn posed on the top rope and jumped off. Balor countered with a big drop kick and got a very close near fall. While they showed a replay, Zayn recovered and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn whipped Balor into the corner, Balor recovered and hit a big kick. Balor went to the top rope but Zayn recovered and knocked Balor down. Zayn tried to use the ropes on a cover but the official caught him. Zayn and the official argued. Balor hit a slingblade, then a double stomp in the corner. Balor went up to the top, but Zayn recovered again. Zayn went for a roll-up, but he only got a near fall. Balor recovered again, and hit another double stomp into the corner. Balor then finally hit the Coup de Gras for the win.
WINNER: FINN BALOR in 12:00 to advance to the finals of the King of the Ring Tournament
(McDonald’s Analysis: Another great match in the men’s side of this tournament. They both worked hard here. After being reminded on the Smackdown post-show about Zayn not going to Saudi (thanks Nick from Vermont), it was obvious Balor was going to win. If my prediction holds true, he’ll face Xavier Woods in the finals. Anything is better than Jinder Mahal. This match was well worked and showed that Zayn can work great matches when they don’t portray him as a joke. They should use him this way more often.)
-Balor celebrated in mid-ring and stared at the crown and throne in the entryway. Cole and McAfee hyped the Reigns-Lesnar contract signing while the graphic showed on the screen. [c]
-Back from break, they showed a video package hyping Drew McIntyre coming to Smackdown. This was really well done. They should be doing this with all the big additions to both shows. Back in the arena, they showed the graphic of the new (sad) Smackdown roster. Cole said a new era starts on Smackdown next week. Cole said Reigns will remain on Smackdown and McAfee exploded with joy and said thank God. They then threw to a video package recapping the happenings among Reigns, the Usos, Paul Heyman, and Lesnar over the last month or so.
-After the package, they showed a graphic for Reigns-Lesnar at NOON on THURSDAY at Crown Jewel. Naomi’s music hit and she came out to a decent pop. They showed a pre-taped interview with Naomi. Naomi said she’s excited to finally have her match. She said Sonya Deville took her kindness for weakness and she’s going to make her pay. Naomi ended the interview by turning off the lights and showing off her glowing neon outfit. They cut back to the ring where Naomi was posing in the ring. They showed Deville watching intently on a monitor in the back. Cole said this is Deville’s first match in 14 months. They showed the graphic for Naomi-Deville and cut to break. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: This is the third time they’ve done these weird small screen becomes full screen interviews. It’s weird. It’s not a bad touch, but it’s jarring when they do it so much. Also, I can’t believe it’s only been 14 months since Deville wrestled.)
-Back from break, Deville made her entrance, then announced that Naomi didn’t let her finish last week. Deville said the match is herself and Shayna Baszler against Naomi. Deville slapped Naomi and told the ref to ring the bell.
(2) SHAYNA BASZLER & SONYA DEVILLE vs. NAOMI
Baszler went after Naomi. Naomi recovered, but the numbers quickly caught up. Baszler took down Naomi, then held her arms back while Deville attacked. Naomi recovered and kicked Deville, who spilled to the floor. Naomi then went after Baszler. Deville grabbed Naomi’s foot from the outside and distracted Naomi. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, then threw Naomi down. Deville put her foot on Naomi’s chest and the ref counted to three.
WINNER: SHAYNA BASZLER & SONYA DEVILLE in 3:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, that was less interesting than I thought it would be. They went a real cop-out route. Again, I hold out hope that Naomi is pushed to the brink, and therefore calls on the Bloodline. This feud is sure to continue.)
-They cut to a video package on Hit Row. McAfee said they’re impressive and he can’t wait to see them. Seth Rollins’ music then hit and he made his entrance. Cole asked what he was wearing. Cole said it’s time for Rollins’ rebuttal. They showed a graphic for Rollins’ “trip to hell”, next. [c]
-Back from break, they hyped the contract signing and Lynch vs. Banks. Sasha Banks was then shown in the back. She said some are born great and some become great, she’s both. She said she’s made history from day one. Banks said she came back to right some wrongs. She said Big Time Becks is going to get a big time beatdown. Banks said she’s focused, and she’s the boss, and she’s going to be the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. This transitioned right into Cole and McAfee breaking down the Crown Jewel card. Which is THURSDAY at NOON.
-Seth Rollins was in the ring. He laughed as the crowd chanted “Seth, you suck”. Rollins said Edge came out and tried to convince everyone and himself that he has a chance at Crown Jewel. Rollins said it’s a great joke. He said he’s not afraid to face Edge inside Hell in a Cell. Rollins said Hell has already frozen over tonight in California. Rollins quoted Edge admitting he was wrong, and Rollins is not Edge-lite. Rollins said Edge realized that Rollins is better than him in every way. Rollins said he’s in Edge’s head. He said he out-manipulated the master of mind games, which gives him the mental advantage. Rollins pointed out Edge’s recent injury and said he has the edge physically as well. Rollins said Edge has an ace up his sleeve, Hell in a Cell. Rollins reiterated that he is not intimidated or afraid to face Edge inside Hell in a Cell. The crowd chanted “we want Edge”. Rollins said Edge is right in that they are both devils and they are a lot alike. Rollins said he’s spent more time in the Cell than Edge. Rollins said he’s been scarred by the Cell. He screamed for everyone to look at him. He said he’s the man he is today because of Hell in a Cell. Rollins said he’s the visionary, the revolutionary, Seth freaking Rollins. Cole asked if this will be Rollins’ crowning moment or the worst night of his life.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, Edge’s promo was good. This was better. Rollins is on fire the last 6 weeks or so. This rivalry has been great for his character. Hard to tell where they go with Rollins when this is over. Something interesting, Rollins mentioned that Hell in a Cell is why he is the way he is now. This is true. The character change happened after/because of the Hell in a Cell match with the Fiend. I wonder if this match will lead to another character change and that is what they are foreshadowing. On another note, the crowd was super into booing Rollins here. That was cool.)
-Cole said Crown Jewel will feature the finals of the Queen’s Crown Tournament. They showed a recap of the two tournament matches from last week.
-Carmella was in the back warming up when Zelina Vega approached. Vega buttered Carmella up and told her she’s the best woman left in the tournament. Vega said Carmella doesn’t need to wear the mask and they should have a fair match. Carmella said she loves this for us and she walked off. Back in the arena, Carmella made her entrance. [c]
-After the break, Zelina Vega made her entrance. They showed the Queen’s Crown bracket. Vega stopped and looked at the crown and throne on the top of the ramp.
(3) CARMELLA vs. ZELINA VEGA – Queen’s Crown Semi-Final Match
Carmella shouted to the women at ringside that she doesn’t need them tonight. Carmella went for a quick roll-up and got a near fall. Vega matched with one of her own for another near fall. The pair traded waistlocks, then Carmella took Vega down with an armbar. Vega tried to fight back, but Carmella kept the pressure on. Vega fought out, but Carmella hit a superkick. Carmella apologized to the downed Vega. Vega tackled Carmella and went for punches. Carmella went to the outside and tried to retrieve her mask. Liv Morgan was there waiting for Carmella, holding the mask hostage. Carmella rolled back into the ring where Vega took her down and got the win.
WIJNNER: ZELINA VEGA in 2:00 to advance to the finals of the Queen’s Crown Tournament
-Morgan ran into the ring and Carmella ran out scared. Zelina Vega sat in the throne with the crown on and posed. They then cut to a video package hyping the arrival of Sheamus on Smackdown.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Geez. That was stupid. They continue to make no effort into hyping up the bottom/middle of the Women’s Division. Yet another two minute match in this tournament. If we’re lucky, this entire tournament will have been decided in less than 15 minutes. Seriously though, Vega being in the finals of anything in this company, other than roster cuts, is a joke. I hope Baszler chokes her out in 2 minutes. That’s probably what will happen anyway.)
-Happy Corbin made his entrance. They showed a recap of last week’s Happy Talk segment with Mad Cap Moss’ awesome jokes. Cole hyped Happy Talk, next. [c]
-Back from break, Corbin and Moss sat mid-ring. Corbin called Moss the funniest man he’s ever met. Moss told a bad joke about a hen. Corbin then said Kevin Owens flew the coop to go to Raw after being embarrassed last week. Moss told another bad joke about Owens. Corbin mentioned the new Smackdown Superstars coming over in the draft. Suddenly, guitar music sounded and Rick Boogs appeared on the entrance way. McAfee said “thank God, finally some talent”. The crowd was very into Boogs. Boogs played his guitar and introduced Shinsuke Nakamura who made his entrance to a mild reaction. Boogs and Nakamura went over to McAfee who jumped on the announce desk and celebrated. Boogs and Nakamura played and walked around the ring, then back up the ramp. When they got to the top of the ramp, the Street Profits made their entrance, which Rick Boogs also played. The Street Profits danced with Boogs and Nakamura on the top of the ramp. They showed the graphic for the Tag Team Championship Street Fight between the Usos and Street Profits, next. [c]
-Back from break, they showed a video package hyping the New Days’ arrival on Smackdown next week. Back in the arena, the Usos made their entrance and got a great pop from the crowd. McAfee said the Bloodline runs Friday night.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I’m glad they did all these packages. They’re well done and make all of the acts feel important.)
(4) THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) [c] vs. THE STREET PROFITS (ANGELO DAWKINS & MONTEZ FORD) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship Street Fight
The two teams stared each other down and hit each other with punches. Dawkins hit his neckbreaker on Jey and Jey rolled to the outside. Ford took over on Jimmy and mounted him in the corner but Jey attacked from behind. Dawkins tried to enter the ring, but Jimmy met him on the apron with a right hand. Jey and Jimmy went to the outside and threw Dawkins into the barricade. The Usos posed, but Ford flew over the top and took them both out. Ford landed on his feet. Dawkins pushed Ford and told him to get the tables. Cole said they were paying tribute to the Dudleys. As they went for the tables, the Usos flew over the top and took out both Street Profits as they cut to break. [c]
After the break, Jimmy was taunting a downed Dawkins. Jey was on the outside of the ring, and he pulled out kendo sticks. Jey entered the ring and gave a stick to Jimmy who hit Dawkins, who was on his knees. Jey then hit Dawkins. The Usos double teamed Dawkins with the sticks. Ford entered and took out both Usos. Ford knocked Jey to the outside, then hit a Van Daminator on Jimmy for a near fall. Jey entered from behind and hit a pop-up Samoan Drop on Ford. Jey played to the crowd who chanted U-SO with him. Dawkins entered and took down Jey. Ford and Dawkins hit a double team move on Jey. Dawkins got the kendo stick while Ford got the chair. The two took turns hitting Jey with the weapon. Jimmy entered and helped Jey recover. They hit a double superkick on Ford and then one on Dawkins for a near fall. The Usos climbed to adjacent corners and Ford pulled Jey down. Jimmy went after Ford, but Dawkins caught him with the Sky High. Ford hit the frog splash and went for the cover but Jey pulled Ford off and to the floor. Jey put Ford threw a table with a spinebuster. Dawkins went for a roll up, but Jimmy countered. Jey entered and the Usos hit a double superkick and double splash for the win.
WINNER: THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) in 12:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
(McDonald’s Analysis: This match was really good. It was a little chaotic, but the stipulation called for that. They did a great job mixing in the weapons and the high spots. Both teams worked hard, and as I’ve said before, they have great chemistry. I’m sad we won’t get to see them wrestle again, but it’s probably for the best. It’s a shame that the Raw Tag Division is comprised mostly of singles wrestlers paired together. It will be hard for the Profits to shine there.)
-The Usos celebrated and Cole called this the end of the rivalry.
-Becky Lynch was in the back with Kayla. Lynch said greatness is being undefeated in singles competition for three years. She said greatness is having a baby and coming back to win the Women’s Championship in record time. She ended with greatness is big time. Lynch walked off and made her entrance in the arena to a great pop. Cole and McAfee hyped the match. Cole said this is the last commercial break of the night. They showed the graphic for Lynch vs. Banks, next. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I love promos like this. Becky was to the point and effective. This was really solid, even for being short.)
-Back from break, they showed a video package for the impending arrival of Charlotte. Another well done video package.
-They showed the graphic for the new Smackdown roster again. The lack of depth is more apparent every time they show this. Lynch was in the ring waiting for Banks. Cole threw to a video package of last week’s contract signing among Lynch, Banks, and Bianca Belair.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I wonder if they realize they’re having ANOTHER contract signing this week. They do these way too much. It’s time for a new gimmick.)
-Sasha Banks made her entrance to a good pop. They showed a graphic for Banks vs. Belair vs. Lynch at Crown Jewel at NOON on THURSDAY. McAfee said we get two of the GOAT’s batting it out on Smackdown. Before the match could start Belair’s music hit and she made her entrance. Belair danced around the ring and joined commentary.
(5) SASHA BANKS vs. BECKY LYNCH
Banks and Lynch stared each other down. Banks went for an armbar, but Lynch recovered with an armbar of her own. Belair said she’s happy to have the chance to be champion again. Lynch took down Banks and posed. Cole called her Becky Biceps. The two traded pin attempts for near falls. Banks taunted Lynch, but Lynch hit a knee to the gut of Banks. Lynch went for a Dis-Arm-Her, but Banks fought her off. Banks hit double knees in the corner for a near fall. Banks stalked Lynch and went for an armbar, Lynch reversed, but Banks got a roll-up for a near fall. Lynch fought back and hit a float over faceplant for a near fall. Lynch stomped Banks in the corner. Lynch whipped Banks into the other corner, then elevated over the top. Banks fought back, but Lynch faceplanted Banks on the apron. Lynch got another near fall then beat on Banks. Lynch taunted and Banks recovered, but Lynch quickly regained control with a bulldog for a near fall. Cole said Belair is wrestling Charlotte for the Raw Women’s Championship on Monday. Belair said she’s going to win, then win the Smackdown Championship at Crown Jewel. In the ring, Banks took over and hit the Three Amigos for a near fall. Lynch threw Banks into the corner post, then climbed to the top and used the ropes to apply an armbar. She broke the hold before the five count, then hit a leg drop on Banks, who was draped over the ropes, and she got another near fall. Lynch looked exasperated and grabbed Banks, but Banks fought back with chops. Banks ran after Lynch in the corner, but Lynch moved. Lynch rammed Banks head into the turnbuckle from the apron. Lynch hopped to the opposite apron and Banks pulled Lynch into the ring post. Banks then hit a Meteora on Lynch into the ringpost. Banks got Lynch back in the ring and hit another Meteora, then one off the top for a near fall. Banks put Lynch on the top, but Lynch fought back. Banks took Lynch down, but Lynch rolled out of the ring before Banks could get the cover. Belair said “hey Becky” as Lynch got up in front of the table. Banks tried to go after Lynch but Lynch hit a leg drop on the apron. Banks recovered and put Lynch in the Bank Statement on the outside. She held on until the refs count got too high, then rolled Lynch in. Banks hit a frog splash for a close near fall. Lynch reversed a whip into the corner and then hit a flying forearm. She went to the opposite corner for another, but Banks ran behind her and hit double knees. Lynch recovered and hit a leg drop from the top for a near fall. Belair said she’s ready for the match at Crown Jewel because she calls herself the roughest and the toughest for a reason. Banks was hung up in the ropes and Banks went for a leg drop from the top, but Banks moved. Banks pulled Lynch to the outside. Lynch punched Belair, then Banks jumped off the announce table with a Meteora. Back in the ring, Banks went for a frog splash but Lynch got her knees up. Lynch went for a Dis-Arm-Her but Banks fought it off. Banks hit a Backstabber then went for a Bank Statement but Lynch got to the ropes. Belair tried to hit Lynch with her hair, but she missed. However, Lynch was distracted, which allowed Banks to hit a Backstabber for the win.
WINNER: SASHA BANKS in 17:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: This was excellent. PPV style match. It’s not a coincidence that WWE decided to do this in the last 30 minutes during the head to head time with AEW. I don’t watch AEW, but that’s going to be hard to beat. Lynch and Banks both brought it. Unfortunately, WWE gave us a lame finish. They did so much right with the booking of this match, only to let us down with a distraction finish. Both women worked really hard and this was the best Women’s Division match on free TV this year. Lynch shook off any ring rust that may have been present, and it appears Banks has done the same. I didn’t know that Belair was getting a title shot on Raw, I bet she wins, which makes the outcome of the Triple Threat even more interesting. Speaking of Belair, she was very reserved on commentary. Her voice even sounded different. I wonder what that was about. She came off very humble, and almost soft-spoken. It was very strange. For those that care, after this, I’m picking Lynch to win, even though she’s going to Raw. I don’t know how they’ll figure out the title situation, but I can’t see Banks winning again after tonight.)
-Lynch stared in disbelief as they showed a content Belair. Banks left up the ramp. Adam Pearce came down and was yelling at the ring crew to get the table set up. He hurried them along to set up the ring for the contract signing. McAfee said “contract signings always go so well”.
-Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance, flanked by Paul Heyman. Reigns got a huge pop. McAfee and Cole mentioned that Reigns has been champion for 411 days. Reigns walked around the ring, where again, cheers were very audible. Reigns posed with Heyman on the apron. McAfee called Heyman the promo God, and that Heyman stated he resides profusely with Reigns.
-Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he entered to a great pop of his own. Cole said Lesnar was Universal Champion for 504 days. He said Reigns wants that record and he has to get past Lesnar on Thursday to do it. McAfee called Lesnar “that thing”. McAfee said Lesnar is built unlike any human that has ever existed. Lesnar and Reigns stared each other down. Lesnar sat down in the chair. The crowd chanted “Suplex City” while Lesnar put his feet up on the table. Heyman set the Universal Championship on the table and Heyman reviewed the contract. Heyman took the mic. He told Reigns the contract is everything Reigns requested. Heyman said his counsel is for Reigns to sign the contract. Reigns signed, then Heyman tossed the pen outside the ring. Lesnar signed the contract without looking at it. Reigns took the mic and said Lesnar must be some kind of dumbass. Reigns said Lesnar signed it without reading it. Lesnar laughed and told Reigns he read the contract this morning, with his advocate, Paul Heyman. Reigns stared off and Heyman looked at Reigns worriedly. Cole asked where Heyman’s allegiances lie. McAfee called it the fight of the year. The showed a graphic running down the card for Crown Jewel one more time. Yet again, this is on THURSDAY at NOON, when 99% of us are at work. The show ended with Lesnar laughing on the ramp at an angry Reigns in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, I guess, take that AEW. Further proof that Vince McMahon views them as more of a threat than he lets on. They stacked the end of this show with their three top Women’s Division stars and their top two male stars. That’s not an accident. The wrinkle of Pearce yelling at the crew to get the stuff in the ring was cool. We all know that Pearce doesn’t have real authority, but it came off like this is what happens during commercial when they set things up. It was good attention to detail that WWE doesn’t usually bother with. This segment was awesome. I really like things that are to the point and impactful and this was both. Reigns was so arrogant, but the minute Brock mentioned Heyman, Reigns became very worried. The interesting thing here, is that Heyman read the contract, not Reigns. Is there something in there that will be a surprise to Reigns in a possible swerve? Lesnar’s delivery about him and Heyman reviewing the contract this morning was gold. This is the best thing in wrestling and it’s not close. I really wish I could buy a ticket to this match. Despite what Javier says, and having my own doubts, I can’t see them doing the swerve or turn at Crown Jewel, even if there is one coming. I really, really, really hope not anyway.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was an excellent Smackdown and made up for the lackluster show last week. The matches on this show were all lengthy (save the Queen’s Crown joke) and meaningful. This was a PPV quality show in a lot of ways. Crown Jewel is on Thursday. For the record, I’m picking Reigns, and no Heyman turn. I’m also going with Lynch. I think Woods will win King of the Ring, and I’m sticking with Baszler for Queen’s Crown. This was an episode that bid farewell to the acts on their way out of Smackdown and featured good video packages on the new talent coming in. I’m very excited to see Hit Row. Anybody Pat McAfee likes can’t be that bad.