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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 22, 2021
LIVE FROM WICHITA, KS. AT INTRUST ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
-After the “WWE Then Now Forever” brand stamp, they aired clips of Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel the previous day in Saudi Arabia. They aired the tug-o-war for the title belt that Paul Heyman threw into the ring in slo-mo with dramatic music followed by freeze-frames of Reigns hitting Lesnar with the belt and scoring the three count.
-They went live to the arena where Cole introduced the show, noting Crown Jewel was a historic event. He said they were in Wichita, Kansas and the graphic noted it, which is nice since they often have shied away from noting the city they’re in pre-pandemic if it wasn’t an NFL-level major city.
-Reigns’s music played and he walked out with Heyman. (So the question going into this segment is why is Reigns okay with Heyman tossing the belt between him and Lesnar at Crown Jewel instead of giving it right to Reigns. Lesnar knew all along Heyman wasn’t with him, assuming Heyman wasn’t with him, so there’d be no incentive to “fool” Lesnar by not sliding the belt directly to Reigns. So shouldn’t Reigns be wondering why Heyman didn’t make sure the belt went right to him?) Cole read a tweet from Brock Lesnar after Crown Jewel yesterday saying that as soon as he arrived at Smackdown, he’d “beat Roman Reigns senseless.” (I love that he spelled out Roman’s full name instead just saying Reigns or Roman, like Vince McMahon insists announcers do. Do we really believe Lesnar would be bothered to do that on his own?)
Cole said the questions coming out of yesterday include: Where Heyman’s allegiance really lies? Did Lesnar have Reigns defeated? Would Reigns have survived if not for the Usos? Reigns stood in the ring with a tooth-commercial smile locked on his face. Heyman looked at him apprehensively. He handed him the mic when he seemed ready for it. Reigns asked, “You holding that title for me or for Brock?” He said when he put his hand out, he did the right thing with the mic, but last night he put his hand out “and you just threw the title in the ring.” He said, “Should we work on this?” He held out his hand and asked Heyman to hand him the belt. Heyman did so. Reigns said, “Ahh, that’s pretty easy, right?” Reigns said, “You’re not great at your job. You’re not. But I am.”
He said there’s no denying at this point that he’s the best of the best. He said he’s carried this product on his back for over a year-and-a-half now. “I’m your Tribal Chief! I’m the Head of the Table. I’m the greatest Universal Champion of all time. You know why? Because I’ve smashed everyone.” He said he can’t go back all the way because the list is so long, but going back to WrestleMania, he’s smashed Daniel Bryan and Edge, Cesaro, Finn Balor, “Hollywood Megastar” John Cena, and Brock Lesnar. He leaned into Heyman when he said it and called Lesnar, “Your boy, Brock Lesnar.” He looked at Heyman and asked what Lesnar said about Smackdown. “Hurry up, Paul,” he said as Paul tried to bring the quote up on his phone. He read the quote out loud. Fans cheered. Reigns laughed and knocked Heyman’s phone out of his hand. He said he whooped Lesnar so hard, he’s tweeting now. He found that funny. “Good god,” he said. He told Lesnar if he wants to beat him senseless, he runs Smackdown and WWE, so he’s not going anywhere. He asked the fans if they’d like to see him whoop Lesnar tonight, too. They cheered. Reigns said, “Then acknowledge your Tribal Chief.”
Reigns looked at the big screen and waited for Lesnar. He didn’t come out. Reigns said he wasn’t leaving the ring until Lesnar showed up.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Reigns is okay with Heyman still representing him despite Heyman sliding the belt between him and Lesnar at Crown Jewel during the most critical moment where Heyman could have shown his loyalty was to Reigns and not to Brock or split between them? Is the story that Heyman tried and failed? I was thinking that was the only thread Heyman could hang on to try to justify Reigns trusting him. I guess they’re acknowledging that without really having Heyman explain himself or Reigns hold him accountable, and they’re just moving on? Reigns is phenomenal right now. He really has a swagger. He also really rounds up aggressively claiming he’s been back for a year and a half. It’ll be a year and a half in February 2022.) [c]
Back in the ring, Reigns was mid-sentence telling the fans they can’t blame Lesnar because he’s the greatest of all time. He called Lesnar a no-show and said, “Brock Lesnar fears me.” Reigns asked Heyman why he runs his mouth and doesn’t back up his words. He said he’s given his people far too much time. He said the Tribal Chief shows up and fulfills his obligation, whereas Lesnar is a no-show. He said there is nothing left to do. Fans chanted, “We Want Lesnar!” Heyman looked like he was continually trying to process the ramifications of everything Reigns said and how he said it. Reigns said everyone is scared because he smashed everybody. “Wichita, this is where we have to part ways,” he said. Lesnar’s music then played.
Heyman backed into the corner and looked terrified. He stepped onto the ring apron while Reigns held his ground. Lesnar charged into the ring. Reigns swung the belt at him. Lesnar ducked and then clotheslined Reigns over the top rope. When Lesnar dropped to the floor, Reigns met him. Lesnar threw Reigns into the ringside steps, then he noticed Heyman. Lesnar walked toward Heyman and smiled, then frowned. Lesnar picked up the top of the steel steps and rammed Reigns with it, then tossed it into the ring. Lesnar lifted Reigns for an F5, but the Usos ran out and hit Lesnar from behind. Lesnar threw the Usos around ringside. Reigns hit Lesnar from behind. Lesnar bashed Reigns back-first into the ringpost. Three referees pleaded with Lesnar to back away. Lesnar took a camera and shoved the camera guy down. He then threw the camera at Reigns, but it smashed into the ringpost. Lesnar threw more people around. Adam Pearce sent a bunch of wrestlers from the locker room to ringside. Lesnar tossed them aside. Pearce pleaded with Lesnar to calm down as Heyman, Reigns, and the Usos retreated up the ramp. Cole said Lesnar believes he should be Universal Champion. Lesnar had the belt in hand and held it above his head. [c]
-Back from the break, they went to Cole and McAfee on camera as they commented on clips of what happened before the break. Pearce stood mid-ring and said Lesnar’s actions were irresponsible and unacceptable. He said he endangered their crew and his fellow Superstars and “worst of all, the WWE Universe.” He said he cannot allow that to happen on his watch. He said he had the unfortunate duty to inform everyone that he is indefinitely suspending Brock. McAfee said, “This guy stinks!” Lesnar walked back to the ring. McAfee said, “He asked for it. You don’t publicly punish Brock Lesnar.” Lesnar entered the ring. Pearce tried to explain himself. Lesnar shoved him into the corner of the ring. He fixed his suit a bit and smiled, but then – as the fans were chanting “Suplex City” – he gave Pearce an F5. They began to play his music, but then Lesnar gave him another F5. Pearce’s shirt was untucked and his pants were ripped down the inside of his thigh. He shoved a mic in Pearce’s face and said he couldn’t hear him, so tell him again he is suspended. He bashed him with the mic, then turned and left, red-faced. He stopped to look over his shoulder and smiled back at the destruction he was leaving behind.
(Keller’s Analysis: Lesnar wasn’t going to be a weekly fixture on Smackdown or appearing on Survivor Series, so some sort of angle where he’d show up and end up either suspended or, less likely, injured seemed inevitable. Lesnar is a wildly popular babyface act without any pandering or compromising who he has always been during his years as a heel. He tossed people around in a rage and deserved a suspension mainly for tossing around non-wrestlers like the camera guy, but in the context of the injustice of the night before, fans are clearly not holding his actions against him in this situation.) [c]
-They were 35 minutes into the show at this point when Cole and McAfee commented on a replay of Lesnar attacking Pearce. They showed Pearce being helped to the back. Cole said he needed medical attention.
-Backstage, Sonya Deville was on the phone when Kayla Braxton approached her. Deville waved her off. Naomi walked up to her and said after the mess she pulled on her last week, she wanted a fair match with her tonight. Deville said she’s making it all about her, but she has other things to do tonight other than beating her up again. She told her to get out of her face now. Naomi glared at her, then turned and left. Drew McIntyre approached Deville and said he is now part of Smackdown and he’s going to march to the ring whether she likes it or not and issue an open challenge. He said they’ll see which WWE Superstars has the balls to accept his challenge. McAfee asked, “Is that Drew Gulak?”
-McIntyre made his ring entrance. Cole referred to him as a top draft pick. Drew asked, “Who’s ready for a match finally?” He asked for someone to come to the ring so he can kick their ass. Sami Zayn’s music played. His music stopped and switched to a different theme song. Sami said Drew forgot to mention him as a “master strategist.” He said he is actually now the longest-tenured member of Smackdown. He said he’s the elder statesmen, locker room leader, and gate keeper. He said Drew is a newbie on Smackdown. He said if he’s looking for someone brave enough to accept his challenge, the best Superstar on Smackdown just stepped up to accept his challenge.
(1) DREW MCINTYRE vs. SAMI ZAYN
When the bell rang, Sami bailed out to ringside immediately. Drew went after him and threw him into the ringside barricade. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Sami was in control after the break and he scored a few quick two counts. Cole noted that Drew started his career on “the blue brand.” Drew made a comeback. When he set up a Claymore, Sami rolled to the floor. Drew reached for him, and Sami snapped his neck over the top rope. Drew blocked a Blue Thunder Bomb with a Glasgow Kiss. Drew charged shoulder-first into the corner, but Sami moved, so Drew went shoulder-first into the post. Sami mocked Drew counting down before going for his Helluva Kick. Drew countered with a Claymore for the pin.
WINNER: McIntyre in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a bad idea to give McIntyre a clean decisive win after coming up short against Big E at Crown Jewel. It’s hard to justify him going from loser in a WWE Title match to the top challenger to Reigns literally overnight. I’m curious to see if he brings anything new to his character or approach on Smackdown. So far, he’s the same.)
-A vignette aired advertising Hit Row’s debut later on Smackdown.
-Kofi Kingston made his ring entrance.
-A commercial aired for “the season premiere of Monday Night Raw” on Monday touting it’s “new, stacked roster.” [c]
-A vignette aired with key images from Crown Jewel.
-Back live, Kofi was gyrating ridiculously with a mic in hand in the ring. Then a sponsored recap aired of Xavier Woods becoming King of the Ring at Crown Jewel. Back to Kofi, he invited fans to show their adulation for their new King of the Ring, King Xavier Woods. Out came Xavier. He stopped in front of a kid in the front row with a sign that said, “All Hail King Xavier!” Kofi presented Xavier with a cloak representing the protection he will bestow upon his kingdom. McAfee said it’s not a cape, it’s a cloak. Fans chanted “You deserve it!” Kofi then put the crown on Xavier’s head.
Xavier thanked the fans. He said his reign will be fair. He said he will offer opportunities to the fine people who are part of his kingdom. He said they should give them an opportunity to hear the King’s Gospel. Kofi said Xavier will bring new days. “Hail, King Woods! Hail, King Woods!” Xaxier strutted around the ring as royal music played. Kofi waved his cloak around as Xavier did a Junkyard Dog leg dance.
(Keller’s Analysis: A bunch of nonsense, but I suppose a silly ceremony for a pointless gimmick that has become cartoonized and mid-card was to be expected.)
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside who announced that they would have a championship belt exchange later with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
-Backstage, Becky held the blue belt. She said she wanted to remind everyone she never did lose the Raw Title. She said instead of the exchange, maybe Becky Two Belts will make a comeback.
-Mansoor made his ring entrance.
-A “Coming Soon” vignette aired on Xia Li.
(2) MUSTAFA ALI vs. MANSOOR
Cole commented on freeze-frames of Mansoor beating Ali last night. McAfee said it was awesome to watch Mansoor up his intensity to a new level at Crown Jewel. Cole said Ali is not in a good mood tonight. Mansoor avoided a charging Ali in the ring, then clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. He showed fire in the ring, then chased Ali back into the ring. McAfee touted the show of the year and stressing it was in Saudi Arabia. He said there is no other league that could pull that off except for WWE. He said it is a joy and a treat to watch Mansoor tonight. Cole talked about traveling back from Saudi Arabia across the world to put on a live Smackdown in Wichita, Ks. McAfee said Cole being there is nothing short of spectacular. Cole shifted the adulation to the wrestlers. Ali caught a charging Mansoor with a boot to the face. He then sunset flipped Mansoor, but Mansoor sat down on him and scored a leverage three count. Ali threw a fit.
WINNER: Mansoor in 3:00.
-They went backstage to Ridge Holland who introduced himself as someone who liked scrapping on the streets of Yorkshire. He said he’s not surprised he ended up in WWE.
-Aliyah said she’s going to give Smackdown a makeover.
-Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo said when you look as good as them, winning is easy.
-Sheamus said he doesn’t have to introduce himself to anyone. He said delivers banger after banger after banger.
-Hit Row came onto the stage. They introduced themselves one at a time. Hit Row said WWE just got four new stars. They said all in unison, “If you didn’t know, now you know.” McAfee they get to see four of the most talented humans on Smackdown every Friday night. [c]
(3) HIT ROW (Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & Top Dolla w/Ashante “Thee” Adonis, B-Fab) vs. DUSTIN LAWYER & DANIEL WILLIAMS
Top Dolla double slammed both jobber opponents as Adonis brushed his eyebrows at ringside. Scott and Dolla then delivered a double-team finisher.
WINNERS: Hit Row in under 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Short, but good debut that established the gimmick. It’s well-done and feels authentic in the wrestling universe.)
-Cole narrated a recap of the Lesnar-Reigns angle and suspension by Pearce earlier in the show.
-Kayla stood outside the trainer’s room. Deville walked out. Kayla asked if Pearce will be okay. She said he will be okay eventually. She said he’s not exactly a spring chicken. Sonya said she volunteered to deliver the news to Lesnar that he was suspended, so it’s unfortunate Pearce insisted on doing it his way. “We all see how that turned out,” she said. Sonya said later they’ll see Charlotte and Becky exchange titles, which could be a combustible situation. She said Pearce remains in their thoughts. McAfee said she surely won’t abuse her powers.
-Rick Boogs played electric guitar and introduced Shinsuke Nakamura. [c]
-The announcers commented on headlines from mainstream corporate media sites regarding Crown Jewel. Cole said many are calling it the PPV of the Year. McAfee praised the crowd enthusiasm.
(4) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Rick Boogs) vs. HAPPY CORBIN (w/Madcap Moss)
An inset soundbite aired with Corbin and Moss. Moss asked what do you call orange juice marked as pulp-free that obviously has pulp in it. Punchline: “Pulp Fiction!” They laughed uproariously. McAfee called Corbin “insufferable.” Boogs played guitar at ringside to celebrate Nakamura’s offensive flurry. Corbin knocked Nakamura to the floor. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
They labelled this a “Championship Contenders Match,” so that’s still a thing apparently. Corbin was in control after the break and scored a near fall. With both men down, Boogs played guitar to try to energize Nakamura. The fans sang along. Nakamura made a comeback. Moss had enough and ran over and grabbed Boogs’s guitar. Nakamura went after Moss. Corbin then threw Nakamura into the ringside steps. Corbin then gave Nakamura his End of Days finisher back in the ring to win.
WINNER: Corbin in 7:00.
-They went backstage to Charlotte who said of course Becky says she isn’t going to hand over the title. She told her to pretend it’s her suitcase, which she spent half of her career carrying.
-Cole and McAfee narrated a recap of the Becky vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair match last week.
-Becky made her ring entrance. [c]
-As Charlotte came out, Cole called it “a great pick-up for Smackdown.” Sonya then said they are gathered there for a very special transaction. Sonya explained the circumstances. Charlotte began talking. Sonya interrupted and explained they would exchange belts and go to their respective brands as champions. Becky asked Charlotte to do it first. Charlotte took off her belt. Becky reached for it. Charlotte dropped it and smiled. Sonya told her to pick it up. Charlotte did, and she handed it to Sonya. Becky threw her belt at Charlotte, then put the red belt over her shoulder. Charlotte held hers in the air. Charlotte said if she wants to be Becky Two Belts, “how about winner takes all tonight?” Sasha Banks’s music played.
Banks stood on the stage. She was in quite the body suit. She called Charlotte a bitch and said she’s out of her damn mind if she thinks she’s going to take over. Charlotte said, “This is a PG show and that was not very nice.” She asked if she felt left out. Becky said she’s going to Raw and let them figure it out. “And I’ll see one of you at Survivor Series.” She left. Sasha asked Charlotte if she’s jealous. Fans chanted, “Becky! Becky!” Sasha said she is the star of any show she is on. She said with or without a title, she’s The Boss, and Friday night’s are Boss Time. Charlotte asked if anyone even remembers her title reigns. Sasha punched Charlotte. Charlotte bailed out. The show ended with Sasha’s music playing and McAfee saying we haven’t seen the last of this.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re all heels, so WWE is presenting this as a pick ’em among a bunch of unlikable arrogant brats. They can do better than this. I suppose by default we’re supposed to see Sasha as the babyface suddenly?)