Will the Boss have to watch her back tonight?
An exciting return to SmackDown, an excellent victory, AND a betrayal!! Sasha Banks checked off a lot last week, surely the title is on the list!
- Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio VS Jey Uso w/ Jimmy Uso; Jey wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Contender’s Match: Apollo Crews w/ Commander Azeez VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Rick Boogs; Nakamura wins, by disqualification, and will challenge for the title.
- Tamina VS Tegan Nox w/ Shotzi Blackheart; Nox wins.
- The Street Profits VS The Dirty Dawgs; The Street Profits win.
- SmackDown Women’s Championship Contender’s Match: Bianca Belair VS Zelina Vega; Belair wins.
- Finn Balor VS Baron Corbin; Balor wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Sasha Banks opens SmackDown!
Tampa fires up for The Boss as she struts her way to the ring, still feeling great after last week. “Tampaaa~! The Boss is back in business, which means it is Boss Time on Friday Night SmackDown.” And being that she’s Sasha Banks, she came back for the spotlight she deserves and that she created. She promises she will never let anyone steal her spotlight ever again. She cues up a recap package to explain why. It’s the tag match she and Bianca Belair won against Carmella and Zelina Vega, and then Sasha putting Bianca in the Bank Statement afterward! And it was SO easy!
For the past few weeks, Sasha watched Bianca make mistake after mistake, so of course while Mella and Vega took liberties, Sasha made a statement by rescuing the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Because let’s all face it, Bianca would be nothing without Sasha. There would be no ESPY award, no chillin’ with Megan Thee Stallion, and no WrestleMania 37 main event. Did you see when Bianca started crying before that match? It was because she in the ring with the greatest of all time! Anyone else would’ve thanked Sasha for turning them from a rookie into a champion. But no, Bianca had to diss Sasha! No gratitude, no thanks!
Instead, Sasha was stuck at home, thinking about the disrespect happening week after week. So much so, Sasha came back to SmackDown for one thing and one thing only: to make Bianca pay! But speaking of, here comes The EST! “First of all, you’re not even gonna be standing or talking all that when I get in that ring. And you think that I’m nothing without you? Gurlll~! Uh-uh.” Because last time Bianca checked, Sasha was literally begging Bianca to challenge her after winning the Royal Rumble, because Sasha wanted them to make history. So it’s not that Sasha wants credit. She just doesn’t want Bianca to shine. And don’t get it twisted, Bianca been shining.
Sasha bails out as soon as Bianca gets in the ring, and Bianca laughs. Where’s she going~? Is Sasha gonna take another four months off? Sasha gets on the announce desk to say that she can do whatever she wants because she’s a legend! Yeah yeah yeah, Bianca will give Sasha that much. She is one of the greatEST to ever lace them up, but if she wants the title… It’s on! But here comes Zelina Vega! And she’s not happy, and says “this right here, this is not happening.” Bianca, look at her when she’s talking to you! Is that “ugly little braid tied a little too tight?” Is Bianca lose? Vega can help Bianca find herself.
Last week- Bianca tells Vega to not even think about getting in the ring. Fine, Vega will stay on the apron. But she wants to remind Bianca that “before Sasha swooped in like the ratchet little vulture she is,” Bianca had accepted VEGA’S challenge. So what’s she gonna do? Sasha mockingly asks, “WhAt’Re YoU gOnNa Do~, Bianca?” Bianca tells Sasha that Vega wasn’t even talking to her, so… Vega was talking to Bianca, because Bianca’s the champ. So Sasha, see you at SummerSlam. Huge news there! But Bianca didn’t forget Vega, she’ll face her tonight. Bianca is becoming the busiEST champion, will she be able to make it through that gauntlet?
Rey and Dominik Mysterio argue backstage!
The King of Lucha can’t believe his son wanted a 1v1 match with Jey Uso tonight! But Dom says he’s trying to do what Rey taught him. Rey knows Dom is hungry for gold, but they have the tag title match for SummerSlam. Now they need to be strategic. Rey won last week with some help from Dom, not that he needed it, but they can’t lose going into SummerSlam. Dom knows how much Rey wants those belts back. Nothing is more important. Dom says gets it, and he won’t let Rey down. But then if Rey didn’t need his help, Dom doesn’t need Rey’s. Oh, ha ha, okay. The Mysterios head out for another go with the Uso Penitentiary!
Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio VS Jey Uso w/ Jimmy Uso!
SmackDown returns as the Mysterios make their entrance. The bell rings, Jey and Dom stare down and circle. Jey warns Rey, “I’m about to get him!” They tie up, Jey puts Dom in a corner and the ref counts. Jey lets off but Dom avoids the sucker punch to fire off haymakers! Jey headlocks, Dom powers out but Jey runs him over with a shoulder. Jey scowls, runs, but Dom hurdles and dropkicks Jey down! Dom gets Jey up and knuckle locks, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Dom goes up and up and springboards for a flying arm-drag! But Jey comes back to CLOBBER him! Jimmy likes what he sees as Jey drags Dom up. Jey scoops Dom for a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!
Jey keeps cool, drags Dom back up, then scoops him and SLAMS him! Jey looms over Dom, Jimmy talks trash but the fans rally with Rey. Dom gets up, throws hands, Jey ROCKS him with an uppercut! Dom bails out, Jey pursues and bumps Dom off the apron. And off the barriers! Dom ROCKS Jey, gets space but Jey pops him up to the apron. Dom land son his feet, goes up and around to wreck Jey with a dropkick! Dom runs to SLIDING SUNSET BOMB! That’s his dad’s move and it hit just as hard! But both men are down as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Jey grinds Dom down with a chinlock. Fans rally up as Dom endures, Dom fights up and throws body shots. Jey gets around to back suplex NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Dom drags himself to a corner, fans taunt the Usos but Jey says this is done. Jey shouts, “UCE!” and fans go “NO!” Jey runs in but Dom moves, the hip attack hits buckles! Jey gets Dom to a fireman’s carry, Dom elbows free and gets around to NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Dom watches Jey rise, springboards, QUEBRADA! Cover, TWO! Dom gets Jey up but Jey kicks. Dom blocks, spins Jey, and knows to duck the Dragon Whip!
Dom aims, Jey staggers up, Dom runs in to wheelbarrow TOSS Jey into buckles! Dom baits Jey into a chop block to put him on ropes! Dom dials it up, 619 hits!! Jey is in the drop zone, Dom climbs, Jimmy rushes over but Rey intercepts with a FLYING SEATED SENTON! Dom gets a little distracted, but he quickly adjusts. Dom leaps, but Jey gets under! SUPERKICK! Jey gets to a corner, climbs up now, USO SPLASH!! Cover, Jey wins!
Winner: Jey Uso, by pinfall
Rey kept things fair, but that still cost Dom! The loss Rey wanted to avoid happens after all, but can the Mysterios still get the gold back?
Backstage interview with Edge.
What is his response to Seth Rollins’ actions and words from last week? “Seth Rollins. What a rotten, selfish bastard.” What was it he said again? Something about if Rollins can’t be Universal Champion, neither can Edge? The issues go way further back than these few weeks, so here’s his response. When Rollins shows up, he can go to the ring to see how much of a “rotten, selfish bastard” Edge can be.
Rick Boogs shreeeeds his guitar!
“Oh, hey.” He is Rick BOOOOGS! And he’s here to rock with the one true king of ALL WWE! Shinsuke NakamurrrAAAAAA~! And as such, here comes the King of Strong Style! And if he wins against the Pride of Nigeria here tonight, he’ll get a shot at adding more treasure to his throne room!
WWE Intercontinental Championship Contender’s Match: Apollo Crews w/ Commander Azeez VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Rick Boogs!
SmackDown returns and the champion makes his way out, his bodyguard following. The bell rings, the two tie up, Nakamura waistlocks, Crews switches, Nakamura switches back, repeat. Nakamura drops and kicks Apollo down, then gets up to swing a kick. Apollo avoids it, mule kicks back, then whips Nakamura to ropes. Nakamura reverses but Apollo ducks a kick and run Nakamura over! Things speed up, Nakamura kicks Apollo down! And drops a knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura gets Apollo up but Apollo throat chops! Apollo flapjack hotshots Nakamura down and then CLOBBERS him with a clothesline!
Apollo gets Nakamura up, scoops and SLAMS, then covers. ONE, but Apollo drags Nakamura up to whip to a corner. Nakamura knees back, puts Apollo up top, and gets space for the- No! Apollo dodges the knee, gamangiris, then climbs up! But Nakamura ROUNDHOUSES Him down! TOP SHELF KNEE! Apollo gasps and staggers, into the DYNAMIC DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Fans rally behind Nakamura as he gets Apollo up. Apollo blocks the exploder and elbows free. Nakamura avoids the Olympic Slam, fireman’s carries Apollo for a GO TO SLEEP! And then another KNEE, and a BUZZSAW! Cover, Azeez drags Nakamura out!
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura, by disqualification (NEW #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship)
Azeez throws Nakamura back into the ring but Nakamura BOOTS him! And then throws Apollo into him! Azeez falls down, Boogs rocks out, and Nakamura takes his leave. He still won this match, so he gets his title opportunity! Will Nakamura have a golden belt to match his golden crown?
Kayla Braxton interviews Paul Heyman.
She was hoping to get a word with Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, but the Special Counsel asks, “What what what what what what what do you want?” Kayla was hoping to see if Roman had a comment on what transpired during last week’s contract signing. Seriously? “What transpired?” She must mean with the contract itself, with John Cena, who is not only thieving Roman Reigns’ oxygen on the Island of Relevancy, but John Cena who is now thieving a title match at SummerSlam at the expense of Finn Balor?
Heyman will ask Kayla something: “The Tampa Bay Shmuck-aneers decide to sign Tom Brady for another year, for $75 MILLION. But I, Paul Heyman, come in from behind with a kendo stick. I nail Tom Brady from behind! I sign my name on the contract. Do I get the $75 million? This contract is a joke. The claim that John Cena should face Roman Reigns at SummerSlam is meritless. And WWE is acting as the ultimate enabler in letting John. Cena. Slide his way into a championship match that he blatantly does not deserve. The Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, has nothing to say about John Cena or to you. And quite frankly, Kayla, I’m sure you hear this a lot, I’m not in the mood.”
But then Heyman turns around and sees Big E right there! Him and his Money in the Bank contract briefcase! Big E is excitedly laughing and Heyman gets creeped out. Will it not matter if it’s Roman or Cena when Mr. Mon-E in the Bank comes ’round?
Tamina VS Tegan Nox w/ Shotzi Blackheart!
Though the Queen of Harts is down, she won’t be for long! So until she returns, the Daughter of Superfly will hold it down for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard and her wild child tag partner are waiting to cash in their promised title shot, can Tegan knock Tamina down a peg in the meantime?
The bell rings, Tegan and Tamina tie up, and Tamina blocks an arm-drag. Tamina gets Tegan in a fireman’s carry but Tegan slips off to kick Tamina to a corner. Tegan adds a EuroUpper, then another! Fans fire up as Tegan goes corner to corner, but Tamina CLOBBERS her! Tamina drags Tegan up, headbutts her back down, then gets her up again to put her in a corner. Tamina goes corner to corner, but Tegan dodges the hip attack! Tegan dropkicks, Tamina is down and Tegan stomps away! The ref counts, Tegan let off and comes back, CANNONBALL! Then ANOTHER! Tegan drags Tamina to a cover, TWO! Tamina’s still tough but Tegan hurries to keep going.
Tegan brings the knee pads down, takes aim and runs, but Tamina dodges the wizard to SUPERKICK! Fireman’s carry, but Shotzi FIRES her Nerf missile! It obviously distracts Tamina, Tegan rolls Tamina, Tegan wins!
Winner: Tegan Nox, by pinfall
Shotzi and Tegan get away on their #TCB Tank, can they take care o’ business when Natalya is back?
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville talk.
Vega walks in and says hi. They thank her for joining them but she stops them there. The only thing she wants to hear from them is that Vega is having her SmackDown Women’s Championship match up next. Um… The problem is, they couldn’t do a last minute title match without promotion, so while they appreciate her passion- Oh, they appreciate her passion? Don’t brush her off like this is a schoolgirl crush! She challenged, Bianca accepted twice. When is she getting her title match?
Sonya understands, she knows what Vega can do. But just because Bianca accepted doesn’t mean anything. The contract hasn’t even been ratified yet. And Bianca isn’t the one who makes matches around here; Sonya does. Vega tries not to explode, but Pearce says Vega just returned, and management wants to do this the right way. Vega can still have a match with Bianca, and if she wins, then she’ll get the title match: the winner of Bianca VS Sasha from SummerSlam, VS Vega. Vega “appreciates” that, but she was betting on Sasha at SummerSlam because Vega knows she can beat her. So tonight, Vega will prove that she can beat Bianca, too.
Vega heads out, Pearce has no idea what’s with her attitude. But will La Muneca prove herself more than worthy of a title match for the Summer?
Edge heads to the ring!
Tampa is thunderous and he revels in it as he has his pyro! He’s ready to call out The Architect, after the break!
SmackDown returns and Edge says, “Well thank you, Tampa!” But from his understanding, Seth Rollins isn’t here tonight. “Go figure. In fact, he’s nowhere near here, and I don’t blame him. To be honest, if he were here, it wouldn’t work out too well for him, because I’d end up in jail.” Edge was willing to let the past be the past, until Rollins cost Edge the Universal Championship at MITB! But if roles were reversed, Edge would’ve done the same thing. When Edge sees Rollins, it is a mirror of his past. Edge and Rollins both know that this doesn’t end well for either on. “But it’s gotta end. And if he were here tonight, it would end.”
Rollins laughs from the titantron and says, “If it isn’t the Ultimate Opportunist himself! You really think you’re something else, don’t you?” Edge thinks he’s so smart with everything figured out. Except last week, when Rollins smashed Edge with a camera. Should’ve seen it coming, that was out of Edge’s book! Because yes, they really are a lot alike. They’re drawn together in this inevitable dance. But that’s where the similarities end. If the Ultimate Opportunist was even half the man The Architect is, he’d know that you always, always, always have to have a Plan B. Rollins laughs again and Edge says he has a Plan B. That plan is Edge VS Rollins at SummerSlam!
Rollins wants Edge to slow down. He has him wrapped around his finger. Rollins calls the shots, not Edge. Them at SummerSlam? Rollins stops himself, and says he wants time to think about it. But while Rollins mulls it over, perhaps Edge should think about it? What is Edge getting himself into? He knows what it’s like to have Rollins’ boot on his neck, and he knows how Rollins’ stomp devastates someone with a perfectly healthy neck. What does Edge think will happen when Rollins stomps someone’s neck that has been fused not once, not twice, but three times? Rollins will tell him: Edge’s comeback will end. Edge’s career will end. And who knows what his life will be like as a husband, father-
Edge tells Rollins to shut his mouth! But Rollins keeps going on about Edge’s daughters. Edge tells Rollins to never bring them up! If Rollins thinks he’s the mastermind, he’s more like a fever dream fusion of Russel Brand, a televangelist and Colonel Sanders! Oh, hallelujah~! Edge says Rollins keeps circling back to him, he’s infatuated with Edge, but it never works out for him. Edge eliminated Rollins from the 2020 Royal Rumble, or did he forget? Edge eliminated him from the 2021 Royal Rumble! Rollins is getting upset now and Edge says it was all because Rollins didn’t finish the job in 2014 when he had the chance. Now it’s biting Rollins in the ass!
Rollins shouts “You don’t get to spin the narrative here, pal!” But Edge says he damn sure does! Because what really bothers Rollins is that he’s trying to walk in Edge’s footsteps, but he can’t fill them! At the end of the day, Rollins is just Edge Lite. “SHUT UP! SHUT YOUR MOUTH!!” Rollins is not a lite anything! He’s better in every way and Edge knows it!! Edge wants Rollins in a match at SummerSlam? “You’re on.” Fans are fired up for that one! Will Edge get to go Rated R in Sin City when he gets his hands on Rollins?
Backstage interview with Finn Balor.
The Prince doesn’t even let Kayla start. “Last week, I was this close to signing a contract for the Universal Championship match, until Baron Corbin stuck his nose where it doesn’t belong.” That contract then got signed by John Cena. Focusing on Corbin, if he has sunk so low, then he should only worry about minding his own business and staying out of Balor’s. If Corbin wants to get on his feet again, he needs to have honor and integrity. And Balor teaches him that tonight, the hard way. And then after that, Balor’s got a bone to pick with John Cena! The Prince is out for revenge! Will his targets survive the summer?
The Street Profits VS The Dirty Dawgs!
Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford are both back to 100%, and they’re ready to get back up! But will they be ready to get dirty with rivals Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode?
SmackDown returns as Roode & Ziggler make their entrance. The teams sort out and Ford starts with Roode. They circle, tie up, Roode headlocks, hammerlocks, but Ford switches to snapmare. Roode ducks the Penalty Kick but Ford STANDING MOONSAULTS! Roode moves, Ford lands on his feet but Roode kicks him down! Roode whips Ford to a corner, Ford goes up and over and handsprings to show he’s just fine, before he dropkicks Roode! And dropkicks Ziggler! But he runs into a GLORIOUS URENAGE! Cover, TWO! Roode keeps Ford from Dawkins, drags him over and tags in Ziggler.
Roode wrenches and hooks Ford, Ziggler runs in, BOOT RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP COMBO! Ziggler covers, TWO! Ziggler stands right over Ford to keep him down but also taunt him. Tag to Roode, the fans rally but the Dawgs mug Ford. Roode mocks Dawkins coaching Ford up, then Roode tells Ford, “You should’ve never come back!” But Ford ENZIGURIS Roode down! Fans fire up as both men crawl, hot tags to Ziggler and Dawkins! The Cure of Greatness unleashes on Ziggler, CYCLONE SPLASH! FLAPJACK for Roode! Ziggler kicks, runs, but Dawkins gets him up! Ziggler sunset flips through the bomb, TWO! Dawkins spins Ziggler for the CASH OUT! Cover, Roode breaks it!
Ford gets in but Roode THROWS him right out! But Dawkins clotheslines Roode out! Ziggler rolls Dawkins, Dawkins rolls through, but Ziggler hits a FAMOUSER! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler gets going, leaps, but no satellite DDT! THE ANOINTING! Tag to Ford, he climbs up, to leap in FROM THE HEAVENS!! Cover, The Profits win!
Winners: The Street Profits, by pinfall
And that’s how you get back up! Will it be Takeback Season, season 2?
SmackDown Women’s Championship Contender’s Match: Bianca Belair VS Zelina Vega!
The EST is ready to clear out all the clutter in her contender’s list! And while La Muneca doesn’t like that this isn’t already the title match she wants, can she surprise Bianca and earn herself a shot for after SummerSlam?
SmackDown returns, Vega makes her entrance, and the bell rings. The two circle but Bianca runs Vega over! Then throws her around again and again! Vega gets to a corner, wanting a second to breathe. Bianca rushes in but Vega sends her into buckles! Vega runs in to METEORA, then cover, ONE! Vega rains down fists, but Bianca trips her up! Bianca returns those furious hands and fans fire up. Bianca lets off to get Vega up. Bianca has the fans rallying but Vega throws body shots. Bianca whips Vega into buckles, then into more buckles. Then a third corner, but Vega blocks to elbow her away! Vega rolls Bianca, TWO!
Vega hurries but Bianca catches her to chicken wings! GLAM-EST- NO! Vega wheelbarrows to send Bianca into ropes! Tiger feint into a draping crucifix stretch! The ref counts, Vega holds on to Bianca’s hair, but Vega stops at 4! Vega plays innocent but Bianca WRECKS her with a dropkick! A ring count begins, Vega drags herself up at 5 of 10, and Bianca is on her! Scoop and carry but Vega gets to the apron again! Bianca SHOVES Vega down! Bianca goes out after Vega, scoops her again, but Sasha makes her entrance? Bianca gets Vega up in a trophy lift, but Vega gets away to the apron! And FLYING RANAS Bianca down!
The Boss laughs at Bianca as Vega gets Bianca in the ring! Cover, TWO! Sasha is still amused at Bianca being in trouble, and SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Vega has Bianca in a straitjacket stretch. Fans rally up, Bianca fight sup and powers out to get Vega up for a toss! Vega stays up, tilt-o-whirls, but Bianca handsprings through the headscissors! Bianca tells Vega to kiss this, then rallies with shoulder tackles! Vega stomps Bianca’s foot, gets around to tilt-o-whirl, but Bianca blocks the crucifix. So Vega gets a TRIANGLE! Bianca stays up, has a high stack, ONE! Vega holds on, Bianca dead lifts her! Vega sunset flips, Bianca drags her up and SLAMS her down! Bianca gets Vega up again, scoop and SLAM, to handspring MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!
Bianca smiles as she keeps her cool, she’s learning to be the calmEST. But Vega throws her into buckles! And then BOOTS her! Vega kicks Bianca down, drags her around and puts on a chinlock. Bianca fights up, Vega becomes a backpack but Bianca rams her into buckles! Vega holds on, Bianca rams her again and Bianca is free. But Vega jumps on! But Bianca spins Vega around to suplex! Roll through, stalling suplex, but Vega turns it into a DDT!! Vega crawls to the cover, TWO!! Vega starts to lose her cool, but she rolling kicks Bianca to ropes! And then BOOTS her out! Bianca staggers, Vega is on the apron and she leaps!
But Bianca blocks rana to SWING Vega into barriers! And then back into the ring! Bianca gets Vega in the torture rack, for the KISS OF DEATH!! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
Vega won’t be getting her shot after SummerSlam, and now the EST rolls on towards a rematch with The Boss! Will Bianca be ready to repeat history?
Paul Heyman talks with Roman Reigns.
“My Tribal Chief. Finn Balor VS Baron Corbin is up next.” Then he’s interested. Is there a chess game that the Head of the Table is still playing despite John Cena’s bold opening move?
Finn Balor VS Baron Corbin!
The Prince already told us what he’s after, and it’s the title he never truly lost. But because he was denied getting what he wants, he’s going to take out those responsible! Will he pile pain onto Corbin’s misfortunes?
SmackDown returns and Corbin makes another disheveled entrance. A recap package plays and that only serves to make Balor angrier. Corbin tries to apologize but then the bell rings! Corbin gets in the ropes and shouts for a mic. A mic is given, and Corbin tells Balor, “Look! What happened last week wasn’t cool, I know!” But he’s desperate! If Balor could help him with his money troubles, that’d be cool. But Corbin apologizes for what he did. Apology NOT accepted! Balor fires off hands, RAMS his shoulder into Corbin again and again then KICKS Corbin’s leg! Balor CHOPS Corbin in a corner, and CHOPS! Corbin shoves Balor away then runs in, but Balor dodges!
Balor is on the apron but Corbin blocks his punch to bump Balor off buckles! And then suplexes Balor into the ring! Corbin gets Balor up, puts him in a corner and throws body shots! Corbin ROCKS Balor but fans rally up for The Prince. Balor gets up, Corbin brings him around to forearm, but Balor PELES! Both men are down and fans fire up! Balor snarls as he gets to his feet, then trips Corbin to rain down furious forearms! Corbin shoves Balor away but Balor trips Corbin again to DOUBLE STOMP! Fans fire up as Balor stomps away on Corbin at the ropes! The ref counts, Balor lets off, and he gets Corbin up again. Corbin choke grips but Balor kicks the legs out!
Balor runs to SLINGBLADE! Balor aims from a corner as Corbin flounders up. SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Corbin is in a drop zone, Balor goes up top! COUP DE GRACE!! Cover, Balor wins!
Winner: Finn Balor, by pinfall
And just as Balor throws it up, that was Too Sweet! Balor gets a mic to say, “Three years ago, what happened last week, I would’ve smiled and accepted it. But that Finn is dead. This Finn isn’t smiling! This Finn wants to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship!” And if he has to go through John Cena to do it, then that’s what he’ll do! Just name the place and the time because- Here comes Roman Reigns! The Tribal Chief has Heyman following and holding onto the belt, as usual. And as usual, the belt is given over so Roman may unleash the pyro. Roman will speak, after the break.
SmackDown returns once more as Roman has arrived in the ring. Roman again raises the belt for more pyro. Fans boo Roman but he tunes them out as Heyman gets him a mic. Many fans chant for “Cena! Cena!” but Roman focuses on Balor. “My Special Counsel has already addressed my position on last week. And Finn, I can understand why you’re upset. I can even understand why you’re out here, running your mouth about John Cena.” But remember that Roman was trying to help you, Finn. So when Finn comes out here on Roman’s show and in Roman’s ring, “keep the Head of the Table’s name out yer mouth.”
Roman then tosses the mic right at Balor’s chest! Not that Balor flinches. But then Balor SHOVES Roman out of the ring! Roman is seething but Balor aims finger guns at the Tribal Chief. And fans also chant for “Cena! Cena!” Balor dares Roman to do something, and Roman gets back on the apron. But then THE USOS attack from behind! Jimmy & Jey stomp Balor, mug him, and Roman smiles as he lets them whip and pop-up SAMOAN DROP Balor down! The Usos keep going, and Jey climbs up top! Jimmy talks trash, Jey aims, but Balor drop toeholds Jimmy down! Jimmy takes the Uso Splash! Then Balor fires off hands on Jey! Balor stomps and kicks both Usos!
And only now does Roman even realize something is going wrong! Balor rocks Jey, throws him out, and then runs to FLY! Direct hit on both Usos! Balor is fired up, and aims his guns again at the disappointed Roman Reigns. Roman storms right back to the ring, and Balor is right on him! They throw knees, Roman whips but Balor SLINGBLADES! Balor aims from a corner, but Jimmy anchors a foot! Jey gets back in, the Usos mug Balor again! Jimmy whips Balor into the SUPERMAN PUNCH! Jey is back up top, USO SPLASH! Roman finishes it by raining down more fists! And then wraps on the GUILLOTINE! Balor taps but it doesn’t matter, Roman keeps squeezing until Balor passes out!
Fans boo as the Bloodline stands over Balor. Has this ended Balor’s desire to get into SummerSlam? Or has it only given Balor another target?
Another really good episode for SmackDown but there are many things that make it feel like Raw’s flaws are starting to spill over. For one, the newest edict from Vince with this whole “champion contenders match” concept is becoming a mixed bag. Like all things that WWE want to “make happen,” they overdo it and throw it in our faces so much it gets annoying. Commentary always does their job in letting us know, that if a superstar pins a champion, they have a claim to a title match. But with all these “budget cuts” causing them to let wrestlers go, we’re almost only ever getting “champion(s) VS non-champion opponent(s)” anymore, so it’s being shoved in our faces by default.
But on the flipside, it somehow worked in tonight’s SmackDown Women’s Championship story. Vega essentially has the rug swept out from under her as Sonya suddenly now gets her authoritative side back, so it’s good ol’ fashion “Heels don’t get their way,” but also it’s as if there’s a Heel Authority Figure again, and this is not the way I’ve ever wanted Heel VS Heel in WWE. Belair VS Vega was a strong match, but there was a moment of hesitation and things being rather clunky. There’s something still not quite clicking for Vega and her opponents in the ring, but perhaps things would be clicking if she got to do more before this point.
Another case of a match being unnecessarily called “Championship Contender Match,” Nakamura VS Apollo. Like I already said, commentary can tell us “If Nakamura pins Apollo again, he’ll certainly be in line for a title match!” But I am relieved fans are taking a liking to Boogs. He didn’t do a good job watching Nakamura’s back over Azeez, though, given how things went last week and what we heard on Talking Smack. Maybe that’ll happen in the actual Intercontinental Championship match. And I’m realizing, that’s the only reason Vince is making Championship Contender Matches a thing: it’s his (convoluted) excuse for spacing out the story beats.
Tamina VS Tegan was a good, quick sampling of what they’re capable of, and it is good news that Natalya isn’t out of action nearly as long as everyone feared. It does make sense that Shotzi could use her tank missile as a distracting so Tegan could win, but should it have been? Between this and how Boogs treated Corbin before Corbin’s descent, it’s like Vince and his writers think Faces are jerks. This isn’t how Tweeners work, either. This is how the bratty kids caused trouble in grade school. As big of a fan as I am of Shotzi’s and of Tegan’s, they need to be established through awesome matches, not being merry pranksters.
It was good to see the Profits back in a tag match, and naturally they win. We got a strong back and forth from Edge and Rollins tonight, though I don’t think Edge’s line about Rollins being a cross of Russel Brand, Colonel Sanders and a televangelist hit. Mostly because I don’t think the Colonel Sanders part made sense. But obviously this was going to announce their SummerSlam grudge match, and I almost wish they’d give it a stipulation because of how brutal Rollins has been attacking Edge and how brutal Edge has been time and again since coming back.
Dom VS Jey went just as expected, but the promo beforehand started to feel like there was tension between father and son. I don’t necessarily want dysfunction and feuding within the Mysterio family, but they could detour that way if they wanted after SummerSlam. Heyman had a great promo because it was all true: Cena should be the other Heel in this scenario for cheating Balor. Big E surprising Heyman was a great part of that segment, too. Because it was just as it needed to be: Big E reminding everyone, but especially Heyman and Roman, that he’s primed and ready to cash in. Balor’s promo was also great and exactly as it should’ve been: he calls out Corbin for screwing around; and he calls out Cena for pulling that move, same as Heyman did.
Balor VS Corbin was pretty good. Corbin trying to apologize and Balor not having it was the right story beat, but given the plan they had for that closing segment, it makes sense Balor and Corbin didn’t go all out. It was awesome for Balor to take the fight to the Bloodline, but of course the Bloodline stands tall at this point. With no one saving Balor tonight, and with Cena is promised to be back next week, I bet the plan is for Balor and Cena to team up to face The Usos in a non-Championship-Contenders-match. Balor will be reluctant, there will be dysfunction, and there’s a good chance they still find a way to win. I feel like it’d really invigorate WWE if Cena started slowly cracking and showing that inner Heel that everyone’s wanted to see.
My Score: 8.3/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.
There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!
- Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
- United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
- House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
- KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
- 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
- TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
- G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.
Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata
So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.
Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!
This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.
House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.
Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi
So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.
Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.
Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.
Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.
5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr
This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.
Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.
WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!
TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!
Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.
Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!
G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada
So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.
Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.
Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.
Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.
Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.
Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.
Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!
We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.
Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
- Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
- Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
- Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾
The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.
Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice
Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.
Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.
This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.
There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.
Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:
This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.
The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James
Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.
Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.
Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel
The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.
So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.
Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.
Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.
Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.
Overall Score: 5/10
Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.
I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.
When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.
So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!
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