SmackDown on Fox Episode #71
SmackDown Episode # 1,120
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Tropicana Field)
It’s Friday Night, you know what that means. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
The show opens with an In Memorium graphic for “Hacksaw” Butch Reed who passed away on Friday at the age of 66.
We then go to a video recap of Edge and Bianca Belair winning their respective Royal Rumble matches.
We head into the Thunderdome where Roman Reigns comes to the ring along with Paul Heyman and the returning Jey Uso.
Reigns says that he doesn’t like recaps but for those who didn’t watch the Royal Rumble, he beat Kevin Owens just like he said he would because he is a man of his word. Reigns says he doesn’t want to live in the past as he moves on to the future and it appears the future is Edge since he won the Royal Rumble. Reigns says that winning the Royal Rumble guarantees you a championship match in the main event of WrestleMania, but the last time he checked he is the main event. Reigns then says he has two issues, the first is why is Edge wasting his time going to Raw and NXT when he knows he should come to SmackDown so that he can grovel and beg for Reigns to allow him on the island of relevancy. Reigns says that Edge has been disrespecting him all week which he was fine with as he was going to let it slide, but now he is making “The Head of the Table” Roman Reigns wait.
Heyman tells Reigns that Edge is there and Reigns tells Heyman to get him out here. Heyman calls for Edge’s music and pyro but a crew member informs him that Edge isn’t there yet which Heyman relays to Reigns. Reigns says that Edge must think he is a fool and Reigns asks Heyman if he looks like a fool that wants to wait or to play games. Reigns then shouts out to Edge Why Would You Play Games With Me! This scares Heyman and causes him to jump. Reigns regains his composure and says that the last man that played games with him was Kevin Owens and now he is no longer there because he whooped his ass and now he is history. Reigns then looks directly into the camera and tells Edge he better understand because this is his only chance, Reigns tells Edge he wants his decision by the end of the night.
This was another great promo by Reigns as usual and after this promo, it feels like we are definitely going in the direction of Reigns vs Edge at WrestleMania as this was the only promo throughout the week where the champion really had it out for Edge. I think of the three champions that Edge has to choose from Reigns is the best choice in order to get the best story as there is a story you can tell that involves both of them having family in the business as Edge not only has his wife Beth Phoenix but also Christian who is like a brother to him and that could also lead to some fun interactions where Christian could play off of Jey Uso. We will have more to this Reigns and Edge story later in the night so stay tuned.
The announcers hype up the rest of the show including an appearance from Hall of Famer and noted racist piece of shit human being Hulk Hogan who is going to give his thoughts on his match with Andre the Giant from The Main Event that happened 33 years ago on Fox. This felt like it came out of nowhere and was so random and unnecessary, especially given the fact that it’s happening at a time when talents like Bianca Belair, Big E, Street Profits, etc are killing it on SmackDown and it’s bullshit that they would take any time away from those talents in order to highlight this piece of shit.
Dominik Mysterio makes his way out along with his father Rey, but as they enter the Thunderdome they are blindsided by King Corbin who lays Dominik out and then throws Rey off the stage into some equipment and that sends us to a commercial break.
We come back and go straight to our first match of the night.
Match #1: Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio vs King Corbin
Corbin charges in and gets hits with a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle and once he gets to his feet he charges in again and this time Dominik moves out of the way and Corbin does his slide out and slide in spot, but Dominik ducks the clothesline and hits Corbin with a dropkick. Corbin throws Dominik to the outside but moments later Dominik tries to roll Corbin up with a slingshot schoolboy, but Corbin rolls through only for Dominik to hit him with another dropkick. Corbin grabs the leg of Dominik who is able to stand up on one foot only for Corbin to slam him to the mat with a spinebuster and then delivers some mounted punches and while this is happening we are getting a replay of what happened before the match. Corbin chokes Dominik across the middle rope and while this is happening we see trainers checking on Rey who looks to have injured his knee.
Corbin sends Dominik into the corner and hits him with a clothesline which gets a 2 count. Corbin hits Dominik with some overhead elbows and then locks in a rest hold but Dominik elbows out of it only to be taken down with a back elbow. Corbin lands some more punches on Dominik before placing him in another rest hold where he works over the arm. Dominik fights out of the hold and gets to his feet and then lowers the top rope when Corbin charges toward him which sends Corbin to the outside. Dominik hits Corbin with a springboard plancha and as he gets back to his feet we see Rey has gotten back on his feet as well and is limping toward the ringside area and that sends us to a commercial.
We come back to Dominik sitting up on the top turnbuckle and he is fighting off Corbin, Dominik goes for a crossbody but Corbin catches him and tries to go for a suplex, but Dominik knees his way out of it and catches Corbin with a twisting neckbreaker and then a moonsault off the middle rope (which we almost missed as the camera focuses on Rey at ringside) which gets a 2 count. Corbin looks to go for a chokeslam but Dominik flips out of it and catches Corbin with a rollup for a 2 count. Dominik dives out of the way of a charge from Corbin and lands on the middle rope but when Dominik runs in for the 619 he gets caught in the Deep Six for a 2 count.
Corbin sends Dominik into the corner but Dominik dodges a charge by Corbin and then goes for a monkey flip, but Corbin blocks and sits Dominik up on the top rope where he looks to punch him to the floor, but Dominik catches him with a bodyscissors sending both men to the floor. Dominik runs off the ropes and hits Corbin with a tope suicida and while this is happening Rey crawls under the ring and as Corbin goes to get back into the ring Rey grabs his leg which distracts him long enough for Dominik to hit him with the 619 to the back of the head. Dominik goes up top and hits Corbin with the frog splash to pick up the win.
Winner: Dominik Mysterio via Pinfall Match Rating: **¼
This was a fine match but after seeing it the last two weeks I didn’t care that much for seeing it for the third time, however, I thought the finish was interesting as Rey used a heel tactic to help his son get the win which is unlike Rey as he has always been the squeaky clean babyface. I guess that attack by Corbin before the match was finally enough for Rey to resort to desperate measures as he is tired of his son and himself being bullied around Corbin and he wanted Corbin to finally be humiliated. I’m sure next week we will get our fourth match in a row between Dominik and Corbin so that Corbin can get his win back.
We get a recap video of Sami Zayn attacking Big E and Apollo Crews two weeks ago during their Intercontinental Championship match.
We go backstage to an interview with Big E who is asked about his odds in the triple threat match against Sami Zayn and Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship. Big E says he has had to fight his entire life and that is what he signed up for when he won the Intercontinental Championship and says he is like lady liberty as he wants all kinds of challengers and tonight he is going to fight.
Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring and that sends us to a commercial.
We come back from break and are told that Sasha Banks will be the honorary starter at the Daytona 500 on Valentine’s Day.
We come back and go to our next match of the night.
Match #2: Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro
We get a lockup and Cesaro shoves Bryan into the corner and goes for a clothesline, but Bryan ducks and starts firing away with kicks, and then both men trade uppercuts until Bryan takes Cesaro down with a drop toe hold and a running kick to the arm. Bryan hits Cesaro with an over the shoulder arm breaker and moments later he backdrops Cesaro to the floor and then Bryan dives off the top with a crossbody. Bryan rolls Cesaro back into the ring and then goes back up top where he takes Cesaro down with a missile dropkick. Bryan hits Cesaro with another arm breaker and then goes for a rear waistlock, but Cesaro reverses and goes for a backdrop but Bryan lands on his feet, and just when it looks like he is going to run into a pop-up uppercut Bryan counters into a backslide for a 2 count.
Cesaro nails Bryan with an uppercut as we see Shinsuke Nakamura watching the match in the back. Cesaro lands some rapid-fire uppercuts (as we see that he is bleeding pretty bad from the side of the head) until Bryan catches him in a rolling armbar which he quickly transitions into the Yes Lock only for Cesaro to break the grip and escape the hold. Cesaro rolls Bryan over to his back and starts driving his knees into the back and then he gets Bryan to his feet and looks for the Neutralizer, but Bryan backdrops him and Cesaro lands on his feet. Cesaro attempts a springboard twisting uppercut, but Bryan catches him in mi-air with a kick to the chest and then he levels him with a buzzsaw kick to the head which gets a 2 count.
Bryan clutches the wrists of Cesaro and starts stomping on his head. Bryan goes to the corner and waits for Cesaro to get to his feet so he can hit the Busaiku Knee, but Cesaro catches him with a tilt-a-whirl torture rack backbreaker and then he gets Bryan in the big swing which he transitions into a Sharpshooter and moments later Bryan is tapping out.
Winner: Cesaro via Submission Match Rating: **½
After the match, Cesaro walks over to Bryan and extends his fist offering a fist bump and Bryan accepts it.
This was a really good match which is what you would expect anytime these two are in the ring against each other, the only problem is that it wasn’t anywhere near long enough but they delivered one hell of a match for the short time they were given. I like that they are keeping Cesaro looking strong and I hope this is leading to a somewhat important match for Cesaro at WrestleMania. If that fist bump means anything I wouldn’t be mad at him and Bryan teaming up and going for the titles at WrestleMania.
We get a recap of the Women’s Royal Rumble and then we go to the back where Bianca Belair is interviewed.
She is first shown the video of her parents’ reaction to her winning the Rumble match and this leads to Bianca talking about how her family has been there for her in the best and worst times and she just wants to make them proud. Bianca is then asked about who she is choosing to face at WrestleMania and Bianca says that is the biggest decision of her life and people are telling her she should take her time in deciding, but this is WrestleMania and she is excited and she isn’t going to listen to others and she will be ready to make her decision soon.
Bayley makes her way to the ring and we go to a commercial.
We come back and get a video package hyping up the return of Seth Rollins to SmackDown next week.
We then go back to the ring for our third match of the night.
Match #3: Bayley vs Ruby Riott w/ Liv Morgan & Billie Kay
Billie Kay is on commentary during this match
We get three lockups and each time Bayley throws Ruby into the corner and then starts talking some trash to her which pisses Ruby off as she hits Bayley with a right hand and then hits the Riott Kick, but that only gets a 2 count. Ruby looks to slam Bayley head-first into the corner, but Bayley reverses it and then charges toward Ruby only to be met with a back elbow. Ruby looks to catch Bayley with her legs only for Bayley to catch her and throw her up to her shoulder where she lawn darts Ruby into the top turnbuckle which gets a 2 count. Bayley puts the boots to Ruby and drops a couple of elbows before putting Ruby in an armbar, Ruby gets to her feet and breaks the hold by repeatedly backing Bayley into the corner.
Ruby charges toward Bayley but gets passed into the corner where Ruby is able to connect with the headscissors which sends Bayley head-first into the turnbuckle. Ruby sits Bayley up on the top only for Bayley to fight her off moments later to create some distance, but Ruby comes back with a springboard armdrag off the top. Ruby charges toward Bayley and Bayley looks to catch her in the Bayley to Belly, but Ruby counters it into a schoolgirl for a 2 count. Bayley kicks Ruby in the gut and then sends her down hard across the bottom rope throat-first which causes Ruby to roll out to the apron where Bayley attempts the sliding powerbomb to the outside only for Ruby to fight her off which allows Ruby to get back into the ring.
Ruby looks to catch Bayley with a shoulder attack but Bayley catches her with a stunner onto the middle rope and then she locks Ruby in a wrist lock. Billie leaves the announce table and hops up on the apron and uses her foot to push the rope closer to Ruby, but Liv pulls her down and we get them arguing on the outside. Ruby gets out of the wrist lock and tries for another Riott Kick, but Bayley reverses into the Rose Plant to pick up the win.
Winner: Bayley via Pinfall Match Rating: **
This was an ok match, but nothing really stood out that would make me want to recommend it to anyone.
We go to another commercial.
We come back and the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair makes her way out to the ring.
Bianca is clearly overwhelmed at the reaction she is getting from the piped in crowd noise. Bianca says that her life completely changed overnight after winning the Rumble and then restates how choosing her WrestleMania opponent is the biggest decision she has ever made. Bianca hypes up both of her potential WrestleMania opponents and how much it would mean to face either of them, but if she wants to put the EST in WrestleMania then she is going to have to do it her way.
We then hear an unrecognizable voice which turns out to belong to Reginald the Sommelier. Reginald wants to offer Bianca some advice as he tells her that he thinks if she picks Asuka she will have no problem beating her, but if she chooses Sasha then she has no chance. Carmella then makes her way out and says that Reginald is a wise man and then talks about how she beat Sasha in their first match a couple of months ago on SmackDown and despite all the hype surrounding Bianca she could do the same thing to her.
Sasha Banks then makes her arrival to the segment where she tells Carmella she is done looking in her rearview and wants to focus on the road ahead. Sasha says that Bianca has her attention and then she puts over Bianca as she tells Bianca that she knows that she is the StrongEst and the FastEst, but as far as being the bEST, she doesn’t think so. Sasha tells Bianca that if she is going to choose her then go ahead because Bianca has it all, but she doesn’t have the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
We get a staredown between Sasha and Bianca as Carmella looks on unimpressed. Reginald then interrupts Bianca as she goes to talk and once again tells her that if she chooses Sasha then she is going to lose. Bianca has heard enough as she starts whipping the shit out of Reginald with her hair and sends him running to the outside, which actually causes Carmella to almost break character and bust out laughing.
I really enjoyed this segment as it did a fantastic job of further building up Bianca as everyone in the segment put her over and did a good job of making her feel like an even bigger star than she already is. At first, I thought Reginald was telling Bianca to choose Asuka because he wanted that spot to be open so Carmella could face Sasha again, but as the segment went on it seemed like he was doing that so Sasha didn’t have to face a threat like Bianca because he doesn’t want her to lose her title because he likes her. I really hope Bianca vs Sasha is the match we get at Mania and to make it even better they should have that match as the main event on the first night of the two-night WrestleMania.
We go to the back where Roman Reigns is talking to Jey Uso when Paul Heyman walks up and informs him that Edge has arrived at the building.
We then go to another commercial break.
We come back to an interview with Sami Zayn who does his usual conspiracy victim tirade and then says tonight he will finally get some good footage for his documentary as he will win back the Intercontinental Championship and once again become the champion of the people.
We go back into the Thunderdome for our next match.
Match #4: Chad Gable & Otis vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
The Street Profits do commentary throughout the match inset promo style.
We get some mat wrestling between Ziggler and Gable to start the match and then Gable is able to escape an arm wringer from Ziggler and then takes him down with a drop toe hold. Gable goes to grab a hold of Ziggler’s arm but he gets to the ropes to force a break and then kicks Gable in the knee, Ziggler shoves Gable into the heel corner and it looks like Gable is going to fight his way out but he turns around into a dropkick from Ziggler for a 2 count. Ziggler tags in Roode who hits Gable with a vertical suplex for a 2 count and then locks in a reverse chinlock, but Gable gets back to his feet and fights out of the hold. Roode sends Gable into the ropes but he comes back with a sunset flip which he looks to transition into an ankle lock, but Roode kicks him off, and then Gable ducks a clothesline and makes the hot tag to Otis.
Otis comes in on fire as he hits him with clotheslines and then throws him across the ring with a suplex. Otis hits Ziggler with a flapjack and then hits him with a discus clothesline. Otis hits Roode with the avalanche in the corner and then follows up with the Caterpillar elbow drop. Otis tags in Gable but as he does Ziggler hops up on the apron and sends Otis into the ring post, Ziggler goes for the superkick but Gable catches the leg and hits Ziggler with the Chaos Theory, but before he can get to his feet Roode hits him with the Glorious DDT for the win.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode via Pinfall Match Rating: **
Yep, this was a match that featured members of the tag division.
We go to our next commercial break.
We come back and get a video recap of the Hogan vs Andre the Giant match that happened 33 years ago and why we needed to see this video is lost on me.
We then go to a pretaped video featuring a piece of shit human being Hulk Hogan and of course right by his side is Jimmy Hart who’s nose is very brown due to it being up Hogan’s ass for all of these years. Hogan does his usual Hogan schtick and then puts over Edge since he and Edge are former tag team champions, Hogan expects Edge to beat whichever champion he chooses at WrestleMania.
We get the entrances of Apollo Crews and Big E and then go to commercial.
We come back to see Edge and Nakamura chatting in the back.
It’s now time for our final match of the night.
Match #5: Big E © vs Sami Zayn vs Apollo Crews (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
The bell rings and Zayn starts jawing at Big E and then jumps out of the ring when Big E walks toward him. Crews tries to waistlock Big E but gets hit with a back elbow but Crews comes back with a surprise rollup which gets a 2 count. We then get a drop-down and leapfrog spot that ends with Big E dropping Crews with another back elbow. Zayn finally enters the ring and starts punching away at Big E, but Big E ends up reversing a whip into the ropes and hits Zayn with a backdrop and that is enough for Zayn to roll back out of the ring. Crews tries for the waistlock once again and this time he is ready for the back elbow as he ducks it and hits Big E with a headbutt and then he follows that up with three rolling German suplexes which get him a 2 count.
Zayn comes back in and starts working over Crews until Crews turns an Irish whip into a short-arm clothesline. Crews hits corner splashes in the corner to both of his opponents and tries for a second time, but Big E dodges the splash and hits both of his opponents with clotheslines in the corner. Big E looks to hit the corner clotheslines for a second time, but Crews kicks him in the gut only for Big E to recover and send Crews out to the apron where he looks to hit the suicide spear, but when he runs to the ropes Zayn grabs his leg and pulls him out of the ring. Big E and Zayn fight on the outside until Crews takes Big E down with a tope con hilo and he follows that up by hitting Big E with a moonsault off the apron. Zayn leaps off the steps and takes down Crews and that sends us to a commercial break.
We come back to Zayn standing over Big E delivering some crossface punches and then he chokes Big E across the middle rope and then he knocks Crews off the apron as he tries to get back into the ring. Big E has recovered and charges as Zayn but ends up getting hit with a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle. Zayn tries to go for the Blue Thunder Powerbomb, but Big E blocks it and then moves out of the way in time so that Zayn can get hit by Crews who comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Big E dodges a kick from Crews and then hits him with the trifecta of belly-to-belly suplexes.
Big E does the hip swivel looking for the big splash, but before he can, Zayn jumps on his back with a sleeper hold, but Big E easily throws him off and then he hits the big splash on both Zayn and Crews. Big E looks to hit the Big Ending on Crews, but Crews rocks him with an enziguri which causes Big E to stagger back into the corner and when Crews charges in he gets backdropped to the floor. Zayn charges toward Big E and he gets planted with the uranage for a 2 count. Zayn tries to crawl out of the ring but when he gets halfway on the apron Big E stops him and puts the boots to him and then delivers the big apron splash. Big E turns around and is hit with a running dropkick from Crews.
Crews pushes Zayn further in the ring and then comes off the top with a big splash which gets a 2 count. Zayn staggers into the corner and Crews charges in but Zayn hits him with a back elbow and then he tries to put up a boot, but Crews catches the leg and looks to hit a capture suplex, but before he can Big E comes up from behind and we get Big E hitting Crews with a German suplex while Crews hits Zayn with a capture suplex. Crews rolls out of the ring and Zayn rolls out to the apron where Big E once again tries for the suicide spear, but this time Zayn catches him with a knee to the head. Big E staggers into the corner and Zayn hits him with the Helluva Kick and just when it looks like Zayn is about to get his title back Crews pulls him out of the ring. Zayn argues with the referee and then turns his frustration to Crews but Crews isn’t having it as he grabs Zayn and starts punching away at him and then he press slams him into the timekeeper area. Crews runs back into the ring, but Big E is ready for him as he hits Crews with the Big Ending to pick up the win and retain his championship.
Winner: Big E via Pinfall Match Rating: ***¼
This was a really good match as I thought it flowed very well as they did a good job of having every spot smoothly lead to the next one and all three men worked very well together and the double suplex spot was crazy. I have to imagine that Big E’s feud with Crews could be finished since he beat him decisively in the match, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues feuding with Zayn since he wasn’t involved in the pinfall and will continue to claim he was robbed. I really hope that after Elimination Chamber Big E moves on to a feud with either Cesaro or Nakamura as either of those matches could tear the house down at WrestleMania.
We see Edge walking in the back as he is headed out to the ring after the break.
We come back and get more hype for the return of Seth Rollins next week.
Edge comes out for our final segment of the night.
Edge talks about how he has been dreaming about coming back home and winning the Royal Rumble so that he can go to WrestleMania and win back the championship that he never lost when he had to retire in 2011. Edge then talks about choosing which champion he should face and says that when he asks his family they tell him one answer and then when he asks his friends he gets a completely different answer.
Roman Reigns interrupts Edge and makes his way down to the ring alongside Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. Reigns gets in the ring and Edge asks him if he is already sweating him since Reigns has backup while Edge is out there all alone. Reigns promises Edge that Heyman will not be a problem, but Edge says that he is already renting space in Reigns’ head and that’s why Uso is out there and that leads to Reigns telling Uso to go to the back as he will handle this. Reigns says that Edge disrespected him and his family and he wants Edge to acknowledge him as the main event of WrestleMania and wants Edge to pick him as his champion of choice.
Reigns demands that Edge say his name, but Edge just smirks and then takes a step back as Kevin Owens enters the ring and spins Reigns around so he can hit him with the Stunner. KO storms out of the ring and Edge looks at a prone Reigns and nods in approval and starts to leave the ring as SmackDow goes off the air without Edge making a decision.
I thought this was a fine segment but definitely not one of the strongest that Reigns has been involved in. The Edge promo was a bit of a rehash of stuff we have already heard and the whole part about making the decision as to who to face is pretty much the same thing we heard from Bianca earlier in the night. While I have loved the Reigns and Kevin Owens feud I feel like it should be done as the match at Royal Rumble was the perfect blow off, I get they need to give Reigns somebody to feud against between now and WrestleMania seeing as there are two PPVs before WrestleMania, but they need to choose someone else to be in that role like a Nakamura because we have seen enough of Reigns vs KO over the past few months and it’s time to let that rest for a while.
This was a good episode of SmackDown as I enjoyed the Intercontinental Championship match as well as the Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro match even though it was criminally short.
That’s it for this week, but I’ll be back for more action from the blue brand.