Date: February 26, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
We have a big announcement this week as women’s Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair is going to announce her opponent for Wrestlemania XXXVII. Granted it should be pretty clear who she is going to face, but at least they are going to announce the match so we can start the proper build. Let’s get to it.
Here are Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman to get things going. After a long look at Reigns beating Daniel Bryan and then being attacked by Edge on Sunday night, Reigns says Smackdown needs him. He’s so good at everything that it has to be perfect, but there is one person standing in his way. That’s the guy who jumped him on Sunday and then pointed at the Wrestlemania sign. Edge has a beautiful family and is a father and husband. Reigns respects the comeback and everything Edge is about but he doesn’t want to hurt him.
Cue Daniel Bryan to say that absolutely Sunday was perfect for Reigns. Why wouldn’t it have been? All Reigns had to do was face Bryan just after the Elimination Chamber. That doesn’t sound like a Head of the Table spot to Bryan, who thinks Reigns should have been in the main event slot. Reigns can silence the comparisons, and there have been a lot of them, by defending the title against him at Fastlane, with no conditions. Uso doesn’t want to hear that because Bryan goes to the back of the line. Bryan asks again but Jey jumps him and the trio leaves. Everything here made sense.
Edge comes in to see Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville about Bryan possibly getting a title shot first. Post break, Pearce tries to calm Edge down and says tonight it’s Bryan vs. Uso, with Bryan getting the Fastlane title match if he wins.
Alpha Academy vs. Rey Mysterio/Dominik Mysterio
Rematch from last week when Otis turned to the dark side and crushed Rey’s ribs. Otis starts fast by throwing Rey into the corner and hitting a shoulder to the ribs. Rey gets away and brings in Dominick to pick up the pace against Gable. A headscissors sends Gable into the corner and a middle rope diving tornado DDT gets two. Everything breaks down and a double 619 hits Gable and Rey hits the top rope splash. Otis breaks up the cover and it’s a World’s Strongest Slam into the middle rope splash to pin Rey at 3:39.
Rating: C-. I can go for these two doing something and again, it’s kind of amazing how nicely Otis is sliding into this role. Gable not so much because he was great for years and was just stuck with a horrible character, but Otis is a rather nice surprise. It’s going well enough and that splash looks good.
We look back at Apollo Crews destroying Big E. last week to put him on the shelf.
Here’s Apollo Crews for a chat. Some people have not been happy with what he did but this is who he is. He is a real African American because he is from Nigeria. Crews comes from a lineage of Nigerian royalty and he wears the country’s colors with pride and power. That’s what Big E. learned last week when he was taught a lesson from his grandfather about showing power. Last week, Crews showed Big E. the steel and tonight, Shinsuke Nakamura will see the same thing.
Apollo Crews vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Crews jumps him before the bell and we take a break. We come back joined in progress with Crews whipping Nakamura hard into the corner and running him over. Crews’ release German suplex is countered though and Nakamura kicks away at the chest. The sliding knee gives Nakamura two and there’s the sliding German suplex for the same. Crews heads to the floor and manages to sucker Nakamura in for a whip into the steps. Back in and Nakamura grabs a sleeper but gets sent into the buckle. An Angle Slam finishes for Crews at 4:37.
Rating: C. That’s the best Crews has looked in a long time, if not ever (the new tights helped a lot), and that is a good sign. I was a bit worried about Crews’ promo but it went in a fine direction and this could work out well for him. Big E. vs. Crews should be a heck of a fight when we get there and this was a good way to debut Crews’ new side.
Paul Heyman tells Roman Reigns about the Bryan vs. Uso match with the Fastlane implications. The “IF Bryan wins” part is emphasized.
Tamina vs. Liv Morgan
Natalya and Ruby Riott are here too as Tamina runs Liv over to start. Morgan gets sent into the corner as we hear about Natalya and Tamina’s history and legacy in wrestling. Tamina even has a catchphrase: “From reliable to undeniable.” I’d like to point out how many people Smackdown has sitting on the sidelines while TAMINA AND NATALYA are getting regular TV time. Morgan gets knocked down again but does manage an enziguri. A middle rope dropkick knocks Tamina down but she’s right back with the Samoan drop. The swinging Rock Bottom (which was more laying her down than a slam) finishes Morgan at 3:57.
Rating: D. There’s something about Tamina that just takes the life out of any match. That problem was on full display here as there is no reason to be interested in anything she or Natalya are doing. They’ve both been around for so long and having them as a ticked off team isn’t going to get people interested. Well maybe in what is on another channel, but not in the two of them.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville are in the ring for Bianca Belair’s pick. We see a video on Asuka and another on Sasha Banks and now Belair is ready to make her pick. Well actually she’s ready to talk about making choices….but here is Reginald to interrupt. He wants her to know what a loser she will be if she picks Sasha, who is here to interrupt as well. She tells Reginald to never speak for her and tells Belair that if she wants to make a statement, her choice is clear. Banks is the best, which makes Belair second best. Belair makes the pick and the match is set. At least they didn’t drag it out, but drop Reginald already.
Sami Zayn’s film crew gets some shots of King Corbin before their tag match tonight. Corbin doesn’t like the attention but Sami thinks they could be the new Can-Am Connection. I don’t think Corbin is convinced.
Sami Zayn/King Corbin vs. Street Profits
Corbin starts with Dawkins as Sami yells at the documentary crew. Dawkins gets punched down and sent into the corner but the crew is in the way of Corbin as he tries to slide underneath the bottom rope. That lets Ford dropkick him down and we take a break. Back with Ford in trouble as Corbin knees him into the corner. Ford fights over and brings in Dawkins to clean house. Corbin is knocked outside where the crew keeps filming him, much to Corbin’s annoyance. Ford hits the big flip dive and it’s a double underhook swinging neckbreaker to Sami. The frog splash finishes for Ford at 8:07.
Rating: C-. This was more about the antics with the film crew but it worked out well enough. I’m guessing we’re going to be getting more with Zayn/Corbin, which isn’t the worst idea in the world. Hopefully it gives us some more entertaining stuff like Corbin getting annoyed at the film crew and keeps Corbin from sniffing the main event scene because no one needs to see that.
Daniel Bryan is ready to move on to Wrestlemania but here’s Edge to seem not so happy about the idea. If they were to meet at Wrestlemania, who wins that match? Bryan won’t answer, but he seems to like the possibility.
Here’s Seth Rollins to talk about the letter he sent to WWE last week….and here’s Cesaro to cut him off. Rollins cuts him off and praises Cesaro’s greatness, saying he has always been one of the best around. For some reason though, there has always been something missing. Why hasn’t Cesaro ever been the Universal Champion?
Rollins says he is missing that killer instinct and Rollins can teach him. Take a week or two to think about it and come back with a good answer. Cesaro grabs the legs (Rollins: “NO! PUT ME DOWN!”) and swings him (out of his jacket), followed by a second for a bonus. The uppercut leaves Rollins laying.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso
If Bryan wins, he gets Reigns for the title at Fastlane. Bryan works on the wrist to start and moonsaults over Jey (with a quick touch to his banged up knee), setting up the running clothesline. A top rope hurricanrana gives Bryan two and Jey is sent outside, where he knocks a dive out of the air. The bad knee is dropped onto the announcers’ table and then sent into the post as we take a break. Back with Uso still working on the knee before hitting a Samoan drop.
The Superfly Splash misses though and Bryan knocks him to the floor, setting up the running knee off the apron. Back in and Bryan comes off the top but bangs up the knee again, allowing Jey to kick it out. The half crab goes on but Bryan slips out and tries the running knee, only to get chop blocked down. A butterfly superplex brings Jey off the top though and the threat of the YES Lock sends him over to the rope. They roll outside to keep up the brawl with Bryan’s knee going into the steps, setting up the double countout at 12:47.
Rating: B-. The ending was a surprise and that’s a good thing. They have a few different ways to go for Fastlane now and the combination of possibilities have me rubbing my chin. I can’t imagine Bryan doesn’t get a straight shot at Reigns, but now they are going to have to go in a different direction to get there, which is not a bad thing.
Post match Bryan gets the YES Lock on Uso but Roman Reigns makes the save. Uso has to save Roman from the YES Lock and it’s a spear to Bryan. The guillotine choke knocks Bryan cold to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show dragged a bit in the middle but aside from the book ends, I love that they move from story to story pretty fast. You have two hours of Smackdown a week and it’s nice to see them using it to get a lot of things over. You don’t have five segments or interviews from one story and it makes the show move around that much more smoothly. The show might not be that much better than some others, but it’s a lot easier to watch and that’s more important.
Alpha Academy b. Rey Mysterio/Dominik Mysterio – Middle rope splash to Rey
Apollo Crews b. Shinsuke Nakamura – Angle Slam
Tamina b. Liv Morgan – Spinning Rock Bottom
Street Profits b. Sami Zayn/King Corbin – Frog splash to Zayn
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso went to a double countout
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