Smackdown – March 5, 2021

Smackdown
Date: March 5, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

It’s time for a big fight feel as Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso is taking place inside a cage. If Bryan wins, he gets the Universal Title shot against Roman Reigns at Fastlane, so I’m not sure how much more they can telegraph what is going on here. I’m curious to see what Bryan can get out of him though so let’s get to it.

We open with a long video on Edge winning the Royal Rumble and picking Roman Reigns for Wrestlemania.

Michael Cole brings out Daniel Bryan for an in-ring chat. Cole recaps tonight’s main event and we see the graphic for the original Fastlane plans: Edge/Bryan vs. Reigns/Uso. Bryan knows that he is the one who will go along with everything and do whatever is asked of him, but that isn’t the case anymore. He wants to go to Wrestlemania, even though WWE wants to have Edge vs. Reigns in a battle of the eras.

Bryan throws us to a package on the Elimination Chamber and the ensuing title match against Reigns (plus Edge attacking Reigns later). Back in the arena, Bryan talks about how he has won three Elimination Chambers so you would think he would be cool with this. That’s not the case though because he felt like a failure because he did not make it to Wrestlemania.

From the floor, he looked up at the Wrestlemania sign and knew that he should be going there instead of Edge. He should be going because he loves this so much. Bryan has wrestled more matches in the last three weeks than Edge and Reigns have wrestled in the last year. Tonight he steps into a steel cage for the chance to go on to Wrestlemania because this could be his last chance. Cue Roman Reigns and company and we take a break.

Back with Reigns talking about how Bryan said he loved wrestling so much. Bryan doesn’t love this though because in reality he needs it. Love is about what you will do for others, not what you need to survive. Reigns does this because everyone needs him and that shows he loves it. The cameraman, Jey, Paul, the fans, they all need him. Tonight, after Jey beats Bryan, he’ll know it too.

Jey takes the mic from Bryan and says tonight, Reigns isn’t locked out because Jey is locked in. Jey goes for a cheap shot but gets knocked down so Bryan can stare at Reigns. Bryan was very emotional here and even stumbled over some words. Normally that sounds bad but here it made things feel more real because he was so fired up about everything.

We look back at Sami Zayn and King Corbin arguing to cost themselves a match against the Street Profits.

Street Profits vs. Sami Zayn/King Corbin

Before the match, Sami talks about how the Profits won a fluke match last week but here’s Corbin to say this isn’t a team. If one of the Profits want a singles match, come get one. The Profits like that but Sami says not so fast because he didn’t agree to a single match. Too bad apparently.

King Corbin vs. Montez Ford

Corbin powers him into the corner to start and whips Ford into another corner for the chest first crash. Ford manages to avoid a shot from Corbin and grabs a spinning DDT. A standing moonsault gets two but Sami offers a distraction, allowing Corbin to hit the End of Days for the pin at 2:40.

Post match Sami says he helped Corbin so Corbin can help him, only to have Dawkins knock him off the apron and into Corbin. That’s too much though and Sami is on his own.

Angelo Dawkins vs. Sami Zayn

Joined in progress with Dawkins sending him into the corner and nailing a dropkick for two. Sami gets in a shot of his own to take over though and a series of near falls has him frustrated. Dawkins is right back with a bulldog for two of his own but an exploder suplex is blocked. A neckbreaker gets two on Sami instead but he runs Dawkins over. Hold on though as Montez Ford spills his drink on the cameras to mess with Sami again. That’s enough to let Dawkins roll him up for the pin at 4:23.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match here which was designed to keep the angle going and there is nothing wrong with that. Sami and Corbin as a weird team is good enough and it keeps Corbin from being near the main event scene so I’m rather pleased. That and at least this was something fresh too, which is always welcome.

Reginald runs into Carmella, who accuses him of being a snake. She knocks the bottle out of his hand and he is officially fired. Good. Now get rid of him.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable

Dominik starts fast with an armdrag but Gable spins out of a wristlock. A spin into a drop toehold has Dominik in more trouble and it’s time to crank on the leg. Dominik fights up but walks into a tiger suplex for two. Gable misses the moonsault though, allowing Dominik to counter a rollup into la majistral for the pin at 2:59.

Post match Rey dives onto a charging Otis and the Mysterios bail.

Seth Rollins talks about how Cesaro tried to humiliate him last week, which he won’t forget. Murphy comes up and offers his assistance with Cesaro, but Rollins says get out of his sight.

Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair

Nia Jax and Sasha Banks are here too because we’re doing the tag match again at Fastlane. Reginald follows, because that just needs to be a thing still. Belair tries a dropkick but the leg gets caught, allowing Baszler to take over on the arm. Baszler throws her down by the arm and keeps up the cranking so Belair uses the good arm to slam her way to freedom.

A suplex lets Belair nip up but Baszler counters a double chickenwing into a roll to the floor. Reginald offers a distraction though and Baszler kicks Belair in the face….before going down for some reason. Jax shoves Reginald down and clotheslines Banks as well, allowing Baszler to grab the Kirifuda Clutch. That’s reversed into the KOD though and Belair gets the pin at 4:32.

Rating: C-. Reginald needs to fall in a hole and not be found as soon as possible as this story absolutely does not need a one note character who happens to be an acrobat. It seems that Reginald and Carmella are done, so why is he involved in this whole thing? Just drop him already or let him find a story that might actually need him. Just having Belair beat Baszler to build her for the title match is fine enough. Why mess with that?

Reigns tells Jey Uso not to embarrass himself or the family. Jey says he has this.

Murphy vs. Cesaro

Cesaro throws him around to start as Seth Rollins joins commentary. Murphy gets over to the ropes and manages to pull Cesaro to the floor, setting up the big flip dive. Back in and Murphy gets two off a top rope Meteora, only to dive into an uppercut for his efforts. The running uppercuts and a running big boot rock Murphy again, setting up the Swing. Rollins says this is about him and the Sharpshooter makes Murphy tap at 3:10.

Rating: C-. Not much to this one but it worked out well enough for what they were trying to do. Cesaro is on a roll and will likely be facing Rollins at Fastlane, though I’m not sure what that is going to leave for him to do at Wrestlemania. This doesn’t exactly bode well for Murphy, but that has kind of been the case for a long time now so it isn’t that much of a surprise.

Reginald (Roman Reigns isn’t getting this much screen time) is leaving but knocks on Banks’ door. Banks: “NO!” Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax say he reeks of failure, but Jax thinks he’s kind of cute.

Big E. is back next week.

Here is Apollo Crews, carrying a spear and flanked by two guards in camouflage. He now has a rather thick accent (think Black Panther) and says this is how he talks because he is a real African American. These men are the Nigerian Elite Guard who have protected his family’s wealth for a generation.

For years he was made fun of because people thought he was from the jungle. Now Big E. is trying to do it again so he is going to listen to his ancestors telling him to take what is his. Crews wants a rematch for the Intercontinental Title and promises to conquer Big E. This was a step away from Apollo Crews and a step closer to Saba Simba.

Natalya and Tamina want to know why they aren’t in the Women’s Tag Team Title match but are told to get over it.

Daniel Bryan jumps Jey Uso in the back.

It’s time for Ding Dong Hello with Bayley reading some tweets. These are Sweet Tweets though because no one could hate her. She reads the first two about how great she is but the third gets on her nerves and makes her storm off.

Corey Graves is inside the cage to explain the rules, which isn’t something you see very often these….well probably decades actually.

Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan

If Bryan wins he gets to challenge Reigns (here with Paul Heyman) for the Universal Title at Fastlane. They slug it out to start until Jey sends him into the cage early on. It’s way too early to get through the door though as Bryan grabs the leg, only to get pummeled in the head for his efforts. It’s time to go up the cage but Jey crotches him down in a hurry. Bryan catches his climb as well and nails a missile dropkick, setting up a running kick to the arm. Jey’s arm is sent hard into the cage and then does it again for a bonus.

Bryan goes up but Jey knocks him into the Tree of Woe and kicks away at the leg. It’s too early for Jey to get out though as Bryan catches him as well, only to have Jey hit a super Samoan drop for the double knockdown as we take a break. Back with the two of them sitting on top of the cage until they get back in and onto the top rope.

Bryan gets knocked down and Jey hits the Superfly Splash for two but it’s too early to escape. An enziguri sends Bryan down and there’s a superkick for two more. Bryan elbows away but Jey knocks him down again, setting up a catapult into the cage. They both climb up again with Bryan getting in a shot to the arm, setting up a butterfly superplex to the mat. The YES Lock goes on and, since the rope break doesn’t count, Jey has to tap at 12:04.

Rating: B-. They beat each other up for a good while here and the arm stuff was set up at the beginning and paid off in the end. That’s how you do a match like this and it makes perfect sense for Bryan to go that way. It wasn’t exactly a surprise as Bryan winning was all but a guarantee, but they had a good match to get there so it worked out rather well.

Bryan poses on the cage as Reigns glares to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This show was all about setting up Fastlane and I think you know where the card is going from here. I’m still not entirely sure that the event is going to mean much in the long run but it’s nice to see WWE focusing on it for a change instead of Wrestlemania every single second. There wasn’t much in the way of top level wrestling here but it did its job, which is the more important thing from a show like this.  Now just get rid of Reginald and we’re good.

Results

King Corbin b. Montez Ford – End of Days

Angelo Dawkins b. Sami Zayn – Rollup

Dominik Mysterio b. Chad Gable – La majistral

Bianca Belair b. Shayna Baszler – KOD

Cesaro b. Murphy – Sharpshooter

Daniel Bryan b. Jey Uso – YES Lock

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