Date: May 7, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
It’s time for a special show with a Throwback edition of Smackdown. I’m not sure what that is going to entail but we are going to be seeing at least the old logo. I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing the big fist just due to logistics, but a few cameos should be in order as well. Let’s get to it.
We open with a Rock montage talking about Smackdown.
The opening video is a collection of all kinds of old school stuff, including Gorilla Monsoon on pay per views.
The (modern version of the) old WWF logo is back and McAfee is in a Vince McMahon blue blazer, while Cole is in the denim shirt.
THE FIST IS BACK! Ok so it’s a digital one but it’s there!
We look at the main event of the first (non-pilot) Smackdown, with guest referee Shawn Michaels cheating the Rock out of the WWF Title.
Here are Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Jey Uso for a chat. After a look back at last week’s war against Daniel Bryan and Cesaro making the save from a post match beatdown, Heyman says he is here to eulogize the career of Daniel Bryan. We get a ten bell salute, with Heyman making the sounds instead of waiting on “Mr. Schmucky Timekeeper.” Reigns says he is a man of his word so you should acknowledge him. He gives everyone what they want, from the fans to FOX to Daniel Bryan.
Last week he smashed Bryan, pinned him (not quite) and got rid of him. If Bryan wanted to be here, all he had to do was acknowledge Reigns. They have replaced Bryan with someone who will acknowledge him….and here is the returning Jimmy Uso. Celebrating ensues but here is Cesaro to interrupt. Cesaro says you cannot replace Daniel Bryan but he doesn’t have time to worry about Reigns when he is facing Seth Rollins tonight.
Cue Rollins to jump Cesaro from behind the brawl is on outside. Referees break it up, but here is Teddy Long, to say that he has been granted the authority to make a decision. Therefore, if Cesaro wins tonight, he will get his shot at Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania Backlash. Reigns jumps Cesaro from behind so Rollins can send him into the steps. They go inside and take a break as I try to figure out why Cesaro came out in the first place.
Promotional consideration, paid for by the following: ICO-PRO.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
The Usos are at ringside. Cesaro, favoring his shoulder, pulls himself up and says ring the bell so Cesaro knocks him to the floor in a hurry. Back in and Cesaro hammers away but Rollins slips out of a gorilla press and kicks the knee out. Cesaro reverses a suplex into one of his own but the Swing is blocked. Instead Cesaro rolls him up for two but the Neutralizer is countered into a backdrop to the apron. Jey Uso offers a distraction so Rollins can hit the top rope superplex into the Falcon Arrow for two more.
Back with Rollins getting to the rope to avoid the Sharpshooter and Crossface but Cesaro puts him on top instead. Rollins comes right back with a buckle bomb but Cesaro comes out of the corner with a hard clothesline. Rollins gets sent outside where Jey checks on him, but Rollins doesn’t want the help and shoves him down. That earns Rollins a superkick so Cesaro dives onto Jimmy. Back in and the Neutralizer sends Cesaro to Backlash at 12:42.
Rating: C+. It wasn’t quite their Wrestlemania match but it wasn’t supposed to be. This was about getting Cesaro to the pay per view and they did that quite well, with the Uso screwup probably getting them in trouble with Reigns. Cesaro is on a roll and it makes a lot of sense to give him the title shot at the pay per view. Good stuff here, and Rollins teasing a bit of a different side could be very good for him.
Post break, we look at what we just saw.
Rollins comes in to see Roman Reigns and asks who he should be mad at. Reigns doesn’t want Rollins dealing with his family, because that’s Reigns’ job. Rollins says fix it or he will.
Classic Smackdown Moment: Steve Austin beats up Booker T. in the grocery store.
Teddy Long and Sonya Deville are in the back when Sami Zayn comes in to say that since Teddy is unbiased, he can give Sami the match that he needs. Teddy: “Tonight you can go one on one with the Undertaker!” Actually, we’ll have a tag match with Zayn/Apollo Crews vs. Big E./Kevin Owens/Street Profits/Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn complains about the numbers being wrong, so Sonya suggests adding Otis and Chad Gable. Long likes that, and throws in King Booker. Sonya corrects that to King Corbin…..and now Long wants to dance as Sami leaves. Long is either senile or way funnier than I thought. I’ll go with the latter.
Roman Reigns yells at Jimmy Uso for screwing up after only being back for an hour. Jimmy isn’t going to be talked to like that and leaves, with Jey trying to calm things down.
Carmella vs. Ruby Riott
Liv Morgan is here too. Carmella takes Ruby into the corner and dances out but gets shouldered back down. A hair pull takes Riott back down but she headscissors Carmella face first into the middle buckle. An STO gets two on Carmella and they go into a pinfall reversal sequence until Carmella gets in the Cone of Silence for the tap at 2:18. This was just a way to get Carmella back with a win.
Classic Smackdown Moment: Edge and Hulk Hogan win the Tag Team Titles. It still looks weird to see Hogan with that belt.
Classic Smackdown Moment: Big Show and Brock Lesnar break the ring.
Here is Bayley for a chat. She is here to celebrate the great women’s champions of WWE, because they are the women who put their bodies on the line for you. We see shots of Alundra Blayze (Bayley: “She’s no Bayley.”), Jacqueline (who held the title twice, but not as long as Bayley), Lita (Bayley’s childhood hero), Trish Stratus, Ivory, Beth Phoenix, Molly Holly and of course Bianca Belair.
Bayley calls Belair young and excited but naive, because she isn’t on Bayley’s level. She sees insecurity in Belair’s eyes because Bayley is going to be the first and last challenger for the title. Cue Belair who says she is champion whether Bayley likes it or not. The brawl is on with Bayley sending her into the corner and even pulling on Belair’s earring. Bayley says listen to her and hits the bulldog driver.
Jey catches up to Jimmy (who was about three seconds ahead of him and apparently has not stopped walking for the last ten minutes) and asks if Jimmy really meant all of that. Jey explains that Reigns is family but Jimmy doesn’t like Reigns talking to them like that. Jimmy says Reigns would say he doesn’t need them but Jimmy needs Jey. They need to get their Tag Team Titles back and be champions with Reigns if they want to represent the family. It would be weird to have the Usos on the show and not at least going after the titles so it makes sense.
Classic Smackdown Moment: John Cena debuts.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rey Mysterio
Robert Roode and Dominik Mysterio are ringside. Before the match, Ziggler says Dominik is just famous for being Rey’s son so get out of the ring and let the adults handle this. Dominik wants to have the match instead so here we go.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph talks trash to start so Dominik slaps him in the face. Ziggler shoves him up against the ropes and shouts that Dominik doesn’t belong here. Dominik sends him to the floor but gets tripped down, setting up a slam on the outside. Back in and a neckbreaker gives Ziggler a posing two count but Dominik small packages him for the pin at 2:15. Keeping Dominik’s matches short is probably not the worst idea here.
Reginald talks about how Tamina disrespected him last week. Next week, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are going to retain the Tag Team Titles over Tamina and Natalya. For tonight though, it is time to cleanse the bad taste from Nia’s mouth. Nia: “Aw Reggie.”
Promotional consideration paid for by the following: WWF Ice Cream Bars!
Classic Smackdown Moment: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Roman Reigns tells Paul Heyman to bring him his cousin. Heyman: “Which one?” A glare makes Heyman understand. That was great.
Tamina vs. Reginald
This feels like a random match made by a glitching copy of WWE2K20. Natalya, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are here too. Reginald bails into the ropes to start and then heads outside to continue the stalling. A running clothesline is countered with a standing moonsault and he flips out of a grab of the hair. Tamina puts him on the top so Reginald flips away to land on his feet. That earns him a superkick and the Superfly Splash is loaded up but Baszler shoves Tamina off the top for the DQ at 2:15.
Post match Natalya and Tamina get beaten down, including Tamina being Samoan dropped into the barricade.
Team Apollo Crews is ready, though Sami Zayn seems to be the odd man out.
Team Big E. is ready and Shinsuke Nakamura wants the smoke.
Alpha Academy/Sami Zayn/King Corbin/Apollo Crews vs. Street Profits/Big E./Kevin Owens/Shinsuke Nakamura
Commander Azeez is here with the villains. Dawkins armdrags Gable down a few times and hands it off to Ford. That’s fine with Crews, who comes in and hammers away before mocking the NEW DAY ROCKS clap. Zayn comes in to work on Ford’s arms but Ford backflips away and hits the great dropkick. It’s off to Big E. to headlock Corbin, who drives him into the corner for some cheap shots from Zayn. Owens isn’t having this and the big brawl breaks down on the floor. The bullfrog splash from the apron crushes Zayn and we take a break.
Back with Otis cranking on Owens’ neck and hitting a splash in the corner. Crews comes in but gets enziguried down for a breather. Owens adds a spinwheel kick and the hot tag brings in Nakamura to start cleaning house with kicks all around. Everything breaks down and we hit the parade of secondary finishers. Gable German suplexes Owens on the floor but gets Pounced by Dawkins. Ford adds a big flip dive to the floor, leaving Nakamura to hit Kinshasa on Zayn. Corbin tags himself in though and hits End of Days to finish Nakamura at 10:43.
Rating: C+. This could have been worse, even if Corbin getting a win made me roll my eyes. To be fair though, Corbin hasn’t been doing much as of late so reheating him a bit might not be the worst idea. You’re only ever going to get so much out of such a big match like this so it was about as much as you could have asked to see.
Roman Reigns is not pleased with Jey Uso but wants to give Jimmy another chance. Jimmy is going to get a chance to show where he stands right now.
Classic Smackdown Moment: Vince McMahon experiences Eddie Guerrero’s low rider.
Here are Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Jey Uso to wrap things up. Reigns starts recapping things but here’s Jimmy to interrupt. Jimmy recaps Jey vs. Roman Reigns in the I Quit match in the Cell, where Jimmy ran in for the save and got choked out, with Jey quitting to save his brother.
After that tape that they just happened to have laying around, Jimmy says he never would have quit. Reigns can’t believe that’s what this is about because he and Jey have moved forward. He isn’t going back and forth with Jimmy, who needs to fall in line and stand with them. Either that, or go home and watch Reigns and the Uso (singular) with his kids.
Jimmy goes to leave, gets conflicted, and then keeps walking. Jey goes to the floor to talk to him but here is Cesaro to jump Reigns. Despite Jimmy trying to hold him back, Jey runs in for the save but gets beaten down. Jimmy hesitates but comes in to go after Cesaro as well, earning himself the pop up European uppercut. A nearly botched Neutralizer plants Jey and there’s a better one to Reigns to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show mainly focused on the Reigns/Usos stuff, which worked out well enough, including the cliffhanger at the end. It isn’t exactly revolutionary and feels a bit like the Young Bucks’ recent issues in AEW, but it’s nice to see the Usos back in some form. The rest of the show was the usual hit and miss variety pack, though the idea of Reginald vs. Tamina still makes my head hurt quite a bit.
As for the big Throwback theme…..well the logos were certainly there. Given that it was a FOX deal that they are doing over the weekend, I can’t get too mad at WWE for not having the biggest enthusiasm for this one. The clips were nice to see (despite having seen them quite a few times now) and the digital fist was better than nothing….I think. WWE can do these things well, but this was more of a bonus feature for some window dressing than an overall theme, so it’s not like there was much of a grand expectation.
Cesaro b. Seth Rollins – Neutralizer
Carmella b. Ruby Riott – Cone of Silence
Dominik Mysterio b. Dolph Ziggler – Small package
Tamina b. Reginald via DQ when Nia Jax interfered
Alpha Academy/King Corbin/Sami Zayn/Apollo Crews b. Street Profits/Big E./Kevin Owens/Shinsuke Nakamura – End of Days to Nakamura
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