Welcome one and all to Friday Night SmackDown! Your host tonight is the original Rajahmaniac, Mike Hogan. Tonight marks the return to live audiences as the ThunderDome sunk into the ocean, alongside Atlantis and that secret Crab People colony. Refresh this page frequently as we'll have live coverage with updates every five to seven minutes. So what's in store for tonight, you ask? WWE has decided to go all in with this return to the road ahead of Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view event. Tonight's show should be full of energy as our Superstars, aware of how big tonight's debut return is, are giving it double or nothing in an effort to absolutely go all-out for our live crowd! You can expect a high-intensity shift into full gear by our Superstars as tonight's episode is also the final stop before Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view event.
Our official preview set up big six-man tag match as Roman Reigns & the Usos battle Edge & the Mysterios. We'll get a Fatal Four-way as Big E, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins find themselves worthy to compete in the same ring as your One True King, Shinsuke Nakamura! And not to be outdone, the women's division has a big championship match as SmackDown Women's Champion Bianca Belair defends against Carmella!
Expect all this and much more, perhaps even a few big surprises, next on Friday Night SmackDown! For those of you who want just the facts, click here for the Quick Recap!
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Live Results (7/16/2021): Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Opening Video: The Return of the Ring
We open with a thoughtfully-put-together video package, that opens on the empty arena with Superstars such as Rey Mysterio sitting amongst the empty bleachers and transitions into some of the most iconic moments in WWE history, ranging from Hogan's slam heard 'round the world at WrestleMania III to the Taker's retirement; Cena and Angle's debuts are shown interjected with various clips from Superstars of generations past, present, and Legendary. Very well done.
Welcome to a Souled-Out Toyota Center!
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee (who you know is going to flip his lid tonight with excitement), along with a sold-out crowd of fourteen thousand, enthusiastically welcome us to the arena. The crowd is timid with anticipation before you realize you've got...
No Chance in Hell!
The familiar theme opens and out comes the chairman, Vince McMahon! The crowd sings along to "No chance in hell" as we get our first look at the new SmackDown stage, featuring a huge curved tron screen above the entrance. Vince welcomes us all to Friday Night SmackDown, thanks us, and immediately dips out after mere seconds!
Six-Man Tag Match: Universal Champion Roman Reigns & the Usos w/ Paul Heyman vs Edge & SmackDown Tag Team Champions the Mysterios
At 8:04pm, Roman Reigns' music plays and out comes our Universal champion with his mouthpiece in tow. At 8:09pm, Roman reached the ring and is joined by the Usos. Roman comes out to a healthy mix of boos and cheers, with the boos more predominant. Out next come the Mysterios and we're reminded that this will be Dom's first match in front of a live audience. And to an even bigger pop enters the Rated-R Superstar, Edge! The WWE is still piping in crowd sounds. The live crowd are audibly loud (piped-in) but visually, they're all awaiting the start of the match--just like us as we go to a commercial break. When we return from the break, Jey Uso and Edge are in the ring. Uso starts with a sucker-punch as Edge is distracted by Reigns, the man he faces this Sunday for the Universal Championship. Edge quickly takes down Jey with a modified DDT. Edge tags in Dom, who tags in Rey, and la familia pick apart Jey easily.
Rey allows Jey to tag in Jimmy, and takes Jimmy down with an arm drag almost immediately. Edge is tagged in and executes a short series of arm breakers on Jimmy. Edge twists and manipulates the arm as he tags in Rey, holding Jimmy in place for Rey to attack with a springboard maneuver. Rey with a pin fall. Rey tags in Dom, who connects with a textbook middle-rope springboard Moonsault. Pin attempt but comes up empty. Jimmy tags in the Tribal Chief, and our Universal Champion easily handles the youngster with slow, deliberate suplexes and strikes. Roman takes Dom in and out of the ring like a toy, and toy with Dom the champ does as he slams Dom's face into the announcer's table. Roman rolls in and out immediately, breaking Referee Charles "Lil' Naitch" Robinson's count. Roman with a big Powerbomb outside the ring, yelling at the crowd "Acknowledge me!" as we head to another break!
Back from the break. Dom hits a Tornado DDT off the turnbuckle as we return, laying out Jimmy Uso. Both men are down and stretch for their corners. Both dive and connect with tags. Jey and Edge hit the ring; Edge plows through Jimmy and Jey, attacks Roman on the apron, runs through the Usos again and clotheslines Reigns at ringside! Edge tags in Rey and Rey takes it to the now-legal Jey. Rey hits Jey with a springboard Hurricanrana and covers for a close two--Jimmy makes the save. Dom flies outside the ring to brawl with Jimmy. Rey looks for a 6-1-9 on Jey but Reigns intercepts Rey mid-dial and slams him against the apron. Roman sends Rey into the ring, then eats a Spear from Edge! Rey and Jey struggle in the ring. Rey attempts to roll up Jey; Jey shoves Rey off, and Rey clashes into Jimmy's fist from ringside. Jey rolls up Rey, grabs the tights and steals the win!
Your Winners, Universal Champion Roman Reigns & the Usos!
After the Match: Interpersonal Differences Come to Fruition
The Usos double-team Rey in the corner, pounding away on Rey and a defenseless Dom. Edge hits the ring, and the Usos, with a steel chair to save the day until our Head of the Table lays out the Rated-R one with a Superman Punch! Roman holds his title high to loud boos and "you suck" chants from the crowd. Roman retrieves the steel step and stomps the leg-bar free, like Edge has in the past. Roman turns, contemplating a submission with it, but eats a Spear from Edge! Edge sadistically looks at the rod and with a look known only by men constipated for days on end, Edge eyes the crowd before putting Reigns in the bar-assisted crossface for yet another week! Edge screams as Roman groans in pain and taps out. Edge breaks it, looks at the Universal title and hoists it up--possibly foreshadowing Sunday night's conclusion! We head to break after a plug for tonight's Fatal Four-way.
Backstage Interview: Kayla Braxton with Edge
Edge and the Mysterios are congratulating each other upon our return from the break when Kayla Braxton walks up. Braxton questions Edge about the match we just witnessed and how this puts him a step closer to Roman and his title. Seth Rollins interrupts mid-interview, cackling maniacally. Seth tells Edge that he (Seth) will be rooting for Edge because Rollins plans on winning the Money in the Bank match. Seth regrets not "pulling the trigger" and finishing off Edge's career all those years ago, and would absolutely love to be the guy to cash in on the guy who made the Money in the Bank Ladder Match a thing.
In the Ring: Sami Zayn Fights the Deep State
Zayn's music plays and out comes the Great Liberator, who immediately demands his music be stopped. He goes on a rant about how we have a new set, a new tron, and we're hyping the Money in the Bank ppv event but no one's talking about how Zayn's the victim of yet another conspiracy. He's being victimized and persecuted and kept from the MitB match. He implores all of the live fans to stand up and make their voices heard, to let people know that this injustice will not stand. He tries to start a "Justice for Sami" chant and the crowd gets into a mix of boos and chants. "You know what, I'm not surprised. I guess the hee-haws of Texas aren't on my side!" The crowd quickly turns on Zayn with loud boos. Zayn tells us that if there were any justice in the world, Zayn would not only be in the MitB ladder match--the briefcase would be lowered right now and he'd be handed the contract on a silver platter. He states that would be justice and he refuses to let this show go on for one more minute until justice is-- he's interrupted when The Prince Returns! I'm not sure who popped harder, the live crowd or Pat McAfee, as Finn Bálor makes his way out in his big return to the main roster! He heads down to the ring, playing to the crowd, as Zayn silently abides this interruption. Zayn starts to talk but the Prince has no time for this and immediately attacks Zayn. Bálor hits his marquee moves, leading with a Shotgun Dropkick before finishing Zayn with a 1916 and a Coup de Grace. We get replays to end our segment.
Women's Tag Team Number One Contender's Match: Shotzi & Nox vs WWE Women's Champions Natalya & Tamina
It's time to shox the system as the artists formerly known as Shotzi Blackheart and "Battery-Charger" Tegan Nox are set to compete in a number one contender's match in just their second match on SmackDown. We head to break, with their opponents--and this match--up next. When we return, Liv Morgan is on commentary as is Zelina Vega and both women spend the match bickering. We start with Tamina and Shotzi. Tamina takes control with sheer strength early on, whipping Shotzi into the corner. Natalya is tagged in and looks for a rear lift. Shotzi escapes and attempts a roll-up, then follows it up with a perfect step-up Enziguri. Shotzi borrows a page from Jeff Hardy and hits a double leg drop. During the match Vega and Morgan continue to squabble. Tamina and Natalya use incredibly quick tags--one hit, then tag, etc--to keep Shotzi in their corner as most of the focus is on Vega and Morgan's bickering. Nattie runs at Shotzi, and Shotzi delivers two kicks to the gut. Shotzi struggles briefly before tagging in Nox. The now-brunette hits the ring hot, dropping Natalya with a shotgun dropkick. Nox with a running shotgun dropkick that drops Tamina off the apron. Nox with the Shiniest Wizard to Natalya for a close two. Tamina makes the save and knocks Shotzi down. At the commentary table, Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega get into it. Tamina and Natalya are distracted, and Nox rolls up Nattie to steal the win!
Your Winners and NEW Number One Contenders, Shotzi & Nox!
After the Match: MitB Pre-Brawl
After the match, Nox and Shotzi flee up the ramp. Morgan, Zelina, Nattie and Tamina battle briefly. Liv Morgan is the last woman standing in the ring when the smoke clears, and gestures up at the women's MitB briefcase over head. We briefly see SmackDown Women's Champion Bianca Belair walking backstage, passing the Dirty Dawgs as we head to break.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Bianca Belair(c) vs Carmella
After the break, we return and out comes Carmella. She's quickly followed by our SmackDown Women's Champion, the fast-EST, best-EST, tough-EST, champion-EST of the WWE, Bianca Belair! The crowd is hot for her and remain in her corner for the introductions. Our official introductions are made as we get ready for this title match! McAfee is hyped, and says this match has a "big fight feel." The bell rings. Carmella with a sucker-slap to Belair, then flees the ring as Belair chases. Carmella hits the ring and is driven down by Belair. Belair with a butt-slapping taunt (think: WWE 2k19, Asuka taunt 2--don't ask how I know this) before taking Carmella into the corner. The pace slows considerably. We're reminded that Carmella is not in the MitB match due to her participation in tonight's match, per Michael Cole (needs verification). Carmella and Belair struggle briefly on the apron, with Belair looking for a form of a DDT but Carmella countering by yanking Belair into the ring post, shoulder-first. Carmella whips Belair down at the ringside, then rolls Belair into the ring and attempts a cover for a short two. Carmella exits the ring and rolls Belair out, slamming Belair into the floor. Carmella gracefully whips the champ into the barricade and taunts the crowd as we go to break!
Back from the break. It takes Carmella roughly a minute, upon returning, to set up Belair on the top rope and execute a top-rope Hurricanrana for a two-count. Carmella nods her head, confidently rising and pulling the champ to her feet. 14,496 fans are not on their feet as the digital crowd chants for the EST. Carmella with a buckle faceplant followed by a guillotine. The champ is stuck in the middle of the ring as Carm locks the guillotine in. Belair stoops, dropping to one knee as Carmella keeps the guillotine locked in. Belair gets her second wind and impressively powers up to her feet, raising Carmella up and converting the guillotine into a Fisherman's Suplex into a Vertical Suplex (delayed Brainbuster), covering for a close two of her own! Carmella flees the ring afterwards as Belair attempts to use her braid as a whip. Carmella ducks under and connects with a Superkick. Carmella rolls Belair into the ring, covering for two. Belair immediately regains her footing, hits Carmella with the braid, and goes for the KOD--connecting with the Kiss of Death to put away Carmella for good.
Your Winner and STILL SmackDown Women's Champion, Bianca Belair!
Backstage: the Alpha Academy & Cesaro
The Alpha Academy--Otis and Chad Gable, both decked in "For the Academy" red tanks, cut a pointless promo. Cesaro walks up moments later. Gable isn't pleased with the interruption and tells Cesaro that he's now the owner of Otis' full attention. Otis with a sucker punch to the gut that leaves Cesaro laid out as we go to break.
Coming Next Week: Toni Storm!
WWE announced during our broadcast that Toni Storm will make her debut next week.
Singles Match: Cesaro vs Otis w/ Chad Gable
When we return to the arena, the Alpha Academy are out. We get an awkward video that promotes Otis', uh, dominant....? career to date. Cesaro limps his way to the ring and we start with Otis taking charge immediately. Otis uses a pair of powerful slams to weaken the Swiss Cyborg. Cesaro fights back with one move, and is then hit with a German Suplex from behind by Chad Gable to cause the DQ less than ninety seconds later.
Your Winner by Disqualification, Cesaro!
After the Match: the Sultan of Swing?
Afterwards, Cesaro fights back. Cesaro hits the King of Swing, spinning Gable five times before Otis plows him with a shoulder tackle. Otis with a big classic press slam. Otis' nose is bleeding as we end this segment.
Backstage Interview: Kayla Braxton w/ Paul Heyman
Heyman attempts to cut a promo about Roman's expected dominance this Sunday, but is interrupted by a boisterous Big E. Nothing of importance
In the Ring: Baron Corbin
WWE's resident Sad Panda, Baron Corbin, makes his way out to the ring to boos. We'll be back after this break to find out what the Emo-One has for us tonight. When we return from a break, we get a quick video package that catches us up on Baron Corbin's rash of bad luck--losing his crown, losing his car to impounding (and subsequent purchase by King Nakamura), losing multiple matches to King Nakamura and Big E, personal investments wiping out his savings... When we return to the ring, Corbin is unshaven, wearing an unbuttoned white dress shirt with mustard on his shirt haha. He's growing his hair out as well as his beard. He explains to the crowd that the bank is threatening to foreclose on his house, and his daughter is sick--the poor girl is having to eat spaghetti out of a can instead of Wagyu beef. He had to fire his maids and, if his fortunes don't change, he'll have to move in with his wife's parents (been there, done that). Corbin, though, says there is hope and good news because all of us viewers at home can help him out of these dark times because he created a crowd-funding website called Corbin FundMe that shows several pictures of a moping Corbin, with a goal of $100,000 to be fund-raised by us. He encourages us to go to CorbinFund.com to donate because every little bit helps. He begs us to not tell us that everyone "here in Texas is as cheap as everyone else around the world!" The crowd boos. Corbin implores them, "no please, I'm asking you for help, please!" He kneels in the ring. "I am literally on my knees begging you, please please, please..." He's interrupted by Kevin Owens. Corbin remains knelt in the ring until Owens enters, then rises. "Kevin, Kevin. I wanna believe that you're out here for the right reasons. You're out here because you wanna help me." The crowd continues "What" chants. Corbin tells Owens that if KO and some other superstars help him, these "people" will fall in line. He tells Owens that they're very much alike, as they both have hearts and they both sympathize for people who are less fortunate and in need. "Kevin, I know you have money, I know you...just look at you and please please please don't take this the wrong way. We know you don't spend money on your wardrobe so could you please find it in your heart to--" Owens cuts him off with a Stunner!
Fatal Four-way Main Event Match: Big E vs Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins vs King Shinsuke Nakamura
After the Stunner, Big E makes his way out--and his new tron/on-screen CGI is set to look like a 70's-80's era Marvel Comic book. We head to break with this match up next! When we return, Owens and Big E are in the ring. Rick Boogz plays us in with a few licks as McAfee exclaims "this is what we have been waiting for, Michael Cole!" Boogz introduces himself and tells the crowd he came to rock with the one true king, Shinsuke Nakamura! He paces along the stage and strums his guitar then plays lead to Shinsuke's entrance. The One True King of the WWE comes out as the crowd goes wild, singing along with the lead rhythm to Nakamura's theme like it's 2017 NXT! Our King dances his drunken-artist form down to the ring as the crowd sings long-past the end of his theme. Out last is Seth Rollins with his heavier theme and "Embrace the Vision" across the back of his new tron. Seth is fired up as he walks down the ramp and through the set-up rows of ladders. All four competitors tonight are representing the SmackDown quartet in Sunday's Money in the Bank ladder match. We're reminded that Seth Rollins cashed in his MitB contract in 2015 at WrestleMania successfully, and he hopes to repeat this Sunday. The bell rings and Rollins waves at everyone, saying "bye-bye, I'll see you Sunday!" Rollins attempts to exit the ring. Big E with a suicide spear to Rollins outside the ring, followed by a cannonball from Owens onto Rollins on the outside, followed by a leaping strike from Nakamura! We head to break with Rollins in a world of trouble.
Back from the break. We're reminded that this match has nothing at state other than momentum for Sunday's MitB match. Big E and Nakamura double-team Owens, hitting a double-Superplex. Rollins attacks both then brawls with Nakamura, whipping him into the corner and pulling him back into a kitchen sink knee. Nakamura counters with a running knee to the midsection. Owens attempts to whip Nakamura but Nakamura stuns Owens with a step-up high kick. Nakamura with a back suplex before firing up in the corner, looking for a Kinshasa! Big E intercepts Nakamura, countering the Kinshasa into a Big Ending for a close two. Rollins makes the save. Rollins looks around as the crowd both cheers and boos him. Rollins gets a ladder at ringside as the crowd pops loudly and takes it into the ring. Rollins charges, using the ladder like a battering ram to send King Nakamura to the floor. Rollins moves outside, ripping the top off the announcer's table and clearing the clutter. Rollins pulls Nakamura up and punches him, laying him across the table. Rollins begins to climb a ladder next to the announcer's table.
Kevin Owens attacks Rollins, yanking him off the ladder and nearly giving us a full moon. Owens climbs up quickly, all the way to the absolutely top step, upon which he perches. Owens sizes it up and dives high, hitting a devastating diving elbow on Nakamura through the table! In the ring, Big E begins to recover juts in time to catch a Stomp from Rollins, who covers and picks up the easy win.
Your Winner, Seth Freakin' Rollins!
After the Match: Flood was Right
After Michael Cole excitedly reminds us that Rollins successfully cashed in his MitB back in 2015 (again), we get the Flood-predicted pose to end our show as Rollins perches upon the top of the ladder, holding the case in hand as Cole thanks us for viewing and reminds us to tune back in Sunday for i>Money in the Bank on the Peacock!
And that concludes it for tonight's episode! Wow, what a highly-energetic and enthusiastic return to live audiences! I'm not sure about you, folks, but this guy is eager for Money in the Bank and our first PPV event in front of a full, live crowd in ages! Have a great weekend, everyone. It's hot out there so try to stay cool, always stay frosty and try to stay safe out there, Rajahmaniacs. See you all Monday Night for Raw and Sunday for Money in the Bank right here!
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