Welcome one and all, and happy TGIF Day! Coming to you live from AEW's backyard in the VyStar Arena in Jacksonville, Florida is Friday Night SmackDown! Your host tonight is the original Rajahmaniac and your Friday Night Friar, Mike "Hulk" Hogan. 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?
Our official preview is up, and we've got a huge Universal Championship match between Universal Champion Roman Reigns and the demon-prince, Finn Bálor ahead of us. We'll also see the Usos taking on the Street Profits in a contendership match, and long-time foes Seth Rollins and Cesaro will lock horns once again.
All this and much more, next on SmackDown! Get your snacks, your drinks, and get ready for
AEW Rampage! Friday Night SmackDown!
So with all that said, let's get things started! For those of you who want just the results and not the novella, click here!
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Live Results (September 3, 2021): VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville, FL
Previously on SmackDown...
We open with a video package. As Paul Heyman speaks over clips of Roman defeating Cena at SummerSlam, we get smug pictures of our Tribal Chief before the entrance of Finn Bálor. The situation devolved from Bálor wanting is title shot, to an all-out brawl between the Usos and Reigns against Bálor, with the Street Profits making the save.
Welcome to SmackDown!
Pyro goes off in the VyStar Veterans Arena as Michael Cole welcomes us to SmackDown. We're reminded that this is the first time the Universal Championship has been defended on SmackDown in nearly three months. Corey Graves is once again with Michael Cole, and we're informed Pat McAfee will return next week.
Tag Team Championship Contender's Match: SmackDown Tag Team Champions the Usos vs the Street Profits
The Bloodline, as Cole calls them, come out first in our contendership match. If the Profits win, they're guaranteed a tag title shot in the future. The Usos pose on the turnbuckles to boos as Roman Reigns and Heyman watch from the back. The Usos get mics before the match and speak. The crowd drowns them out with boos at first. "The Bloodline is now in your city," says Jey to a mix of cheers and boos. Jimmy tells Jey that last week, all he could think about was the Street Profits and their motivations for interfering in the Uso family business. Jimmy suspects they're trying to make a name for themselves, or prove themselves, but Jey says that what they did was disrespect the Head of the Table and the Bloodline. The Usos state if you want to prove yourself, you prove yourself to the seven-time tag team champions the Usos. Mics are dropped and out come the Profits to a big digital cheer and a great pop from the in-house crowd. The crowd is definitely behind the Profits, both of whom have mics as red solo cups rain down on them.
"Dawkins, we feel like fools! We embarrassed the Usos, the seven-time tag team champions in front of the Head of the Table last week," quips Ford. Dawkins asks the Usos what they're doing in the ring without their permission slips because he knows Roman didn't give them permission. The Profits then promise to embarrass the Usos again and we finally get our match under way. Jimmy starts with Angelo Dawkins. Jimmy whips Dawkins and drops him with a shoulder block. Jimmy then turns to the crowd and celebrates for a few long moments. When he turns, he does so right into a dropkick from Dawkins. Ford drops Jimmy with a dropkick that sends him outside. Jimmy and Jey confer; Ford looks for a springboard cross body to the outside but is caught by the Usos, who slam him down. We go to break.
Back from the break. Jey and Montez are in the middle of the ring as Jey applies a neck hold to Ford. Ford and Dawkins reach for each other but are too far for the tag. Ford hits a desperate step-up Enziguri that lays out Jey. Jey makes the tag to Jimmy, who crosses the ring and attacks Dawkins on the apron, preventing a tag. Ford manages to tag in Dawkins after a few more moments. Dawkins hits the ring fast, dropping Use before running against the ropes. Dawkins looks for a cross body but Jimmy converts it into a Samoan Drop. The Usos use tags to double-team Dawkins, setting him up on the top rope. Dawkins fights out of it and back to the middle of the ring. Uso with a step-up Enziguri of his own, but the strike knocks Dawkins back into Ford--who makes the tag! Ford quickly hits his skyscraper Frog Splash for a close two. The Usos then pummel Ford, throwing him into the ring post repeatedly as the ref warns. The ref calls for the DQ after counting and warning. Dawkins follows the Usos outside the ring and brawls with them in front of the announcer's table. They send Dawkins head-first into the steel steps, but Ford hits a tope suicida that wipes out both Usos! In the back, Roman Reigns--watching from his suite--is not amused and orders Heyman to find the Usos.
Your Winners and NEW Number One Contenders, the Street Profits!
Backstage Interview: Kayla Braxton with Paul Heyman
Heyman is walking backstage and texting when Braxton startles him. They quip back and forth when suddenly, Heyman begins to receive calls--all of which have Brock Lesnar's theme, indicating it is, in fact, Lesnar calling. Braxton teases Heyman about getting the call as he ignores it as long as he can. Finally he answers and based on his responses, we can tell Heyman is stuck between a Brock and a Tribal Chief. As he starts to walk off, Big E--disguised as a janitor--pulls out his Money in the Bank briefcase and cackles maniacally at Heyman.
In the Ring Promo: SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch
Lynch, looking more fit than she ever has, makes her way down to the ring. We get clips from the number one contenders match last week that saw Bianca Belair pick up the win and earn her title shot. Back in the ring, Lynch soaks it up and gets ready to speak--after these words from our sponsors. When we return, the crowd starts a loud "Becky" chant. She's now in Roman/Cena Face Territory--70% cheers with 30%, but audible, boos. Lynch speaks. "Last week, I walked down to this very ring and...(what,) no 'you deserve it' chants?" She stops until they start a mild one. Heel Lynch incoming. Lynch goes on to tell us that last week, she didn't get to talk about Bianca Belair. "Bianca is one hell of an athlete, probably the most athletic woman we have ever had in the WWE. And she is the only woman, other than myself of course, to win the main event of WrestleMania. So you can imagine how excited I was to go toe-to-toe with Bianca Belair at SummerSlam! But somehow, somehow in all this, I'm being portrayed as the bad guy. So let me explain something to you, EST'er." Lynch tells us that when Banks couldn't go, they called the biggest name they could--Lynch. Lynch goes on to tell Belair that she doesn't get to cry because she wasn't ready but Becky was. Becky's been preparing for her return since she left. Becky tells us that just because she's not played this game in a minute, she's didn't forget how to win. She insults Belair's agility, and states it took "one flick of my wrist to end your title reign." Out comes Bianca Belair!
Belair makes her way down to nothing but cheers and enters the ring, all smiles and wearing a cute outfit. Belair gets a mic and takes in an "EST" chant and soaks it up. Belair tells Lynch that the championship was more than a title to her, it was 132 days of her life and her name is etched in the history books. She wants to talk about her loss. She tells Lynch she's acquired so much but lost it all in 26 seconds. Belair isn't afraid to admit she's embarrassed and it hurts, but it's her truth and she stands in that. What Belair won't do is build herself up by bringing another woman down "and I will never make excuses for myself." Pop from the crowd. Belair tells Lynch that Becky acts like she knows Bianca, but she doesn't and Belair wants to explain why she's the EST of WWE. "While you were away I showed you I was the fastEST rising superstar...I am the toughEST and when I take back that title...I will be known as the greatEST." She points out that Lynch wouldn't give Belair her rematch, so Belair did what she had to do to earn her shot. She tells "Big Time Becks" that, since Roman's defending his title, why doesn't Lynch do the same? The crowd with a loud "yes" chant as Becky seems to consider it, smiling at the crowd and mulling it over. She speaks after a louder "EST" chant. "Well I don't give a damn what Roman Reigns does. No." She drops the mic and leaves to massive boos.
Backstage: the Dirty Dawgs and Toni Storm
The Dawgs are pacing backstage, through catering when they come across Toni Storm, who's...perhaps a new lighter-themed version of herself. They exchange brief words with Dolph ultimately praising Storm's ability, somewhat, and offering his assistance if she wants. Odd segment, odd look for Storm.
Singles Match: Dolph Ziggler w/ Robert Roode vs Rick Boogs w/ Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura
Our One True King graces us with his presence as his friend, Rick Boogs, takes on Dolph Ziggler. Corey Graves is a fan of Boogs because he has a Megadeth tattoo. Graves is almost my level of Megadeth fandom...almost. The match starts with Boogs taking an early lead. Dolph gets about twenty seconds of offense in before Boogs finishes him off in a match that lasted less than two minutes.
Your Winner, Rick Boogs!
Backstage: SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch & WWE Officials Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville
Becky is approached by the officials last week. They inform Lynch that she'll be defending her title against Belair at Extreme Rules, and next week--in Madison Square Gardens--they'll have a contract signing. Please, I beg you--please contain your excitement at this.
Singles Match: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
The Swiss Cyborg, Cesaro, comes out first to a decent pop. We go to break. Afterwards, we have a small interview backstage with Seth and Kayla. Kayla asks Seth why he requested the match with Cesaro. Rollins exclaims it's an opportunity for a new beginning. He tells us he's watched their matches, and he's going to take what he learned from his match at SummerSlam to modify his offense and show us why he is Seth freakin' Rollins. Out comes Seth in a gorgeous black and white coat. Dude seriously needs to tell me where he gets his suits. Our competitors get ready and the ref calls for the bell. Seth looks for a cross body early on but Cesaro catches Rollins and converts it into a back breaker. Rollins flees outside the ring and Cesaro follows, connecting with a big European Uppercut! Cesaro takes Rollins around the ring, slamming his face into the barricade a few times before taking it into the ring as the ref counts to 7. Rollins with a quick take down but Cesaro takes control back with a beautiful dropkick. Cesaro picks the legs and looks for the Cesaro Swing (fka King of Swing). Rollins desperately squirms over to grab the ropes and break the hold. Rollins uses the ref's break to start up his offense. Rollins plants Cesaro on his face with an Impaler DDT and covers for a quick two before we go to break, again.
Back from the break. Cesaro with a European Uppercut to Rollins in the corner. Cesaro climbs the middle ropes, looking for something, but Rollins counters by carrying Cesaro across the ring to hit a Buckle Bomb! Rollins pulls Cesaro to his feet and looks for a neckbreaker. Cesaro counters with a backslide. Rollins, out of nowhere, hits the Edge-o-matic on Cesaro, covering for two! Rollins posts up in the corner and looks for the stomp but Cesaro reverses it into a huge Powerbomb! Commentary points out Rollins is borrowing from Edge's playbook now. Cesaro starts his comeback sequence, fighting Rollins across the ring with alternating uppercuts and jabs. Cesaro battles Seth into the corner then lays him out and covers for two. Cesaro stands, playing to the crowd as they start to cheer loudly. Cesaro calls for the Cesaro Swing and picks Rollin's legs, but Rollins rolls Cesaro up for a close two. Rollins looks for a Sling Blade but Cesaro counters, picks the legs and begins the Cesaro Swing! Cesaro swings Rollins twenty times then applies the Sharpshooter! Rollins screams in pain but makes it to the nearby ropes, forcing the break. Rollins ducks out of the ring to avoid Cesaro. Cesaro shrugs, leaves the ring and once again runs along the ringside. Cesaro goes for the European Uppercut again but Rollins gets a steel chair up and Cesaro uppercuts it! The ref calls for the bell.
Your Winner by Disqualification, Cesaro!
After the Match: Rollins, Rollins, Rollins
Seth continues his assault on Cesaro in front of the Jacksonville crowd--home of 90's nu-metal band Limp Bizkit--and smacks Cesaro's arm with the chair. Rollins takes Cesaro into the ring and grabs the metal support bar from the chair. Rollins uses it to put a bar-assisted crossface on Cesaro, akin to Edge, as refs plead him off. Rollins backs off...then hits the Stomp on Cesaro. Rollins exits the ring and looks under it, finding another steel chair. Rollins enters the ring as three refs outside the ring plead with him to stop. Rollins places Cesaro's head on the chair, laying beneath him. Rollins grabs another chair and threatens a Con-Chair-to until Edge hits the ring to make the save to a big pop! Edge, chair in hand, guards Cesaro while Rollins taunts Edge from the outside, telling him to come on. The crowd with a huge chant for Edge. Rollins cowardly leaves through the crowd and Edge checks on Cesaro. Another huge pop for Edge as his theme plays us out.
Backstage: the Bloodline with Paul Heyman
Roman Reigns and the Usos are relaxing backstage. The Usos excuse themselves and Heyman tells Roman that they've got a Brock problem. Roman tells him that now, Heyman has a Brock problem. Heyman then points out that Lesnar will be at Madison Square Gardens next week to confront Roman. Heyman slips up and mentions something about Brock's location--and Roman catches the gaff. Roman questions him about it but Paul swears he doesn't know Brock's location. Roman asks Heyman if Lesnar's there tonight, and Heyman has no knowledge of this.
Backstage Interview: Kayla Braxton with Edge
Edge is questioned about tonight. Edge tells Kayla that Seth is playing a dangerous game and it has to be stopped before others like Cesaro get hurt. Edge challenges Seth to "Edge/Rollins II" at Madison Square Garden, and promises to burn it down--and it won't end well for Seth.
The KO Show, featuring Happy Corbin
We return to the ring. KO comes out to a decent pop as Happy Corbin parks his new car in the garage. After a break, the ring announcer announces the KO Show, to which Owens responds "of course it's the KO show". Owens asks for Baron--no, Happy Corbin--to come out. Corbin comes out in a suit and hat, clapping and happy as Graves tells us Corbin may be the happiest man in the state of Florida, if not the world. Corbin thanks Owens, stating that if it weren't for KO he wouldn't be sitting here with a $40,000 Rolex, and would be eating spaghetti out of a can instead of "juicy 85% Wagyu beef." Owens starts to speak and Corbin tells Owens "I know why you're mad, you want that $100 back." He states he left his wallet in the car but he (Corbin) has a special guest who might have the hundred bucks. He tells us this person went the distance with Floyd Mayweather, Logan Paul.
Out comes Paul to a pretty loud boo from the crowd with a few supporters in the crowd. Three or four, that is. The digital audience loves Paul, the in-house crowd does not. Paul gets on the mic. "Let's go, WWE Universe!" Massive boos. "It's so good to see you, too!" More massive boos. Paul thanks Owens for inviting him to his show; Owens tells Logan that he didn't invite him and wouldn't "subject these poor people" to Logan. Owens states that it's weird because, "correct me if I'm wrong, after you lost to Big E at SummerSlam, didn't he call you--" Corbin interrupts him, and states that it's all good now. Logan points out that this past weekend, his brother beat Tyron Woodley--to massive boos--and celebrates it with Corbin. Owens tells them it makes sense that they'd be buddies because "here we have one of the most self centered, egotistical...useless pieces of trash to ever step in a WWE ring--Logan Paul! And Baron Corbin is here, too!" Paul asks Kevin, "are you sure you wanna talk like that to someone who's going to give you $100? Because by the way you look, you could use this a lot more than I could!" Owens smiles as the crowd boos. Owens tells Logan that the only thing he needs from Paul is to leave Owens ring and never show his face in the WWE ever again. Pal shoves Owens; Owens shoves Paul. Paul turns his hat backwards, ready to fight. Owens prepares to engage Paul when Corbin intercepts him with a lariat. Corbin with a Chokeslam to lay out Owens to loud boos. Paul tells Owens "I'm not that guy." They leave to more boos.
Backstage: Carmella and Liv Morgan
We return from break and find Carmella before a fan, posing as she's announced as the "most beautiful woman in the WWE." Liv Morgan, back and to the side, simply quips "seriously?"
Singles Match: Sami Zayn vs Dominik Mysterio
Sami Zayn comes out first, followed by Dominik. Rey escorts Dom to the stage, gives him five and heads to the back. We're told Rey's set up a series of matches to help Dom get one-on-one experience. The bell rings and Zayn locks up with Dom, taking him into the corner. Zayn with a swing and miss. Dom catches a kick and converts it into an arm bar. Zayn counters, twisting the arm for an arm bar of his own, but speedy Dom counters it again! Zayn kicks the leg out and uses the hand hold to attempt to pin Dom. Dom and Zayn rise, still locked up, and Dom uses the ropes for an assisted armbar takedown. Zayn fires back with fists and whips Dom into the ropes. Dom counters a back body drop with a 6-1-9 attempt, but Zayn ducks out of the ring. Rey Mysterio comes out, preventing Zayn from backing up the ramp. Zayn enters the ring and Rey accidentally distracts Dom, allowing Zayn to pick up the win and fueling more fire on a feud literally no one wants to see.
Universal Championship Main Event Match: Universal Champion Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs Finn Bálor
Finn is briefly interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton, who asks if he has any final thoughts before this match. Finn states that for five years, people have been asking what would have happened in 2016 when he won the Universal Title--defeating Seth Rollins to become our first ever Universal Champion--but injured his shoulder during the match and had to relinquish his title the next night. Finn tells us we're going to find out now, and makes his entrance to a decent pop from the crowd who love the high-spots of his entrance, throwing their arms in the air in timing with Finn. The Usos suddenly appear and attack Finn during his entrance! The Usos send Bálor flying off the turnbuckle to the outside. The Usos both grab the steel stairs and use them as a battering ram on Bálor. The Usos set Bálor up in the ring for their Uso Splash when the Street Profits hit the ring and chase the Usos through the crowd and to the back. The Ref checks on Bálor as Roman begins his entrance. We're reminded that Monday marked one year of dominance by our Tribal Chief.
After a break, we get our official announcements. Bálor gets a pretty healthy amount of boos amongst the cheers. Reigns gets loud boos while hoisting his title up. The ref presents the title and calls for the bell. Bálor cautiously approaches Roman, his ribs appearing to be injured. Reigns takes Bálor into the corner then uses a two-hand toss to send Bálor flying completely across the ring. Reigns stalks Bálor as he rises and lays into him with a series of rights. Reigns takes Bálor back into the corner and slams his face into a turnbuckle. Reigns takes him to a second corner, repeating it. The front-rows of crowd pop loud for Roman when he looks at them. Reigns with a count of punches in the corner. Bálor starts a comeback, using quick kicks to Roman's left calf in an effort to take out the big man's leg. Reigns with a headbutt to shut down Bálor briefly. Roman whips Bálor into the ropes and Bálor counters with a Sling Blade! Bálor looks for the Shotgun Dropkick but Roman counters it with a punch. Roman with a clubbing forearm to Bálor's face and a pin attempt as we go to break.
Back from the break. Cole informs us that it's been all Reigns all-break. When we return, Bálor starts to fight back. Bálor with a flip over the champ. The champ looks to counter but Bálor hits an overhead kick to drop the champ. Bálor with a series of rights to Reigns face, but one rising left knee from Reigns drops Bálor to his knees. Bálor counters a Powerbomb attempt into a slam and a double-foot stomp to the chest! Bálor's starting to hulk-up, laying into Reigns in the corner with a chop and multiple shoulder thrusts. Reigns swings and misses; Bálor with a side kick. Reigns sends Bálor outside hard, buying himself some time. The ref begins to count as Bálor rises slowly outside. Reigns tries to follow up, heading outside, but Bálor yanks reigns off the apron and traps him in between the ring and apron! Bálor with multiple stomps on Reigns as the ref warns him. Bálor with a beautiful tope con giro to the champ outside! Bálor sends Reigns into the ring and runs up the turnbuckles. Bálor goes for the Coup de Grace but Roman moves. Roman retaliates with a Superman Punch but Bálor kicks out! Roman, in disbelief, shakes his head and is rises as the crowd chants for Bálor. Roman grabs the ropes and yells at the crowd, who then boo him. He talks smack to the crowd, points at Bálor, and does his "ooo-ahhh" bit.
Roman looks for a spear but Bálor reverses into an inside cradle for a close two! Bálor sets up Reigns for a dropping cutter. Bálor posts up in the corner and calls for it--then connects with the Shotgun Dropkick! Bálor climbs up top as the crowd goes wild. Bálor with the Coup de Grace for a 2.99! Roman BARELY kicked out! The crowd and Bálor are in disbelief! We get a replay and notice that Roman hit a low blow during his kick-out, as his arm was between Bálor's legs. Cole and Graves speculate if it was accidental. Reigns mounts Bálor and batters him with fists. Reigns pulls Bálor up into a Guillotine; Bálor struggles to get to the ropes as he begins to fade. Reigns keeps it locked in. The ref checks Bálor--but doesn't lift the arm and drop it three times, as they used to do--and calls for the bell.
Your Winner by Submission and STILL Universal Champion, Roman Reigns!
After the Match
Roman and Heyman leave and Cole sends us off to our weekend.
And there you go, another blue light special. Stick around for Matt's excellent AEW Rampage coverage, which is up at this very moment! Have a great weekend, stay cool, stay frosty and stay safe out there, Rajahmaniacs. See you all Monday Night for Raw. Have a happy Labor Day weekend!
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May you rest in peace, D, you are missed and loved by many.