The John Report: WWE Smackdown 05/14/21 Review


Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. It’s the last Smackdown before Sunday’s WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network for everybody else.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1134. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s get to it.
The show began with a shot of the WWE ThunderDome as Michael Cole mentioned the sponsor Progressive. The announcers are Michael Cole and Pat McAfee as usual.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Usos
Jey Uso was in the ring wearing a “Right Hand Man” shirt as he said that he was “Main Event” Jey Uso. Jey said that his brother Jimmy disrespected the Head of the Table, their cousin Roman Reigns and now they have to handle some family business. Jey introduced the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief, the man that will take care of Cesaro at WrestleMania, Jey’s cousin Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. I’m still getting used to the new theme song. Reigns had on his “Head of the Table” shirt while the Special Counsel Paul Heyman was with him as usual. Cole and McAfee were shown at ringside for the show.
They showed highlights from last week’s Smackdown with a returning Jimmy Uso defiant against Roman Reigns. Also, Cesaro beat Seth Rollins to earn a Universal Title match against Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash. Cesaro took out Reigns and both Usos to end Smackdown. This video package took about four minutes. It was longer than it needed to be, but it did cover last week’s story well. Reigns vs. Cesaro is at WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday night.

Reigns went up to Jey saying they had some problems with one of them being Jey's brother Jimmy. Reigns said he likes Cesaro, he respects him as a top-tier talent and he’s one of the best wrestlers in the whole world. Roman added that he is more than just a wrestler with Heyman shouting Roman’s nicknames and his run as champion. Reigns wondered if you really think WWE wants Cesaro in his place? Reigns said that WWE, Smackdown and Fox don’t want that. Reigns asked how many Universal Championship matches has Cesaro had, Heyman said zero and when Reigns asked about himself, Heyman said that Reigns has had 39 Universal Title matches. Reigns wanted to talk about Jimmy Uso…and here comes Jimmy.
Jimmy Uso was wearing a shirt saying “Nobody’s Bitch” on it as Jimmy entered the ring. Jimmy said that all he can hear is the Tribal Chief runs his mouth while his brother stands by Reigns acting like Roman’s bitch. Jimmy asked if Jey liked his shirt and said he’s got a shirt for Jey in the locker room. Jimmy said he’s not sure if Reigns will make it past Cesaro this Sunday. Jey told Jimmy that’s their cousin, that’s the Head of the Table and Jimmy said he’s all about family.
Reigns said if Jimmy is all about family then he’s all about Roman because of everything Roman has done for the family. Jimmy said that Roman is part of the family, but he is not all of the family. Reigns asked Jimmy if he really thinks Reigns can beat Cesaro? Jimmy said “no” to the idea of Reigns beating Cesaro. Reigns asked if Jimmy can beat Cesaro and if he can fill Roman’s shoes. Jimmy said that together, he and Jey can be in charge. Jimmy said if The Usos win the Tag Team Titles and Roman loses his title, then they are the Heads of the Table. Reigns said that is not how it works. Reigns went over his credentials saying he was a five-time WrestleMania main eventer, the face of the company and that’s a responsibility that Jimmy could never handle. Reigns said Jimmy really thinks he can be the man around here. Reigns wanted Jimmy to do it. Reigns wanted Jimmy to show them that he (Jimmy) can beat Cesaro. Jimmy called out Cesaro.
Jimmy said that he has been off for a year, so he’s issuing a challenge to Cesaro. Jimmy asked Reigns if that was good. Roman said nothing to him.
Cesaro made his entrance in a suit as Cesaro stood on the stage. Cesaro said that the challenge was accepted. Cesaro said that he will beat Cousin Jimmy tonight and then Sunday he’ll beat Reigns for the Universal Championship. Reigns and Cesaro had a long distance staredown to end it. This opening segment went about 17 minutes.
Analysis: I thought it was good promo work by everybody to set up a main event match for later in the night. The only thing is that it dragged on too long since it went nearly two hours. Reigns did a nice job of bragging about his accomplishments and pointing out that he has more experience in title matches, so that gives him an advantage over Cesaro in his mind. I like how Jimmy is standing up to Reigns, which will likely lead to a situation where it looks like Jimmy is going to cost Reigns the title and instead we’ll see Jimmy help Reigns. At least that’s where I think it’s going. I think the Usos have improved so much as talkers in the last couple of years, especially when they turned heel. I like their style a lot.

They showed a replay of last week with Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler beating up Natalya & Tamina last week on Smackdown. Their Women’s Tag Team Title match is next. McAfee called it the Smackdown Women’s Tag Team Championships, which is wrong because it’s just WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles meaning they can be on Raw too.
(Commercial)
The Women’s Tag Team Championship duo of Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler entered with Reginald. They have had two title reigns that have lasted a long time. Natalya & Tamina entered as the challengers. Before the break, Cole noted that Tamina has never held a title in WWE. The 24/7 comedy title doesn’t count. They showed a tweet from Natalya’s Hall of Fame uncle Bret Hart supporting Natalya & Tamina in this match.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (w/Reginald) vs. Natalya & Tamina
Tamina was distracted by Reginald, so Tamina looked at him and Jax hit Tamina from behind. Tamina with punches on Baszler, then a headbutt and Natalya hit a running dropkick. Tamina back in with a clothesline. Natalya sent Baszler towards Tamina, who hit a Samoan Drop on Baszler. Reginald was on the apron trying to interfere, but the referee saw him and the referee sent Reginald to the back. Jax gave Tamina a Samoan Drop into the barricade like Jax did last week. Baszler hit Natalya with a knee and a kick for a two count. They went to break there with the champions in full control.
(Commercial)

The match continued with the champs remaining on offense with Jax hitting a body slam and leg drop on Natalya. Tamina was still down by the barricade. Jax hit a running hip attack on Natalya against the turnbuckle. Baszler stomped on Natalya’s left elbow. Jax was back in, she held Natalya and Baszler hit a running knee. Tamina was back in and she bodyslammed Baszler onto Jax, who was trying to pin Natalya. Tamina got the hot tag against Baszler with a running cross body block and a forearm to the head. Tamina went for a kick, Baszler twisted the foot of Tamina and Tamina kicked Baszler down for a two count. Tamina went to the turnbuckle, Baszler kicked Tamina and then Jax tagged in. Jax went for a superplex, Tamina fought Jax off with two headbutts and Natalya tripped up Baszler on the apron. Natalya hit Baszler with a German Suplex on the floor. Jax with a Samoan Drop on Natalya and while Jax was laying there, Tamina jumped off the top with a Superfly Splash on Jax for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions:  Natalya & Tamina
Analysis: **1/2 It was decent. I didn’t have high expectations that it was going to be some great match because of some of the participants, but I liked the story they told. The finish was a spot that I don’t really like since Jax delivered an offensive move and then had to lay there for a few seconds waiting for Tamina. I’d rather not see spots like that, but it’s okay to do a match finish like that once in a while. It was the right time to do a title change since Jax & Baszler have been champions for a long time over the last year while Natalya & Tamina were built up well since WrestleMania when the fans got behind them.

Natalya and Tamina were emotional in the ring with Kayla Braxton there to interview them. Natalya said that it is never too late to fight for your dreams. Tamina said she was proud of Natalya and thanked her for believing in her. Tamina said this is why they do this and they thanked their families. Both of them were emotional as they honored their late Hall of Fame fathers, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Snuka. Natalya and Tamina celebrated some more as some pyro went off in the building.
Analysis: That was cool. I realize Tamina isn’t the most popular wrestler with wrestling fans, but she is so well-liked and respected by her peers that respect her as a veteran wrestler and a working mom. They should have done this at WrestleMania in front of the crowd where it would have meant even more, but they did a nice job of making it feel like a big deal.

Apollo Crews, the Intercontinental Champion, and Commander Azeez were shown walking down a hallway for a segment up next.
(Commercial)
The main event is Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso in Jimmy’s first match in over a year.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton outside of the dressing room of Roman Reigns. Heyman said that he didn’t know if Jimmy Uso can beat Cesaro, but Heyman said he knows that Roman Reigns can and will defeat Cesaro.
Let’s Hear from Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews was in the ring with some medal. Crews was wearing the Intercontinental Title. Commander Azeez was standing on some box in the ring, so he was way up there since he’s a tall guy. Crews talked about how he has brought honor to his home of Nigeria. Crews said there is no end in sight to his reign of prosperity while adding that he may be Intercontinental Champion for life. Crews presented Azeez with the Nigerian Medal of Honor. Crews put the medal around the neck of Azeez with McAfee getting excited about it saying this is history.
Big E appeared on the video screen. Big E said that this was the biggest sham of a ceremony since Macklemore won Best Rap Album of the Year. Big E said that this isn’t over because Apollo has to feel the power.
Sami Zayn said that if there’s one thing he respects it’s a good award ceremony. Crews complained about Zayn interrupting him. Zayn said that Crews is holding Sami’s Intercontinental Title and said that he wanted a chance to reclaim the title to become the champion of the people again.

Kevin Owens ran out there to go after Zayn and then Owens went into the ring, but Zayn left. Crews and Azeez beat up Owens with punches until Big E showed up to join the fight. Big E avoided the Nigerian Nail and sent Azeez to the floor. Owens with a superkick to Big E (he was going for Crews) and Owens hit a superkick on Crews. Zayn went after Owens, but Owens hit a Stunner on Zayn. Big E hit the Big Ending on Owens. Big E went after Crews, but Azeez saved Crews from a further attack. Big E and Crews trash-talked eachother from a distance.
Analysis: This has turned into a four-way feud for the IC Title over the last few weeks, so I wasn’t surprised that the ceremony was interrupted and that there was a brawl. It was booked well with the faces Big E and Owens getting in some big moves while the heels retreated because that’s what heels do.
There was a Pizza Hut Highlight of the Night showing when Dominik Mysterio beat Dolph Ziggler in a singles match last week on Smackdown.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio entered for Rey’s match with Ziggler. This Sunday at WrestleMania Backlash, Rey/Dominik challenge Ziggler and Robert Roode for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. That’s going to be good.
A commercial aired for the A&E Biography on Shawn Michaels this Sunday night. It’s against WrestleMania Backlash. I will record this and likely review it as well.
(Commercial)

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance with Robert Roode with both men wearing the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
Rey Mysterio (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode)
Ziggler grounded Rey with a headlock leading to a shoulder tackle. Ziggler hit another running shoulder tackle to knock Rey down. Ziggler told Rey he didn’t have what it takes anymore. Rey ran the ropes, he used his momentum to send Ziggler out of the ring and Rey hit a kick to Ziggler on the floor. Rey did a running slide under the bottom rope leading to a splash on Ziggler on the floor. Good spot going into a break.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Rey going for a springboard cross body block, Ziggler moved and Rey hit the mat. That led to some eye-gouging from Ziggler and Ziggler hit a reverse body slam for a two count. Ziggler grounded Mysterio with a chinlock, Rey got back up to run the ropes and Ziggler hit a back elbow to knock Rey down again. Ziggler put his knee into Rey’s spine while pulling back on the head/leg leading to Rey grabbing the bottom rope to break it. Ziggler whipped Rey into the turnbuckle, Rey with a boot to the face and Rey hit an impressive spinning DDT to put both guys down. Rey charged, Ziggler sent him to the apron, Rey went up top and Ziggler with a punch. Ziggler went up top, Rey held onto the top turnbuckle, Rey with a headbutt to knock Ziggler down and Rey hit a senton off the top. Rey with a kick to the head for two. Rey with a kick into the ropes, Ziggler avoided a 619 attempt and Ziggler hit the Fameasser for two. Rey with a kick to the knee, Ziggler bounced into the ropes and Rey charged, but Ziggler hit a superkick with Rey near the ropes, so Rey put his hand on the bottom rope to kick out. Ziggler with a body slam. Ziggler went for another body slam, so Rey countered it into an inside cradle pin for the win. This went 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match by two veterans. Ziggler was on offense for most of it, so that gave it away that Rey was going to find a way to win. Rey is so good at selling, taking a beating and then doing one move to get the win. The nearfalls were a way to show that Ziggler was close to winning multiple times, but he couldn’t get it done. I figured Roode would cheat more to help Ziggler. They didn’t go that route, though. It was a clean match. That loss by Ziggler means he lost to both Mysterios in back to back weeks. I’m not sure about a title change at Backlash.
Post match, Robert Roode tried to attack Rey, but Dominik saved his dad and sent Roode out of the ring.

Analysis: I want Rey & Dominik to win the titles, but I say it should be saved until the fans are back. With Ziggler losing in back to back weeks, I feel like the champs are going to retain. Make it a bigger moment. Save it for SummerSlam when fans are back.
Cesaro was interviewed backstage by Megan Morant. Cesaro talked about how it means the world to him to compete for the Universal Championship. Cesaro said that growing up as a kid in Switzerland, people thought he was crazy about being a wrestler and being in WWE, but he’s always had a voice inside of him saying “I think I can.” Cesaro said he tried to earn everything has. Cesaro mentioned Jimmy Uso briefly saying he has to figure out what kind of man he wants to be. Cesaro said that at WrestleMania Backlash, he doesn’t just think he can, but he knows he can beat Roman Reigns to become the Universal Champion. Cesaro left.
Analysis: Good delivery by Cesaro. I think reciting the line “I think I can” is a bit lame, but that’s WWE promo style. Most of what he said made him feel like a babyface that exudes confidence.
Bianca Belair made her entrance in street clothes and the Smackdown Women’s Title around her waist.
(Commercial)

Rey and Dominik Mysterio were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Rey said that he was ready to make some history alongside his son Dominik. Ziggler trash-talked Dominik saying he’s just a kid. Roode said that Rey got lucky and they will take out Rey for good. Roode called Dominik “Baby Dom” and said he shouldn’t crawl out of his crib on Sunday. Dominik said that they can call him any name they want, but on Sunday they can call him “Baby Champ.” The Mysterios left with the champions holding up their title.
Analysis: That was some lame trash talk by Dominik. I like him, but the dialogue could have been better.
Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair was interviewed in the ring by Michael Cole. Bianca did her usual line about how she’s the B-E-S-T. Belair wondered where is Bayley? That led to a Progressive Match Flo replay of last week on Smackdown when Bayley beat up Belair in the ring.
Bayley appeared on the video screen. Bayley claimed she was "via satellite." Belair wanted Bayley to come out there. Bayley said that she is far away from Belair. Bayley claimed that Belair viciously attacked her last week and Bayley said that the next time they’re in the same ring will be this Sunday when Bayley takes back her title. Belair did her “EST” routine about how she’s going to beat Bayley, who laughed in reply to her. Belair said that she is going to have to hurt Bayley’s feelings. Belair claimed that Bayley was mad because Bayley was thrown down the ramp by the Bellas at WrestleMania while Bianca was in the main event winning the Smackdown Women’s Title. Bayley said that when she sees Bianca, it reminds her of her own past and this fairytale run won’t end well. Bayley said that this Sunday, she’ll make sure this ends for good. Bayley’s music played, Bianca held up her title and that was it.
Analysis: They need to give Bianca more substance to say in these promos. Going to the EST routine in every promo is okay, but she needs to say more. I did like Bianca’s line about how Bayley was jealous because of what happened at WrestleMania and I agree with that from Bianca’s point of view. Bayley did a nice job here as always. I think Bianca keeps her title at WrestleMania Backlash, and I’d be shocked if she lost it.

King Corbin was shown putting his crown on in his locker room. Last week he pinned Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag team match, so they have a singles match last week.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance. The announcers put over Corbin’s win over Nakamura last week. Nakamura did a pre-tape promo where he said that he is the King of Strong Style so now he faces King Corbin.
Analysis: I felt like last week’s tag team match where Corbin pinned Nakamura was random, but they did follow it up this week with this singles match.
(Commercial)

King Corbin made his entrance. They showed pre-tape comments from King Corbin just doing the usual heel trash talk. Cole brought up how Corbin was a guest on the Pat McAfee show this week with McAfee putting Corbin over since Pat supports the heels.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. King Corbin
Corbin tried a suplex, Nakamura got out of it and hit a spin kick to the head. Nakamura charged, Corbin moved and Nakamura hit the ropes. Nakamura to the turnbuckle, Corbin with a punch and Corbin choked Nakamura against the ropes. Corbin with a knee to the ribs. Corbin with a takedown leading to elbows to the head. Nakamura was sent into the ropes with Shinsuke hitting a running kick to the chest. Nakamura with an enziguri kick to the head. Corbin did his run out of the ring and go back in spot, but Nakamura was ready with an armbar. Corbin lifted him up a bit then back down to the mat and Corbin managed to pin Nakamura with that. Really? Yes, that’s the finish. It went three minutes.
Winner: King Corbin
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match with a surprising finish. I don’t really like those kinds of finishes where one person is applying a submission hold and the other person turns it into a pin. It makes Nakamura look dumb instead of a 20-year wrestling veteran. Corbin picks up the win, but the action continued after the match.

Post match, Corbin tossed Nakamura out of the ring. Corbin put the crown on. Nakamura went back in with a kick and then Nakamura hit a Kinshasa knee strike. Nakamura put on Corbin’s crown to end it to show Nakamura wanted a crown of his own as the King of Strong Style. McAfee: “You cannot take somebody’s crown! He just stole the man’s crown!” It was a bit over the top.
Analysis: The announcers were pushing the King of the Ring vs. The King of Strong Style all match long, so Nakamura ending it by putting the crown on continues that story. Maybe they will have a match where the “King” title is on the line. They could always do a King of the Ring tournament again too.
Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez showed up at the WWE Official office where they talked to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Crews complained about the idiots interrupting him earlier. Deville told Apollo to be careful because Pearce might make him face all of those guys at once like he did to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Pearce said that’s a great idea so he booked Crews vs. Kevin Owens vs. Big E vs. Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Title next week on Smackdown. Crews asked Pearce: “Man, are you out of your mind?” Crews was angry and left. Pearce told Deville not to undermine him in front of WWE superstars. Deville left.
Analysis: I thought that match might happen at WrestleMania Backlash since they only have six matches, but doing it on Smackdown next week is fine with me. Meanwhile, the disagreements between Pearce and Deville continue.
Jimmy Uso was shown walking towards the ring for his match.

(Commercial)
Shinsuke Nakamura was shown in front of a mirror while looking at himself with the crown on.
There was a video package featuring Aleister Black with the “Tales of the Dark Father” book. Black talked about how his father taught him about life. Black said that he is a cruel man. Black said he saw greatness, he chose it and you chose mediocrity. Black said he could help us, but he won't because you’re not a participant, you’re a spectator.
Analysis: Another heelish promo by Black.
Jimmy Uso was interviewed behind the curtain by Kayla Braxton. Jimmy was still wearing his “Nobody’s Bitch” shirt. Jimmy thought that his first match back would be with his brother Jey, but now he’s not so sure about that. Jimmy said he sat back for a whole year watching his brother Jey work for Roman. Jey said that Roman wants to see what he can do against Cesaro, so let’s get it.
Jimmy Uso made his entrance and he was announced at 251 pounds. That seems way too much. There’s no way he is that much. I don’t mention that kind of stuff because it’s WWE bullshit, but that just stood out to me.
The announcers did a rundown of the WrestleMania Backlash card.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cesaro
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (c) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman

The only match they didn’t mention was Damian Priest vs. The Miz in a Lumberjack Match.
Cesaro made his entrance. I like the “Back in the Swing” shirt that has a silhouette of Cesaro giving somebody the swing. I don’t buy wrestling shirts, but I think it looks cool.

(Commercial)
A commercial aired for WrestleMania Backlash promoting Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair on Sunday.
Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso
This is Jimmy’s first time in a match since WrestleMania last year, so it’s been over one year. It was a torn ACL. Jimmy hand a knee brace on the left knee. Cesaro hit a dropkick and a “welcome back” for Jimmy. Cesaro caught Jimmy during a leapfrog attempt and Cesaro hit a powerslam. Jimmy did a spot where he faked a knee injury, then Jimmy delivered a kick to the ribs and a Samoan Drop. Jimmy with a chinlock and then Cesaro did a great delayed vertical suplex showing off his power. Jimmy came back with an enziguri kick to the head. Jimmy charged, Cesaro ducked while against the turnbuckle and Jimmy hit the turnbuckle. Cesaro missed a corner charge when Jimmy moved and Cesaro hit the turnbuckle. Jimmy with a clothesline that sent Cesaro over the top to the floor. Jimmy hit a suicide dive on Cesaro on the floor as the show went to break.
(Commercial)
Cesaro worked over Jimmy with uppercuts followed by a clothesline for two. Jimmy with a back body drop, Cesaro landed on his feet, Cesaro jumped off the middle ropes and then Jimmy hit a superkick. Jimmy hit the running hip attack against the turnbuckle for two. Jimmy went up top, Cesaro hit Jimmy with a running uppercut and then Cesaro delivered a superplex. Jimmy rolled to the floor, so Cesaro hit a running cannonball attack on the floor. Cesaro with a running uppercut on the floor. Jimmy rolled back in, Cesaro was about to go back in and that’s when Roman Reigns attacked Cesaro from behind for the DQ. It went about 10 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Cesaro
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match here for the time given and the story they were trying to tell. I think Jimmy Uso is very talented in the ring. We know his future is as a tag team wrestler with brother Jey, but I think both guys are terrific all-around wrestlers and promos. I figured Cesaro would pick up the pinfall win here to continue his positive momentum, but the attack from Reigns isn’t a major surprise since Reigns felt embarrassed by Cesaro in the past.
There were still a few minutes left as Reigns tossed Cesaro into the ring post and over the announce table. Jimmy yelled at Roman for trying to make it about himself (Roman). Jimmy said he had him. Reigns left the ring to go after Jimmy. Reigns said nobody cares about these stupid little matches, it’s about the big money matches – that’s how Roman keeps the family on top and Jimmy needs to understand this. Jimmy said that this time it’s not about Roman, it’s about family. Cesaro went after Jey in the ring, so Reigns went back into the ring and hit Cesaro with a clothesline. Reigns wanted Jimmy to help, but Jimmy did not. Cesaro with uppercuts, then Jey Uso attacked Cesaro with forearms and punches. Jey wanted Jimmy to get in there to help. Cesaro with an uppercut. Jimmy on the apron and Cesaro kicked him down. Reigns left up the ramp. Cesaro had Jey in the ring and Cesaro hit the Neutralizer on Jey. Cesaro told Roman that’s going to be him this Sunday. Cesaro dared Roman to do something to him. Cesaro picked up Jey and hit the Neutralizer again. Cesaro had a staredown with Reigns. Cesaro said: “He (Jey) is not your bitch, you (Roman) are his.” Cesaro celebrated. Reigns stared at him with the Universal Title in his hands.
Analysis: It was another week where Cesaro stood tall. They have really booked Cesaro well in terms of showing that he can put up a fight and not back down against Roman and his family. There is also the story about whether Jimmy Uso is going to join Jey in trying to help Reigns. My feeling is we’ll see Jimmy do something to help Reigns beat Cesaro at WrestleMania Backlash since most of Roman’s PPV matches don’t have clean finishes. Maybe it’s a superkick that the referee doesn’t see and then Reigns hit a Spear. Something like that. If they don’t do that here then they might be saving it for the next PPV.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jimmy Uso – Welcome back to in-ring action
  2. Cesaro
  3. Natalya & Tamina

The Scoreboard
6.75 out of 10
Last week: 7
2021 Average: 6.99

Final Thoughts
It was a solid show as usual from Smackdown. I think the Roman Reigns/Usos family story continues to be one of the highlights with Jimmy Uso defying Reigns early on and even wearing a “Nobody’s Bitch” shirt during the show. I think at some point we’ll see Jimmy helping Reigns keep the Universal Title. That could happen as soon as this Sunday when Reigns faces Cesaro. I liked the Cesaro/Jimmy match for what it was, but then it ended in the obvious DQ and then Cesaro was able to stand tall against Roman and The Usos, who are a dysfunctional group right now.
The match between Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler was pretty good. Lots of Ziggler offense before Rey found a way to win with the inside cradle. The Nakamura/Corbin match was short, but I guess it’s the start of a storyline with Nakamura wanting the “King” crown since he’s the King of Strong Style. Natalya and Tamina winning the Women’s Tag Team Titles was treated like a big deal. I realize Tamina isn’t that popular, but she is very well-liked and respected by her peers, so it was a cool moment to see Tamina win her first title (not counting the 24/7 Title). Plus, I think the Baszler/Jax team should have lost the titles months ago. The Belair/Bayley promo wasn't that interesting. I think their PPV match will be fine, but some of their trash talk just didn't work that well in my opinion.
There wasn’t anything on the show that I’d consider must-see, but as usual, everything seemed to have a purpose. It’s certainly better than what we get on Raw, which has too much filler and not enough excitement. In the case of Smackdown, I like that the main focus is on the Reigns/Usos family drama while Cesaro has done well as a top face. It’s great to see Cesaro in that spot.
The next WWE PPV is called WrestleMania Backlash on May 16th. Here’s the lineup.


WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cesaro
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (c) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Lumberjack Match: Damian Priest vs. The Miz

Our WrestleMania Backlash preview will go up on Saturday afternoon and then I’ll have a live review of WrestleMania Backlash on TJRWrestling on Sunday night. You can watch WrestleMania Backlash live on Peacock streaming in the United States and WWE Network for everybody else.
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John Canton
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