Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. There are two titles on the line this week with Rey & Dominik Mysterio defending the Smackdown Tag Team Titles vs. The Usos. Plus, Apollo Crews will defend the Intercontinental Title against Kevin Owens. I think WWE is trying to promote title matches a week in advance because there’s tough competition from the NBA Playoffs and people wanting to be out on Friday nights now that the nicer weather has arrived. I’m certainly not complaining about it. I’m glad we get big matches to look forward to.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1137. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s get to it.
The show kicked off with the entrance of WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The Thunderdome crowd was shown on the screen booing Reigns upon his arrival. Reigns was joined by Special Counsel Paul Heyman. The announcers were Michael Cole and Pat McAfee with Pat calling Roman the greatest WWE superstar of all time. As Roman concluded his slow entrance, the announcers talked about the two title matches this week with Cole/McAfee shown on camera.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Reigns said he believes in being direct about how he’s feeling. Reigns said Last Friday by the end of the night he wasn’t happy. Reign said with the counsel from a wise man (Heyman) and a full week to chew on it, he changed his position on this Tag Team Championship opportunity that his cousins The Usos have tonight. Reigns said it’s no secret that he’s the centerpiece, but he is a giver that allowed this to happen. Reigns said Jimmy said it all last week, but if you say you’re going to win, you better win. Reigns said let’s not waste any more time. Reigns told Heyman: “Bring me my cousins.” Heyman yelled at somebody at ringside to hit The Usos music.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) made their entrance with Jimmy wearing the “Down Since Day One” shirt while Jey was rocking the “Right Hand Man” shirt. The twin brothers joined cousin Roman in the ring. Jey hugged Roman and shook his hand. Roman told Jimmy it was his turn to acknowledge Reigns. Jimmy said he thought he did at Hell in a Cell when he choked Jimmy and Jey out. Jimmy said tonight is about being 7-time Tag Team Champions, locking down the tag team division and make the family proud. Jimmy said that they are going to get them. Reigns: “Well, good luck.” Reigns said that Jimmy called the shot, he gets that because Roman does that and he gets the job done. Reigns told Jimmy to win. Reigns told them both that the whole family is watching, so “get the job done” and bring him the titles when it’s over. The Usos did their “Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary” line. Reigns left with Heyman while The Usos remained in the ring.
Analysis: Good stuff here. Reigns made it clear to The Usos that they had to back up their words with a win and he wanted them to bring them the titles. I like how Jey acknowledged Reigns with a hug and handshake, but Jimmy was still reluctant to do that. That's why there are still issues between the family. It’s also a way to make people care about the title match more because if The Usos fail, then what is Reigns going to do? That’s why I like the story a lot. It’s not rushed and they build on things well week after week.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions for that match up next.
The commercial aired for SummerSlam on Saturday, August 21.
The match began after the break with referee Dan Engler holding up the titles.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Dominik hit a dropkick on Jimmy, Rey got the tag, double hip toss by the Mysterios and Dominik slammed Rey onto Jimmy for two. Jey tagged in with a back elbow along with a double team elbow drop. Jey with a backbreaker, then he missed a headbutt when Rey moved and Rey hit a headscissors takedown. Jimmy made a blind tag leading to a double team by the Usos sending Rey ribs first into the top rope. Roman Reigns was shown watching a TV in the dressing room with Heyman staring at Reigns instead of at the TV. McAfee was standing on commentary as Rey hit a jawbreaker to break a chinlock by Jimmy and then Jimmy came back with an enziguri kick to the head. Jey with a cheap shot punch on Rey that the referee didn’t see. Jey tagged back in with belly to back suplex into the barricade. Jimmy was back in with stomps to Rey’s gut. Jey was legal, Rey punched him down, headscissors by Rey to Jimmy and Rey slid under the bottom rope, but Jey caught him and gave Rey a Samoan Drop on the announce table! That was great. That was really fast and out of nowhere, but definitely a cool spot. That led to a break.
The match returned with The Usos in control of Rey as the face in peril. Jey hit a running hip attack on Rey against the turnbuckle. Jimmy was back in with an elbow smash to the chest for two. Jey applied a chinlock on Rey. Jey charged at Rey, who hit a drop toehold into the middle turnbuckle. The Usos made quick tags as Jimmy held Rey leading to Jey hitting a running headbutt to the body. Jey missed a corner splash when Rey moved, then Rey fought out of the heel corner after kicking Jimmy and Jey went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Dominik got the hot tag with a suicide dive on both Usos on the floor. Dominik with a cross body block off the top for two on Jimmy. Dominik with a neckbreaker on Jey, so Jimmy kicked Dominik in the ribs. Dominik held the arm of Jimmy, walked the ropes and hit a DDT off the top for two. Jimmy with a headbutt on Dominik, Jey tagged in and Dominik jumped off the top, the Usos moved and Jimmy lifted Dominik into a Samoan Drop by Jey for two. The Usos went for a double superkick, Dominik moved and both Usos went running over the top (when Dominik moved). Rey with a senton on Jey on the floor, Jimmy with a superkick on Rey and Jimmy kicked Dominik. Dominik sent Jimmy into the ropes, but Jimmy came back with a superkick. Jimmy went up top, he went for an Uso Splash and Dominik blocked it with the knees. Dominik turned it into a pin while holding the legs of Jimmy for the pinfall after 15 minutes. Michael Cole thought it was a two count. The replay showed that it should have been two because Jimmy clearly had his right shoulder up.
Winners by pinfall: Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good tag team match with a controversial ending that could lead to a rematch down the road. I liked a lot of the moves that The Usos did against Rey in their first time working against Rey and Dominik more than held his own as well. There were plenty of cool spots in the match. I thought the finish was set up well and the ending will lead to fans wanting to see a rematch, which is a good thing for sure.
The replay showed that Jimmy’s right arm was up on the far side, but the referee was on the left side, so he never saw it. McAfee complained about it while Cole said that the referee’s decision was final.
Analysis: Since the referee was on the other side, he didn’t see Jimmy’s shoulder up, but it was definitely up before the three count. They did the planned finish. It's not like it was a mistake by accident. It was on purpose for the story they were trying to tell.
Roman Reigns was shown in the dressing room looking angry. Reigns told Heyman: “Bring them to me now.”
An interview with Seth Rollins is next.
The announcers plugged WWE going live on tour starting in mid-July.
The Usos were in the dressing room with Roman Reigns. Jimmy was talking, but Roman said he didn’t want to hear it. Reigns said that they “lost to a child” referring to Dominik. Reigns said that the only good thing about this is there’s still time left in the show, so they should go to Adam Pearce or Sonya Deville to correct this mistake. Reigns said that they are six-time Tag Team Champions who made the WrestleMania show once (ouch). In less than a year with Roman Reigns as the Head of the Table, Jey closed the show as they held their heads up high. Reigns asked if they understood his position…Jimmy. Rey said it while looking at Jey, who said “I’m Jey.” Reigns clearly knew that, then said that the way things are going, it doesn’t matter anyway.
Analysis: Good job by Roman where he called Jey by the wrong name on purpose to piss off Jey just so Roman could take a shot at them. I liked that.
Seth Rollins was seated with Kayla Braxton for a sitdown interview. Rollins was wearing a suit with flowers on it. They showed a replay of Rollins attacking Cesaro on Smackdown two weeks ago. Braxton said we’ve seen Cesaro come back because he’s incredibly resilient and Rollins cut her off. Rollins said that he doesn’t owe Kayla or the WWE Universe anything. Braxton wondered what happens when Cesaro returns to Smackdown. Rollins took off the microphone that was on his jacket and dropped it without giving an answer.
Analysis: Rollins didn’t say much there, so it was a heel being rude by ignoring the questions being asked. It would make sense to have Cesaro face Rollins at Hell in a Cell, but that hasn’t been set up yet.
The Street Profits were shown backstage talking about things when Chad Gable walked up to them. Gable said he thought that The Street Profits were on a downward trend. Gable said Ford has lost at least six inches off that Frog Splash and mocked Angelo’s “Sky High” move too. Gable said that they need management from an Olympian like me. Gable: “Can I get the smoke?” Dawkins said it’s a no and Ford said it’s a hard no. They laughed at him and left Gable alone.
Analysis: It was a bit of a surprise that Otis wasn’t standing with Gable for that. The interaction will likely set up a tag team match. I like Smackdown’s tag team division a lot. It’s not that deep, but it’s better than what Raw has.
Carmella made her entrance for a match. They had a pre-tape interview with Carmella talking about how she’s the most beautiful woman in all of WWE and talked about facing Liv Morgan. They showed some photos of Carmella as well.
The WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were in their office. The Usos appeared to complain about what happened. Pearce said that the referee’s decision is final, Sonya said the referee did make a mistake, they’ll review the footage and make a decision. The Usos made sure it would be tonight with Sonya telling them it would be.
Liv Morgan made her entrance. She is now a singles act because Ruby Riott was surprisingly released earlier in the week. A pre-tape promo aired from Morgan saying that Carmella is a “7 at best” and would be a 10 with Liv’s boot in her face. Liv said after her makeover, nobody will want to watch Carmella because they’ll want to watch Liv.
Carmella vs. Liv Morgan
Carmella tried to run away, Morgan got a hold of her and Morgan whipped Carmella into the barricade. Morgan slammed Carmella’s head into the ring apron repeatedly. Carmella got a cheap kick to the knee and a superkick. Carmella with repeated back elbows leading to a snapmare for a two count. Morgan with a corner splash, then Morgan put both boots to the back and into the turnbuckle. Morgan with the double stomp to the back for two. Carmella pulled Morgan down by the ropes and then Carmella applied the Code of Silence submission hold, so Morgan tapped out after about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Carmella
Analysis: *1/2 It was okay for a short match. I was hoping Liv Morgan would pick up a win as a singles act, but that didn’t happen. Since Liv is all alone now, I want to see her getting a bit of a push. Carmella is fine in her role as a former champion too. I just think they need to use Liv better.
Post match, Carmella told ring announcer Greg Hamilton to announce her in a specific way. Hamilton said Carmella was the winner and said: “The most beautiful woman in all of WWE.” I’m sure Corey Graves would agree. Some other people might agree too. Carmella was happy about that.
Bianca Belair was shown walking backstage for a segment up next.
This Monday on Raw, Drew McIntyre and WWE Champion Bobby Lashley will sign the contract for Hell in a Cell. Plus, Shayna Baszler is on Alexa’s Playground. Thrilling.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio were shown ready to leave the building with their luggage. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville walked up to them saying that they reviewed the footage, the referee made a mistake and that means The Mysterios will defend the titles against The Usos again. Dominik and Rey agreed to it, so they walked back towards the locker room area.
The announcers went over the replay of Mysterios/Usos with the referee missing Jimmy getting his right shoulder up.
Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Belair said that ever since she won the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Bayley has laughed at her, but she doesn’t know what’s so funny. Belair said that people have tried to keep her down since she was three feet tall. Belair said people tried to play mind games with her or they thought she was a show off. Bianca said that people would call her “man-ish” because she was muscular and athletic. Bianca said she left those people in the dust after winning trophy after trophy and championship after championship. Belair said that after everything she has been through, she has never had somebody laugh in her face. Belair said she won’t stand for that. Belair had an idea. Belair challenged Bayley to a match at Hell in a Cell. No sign of Bayley. Belair asked if Bayley would accept the challenge.
That led to Bayley laughing at Belair with Bayley appearing on the video screen. Bayley said that the whole world doesn’t revolve around Belair. Bayley said she’s not even there because she’s in her oasis via satellite. Bayley was on a couch that had photos of her holding championships and in action. Bayley accepted Belair’s challenge to a match. Bayley said she’ll be laughing, but she won’t be the only one laughing. Bayley laughed like a lunatic and then the Thunderdome screens had Bayley’s laughing face on them.
Analysis: A rematch between Belair and Bayley was obvious since Bayley complained so much after Belair beat her at WrestleMania Backlash. I think they can have a better match this time. Belair will probably keep the title.
The Street Profits were standing backstage. Otis walked up to them saying that they need to apologize to Chad. Montez Ford said that they don’t Otis an apology. Ford said that Gable is holding Otis back. Ford said that Otis hasn’t accomplished anything with Gable, they told Otis to check out of the academy and Otis knocked both guys down. Otis left.
PLUG TIME: I have been writing WWE retro PPV content as usual with two reviews this week. The Over the Edge PPV from May 1998 was reviewed in-depth with an outstanding main event match between Steve Austin and Dude Love (Mick Foley). That match was a lot of fun to watch again, but it was really just a one-match show in a lot of ways. The rest of the card was disappointing…I also reviewed WWE One Night Stand (Extreme Rules) from June 2008 that was an event where every match had a stipulation. There were some cool moments like The Undertaker taking the biggest bump of his career off a ladder through four tables (a very good match against Edge). In other matches, Randy Orton got hurt during his WWE Title match with Triple H, I really liked the Stretcher Match between Batista & Shawn Michaels and then John Cena beat JBL, which is what usually happened when they wrestled. As a reminder, you can check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order only on TJRWrestling.net. Since we are in June now, I plan to review several other June PPVs during the month. Thank you for the support.
Still to come on Smackdown: The Mysterios defending the Smackdown Tag Team Titles against The Usos for a second time on this show.
King Corbin was in the ring for a match. A video package aired about Corbin’s issues with Shinsuke Nakamura and his buddy Rick Boogs the guitarist.
Rick Boogs appeared on the stage with the electric guitar with an introduction for the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura. McAfee loved it: “Can you win a Grammy every Friday night, Cole?” Nakamura made his entrance wearing King Corbin’s crown once again. McAfee was standing on the announce table while Cole remained seated.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. King Corbin
Corbin with punches and shoulder tackles. Nakamura with a kick to the head followed by a running knee to the body. Corbin came back with a two handed Chokeslam-like move for two. Nakamura went for an armbar on the right arm, but Corbin got to the bottom rope. Corbin left the ring and knocked over Boogs with a clothesline, which led to Nakamura hitting a STO on Corbin. There was a simple takedown by Corbin grabbing the hair and Corbin sat on top of Nakamura while holding the legs for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: King Corbin
Analysis: * That was quick. Nakamura beat Corbin two weeks ago, so Corbin got the win back. I don’t like the 50/50 booking that much, but that’s how WWE books these things.
Post match, Corbin grabbed the crown and tried to leave, but Boogs held Corbin’s legs. Nakamura kicked Corbin to knock him down. Nakamura put the crown back on while Boogs left with Nakamura.
Analysis: A feel-good story with Nakamura leaving with the crown again. I enjoy Nakamura being paired with Boogs because I think it works well. That match was too short and not that interesting, though.
They showed what happened to Kevin Owens last week when Commander Azeez gave him the Nigerian Nail to the throat where Owens sold it like he couldn’t breathe well after.
Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage. Commander Azeez beat him up including Azeez sending Owens into a wall and shoving an equipment case into KO’s ribs. Azeez was going for the Nigerian Nail, but referees and officials broke it up. Crews walked by laughing as Owens was getting checked. The story was that Azeez was banned at ringside, but he was not banned from attacking Owens backstage.
Analysis: A cheap attack to get some heat ahead of the Crews/Owens match.
Apollo Crews, the Intercontinental Champion, was laughing in the ring. They showed Commander Azeez attacking Kevin Owens before the break.
Kevin Owens made his entrance while selling the ribs injury after the attack from Azeez before the break.
Intercontinental Championship: Apollo Crews vs. Kevin Owens
Crews focused his attack on KO’s ribs right away and then Crews hit a suplex. Crews with a knee to the ribs. Owens tried to fight back, but Crews was there to hit him in the ribs. Crews whipped Owens hard into the turnbuckle. Owens with a kick to the chest, a clothesline and a senton splash. Crews avoided the Popup Powerbomb, Crews with a kick to the ribs, but then Owens sent Crews out of the ring. Owens ran the ropes, but then Owens collapsed just from running the ropes due to the rib injury. Crews tripped KO up on the apron. Crews hit an Angle (or Olympic) Slam on the floor leading to a break.
The match returned with Crews hitting a running shoulder tackle to the ribs followed by a knee to the ribs. Crews with a belly to belly suplex across the ring and another belly to belly suplex across the ring. Crews hit a German Suplex for two. Owens came back with an impressive German Suplex of his own. Crews drove Owens into the turnbuckle, Owens blocked a suplex attempt off the ropes, Owens with a headbutt and Owens went up top with a Swanton Bomb, but Crews got the knees up. Crews with a step-up enziguri and German Suplex for two. Crews with a standing moonsault for two. Owens came back with superkicks and a Popup Powerbomb for two because that is not KO’s finisher anymore. Owens went up top, Crews got a hold of him on the apron and Crews hit a Death Valley Driver slam on the ring apron. Crews pinned Owens in the middle of the ring, no kickout by Owens, so Crews got the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews
Analysis: ***1/4 Good work by both guys here. Owens sold the rib injury really well throughout the match. I figured Crews would retain, but I didn’t expect a DVD on the apron for the ring. It made sense since it was another hard bump onto the ribs for Owens, so it was a believable finisher. Owens is really good at selling and making it look believable, so that helped the match a lot.
Post match, Apollo Crews went up the ramp with the title. Commander Azeez was on the apron and stood by Crews. Sami Zayn went running down to the ring and hit a Helluva Kick on Owens. Zayn trash talked Owens after that saying that karma got him. Zayn stomped on Owens and as he left, he said that “karma did it.” Owens was down selling.
Analysis: The rivalry between Owens and Zayn never seems to end. I like their matches, but even I am ready for them to find some new rivals.
The Street Profits were standing by backstage again. Dawkins and Ford talked about Otis and Chad Gable, so it sounds like that set up a match between the two teams.
The Usos were shown backstage ahead of their second match of the night.
The Street Profits and Kevin Owens are the guests on Talking Smack this week. The Street Profits vs. Chad Gable & Otis is official for next week as well.
The Usos made their entrance for the main event tag team title rematch. Rey and Dominik entered as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions for the second time on this show.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
The referee this time is Charles Robinson while the first match had Dan Engler as the referee. Jimmy with a running back elbow to Dominik to start the match. Jey tagged in with a body slam on Dominik. After Dominik tried to fight against both Usos, Jey launched Dominik into a neckbreaker with Dominik going to the floor. Jey hit a suicide dive on Dominik on the floor leading to a break two minutes into the match.
The match returned with Jey working over Dominik with punches. Jey with a chinlock, Dominik broke free, he countered a hiptoss and Dominik used his legs to send Jey into the turnbuckle. Rey got the hot tag against Jimmy with a springboard cross body block. Rey charged, elbow by Jimmy and Jey was back in with Rey hitting a hurricanrana. Rey with a kick to Jimmy, who was legal. Rey with a baseball slide dropkick on Jimmy on the floor and Rey hit a splash under the bottom rope onto Jimmy on the floor. Jey charged at Rey on the floor, Rey ducked and Jey hit the ring post. Rey was back in with a headscissors into the ropes. Rey hit the 619 kick on Jimmy. Dominik got the tag, slow climb to the top and Roman Reigns showed up with a Superman Punch on Dominik. There’s the DQ finish. It went about 10 minutes.
Winners by disqualification: Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: **1/2 This wasn’t at the same level as their first match because it was shorter with a cheap finish. They still worked together really well. The format was different here because in the first match they focused on Rey as the face in peril and this time it was Dominik as the face in peril. Reigns showed up because he was frustrated that it looked like The Usos might lose the match, so Reigns wanted to teach them a lesson in how to kick ass. That’s why they did the DQ finish.
Post match, Rey went after Roman, but Roman hit Rey with a huge Spear. Reigns yelled at Jimmy Uso about not being able to win. Reigns yelled at Jimmy about how he was embarrassing the family. Reigns sent Dominik and Rey into the barricade. Reigns picked up the steel steps and hit Dominik. Reigns hit Rey with the steel steps as well. Reigns tossed Rey over the barricade. Reigns beat up Dominik with punches and tossed Dominik into the ring. The Usos were in the ring watching as Reigns beat on Dominik with forearms. Reigns applied the Guillotine Choke on Dominik, who passed out. Jimmy wanted Roman to let him go and said that Dominik was out. Jimmy told Roman “not like this.” Jimmy let the ring on his own. Jey was about to leave, but then Roman walked up to Jey to stare at him. Roman stared at Jey in the ring while Jimmy was on the floor. Reigns grabbed Dominik and beat on him with more punches. Reigns picked up Dominik and hit a huge Powerbomb. That was the end of Smackdown.
Analysis: It was a typical Roman Reigns segment showing his dominance. If Reigns had a rival right now they could have had that guy save Rey/Dominik or something like that, but there was no attempt to help the Mysterios at all. Jimmy felt like Roman went too far, then Jimmy wanted Jey to go with him and Jey thought about it, but then decided to stay with Reigns. It continues the story of Jey not “falling in line” with Roman at least right now and doing his own thing while Jey remains conflicted about the whole thing. I like the story and how they are going at a slow pace with it.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Usos
- Rey & Dominik Mysterio
- Apollo Crews/Kevin Owens
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7.01
2021 Average: 7
I really enjoyed the first tag team title match between The Mysterios and The Usos that got a lot of time. The controversial finish to that match led to another match between the teams in the main event and that led to Roman Reigns showing his dominance because he was frustrated by The Usos inability to win. The lack of a feud for Reigns right now is a bit of a surprise, but he is the centerpiece of the main story with Jimmy Uso not embracing him the way that Jey Uso does. I think from a performance standpoint, Roman and The Usos work very well together. There's a natural chemistry between them, which is not a surprise since they are a close family.
I liked the IC Title match as well with Apollo Crews beating Kevin Owens in part because Commander Azeez beat up Owens in the backstage area before the match. The other matches were not as interesting because they were either too short or repeats. However, they did a good job of progressing some of the storylines going on right now while also setting up a Street Profits rivalry with Otis/Gable too.
There wasn’t anything on the show that blew me away in terms of how awesome it was, but it was a typical good Smackdown show.
The next WWE pay-per-view on Peacock/WWE Network is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, June 20. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley