Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. The Hell in Cell pay-per-view is coming up on June 20, so we need to see what Smackdown has in store for us for that show.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1138. 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 began with a video package recapping last week’s Smackdown when Roman Reigns destroyed Rey and Dominik Mysterio during their Tag Team Title match against The Usos. Reigns took care of Rey by tossing him into the barricade. Reigns gave a bigger beating to Dominik, who was choked out and received a Powerbomb to end the show. Jimmy Uso thought cousin Roman went too far.
The Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were in their dressing room with Jey Uso sitting beside Roman. Reigns told Jey that they owe him. Reigns asked Jey the one thing that he will not stand for. Jey: “Never embarrass the family.” Reigns nodded. Reigns said he knows Jey understands that, but does Jimmy? The Usos music hit as Jimmy Uso entered the arena.
Let’s Hear from Jimmy Uso
Jimmy Uso talked about how last week was supposed to be a celebration. Tonight, they were supposed to be in here as the 7-time Tag Team Champions, but they got robbed. Jimmy said he’s spittin’ facts. Jimmy said that the referee blew the call because he kicked out (that was the first match), but it was cool because they got round two. Jimmy said that’s when the Head of the Table (Roman Reigns) stuck his head in their business and couldn’t let them take what is theirs. Jimmy thinks that Roman got them disqualified on purpose. Roman, Jey and Paul were shown watching on a TV in the locker room.
Jimmy wondered what was the point? Jimmy said that Roman knocked out Rey and choked out Dominik. Jimmy thinks he knows what Roman’s issue is – he is jealous. Jimmy thinks that Roman is jealous that Jimmy and Jey want to hold the gold just like Roman. Jimmy said that Roman is trying to tear Jey away from him, then Jimmy said he is his brother’s keeper, not Roman. Jimmy said tonight he’s going to do something he won’t regret.
Roman was shown talking to Jey saying Jey needed to take care of this.
Analysis: Nice job by Jimmy in that promo. I liked the end of it with Jimmy teasing something big happening later in the show, so it’s a smart way to keep viewers tuned into the show. I like how slow the story is going with Jimmy as the guy in the middle of Roman and Jey. You know at some point they will probably get on the same page, but for now they are not and I like that it will take some time for them to figure it out.
Kevin Owens made his entrance first followed by Big E, who has been off Smackdown for a few weeks. The Smackdown announce team is Michael Cole and Pat McAfee as usual. That tag team match is up next.
There was a backstage scene with Jey Uso walking up to brother Jimmy. That led to Jimmy asking Jey if he thought they could have won the Tag Team Titles. Jey nodded yes. Jimmy said that it can’t be like this. Jimmy said when he asked Jey to go with him last week, he froze on Jimmy and Jimmy reminded them they are brothers and twins. Jey had trouble saying anything. Jimmy said that Roman is disgracing the family. Jey said that his loyalty is with the Tribal Chief, he’s stuck in the middle of this and he doesn’t know how to get out of it. Jimmy told Jey if Roman wants to see him then Jimmy will be in their locker room.
Analysis: There was a needed segment to have Jey point out his position that he is in the middle of this issue between Jimmy and Roman with Jey not knowing what to do. Jey wants to support Jimmy in going after the Tag Team Titles, but Jey doesn’t want to let Roman down, so that’s why Jey is so conflicted right now. I think from an acting standpoint, Jey is doing a tremendous job.
Kevin Owens & Big E vs. Sami Zayn & Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)
The heel duo of Zayn and Crews were in control against Owens early on with Owens selling a rib injury. Crews with a suplex on Owens. Zayn drove Owens back first into the turnbuckle, then Crews was back in and Owens with a kick leading to a tag to Big E. That led to Big E doing his usual hot tag offense with two overhead belly to belly suplexes and a belly to belly slam. Big E ran the ropes, he went for a splash, Crews got the knees up and Big E’s momentum was briefly stopped. Big E hit a uranage slam for two. Crews hit a step up enziguri followed by a lifting German Suplex. They showed that from the worst possible angle. Big E sent Crews to the apron, Big E ran the ropes, Crews moved and Big E went diving through the ropes to the floor. That led to a break.
The team of Crews and Zayn continued on offense as they beat up Big E in their corner. Crews held onto Big E’s foot as Zayn made the tag and dropped an elbow. Zayn was in control of Big E with a chinlock. Big E charged, Zayn did a drop toehold and Crews tagged in with a kick to the back. Crews with an elbow drop on Big E followed by a corner splash. Crews went for a cross body block, Big E moved and Owens got the tag against Zayn. Owens beat on Zayn with punches and kicks. Owens with a cannonball off the apron onto Zayn on the floor and a senton splash on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens with a running clothesline and a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle. Owens jumped off the top with a Swanton Bomb for two. Zayn jumped over Owens to get away, Crews tagged in, Owens with a superkick and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on Crews for two as Zayn broke up the pin with a dropkick. Zayn was back in, Owens with a back elbows and Zayn hit a half nelson overhead suplex for two. Zayn with a Blue Thunder Bomb on Owens for two with Big E making the save. Big E with a running clothesline over the top on Crews. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick on Owens, but Owens moved and Owens hit a Stunner on Zayn for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens & Big E
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a really good tag team match between four experienced guys that know what they are doing out there. Since Owens got beat by Crews last week due to Azeez attacking him before the bell, it made sense for Owens to get the win in this tag team match. They kept Crews strong by having Zayn take the pin. It’s too bad that Big E won’t get that feud with Aleister Black that could have been really good although there are rumors that maybe WWE will re-sign Black if he’s even interested in coming back. Anyway, I enjoyed the match. Good work by everybody involved.
Post match, Crews did a promo saying that the only reason they won is that he had to team with that idiot Sami Zayn. Crews challenged them to a tag team match next week with Big E and Kevin Owens facing Crews and Commander Azeez.
Analysis: It will be the first match for Commander Azeez as long as you forget him using his other name Dabba Kato in the past.
Sami Zayn did a promo complaining about Crews calling him an idiot. Zayn claimed that Crews was working with Owens to keep Zayn away from the IC Title and then Azeez gave Zayn the “Nigerian Nail” thumb to the throat. Zayn was selling a throat injury.
They showed Rey Mysterio talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce backstage, but we couldn’t hear them.
The announcers talked about the WWE summer tour starting in mid-July for Smackdown in Houston followed by Money in the Bank two days later. Tickets are available in the 25 cities now.
They showed a Progressive Match Flo replay to show the interactions between The Street Profits and Gable/Otis last week to set up their match this week.
Chad Gable walked up to The Street Profits saying Otis was overprotective sometimes. Gable claimed he got their tag team match canceled. Montez Ford warned Gable about how they know how to stop Otis. Gable said now they talked their way right into a match. Gable asked what one of them wants to face him in a match. Ford said he’s got this. Gable said he won’t even have Otis at ringside, but only if Dawkins isn’t with Ford. Gable warned them that Otis is still angry.
Analysis: I like that that there’s a tag team feud that doesn’t involve the titles.
Roman Reigns was shown in his dressing room with Jey walking up to him. Roman was looking around for Jimmy, but there was no sign of him. Jey said that Jimmy is angry and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Jimmy said if Roman wants to see him then Roman has to go to their locker room. Roman laughed at that thought. Roman wondered why Jimmy is making Jey the bad guy. Reigns told Jey he’ll go to him.
Carmella was introduced as “The Most Beautiful Woman in all of WWE.” They added that as part of her entrance last week. Carmella faces Liv Morgan in a rematch from last week because WWE loves rematches.
There was a commercial for SummerSlam on Saturday, August 18 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Tickets are on sale next Friday.
Liv Morgan got her full entrance. They showed Carmella beating Liv last week.
Carmella vs. Liv Morgan
Morgan was aggressive with kicks against the turnbuckle. Carmella voided a charge, then pulled Morgan out of the ring and Carmella whipped Morgan into the barricade. Carmella wanted Cole to say that she was the most beautiful woman in WWE, Cole said “self-proclaimed” and then a camera guy tripped over Morgan, so that was kinda funny. Back in the ring, Carmella stunned Morgan with an elbow to the jaw followed by punches. Morgan did a cool move kicking Carmella in the back to send her into the turnbuckle. Carmella came back with a kick to the chest. Carmella went for a superkick, Morgan blocked it, put the foot against the ropes and then Liv hit the flatliner off the ropes called the Oblivion (thanks Cole) for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Liv Morgan
Analysis: ** A decent match to give Liv a win back after losing last week. It’s 50/50 booking that a lot of people hate including me, but I guess in this case you can say that Liv learned from her loss and got better. I’m glad Liv won. I have no interest in a Carmella push. Giving Liv a bit of a push is a good thing for sure.
After the match, Carmella made the ring announcer Greg Hamilton announcer as the “Most Beautiful Woman in WWE.”
Bayley was shown getting ready for her talk show. She was handed cards, but she tossed them down. Bayley’s talk show with Seth Rollins as the guest is next.
Ding Dong Hello Hosted by Bayley
Bayley was in the ring with her set that included a door. The graphic actually said "Brock Lesnar" instead of Bayley's name, so that was weird. It was only on there briefly. The set also had pictures of Bayley and some plants. Bayley introduced her guest, a Grand Slam Champion like her and a Drip God, Seth Freakin’ Rollins. Seth Rollins made his entrance in a white/purple suit with Bayley telling Rollins he had to enter through the door, so Seth rang the doorbell and made his entrance. McAfee: “I love this show. I love it.”
Rollins sat on a comfortable chair while Bayley sat on a stool. Rollins thought the set was a huge upgrade. Bayley thanked Rollins for using the door and Seth said that’s what it is there for. Rollins thanked Bayley for having him on the show. Rollins told Bayley he’s a huge fan and said that Bayley has been on fire by putting Bianca Belair in her place time and time again. Rollins said that you have to have respect. Rollins said that Bayley will mop the floor with “Belanca” as Cole called her. Rollins brought up the masterclass from Bayley last week when she laughed at Belair and then Bayley’s laughter filled the ThunderDome screens. That replay was shown. Bayley and Rollins did their crazy laughing routine.
Rollins said that it felt really good to laugh. Bayley said she had something to make him laugh. It was a clip from three weeks ago when Seth Rollins beat up Cesaro with a vicious attack including repeated stomps that led to Cesaro missing the last two weeks. Rollins and Bayley took their time, but then they laughed about that too.
The doorbell rang, so Rollins said he’ll open it and it was Cesaro making his return with a punch to knock down Rollins. Cesaro tossed Rollins into the chair and into the photos. Cesaro removed Seth’s pants in that altercation, Cesaro threw Rollins into the door and then Rollins ran away to the backstage area. Cesaro threw one of the plants as well. Bayley was sad about what happened while Cesaro celebrated in the way.
Analysis: There’s the payback for Cesaro that was obviously going to come after he missed the last two weeks. I thought Bayley and Rollins were funny together as two egotistical heels that enjoy the misfortune of their rivals.
Bianca Belair showed up with a microphone. She didn’t say a word. Bianca laughed at Bayley, who looked all sad in the ring and Belair kept laughing at her. Belair’s music played to end it after about 20 seconds.
Analysis: It was some laughing payback. Simple as that.
There was another replay of the end of last week’s Smackdown when Roman Reigns destroyed Rey and Dominik Mysterio, but especially Dominik at the end of the show.
Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Megan Morant. Rey said that Roman Reigns hurt his boy like he was some sort of prey. Rey said he didn’t care who Roman is or how big he might be because if you come after Rey’s son, he is coming after Roman. Rey said from the day he was born, he is responsible for Dominik, to protect him and last week Rey failed. Rey said that Dominik’s injuries were no freak accident. Rey said that the injuries were caused by a man who claims to care about family and destroys his own family. Rey said that Roman is messing with Rey’s family now. Rey said that by the end of the night, he’ll be in that ring, he’ll call out Roman and show him what a family is supposed to look like.
Analysis: I liked the passion and intensity shown by Rey there.
Montez Ford entered with Angelo Dawkins, but then Dawkins went to the back per the agreement made backstage. Ford vs. Gable is next.
This Monday on Raw: The New Day vs. Randy Orton/Riddle aka RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles.
Chad Gable was already in the ring.
Montez Ford vs. Chad Gable
Each guy got a takedown. Gable did a drop toehold into an armbar. Dawkins was shown watching on a TV backstage. Gable with a headscissors, then an armdrag and Ford hit an armdrag in return. Gable with punches, then Ford jumped over a charging Gable and hit an armdrag. Ford used his legs to get a two count pinning attempt. They ran the ropes, Ford went for a leapfrog, but then Gable caught the foot in an Ankle Lock. Ford bridged his way out of that. Ford kicked Gable to the floor, Ford avoided a move by Gable on the apron and then Ford hit a dive onto Gable on the floor. That led to a break.
The match returned with Ford going for a move off the apron, but then Ford countered it into a suplex for two. That was so cool. Ford and Gable ran the ropes for a double cross body block spot. That led to Dawkins shown backstage again, so Otis attacked Dawkins from behind. Otis whipped Dawkins into equipment cases. Dawkins was down grabbing his left shoulder while Otis left for the ring. Ford and Gable exchanged punches, then Ford got a hold of Gable and delivered a spinebuster followed by a standing moonsault. Ford slowly went up top, Ford jumped off with the Frog Splash and that got a two count. Otis was too slow to break up the count, so I think that was a mistake, but Gable kicked out. It went about 10 minutes. It was DQ finish because Otis attacked Ford.
Winner by disqualification: Montez Ford
Analysis: *** I enjoyed this match. Cool moves by Gable as usual while Ford showed off his athleticism throughout the match. The finish was botched a bit because Otis was likely supposed to be there to break up the pin and you could tell the referee was waiting for him to get out there, but then Gable had to kick out at two because Otis was a bit slow. Not a big deal really. I think they could have had Ford win the match rather than a DQ. Protecting Gable isn’t a bad thing, but I’m not sure if it’s that necessary in that spot.
Post match, Otis tossed Ford over the announce table. Otis whipped Ford into the steel steps. Otis was clean shaven now. Otis with a front slam. Otis jumped off the middle ropes with a huge splash on Ford. Dawkins walked out to the ring, but he was favoring his left shoulder. Otis punched Dawkins and tossed him out of the ring. Otis hit a Vader Bomb splash off the middle rope on Ford. Dawkins covered Ford while other referees and Producers like Shane Helms and Shawn Daivari made Otis back off. That led to a break.
Analysis: This was very effective in terms of putting over Otis as a monster heel that can do damage. I like the way his power moves look.
King Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura with Rick Boogs were in the ring for a match. This match has been done a few times in the last month. They love rematches.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. King Corbin
Nakamura kicked Corbin, Boogs played the electric guitar and Nakamura hit a jumping knee off the middle ropes for two. Nakamura charged at Corbin, who hit the Deep Six slam for a two count. Corbin with forearms to the back followed by a German Suplex for two. Corbin doesn’t usually do that move. Corbin avoided a kick and did a hair pull takedown. Nakamura countered a Corbin move, sat on top and got the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: * It was rushed. The finish meant nothing as soon as the match was over.
Post match, Corbin knocked Nakamura down again and Corbin sent Boogs into the announce table. Nakamura grabbed the crown back and then Boogs tossed Corbin over the announce table.
Analysis: I like Nakamura with Boogs. I don't really like this feud that keeps going.
Roman Reigns was shown in his dressing room with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. Reigns said he was ready and told Jey they should go to Jey’s locker room.
The guests on Talking Smack are Bianca Belair and Chad Gable with Otis. I’ll have a review on Saturday.
They showed Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville in the WWE Officials office. Pearce told her that Montez Ford is being looked at, but it’s not looking good. King Corbin went into the office complaining about Nakamura stealing his crown. Pearce and Deville mocked him a bit. Pearce said Corbin/Nakamura were 2-2 now, so he made a match for next week with Corbin facing Nakamura in the Battle for the Crown.
Analysis: I hope next week’s match ends the rivalry. As I said, I like Nakamura with Boogs a lot, but they need somebody else for Nakamura to wrestle instead of Corbin every week.
Roman Reigns was shown walking into Jimmy Uso’s locker room with Jey joining Roman. Jimmy said that he doesn’t care about the Universal Title, he cares about what’s in their heart. Jimmy said that they have been together since they were kids. Jimmy said that he watched Roman use and abuse Jey for the last year. Jimmy said that Roman is going to be in the Hall of Fame, but not as Roman Reigns, he’ll go in as a spoiled bitch. Roman and Jimmy both talked to Jey at the same time with Jey saying he was tired of both of them. Jey left. Jimmy said to Roman if you want to throw down, let’s throw down. Roman wondered why would Jimmy want to fight him? Roman said that this is their family business and their livelihood. Roman wondered why Jimmy would do this to his brother. Roman said that Jimmy is the older brother, so Jimmy should look after Jey. Roman should be able to depend on Jimmy. Roman said that it’s all about them, it’s about them and they have to be the best every single week. Reigns said that all he’s ever known is to be the best. Reigns wondered how Jimmy could treat his brother like that. Roman said that Jey elevated himself for the full year and Jimmy let him go, for what? Roman said that Jimmy had to make this right with Jey, make things right with “us” and Reigns reminded him that this is their family. Jimmy left as Reigns picked up the Universal Title and put it on his shoulder.
Analysis: There was a lot there. More family drama except this time Roman made it clear that he didn’t want to fight Jimmy and just wanted Jimmy to try to make things right for the family. Jey did an excellent job of being the middle man again, showing his frustrations and walking out because he couldn’t take it anymore. I enjoy the family drama that’s going to lead to Reigns with The Usos as his backup, which is going to be a very strong stable dominating Smackdown for a long time.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance for the main event promo.
There was a commercial for NXT Takeover In Your House this Sunday. Check out the official TJRWrestling preview that we posted on Friday right here. I’ll have a review on TJRWrestling on Sunday night.
Let’s Hear from Rey Mysterio Calling out Roman Reigns
Rey Mysterio was in the ring. Rey called out Roman Reigns for disrespecting his family. There was no sign of Reigns right away, but Rey called for him again and that’s when Reigns made his entrance.
Roman Reigns did his slow walk to the ring with Special Counsel Paul Heyman joining him with Heyman carrying the Universal Title down to the ring. There were “Roman sucks” chants when he got into the ring.
Rey told Reigns he acknowledges him. Rey said he acknowledged Reigns for the “rat bastard” that he is. Rey acknowledged Reigns as the rat bastard that put his hands on Rey’s son. Rey said he’s willing to fight Roman even if he loses the fight. Rey said he also acknowledged Reigns as a man he wants to fight inside Hell in a Cell. Reigns didn’t seem impressed. Rey said now that he laid out his challenge, it is Roman’s turn to acknowledge. Heyman handed Reigns another microphone.
Reigns said he acknowledged Rey as a father. Somebody slid a kendo stick into the ring, Rey tried to attack, but Reigns knocked him down. Rey fought back with the kendo stick to the body and Reigns tossed Rey out of the ring. When Rey got back into the ring, Reigns hit a Superman Punch to knock him down. Reigns set up for a Spear, but there was Dominik Mysterio with kendo stick shots to the body of Reigns (Dominik slid the kendo stick to Rey earlier). When Dominik tried to attack more, Reigns gave Dominik a Powerbomb over the top to the floor. They didn’t show what Dominik landed on, but the idea was that it was a bump to the floor. Rey hit Reigns with a kendo stick again, Reigns left the ring, Rey checked on Dominik and Reigns kicked Rey down. WWE Officials went down to the ring to keep Roman back and that was the end of the show with Rey/Dominik selling on the floor.
Analysis: I thought it was a very good segment overall. Rey was the concerned father that also had a plan because it didn’t seem like Dominik was there, but then he was and the Mysterios got in a few shots on Reigns. It was reported last week that Reigns vs. Rey was going to happen at Hell in a Cell, so that’s fine with me as a fresh opponent for Reigns. That Powerbomb by Reigns on Dominik looked brutal, which makes me wonder if they had some padding there to help Dominik when he landed because they shot it in a way that they didn’t show the landing. Anyway, I like how it was presented. Reigns continued his great work while the Mysterios showed a lot of heart in trying to fight him.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns
- Kevin Owens/Big E
- Jimmy Uso/Jey Uso
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2021 Average: 7.01
It was a good Smackdown overall. I liked it a little bit less than the wrestling-heavy episodes, but there were still a lot of things that they did well especially the numerous promo segments. Roman Reigns and The Usos were all over the show in backstage segments. I enjoyed what they did because it furthered the story with Jey Uso as the middle man while Roman Reigns and Jimmy Uso aren’t on the same page. After Jey walked away, Roman tried to reason with Jimmy to try to help Jey, so it should lead to the three of them working together soon. It was good to see Cesaro back after a few weeks off. He got revenge on Seth Rollins as expected.
What’s frustrating about the in-ring action is that they repeat matches too often by doing Carmella/Liv Morgan in a rematch and Shinsuke Nakamura/King Corbin again while also announcing a rematch next week as well. It just gets tiresome seeing the same matches. I did enjoy Owens/Big E beating Crews/Zayn as a fun tag team match that got a lot of time. The Ford/Gable match was very good as well even with the DQ finish. They pushed Otis (now without a beard) big time after that match.
Smackdown is an easy show to get through week after week. Most segments matter and there’s a lot less filler than what we get on Raw. That’s for sure.
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.
Hell in a Cell Match for the 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
Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio is very likely, but not official as of this writing.