Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. This week’s show is a follow-up to the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view from this past Sunday. On the Smackdown side of things at Hell in a Cell, Bianca Belair defeated Bayley to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title in a Hell in a Cell match. Seth Rollins beat Cesaro to get his win back from WrestleMania when Cesaro beat Rollins. Also, Sami Zayn got his win back when he beat Kevin Owens, who beat Zayn at WrestleMania. Those were the only three matches from Smackdown.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1140. 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 opening video package was a recap of last week’s Smackdown main event when Roman Reigns successfully defended the Universal Title against Rey Mysterio in a Hell in a Cell match. It was a dominant win for Reigns as usual. After the match, Reigns was joined by Jimmy Uso (but not Jey Uso) and Roman attacked Rey some more.
Roman Reigns was shown in his dressing room with Paul Heyman said that Rey and Dominik Mysterio were acknowledging the Tribal Chief from their hospital beds. Jimmy Uso walked into the room with Roman asking where brother Jey is. Jimmy said he’s a no show and he finally got a hold of Jey. Jimmy claimed that Jey said he ain’t coming back. Reigns took him all the way to main events and he didn’t show up for work. Jimmy said he gets why bro ain’t here. Jimmy said he is there and he’s got Roman. Reigns said Jimmy is telling him that he’s going to be the right-hand man? Jimmy didn’t say that and Reigns said now you are saying you can’t? Jimmy said he can do it. Jimmy said he can do what his brother does. Reigns wanted Jimmy to prove it. Jimmy left.
Analysis: Interesting segment to start us off with Jey absent again while Jimmy let Roman know he is going to be loyal to Reigns.
Bianca Belair made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion for the opening match. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on hand at ringside to call the action.
Bianca Belair did a promo saying they were just three weeks away from leaving the Thunderdome and being in front of the fans again. Belair said she’s going to whoop up on Bayley yet again. Belair said she hasn’t been able to stop shining her title because she likes it to make it so clean to see her own reflection. Belair said the girl in that reflection persevered. Belair said that Bayley tried to use Bianca’s hair against her over again and while she will never forget the pain in the cell, Bianca can’t stop smiling because she walked out as the champion. Belair is proud of the girl that she sees in the reflection because she didn’t let a bully (or a Bayley) get to her. Belair wanted us to remember that we are so much more powerful because those bullies can laugh in your face like the wicked witch of the west, but ding dong the witch is dead.
Analysis: A lot of Bianca promos are motivational-style speeches, which is fine because she’s good at them.
Seth Rollins made his entrance even though he’s an opponent of Belair. Rollins said that they both overcame adversity. Rollins said he overcame a huge amount of adversity when he pinned Zazarow (Cesaro) right in the middle of this ring. Rollins said now he’s moving on up, but before he does they should celebrate. Rollins said Belair didn’t dominate like Rollins did and some people would call it a fluke. Rollins wanted a high five just like the Clique (a reference to a leaping high five between Shawn Michaels and Diesel), but Belair did not do that.
Bayley was next up as Seth’s tag team partner. Bayley said she was going to congratulate Belair, but all she hears is Belair bragging all over again. Bayley said that’s not the kind of champion that these people need and deserve. Belair said she’ll show her what kind of champion she is. Bayley got in Belair’s face saying she doesn’t look at her any differently. Bayley said she still sees her as the same old pathetic Bianca Bel-oser, which led to laughing from Rollins. Belair decked Bayley with a punch. Bayley fought back with punches and kicks of her own. Cesaro was up next to go after Rollins. Cesaro with a clothesline that sent Rollins over the top to the floor. Belair tossed Bayley out of the ring. Cesaro lifted up Belair for a kick to Bayley that sent Bayley out of the ring. The match was after a break.
Analysis: The match was already announced before the show, so they didn’t need to do these ten minutes of promos, but we know WWE loves starting shows with promos even when there’s a match scheduled. Anyway, good heel promo work from Rollins and Bayley as usual. It made sense for the faces to be in control to end the segment.
Cesaro & Bianca Belair vs. Seth Rollins & Bayley
It’s man vs. man and woman vs. woman. Cesaro with a backbreaker on Rollins. Bayley was tagged in with Belair hitting her with a shoulder tackle. Rollins back in with Cesaro hitting a running uppercut. Rollins drove Cesaro face first into the turnbuckle followed by the Slingblade. Rollins sent Rollins face first into the mat. Rollins with a knee to the ribs, Cesaro with uppercuts, Rollins with a kick to the chest and Rollins with a kick to the back. Rollins with running knees to the ribs of Cesaro. That led to a battle over a suplex, each guy countered and Belair tagged in to face off with Bayley. Belair with two dropkicks, two kip-ups and Belair with a backbreaker. Belair with a stomach breaker. Belair with a standing moonsault for two. Bayley bailed to the floor, Belair charged and Bayley sent Belair into the barricade. Bayley shoved Belair into the ring post as well. That led to a break.
Bayley was in control of Belair with an armbar on the left arm. Belair with a back body drop on Bayley. Cesaro got the tag with a kick to the face of Rollins. Cesaro with a running uppercut to Seth by the barricade. Back in the ring, Cesaro hit a cross body block off the top for two. Cesaro did the Cesaro Swing about six times, then he wanted a Sharpshooter and Rollins countered into an inside cradle. Cesaro with a corkscrew uppercut on Rollins. Bayley into the ring, Rollins hit Cesaro with a forearm and Rollins hit Cesaro with a shot to the back of the head for two because Belair made the save. Rollins told Belair and Cesaro that they are exactly what is wrong with this place. Rollins tagged Bayley in and Seth clotheslined Cesaro out of the ring. Cesaro with an uppercut on Rollins. Bayley got a rollup on Belair for two. Belair with a spinebuster on Bayley got a two count. Rollins bumped into Belair (while Seth was running away from Cesaro) when Belair wanted the KOD slam, so Belair was off balance. Bayley hit a running knee on Belair. Bayley hit the Rose Plant slam into the mat for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins & Bayley
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with a lot of action. These matches are tough to do sometimes since the guys can’t hit the girls and vice versa, but they booked it well with a creative finish. Cesaro and Rollins did a lot of cool stuff in the match. I like how Rollins basically ran away from Cesaro and that’s what led to Rollins bumping into Belair, which is what led to the finish with Bayley capitalizing for the win. Bayley gets some momentum with a win over Bayley, which probably means they are going to do that as a title match for the third time.
Jimmy Uso was shown pacing in the backstage area.
There was a black carpet in the ring and a royal chair for the coronation of Shinsuke Nakamura as the King of WWE.
Jimmy Uso was outside the locker room of Roman Reigns where Paul Heyman emerged. Jimmy asked Paul what does Roman want from him? Heyman said if Roman Reigns understands anything in life, it’s winning. Heyman told Jimmy to go win a match and Heyman asked if Jimmy wants him to set up that match. Heyman said if Jimmy has this match and he doesn’t win…Heyman just slapped him on the shoulder and left. The slap on the shoulder was like Heyman wishing Jimmy good luck.
The Coronation of the New King of WWE…Shinsuke Nakamura
There was a Progressive Match Flo showing a match from last week’s Smackdown when Shinsuke Nakamura beat King Corbin to become the King of WWE. I guess it’s back to the Baron Corbin name now.
Rick Boogs was in the ring with his electric guitar. Boogs introduced us to the King of Strong Style and the true king of WWE…Shinsuke Nakamura.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance dressed in all white gear and Nakamura sat down in the throne chair that was in the ring. There was a crown in the ring as well with Boogs placing the crown on Nakamura, who did some posing. Boogs: “All Hail the New King of Smackdown…Shinsuke Nakamura!” McAfee was excited at the announce table and smashed some water bottles together.
Baron Corbin was shown watching on a TV backstage. Kayla Braxton asked him for some thoughts. Corbin was all sad saying he lost his crown, then had trouble talking and goes: “What’s the point?” Corbin left. Nakamura and Boogs continued to celebrate.
Analysis: That was a simple segment to officially put the King of the Ring crown on Nakamura. I thought it was pretty funny seeing McAfee smashing water bottles together like Steve Austin used to do with beers. No new opponent or rival for Nakamura yet.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were shown in the WWE Officials office playing some air guitar to the Nakamura song. Seth Rollins appeared to say that the time has come and the time is now. Rollins said that tonight, Roman Reigns has a State of the Universal Championship Address. Rollins said that he should be the next challenger for the Universal Championship. Rollins said you know how accomplished he is and Seth said he has never been more prepared for this kind of challenge. Rollins said nobody on the roster deserves this as much as him. Pearce agreed, but they can’t make that decision yet and Sonya said they’ll take it under advisement.
Analysis: It would be interesting to go with Reigns vs. Rollins next because they are both heels. I assume that some babyface wrestler might step up to challenge Rollins for the spot and be the next challenger for Reigns, but I don’t know who that is right now. (Note: We would find out at the end of the show!)
Big E made his entrance for his Money in the Bank qualifier match.
There was a plug for WWE going back to the United Kingdom for four shows in September. They are Smackdown live events.
There was a video package about Otis destroying Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins of The Street Profits in the last two weeks with Chad Gable laughing about it.
Apollo Crews made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion with Commander Azeez by his side. This was not for the IC Title.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Big E vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)
Big E used his power to drive Crews out of the ring. Crews back in with punches, but then Big E hit him with a forearm to the jaw. Big E with a clothesline for two. They battled on the apron where Crews kicked Big E in the ribs and hit a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. That’s an impressive move. It led to a break.
Crews with a chinlock, Big E broke free and Crews hit a dropkick. Crews grounded Big E with a chinlock. Big E broke free, but then Crews came back with a suplex. Big E blocked a suplex, then Big E hit a belly to belly overhead suplex two times. Big E with a belly to belly side slam. Big E ran the ropes leading to a running splash. That’s the usual sequence of moves from Big E. Crews with a punch, but then he charged and Big E wanted a uranage only for Crews to get out of it. Crews hit three German Suplexes in a row for two. Big E avoided the Angle Slam, then Big E applied the Stretch Muffler submission and Azeez pushed the ropes, so Crews got his hand on the bottom rope to break. Crews with a step up enziguri to the head of Big E. Crews went up top, Big E went after him and Crews hit a jumping kick to knock Big E down off the ropes. Crews up top and he hit a Frog Splash for two. Crews with a waistlock into a German Suplex for two. Amazing power move there. Big E was on the floor, Crews charged and Big E hit a uranage slam on the floor. The referee saw Azeez send Big E into the barricade and the referee sent Azeez to the back. Big E kicked out of a rollup at two. Big E hit the Big Ending for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big E
The win by Big E means he is in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match along with Ricochet, John Morrison and Riddle. There will be four other guys for a total of eight men in the match.
Analysis: ***1/4 It was the usual good match between these two guys that have wrestled many times this year. I thought it might be a DQ win due to Azeez getting involved, but it’s even better to have Big E win by pinfall. I thought Crews was very impressive throughout the match with some of his moves. You can see the Kurt Angle resemblance with a lot of moves he does. Big E winning was the right call and I think Big E is absolutely a threat to win Money in the Bank. He should be one of the favorites.
Post match, Big E pointed up to the Money in the Bank briefcases above the ring. Big E said now he’s going to get back on track.
Sami Zayn was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. Zayn said that the world had meaningless chaos with no rhyme or reason, but after he beat Kevin Owens this might be the best week of his whole life. Braxton noted that he had to face Kevin Owens in a Money in the Bank qualifying match next week. Zayn didn’t like that because he beat Owens. Zayn said that they are messing with karma and the cosmos. Then Zayn said it was the worst week of his life.
Analysis: I like Zayn and Owens as much as anybody, but why not give them different opponents as MITB qualifiers? They repeat matches too often.
Sonya Deville, the WWE Official, made her entrance an announcement for Money in the Bank.
It was announced that Jimmy Uso will face Dolph Ziggler.
Sami Zayn complained to Adam Pearce in the WWE Officials office. Zayn said he should just be put in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match or give him the contract. Pearce said no and told Zayn he’ll have a Last Man Standing Match with Owens next week. Zayn told Pearce that he’s playing a dangerous game with karma. Zayn left.
Analysis: A Last Man Standing match does make it seem like a feud ender although Owens and Zayn also seem to fight forever.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match Announcement
Sonya Deville was in the ring to announce the first Smackdown woman in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Sonya announced that two-time Money in the Bank Ladder Match winner Carmella would be in the match.
Carmella made her entrance thanking Sonya for making her an obvious choice. Carmella said in addition to being a two-time Money in the Bank winner, she is also the most beautiful woman in all of WWE. Liv Morgan made her entrance.
Liv Morgan complained about how Carmella automatically got an opportunity. Morgan said she beat Carmella last week and she belongs in the Money in the Bank match way more than Carmella. That led to Carmella laughing about it. Carmella said that this match is for the real stars. Morgan slapped Carmella in the face. Deville told Liv that is a way to make a statement. Deville said if Liv thinks she deserves it then prove it by taking on Carmella right here, right now.
Analysis: Another rematch. This company loves them.
Carmella vs. Liv Morgan
Carmella was in control of Morgan outside the ring with a slap to the face. Carmella wanted Cole to tell her she's beautiful, so Cole said it. Carmell choked Morgan while Sonya Deville was watching at ringside. Liv kicked Carmella in the back to send her into the turnbuckle. Carmella came back with two superkicks. Natalya and Tamina, the Women's Tag Team Champions, were shown watching on a TV backstage. Carmella hit a weak-looking bronco buster corner attack. Carmella did some trash talk along with a slap to the face. Morgan came back with her impressive flatliner off the ropes for a two count because Carmella had her foot on the ropes. Carmella got a rollup for two. Morgan with a forearm. Morgan on the turnbuckle, Carmella with a superkick and Carmella went for a headscissors off the ropes, but Morgan rolled through with a sunset flip pin for the win. They got just over three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Liv Morgan
Analysis: *1/4 A quick math with Carmella getting a lot of offense while doing a lot of trash-talking as well. I liked Morgan's nearfall off the ropes earlier in the match. The finish was a bit of an "out of nowhere" ending, but it worked. It’s another win for Morgan over Carmella, which should lead to Liv being part of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match although that's not official yet.
After the match, Carmella talked to ring announcer Mike Rome (filling in for Greg Hamilton this week) and Carmella made him do an announcement, so Rome said Carmella was the most beautiful woman in WWE.
Jimmy Uso was behind the curtain for his match. Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview, Jimmy said he’s doing this for brother Jey and he hopes Roman is watching. Jimmy Uso entered for a match against Dolph Ziggler after the break.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance with tag team partner Robert Roode.
Jimmy Uso vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode)
This is a matchup between heels. Jimmy with a shoulder tackle. Jimmy with an enziguri kick to the head for two. Ziggler with a back elbow, then some eye raking against the ropes and Ziggler hit a dropkick for two. Ziggler did a hair pull to take down Jimmy followed by an elbow drop. Ziggler sent Jimmy into the turnbuckle, Jimmy hit a boot to the head and Jimmy did a back body drop to send Ziggler over the top to the floor. Jimmy hit a suicide dive on Roode to send Roode over the top of the announce table. Ziggler gave Jimmy a Zig Zag into the steel steps...ouch! That hurt my back just watching that.
Ziggler was in control for a bit, but then Jimmy sent Ziggler into the ropes for a clothesline followed by a Samoan Drop for two. Ziggler avoided a superkick, Ziggler sent Jimmy into a turnbuckle and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag for two. Jimmy fought back with a headbutt, then an uppercut, Ziggler with punches and Jimmy hit some chops. Ziggler got a sunset flip for two. Jimmy came back with a superkick for the pinfall win. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso
Analysis: *** A solid match here to give Jimmy a singles victory. That spot where Ziggler gave Jimmy a Zig Zag into the steps was brutal and Jimmy showed a lot of heart in coming back from that to get the win. Ziggler isn’t being pushed as a singles wrestler, but he’s always going to have a good match when he gets ten minutes on TV like this, so it was easy to watch. The finish was a bit of nowhere. That's what happens sometimes when you have a superkick as a finisher.
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown watching on a TV backstage. Jimmy walked backstage looking for some praise for the win. Reigns just smiled at him and Reigns made his entrance. Heyman politely told Jimmy to stay in the back.
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Universal Champion with Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Reigns did his slow walking entrance into the ring while the announcers put over the dominance of Roman Reigns with McAfee saying that anybody that has wanted a piece of Reigns has gotten handled by Reigns as well. That Reigns promo is after a break.
This Monday on Raw: Kofi Kingston confronts Bobby Lashley. Plus, Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles in a last chance Money in the Bank qualifying match. I’m going with Randy Orton there because I think him and Riddle in Money in the Bank would be interesting.
Next week on Smackdown in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Paul Heyman said they are there to acknowledge your Tribal Chief while saying that this footage speaks almost as eloquently as he does. They showed highlights of Roman Reigns beating up Dominik and Rey Mysterio over the last few weeks. There were “Roman sucks” chants piped into the arena.
Heyman said that the Head of the Table does not suck. Heyman said that The Fiend got frightened, Strowman got slaughtered, Kevin got KO’d, Edge & Bryan got humiliated at WrestleMania, Bryan was shipped back out, Cesaro got clobbered and then the Mysterios got launched. Reigns laughed. Heyman said that they got launched straight to Hell and their cell is watching Roman Reigns from their hospital bed. Heyman said that Reigns has wiped out the entire division. Heyman said that the Tribal Chief has to change course here. Heyman said he’ll do something that has never been done on network television before. Heyman claimed: “There’s no one left.”
Reigns was about to speak and here comes Edge! Welcome back!
Edge had a full beard as he went down to the ring and knocked Reigns out of the ring. Edge jumped off the apron with a clothesline that knocked Reigns down. Edge sent Reigns into the announce table. Back in the ring, Reigns hit Edge with a Superman Punch. Reigns brought a Steel Chair into the ring, but Edge hit a Spear to knock Reigns down. Edge put a steel chair under Roman’s head. Edge brought another chair into the ring for the Conchairto, but Jimmy Uso showed up and punched Edge to knock him off the apron to the floor. Edge managed to reverse Jimmy and sent Jimmy into the steel steps. Edge hit Jimmy with a Spear through the barricade. That allowed Reigns to get away and Reigns was back on the stage. Edge shouted: “Where you at, Roman?” Edge shouted: “I’m right here.” End show.
Analysis: A strong closing segment with Edge beating up Reigns and Jimmy although Roman got away like the heel that he is. It’s smart to do Roman vs. Edge as a singles feud since Daniel Bryan got involved in it at WrestleMania. It’s a big Universal Title match for Money in the Bank in front of a crowd assuming that's the title match. There is also the story of Seth Rollins wanting the Universal Title shot against Roman, so Seth can complain if Edge gets a title shot instead of him. It can set up the Edge/Rollins feud for SummerSlam while Roman/Cena happens at SummerSlam too. Lots of talented people there. In Edge’s case, he can say he won the Royal Rumble and wanted a singles match with Reigns, but Daniel Bryan got in the way, so now Edge wants his title shot. Plus, Edge only lost at WrestleMania because Jey Uso interfered. It's not like it was a clean win for Reigns. It’s easy to set up. I’m all for it.
The only thing that was weird about the end is Edge was asking where Roman was and Roman was on the ramp, so maybe Roman was supposed to be in the back by that point? I don't know. It was a bit awkward.
Three Stars of the Show
- Edge – Welcome back!
- Roman Reigns/Jimmy Uso
- Big E/Apollo Crews
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2021 Average: 7.03
It was the usual good episode of Smackdown. I don’t love it when a promo main events the show, but I can understand why they did it. They had several matches that I liked. Big E beating Apollo Crews to qualify for Money in the Bank was the right call. It would be awesome to see Big E win Money in the Bank too. Liv Morgan beating Carmella again is good for Liv, who should get pushed. The mixed tag team match to open the show was a lot of fun and booked well with a creative finish where Bayley beat Bianca because Seth was running away from Cesaro and Seth ended up helping Bayley win the match.
The Roman Reigns/Usos story continued with Jimmy proving himself to Roman with a big win over Dolph Ziggler. I liked the surprise return of Edge. I figured it was coming soon as I’m sure most people did, but I didn’t know when it was going to happen. It was well done to show that Edge was coming for Reigns after Paul Heyman claimed there was “no one left” for Reigns. It’s a big match to set up before Roman has that likely SummerSlam showdown with John Cena (while Edge can pair off with Seth Rollins). I like it.
There was a nice balance of quality matches and decent promos this week.
The next WWE pay-per-view on Peacock/WWE Network is Money in the Bank on Sunday, July 18. Here’s the lineup so far.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. Big E vs. three more wrestlers.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross vs. Carmella vs. three more wrestlers.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair