Before I begin this blog I just want to say a few words on what happened yesterday…
On the EXACT one year anniversary of what happened last year (in the very early days of the pandemic) WWE once again released several names from their roster. And just as last year some aren’t surprises, some however are more baffling, with a handful even being featured at WrestleMania recently. But if the names let go last year are anything to go by, it is MORE THAN POSSIBLE to be a success elsewhere: Deonna Purrazzo is the current Impact Knockouts Champion and won wrestler of the year in their annual awards, Anderson and Gallows are starring in both Impact and AEW, Mike and Maria just signed full time deals in ROH as did EC3 before them, Lio Rush has had some great matches for New Japan… I could go on and on. So there really is life after WWE now more than ever with the options available. So let me thank all of those released by WWE on April 15th 2021 for all they’ve given: particular mention to The iiconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) who have made me laugh so many times and made my enjoyment of the product massively go up each time they appear on my tv. I will never forget how happy we all were when they had their WrestleMania moment. To Samoa Joe for just being THE MAN (He WILL be a top guy wherever he goes next), to Mickie James for an (almost a dead cert) hall of fame career, Chelsea Green who I’m gutted never got her shot on the main roster as I still believe she is a star and I look forward to the return of Laurel Van Ness, to Tucker, Kalisto, Bo Dallas, Wesley Blake who have each played their role in big moments I’ve enjoyed down the years, and finally to Mojo Rawley who… say what you want about him, but you can’t say he wasn’t entertaining and didn’t bring energy to anything he was involved with. They will all be fine and only need to look at last year’s crop to see there IS a future for them out there in pro wrestling. I for one can’t wait to see what they all do next.
So… I’m going to have a go at covering SmackDown each week, and thought with it being the first show after WrestleMania that now would be as good a time as ever to do so. I’ll only be doing SmackDown as the fact it’s on a Friday makes it way easier for me who works all week to cover, and the fact Raw SUCKS most weeks.
With it being the first show after Mania we should get a few big things going on or being set up for the future. Raw was very much a damp squib given the history of shows after Mania, but I’m more hopeful this one will be good. We already have a set up on Twitter regarding the finish to Sunday’s main event where Roman Reigns pinned both Daniel Bryan and Edge… or more he placed Edge on top of Bryan and then covered them both, so the guy who ‘pinned’ Daniel Bryan was technically Edge… so we will see the fallout from that for sure (I’m going to guess some form of rematch for the awfully named ‘WrestleMania Backlash’ Pay Per View (what was wrong with just ‘Backlash’ I don’t know, the WrestleMania name adds to it somehow I guess…).
We also have Pat McAfee joining Michael Cole as the commentary team after Corey Graves got moved to Raw. Pat has been a star on NXT who’s gone form rather irritating to really entertaining, so lets see how he does in this new role. In terms of matches announced for the show we have SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defending against The Street Profits which should be fun. And also Rey Mysterio & son Dominik vs Chad Gable & Otis.
WWE SmackDown – April 16th 2021
There’s a new ‘Then – Now – Forever’ opener.
They showed a recap of the Universal title match from WrestleMania. This was some match by the way. They focused on the end of the match, and played over the top a previous Roman Reigns promo where he said ‘I’m gonna smash you, I’m gonna stack you, and then you will, acknowledge me’. And I guess he did exactly that.
They opened the show in the Thunderdome. Michael Cole introduced Pat McAfee, before our Tribal Chief made his way out, flanked by Jey Uso and the special counsel Paul Heyman. WE HAD PYRO (I think this is a thing for the latest Thunderdome (now on the campus of the University of South Florida) I may be wrong, but I don’t recall it too often before…) when Roman held up the title belt on the rampway! The ring announcer introduced Jey as the Andre The Giant battle royal winner which was cool. Notably Roman has a smile on his face, as does Heyman… lets see if that lasts…
“His muscles have muscles, That’s your champion” – Pat McAfee on Roman. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Roman was amused by the (piped in) ‘you suck’ chants, Heyman hands him a mic, and Heyman laughs at piped in boos, Roman tries to speak (we’ve been here before), Pat tells the noise to ‘keep it down please’ (which I found hilarious). Roman says ‘we put a lot of eyes on SmackDown Paul, so for any new viewers why don’t you tell them about who I beat at WrestleMania…’, Heyman then puts over both Edge and Daniel Bryan and all their accomplishments, Roman says he took a page out of your [Heyman’s] playbook, and like Babe Ruth he called his show as he ‘smashed em and stacked em’ , and then they acknowledged him, Roman said how it was embarrassing what he did and that he’d never wanna be in that situation, that nobody wants to face him, after he ‘smashed em, stacked em’ (he said again… this really is gonna bite him isn’t it…). Roman again said how nobody wants him and nobody is on his level, he says he fulfilled his obligations and now its time to go…
CESARO then came out! He gets into ring and goes face to face with Roman. He took a look at the Universal title and then back at Reigns, asks for mic, but then Roman and co leave… Cesaro throws the mic away and looks on pissed… Roman doesn’t want none of Cesaro it seems, or maybe he just doesn’t think he’s on his level… we’ll find out…
Cole and Pat put over Cesaro and how big his win over Rollins at WrestleMania was. Cole says the single most impressive moment in WrestleMania history is up next… OK then…
We had a few still images of highlights from WrestleMania.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were backstage, when Cesaro came to them, he calls Roman a ‘son of a bitch’ and says he steps up, he says he wants a Roman match tonight! Sonya says she’ll talk to Roman and get back… WOW…
They recapped on commentary and showed us footage of the UFO from Cesaro on Saturday when he spun Rollins on his neck with no hands… as you do… Cesaro is an absolute freak when it comes to strength.
Otis and Chad Gable came out… I still can’t get how Otis is a heel, I feel he was one of the biggest losers in the last year from the live fans not being there… apparently its a singles match now. A video put over how Chad Gable has turned Otis into a beast and helped him unleash his ‘inner alpha’, and how he crushed Rey Mysterio on a previous show. A tale of the tape also put over the differences between the two and just how big a task Rey Mysterio has here.
Rey Mysterio (with Dominik) defeated Otis (with Chad Gable)
Otis dominated with power, big gorilla press, slides Rey out of the ring, Myseterio with shoulders, uses rope to stagger Otis, Otis runs at him on top, gets kicks to rey who’s trapped upside down, Rey moves out of the way, comes off the top with a senton and follows with a running knee not long after for a nearfall. Rey tries to but funny enough can’t move Otis, whom not long after catches Rey off a crossbody and slams him down. Otis comes off the second rope but Rey moves out the way, sets for the 619, gets it, then goes to the top rope, hits a running crucifix pin (using Otis’ own momentum to force him down) and then 1,2,3 REY WINS! The Mysterios celebrate, Otis and Gable can’t believe it. A creative finish to a classic big man v little man TV match, but…. lets see about that booking long term…
Kayla Braxton is seen chatting to Paul Heyman backstage and will provide an answer to Cesaro’s challenge to Roman. They showed a graphic for Roman vs Cesaro and said up next…
They went through various headlines from different media outlets that put over WrestleMania. They recapped Cesaro talking to Pearce and Sonya Deville.
Kayla asked Paul, and Heyman says we put smiles on faces around here in WWE. Heyman put over Roman Reigns’ star power, he says there was no rain delay on Saturday but tears from angels about the beating Roman was going to give Edge and Daniel Bryan (that’s a great line by the way). He says Roman walked out of WrestleMania Universal Champion, Edge and Bryan didn’t walk out at all. He said the locker room was sad too, as the likes of Seth Rollins had to lower himself at WrestleMania to facing a “knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, buck tooth, swiss quisling like Cesaro”, before then saying how he had a billlion dollar body with a brain that doesn’t match. He says Cesaro is a joke, and that we should stop this now by giving Cesaro what he wants. Heyman said that tonight in the main event it will be Cesaro against THE main event, Jey Uso. Great Heyman promo as always. The way he transitioned from Roman’s win at Mania into talking about Cesaro was masterful. He’s a real genius on the microphone.
Commentary again showed us the UFO from Saturday, this time with dramatic music added…
Sami Zayn was out next. He did not look happy at all… they showed headlines of Logan Paul; getting a stunner from THE LORD Kevin Owens (during my reviews of SmackDown I will forever refer to KO as THE LORD for his god-like act of giving Logan Paul a stunner at WrestleMania).
Zayn said he saw all the headlines other than the one that was most accurate ‘Sami Zayn got screwed’. He said WresleMania was supposed to be his vindication, he said Logan was supposed to help with his documentary, and witness his grand victory, but that’s now how it went down, and he’ll tell us why… He said Logan Paul’s mind was poisoned by Kevin Owens, the WWE Universe, by Michael Cole (you could hear McAfee in agreement with this sentiment) the ‘corporate mouthpiece’… He said he could sense Logan was pulling back from him when they embraced before the match, and that during he match all he was thinking about was if Paul was ok, and that was why he lost. He said he wont be denied, and he called out Kevin Owens. He said tonight there were no distractions (he mentioned ‘those toxic fans; as one of them)… Owens then did come out… and we were promised the confrontation after the ad break. Great promo by Zayn by the way, I absolutely love this delusional, conspiracy character.
Owens and Zayn will have a match it appears… Cole told us it was made official in the break.
Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn in a WrestleMania rematch by countout
Zayn played cat and mouse but KO got the advantage hitting Zayn on the outside. Back in the ring Owens continued to try and knock some sense into Zayn, Sami Zayn tried to fightback but got hit with a clothesline, then a running senton. Owens just seemed to be disappointed by Zayn, he tried for the cannonball but Zayn moved, then used the ropes to take over. Zayn hit rights and lefts, then used his knee to trap Owens against the ropes, Owens hit a big chop, Zayn again trapped Owens in the corner with his boot this time, KO got the better of a striking exchange, Zayn bated Owens away and hit chops of his own… Owens set for the pop-up powerbomb but Zayn stopped that, but did get hit with a clothesline. THE LORD Kevin Owens bounced Zayn off the ropes which looked impressive as Sami took a big bump, Owens followed with punches in the corner, then a big chop… Zayn fought back, and then hit a sunset flip powerbomb (which Pat called ‘the single most impressive thing he has ever seen’.. this guy… ) but Owens kicked out at 2. Zayn could believe it was only a 2.
After the break Zayn punched away Owens in the corner, Zayn then came off the top but KO dodged it and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Owens came off the top and hit a swanton for another nearfall. Owens again tried for the powerbomb but Zayn tried to escape to the outside. Owens went after him and threw Zayn against the barricade, he again tried the powerbomb but Sami jumped over him, Owens wrestled out a suplex attempt by Sami and slammed him with a backbreaker after for another nearfall. Zayn again tried to escape, Owens again got after him, he tried a stunner in the ring but Zayn again went to the outside… Sami Zayn this time gauged Owens in the eye, Zayn walked away and took the count out loss. Owens ran after Zayn after the bell, got him in the ring, and hit the stunner. Why we couldn’t of had that as the finish I don’t know. Owens just shook his head at his former friend. Owens shouted into the camera ‘it’s my ring’. A decent match and in terms of character development for both, good stuff.
The new Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (with the FKA Dabba Kato, now Commander Azeez, alongside him) was backstage cutting a promo to camera. He said all of Nigeria has not stopped celebrating ever since he smashed Big E into oblivion. He said he would give Big E a rematch tonight but he’s not here… he showed a recap of Mania when Azeez hit what looked like the ‘Samoan Spike’ move Umaga used to hit. He then introduced us to Commander Azeez, and he said if anyone dared to come for his championship they would be annihilated. He referred to the Nigerian Male(or ‘Man’, it was hard to tell) as the reason Big E wasn’t here tonight before… but this was fine stuff. I like that Apollo has a heater.
Street Profits made their way out as Michael Cole said it was party time now. McAfee put over both Ford and Dawkins. Street Profits have their first tag title straight tag match for 3 months later tonight against the champions Roode and Ziggler. They seemed to be setting up for our next segment, which will be a victory party for Bianca Belair (Ford’s irl wife by the way).
More cool still images from across WrestleMania weekend.
Ford sang that it was ‘Friday night and it feels so right’, Dawkins said it was takeback season. Ford said we got a little inspiration this weekend, and said there was one match he’ll be telling his grandkids about, they rolled footage of the match between Belair and Banks. My word what a match by the way, the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania for sure. One of the best women’s matches I’ve seen full stop. They then introduced Belair, and gave her the big intro as well. Great shit. Belair then came out and looked like the star she is. DAMN she looks good with that title. Michael Cole again repeated his line from Saturday saying that Belair and Banks were not only the first two black women to main event, but to battle for a championship at a WrestleMania, good stuff from Michael Cole. Ford and Dawkins were amazing hype men. Belair said it felt like she had been floating since Saturday night and she felt so blessed. She said despite the struggles she never stopped believing, she thanked her family an said they’d were the ones who showed when you demand greatness from yourself you can change the game. Belair went on to say that she was unapologetically her, and when you find your EST you should ever apologise to anyone for telling them you are the best. She said if you can dream it you can do it, because she went to WrestleMania and she showed up, she then put over Banks as well. She thanked Sasha, and that were was nobody she’d of rather shared the spotlight with and they both made history. She said this moment was for all those little girls that sat and watched that looked like her. She said at WrestleMania it was magic, but they’re just getting started creating history. The three then all embraced. Belair then said it was time for them to get those Smackdown titles as they ‘only wear gold in this house’ which was a great line. Ford led a ‘we want the smoke’ from the three of them. This was great babyface stuff that was really heartwarming, and felt very genuine. Brilliant promo by Bianca.
Kayla was backstage with Sasha. Banks looked pissed. They focused on the mark Banks has on her from Belair’s hair whip . Banks could barely speak and just looked angry and then walked away.
They AGAIN showed us the UFO from Mania… come on now please… it was cool don’t get me wrong but…
Bayley was backstage with Kayla. Bayley said she was busy on both nights of WrestleMania trying to save the show. She moaned at Belair for crying before her match, and said the real reason she was crying was because she didn’t think she could win. She called her arrogant, she said it wasn’t the type of champion they want, and Bayley staked her claim to get the title back. She challenged Bianca and said she’d take her title, and reminded us that she was the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s champion.
With The Street Profits already in the ring, Ziggler and Roode made their way out and we will have our tag title match next.
Whilst promoting Raw for Monday before the ad break, they announced Asuka vs Charlotte Flair. Urgh…
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (C) defeated The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Good match. All four guys are solid in-ring, and they all played their roles well. Ford might be one of the best athletes in the company. Profits had the best of it early and frequent tags cut off Ziggler, and once Roode finally was tagged in Ford was able to duck so Roode collided with Dolph. Dawkins and Ford combined to slam down Roode, then they slammed Ziggler onto him before sending Dolph to the outside. Profits were on absolute fire here. After the ad break The Street Profits were still on top, Roode hit a spinebuster after a distraction to get a nearfall and to turn things around. Ziggler got the tag in and he took down Ford and got a quick nearfall on Dawkins after a neckbreaker. Roode was tagged in and the heels were now in charge, Roode got a nearfall on Dawkins from a suplex. The champions cut off Dawkins from Ford, until Ziggler was sent into the turnbuckle by Dawkins… both made tags and Ford and Roode went at it… Ford was awesome on offence taking both guys down… he hit a great back suplex to Roode, then did a kip-up and hit a standing moonsault to Roode, but only got a nearfall. That was tremendous from Ford, he’s such a star already. Ford dived over the ropes onto both Roode and Ziggler on the outside, as Dawkins made the tag mid-dive. Ford put Roode back in the ring, Dawkins hit a spinebuster, tagged in Ford who hit a huge Frog Splash… but Ziggler broke the pin… Dawkins and Ziggler took eachother to the outside, but Dolph held onto the ropes and was on the apron, Ford dropped him down, and then went after Roode in the corner, Ziggler sneaked the tag when Ford’s back was turned, as Montez continued to go at Roode, and Dolph ran in to hit the Zig Zag and get the win. The Champions retain. This was good stuff.
FOR FUCK SAKE THEY SHOWED US THE DAMN UFO FOR THE FOURTH TIME TONIGHT!!!!
Kayla Braxton was backstage, where she spoke to Cesaro. He said Heyman was right about what he said about him, but that he was wrong about one thing, that he does belong in the ring with Roman Reigns. He said he’d prove it tonight by beating Jey Uso.
Roman was shown with Heyman in their locker room looking on, baffled by what Cesaro had just said. Jey Uso was pacing in the background.
More Mania pictures after the ad break.
Natalya and Shayna Baszler were in the ring. They’ve got a match right now it seems with their respective tag partners at ringside…
Natalya (with Tamina) defeated Shayna Baszler (with Nia Jax)
Can’t pretend I was too arsed about this one… but I will say that they both worked hard and meshed well. The technical wrestling was good, but this felt like more an extended angle to (for some reason) continue this tag title feud… Nia twice provided distractions, and eventually it was Jax who inadvertently caused the distraction that led to Shayna being rolled up and pinned by Natalya. Tamina came in a hit a big boot to Jax after the bell.
WWE released The iiconics the other day… meanwhile THIS was our tag title match at WrestleMania… AND THE FEUD IS CARRYING ON?!?!… FFS…
NO FOR FUCK SAKE… FOR THE FIFTH TIME THEY SHOWED US THE UFO…. BORE OFF NOW
Reigns was again seen in his locker room. Jey Uso cut a promo on Cesaro and called him a ‘one hit move’ and asked if he can do that with no teeth? Roman spoke very softly to the camera after.
They promoted Talking Smack on the WWE Network (Peacock). Guests are Belair, Ziggler and Roode, and Apollo Crews. I highly recommend this show. Heyman co-hosts with Kayla Braxton. It’s compelling stuff.
They showed highlights of the Andre battle royal from last week’s WrestleMania edition of SmackDown. The trophy was ringside. They mentioned Cesaro has also won the battle royal in the past. That was in 2014. And only just here does it look like Cesaro might get his big chance… it’s been a LONG time overdue!
Cesaro defeated ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso by Disqualification
Cesaro dominated with power early, getting a nearfall after a backbreaker. Cesaro crashed into the ringpost and Jey targeted the hand after, Cesaro later sent Uso to the outside. But Cesaro jumped right into a superkick on the outside after. After the ad break (a few minutes into the main event by the way, for fuck sake) Uso was working on his arm to take away Cesaro’s power advantage, and Jey got a nearfall after a Samoan Drop. Uso continued to work on Cesaro’s arm, later Cesaro blocked and reversed a vertical suplex into one of his own. Cesaro came off the top and got a nearfall after a crossbody, Uso got a nearfall after going back to the arm and hitting a superkick. Uso got another nearfall not long after as he really was in charge now, again he went to the top but Cesaro hit a dropkick, Cesaro tried a superplex but Jey hit punches, then Cesaro hit a huge uppercut and then a gutwrench suplex off the top… but Jey kicked out at 2. Cesaro then went for the neautralizer, but Jey went at the bad arm.. Cesaro cartwheeled out the way, then hit a corkscrew uppercut off the ring ropes, but Uso kicked out at 2. Uso kicked as Cesaro went for a swing, Cesaro got an uppercut, Uso hit a neckbreaker but only got a 2. After that Uso hit more punches, and chatted trash as he did so, Cesaro came back with hard punches, then a discuss clothesline for another nearfall. Cesaro called for the swing, but as he was swinging him Seth Rollins ran in to attack Cesaro for the DQ.
Rollins was seething as he walked up the ramp. Rollins screamed that Cesaro got lucky, and it wasn’t over until he said it was over. Rollins said he was the end all be all of this industry and the sooner you [Cesaro] figured that out, the better it was going to be. And that was how the show ended.
So… a solid show sure, but a few things not really talked about… Nothing was really said about how Edge technically pinned Bryan… There was no Big E or Bryan or Edge on the show, nor Carmella, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott who all appeared at WrestleMania. Not really sure if Cesaro is going to face Reigns, or if he’s continuing the feud with Rollins? Or if that’s a set up for the next challenger to Reigns who knows… It does seem though that Belair and Banks will go at it again, and Bayley will be added to the mix which should be fun. And it seems they’re setting the Mysterios maybe up for a future tag title feud? Lets see… but a solid SmackDown without it being excellent, one that I hope leads to bigger stuff in the coming weeks as we get closer to the WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH Pay Per View…