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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 10.15.21

October 15, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Roman Reigns Paul Heyman WWE Smackdown
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 10.15.21  

Another week, another episode of WWE Smackdown. Tonight is the final Smackdown before Crown Jewel this coming Thursday, so I expect a lot of shenanigans. The Smackdown half of the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournaments will conclude tonight, Finn Balor taking on Sami Zayn for the King of the Ring and Carmella battling Zelina Vega for the Queen’s Crown. Last week the women’s matches were given criminally short time, let’s see if Carmella and Vega get more to do tonight. Sonya Deville will allegedly make her in ring return against Naomi, and frankly if it gets her out of the authority figure role I’m all for it. I appreciate WWE giving Sonya something to do while she recovered, but this hasn’t been a great fit and if she’s ready to return to action it’s time to move on from this detour. Brock Lesnar will be here to confront Roman Reigns, further hyping those two in what I assume is the main event for Crown Jewel. We’ll also have a non-title match between Smackdown women’s champion Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. A lot of heel on heel stuff tonight, I mean that main event might as well have a bright flashing neon sign that says “Bianca run in” but we’ll have to see how long that takes to play out. Alright, that’s enough preamble so let’s get to the action.

We’re at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California tonight with the usual duo of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary. Also don’t forget we’re 2.5 hours tonight, for nebulous reasons. Up first is Edge, in the wake last week when he called for a Hell in a Cell match to close his rivalry with Seth Rollins he’s here to kick off the show. We get a video recap of the Edge and Rollins issue thus far, culminating with Edge’s enraged demand for Hell in a Cell. Edge has a chair and sits down to deliver his monologue. He says this stated between him and Seth 7 years ago, and now they’re in each others way with both men trying to become Universal champion. But this has become so much more. Ever since Rollins won in Madison Square Garden Rollins kept coming out and demanding more. Rollins then went to Edge’s home, where he lives and loves and cries with his family. We see Rollins in the back watching this. Edge reminds us that Rollins is still just following his playbook, recalling the time he slapped John Cena’s dad. Edge underestimated Rollins, a mistake akin to underestimate himself and he never does that. The two men are so alike they instinctually capitalize on mistakes, Edge beat Rollins at Summerslam then Rollins beat him at Madison Square Garden. Rollins is the only guy in the ring who comes close to matching Edge’s passion and obsession. Close, but not quite there. He says Rollins is not Edge-lite, he’s his own man. Rollins is happy to hear that. But because of that Edge has to end this, because if not their families will keep getting involved. Edge could go have a chance encounter with Becky. But Edge is going to channel that instead, and forever change Rollins after Hell in a Cell. A few weeks ago Rollins felt sorry for Edge, a mistake as you should never feel sympathy for a devil, and that’s what they are. Edge wont hesitate inside Hell in a Cell. He is going to scar Rollins’ soul, a scar you’ll never heal from. Edge is about as good as you get these days for this kind of promo, this one wasn’t quite as good as his promo before WrestleMania but was still quite good.

We get a recap of Sami Zayn beating Rey Mysterio last week as well as Balor besting Cesaro. That leads to the music of Balor hitting. Video from Balor, who thinks a king should respect the ring while Zayn only respects the sound of his own voice. He vows to shut Zayn up and advance. Balor heads to the ring as we head to break, his match with Zayn will be up next.

Sami Zayn heads to the ring as we come back.

Match #1 – King of the Ring Semifinal: Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn

Balor backs Zayn up at first, then starts working the arm of Zayn with a hammerlock on the mat. Zayn can’t escape and has to land an elbow to get Balor off of his arm. That leads to Zayn landing a chop, but eat a drop kick after trying a sunset flip then Balor hits an arm drag and looks to resume controlling things. They run the ropes and Zayn hits a clothesline for a few 2 counts. The usual Zayn control segment but Balor is able to toss him out of the ring then hit a dive over the top rope to send us to break.

We come back to Zayn back in control and bouncing Balor around the turnbuckles. Balor starts fighting back with strikes including a Pele kick and both men are down. Zayn heads to the apron but Balor catches him and drives him into the ring post before Zayn is able to hang him up over the top rope. Zayn heads up top but Balor cuts him off with a chop and heads up with him. They battle on the top rope but Zayn is able to headbutt Balor down. Zayn takes way too long to follow up and Balor intercepts him with a shotgun drop kick that gets a 2 count. Balor tries the Eye of the Hurricane but Zayn counters into the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn tries the exploder into the corner, Balor tries to fight him off but eventually Zayn connects with the exploder. That leads to Zayn lining up the Helluva Kick but Balor avoids it and hits a gamen guri from the apron. Balor up top for the Coup de Grace but Zayn cuts him off then rolls him up but the ref sees him using the ropes for leverage. That leads to Balor firing up, hitting a Sling Blade then a shotgun drop kick. Balor up top, Coup de Grace misses and Zayn rolls him up for 2. Zayn tries another exploder but Balor rolls through and hits a double stomp. Another series of John Woooooo shotgun drop kicks follow, then Balor heads up and delivers the Coup de Grace to win.


Rating: 3 stars

Sadly the lack of a narrative hurt this, but both men are good enough to make even a fairly standard WWE match watchable. Also the usual problem of WWE television matches showed up, nothing before the first commercial break really mattered. They put together a pretty good closing stretch though, and both deserve tons of credit for that.

Balor poses in the ring as we head to break.

Coming back from break we get a reminder that Drew McIntyre is coming to Smackdown once the draft rosters go into effect after Crown Jewel. We get a recap of the new roster, and then a prolonged video package questioning where they loyalties of Paul Heyman are ahead of Crown Jewel. It’s a nice reminder of just how good that segment was last week.

We head to the ring for our next match, and here’s Naomi for that match. We see Sonya Deville hanging out at gorilla, probably scheming, as we head to break.

Naomi is waiting in the ring as we come back to action. Sonay Deville shows up without music and in a suit. Sonya says there were more details to the match tonight that Naomi missed by storming out. It’s going to be Naomi vs. Sonya and Shayna Baszler. That brings out Baszler.

Match #2 – Handicap Match: Naomi vs. Sonya Deville and Shanya Baszler

No tagging necessary for Sonya and Baszler apparently. Sonya slaps Naomi, Naomi kicks Baszler in the head but gets caught up chasing Sonya and the numbers catch up to her. Baszler holds Naomi up for Sonya to abuse for a bit but Naomi fights back with strikes to both of them then a springboard enziguri to Baszler. Naomi tries to head up, but Sonya cuts her off. That allows Baszler to lock in the Kirifuda Clutch then Sonya is able to easily pin Naomi.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Sonya Deville and Shayna Baszler won

Rating: 1.5 stars

More angle than match.

We get a video to try and hype up Hit Row, they’ll be on Smackdown soon.

Seth Rollins is here to deliver a reply to Edge’s promo from the start of the show. He’ll deliver that prolonged monologue after this break.

Quick video from Sasha Banks. She puts herself over, and promises to reclaim the title at Crown Jewel. She’s not just here to take by the title, but to right wrongs. Two weeks ago she beat Bianca Belair, and tonight she’s taking out Big Time Becks. Catchphrases follow to close her bit, then commentary runs down the Crown Jewel card.

Back in the ring Rollins has a mic and he’s not afraid to use it. Rollins laughs to start, per usual. He says Edge was just doing a sell job trying to convince anyone that he’s got a chance at beating Rollins at Crown Jewel. Rollins is in no way intimidated or afraid to fight Edge in Hell in a Cell. Because Hell has already frozen over here in California, Edge finally said he was wrong and that Rollins is not Edge-lite. Edge is finally coming around to what we’ve all known all along, that Rollins is better than Edge in every possible way. The length of this promo already disagrees with that. Rollins has out manipulated the master manipulator and he’s going in with a mental advantage, and a physical advantage after he Stomped Edge back in Madison Square Garden. There’s no way Edge is 100%, so Rollins has a physical and mental edge now Edge has to try and pretend he’s got an ace up his sleeve. This silly suit Rollins is wearing has prompted a “Harley Quinn” chant. Rollins repeats that he’s not afraid of Edge in Hell in a Cell. Edge is right about a few things though, they’re both devils but the big difference between them is that Rollins has spent more time in that Cell than Edge has. He knows what that structure does to people, what it’s done to him. He’s been scarred by the Cell already. In fact he’s the man he is today because of Hell in a Cell. Crown Jewel will end this fairy tale, but Rollins is the visionary, the revolutionary, Seth freaking Rollins then drops the mic. Not nearly as good as Edge’s promo, but Rollins eventually got to a point and when he got there it was pretty good.

Carmella and Zelina Vega meet up at gorilla and Vega promises not to try and break Carmella’s face. They just want a good clean match. Carmella is happy for the both of them. That leads to Carmella head to the ring, she and Vega will have their semifinal match after this break.

Back from break and here comes Zelina Vega.

Match #3 – Queen’s Crown Semifinal: Carmella vs. Zelina Vega

Carmella does not want her protective mask tonight. Quick roll ups are traded to start. Carmella starts going for the arm of Vega, an extended bit with Carmella working a hold then moves into an arm wringer that allows Vega to flip free but eats a super kick. Vega scoots to the ropes, Carmella tries to apologize, Vega is pissed and hits a Thesz press and lays in punches. Carmella heads out and wants the mask, but the ref wont give her extra time to get it on. Oh, and here’s Liv Morgan to steal the mask and chase Carmella into the ring where Vega gets a small package to pin and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Zelina Vega won

Rating: DUD

Well that was certainly a choice.

Another hype package for next week, this time we’re reminded that Sheamus is coming to Smackdown.

To just continue the negative trend in this part of the show, here’s Happy Corbin and flunky Madcap Moss. Happy Talk will be up after this commercial break, presumably featuring another run in from Kevin Owens followed by him getting beaten down.

Apparently the Happy Talk set has been cut down a bit as we come back. Corbin wants us to welcome Madcap Moss, the funniest man Corbin has ever met. That leads to Moss’s bad joke of the week. There’s this hen, who’s laid eggs every week all of her life but stops suddenly. The diagnosis is an EGGistential crisis. Someone thought this was a good idea to put on television. Corbin mocks Kevin Owens leaving Smackdown, Moss calls Owens writhing on the ground just another Friday night. Is it contractually mandated that on Smackdown you have to have a stupid laugh? Moss with a joke about Ricochet and Drew McIntyre, thankfully that’s cut off by the guitar of Rick Boogs. Boogs didn’t come here to hear bad jokes, but to rock with the Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura. That brings out Nakamura, he and Boogs head over to rock at commentary for a bit. They just circle the ring and then head back up the ramp. I’m not calling it good, but it was better than Moss. The Street Profits show up, and Boogs transitions to playing their theme pretty smoothly. The Profits hang out and dance on the entrance ramp, their tag team title shot will be up after this break.

We get a reminder that next week the New Day will be here. The Profits are in the ring waiting for the Usos, as Cole reminds us there’s another hour still to go. Here come the Usos.

Match #4 – Street Fight for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: (c) The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) vs. Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)

No tags, just brawling. The Profits take over early, Dawkins hitting his double underhook neckbreaker. Jey takes out Dawkins on the outside then drops Ford in the ring with a back suplex into a neckbreaker. Jimmy clocks Dawkins off of the apron. Both Usos head out of the ring and slam Dawkins into the barricade, but they pose right where Ford is able to jump clear over the ring post and take out Jimmy and Jey. Dawkins tells Ford to the get the tables, but they take too long and the Usos hit stereo suicide dives to take them out and send us to break.

Jimmy is working over Dawkins as we come back. Jey is looking around under the ring and finds a kendo stick that he tosses to Jimmy. Jey gets another one of his own and both men start laying into Dawkins with the sticks but all that abuse just leads to a 2 count. They start in with the sticks to enable Kevin Dunn’s epilepsy inducing cuts. Ford returns to frame via a high cross body to both men. Ford runs wild, sending Jey out of the ring then kicking Jimmy down and super kicks a chair into his head for a near fall. Jey back in now and hits a pop up Samoan drop on Ford. Jey starts playing with the fans, and runs into a super kick. Dawkins in as well and they double team Jey but their effort only gets a 2 count. Dawkins gets a knedo stick and starts abusing Jey with it while Ford gets his chair and the ref rather too loudly calls for the chair shot. Ford up top, Dawkins puts him on his shoulders but Jimmy in and saves the match. Dawkins gets posted, then double super kicks for both Ford and Dawkins from Jimmy and Jey but they still can’t keep Dawkins down for a 3 count. Jimmy and Jey both up top now, but Ford takes out Jey. Jimmy eats an Anointment from Dawkins then From the Heavens comes Ford but Jey pulls him off the cover and drives Ford through a table with a uranage. Dawkins just runs over Jey and then punches Jimmy. Back in the ring Dawkins rolls up Jimmy but eats a series of blows from Jey and Jimmy, culminating with a sandwich super kick. Jimmy and Jey with follow up splashes to pin and retain the titles.

OFFICIAL RESULT: The Usos retained the Smackdown Tag Team Titles

Rating: 3.5 stars

Frantic sprint from all four men, they made decent work of the stipulation given the WWE restrictions in place.

Becky Lynch is at gorilla, she says greatness is being undefeated for 3 years, kicking down doors, being off to have a baby then returning to win the title back in record time. Greatness is Big Time, then Becky heads to the ring as her non-title match against Sasha Banks will be up after this break.

That was our last commercial break for the evening. We get a reminder that Charlotte Flair is coming to Smackdown. My depression did not need to be kickstarted like that. We also get a recap of last week when the contract signing between Becky, Banks, and Bianca Belair went off the rails. Following that, here comes Sasha Banks for the match. Before they get started here comes Bianca Belair, she’s bound for RAW after Crown Jewel but she’s joining commentary for this match to highlight her interference.

Match #5: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

They tie up, Banks tries to go after the arm of Becky but Becky reverses the arm wringer. Banks with an escape then grabs a side headlock. Becky escapes and gets one of her own then shoulder blocks Banks down. Banks avoids a spinning leg drop, Becky avoids a Meteora then Becky with a Magistral cradle for a 2 count. They trade roll ups for a bit but wind up just standing off. Becky starts in with strikes, tries the Disarm Her but Banks is able to escape and they both try for submission holds but neither can fully lock them in before Banks slams Becky into the corner. Banks with a double knee strike in the corner but that only gets 2. They trade escapes then run the ropes ending with Becky hitting a leg drop. Becky starts laying in stomps in the corner. Banks fights back and sends Becky to the apron then follows her out there. Banks tries a Meteora but Becky moves and Banks eats nothing but ring post with her knees.

Becky sends Banks out of the ring and looks to take a countout. Banks is able to get back in at 8 and Becky resumes stomping on Banks. Banks tries to fire back up but Becky picks the leg of Banks and drives her down with a bulldog. Becky starts working a chinlock, but Banks fights back and hits the 3 Amigos for a 2 count. Banks tries to head up top but is caught by Becky and Becky posts Banks then locks in a Disarm Her through the ropes and holds for a 4 count. Becky up to the second rope and hits a guillotine leg drop to Banks for a 2 count. Banks fights back with a jawbreaker as Becky takes a long time to follow up, but Becky catches her with a kick in the corner. Becky slams Banks into the top rope a few times then heads to the apron with her but Banks is able to slam Becky’s arm into the ring post. Knee from Banks then a Meteora against the ring post. Another Meteora from Banks back in the ring. Banks up top, flying Meteora only gets 2. Banks looks for the Backstabber, but Becky slips free and hits a back elbow. Becky up top, Banks meets her there and they fight for position. Banks avoids a flying attack and hits a Backstabber that sends Becky out of the ring. Becky gets up and Banks tries a powerbomb off the apron but Becky counters with a leg drop. Banks on the floor now as Belair looks on. Becky tries to fly off the ring steps, but Banks counters into a Bank Statement but on the floor it doesn’t mean much. Back in the ring, Banks up top and hits a Frog Splash for 2.

Banks lays in more strikes, but Becky counters with a European uppercut then a flying forearm in the corner. Banks hits a Meteora, but when trying another one Banks catches her and this a Becksploder suplex but Banks uses the ropes to break the pin. Becky up top, hits another leg drop but again only gets 2. Becky is having a mild existential crisis, but recovers and tosses Banks to the apron but misses a leg drop. Banks pulls Becky out of the ring and tries a tornado DDT but Becky shoves her towards Belair. Becky then tries to punch Banks but misses and hits Belair, Banks then come sin with a Meteora. Back in the ring Becky gets the knees up to block a Frog Splash but still can’t put Banks away. Banks lands a knee strike but runs into a Tiger suplex and Becky tries a Disarm Her but Banks avoids it. Banks with a backslide, Becky blocks and lays in uppercuts then kicks. Becky wants a Manhandle Slam but Banks counters with a Victory Roll for 2. Banks with a Backstabber into the Bank Statement. Becky to the ropes to break the hold, but Belair whips Becky with her hair and Banks hits a Backstabber to pin and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Sasha Banks won

Rating: 3.5 stars

The telegraphed finish and spotty selling knock this down for me, but I wont be surprised to see a lot of people rate this much higher.

We get the set up for the contract signing, and here comes Roman Reigns. It’s a nice touch that Adam Pearce set Roman’s chair at the head of the table. And here comes Brock Lesnar, still rocking the sleeveless flannel shirt. Lesnar walks around the ring before getting in and staring off with Roman. Lesnar takes a seat, Roman looks on disapprovingly as Lesnar puts his feet on the table. Roman examines the contract and hands it to Heyman. Heyman looks it over, then hands Roman a pen and takes a mic. Heyman says the contract is everything Roman requested and advises Roman sign the contract for Crown Jewel. Roman signs the contract. Adam Pearce hands the contract to Lesnar, Lesnar immediately signs and Roman calls him a dumbass. Roman questions Lesnar signing without even reading it. Lesnar laughs, and tells Roman he already read the contract this morning with his advocate, Paul Heyman. Lesnar just walks out after that while Roman looks slightly perturbed. Roman gets a touch agitated as he processes this in the ring, commentary runs down the Crown Jewel card to close the episode.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Good, but barely so. The middle of this episode dragged quite a bit, but the opening Edge promo was good as was Balor taking on Sami Zayn. The street fight was quite good, as was the Becky and Banks match. I also quite enjoy that Brock's way to play off of Roman is short and sweet, he doesn't engage in prolonged battles of wits or whatnot, just pokes the bear and heads out. Not a bad go home show for Smackdown as far as Crown Jewel goes.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree