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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 2.12.21

February 12, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 2.12.21  

Hey there everyone, welcome to another episode of WWE Smackdown. I’m Robert Winfree, keeping you up to date on the happenings. I’m going to have to beg a bit of indulgence, my root canal from earlier in the week only got most of the way done (apparently it wouldn’t stop bleeding long enough for the last bit). I’m not in as much pain as I was a few days ago, but if I’m harsher than usual or just more cranky that’s why. Tonight Roman Reigns will probably address Kevin Owens attacking him to close Smackdown last week, we still don’t know exactly where Daniel Bryan’s story is going, and of course Seth Rollins is making his return. All this and more tonight, so let’s hope for a good 2 hours of television.

Per usual Roman Reigns is here to kick off Smackdown. How much do you think Michael Cole dies inside now that he has to say “Here comes the head of the table” instead of “Here comes THA BIG DAWG”? Anyway Roman is here with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. We get a recap from RAW of Edge saying he doesn’t know who’s leaving the Elimination Chamber as champion and he’ll wait until after that PPV to make his announcement. Adam Pearce is in the ring with some kind of official document, he’s waiting for Roman to finally get to the ring. Seriously, the only torch Undertaker passed to Roman was the long slow ring walk. Eventually Roman does get into the ring, and Paul Heyman hands him a mic while “yousuck.exe” runs down. Roman asks why Pearce is hiding in the corner. He says Pearce doesn’t have authority over him or calls any shots, he’s just here to wait on Roman. Roman is the Sun of Smackdown, everything orbits him. He wont wait on Pearce, or Edge. Last week Edge didn’t want it, got nervous after looking Roman in the eye. Because Edge knows what Roman will do to him, beat him so bad he’ll need a Legends contract. Rather than wait on Edge, who’s got a weak ploy of waiting for the end of Elimination Chamber, let’s get on. Roman says he wont drop the title until he wants to. But Pearce is here to talk about Elimination Chamber. Pearce has had the contract for a week, but Heyman wanted it done this way. The contract says the Universal title will be on the line in the Elimination Chamber, just like Drew McIntyre. Roman hands the mic to Paul Heyman. Heyman introduces himself, then says Roman’s agreement with WWE might stipulate him appearing on the event but it doesn’t require him to defend the title in the Chamber just defend the belt at the event. Heyman says to put anyone they want in the Chamber, but the winner of the Chamber will then right after the match get their title shot against Roman Reigns. That’s some genius heel crap from Heyman. Heyman says Pearce isn’t happy, but what’s he gonna do about it? Fire Roman Reigns this close to Wrestlemania? Wasn’t the last Wrestlemania the lowest attended Mania ever because Roman wasn’t there? Great heel logic from Heyman. Pearce says there will be qualifying matches tonight, but off the top of his head two men who don’t need to qualify but will be in the chamber are Jey Uso, a men who took Roman Reigns to the limit, and after the Rumble Kevin Owens doesn’t need to qualify either. Roman heads out of the ring to get in Pearce’s face, he doesn’t care about Jey or Kevin, the only thing he cares about is Pearce. Heyman reminds Roman that Roman does things on his own time, he doesn’t need to do anything crazy. He suggest they not tip their hand yet, Heyman plays his role with Roman darn near perfectly, and Roman seems to go along with that and doesn’t take Pearce’s head off. Not the strongest Roman promo, but he’s still exceptional and Paul Heyman plays off of him incredibly well.

A video package reminds us that Seth Rollins is returning at some point tonight, then we head to break.

In the back Pearce is talking on a phone when he runs into Sonya Deville. He says they’ve got 2 hours to fill up the Chamber, Deville says since the Chamber is every man for themselves how about on a tag team match the winning team will be in the match. Pearce approves, which is good since Deville already set that up.

Match #1 – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Rey Mysterio and Dominick Mysterio vs. King Corbin and Sami “Who rigs every Oscar night?” Zayn

Corbin and Zayn would be the presumptive winners here, which would fill out 3 of the 6 Chamber spots with heels. Zayn has a mic as he’s coming down, noting that Smackdown is still trying to stick it to him. He’s got to earn his way into the Chamber, having to team with a man who he doesn’t get along with in King Corbin. But he’s grateful his documentary crew is here to keep an eye on the ref, Lil’ Naitch, because management loves the Mysterio’s and what they represent for the Latin American demographic. The Mysterio’s jump Sami then Rey and Corbin start us off. Rey drop kicks Corbin into 619 position, but Sami trips him up and drags him outside, then Dominick dives onto Sami and damn near kills himself hitting the announce table head first. Back in the ring Rey sends Corbin to the outside then gets Dominick back in the ring and we head to commercial break.

We come back with Rey and Corbin fighting it out in the ring. Rey counters a chokeslam and sends Corbin into the corner then both men tag out. Dominick runs wild on Sami for a bit, then hits a tornado DDT from the second rope for a near fall. Dominick with blows in the corner, then a tope con hilo from the apron. Corbin tries to get involved, Dominick cuts him off and hits another tope con hilo on him. Zami with a roll up for 2 then a blue thunder bomb for another near fall. Swinging neck breaker from Dominick and Corbin saves the match for his team. Dominick avoids an End of Days, Rey with a seated senton the they hit the double 619 to Corbin. Rey and Corbin out of the ring, but Dominick runs into an exploder suplex in the corner. Sami follows up with a helluva kick to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Sami Zayn and King Corbin won

Rating: 1.5 stars

Generic match, the commercial break did it no favors and the winners were a bit too telegraphed for my liking.

In the back Ziggler and Roode approach Pearce and Deville. They lobby their case to be in the Chamber. Deville says they can earn a spot in the Chamber in a match against the tag team of Cesaro and Daniel Bryan. Another predictable match, Cesaro and Bryan being the clear favorites there.

Back towards the ring and here comes Big E. He’ll defend the IC title next.

We come back to a recap of Bianca Belair whipping Reginald Sommelier last week with her hair. In the back Reginald is taking champagne to Sasha Banks. Banks demands respect, he apologizes for being out of line last week and says it wont happen again. She asks if meant it about her beating Bianca, he says of course he meant that, then hands her the champagne.

Back to the ring, where Big E is hanging out. He’s got a mic and says last week he beat the odds against Sami Zayn and Apollo Crews to retain his IC title. He won this belt and made a vow to be a fighting champion, a vow as strong as the bond between gorilla glue and hair follicles. Apollo Crews cuts him off from more pop culture references. Crews says he knows Big E is here to issue an open challenge, but seeing as he’s taken Big E to the limit time and again he accepts. Big E says he was only kind of right, he was going to challenge anyone on the roster or in the arena, anyone BUT Crews. Crews tries to insult him into the match, Big E says he’s beaten Crews 3 times and they start jaw jacking back and forth. Big E says they’re done, and wants his next challenger to come out. Here comes Nakamura. After this break that match will happen, though I assume Crews will interfere.

Match #2 – Intercontinental Title Match: (c) Big E vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

We join the match in progress as Nakamura lands kicks to Big E while Crews hangs out at ringside. Nakamura stomps Big E in the corner, then runs into a back elbow from Big E. Big E drags Nakamura to the apron, smacks him a few times then hits the big splash on the apron and that gets a 2 count. Crews is up on the apron cheering Nakamura on and Big E chases him off which lets Nakamura hit an enziguri. Big E fights out a reverse exploder but Nakamura fights back with knees then sets Big E on the top rope and hits the running knee strike. Nakamura up onto the second rope, flying kick drops Big E for a 2 count. Some knees to the head and body from Nakamura, he wants the Kinshasha but they wind up trading escapes and Nakamura lands a wheel kick. Another Kinshasha attempt from Nakamura but he runs into a ST-Joe in the corner for a near fall. Big E looks to fire up, wants the Big Ending but Nakamura slips off and Crews is in with a drop kick to Big E.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Big E won via Disqualification

Rating: 2 stars

It’s unfortunate they keep booking these screwy finishes for Big E in these matches, because he’s demonstrated he can go with any of the people he’s been in the ring with but we’re stuck with stuff that feels abbreviated.

Another airing of that video package for Seth Rollins. That will allegedly happen next. Everyone from the locker room is coming out to the ring for his return.

Most of the roster is around the ring as Seth Rollins comes out to his older “Burn it down” music. Is he ditching the Messiah character then? He’s wearing a lot of leather or some leather substitute. Rollins makes his way to the ring and gets a mic. He says it feels good to be back, this is where he belongs. A lot has changed since he sacrificed himself at Survivor Series, he knew it would, but the thing that changed the most is him. As most of us know he’s a father for the first time, the proud father of a beautiful baby girl who’s changed his life in ways he never dreamed of. That change has altered his perception, he’s got a new vision. Some of the most talented performers in the history of professional wrestling are around this ring and he now has to wonder where he fits in, but after some reflection he is the great leader that Smackdown needs to push into the future and become greater than it is. Success and leadership aren’t about what anyone can do for you, but what he can do them, everyone is walking away from the ring now. He says it’s easy, all you have to do for a better tomorrow and a better Smackdown is embrace the vision. He just now realizes everyone has left except Cesaro who’s giving him a funny look. Rollins says he knew Cesaro would get it, Cesaro just kind of shakes his head and walks away. Rollins dives after Cesaro and lays into him on the entrance ramp. He says Cesaro will never live up to his potential without him and keeps attacking him until Daniel Bryan makes the save and drives Rollins out of the picture. That cut on Cesaro’s head is opened up again.

That sends us to another hype video for the Elimination Chamber.

After that Bayley is here for a match, no opponent named but that match will happen after the break.

Back from break and here comes Liv Morgan for the match.

Match #3: Bayley vs. Liv Morgan w/ Ruby Riott

Morgan comes out with a drop kick and starts laying into Bayley. Bayley tosses Morgan into the corner and returns fire. Back elbow from Bayley but Morgan avoids a clothesline then hits a couple of drop kicks. Another drop kick from the second rope and Morgan gets a near fall. Bayley heads out of the ring to regroup, while Natalya and Tamina watch TV at an odd angle in the back. Out of the ring Morgan tries to dive off the steel steps at Bayley but Bayley side steps and Morgan face plants into the barricade. Back into the ring and Bayley with stomps then starts working the left arm. Morgan tries to fight back with punches, avoids a corner rush then hits a springboard facebuster for a 2 count. Bayley catches Morgan on the second rope and then hits a modified shoulder breaker for a near fall. Bayley calls for a belly to belly, but Morgan counters with an enziguri then the codebreaker for a very close near fall. Billie Kay has come down to try and give her headshot and resume to Ruby Riott and apologize. The ref is distracted by this, Bayley with a rake of the eyes and a Rose Plant to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bayley pinned Liv Morgan

Rating: 1.5 stars

Standard match, but please someone tell me where this Billie Kay stuff is going. It’s funny, but there has to be direction or it’s going to become tedious.

Post match Bayley mocks Billie Kay for not having any friends.

In the back Cesaro says he’ll be ready to wrestle in that tag team match tonight, then Daniel Bryan chimes in that Cesaro is tough.

The Street Profits are here, we get picture in picture of them from earlier. They are coming for their tag team titles, and are happy to go through Otis and Gable tonight. Allegedly that match will happen after the break.

Gable and Otis come down as we come back from break.

Match #4 – Tag Team Match: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Chad Gable and Otis

Gable and Dawkins start us off. They trade some go behinds then Gable hits a drop toe hold. Dawkins with a sit out, Gable with one of his own and they trade holds on the mat. Gable eventually gets the better of those then they start running the ropes and trade arm drags back and forth. Eventually the stand off after the arm drags, then Ford tags in. They tie up and Ford starts going after the arm but Gable reverses and starts in with elbows to the arm. Ford with a gymnastic routine and prove his leg is healthy again. Gable avoids a leap frog and rolls up Ford then hits an arm drag to ground Ford. Ford tries to arm drag out but Gable holds on, though that motion got him close enough to tag out and Dawkins comes in with a shoulder tackle. Dawkins gets a rear chin lock, Gable fights up and arm drags Dawkins a couple of times then tags out. Otis runs wild on Dawkins, then flap jacks Ford and tosses him from the ring. Otis with an overhead throw, then an avalanche in the corner. Caterpillar time and Otis hits it. He tags Gable and they set for their finish but Otis gets low bridged by Ford. Gable rolls up Dawkins for 2, Ford blind tags and Gable eats an Anointment then the frog splash from the heavens from Ford to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: The Street Profits won

Rating: 2.5 stars

They worked the face vs face dynamic about as well as you can here, both teams got time to get stuff in. I’d really like to know what they’re doing with Gable and Otis, this is another angle that needs direction because while it’s entertaining in a vacuum it needs some kind of path.

Sasha Banks shows up to dance with the Street Profits on her way to the ring, she’ll have mic time after the break.

Banks is in the ring with a mic. She says everyone is talking about Bianca Belair because we’re on the road to Wrestlemania, and she points at the sign as is I assume contractually required. She says there’s only one choice for Belair to make, and that’s here. Belair comes out after that. She’s got a mic and says she sees Banks. She likes Banks too, but girl Banks isn’t the boss of her. Belair is enjoying every second of her time, and here comes Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax’s Hole. Jax says no one cares who Belair chooses, because on the same night Belair won the Rumble they beat Charlotte Flair and Asuka but no one is talking about that. They’re the most dominant force in the WWE. Banks says she was ready for them to show up, and has footage. We get to see some action from RAW, mostly Naomi pinning Baszler. Banks says that wasn’t the footage she meant, Jax says “you wouldn’t dare” and we get the now infamous Nia Jax dialogue and her losing the tables match with Lana. The champs jump the faces but the good guys ultimately stand tall. They drop Jax butt onto the apron again, then Baszler eats an assisted knee from Banks and Belair. The faces stand tall to end the segment.

In the back Cesaro and Daniel Bryan are preparing for their match. Roode and Ziggler head out to the ring for the main event, which will happen after the break.

We come back for the faces entrance.

Match #5 – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. Daniel Bryan and Cesaro

Bryan and Ziggler start us off. Ziggler grabs a side headlock then hits a shoulder tackle. They run the ropes and Bryan lands a roundhouse kick. Cesaro tagged in and they hit a double slam onto Ziggler. Ziggler goes to the knee and hits a drop kick. Roode tagged in and goes to work on Cesaro. Cesaro with a European uppercut then tags out. Bryan with kicks to Roode, God bless Cesaro selling his injuries on the apron. Roode avoids a Yes lock attempt and gets to the ropes, then knees Bryan and cheap shots Cesaro. Bryan tosses Roode out of the ring, tries to dive but Roode moves and Bryan runs into Cesaro. Ziggler and Roode toss Bryan and Cesaro into the steel steps then head into the ring. Corbin and Sami show up on the entrance ramp to be annoying and ominous as we head to break.

We come back as Ziggler is holding a sleeper on Bryan. Bryan fights towards his corner but Ziggler drags him back and tags in Roode. Roode with stomps and punches then some cheap shots from Ziggler. Roode hits a suplex for a near fall. In the back Roman Reigns watches the match from a nice chair. Ziggler is tagged in, sets Bryan on the top rope then sets for a rope rope hurricanrana. Bryan fights back with head butts to drop Ziggler then hits a missile drop kick. Ziggler tags out, and Rodde cuts off Cesaro. Bryan lays into Roode with uppercuts but runs into a spine buster for 2. Roode tags out, they hit a double team powerbome and neck breaker. Bryan avoids a corner rush, and tags out. Cesaro runs wild on both Ziggler and Roode for a bit. Running European uppercuts to Ziggler, he hits three of them then a Swiss Death to Ziggler for a near fall. Cesaro sets for the swing but Roode from behind chop blocks the knee. Bryan hits the knee plus to Roode, Ziggler with a fame-asser to Cesaro but only gets 2. Ziggler wants the super kick, Cesaro catches him and hits the torture rack into a back breaker then into the big swing. Cesaro with the sharpshooter after the swing and Ziggler taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Daniel Bryan and Cesaro won

Rating: 3 stars

Nothing but the fundamentals well executed, but with these guys sometimes it’s best not to complicate things and just let the work speak for itself.

From behind Jey with a chair to Cesaro while Corbin and Zayn take out Bryan. Zayn jumps Jey, then tosses Corbin into the corner. Bryan intercepts a charging Zay with a knee plus. Oh, and here comes Kevin Owens. Owens with Stunners to everyone. In the back Roman seems annoyed. Owens gets a chair and sits, he yells to the camera that he and Roman are not done yet and he’s not going away. That’ll end the episode.

The final score: review Average
The 411
This was some solid if mostly unspectacular television. Roman and company pulling a good bit of heel verbiage to force the winner of the Chamber match into a really bad situation because of contractual language was the kind of thing they should be doing. Roman doesn't need to cheat to win, but he will. Likewise he doesn't need to duck challengers or play the chicken, but he'll twist everything to his advantage as much as possible. The only downside was how predictable the qualifying matches were, and the rushed multi man matches setting up another multi man match. But when you leave this stuff until the last minute you get a product that reflects that. On the downside you've got a lot of stuff overstaying its welcome, Roman and Owens had a good little feud but it shouldn't still be going. Ditto Crews and Big E. The return of Seth Rollins was a bit odd, Smackdown has an ego driven uber successful heel character already in Roman and I'm just not sure how much value Rollins doing something this similar brings. But Cesaro looks to be getting a bit of a push at least.

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WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree