Friday Night Smackdown Review 7/2/21

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MUST WATCH: First up, Edge cuts a promo talking about his return last week and his championship aspirations. He talks about how he had the opportunity to win the universal championship 10 years after vacating the world title and retiring. However, Edge talks about how he was unsuccessful in doing so and says that while the old Edge would make excuses, 2021 Edge won’t do that. Edge has a great line where he says that he has spent his whole career overcoming obstacles and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be standing here right now. Edge shows an image from Wrestlemania of him putting the crossface on Roman and says that he is now living in Roman’s head and that he knows losing the belt at Money in the Bank is inevitable. This was an absolutely amazing promo from Edge. 

GOOD: Jimmy Uso is backstage talking to Paul Heyman. Uso says that Edge beating Roman is something will never happen and that Jimmy is gonna show that Edge can’t beat the family. He also has a great line where he says he’s gonna stick the family flag straight through Edge’s heart. 

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GOOD: Our opening contest is a tag team match with Big E and the new king of the ring Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin and the Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews. Corbin talks about how he’s lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments and comes out looking very unkept with a rugged beard and Greg Hamilton having to be corrected that he’s not king anymore. Really fun stuff here I actually really enjoy this new Corbin so far. Boogs announces during the match that Corbin’s car is being towed and they play the footage on the tron. A distracted Corbin gets caught in the Big Ending, allowing Big E and Nakamura to pick up the victory. The overall in ring action was decent enough for a tv match but the antics with Corbin I actually found to be really entertaining. I really like this gimmick so far and I’m interested to see where they decide to take it. 

Result: Nakamura and Big E win via pinfall after Big E pinned Corbin

John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars 

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GREAT: Up next, Bayley and Bianca Belair have a face to face. Bayley says that she proved that Bianca’s win at Hell in a Cell was nothing more than a fluke by pinning her last week. She says that while Bianca is physically strong, mentally she’s weak and can’t carry the strength of being the women’s champion. Bianca says that no matter how many times she beats Bayley, she keeps coming back and continues to be in her head. Bianca says they need to end this once and for all and proposes an I quit match at Money in the Bank with the title on the line. Bayley says that there’s no chance in hell Bianca can make her quit and that if she manages to make her quit, she’ll quit Smackdown and WWE altogether. I’m happy that this finally seems to be the end of this long-winded feud. However, with that being said I really liked this segment. There was more of an intensity to the segment with higher stakes added to make this seem like a proper conclusion to a long standing rivalry. 

GOOD: Jimmy Uso is backstage once again with Paul Heyman and asks if Roman came to the arena yet. He says that he’s gonna prove that he’s main event Jimmy Uso and call out Edge later tonight. Jimmy going out of his way to do things that he thinks Roman wants him to do as opposed to what Roman actually wants him to do is a very great touch to differentiate the two brothers and their roles with Roman. It makes Jimmy seem very overzealous and Heyman being completely silent the whole time is a nice added touch.

MUST WATCH: Up next is the last man standing match between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The winner of the match will also qualify for the money in the bank ladder match. Sami launching Owens over the turnbuckle through TWO tables was crazy. Really shocked that wasn’t the finish. The booking in this match was excellent. Owens consistently surviving everything Sami could throw at him and Sami continuing to get angry was masterful. However the actual finish was top notch with Owens powerbombing Zayn through the announce table, another table AND the apron was so vicious and the perfect ending to this match and this chapter of their never ending rivalry. Fantastic last man standing match.

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Result: Owens defeated Zayn after Zayn couldn’t answer the referee’s 10 count. 

John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4.25 stars 

GOOD: Edge is interviewed backstage about what Jimmy and Roman potentially have up their sleeve. Edge says that he knows they’re definitely planning something and if they try anything he’s gonna show why he’s a vindictive son of a bitch. 

AVERAGE: Baron Corbin is walking backstage when he’s approached by Rick Boogs. Boogs pretends to be nice to Corbin but just makes several king puns to poke fun at Corbin. Corbin just shrugs it off and leaves. A whatever segment but wasn’t bad. 

GOOD: Sonya Deville is out next to announce the next person that will be in the women’s money in the bank ladder match. She reveals that it is a returning Zelina Vega! What a genuine surprise! Zelina says that she’s gonna go on to win money in the bank and says that she will become women’s champion. Liv Morgan comes out and says that Zelina doesn’t deserve to be in the match at all and challenges Zelina to a match to further prove herself. Now, I am very iffy on the idea of Zelina just being handed the spot in the match but I’m ok with it for two reasons. One, it’s to feed Liv’s storyline of earning her way into the ladder match by slagging the people that have earned their way in by doing nothing. And two, Liv openly acknowledges that Sonya adding these people without qualifying in matches is at least the intention and is supposed to garner heat. 

SATISFACTORY: Immediately after the commercial break, we have Liv Morgan vs Zelina Vega already in progress. This was extremely short and disappointing, but nothing necessarily bad. The finish also seemed very botched with Zelina’s shoulder clearly being up but is ignored. Zelina also losing her first match back is not a good look but it is to feed Liv’s storyline so I’ll give it a brief pass. 

Result: Liv defeats Zelina via pinfall.

John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2 stars 

GOOD: Seth Rollins confronts Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville backstage and asks them if they’ve reconsidered Rollins facing Roman at Money in the Bank. However, Pearce says that the match stands and Edge will get his match with Roman because he won the rumble and deserves his one on one match. Rollins brings up the great point that them adding Bryan to the match at Wrestlemania isn’t his fault and that he shouldn’t be punished for it. Sonya is adamant that the decision stands but says that Rollins will face Cesaro next week in a money in the bank qualifier. Rollins laughs maniacally and leaves. I really like this new dynamic to Seth’s character of being obsessed with being champion. I also like that Edge has almost become the Daniel Bryan in this situation, but doesn’t quite realize it. 

GREAT SQUASH: Up next is Otis vs Angelo Dawkins. Otis absolutely obliterates Dawkins and wins in a highly convincing fashion. I absolutely adore Alpha Academy right now and the transformation of Otis has been fantastic.

MUST WATCH: Jimmy Uso is backstage with Paul Heyman and talks about going out to the ring to confront Edge. Heyman says that everything runs on the Tribal Chief’s time and that everything he does is for family. He says that all Jimmy has to do is go out there and be main event Jimmy Uso. Jimmy goes out to the ring to call out Edge and says that this isn’t a trap and that Roman isn’t here tonight. Edge comes out and says that Jimmy needs to realize that he and the rest of the family is being used. Edge says that Jimmy went from being nobody’s bitch to being Roman’s bitch and says that he laid a trap for Jimmy instead. Edge goes to the ring and beats down Jimmy, who is constantly looking for Roman. Jimmy taps to the cross face from Edge and takes a spear for his troubles. Edge then rips off a piece of a chair and repeats the cross face spot from Wrestlemania on Jimmy with the bar between his teeth. Edge telling Roman to look at Jimmy’s eyes is a great touch. A really solid way to end the show and Roman refusing to come out is very interesting. 

Overall, Smackdown was very enjoyable once again. The Edge and Roman storyline is absolutely fantastic so far and the money in the bank matches are starting to get really interesting. The return of Zelina Vega was a great surprise, however her losing in her return match wasn’t the greatest decision. In terms of in ring, the highlight of this show was definitely the last man standing match. Go check that match out if you haven’t already. 

Show theme & presentation: 6/10 

Show Production: 9/10

Watchability: 9/10

Storyline Progression: 8/10

Crowd Reaction: 7/10

Overall show rating: 7.7/10

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SUMMARY

Overall, Smackdown was very enjoyable once again. The Edge and Roman storyline is absolutely fantastic so far and the money in the bank matches are starting to get really interesting. The return of Zelina Vega was a great surprise, however her losing in her return match wasn’t the greatest decision. In terms of in ring, the highlight of this show was definitely the last man standing match. Go check that match out if you haven’t already.

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