The John Report: WWE Smackdown 09/24/21 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. It’s the last Smackdown before the Extreme Rules PPV takes place this Sunday, September 26.

From the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this is Smackdown for episode #1153. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit 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 show began with a shot of the crowd in Philly making a lot of noise and it looked pretty fully in there.

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, made her entrance carrying her title while dressed in some black leather attire. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were at ringside to welcome us to the show. They showed highlights from last week’s main event when Becky Lynch ruined Bianca Belair’s Knoxville homecoming (hosted by Knox County Mayor Glen “Kane” Jacobs) and Lynch hit Belair with a Manhandle Slam to end the show.

A graphic reminded us that Becky Lynch defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Bianca Belair this Sunday at Extreme Rules.

Lynch was greeted with some boos from the crowd. Lynch talked about the party for Bianca last week saying they threw her a tremendous celebration for making it out of there and doing alright for herself. Lynch said she’s made something of herself, last minute notice at SummerSlam and won the title in record time. Lynch said nobody threw her a party, but that’s okay. Lynch went out there last week to shake Belair’s hand, but then Belair wouldn’t let go of Lynch’s hand, so Lynch said she didn’t have a choice. Lynch said she didn’t want to embarrass her in front of Bianca’s parents and friends, but what choice did she have? Lynch said that as “the better man” she wanted her to recalibrate, but then she goaded Lynch into a rematch at Extreme Rules. Lynch kept on rambling until Bianca Belair showed up to interrupt.

Belair got a nice ovation as she got into the ring to get in Lynch’s face. The fans chanted “EST” for Belair. Belair told Lynch to keep her momma and daddy’s name out of her mouth. Belair said that if you think Lynch will embarrass her on Sunday, she’s wrong. Lynch reminded Belair that she is the greatest woman to ever hold this title. Lynch questioned the whole “EST” phrase that Belair uses. Belair said last week, Lynch knows Belair is the strongest and saw how easy it was for Belair to lift her over her head. Belair talked about her accomplishments being similar to Lynch except she did it in about a quarter of the time. Belair said that this match on Sunday won’t end in 26 seconds and Belair did her “EST” phrases saying she’ll be the NEWEST Smackdown Women’s Champion. Belair extended her hand for a handshake, but Lynch didn’t do that and smacked Belair in the mouth! Lynch bragged about being the greatest to ever hold that title, so Belair beat up Lynch with punches. Lynch sent Belair into the middle turnbuckle. Belair got out of the Manhandle Slam attempt and hit the Kiss of Death (KOD) slam. Lynch was out in the ring while Belair left with confidence.

Analysis: This was okay as a promo segment to hype up their match some more. They have had a lot of time to build to this match, so it was mostly the same kind of promos with Lynch being a cocky heel while Belair does a great job of being a face with a lot of confidence. The crowd has definitely turned against Lynch although some of them are cheering her because she’s a big name. I really have been impressed by Belair’s promos as she has continued to improve in that area throughout the year. I thought the physicality part at the end worked well with Belair doing the counter leading to the KOD and it was right for Belair to stand tall after what happened last week.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs on guitar were shown backstage. Toni Storm went up to them rocking out with them. Nakamura is in action up next.


Rick Boogs introduced King Nakamura, who is the Intercontinental Champion, and Pat McAfee was enjoying it at ringside. Pat likes to dance to that song. Apollo Crews was up next with the big man Commander Azeez joining him. Crews did a pre-tape promo about how he lost the title 42 days ago, which is six weeks. Crews said he’ll become the Intercontinental Champion once again.

King Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Apollo Crews (w/Commander Azeez)

Crews with a forearm to the back, Nakamura with a leapfrog and a kick to the head. Nakamura with a running knee, Crews moved and Nakamura hit the turnbuckle. Crews with a clothesline, then a press slam and he threw Nakamura over the top to the floor. McAfee: “He just threw a king!” Something like that.


The match returned with Crews in a chinlock, then Nakamura came back with a jumping kick. Nakamura with more kicks including an enziguri kick and a sliding German Suplex off the ropes for two. Nakamura went for an attack off the middle rope, but Crews hit a dropkick to counter. Nakamura with punches, Nakamura with a kick to the back and a jumping knee off the middle ropes for two. Nakamura charged, but Crews countered with a dropkick and a lifting Samoan Drop for two. Crews with a Powerbomb, Nakamura with a spin kick to the head and Crews went to the apron with Azeez. Nakamura with a running kick to Azeez, so then Boogs went behind Azeez and Boogs hit an overhead belly to belly on Azeez. Back in the ring, Nakamura with a spin kick and then an armbar into a pin for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura

Analysis: **3/4 A good match as usual from these guys. It was not an emphatic victory for Nakamura since he won after an armbar into a pin attempt rather than using his finisher. I liked the spot on the floor with Nakamura kicking Azeez, then Boogs hit Azeez with the suplex on the floor and shortly after that was when Crews lost. More time would have been nice I guess, but it was fine for what they were given.

They showed highlights from Raw with Roman Reigns and The Bloodline beating The New Day in a six-man tag team match. Later that night, Reigns got the win over Bobby Lashley & Big E in a triple threat match. Reigns hit a Spear on Lashley to win.

Analysis: I thought Raw was very good. The presence of Roman and The Usos certainly helped a lot.

Montez Ford of the Street Profits was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Ford said that he’s got a lot of feelings about this upcoming Sunday, but they are not concerned because they will get the Smackdown Tag Team Championships again. Ford said that Angelo Dawkins wasn’t there because he had to attend a wedding, but he’ll be there on Sunday. Ford said that Roman has been treating The Usos like “bloodline bitches” and they will take the titles because the Street Profits are up and they want the smoke.

Analysis: I liked that promo a lot. Ford is a tag team wrestler and might be for a few years, but I think if he ever becomes a singles wrestler he can be a breakout star. He has a lot of tools as an in-ring performer as well as a talker.

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were in their dressing room. Reigns asked what Ford said. Heyman made it clear to Roman that Ford called The Usos “bloodline bitches” so Reigns said that he wanted him in a match tonight. Heyman tried to talk him out of it, Reigns just stared and Heyman said he’ll make that happen.

Analysis: There’s a fresh match for later.


There was a backstage scene with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville walking down a hallway. Paul Heyman walked up to them welcoming them to Philadelphia. Heyman said he’s got a main event for them tonight – Roman Reigns vs. Montez Ford one on one. Pearce said he thinks they can do that. Heyman said that after the match, they can talk about the draft.

A replay was shown of the long promo from Seth Rollins on last week’s Smackdown. Rollins blamed the fans for making him hurt Edge with The Stomp on Smackdown two weeks ago. In reality, Edge is a part-timer with a limited schedule, so it was just an injury angle to write Edge out for a bit. Rollins said he wanted to “dance” with Edge one more time and said that he had to finish Edge one way or another.

Seth Rollins was shown in a red suit talking to the camera. Rollins said it has been seven days and he has gotten no response from Edge. Rollins said that the sound of Edge’s silence is deafening and it reveals the truth that Edge is hurt bad. Rollins said that he may be the reason why Edge won’t compete in a WWE ring ever again. Rollins said that’s not good enough for him. Rollins wants an answer and he didn’t want to wait anymore. Rollins said that Edge is going to show up on Smackdown next week, look Seth in the eye and tell the world that Seth is not “Edge-lite” and that Seth is superior to Edge in every way. Seth wanted Edge to tell the world that Seth ended his career. Rollins said that he will not be made to look like a liar. Rollins said if Edge doesn’t show up, Rollins will go to his house and beat him up in front of his family. Rollins said “the choice is yours” to end it.

After Seth’s promo, Edge said he’ll be at Smackdown next week.

Analysis: Rollins continues to make it personal by saying he wants Edge to answer him or Rollins will go to his house. A third match sounds good to me since the first two matches were awesome.

Liv Morgan entered for singles action. She faces Carmella at Extreme Rules and is against Zelina Vega on Smackdown.

The WWE Draft takes place next Friday, October 1 with part one and continues Monday, October 4 on Raw.


Zelina Vega made her entrance for singles action. A Progressive Match Flo showed the ending of last week’s bad tag team match when Carmella freaked out thinking her face was damaged. It was not. What a terrible finish. Carmella entered to watch the match. Carmella sat across the announce table to watch the match.

Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega

Morgan with a dropkick and then a kick to the back. Vega with a boot to the face and Morgan to a rollup for two. Vega applied a sleeper, Morgan powered out of it and drove her into the turnbuckle. Vega with a clothesline. Morgan came back with a kick to the back that sent Vega into the turnbuckle. Carmella tried to distract, so Vega kicked Morgan in the head. Vega hit a Sunset Bomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Zelina Vega

Analysis: *1/2 It was a result that surprised me a bit because I figured Morgan would win to get momentum, but they opted for the predictable distraction finish. It’s disappointing that the women’s matches on Smackdown have been so short of late. That was Vega’s first win this year.

Vega celebrated while Carmella laughed about Morgan losing. Morgan was angry about it.

There was a video showing Happy Corbin on a shopping spree earlier in the day in Philadelphia.

Happy Corbin entered to host the premiere of his new talk show Happy Talk. That’s after a break.


Later on Smackdown: Roman Reigns vs. Montez Ford.

Happy Talk hosted by Happy Corbin

Happy Corbin was in the ring to welcome us to Happy Talk, which led to boos. Corbin said that life is so good and then he started whistling badly. Corbin sat on a leather chair in the ring. Corbin said this won’t be like the Kevin Owens Show when he puts people down and said that this show is about putting a smile on people’s faces. Corbin introduced his first guest…Happy Corbin. The fans booed.

Corbin talked about the expensive food that he hate. Corbin talked about his Rolex and said he had a $9,000 suit on. They showed highlights of Corbin attacking Kevin Owens from behind. Corbin laughed about how he easily beat up Owens last week.

Kevin Owens entered for the interruption, which was good because this segment was dying. When Owens arrived at ringside, somebody tackled him with a shoulder tackle. It was Riddick Moss. Moss tossed Owens into the barricade. Corbin whipped Owens shoulder first into the steel steps. Nobody came out to try to help Owens as the fans chanted “you suck” at them. Corbin and Moss hit a double team Chokeslam onto the bottom half of the steel steps. Corbin and Moss laughed about it.

Analysis: It was another cheap attack on Owens. That felt like a rerun. Welcome back to Riddick Moss, who has been out of action after injuries, and now we can see what he can do. Corbin’s promo was too long and too boring. They should have cut him off sooner.

Montez Ford was interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who asked if Montez regretted what he said earlier. Ford said he was sick of people being scared of Roman Reigns, so he’ll do what he does best and be Montez Ford. Montez said he wishes Angelo Dawkins was there to see it. Ford ended with the “want the smoke” line to end t.

Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Highlights were shown of their title win on Raw.


Natalya entered with Tamina for singles action.

Nikki A.S.H. (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. Natalya (w/Tamina)

Nikki with a dropkick to the knee and another dropkick. Natalya came back with a kick to the gut and a head whip into the mat. Natalya with a suplex across the ring for two. Nikki went for a DDT, Tamina on the apron and Ripley pulled her down. Nikki and Natalya fought over a pin attempt in the ring with Nikki getting an inside cradle for the pinfall win. It went under two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nikki A.S.H.

Analysis: * Another short women’s match on this show. It feels like we are back in the divas era with these short matches for the women on Smackdown. They just aren’t given the chance to have a good match because it’s so rushed. Anyway, it was an even match with a crafty finish where the babyface Nikki outsmarted Natalya to win.

The team of Shotzi and Nox made their entrance on Shotzi’s tank and they shot a nerf “bullet” or whatever at the champions in the ring. That was it.

Analysis: Shotzi and Nox got multiple victories over Natalya/Tamina over the last couple of months, yet they never got a title shot.

There was a replay of Sami Zayn beating Dominik Mysterio for the third time in singles action.

They showed Rey and Dominik Mysterio in the locker room. Rey was trying to show Dominik some highlights on his phone while offering up some advice. Dominik said that Rey nitpicks everything he does and it was like he was suffocating him. Rey left to give him some space. Sami Zayn showed up telling Dominik he has the tools to be as good as anybody. Sami spoke about how he’s one of the best (referring to himself) and he (Sami) has been in the ring with the best, so he knows. Sami suggested that Dominik listens to Rey a little bit less and start trusting your instincts more. Sami left.

Analysis: It looks like they are doing an angle where Sami is going to offer advice to Dominik to tease a heel turn for Dominik on Rey. I don’t know if it will work.

Naomi made her entrance where she was feeling the glow as usual.


Naomi did a promo saying she came here to Smackdown to compete, but Sonya Deville refused to put her in a match. The fans booed. Naomi said that she has been fined, disrespected, ignored and she’s not playing this game anymore. Naomi said that she wanted a match…right here. Naomi asked what lady would want to feel this glow?

Sonya Deville walked out in her suit saying this was not happening. The fans booed her. Sonya said she makes the matches, not Naomi. Naomi suggested a match between her and Sonya. Deville said everyone knows that Sonya would smack the glow off of her. Deville said she’s no longer a competitor anymore because she’s an official. Naomi said she’s not good at her job and Naomi led the fans in a “make the match” chant. Sonya cut the audio from Naomi’s microphone. Sonya called for security to get out there, so they told Naomi to get out of the ring. Sonya told Naomi they have given her chance after chance, but she has dropped the ball. Sonya told Naomi to Tik Tok dance her way backstage and get out of there. The fans in Philly booed Deville.

Analysis: It seems like they are building the story of Deville returning to the ring to face Naomi. I like it as a story because it’s getting Deville heat for being mean to Naomi for no reason. Whenever they do the match, it’s going to mean something, so that’s good.

Roman Reigns and The Usos were shown walking down a hallway with Paul Heyman. Reigns went to the left with Heyman while Chad Gable & Otis walked up to The Usos. There was a staredown as The Usos held up their titles.

Analysis: Even though Gable & Otis are heels, they make sense as a team that should get a title shot soon. Of course the upcoming WWE Draft can change things too.

Montez Ford of The Street Profits made his entrance alone and he got a good pop from the crowd. The fans like him a lot. The main event is next.


They showed a replay of Bianca Belair hitting the KOD on Becky Lynch earlier in the show.

Becky Lynch did a promo into the camera. Becky bragged about being a champion every day she’s been active since WrestleMania 35 (in 2019). Lynch said she’s not just going to beat Belair, she’s going to break her.

Roman Reigns made his slow-walking entrance with the Universal Championship and Roman’s Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Reigns took his time as usual as he made his way into the ring to begin the match.

The announcers went over the advertised Extreme Rules matches:

Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. “Demon” Finn Balor

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair

United States Championship: Damian Priest (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy

Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

They didn’t mention Carmella vs. Liv Morgan in that rundown, but that’s advertised too. Extreme Rules has just six matches right now.

Roman Reigns held up the WWE Championship in the face of Ford and to taunt the fans. The announcers talked about the WWE Draft and the possibility of Reigns being off Smackdown. We can find out next week when the WWE Draft begins.

Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Montez Ford

This is not for the Universal Title. Reigns with a shoulder tackle, Ford with a couple of leapfrogs and two dropkicks that knocked Reigns out of the ring.


The match returned with Reigns choking Ford across the middle rope. Reigns worked over Ford with punches, Ford shoved him and Reigns hit a clothesline. Reigns enjoyed taunting the fans. Reigns delivered repeated clotheslines against the turnbuckle, Ford got a boot up and Ford fought back with chops. Ford with a step up enziguri, Reigns was stunned and Ford hit a clothesline out of the ring. Ford whipped Reigns into the barricade two times. Ford tried to step onto the announce table, but the table broke! That was funny. Ford hit a jumping attack off the steps with a double ax on Reigns. Roman lifted up Ford, who hit the mat hard. Reigns ran the ropes leading to a clothesline. They went to break again.


Reigns was still in control as he choked Ford across the top rope while Ford was on the apron. Ford came back with a kick to the side of the face and a cross body block off the top for two. Reigns ducked a kick, Ford did a cartwheel, Ford with a dropkick and Blockbuster neckbreaker for two. Ford jumped off the top, Reigns moved and Reigns hit a uranage slam for a two count. Reigns set up in the corner, I could read his lips saying “I’m going to smash you” and Reigns jumped with a Superman Punch, Ford avoided it and hit a DDT for two. Good nearfall there. Reigns decked Ford with an uppercut punch and Ford came back by shoving Roman shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Ford with a running kick on the floor, then he whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, Reigns with the knees up to block and Reigns applied a Guillotine Choke submission hold. Ford tapped out to give Reigns the win after 17 minutes.

Winner by submission: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match. I was wondering if they would do a spot with Ford hitting the Frog Splash and Roman kicking out, but it never happened since Reigns got the knees up to block the splash attempt. Ford showed a lot of heart as the babyface that brought the fight to Reigns, but the result was predictable with Reigns getting the win. While WWE does book some champions to lose non-title matches, Reigns is not going to be one of those champions. That’s just now how they book him and that’s good to see. Anyway, good job by Ford in what was the biggest singles match of his career so far. I think he’ll be in a lot of big singles matches whenever he becomes a singles wrestler.

Post match, Paul Heyman said that was not enough for Ford’s sins. Heyman said that Reigns had to deliver a message to Ford, “Demon” Finn Balor and Brock Lesnar. Heyman wanted an extreme message of sorts. The Usos made their entrance as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions.

Roman Reigns was handed a steel chair, so he beat up Ford repeatedly with chair shots to the back. The Usos set up a table on the floor. Reigns to Ford: “Who’s the bitch now, huh?” Reigns gave Ford a uranage slam through the table.

The lights went out in the building, which led to “Demon” Finn Balor music and when the lights came on, Balor was standing on the ring post in full Demon gear. Balor jumped off the top and hit a cross body block on The Bloodline trio. Balor beat on the Usos with a kendo stick. Reigns tried to attack Balor in the ring, but Balor hit a Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor beat on Reigns with a steel chair and hit both Usos off the apron to the floor. Balor hit a somersault dive over the top onto Reigns on the floor. Balor posed over Reigns. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: That was really well done. Nobody tried to help Ford from the multi-man attack because Angelo Dawkins was at a wedding, but nobody else cares, I guess? Anyway, the fans popped huge for “Demon” Balor who showed up out of the darkness and was dominant in taking out three guys. That was very good in terms of giving fans a happy moment to end the show. Do I think Balor beats Reigns at Extreme Rules? Absolutely not. I just think this was booked well as an angle.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Montez Ford
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura


The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 6.25

2021 Average: 7.06


Final Thoughts

It was a pretty good show that was better than last week, but not close to the same level as two weeks ago when they were in MSG. I liked seeing Montez Ford step up as an opponent to Roman Reigns, who sold a lot for Ford to make him look credible before Roman put him away. I enjoyed the angle at the end with “Demon” Balor getting the upper hand against Reigns and The Bloodline. It was booked well as I said.

They had the women’s division featured in multiple segments, which is nice, but the two women’s matches were both under two minutes. At least the Naomi/Deville story seems to be building and they got promo time, which is nice for them.

It certainly wasn’t a must-see Smackdown or anything like that, but there were enough good things on the show to help make me enjoy it.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Extreme Rules, which is this Sunday, September 26. Here’s what we know so far.

Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. “Demon” Finn Balor

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair

Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

United States Championship: Damian Priest (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits

Carmella vs. Liv Morgan

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.

John Canton


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