0 out of 7
After a tumultuous week off, “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns returns to SmackDown with several topics to discuss, including the status of his cousin Jimmy Uso and the opponent of Money in the Bank Edge.
What will the chef de table have to say as he prepares for the Hall of Fame challenger of his Universal Championship on July 18? What could he have in store for Uso after an embarrassing week for the family?
Elsewhere, who will qualify for final places in the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder matches and who will challenge Bianca Belair to pay-per-view after Friday’s grim announcement of Bayley’s untimely injury?
Find out now with this recap of the July 9 show.
1 of 7
Announced for the Friday show:
- Roman Reigns returns
- Money in the Bank Qualifier: Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
- Qualifications of money in the bank: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
- The latest on Bayley after WWE.com announced a knee injury that will keep her away for up to nine months
Coverage begins at 8 p.m.
2 of 7
Universal champion Roman Reigns kicked off the evening’s broadcast, almost immediately opposing Edge’s claims from a week ago that he was scared of the Hall of Famer or that The Iconoclast was in his head. He is not. He dominated at WrestleMania, won the match and printed a jersey based on it.
The topic of conversation turned to family and Jimmy Uso made his way to the ring. After hinting that Reigns was on vacation, the table chef said he was busy doing what his cousin couldn’t. Jey Uso walked into the ring and said he was back for all.
Jey has vowed to always support his brother and Reigns reiterated that no one can touch them when they’re all together. The Big Dog embraced the Usos, putting their family drama behind them and presenting a united front for any babyface challenger to overcome.
Anyone wondering if WWE was going to acknowledge Jimmy’s legal issues this week got their answer soon enough as Jey vowed to stand by his brother’s side in all the darkness. An emotional Jimmy could be caught after the hug in the middle of the ring with Reigns.
The segment itself brought The Bloodline together and presented an almost insurmountable hurdle for Edge to overcome if he hopes to capture the Universal Championship that has eluded him throughout 2021.
As has been the case throughout the family drama, however, the potential exists for further dissension sooner rather than later. It only takes one Uso mistake to win Reigns’ wrath and put the relationship back on the rocks. Until that happens, however, the creative team have created one hell of a heel act for the SmackDown babyfaces to try to overcome if they are to topple The Head of the Table.
3 out of 7
With Big E and commentator Pat McAfee watching from ringside, enjoying pedicures at the same time, Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin continued their never-ending feud in a Money in the Bank qualifier.
Corbin got rid of his financial situation and the loss of the King of the Ring crown to dominate his opponent early on. Nakamura fired back and staggered the former Arizona Cardinal, but Corbin led the new king into the announcers table as the show headed for the breakup.
Corbin survived a triangular choke from a resurgent Nakamura and turned him over with a large clothesline. The king responded with a Kinshasa and won the final victory to move on to Money in the Bank.
Nakamura defeated Corbin
It was the best of their last games, but for the sake of all the good stuff, can we please never book this game again? It’s overkill, the wrestlers involved don’t have a lot of chemistry in the ring and the couple’s overexposure over the past month has made it incredibly difficult to want to see them again.
Corbin as a broken heel after a solid year and a half boasting and celebrating his status as King of the Ring is a good idea. The fall will hopefully spawn a new character for the underrated big man who has quickly become one of WWE’s unsung workhorses.
4 out of 7
Women’s tag team champions Natalya and Tamina took to the ring and raised the idea of a new team making their SmackDown debut in an attempt to threaten their reign as the best women’s wrestling team. Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox (apparently recognized as Shotzi and Nox) exploded through the curtain of the first tank, announcing to the world their summons to the main roster.
NXT Exports dominated the match, completely catching the champions off guard and claiming a surprise victory after Blackheart’s Ballpit finisher over The Queen of Harts.
Shotzi and Nox defeated Natalya and Tamina
It was glorified squash, a victory aimed solely at creating challengers for Nattie and Tamina while simultaneously adding depth to a women’s division of SmackDown that suddenly and inexplicably went starless as a result of Bayley’s injury that will take her out of the money in Pay-per-view banking.
Shotzi and Nox looked great on their brief outing, and more importantly, they seemed to belong. Now, it will be up to them to build on the momentum they have and WWE Creative to move forward with what seems like a pretty substantial push right off the bat.
If both sides can stick to their end of the deal, the result will be two new stars ready to do big things in a company keen to find new faces to wear it into the future.
5 out of 7
Sonya Deville officially announced the injury suffered by Bayley before releasing a pre-recorded video in which the role model blamed fans for her misfortune. From there, the Pride Fighter and WWE official revealed that Bianca Belair will be defending her SmackDown Women’s Championship next week against Carmella.
The most beautiful woman in the world entered the ring and thanked Deville, only to be cut off by Liv Morgan, who objected to what she saw as favoritism. Deville told Morgan she was replacing Carmella in Money in the Bank, to which the former Riott Squad member has vowed to win and cash her rival.
Belair appeared and questioned Bayley’s injury before promising to beat Carmella next week.
A video package has been released promising Toni Storm’s upcoming debut on the master roster.
If there is one positive point of the segment, it is continuity.
Deville has repeatedly shown a questionable bias towards Carmella and this move continues that story, allowing Morgan to fight for fairness. Now that she’s got it, there’s a very real opportunity to move this story forward with Carmella robbing her of her spot if she loses to Belair in a week from tonight.
In what world would it make sense for Bayley to fake injury and miss his title opportunity? It was a silly claim from Belair that aimed to attack Bayley’s integrity, but landed with a thud.
Toni Storm’s impending debut will be great for the women’s division of SmackDown, but the key to success will, as always, be her creativity. Hoping that his immense talent is backed up by an adequate reservation, as the division as a whole will benefit exponentially from his presence.
6 out of 7
Cesaro and Seth Rollins wrote the final chapter of their rivalry in a qualifier for Money in the Bank with their championship aspirations on the line.
The home and away match saw the pair take control at various points until The Swiss Cyborg spun Rollins on several occasions. The architect fired back, opening his opponent’s forehead as Kevin Owens, sitting on the commentary, alerted the viewer to an exposed tensioner.
Cesaro, slowed down by his head injury, found himself repeatedly fighting the referee’s count on the floor until Rollins delivered a nasty DDT to the entry ramp. Cesaro fought against the blood flowing in his and beat the referee’s tally in the ring, only to fall prey to the trampling as Rollins cashed in his ticket to the July 18 pay-per-view.
Rollins beat Cesaro
Rollins and Cesaro will always deliver in this kind of longer matches and it did not disappoint. What did was WWE’s sudden abandonment of Cesaro’s main event push.
After losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash, The Swiss Superman was the blue brand’s biggest babyface. The needless continuation of the feud with Rollins and a lack of dedication to continue his title race cooled him off.
Now after losing this game it looks like he’s completely out of the title photo and his place near the top of the map is in jeopardy as well.
Why? He did everything you could possibly want someone in that position to do. He’s played so far, had a Match of the Year contestant with Reigns, and got the wrestling world talked about on the internet. Now what?
Does it slip into the middle card? Did WWE push him back to a tag team?
Maybe someone should send him to Raw, where he could benefit from a feud with Bobby Lashley as the hot new challenger.
7 out of 7
Edge took to the ring to wrap up Friday’s show, ready to call Roman Reigns ahead of their Universal Championship match in Nine Nights at Money in the Bank.
The rated R superstar doubled down on Reigns’ idea of him fearing him and vowed to win the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank. He threw away the proverbial punk card and called out Reigns. The tribal chief, watching in the locker room, stood up and ordered his cousins to stay behind the scenes.
Reigns made it to the ring, only for the Usos to come over to his side, with Jey citing his concerns about a trap. The table chef entered the ring without his cousins and traded rights and lefts with Edge before Rey and Dominik Mysterio returned, knocking out the Usos at ringside.
Jimmy and Jey fought back but not before Edge crashed Reigns with a DDT Impaler. The iconoclast fell into place for a spear but the Usos shot him down. The Mysterios made the stop, but Reigns escaped the ramp. Edge, with help from the tag champions, applied the chair-assisted crossface to Jey as the tribal chief watched from the stage.
The Mysterios have been turned off on TV just long enough for you to forget about them, making their return in the show’s closing segment a nice surprise. That Rey and Dominik established issues with The Usos and Reigns only makes it even better. Their involvement in this segment, in particular, not only made sense, but it also set up a potential six-man tag team match that could serve as a huge main event match for the SmackDown episode of the week. next in front of a live audience if the creator team wanted to go in that direction.
Edge looked like a lopsided man, determined to send Reigns a message while inflicting pain and punishment on one of the men responsible for not currently holding the Universal Championship.
Reigns watching his cousins get a beating will inevitably cost him, especially when Jimmy and Jey get tired of getting their asses screamed on his behalf. No matter how many Dream Matches WWE puts on, it always seems like the only fitting end to Reigns’ title race is in the hands (or feet) of Jey Uso.