Well well well, what do we have here? Just as I was mentally preparing for the Hell in a Cell PPV this Sunday by watching some old matches, we were thrown a curveball by Rey Mysterio last night on social media. He had no desire to wait for the PPV and instead wanted to get revenge on Roman Reigns early by moving their Cell match to SmackDown. After seeing his son Dominik being thrown out of the ring like that by Reigns, you can’t really blame Rey for wanting to defend him and destroy Roman as soon as possible. As we all know, Mysterio has a lot of fight in him, but does he have enough to take on such a dominant force like Reigns who is at the top of his game in 2021? I guess it’s time to find out.
The Pain Of A Father
It wasn’t Roman who got to kick off SmackDown this week like he often does but instead Rey Mysterio made his way out to the ring for a few choice words aimed at the man who hurt his son with no remorse whatsoever. Rey’s pain is something anyone with a family can relate to and everyone would defend their children from bullies like the Universal Champion. This isn’t a fight or a feud over a title – it’s now way more personal than that. Rey said that he’ll never forget the sound of his son hitting that concrete outside of the ring. I’ve not seen Mysterio filled with such passion and rage in a long time and it’s great to see another layer to his work, and this week’s promo might be one of the best he’s ever delivered. Rey called Roman out to the stage and he eventually turned up, asking him if he really wants the match. Of course, Rey never backs down and this situation is no different. Reigns claimed again that he was trying to be nice and diplomatic and suggested that Rey had given the wrong answer. I’m getting the feeling Rey might be getting the same pain coming to him that Dominik received and it’s not going to be a pretty sight.
Big E & Kevin Owens vs Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez
We caught up with Kayla before the match speaking backstage with Big E and Owens. I like the fact that we’re not just pretending they’re friends and that there’s a history there. On the other side, we’ve got Commander Azeez who we’re pretending doesn’t have a history at all. How does that work? No idea, but the same thing is happening over on RAW with Eva Marie’s new friend. It’s the inconsistency that drives me crazy. Is it some kind of conspiracy? I’m starting to sound like Sami Zayn. Speaking of him, he kindly came down to ringside to do some commentary because why not. As we all know, the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn saga will never end. You just know they’ll be sat in a retirement home one day attempting to hit each other with walking sticks and arguing over who gets to choose the channel on the communal television.
With this being Commander Azeez’s apparent in-ring debut (in this gimmick anyway), it was interesting to see what he was capable of. I’m not quite sure I’ve got the answer yet as he didn’t do a whole lot, but guys like him and Omos can be booked in such a way that they look pretty dominant and their weaknesses aren’t shown too much. Big E and KO really took it to Crews and his Commander, showing absolutely no fear – although I can’t help but feel like Big E has had to take a step back in his career after Black got released. I hope he can move on to another feud soon. The difference-maker was Sami Zayn causing distractions and allowing Azeez to hit the Nigerian Nail to pick up the victory for his team. This led to Kevin backstage with Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce angrily demanding a match with Sami at Hell in a Cell and I am okay with that. If only it could actually be in the Cell.
Battle For The Crown: Shinsuke Nakamura (with RICK BOOGS) vs King Corbin
Well it’s no King of the Ring tournament, is it? I hope one day they do another one. It’s a great way of showcasing some of the solid mid-card talent and giving a step up to some of them. For now, I suppose I’ll make do with BOOGS and Pat McAfee rocking out and bringing joy to my life every week. What a wonderful combination. A genuine highlight of SmackDown every time. I could sit through two hours of BOOGS just playing guitar and dancing while Michael Cole looks on in despair. DO IT FOX. Sorry, I’m distracted from the main point – a super important battle over a fake crown between two grown men. Bless them. I hope they’re proud of themselves. I’m just glad that Nakamura actually has something to do these days.
Shin and Corbin actually work well together, although I’m not sure anyone needed to see quite so many matches between them. But hey we all know WWE is Rematch City so it’s hardly surprising. Both men actually brought their best this week, showing that the fake crown is actually quite important for some reason. I’m fairly sure you could probably just buy one off eBay and then they could both be kings. Surprisingly Nakamura won the crown this week which means that Corbin isn’t a King anymore? I’m not quite sure about the legalities of such a thing. I hope Vince McMahon knows what’s going on. If Corbin isn’t the ruler any more, does that mean he goes back to Baron Corbin now and his old music? I have a lot of questions if I’m honest, but at least it was a pretty decent match between the two. I hope we can achieve some peace now but that seems unlikely. I hope BOOGS gets a knighthood.
Ding Dong, Hell!
Bianca Belair has gone from a history-making match at WrestleMania to exchanging a lot of laughs with Bayley on SmackDown. And I mean a LOT of laughs. Especially when you throw Seth Rollins in there as well. I’m not sure anything’s quite that funny. Maybe they’ve recently watched Bo Burnham’s Netflix special or something but even I didn’t laugh at it quite that much. I guess we’re seeing Belair being able to take on all kinds of feuds and opponents which is great, as every champion should have that flexibility and range, but I can’t help but feel it’s a step down from where she was. I hope they’ve got a bigger and better feud lined up for her once the crowds are back.
To cut a long story short – Bianca came out this week and challenged Bayley to a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV. So that’s how we’re filling the Roman gap on the show. I must say it’s a bit of an underwhelming decision to go with the women inside the Cell. It just doesn’t feel like the feud has reached that level of anger or momentum or anything. It doesn’t feel like a necessary payoff, especially compared to previous matches including Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Yes, it’s nice to see someone new involved but the impact of these gimmick matches is incredibly diluted when they’re driven by calendar dates and PPVs rather than a true justified reason for getting two people inside the Cell. But hey it’s 2021 and that happens with most gimmicks these days. I would’ve been happier with Sami and Kevin but they never listen to me.
Otis (with Chad Gable) vs Angelo Dawkins
Oh, Otis. That face is something else, isn’t it? He’s definitely been working on his grumpy face the last few weeks but I’m not quite sure it’s quite as intense as he’s aiming for. It looks more like he’s sulking because someone stole his sandwich backstage or something. To be fair, that does sound like a storyline WWE might go for one day. Alpha Academy has certainly done a number on Otis and he’s arguably more successful than ever – although saying that he did win Money in the Bank and he did have a really hot girlfriend but I guess now he has Chad Gable and likes squashing people. Oh, how times change. I’d still like to see Gable a bit more successful rather than just guiding Otis but time will tell on that one.
After Otis destroyed Montez Ford last week, Angelo was out for revenge this week but he was injured himself by Otis. He’s not a very nice guy these days. Ford is out now with injuries so it’s Dawkins flying solo and no red cups or anything. I miss the smoke. I don’t think we even officially got started with this match as Gable jumped the Street Profit and then Otis took advantage, hitting a big clothesline outside. Then he made Angelo be friends with the steel steps, and finally, the Academy guys did a nice double-team move where Otis hit a discus clothesline while Gable suplexed Dawkins. Nice teamwork from two guys who have changed a lot recently but are on a roll for sure. It’s only a matter of time before they’re a serious threat to the tag titles.
Hell in a Cell Match for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs Rey Mysterio
The biggest little man in WWE history looks even smaller against that humongous red Cell for sure. Rey’s first venture into Hell in a Cell after so many years in WWE is quite surprising but it’s nice that he can still find new things to do even now. Roman on the other hand – well, he’s had a huge amount of Cell experience, with the most recent being last October in that memorable match against Jey Uso. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been on this Tribal Chief journey for quite so long now but Roman’s at the top of his game and, quite frankly, Rey Mysterio never stood a chance against this version of Reigns. But I’ll always admire Rey’s fight and courage and to see him want to defend the honour of his son Dominik is yet another reason why we’re always wanting to get behind him.
Mysterio got a lot more offence in than I thought he would. Using chairs, a fire extinguisher, a metal toolbox and more, Rey adapted to the Cell environment very quickly and used his speed to surprise Roman on multiple occasions. It could be the most brutal and determined I’ve ever seen Rey look and Reigns was looking completely off his game for quite a while in the match, having underestimated his much smaller opponent. But once Roman caught Rey mid-move and slammed him against the cage and the ring, it swung the momentum his way. Surprisingly, Rey managed to get back in the game, hitting a couple of frog splashes but not being able to keep the Big Dog down for a three count.
Trying to work out what to do next, sadly Rey fell victim to the same horrific move Dominik did but this time being thrown out of the ring directly into the Cell. Roman got him back in the ring and one quick Guillotine later Rey tapped out to lose the match. With Jey still missing in action, Jimmy came out to raise his cousin’s hand in victory, but Roman noticed Rey getting up to his feet and he wasn’t having any of it. Rey then fell victim to the Guillotine once again and SmackDown ended with Reigns standing dominant again, wishing Rey a Happy Father’s Day. I’m not convinced he meant it.
The best of SmackDown
- Roman Reigns – another huge victory for the Tribal Chief
- Rey Mysterio – a truly gutsy performance
- Otis – grumpy face side, he’s really got an edge these days
- Nakamura and BOOGS – a crowning achievement
The worst of SmackDown
- Rematches – we’re still overdoing it
- Belair and Bayley – no one needs to see that in a Cell
- Sami Zayn – I think he needs to get over his conspiracy theories now
With a memorable and enjoyable main event match, SmackDown was another solid effort this week all round. I’m not entirely sold on Hell in a Cell this Sunday as there’s not a huge amount on the card that I desperately want to see, but I’m sure it’ll be watchable anyway. I’m more excited about the crowds coming back soon so this is just another stepping stone to that. With another dominant Reigns’ win, you have to wonder who’s going to step up next and challenge him. I know John Cena has been rumoured for a while and I would absolutely love to see this version of Roman against one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Hopefully, that’ll give Big E some time to build himself up too because him vs Roman Reigns is one of the best future matches SmackDown has. Enjoy the PPV if you’re watching it and we’ll see you back here next week for more BOOGS.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE