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Time to change things again! Or something like that.
Wwe kicked off his 2021 draft on Friday night on SmackDown, rearranging his roster as he tried to create fresh, new, and exciting rivalries for fans. Would universal champion Roman Reigns be sent to Raw? Did Charlotte Flair end up on the blue mark?
The answers to those questions, and more, were decided on Friday on Fox.
What was certain, however, was the return of Edge after a heinous attack at the hands of Seth Rollins. After The Drip God threatened the sanctity of his home and family a week ago, what did The Rated R Superstar say in response?
Find out now with this recap of the October 1 episode.
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Moments after officers Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville announced that he would remain on SmackDown, accompanied by Charlotte Flair as Raw recruited Big E and Bianca Belair, Universal Champion Roman Reigns headed to the ring to begin the night’s broadcast.
“Baltimore, acknowledge me,” the tribal chief insisted before handing the microphone to special counsel Paul Heyman. After Heyman recapped his client’s victory over Finn Balor at Extreme Rules, he brought up the former associate’s name. Brock Lesnar and The Beast made a surprise appearance with a thunderous applause.
A strained look gave way to a physical encounter that saw Reigns shoot a series of forehands, only for Lesnar to knock him down with a suplex. He added a few more to Jimmy and Jey Uso before taking them down with a pair of F5s.
Lesnar stood upright to close out the segment when a shocked and agitated Reigns came out.
Everything about the beginning of this show was straightforward.
From draft picks, they shook things up right away by trading the two women most associated with their respective brands. From there, Reigns’ entrance, Lesnar’s gaze and the physicality that he generated further captivated the audience.
This was a great start to the show and a reminder that WWE can make television explosive, interesting, and engaging whenever it wants.
Reigns vs. Lesnar is a defining feud of a generation that has helped establish the former as the star of the main event and almost always delivers. It will be interesting to see if those two can create magic in Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel, a show not necessarily synonymous with great or even terribly memorable matches.
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Before his showdown with Kevin Owens, Happy Corbin introduced new associate Mad Cat (possibly Cap) Moss to the WWE Universe.
Corbin controlled most of his match with Owens, working his knee in an attempt to keep the former world champion grounded. Owens fought back, firing a cannonball into the corner. However, while gaining momentum, Owens was distracted by Moss at ringside and Corbin capitalized on Happy Days on the court. Corbin added another in the ring for the pinfall win.
After the match, Pearce and Deville announced the final draft picks: Drew McIntyre for SmackDown, RK-Bro for Raw, New Day for SmackDown, and Edge for Raw.
Corbin defeated Owens
It doesn’t seem like WWE knows what it’s doing with Corbin’s character. One of the best characters earlier this summer has become an overly happy, money-hungry affair with a sidekick no one asked for.
Owens feels like an interpreter on the way out. His contract expires shortly, he is not really involved in any major storylines and has been presented to him more as a means of getting Corbin’s new persona to end more than anything. He has earned more than that, but for now, he seems ready to wander, with nowhere to go.
As for the draft picks … they broke New Day again!
Sure, it’s important for Big E to finish on their own, but the last few weeks of mini-get-togethers helped remind the audience how important a part of New Day’s programming is and how much fun they are together. A big disappointment.
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Edge exploded through the curtain moments after it was revealed that he is heading to Monday Night Raw, showing no signs of the alleged injury that threatened his career. A video recapped Seth Rollins’ threats from the past week and, after some pleasantries and a brief mention of his impending move, Edge turned to his rival.
He challenged Rollins to step into the ring and extract his retirement announcement from him. Instead, Rollins appeared outside Edge’s home in North Carolina. He walked in, sat right at home, and poked fun at the Hall of Fame from afar.
He threatened to stay the night while the camera caught up with Edge, who contacted his wife, Beth Phoenix, backstage. The segment ended with him barking orders at his wife, panic and fear for the well-being of his family began.
The only thing that prevented this from achieving an “A” rating was Edge’s failure to sell any injuries. Here’s a guy who was beaten and beaten so badly three weeks ago that he was hauled out of the sand on a stretcher and his career was called into question. Tonight, there was absolutely no sign that something was up.
That lack of attention to detail hurts.
What was not so was Rollins’ performance. Absolutely over the top, ridiculous, and cheesy, he was brilliant when he broke into his rival’s home and destroyed the sanctity of their home. He’s so petty, so obnoxious, and despicable that you can’t help but want to see Edge hit him like hell.
He will, in a high-stakes match, and everything will be fine in the world. Rollins will be fine because of things like this that inspire fans to feel one way or another about him. That is a trait that cannot be taught.
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The rivalry between Liv Morgan and Carmella seemed poised to write its final chapter, but the match ended before it started after the latter produced a mask to protect her face and left her rival out.
After the match, Pearce and Deville returned with the announcement of the latest draft picks: Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss for SmackDown, Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH for Raw, Hit Row for SmackDown, and Keith “Bearcat” Lee for Raw.
Morgan and Carmella fought without competition
What was the purpose of this besides debuting a mask trick that was universally rejected by fans the moment Carmella turned her face towards the camera? It looked cheap and terrible, fans immediately turned it on and the segment ended without any resolution.
So why bother? No one benefited, and if anything, Carmella’s character took a step back in the eyes of fans who recognized the ridiculousness of the new item.
The selections themselves were mostly fine, with the most notable being Hit Row making the leap from NXT to SmackDown. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante Adonis and B-Fab have all been excellent Tuesday nights, so the idea that they are about to make an impact on the main roster is beyond exciting. The world is theirs, given a fair chance.
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Chad Gable and Otis from Alpha Academy teamed up with Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to battle The Street Profits and new SmackDown recruits Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston from The New Days.
Heels dominated the action, with Otis displaying a meanness and ferocity learned during his association with Gable. The 2012 Olympian took on Montez Ford, preventing him from tagging his teammates. A Ziggler enzuigiri allowed Ford to create a separation and score Angelo Dawkins in the match.
Dawkins annihilated them all and Ford took to the air to take Otis in the front row. Back inside, Dawkins surprised Roode and New Day took The Glorious One for victory.
Pearce and Deville returned for the final roster on night one of the WWE Draft: Naomi to SmackDown, The Mysterios to Raw, Jeff Hardy to SmackDown and Austin Theory to Raw.
New Day and Street Profits defeated Alpha Academy, Ziggler and Roode
As a re-introduction to New Day on Friday nights, this was a lot of fun. He did as he set out, as he gave Woods and Kingston a big win early on, but also allowed Otis and Gable to shine as potential first opponents of the tandem.
The Street Profits impressed in what could have been one of the last appearances as a SmackDown talent after Bianca Belair’s draft for Raw and Ziggler and Roode were their typical solid selves.
There was nothing I didn’t like here other than its apparent randomness. Given everything else that’s going on with this show, that’s little potatoes, to say the least.
The Theory to Raw draft pick could be one of the hidden gems in this entire process, as the artist has limitless potential. Of course, the potential doesn’t buy food as the great Jim Ross has often said, but it will have opportunities to make an impression, especially with three hours of television at the brand’s disposal.
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Backstage, Brock Lesnar interrupted an interview between Kayla Braxton and Jeff Hardy to reveal that he is a free agent, thanks to Paul Heyman, and that he can do whatever he wants. In his private locker room, an irate Roman Reigns ordered Heyman to go to Raw, where he was tasked with making sure the Usos were recruited for SmackDown. If not, “leave him for dead on Raw,” he ordered his cousins.
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks headed to the ring for their rematch at WrestleMania when SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch interrupted the proceedings, heading for the announcement position.
Banks reminded everyone of his excellence, escaping his opponent’s grasp and taking control of the match through the commercial break as “Becky Biceps” spoke of her championship reign on headphones.
Belair delivered a modified Glam Slam for a close drop. Added a handshake moon jump for another count of two. Banks responded with two knees in the corner and followed with a frog splash moments later for another close fall.
Banks took advantage of a distraction from Lynch to score the victory via jackknife pinfall.
After the game, Charlotte Flair came out of nowhere to shake Banks with a big boot and stood upright to close out the show.
Banks defeated Belair
The match itself was solid, if not at the level of their showdown at WrestleMania. Belair and Banks worked well together, each point escalated before the finale where Lynch grabbed The EST’s hair and cost him the win.
The finale added heat to Belair and Lynch’s ongoing rivalry for the SmackDown title, while Flair’s attack on Banks after the bell puts them on a collision course, presumably, for the red mark title.
A segment that highlighted some of the biggest and brightest stars on the list and propelled their stories forward, this was exactly what you wanted from a show-closer.