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Smackdown 7/23/2021: Reigns Declines Cena's Challenge but Accepts Another; Belair Retains; More!

Here's what's on tap for tonight's Smackdown:

  • John Cena pays the Head of the Table a visit

  • WWE Smackdown Women's Championship Match: Carmella vs. Bianca Belair (champ)

  • Toni Storm Debuts

Tonight’s Smackdown comes to you from the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Florida and the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. We're starting the show with JOHN CENA!!!

Cena makes his way to the ring to a massive pop from the crowd. Cena has a mic and he acknowledges how loud the crowd is before saying it's been a hell of a week. He mentions his surprise turn and crashing Raw to talk to the fans. He says he's the only guy like to put lifeless egomaniac Roman Reigns in check. He says he came back to challenge Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam. He says the crowd can feel how close they are to coming face to face tonight. He can't think of a better place in Cleveland. He brings up the Cleveland Indians having to change their name to the Guardians. The fans boo that. I don't blame them. Cena says he went a changed his middle name to Guardian to help save what little respect the WWE has left. Cena flat out says that Smackdown with Reigns as champion sucks! He says he knows there are Reigns fans who will disagree but that's his opinion. Cena puts over the fact that the fans are live now and we have no more ThunderDome or LED screens in the audience. He asks if you're on Team Jorts or Team Cargo Pants? Team Hustle Loyalty and Respect or the team the fans always reject? Cena says speaking of Reigns, where is he? Reigns must know that he can't see him and after SummerSlam he'll realize that THE CHAMP IS HERE!!! Cena wants Reigns to show up but also knows that Reigns does things on his own time. CUE PAUL HEYMAN!! LADIE AND GENTLEMAN!! Heyman says Cena has it all wrong. Heyman gives Cena his word that he'll get an answer to his challenge tonight but only when Reigns decides to come out and and show everyone that THE TRIBAL CHIEF IS HERE!! Heyman then hilariously sings Cena's theme music as he heads to the back.

We get a recap of Finn Balor's return and his altercation with Sami Zayn last week. They will have a match after a commercial.

Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn

Lock up and go behind by Balor. Zayn hits Balor with a back elbow and takes control. Balor attempts to roll through and hits a Russian leg sweep but Zayn takes him down by the arm. Balor kips up but Zayn with a right hand. Zayn ground and pounds Balor now. Zayn throws Balor to the outside. Zayn follows and unloads with right hands on Balor. Back in the ring, Balor with a double leg take down and right hands of his own. Stomps by Balor as he's fired up. Balor sends Zayn to the outside and dives over the top to take him out as we go to a commercial.

We're back and Balor runs into a clothesline from Zayn. Near fall for Zayn. Apparently, Balor was sent into the ring post outside during the break. Chin lock by Zayn. Knees by Zayn. Balor fights back but Zayn spikes him with a DDT!!! Zayn wants the Helluva kick but Balor counters with Sling Blade! Balor hits her version of Eye of the Hurricane! Balor wants the John Woo drop kick but ZAYN COUNTERS WITH A BLUE THUNDER BOMB!!! 1.....2......NO!!! Cole called in a Michinoku Driver and McAfee corrected him. The crowd is firmly behind Balor. Balor blocks an exploder. Elbows by Zayn. Balor blocks again and takes Zayn into the corner with shoulders to the gut. Balor counters another exploder and hits a double stomp. JOHN WOO KICK!! ANOTHER ONE!!! BALOR TO THE TOP AND HITS COUPE DE GRACE FOR THE WIN!!! Good win for Balor but with the decisive victory, I don't see no reason for a rematch.

W: Finn Balor via pin @ 8:52

Kayla Braxton is backstage with Baron Corbin. Kayla asks Corbin about his relief fund. She asks how much money he made? Corbin says he actually LOST money. Someone stole his identity! He had to ride the bus to Smackdown tonight. Corbin tells us the bus smelled like curled cheese and gym socks. Corbin asks what has happened to him and walks off.

The 2021 Mr. Money in the Bank Big E heads to the ring! Highlights of Big E winning the Money in the Bank ladder match. He'll speak after a commercial. We come back and Big E has a mic. "You deserve it" chants from the crowd. He appreciates the chants and says Money in the Bank was a night that he'll never forget. He jokes about jumping off the ladder and says he has no business doing that. When he climbed and won.......HERE COMES WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION APOLLO CREWS AND COMMANDER AZEEZ! Crews congratulates Big E on his win but it's not the same as actually winning a championship like when he beat Big E at WrestleMania. HERE'S DOLPH ZIGGLER AND ROBERT ROODE NOW! Why?!?!? Ziggler says you can't talk about the IC title without talking about the Dirty Dawgs. Roode is about to speak and HERE'S RICK BOOGS!!! He introduces NAKAMURA!! Before another words is said, CESARO JOINS AS WELL!! Cesaro has heard enough. Cesaro wants the IC and it's swing time in Cleveland. HUGE BRAWL!!! The faces send the heels packing. I'm surprised Pearce or Deville isn't here to make a six man tag. Anyways.....moving on.

We're heading down to Miami Gardens for Rolling Loud. WALE welcomes us to this portion of the show! He gets a "WE WANT THE SMOKE" chant going. THE STREET PROFITS ARE HERE!! We're getting a match next.

Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford & Wale vs. Chad Gable w/ Otis

Gable goes on the attack early here with the help of an Otis distraction. Dawkins leaps him and hits a back elbow then a drop kick. Dawkins then hits a double underhook spinning slam. That's the best I can describe that. Gable rolls to the apron. Dawkins tries to suplex him back in but Gable counters and goes on the attack. Gable goes for a monkey flip but Dawkins puts him on the top. Gable counters a punch and locks in an arm bar in the corner. Gable breaks after holding it as long as possible. Gable goes to the top and hits a flying clothesline for a near fall. Gable works on the arm of Dawkins. Hammerlock Northern Lights suplex by Gable gets a near fall. More arm work by Gable before hitting a German. The crowd is so out of this. Near fall for Gable. Gable goes up to the top rope. He wants a moonsault but lands on his feet when Dawkins rolls out of the way. Dawkins avoids a charge and hits a clothesline. Dawkins with his patented splash in the corner. Dawkins comes off the ropes but Gable hits him with a Rolling Thunder Kick. It looks awful because of the camera angle. Gable runs into a right hand that gets Dawkins a near fall. Gable counters and back slides Dawkins for a near fall. GABLE RUNS INTO AN ANNOINTMENT FROM DAWKINS THAT GETS THE WIN!!! This wasn't good. No one seemed to care in the crowd and the camera angles were rough.

W: Angelo Dawkins via pin @ 3:59

Post match, WWE Smackdown Women's Champion makes her way to the ring. The women's championship rematch is next!

WWE Smackdown Women's Championship Match

Bianca Belair (champ) vs. Carmella

Quick roll ups by both ladies to begin. Carmella with a kick to the gut and she takes control. Carmella beats Belair down in the corner. Belair avoids Carmella in the corner and hits a drop kick. Carmella goes to the apron and regroups. She hangs Belair over the top rope. Head scissors by Carmella but then Belair runs through her with a shoulder tackle. Belair wants the KOD but Carmella escapes and goes to the apron. Carmella is able to slam Belair down on the apron. Back in the ring, Carmella goes to a sleeper. Belair powers back to her feet. Belair with a back breaker. Carmella goes to the corner. Belair charges and Carmella sends her face first into the turnbuckle. Carmella heads up to the top rope. Crossbody from Carmella but Belair rolls through and hits a fall away slam. Kip up by Belair and she pounds on Carmella. Belair with a hand spring moonsault off the ropes gets a near fall for Belair. Carmella hits a jaw breaker. Belair blocks a suplex and tries one of her own. Carmella counters that and hits a X-FACTOR!! 1......2......NO!!! Carmella hits a super kick. Belair blocks a second one. Belair with a right hand. BELAIR HITS THE KOD FOR THE WIN!!! This was just as bad as the match before it. Miami isn't holding up their end of the bargain tonight.

W: Bianca Belair via pin @ 4:45

We're back in Cleveland now where Kevin Owens tries to help Shotzi and Nox fix their tank backstage. Owens leaves and runs into Corbin. Corbin apologizes for the comments he made to Owens about how he dresses. Corbin says it's a bad habit. Owens says his bad habit is that he's a jerk to everyone. Owens says he can't be surprised if no one feels bad for him. Corbin wants help and Owens asks if that's the same shirt he wore last week as it has food stains on it. Owens gives him $40 and tells him not to be a jerk to people. Owens leaves. Right then Shotzi gets the tank working and the cannon shoots Corbin the groin taking him down. Ziggler and Roode are here to mock Corbin. They try to steal his money but Owens runs them off.

Edge makes his way to the ring. We get highlights of the Edge vs. Reigns match from Money in the Bank including Seth Rollins costing Edge the match. Edge will speak after commercial. We come back and Edge has a mic. He plays to the crowd and talks about his history. He would be champion right now if it wasn't for Seth Rollins! Edge says he had all the bases covered. He had the Mysterios there to combat the Usos but he didn't think Rollins would get involved. Edge says this is bigger than the title. This goes back to 2014 when Edge first met Rollins. Rollins didn't pull the trigger on Edge then because he thought Edge wouldn't be back. But now Edge is back here and they're in each others way. Edge says Rollins has no idea about the Pandora's box that he opened. Edge says he's learned from the most evil minds in the industry. The Brood, The Ministry of Darkness. Rollins has no idea the depths Edge will go to get the job done but he's gonna find out. HERE COMES SETH ROLLINS!!! Rollins wants to know if someone said his name. Rollins says Grandpa Edge is talking about the man he used to be. Rollins cackles and Edge tells him to shut up. Edge promises not to get physical if Rollins comes down there. Rollins will come down because Edge isn't as stupid as he looks. Rollins says he was going to come out here and talk about how much he despises Cleveland and people like Edge and John Cena who come back whenever they want and expect a title shot. Rollins says people like him have earn those opportunities. The crowd boos and Rollins says to hear him out. He was going to talk about that but the more he thought about it he agrees with the people of Cleveland. He's thrilled Grandpa Edge is out here. Rollins calls Edge a scumbag and nothing would make Rollins happier than to crush Edge's dreams. Rollins wants to put an end to the comeback story. Rollins says if Edge keeps pushing and pushing him, when they talk about the Hall of Fame career of Edge, they're going to talk about the man who ended Edge.....SETH FREAKING ROLLINS!! Rollins says he had the chance to end Edge once before 7 years ago when he brought The Authority back but he hesitated. Next time he gets the chance, when he has his boot on the back of Edge's surgically repaired neck, he won't hesitate to pull the trigger! Edge reminds him of promising not to put a hand on him. EDGE LIED!! EDGE ATTACKS!!! THEY BRAWL!!! Eventually, EDGE HITS EDGECUTION!! Edge wants a spear but Rollins rolls out of the ring and bails.

Toni Storm debuts next!

Toni Storm vs. Zelina Vega

Lock up and side head lock by Vega. Strom lands a kick followed by a sliding elbow. The action goes outside where Vega bounces Storm off the announce table. Back in the ring, Vega with a series of kicks and gets a near fall. Storm counters a DDT and hits Vega with a sick head butt! Storm with a running hip attack in the corner and follows that with a bridging German! Near fall for Storm. Storm wants Storm Zero but Vega counters with Code Red for a near fall. They trade waist locks and Vega pulls the belt off of Storm. STORM HITS VEGA WITH STORM-1 TO WIN!!! It accomplished the goal of introducing Storm and giving her a debut win.

W: Toni Storm via pin @ 2:35

Highlights of the Usos defeating the Mysterios to win tag gold. The Usos make their way to the ring, Jimmy will face Dominik Mysterio after a commercial.

Jimmy Uso w/ Jey Uso (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions) vs. Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio

Dominik goes on the attack right away! They run the ropes and Jimmy takes down Dominik with a shoulder block. More rope running and Dominik with a hip toss followed by a drop kick. Dominik goes up to the top rope but Jimmy pulls him down to the mat. Jimmy with a kick to the gut and sends Dominik sternum first into the corner. Near fall for Jimmy. Jimmy chokes Dominik across the bottom rope. Dominik fights back with rights but enziguri by Jimmy for another near fall. Chin lock by Jimmy now. Dominik fights back and gets Jimmy in position for the 619. Jey pulls Jimmy to the outside to safety. Rey hits Jey with a seated senton on the outside and Dominik hits Jimmy a crossbody on the outside as we go to a break.

Back from the break, Dominik is in control and hits a neck breaker. Jimmy sends Dominik to the apron but he takes down Jimmy. Tope con hilo by Dominik. Dominik tries to be like his "father" and goes for Three Amigos. Jimmy fights it off and does the Guerrero taunt. Dominik sends him into the ropes and HITS A 619!! Dominik goes to the top but Jey is on the apron to distract. REY PULLS JEY DOWN AND THEY BRAWL OUTSIDE! Dominik jumps into a super kick from Jimmy! 1......2......NO!!! Dominik drop kicks Jey through the ropes outside. Dominik spring boards but Jimmy catches him and tries a Samoan drop but it's terribly botched!! They try to recover but then it looks even worse. McAfee tries to help them by saying they keep countering each other. A+ effort by McAfee but it was bad. JIMMY EVENTUALLY GETS DOMINIK IN A RANA PINNING POSITION AND JEY GIVES HIM AN ASSIST SIMILAR TO MONEY IN THE BANK TO GET THE WIN!!! The botch completely ruined the ending of this.

W: Jimmy Uso via pin @ 7:49

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns comes out to meet the Usos on the ramp. They all pose with their gold on the ramp. Reigns will answer Cena's challenge after a commercial.

We come back to just Reigns and Heyman in the ring. Heyman hands Reigns a mic. Reigns waits out the boos from the Cleveland crowd and tells them to acknowledge him. They boo louder. Reigns looks into the camera and tells us at home to acknowledge him. We might as well since everyone including Cena has acknowledged him. Cena acknowledged him at Money in the Bank, Raw, and tonight. Reigns says he wanted to acknowledge Cena but Hollywood fooled him. They put a new paint job on Cena. Reigns thought we were going to get something new and special. Reigns says Cena put on a nostalgia act. Reigns says Cena has the same music, run to the ring, same outfit, same promo, and same insults. If Reigns wanted that, he would search 2005 John Cena. It's like missionary position every single night!!! DAMN!! But the Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, isn't interested in that. Reigns says Cena was right. Reigns can't see him. He doesn't want to see him or have any desire to see him. Reigns says we won't see Cena in the main event of SummerSlam because REIGNS ANSWER IS NO!!!!!!! CUE FINN BALOR!!!!! Reigns demeanor just changed!! Balor has a mic. Reigns says Heyman told him that Balor is here to do what Cena does and acknowledge him. Balor says he's not here to acknowledge him but if he's not interested in Cena's challenge, maybe he'll be interested in Balor's!!! Reigns smiles and then laughs. The crowd is all for it!! Reigns thinks it over with Heyman. The crowd chants "Roman's scared". REIGNS GETS SERIOUS AND SAYS CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!! They stare each other down to end the show!

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