WWE Friday Night SmackDown advertised John Cena and Roman Reigns going face-to-face in a promo battle amid reports from @WrestleVotes that officials feel the feud’s build has been lackluster.
Cena and Reigns have traded barbs in individual promos over the past few weeks, but this will be their first face-to-face meeting for the first time since 2017. The most memorable head-to-head clash during that timeframe came on the August 28, 2017 broadcast of Raw where Reigns infamously forgot his lines and was eviscerated by Cena as a result. With Reigns as a more fully developed heel character who has improved immensely on the mic since then, tonight’s face off should be a different story, and it was.
For the most part.
Though Reigns held his own going back-and-forth with Cena, Cena was clearly put in position to outclass Reigns in this promo. Not only were Cena’s references edgier and more memorable (Cena referenced CM Punk famously blowing Vince McMahon a kiss at Money in the Bank 2011 and noted Reigns “ran Dean Ambrose out of WWE” vs. a tame Nikki Bella reference by Reigns), Cena was booked to receive an additional “drop the mic” rant in what will forever be known as the “1…2…3” promo.
Last week’s broadcast of Friday Night SmackDown garnered 2.169 million viewers.
- August 6, 2021—2.169 million
- July 30, 2021—2.043 million
- July 23, 2021—2.137 million
- July 16, 2021—2.310 million
- July 9, 2021—1.986 million
WWE SmackDown—Key Competition
Max Caster Needs to Get Out of AEW (Pro Wrestling Bits)
WWE SmackDown Total YouTube Viewership Last Friday: 6,344,780 (Up from 8,850,484)
- Most-Viewed: Roman Reigns and The Usos Execute Beatdown on Finn Balor (1,977,084 views)
- Least-Viewed: Relive Sasha Banks’ Return (124,891 views)
- Median Viewership: 494,799 views
WWE SmackDown Results—Friday, August 13, 2021
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns in a Promo Battle
On the heels of reports that Ric Flair could be AEW-bound, potential WWE pettiness gives John Cena a fighting chance of breaking Flair’s iconic record.
Roman Reigns was just fine in this promo exchange, but John Cena was positioned to absolutely go off and establish himself as a once-in-a-generation promo. Cena got all the edgy references, he had the crowd on his side and Reigns was even booked to say that he wasn’t a promo guy. Based on Cena’s comments of Reigns being the biggest failure in WWE history if he loses, this seems like even more of a must-win match for Reigns.
John Cena referenced CM Punk by noted he might blow Reigns a kiss, and said he ran Dean Ambrose out of WWE. This was just as much of a diss track as it was a promo.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Apollo Crews–WWE Intercontinental Championship
Apollo Crews was the most improved wrestler of the pandemic, but he’s been the most disappointing story of the pandemic. Crews has received little-to-no promo time to reintroduce this new character to a live crowd, and his toothless Intercontinental Championship reign came to a merciful end tonight.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s title win was the right choice as Nakamura and Rick Boogs are slowly developing into a crowd-pleasing babyface act, and a win like this will help give him credibility as more than just a comedy character. Nakamura is on fire right now and I do love to see it.
The Street Profits def. The Alpha Academy
Otis showed off immense country strength by throwing around big man Angelo Dawkins like he was a Wrestling Buddy.
If WWE didn’t already give me a glimpse into the charismatic, Dusty Rhodes-like big man that Otis could have been, I’d think he could be very promising monster heel based on tonight’s performance.
Seth Rollins Appears Live
This segment featured the second Shield reference just over an hour into the show.
This promo was Seth Rollins vs. “We Want Edge!” chants, but Rollins fought through them and cut a very good promo.
How many Edge storylines will the heel threaten to end Edge’s career?
The Mysterios def. The Dirty Dawgz
I hated that Dominik had to be frozen in fear while The Usos did live commentary via Titantron, but I did like that he ultimately got the victory.
It looks like the seemingly inevitable Mysterio split is going down if they don’t beat The Usos at SummerSlam.
Baron Corbin’s Final Plea
Despite all the talk of Happy Corbin, Pat McAfee was dedicated to renaming Baron Corbin “Bum-ass Baron.”
Baron Corbin’s character issued a commentary on cancel culture and how much people like to root for the downfall of public figures.
Kevin Owens seemed like he’d be an ally for Corbin, but he will now fight Baron Corbin, and if Corbin wins, he’ll receive $1,000 from Owens.
Homeless Baron Corbin with a credit card scanner on his phone was such a funny visual.
Kevin Owens def. Baron Corbin—$1,000 Match
If Kevin Owens wins this match, expect to see Corbin go full-blown homeless, sign around his neck and all.
“Baron Corbin has lost his ability to beg the WWE Universe for money,” was the payoff to this match as narrated by Michael Cole.
After stealing the Money in the Bank Briefcase, Baron Corbin isn’t as much of a homeless person as he is a troll like Golum from Lord of the Rings.
Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair Contract Signing
Don’t tell me Baron Corbin is going to crash this contract signing and try to steal Sasha Banks’ women’s title match too.
Before this segment started, Pat McAfee dryly remarked “these always go really well.”
Today, I learned a scar kept Sasha Banks out of action for months.
Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair are so good at realistically arguing with each other.
Carmella and Zelina Vega randomly matching tells me they either formed a tag team out of nowhere, are Sasha Banks’ new goons or all of the above.