WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from April 9April 9, 2021
WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from April 9
WWE kicked off its biggest weekend of the year with a special WrestleMania edition of SmackDown, featuring the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and a blockbuster Fatal 4-Way Match for the blue brand's tag team titles.
Also featuring comments from Roman Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan ahead of their main event Sunday night at the Showcase of the Immortals, the episode served as the perfect primer for the two-night extravaganza.
Who emerged victoriously from the advertised bouts, and what did the three competitors in the Triple Threat match for the Universal Championship have to say?
Find out now with this recap of the April 9 show.
Announced for Friday
The lineup for Friday's broadcast:
- The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alpha Academy vs. The Street Profits vs. Rey and Dominik Mysterio
- Roman Reigns, Edge, and Daniel Bryan address the WWE Universe ahead of WrestleMania
Coverage begins at 8 p.m.
Don't Tell Daniel Bryan "No"
Daniel Bryan kicked off this week's show, excited about being so close to WrestleMania. He expressed his desire to hear the roar of the crowd at WrestleMania. There is nothing like winning the world heavyweight championship at WrestleMania, he said.
He said a career of hearing "no" has made him say "YES!" He recalled the injury that sidelined him for three years and the people that said he's never come back. He said "yes." They said he couldn't tap out Roman Reigns. He said "yes." Adam Pearce initially said "no" to a title shot, he said "yes."
"This Sunday at WrestleMania, they're getting the best damn Daniel Bryan they've ever seen!"
A fired-up Bryan asked, "Can Daniel Bryan walk out of the main event of WrestleMania as universal champion? YES! YES! YES!"
This was a fantastic promo from Bryan, who undoubtedly understood the importance of putting the final touches on the hype for his championship opportunity. It was a well-structured promo with a common thread, and one that reminded fans exactly what Bryan's character is all about, in case they forgot.
It highlighted his motivations, showed the fiery passion that made him such a fan favorite in the first place, and set the stage for Bryan to be the beloved hero in this year's main event.
On a night where hyping up WrestleMania is absolutely key, Bryan turned in his best promo performance in weeks and dared his opponents to tell him "no" one more time.
Fatal 4-Way Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
As The Street Profits chanted "YES!" along with Bryan backstage, SmackDown tag team champions Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode attacked from out of nowhere. Alpha Academy joined in, followed by Rey and Dominik Mysterio, giving way to the advertised Fatal 4-Way Match for the gold.
The Mysterios rolled early, standing dominantly heading into the commercial break.
Back from the break, Montez Ford took Roode down with a big dropkick for a quick two count. The newly aggressive Otis and Chad Gable halted Ford’s momentum, working him over with slams and a northern lights suplex from the latter for a near-fall.
Ziggler joined in, only to be taken down by Ford, who drove him to the mat. The action broke down following the hot tag, leading to the Mysterios delivering a double 619 to Roode. A frog splash from Dominik scored a near-fall that was broken up by an interfering Otis.
The action continued to break down, leading to a top-rope frog splash from Ford to Gable. An alert Ziggler rocked Ford with a superkick and Roode, off a blind tag, scored the pinfall for the successful title retention.
Ziggler and Roode defeated The Street Profits, Alpha Academy, and The Mysterios to retain
This would have been a hell of an opener for either night of WrestleMania.
It was an action-packed match that highlighted the strengths of each team while positioning the champions as vulnerable late. Then, like good heels, they seized an opening and did exactly what they had to in order to retain their titles.
The only problem with it as it was presented here? The commercial breaks really hurt the flow of things. Without them, this could have been worthy of inclusion on the WrestleMania card.
It will be interesting to see where things go from here. The Street Profits were seconds from victory, only to have it stolen out from under them. Will it be enough to warrant a rematch? Might a new team step up?
It bears watching, but one thing is for certain: The tag division on Friday nights is far healthier than it was just a few months back.
Tamina vs. Nia Jax
A prerecorded promo from Big E put over the beating he has coming for Apollo Crews at WrestleMania, live from his hometown of Tampa, Florida.
From there, women's tag team champion Nia Jax made her way to the ring with partner Shayna Baszler by her side for a match with Tamina, who was accompanied by Natalya.
As Tamina matched Jax's fury, Reginald ran interference, allowing The Irresistible Force to down her opponent. Tamina fought back as Natalya pulled Baszler off the apron and brawled with her at ringside. She rocked Jax with a superkick and flattened her with a Samoan Drop.
Baszler broke up the pin, drawing a disqualification before retreating with her partner. Natalya checked on her partner as we headed backstage to Kayla Braxton, who was standing by with The Riott Squad's Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan.
Billie Kay interrupted, followed by Carmella, who revealed the newly formed team will be a part of Tag Team Turmoil at WrestleMania. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke followed before tension mounted and a brawl broke out.
The segment ended with Tamina and Natalya brutalizing the competition, sending both Morgan and Brooke into anvil cases and leaving them lying.
Tamina defeated Jax via disqualification
It was nice to see WWE focus time and energy on the women's tag team division the last couple of weeks, but one can only imagine how much more anticipated this weekend's matches would be had it started earlier.
What if there had been any creative effort into establishing the teams involved ahead of the show rather than having them score the occasional win here or there to set things up?
It is the same old story for WWE Creative. The good news? This feels like a bigger deal than it would have been had it been thrown on the Kickoff Show and left to wallow in mediocrity, especially with the turmoil match and the tag title match being spread out like they are.
Edge's Dreams Manifested
Edge made his way to the ring for a few words before Sunday's main event.
He said, when he dreams things, he has to manifest them, because that's how things work in his world. He didn't walk away from wrestling, it was ripped away from him. He didn't forge another career off the back of it, this is all he wanted to do.
"I didn't come back for some greatest hits tour," he said. He came back to main event WrestleMania. "I missed nine of them, so I won't apologize for that."
He accused Bryan of weaseling his way into the main event, ruining a clash of two eras between him and Reigns.
Edge claimed to set the template for Reigns, calling him "Samoan Edge" based on the number of similarities between them.
He cried foul over no one recognizing the incredible feats he has accomplished to come back. He will be the universal champion after WrestleMania. He dreamt it and he will manifest it.
Edge was the ranting, raving, desperate character we have seen him devolve into in recent weeks in a promo that was all over the place.
He touted his own passionate journey, took exception to Bryan being in the match at WrestleMania, took credit for Reigns' entire shtick and talked about manifesting his dreams.
It was a great promo, with some strong facial expressions out of The Rated R Superstar and just enough content to set up post-Mania programs with either Bryan or Reigns, if WWE sees fit to take things in that direction.
Sasha Banks Talks WrestleMania, More Sami Zayn Hijinx
Sasha Banks cut a promo ahead of her SmackDown Women's Championship defense against Bianca Belair, laughing off the idea of the 2021 Royal Rumble winner dethroning her.
Elsewhere, a video package recorded earlier in the week saw Sami Zayn show up unannounced at the boxing facility that Logan Paul and brother Jake were working out. The conspiracy-minded Superstar tried to buddy up to the celebrities but quickly found himself denied entry back into the facility.
After the video aired, Zayn appealed to the commentary team that all was OK with him and his buddy Paul. Kevin Owens arrived and attacked him as Superstars made their way to the ring for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Short and sweet, these were two small and inoffensive additions to storylines that had already wrapped up everything they hoped to accomplish a week ago.
Banks is the overconfident heel champion entering the match with Belair, while Owens is hellbent on avenging last week's attack.
We know where all the characters involved are coming from, and that is a nice change of pace considering the creative void many undercard matches often suffer from entering WrestleMania.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Participants: Akira Tozawa, Angel Garza, Erik, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Kalisto, Tucker, Drew Gulak, Mace, T-Bar, Slapjack, Humberto Carillo, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, Murphy, Jaxson Ryker, Elias, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin, Jey Uso, Mustafa Ali and Ricochet.
Benjamin and Alexander teamed up early to moderate success, but their dominance came to an end when the rest of the competitors teamed up to dump them.
The former members of Retribution teed off on Elias and Ryker, eliminating them before Ali eliminated Mace and T-Bar. Lucha House Party momentarily reunited before Metalik and Dorado eliminated Kalisto. Metalik dumped Dorado for good measure.
Back from the break, seven Superstars remained in the competition: Murphy, Garza, Corbin, Ricochet, Nakamura, Ali and Uso.
Corbin eliminated Murphy, and Nakamura dumped Garza to the floor with a Kinshasa. Ricochet eliminated Ali, but he ate a superkick from Uso that sent him to the floor. Nakamura fought from underneath, eliminating Corbin. After an exchange of strikes, Uso reversed Nakamura's momentum and sent The Artist to the floor for the win.
There were a handful of the Superstars involved with a genuine chance of winning the whole thing, and it ultimately came down to them. No one was elevated, no one came out of this any better for having participated. WWE went the predictable route, and it was what it was.
Were there a few cool spots? Sure, but nothing constituting anything we haven't seen a million times in every one of these matches.
It was a match for the sake of a match, an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that is starting to feel like an obligation rather than a useful tool to get stars over at this point.
Roman Reigns' Final Assessment Ahead of WrestleMania
In true Head of the Table fashion, Roman Reigns put Jey Uso in his place, interrupting his celebration and stalking toward the squared circle for the show-closing promo.
The Tribal Chief said WWE is winning every time he shows up. "You know the phrase. You bought the shirt!"
He said Edge needs to stop whining about things being taken away from him because Reigns is the one who took it from him and everyone else in WWE. He vowed to defeat Bryan and Edge, saying, "every single day of the week, when you train at a 12, the 10 comes easy."
The universal champion looked into the camera and issued a warning to the rest of the SmackDown roster: "You think what I did this year was special? Wait 'til you see what I do next."
The third promo from the Triple Threat participants, the third "A" grade.
Reigns was on fire here, the consummate overconfident villain absolutely sure that he is going to leave WrestleMania the same way he entered, despite the odds stating otherwise.
He was great as he managed to incorporate his own catchphrases and even squeezed in Paul Heyman's "not a guarantee, it's a spoiler" line.
Reigns has completely reinvented himself, transitioning to the role of bad guy so much easier and more naturally than he ever filled that of the hero. He is imposing, dangerous, cerebral and does not hesitate to rely on interference from Uso or Heyman, even when he may not need it.
He is great. He is the best thing about WWE in 2021, and though it is unlikely, he should retain his title at WrestleMania.