Sasha Banks Is Back, Cena Steals Balor's Title Shot, More WWE SmackDown FalloutJuly 31, 2021
Sasha Banks Is Back, Cena Steals Balor's Title Shot, More WWE SmackDown Fallout
The big returns just keep on coming. Friday's SmackDown saw Sasha Banks make a triumphant comeback after spending months away following her loss to Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 37.
This follows the returns of Edge, John Cena and Goldberg in recent weeks. If WWE is trying to get fans hyped for SummerSlam, these big names will do a lot to help.
Speaking of Cena, he made an appearance to talk some trash about Roman Reigns. Later in the show, as The Tribal Chief prepared to sign his contract for a match against Finn Balor at SummerSlam, Cena prevented Baron Corbin from stealing the title shot, only to then take it for himself.
We also saw Reginald defend the 24/7 Championship for the first time against Chad Gable in a standard match that did not include a dozen random wrestlers chasing him around the ring.
Let's take a look at some of the highlights from the latest episode of SmackDown.
Baron Corbin Is Still Finding His Way to Rock Bottom
The one-time King of the Ring is a desperate man. As Cena opened Friday's show with a promo directed at Reigns, Corbin came down to ask Cena for some assistance with his situation.
Cena gave him the few dollars he had in his pocket, but Corbin seemed unhappy with the donation. After being turned down for a role in the already-filmed Suicide Squad, Corbin called him a sellout.
The 16-time champion said Corbin needed something else to help him out and delivered an Attitude Adjustment to end the segment.
The level of heat Corbin was getting as he walked to the ring was huge. Even if some of it was edited in, the crowd was still clearly reacting to him with chants and jeers.
Later in the show, he tried to steal Balor's title shot by taking him out so he could sign the contract, but Cena ended up beating him to the punch.
He still has a long way to go before anyone feels bad for him, but Corbin is slowly working his way toward a babyface turn. If he can somehow convert those boos to cheers, he will be a made man.
His heel run has lasted for years and included several forgettable storylines, but Corbin is a good hand in the ring and seems comfortable doing whatever WWE asks of him. Whether he is going to come out on top or be embarrassed, he puts everything he has into his performances.
The Boss Is Back
After not being on WWE television since her loss to Belair at WrestleMania 37, Banks returned Friday to save the SmackDown women's champion from being beaten down by Carmella and Zelina Vega.
The crowd exploded for The Boss as she ran to the ring and took care of business. She looked energetic and had a smile plastered across her face. Clearly, Banks is happy to have the crowd back.
What was surprising is how Banks hugged a shocked Belair and acted like they were best friends. We all saw them together at the ESPY Awards, but it never felt like WWE would try to have them go from bitter enemies to friends without warning.
Some people were probably waiting for her to take a cheap shot at an unsuspecting Belair as they danced together, but it never happened. At least not yet. While the return was a great moment for Banks and her fans, it was also a little sudden. WWE usually gives big moments like this more time to breathe.
The WrestleMania opponents teamed up against Carmella and Vega in the main event. The Boss scored the win for the team and celebrated with the champ before taking her down with a Backstabber into the Banks Statement.
Loud boos echoed in the arena as she reapplied the submission to the fallen champion as the show went off the air. That friendship was more short-lived than Charlotte Flair's most recent title reign.
Mella and Vega both want title shots, but with The Boss back in the mix, The EST's plans for SummerSlam still appear to be up in the air. We will have to wait to find out who ends up challenging her at The Biggest Party of the Summer. Maybe all three women will challenge Belair in a Fatal 4-Way.
From Sommelier to Champion
Reginald shocked the world when he won the 24/7 Championship on Raw shortly after Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax relieved him of his position as their valet earlier in July.
The former sommelier didn't wait long to have his first title defense against Gable on SmackDown. Reginald had the match well in hand, but Otis caused a disqualification and threw him out of the ring. Reggie was able to recover and flip on to his feet like the acrobat he is.
Reginald's agility has always been the thing that makes him stand out. Now that we are getting to see him unleash his full ability in the ring, he is going to gain a lot of new fans.
His time with Mella, Jax and Baszler did not give him much to do other than get yelled at or beaten up, but now he has a chance to be a real WWE Superstar. If this short match with Gable is any indication, Reggie is going to be a popular high-flyer in no time.
It's also interesting to note that WWE booked this as a standard match instead of having a bunch of people chasing the champion randomly during the show. If that trend continues, the 24/7 Championship might begin to mean something.
While R-Truth is a legend who did some amazing work with the title, the gimmick grew stale. If this is WWE trying to make the belt matter by booking it as a legitimate championship, it's a good first step. Let's hope management puts some effort into pushing the title and Reginald.
Also, Reginald revealed he isn't French. Shocker.
That's Not How Contracts Work
Balor and Reigns met for a standard contract signing to make their Universal Championship match official for SummerSlam, but that is not what ended up happening.
After Corbin tried and failed to take Balor's spot, Cena ran down and signed on the dotted line, leaving Balor high and dry.
Paul Heyman asked Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville what they planned to do about it, but they did not seem interested in changing anything. They said Cena vs. Reigns is official and walked away.
Will Balor demand to be added to the match? Will WWE act like he was never part of the buildup to begin with? What is going on with Corbin?
The company has approximately three weeks to answer these questions before the PPV. If WWE just leaves The Prince out of the match, a lot of fans are going to be pissed off.
Having Cena challenge Reigns is not the problem. The issue is WWE contracts are apparently meaningless if anyone can just sign one instead of the person whose name appears in the actual text. Heyman was right to be furious. Where's David Otunga when you need him?
If WWE adds Balor to make it a Triple Threat, nobody will care because his presence will make the match better. If that doesn't happen, it will be another baffling decision in a long line of confusing choices from WWE over the past year.