Nakamura Wins Gold, Cena and Reigns' War of Words, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2021

Nakamura Wins Gold, Cena and Reigns' War of Words, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

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    Friday's SmackDown continued the buildup for SummerSlam with a few good matches, plenty of promo segments and a title change to boot.

    The show started off with John Cena and Roman Reigns engaging in another war of words. The insults were flying left and right, with nothing being out of bounds. They even invoked the names of Dean Ambrose and Nikki Bella.

    Shinsuke Nakamura faced Apollo Crews in a fun match for the Intercontinental Championship that ended with the King of SmackDown winning the belt for the second time.

    The tag team division was spotlighted in two matches: The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy and Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. the Mysterios.

    We also saw a desperate Baron Corbin sink to a new low after losing a $1,000 match to Kevin Owens. Let's look at some of the biggest moments from Friday's show.

John Cena and Roman Reigns Have a Verbal Battle

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    SmackDown opened with Cena coming to the ring to deliver a promo directed at Reigns. He pretended to give The Tribal Chief a report card with straight Ds.

    He asked the crowd whether Reigns will beat him at SummerSlam and got a somewhat mixed response. That is when The Head of the Table finally arrived for this big showdown.

    The universal champion allowed Cena to do most of the trash talking and acted like he was bored by his shtick. He said Cena doesn't have any fresh material and asked for Cena to really insult him.

    The Leader of the Cenation told Reigns he expects to have his butt kicked at SummerSlam but that it won't stop him from getting the pin and winning world title No. 17.

    The Big Dog told Cena that he had a lot of respect for him and called him one of the greatest of all time but also said he isn't good enough to win the title, just like he wasn't good enough to keep Nikki Bella happy. The verbal war ended with Cena getting in the last word before leaving. Reigns did not look impressed.

    This was a smart way to keep this feud going. We don't need to see Cena battle The Usos, and we don't need to him brawl with Reigns. Using their verbal skills to hype this storyline is the best way to go.

    The next show is the final SmackDown before SummerSlam, so we can expect to see Cena and Reigns have one more interaction. Will Reigns try to get an advantage with a sneak attack? Will The Usos take it upon themselves to take him out first? If they fail, how will The Tribal Chief react?

The King Wins More Gold

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    The first match of the night saw Nakamura challenge Crews for the Intercontinental Championship. As usual, Rick Boogs and Commander Azeez were there to support their respective allies.

    The referee was forced to boot Boogs and Azeez from ringside when they both tried to interfere. The crowd seemed unhappy to see Boogs go but cheered a moment later when Crews' personal bodyguard was ejected.

    After a hard-fought back-and-forth battle, Nakamura was able to defeat Crews to win his second IC title, much to the delight of the live crowd and Pat McAfee, who joined Boogs in dancing on the announce table in celebration.

    Crews had a decent run with the IC title, but his reign was becoming stale because WWE wasn't doing anything meaningful with him. Putting the belt on The Rockstar opens the door for several interesting options, especially with a draft coming up soon.

    As long as he doesn't end up back in a feud with Corbin, his reign will be a success. As for Crews, it will be interesting to see whether he remains a solo star or if WWE has him and Azeez go after the tag titles. They could be a great addition to the division if booked right.

The Tag Team Division Is Small but Fierce

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    Friday's show featured two tag team bouts, with The Street Profits facing Alpha Academy and the Mysterios battling Ziggler and Roode.

    With The Usos as the champions, that makes up the entirety of the blue brand's tag team division. While five teams is less than ideal, the five duos WWE has here are all valuable and unique.

    Each team represents a different style of wrestling. The Mysterios bring the lucha libre flavor, Alpha Academy is all about technical precision, The Usos combine high-flying and brawling, Roode and Ziggler are the flashy veterans and the Profits boast Montez Ford's aerial ability and Angelo Dawkins' power.

    The Profits and Mysterios were victorious in their respective matches. With the latter about to get a title shot against The Usos at SummerSlam, it looks like WWE is already setting up Ford and Dawkins as the next top contenders.

Baron Corbin Is Still Looking for Rock Bottom

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    Corbin came to the ring Friday to beg the WWE Universe for money, and he even brought a credit card swiper with him in an effort to get $1,000.

    Owens had heard enough and told the former King of SmackDown that if he could win a match between them, he would give Corbin $1,000. If he lost, he had to stop begging everyone for money.

    As expected, KO scored the win and hit a Stunner after the match for good measure. The sad saga of broken Corbin continues, and it's hard to tell what the endgame is with this story.

    However this ends, Corbin has been putting full effort into this angle. In fact, this is some of the best character work he has done in his WWE career. He embodies the sad-sack persona perfectly.

    During a backstage segment after his match, Corbin stole Big E's Money in the Bank briefcase, so the next step will likely be Big E trying to get it back before he can cash it in. It shouldn't work that way, but since Cena was able to steal Finn Balor's title shot, WWE contracts are obviously full of loopholes.

    The go-home show before SummerSlam will almost certainly feature Big E attempting to get back his briefcase.

    Friday's SmackDown had some good moments, but it featured a lot of talking. At least nobody can accuse WWE of trying to counterprogram All Elite Wrestling Rampage by booking a wild show to draw attention.