WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 15

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2021

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 15

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just six days before Crown Jewel, live from Saudi Arabia, WWE SmackDown hit the FSN airwaves for a special two-and-a-half-hour megashow, headlined by an appearance from "The Beast" Brock Lesnar.

    The top contender to Roman Reigns' Universal Championship had another message to send The Tribal Chief ahead of their titanic clash on pay-per-view. What was it and how, if at all, did The Head of the Table respond?

    The answer awaited on a jam-packed show that featured tournament semifinals, championship clashes and PPV-worthy main events.

Match Card

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    • Brock Lesnar appearance
    • Non-Title Match: Sasha Banks vs. SmackDown women's champion Becky Lynch
    • Queen's Crown Semifinal: Carmella vs. Zelina Vega
    • King of the Ring Semifinal: Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn
    • Naomi vs. Sonya Deville
    • SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits vs. The Usos

Edge Warns Seth Rollins Ahead of Crown Jewel

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    Credit: WWE

    The 11-time world champion and 2012 Hall of Famer Edge kicked off this week's show to a thunderous ovation—one week after challenging Seth Rollins to a Hell in a Cell Match at Crown Jewel—and addressed the WWE Universe.

    But first, a recap of the last two weeks, in case you haven't been watching.

    Edge admitted that Rollins is not Edge-lite; he's his own man. He's Seth Freaking Rollins. It's because of that that he has to end it. He said he could have gone to Rollins' home and encountered Becky Lynch, but he's not going to do that. He's going to put Rollins under his boot, and he won't hesitate to do it.

        

    Grade

    B+

        

    Analysis

    Edge is so great at these go-home promos. He has made a career off of them, of drumming up interest in anything he does by going deep, sometimes dark. He creates a must-see atmosphere for his matches, thanks to his ability to hit at the heart of the viewer by never losing sight of what his program is intended to do.

    Rollins made the feud personal by invading Edge's home. The Hall of Famer responded by challenging him to the most storied gimmick match the company has to offer. The feud has steadily escalated, and the promo reflected as much.

    This was great stuff by a grizzled vet, and the match with Rollins is likely to steal the show in Saudi Arabia, if their previous encounters are any indication.

King of the Ring Tournament Semifinal: Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE

    The semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament kicked off the in-ring portion of this show as Finn Balor battled Sami Zayn one-on-one.

    Early back and forth gave way to Balor launching himself over the top rope, wiping his opponent out heading into the commercial break. During the break, Zayn turned the tide in his favor and controlled the pace of the match after the timeout. 

    Balor fought back and scored a near-fall off a midair shotgun dropkick, but Zayn answered with a Blue Thunder Bomb out of nowhere. Balor again fought back, fired up and ultimately delivered the Coup de Grace for the pinfall victory.

         

    Result

    Balor defeated Zayn

        

    Grade

    B

         

    Analysis

    Anyone who paid attention to their NXT runs knows Balor and Zayn can deliver a hell of a match. While this one was hampered by a commercial break, it was still hella competitive and a ton of fun. Zayn reminded us of how good he is when he doesn't have to work around his conspiracy theorist shtick, and Balor continued what has been a hot streak between the ropes since returning to the main roster.

    Balor advances to the finals of the King of the Ring tournament, where he will meet either Xavier Woods or Jinder Mahal. WWE booking suggests it will be Mahal, which will be a major letdown given how Woods actively campaigned for the return of the tournament and the opportunity to be King.

    Either way, we're looking at the potential for a really fun final. Hopefully, it reflects a tournament that has typically been a launching point for stars.

Naomi Takes on Sonya Deville...or Does She?

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    Credit: WWE

    After weeks of chasing a match on WWE television, Naomi returned to the squared circle for an advertised match with official Sonya Deville. Instead, Deville appeared and revealed it would be a handicap match in which the former SmackDown women's champion would battle Deville and Shayna Baszler.

    Naomi chased Deville out of the ring and thwarted an attack by Baszler, only to fall prey to a running knee to the back of the head by her rival. Baszler held Naomi while Deville insulted her verbally and physically. A springboard kick downed Baszler, but Deville prevented a moonsault. 

    The Queen of Spades put her to sleep moments later with the Karifuda Clutch, and Deville arrogantly pinned her for the win.

         

    Result

    Deville and Baszler defeated Naomi

         

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    If the bait-and-switch nature of it didn't upset you, the utilization of Baszler should have.

    Here is someone the company has been rebuilding over the last month, positioning her as the most dominant force in the women's division. She sold entirely too much in this match, especially by being taken off her feet. She was a sideshow to the actual feud between Deville and Naomi, and that's inexcusable given the role that it feels like management is preparing her for. 

    Was this an effective way of getting heat for Deville? Absolutely, but there were better ways of doing it, beginning with selecting any other heel competitor for Baszler's role.

    The eventual payoff of Naomi vs. Deville will be fire, though, as long as WWE can resist dragging things out too long.

Seth Rollins' Rebuttal

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    Credit: WWE

    Seth Rollins delivered a rebuttal to his Crown Jewel opponent, repeatedly telling the audience that he is not intimidated to face Edge inside Hell in a Cell. Why? Because he has spent more time in the structure—been calloused by the cage—more than his Hall of Fame opponent.

    The cell made him who he is today, a reference to the story he told "Stone Cold" Steve Austin about his Hell in a Cell match against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in 2019 and its effect on his character.

    Stoically staring in the camera, he vowed to settle his differences with Edge next Thursday before dropping the mic.

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    This run has seen Rollins’ best promo work. He has found himself as a talker, is confident and commanding on the mic. He tiptoes the fine line between serious and over-the-top, deranged and silly. For the first time in his career, his promo skills nearly match his in-ring ability, and the result is the most complete version of Rollins we have seen in what has already been a Hall of Fame-worthy WWE career.

    His match with Edge is going to be spectacular and serve as the proper conclusion to this feud.

Queen's Crown Semifinal Match: Zelina Vega vs. Carmella

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    Credit: WWE

    Prior to their semifinal match in the Queen's Crown tournament, Zelina Vega and Carmella made nice, the latter vowing not to wear her special mask in the match.

    As the action intensified, though, she scurried to the arena floor, looking for it. Instead of her special handlers having it ready for her, Liv Morgan stood holding the mask, taunting her rival. She raised her fist to the heel, who rushed back into the ring.

    Vega took advantage of the distraction and scored the rollup victory, cashing her ticket to the finals next week in Saudi Arabia.

         

    Result

    Vega defeated Carmella

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    This was another way-too-short match in a tournament that has quickly devolved into a source of contempt among wrestling fans, but it did have its positives. It included a logical development in the rivalry between Morgan and Carmella and, more importantly, booked Vega in her most significant match to date.

    La Muneca has been an underutilized performer for a long time, her full potential yet to be explored by WWE. There is a strong likelihood that Doudrop or Baszler beats her for the crown, but those in power should reconsider if that is indeed the plan. A strong personality with in-ring abilities she's yet to put on full display, there are far worse options available than utilizing the crown to catapult Vega into a prominent role.

Street Fight for the SmackDown Tag Titles: The Usos vs. Street Profits

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    Credit: WWE

    Terrible dad jokes from Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, and an appearance from Rick Boogs and intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura, gave way to The Street Profits hitting the ring for a special Street Fight for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The Usos.

    The teams settled their issues in a wild, chaotic, no-rules Street Fight with the blue brand tag titles at stake. The Usos mercilessly battered Angelo Dawkins with kendo stick shots about the body before a high cross-body block from Montez Ford wiped them out and sparked a babyface comeback. 

    Dawkins obliterated Jey with a kendo stick and Ford followed with a steel chair. Jimmy saved his brother, sent Dawkins into the steel post and delivered stereo superkicks to each of their opponents. The action broke down and Ford delivered a frog splash, shifting his body in midair to come down on Jimmy. Jey saved the fall and powered Ford through a table at ringside.

    An ugly rollup by Dawkins gave way to a double superkick from the Usos, who delivered consecutive splashes en route to a successful title defense.

         

    Result

    The Usos defeated The Street Profits to retain the SmackDown tag team titles

         

    Grade

    A

         

    Analysis

    The Usos are all-timers, and The Street Profits don't get nearly enough credit for being as truly great as they are. These two teams, facing competition from another company, went to the ring and tore the house down in a Street Fight for the tag titles.

    This was energetic, chaotic and had fans thinking for a moment that Dawkins and Ford may actually win the gold despite shipping off to Raw as part of the draft. That the performers were able to force an astute and knowledgeable fanbase to let down its guard and invest in the action is a compliment to their skill. 

    Who knows which team steps up to challenge The Usos next, but whoever it is will have the opportunity to work with one of the best tandems in professional wrestling history. And whatever becomes of the Profits on Monday nights, one thing is for sure: no team has elevated its stock over the last two years like Ford and Dawkins. Their work and dedication are undeniable.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

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    Credit: WWE

    Big Time Becks and The Boss squared off in a legitimate, pay-per-view quality main event Friday night, kicking off the uninterrupted final half-hour of the show. Bianca Belair appeared prior to the bell, joining Pat McAfee and Michael Cole on commentary in preparation for her championship match at Crown Jewel.

    Lynch and Banks traded submission attempts, each looking for a win that would provide them momentum entering next Thursday's pay-per-view event. Banks rocked Lynch at one point, but an ill-advised double knee on the ring apron saw her connect with the ring post. The Man seized control of the match from there. 

    The Boss fought back, delivered the Three Amigos, and earned a close two-count. Lynch, again, used the ring post to her advantage as she tossed Banks shoulder-first into it and immediately applied a ropes-assisted Disarmer.

    Banks finally created some separation and used Lynch's own game plan against her, sending her into the ring post then adding a Meteora into another post. A second Meteora, back in the ring, drove Lynch's head into the mat and gave Banks another near-fall.

    The action spilled to the floor, just in front of Belair, where Lynch delivered a leg drop. Banks answered with a Bank Statement that had the champion tapping. Back inside, she added a frog splash, but Lynch kicked out at two. 

    Lynch continued to utilize leg drops to her advantage, but a missed one led to the action heading outside the ring, where Lynch accidentally wiped out Belair. Banks delivered another Meteora, but Lynch got her knees up during a frog splash attempt. 

    Later, counters and reversals gave way to Belair assisting Banks in delivering the backstabber for the pinfall victory.

        

    Result

    Banks defeated Lynch

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    This was a pay-per-view main event on free television, delivered by two of the standard-bearers in WWE. Banks and Lynch have been among the best wrestlers in the company for years now, and they once again proved it with a match that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with anything else on the show.

    Any recent show, for that matter.

    It was a great match that played on several themes, the most obvious being the usage of the ring post. Lynch utilized it to her benefit on numerous occasions but in the end, it was Belair whipping her hand off of it that proved her downfall.

    It is immensely disappointing that these two women are headed to different brands because a series of matches between Lynch and Banks would be superb. Especially if they can leave the bells and whistles out of it and just have superb contests.

    Throw Belair into the mix at Crown Jewel and you may be looking at one of the show-stealers on a stacked PPV card.

Contract Signing for the Universal Championship Match

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    Credit: WWE

    Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar wasted little time getting to the ring for their show-closing contract signing for their Universal Championship Match at Crown Jewel.

    Reigns had special counsel Paul Heyman read over the contract and ensure it met his expectations. It did, said Heyman, and The Tribal Chief signed it. When Lesnar simply signed the document, Reigns mocked him for not doing his diligence.

    "I already read the damn contract earlier this morning...with my advocate," Lesnar said, calling into question Heyman's allegiances again. An infuriated Reigns stared his special counsel down to close out the show.

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    Short, sweet, to the point and with a development that propels the story forward and creates genuine intrigue about the match it was tasked with selling.

    Suddenly, we have real questions about Heyman's loyalty to Reigns, and the fact that he did not immediately deny Lesnar's accusation suggests there is a hint of truth to it. That creates drama and intrigue for a match that already had a ton of it.

    WWE has a spotty creative track record this year, but everything it has accomplished with Reigns has been gold, and this story, with all of the moving parts and interwoven pieces, has been the best. By far.

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