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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (July 23, 2021): John Cena is back

WWE SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (July 23, 2021) with a show emanating from two different venues: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Rolling Loud festival in Miami, Florida.

Tonight’s card features the return of John Cena to SmackDown. He wants to get the next shot at Universal champion Roman Reigns, and intends to confront the Tribal Chief in person.

Elsewhere on the card, Bianca Belair will once again defend the SmackDown women’s championship against Carmella. WWE is also advertising the main roster debut of Toni Storm, as well as another match between Big E and Apollo Crews.

Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


Screamed and scratched and rolled out of the bed, I never really got her out of my head. And now and then she makes those social calls, but me, I’m stuck liveblogging this pro wrestling show for you folks while I think about her some more.

The show opens with John Cena making his entrance.

He soaks in the noise of the crowd for a moment before calling attention to how amped up they are. He understands, it’s been a hell of a week (Right? All these AEW rumors and my wife and I have a girlfriend now, it’s been wild!) and he knows people have lots of questions for him. He’s back to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.

He talks about some more stuff— honestly I have a migraine and my meds are kicking in so apologies for a bit of sketchiness in the liveblog here— before segueing to the notion of what you believe in, whose team you’re on, and such questions. Are you on team jorts or team cargo pants, team hustle, loyalty, and respect or a team the fans always reject.

Are you on Team Cena or are you on Team Roman Reigns? Either way, after SummerSlam, he’s gonna realize that the champ is here!

He calls Roman out, but Reigns doesn’t immediately appear. When he goes to ask again, Paul Heyman makes his entrance.

He tells Cena that he’s got it all wrong, and it’s not that Roman Reigns can’t see him, it’s that he can’t hear him, because he’s simply not worth his time to listen to, and it’ll be the Tribal Chief that is here in the end. He mocks John’s entrance theme and walks off, leaving Cena standing in the ring without the confrontation he’d hoped for.

Commentary recaps Finn Balor’s return and assault on Sami Zayn from last week.

Finn Balor makes his entrance to send us to break.

Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn with a back elbow in the early grappling, arm wringer, kneeling into an armbar! Reversed, Balor with a wristlock and Sami punches him in the face! Action to the floor and back inside, Finn with a double leg into punches and then he puts boots to Zayn at length! Dumping him to the floor... TOPE CON GIRO SENDS US TO BREAK!

Back from commercial, Sami managed to turn things around during the break and he’s beating Balor down! Reverse chinlock applied, Finn slips out but Zayn catches him with a DDT! In position, but when he charges in for the Helluva Kick, Balor cuts him off with Sling Blade! Inverted headlock elbow drop, no good, Blue Thunder Driver... SO CLOSE!

Sami doing Daniel Bryan’s arm-trap elbows spot, Balor returns the favor, shotgun dropkick, headed up top...

Finn Balor wins by pinfall with Coup de Grace.

Baron Corbin is interviewed backstage.

He says he actually lost money on his crowdfunding site because the guy that built the website ghosted him after he paid him and then he stole his identity, so his credit is gone. He had to ride the bus here today, and it smelled like curdled cheese and gym socks. He asks what’s happened to him and walks off.

Big E makes his entrance and we go to break.

Back from commercial we get some hype for the latest sporting men to be presented with ceremonial WWE Championship belts.

Big E gets on the mic and talks about winning Money in the Bank, but is soon interrupted—

Enter Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez.

Crews calls him out and congratulates him for shocking the world and winning... a contract. It’s not as good as winning a title, but—

Enter the Dirty Dawgz.

They talk a little but Shinsuke Nakamura comes out to interrupt them.

Cesaro follows right after and calls his shot for the Intercontinental Championship, a brawl breaks out in the ring, everybody beats everybody up, eventually the babyfaces clear the heels out save for Commander Azeez, but they regain their bearings and E clotheslines him out of the ring! Cesaro swings a returning Crews!

Commentary tosses to the Rolling Live festival.

Wale plays MC and hypes the crowd before introducing the Street Profits and sending us to break.

Angelo Dawkins vs. Chad Gable

Otis runs interference early and Gable beats Dawkins down, whip across, leapfrog, big back elbow and a dropkick from Angelo! Drill Bit connects, Chad rolls out under the apron and floats over back in, chops in the corner, whip across, Dawkins picks him up but Gable reverses to a cross armbar in the ropes! Bridging northern lights follows it for two, armbar applied, a German suplex into a pin, still only two!

Spinning Stinger Splash, big right hand, Chad kicks out! Float over, backslide for two, Dawkins pops him up...

Angelo Dawkins wins by pinfall with a Sky High.

Post-match, Bianca Belair makes her entrance, she’ll be in action after the break.

Back from commercial, commentary hypes up Roman Reigns answering John Cena by the end of the night.

Bianca Belair (c) vs. Carmella (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Trading pinfall attempts early, no avail, Carmella with a boot into a mat slam, slapping at her in the corner, whip across, up and over, handspring away, pose in the corner, backflip up and over, dropkick into a kip-up and Belair taunts! Off the ropes, Mella with a satellite headscissors, Bianca fires a shoulder block right back!

Carmella gets a reverse chinlock, hanging in there even as Belair gets to her feet, only to get dropped with a backbreaker! Elbow up from the apron, diving crossbody, Bianca catches her and hosses her up into a fallaway slam! Raining clubbing blows down, delayed vertical suplex blocked and countered into an X-Factor... SO CLOSE!

Superkick blocked, sidestep the boot, Belair hits an elbow, Argentine backbreaker rack...

Bianca Belair wins by pinfall with KOD to retain the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Backstage, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox are hanging out backstage doing some maintainance on their tank.

Kevin Owens can’t help them and walks away, immediately running into Baron Corbin. He chides Corbin for being a jerk for eight years and tells him he can’t be surprised if people aren’t sympathetic to him. Baron begs him, KO pulls some cash out of his wallet and tells him to try not to be a jerk.

Kev walks away and Tegan and Shotzi immediately shoot Baron with their tank gun, hitting him in the balls!

Dirty Dawgz roll up and take the money Kev gave him, and Owens returns to run them off with a chair.

Edge makes his entrance, and we get a recap of his Money in the Bank match to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Edge gets on the mic.

He says he’s got a lot of history and we all know how hard he’s fought and that he should be the Universal Champion right now, but he’s not and there’s one reason why— Seth Rollins. He knew the Usos were an inevitability but he didn’t see Seth Rollins coming. But then he realized that this goes back to when they first met, in 2014, and Seth refused to finish the job then.

He puts over his bonafides as a member of the Brood and the Ministry of Darkness and tells Seth that he has no idea of the depths he’ll sink to in order to get the job done, but he’ll find out.

Enter Seth Rollins.

He asks if somebody said his name, Edge tells him he’s embarrasing himself and invites him to come down here for a nice hands-off chat. Seth says he was gonna come out here, talk about how much he despises Cleveland and people like Edge and John Cena who want to jump the line and take opportunities from people who have earned them, but instead he’s thrilled that Grandpa Edge is in the ring.

Nothing would make him happier than to be the man to put an end to Edge’s fairytale comeback story, and if he keeps pushing, they’re only going to talk about Seth freakin’ Rollins, the man that ended his career. Eventually Edge said he lied about not putting hands on him and we have a brawl! Edge lays him out but Rollins runs away before he can hit the spear!

And so we go to break.

Toni Storm vs. Zelina Vega

Storm in control early, sending Vega to the floor with a sliding elbow, but Zelina meets her and smashes her face into the announce desk before throwing her back inside and putting boots to her. Back inside, kick in the corner, a knee to the face, only two! Toni back in charge, bridging German suplex for two, underhooks, Vega slips out, Yoshi Tonic... NOPE!

Back and forth, Vega accidentally pulls Storm’s belt off, she hits a kind of flipping facebuster for the win...

Toni Storm wins by pinfall with Storm One.

The Usos make their entrance to send us to break.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Jimmy Uso

Mysterio charges in, windmilling punches, Uso with a side headlock, shot off, shoulder block, drop down, leapfrog, hip toss! Dropkick follows it up, Dom with a knucklelock, step-up but Jimmy blocks the lucha arm drag! Superkick connects, whip to the corner, Mysterio fires a few punches but eats an enzuigiri... NOPE!

Dominik puts him into the ropes with a tijeras but Jey pulls his brother out of the fire! Rey dives on Jey with the seated senton, Dom with a diving crossbody on Jimmy, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Mysterio rallies with a neckbreaker, back body drop to the apron, hanging Jey’s neck over the ropes, slingshot senton atomico back inside! Fired up, Three Amigos, Uso reverses to an enzuigiri! In position, 619, Dominik up top, Rey counters Jey but Jimmy is ready with a superkick to cut him out of midair... NOT ENOUGH!

Dom with a dropkick to the floor to take Jey out, Jimmy counters his slingshot, jockeying for position, Jey with the assist...

Jimmy Uso wins by pinfall with a rana pin and an assist from Jey Uso.

Post-match, Roman Reigns makes his entrance, flanked by Paul Heyman as always.

The Usos regroup with him and the Bloodline hold their titles high, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Roman Reigns gets in the ring with Paul Heyman.

He pauses to soak in the crowd atmosphere before getting on the mic and demanding that Cleveland acknowledge him.

He demands us sitting at home acknowledge him (hey champ, I certainly acknowledge you) and says John Cena acknowledged him at Money in the Bank, on Raw, and tonight, and to be honest he wanted to acknowledge John. Hollywood fooled him, they put a whole new paintjob on Cena and he thought they’d get something new and special but instead we got a nostalgia act.

It’s the same music, the same entrance, the same run to the ring, the same outfit, the same promo, the same insults... if he wanted that all he had to do is search online for “2005 John Cena”, it’s the same thing over and over, like missionary position every single night, and he’s sick of that! He’s got no desire to see Cena, and guess where we’re not gonna see him?

We’re not gonna see him in the main event of SummerSlam, so the answer to his challenge is no.

Enter Finn Balor.

Roman eyes him down and says Paul tells him he’s here to follow suit from John Cena and acknowledge him.

Finn says he’s not here to acknowledge him, but if he’s not interested in Cena’s challenge, maybe he’ll be interested in his. The crowd chants “Roman’s scared!” while he confers with Heyman... REIGNS ACCEPTS BALOR’S CHALLENGE!

That’s the show, folks!

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