WWE Smackdown 4/24/20 review: Time To Play The Game?
With no fans in attendance for the 7th week in a row, WWE and Friday Night Smackdown honored The Game Triple H and his legendary 25-year career.
We also saw the match-up between the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross take on the debuting tag team of Carmella and Dana Brooke.
A lot to get into in this Smackdown so let’s hop right in.
The night starts with the NEW WWE Tag Team Champions, Kofi Kingston and Big E of The New Day, making their first appearance as 8-time champions after Big E’s victory in last week’s tag-team title triple threat match. Their opening promo is cut short however as Lince Dorado and Gran Medalik of Lucha House Party make a “Lucha Lit” challenge against the New Day.
Before The New Day can give their response Miz and Morrison make their appearance, shoving aside Lucha House Party. Miz and Morrison make the point that they didn’t have a fair shake as champions, only defending their titles in either Elimination Chamber or Singles matches.
Miz and Morrison are also cut short by the Forgotten Sons. For those who are new to the Forgotten Sons, they consist of Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake. These three military veterans caused havoc through the ranks of NXT and are looking to make an impact of their own on the main roster. No better way than taking down all other tag teams in the ring, which concluded with a second rope stomp to Big-E.
Good open to the show. Many people have been speculating on a Big E heel turn after the singles victory last week for the title. Although a heel turn is an idea that would draw the attention of the WWE Universe, now might not be the best time, given the third member of the New Day Xavier Woods is still sidelined with a real-life Achilles injury. This, however, could be the start of something down the line.
Miz and Morrison gave valid points and do deserve a rematch. Lucha House Party got some TV time and the Forgotten Son looked like an all-business faction ready to play with the big boys on the main roster.
Everybody wins in this one.
Drew Gulak W/ Daniel Bryan vs King Corbin (Money In The Bank Qualifier Match)
The last time we saw King Corbin, he was brutalizing Elias backstage, breaking his hand and bruising his larynx in the melee.
The match starts with a few lock-ups until taken outside as Corbin is thrown over the announce table by Gulak as we head to break.
As programming resumes Corbin finds his way back in control. After some stomps in the corner by Corbin, Gulak reverses his way back onto his feet and into a sunset flip. Pin by Gulak leads to a two count. Daniel Bryan, focused on the match, is jumped from behind by Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Gulak, distracted by interference, is wrapped up by Corbin and hit with the End of Days. King Corbin wins and advances to the Money in the Bank ladder match.
After the bell, Cesaro and Nakamura hold up Gulak for Corbin. Corbin proceeds to hit Gulak with his scepter, similarly to how King Corbin hit Elias last win in the backstage beatdown.
I didn’t know what to expect coming into this match. I wouldn’t expect Gulak to win this one given Bryan has already qualified but with the Gulak he has gotten in the past few weeks I was on the edge of my seat.
Once again, King Corbin finds a way to sneak a win, aided by a newfound alliance between him and Ceasaro and Nakamura. Although Elias was out with an “injury”, don’t be surprised if we see him make an appearance at the Money in the Bank match to interfere in some way, shape, or form to Corbin’s chagrin.
Missing Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn? I am too. According to Ringside News, Sami Zayn had to get his wisdom teeth pulled late last week and is healing up as we head towards Money in the Bank.
As it stands the Money in the Bank match competitors include Apollo Creed, Aleister Black, Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan and King Corbin. We will find out the 6th and final competitor of the Money in the Bank Match next Friday as Otis will take on Dolph Ziggler.
Sheamus vs Daniel Vidto
The Celtic Warrior Sheamus has been pretty mad lately as his matches have been overshadowed by the Jeff Hardy mini “docu-series” that coincide with his matches. This week Sheamus took out his anger against enhancement talent Daniel Vidot from NXT.
The bell rings to a quick start for Sheamus as he yells “I won’t be disrespected”. A flurry of strikes and a Brogue Kick ends Vidot quickly in a two-minute match.
After the match coming out of the break, Sheamus still stands out of the frame of the announce table and assaults Michael Cole before the next match.
Angry Sheamus… grrrr. These series of events will build to a Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus match up down the line. Will it blow off at Money in the Bank? Maybe. Will it blow off on Smackdown in two weeks? That could happen too. These squash matches don't do much for me for Sheamus. I would like to see a promo or two from him down the line.
Coming out of break we get Part 3 of the Jeff Hardy saga. This week we see his Redemption story and his Wrestlemania 33 return. We also see glimpses of Matt Hardy, who is working for AEW.
Hardy is quoted after his Wrestlemania 33 match saying “I’m healthy… good to go.”
Next week we will see Chapter 4 of the Jeff Hardy saga, properly named “Comeback”. There is no word as of now that Hardy is making his return next week.
I don’t know about you but I’m excited to see him come back. I wish this took place a couple of weeks earlier to possibly find him in the Money in the Bank match for the high flying aspect, I guess that's why Mysterio is there. We can’t have everything we wish for, but boy I’m glad to have him back on WWE programming.
Miz and Morrison vs Lucha House Party:
After shaking off the dust after the opening of the show, these two established tag teams find themselves in a match.
Miz and Morrison gain control early as a few double team moves lead to a pin and kick out at two. A double team move from Lucha House Party shifts control in their direction. After an impressive standing shooting star press, Gran Metalik finds his way to the top. Metalik’s move is reversed by two big boots to the ribs by The Miz. Miz tries to hit the Skull-Crushing Finale and is reversed into a roll-up pin. 1… 2… 3, Lucha House Party sneaks a win.
An unexpected victory by the Lucha House Party. Miz and Morrison truly looked shocked after the bell rang. Where do Miz and Morrison go from here? Don’t be surprised if we see a revenge match next week between these two teams again. I still expect a rematch between The New Day and Miz and Morrison but this puts a nice blemish on what has been a pretty clean record from the veteran duo.
Sasha Banks W/ Bayley vs Lacey Evans (Money in the Bank Qualifier Match):
The last we saw these three was last week when Lacey Evans made a fierce appearance in the Tamina vs Sasha Banks match to help Tamina gain an opportunity at Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Championship Belt.
As Banks and Bayley make their way down the ramp Banks holds a small sign with a photo of Summer, Lacey Evans' daughter.
As the match kicks off, an early distraction by Bayley enrages Evans outside the ring. Sasha Banks is able to gain control as action falls back inside the ring. Banks starts to work the arm, this comes into play as Evans can’t post up on her turnbuckle maneuver.
Evans is able to impose her will outside of the ring as she slams Banks’ face repeatedly into the ring post. Banks works back into the match and looks for the Bank Statement. Able to escape, Evans knocks Banks unconscious by the ropes. As Evans covers Banks, Bayley places Banks’ leg on the bottom rope.
Banks take advantage of an enraged Evans for a roll-up pin. The ref, however, is distracted by Bayley on the outside. Evans kicks out and Banks confronts Bayley as Banks had the match in the palm of her hand. Evans hit Banks with the Women’s Right. Pinfall and Win.
Lacey Evans is headed to the Money in the Bank match.
After the match ends Bayley is super kicked by Tamina at the top of the ramp, sending a message to the Smackdown Women’s Champion.
This isn’t the first time Bayley has cost Sasha Banks a match, but this is the first time that it has bothered Banks for it has taken her out of the Money in the Bank match.
If you asked me last week who I thought was going to win the Money in the Bank match, I could’ve bet on Sasha Banks hand over fist. A fluke or sneaky cash-in on Bayley or her opponent could’ve caused either rage or confusion in the eyes of Bayley. Now, all things change. I could see this building to Summerslam. We might see Tamina win the belt at Money in the Bank with Banks interfering and Bayley winning it bank down the line for that final build at Summerslam.
Long story short, this is the first step of many to come.
Speaking of Money in the Bank current competitors include Asuka, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans. Next week we will see Mandy Rose take on Carmella for the 6th and final spot.
The History of Bray Wyatt of Braun Stroman
Coming back from break we get the highlights of Bruan Stroman with the Wyatt Family. This mostly consisted of Stroman destroying people. This then twists to last week’s Alexa Bliss and Stroman interview and the “gift” left in the corner of the ring containing the black sheep mask Stroman wore during the time in the Wyatt Family.
Not much to say here. He was in the Wyatt Family, now he’s not… give me my belt back. At least we are seeing some connection to the past. When WWE usually does this, it’s not for the best reasons.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (Champions) Vs. Dana Brooke and Carmella (WWE Women's Tag Team Title Match)
The new tag team of Dana Brooke and Carmella get an opportunity to take on the champions crowned back at Wrestlemania.
The match gets pretty crazy early on as action breaks outside as soon as the bell rings and cuts commercial break with Bliss and Cross down.
Coming out of break Carmella is in control with a quick pin and kick out. Bliss works back into the and Cross tags herself in with Bliss back in trouble. The action finds its way back into Bliss’s corner for a modified “3-D” for the double team finish.
Bliss and Cross retain their titles.
Well, I think the best thing that came out of this was reintroducing us back to Carmella and Dana Brooke after a decent amount off-screen due to current events. We quite possibly could see both Carmella and Brooke in the Money in the Bank match if things go well for Carmella next week on Smackdown.
Triple H 25 Year Celebration
Throughout the night in and out of commercial breaks we got to see some of Triple H’s greatest moments. These included his debut as Hunter Hearst Helmsley 25 years ago, Triple H and DX invading WCW on a tank and his return to wrestling after suffering a quad injury taking a large chunk of his career away from him in the early 2000s.
House lights off, spotlight on, cue music. It is time to play The Game.
The celebration kicks off with Triple H doing a modified version of his entrance as the water bottle is taken away from him given the current world climate and why it might not be a good idea to spit water into the air.
Triple H is interrupted early on by long time friend Shawn Michaels. The banter between the two grows and looks like Michaels might be holding a grudge. Michaels brings up how he never had a 25-year celebration and how marrying Stephanie McMahon was a “hiccup”.
Triple H is mocked by Michaels throughout the celebration. Michaels notes H’s 13 losses at Wrestlemania and DX’s tough gimmick choices through the years.
A ring of Triple H’s cell phone shows a FaceTime call from Stephanie, acknowledging how she is being mocked. Another phone call shows Ric Flair and mentions to not let Michaels kick him at the end of the segment.
Vince McMahon makes a rare appearance of late. At first, Vince struggles to make a coherent sentence and then starts to mention some of his struggles as a creative. Vince brings up the Gobbledy Gooker and Katie Vick as examples of the struggles he’s had over the years.
A heartfelt “I love you” is shared between the two and Vince walks off to end the show. The lights go dark around the two and fade to black.
Is there something here that I missed? Are we supposed to listen to every other word or something? I didn’t get the necessity to do this. This truly was a roast session disguised as a celebration. Many thought this would’ve led to a possible in-ring appearance for Triple H in the future but no. It looks like another silent nostalgia act to pull in viewers to see heroes from the past. It left a slightly sour taste in my mouth instead of satisfaction.
Good show overall. Extended some well-developed storylines with some shocking moments throughout. My pros are the Open, Drew Gulak Vs. King Cobin match, Hardy: Redemption, Miz and Morrison vs Lucha House Party match and Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans match. The cons lie with the Sheamus vs Daniel Vidot match and Triple H 25 Year Celebration.
Final Grade: C-