• Jayden Becker

WWE Smackdown Review 5/1/20



As we edge closer to Money In The Bank Pay-Per-View, the first Smackdown of May bookends the qualifying matches for the Money in the Bank ladder match.


Sheamus continues his rampage as the coming of Jeff Hardy nears, The Forgotten Sons get their first opportunity at the New Day, and Bray Wyatt tells the tale of “The Black Sheep” to reigning Universal Champion Braun Stroman as they look toward their bout at Money In The Bank.


The saga between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville continues as their broken friendship continues to deteriorate even further.


Let us jump right in because there is a lot to discuss.


Opening:


Friday Night Smackdown opens with Daniel Bryan making his first appearance after being in the corner for his coach Drew Gulak, who was assaulted after his match against King Corbin last week.


Bryan starts by mentioning his passion for the business and his love for tackling new challenges. As the Money in the Bank ladder match approaches Bryan mentions how he has wrestled all over the world in many different stipulations but none as unique as this.


Bryan reflects on the start of the “Yes” movement and how his career was catapulted after winning the Money in the Bank ladder match 9 years ago. Although this lies ahead of him, Bryan has left a few stones unturned and calls out King Corbin.


King Corbin makes an appearance of his own, waving around the scepter used to attack Gulak last week. Corbin throws insults towards Bryan, saying that he is washed up and desperate for another opportunity. The two are separated as they have the first match on the card.


Spin:


Not much to write home about for this opening. Bryan defending Gulak after Corbin’s actions last week ties this all together but I do have a thorn in my side about how Gulak is viewed.


The word “coach” has been thrown around by both Bryan and Corbin throughout the opening promo and it just doesn’t feel right. Yes, Gulak has indeed been coaching up Bryan for the past few months, but Bryan has accomplished more than Gulak could ever imagine. I would be more comfortable if this were flipped on its head on Bryan was doing the coaching, but that's not the case. The angle feels as if it is pushing Bryan more than it is pushing Gulak, trying its best to have Bryan look like the chippy underdog again when he has past that time in his career. I would like to see it the other way around with Gulak getting the “Rocky Balboa-esque underdog with technical prowess” push.


Looking back to two weeks ago to “Black Wednesday” which saw the release of many main roster talent from WWE, some people in the Twitter-verse wanted to see the release of King Corbin.


First off, I don’t need to describe to you how idiotic and ignorant that is of a person to wish upon another to lose their livelihood. But besides that point, if you are wishing upon a person that they lose their job as a professional wrestler that just so happens to be a heel at the moment, doesn’t that mean they are doing a good job at being a professional wrestler?


Hear me out, you dislike that person because of what they portray on television. That means that the person on television that made you feel that way should keep their job because they have connected with you so passionately on an emotional level. Don’t be mad because you thought you were above the kayfabe.



Daniel Bryan VS King Corbin


The first match of the night kicks off with a few lockups ending with Corbin pushing Corbin to the corner. Bryan, still on his feet dishes out a few powerful kicks to the left leg of Corbin. A big shoulder tackle by Bryan drops Corbin to the mat. Byran takes advantage of the downed king by continuing to work to the left leg with a flurry of kicks and submissions.


Corbin is able to catch a kick from Bryan and starts to dominate with Golden Gloves level punches Corbin uses to the best of his ability. Bryan is mocked by the King, mentioning how Bryan is a disappointment just like his coach, Drew Gulak. The action is taken outside the ring as the match heads to commercial break.


As programming returns, Corbin still maintains control as Bryan is found down on the mat with the knee of Corbin pressed into the back of his neck. Bryan gains some momentum by slipping out of a powerbomb and reversing with a pinfall attempt. A kick out by Corbin leads to Bryan throwing Corbin from corner to corner. The King is quick on his feet however as he slips under the bottom rope and quickly returns to the ring to surprise an unsuspecting Bryan.


They exchange blows with each other as Bryan is down to his knees. Bryan gains the advantage once again as he throws Corbin towards the turnbuckle. The under, out, and in move by Corbin is this time scouted and reversed. Bryan makes his way to the top rope for a flying missile dropkick. The resilient Byran continues to work the damaged left leg of Corbin. A kick to the head of Corbin downs him, 3 pinfalls all fail for Bryan.


Corbin works his way back into the match by catching Byran in the Deep 6, slamming him on to the mat. 1… 2… Bryan kicks out. Action falls outside the ring once again with Bryan having the upper-hand. A desperate King Corbin throws a ladder at Bryan, disqualifying him.


As the match comes to a close action enter the ring once again as Corbin attempts the End of Days on to the ladder. Bryan is able to reverse and lock in the Yes Lock on top of the prone ladder. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro join in on the post-match melee and break up the Yes Lock, swiftly knocking Bryan outside the ring with the ladder.


As Bryan claws his way up the ramp, he is tossed but Corbin into the ladders set up outside causing a domino effect knocking down most of the surrounding ladders.


Spin:


The rivalry between The Artist Collective and the duo of Gulak and Bryan has been brewing for months it feels. For the past three weeks, however, The Artist Collective have missed their mouthpiece and current Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn.


Three weeks ago it was reported by Ryan Satin that Zayn had his wisdom tooth pulled out and would miss recordings of Smackdown. Although Zayn is cleared to compete after his oral surgery it has now come to light that he has chosen to sit out the previous tapings of Smackdown. This now means we won’t see Zayn until after the Money In The Bank Pay-Per-View, as next week's Smackdown has already been pre-taped.


This match ends in DQ which is perfect because no one loses a momentum building match going towards Money in the Bank ladder match.


A match next week has already been set to match up King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro VS Drew Gulak, Daniel Bryan and a mystery partner.


My guess would be Elias looking for revenge on Corbin after the beating he took two weeks ago backstage.



“The Black Sheep”


The Universal Champion Braun Strowman makes an appearance and talks about the video package put together last week that showed Braun Strowman with the Wyatt family. Stroman says the past is the past and still trying to forget it. The Universal Champion is cut short however as Bray Wyatt appears on the jumbotron in the Firefly Funhouse.


Wyatt offers to read Strowman a story titled “The Black Sheep”. The story entails how Wyatt, the shepherd, found this black sheep and brought him in. The black sheep and Wyatt work together. The black sheep would protect him as Wyatt would give the sheep a home to stay. The Black Sheep would leave the family however and soon after would the rest of the family.


Wyatt looks to write an alternative ending to this story. This ending, however, would have the shepherd finding the black sheep again and taking him to the slaughterhouse. Strowman pleads with Wyatt to come down and say it to his face. Wyatt waves goodbye and ends the promo.


Spin:


Bray Wyatt doesn’t know how to cut a bad promo. I think it’s physically impossible for him to do so. With that being said, Strowman gets annihilated every time he gets on the mic with Wyatt. The first two sentences from Strowman sound like they came directly from a script into his mouth.


I love Braun as much as the next guy, but he just doesn’t match up to Wyatt when it comes to character development. Wyatt was the first person to give Strowman character in the first place. The belt should be placed on Wyatt as soon as possible, although I can see this feud lasting to Extreme Rules in July.



Sheamus VS Leon Ruff, and Jeff Hardy: The Comeback


Week in, week out, Sheamus has been matched up with enhancement talent from NXT. This week is no different as Sheamus faces off against Leon Ruff.


The match starts with Ruff coming out the gates hot with a dropkick that connects. The 2nd attempt at dropkick is swatted out the sky. Sheamus catches Ruff and hits the Irish Curse Backbreaker three times. Ten Beats of the Bodhran and a Brogue Kick ends the night for Ruff, giving Sheamus another quick victory.


Sheamus stands alongside Michael Cole and the commentary table to listen in on Chapter 4 of the Jeff Hardy docu-series.


The comeback story of Jeff Hardy starts at a low point in his career after he announced to the WWE Universe that he would have to undergo knee surgery and vacate the WWE Tag Team Titles.


2 months ago his appearance on WWE Backstage made apparent his career in WWE isn’t over and audiences will find that he will be a new and approved 2020 version of himself.


Jeff Hardy will return next week on Smackdown.


Spin:


It might be too late to throw these two into an impromptu ladder match at Money in the Bank but the appearance of Hardy leaves plenty of time for these two to tango at Extreme Rules in July. This match with no championship or stipulation wouldn’t make much sense to me but would be a nice blow off for long-standing build.


Speaking of a long-standing build, this rivalry has been single-sided with not one word being spoken by Hardy towards Sheamus. Sheamus has single-handedly carried this feud on his own with his anger being caused by the Hardy docu-series that played after his matches.


This is a genius move given the circumstances we live in today where not everyone can go to work without worrying about getting themselves or others sick. Sheamus gets a big check plus from me and hopefully will stop facing enhancement talent.


On a side note: The Twitter-verse was angry on Monday when both Akira Tozawa and Denzel Dejournette were both squashed. The main reason people were upset was that some of NXT’s best talent are getting called up just to fail. People in the Twitter-verse also point at this as the reason why AEW Dynamite has been beating NXT in the ratings.


Although the point is valid that squash matches against up and coming talent can affect careers down the line, the talent WWE and AEW have at a given time is limited given today’s climate and should be treated as so

Carmella VS Mandy Rose (Money in the Bank Qualifier Match):


The last we saw Carmella, she was tag-teaming with Dana Brooke in a match last week on Smackdown for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Although they were unsuccessful in winning the tag team titles, Carmella was granted the opportunity to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match against Mandy Rose.


Mandy Rose takes down Carmella early but chain grappling transitions Carmella to an advantageous position, locking in a scissor headlock. A moonwalk by Carmella leads to the running of the ropes from both competitors ending with a big boot to the face of the sitting Rose.


As the action continues, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose’s former best friend and tag team partner, stands at the top of the stage and cuts a promo throughout the rest of the match. Deville taunts and distracts Rose, mentioning all she has done for Rose through the years as partners in crime.


This boils over when Rose is turned around by Carmella and super kicked to end the match.


Carmella has now qualified for the final spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Carmella will compete for the chance of a lifetime to retrieve the briefcase and cash in for a championship title match anytime, anywhere. This, however, isn’t new to Carmella for she has already won the Money in the Bank briefcase in the first-ever female Money in the Bank ladder match. She will be competing against Asuka, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans.


Deville brutalizes Rose after the match, throwing her into the ring post and steel steps. Deville wasn’t finished, however, landing a running knee to the back of the head of Rose.


Spin:


As this rivalry escalates it only makes sense they have their time to shine at Money in the Bank. A match between these two should see Deville go over as the heel taking out the beautiful blonde.


Deville has grown so much just in the past few weeks, truly coming into her own and becoming way more than just Mandy Rose’s tag team partner. It sometimes takes months for people to get in the zone of being a true heel after not having a real role in the company. Not only has Deville exploded, but it feels real and rooted in true emotion coming from a person that has been disrespected for the last time.


I can see this feud lasting a while, possibly until Summerslam if the cards are played right. This writer for this storyline, however, was (sadly) laid off from WWE two weeks ago. Anything can happen from here between these two.


The New Day VS The Forgotten Sons


The last we saw these two teams in the same ring the New Day was splattered in the middle of the ring was the Forgotten Sons jumped Kofi Kingston and Big E in last weeks open. Jaxson Ryker sits out this match as Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake are in action.


Miz and Morrison make an entrance of their own to join Michael Cole and Cory Graves on commentary.


Big E gains control early in the match, tagging in Kofi after Steve Cutler is downed. Cutler is able to work back into the match and tag in his partner Wesley Blake. Blake can’t build off of his partner’s momentum and is tossed from turnbuckle to turnbuckle.


Big E is in on a hot tag and dominates with multiple belly-to-belly suplexes. A splash onto Blake on the apron sends the match into the commercial break as action falls outside the ring.


As programming resumes the New Day are still in control. The Forgotten Sons gain footing by taking action outside the ring with a dive onto Big E. Multiple double teams moves by the forgotten sons lead to a pin, 1… 2… Big E kicks out.


A double hot tag finds Kofi on fire, starting with a springboard splash and ending by getting reversed into a backbreaker by Cutler. Both Kofi and Cutler find their way to the top rope, Cutler is thrown down to the mat but reverses the cross body by Kofi. Another double team move by the Forgotten Sons leads to chaos. Big E is tossed out of the ring and Kofi is left to fend for himself. The Forgotten Sons execute the double team maneuver that left the New Day crippled last week. Kofi is pinned 1… 2… 3.


The Forgotten Sons beat the current Smackdown Tag Team Champions clean.


Spin:


I had a tough time keeping track of who's who when it comes to the Forgotten Son. Is it my fault? Probably, I still have trouble telling the Usos apart and it’s been years.


The Forgotten Sons are forcing me to learn their names after this performance. Taking down The New Day clean, who would’ve thought? Before the match started I thought Miz and Morrison would get involved in some way, shape, or form but they just sat there and talked about Tiger King.


With the resurgence of the three-way tag-team, can we see the appearance of the Lucha Underground Trios Championship? I’d bet against it, but it would be a fun idea that came out of a failed promotion. Maybe my inner Vince Russo is coming out… quarantine messes with the mind.



Otis VS Dolph Ziggler (Money in the Bank Qualifier Match)


The history between these two is tied at the wrist with the love story of Mandy Rose. Now, with Mandy by Otis’ side, a matchup for the ages main events Smackdown for the final Smackdown qualifier spot for the Money in the Bank ladder match.


Otis charges Ziggler as soon as the bell rings and hits him with a huge tackle, launching Ziggler 5 feet in the air. Otis doesn’t back off and holds Ziggler in the air with a long stalling suplex. Ziggler gets into the match for the first time with a few kicks to the leg of Otis but is caught and thrown into the middle turnbuckle.


Ziggler has his first meaningful offense after Otis is thrown out the ring. He launches Otis into the barricade as the match heads to break.


Ziggler is still in control as the programming resumes. A dropkick finally floors Otis, Ziggler takes advantage down on the mat. Otis finds his way back to his feet and hulks up after a few blows. A Caterpillar is reversed by Ziggler rolling out of the ring.


Ziggler attempts a Famouser and is thrown down to the mat. Ziggler pops up and hits Otis with the Zig-Zag. Ziggler calls for the band, similar to how Shawn Michales would for the Sweet Chin Music, and is caught mid-superkick.


Otis hits Ziggler with the Caterpillar into an elbow drop, 1… 2… 3. Otis is headed to Money in the Bank.


Spin:


The Caterpillar… I don’t think it should finish a match. There, I said it. The move looks too weak and is just a spectacle leading to an elbow drop. The Rock made it work with the People’s Elbow but… that’s The Rock. Don’t take the move completely away from him because it shows athleticism and character, but it should be designated to the signature position instead of the finisher.


Other than the ending I love the chemistry between these two. Ziggler usually can make anyone look good but when both are on the same page it’s pure magic.


Looking forward, I wonder if Otis’s tag team partner will get left in the dust if Otis gets too big. That could be another story within itself but I think we’re miles away from that.


Will Otis will the Money in the Bank ladder match? No. Is he still great and have plenty to look forward to? Yes.


Takeaways:


For two weeks in a row, Smackdown ended a little odd for me. Last week’s Smackdown, however, ended in a 15-minute long mess that could have either been moved or cut from the show. This week I only had grief about Otis’ finisher.


The WWE also celebrated the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s 40th Anniversary. WWE has done an amazing job granting wishes to children who are suffering from illness and disease. The large headline that comes out of this news however isn’t about who is featured, it is about who isn’t.


Roman Reigns dropped out of his Wrestlemania match against Goldberg due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Reigns has had two bouts with leukemia which has compromised his immune system thus putting him at a higher risk of contracting a lethal form of the disease. Although WWE supports his decision, Reigns has been blacklisted by the WWE. This consists of keeping his likeness, image and name off of WWE television. This comes to a head recently as Reign was removed from WWE’s Make-A-Wish banner.


Pros:


  • Daniel Bryan VS King Corbin

  • “The Black Sheep”

  • Sheamus VS Leon Ruff and Jeff Hardy: The Comeback (I enjoyed the aftermath)

  • Carmella VS Mandy Rose (Money in the Bank Qualifier Match)

  • The New Day VS The Forgotten Sons


Cons:


  • Opening

  • Otis VS Dolph Ziggler (Money in the Bank Qualifier Match)


Final Grade: C+


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