• Jayden Becker

WWE Smackdown Review 5/22/20



Friday Night Smackdown continues with another week with no fans in attendance. This week sees the Intercontinental Championship tournament continue with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura facing off along with Jeff Hardy and Sheamus completing the end of the first round.


The Brand to Brand Invitational on Smackdown sees NXT Champion Charlotte Flair from Raw take on Smadown’s Women’s Champion Bayley. The action doesn’t stop there as Otis and Mandy Rose take on Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville in a mixed tag team match up.


Plenty to get into this week on Smackdown so let’s jump into it.


The Dirt Sheet With Miz & Morrison


Smackdown starts the same as it did last week with The Dirts Sheet talk show with Miz & Morrison. The last we saw these two was last week in the main event against Mr. Money in the Bank Otis and Universal Champion Braun Strowman.


The anger from the Miz continues from last week as he talks about how he refuses to live in a world where Otis is Mr. Money in the Bank. Miz and Morrison continue to discuss the injustices of the WWE, like how Braun Strowman got a match to face Goldberg at Wrestlemania.


The Dirt Sheet claims to have an exclusive on Smackdown. The exclusive includes all the rejected puppets from the Firefly Fun House. These puppets consist of a sock puppet, a dirty diaper, and a mannequin meant to resemble Otis’ girlfriend, Mandy Rose. These puppets look to enrage Braun Strowman, for Bray Wyatt picked them over the monster among men.


Strowman hears enough and heads to the ring, expecting to be interviewed although he wasn’t invited to the talk show. The Miz gets angry and Strowman, telling him that Wyatt is not done with him yet and their match at Money in the Bank was only the beginning of what's to come.


Morrison gets in the face of Strowman in support of his tag team partner. Strowman takes this as a challenge and is set to face the Miz next.


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I was a little disappointed to see Smackdown start the same way two weeks in a row. The Miz once again did a great job on the mic as he described his life after Bray Wyatt got to him. His acting chops have been showing these past few weeks.


Strowman has also been showing some improvement on the mic but still needs to slow down. Him being paired with Miz and Morrison sure does help him. I think that is the best-case scenario since he struggles. Pairing him with someone who is a natural on the mic could mask the issue.



Braun Strowman vs The Miz w/ John Morrison


As the bell rings, the Miz gets a few punches off but to no avail. Strowman finds himself in control until the Miz finesses his way to get Strowman out of the ring. John Morrison interferes on the outside with the official distracted. The Miz sends Strowman into the ring post.


The match is in the Miz’ control until Strowman gains his bearings, tossing the Miz in the air from one corner of the ring to the other. Morrison tries to interfere again but is thwarted by Strowman who knocks him off the apron.


A running powerbomb by Strowman ends the match. The Universal Champion Braun Strowman beats the Miz by pinfall.


After the match as Strowman makes his way up the entrance ramp, Morrison gets on the microphone. Morrison says the Strowman can beat them in a tag team and even one on one, but not in a handicap match. Morrison challenges Strowman to a handicap match at Backlash for the Universal Championship.


Strowman accepts.


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What just happened? It was going so well. Why is this necessary? When I was younger I remember Backlash as being a Pay-Per-View for feuds to have a rematch after Wrestlemania or another large Pay-Per-View. Wouldn’t it have made for sense for Strowman to face Bray Wyatt again, or better yet, The Fiend Bray Wyatt? This just absolutely makes no sense.


As the match begins a chain of headlocks and wrist locks are mirrored between the two wrestlers, with some strikes thrown in between. Styles gains an advantage after a dropkick downs Nakamura. Nakamura won’t be down for long, however, as he hangs up Styles on the 2nd rope. Styles is slammed down onto the mat with Nakamura in control going into the break.m in the first place.


Damn you Goldberg. Damn you Saudi Arabia.



AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura - First Round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament


As the first round continues two of the best wrestlers in the company face off to advance in the Intercontinental Tournament. This wouldn’t be the first time these two have faced off, however, as they have seen in-ring action in Japan at Wrestle Kingdom 10 and Wrestlemania 34.


Before the match starts, Michael Cole makes it known that AJ Styles is officially a member of the Smackdown roster after a trade for superstars to be named later.


As the match begins a chain of headlocks and wrist locks are mirrored between the two wrestlers, with some strikes thrown in between. Styles gains an advantage after a dropkick downs Nakamura. Nakamura won’t be down for long, however, as he hangs up Styles on the 2nd rope. Styles is slammed down onto the mat with Nakamura in control going into the break.


As programming resumes, Nakamura and Styles trade kicks. A clothesline and knee to neck driver by Styles sets up Nakamura for a calf crusher. With the calf crusher locked in, Nakamura reaches the bottom rope to break the hold.


A Michinoku driver from Nakamura gains him some momentum. A pinfall is cut short at 2 as Styles kicks out.


Nakamura attempts the Kinshasa but Styles rolls him up. Nakamura kicks out and reverses the pin into a triangle choke. With Styles locked in, he lifts Nakamura into a Styles Clash. A pinfall by Styles leads to a 2 count. Styles sets up for a phenomenal forearm and connects.


AJ Styles pins and wins to advance in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Styles will face Elias next week.


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I had to call bologna on Styles moving to Smackdown. Once again the WWE gives another terrible excuse on why certain things are happening. The commentary team saying that the trade is for future considerations just makes me cringe. Just give me a couple of random guys, anybody who makes sense. It just makes my blood curdle because it feels like a slap in the face of the viewer.


Other than that, the match was great and held up its side of the bargain. With Styles facing Elias next week, I doubt the WWE will give Elias that push given Styles is new to Smackdown.



Charlotte Flair vs Bayley - Brand to Brand Invitational


As the Brand to Brand Invitational continues, NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair from Raw takes on Smackdown’s Women’s Champion Bayley.


Backstage before the match gets underway, Bayley asks her best friend Sasha Banks to stay back in the locker room for her match. Bayley wants to prove that she can do it herself. Although disappointed, Bayley walks to her match unaccompanied.


Taunting and back and forth action starts as the bell rings. Both competitors trade pin attempts with their feet on the 2nd rope to gain leverage over their opponent. Flair is the first to fall as she is dropped onto the apron by Bayley. The baseball slide by Bayley is unsuccessful, however, and is tossed over the barricade. Flair mocks Bayley and calls out Banks to come to help her friend. The NXT Women’s Champion stands tall going into the commercial break.


As the match reaches its end, Bayley is in control and is on the top rope for her patented elbow drop. Taunting continues between the two with chops being shared. Bayley tries to lock in the Figure 8 but fails. Flair won’t take Bayley trying to steal her move and continues to chop the chest of Bayley.


A roll-up by Flair leads to a kick out by Bayley and a reverse roll-up of her own. Bayley grabs the ropes and wins the match.


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The whole point of this should have been Banks becoming something or at least starting to. I feel like we are going backwards with Banks. Her being told to stay backstage continues to put power in the hands of Bayley. If they came out together and Banks interfered allowing Flair to win on accident, this could have been justice served for losing her Money in the Bank spot. But no, Bayley wins and is as powerful as ever.


Superstars moving brands in the Brand to Brand Invitational are 0-2 and seem better off competing on their respective days of the week.



Otis and Mandy Rose vs Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville - Mixed Tag Team Match


The stage is set for the pair of rivals. Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville after looking to sabotage the relationship Otis and Mandy Rose team up to face their foes.


With mixed tag team rules in play Otis and Ziggler start things off. With Otis in control, Ziggler scurries back to his corner to tag in Deville, forcing Rose to enter in Otis' place. As the two former best friends wrestle in the ring, Ziggler sneaks up from behind and attacks Otis by pulling him off the apron and throwing him into the steel steps.


As the match nears its end, Otis enters on a hot tag and dominates his assailant. Deville is once again able to tag herself in to save Ziggler from further punishment. Ziggler and Otis brawl on the outside as Deville connects to the back of the neck of Rose with a running knee.


Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville win on a pinfall victory.


After the match as Otis tends to Rose, Ziggler hits Otis with a superkick. The two walk away leaving the happy couple battered in the ring.


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I still don’t think this the end here, with my point being confirmed with the extracurriculars after the match. This is great however as this is one of the only moments in the show where a consistent storyline continues along. I also enjoyed the denim ring gear from Rose. The denim added a nice touch away from her former Fire and Desire attire.


The feud between these two pairs of rivals is heating up and could reach a boiling point at Backlash.


The Forgotten Sons Promo


The Forgotten Sons continue with their weekly promos as Steve Cutler describes life after the military. Adjusting to normal life was tough for them but they aren't afraid to admit it. Cutler continues by saying that their blood is on the hands of others while it should be the other way around.


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This was a very short promo but I felt the need to include it given the minimal amount of promos on Smackdown every week.


What a wasted opportunity. Memorial Day is on Monday and Smackdown even showed a package honoring veterans. You’re telling me that the Forgotten Sons, the guys who play the role of US Military Veterans aren’t going to talk about the holiday that is for veterans. Give me a break. These bad guys look pretty ignorant for not looking at a calendar. The push for these guys isn’t justified given the poor promos the past few weeks. I’m extremely disappointed.



Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus - First Round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament


The main event of Smackdown sees the end of the first round with bitter rivals Jeff Hardy and Sheamus competing to move on in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. This rivalry dates back about a month stemming from Sheamus being annoyed about Jeff Hardy's return getting more attention than his dominance in the ring.


As the bell rings Sheamus uses his strength to outmatch the quickness of Hardy early on. Although Hardy slips away to the outside, Sheamus catches him off his feet and throws Hardy onto and over the announce table.


As action resumes Sheamus is still in control. The taunting starts with Sheamus telling Hardy that he should’ve stayed home with his bottle, referring to Hardy’s troubled past. Hardy gains some ground back and hits the Whisper in the Wind from the top rope. This isn't enough to keep Sheamus down, however, as the Celtic Warrior returns the favor with 3 Irish Curse backbreakers. Sheamus continues to beat down on Hardy by connecting with his signature 10 Beats of the Bodhran across the chest.


The resilient Hardy doesn't back away and works his way back into the match with a basement dropkick. As action falls outside the ring again, Hardy walks across the top of the barricade and lands a flying clothesline.


With Sheamus laid out in the ring, Hardy looks to end it with a Swanton Bomb. Sheamus picks up his knees and reverses the finishing maneuver into a roll-up. 1… 2… kick out by Hardy.


Sheamus looks to close the book on the match as well as he sets up for the Brogue Kick. Hardy slips the kick and rolls up Sheamus. 1… 2… 3, Hardy wins and advances.


Jeff Hardy moves on to face Daniel Bryan in the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.


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A solid match between the two. As I talked about last week when the IC Tournament started, rivalries were pitted against each other in the first round. This is good because it gets the predictability out of the way early on. If this is the end for Sheamus and Hardy, I’d be okay with it. The match meant something important and was the main event of Smackdown. I can’t see this going any farther into a Pay-Per-View and the match was told a full story on its own.


Moving on we see Elias taking on AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan facing Jeff Hardy in the semi-finals. As I said earlier, I see Styles winning hand over fist. The match between Bryan and Hardy is up in the air, for me at least. The two have been pushed pretty well thus far. With Drew Gulak no longer in the company after his contract expired and not renewed, Bryan is alone to fend for himself. Hardy has been pushed as this being his final run. Hardy winning the belt here and holding it up to Summer Slam, or possibly even later up to another major Pay-Per-View, where we could see the end.


The end not only as a champion but the end of a Hall of Fame career in the WWE.


Takeaways


Besides the main event there were not many things stuck out in a good way. Broken storytelling and disorderly booking caused me to scratch my head on storyline progression this week on Smackdown. They might be looking to slow things down on the Blue Brand given that “The Greatest Match Ever” is occurring at Backlash. Their words, not mine.


Pros:


  • The Dirt Sheet With Miz & Morrison

  • Otis and Mandy Rose vs Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville - Mixed Tag Team Match

  • Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus - First Round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament


Cons:


  • Braun Strowman vs Miz w/ John Morrison

  • AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura - First Round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament (I refuse to be disrespected)

  • Charlotte Flair vs Bayley - Brand to Brand Invitational

  • The Forgotten Sons Promo


Final Grade: D+


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