• Jayden Becker

WWE Smackdown Review 5/29/20



The first Friday Night Smackdown with fans sees Jeff Hardy get arrested while Elias suffers injury from a car accident. Daniel Bryan competes in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament and The New Day joins Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for talk show segment “A Moment of Bliss.


Kurt Angle makes a huge announcement on the future of the blue brand and Shorty G makes his long-awaited return.


A jam-packed episode of Smackdown, let’s jump into it.


Jeff Hardy Arrested


Friday Night Smackdown opens with Renee Young reporting an incident outside of the Performance Center. Elias is laid out on his back in front of a smashed grey rental car. The police and WWE Producers are assessing the situation in a panic. After inspecting the vehicle, a bottle containing alcohol is found on the floor of the car and Jeff Hardy is announced the owner of the rental car.


Comotion beings in the far ground. WWE officials and police officers find a dazed and confused Jeff Hardy in the bushes. Police officers arrest him and take him to the precinct after smelling alcohol on him. Elias is placed in the back of an ambulance in stable condition.


Backstage at the Performance Center, producer Adam Pearce is gathered with most of the Smackdown male roster. With the news spreading through the locker room, AJ Styles demands a bye into the finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Daniel Bryan, on the other hand, wants to face someone to earn his place in the finals. The angered superstars are also expecting a place in the tournament.


Adam Pearce makes sense out of the situation. Styles gets his bye and Bryan will get his match in the main event. Bryan will face the winner of a 10-man battle royal.


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I won’t get into politics here but given the current political climate, I don’t think it was the best idea to have cops on television no matter the issue. I also think that having Hardy look as if he committed a crime that he has committed in the past as recently as a year ago wasn’t tasteful either.


With that being said, they tied up the loose ends that this issue created perfectly. Styles moved on undeservingly, as a heel should. Bryan got a match to earn his title shot, as a babyface should. The rest of the backstage group got a match, paycheck and an opportunity to develop storylines. The way Pearce described how it was going to go down also tied it all up in a neat bow that helped the viewer follow along. WWE and Smackdown especially have struggled with describing the new rules or scenarios of certain events to the viewer. Pearce did it perfectly.


10-Man Battle Royal - Intercontinental Championship Tournament


The rest of the backstage group will compete in an over-the-top-rope battle royal to determine who will face Daniel Bryan in the main event. The competitors include:


Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sheamus, King Corbin, Lucha House Party, Jey Uso, Drew Gulak and Shorty G.


As the action gets underway Dolph Ziggler has a tough time staying in the ring as he is thrown over the top-rope multiple times but is saved by his quick hands. Lince Dorado of Lucha House Party is the first eliminated by King Corbin. Corbin would continue his dominance by eliminating Drew Gulak and Gran Metalik. Ziggler tries to take advantage of a distracted Corbin but is eliminated once Corbin catches him in the act. As Corbin taunts Ziggler on the outside, Jey Uso superkicks the King over the top-rope and out of the ring.


Shorty G, making his return to WWE television, eliminates Cesaro after a struggle in the ropes. Shinsuke Nakamura suffers the same fate by the hands of Shorty G. With the officials distracted on the outside, Cesaro re-enters the ring and illegitimately eliminates Shorty G from the Battle Royal.


Jey Uso and Sheamus are the only two left in the ring. Both superstars fight over the top rope and onto the apron trading blow for blow. Sheamus Brogue kicks Jey Uso off the apron to win and earn a match against Daniel Bryan.


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Welcome back Shorty G. Shorty G was a prospective superstar to be the Smackdown hacker but has returned to be the ultimate underdog. Should he have lasted to the final two? Maybe. Either way, Shorty G has returned with a feud ready for him from the start.


Welcome back Drew Gulak. After his match two weeks ago against Daniel Bryan, Gulak’s contract expired with the WWE and wasn’t immediately resigned. This was a shock to the WWE Universe given the amazing match he put on the night prior and the push he’s been given in the company. Gulak resigned with the company through Memorial Day weekend returning to television on this episode of Smackdown.


Welcome back Jey Uso. The Usos have been missing from WWE television since late April due to Jimmy Uso suffering a leg injury. In professional wrestling, being tied with a tag team usually means when one goes down so do you. Now might be good time given the pandemic, but I think the final two could’ve been better served with a pairing less predictable. In any event, it’s always great to see an Uso on Smackdown.


Sheamus winning this match continues to put him over as a monster heel. It also legitimizes his place in the main event though he lost to Jeff Hardy a week prior.


Lacey Evans vs Sonya Deville


This sprouting rivalry stems from a twitter battle between the two. In sum, Sonya Deville believes blondes can’t wrestle. Lacey Evans took offense to this and here we are. Backstage while Deville is cutting a promo against Evans, the Sassy South Belle attacks Deville from behind.


Back and forth action to start the match leads to Evans with the advantage. Evans, a former Wrestling State Champion, drops to her hands and knees to give Deville an advantage. Through pure form and technique, Evans continues to dominate. Deville, the pride fighter, ties her hair up to indicate that the wrestling match is about to turn into a brawl. Evans does the same but is socked with a hard right hand.


An enraged Evans ties Deville up in the ring skirt. The two brawl on the outside ignoring the count of the official. The match ends on the expiration of the 10 count, concluding in a draw.


The two continue to brawl on the outside. Evans gains the upper hand and launches Deville into the announce table. The Sassy Southern Belle Lacey Evans stands tall as Deville heads to the back.


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The heel run of Sonya Deville has been great since its inception. Fan support through the twitter-verse has also followed suit, given the new merchandise from Deville. Her promo skills have what puts her over as a great heel. I don’t think her battle with Mandy Rose and Otis is over given how last week’s match ended.


Forgotten Sons Promo


Another promo from the Forgotten Son sees Wesley Blake do the talking. Blake describes himself as the only one to truly appreciate what they have done for their country. He was once told to do unto others that you want to be done to you. His mindset has changed, however, and believes that his blood is on our hands when it should be the other way around.


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A couple of issues here. If you look at Blake’s eyes you can tell he is reading the promo off a cue card. This is acceptable if you are Rob Gronkowski but not if you are a tenured professional wrestler. This promo also felt as if it was the same as last week, just slightly rewritten and said by a different person. I expect better from these three as they are set to get a big push. If their promo work could match their work in the ring, they can be world-class talents.


A Moment of Bliss with The New Day


In this week’s segment of A Moment of Bliss, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The New Day meet with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. The two teams exchange gifts with The New Day getting Scottish Pancakes and Bliss & Cross getting some coffee beans.


After the pleasantries, The New Day tells Bliss & Cross that Forgotten Sons are the most dangerous tag team to stand in their way. Bliss & Cross are asked the same question. Before they can respond to the Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks.


Bayley offers up Banks to challenge Bliss in a match. Banks, however, is upset with Bayley because she isn’t wearing her ring gear. Bliss dropkicks Banks as Bayley runs to the back to get Banks her ring gear.


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We didn’t need The New Day here. Their only place in this is to get over The Forgotten Sons. The Women’s Tag Team Division is completely depleted at this point. Banks and Bayley adding to the pot that they once filled helps but is just adding a Band-Aid to a larger problem. The Women’s Division needs more tag teams and they tag teams need to be taken seriously.


The Bayley and Banks feud is on hold at the moment if the WWE can’t have fans in attendance at Summerslam. Summerslam was supposed to take place at TD Garden in Boston. Due to restriction because of COVID-19, no fans are allowed to attend large scale events until after labor day. With Sasha Banks' hometown being Boston, this was supposed to be her big moment with a huge hometown pop. We will have to wait and see what occurs but for now, expect the two to stay friends.


Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss


The match previously created from Bayley challenge gets underway with Sasha Banks still tying her shoes brought from backstage. Bayley and Nikki Cross stick around on commentary.


Banks and Alexa Bliss trade holds early on. A double knee from Banks gives her the advantage. Cross is very excited on commentary, peaking the microphones and standing atop of the announce table. Banks Reverses a clothesline and attacks with a strong one of her own. Banks can’t maintain this momentum for long as she takes a strong right hand to the face.


As Bliss makes her way to the top-rope, Bayley and Cross start to fight on the apron. Bayley pushes Cross into the ring post causing Bliss to lose her balance and crash down to the mat. Banks rolls up bliss, 1… 2… 3.


Sasha Banks beat Alexa Bliss with the help of her best friend Bayley. Next week on Smackdown will see Sasha Banks and Bayley take on Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.


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To bolster up the Women’s Tag Team Division, the titles will be on the line next week. With Backlash approaching, I wonder why WWE decided to have the title match on Smackdown. An idea could be that Bayley and Banks win next week and have a rematch for the titles on Backlash. The WWE could also have a Triple Threat Tag match with the IIconics involved, although the winner should win off shenanigans to save the credibility of the rest of the division.


Nikki Cross was pretty obnoxious on commentary but that's her character. As I mentioned last week, I would love to see a more personal side of Nikki Cross instead of the screamer.


Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura vs Shorty G


After the events of the Battle Royal, an altercation backstage set the precedence for this match to occur.


Shorty G wastes no time to get Cesaro with a flurry of strikes. The underdog gets ahead of himself and is power bombed down to the mat by Cesaro. With both competitors on the top turnbuckle, Shorty G reverses a superplex into an ankle lock. Cesaro grabs the bottom rope to break the hold.


As the match comes to a close, Cesaro sets up Short G for the Gotch-style Neutralizer. Shorty G works out of the finisher into a roll-up, 1… 2… 3.


Shorty G wins his first match back against Cesaro.


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We’ve already welcomed back Shorty G in the Battle Royal. I’ll use this spin to talk about who the Smackdown hacker could be. Even though there is still a chance Shorty G is the hacker, I doubt they show him on screen before the big reveal. Mustafa Ali has been tossed around as the hacker which is a possibility. A more exciting venture is the opportunity for a new superstar, or better yet, a superstar that fans have longed for the return of. CM Punk has teased his return on WWE Backstage on FOX and his twitter account. In any event, the WWE holds all the power to make this great. Let’s pray it’s not Hornswoggle.

Otis and Mandy Rose by the Pool


The new couple continues to express their love with a date by the pool. Both share a bottle of peach champagne and relax after their loss last week to Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville. Rose decides to take a nap as Otis prepares to get in the pool.


As Rose falls asleep, she dreams of an ideal Otis. Otis dips his toes into the pool, checks the wind and comes out of the water refreshed. Otis speaks to Rose without his southern drawl and makes out with her by the poolside.


Rose is awakened by splashing water as Otis jumps into the water with a huge cannonball.


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Not much here. I thought this was a cute segment and I enjoyed it. The feud with Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler should continue but will most likely have the pay off in front of real fans. More cute segments like these from them would be great to fill the time. Smackdown needs more stuff like this compared to Raw.


Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus - Intercontinental Championship Tournament


With Sheamus the winner of the 10-man Battle Royal, he will now face Sheamus to move in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.


Bryan starts the match strong with strikes but doesn’t hold the momentum for long as Sheamus downs Bryan flying out of the corner. Action falls outside the ring with Sheamus falling over the top-rope. Bryan connects with a suicide dive through the middle rope.


Returning from break Sheamus gains control on the outside by driving Bryan into the barricade. As action picks up inside the ring Bryan fights back to no avail. A Texas Cloverleaf from Sheamus is locked in but broken up by Bryan reaching for the bottom rope. With both competitors caught up on the top-rope, Sheamus is headbutted off. A missile dropkick from Bryan drops Sheamus to his knees, setting him up for the Yes kicks.


Sheamus ducks the final Yes kick and plants Bryan with White Noise. As Sheamus lines up Bryan for the Brogue kick, Jeff Hardy runs down the entrance ramp. Bryan capitalizes on a distracted Sheamus and connects with a running knee.


Daniel Bryan pins and wins, moving on to face AJ Styles in the final round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.


Jeff Hardy brutally attacks Sheamus after the match. As the show fades to black, Jeff Hardy stands tall in the ring.


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An emotional roller coaster through this match. Although the winner of this match was predictable, the way it ended wasn’t. Jeff Hardy’s return from custody proves that Sheamus had something to do with the accident to start the show. I would’ve been okay if the blow-off was last week in the main event. This altercation adds fuel to the fire and could see Jeff Hardy finding his way into the finals due to foul play.


The storytelling between Sheamus and Jeff Hardy has been immaculate and could see the Intercontinental Championship be pitted between them down the line.


Takeaways


Friday Night Smackdown has been stagnant in the ratings as of late but new faces could bring a change to that. This week on Smackdown Kurt Angle put his stamp of approval on “The New Face of Smackdown.” This superstar is none other than Matt Riddle from NXT. We will see his debut next week on Smackdown.


Pros:

  • Jeff Hardy Arrested

  • 10-Man Battle Royal - Intercontinental Championship Tournament

  • Lacey Evans vs Sonya Deville

  • Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura vs Shorty G

  • Otis and Mandy Rose by the Pool

  • Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus - Intercontinental Championship Tournament


Cons:

  • Forgotten Sons Promo

  • A Moment of Bliss with The New Day

  • Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss


Final Grade: B-


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