• Jayden Becker

WWE Smackdown Review 6/12/20



The go-home episode of Friday Night Smackdown before Backlash sees the end of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Jeff Hardy and Sheamus make their upcoming match official and Braun Strowman and Miz & Morrison get ready for their championship bout.


The action doesn’t stop there as The New Day takes on Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag-team match-up.


Backlash is a few days away, let’s jump in to this episode of Smackdown.


Jeff Hardy and Sheamus Sign on the Dotted Line


The long-growing rivalry between these two reached a boiling point two weeks ago when Jeff Hardy was found on the side of the road wreaking of alcohol. Witnesses reported a man fleeing the crime scene. That man was described to have red hair and a red beard. Sheamus was questioned and not prosecuted.


As Sheamus makes his way to the ring to sign the contract, he is followed by a doctor and 4 security guards holding a waist-high curtain. Sheamus tells Hardy that there is no way that he steps in a ring with a Junky and demands Hardy to take a urine test. Hardy obliges and takes (not joking here) a massive piss, as if he has been holding it for days.


As the doctor is testing the urine sample, Hardy grabs the glass and throws his urine in the face of Sheamus.


As Sheamus washes his face backstage, the doctor informs Sheamus that the urine sample came out negative. The match is official for Backlash.


Later that night, Sheamus and Hardy are found brawl backstage of the performance center.


Takeaways:


Jeff, you need to get some water in you. I doubt that the urine shown on TV was yours but c’mon, I didn’t know diesel fuel was a substitute for alcohol addiction.


In any event, I’m excited about the match between the two at Backlash. The build for this match has been done very well. Some have had issues with the direction it has taken as of late and fear this episode of Smackdown would take it over the edge. If anything, it toned down the in your face aspect of what alcoholism can do to a person. Great way to start the show.



New Day vs Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura


Before the match starts, both Kofi Kingston and Big E take a knee with a fist raised in the center of the ring. This is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that has swept the nation over the past few weeks. The first showing of support by the WWE was at NXT Takeover: In your House by Keith Lee who wore attire in support of the movement.


Cesaro and Nakamura take control of the match early as Kofi and Big E are tossed to the outside of the ring. A double hot tag brings in Kofi with the advantage over Nakamura. Kofi connects with the SOS, the pinfall is interrupted by Cesaro.


With Kofi and Nakamura caught on the top rope, Kofi knocks Nakamura down to the mat. Nakamura picks up his knees to stop the big splash from Kofi. Nakamura pins, 1… 2… 3.


Cesaro and Nakamura pick up a victory over the Smackdown Tag Team Champions.


Takeaways:


Compared to the Raw tag team division, Smackdown has been thriving. With the expected return of Sami Zayn, seeing the Artist Collect reunited with a championship opportunity on the way could make for some great storytelling. You have to wonder if Zayn will get a title opportunity at the Intercontinental Championship given he was never beaten to lose it.


I was surprised to see the New Day lose here given the showing of protest before the match. Now is not the time to start a storyline based on race either. If you thought the outrage on the Jeff Hardy storyline was bad, imagine the backlash that would come from a race-based storyline.



Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles - Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final


After AJ Styles took his bye into the finals, Daniel Bryan beat Sheamus to advance into the finals. AJ Styles found his way into this tournament in the first place by being traded to Smackdown for a Superstar to be named later.


Chain grappling early on leads to Styles being tossed out of the ring. Bryan dives to the outside of the ring and connects. Multiple pin attempts are unsuccessful from both competitors. Bryan gets tossed out of the ring but keeps his footing as he starts to work the arm of Styles. Styles reciprocates this by working the leg of Bryan.


Towards the end of the match, Bryan lands a belly to back suplex from the top rope. As Bryan goes for the running knee he is caught and maneuvered into a Styles Clash. Styles makes his way to the apron and plants a Phenomenal Forearm onto Bryan. Styles pins, 1… 2… 3.


AJ Styles is the new Intercontinental Champion.


Takeaways:


An amazing match between the two. A tournament automatic builds to this epic match that could’ve headlined a Pay-Per-View. I was a little surprised that this wasn’t the main event, but this being a go-home show will usually lead to the current top champion or challenger standing tall. Either way, this is the main reason FOX paid over $1 Billion to air Smackdown, matches like these.


Even though the feud between these two most likely ends here, Styles has been pushed as one of the Blue Brand’s top guys, deservingly so. Bryan has found himself stuck in no man's land again and could stay there if he continues as a singles competitor. A continued tag-team push with Gulak could do both their careers wonders.



Sasha Banks and Bayley Championship Celebration


With balloons and decorations, the new Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley are set to celebrate their victory over Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross a week prior.


As the crowd starts to chant “You Suck!” Bayley informs the crowd that she doesn’t and has proven so with the two championships she is currently holding. As Bayley prepares to read a poem to Banks, the party is interrupted by former champions Bliss and Cross.


As insults as thrown, both tag teams are interrupted by the IIconics. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce state facts on why they will win the titles and remind Banks and Bayley to not turn their backs on Bliss and Cross. Banks and Bayley are attacked from behind as the IIconics laugh on the Titan-Tron.


Takeaways:


This wasn’t necessary given the event of Monday Night Raw where the three tag teams butted heads. This did put a cherry on top of it all, however, and has launched us into the Pay-Per-View.


Although this match works, for now, we can only wonder what is next for the Women’s tag team division who has been extremely depleted due to travel restriction and lack of talent.



Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery vs Dolph Ziggler and Miz & Morrison


Although this isn’t confirmed, Ziggler appeared wearing a rainbow necklace. This possibly could be in support of Pride month which gives attention to the LGBTQ community around the world. This is the first time in months where Otis and Tucker are teamed together for a match. Tucker has been off TV for a while due to Otis’ massive push in the company.


The Match starts with a double team move from Heavy Machinery. Tucker gets in trouble, however, and is helped by both Otis and Braun Strowman. On the Titan-Tron, King Corbin makes his appearance. Corbin rushes his way to Otis’s girlfriend, Mandy Rose, to flirt with her during Otis’s match. Otis sprints from the ring to the backstage area to attack Corbin, leaving his teammates to fight 2 on 3.


As Tucker tries to tag out of the match, Strowman is ripped off the apron by Miz and Morrison and attacked by the announce table. Otis returns to the ring with Mandy Rose. Mr. Money in the Bank wastes no time to inflict damage onto his opponents. Strowman runs around the outside as Otis calls for the Freight Train. Ziggler is tossed in the ring with Otis ready and waiting. Otis lands the caterpillar and picks up the victory.


Heavy Machinery and Universal Champion Braun Strowman stand tall going into Backlash.


Takeaways:


This made Miz and Morrison look even weaker going into Backlash. They had one moment of dominance on the outside but that was all. Seeing them stand tall going to Backlash or continue their shenanigans from last week could’ve given the illusion that they could win the Universal Championship.


Welcome back, Tucker. Were you missed? By some. Smackdown could give 3 or 4 tag teams to Raw and still have too many. I think the biggest fear with Tucker was that the success of Otis would end another career in the process. Could that still happen? Definitely, but it sure would be a shame. The two could coexist but would be better off staying apart while Otis holds the briefcase.



Wrap Up:


If you missed this go-home show you should be upset. Bryan and Styles stole the show with a great match and the New Day caught another surprising loss. You also missed Jeff Hardy take the largest and yellowest piss in the history of mankind, I wish I was joking.


Backlash is this Sunday at 7 pm EST on the WWE Network and PPV providers.


Pros:


  • Jeff Hardy and Sheamus Sign on the Dotted Line

  • New Day vs Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura

  • Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles - Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final

Cons:


  • Sasha Banks and Bayley Championship Celebration

  • Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery vs Dolph Ziggler and Miz & Morrison

Final Grade: B-

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