Welcome to the WWE Smackdown review here on Rajah. This is the go-home edition of Smackdown prior to this Sunday’s WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view. We will have a preview of Money in the Bank on TJRWrestling on Saturday by noon or so. Then on Sunday, I’ll write a review of Money in the Bank and right after MITB is over, that’s when The Undertaker’s “The Last Ride” documentary premieres on WWE Network. I’m really looking forward to that. Anyway, I’ll sure I will share some quick predictions throughout the review as well. It’s the second WWE PPV in the WWE Performance Center in this health crisis era we’re in right now. I don’t love it, but it’s how it is for now. Let’s get to it.
From the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1081. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
Mandy Rose was shown warming up backstage for her match when Otis showed up saying she’s ready and she’s been waiting for this for a long time. Mandy told Otis she’s got this and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Sonya Deville was shown warming up for her match when Dolph Ziggler showed up. Sonya said she was ready and said she had five years worth of beatings for Mandy. Ziggler told her to go easy on the face, so Sonya said no promises on that and Sonya left.
Mandy Rose entered first with some tape on her right leg to sell the attack from last week. Sonya Deville was next as they showed replays of Sonya beating up Mandy after Sonya cost Mandy her match last week. The announce team is Michael Cole and Corey Graves as usual.
Analysis: Starting the show with a match is a much better way to begin than the usual promo.
Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose
Deville was still tying her hair when the match began and Rose attacked with a jumping knee to the face. Rose worked over Deville with punches until the referee Charles Robinson pulled Mandy off. Deville got a kick, but Rose knocked her down again followed by more punches. Deville bailed to the floor. Deville attacked the leg of Rose and then Sonya hit a running knee for a two count. Deville slapped on a body scissors on the mat followed by some trash talk. Deville was pulling some eyelashes off Rose’s eyes. Deville with more trash talk leading to a kick to the chest. Deville ran the ropes, which was Mandy’s cue to come back with two clotheslines and a running knee that knocked Deville out of the ring. Rose called Sonya a bitch and sent her face first into the announce table as well as the steel steps. Rose sent Deville into the steps again. Rose tossed Deville over the announce table and into the barricade at ringside. Rose brought Deville back into the ring with Graves talking about how intense Rose was. Rose went for a rising knee, Deville ducked and Deville got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sonya Deville
Analysis: **1/2 This was a solid match where they made the most of their time. It’s tough to have a great match in five minutes. I liked the intensity from both women with Sonya in control early, Rose made the comeback and Deville did the crafty heel finish. They are legit best friends that likely really wanted to work with eachother like this for years, so kudos to them for putting together a good match in their first match against eachother.
After the match, Sonya had an evil smirk on her face while Rose was mad about the loss. There will probably be a rematch soon.
There’s an eight-man tag team match up next.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E entered for the eight-man tag team match. They are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Lucha House Party were the partners with Graves wondering how LHP gets a title shot at Money in the Bank and Cole mentioned they beat Miz and Morrison. The Forgotten Sons were next (they beat New Day non-title last week) followed by The Miz and Morrison, who are the former champions.
This Sunday at Money in the Bank for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. The Forgotten Sons vs. Lucha House Party vs. The Miz and John Morrison. The first team to get the pinfall or submission wins the match.
Big E, Kofi Kingston, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado vs. The Miz, John Morrison, Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler (w/Jackson Ryker)
Kingston started for his team, he was in the heel corner and then he fought his way out of it. The faces cleared the ring. Kingston was launched over the top by Big E leading to a diving attack onto the Forgotten Sons. Dorado and Metalik hit suicide dives on Miz and Morrison. That led to a break about one minute into the match.
The match returned with Big E about to abdominal stretch Blake, but Cutler was in, so Big E knocked him out and Big E with an elbow on Blake. Kingston tagged in with a splash after jumping over Big E’s back. Kingston with a dropkick off the middle ropes on Blake, then Kingston with a splash and Big E with a splash. Metalik and Dorado each hit splashes (Metalik did two) on Blake for a two count. Kingston went back in with a double stomp to the arm of Blake. Kingston missed a corner splash because Cutler saved Blake, so Kingston was down as the face in peril. Miz tagged in with a kick, corner splash for Miz and legal man Morrison hit a running knee on Kofi for a two count. Cutler with a running back elbow on Kingston and Ryker with a cheap shot punch. Blake with a chinlock on Kingston, then Kofi with a kick, but Blake knocked Kingston off the apron to the floor. Blake hit a suicide dive under the middle ropes to take out Kingston on the floor. That led to a second break for this match.
The heels were in control of course as Morrison hit a jumping kick on Kingston. Blake tagged in with an abdominal stretch, Cutler tagged in and Kingston fought out of the heel corner. Kingston kicked Miz away, but all of Kofi’s partners were pulled off the apron. Cutler sent Big E into the steel steps. Kofi hit the SOS slam on Miz. Metalik tagged in, he hit a great dropkick on Morrison and Dorado jumped off the top onto Forgotten Sons, then Dorado hit a double springboard Stunner and Metalik with a kick to the head of Morrison. Metalik hit a Sunset Bomb on Morrison for a two count. Dorado with a hurricanrana spike on Morrison. Metalik with a moonsault off the middle rope on Morrison. Dorado up top with a Shooting Star Press on Morrison for two, but Cutler and Blake broke up the pin. Kingston sent Blake out of the ring and New Day double-teamed Cutler with a Kofi kick. Miz sent Big E over the top to the floor. Cutler stomped Big E on the floor as Blake hit a reverse DDT. Blake hit a Powerbomb on Kofi on Big E. Dorado got a sunset flip on Morrison for two and a rollup for two. Morrison with a slam off the shoulders, Dorado avoided Starship Pain, Miz got the blind tag and Dorado hit a Poison Rana on Morrison, but Miz went in and hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Dorado for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Miz, John Morrison, Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler
Analysis: ***1/2 This was pretty good especially in the last few minutes. The middle portion of the dragged a lot, but that’s because they went nearly 20 minutes for this match. The complaint about the final few minutes is that they were so consumed with getting the spots in that the tag team rules weren’t followed and it reminded me of some AEW tag team matches. It doesn’t happen as often in WWE, but it did here. I don’t think it’s terrible to do that occasionally because it’s exciting to watch. All of the guys got their stuff in, there were some believable nearfalls throughout and Miz probably needed the win the most since they lost to LHP two weeks ago while Forgotten Sons won last week. I was really impressed by Morrison the most, but I’m also glad that the LHP guys got to show a lot of what they can do too. I’ll probably pick New Day to retain at Money in the Bank.
Post match, The Miz and Morrison celebrated the win while Forgotten Sons didn’t feel like celebrating with them.
King Corbin was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton, who is so short she makes Corbin look like a giant. Corbin talked about his tag team match noting that they have beaten down Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak so badly. Corbin said nobody wants to be their partner. Corbin said he’s looking ahead to Money in the Bank while teased throwing Rey Mysterio off the roof. Corbin said you know Aleister Black doesn’t want to fight him and he called Otis a fat idiot that’s going to clog the elevator like his arteries. Corbin called Otis a loser like Mandy and Corbin said he’ll be King Money in the Bank.
Jeff Hardy is back up next.
There was a video of WWE teaming up with sports organizations to honor front line workers during the health crisis. It’s called the Real Heroes Project with WWE’s John Cena and Charlotte Flair in the video along with a lot of athletes in other sports. That was cool.
Let’s Hear from Jeff Hardy
Renee Young was in the ring to interview Jeff Hardy, who made his entrance to the classic Hardys song. I know Jeff has said he was going to get to use the “No More Words” song again, but they did not play it here.
Jeff was asked what he has left to prove. Jeff said that he’s not sure, but he’s back and every low has taught him how to get back up. They showed Sheamus watching on a TV backstage. Hardy said that usually he has fans cheering him on to do something completely insane and he said he could hear their voices: “Hardy, Hardy, Hardy.” Hardy said that the fans have stuck with him his entire career, but he knows he has one more good run and he knows this is his last chance. Sheamus was shown walking off in the backstage area and Hardy called out Sheamus to come out there. That led to Renee Young leaving the ring.
Sheamus made his entrance as he stood on the ramp. Sheamus said this is the saddest thing he’s ever seen in WWE with Jeff the adrenaline junkie wanting his dealers (the fans) to give him another swig of the bottle. Sheamus said that the fans loved the high flying maniac that competed in the first TLC match and is a Grand Slam winner that’s won every single title under the sun, but they’re tired of you. Sheamus said that they’re tired of the suspension, the releases, the no shows and the wasted second chances.
Hardy said for Sheamus to be a hater, he sure knows a lot about Jeff. Sheamus said he’s not a hater – he respects him, but he realized how many false comebacks can a man have before they realize he’s never coming back? Hardy told Sheamus to ask himself that…fella. Sheamus said he’s not afraid of the hard truths. Sheamus said that everybody knows that Jeff’s next failure is right around the corner…everybody except Jeff. Sheamus said he’s been sniffing out Smackdown’s weakest flames and Jeff’s flame has been burning for far too long, so Sheamus will put it out.
Sheamus went towards the ring, but Jeff met him with a dropkick to the head. Hardy with a kick to the head and Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind attack off the top. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Sheamus. Hardy went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Sheamus. Hardy posed on the turnbuckle while Sheamus was selling the attack. Hardy left standing tall and Sheamus was in the ring yelling about being disrespected.
Analysis: I thought this was good with Hardy showing a lot of passion talking about wanting one more run in WWE and Sheamus was great as the disrespectful heel that didn’t think Hardy could pull it off. The brawl was all Hardy to show that he was ready for Sheamus. It’s nice to have the smaller guy beat the bully heel sometimes in order to keep the story simmering because you know Sheamus is going to come back strong against Jeff. I like this as a feud between two former World Champions that haven’t had anything meaningful to do for a while.
Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt are up next for a “face to face” segment.
A commercial aired for “The Last Ride” documentary featuring The Undertaker’s story. The first of five chapters airs on Sunday on WWE Network after Money in the Bank. I’m really looking forward to it.
Face to Face – Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt
Braun Strowman made his entrance with the WWE Universal Title around his waist. Strowman said that he debuted with the Wyatt Family, but if Bray Wyatt thinks that Braun owes Bray anything he is wrong. Braun said that Wyatt is scared of him and that’s why he’s been giving Braun gifts. Braun told Wyatt that if he’s got something to say then say it to Braun’s face.
Bray Wyatt made his entrance in his Firefly Fun House clothes including a red sweater. That’s also the music that played as Wyatt entered the ring. Wyatt: “Hi Braun!”
Bray said it’s a shame it came to this because all he ever wanted was for Braun to say sorry and Braun said he never owed him anything. Bray said that’s not true. Braun said you’ll be sorry about what happens this Sunday. Bray said that a good creator always knows his own creations and Bray said he knows Braun. Bray said that Braun needs to come home because he can be special just like Bray. Wyatt said that he needs to remove that burden (Universal Title) around his waist so that Braun can come home because it’s the only thing that Braun has to do to come back to Bray. Braun told Bray that Bray doesn’t know Braun and added that at Money in the Bank, this all ends. Bray said that their journey is just beginning and said he can give Braun a taste of things to come.
Wyatt had a black sheep mask and he wanted Braun to take it. Some of the Wyatt Family puppets appeared on screen telling Braun to come home to them. Wyatt laughed about it. Braun said: “I am home and I’ve got the Universal Championship and this Sunday I’m going to keep it and you’ll be stuck playing with your puppets. Bye! See ya Sunday!” Braun left so there was no physical altercation.
As Braun walked away, Bray said he tried repeatedly and they had a final staredown ahead of their match at Money in the Bank.
Analysis: This was boring. This feud has been a big miss in my opinion, but I also think it’s going to continue past Money in the Bank with Braun likely retaining his title on Sunday. Some of the dialogue was okay although they failed to make me feel excited about their match at Money in the Bank. It’s probably going to be Braun beating Bray and when the feud continues, Bray will become The Fiend to possibly get back the Universal Title. This just doesn’t feel like a feud for a major title. It’s not that interesting.
Otis was shown walking around backstage. Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak went up to ask Otis about Mandy with Otis saying she’ll be okay. Gulak asked Otis if he heard what Corbin said earlier, Otis said he was with Mandy so they walked with Otis to let him know.
It’s Bayley and Banks vs. Evans and Tamina up next.
The team of Sasha Banks and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley entered first for a tag team match. Lacey Evans was next and she’s in the 6-Woman Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Sunday. Tamina was last as the challenger for Bayley’s SD Women’s Title at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
Tamina and Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley
Tamina was aggressive against Bayley with a body slam to show off Tamina’s power. Tamina with a corner splash, Banks jumped on the back and Banks tagged in. Banks with a rising kick to the face of Tamina followed by Banks hitting shoulder tackles. Bayley put her boot on Tamina’s throat to keep her grounded in the heel corner. Tamina sent Banks into Bayley to knock the heels down. Evans prevented Banks and Bayley from leaving the match as Evans hit a back elbow on Banks and Tamina grabbed Bayley, which led to a neckbreaker by Bayley. Back in the ring, Bayley jumped off the middle ropes with nothing, so Tamina hit an uppercut punch and Bayley bailed to the floor leading to a break.
A commercial aired featuring Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart talking about how FS1 is showing WrestleMania 3 on Tuesday at 8pmET. You can always watch it on WWE Network without commercials too. Read my WrestleMania 3 review right here.
The match returned with Evans working over Banks with knee lifts, then a trip and elbow drop. Evans went to the ropes, Bayley distracted and Banks hit a basement dropkick on Evans against the turnbuckle for a two count. Bayley was back in as she hit a double elbow with Banks for a two count. Banks and Bayley worked over Evans with punches. Evans avoided a double team attack leading to a hot tag for Tamina, but Banks and Bayley knocked Tamina to the floor. Tamina slammed Banks into the barricade. Tamina knocked down Bayley on the floor as well. Back in the ring, Tamina with a clothesline, headbutt, a corner splash and a toss across the ring. Tamina with a running hip attack on Bayley against the turnbuckle. Tamina went up top, but Banks went after her and Bayley got back up. Tamina with a headbutt to knock Bayley down and Tamina went for a splash, but Bayley got the knees up. It looked obvious that was not going to connect from the way Tamina jumped. Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly slam on Tamina. Bayley went up top, she jumped off and hit an elbow drop for two because Tamina got the left shoulder up. Banks kicked Tamina in the back of the leg and Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch on Banks. Tamina with a superkick on Bayley and Tamina with a Samoan Drop for the pinfall after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tamina and Lacey Evans
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent tag team match to put over Tamina to try to make her look competent after not doing much with her for years. It’s hard to be that interested in Tamina matches because she’s so boring, but Bayley and Banks are great at what they do, so they can make others look likable. The last three minutes were very good. Evans taking out Banks was great because of how Banks sold it. Bayley nearly beat Tamina with the big elbow, but then Tamina managed to kick out and finish her off. That’s standard booking to have the champ get pinned in a tag team match like that. I doubt Bayley loses the title to Tamina at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
Tamina and Lacey celebrated the win while Bayley and Banks were disappointed outside the ring.
The announce team talked about Money in the Bank on Sunday. They showed a video about the WWE Corporate Headquarters for the Men’s and Women’s MITB matches. Corey Graves narrated a video about WWE HQ just like Byron Saxton did on Raw earlier in the week.
Carmella and Dana Brooke were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Brooke said no one including Carmella could believe that Dana beat Naomi. Dana said nobody knows what to expect a match like this with Dana saying “the risk is worth the reward” line that WWE uses to promote the match. Carmella said that her success in Money in the Bank in the past gives her the advantage and it’s gotta count for something. Carmella said that when she grabs that corporate ladder to grab that contract again she’ll remind everyone why Mella is Money.
Analysis: The dialogue in this promo was so cheesy as they uttered the same WWE phrases to promote the match that WWE uses in the commercials. I hate when the wrestlers don’t get to sound authentic and instead they are just company shills spewing the phrases. Speak like humans, not robots.
It’s time for the main event tag team match with King Corbin up first followed by Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Corbin is in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match while his partners are not.
This Monday on Raw, the Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch will confront the Money in the Bank winner, which tells the audience that a Raw woman is going to win. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. I just think it will be.
There was a video from WWE’s mystery man showing highlights of things and telling us the “truth will be heard” soon. The message was that you always hear anger before you see it. It’s likely that we’ll get a reveal at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance for the babyface team along with his buddy Drew Gulak. Bryan has taken some beatings from the heel side over the last couple of weeks. Otis was the partner for Bryan and Gulak, so it’s the second week in a row with Otis in the main event.
Analysis: Saying that it is the second week in a row for Otis in the main event is not me saying that I like it. I think it's an odd choice, but obviously the bosses like the guy. I can't say it excites me that much, though. Just being honest.
King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan, Otis and Drew Gulak
Bryan with a running dropkick on Corbin, but Corbin managed to trip up Bryan. Corbin tried for a Boston Crab and Bryan managed to trip him up. Gulak tagged in with a headbutt on Corbin, but then Corbin punched Gulak in the throat. Gulak with a running dropkick to send Corbin out of the ring. Cesaro tried a slam, but Gulak came back with a Michinoku Driver style slam on Cesaro for a two count. Gulak went up top, Corbin distracted the referee and Nakamura shoved Gulak off the top into an uppercut by Cesaro. Cesaro with a gutwrench suplex on Gulak. Nakamura missed a knee drop and Otis got the tag with a running shoulder tackle. Otis with a clothesline and a slam on Nakamura. Otis hit a running splash on Nakamura. Otis did the Caterpillar into an elbow drop on Nakamura. Cesaro into the ring and Otis slammed Cesaro down. The faces sent the heels out of the ring as the faces were in the ring and that led to a break.
The match returned with Corbin working over Bryan with a forearm to the face. Bryan came back with a dropkick to the knee. Cesaro was back in with a boot to Otis. Gulak tagged back in with a boot to the face and he stomped away on Cesaro in the corner. Gulak with an overheard suplex across the ring. Cesaro caught Gulak with a forearm and Gulak did a great roll through into a submission move pulling back on the arm and chin. Cesaro hit a slam to get out of it. Corbin tagged in as Gulak sent Cesaro out of the ring. Gulak with a sleeper, but Nakamura kicked Gulak. Otis ran over Nakamura with a running body attack. Cesaro with a boot to the face of Otis, but Otis hit a back body drop over the top to the floor. Corbin sent Otis out of the ring and Gulak got a rollup on Corbin. Gulak with a boot to the face and a flying clothesline off the middle ropes on Cesaro. Nakamura and Cesaro sent Otis into the ring post. Bryan knocked down Cesaro with a running knee and Nakamura hit a running knee on Bryan. Gulak charged at Corbin, who hit the Deep Six Slam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes. That is normally a nearfall move for Corbin, but he won with it here.
Winners by pinfall: King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
Analysis: *** It was fine for a tag team match with a guy in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match pinning a guy that’s not even wrestling on the PPV. That’s not a surprise as a finish. Congrats to Corbin for winning a match with a move that gets a two count in about 98% of his matches. I think he’s won with it a few times, but not that often. Daniel Bryan did great work here as usual and so did Cesaro. Poor Nakamura isn't being used well.
Post match, Bryan saved Gulak from a cheap attack after the match. Gulak hit a cross body block on Nakamura and Cesaro off the barricade. The five men Bryan, Gulak, Otis, Nakamura and Cesaro went brawling to the back. Corbin saw a ladder, so he brought it into the ring with the two Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring. Corbin did a slow climb up the ladder, but that’s when Bryan showed up to attack Corbin with strikes.
Corbin whipped Bryan into the ladder that was in the ring to knock Bryan down with the ladder. Corbin tried to climb the ladder again, but this time Otis showed up. Otis put the ladder on his head and ran into Corbin with it. Otis stepped hard on the bottom rung of the ladder, then he broke the second step of the ladder and Corbin attacked Otis by sending him into the ladder. Corbin whipped Otis shoulder first into the ring post. Bryan with a dragon screw leg whip to take down Corbin. Bryan brought a taller ladder into the ring and he climbed up the ladder. Bryan reached near the top, so Corbin tilted the ladder to send Bryan into the ropes. Corbin sent Bryan over the top onto Otis on the floor. Corbin climbed the ladder and grabbed the green Money in the Bank contract. Corbin sat on the ladder with the Money in the Bank briefcase, which means nothing right now, but WWE loves that kind of symbolism. Corbin held up the briefcase to end it.
Analysis: The symbolism finish is classic booking ahead of Money in the Bank. I don’t know if the guy or girl that holds the briefcase before the PPV gets to win it at the PPV, but I doubt Corbin is going to win even though WWE will say he’s a favorite to win. I’m going with AJ Styles as my pick in that match. Anyway, this was a decent brawling segment to end the show. Corbin looked dominant while poor Otis couldn’t climb due to being too fat. I guess that means Otis may get a Big Show style giant ladder at Money in the Bank to help him climb. As for Bryan, if anybody makes that match ladder match interesting it will be him.
Three Stars of the Show
- John Morrison/Miz
- Kofi Kingston/Big E
- Daniel Bryan
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 4.75
2020 Average: 6.02
This was just an average edition of Smackdown or perhaps slightly above average. It was definitely better than what they did last week. There were a few matches that were pretty good and the 8-man tag was clearly the best match of the night. A strong finish to that match for sure. I liked the intensity of the Sonya/Mandy match, but it was kept short at five minutes. The Jeff Hardy/Sheamus segment was also very effective.
Some of the promos really didn’t work that well in terms of making me more interested about MITB matches because the Braun/Bray feud isn’t interesting. Putting Otis in the main event back to back weeks is questionable, but I guess Vince McMahon finds his Chris Farley impressions funny. I don’t know. A lot of the match finishes were predictable on this show too, so that hurts a bit.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Money in the Bank this Sunday, May 10. Here’s what we know so far:
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs. Bray Wyatt
Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Aleister Black vs. Rey Mysterio vs. King Corbin vs. Otis vs. AJ Styles
Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans vs. Carmella
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. The Forgotten Sons vs. Lucha House Party vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Smackdown Women's Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Tamina