The John Report: WWE Smackdown 05/15/20 Review


Welcome to the WWE Smackdown review here on Rajah. This week’s show is a follow up to the Money in the Bank event from this past Sunday. The big winner on the Smackdown side of things was Otis, who became Mr. Money in the Bank without even climbing the ladder to retrieve the briefcase. Now that he has the briefcase, Otis gets a guaranteed championship match at any point in the next 365 days. I didn’t expect Otis to win that, but clearly WWE management is high on him. Whether Otis becomes a WWE or Universal Champion soon remains to be seen.
There was also news regarding the Smackdown brand because WWE announced that the Intercontinental Title is now vacant since Sami Zayn has not wrestled for the last month. Zayn has chosen not to appear during this current empty arena era of shows due to the health crisis, so WWE has decided to do a tournament to find a new champion. The tournament starts on Smackdown this week. I don’t know when Zayn will come back, but there’s a ready-made feud whenever that happens.

From the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1082. 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.
A video aired showing Money in the Bank Ladder Match highlights from Sunday. The winners were Raw’s Asuka and Otis from Smackdown.
The announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show while promoting that NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is going to be there tonight as part of the brand to brand invitational.

Miz TV with Otis
The Miz and John Morrison were the hosts in the ring wearing suits and they had chairs in the ring. Before they could get going, Otis made his entrance with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Otis did a cartwheel at ringside and Cole thought it was hilarious.
Otis tried to sit in the chair, but then he broke it because he's fat. I'm sure Vince McMahon thought that was hilarious...pal. Otis stood up instead of sitting in the chairs the way Miz and Morrison were seated. Otis said that in his career, this is his biggest win, but in his life, his biggest win is winning over his peach Mandy Rose. Morrison wondered how that happened, he said he was packing meat and it was a joke. Otis talked about having food in the briefcase. Miz pointed out that Otis didn’t even climb the ladder and won and Otis didn't seem to care because what mattered is that he won.
They showed pics of baby Otis, who said that he was 12 pounds, 4 ounces and said he was the biggest baby to come out of his mother. Miz asked what an Otis and Mandy baby would look like, Morrison wondered if Otis was pregnant because anything can happen in 2020 and they mentioned Becky Lynch relinquishing her title, but Otis said he won’t be giving this up. They showed images of young Otis as Otis continued to talk about his childhood. The Miz ranted about how Otis didn’t even climb the ladder and Miz said now Otis was one step away from being Universal Champion and the face of Smackdown. Miz told Otis to get Tucker out there so they can have a tag team match and Otis said that Tucker isn’t available. A guy replaced the chair in the ring for some reason. Anyway, Miz told Otis to find a tag team partner and he had until the end of the night to get a partner.
Analysis: This was okay as an opening segment following the usual pattern of a talk show setting up a match. We see it all the time. Otis being a weird and funny guy is endearing to fans, so it’s a way to get his personality over a bit more while Miz yelled at him for being weird.

The announcers talked about the vacant IC Title without really talking about why Sami Zayn is no longer champion. They just said it was in obeyance because they don’t like saying vacant.
The IC Title tournament looks like this: Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak, Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus on the left side and Elias vs. King Corbin and AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on the right side. Styles is on Raw, but he gets to be in the tournament.

Analysis: The right side has three heels and the left side has three faces. I’ll go with AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy in the finals with Hardy winning. I know Styles and Sheamus have never held the IC Title, but I can see Jeff winning it as part of his redemption story. A win for Daniel Bryan would be great too.

Elias entered for his tournament match.
(Commercial)
King Corbin made his entrance. Corbin was angry because Elias cost him the Money in the Bank match when Elias hit him in the back with a guitar.
Intercontinental Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Elias vs. King Corbin
Corbin was in control early on with a running back elbow for a two count. Corbin slapped on an armbar that included some elbow strikes to the side of the head. Elias got back into it with a mule kick out of the corner, he sent Corbin out of the ring, Corbin back in and Elias hit Corbin out of the ring with a clothesline. Elias went to the top rope leading to a cross body attack onto Corbin on the floor. Elias sent Corbin back in, then Corbin left the ring and took control with an uppercut followed by a whip into the barricade. Corbin broke the referee’s count and Corbin grabbed Elias’ guitar. Elias came back with a dropkick, then he whipped Corbin into the barricade, the steel steps and the ring post. Elias sent Corbin over the barricade. It looked like the referee was counting them both out, but then Elias went back in the ring and he stopped the count. That led to a break.
(Commercial)

Elias was in control with an attempt at a rope walk move, but Corbin tripped him up to send Elias out of the ring. Corbin followed Elias to the floor with Corbin working him over with punches and back in the ring for a two count. Corbin with a knee to the ribs, Elias fought back with punches and Corbin missed a corner charge, then he did his slide back in the ring move for a clothesline. Corbin with two short arm clotheslines, Elias blocked a third attempt and hit a spinning neckbreaker. Elias with a running clothesline. Elias had Corbin set up for a reverse DDT-like move that Elias turned into a neckbreaker. Elias with a knee drop, Elias went up top and Elias jumped off with nothing as Corbin got back up. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and go back in spot, Elias was ready for it and Corbin hit a spinebuster for a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle, Corbin shoved Elias into the turnbuckle and Corbin hit a Chokeslam for a two count. Corbin did some trash talking leading to some punches to the head. Corbin smashed the guitar on the ring post, which made Elias angry. Back in the ring, Elias hit a jumping knee and an inside cradle for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Elias
Analysis: **3/4 This was okay, but I thought it dragged on too long. They both wrestle a boring style in the ring and it’s just not interesting when they are in there for over 15 minutes like that. They worked hard, though, so I'm not going to hate on it too much. The story was fine with Corbin controlling most of it, then Elias was pissed off about the guitar breaking and Elias managed to win right after that. Since Elias didn’t win with his finisher, it protects the loser Corbin by making it look like a fluky finish instead of a decisive win.

Daniel Bryan will face his friend Drew Gulak in an IC Title tourney match later.
Otis went up to Sheamus backstage and asked Sheamus to be his partner later in the show. Sheamus said, “not a chance…fella.” Otis’ search continues.
(Commercial)
Otis was in the backstage area where Mandy Rose showed up asking how Mr. Money in the Bank is doing. Otis said he’s not doing good because Tucker isn’t there and he had to find a partner. Mandy suggested that he just ask Braun Strowman because he’s the Universal Champion. Otis walked away for a moment, then went back to kiss Mandy on the check and he left.
There was a Mystery Smackdown watcher video saying that he sees everyone and everything while saying he is the truth while adding that no one is safe. They showed clips of various WWE superstars on many screens in the “room” that this person was in. A graphic saying “The Truth Will Be Heard” was shown to end it.

Analysis: I still think it’s for Mustafa Ali, who has had nothing to do for months now. It might be the boost he needs with this mysterious gimmick.
Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage with the Universal Title. Otis had the Money in the Bank briefcase and he asked Strowman to be his partner. Strowman wondered if he was asking Braun to be his partner because he’s the Universal Champion or if he just needs a partner and Otis said he just needs a partner. Braun said he respected Otis for asking him, so Braun will think about it and Braun left. Otis seemed okay with Braun thinking about it.
(Commercial)
Naomi entered for a match. She hasn’t been featured much of late, but the announcers said that Naomi was ready to go after Dana Brooke beat Naomi in a MITB qualifying match several weeks ago. That led to Brooke entering as the opponent.

Dana Brooke vs. Naomi
They are both faces. Naomi with a running clothesline, jumping kick and a corner splash. Brooke came back with a rollup for two. Brooke with a kick to the ribs followed by a handspring elbow on Naomi against the turnbuckle. When Brooke tried it again, Naomi kicked Brooke to knock her down. Naomi went up top and hit a cross body block leading to Brooke getting a cover, but then Naomi flipped over for the two count. Naomi was going for a pin attempt, but Brooke sat on top for the pinfall win in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dana Brooke
Analysis: * A quick match to put over the story that Brooke has Naomi’s number after beating her for the second time in the last month. It could be setting up a heel turn for Naomi, which would be fresh for her since she's been a face for a long time. It’s nice to see Dana getting a bit of momentum as well.

Charlotte Flair is up next.
This Monday on Raw: Can Asuka handle the pressure of being Raw Women’s Champion and has Randy Orton discovered Edge’s weakness? Will Edge accept Orton’s epic Backlash challenge? Find out on Raw.
(Commercial)
There was a video from Raw showing Becky Lynch’s announcement where she told the world that she was pregnant. It also featured some Lynch highlights from her career. They showed Asuka being awarded the Raw Women’s Championship because she was the Money in the Bank winner. Lynch told Asuka to be a warrior because Lynch is going to be a mother.
They also showed tweets from WWE superstars, Vince McMahon and others congratulating Lynch on the news. The announcers congratulated them with Graves specifically congratulating Lynch and fiancé Seth Rollins. On Raw, they had Rey Mysterio congratulate Rollins, but other than that WWE didn’t mention Seth much about the baby news.

Analysis: The video was great. It would be cool if there was a longer video on Raw paying tribute to Lynch because she deserves it. I’m very happy for Becky and Seth. I’ll miss watching Becky doing her thing in the ring, but she really wants to be a mom and I’m glad that she’s moving on to that chapter in her life.
Let's Hear from Charlotte Flair 
Charlotte Flair entered with the NXT Women’s Championship. She was not in her ring gear as the announcers mentioned that there is a Brand to Brand Invitational that is allowing superstars from other brands to appear on different brands.
Flair did a promo saying that she can appear on all three brands because people want more Charlotte Flair. Charlotte said of course Fox wants her because she’s 5’10” and she’s blonde, she’s a superior talent and her last name is Flair. What about her giant...well...ya know. Charlotte bragged about how she won five of her titles on Smackdown and she thought there should be a picture showing her face on it because of how great she is.
Bayley showed up with the Smackdown Women’s Title and Sasha Banks by her side. Bayley and Banks did some “WOO” yelling in an annoying way. Flair asked if they were done. Bayley said she listened to Flair and she wondered when was the last time she saw Flair? Banks said the last time they saw Flair was when Bayley beat Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title. Flair said that the first time Bayley beat her for the title, Flair was knocked out and now Bayley has a bad haircut. Bayley said that when she won the title she became the first Women’s Grand Slam Champion in WWE. Bayley told Flair to go back to NXT or go back to Raw to beat Liv Morgan over and over. Bayley said that she’s the most dominant Smackdown Women’s Champion in history and she’s beaten everybody including Flair. Bayley wanted Flair to get out of their ring.

Flair said that some things never change because Sasha made Bayley relevant when Bayley won that NXT title (in 2015) and now Sasha is the only reason why Bayley is still the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Flair said she and Banks main evented Raw together, the first women to main event a pay-per-view together, Banks is a future Hall of Famer, the blueprint and the standard. Flair wondered why Banks was content standing in Bayley’s corner and being an afterthought. Bayley interrupted, so Flair wanted Bayley’s microphone to be cut. Bayley challenged Flair to a match – champion vs. champion. Flair said challenge accepted, but she has one question for Banks.
Flair asked Banks: “Are you your own woman or are you just going to be Bayley’s lackey and be happy being an afterthought? Woo!” No answer from Banks as Charlotte’s music played.
Analysis: I thought the promo work was good here. Flair is at her best as an arrogant heel and that's what she was here with a very cocky attitude. None of them are faces right now, so that hurts it a bit, but I thought the verbiage made sense for all of them with Flair trying to drive a wedge between Banks and Bayley. We all know that Banks is going to turn face to feud with Bayley at some point soon. It would work so well with a crowd there, but obviously we can't have that right now. There is a lot of history with these three women over the last five years and even before that in the NXT days. They all work well together as three of WWE's Four Horsemen while the fourth is Becky Lynch, who is now pregnant. It's been an interesting journey for all of them.

Braun Strowman was shown warming up backstage. Kayla Braxton asked if Braun warming up means that he will team with Otis and Braun didn’t give a decisive answer other than to say he's still chewing on it while adding this was how he thinks.
A commercial aired for The Undertaker “Last Ride” documentary on WWE Network with part two airing on Sunday.
(Commercial)
There was a backstage promo by the Forgotten Sons trio. Jackson Ryker said that they chose to fight for their country, but they weren’t welcomed home, they were told they were mentally unstable. Ryker said that since they weren’t welcome home with open arms, they will welcome you with closed fists.
Analysis: I guess you could say that is some character development because they told us that they are angry because people think they're mentally unstable. Good enough.
The Miz and John Morrison were interviewed by Renee Young backstage. They weren’t concerned with Braun Strowman possibly teaming with Otis. They did their “hey hey, ho ho” song to end it.

Daniel Bryan entered for his match in the IC Title tournament.
(Commercial)
Drew Gulak entered as the opponent. Gulak and Bryan had a great match at Elimination Chamber in March back when fans were still able to be at shows. Bryan won that match and then they became allies after that.
Intercontinental Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak
They shook hands to start the match. It started out with some technical wrestling that you would expect from these two as Gulak took down Bryan. Bryan with a wrist lock, Gulak got a rollup and Bryan got a takedown into a Yes Lock, but Gulak was able to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Gulak with a takedown into a Gulock dragon sleeper, but Bryan got out of it and got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Bryan hooked the arms, Gulak with a back body drop, but Bryan held on and then they battled over submissions again until Bryan got a pin attempt that stopped when Gulak got to the ropes. They battled over a waistlock, Gulak picked up Bryan and sent him over the top with Bryan selling as if he hit his head on the apron. That led to a break about five minutes into the match.
(Commercial)

The show returned with Gulak grabbing a headlock, Bryan with a shinbreaker and Bryan with three leg whips to take control. Bryan with an ankle lock, Gulak to the ropes and Bryan with a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Gulak rolled through for a two count. Gulak with a Michinoku Driver slam for a two count with the announcers getting really loud for that nearfall. Bryan landed on his feet after a back body drop attempt and then Gulak ran the ropes leading to Bryan hitting a release German Suplex across the ring. Bryan set up in the corner, her charged and Gulak avoided the running knee with Gulak getting a sunset flip for two. Gulak with a Powerbomb into a jackknife cover attempt and Bryan covered for two. Gulak slapped on the dragon sleeper Gulock submission, Bryan rolled out of it and Bryan wanted the Yes Lock, but there were more counters out of that. Bryan wrenched the left leg of Gulak and Bryan slapped on the heel hook submission and Gulak tapped out on Bryan’s leg. Bryan won by submission after 12 minutes.
Winner by submission: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***3/4 This was great with two of the best technical wrestlers in WWE getting a chance to show what they can do. Bryan worked over the leg of Gulak the whole match, so it made sense that it would lead to the finish. That's some smart wrestling psychology because if you're going to work on a body part the whole match, it makes sense for it to be the finish. This style of wrestling isn’t loved by every type of wrestling fan, but I really enjoyed it and I think the right guy got the win since Bryan’s the best performer in WWE in my opinion. Gulak has done well, but I didn’t think he would win here. Their match at Elimination Chamber was better than this if you want to re-watch that one.
Daniel Bryan moves on in the IC Title tournament to face the winner of Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus, which is next week.

Bryan was interviewed in the ring by Renee Young. Bryan said that five years ago he was forced to retire and he never got another title shot since then. Bryan said that he wants the IC Title to be the title that he can defend every week on Smackdown and Bryan wants that title to represent the best wrestler in the world and that’s him. Gulak walked over to his buddy Bryan for a handshake and a manly hug.
Analysis: I loved that promo. I know I mentioned Jeff Hardy as a possible winner earlier, but if Bryan wins the title that would be awesome to see. What he said in the promo was perfect and it's how you make a title feel more valuable.

The main event is next with Miz and Morrison vs. Otis and a partner.
There was a video about WWE’s work with Make A Wish. Go to wish.org/WWE for more info.
(Commercial)
Next week on Smackdown:
* Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley
* Intercontinental Title Tournament Quarterfinal: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
* Intercontinental Title Tournament Quarterfinal: Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy
* Otis and Mandy Rose vs. Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville did a backstage promo with her buddy Dolph Ziggler. Sonya said that they’ll humiliate Mandy and Otis just like she has humiliated Mandy before. Sonya wondered what Mandy was good at and said that all she’s good at is being blonde and pretty, so she wondered where that leaves Mandy? Sonya said that Mandy is gonna have a bunch of kids with Otis while saying that Mandy will never be like Sonya. Deville told Mandy she’s just getting started and she wanted Rose to try to show her why she deserves to share the ring with her. Deville said that “we” will see you in the ring next week, bitch. Ziggler didn’t say a word. He just had a smug look on his face.

Analysis: Sonya is really impressing me with her promos. I liked the intensity she showed as well as the dialogue.
The Miz and John Morrison entered for the main event. Otis was up first for his team with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Braun Strowman entered as the partner of Otis and Strowman is the Universal Champion that could lose the title if Otis is able to cash in on him.
Analysis: This will be the third straight Smackdown with Otis in the main event and he was in the PPV main event. OtisMania is running wild, brother.

The Miz and John Morrison vs. Otis and Braun Strowman
Otis with a headbutt, clothesline on Morrison, a flapjack into a slam, Otis knocked Miz off the apron and Otis with a body slam. Otis tagged in Strowman, then Otis and Braun did a double Caterpillar into an elbow drop. Strowman’s attempt looked bad, but it got the job done and it was a double elbow drop. Morrison rolled out of the ring leading to a break.
(Commercial)
The match returned with Miz working over Otis with a headlock. Miz worked over Otis with kicks against the turnbuckle, two running knees and a corner clothesline. Miz went up top with a double axehandle on Otis. Miz worked over Otis with more kicks to the chest and a kick to the head. Miz slapped on a chinlock, Otis nearly tagged out and then Morrison tagged in with Otis hitting a double suplex. Strowman got the hot tag with a running splash on Miz, a body slam on Morrison and Strowman hit a corner splash on Miz. Strowman tossed Miz across the ring with a suplex into a slam. Strowman left the ring leading to his run on the floor with Morrison jumping over the barricade, so Strowman ran over Miz. Strowman charged, Miz moved and Strowman hit the ring post with his shoulder. Strowman does that bump all the time. Morrison tagged in with a jumping kick, then he ran the ropes and Strowman caught Morrison with a Powerslam for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Otis and Braun Strowman
Analysis: ** This was the most generic and basic tag team match you could have because it followed the formula we have seen for decades. It reminded me of a house show match. Otis got beat up for most of it, Strowman got the hot tag, Strowman barely sold anything and Strowman easily got the win for his team. It made Miz and Morrison look like losers, yet here they were in the main event.

After the match, Mandy Rose’s music hit and Strowman looked at her. Otis teased attacking Braun from behind, but Braun turned around and he saw Otis coming. Otis said he just did it for a laugh. Otis got a celebratory hug and kiss on the cheek from Mandy. Thank you for the shot of many in those shorts. Strowman and Otis posed together in the ring with Mandy beside Otis and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: It’s just a tease to remind the fans what winning Money in the Bank means. I was a bit surprised by no Bray Wyatt appearance or tease of The Fiend to continue his feud with Braun Strowman, but they can probably do that next week.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. Drew Gulak
  3. Otis - He's all over the show.

The Scoreboard
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2020 Average: 6.05

Final Thoughts
It was a solid show with the Intercontinental Title tournament providing a bit of a spark because it’s not easy to predict who the winner is going to be. The best way to make people care about it is having competitive matches and it was nice to see Daniel Bryan have a great match with Drew Gulak while Elias and Corbin had the longest match of the night. If you put on matches that mean something like that then the audience is going to care more about whoever wins the title. Anyway, I look forward to the two IC Title tourney matches next week.
I think the storyline advancement was pretty good with the Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha promo to set up Charlotte’s match with Bayley next week. Plus, Sonya Deville did some more believable trash talk towards Mandy Rose to set up the mixed tag team match. Some of the storylines on Smackdown were weak going into Money in the Bank, but coming out of it, they have set up some things well. I think there’s a bit too much of Otis on the show. I don’t mind the guy at all, but if you overexpose a guy like him it might hurt him in the long run.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Backlash on June 14. There is nothing announced for it yet.

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John Canton
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