By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on March 6, 2020 from Buffalo, New York at Keybank Center
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of John Cena’s appearance on last week’s show, which resulted in him agreeing to face “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania… The AC/DC opening (looking for some meat)… Pyro shot off on the stage…
The broadcast team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in. Cole hyped Elimination Chamber for Sunday, then Graves hyped Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse segment for later in the show. Cole hyped the tag team gauntlet match to become the final entrants into the Elimination Chamber match for the Smackdown Tag Titles…
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were in the ring for the “A Moment of Bliss” segment. Bliss said they were continuing to celebrating the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. She pointed to the big screen and then entrant graphics for Batista, JBL, and the The Bella Twins were shown.
Bliss said it’s shaping up to be a great class. She addressed the Kabuki Warriors and said that the WWE Women’s Tag Titles are supposed to be defended on all brands. She told Asuka and Kairi Sane to find them when they are done hiding on Raw.
Powell’s POV: When is the last time the Kabuki Warriors actually defended their titles on Raw or anywhere else on television?
Bliss introduced NWO members Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman. Cole reminded viewers that Hulk Hogan will also be inducted during the Thursday, April 2 ceremony that will stream live on WWE Network. Hall took the mic and delivered the “Hey, yo” line. Bliss noted that they are becoming two-time Hall of Famers.
Cross said she’s been their biggest fan “for life” and then took selfie photos with them. Bliss asked Waltman what she should call him. He said he wasn’t sure and suggested “a Hall of Famer.” Bliss noted that Goldberg was one of the NWO’s biggest rivals and that Nash ended his legendary winning streak.
Bliss asked what Roman Reigns had to do to beat Goldberg. Nash said he’s happy she brought it up because he forgot that he beat Goldberg. Hall did a fake laugh. Nash said Reigns called him and he told him the two things he needed to beat Goldberg would be Scott Hall and a cattle prod. Hall called it a shocking finish.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s music played and he was accompanied onto the stage by Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Zayn said it was time to stop living in 1997 and focus on the future, which is the three of them and how they will take back the Intercontinental Championship. Zayn put over Hall as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions.
Zayn also praised Nash, then struggled to come up with anything positive to say about Waltman. Zayn said Waltman knows how much the title weighs because he carried bags for Hall and Nash for so many years. Waltman faked laughed and then stood up and said they could go. Nash said Zayn has a big mouth for someone who looks like Seth Rogan after two weeks of stomach flu.
Zayn said he, Nakamura, and Cesaro could take out the NWO trio. Hall, Nash, and Waltman all stood up. Zayn asked if they wanted a fight. Waltman said “let’s do it” and struck a fighter’s pose. Zayn said it wasn’t going to happen. Zayn and his crew went to ringside. Zayn said The NWO just wanted the rub and they weren’t giving it to them. Zayn said they were focused on Braun Strowman and the Elimination Chamber.
Braun Strowman made his entrance. Cesaro ran out and caught Strowman with a shot. Strowman shook it off and threw Cesaro into the set. Strowman headbutted Nakamura and threw him into the entrance barricade. Strowman went after Zayn, who entered the ring and then ended up between Strowman and the NWO.
Zayn pulled Bliss in front of him, then backed into the corner and exited the ring while Cole labeled him a coward. Strowman threw the table and chairs from the talkshow set toward Zayn, who joined Nakamura and Cesaro on the stage. Strowman took the mic and promised that the three heels would “get these hands.” Strowman turned to the NWO trio and told them it would be too sweet…
Naomi and Lacey Evans were shown walking backstage together, then another shot showed Bayley and Sasha Banks walking together while Cole hyped the women’s tag match as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: Hall and Nash did their “too cool for school” bit while Waltman did a nice job of standing up to Zayn and looking like he was ready to face him. Strowman roughing up two of the three heels seemed like a preview of the burial of Zayn, Nakamura, and Cesaro that feels inevitable for Sunday.
Buffalo imagery was shown while Cole hyped the tag team gauntlet match…
1. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Naomi and Lacey Evans. Banks and Evans started the match. Banks got Evans down in her corner, then whispered to Bayley, who walked to the other side of the ring. Naomi greeted Bayley and knocked her down with a punch. Banks shoved Naomi into the barricade twice heading into a break. [C]
Evans was isolated and an ad aired for an XFL game that will air on Fox. The intentional static and partial graphic that’s appeared on recent Smackdowns popped up again. Naomi checked in and performed a nice corkscrew plancha onto both heels. Naomi performed a sunset flip over the top rope and had Banks pinned, but Bayley broke it up. Naomi came back again and was setting up for a split-leg moonsault, but Bayley interfered again. With Naomi hung up in the ropes, Banks performed her double knees move and scored the pin…
Bayley and Sasha Banks beat Naomi and Lacey Evans in 7:00.
Powell’s POV: It seemed like Naomi or Evans would end up challenging Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Title at WrestleMania. And while they can still get to there somehow, it doesn’t feel like the story is leading to either Naomi or Evans getting the title shot.
Big E and Kofi Kingston were interviewed by Kayla Braxton on the backstage interview set. Kingston said it was a special moment in his career when he won the WWE Championship, but he’s not Al Bundy and this isn’t Polk High, so he can’t keep reminiscing about the past. He said they were focused on Elimination Chamber. Big E said they have more stamina than a moose in mating season. Kingston explained that they would win the gauntlet match and the Elimination Chamber match…
Graves hyped the tag team gauntlet match for later in the show… Sheamus made his entrance for a match… [C]
Bayley and Banks laughed about their tag team win. Banks complained about the Bella Twins being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame before her and Bayley. Banks said she was dedicating her album to Bayley, who said it’s all about their Role Model Era of dominance…
Apollo Crews was warming up on at the Gorilla Position when Shorty G approached him. Crews recalled telling G that he didn’t need his help. G said they have a common goal in stopping Sheamus. G offered to be there if Crews needed him. G offered a handshake, but Crews left him hanging…
2. Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews. Crews performed an early standing moonsault and got a two count. Sheamus came back with Brogue Kick and got the clean pin…
Sheamus beat Apollo Crews in 1:10.
Powell’s POV: Has Shorty not been watching the news? No handshaking, people.
Backstage, Drake Maverick approached Drew Gulak and told him that he wants to face Daniel Bryan. Gulak said he doesn’t think Maverick has what it takes. Gulak started to break down a flaw in Bryan’s roundhouse kicks, then stopped when he noticed Bryan was behind him. Bryan said that if Gulak is so confident that he can exploit his many weaknesses, then he should face him at Elimination Chamber. Gulak seemed apprehensive…
Cole hyped the Firefly Funhouse for later in the show… An ad aired for Steve Austin appearing on the March 16 edition of Raw for “3:16 Day”… [C] An XFL ad aired for Saturday’s Fox game… Cole hyped AJ Styles as the guest on Tuesday’s WWE Backstage…
3. Carmella and Dana Brooke vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville (w/Dolph Ziggler). Before the match, Cole said Bliss and Cross aren’t the only women’s team hoping to get a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Graves said no one can beat Bayley, so they were altering their approach. During the entrances, Deville motioned with her hand and then Ziggler came out. Cole hyped that there was a chance that Ziggler could end up in the ring with Otis during the tag team gauntlet match.
While Deville was getting the better of Carmella, Graves said Deville seems to think that Ziggler is good for Rose. Brooke tagged in and threw a rough dropkick that missed horribly. Brooke started bickering with Ziggler for some reason. Deville tagged in Rose, who hit Brooke with a running knee and then pinned her…
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville defeated Carmella and Dana Brooke in 2:55.
Graves hyped the Firefly Funhouse for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: So now it seems to be even more obvious that Deville was the person who texted Otis while claiming to be Rose, which led to Ziggler taking his place on the Valentine’s Day date.
An Elimination Chamber ad focused on the match to determine who will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania…
The broadcast team spoke about the Elimination Chamber and hyped it as being free for new subscribers. They set up a video package that recapped the John Cena and Bray Wyatt segment from last week…
Powell’s POV: It’s very interesting and perhaps telling that the broadcast team is not hyping that first time network subscribers could get Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania for free.
[Hour Two] Bray Wyatt hyped the Firefly Funhouse segment. Several photos of Cena with X’s over his eyes were on Wyatt’s Wall of Friendship. Wyatt said people were wondering why Cena. Ramblin’ Rabbitt showed up and said it’s because Cena ruined his WrestleMania and started the beginning of the spiral of negativity and failure. Footage aired of Cena beating Wyatt at WrestleMania.
Wyatt said it was time to hurt or heal (and held up his gloves for each word). He said the Firefly Funhouse wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for Cena. “I thank you and forgive you,” Wyatt said. He added that there is a catch. “John Cena also helped create something else built on pain and fueled by vengeance.” Wyatt said The Fiend is waiting for Cena at WrestleMania and isn’t so forgiving…
A graphic for Cena vs. The Fiend was shown… The broadcast team set up footage of Goldberg and Roman Reigns and hyped it as spear vs. spear…
Braxton interviewed King Corbin on the backstage interview set with the plan of asking him about Reigns and Goldberg. Corbin said he didn’t give her permission and that he and Reigns are finished (thank God). Corbin was interrupted by Elias playing his guitar. Corbin stopped him and told him that he’s a gimmick and a one trick pony. Corbin told him to keep it up and he’d have to answer to his king…
Otis and Tucker were warming up when they spotted Mandy Rose. Otis approached her and apologized to her for being late on Valentine’s Day. He told her that he got a text about her being late. Rose said it was a little too late and a woman doesn’t appreciate being stood up like that…
Graves hyped the tag team gauntlet match… [C] A “This Week In WWE History” segment focused on Daniel Bryan’s “Occupy Raw” from March 10, 2014… The broadcast team hyped Graves’ podcast and hyped that he would reveal the next WWE Hall of Fame entrant on his next episode…
4. The Miz and John Morrison vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. “New Day” Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. “Heavy Machinery” Otis and Tucker vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. “Lucha House Party” Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik in a gauntlet match. Cole noted that the winning tea would be the last team to enter the Elimination Chamber match on Sunday. New Day and Heavy Machinery were the first two entrants. Cole also recalled Kingston lasting an hour in a gauntlet match on the road to last year’s WrestleMania.
Big E tagged into the match, then pointed at Otis, who was tagged in by Tucker. They took turns going for shoulder blocks. Otis got the better of it when Big E stumbled backwards. Otis slammed E, then tagged in Tucker. Heavy Machinery performed double vertical suplexes on E and Kingston, who ended up at ringside. Heavy Machinery went to the floor where Tucker whipped Otis toward the New Day duo and he hit them both with a clothesline. [C]
Big E elevated Kingston for a dive onto Tucker, who caught him and slammed him at ringside (ouch). In the ring, Heavy Machinery hit their Compactor finisher on Big E, then Otis pinned him.
Heavy Machinery eliminated New Day in 8:25.
Powell’s POV: A nice win for the Heavy Machinery duo heading into the Chamber match. Tucker’s suplex on Kingston looked rough, so hopefully Kingston is okay.
Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik were the next entrants. Otis shoulder blocked both LHP members, who came back with springboard dives onto Otis and Tucker heading into a break. [C]
Cole credited Heavy Machinery with slowing down the pace of the match to prevent LHP from using their quickness and aerial skills. Otis tagged in and splashed Dorado in the corner. Otis followed up with his Caterpillar move and got the pin.
Heavy Machinery eliminated Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik at 20:35.
Powell’s POV: There were some decent moments during this portion of the match, but there were also a lot of slow stretches due to the teams being given so much time to fill along with Heavy Machinery moving forward after working over 20 minutes between the first two matches.
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso were the next entrants. They cut to break once they entered the ring. [C] Tucker threw a big boot (that completely missed) to knock one Uso off the apron. The other Uso superkicked Tucker and covered him, but Tucker countered into a pin and got the three count.
Heavy Machinery eliminated The Usos in 25:50.
Powell’s POV: With the ring entrance and the commercial breaks, there wasn’t much to this section of the match. These wins are making Heavy Machinery look strong, but that’s also coming at the expense of the other teams in the Elimination Chamber match.
Smackdown Tag Champions The Miz and John Morrison were the next entrants. Tucker was isolated and came close to tagging in Otis, but Miz pulled Otis off the apron. Morrison had Tucker pinned, but Otis returned to break it up. Tucker caught Morrison in an inside cradle and pinned him.
Heavy Machinery eliminated The Miz and John Morrison in 30:55.
Powell’s POV: You had to assume that Heavy Machinery would win this fall to avoid having a heel vs. heel final. Miz and Morrison continue to look like soft champions. On the bright side, viewers get to see Otis and Ziggler in the ring together.
After the fall, Miz and Morrison worked over Heavy Machinery and ran Otis into the timekeepers area. Mandy Rose was shown watching on a backstage monitor. Dolph Ziggler approached her and asked if she was worried about “that guy.” Rose smiled at Ziggler, who made his entrance along with Robert Roode as the final entrants. [C] An ad for Raw hyped Edge for Monday’s show.
Tucker faced Ziggler and Roode alone to start while Otis remained down at ringside. Ziggler dropkicked Tucker and covered him for a two count. Otis eventually got back to his feet. Roode went after him at ringside, but Otis slammed Roode’s head onto the broadcast table. Otis got back to his corner, but Ziggler gave Tucker a neckbreaker that led to a two count.
Roode tagged into the match and then whipped Ziggler at Tucker, who moved and then clotheslined Roode. Tucker made the hot tag, which got a nice pop. Tucker knocked Roode down with a couple of shoulder tackles and then back body dropped him. Ziggler returned to the apron and was punched back to ringside by Otis.
A short time later, Otis avoided a charging Roode in the corner. Ziggler tagged himself in and was knocked to ringside by an Otis elbow. Otis set up for his Caterpillar finisher on Roode, but Ziggler returned to the ring and caught Otis with a superkick and then pinned him…
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler defeated Heavy Machinery in 42:30 to win the gauntlet match to earn final entry in the Elimination Chamber.
Powell’s POV: It was a big night for Heavy Machinery. They ultimately lost the match, but they went 42 minutes deep and Otis looked even more sympathetic given that Ziggler was the one who pinned him. Unfortunately, the match and this show weren’t enough to move me when it comes to the blah feeling regarding the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. It just doesn’t feel like a big event, though the teased Bryan vs. Gulak match could be really good. Dot Net Members will hear my audio review of this episode coming up within the hour. Let me know what you thought of Smackdown by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll on the main page.
ProWrestling.net Live returns Monday at PWAudio.net with Jason Powell and Will Pruett taking your calls coming out of WWE Elimination Chamber.