5/22 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus in Intercontinental Title tournament matches, Otis and Mandy Rose vs. Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville, Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley in a non-title match

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown
Taped May 12, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired May 22, 2020 on Fox

[Hour One] The annual Memorial Day video opened the show… The AC/DC opening aired. Unfortunately, they have yet to make the switch to “Big Balls”… Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary and ran through the previously advertised matches…

The Miz and John Morrison hosted “The Dirt Sheet” in the ring. Morrison said his abs are now certified influencers. Miz complained about living in a world where Otis is holds the Money in the Bank contract. Miz grumbled about Braun Strowman teaming with Otis in the main event last week and said it made no sense for the WWE Universal Champion to team with the MITB holder. Morrison said it was as illogical as having a kid with Seth Rollins.

Miz said they had a Dirt Sheet exclusive with puppets that Bray Wyatt rejected for the Firefly Funhouse. The first one was a sock puppet named Shiloh the Lonely Laundry Lass. The second was Dookie the Diaper Boy, who actually spit out something meant to look like feces. There was also a “Mandyquin Rose” doll. A voice said not everything about Braun is a monster.

Braun Strowman made his entrance and laughed as he headed to the ring. Strowman entered the ring and tossed the chairs to ringside. Strowman said Miz and Morrison were kinda funny and thanked them for having him on. They questioned whether he was actually booked. Strowman told them to ask him about Bray Wyatt.

Miz asked if Strowman actually believed Wyatt was done with him after he taunted him with a sheep mask. Miz spoke about his own experience with Wyatt and how low it left him. Morrison went off about how Strowman might be bigger and stronger, but he’ll never been the man that Miz is. Morrison played up Miz until Strowman asked if it was a challenge. Miz said it was not while Morrison nodded affirmatively. Strowman said the challenge was accepted… [C]

Powell’s POV: Morrison was on this week. It was the most consistently comical he’s been in a Dirt Sheet segment since they brought it back. Am I the only one who feared they were going to have Strowman beat Miz and Morrison in a handicap match?

1. WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison) in a non-title match. Strowman was the early aggressor. Miz held down the ropes, causing Strowman to tumble to ringside where Morrison took a cheap shot. Strowman charged at Miz, who moved again, which led to Strowman running into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Strowman fought back and finished off Miz with a powerslam.

Braun Strowman beat The Miz in 3:45 in a non-title match.

After the match, Morrison challenged Strowman to defend the WWE Universal Championship against him and Miz in a handicap match at the Backlash pay-per-view…

Powell’s POV: Good lord, I guess I spoke/wrote too soon. Singles wrestlers beating established tag teams in handicap matches is bad enough on television, but now they’re trying to pass it off as an enticing pay-per-view match? Does that mean Strowman vs. The Fiend won’t happen until the July pay-per-view?

Cole and Graves discussed the Intercontinental Title tournament while the brackets were shown… AJ Styles made his entrance. Cole said Styles had been traded to Smackdown for wrestlers to be named later… [C] Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance…

2. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in an Intercontinental Title tournament match. Graves said it was the renewal of a rivalry that has had matches take place all over the world. Cole played up that Styles has never held the IC Title. Cole also noted that the winner would face Elias on next week’s Smackdown. Nakamura had Styles down going into a break. [C]

Styles performed a Pele Kick on Nakamura. Styles followed up with some clotheslines and a Ushigoroshi neckbreaker onto his knee. Styles applied the Calf Crusher, but Nakamura reached the ropes to break the hold. Nakamura came back and got a near fall following a Michinoku Driver. Nakamura performed a sliding knee to the head of Styles and covered in arrogant fashion and only got a two count.

Nakamura set up for his Kinshasa finisher, but Styles side stepped him and rolled him up for a two count. Nakamura immediately put Styles in a triangle submission hold. Styles powered up Nakamura and performed a Styles Clash on the way down for a two count. Cool spot.

AJ Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 13:15 to advance in the Intercontinental Title tournament.

Cole and Graves reviewed the brackets that showed Elias vs. Styles, and Daniel Bryan facing the winner of the Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus match…

Powell’s POV: It’s sad that what was once a dream match now feels so ordinary. It was a strong television match, but there’s zero mystery regarding the outcome whenever Nakamura is in the ring with someone higher on the WWE totem pole.

Cole spoke about the brand to brand invitation allowing wrestlers to appear on other brands four times per year. He set up footage of the Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Sasha Banks verbal exchange from last week…

Backstage, Bayley told Sasha that she didn’t want her in her corner. She explained that people were saying she couldn’t win without help from Banks. Sasha wondered if it was because of what Flair said last week. Bayley said people were listening to Flair and she didn’t want to give them any reason to believe. Banks understood and wished Bayley luck. Bayley thanked her and said she would see her out there…

An ad for Raw hyped Drew McIntyre on MVP’s VIP Lounge, and Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Natalya in a Triple Threat for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Backlash… [C] The broadcast team hyped Edge vs. Randy Orton for WWE Backlash while a graphic listed it as “the greatest wrestling match ever”…

3. NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley in a non-title match. Banks was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor and smiling while Bayley did the Flair strut to taunt Charlotte. A short time later, Flair tossed Bayley over the barricade. Flair grabbed pulled the headset off Cole’s head and called for Banks to come out so she could kick both of their asses. [C]

Powell’s POV: You know, because Banks wouldn’t be able to hear Flair over this extremely loud crowd, so she had to say it through Cole’s headset. On a side note, I missed Michael Cole announcing earlier that Styles has been traded to Smackdown for wrestlers to be named later. I went back and inserted that detail in my report. If you missed it too, Cole stated it while Styles was making his entrance. It must have been a recent decision, as the Cole soundbite was clearly something that was inserted in post production.

[Hour Two] Bayley went on the offensive and Cole had another post production sound bite drop as he hyped Flair defending the NXT Title against Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley at NXT Takeover: In Your House. Flair bounced back by slamming Bayley’s face into a turnbuckle. Flair went for a moonsault and landed on her feet when Bayley moved, then blasted Bayley with a big boot to the head and got a two count.

Bayley regained control and went for a top rope elbow drop, but Flair put her knees up. Flair put Bayley in a Boston Crab, which Bayley reversed into a pin for a near fall. Bayley ran Flair’s head into a turnbuckle. Bayley went up top and connected with the elbow drop, which led to a near fall.

Bayley fired chops at Flair, then went for a figure four, but Flair punched her while lying on her back. Flair fired away with chops of her own. Flair rolled up Bayley, who rolled through and held onto the tights and then the ropes while getting the pin. Flair laughed about it afterward and had a little blood in her teeth…

Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair in a non-title match in 14:55.

Cole hyped the mixed tag match… [C]

Powell’s POV: A well worked match, though I have no idea which woman they actually wanted viewers to root for since both women are heels. I was surprised that Banks never came out, and even more surprised that there was a pinfall even if Bayley held the ropes.

Banks congratulated Bayley for defeating Flair. “You didn’t think I could do it, did you?” Bayley asked. Bayley said she was just kidding and then they hugged…

4. Otis and Mandy Rose vs. Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville in a mixed tag match. Rose wore denim gear, and Otis brought his Money in the Bank briefcase to the ring with him. Otis got the better of Ziggler to start. Ziggler tagged in Deville, which brought Rose into the match. Ziggler over and pulled Otis from the apron. Otis hoisted Ziggler onto his shoulder and started running, but Ziggler slipped away and ran Otis into the ring post. [C]

Footage aired from during the break of Otis telling Rose not to worry about him and to get back in the ring (to avoid the count-out). Otis remained down as Deville worked over Rose in the ring. Otis eventually climbed back onto the apron. Deville jawed at Otis, then ran the ropes and into a running knee from Rose, who made the hot tag to Otis.

Otis worked over Ziggler while telling him that his entrance music sucks ass (I may have made that up). Deville tagged in. Rose performed a couple of running knees on Deville while Otis and Ziggler brawled at ringside. Deville avoided a move by Rose and caught her with a knee to the face and then one to the back of the head before scoring the pin.

Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville defeated Otis and Mandy Rose in 10:00.

Otis checked on Rose and ended up taking a kick to the face from Ziggler…

Backstage, Jeff Hardy recalled asking the fans to join him for one more good run. He said he didn’t know where that run would lead him, but it’s no longer a mystery. Hardy spoke of going after the IC Title and said it’s the first title that he won on his own. He said everything would come full circle if he can win it. “Ask the universe and it provides,” Hardy said. He added that his last blazing of glory will run right through Sheamus… [C]

Powell’s POV: The mixed tag match was fine. I continue to be very impressed by Deville since her split from Rose.

A graphic acknowledged the death of Shad Gaspard…

Cole spoke about the show taking place at the WWE Performance Center…

A Forgotten Sons video aired. They spoke about how they had a tough time adjusting to life at home. They went through their dark times and if that makes you uncomfortable, it should. It’s their blood on your hands. And what’s only fair is your blood on theirs…

A sponsored ad recapped the earlier segments involving Braun Strowman, The Miz, and John Morrison… Cole officially announced Strowman vs. The Miz and Morrison in a handicap match for the WWE Universal Championship at WWE Backlash…

Backstage, The Miz wasn’t happy about the handicap match, but Morrison was. Renee Young showed up and said it was a bold move considering that Strowman has beaten both of them. Miz said they would make Strowman’s life a miserable hell. They did their “hey hey, ho ho” routine…

Cole set up a video package on the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus feud. Hardy made his entrance heading into a break… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s crazy that the same company that is so open about Hardy’s issues and arrests over the years has not mentioned Roman Reigns on Smackdown since just before WrestleMania, let alone that he’s opted to stay home during the pandemic.

5. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus in an Intercontinental Title tournament match. A few minutes into the match, Sheamus picked up Hardy at ringside and tossed him onto the broadcast table. Sheamus yelled at Cole about the Hardy videos and asked, “What about me?” [C]

Sheamus continued to work over Hardy coming out of the break while the broadcast team played up ring rust. Sheamus trash talked Hardy about his past issues. Hardy fired back and hit a Whisper in the Wind that led to a one count.

Sheamus regained offensive control briefly, but Hardy dodged him charging in the corner, which led to Sheamus running his shoulder into the ring post. Hardy went for a Swanton, but Sheamus put his knees up and covered Hardy for a two count. Sheamus threw a running knee at Hardy and got another two count. Sheamus called for his finisher, but Hardy ducked it. Sheamus tried to pick up Hardy, who rolled him into a pin for the win…

Jeff Hardy defeated Sheamus in 14:05 to advance in the Intercontinental Title tournament.

After the match, Sheamus threw a fit and yelled at Hardy, who was kneeling on the apron. The broadcast team hyped Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan and Elias vs. AJ Styles in semifinal matches for next week’s Smackdown. Sheamus continued to jaw at Hardy to close out the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. Babyface Daniel Bryan awaiting the winner in the semifinals pointed toward a Sheamus win, but Hardy vs. Bryan is the more appealing of the two potential matches and I’m happy they went in that direction. My guess is that Sheamus will end up costing Hardy the match against Bryan next week.

Overall, this was one of the better editions of Smackdown since the pandemic started. The tournament approach continues to help by giving stakes to matches, and everything else on this episode felt like it served an actual purpose beyond just filling time. I will be back shortly with my members’ exclusive audio review. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our weekly post show poll. Have a great holiday weekend.

Join me for AEW Double Or Nothing live coverage on Saturday night.



Readers Comments (4)

  1. Jack C Catalano May 22, 2020 @ 7:37 pm

    Btw, it was announced in a voiceover from Michael Cole that AJ Styles is now a part of Smackdown. He was traded from Raw to Smackdown for wrestlers to be named later.

    • Thanks for the help, Jack. I missed that.

      • Jack C Catalano May 22, 2020 @ 8:30 pm

        No problem. They also played Dolph Ziggler’s music after the match.

        Also, Cole voiceover that Charlotte would take on Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley at In Your House. Seems to be a lot of voiceover work tonight.

  2. Styles on Smackdown works. I feel like the trade for “future considerations” is unrealistic for a wrestler of his caliber, and lazy writing. I mean the Angels wouldn’t trade Mike Trout for future considerations. If you want a sports feel, you need to take a sports approach.

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