By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown
Taped last week in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired June 5, 2020 on Fox
[Hour One] Spectator wrestlers were shown cheering behind the plexiglass while Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in on commentary and ran through the lineup of matches and segments…
Jeff Hardy was shown bumping elbows with some random workers backstage. Cole said Hardy seemed to be in a much better mood than last week. Cole set up a video package that recapped the hit and run angle involving Jeff Hardy, Elias, Sheamus, and Braun Strowman…
Jeff Hardy made his entrance. A graphic noted that Hardy is a grand slam champion, and that he’s married with a pair of daughters, who were listed by name. Cole said Elias suffered a torn pectoral muscle and could miss up to two months of in-ring action.
Once in the ring, Hardy told the spectator wrestlers that it was good to see them. He thanked WWE management and Fox for giving him the time to get things off his chest. Hardy said the fans witnessed something awful last week. He said people’s lives were in danger and the show was in chaos, and Elias suffered injuries that could have been even worse.
Hardy said he wanted to pain a portrait from his point of view. Hardy said he pulled up to the WWE Performance Center parking lot and got his stuff out of the car when someone hit him. He said everything went dark and the next thing he knew he was being questioned by police and his clothes reeked of alcohol.
Hardy spoke of working hard to maintain his sobriety for his family. He asked how he could look his family in the eye and questioned how many more times he could ask for forgiveness. The spectator wrestlers applauded him. Hardy said it’s all good and he’s in WWE for a reason.
Hardy said it’s good to know that he’s not on the path alone. He said that even though his head was spinning, he knew that he did not slip. Hardy said he took multiple sobriety tests and passed them all. He said eye witnesses said the culprit had red hair and a red beard.
Hardy said he couldn’t get back to the building quickly enough because he knew it was Sheamus. Hardy said Sheamus tried to take everything away from him and he’d be damned if he let him get away with it.
Sheamus made his entrance and spoke from the stage. He told Hardy not to point fingers at him. He said Hardy is doing what he’s always done by blaming everyone else for his problems. Sheamus the witnesses were simply Hardy fans and labeled them enablers. Sheamus told Hardy to do the right thing for once and admit what he did. Sheamus said Hardy won’t do that because he’s not a man, he’s a junkie. Sheamus told Hardy not to worry about disappointing his wife and daughters after another one of his slip-ups because they’re used to it.
Hardy raced to the stage and avoided a Brogue Kick. Hardy tackled Sheamus, who caught Hardy with a Brogue Kick once they got back to their feet. Sheamus ran Hardy into the plexiglass barricade a few times. The spectator wrestlers chanted “you suck” at Sheamus…
Powell’s POV: In order for this to make any sense, Sheamus needs to be arrested or at least questioned, right? We’ll see if that’s where this is going.
Otis and Mandy Rose were shown walking backstage. Otis had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him. They stopped when they spotted King Corbin’s cape and crown. Otis put the crown on his head. Rose told him it looked good on him. Otis kept the crown on as they walked away…
The broadcast team spoke for a moment and then they cut backstage where Corbin was barking at a crew member about his crown being stolen. The man told Corbin that Otis took it. Corbin stormed off while Cole hyped Otis vs. Corbin for after the break… [C]
1. Otis (w/Mandy Rose) vs. King Corbin. Before the match, the Otis and Mandy poolside skit from last week was replayed. Otis got the better of Corbin and splashed him in the corner. Otis set up for his Caterpillar move, but Corbin rolled to ringside. Otis followed. Corbin hit Otis with a shot to the throat, then grabbed a chair and jabbed him with it for the DQ.
Otis beat King Corbin by DQ in 4:00.
After the match, Corbin hit Otis a couple more times with the chair. Otis rolled into the ring. Corbin followed and tried to hit him again, but Otis rallied and ended up performing the Caterpillar. Otis and Mandy celebrated while Corbin rolled to ringside…
Graves hyped the Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles face to face segment, and Cole hyped the WWE Women’s Tag Title match…
A white van was shown outside the Performance Center. Fortunately, The Miz and John Morrison were inside the van doing surveillance and watched Braun Strowman arrive at the building. On commentary, Graves questioned what they were up to… [C]
Miz and Morrison looked into the camera while sitting in the van and spoke about annoying co-workers. Miz said the fans have underestimated them throughout their entire career, just as the fans have done. Miz said angry monster’s make mistakes and by the time they get to Backlash, Strowman’s life will be a living hell.
Miz and Morrison watched footage of Strowman opening a water bottle and pouring it into another container. The cup bubbled over. Miz and Morrison celebrated this monumental moment while Strowman let out a primal scream…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know if two weeks of bad pranks will make Stromwan’s life a living hell, but they could make Smackdown viewers roll their eyes a lot.
Kayla Braxton tried to interview Shorty G on the backstage set. Mojo Rawley interrupted and referred to G as “little man.” He said there are more important things to talk about such as Rob Gronkowski being robbed of the WWE 24/7 Title. Mojo made another short joke. G mocked him for how lame it was. When G turned to walk away, he was attacked by Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. Kofi Kingston and Big E checked on G…
Lacey Evans made her entrance. Sonya Deville shoved her from behind. Cole said their rematch was up next… [C]
2. Lacey Evans vs. Sonya Deville. After some back and forth action, Evans rolled Deville into the referee, who sold a leg injury. The referee told them to back it up and to get some help. Trainers headed to the ring. [C] A replacement referee was in charge of the match and the first referee had been taken to the back when the show returned from a commercial break. Footage aired of Deville taking advantage of Evans being distracted and no official being present during the break.
Deville had Evans head over the apron, then pulled her whole body down and performed a neckbreaker move on her knee. Cole put the move over big on commentary. Evans came up with some blood on her nose. Mandy Rose appeared on the big screen and told Deville that she’s a failure rather than a fighter. Deville freaked out and yelled, then Evans spun her around and hit her with a Woman’s Right. Evans covered Deville for the win…
Lacey Evans beat Sonya Deville in 12:25.
The broadcast team shockingly announced Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Shorty G vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Mojo Rawley… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another entertaining outing from Evans and Deville. The referee spot was strange, especially since we see ref bumps on a regular basis and the referees are rarely replaced by a second referee.
Braun Strowman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. He compared Miz and Morrison to annoying bugs. When he delivered his catchphrase, Miz and Morrision triggered something from the van, which ended up resulting in green slime falling onto the head of Braxton. Strowman said he knew Miz and Morrison were behind it. In the van, Miz barked at Morrison about where he told him to place the bucket. Braxton called Miz and Morrison bastards…
A Matt Riddle video package aired. He guaranteed that we will remember his name… Cole announced that AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan will be the grand marshals of a NASCAR event that airs June 10 on FS1…
Renee Young stood in the ring with an Intercontinental Title belt that was sitting on a pedestal. Young introduced Bryan, who made his entrance and joined her in the ring.
[Hour Two] Young introduced AJ Styles, who made his entrance and headed to the ring. Young asked Bryan if he thinks Styles is a coward. Bryan said he does. Styles said he took a bye in the tournament last week because it was the smart move. He said that he sees the greatest champion that WWE has ever seen when he looks in the mirror.
Styles said Bryan is all heart, but what he did isn’t noble, it’s stupid. Bryan smiled and said that he knew Styles was trying to get under his skin. He said they’ve known each other a long time and they have two different world views, and two different ideas of what it means to be Intercontinental Champion. Bryan said Styles couldn’t even fathom someone shattering his vision of himself and that’s why he’s a coward.
Bryan said his vision for the Intercontinental Championship is to defend the title every week on Smackdown. Bryan said he wants to push himself and test himself. He said he wants to learn and grow. He said that when he thinks of himself as being the best, it’s not about who he is now it’s about who he can be.
Bryan said he wants fans to be excited when they watch every week because they know there’s a chance that their favorite wrestler can beat him. Styles said he doesn’t believe in handouts, he believes in earning an opportunity. He questioned how Drew Gulak got the opportunity to become Bryan’s coach. Styles said it sounded like a handout.
Styles said that he could reach across the aisle and do something unexpected by giving Gulak an opportunity. Styles called for Gulak to come to the ring to take his handout/ass whipping. Gulak made his entrance. Once in the ring, he immediately tackled Styles… [C]
Powell’s POV: I got a kick out of the political references with the references to their different world views, handouts, and Styles offering to reach across the aisle. By the way, the joke on Randy Orton and Edge with this “greatest match ever” hype is made worse by Bryan vs. Styles taking place on the same show.
3. AJ Styles vs. Drew Gulak (w/Daniel Bryan). Gulak performed a slam that put Styles’ weight on his shoulders. Styles came back with a rake of the eyes and performed a reverse DDT. Styles glared at Bryan. Styles set up for a Styles Clash, but Gulak rolled him into a pin for the upset win…
Drew Gulak defeated AJ Styles in 5:20.
Powell’s POV: My mistake, I believe the Styles vs. Bryan match is actually taking place on Smackdown rather than the pay-per-view. I like the upset. The timing is a bit odd with Styles going for the title next week, but it obviously sets him up with a challenger if he wins the strap. More importantly, I’ve complained that WWE needs to shake things up and add some unpredictability to their television matches during the pandemic, so an occasional upset like this one is welcome.
Outside the building, Miz and Morrison were checking out a car and agreed that it would be a shame if something happened to what they said was Strowman’s vehicle. They acted like they spotted a fly on the windshield. Miz slammed a golf club through the windshield. Morrison pulled out a bat and noted that Strowman likes softball (all good people do). Morrison slammed the bat into the windshield a few times. They walked away laughing… [C]
4. Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Shorty G vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Mojo Rawley. The babyfaces tossed gear at Graves during their entrances. Kingston performed a flip dive onto Cesaro at ringside. Kingston came up holding his left knee. Rawley turned Kingston inside out with a shoulder block at ringside. [C]
G performed a neckbreaker on Rawley and followed up with a nice moonsault for a two count. Rawley battled back and set up for his finisher, but G countered into an ankle lock that was broken up by Nakamura. Cesaro blasted G with an uppercut from the floor. Rawley hit his Hyperdrive move on G for a near fall. Big E made a blind tag, then he and Kingston hit their finisher on Rawley and got the win…
Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Shorty G beat Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Mojo Rawley in 10:30.
Powell’s POV: Chad Gable is so talented and yet his gimmick is just plain brutal. I was hoping that the company pulled the plug on the Shorty G name when he disappeared from television for a bit, but no such luck.
The Miz and Morrison were shown watching from their van as Strowman discovered the damage to his car. A referee told Strowman that they were in the van. Strowman flipped out and barked at them to get out of the van. Strowman looked into what was apparently supposed to be the security camera and told them they are dead men.
Miz and Morrison mocked Strowman from inside the van. Strowman repeated the line and then started rocking the van and eventually tipped it onto its side with the two of them inside. “You guys think you’re funny, now what’s funny,” Strowman said before letting out a primal scream and walking away… [C]
Powell’s POV: You had to know that Strowman was going to tip over the van. The pranks have been weak and none of this is making me want to see their handicap match at Backlash.
A video package hyped Styles vs. Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship on next week’s Smackdown… The broadcast team hyped Backlash and added Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus to the lineup…
5. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Cross jumped out to a quick start and dominated Bayley. Banks eventually provided a distraction that allowed Bayley to hit Cross from behind, which sent her to ringside. Banks tagged in and performed a meteora. [C]
Cross was isolated by the heels coming out of the break. Bliss tagged in, but she was eventually caught with a Bayley to Belly on the ropes. Banks tagged in and only got a near fall on Bliss. Cross pulled Bayley to ringside and gave her a tornado DDT. In the ring, Bliss performed a sunset bomb on Banks for a two count.
Cross tagged in and executed a cross body block on Banks that led to a two count. Banks crawled to her corner, but Bayley was still down at ringside from the tornado DDT. Bayley returned and tagged in. Banks performed a Backstabber and rolled into a Bank Statement. Bayley pulled Banks off of Cross and then put Cross in a hold, which she quickly escaped. Banks didn’t look pleased.
Cross had Bayley pinned, but Banks broke it up. Banks dragged Bayley to the corner and tagged herself in. Banks put Cross in the Bank Statement. Bliss tried to break it up, but Bayley stopped her. Cross rolled onto Banks, who countered into a pin of her own for the win.
Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in 12:30 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
Banks and Bayley celebrated their win at ringside while Bliss and Cross acted stunned in the ring. Bayley brought both of her title belts to the broadcast table and yelled. The broadcast team recapped the finish and the heel celebration continued to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Get ready for the Bayley Two Belts promo. Bayley was actually in the right to clear Banks from the ring because she had been tagged into the match, yet Cole was acting as if Banks would have gotten the win had it not been for Bayley. I assume that the duo winning the tag titles actually means they are another step closer to breaking up. Overall, this was a middle of the road Smackdown. Let me know what you thought of it by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll. I will be back shortly with my audio review for Dot Net Members. Have a great weekend.
Join John Moore for his live review of NXT Takeover: In Your House on Sunday night. Dot Net Members can look forward to a same night audio review hosted by John and I after the show.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...