By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown
Taped earlier this week in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired June 12, 2020 on Fox
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus saga… Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary…
Renee Young stood in the ring for the Hardy and Sheamus contract signing. Young introduced Sheamus, who was accompanied by security and a doctor. Security brought out a square curtain and the doctor held a urine sample jar. Hardy was introduced.
Hardy accused Sheamus of trying to take away his livelihood. Sheamus said his lawyers convinced WWE management that Hardy must take a urine test before he would sign the contract. Sheamus said there’s no way he would step foot in the ring with a junkie. The spectator wrestlers around the ringside area booed behind the plexiglass.
“My name is Jeff Hardy and I’m an alcoholic,” Hardy said. He said that if this is what he had to do to get to Sheamus then that was fine. Hardy said he goes to a meeting every week to talk about how he’s let his family, friends, and fans down. Hardy said he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Hardy said his demons are starving and sometimes all it takes to feed them are to be in the presence with a bastard like Sheamus. He said he wanted to be a beacon of light for others. Sheamus said it takes 24 hours to get results, but in this case he paid for rapid results.
Hardy entered the squared off curtain area with the doctor and submitted his sample while Sheamus looked into the camera and told viewers not to be a loser like Hardy. “Don’t do drugs,” Sheamus said. Hardy produced a large urine sample. Sheamus said he must have really enjoyed happy hour today.
Sheamus continued to goad Hardy, who was censored when he told him that sometimes it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on. Hardy threw the urine sample at Sheamus, who then gagged as he removed his shirt and knocked over the contract signing table. Sheamus considered to gag. The spectator wrestlers were censored while chanting “you got pissed on”…
Powell’s POV: It’s comical to think of some of the trashy shows that Fox has aired over the years (including some of my favorites such as the original Temptation Island!) and yet they have to censor the word piss if it’s used to describe urine. Anyway, this was just the latest chapter in this tacky storyline. I can’t help but wonder if Hardy is counting down the days until he is contractually free to make the jump.
Sheamus was shown cleaning up in a sink and gargling. The doctor told Sheamus that Hardy’s test results came back negative. Sheamus acted stunned and then threw a fit…
Cole and Graves hyped the Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles match to determine the new Intercontinental Champion for later in the show…
1. Smackdown Tag Champions Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match. Cole played up the importance of the match for Cesaro and Nakamura. The show cut to a break early a couple minutes the match. [C] Late in the match, Kingston fought Nakamura off the ropes and then performed a cross body block onto him. Nakamura put a knee up when Kingston landed on him, then rolled him into a pin for the win…
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Big E and Kofi Kingston in a non-title match in 7:25.
Powell’s POV: Well, knock me over with a feather, champions lost a non-title match on WWE television. Will this tired and counterproductive formula ever end? Is it too much to ask for the creative forces to actually build up potential challengers without having their secondary and tag team champions lose non-title matches? I’m all for WWE doing more with Cesaro and Nakamura, but it feels like we can’t get through a week of WWE television with champions losing non-title matches.
The Heavy Machinery duo were backstage. Otis had a blinder over his eyes while Tucker told him that he would need all of his other senses. Tucker placed a plate of hamburgers under Otis, who smelled them. Mandy Rose entered the picture and kissed Otis. He thought it was Tucker and told him that he appreciated the motivation.
Otis was saying “but” when Tucker removed the blindfold so that he could see Rose, who handed him the Money in the Bank briefcase. Tucker noted that they were teaming with Braun Strowman and encouraged Otis to use the briefcase if the opportunity presented itself. Heavy Machinery was distracted by Sheamus and Hardy brawling. The wrestlers were quickly pulled apart… [C]
The broadcast team sat at their desk and touted the Intercontinental Title match. They set up a Graves narrated video package on the Intercontinental Title history as well as Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles…
Powell’s POV: A good video package. I just hope the new champion doesn’t start his reign with a non-title loss next week. You think I’m joking? Sasha Banks and Bayley won the WWE Women’s Tag Titles last Friday on Smackdown only to be one of the two losing teams in a non-title Triple Threat tag team on Monday’s Raw. Fortunately, NXT was an exception this week, as NXT Champion Adam Cole actually pinned Dexter Lumis in a non-title match on Wednesday’s show.
Entrances for the Intercontinental Title match took place while Cole ran through a list of some of the legendary wrestlers who had runs with the title…
2. Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles in the tournament finals to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Charles Robinson was the referee. Bryan performed a suicide dive on Styles at 1:50 and they went to a break. [C]
Bryan and Styles traded near falls. Bryan set up for a backslide, but Styles avoided it. Both men ran the ropes and Styles ducked a clothesline, then they continued to run the ropes and collided. Bryan and Styles were both down at 10:40. [C]
Both men ended up at ringside and Styles was run into the ring post. Bryan stomped on the left arm of Styles and then targeted it once they returned to the ring. Bryan applied a hammerlock and then rolled Styles into a pin for a two count. Styles rolled onto the apron to regroup while Cole questioned how much he had left. Bryan charged Styles in the corner. Styles moved and Bryan crashed into the corner.
[Hour Two] Styles went to work on the left leg of Bryan, who caught him with a step-up enzuigiri. Styles came right back and set up for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Bryan cut him off and then threw repeated kicks in the corner. Bryan placed Styles on the ropes and then performed a huracanrana.
Bryan threw a series of kicks at Styles, who ducked the last one and fired off a series of strikes. Bryan avoided one, but Styles turned him inside out with a clothesline. Both men were down in the middle of the ring at 22:20. [C]
Bryan sent Styles to ringside and then went for a suicide dive, but Styles caught him with a kick. Back inside the ring, Bryan applied an armbar. Styles countered into a Calf Crusher. Bryan escaped and reapplied the armbar. Styles powered out, but Bryan got to his feet first kicked Styles, then followed up with a big kick to the head, which led to a near fall.
Styles was placed on the top rope. Bryan went up behind him and was hit with elbows until he fell back into the ring. Bryan got his feet and hit Styles from behind with a forearm, then went to the ropes again. Styles fired away with more elbows to the head and knocked Bryan back into the ring again. Bryan got up and hit Styles from behind again, then pounded on his back repeatedly. Bryan performed a back suplex from the ropes and both men were down at 29:20. [C]
Styles connected with a Pele Kick and then performed a brainbuster for a near fall. Bryan caught the foot of Styles when he went for another Pele Kick and then suplexed him. Styles responded with a Pele Kick of his own. Bryan performed a German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Bryan followed up with several elbows to the head and then applied a Yes Lock, but Styles reached the ropes with his foot to break it at 36:05.
Bryan grabbed Styles’ arms and delivered several kicks to the head. Bryan went for a running knee, but Styles caught him and performed a Styles Clash. Both men were down and Graves said Styles didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to make the cover. Styles followed up with a Phenomenal Forearm and scored the pin…
AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan to win the Intercontinental Championship in 38:10.
After the match, Renee Young entered the ring and asked Styles what it was like to finally win the Intercontinental Championship. Styles said he is the best WWE champion that the WWE Universe has ever seen. “I am phenomenal,” Styles said. On commentary, Cole said Bryan also deserved a standing ovation. Bryan was shown holding his knee while still lying in the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: And now Edge and Randy Orton have to top this match just to have the greatest match of the week. This was a top notch match and I love that they started it early rather than saving it for the end of the show when we could have watched the clock and had a rough idea of when the finish would occur. It was probably placed in the earlier slot so that the show can close with more Backlash hype, but it worked out nicely.
A video package recapped The Miz and John Morrison’s pranks on Braun Strowman that aired on last week’s show, along with Strowman tipping over the van that they were in…
Strowman stood backstage and said there was a lot going on during the show. He ran through some of the notables and then said he can fix the windshield of his car, but nothing will be able to fix Miz and Morrison after he gets his hands on them at Backlash. Strowman said he’s not in the mood for any Money in the Bank games and would have no problem obliterating Heavy Machinery…
The production team was shown setting up balloons in the ring. Cole said they were for a celebration involving new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley… [C]
Footage aired of Banks and Bayley beating Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to win the WWE Women’s Tag Titles…
Banks and Bayley made their entrance. Bayley had an over the top celebration that included yelling and swatting at some balloons. She also took a selfie of her and Banks near the broadcast table. Once in the ring, Banks scolded the spectator wrestlers for booing. They responded with a “you suck” chant.
Bayley said she’s at the top of her game and brought up the saying that it’s lonely at the top. She boasted that she’s beaten everyone and is the most dominant champion. She said she’s not lonely because of her best friend Banks.
Banks boasted that they told everyone they would win. She said they are leaders, not liars. Banks said that she and Bayley are unstoppable together. Bayley said she wrote a poem for Banks that expresses exactly how she feels.
Alexa Bliss’s entrance music played and she headed to ringside with Nikki Cross. Bliss said she’s cool with them celebrating, but she draws the line at reciting poetry to one another. Bliss and Cross entered the ring.
“The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay appeared on the big screen. The duo stood in front of a Raw logo and spoke about how they beat Banks and Bayley to end their first tag title reign. She told them they shouldn’t turn their backs on Bliss and Cross, who then attacked Banks and Bayley. The IIconics laughed on the big screen while the tag champs were cleared to ringside…
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed The Miz and John Morrison. The duo set up their latest music video, but it was quickly interrupted by Braun Strowman making his entrance for the main event six-man tag. Heavy Machinery’s entrance followed, and Otis brought the MITB briefcase to the ring with him… [C]
Powell’s POV: Why can’t Strowman do that whenever Dolph Ziggler’s awful entrance music starts playing?
A Matt Riddle video package aired to promote his debut. It included some clips from his NXT days and a few still shots from his MMA career. Riddle was listed as making his Smackdown debut next week… The heels made their entrances for the main event…
3. Braun Strowman and “Heavy Machinery” Otis and Tucker vs. The Miz, John Morrison, and Dolph Ziggler. Strowman got his hands on Morrison’s shades and chewed on them before tossing them back. Tucker got the better of Morrison. Strowman called for a tag and Tucker was going to oblige, but Morrison escaped and ran over to his corner to tag in Ziggler. Moments later, Heavy Machinery whipped Strowman into the corner where he splashed Ziggler.
Tucker held up Ziggler for a suplex when King Corbin appeared on the big screen. Corbin told the cameraman to follow him, yet keep his distance. Corbin approached Mandy Rose. Otis ran to the back. Corbin asked if it was her idea to have Otis mess with his crown last week. She said she was just having some fun. Corbin claimed she was fantasizing about being with him. Otis arrived and beat up Corbin until Adam Pearce and others pulled him off. [C]
The match continued without Otis while the broadcast team pointed out the obvious about Strowman needing to get used to the handicap because he’d be facing Miz and Morrison in a handicap match at Backlash. The heels isolated Tucker. Otis and Mandy Rose walked to ringside.
Otis tossed Ziggler to ringside. Strowman did his lap around the ring and delivered shoulder blocks. Strowman rolled Ziggler back inside the ring. Otis performed the Caterpillar on Ziggler and then pinned him.
Braun Strowman, Otis, and Tucker defeated The Miz, John Morrison, and Dolph Ziggler in 11:10 in a six-man tag match.
The babyfaces celebrated in the ring afterward. Strowman held up his title belt while Otis looked at him while holding up his Money in the Bank briefcase…
Powell’s POV: I thought they would give the heels a win over Tucker in an attempt to make viewers think that Miz and Morrison at least have a chance on Sunday. Overall, the show was carried by the Bryan vs. Styles match. There was hype for Backlash, but I can’t say that any of it left me more excited about the pay-per-view than I was going into this show. I will be back shortly with my same night Smackdown audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll available on the main page.
Join me for live coverage of WWE Backlash on Sunday night. ProWrestling.net Live returns on Monday afternoon at 3CT/4ET with Will Pruett and I taking your calls at PWAudio.net.
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...