By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown
Taped August 4, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired August 7, 2020 on Fox
A swamp fight clip collection was shown from Extreme Rules a few weeks ago. It was interspersed with Bray Wyatt voice clips speaking about how Bray didn’t want to hurt Braun, he only wanted to help him. It ended with Wyatt saying that no one is safe until The Fiend gets what he wants. We then saw another clip of The Fiend attacking Alexa Bliss with the Mandible Claw to close the show last week.
The show cut to the Firefly Funhouse, where Bray Wyatt adjusted a photo of Bray Wyatt on the wall. Wyatt said he was upset that people were sliding into his DMs telling him that he was responsible for what happened to Bliss last week. He said it was Strowman’s fault, because he wouldn’t just give him what he wants. Wyatt said he knows that “he” would be there later with someone special. He advised Strowman to give him what he wants, or else he will find out what he was truly capable of.
In the arena, Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed everyone to the show, and Matt Riddle made his entrance. Footage aired of Baron Corbin paying off Shorty G to take out Matt Riddle, and on Riddle later in the show. After the video package, Sheamus made his ring entrance.
1. Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus: Both men maneuvered around each other early on, with Riddle attempting and failing to apply a sleeper hold. Sheamus grabbed a headlock takedown, but Riddle was quick to his feet and replied with a single leg trip. Sheamus landed a knee to the ribs and stomped away at Riddle before moving back into a shoulder hold. Riddle reversed out and applied an armbar, and then twisted into a pinfall attempt for a two count. Sheamus fought back to his feet and landed a powerbomb to take control.
Sheamus hung Riddle on the top rope and landed some clubs to the chest. He then took to the top rope, but Riddle knocked him off the turnbuckle and down to the floor…[c]
Sheamus landed a trio of Irish Curse back breakers for a near fall. The commentary team made a point to see that these are the kinds of matches that Riddle has to win to make his mark. Riddle landed a side kick and a series of punches. He then landed a wheel kick to the head of Sheamus, followed by an overhead suplex. He then landed a kick and a running senton for another near fall.
Riddle went up top for his twisting senton, but Sheamus avoided it and landed White Noise for a near fall of his own. Riddle avoided a Brogue Kick and landed a German Suplex with a bridge for another near fall. Riddle went for a running knee, but Sheamus rolled him up for another near fall. Sheamus took a run into the post attempting to spear Riddle and spilled to the floor. They traded strikes on the outside, and Sheamus rolled into the ring after landing a knee.
Shorty G then appeared and attacked Riddle from behind, sending him into the screen on the ring.
Matt Riddle won via disqualification at 11:51
After the match, Riddle recovered and bounced Shorty G all over the ringside area, and ended with a kick against the steps on the outside. Riddle strutted to the back and Sheamus gave Shorty G a Brogue Kick. He then grabbed a mic and screamed at Shorty G that he had taken a win from him, and then landed another Brogue Kick. Shorty G was laid out in the middle of the ring. Cole said the Fiend will appear later with Alexa Bliss, and Sonya Deville will be on The Dirt Sheet next…[c]
My Take: A solid match with an extremely unsatisfying finish. I guess they didn’t want anyone to take a loss here, but that doesn’t really make it any more interesting as a viewer. Shorty G desperately needs a change of gimmick and scenery, because the WWE continues to devalue him as just about every opportunity.
Backstage, Sheamus confronted Baron Corbin and told him the next time his minion interfered with his match, he would put his foot up his arse. Corbin said he had to deal with Jeff Hardy tonight, but he’d be happy to put a dent in his skull. Corbin had been talking to a woman who wasn’t formally introduced.
In the arena, Miz and Morrison were in the ring and introduced a video recap of Sonya attacking Mandy Rose last week. Retribution caused some microphones to fritz out on Miz and Morrison, and Miz said he thought they were on Raw. They then introduced Mandy Rose’s hair, which appeared as a blonde wig with googly eyes. They then mimed ridiculous voices to simulate the hair being upset with Mandy for not getting in touch with her since the incident.
They complained about Tucker eating meat and cheese, and how they photoshopped her roots. Morrison. They made some bad hair jokes about split ends and conditioner before the hair announced it signed a Netflix development deal. They finally got around to introducing Sonya Deville, who wore a pantsuit and a tie.
Sonya said Mandy’s hair was someone she could really get behind. They asked why she cut Mandy’s hair, and she replied that she was a woman of her word. She said she was going to make her as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside. She mocked Mandy for being weak, and said she had destroyed Mandy in the ring, and then mentally with a little haircut. Sonya said the crowd was waiting for Mandy to get her revenge, but it was never going to happen because she’s broken.
Miz and Morrison said they hadn’t heard from them since last week. Sonya said Otis and Mandy finally look like a couple now, and Morrison said they look like a couple of Ogres. Heavy Machinery’s music hit and they ran down and cleared everyone from the ring. Tag match coming up next most likely…[c]
My Take: Sonya was a bit off her promo game compared to her best work, but Miz and Morrison were absolutely dreadful. If they maintained half the audience during that hair interview it’ll be a miracle. How you could pre-tape the show let that make the air is baffling to me.
A video of Cesaro and Nakamura capturing the tag titles was shown. They then made their entrance in the arena. Lince Dorado made his entrance to represent the Lucha House Party. He was accompanied by Gran Metalik. Cesaro will be wrestling for his team.
2. Lince Dorado vs. Cesaro: Lince tried to use his speed early on, but Cesaro caught him with a backbreaker. Dorado sent Cesaro to the floor with a head scissors, and the lights dimmed a bit. He then jumped on Cesaro on the floor, and sent him into the apron with another head scissors. Dorado landed a sunset flip for a near fall, but got caught on a second springboard attempt for another breakbacker.
Cesaro then targeted the back and neck of Dorado, and landed a running elbow drop for two count. Dorado fired back with a Springboard Stunner, and then attempted his trio of moonsaults in the corner. Nakamura prevented the third one with some interference. Dorado surprised Cesaro with a victory roll, but he was able to kick out. Cesaro then landed a european uppercut and a Neutralizer for the win.
Cesaro defeated Lince Dorado at 4:27
After the match, the champions celebrated in the ring. Heavy Machinery and Miz & Morrison was officially announced for later in the show. Otis was shown in the back pitching a fit. Kayla Braxton asked him about the match, and he said everything is a joke to them. He said he likes jokes, but they are crossing the line. Tucker said what Sonya did was despicable, and that Miz and Morrison can’t let it go. Otis said can deal with people picking on him, because he’s dealt with it all his life, but he won’t stand for people picking on his beautiful peach Mandy Rose. He said Miz and Morrison will find out what happens when you piss him off later…
In the arena, The Fiend made his entrance with his skull lantern…[c]
My Take: Cesaro and Dorado made good use of four minutes, and Cesaro really shines basically any time he’s in the ring. One of the best technical performers in the world, and it’s obvious. I really liked Otis and Tucker’s promo. It’s just a shame Miz and Morrison weren’t able to set the stage a bit better earlier. Tucker showed some genuine concern for his friend, and Otis showed some fire over the situation with Mandy Rose.
The Fiend stood in the ring with his screeching playing in the background. Alexa Bliss was back in the ring, and The Fiend paced around her. She was the bait for Braun Strowman here, and he once again set up for the Mandible Claw. She put her hand up to block it, and then touched The Fiend’s face. He stopped, but recoiled away from her.
Strowman appeared on the screen and asked if he thought playing with his emotions would work. He said he didn’t care about Alexa, but he did care about ripping him limb from limb. Strowman said when he went to the swamp, only two men could have emerged. The most evil man that ever existed, or a man that had been ripped to pieces. Since he was standing in front of him, he was the most evil son of a bitch that ever existed.
Strowman said he tried to resist the monster, but he was done fighting it. He promised the fiend that he could have what he wanted, but he warned him that he would be fighting a Monster. The fiend offered just stared at the screen per usual. Keep in mind, Strowman this entire promo doing his best Batman impression.
My Take: The most interesting thing about that entire segment was Alexa Bliss piercing the veil of The Fiend for just a second. Strowman’s promo was so over the top, and the voice he used so corny, that it was a bit difficult to take him seriously. WWE is clearly committed to this program, so I hope they have something worthwhile in mind to pay all this off.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance, followed by King Corbin.
3. King Corbin vs. Jeff Hardy: Corbin tried to jump on the attack early, but Hardy cut him off with an atomic drop. He then landed a double leg drop and a basement dropkick for a one count. Corbin fired back with a punch to the throat. He then went for a Bossman Clothesline, but Hardy avoided it. He then attempted a Twist of Fate, but Corbin spun out and cut down Hardy with a lariat. Corbin slowed things down and applied an eternal half nelson crossface.
Hardy escaped and both men ended up on the floor. Hardy sent Corbin into the barricade on the floor, but was cut off with a deep six in the ring for a two count. Corbin went for End of Days, but Hardy broke free. Corbin landed a knee that sent Hardy to the outside. On the floor, Sheamus appeared and landed a Brogue Kick on Hardy, causing a DQ.
Jeff Hardy defeated Baron Corbin by DQ at 5:27
Corbin argued with Sheamus on the outside…[c]
My Take: That match was definitely there.But that’s about it.
4. Sheamus vs. King Corbin: The match was joined in progress. Sheamus landed some hard shots, and Corbin escaped to the floor. Sheamus followed, but Corbin landed a lariat. He then shoved Sheamus into the barricade, and landed some gut punches. Sheamus was then bounced off the announce table, and tossed back into the ring. The action quickly spilled outside again, this time with Sheamus in control. He bounced Corbin off the desk and the barricade. He then took to the top rope, but Corbin avoided him and landed a side slam.
Corbin tossed Sheamus into the ring post, and then rained down punches into his back and shoulder. Corbin then applied his patented half nelson crossface. Sheamus broke free, and with a distraction from Matt Riddle, but Corbin down with a Brogue Kick for the win.
Sheamus defeated King Corbin at 5:33
After the match, Riddle and Sheamus celebrated success. Backstage, Bayley admired her championships when Sasha walked up. Bayley expressed concern that Sasha put her into a match with Asuka next week without asking her first. Sasha said she wasn’t even worried about it. She said Asuka wants a title shot with her at Summerslam, and Bayley was concerned she wanted revenge for what she did to Kairi. A production assistant walked up and said they were both needed for a videoconference with Stephanie McMahon in the ring…[c]
My Take: Oprah was handing out interference finishes tonight. Everybody gets one. Sasha and Bayley seem poised to have their fall from the clouds at Summerslam, and I hope they can maintain interest in their friendship until it’s time to blow it up.
Big E was interviewed backstage about his next move. He said he’s been an entertaining, a tag partner, and a friend for the past 5 years. He then said he gets a chance to show what happened when they hand him the ball. Big E said the endorsements from his friends and support from the WWE universe could be perceived as pressure, but instead it lifts him up. Big E then got fiery and said that he would give this opportunity all of himself, and then got animated with Kayla and had her recite the New Day Rocks chants.
In the ring, Sasha and Bayley waited for Stephanie. She appeared on the screen and congratulated them on all of their accomplishments since they made their mark in NXT. They tried to butter up Stephanie by talking about how much they admire her and everything she did for the Women’s Evolution. Stephanie praised them for appearing on all three brands, but said the shortcuts they took by becoming a referee and finding a loophole in her stipulation wouldn’t be forgotten.
Stephanie told Sasha that she would defend her championship at Summerslam, and it could be against Asuka after Monday. Bayley will defend her championship against someone from Raw, NXT, or Smackdown, as the women will all be in a battle royal next week on Smackdown. Bayley and Sasha were beside themselves.
Backstage, Miz, Morrison, and Sonya were interviewed backstage. Miz and Morrison mocked Tucker and Otis for being overweight. Kayla said Otis promised they would pay for their cruelty form earlier, and Miz said Otis and Tucker were only Monsters in catering. They told Kayla to buzz off because they had a match to prepare for…[c]
My Take: Big E’s promo was a very good effort, though I could use a bit less goofy. Not a lot less, but it’d be nice to see Big E show something of an edge. The Battle Royal would be a nice opportunity to shake up the Women’s division on Smackdown with a cross brand challenger. I have to assume Asuka get her title shot, because we are due a clean finish in at least one Asuka and Sasha match at some point. They’ve all been very entertaining. The Miz and Morrison continue to make me want to change the channel.
The Miz and Morrison made their entrance with Mandy. They were followed by Heavy Machinery.
5. Heavy Machinery vs. The Miz and John Morrison: Tucker and Morrison started the match, and Tucker got out in front early with some amateur wrestling skills. He then pushed aside a kick from Morrison and landed a strong lariat. Otis tagged in and sent Morrison flying with a shoulder block. Miz tagged in and kicked Otis in the gut, but it had zero effect. Otis hit the ropes and knocked Miz around with his gut. Tucker tagged in, and they did some Bushwacker stomps before sending Miz to the floor to regroup with Morrison…[c]
Miz and Morrison targeted Tucker’s knee and kept him cut off in the heel half of the ring. Miz mocked Otis’ gut and then took a cheap shot at Tucker. Miz set up to catapult Tucker into Morrison, but Tucker came up with a forearm. He then tagged in Otis, who came in fired up and tossed around both Miz and Morrison. He landed a leg capture suplex on Miz and then splashed Morrison in the corner. He then landed the caterpillar on Morrison, but Miz broke up the pin.
Tucker ran at both Miz and Morrison on the floor, but ate the barricade. Miz then ran Otis into the steps. Mandy Ran down with a new short haircut and had a brawl with Sonya. The match was called off.
The match ended in an apparent no contest at 9:00
Sonya and Mandy continued to brawl until Otis and Tucker pulled Mandy away. They managed to break free and attack each other a few more times…[c]
My Take: This show is either going to end with Retribution destroying everyone, or a six person tag match. Or maybe both. Probably both.
Backstage, Mandy and Sonya continued to have words and trade blows. Then the lights went out. Retribution appeared in their black hoods and chased off Cole and Graves with bats and pipes. They then chased off a couple of camera men, leaving only the camera angles from outside the plexiglass. They then went into the crowd with the spectator wrestlers and laid them out with their weapons and tossed them into the barricades from the other side. There was several males and a female from what I can tell. They then entered the ring again and started screaming that this place was theirs now. They tipped over the announce desk and said it was time to burn it down.
They took out what looked like paint cans and started tagging the plexiglass. Someone spelled out a crude WWE symbol and then crossed it out. They then screamed who else, and nobody showed up. One of them produced a chainsaw and cut down the ropes. The end of the episode was more celebration and chainsaw revving.
My Take: So we know this faction is anti-WWE, but their motivation remains a mystery. Dimming the lights, swinging around weapons, creating superficial damage to the performance center, and beating down the spectator wrestlers was visually chaotic, but I remain unsold on Retribution. They are generic anarchists that have not stated their objectives, essentially making them pointless until one of them bangs out a manifesto over the weekend. Being anti-WWE doesn’t really mean anything, because inside this play universe the company doesn’t represent a coherent ideology or philosophy. On top of all that, WWE’s camera cuts and production work continue to make the show less enjoyable to watch than it should be.