SmackDown Report for 3/20/20

SmackDown on Fox Episode #25
SmackDown Episode # 1,074
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center
3/20/20

We open the show with the intro video and then go to the ring where Michael Cole tells us what we have to look forward to tonight on the show. Michael Cole talks about WrestleMania being spread across two nights and then hypes up the fact that Rob Gronkowski will be hosting on both nights which leads to a video package on Gronk. Mojo joins Michael Cole in the ring after the video package and introduces Gronk. Gronk says that he is hyped about WrestleMania despite the fact that no fans will be in attendance. Mojo says that he is here to watch Gronk’s back and his front and then Gronk starts chopping Mojo for some stupid reason. 

King Corbin makes his way to the ring and runs down Gronk saying that the WWE isn’t for Gronk because he is just a party guy and he’s used to wearing pads and a helmet but there is none of that in WWE. Corbin says that Gronk better fall in line if he wants to have a good time at WrestleMania because if not he will make sure the party is over. 

Elias then comes out and he plays a song that he has been trying to play for Corbin for weeks and Corbin allows him to play but then cuts him off mid-song. Corbin gets in Gronk’s face and then Gronk shoves Corbin and he ends up tumbling over Mojo who is on all fours behind Corbin. Corbin tries to attack Gronk but Elias comes in the ring and throws Corbin out of the ring. Gronk says that as the host of WrestleMania he can’t make matches, but he is advocating for Elias to face Corbin at WrestleMania. 

While I detest both Mojo Rawley and Rob Gronkowski with a passion I thought this was a decent segment to start off the show as it was a way to get everyone watching at home excited and “hyped” for the show right from the start due to the over the top energy that both Mojo and Gronk bring to everything they do. I think it would’ve been better if Gronk had just shoved Corbin to the mat by himself without Mojo because the way they did it came off looking both childish and a bit heelish. Like I said weeks ago I am fine with Elias vs Corbin at WrestleMania as it gets both guys on the card in one match. 

We cut to the back and Zayn is making his way toward the ring with his boys.

Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak make their way to the ring as they will be in action after the break.  

Match #1: Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn joins Michael Cole on commentary for this match. 

We get some chain wrestling to start the match out between Bryan and Nakamura and then Bryan tags in Gulak. Gulak tries to work over the arm, but Nakamura is able to rake the eyes and drag Gulak over to the heel corner so he can tag in Cesaro. Cesaro takes Gulak down with a headlock takeover but Gulak immediately escapes by scissoring the head of Cesaro, but Cesaro rolls through and attempts to lock in a bow and arrow but Gulak escapes and then grabs the leg of Cesaro before making a tag to Bryan. Bryan runs off the ropes and jumps on the leg that Gulak has stretched out. Cesaro quickly gets back to his feet and hits an uppercut on Bryan before tagging Nakamura back in. Bryan sends Nakamura into the ropes and then ducks his head which allows Nakamura to kick him while at the same time Cesaro makes a blind tag. Bryan side-steps a running Nakamura and sends him to the outside of the ring and then hits Nakamura with a tope suicida which sends Nakamura crashing into the announce table. Bryan goes up top and goes for a crossbody, but Cesaro catches him and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and then Cesaro boots Gulak off the apron as we go to commercial. 

We come back from the break to see Cesaro and Bryan trading uppercuts in the middle of the ring which Cesaro comes out on top of and then he tags in Nakamura. Cesaro gets Bryan into position so he can hit the sliding German suplex. Nakamura snapmares Bryan down to the mat and then hits a knee drop which gets him a 2 count. Nakamura tags in Cesaro who hits Bryan with a deadlift gut wrench suplex. Cesaro steps on Bryan’s hand and then hits a series of running uppercuts in the corner, but he goes for one too many as Bryan catches him with a dropkick. Both men make tags to their respective partners and Gulak takes down Nakamura with a running dropkick and then some strikes before following up with a bridging German suplex that gets a 2 count. Gulak attempts to lock in the Gulock but Nakamura rolls through and attempts an armbar but Gulak rolls into it to try and get a pinfall, but Nakamura kicks out at 2. Nakamura catches Gulak with a spinning heel kick and then tags in Cesaro who press slams Gulak across the top rope which sets Nakamura up to hit a running knee to the ribs and Cesaro finishes off the sequence with a pop-up uppercut which could’ve got the win but Bryan broke up the pinfall. 

Cesaro and Nakamura throw Bryan to the outside and then work over Gulak in the corner. Nakamura hits a gourdbuster on Gulak and then looks like he wants to hit the Kinshasa, but Gulak side-steps and then delivers a desperation lariat. Nakamura tags in Cesaro who looks to backdrop Gulak, but Gulak lands on his feet and attempts to get a sunset flip but Cesaro grabs Gulak’s head and breaks the bridge. Cesaro hits a boot that sends Gulak back into the corner where Gulak blind tags Bryan. Gulak dives off the middle rope and is caught by Cesaro, but Gulak escapes and tries for a full nelson but Cesaro switches into one of his own and this allows Bryan to dive off with a sunset flip and this catches Cesaro by surprise to the point where he is unable to kick out.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak via Pinfall  Match Rating: **¾

This was a really good match that could’ve been even better if the camera didn’t keep cutting to Sami Zayn every five seconds. 

We go to Michael Cole who tells us that for the next three consecutive Sundays ESPN will be airing three WrestleMania shows (30, 32, & 35) in full to get everyone hyped for this year’s WrestleMania and also to give people something to watch on TV while they are in quarantine, and also probably to give ESPN some content to air seeing as all sports have been canceled. 

We then go to break

When we come back we cut to the back where Gulak and Bryan are going over the match they just had and are doing some post-match stretching when Zayn and his boys walk up. Zayn starts complaining about how all Gulak is teaching Bryan is to squeak by and this leads to Bryan challenging Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania, however, Zayn says he will only put his title on the line against Bryan if Gulak can beat Nakamura in a match next week. 

We go to the ring where Michael Cole introduces Paige who is coming to us via satellite but before she can even finish a sentence she is interrupted by Bayley and Sasha Banks. 

Bayley wants Paige to go ahead and say whatever she has to say and get it over with so everyone can go back to ignoring her. Paige says she has had a hard time hearing Bayley and Sasha tear down the SmackDown women’s division and follows up by saying that any woman who has laced up a pair of boots has had courage which Bayley and Sasha lack. 

Paige says that it hurts her every day that her passion was taken from her and she wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Paige says she looks forward to seeing who takes the title from Bayley, she was looking forward to it so much that she went to Fox and asked them if she could be the one that announces Bayley’s WrestleMania match. Paige then says that Bayley will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, Tamina, & Naomi, at this point Sasha starts complaining that this isn’t fair to Bayley and then Paige tells her to hold on because she hasn’t announced the final person Bayley will be facing and that person turns out to be Sasha Banks. Sasha stares Bayley down and Bayley bolts from the ring as she is frustrated over everything that just happened. 

Usually, I would get upset that the Women’s title was being defended in a multi-woman match, but I’m ok with it this time seeing as we already have two big Women’s singles matches in Becky vs Shayna and Charlotte vs Rhea and we are also most likely getting a women’s tag title match. Another reason why I am fine with this is because Bayley has gone through the entire women’s division with the exception of Sasha, but there is no way they could build up a meaningful feud between those two with only two weeks until WrestleMania, although it would be kinda cool if over the next two SmackDown shows Sasha takes out the other four women in the match and that is how we get to Sasha vs Bayley, but the likelihood of that happening is slim to no chance in hell. Poor us and poor Carmella, as I have to imagine that she was supposed to be in this match over Tamina but perhaps something involving the virus has caused her to not be available for the show and now we have to watch the charisma vacuum that is Tamina, while we are talking about Tamina I think Sasha was channeling Tamina’s dad Jimmy Snuka as her outfit tonight was wild. 

We come back from break and go to our “we don’t have enough new content” match of the night which is John Cena vs Bray Wyatt from WrestleMania XXX. 

After that match is over we get a replay of last week’s Bray Wyatt promo. 

The Miz and John Morrison make their way to the ring for an edition of “The Dirt Sheet” which is coming up after the break.

 We come back from break and go to the back where Kayla Braxton interviews Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross about last week when Asuka attacked Alexa. Nikki is fired up about what happened and Alexa has to take the mic away from her. Alexa talks about how Asuka had to come in through the backdoor to attack her so if Asuka wants to play like that then that’s fine because she has played that game before except she did it better. Alexa challenges Asuka to a match next week and says this time she can come in through the front door. 

I liked this promo because it was an Alexa promo that we don’t see that often as Alexa was more serious than usual as she is usually talking about coffee or being best friends with Nikki, but with this promo, she was pissed about what happened to her and she wants to get her hands on Asuka as she is tired of Asuka’s shit. I really hope they keep the dynamic of Nikki being the funny one with the one-liners while Alexa is the more serious one. 

We go back to the ring for The Dirt Sheet where Miz and Morrison talk about how they have no real challengers to face at WrestleMania so they ask the crowd who they should face at WrestleMania and we cut to a pretape where Miz and Morrison are in the crowd dressed as parody versions of fans of the New Day, The Usos, & Heavy Machinery with the Heavy Machinery fans dressed as bacon although everyone else keeps saying they are dressed as hams. The three fan groups start to bicker with each other on why their team deserves to face Miz and Morrison. Miz & Morrison eventually just decide they will take WrestleMania off since they have no challengers. 

Heavy Machinery makes their way to the ring as we go to commercial. 

Match #2: The Miz & John Morrison vs Heavy Machinery
Miz and Otis start the match and immediately Otis throws Miz across the ring. Miz recovers and goes for a rear waist lock and then locks in a side headlock and tries to take Otis over, but Otis picks up Miz and slams him to the mat. Miz tags in Morrison who kicks Otis in the mid-section but Otis no-sells and starts to dance around so Morrison lays in some strikes and then tries to send Otis in the corner, but Otis blocks it and sends Morrison into the corner instead. Otis runs toward Morrison but is able to stop himself in time as Morrison had moved out of the way. Morrison slides under Otis’s legs and then leaps back to the outside where he lands a kick to the head and then springboards over Otis and rolls through only to be taken down by a shoulder block. Otis picks up Morrison for a vertical suplex and then Tucker tags in and Otis hands Morrison off to him and Tucker slams Morrison to the mat. Tucker sends Morrison into the ropes and ducks his head which allows Morrison to roll over his back and make a tag to Miz. 

Miz runs right into a hip toss and then gets crushed with an avalanche in the corner and then is hit with another one followed by a shoulder block from Otis. Heavy Machinery squish Miz between their bellies and then hit Morrison with a double shoulder block and then a double headbutt. Otis clotheslines Morrison to the outside and then Tucker flips off the apron onto Miz and Morrison. Tucker throws Miz back into the ring and then runs off the rope, but Miz side-steps him and Tucker goes flying over to the outside as Morrison pulls down the top rope. Miz taunts Tucker and then hits Otis with a wrecking ball dropkick. Miz rolls Tucker back in the ring and then Miz and Morrison hit the catapult backbreaker and slingshot elbow drop combination which doesn’t come off looking as smooth as it usually does, but it does get a 2 count. 

Morrison runs off the ropes and connects with a knee to the face of a seated Tucker and then he locks in a chin lock. Tucker fights his way back to his feet but is quickly cut off with a knee to the gut and then Morrison tags in the Miz and then they hit a double gutbuster. Miz and Morrison get him in their corner but he starts fighting back out of nowhere and knocks Morrison off the apron and then takes Miz down with a desperation clothesline. Tucker crawls toward his corner but just as he is fixing to make the tag we hear the music of Dolph Ziggler and this distracts Otis which allows Miz to knock him off the apron and then Miz hits a snapping DDT on Tucker but only gets a 2 count. On the outside, Otis gets back to his feet only to be taken back down with a superkick from Morrison. Ziggler joins Michael Cole on commentary as we go to commercial. 

We come back to Morrison in control as he has Otis grounded and is laying in on him with punches. Tucker gets to his feet and tries to make a comeback but Morrison lands a kick to the head that sends Tucker crumbling to the mat. Morrison tags in Miz and they look to hit a double suplex on Tucker, but Tucker suplexes them instead. Tucker crawls over to try and make a tag and we get the mysterious blue glitch. Tucker makes the hot tag and Otis takes both men down with shoulder blocks and then hits Morrison with a slam and a flapjack on Miz. Otis stacks both of his opponents in the corner and then hits them with an avalanche. Otis does the caterpillar but before he can drop the elbow Ziggler gets on the mic and says that he has some pictures he wants to show Otis and the pictures are of Ziggler and Mandy Rose having fun and this brings Otis to tears. Otis goes after Ziggler who tries to get away, but Otis brings him back over the barricade and then grabs a chair but before he can dish out any punishment Miz and Morrison grab the chair and then beat on Otis before sending him back in the ring, but Otis gets to his feet and clotheslines Miz and Morrison right back out of the ring. 

Otis sends Morrison into the steel stairs and then sends Miz into the ring post and by this point, Otis is royally pissed. Morrison dives off the announce table but Otis catches him and rams him back first into the ring post. Otis looks back toward the tron where the picture is still up and then Otis shoulder blocks Miz and Morrison through the barricade. Otis picks up another chair and looks to hit Miz with it, but Tucker comes over and tries to calm Otis down but this time it doesn’t work as Otis bashes the chair over the back of The Miz and this is enough for the referee to call for the bell.
Winners: The Miz & John Morrison via DQ  Match Rating: **½

After the match, Otis continues his assault on Miz and Morrison until Tucker is finally able to get Otis to drop the chair but then Otis picks up one of the rolling chairs and throws it over the barricade as Ziggler looks on terrified from the top of the ramp. Tucker grabs Otis and consoles him as he is overcome with emotion. 

I really thought that with all the craziness going on they would end up dropping this story and we would never get a payoff, but I am happy to see that they are continuing the story as I am more invested in this feud than I am the Universal Title match. I thought the ending of this match was great with Otis losing it at the sight of the picture of Ziggler and Mandy and taking it out on Miz and Morrison. I will say that whatever they do involving this feud could be one of the matches most hurt by not having a crowd as I’m sure the pop of when Otis gets his hands on Ziggler as well as the eventual reuniting of Otis and Mandy would’ve been huge. I do hope we find out who sent the text to Otis that Mandy was going to be late that night. 

Michael Cole says that next week we will have Gulak vs Nakamura with Bryan’s shot at challenging for the Intercontinental title on the line, The Usos vs The New Day for the right to challenge Miz and Morrison, Asuka vs Alexa Bliss, and finally an episode of Firefly Firehouse. 

We go to the ring where Michael Cole introduces both Roman Reigns and the WWE Universal Champion Goldberg for their contract signing. Cole asks both men to take a seat, but instead they both throw their chairs out of the ring. Cole asks Goldberg if he was expecting Roman Reigns to come to the ring when he asked “Who’s Next” a few weeks ago and Goldberg said he was hoping it would be Reigns, but he didn’t think Reigns had the balls to come out there and challenge him. Reigns says that Goldberg will be the next in the long line of legendary names to lose to him.  

Michael Cole brings up a tweet that Reigns wrote earlier in the year in which he took a shot at Goldberg’s stupidity when he concussed himself by headbutting the locker room door. Reigns calls Goldberg a “little bitch bulldog” and then signs the contract, Goldberg responds by calling Reigns a punk and says he has been headbutting doors all around the world and come WrestleMania he will do the same to Reigns and then Goldberg signs the contract. 

Goldberg flips the table over and we get a staredown between Reigns and Goldberg to close the show. 

Unlike last week’s closing segment this segment didn’t do anything to make me care any more about this match than I did before the segment. The segment felt really rushed and both guys just resorted to cheap juvenile insults and I need more than that to get me interested in a match that is happening in less than three weeks for one of the top two titles in the WWE.  

It’s kind of surprising how much better SmackDown is being booked during this empty arena situation considering that Raw has been the best show of the year up to that point, but SmackDown did a lot more to build toward WrestleMania than what Raw did as they built up four new potential matches for WrestleMania (Corbin vs Elias, Bryan vs Zayn, SmackDown Women’s Title, & a match involving Ziggler and Otis) and on top of that we also got a lot announced for next week’s show. We also got two pretty lengthy matches that were good which is more than we got from Raw in terms of new in-ring action. While we didn’t have Triple H on commentary this week the show still felt a lot more fun and light-hearted than what we got on Raw. I also want to give Michael Cole props just as I did last week because this week he did the majority of the show by himself and did a really good job as the lone man at the announce table. Overall I thought this was a really good episode of SmackDown given the circumstances in which it was held. 

That’s it for this week I will be back next week as the road to WrestleMania starts winding down as we will only be 9 days away from WrestleMania. 

Author: Trent Williams