SmackDown Report for 4/17/20

SmackDown on Fox Episode #29
SmackDown Episode # 1,078
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center

We get an In Memory of Howard Finkel graphic on the screen and then go to the intro video. Once we get inside the PC the announcers hype up tonight’s loaded show.

The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross make their way to the ring as it’s time once again for A Moment of Bliss. 

Nikki mentions that they are the first-ever two time WWE Women’s Tag Champs and they toast to that with their coffee cups. Alexa then introduces their guest for tonight which is the Universal Champion Braun Strowman.

Alexa and Nikki toast Strowman for beating Goldberg and becoming the new Universal Champion and then they quickly move on to talking about Bray Wyatt. They talk about how Wyatt has multiple personalities and needs help, but with that said he is also cunning, brutal, & psychotic. Strowman says that Wyatt didn’t create him and he doesn’t owe Wyatt anything. Strowman talks about how Wyatt is able to get in your head but he’s not falling for those games. Bliss starts to ask her next question but Strowman interrupts her and asks if that is for him and as the camera pans over we see a present sitting in one of the corners of the ring. Alexa tries to tell Strowman that she didn’t get him a gift but Strowman isn’t buying it, but when he finally opens the box he sees the black sheep mask that he used to wear as part of the Wyatt Family. Strowman looks at the mask all confused and then we get the old Wyatt screen glitch thing and then see a still picture of Strowman wearing the mask, the laughter of Bray Wyatt echoes through the PC and Strowman is looking around confused as we go to break.  

I thought this segment did a good job of continuing to play on the history of Strowman and Wyatt without needing to have Wyatt there and also not having to have yet another edition of Firefly Funhouse. Later in the show, it will be announced that Strowman will defend his title against Bray Wyatt and not The Fiend at Money in the Bank, I have to imagine this because they want to stretch the feud of a couple of months so I would imagine he beats Wyatt easily which sets him up to face The Fiend at the next PPV after Money in the Bank. I wouldn’t doubt that WWE is hoping that after two or three months where Strowman faces Wyatt they can convince Reigns to come back to set up a match between the two of them for SummerSlam. It was nice to see Team Little Big together again as they are always a lot of fun together. 

We come back from break and it’s time for our first match of the night. 

Match #1: Sasha Banks w/ Bayley vs Tamina Snuka
Bayley is on commentary for this match. 

As the bell rings Sasha tells Tamina to wait and she pulls out one of her shirts and gives it to Tamina, but unfortunately, it’s too small for Tamina as she wears an extra-large, this does not sit well with Tamina and as Sasha looks over toward Bayley she is slammed to the may by her hair. Tamina throws the shirt at Bayley who gladly takes it. Tamina sends Sasha into the ropes but Sasha comes back with an attempted crucifix rollup but ends up botching the move. Tamina grabs Sasha by the throat and goes to lift her up, but Sasha counters into a rollup for a 2 count. Tamina delivers a kick and a headbutt that sends Sasha crawling over to the corner. Tamina sends Sasha into the corner and Sasha springs off the bottom rope looking to catch Tamina in a headscissors, but Tamina catches her only for Sasha to grab the top rope so that Tamina can’t do any kind of offensive move and instead just backdrops her to the apron. Tamina delivers a back elbow that sends Sasha flying off the apron and to the floor as we go to commercial break. 

When we come back from commercial Tamina is in control as she is driving her shoulder into the midsection of Sasha. Tamina goes for an avalanche in the corner but Sasha is able to move out of the way and position herself on the apron where she delivers a knee to Tamina’s head. Sasha comes off the second turnbuckle with a diving Meteora that gets a 2 count. Sasha delivers some mounted punches and then follows up with a basement dropkick when Tamina tries to get to her feet. Sasha has Tamina against the ropes and delivers a kick to the head. 

Sasha locks in a chin lock as she grounds down Tamina. Tamina finally gets to her feet so Sasha jumps on her back, but Tamina slams her back against the turnbuckle to finally create distance between herself and Sasha. Tamina charges in once again and Sasha moves out of the way once again, Sasha charges at Tamina in the corner but Tamina catches her and lifts her over to the apron where Sasha delivers a knee. Sasha goes for a rope-assisted flatliner but Tamina doesn’t go down. Sasha rolls to the outside and Tamina goes out to get her, but Bayley causes a distraction which allows Sasha to shove Tamina into the ring post and then Sasha uses the apron to hit Tamina with a 619 from the floor. Sasha shoves Tamina into the ringside steps and then rolls back into the ring. 

Bayley gets up from the announce table and has her shoe in her hand as she goes over to Tamina, but before she can do anything Lacey Evans runs out and dives off the ring steps and hits a flying forearm on Bayley. Tamina gets back on her feet at ringside and Sasha tries for a baseball slide but Tamina side steps and hits Sasha with a big superkick. Tamina rolls Sasha back into the ring and hits another superkick and that is enough to finish off “The Boss”.
Winner: Tamina Snuka via Pinfall   Match Rating: **¼ 

After the match, Lacey Evans comes in the ring and raises Tamina’s hand. 

This match was a bit sloppy at the beginning but it picked up after that and became a decent match. Tamina was fine in the match and didn’t make any major mistakes and Sasha did a good job of making Tamina look good. Not really looking forward to Bayley vs Tamina at Money in the Bank, but I guess with the women’s Money in the Bank match and a possible women’s tag title match there weren’t many people to choose from. 

Jey Uso cuts a promo in the back talking about the triple threat match happening later tonight and this sends us to commercial. 

We come back from commercial to an interview with Lacey Evans who says that Sasha got a taste of her own medicine at WrestleMania but now she plans on being wherever Sasha is and she won’t stop until the mission is complete. 

Match #2: Sheamus vs Denzel Dejournette
Sheamus delivers a kick to the mid-section and sends Dejournette into the corner, Sheamus charges in but Dejournette catches him with a surprise schoolboy that doesn’t even get a 1 count. Dejournette goes for a rear waist lock, but Sheamus back elbows him and continues the barrage of elbows until Dejournette is completely helpless and then he starts delivering knees to the side of Dejournette’s head. Sheamus has words with the referee momentarily and then hits the Brogue Kick to pick up the win.
Winner: Sheamus via Pinfall   Match Rating: **

After the match Sheamus goes over to Michael Cole and yells at him for talking about Jeff Hardy during his matches both this week and last week, Sheamus tells Cole he will not be disrespected. 

Poor Denzel Dejournette just got a Grade A ass-kicking courtesy of the Celtic Warrior Sheamus, those elbows and knees looked brutal. So, based on what happened after the match it looks like we are getting a Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy feud which I could definitely get behind. 

We get another installment of the career retrospective of Jeff Hardy.

We cut to the back where Carmella is aggravated at Dana Brooks for taking a Money in the Bank Qualifying match when they have a tag title match coming up next week. Dana tries to get Carmella to relax as she tells her that she can do both and walks off, but Carmella still isn’t happy with Dana’s decision. 

Naomi makes her way to the ring as we go to commercial break. 

We come back from break and are reminded that next week will be a celebration of Triple H’s 25 years in the WWE. 

In addition to the reminder about next week’s show, we get what has to be one of the main talking points coming out of this show which is that this year’s Money in the Bank matches will be completely different than any other in history as it looks like WWE are dipping back into the cinematic well once again as for this year’s match the participants will have to “Climb the Corporate Ladder” which means they will start on the floor level of WWE Headquarters and will fight their way through the building to get to the roof which is where the Money in the Bank briefcases will be hanging and then the first to grab the briefcase wins. 

I don’t know exactly how this will look but I am definitely interested in watching it and if it’s anywhere near as good as the Boneyard match or (to a lesser extent) the Firefly Funhouse match it should be a lot of fun to watch.

Match #3: Naomi vs Dana Brooke (Money in the Bank Qualifying Match)
Naomi gets a schoolgirl and crucifix pin right off the bat but Dana is able to kick out of both and then Naomi counters an O’Connor roll but Dana is able to kick out of that as well and then Naomi takes Dana down with a dropkick. Dana reverses a whip into the corner and Naomi tries to headscissor Dana but instead, she gets dumped to the outside. Dana wants to get a count out win, but Naomi gets back to her feet so Dana takes her back down with a baseball slide. Dana rolls Naomi back into the ring and goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count. Dana locks Naomi in a body scissors and talks trash to her until Naomi starts to elbow Dana so that she will break the hold, but Dana isn’t breaking it so Naomi bridges back trying to get a pin on Dana but she kicks out at 2. 

Naomi goes for another pinfall combination but Dana kicks out once again. Naomi comes back with a series of forearms and then Naomi counters an attempted Irish whip by landing a big kick to the head of Dana and she follows the first one up with a scorpion kick. Naomi hits the chuck kick on Dana but somehow Dana still has some fight left in her as she kicks out a 2. Naomi hits several more kicks and then runs off the ropes, but Dana catches her and lands the Brooketista Bomb but Naomi kicks out at the last second. Dana hits the handspring back elbow in the corner and then tries for the handspring splash, but Naomi gets her knees up. Dana slowly gets to her feet and when she does Naomi goes for the Rear View but Dana drops down and catches Naomi in a rollup but she kicks out at 2 once again. 

Naomi goes for another Rear View and this time it hits but that is still not enough to put Dana away. Naomi goes for the split-legged moonsault but there is no water in the pool as Dana rolls out of the way and then Dana catches Naomi out of nowhere with a sunset flip pin and that is enough to get the win in what could be considered an upset.
Winner: Dana Brooke via Pinfall    Match Rating: **¼ 

This was a shocker as you would expect Naomi to be in a ladder match. This was a decent match but nothing too special except for that sweet counter of the Rear View into a rollup. 

We see a video package covering everything that has happened between Sonya, Mandy, Ziggler, & Otis as we go to commercial. 

When we come back from commercial Sonya Deville makes her way to the ring. 

Sonya says she has been trying to get in touch with Mandy for two weeks but she keeps ignoring her so she has decided to offer up a public explanation because she wants to make things right with Mandy because she has never had someone like Mandy in her life. Sonya begs for Mandy to come out to the ring and after a minute of hesitation, Mandy finally makes her presence. 

Mandy says she doesn’t have anything to say after what Sonya did to her and Otis. Sonya says that over the past five years she has spent more time with Mandy than she has her own family and Mandy’s refusal to talk to her made her feel terrible. Sonya goes on to say that Mandy is the most selfish person she has ever met. Sonya goes on to say that this had nothing to do with Mandy or Otis; it was about her coming to the realization that once Mandy started being interested in Otis she was ready to kick her to the curb. Sonya states that Fire & Desire was always about Mandy and never about her as they came out to Mandy’s music, they blurred Sonya on the tron, and they had to push Mandy’s magazine covers. Sonya says that it was so much about Mandy that she wanted to gag, which Mandy is probably doing a lot these days since she is with Otis. 

Sonya says that Ziggler actually cared about Mandy. Sonya admits that she helped Ziggler come up with the plan to hook up with Mandy, but it was not for a self-serving purpose as in exchange for her helping out Ziggler he was going to help them win the tag titles but Mandy had to ruin everything. Sonya says she feels much better now that she has cleaned the air and all she wants now is for Mandy to hurt. Sonya continues on with her tirade saying that Mandy is a dime a dozen bleach blonde bimbo and then asks her if she knows what it’s like to work your ass off only to be passed up for some no-talent eye candy? Sonya says she knows Mandy better than anyone and she will use every fiber of her being to ruin Mandy’s life so that everyone will know she was the real champ in Fire & Desire. 

Mandy starts to reply to Sonya but Ziggler comes down to the ring. Ziggler tries to sweet-talk Mandy and wants her to look into his eyes and tell him she doesn’t have some kind of feeling for him, but before she can answer Sonya lays Mandy out which shocks Ziggler and he asks Sonya why she did that. Otis makes his way down to the ring and takes out Ziggler, but Sonya jumps on his back and rakes his eyes until Mandy gets back to her feet and pulls Sonya off Otis’s back. The heels retreat up the aisle as Otis and Mandy regroup in the ring, but Ziggler isn’t finished as he tries to sneak attack Otis but Otis sees it coming and lays Ziggler out and then hits him with the Caterpillar elbow drop. The babyfaces stand tall in the ring as the heels make their way up the ramp as the segment comes to an end. 

This segment will be remembered as Sonya Deville’s coming out party (pun not intended) as she finally got an opportunity to show what she is capable of on the mic and to say she knocked it out of the park would be an understatement. I thought the passion Sonya showed in her promo was great and the explanation she gave made sense which is always nice to see given WWE’s sketchy track record when it comes to explaining character motivations. My hopes for Sonya’s future in the company just increased as we now know that her skills on the mic are on par with her skills in the ring. I like how Sonya is so obsessed with taking down Mandy that she is willing to do anything to the point where even Ziggler is somewhat shocked at her actions. I can’t get enough of this story and look forward to seeing what happens next week. 

We get a memorial video package for legendary ring announcer Howard Finkel who passed away earlier in the week. 

We go to commercial and when we come back we cut to a backstage promo from The Miz who is complaining about having to defend the tag titles without John Morrison. 

We get a Forgotten Sons video package that nobody cares about. 

Match #4: Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura vs Daniel Bryan w/ Drew Gulak (Money in the Bank Qualifying Match)
They go right at it as soon as the bell rings as Cesaro locks in a side headlock but Bryan shoots him off into the ropes only for Cesaro to take him down with a shoulder block but Bryan rolls through it and picks the leg of Cesaro only for Cesaro to kick him away. Bryan rolls over to the ropes and as Cesaro runs over Bryan lifts his feet and monkey flips Cesaro out to the floor. Bryan hits a tope suicida that sends Cesaro flying across the announce table. 

The hacker comes on and we cut to his control room where he says that we have heard all the lies, but will we hear the truth we then see several of SmackDown’s tag teams pop up on the screen including The Usos, Miz & Morrison, Alexa & Nikki, Sasha & Bayley, & The New Day. The hacker says that some keep their friends close and others closer and with that, we go to break. 

We come back from the break to see Bryan and Cesaro trading kicks and uppercuts as they are locked in a knuckle lock, Cesaro snapmares Bryan trying to get him to break the grip, but Bryan holds on and takes Cesaro to the mat where he stomps on his arm. Bryan puts all his focus on Cesaro’s arm as he applies a grounded hammerlock which Bryan leans back on so that he can get the maximum effect of the move. Cesaro finally rolls through and gets to his feet and back elbows Bryan which causes Bryan to release control of Cesaro’s arm. We get another side headlock and shoot off to the ropes spot and Bryan catches him with a hip toss and then seamlessly transitions into an armbar, but Cesaro clasps his hands and rolls toward Bryan which allows him to use his freakish strength to deadlift Bryan and powerbomb him down hard on the mat. 

Cesaro is feeling the pain in his arm and this causes him to not be able to immediately capitalize on a downed Bryan. Cesaro sets Bryan up and delivers a big kick to his back and then body slams him which gets a 2 count on a pinfall attempt. Bryan rolls out to the apron and when Cesaro walks over he grabs his arm and starts slamming it down across his shoulder. Bryan goes up top and tries for a crossbody but is caught and hit with a one-arm backbreaker which gets a 2 count. Cesaro locks in a Sharpshooter, but Bryan quickly reaches the ropes which causes for a break. Bryan rolls out to the floor to catch a breather but Cesaro follows him and delivers a running uppercut and that sends us to commercial. 

We come back from commercial to see Cesaro laying in several uppercuts and then Bryan catches Cesaro and is looking for a backslide but Cesaro reverses it and flips Bryan over but he lands on his feet and then locks in a flying armbar and Cesaro tries to use his strength once again, but this time Bryan is prepared as he picks the leg of Cesaro to get him down and then he kicks Cesaro’s bad arm. Bryan targets the arm with his Yes Kicks and then Cesaro tries to block the big roundhouse, but this ends up hurting his own arm and allows Bryan to hit the roundhouse which knocks Cesaro loopy, but he still has enough in him to kick out at 2. 

Bryan traps the arms of Cesaro and delivers several elbows to the neck and shoulder region before Cesaro catches the arm and lifts Bryan up in a fireman’s carry position and drives him into the turnbuckle and then he follows up with a Go To Sleep and just when Cesaro thinks he has done enough to finish Bryan off he kicks out of a pinfall attempt, but Cesaro quickly transitions into a crossface but Bryan tries to roll through it only for Cesaro to hang on. Bryan is finally able to roll through and lock in the Yes Lock but Cesaro is able to break Bryan’s grip and tries to lean back into a pinfall attempt, but Bryan rolls through into a crucifix pin but Cesaro kicks out. Both men get to their feet and Cesaro nails Bryan with a clothesline. Cesaro then delivers a barrage of uppercuts in the corner and then Cesaro sends Bryan into the corner and Bryan goes for the backflip, but Cesaro catches him once again only for Bryan to counter into the Yes Lock which Cesaro ends up tapping out to.
Winner: Daniel Bryan via Submission   Match Rating: ***¾ 

This was one hell of a match but that’s really no surprise as these two always tear the house down when they get to face each other and this was no different. I really liked the arm work that Bryan did on Cesaro and it was nice to see it somewhat play into the finish as the weakened arm led to Cesaro tapping out quicker than he may have without the arm being worked over. Another reason why I liked this match was that despite both Nakamura and Gulak being ringside neither tried to interfere until the very end when Nakamura tried to get into the ring but was pulled back out by Gulak. I would complain about Bryan being put in a ladder match given his neck issues, but since this is going to be a Money in the Bank match like no other, perhaps they can do something where Bryan doesn’t have to risk serious injury by being hit by or falling off a ladder. All in all, this was an excellent match and I wish they paired these two together more often. 

We go to the back for a promo from Big E who talks about how he is going to win the SmackDown tag titles tonight. 

We then cut to Elias walking in the back headed toward the ring, but out of nowhere he gets blindsided by King Corbin, Corbin beats down Elias and then smashes his hand in between two road cases. Corbin wants Elias to play him a song but then decides he has a better idea as he drags Elias across the floor as we go to break. 

We come back from commercial and Elias is holding his hand which is shaking and then Corbin returns to deliver more punishment to Elias. Corbin stomps on the injured hand of Elias and tells him to sing and then jabs his scepter into Elias’s throat and then talks some more trash before hitting Elias with the scepter once again. Elias tries to get up and once he does Corbin hits him in the back with the guitar and then walks off. 

While I don’t care about this feud I will say this was a good beatdown segment by Corbin. 

We then go down to commentary who hype up next weeks show which includes Drew Gulak vs King Corbin and Lacey Evans vs Sasha Banks in two Money in the Bank qualifying matches, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defending their titles against Carmella & Dana Brooke, and finally, we will look back at the history between Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt. 

Match #5: The Miz © vs Big E vs Jey Uso (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Miz charges at Big E as soon as the bell rings, but Big E sidesteps him and then lands a back elbow on Jey followed by an overhead belly to belly on Miz. Miz rolls to the outside, but Big E goes after him and sends him into the barricade. Big E starts clearing the announce table as he is looking to put someone through it, however, he is the one that ends up getting put through it as he gets hit with a  double suplex from Miz and Jey as we go to break. 

We come back from the break to Jey hitting a Samoan drop on Miz and then clotheslines him out of the ring, Jey is on fire as he hits a tope suicida on both Miz and Big E on opposite sides of the ring. Jey throws Miz back into the ring and goes up top where he hits a crossbody that only gets him a 2 count. Jey then hits Big E with an enziguri and follows up with running hip attacks in the corner to both of his opponents. Jey looks to hit a second hip attack on Big E, but when he charges in he is caught with a uranage and slammed to the mat and then Miz immediately follows up by hitting his corner clothesline on Big E. Miz springboards off the top and hits Big E with an ax handle. Miz is now in full control as he stalks Big E as he looks for the Skull Crushing Finale, but blocks it and then moves out of the way of a superkick from Jey they end up hitting The Miz, but right after Jey hits one on Big E as well which gets a 2 count. 

Jey goes over to pick up Miz, but Miz catches him in a small package that Jey is able to kick out of. Jey goes for a sunset flip but Miz rolls through and grabs the leg as he looks to lock in the Figure Four, but Jey kicks him off and sends Miz into Big E who is on the apron and this knocks Big E down to the floor. Jey goes for a schoolboy but Miz kicks out at 2. Miz is able to hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Jey but yet again he kicks out. Miz then locks in the Figure Four and Jey is crying out in agony as he does everything he can to break the hold as Miz bridges up to put more pressure on the hold. Big E comes in and deadlifts Miz into position and hits him with the Big Ending to pick up the win and this means that The New Day has become the NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions!  
Winner: Big E via Pinfall    Match Rating: ***

This match was a fun sprint that lasted around 7-8 minutes where all three men were able to look good and get their shit in at the same time. I was surprised that New Day won the titles this quickly as it felt like Miz and Morrison still had a lot to give as the champions, but it’s never a bad thing to see New Day as the champions. 

This was a really good episode of SmackDown as we had a fantastic match between Cesaro and Bryan, a fun sprint for the tag titles, a great segment where Sonya got to shine on the mic, an upset win by Dana Brooke, and a nice way of continuing the Wyatt vs Strowman feud by having Wyatt gift the old black sheep mask to Strowman, and of course the announcement of yet another off the wall cinematic type match where superstars will literally be climbing the corporate ladder. I can’t think of anything else you would want from this show as it had a bit of everything and those are the best kind of wrestling shows. 

That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back next week for more Money in the Bank Qualifying fun. 

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