SmackDown on Fox Episode #31
SmackDown Episode # 1,080
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center
We open the show by going straight into the PC without an intro video as the announcers welcome us and hype up what we have in store for tonight’s show.
Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring.
Bryan talks about how much he loves wrestling and says that his main focus at this point in his career is trying new things and conquering new obstacles and that is why he is excited to compete in this year’s Money in the Bank ladder match as it is like no other Money in the Bank ever before, Bryan says has wrestled everywhere around the world but never in an office building and then he talks about what might happen during the match. Bryan goes on to say that qualifying for this year’s Money in the Bank was bittersweet, while he is happy to be in the match he is also disappointed that his good friend Drew Gulak was not able to qualify and will not have a chance to have the opportunity that Bryan had back in 2011 and it was because of King Corbin that Gulak didn’t get the opportunity so he wants to settle the score right now with Corbin.
Corbin comes out and talks about how he makes people like Bryan suffer and he tells Bryan to stop dreaming about winning the Money in the Bank match because it is only a dream as he will win and reign as King Money in the Bank. Bryan asks Corbin if he is going to fail in his attempt to cash in this time seeing as he is only one of four people to not cash in their Money in the Bank successfully and that makes Corbin a loser and not a king. Corbin says that Bryan used to be young and hungry but now he is old and tired and Corbin is stronger and smarter than him.
We go to break before our first match of the night which is coming up next.
Match #1: King Corbin vs Daniel Bryan
We get a lock up and Corbin pushes Bryan into the ropes and then after Corbin backs away we get another lock up and this time Corbin pushes Bryan into the corner and then we get another break. Corbin wants a test of strength and Bryan agrees but when they clasp hands Bryan falls to his back and kicks away one of Corbin’s arms and then gains control of the wrist on the other arm and then he delivers a kick to Corbin’s leg. It looks like there will be another test of strength, but this time Corbin rushes Bryan and pushes him back into the corner where he delivers a couple of strikes but Bryan fires back with kicks to the back of the leg and then he picks the leg of Corbin taking him down to the mat, but Corbin easily gets back to his feet and knees Bryan in the gut and then takes him down with a shoulder block. Corbin runs off the ropes and Bryan takes him down with a dropkick to the knee and then he delivers a couple of kicks to the leg before taking Corbin down again with a dragon screw and then he locks in a kneebar only for Corbin to quickly get to the ropes.
Corbin gets to his feet but is showing the effects of Bryan’s work on the leg and after a few more leg kicks from Bryan Corbin takes him down to the mat with a front face lock, but Corbin makes a mistake by trying to transition into a reverse chin lock as it allows Bryan to spin out and get Corbin in a hammerlock and then he transitions that into a deathlock where he pulls back on the foot of Corbin. Bryan slams Corbin’s leg into the mat and then delivers more kicks to the leg and hamstring region, but Corbin catches one of the kicks and takes Bryan down and starts pummeling away at him with mounted punches.
Corbin picks up Bryan and connects with a measured right hand that takes Bryan right back down. Corbin stands over Bryan and pulls him up to his knees so he can deliver elbow strikes to Bryan’s shoulder and neck region. Bryan gets back to his feet and starts making a comeback with punches and more kicks to the leg and then delivers a flurry of strikes in the corner until the referee backs him up. Corbin connects with a punch to the gut which doubles Bryan over and allows Corbin to get back in control. Corbin sets Bryan up on the top rope and Bryan tries to come back with some forearm shots but one big right from Corbin sends Bryan falling off the turnbuckle backward to the floor. Corbin rolls out and sends Bryan shoulder-first into the ring post and this sends us to commercial.
We come back from commercial and Corbin has Bryan grounded with a hammerlock but Bryan quickly works his way back up to his feet and backs into the ropes to force a break and then Corbin connects with a few blows to Bryan’s midsection. Bryan tries to pick the leg of Corbin, but Corbin blocks it and lifts Bryan in a powerbomb position only for Bryan to slip out the back and catch Corbin with a crucifix pin which gets a 2 count and then he rolls Corbin up in a schoolboy but once again he only gets a 2 count. Corbin knees Bryan in the gut to stop his momentum. Corbin sends Bryan into the corner and charges at him only for Bryan to move, so Corbin slides out and slides back in where he connects with a clothesline on Bryan for a 2 count. Corbin and Bryan trade strikes while Bryan is on his knees but this ends when Corbin connects with a knee to the head.
Corbin starts to work on the arm of Bryan with clubbing blows. Corbin sends Bryan into the corner but Bryan springs up and over Corbin who slides out of the ring, but this time Bryan hits Corbin with a tope suicida before Corbin can slide back into the ring. Corbin rolls back into the ring and Bryan goes up top where he connects with a dropkick. Bryan is fired up and is making his comeback as he delivers several kicks to the leg until Corbin catches his leg, but Bryan rolls through and locks in an ankle lock. After a minute of having the ankle lock applied Bryan sets Corbin’s leg down and then stomps on the heel of the foot, Bryan then hits Corbin with a roundhouse kick to the head but this only gets him a 2 count. Corbin rolls over to the ropes and Bryan continues to attack with kicks to the leg until he picks Corbin up and leans him in the corner so he can hit a running dropkick. Bryan charges in for a second running dropkick, but Corbin catches him with a big Deep Six only for Bryan to kick out at 2.
Corbin mounts Bryan and hits a few punches until Bryan is able to transition into a half crab out of nowhere only for Corbin to immediately get to the ropes thanks to his long arms. Corbin rolls over to where half of his body is in the ring and the other half is on the apron and Bryan goes out to the apron and stomps Corbin a few times until Corbin rolls out to the floor. Bryan tries to take Corbin down with another tope suicida, but Corbin catches him for a second until Bryan kicks Corbin in the leg and another roundhouse to the side of the head and this causes Corbin to get to his feet and quickly stagger over to the barricade where there is a ladder and Corbin grabs the ladder and hits Bryan with it which is enough for the referee to call for the bell and disqualify Corbin.
Winner: Daniel Bryan via DQ Match Rating: **½
After the match, Corbin throws the ladder into the ring and attempts to hit Bryan with the End of Days onto the ladder, but Bryan flips out of it and then takes Corbin down and locks in the Yes Lock on the ladder. Nakamura runs in and hits Bryan with a Kinshasa to break the hold and then Cesaro hits Bryan with a ladder. Corbin grabs Bryan and drags him up to the top of the stage and then proceeds to throw him off the stage into a bunch of ladders.
Usually, I would bitch and gripe about Corbin being involved in a promo to open the show and then having a match right after, but thankfully this time the segment and match involved Daniel Bryan and that made this half-hour of King Corbin content way more tolerable and I liked that Bryan brought up the fact that Corbin failed last time he tried to cash in a Money in the Bank briefcase. The match was on its way to being really good as I enjoyed all the limb work that Bryan did to Corbin’s leg. It’s always a shame when a match that is going as good as this one ends in a DQ. I do think it was a good idea to put Cesaro and Nakamura with Corbin since Zayn has been absent over the past few weeks. Overall a good opening segment and first match.
Braun Strowman is in the back and Alexa Bliss hands him a Bliss & Cross t-shirt which he uses to wipe his forehead off and then walks toward the ring as he is up next after the break.
Love the continued Team Little Big interactions even if they are small ones like this.
When we come back we are told that Drew McIntyre presented a replica WWE Championship belt to World War II veteran Tom Moore.
Braun Strowman comes to the ring and talks about how last week we went down memory lane, but the past is the past, and Wyatt can give him all the gifts he wants, but… Strowman gets cut off as it’s time for the latest edition of Firefly Funhouse.
Wyatt says it’s storytime and the book he will be reading is a true story called “The Black Sheep”. The story is about a shepherd who raises a black sheep and teaches him well but one day that selfish black sheep left for greenish pastures without saying thank you and that made the shepherd sad and eventually, all of his other animals abandoned him as well. Wyatt then continues on with the story about how eventually the reptilians took over. Wyatt says the story had a sad ending, but he suggests an alternate ending where the shepherd finds the black sheep and reminds him of his mistakes and he takes what makes the black sheep happy and then he takes the sheep to the slaughterhouse.
Strowman finally interrupts Wyatt and says he has had enough of the Firefly Funhouse and if Wyatt has something to say he can come to the ring and say it to his face, but Wyatt stays silent until he waves and tells Strowman goodbye and he will see him soon.
I enjoyed this segment as I liked how they used Wyatt doing storytime with the kids of the Firefly Funhouse in order to tell his viewpoint of the history between Strowman and himself as it was more creative than just having him there cutting a standard promo which we have seen thousands of times. I liked how Wyatt acknowledged the departures of Harper and Rowan by saying the other animals on the farm abandoned him. I thought Wyatt was great during this segment, however, Strowman was pretty much just basic Braun which works fine for him and his character.
We then cut to the back and see Sheamus warming up as he is in action after the break.
Match #2: Sheamus vs Leon Ruff
Ruff ducks a clothesline and then hits a dropkick and tries for another but Sheamus swats him away. Sheamus sends Ruff into the ropes but he holds on and then kicks Sheamus in the face when Sheamus ducks down too early, Sheamus catches Ruff and hits him with repeated Irish Curse backbreakers which Ruff sells like a champ. Sheamus throws Ruff to the side which causes him to roll out of the ring. Sheamus picks Ruff up from the floor and places him on the apron where he delivers the 10 beats of the bodhran. Sheamus drags Ruff into the corner and then waits for him to get to his feet where he hits the Brogue Kick for the win.
Winner: Sheamus via Pinfall Match Rating: *3/4
After the match Sheamus goes over to Michael Cole and asks him if he is going to talk about Jeff Hardy some more and this leads us to the final part of the Jeff Hardy mini-documentary, we come back and told that Jeff Hardy will be back next week and this leads to Sheamus getting in Cole’s face and telling him that he will be there next week as well.
Another squash match where Sheamus makes it look far more brutal than most squash matches and once again I will say that Leon Ruff did a fantastic job selling the beating. I look forward to Jeff Hardy returning next week and seeing where this feud between him and Sheamus goes, I’m guessing they rush to have a match between them at Money in the Bank which will have a screwy finish and opens up the door for them to feud over the next few months.
We cut to the back where Kayla Braxton is going to interview Otis and Mandy Rose about their respective Money in the Bank qualifying matches tonight. Otis says he is going to beat Dolph Ziggler tonight just like he did at WrestleMania and he will win the Money in the Bank contract for himself and his peach. Mandy says that Sonya’s betrayal hurt but she is only looking forward and not looking back. Mandy kisses Otis on the cheek and walks off as her match is next.
Carmella comes to the ring for the next match as we go to break.
Match #3: Carmella vs Mandy Rose (Money in the Bank Qualifying Match)
Mandy and Carmella lock up and Mandy takes Carmella down with a headlock takeover only for Carmella to get out of it by scissoring the head and then Mandy nips up to escape the head scissors. Carmella swipes at Mandy’s legs but she jumps to avoid her, so Carmella hits her with a shot to the gut and then snapamares her only for Mandy to swipe at Carmella’s legs but Carmella jumps to avoid Mandy and then moonwalks across the ring. Both women circle the ring and go for a lock-up but Carmella ducks and goes behind Mandy with a rear waist lock and then grabs a side headlock but Mandy shoots her into the ropes and we get a drop-down and leapfrog spot and then Carmella tumbles over Mandy before connecting with a basement superkick which gets a 2 count. Carmella gets control of Mandy’s arm but Mandy gets to her feet and slams Carmella which gets a 2 count.
Mandy locks in a reverse chin lock and then Sonya Deville makes her way out and has a mic and she does her best to distract Mandy, but Mandy keeps her focus on Carmella. Carmella fights out of the chin lock and runs off the ropes but Mandy catches her with a backbreaker for a 2 count. Mandy takes a brief moment to have words with Sonya before beating down Carmella in the corner. Mandy sends Carmella into the corner but Carmella comes right back at her with a clothesline and then Carmella connects with a series of forearm shots before sending Mandy into her boot. Carmella hits a hurricanrana on Mandy out of the corner only to run into a forearm seconds later. Mandy turns her attention to Sonya who has ramped up her trash talk and is now threatening to come in the ring, but as she walks down the ramp Carmella spins Mandy around and hits her with a superkick and that is enough to finish off God’s Greatest Creation.
Winner: Carmella via Pinfall Match Rating: **
After the match Sonya runs to the ring and beats down Mandy, Sonya throws Mandy out of the ring and runs her into the ring post and then hits her with a running knee from behind which sends Mandy face-first into the steel steps. The agents come out to check on Mandy while Charles Robinson backs Sonya up the ramp.
We come back from a break and go to the trainer’s room where Mandy is getting checked on, Otis walks in the room to make sure she is ok and it appears that she is fine and then the trainer becomes a dick and tells Otis to leave the room so he can continue to check on Mandy even though the injury is nowhere near bad enough for Otis to leave the room over. Otis walks out of the trainer’s room and runs into Ziggler who asks about Mandy, but Otis just stares him down while breathing heavily and Ziggler eventually walks off.
The match itself was nothing worth talking about, although I did pop a bit for the spot where Carmella tumbled over Mandy as I wasn’t expecting a spot like that in a Mandy vs Carmella match. I would like to congratulate Mandy on not being a dumb babyface that instantly gets distracted by the person coming out as she kept her focus on Carmella until Sonya actually started walking toward the ring and then she became distracted and it cost her the match, but that was much better than most babyfaces who are distracted as soon as someone’s music plays. I liked that Sonya brought up the fact that last year she gave up her spot in Money in the Bank so that Mandy could be in it. I thought Sonya did a good job of portraying how much hate she has for Mandy during the beatdown she gave her, however, the one problem I had was that she said she was going to mess up Mandy’s pretty face and then proceeds to send her face into the steps but when we get to the trainer’s room her only injury is a bruised hip so that didn’t add up at all. I also didn’t like how Otis just stared at Ziggler instead of saying something seeing as he hates Ziggler and has a match with him later in the night, he could’ve at least asked why Ziggler cares if she is ok or not.
The Miz and John Morrison come to the ring as they will be on commentary for the next match.
Match #4: The New Day vs The Forgotten Sons w/ Jaxson Ryker
Cutler and Big E start the match with a lock up and jockey for position until Cutler goes behind with a rear waist lock, but Big E easily breaks Cutler’s grip and tosses him over his back. Big E tags Kingston and holds Cutler so that Kingston can hit Cutler with a kick to the mid-section. Cutler finally gains control when he lands a right hand on Kingston and then tags in Blake. Blake works Kingston over in the corner momentarily until Kingston reverses the momentum and stomps a mudhole into Blake and then hits him with a running dropkick in the corner.
Kingston sends Blake into the ropes but then ducks his head too early which allows Blake to slam him to the mat by his hair. Blake and Cutler make quick tags and then attempt a double backbreaker on Kingston, but he flips out of it and then sidesteps Cutler sending him shoulder-first into the ring post. Kingston avoids a clothesline from Blake and makes the tag to Big E. Big E hits Blake with his trifecta of belly to belly suplexes and then goes to the outside where he backdrops Cutler on the floor and then hits Cutler with a big splash on the apron which sends us to a commercial break.
When we come back from the break Kingston is working Cutler over with kicks to the ribs and then he tags in Big E and the two of them hit a leapfrog senton splash onto Cutler which gets Big E a 2 count. Cutler rolls to the outside and Big E follows him around the ring until Cutler gets back in the ring and makes a tag to Blake. Big E takes down Blake but Cutler hits him with a jumping knee from behind which sends Big E to the outside and Blake dives out onto him with a tope suicida. Blake rolls Big E back in the ring and goes for the cover but only gets a 2 count. Blake stands on the back of Big E and chokes him across the bottom rope. Blake tags in Cutler and they hit Big E with a double spinebuster which gets a 2 count.
Cutler puts Big E in the heel corner but Big E is able to quickly fight his way out of the corner only for Cutler to regain control with a flurry of punches that have Big E leaning up against the ropes. Cutler tags in Blake and they hit Big E with a double backbreaker for another 2 count. Blake drives his knee into the back of Big E and locks in a reverse chin lock, Big E gets to his feet but Blake hangs on to the chin lock and is on Big E’s back but Big E backs into the corner which breaks Blake’s hold on him. Big E tries to walk over and make a tag, but Blake grabs his singlet and pulls him back into the corner and repeatedly drives his shoulder into Big E’s mid-section. Blake charges at Big E but is caught and hit with the uranage.
We get tags on both ends and Kingston springboards into the ring and takes Cutler down with a clothesline. Kingston is on fire as he hits Cutler with the Boom Drop. Kingston sets up for the Trouble in Paradise but first has to knock Blake off the apron and that distraction allows Cutler time to get back to his feet where he hits Kingston with a double underhook backbreaker for a 2 count. Cutler sets Kingston up top and is looking for a superplex, but Kingston fights him off and sends him crashing down to the canvas and then tries to go for a big stomp but Cutler rolls out of the way and Kingston rolls through and then hits Cutler with the mushroom stomp for a 2 count.
Kingston charges at Cutler and receives a back elbow and then Blake tags himself in and goes up top while Cutler hits Kingston with a backstabber and then Blake comes off the top with an elbow drop while Kingston is still laying across Cutler’s knees and amazingly Kingston is still able to kick out at 2. Blake tags in Cutler and they are looking for another double team move, but Kingston slides out the back when Blake lifts him up and then Kingston sidesteps Blake sending him to the outside and then he backdrops Cutler over the top and to the floor.
Kingston tags in Big E and then with the assistance of Big E he dives out onto Blake and Cutler. Kingston rolls Cutler into the ring and New Day look to hit the Midnight Hour, but before they can Blake saves Cutler and then Big E clotheslines Blake and Cutler crotches Kingston on the top rope. Big E sends Cutler out to the apron and looks to hit the suicide spear, but Cutler side steps and sends Big E flying to the outside. Ryker sends Big E into the ring post while the referee is checking on Blake. Kingston hits a running forearm in the corner and then goes for the corner mounted punches until Cutler catches him in a powerbomb position, Blake makes a blind tag and then Cutler powerbombs Kingston into the knees of Blake. The Forgotten Sons then hit their inverted DDT and diving foot stomp combo to win the match.
Winner: The Forgotten Sons via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
I enjoyed this match a lot better the second time I watched it and I have to say it was one of the best matches The Forgotten Sons have had which is a good thing as it shows they can hang with one of the best teams on the entire WWE roster. As good as the match was it would’ve been 10x better if we didn’t have the constant camera cuts to Morrison and Miz (and his ugly mustard yellow sweater) every twenty seconds, they are on commentary for goodness sake all we need to do is hear them they aren’t going to do anything but sit in a chair and call the action and that is not an action that necessitates constantly cutting away from the action. It was announced on Saturday that New Day will defend their tag titles in a four-way at Money in the Bank against Miz & Morrison, Forgotten Sons, & Lucha House Party so that should be a lot of fun as all four teams can go and it could be a sleeper pick for match of the night.
We go to break and when we come back the announcers hype up Money in the Bank.
Tamina is being interviewed about her match when Sasha Banks walks up and tries to bond with Tamina as she talks about them both being strong kick-ass women who don’t need to rely on cheap shots and as she says this Bayley attempts to attack Tamina from behind, but Tamina saw it coming and grabs Bayley but as she turns her back she is attacked by Sasha. Sasha and Bayley beat down Tamina for a minute until Lacey Evans shows up to even the odds and all four women brawl until they are broken up by the referees and agents.
This was a fine little segment to continue the hype for the Women’s Title match as well as the feud between Lacey and Sasha. Is it just me or does it seem like these brawls between the women come off as a lot more brutal and heated compared to the brawls involving the men?
Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville cut a promo backstage, Sonya says she is going to keep hurting Mandy and tonight Ziggler will do the same to Otis. Ziggler says that people may think he is a bad guy, but in reality, he knows how the world works, and guys like him never win. Ziggler says people cheer Otis because he is just like them. People like Otis believe that the heart matters more than skill and hard work, but he is a real winner and will become a champion once again.
This promo felt like it was really long and neither Ziggler or Sonya said anything of note during it.
Otis makes his way to the ring for our main event which is coming up after the break.
Before we go to our main event we are informed that next week’s show will see a six-man tag match where King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, & Cesaro will take on Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak, & a mystery partner who is most likely to be Elias. We will also see Lacey Evans and Tamina take on Bayley and Sasha Banks as well as a face-to-face between Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt.
Match #5: Otis vs Dolph Ziggler (Money in the Bank Qualifying Match)
Otis takes down a charging Ziggler with a body attack that sends Ziggler to the outside of the ring. Ziggler slides back in the ring and evades a charging Otis and then tries to take him down with a single leg, but Otis doesn’t move and instead throws Ziggler across the ring and then hits him with a delayed vertical suplex for a 2 count. Otis goes over to pick up Ziggler, but Ziggler kicks him in the leg and then lands some punches. Ziggler tries to slam Otis’s head into the turnbuckle but Otis blocks it and sends Ziggler into the turnbuckle instead. Otis hits a big slam on Ziggler that gets him a 2 count.
Ziggler tries once again to gain control of the match but Otis catches Ziggler on a dropkick attempt and catapults him into the middle turnbuckle and Ziggler sells it like a champ. Ziggler rolls to the outside only for Otis to go out after him and roll him back into the ring moments later. Ziggler tries to crawl away but Otis grabs him by the tights and then hits him with a belly to back suplex which gets a 2 count. Otis charges at Ziggler in the corner, but Ziggler sidesteps sending Otis into the ring post, and to the outside, Ziggler goes outside and shoves Otis into the barricade and this sends us to a commercial.
We come back from commercial to see Ziggler raking at the eyes of Otis.and then he scrubs Otis’s face across the top rope. Otis tries to make a comeback but is taken down with a dropkick and then is hit with a headbutt followed by another dropkick and this has Otis reeling. Ziggler applies a reverse chin lock and Otis’s face is as red as a tomato but he is able to get back to his feet only for Ziggler to jump on his back and apply a sleeper until Otis is able to throw him off. Otis starts to Hulk up and takes Ziggler down with a body attack and then charges at him in the corner, but Ziggler meets him with a back elbow which stuns Otis for a second but then he is able to catch Ziggler when he charges at him and drive him into the corner and the impact sends Ziggler falling to the mat.
Otis does the Caterpillar but before he can hit the elbow Ziggler rolls out to the apron, Otis goes over to grab him and bring him back into the ring, but Ziggler snaps Otis’s throat across the top rope. Ziggler goes for the rocker dropper, but Otis catches him in mid-air and then sits him down and this gives Ziggler a chance to go back to raking Otis’s eyes and then he hits him with the Zig Zag but Otis is able to get his shoulder up at the last second. Ziggler slowly gets to his feet and then calls for some Sweet Chin Music, but Otis catches him and suplexes him across the ring. Otis hits the Caterpillar and the elbow drop and that is enough to finish the match.
Winner: Otis via Pinfall Match Rating: **3/4
The show ends with Otis staring at the briefcase hanging above the ring.
This was a fun match where Otis was in control for most of the match and Ziggler bumped all over the place for him. I’m looking at the field in the two Money in the Bank matches and I feel pretty confident that the women’s match will be won by someone on the Raw roster which means it’s highly likely that someone from SmackDown could win the one for the men and as over as Otis is I wouldn’t count him out when it comes to winning the briefcase. I can hear the pops now (once WWE gets back in arenas with fans) when they tease an Otis cash in it could lead to some really fun moments.
I enjoyed this week’s show a lot more than last week as it felt like they did a better job of building to Money in the Bank and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they had more time to build up the matches rather than dedicating the last half hour to two middle-aged men telling bad jokes like we got last week. After not having a segment involving Mandy, Otis, Sonya, or Dolph last week it was nice to see that a good portion of the show was centered around them as that is (and has been for quite a while) the most entertaining story on SmackDown. It was nice to see The Forgotten Sons who are the new team on the block have a good showing against the tag champs. I also enjoyed the match between Corbin and Daniel Bryan that kicked off the show.
That’s it for this week, be sure to join me next week when I cover the go-home show for Money in the Bank where two people will literally climb that corporate ladder.