SmackDown Report for 5/22/20

SmackDown on Fox Episode #34
SmackDown Episode # 1,083
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center

We open the show with a video for Memorial Day weekend and then we go into our intro video. We go into the PC where the announcers hype up tonight’s show including the champion vs champion match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair. 

We then go to the ring where it’s time for The Dirt Sheet. They start out by ragging on Otis for a bit and then move on to Braun Strowman who they are mad at because he got in their business last week. Miz says it was dumb for Strowman to tag with the guy who has a briefcase that he can cash in against him for his Universal title at any time, Morrison pipes in that it’s just as ridiculous as Becky choosing to have a kid with Seth Rollins and Miz calls him down for saying that. They go on to say that Strowman was replaced in the Wyatt Family by a bunch of puppets, this leads to a Dirt Sheet exclusive where Miz introduces us to some puppets that were rejected by Bray Wyatt but that he still likes more than Braun Strowman. The puppets we are introduced to are “The Lonely Laundry Lass” Shiloh, Dookie the Diaper Boy who is a diaper that only makes fart sounds and has shit coming out of his mouth, and finally, Mandyquin Rose who has the superpower of whispering plans in Otis’s ear to that will trick Strowman into losing the Universal Championship. 

Braun Strowman comes to the ring and is in a good mood and admits their show isn’t that bad. He appreciates them inviting him onto their show, but they tell him he wasn’t booked to be on the show. Strowman says that since he is there they might as well ask him a question, perhaps one about Bray Wyatt and his puppets at Money in the Bank. The Miz can’t believe Strowman wants to talk about Wyatt and then tells him that Wyatt isn’t done with Strowman yet after what Strowman did with the sheep mask at Money in the Bank. Miz talks about everything he went through with Wyatt and says that luckily he had Morrison there to lean on but Strowman won’t be that lucky. Morrison starts hyping up Miz to the point where he gets fired up that Miz tries to get him to stop talking but it isn’t working and eventually Morrison accepts a match on Miz’s behalf to face Braun Strowman and that match is after the break. 

Match #1: The Miz vs Braun Strowman
Miz ducks a lock-up attempt from Strowman and then he jabs Strowman in the face which sends Strowman charging toward Strowman, but Miz uses his speed to lock in a waist lock and then Miz ducks a back elbow from Strowman and lands a series of strikes and this really pisses Strowman off as he grabs Miz by the throat and shoves him into the corner where he lands a big right hand to the body followed by a clubbing blow to the chest. Strowman has words with Morrison and then he whips Miz hard into the corner. Strowman grabs Miz by the trunks as Miz grabs anything he can to escape from the clutches of Strowman but it’s no use as Strowman sends him into the ropes and takes him down with a shoulder block. Strowman looks to be in total control as he sends Miz into the ropes, but Miz stops himself and then low bridges an oncoming Strowman sending him to the outside, Strowman tries to get back up on the apron but Miz hits him with a knee sending him back to the floor. Morrison springs off the barricade and lands a kick to Strowman’s head which has him dazed until Miz comes running at him, Strowman shoves Miz and then charges at him but Miz sidesteps and this sends Strowman crashing into the ring post. 

Strowman rolls into the ring and Miz comes off the top with a springboard ax handle which stuns Strowman so Miz goes for another, but this time Strowman catches him by the throat and throws him up in the powerslam position but Miz rakes his eyes and slides out the back and when Strowman charges at him Miz gets a boot up and then he finally takes Strowman off his feet by hitting him with a running dropkick to the knee. Miz hits a roundhouse kick to the head and then tries for the basement DDT, but Strowman blocks it as he picks Miz up and drives him into the corner and then he biels him across the ring. Strowman hits Miz with an avalanche in the corner and then knocks Morrison off the apron before he can interfere and then tosses Miz across the ring once again with a throw-away suplex. Strowman grabs Miz and hits him with the Powerslam and that is enough to finish the match.
Winner: Braun Strowman via Pinfall   Match Rating: **¼ 

After the match Morrison gets on the mic and challenges Strowman to a handicap match for the Universal Championship at Backlash, Strowman wastes no time in accepting the challenge. 

Outside of the stupid Dookie the Diaper Boy puppet (which was either an idea that Vince came up with himself or creamed his pants over when it was presented to him) that was shown during the Dirt Sheet I enjoyed everything involving Strowman, Miz, & Morrison. I liked how Miz used his own experiences with Wyatt to try and get Strowman to understand that the worst is yet to come from Wyatt. I also got a bit of a laugh at Miz’s reactions when Morrison was talking him into a match with Strowman. I was surprised that for the second week in a row there is no Bray Wyatt appearance as I thought they would start the build to a rematch between Strowman and Wyatt at Backlash, but it looks like we are getting a break from that feud for this PPV as Strowman will be taking on the former tag team champions in a handicap match which end up being a fun match even though it’s obvious that Strowman will be retaining the title. The match itself was fine but nothing too special. 

The commentary goes over the Intercontinental Championship tournament and then AJ Styles makes his way to the ring and as he does we are told that AJ has been traded to SmackDown for future trade considerations down the road.

We cut to a commercial break. 

Match #2: AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
We get a lock up and then both men jockey for control in the corner until they are forced to break by the referee. We get another lockup and Styles grabs a side headlock until Nakamura backs him up into the ropes to force a break and while Styles breaks cleanly Nakamura uses it as a chance to grab a headlock of his own and then he tries to transition into a front face lock but instead goes into a rear waist lock, Styles breaks the hold and puts Nakamura in a hammerlock until Nakamura nails him with a back elbow and locks in his own hammerlock. Styles is able to get out of the hammerlock and go back to the side headlock where Nakamura looks to shoot him into the ropes, but Styles stops on a dime and jabs Nakamura in the throat, so Nakamura gets even by stomping on Styles’ foot. 

Nakamura runs off the ropes and we get a drop-down and leapfrog spot that ends with Styles hitting a picture-perfect dropkick on Nakamura. Styles sends Nakamura into the ropes and this time Nakamura stops and lands a back elbow on Styles who is running toward him. Nakamura tells Styles to “Come On” and when he does Nakamura catches him by surprise with a knee to the gut. Styles and Nakamura trade forearms in the middle of the ring but when Nakamura goes for the big forearm Styles ducks and hits an enziguri which staggers Nakamura for a moment which allows Styles to go for a suplex but Nakamura slides out the back and delivers a push kick that sends Styles into the corner. Nakamura runs toward Styles and when Styles tries to get his knees up Nakamura catches them and swings them to the outside which puts Styles in position for Nakamura to hit the sliding German suplex and that takes us to a commercial break.

We come back from the break to see Nakamura laying in kicks to the chest of Styles until Styles catches one of his legs but Nakamura pulls his leg away before Styles can do any damage to it. There is another forearm exchange that leads to Styles trying to hit his combo strikes, but Nakamura ducks the spinning back fist, and then Styles ducks one kick only to be hit with a spinning wheel kick and then Styles immediately fires back with a Pele kick and now both men are down. Both men slowly get back to their feet and then Styles takes Nakamura down with three clotheslines followed by an Ushigoroshi which gets a 2 count. 

Styles picks up Nakamura and calls for the Styles Clash, but Nakamura drives him into the corner and then goes for a running knee but Styles catches him and rolls into a Calf Crusher which gets broken when Nakamura gets to the ropes. Styles goes over to Nakamura and grabs his leg, but Nakamura catches him with a kick and then he tries to hit Styles with a sliding knee but Styles is able to move out of the way and then hits Nakamura with a basement forearm for a 2 count. Styles picks up Nakamura but out of nowhere Nakamura grabs him and hits the landslide for a 2 count. Nakamura looks to set up for the back suplex but Styles batters him with repeated elbows to block the move. Nakamura kicks Styles and then comes off the second rope with a diving Kinshasa and then hits the regular Kinshasa which Styles kicks out of at the last second.

Nakamura goes for another Kinshasa but Styles catches him with a rollup but Nakamura kicks out and at the same time locks in a triangle choke, but is able to escape by hitting him with a one-armed Styles Clash that gets a 2 count. Once both men get to their feet Styles charges at Nakamura only to get backdropped onto the apron, Styles hits a forearm and then looks to springboard, but as he goes to jump up Nakamura connects with a kick and then Nakamura goes for a running knee, but Styles sidesteps him, lands a kick, and then springboards up and hits the Phenomenal Forearm which is enough to pick up the win and advance into the semi-finals of the tournament.
Winner: AJ Styles via Pinfall   Match Rating: ***¼ 

This was a really good match which is to be expected any time these two get in the ring with each other as even their worst matches are still good. If they had been given four to five more minutes they could’ve really done something special and had one of those great TV matches that people will remember for years to come.

So it appears that Styles is once again back on SmackDown which means he is back in the house that he built. I really don’t see why WWE even bothers doing the brand split because they can’t go longer than six months without screwing it up as now they have this brand invitation crap and on top of that Styles gets traded to SmackDown and instead of actually announcing the other name(s) as part of that trade they just say that it was for future trade considerations which means they will probably never mention the trade ever again. It seems like after six months or so the creative run out of ideas for feuds and stories using the rosters they are given so they take the easy way out by coming up with a convoluted rule that allows people from other brands to show up and thus defeats the purpose for a brand split in the first place. 

We get a recap video of everything that happened last week with Bayley, Sasha Banks, & Charlotte Flair.

We cut to the back where Bayley and Sasha are hyped up for tonight and then Bayley tells Sasha that she would prefer if she stays in the back tonight because people don’t think she can win without Sasha being in her corner and this sends us to another commercial.

Match #3: Charlotte Flair vs Bayley
We get a lock-up with a bit of struggle until Charlotte knees Bayley in the gut, Charlotte sends Bayley face-first into the turnbuckle and then looks to hit her with a splash in the corner but Bayley moves and slams Charlotte to the mat by her hair. Bayley mocks the Flair strut as we see Sasha watching from backstage. We get another lockup and Charlotte goes behind with a waist lock until Bayley steps on her foot and reverses into her own waist lock, but Charlotte breaks that hold by hitting Bayley with a back elbow. Charlotte goes over to get Bayley but gets taken down with a double leg and then Bayley tries to pin Charlotte while using the ropes as leverage but the referee sees it and doesn’t count the pinfall. Bayley goes over to Charlotte and gets the same treatment but Bayley gets her shoulder up instantly and backs away from Charlotte. 

Charlotte lands a big kick on Bayley only for Bayley to reverse an Irish whip moments later and Charlotte does the signature Flair flip to get herself onto the apron where she sidesteps Bayley and delivers a knee to Bayley’s chest. Bayley rolls out to the floor and as Charlotte goes to get into the ring Bayley grabs her foot and sweeps it out from under her sending Charlotte crashing down onto the apron. Bayley wants to baseball slide Charlotte off the apron but Charlotte sees it coming and rolls out of the ring to her feet where she hits Bayley with a clothesline. Charlotte throws Bayley over the barricade and then walks over to grab Michael Cole’s headset where she calls Sasha Banks out and this sends us to break. 

We come back from commercial to see that Charlotte has Bayley grounded with a rear chin lock and as Bayley tries to get to her feet Charlotte slams her down to the mat. Charlotte sends Bayley hard into the corner and when she walks out of the corner she is taken down with a chop. Charlotte drags Bayley toward the corner and then goes up for the moonsault, but Bayley gets to her feet in time and pulls Charlotte’s leg out from under her which causes Charlotte to land awkwardly on her leg. Bayley charges at her but Charlotte gets a boot up and then she starts to limp around showing signs that her leg is hurt. Charlotte looks to hit a running big boot on Bayley, but Bayley low bridges the top rope sending Charlotte out to the floor. 

Charlotte tries to drag Bayley to the floor with her but Bayley is hanging on for dear life to the bottom rope and then kicks Charlotte sending her back-first into the ring post. Bayley goes for her sliding baseball slide but Charlotte moves and decks Bayley with a forearm to the face. Charlotte attempts to slam Bayley on the outside, but Bayley escapes and shoves Charlotte into the barricade and then follows that up by driving her into the ring apron. Bayley slides back in the ring and Charlotte closely follows, Bayley hits a flurry of clubbing blows to the back and then chokes Charlotte on the middle rope. Charlotte makes a momentary comeback with a back elbow and a rollup but Bayley takes her back down with a clothesline. After a moment of struggling Bayley puts Charlotte in a chin lock which Charlotte fights out of with shots to the midsection, Bayley runs off the ropes and goes for a crossbody but Charlotte catches her and hits her with a fallaway slam. Both women get back to their feet and then Charlotte blocks a punch and comes back with several right hands to Bayley. Bayley finally avoids a punch and goes for a running back elbow in the corner, but Charlotte catches her and hits her with a one-armed backbreaker and then slings Bayley face-first into the middle turnbuckle. 

Charlotte is feeling confident as she talks some trash to Bayley and then climbs up to the top where she goes for the moonsault, fortunately, Charlotte sees Bayley moving out of the way and has time to land on her feet and then she takes Bayley’s head off with a running big boot which gets her a 2 count. Charlotte stomps on the leg of Bayley repeatedly and then goes to wrap it in the ropes but as she does she leaves herself open for Bayley to kick her repeatedly with the other leg which sends Charlotte out to the apron when Charlotte goes to grab Bayley she gets hung up across the middle rope. Bayley gets Charlotte back in the ring and drags her to the corner where she connects with a running knee to the side of Charlotte’s head. Bayley goes up top and goes for the Macho Man diving elbow drop, but Charlotte gets her knees up which sends Bayley into a hysteric fit of pain. Charlotte grabs the leg and takes Bayley down and then locks in a Lion Tamer until Bayley is able to use her leg strength to counter the hold into a pinfall attempt which only gets a 2 count. 

Bayley dodges a charging Flair and sends her head-first into the middle turnbuckle. Bayley goes back up top and this time she connects with the elbow drop but that is still not enough as Charlotte kicks out once again. Bayley is starting to get frustrated and she starts yelling at Michael Cole. Bayley starts talking trash and delivers a chop to Charlotte and this fires Charlotte up as she tells Bayley to give her more and that is exactly what she does, but the more she does it the more Charlotte gets fired up. Bayley actually goes to put the Figure Four on Charlotte but gets a right hand to the face for her troubles. Charlotte then gives Bayley some payback as she starts chopping the shit out of Bayley. Both women struggle to gain control and when Charlotte goes for an O’Connor roll Bayley reverses it and grabs the ropes which is enough to keep “The Queen” down for the count. 
Winner: Bayley via Pinfall   Match Rating: ***½ 

I was definitely not expecting this match to be as great as it was, the fact that this match was the best match of the night on a show that also has AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura is pretty amazing. These two didn’t hold anything back as they were beating the snot out of each other with those chops. 

We come back from the break to Bayley and Sasha celebrating Bayley’s win over Charlotte.

Match #4: Sonya Deville & Dolph Ziggler vs Mandy Rose & Otis
Mandy has a new look as she has ditched her usual ring gear for something a little more blue-collar as she is decked out in denim which includes daisy dukes. 

It looks like the ladies are going to start out the match until Otis comes in and says he wants Ziggler and he gets exactly what he wants as Ziggler steps into the ring. Ziggler goes for a single leg takedown, but Otis blocks it and just throws Ziggler over to the side. Ziggler runs toward Otis and gets caught with a spinning slam and then Otis avalanches him in the corner. Ziggles runs over to the ropes to prevent Otis from attacking him and then he makes a tag to Sonya Deville. Sonya drives Mandy into the corner and delivers a couple of shoulders to the midsection and then talks some trash to Mandy only for Mandy to fire back as she comes out of the corner with a Thesz press. While the ladies are in the ring Ziggler runs over to the babyface corner and yanks Otis off the apron, Otis goes to slam Ziggler but he slides out the back and then sends Otis into the steel steps and then we go to a commercial break. 

We come back to Sonya in control as she has a body scissors and chin lock locked in on Mandy and then she rubs her forearm into Mandy’s face, Mandy leans back to try and get a surprise win but Sonya kicks out and this breaks the body scissors. Sonya then delivers a kick to Mandy’s chest as we are looking at a replay of what happened during the commercial where Otis tells Mandy to get back in the ring despite her being more concerned about him as he is laid out at ringside. Sonya is toying around with Mandy and then she delivers a series of knee strikes to Mandy’s chest. Sonya has Mandy in the corner and delivers a couple of punches before Mandy starts to fire back with some shots of her own and then she goes for a rollup but Sonya kicks out.

Sonya lands a running kick on Mandy to regain control and then she starts rubbing her forearm into Mandy’s face once again while taunting Otis who has made his way back up to the apron. It looks like Mandy may be able to make a tag as she hits a chin breaker on Sonya, but Sonya quickly recovers and delivers another kick to Mandy. Sonya hits kicks that look like Bryan’s Yes Kicks while at the same time she is taunting Otis. Sonya runs off the ropes and Mandy hits her with the bicycle knee which finally gives Mandy the opportunity to make the tag and now the guys are in the match. 

Otis comes in and takes Ziggler down with a clothesline followed by a flapjack. Otis hits an avalanche in the corner but when he goes for a second one Ziggler back elbows him, but that wouldn’t stop Otis as he catches a running Ziggler and drives him back into the corner and then hits that avalanche he was looking for a minute earlier. Otis looks like he may be getting ready to finish off Ziggler, but before he can, Ziggler tags in Sonya which stops Otis’s momentum. Mandy comes in and hits Sonya with a couple of clotheslines and a forearm shot while Otis tackles Ziggler on the outside. Mandy biels Sonya into the corner and then hits her with two running knee strikes, but this wouldn’t be enough as Sonya kicks out at 2. Mandy sets up for the Bed of Roses but Sonya counters and hits Mandy with a knee to the face and then she hits a running knee to the back of Mandy’s head and that is enough to pick up the win.
Winner: Sonya Deville & Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall    Match Rating: **½ 

After the match Otis goes to check on Mandy and is then hit with a superkick from Ziggler which leaves the happy couple laid out in the ring as the heels laugh it up as they walk up the ramp. 

This was a really fun match and it was pretty clear that Sonya was the star of the match which is how it should be as she has a very bright future to the point where once this feud with Mandy is over I would place her in the title picture. Given how the match ended I am guessing we get some kind of rematch between these four at Backlash.

We go to a promo from Jeff Hardy where he talks about how the Intercontinental Championship means a lot to him as it was the first title he ever won on his own and if he could win it again it would bring things full circle. 

We get another backstage promo from The Forgotten Sons but I didn’t catch exactly what they said but you can use your imagination to figure it out.

We get a backstage promo from miz and Morrison who talk about their challenge to Strowman at Backlash and they say that they will make his life a living hell. They then do their little song and dance, they make Renee Young do the “ho ho” part of their song.

We get a video recap of the Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy feud over the past several weeks.

Match #5: Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy (WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
They lock up and Sheamus pushes Hardy into the corner and then won’t break cleanly so the referee backs him up. They circle the ring once again and this time Sheamus picks up Hardy and drives him into the corner where he goes for a clothesline but Hardy ducks and grabs a side headlock and then takes Sheamus over to the mat. Sheamus is able to squeeze out of the hold and grab a hammerlock but Hardy quickly reverses and goes back to the side headlock so this time he shoots Hardy into the ropes, but Hardy stops himself so Sheamus goes over and hits him with a knee to the gut and then chokes him on the bottom rope. Sheamus sends Hardy into the ropes but ducks his head too early so Hardy kicks him and then hits a running elbow and then runs off the ropes for a second time but this time he is met with a running back elbow from Sheamus.

Hardy rolls out to the apron and Sheamus goes over and picks him up, Sheamus takes too much time to taunt Hardy which gives Hardy the time to recover and hang Sheamus throat-first over the top rope. Hardy then backdrops Sheamus to the floor and follows up by hitting him with a wrecking ball dropkick through the ropes. Hardy dives off the apron but gets caught by Sheamus and is driven back-first into the ring post. Sheamus powers Hardy over his head and press slams him onto the announce table. Sheamus walks over to Michael Cole and starts yelling at him about putting Hardy over the past four weeks when it should’ve been him and this takes us to commercial. 

We come back to Sheamus cranking away at a reverse chin lock as he talks trash to him the entire time, Hardy elbows out of the move but is taken right back down when he is slammed to the mat by his hair. Sheamus comes off the ropes with a jumping knee drop followed by several standing knee drops and with the last one he presses down all his weight on the side of Hardy’s face. Hardy tries to make a comeback with several strikes but Sheamus cuts him right back down with a knee to the gut. Sheamus goes for a short-arm clothesline and while Hardy is able to duck the first one he wouldn’t be so lucky with the second one as he gets his head taken off with it. Sheamus crouches down and starts taunting Hardy yet again saying he should’ve stayed home where he has no responsibilities.

Hardy gets fired up after listening to Sheamus’s tirade and starts to make a comeback with punches and a mule kick. Hardy hits a charging Sheamus with a back elbow and then hits him with the Whisper in the Wind but that only gets him a 1 count. Sheamus rolls out to the apron but when Hardy reaches out to grab him Sheamus kicks him which is enough for Sheamus to have the opportunity to hit Hardy with three consecutive Irish Curse backbreakers. Sheamus throws Hardy out to the apron and delivers the 10 Beats of the Bodhran. Sheamus has a smile on his face as this has been an easy match for him so far and then he starts jogging in place. Sheamus brings Hardy back into the ring and goes for a back suplex but Hardy lands on his feet and fires away with right hands and then dodges a charging Hardy sending Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring post. Hardy grabs Sheamus and hits him with an inverted atomic drop, double leg drop, and finishes up with a basement dropkick, but this is still not enough to keep Sheamus down as he kicks out at 2. 
Hardy signals for the Twist of Fate, but Sheamus escapes and rolls out of the ring where she shoves Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring post and then he dives off the barricade with a clothesline. Hardy rolls Sheamus back into the ring and goes for the Swanton Bomb, but Sheamus gets his knees up and goes for a cover but Hardy is able to kick out at 2. Sheamus hits a running knee strike which gets another 2 count. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick but Hardy ducks so Sheamus lifts him up but Hardy counters into a rollup that catches Sheamus off guard and is enough to count the Celtic Warrior’s shoulders to the mat for a 3 count.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via Pinfall   Match Rating:  **¾

The show ends with Sheamus pissed off and Hardy celebrating his win.

This was a good match and it’s nice to see both guys back in the ring and they both looked good. I fully expect Sheamus cost Hardy in his match against Bryan in the semi-finals of the tournament so that this feud can continue.

This was a really fun jam-packed episode of SmackDown and unlike a lot of jam-packed episodes all of the action happened within the confines of a match. None of the matches tonight were bad and all of them felt important as all of the matches either had stakes or were paying off storylines that have been going on for the past month. The fact that we got two 3+ star matches on one two-hour TV show is pretty special. I really enjoyed everything on this show from top to bottom.

That’s it for me this week I’ll be back next week where we will get the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament where Bryan will face Hardy and Elias will face Styles.

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