SmackDown on Fox Episode #37
SmackDown Episode # 1,086
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center
We open the show with a recap video of the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus saga over the past couple of weeks and then we go to the ring where Renee Young will be mediating a contract signing between Hardy and Sheamus and in addition a doctor is also there. Sheamus and Hardy come to the ring, but Sheamus refuses to sign the contract unless Hardy takes a piss test because he will not step into the ring with a junkie. Hardy says he is tired of all of the crap and he says that although he has urges to go back down the wrong road he wants to be a positive force for anybody and everybody that is going through the same struggle that he has been through. Hardy says he will go through all the red tape that Sheamus wants him to just so he can get his hands on Sheamus
Hardy goes behind a curtain and moments later the doctor comes out with a jar of urine. Sheamus continues to talk trash to Hardy and asks Hardy if he wants to apologize in advance to his wife and kids, but Hardy says that all he wants to say is “It’s better to be pissed off than it is to be pissed off” and then Hardy throws the piss onto Sheamus which leads to Sheamus losing his mind and choking as if the piss went down his throat.
Oh man this feud sucks so bad and it keeps getting worse, if Vince ever paid attention to TNA I wouldn’t be surprised if he had Hardy reenact the match against Sting at Victory Road 2011 that’s just how bad this feud has gotten. I have to say that coming from a guy that has a history of having to go to doctors and give urine samples the amount that was in that jar was at least 3x more than what is needed for a sample. This entire segment was meant to entertain a party of one or two in that of Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard. I hope this feud ends on Sunday but it probably won’t because terrible feuds like this has to last at least 3-4 months.
We come back from break to Sheamus washing his face and gargling mouthwash, the doctor comes into the room and informs Sheamus that Hardy’s drug test came back negative and Sheamus loses his mind once again.
Match #1: The New Day vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
As New Day enters the ring they take a knee and raise their fist in solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and they also have the names of African Americans murdered by cops on their armbands.
Cesaro and Kingston start the match with a lockup and then Kingston goes behind but Cesaro grabs the arm and wrenches on it but Kingston is able to spin out of it and sweep the leg of Cesaro and then he delivers a standing splash for a 1 count. Kingston reverses a whip attempt and tries to leapfrog Cesaro but he catches him with a one-armed backbreaker and then he tags Nakamura. Nakamura gets Kingston in the corner and chokes him with his boot and then gives Kingston some good vibrations. Nakamura charges toward Kingston from the opposite corner but he gets caught with the mushroom stomp from Kingston for a 2 count. Kingston clotheslines Nakamura out of the ring and then makes a tag to Big E who launches Kingston into the air and onto Nakamura at ringside. Kingston gets up and turns around right into a big boot from Cesaro and then Big E takes Cesaro down with a clothesline. Big E throws Nakamura back into the ring but when he goes to get in himself his leg is grabbed by Cesaro and this allows Nakamura enough time to hit Big E with a kick that sends Big E to the floor and then Cesaro takes him down with an uppercut and this sends us to break.
We come back to Cesaro working over the arm of Big E but Big E quickly gets back to his feet and goes to fight back but Cesaro shoves him into the heel corner where he hits him with a running European uppercut and tags in Nakamura. Cesaro lays Big E across the top and Nakamura hits him with the running knee which gets him a 2 count. Nakamura tags Cesaro back in and he goes back to work on the arm of Big E, but Big E gets back to his feet only to be sent into the corner where he catches a charging Cesaro with a back elbow and then a side belly to belly suplex. We get a tag on both ends and Kingston hits Nakamura with a springboard ax handle and then a couple of running chops and a dropkick followed by a leaping clothesline. Kingston hits the Boom Drop and then signals for the Trouble in Paradise but Cesaro jumps on the apron as a distraction and Nakamura tries to capitalize on this distraction but Kingston counters and hits Nakamura with the SOS for a 2 count when Cesaro breaks up the pin.
Big E takes Cesaro and himself over the top with a clothesline and then Kingston catches Nakamura with an overhead kick and goes up top, but Nakamura cuts him off and climbs up looking for a superplex but Kingston fights him off and sends him back down to the mat, Kingston dives off the top with a crossbody but Nakamura catches him with a knee and then rolls Kingston up with a small package for the win.
Winner: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
This was a fun little sprint by these guys and I guess since Cesaro and Nakamura beat the champs they will most likely get a match at Backlash in a match that is added at the last minute. So happy to see that New Day and even Keith Lee earlier this week on NXT are allowed to wear stuff related to everything going on with Black Lives Matter as I figured Vince wouldn’t allow them to do that but I guess since he is in deep shit for other things he has done recently both regarding Covid-19 and the XFL he doesn’t want people pissed at him for yet another reason.
After the match, we cut backstage to Otis who is wearing a blindfold because Tucker wants to sharpen his other senses so he tests his hearing and smell and then Mandy walks up and kisses him and she wishes him luck tonight and then Tucker has to get Otis to refocus the strategy.
I liked the interaction between Otis and Mandy more in this short little segment backstage than I did the pool video from a couple of weeks ago.
We hear some racket in the background and as the camera pans over we see Sheamus and Hardy are brawling around the arena they are quickly broken up by the referees and agents as we go to commercial.
This quick little brawl was the best thing from Sheamus and Hardy the entire night.
We come back from commercial and we go to a video package that features the history of the Intercontinental Championship.
Match #2: AJ Styles vs Daniel Bryan (WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final Match)
They lock up and Bryan goes right to work on the arm as he wrenches on it but Styles spins out of it and turns the tables on Bryan as he wrenches on his arm, Bryan is eventually able to escape and he takes Styles down with a dropkick. Bryan calls for a knuckle lock but Styles only teases doing it as he kicks Bryan in the gut and then goes for a suplex but Bryan blocks it so Styles just cross chops him in the throat. Bryan sidesteps a charging Styles which sends him flying out of the ring and then Bryan takes him down with a tope suicida and this takes us to the first commercial break of the match.
We come back from the break to see Bryan in control as he has Styles on the mat and is working over the arm of Styles as he has it hammer locked behind Styles’s back and then he drives his knees into it, Bryan grabs the other arm and pulls it back and then he steps on it which causes Styles’ shoulders to be on the mat for a count of 1. Bryan continues to go after the arm but Styles back into the ropes and then shoots Bryan off into the ropes where after a drop-down and a leapfrog Styles levels Bryan with a picture-perfect dropkick. Styles hits Bryan with some right hands and then starts chopping him but Bryan comes back with some uppercuts and then he snapmares him into the center of the ring where he attempts to lock in a chin lock but Styles is able to transition into an armbar and then an arm wringer that takes Bryan down. Styles goes back to the arm but he gets backed into the ropes and this time Bryan shoots him off into the ropes so he can connect with a kitchen sink.
Bryan decides to change up his strategy as he turns Styles over to his back and locks the legs for an attempted Romero Special but Bryan’s arm is giving him trouble so he just stomps the knees of Styles into the mat instead. Bryan then attempts to lock in the Regal Stretch but once again the arm is preventing him from locking it in like he wants so he switches to an Indian deathlock and falls back which causes pain to the legs of Styles, Bryan then grabs the arms while he still has the deathlock applies and rolls Styles over for a pin attempt but Styles kicks out at 1. Styles quickly gets over to the ropes before Bryan has a chance to do anything else to him. Bryan hits a couple of uppercuts and then a series of kicks in the corner, Bryan looks to hit his running corner dropkick but Styles catches him mid-way across the ring with a running sunset flip pin for 2 and this leads to Bryan and Styles trading pinfall attempts but none of them are enough to finish the match. Styles takes Bryan down with a headlock takeover but Bryan head scissors out of it so Styles flips over to try and get a pin but Bryan bridges up and tries for a backslide but breaks it when he sees Styles isn’t going over and then both men collide with each other and this sends us to the second commercial break of the match.
When we come back Bryan has Styles in a top wrist lock and then he slams the arm of Styles down onto his shoulder a couple of times and then looks for an arm wringer but Styles counters it into a schoolboy for a 2 count. Bryan tries to transition into the Yes Lock but Styles isn’t making it easy and eventually he works his way into control and catapults Bryan over the top and to the floor which gives him a minute to breathe and then he attempts a pescado onto Bryan but Bryan moves and then sends Styles shoulder first into the ring post. Bryan puts Styles’ arm on the ring apron and stomps on the elbow. Bryan throws Styles back into the ring and goes back to work on the arm as he bends back the wrist and then hits an arm wringer. Bryan stomps on the arm once again and then puts Styles in a hammerlock and then he pulls back on the arm and then underhooks the arms of Styles for a pinning combination but Styles gets out of it before the referee even counts to 1.
Styles tries to roll out to the apron but Bryan grabs him and whips him into the corner and then goes for a running dropkick in the corner but Styles is able to move out of the way sending Bryan crashing down to the mat. Styles slowly gets back to his feet and kicks the leg of Bryan and then he slams the leg onto the ring apron. Both men are feeling the punishment they have been through during this match and are slow to capitalize when their opponent is down. Styles drops a knee onto Bryan’s leg and then ties the leg up in the ropes and just leaves him there until the referee goes to check on him and that is when Styles kicks the leg a couple of times. Styles grabs Bryan’s leg and uses it to help pull Bryan to his feet but then he takes too long to follow up so he gets hit with an enziguri.
Bryan gets to his feet and runs toward Styles in the corner but eats a boot and then Styles goes for a springboard but Bryan cuts him off sending Styles crashing chest first into the top rope. Bryan puts Styles in the corner and delivers a flurry of kicks and then he sits Styles up top so that he can hit him with a super hurricanrana. Bryan hits Styles with the Yes Kicks but when he goes for the roundhouse Styles ducks and hits a flurry of strikes but when he goes for the clothesline Bryan catches him with a kick to the gut but Styles is still able to take Bryan down with a clothesline and this sends us to our third commercial of the match.
We come back to both men trading strikes until Styles kicks the bad leg of Bryan which causes him to wince in pain, Styles runs toward Bryan but is backdropped over the top rope and to the floor. Bryan looks to dive out onto Styles but he ends up getting cut off with a kick from Styles. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan catches him and puts him in the Danielson special but Styles is able to roll out of it and lock in a Calf Crusher and just when it seems like Bryan will reach the ropes he is pulled back into the center of the ring. Bryan rolls through it and locks an armbar back on Styles. Styles tries to roll toward Bryan to escape the move but instead, he gets himself caught in a triangle choke, Styles goes to lift Bryan but Bryan grabs Styles’ leg to block that from happening and releases the choke on Styles. Styles kicks the arm of Styles and then hits a big roundhouse but that only gets him a 2 count.
Bryan sets Styles up on the top rope and it looks like he is attempting to set up a back suplex, but Styles elbows him repeatedly sending Bryan crashing down to the mat. Styles is exhausted and can’t follow up but Bryan jumps back to his feet and joins Styles up top once again and gets elbowed back down once again as well. Bryan joins Styles up top for the third time and this time he repeatedly hits him with clubbing blows to the back and then finally he is able to hit the back suplex off the top and this sends us to the fourth commercial break of the match.
We come back to Bryan hitting uppercuts and kicks in the corner to Styles and then backflips off the turnbuckle but when he lands he tweaks the weakened knee that has been worked on during the match and this allows Styles time to hit his moonsault into the inverted DDT out of the corner for a 2 count. Both men are down and it takes them a minute before they can make it back to their feet but Styles is up first and he lifts Bryan up for the ushigoroshi but Bryan elbows Styles in the side of the head repeatedly, Bryan goes for a clothesline but Styles ducks and hits him with the Pele kick and follows up with a brainbuster but Bryan is somehow able to get a shoulder up before the 3 count.
Styles grabs Bryan and looks to set up for the Styles Clash but Bryan double legs him and covers him with a jackknife pin but Styles kicks out. Styles ducks another attempted clothesline and goes for another Pele but Bryan catches the leg and locks in an ankle lock, Styles tries to get to his feet so he can throw Bryan off but Bryan hits him with a bridging German suplex for a 2 count. Bryan holds on to the waist lock as both men get back to their feet and then Styles reverses and hits his own bridging German suplex for another near fall. Bryan breaks the grip of Styles and hits another bridging German for another near fall. Bryan sets Styles up and drives his elbow into the side of Styles’ neck and then he applies the Yes Lock and Styles fights with everything in him to reach the ropes and he finally touches it with his foot which is enough to force Bryan to break the hold.
Bryan is fired up as he grabs both arms of Styles and starts stomping his head in. Bryan goes to the corner and sets up for the running knee and as he runs at Styles he is caught in midair by Styles and hit with a Styles Clash but Styles can’t go for the cover right away. Styles slowly rolls out to the apron and waits for Bryan to get to his feet and once he does Styles hits him with the Phenomenal Forearm and that is finally enough to put Bryan away and become the new Intercontinental Champion.
Winner: AJ Styles via Pinfall Match Rating: ****½
AJ Styles is interviewed after the match and he says that he is the best WWE Champion the fans have ever seen and he is Phenomenal. We see Bryan still holding his leg while on the floor.
Whew boy, this was one hell of a wrestling match, these two tore the roof off of the PC. These two showed the young PC students in attendance how to put on a wrestling clinic. I can’t remember the last time a match in WWE had as much limb work in it as this one did and the transitions from one submission to the next were just fantastic, both men sold all of the worked on body parts perfectly. Another thing I loved about this match was how they sold being totally exhausted in the late stages of the match and how that exhaustion cost them opportunities to capitalize when their opponent was down. There is nothing about this match that I can complain about as it was perfection and needless to say Styles and Bryan have redeemed themselves after having that stinker match at Royal Rumble 2019.
I have two questions, the first question is why did this match not main event the show seeing as nothing on the show after it would come anywhere close to topping it. My second and even more important question is why would you run this match (which was taped a week or so ago so they knew how good it was) two days before you have a match that you’re hyping as “The Greatest Match Ever” if saying Edge vs Randy Orton could be the greatest match ever wasn’t the dumbest thing ever before it definitely is now after this match aired.
We get a recap of Miz and Morrison pulling stupid pranks on Strowman last week.
We go to a promo from Strowman who says that after Sunday nobody will be able to help Miz and Morrison after what he does to them. Strowman says he likes Otis but he is not in the mood to play games tonight and he has no problem taking care of Heavy Machinery if he needs to.
I like that Strowman is aware that Otis could cash in his briefcase and isn’t letting his guard down just because Otis is a fellow babyface.
We see the ring crew surrounding the ring with balloons as the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions will celebrate their title win after the break.
We come back and Sasha and Bayley come out to the ring and Bayley talks about how it was lonely at the top but she isn’t lonely anymore as now her best friend Sasha is on the top with her. They talk about how they are role models and not liars and they won the tag titles back just like they said they would. They talk about how the titles represent friendship and together they will only get better because they are unstoppable. Bayley then says she has a poem that she wrote for Sasha but before she can read it Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross make their way out to the ring.
Bliss says she is cool with them celebrating their win but reading poetry is a step too far and this leads to an argument between the two teams until the IIconics pop up on the screen. The IIconics talk about how they are going to win the tag titles on Sunday because they have wins over both of the other teams and then they tell Sasha and Bayley not to turn around but they do it anyway and get attacked by Alexa and Nikki and thrown out of the ring to end the segment.
This was a pretty blah segment as it was nothing special and did little to nothing to add interest for the tag title match on Sunday.
Miz and Morrison are interviewed backstage and they say they are tired of Braun Strowman’s threats so they are answering him with a new music video, but after a minute the video messes up and we go straight to Braun Strowman’s entrance (which now has train noises and steam coming up from the stage) for the main event match as we go to commercial.
We come back and see a video hyping up Matt Riddle and we are then shown that he will be making his SmackDown debut next week.
Match #3: Braun Strowman & Heavy Machinery vs The Miz, John Morrison, & Dolph Ziggler
Otis and Ziggler (who is wearing an LGBTQ+ Pride scarf around his neck) start the match out but before Otis can even touch Ziggler he tags Miz and bails out of the ring and Miz looks at him confused. Otis runs over and biels Miz into the ring and then slams him to the mat before tagging in Tucker. Heavy Machinery hits Miz with a double headbutt and then Tucker hits a headbutt of his own which sends Miz rolling into the heel corner where he tags in Morrison. Tucker picks the leg of Morrison but gets hit with a mule kick. Morrison grabs a side headlock but Tucker shoots him into the ropes where he goes for a big back body drop but Morrison lands on his feet and goes for the chuck kick but Tucker catches him when he springs off the ropes with a side belly to belly for a 2 count. Tucker reaches out his hand to make a tag to Strowman but before he can Morrison quickly crawls over and makes a tag to Ziggler as payback for him tagging in Miz earlier.
Ziggler goes behind with a waist lock but receives a back elbow and then Tucker tags in Otis and then Strowman immediately tags himself in so that Heavy Machinery can whip him into Ziggler who was in the corner, Strowman then hits Ziggler with a clubbing blow to the chest. Strowman tags in Tucker who lifts Ziggler up for a delayed vertical suplex, but before he can slam him down King Corbin pops up on the tron and tells the cameraman to follow him, Corbin walks up on Mandy Rose and this leads to Otis running to the back. Corbin asks Mandy if Otis taking his crown last week was her idea she said it was just them having some fun, Corbin isn’t mad about it because he understands that she was just fantasizing about a man with power like himself and at that time Otis comes out of nowhere to attack Corbin and this sends us to commercial.
We come back to Morrison hitting a running knee to Tucker and Miz follows up with a running boot, Ziggler tags in and hits Tucker with a jumping elbow drop for a 2 count. Tucker reaches out in Strowman’s direction but Ziggler locks him in a chin lock and when Tucker tries to get to his feet Ziggler takes him right back down with the chin lock. Ziggler transitions into a front face lock and that is when Tucker starts to get to his feet but before he can make a comeback Ziggler grabs him by the hair and drags him into the heel corner where he tags in Morrison. Morrison hits Tucker with a kick that gets a 2 count and then he applies an armbar but Tucker gets to his feet and starts spinning Morrison around and as he does this Morrison makes a tag to Miz and then Tucker throws Morrison out of the ring. Miz goes for the figure four but Tucker kicks him off which sends Miz out of the ring but as that was happening Ziggler was able to make a blind tag. Ziggler grabs Tucker’s leg to try and stop him from making a tag but Tucker hits him with an enziguri and then it looks like Tucker is finally going to be able to make the tag but just before he does Strowman is pulled off the apron by Miz and Morrison. Miz ducks a clothesline from Strowman and then Morrison uses the apron as a springboard to hit Strowman with the chuck kick and Miz follows up with a kick to the knee and a basement DDT on the floor.
Back in the ring, Ziggler sends Tucker into the corner and that is when Otis reappears alongside Mandy and this distracts Ziggler momentarily as he taunts Mandy. Ziggler sizes up Tucker for the superkick but Tucker is able to hit one of his own instead and this gives Tucker the opportunity to finally make the hot tag to Otis. Otis clotheslines Miz and Morrison off the apron and then hits Ziggler with some clotheslines and when Miz runs in the ring Otis slams him and then hits Morrison with a flapjack before throwing him back out of the ring. Ziggler kicks Otis but it doesn’t phase him as Otis hits him with a headbutt and then hits him with a fall-away slam that sends Ziggler over the top to the floor. Seeing as all three of the heels are on the outside Otis tells Strowman to go for the Strowman Express and he does just that as he knocks Miz into the barricade and then throws Morrison into the plexiglass. Strowman sends Ziggler into the barricade and then throws him into the ring where Otis hits the caterpillar elbow drop to finish off Ziggler.
Winners: Braun Strowman & Heavy Machinery via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
After the match, the babyfaces celebrate their win as we go off the air.
This was a fun match but wasn’t anywhere near good enough to make it the main event over the Bryan vs Styles match. I liked that Otis didn’t wait to see exactly what Corbin was going to do or say to Mandy before he took off backstage because he knew anything Corbin was up to couldn’t be good. I also liked that they had Otis return to help his team get the win instead of just forgetting about him after he attacks Corbin backstage like they do a lot of time. I really hope this isn’t leading to a match where the briefcase is on the line and Mandy costs Otis the briefcase and joins up with Corbin to be the queen to his king. Strowman destroying Miz and Morrison with the Strowman Express did more to get me interested in the match on Sunday than anything they did last week.
This was an interesting episode of SmackDown as everything that happened from bell to bell was really good to great but everything that wasn’t within the confines of a match was either mediocre to complete shit, but the fact that this episode will be remembered for the awesome Styles vs Bryan match makes this episode a success.
That’s it for me this week, I’ll be back next week for all of the fall out from Backlash.