SmackDown on Fox Episode #39 – A Tribute to The Undertaker
SmackDown Episode # 1,088
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center
We open the show with a video package highlighting the career of The Undertaker and then we cut to the PC where members of the roster are out on the stage chanting “Thank You, Taker”. We go to the announce table where Michael Cole and Corey Graves talk about how tonight’s episode is a tribute to The Undertaker and then we cut to a clip of The Undertaker’s WWE debut at Survivor Series 1990. The announcers tell us that after the break we will see a replay of the Boneyard match from this past April at WrestleMania 36
We come back and go to our first of several video packages of current talent and legends putting over The Undertaker.
We then go to the replay of the Boneyard match, so I will be back once that’s over.
And we’re back, we go from a really great match to the complete opposite of great as King Corbin is in the ring in all of his royal splendor. Corbin cuts a promo where he mocks and ridicules Undertaker for being old and talks about how the only reason Undertaker has had a 30-year career is because he was coddled by the McMahons and he kissed their ass and then says that Undertaker has been stealing money from WWE for the past 20 years. Corbin says that Undertaker is a selfish S.O.B. who has held superior athletes like himself down and now he has to hear everyone pay respect to The Undertaker but he doesn’t want to pay respect to Undertaker he just wants to tell him that he sucks.
Jeff Hardy attacks Corbin from behind and sends him to the floor where he follows up with a dropkick through the ropes and that sends us to commercial break.
On the scale of King Corbin promos, I would say this was one of his better ones. I definitely didn’t expect the part where he goes after the McMahons for coddling Undertaker for all these years and when he first said it I was like oh no, is this leading to a return of babyface Shane McMahon against Corbin but thankfully it only leads to Jeff Hardy attacking Corbin to set up tonight’s main event.
Sarah Schreiber interviews Jeff Hardy and he says that Undertaker would be on his wrestling Mt Rushmore four times and everyone owes Undertaker a debt of gratitude for everything that he has done for the business. Hardy says that since Undertaker isn’t there tonight to defend his own honor he will do it for him and then he challenges Corbin to a match later tonight.
As much as I enjoyed his sit-down interview last week I thought this was a really bad promo from Hardy.
Bayley and Sasha Banks come out as they will be on commentary for the next match which is a four-way number one contender match for Bayley’s SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Match #1: Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Cross vs Dana Brooke vs Lacey Evans
The match starts with all four women shoving each other around until Lacey tries to get a quick win with a schoolgirl but Alexa kicks out and then Nikki tries one on Dana but she kicks out as well. Dana and Lacey got to work on Alexa and Nikki in separate corners, but Nikki and Alexa quickly turned the tables when they hit Lacey and Dana with avalanches in the corner and then the BFFs hug in the middle of the ring which Nikki uses to her advantage as she tries to get a quick rollup on Alexa but Alexa kicks out. Alexa can’t believe what Nikki tried to do but Nikki explains that she wants a title shot and Alexa is ok with that and they shake hands and then circle the ring where they lock up and Nikki tries to go to work on Alexa’s arm, but Alexa rolls through into a pinfall attempt which gets a 2 count. Alexa grabs a headlock but gets shot off into the ropes and then Nikki drops down but before Alexa can come back off the ropes she is tripped and dragged out of the ring by Lacey and then Lacey sends her into the barricade.
Dana and Lacey corner Nikki but she starts fighting both of them as she jumps on Lacey’s back only to be slammed down by Dana and then Dana hits her with a cartwheel splash for a 2 count when Dana breaks up the pin. Dana and Lacey go face-to-face and while this is happening Nikki gets back to her feet and lays in some forearms to both women until Lacey kicks Nikki in the gut and then both Lacey and Nikki stomp a mudhole in her. Alexa tries to save her friend but they stack her in the corner with Nikki and then Dana hits a handspring elbow on both women and then Dana gets taken down with a clothesline from Lacey. Lacey hits both Alexa and Nikki with the rope-assisted elevated bronco buster and then tries to pin Alexa but it gets broken up by Dana.
Lacey takes Dana down with a double leg and hits some mounted punches and then Lacey sends Dana into the ropes but ends up paying for it as Dana comes back with a handspring back elbow in the middle of the ring. Dana hits Lacey with a Swanton bomb but the pinfall gets broken up by Nikki. Nikki is fired up as she picks up Dana but ends up getting hit with a big forearm. Dana hits Nikki with a slam but turns around and is met by Alexa who hits her slap and right-hand combo and then follows up with a takedown which puts Dana in position for Alexa to hit the Twisted Bliss, but Dana gets her knees up. Dana uses the ropes to try and get to her feet but Nikki runs in and hits her with a dropkick which sends Dana to the outside.
Nikki and Alexa corner Lacey but before they are able to do anything Lacey sweeps Alexa’s leg and then goes after Nikki but Nikki turns things around and gets Lacey in the corner but Lacey sidesteps an avalanche attempt and gets out on the apron where she sweeps the leg of Nikki and then hits the slingshot elbow drop. Dana runs in and tries for a clothesline but Lacey ducks only for Dana to come back with another handspring elbow but this time Lacey hits her with the Woman’s Right and then Nikki immediately rolls up Lacey with a schoolgirl and that is enough to pick up the win.
Winner: Nikki Cross via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
This was a fine little match to quickly get a number one contender for Bayley’s title at Extreme Rules and I like Nikki getting a title shot as that match feels fresh, but I don’t see there being any chance that Nikki wins the match. Much like Liv Morgan over on Raw I wish Dana was given more of a chance to be in the spotlight for no other reason than she has improved so much in the last couple of years.
We cut to the back where New Day and Lucha House Party are hanging out when The Miz, John Morrison, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura show up and things get heated ahead of the 8-man tag match which is coming up next.
Match #2: New Day & Lucha House Party vs The Miz, John Morrison, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura
Big E wants Cesaro to start and even charges after him but Cesaro drops down off the apron and Miz comes in to try and attack Big E from behind, but Big E sees him coming and delivers a few right hands to the midsection of the Miz and then follows up by hitting Miz with a back elbow. Big E drags Miz halfway out of the ring and then delivers the big splash on the apron for a 2 count. Big E tags in Dorado and then those two hit a rocket launcher onto The Miz for another 2 count. Miz quickly gets away from Dorado and makes a tag to Cesaro, Cesaro tries to hit Dorado with a hip toss but Dorado lands on his feet and then flips out of Cesaro’s grasp and then tries to hit Cesaro with a hurricanrana but Cesaro blocks it and tries for a powerbomb but Dorado backflips out of it and lands on his feet and then takes Cesaro down with a flying head-scissors into a pin for a 2 count. Dorado runs off the ropes and Cesaro tries to catch him but Dorado once again takes him down with a head-scissors and then makes a tag to Metalik.
Metalik hits the splash off of Dorado’s shoulders for a 2 count and then attempts to take control but Cesaro stops that with a kick to the gut and an uppercut and then tags in Nakamura. Nakamura performs good vibrations on Metalik and then goes to whip Metalik into the corner but eats a boot when he charges in and then Metalik takes Nakamura down with the sling blade bulldog and then Metalik makes a tag to Kingston. Kingston goes for a Trouble in Paradise on Nakamura but he ducks and then struts over to make a tag to Morrison. Morrison delivers some strikes and then sends Kingston into the corner but Kingston springs out of the corner with a dropkick on Morrison for a 1 count. Kingston goes for a monkey flip in the corner, but Morrison catches him and turns Kingston around and sits him on the top and then hits him with a kick that sends Kingston toppling off the top to the floor. While Kingston is on the floor he is sent into the plexiglass by Nakamura and then he is rolled back into the ring. Morrison tags in Cesaro who makes a quick tag to Nakamura and then hits Kingston in the corner with a running uppercut and then Cesaro sends Kingston into a big kick from Nakamura and then both Nakamura and Cesaro tell the babyfaces to “Come On” and they do just that and all eight men get into the ring as we go to commercial.
We come back to Kingston getting worked over by Miz and Morrison as they hit him with a double gutbuster and then they both hit Kingston with chest kicks and then they knock LHP off the apron. Miz hits Kingston with a running boot and goes for a pin but only gets a 2 count. Miz then tries to ground Kingston with a front face lock but Kingston gets to his feet and tries to reach out and make a tag but Miz hits him with knee shots and then sends Kingston into the corner only for Kingston to springboard out with a tornado DDT which takes both men down. Miz makes a tag to Nakamura who cuts Kingston off and then Cesaro distracts Big E by grabbing his leg which leads to Big E walking toward Cesaro but Cesaro backs up to allow Nakamura to hit Big E with a baseball slide which takes Big E out on the floor. Nakamura hits Kingston with a gourdbuster and then sets up for the Kinshasa, but as Nakamura runs toward Kingston he is hit with a mushroom stomp.
We get a tag on both ends as Morrison and Metalik are tagged in, Metalik enters with a springboard crossbody onto Morrison. Morrison reverses an Irish whip but Metalik comes back with a handspring and a backflip and then Morrison attempts an O’Connor roll but Metalik hits him with a back elbow and then hits a springboard hurricanrana. Metalik hits Miz and Cesaro with dropkicks but turns around into a kick from Morrison. Metalik gets sent into the ropes and comes back with a roll through sunset flip pin for a 2 count. Metalik hits Morrison with a bottom rope and middle rope moonsault and then tags in Dorado who comes off the top with a shooting star press for a 2 count when Cesaro breaks up the pin.
The match breaks down as all 8 men are in the ring and New Day goes right after Cesaro & Nakamura and this leads to the two teams fighting up the ramp and to the back. Morrison tags in Miz who tries to prevent Dorado from tagging in Metalik but without realizing it he was a second too late. Miz tries to hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Dorado but Dorado hangs onto the top rope so Miz decides to send him into the ropes only for Dorado to come back with a handspring stunner, Dorado goes up top but as he does Morrison pops up on the apron so Dorado takes care of him with a hurricanrana off the apron to the floor. Gran Metalik hits Miz with an overhead kick and then goes up top where he hits a rope walk elbow drop and that is enough to end the match.
Winners: New Day & Lucha House Party via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
This match was really fun and thank God SmackDown has a tag division worth watching because Raw sure as hell doesn’t. I feel like I say this almost every week but Lucha House Party are so good and at this point deserve a run with the titles, the short interaction between Cesaro and Dorado was really good and Metalik was amazing as he always is. I would like to congratulate New Day on being the longest reigning stable in WWE history I never would’ve thought they would last this long and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of them splitting up anytime soon even though I do wish Big E would get a big singles push like Kingston did last year as he is so damn entertaining and would make for a fun babyface Universal Champion or a badass heel champion.
After the match, we cut to the back where King Corbin is being interviewed and he talks trash about Jeff Hardy being mentored by The Undertaker, and tonight he will teach Hardy a lesson in reality.
Braun Strowman is in the back walking toward the ring as he has something on his mind and that’s coming up right after the break.
Braun Storwman wants to tell us about the first time he met Bray Wyatt and why meeting him made Strowman feel real fear for the first time in his life, the kind of fear that makes grown men tremble. In short, the story is about Strowman and Wyatt hanging out at the Wyatt compound in the swamps and a water moccasin swims up and just as Strowman is fixing to step on it Wyatt stops him and gets in the snake’s face which leads to the snake biting Wyatt in the face and at that point, Wyatt just laughed and that was when Strowman knew Wyatt was the devil. Strowman was so taken aback by this that he joined Wyatt and started doing the devil’s work and the bad part about all of that was that he loved the things he was doing, but for the last few years he has been trying to put all of that in the back of his mind but it keeps calling to him and now has come to realize he can’t go on living with those thoughts.
Strowman asks Wyatt if he will go back to the swamp for their match at Extreme Rules. Strowman says that after Extreme Rules he will either become the evilest son of a bitch the earth has ever seen or he will have the satisfaction of spitting in the devil’s face and dragging him into the swamp so that the alligators can finish him off. The segment ends with Wyatt being heard laughing while Strowman laughs with him. This would lead to WWE announcing that the match between Strowman and Wyatt will be a non-title Swamp Fight.
After this segment, I really missed The Fiend just coming out and putting the Mandible Claw on people because this felt like it dragged on forever. The whole thing where Strowman lowered his voice to come off as “evil” came off super corner especially since he was going in and out of it throughout the promo. This cinematic match should be a lot of fun given Wyatt’s creativity as we saw in his match against Cena at WrestleMania earlier this year (although I enjoyed the Boneyard Match way more than the Funhouse match) and I look forward to seeing what kind of craziness will happen during the match I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that some kind of giant creature from the swamp helps Wyatt. I see Wyatt winning after he has turned into The Fiend during the match and thus setting up the third match between the two at SummerSlam where hopefully Wyatt wins the title back because this Strowman title reign hasn’t been great.
We come back from commercial and it’s time for the main event.
Match #3: King Corbin vs Jeff Hardy
Hardy runs toward Corbin as the bell rings and gets taken down with a shoulder block and then a punch to the top of the head. Hardy gets some shots in and tries to make a comeback but gets taken down with a back elbow when he runs to the ropes. Corbin lands a big right hand to the kidney of Hardy and then he stomps on his head, Corbin picks up Hardy and delivers a few more kidney punches while Hardy is draped over the middle rope and then he chokes him on the top rope. Corbin tries for a clothesline but Hardy ducks and hits Corbin with a clothesline of his own which sends Corbin to the floor.
Hardy tries to hit Corbin with a baseball slide like he did earlier in the night but this time Corbin sidesteps and hits Hardy with a big right hand. Corbin tries to slam Hardy’s face into the steps but Hardy blocks it and starts to fight back and then he reverses an Irish whip which sends Corbin flying across the announce table when Corbin gets back to his feet Hardy is waiting for him as he hits him with an ax handle off of the apron. Hardy rolls Corbin back into the ring and continues his attack. Corbin reverses a whip into the corner but when he runs toward Hardy he is met with a back elbow which allows Hardy to climb up and go for the Whisper in the Wind but Corbin is able to move out of the way sending Hardy crashing down to the mat. Corbin sends Hardy into the ring post shoulder-first and then mocks The Undertaker by doing his kneeling pose and this sends us to break.
We come back from commercial and for some reason, the babyfaces of the SmackDown roster have surrounded the ring (just like last week during the Matt Riddle vs AJ Styles match) and Corbin has Hardy in one of his patented rest holds, Hardy tries to fight out of it but Corbin slams him to the mat by his hair. Corbin picks up Hardy and then knocks him back down with another big right hand. Corbin pulls Hardy up to his knees and then hits a running punch. Corbin puts Hardy in the corner but Hardy starts fighting back only to be cut off moments later with a knee to the gut. Corbin whips Hardy into the corner and charges in but Hardy moves which set up the slide-out and right back in clothesline spot.
Corbin throws Hardy to the outside and then rubs Hardy’s face against the plexiglass before landing a forearm to the back of Hardy’s head. Corbin throws Hardy back in the ring and goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count. Corbin locks in another rest hold but Hardy quickly escapes it with elbows and a chin breaker which stuns Corbin, Hardy then hits the sit-out chin breaker and blocks some punches from Corbin while delivering some of his own and then he hits Corbin with a running forearm. Hardy hits his inverted atomic drop, two-legged leg drop, and a dropkick to the face combo which gets a 2 count.
Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but Corbin pushes him off only to run into a punch from Hardy which gives Hardy the chance to climb up but Corbin gets up and cuts Hardy off and then pulls him off the ropes so he can attempt a back suplex but Hardy lands on his feet and runs off the ropes only to get caught by Corbin who hits him with the Deep Six for a close 2 count. Hardy rolls to the outside and uses the steps to hold himself up but moves out of the way when Corbin charges at him, Hardy rolls Corbin back into the ring and hits him with the Swanton Bomb to pick up the win.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via Pinfall Match Rating: **¼
After the match, Corbin goes back to attacking Hardy but New Day comes in for the save and Big E hits Corbin with the Big Ending and he is followed by Strowman who hits Corbin with the Powerslam and to finish things off Matt Riddle hits Corbin with the Flo Bro off the top. The show ends with the babyfaces in the ring while a picture of The Undertaker is on the tron and Hardy kneels down and does The Undertaker pose.
This was a pretty paint by numbers match and I have nothing to note about it other than how unnecessary it was to have the SmackDown babyfaces surrounding the ring, if they want Hardy to defend Taker’s honor then just have him do it without needing the rest of the locker room out there to cheer him on that’s what the guys and the girls from the PC are there for. I also thought the post-match was pretty hokey as Hardy could’ve just done the kneeling pose on his own to close the show and done without having to have the rest of the babyfaces hitting their finishers and standing in all four corners. I get that Undertaker retiring is a big deal (although I think he will have at least one more match) but that five-part documentary was a perfect celebration of The Undertaker whereas this episode of SmackDown almost made it feel like Mark Calloway had passed away as they went way over the top to celebrate him and this is coming from someone who is a huge Undertaker fan and even shed a couple of tears during the last part of The Last Ride documentary.
To make this segment even worse one of the guys who was featured at the end was Matt Riddle who doesn’t seem to be getting any kind of punishment for the allegations made against him, the absolute least they could do is take him off TV for a while but they aren’t even doing that to him despite them firing some of the NXT UK guys for allegations made against them. Riddle shouldn’t be treated any better than they were because all rapists and sexual predators need to be removed from the business and the fact that they are not doing anything to him has to make his victim feel like crap as it’s sending a message that she isn’t credible or worth as much as some of the other victims that have spoken out and told their stories.
I did not like this episode of SmackDown and if it were not for the 8-man tag and to a lesser extent the women’s match this would be an all-time bad episode of SmackDown. I get that things got disrupted this week because they had to change things due to people within the company coming down with Covid-19 which is a whole different story that I don’t care to get into, but even so, I feel I could’ve come up with something better than what they did tonight like not making the show all about The Undertaker to the point in which it feels like they are celebrating him because he died (yes I get he is a Deadman haha) in fact I feel like Mark Calloway would say that the show was too much about him. If I were to give this episode a letter grade it would receive a D minus and the only reason it didn’t get the F was because of the 8-man tag.
I hope next week we get back on schedule and have a normal pandemic era episode of SmackDown, but then again next week is when Sheamus will toast Jeff Hardy so there is a high chance things could get worse, but I am married to this SmackDown report which means I will watch and report on what happens whether it be in the best of times or the worst of times, through sickness and health, until death do us part and with that, I am out until next week and now I will go wash the bad taste of this SmackDown out of my mouth by going to play some The Last of Us II.
SmackDown on Fox Episode #39 – A Tribute to The Undertaker