SmackDown Report for 8/21/20

SmackDown on Fox Episode #47
SmackDown Episode # 1,096
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Amway Center)

We open the show by going into the Thunderdome and while the SmackDown theme song plays we get fireworks and lasers everywhere. The Chairman of the Board, Vince McMahon makes his way to the ring and welcomes us to The Thunderdome, he starts talking about how this Sunday at SummerSlam we will never see it coming and then all of a sudden the lights start to go down and The Fiend makes his way to the ring. The Fiend gets in the ring and stares down Mr. McMahon and as McMahon steps back The Fiend steps forward and then we get a moment where The Fiend matches the movements of McMahon until a train runs through The Thunderdome as Strowman makes his way to the ring. 

Strowman and The Fiend go face-to-face but before anything happens a bunch of Retribution members jump up on the apron, it seems like Strowman and The Fiend are going to fight them off together but The FIend waves bye-bye and the lights go out and when they come back on Strowman is in the ring alone and this leads to all of the Retribution members teaming up on him until the entire SmackDown locker room runs out to chase them off, it should be noted that The Miz came running down well after the rest of the locker room had fought off Retribution. Drew Gulak goes over to check on Strowman but Strowman knocks him out and then does the same with the Uso that isn’t currently injured and this sends us to break. 

If The Miz being the leader of Retribution is the thing that we are not supposed to see coming at SummerSlam well they failed because I definitely see that coming. 

We come back to several of the SmackDown stars standing around the ring as lookouts in case Retribution returns and they will be there while the first match of the night happens. 

Match #1: Big E vs Sheamus
We get a lock up and both men jockey for position and then they break for a second before immediately locking up once again where Big E pushes him into the corner. We get a third lock up and Sheamus tries to lock in a side headlock, but Big E slips out and then locks one on Sheamus, Sheamus shoots Big E into the ropes and we get a shoulder block where neither man budges. Sheamus knees Big E in the gut and then hits him with a couple of clubbing blows and then Sheamus runs to the ropes, but Big E follows him in and clotheslines Sheamus over the top rope and to the floor. 

Big E shoulder blocks Sheamus into the steel steps and then rolls him half-way into the ring so that he can hit Sheamus with the big apron splash. We cut to ringside where Corbin is having words with the babyfaces and is trying to order them around. Sheamus rolls out to the apron and Big E reaches out to get him, but Sheamus hangs Big E throat first across the top rope and then snaps Big E’s neck across the ropes. Sheamus goes up top and takes Big E down with a diving clothesline 

Sheamus drags Big E to the ropes and chokes him with his boot and then he picks Big E up and hits him with the 10 beats of the Bodhran. Sheamus talks smack to some of the people at ringside and this gives Big E enough time to make a comeback as he fires back with some body blows and then runs off the ropes only to be caught with an Irish Curse by Sheamus for a 2 count. The lights begin to flicker and everyone at ringside starts looking around as we go to commercial. 

We come back to Big E hitting Sheamus with some elbows and then he hits Sheamus with the belly-to-belly trifecta and then he follows that up with the big splash. Big E sets Sheamus up for the Big Ending but Sheamus slides out the back and then delivers a boot to Big E when he comes charging in. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but Big E ducks and lifts Sheamus up into a powerbomb position, but Sheamus is able to escape and hit Big E with a running knee strike for a 2 count. Big E and Sheamus trade strikes until Sheamus lands a kick to the gut and then lifts Big E up for White Noise, but Big E and then hits Sheamus with the uranage when he charges toward him in the corner which gets a 2 count. 

Sheamus rolls out to the apron and Big E takes this as a chance to hit him with a suicide spear, but Sheamus has it scouted as he hits Big E with a knee strike. Sheamus looks to go for the 10 beats once again but Big E catches his arm and lifts Sheamus up in a position to hit the Big Ending, but Sheamus slides out and then sidesteps a charging Big E which sends Big E shoulder first into the ring post and then Sheamus hits him with the White Noise. 

On the outside, Corbin has attacked Matt Riddle but once Riddle gets back to his feet we have a brawl on the outside with everyone trying to break them up including Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans which was kind of cool. Sheamus is distracted by everything happening on the outside and this leads to Big E rolling him up in a schoolboy to pick up the win.
Winner: Big E via Pinfall  Match Rating: **½ 

This was a fun little hoss match that would’ve been even better if we didn’t also have to focus on what was happening outside the ring with Corbin. I didn’t like that Big E won the match with a schoolboy after Sheamus was distracted because right now Big E needs clean wins to further establish how much of a threat he is on his own rather than just picking up fluke wins. 

After the match, we go to the back where Jeff Hardy is being looked over by a trainer as it seems like he injured his leg during the brawl against Retribution. Hardy tells the doctor to put a brace on it because he has to make it to his title match tonight against AJ Styles. 

Lucha House Party is walking to the ring as their big tag team title match is up next, but they are attacked from behind by Cesaro & Nakamura and this sends us to break. 

Match #2: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura © vs Lucha House Party w/ Kalisto (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Metalik ducks a clothesline from Nakamura and then takes him down with a hurricanrana, Metalik runs off the ropes but is caught with a kitchen sink by Nakamura. Nakamura delivers another knee strike and then tags in Cesaro who hits Metalik with an elbow drop and then applies a chinlock which he transitions into a neck crank, Metalik fights back and runs off the ropes where he takes Cesaro down with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, Cesaro sends Metalik into the corner where Metalik walks the ropes and comes off with a hurricanrana but Cesaro uses his strength to block it and then he hits Metalik with a big sitout powerbomb for a 2 count. We then get an inset promo from The Miz & John Morrison where they mock the Lucha House Party. 

Cesaro has Metalik up on his shoulders and he walks him over to the heel corner where Nakamura tags in and Cesaro drops Metalik across the top rope which sets up for the big corner knee strike from Nakamura for a 2 count. Nakamura takes Metalik down with a snapmare and then hits him with a knee drop and then tags Cesaro back in who slams Metalik and then hits him with a big leg drop. Cesaro tags Nakamura and they send Metalik into the ropes and take him down with a double big boot. Nakamura knocks Dorado off the apron and then makes another tag. Cesaro suplexes Metalik across the top rope and then hops up to the middle rope, but Metalik cuts him off and then we have both men fighting it out on the ropes until Metalik hits Cesaro with a top rope hurricanrana. 

We get tags on both ends and Dorado takes Nakamura down with a diving crossbody and then knocks Cesaro off the apron with a dropkick. Dorado hits Nakamura with body blows in the corner and then has a whip into the corner reversed but Dorado jumps up and over Nakamura and then backflips into the opposite corner and then hits Nakamura with a kick. Dorado hits the moonsault trifecta which gets him a 2 count as Cesaro breaks up the pin. Cesaro looks for a gutwrench on Dorado but Dorado reverses it into a hurricanrana which sends Cesaro out of the ring. 

Metalik dives over the ropes and looks to catch Cesaro with a hurricanrana but it gets botched. Nakamura hits the inverted exploder on Dorado and then slides to the outside where he lays in the boots to Metalik before sliding back into the ring and setting up for the Kinshasa but Dorado counters it into a schoolboy for a 2 count. Dorado hits Nakamura with the handspring stunner which stuns Nakamura as he walks into his corner where Cesaro makes a blind tag. Cesaro sunset flips into the ring and looks to put Dorado in the giant swing, but Dorado pulls himself up and tries for a sunset flip rollup of his own, but Cesaro kicks out. Dorado runs off the ropes and Cesaro pops him up where Dorado tries for a hurricanrana but Cesaro rolls through into a pin and that is enough to finish the match.
Winners: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura via Pinfall   Match Rating: **½ 

After the match Kalisto and Dorado get into a shoving match as Kalisto is blaming Dorado for the loss, Metalik tries to be the peacekeeper but he isn’t having much luck. 

This was a fun sprint that had a lot of action-packed into five minutes. I could watch Cesaro against any member of LHP any day of the week because he is so good at working with guys smaller than him. I’m guessing Heavy Machinery will be the next challengers for Cesaro & Nakamura as it appears the feud against LHP is over. I’m not sure what is going on with LHP but if the idea is to split them up I think that’s a big mistake as these three have a better chance of being showcased in a more prominent role together than any of them do on their own, in other words, if they split them up I could see all three of them becoming jobbers and that would be a shame. 

We go to the back where Kayla Braxton interviews AJ Styles and we are shown footage that it wasn’t just some freak accident that caused Hardy’s injury but rather Styles kicked him in the back of the leg, Styles says he just got a little too carried away when fighting off Retribution. Styles says it would suck if Hardy can’t compete in the title match but it wouldn’t be any different than the rest of Hardy’s career which has been a waste. Styles walks off and runs into the Golden Role Models, they compliment each other and then clink their titles together and this sends us to commercial. 

We come back from commercial and go backstage where Mandy Rose is interviewed. Mandy says it’s been a rough week and while she has no clue what’s going on in Sonya’s head but she personally feels like despite all of the horrible things happening there are still good things in this world and then says she needs to speak directly to Sonya. Mandy tells Sonya they have been through a lot and so much of the good things that have happened they went through together as friends. Mandy says she is choosing to believe that the Sonya she knows and has been best friends with the past five years is still there and while she doesn’t know how Sonya’s feeling going into the hair vs hair match at SummerSlam she wants to put all of this behind them and get back to be being best friends because she chooses to see the good in Sonya. 

I get that a real-life event got in the way of what this match was supposed to be, but with that said when you compare this to Sonya’s promo later in the night I just didn’t like it, I feel they could have had Mandy retract the hair vs hair challenge without having her go all the way to the point where she wants to be friends with Sonya again. Just have Mandy say that after she thought more about it she doesn’t want to embarrass Sonya at SummerSlam, but that doesn’t mean she still won’t kick her ass, that would’ve been good enough because the whole Mandy wanting to be friends again made it feel like the whole feud up to this point had been wasted, but that’s my opinion and I do understand that they had to come up with something on somewhat short notice given what happened this week. 

The Golden Role Models come to the ring as they are set to be interviewed by Corey Graves and right off the bat Graves asks them if they are going to split up to which they both tell him no. Graves moves on to ask them about the possibility of Asuka winning both titles after tomorrow night, but Bayley tells him that she and Asuka are the only ones capable of holding two titles at one time and then says that nobody in the WWE can beat the both of them in one night. 

Naomi makes her way out to the ring and wants to find out for herself if one person can beat both of the champions in one night as she challenges the Golden Role Models and they accept her challenge. Naomi asks who wants to go first and when they start discussing who should go first Graves suggests that perhaps they do a Beat the Clock challenge and to decide the order in which they will face Asuka on Sunday and while Bayley and Sasha are still talking things out they are taken down with a dropkick by Naomi and this sends us to commercial. 

I liked the idea of having this Beat the Clock challenge to determine the match order at SummerSlam because had they not done this everyone would be questioning how and why the matches on Sunday would be in the order that they were. 

Match #3: Naomi vs Sasha Banks
They circle the ring for a moment until Sasha takes Naomi down with a double leg and then starts landing some mounted punches, Sasha talks some trash which allows Naomi to come back with a side headlock and then she springs off the ropes with a sunset flip for a 2 count. Naomi hits Sasha with a sitout full nelson and then locks in a bodyscissors which she uses to try and roll Sasha over for a pin, but Sasha kicks out immediately. Naomi then rolls Sasha around the ring and tries for another pin but Sasha kicks out once again. 

Both women get to their feet and Naomi ducks a forearm and then she takes Sasha to the outside with a headstand headscissors. Naomi takes Sasha down with a plancha and then has words with Bayley before throwing Sasha back into the ring. Naomi focuses on Bayley a second too long which allows Sasha to grab her and place her in between the top and middle turnbuckles so she can hit her with the double knee attack for a 2 count. Sasha locks in a rear chinlock until Naomi gets back to her feet and hits Sasha with a sitout jawbreaker. Naomi charges at Sasha in the corner but gets backdropped out to the apron where she catches Sasha with a big kick to the head. 

Naomi goes up top and hits a crossbody, but Sasha rolls through into a pin for a 1 count. Naomi suplexes Sasha across the top rope and then connects with a chuck kick while Sasha is draped across the rope, this sends Sasha back into the ring where Naomi is able to get a 2 count. Naomi goes for the split-legged moonsault, but Sasha grabs her and tries to get a surprise win with a schoolgirl but Naomi kicks out. Naomi blocks an O’Connor roll attempt by Sasha but Sasha is able to grab an arm which she uses to take Naomi down to the mat so she can lock in the Bank Statement and moments later Naomi is tapping out and Sasha sets the time of 3:39.
Winner: Sasha Banks via Submission   Match Rating: **¼ 

After the match Bayley attacks Naomi and after the referee backs her up and checks on Naomi we are ready to go for the second match. 

Match #4: Naomi vs Bayley
Bayley beats down Naomi in the corner and tries to get a quick win but Naomi kicks out so Bayleyl continues to hit her with punches. Bayley hits a suplex and goes for a cover that gets a 2 count and then she sends Naomi sternum first into the turnbuckle. Bayley hits a sliding clothesline and goes for another cover but yet again Naomi is able to kick out. Naomi fights back with body blows and then she bulldogs Bayley into the middle turnbuckle and then looks to charge at Bayley in the corner, but Bayley cuts her off with a clothesline. Bayley runs off the ropes and looks to hit a knee strike, but Naomi blocks it and then she hits Bayley with the Rear View and that is surprisingly enough to keep the champion down for the 3 count with 1:44 left on the lock which means that Bayley will be facing Asuka first at SummerSlam.
Winner: Naomi via Pinfall   Match Rating: *½  

After the match Asuka comes out and cuts a promo and then Sasha charges up the ramp toward her but is knocked out with a kick. Asuka runs to the ring and attacks Bayley, but Bayley is able to get away and she runs up the ramp and passes right by Sasha. 

I liked the match between Naomi and Sasha even though it was short, I wouldn’t mind seeing more matches between them. I thought both matches were fine and served their purpose which was to set up the match order on Sunday and to give Naomi some shine which it definitely did as both of these matches were much better than any of the matches Naomi had against Lacey over the past couple of months. It was nice to see Naomi pick up a win against the champion and hopefully, that means she is in the title picture after SummerSlam. 

We go to the back where Jeff Hardy now has his knee brace on and the doctor tells him that if he can handle the pain then he will clear him. Hardy says tonight he is a one-legged man who is going to win the Intercontinental Championship. 

We cut to Sonya Deville who is interviewed and asked what her response is to what Mandy said earlier in the night, Sonys says what she has to say she will say to the entire world. Dana Brooke walks up and says she is sorry for what Sonya has gone through this week and Sonya says it’s nothing she can’t handle and then she slaps Dana and calls her disrespectful and this sends us to a commercial. 

We come back and Sonya comes out to the stage and says that she gets that Mandy is backing down from her own challenge but Mandy needs to realize is that they are going to fight one way or another, but since Mandy doesn’t seem bothered about getting her hair cut and Sonya doesn’t give a damn if she is bald or not why don’t they just up the ante and make their match no disqualification and the loser must leave WWE. Sonys says that she has realized whether Mandy has hair or not she is sick of looking at her face so Mandy better bring her A-game. 

Even after going through a traumatic experience this week, Sonya is still able to knock it out of the park and that is because she is a damn star. While I was kind of looking forward to the hair vs hair match I understand things had to be changed as I am guessing that this loser leaves WWE will be a way to get Sonya off TV for a while to give her a well-deserved break after what happened to her this week. This is one of the matches II am most looking forward to at SummerSlam as I expect these two ladies to beat the hell out of each other especially since it’s no DQ as I expect some really stiff kendo stick shots as these two want to prove they are just as good as the other women on the roster who are consistently featured in higher spots on the card than they are. 

We get a recap of everything that happened last week between Braun Strowman, The Fiend, and Alexa Bliss and then we cut to a backstage promo from Nikki Cross. 

Nikki says that Alexa Bliss isn’t the same since her run-in with The Fiend, Nikki says she talks the same and acts the same but something is just different but she just can’t put her finger on exactly what it is. Nikki says that the Alexa she knows is warm, caring, & funny but the Alexa she spoke to wasn’t Alexa and that scares her because she has a feeling something bad is about to happen. 

I liked this promo as it was nice to see a different side of Nikki which is more serious. 

AJ Styles makes his way to the ring and as he does Daniel Bryan gets an inset promo where he hopes that by the end of the first night in the Thunderdome there will be a new Intercontinental Champion. We then go to a commercial. 

Match #5: AJ Styles © vs Jeff Hardy (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Both men circle the ring and Styles goes right after the injured leg but Hardy is able to fight him off before any damage can be done. Hardy kicks Styles in the gut and then sends him into the ropes where he hits him with a big back body drop, Hardy tries to shake off the pain in his leg and then Styles drives him into the corner and then charges in where he is met with a boot to the face, Hardy hops up to the middle rope but before he can do anything Styles hits the leg causing Hardy to crash down to the mat. Styles exposes the brace on Hardy’s knee and then puts the boots to it. Styles looks to send Hardy into the ropes but Hardy’s leg buckles under him and he falls to the mat. 

Hardy tries to make a comeback but his leg just won’t cooperate as it buckles under him once again. Hardy tries to fight back with some body blows but that is put to an end courtesy of a right hand from Styles. Hardy hits Styles with the sitout jawbreaker in order to create distance and then he backdrops to the apron, but Styles loses his footing and crashes to the floor, Hardy tries to hit Styles with a dropkick through the ropes but Styles catches him and slams his leg into the apron and this sends us to a commercial. 

We come back to Styles continuing to work over the leg until Hardy kicks him off and then goes to kick Styles, but Styles catches the leg only for Hardy to hit him with a mule kick. Hardy hits the inverted atomic drop, double leg drop, and dropkick to the face combo followed by a splash for a very close 2 count. Hardy hits Styles with a sitout gourdbuster for a 2 count. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Styles escapes and takes Hardy down with a Pele kick and now both men are down. Styles gets to his feet first as Hardy hobbles over to the corner, Styles charges in and is met with a back elbow and then Hardy goes for the Whisper in the Wind but his leg gives out on him and he takes a nasty bump down to the canvas. 

Styles rolls out to the apron and looks to hit the Phenomenal Forearm but Hardy sidesteps a bit and hits Styles in the gut. Styles crawls over to the corner and Hardy sees this as an opportunity to hit the rope-assisted elevated dropkick but his leg buckles once again and like a shark smelling blood Styles sees this and locks Hardy in the Calf Crusher, but he doesn’t have it fully locked in like he would want and this allows Hardy to get to the ropes rather quickly. Styles grabs the leg but Hardy fights back so Styles kicks him in the leg and then sets up for the Styles Clash, but when he does Hardy starts kicking Styles in the face and as he is doing this Hardy’s brace connects with Styles’ face. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and then slowly climbs up top where he hits with Swanton Bomb and that will be enough to put Styles away and make Jeff Hardy the new Intercontinental Champion.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via Pinfall   Match Rating: **¾ 

Hardy is interviewed after the match and we get another promo about his past demons and how he never imagined a year ago that he would be holding the Intercontinental Championship and he hopes this gives hope to everyone who is going through a tough time and before he can say anymore he is cut off as his music plays as we have to go to commercial. 

We come back to AJ Styles in the back who is incensed over losing his title and screams at Joseph Park because the algorithm said he was supposed to beat Hardy. Styles complains about Hardy’s knee brace messing up his face. 

This was a good match and I thought Hardy did a really good job of selling the injured leg with the exception being going up top for that final time to hit the Swanton as I’m not sure why he would want to risk it after the leg had failed him earlier when he went for Whisper in the Wind if it were me I would’ve just had him win with the Twist of Fate. I was definitely not expecting Hardy to win the title here as I thought we were set for a pretty lengthy title run from Styles, but I’m glad to see Hardy win the title after having to be in that shitty tasteless feud against Sheamus for months. I’m curious as to what is next for Styles, perhaps he keeps berating Joseph Parks and it leads to Parks finally snapping and becoming Abyss or it could just mean Styles is the leader of Retribution. I also got a laugh out of Hardy getting his promo cut short as if he were at the Oscars accepting an award and was taking too long. 

We get the announcers hyping up Talking Smack which has been revived with new hosts Renee Young and Xavier Woods The Miz. 

It’s time for the newest episode of The Firefly Funhouse. 

Bray talks about the Thunderdome and then he tells us that he loves us, but then he goes on to say that love can be a terrible thing as it tricks you into an emotional and financial burden that can make some of the most glorious people crash down to earth and too much love can turn a beautiful bed of sunflowers into a wasteland. Wyatt then holds the hurt glove up to his head and starts hearing voices before tossing to Firefly Theatre starring Huskus the Pig and Ramblin’ Rabbit and they will be acting out the scene from last week between Alexa Bliss & Braun Strowman, however, when they get to the part where Strowman lifts up Alexa they go off script and go in for a kiss and this prompts Wyatt to yell cut and Ramblin’ tells him that he got lost in the moment and then Wyatt tells them to get lost. 

Wyatt says love only leads to pain and suffering and everyone should be more like The Fiend who is built on rage and fueled by anger. Wyatt starts to sniff the air a few times and then asks what took you so long and this leads to Strowman attacking Wyatt and hitting him with some big punches off-screen and this sends us to the final commercial break.

We come back to the announcers talking about what just happened and then we cut to the back where Strowman and Wyatt are continuing to brawl throughout the arena and this leads to Strowman chokeslamming Wyatt off a ledge which is supposed to look very high up, but we then see it clearly isn’t. The referees and agents run over to check on Wyatt and then we spend what feels like 10 minutes waiting on the ambulance to back up and the EMTs to put Wyatt on the stretcher. It looks like Wyatt is on his way to the nearest medical facility but before the ambulance even gets out of the garage area it stops and starts to back up and this sends Adam Pearce over the edge as he is on the verge of having a heart attack as he is screaming at the people driving the ambulance. We see the light inside the ambulance goes from blue to red and we cut back to the agents and referees who all of a sudden look like they have seen a ghost and when the camera pans back over The Fiend has appeared and he starts laughing and then sticks his tongue out as the show comes to a close. 

I really liked the stuff inside the Firefly Funhouse with Wyatt talking about how love isn’t always the best thing especially when love goes wrong and suggesting that is what has happened between Strowman and Alexa. I thought Huskus and Ramblin’ acting out the scene from last week was a nice bit of comedy especially when Ramblin’ got carried away and went off-script. Once Strowman got involved the segment dropped a bit in quality as I thought the beatdown inside the Funhouse was terrible and then the chokeslam off the ledge had been done before and done better. Those had to be the slowest EMTs ever as it felt like it took forever for them to back the ambulance up and then to put Wyatt into the ambulance. I was LMAO at Adam Pearce almost giving himself a heart attack by being so upset and angry when the ambulance started backing up and the over the top reaction he had on his face when The Fiend appeared was great as well. I thought Fiend just standing there and laughing was a bit of an anti-climatic way to end your SummerSlam go-home show as they did nothing to make me more excited for that match, they should’ve just switched this week and last week’s segments because all the involvement with Alexa Bliss that happened last week got me more invested in the match than anything they did this week did.