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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
FEBRUARY 21, 2020
AIRED LIVE ON FOX
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-A video hyped Goldberg appearing in person on site for Friday Night Smackdown on Fox for the first time to address his match against The Fiend. (Remember, he’s doing it for his son, not a gigantic Saudi Arabia payday.)
-The WWE Smackdown opening theme aired.
-Cole and Graves introduced the show. Cole touted they were in Phoenix/Glendale, Ariz. They hyped the loaded line-up of Naomi vs. Carmella to earn a title match against Bayley at Super Showdown, Alexa Bliss on “A Moment of Bliss” interviewing The Bella Twins, Elias & Braun Strowman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro (w/Sami Zayn) in a Symphony of Destruction match with musical instruments around ringside that are legal to use.
-The Usos made their ring entrance. Cole said they are happy to be back in the fold with WWE “after a months-long hiatus.” Graves said they’d love to have a strong presence at WrestleMania in Tampa, Fla. The Usos talked about how they couldn’t be on Smackdown last week, and Miz disrespected them on the show and on social media. They talked about their eight-man tag match later, and introduced their partners. Out came New Day. Kofi threw pancakes to the crowd while smiling. Big E gyrated his hips. Kofi and Big E touted the Usos as one of the greatest teams of all time and future Hall of Famers. The Usos enjoyed hearing it. Big E got serious and leaned in and said they have one more reign than the Usos, “which makes us better than you.” They all laughed to break the tension. Then Miz and Morrison interrupted.
Miz and Morrison came out and mocked the chants and catchphrases of the Usos and New Day. Then they said they need a catchy chant of their own. He tried to get a “Miz and Morrison, hey hey, ho ho!” chant going. Fans booed. Miz said everybody will be chanting that when they beat New Day at Super Showdown. Miz said they’re the greatest tag team of the 21st Century. “Be jealous!” he said. They turned and introduced their partners, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Morrison said Ziggler had one hell of a Valentine’s Day. Cole said he has been wondering all week how Ziggler can live with himself. “Give Otis a chance!” Cole said. “It was supposed to be Mandy and Otis’s night.” Graves said all is fair in love and war. Uso said they can start the fight now. The heels huddled, then surrounded the ring. They cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: That worked well enough on a number of levels. It set the stage for the opening eight-man tag and also let the fans cheer some catch phrases, while also teasing a little dissension between New Day and the Usos, and finally giving Miz & Morrison to be obnoxious. I’m also glad the announcers addressed what happened with Ziggler stealing Otis’s date last week.) [c]
(1) THE USOS & NEW DAY (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER & MIZ & MORRISON
The heel foursome isolated and beat up Kofi for several minutes. Then they cut to a break. [c]
A commercial hyped John Cena’s return to Smackdown next week. Big E got a hot tag shortly after they returned to the match. He tossed around the heels. When Big E went for the Big Ending on Miz, Miz slipped free. Morrison tagged in and caught a charging Big E with a knee to the face. Big E fired back with a urinage for a near fall. There was some screen static again, a soft hint foreshadowing something else coming up with a new wrestler, presumably. The pace picked up with Morrison landing a shooting star for a near fall, broken up by Kofi. Kofi clotheslined Miz over the top rope, but Morrison then caught Kofi by surprise with a corkscrew crossbody. Roode rolled up Uso for a near fall, but Uso rolled through for his own two count. Roode and Ziggler attempted a Zig Zag/spinebuster, although only the spinebuster hit (that was a mess). An Uso made the save, but he was a second late and the ref simply just stopped his count before three. (NOTE TO WRESTLERS: IF THE SAVE IS LATE, IT’S REALLY OKAY TO JUST KICK OUT OR LIFT A SHOULDER AND NOT MAKE THE REF LOOK BAD AND WHOLE MATCH LOOK FAKE.) After two Uso super kicks, Cole said, “The Usos promised Superkick Party.” (Do the Young Bucks get royalty fees anytime Cole says that?) Uso escaped a Glorious DDT and then superkicked Roode for the win a minute later. Cole said that gives New Day “much needed momentum.” (Has anyone compiled stats on whether there is any actual “momentum” in terms of how wrestlers are booked in their PPV match after “gaining momentum” in a TV match?) Cole plugged the New Day vs. Miz & Morrison match at Super Showdown on Thursday.
WINNERS: Usos & New Day in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: High energy and mostly good, but the late save and the botched double team by Ziggler and Roode took away from it.)
-Drew Gulak approached Daniel Bryan backstage. He told Bryan he noticed some holes in his game so he prepared a powerpoint presentation on what he’s going wrong. Bryan thought that was a stretch. Gulak said he studied his match against The Fiend and Heath Slater. Slater heard that and walked over and said Bryan made his kids cry and he wasn’t ready then. Bryan asked if he’s ready now. Slater, obliviously, shouted, “I’m always ready!” Bryan agreed to a match tonight, then told Gulak to coach Slater.
-Cole hyped Goldberg’s appearance later tonight “for the first time on Fox.” Graves plugged the Valentine’s Day fallout. He said they’d take “a hilarious lookback” at the date gone wrong because Otis didn’t know to stay in his lane. Cole asked if Graves has a soul. “Probably not,” said Graves. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of the arena and Phoenix area landmarks.
-They went to Cole and Graves, who threw to the video package on the “ill-fated date” with Mandy Rose and Otis. Graves said, “Sometimes love stinks.” The music went from a ’50s love song to sad music when Otis saw Mandy with Ziggler at the restaurant last Friday.
-They cut backstage to Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville chatting. In walked Tucker who chewed out Mandy for inviting Ziggler to crash their planned date. He said Otis combed his hair and bought new underwear. He said Otis couldn’t even muster the courage to leave their hotel room. Mandy said she ran into Ziggler when Otis ran late. Tucker asked why she texted she was running late. She said she didn’t send a text. Tucker ignored that comment (which seems like a big fact to brush past) and said Otis is a sweet man who sees the best in anyone, and he was a fool to think Mandy had good intentions. Fans chanted “Otis!” Deville told Mandy that Tucker is sticking up his boy, so maybe she dodged a bullet. “You had a good time with Dolph,” she asked. Mandy said she was looking forward to going out with Otis, but she had a good time with Ziggler. Deville said Ziggler is more her type, so don’t worry about it.
-Graves said the universe has a funny way of putting people together who belong together. Cole said he has no heart.
-Renee Young interviewed Lacey Evans backstage. She said this is Lacey’s first appearance on Smackdown since unsuccessfully challenging Bayley for the WWE Smackdown Title at the Royal Rumble. Evans said it was a tough loss, but she learned in the Marines not to quit until the mission is accomplished. Renee said Bayley is a bully. Renee said it wasn’t long ago she was the bully, calling everyone nasties. “This new perspective seems ironic,” she said. Lacey said she’s from the South where “nasties” has a plethora of meanings, and it’s a term of endearment. She then said Renee was right that she was a bully once. She said watching Bayley and Sasha on Smackdown helped her see clearly. She said watching them tormenting her daughter taught her how much of a bully she was herself. “My granddaddy used to always say if your pen stinks, you’re probably the pig,” she said. She said she’s putting her best foot forward now and setting a good example, and it’s a new chapter. She said, “Renee, you nasty, do you have any new questions?” Renee asked what’s next. Lacey said she knows losing to Bayley puts her at the back of the line, but in Elimination Chamber she has the chance to leapfrog over five other contenders.
(Keller’s Analysis: Glad they addressed all of that. She seemed genuine enough and nice. Renee is good in that role.)
-They showed musical instruments being brought to ringside. There was a guy even dusting a grand piano, as if it’s important it shines nicely before being destroyed.
-Cesaro and Nakamura made their ring entrances separately. [c]
-Cole narrated a video recap of the backstory between these two teams.
(2) BRAUN STROWMAN & ELIAS vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO (w/Sami Zayn)
Elias strummed and sang his way to the ring. (God, he’s a bad singer. You’d think he’d be better by now. When he was a heel singing out of tune, it worked, but it’s rough as a babyface being that out of tune.) Strowman came out with a stand-up stringed bass. Sami had a ukulele. Cole reminded viewers they can use instruments as weapons. Elias beat up Nakamura with a tambourine, certainly chosen for its sounds. Elias picked up a bass drum and held it over his head. Cesaro blocked it. Strowman crashed it over the top of Cesaro’s head. Cole said Ringo Starr would be so proud. Sami came up behind Strowman and bopped him from behind with the ukulele. Strowman no-sold it and chased down Sami, but Nakamura caught Strowamn with a guitar to the gut. [c]
Back live, Sami grabbed Elias’s leg to prevent him from suplexing Cesaro onto a table at ringside. Nakamura, though, kicked Elias off the ring apron through the table at ringside. Strowman charged and knocked Cesaro into the ringside barricade. Then he tossed Nakamura onto the broken table. Then he tossed Cesaro onto the announce table. Back to Nakamura, Strowman rammed his head into the ringside steps. Sami hit Braun from behind with a keyboard and then Nakamura and Cesaro suplexed Strowman onto the stringed stand-up bass.
Elias eventually smashed Cesaro with a guitar across his back and then put him on a table at ringside. He climbed to the top rope, but Nakamura grabbed his leg. Strowman then tossed Nakamura into the announce table, which Cole oversold a bit. Strowman then powerslammed Nakamura onto the grand piano as Elias landed a flying top rope elbow onto Cesaro on the table. Cole said the powerslam by Strowman “broke the piano in half,” except it didn’t. It barely gave. Graves said, “That is quality craftsmanship from whoever built that piano.” Strowman covered and pinned Nakamura on the floor. Cole said he was expecting some crazy stuff, but that was ridiculous. He noted Nakamura was being given medical attention at ringside.
WINNERS: Strowman & Elias in 10:00.
-Cole pivoted to a video package on the King Corbin vs. Roman Reigns cage match at Super Showdown. He said it’s their final match.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Corbin backstage, who called Reigns an egomaniac who hides behind his hoodlum cousins. He said Reigns has never defeated him in a one-on-one match. He said he will grate his flesh using the chain-linked fence and he will replace Reigns on all the posters and trucks and stadium billboards. He said everyone will then bow down to the king.
-Cole hyped Goldberg coming up. Then they showed Naomi and Carmella warming up backstage. Cole said the Bella Twins on a Moment of Bliss is up next.
-A Raw commercial hyped that Brock Lesnar will be on Raw next week, Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler will be in the same building, plus teased “who will the Viper strike next.” [c]
-A Moment of Bliss: Alexa Bliss stood on the stage and welcomed everyone to a special Hall of Fame Moment of Bliss. She talked about this year’s class so far – Bastista and the NWO (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, X-Pac). Then she announced the Bella Twins. They came out to what sounded like mild cheers. Brie was really “showing.” They waved at fans and sat down. Nikki said they’re beyond grateful for the Bella Army. She said they wouldn’t be where they are without all of them. She said they broke barriers over the past 13 years “because of the Bella Army.” Nikki said the fact that the announcement is made on Alexa’s show is great because it’s “the first female talk show in WWE history.” (Talk shows can’t be “female.” Hosts can be.) Bliss said fans want to hear more about them. Brie said they’re both pregnant and talked about how special it is. Bryan came out with his and Brie’s daughter and led the crowd in “Yes!” chants after kissing his wife and handing over their toddler. Bryan made his way to the ring. [c]
(3) DANIEL BRYAN vs. HEATH SLATER
Gulak joined Graves and Cole at ringside. He cheered on Slater’s early strategy. He scolded Slater for climbing to the top rope, and that distraction gave Bryan time to move out of his way once he did go for a big splash. Bryan threw Yes Kicks at Slater as fans chanted along. Then he led the crowd in another Yes chant. Gulak said Bryan has a pattern. Slater countered Bryan’s running knee after telegraphing it with a roll-up. Bryan kicked out and then did hit the running knee for the win. Gulak credited Slater for putting up more of a fight than last time. Graves said Slater helped him find holes in Bryan’s game.
WINNER: Bryan in 2:00.
-They went backstage to Mandy and the screen briefly broke into static and a symbol. Ziggler came up to her and offered her a ride. Then Otis walked out from behind some rolling creates looking crushed and angry. [c]
-Cole plugged that Bryan and the Bella Twins would be on FS1’s WWE Backstage next Tuesday.
-A soundbite aired with Sheamus who said he sent Apollo Crews and Shorty G running like rats from a sinking ship and exterminated them. He said Smackdown’s problems are far from over, and now the time has come for him to hunt bigger prey. He said he’s entering the Elimination Chamber.
-Backstage Crews and Shorty saw what Sheamus said. Shorty said it wasn’t their finest moment last week. He said Sheamus is a bully and it makes him sick. He said he’s not backing down and won’t let him question who he is. Crews said he doesn’t need his little pep talk. He said they can each handle it their own way. He walked away.
(4) NAOMI vs. CARMELLA
Bayley watched at ringside. She distracted Naomi a few minutes into the match. Cole wondered if Bayley fears Naomi more. [c]
Back from the break, Graves said Bayley was ejected from ringside. They fought another five minutes back and forth. Naomi landed a top rope blockbuster followed by a top rope split-legged moonsault for the win.
WINNER: Naomi in 13:00.
-They showed the locker room with Goldberg’s name on it. [c]
-Goldberg made his usual ring entrance. He said it’s great to be back. He said he’s going to take his sweet time and enjoy being in the ring on Smackdown. He said whoever and whatever The Fiend is, he should know that he is ready. He was interrupted by the Firefly Funhouse jingle. Bray Wyatt was pounding on the wall with a red toy hammer. He said he was just doing work in his funhouse. Goldberg said he’s not there to talk, but rather he’s there to take his championship. Goldberg said he’s not taking his championship. He said they should get to know each other better. He introduced his puppets. The pig burped. He said he knows someone who is dying to meet him. The lights began to turn blue and then turn off. Goldberg licked his lips.
The lights came back on and Goldberg said, “The Fiend. And you’re right behind me.” He turned around and it was true. Goldberg speared Fiend, then played to the crowd and twitched. Fiend got up and kneeled. The lights went dark, then back on – and Fiend was suddenly gone. Fiend laughter played over the sound system. Goldberg stood on the second rope and played to the crowd as the show ended with Cole plugging Super Showdown.