5/8 WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT: Keller’s report on final Money in the Bank hype, Jeff Hardy’s return, Braun and Bray face-off, Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor



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KELLER’S WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 8, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON FOX NETWORK

Announcer: Michael Cole, Corey Graves


[HOUR ONE]

-They showed Mandy Rose using a stretch band for arm curls backstage. Otis walked up and asked if she was ready. Mandy said this match with Sonya Deville was a long time coming. He asked what he could do to help. She told Otis to focus on his Money in the Bank match on Sunday. “I got this,” she said before kissing him on the cheek. Otis was very happy.

-They went elsewhere to Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville backstage. She said she’s never been more ready for anything in her life. She said this is five years worth of beatings she’s going to give to Mandy tonight. Dolph said they’d celebrate one-on-one tonight. Ziggler told Sonya to go easy on Mandy’s face. Sonya said no promises.

-They went to the Performance Center with a shot of the stage and virtual scoreboard as Cole introduced the show.

(1) MANDY ROSE vs. SONYA DEVILLE

Graves said he couldn’t think of a better way to start Smackdown. As Sonya walked out, they replayed the Carmella win over Mandy because of a Sonya distraction followed by Sonya attacking Mandy. Cole called it “a jealous, obsessed attack.” Mandy attacked Sonya aggressively at the bell. Mandy walked right into a Sonya kick a minute in and she took over. “Do you really think you’re better than me?” Sonya asked as she ground her into the mat. She said she feels bad for Mandy at this point. Graves said she’s toying with Mandy. Mandy made a comeback at 3:00 with clotheslines which Graves called “a last minute rally.” Mandy rammed Sonya into the table, shouting, “Who’s the bitch now, bitch?” She rammed Sonya face-first into the ringside steps twice. Back in the ring Mandy yelled at Sonya and set up her finisher, but Sonya slipped free and leveraged her shoulders down for a three count. Cole called it “one of the most emotional and personal match-ups I can ever remember on Friday Night Smackdown.” Graves said this round belongs to Deville.

WINNER: Deville in 5:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: It didn’t add up to a satisfying payoff to the long-running feud, but that’s tough without a crowd. This would have been a good excuse for WWE to have wrestlers on site “take sides” and come out to cheer or boo – with social spacing – given the personal nature of the feud.)

-Cole said it’ll be an explosive night tonight. He hyped the Braun Strowman-Bray Wyatt “face to face” segment later. Also, an eight-man tag match. [c]

-A video package aired on build-up to the eight-man tag match.

(2) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) & LUCHA HOUSE PARTY vs. FORGOTTEN SONS & MIZ & MORRISON

Cole said on Sunday, these four teams will face off in a Fatal Four-way match. Cole said New Day could lose their tag titles without being involved in the finish. Graves complained that Cole was sounding biased. Graves said Miz & Morrison didn’t lose the tag titles under normal circumstances, either. A big brawl broke out a minute in with everyone leading to dives by LHP and Kofi. They cut to an early break. [c]

Blake was being isolated after the break by Kofi. Cole asked Graves if a win tonight could build momentum for Sunday. The heels took over on Kofi for a while. Kofi came back with some kicks until Blake knocked Kofi off the ring apron, then dove through the ropes and tackled Kofi. They cut to another break at 8:00. [c]

Miz and Morrison beat up Kofi after the break. After some action at ringside, Miz gave Kofi his S.O.S. Both were slow to get up. Kofi crawled over and tagged in Gran Metalik. LHP did rapid-fire tags against Morrison leading to a near fall by Metalik on Morrison. Big E and Kofi eventually rallied against Cutler, but Miz knocked New Day out of the ring. Forgotten Sons attacked New Day at ringside, including powerbombing Kofi onto Big E. Back in the ring, Morrison kicked Metalik off the top rope. Lince Dorado rolled up Morrison after a dive off the top rope. He scored another two count. Morrison caught him on a third try and went for Starship Pain. Dorado moved and gave Morrison a poison rana. Miz blind tagged in and gave Dorado a Skull Crushing Finale for the three count.

WINNERS: Miz & Morrison & Forgotten Sons in 12:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good action throughout in and out of the ring. LHP had opportunities to shine, in particular.)

-Kalya Braxton interviewed King Corbin. Corbin said he’s looking past tonight and planning how he’ll win MITB, but torturing his opponents throughout the halls of WWE headquarters on his way to victory. He said he wants to see how far Rey Mysterio can fly off the roof and across the street. He said he doesn’t mind knocking on all the doors of WWE offices to find Aleister Black. He said Otis is too big of an idiot to get off the ground floor, and he said if he finds his way to a elevator, he’ll probably clog the shaft like he clogs his arteries. He said he’ll feel like his girlfriend Mandy Rose, a loser. He said he can already feel the fresh air filling his lungs atop WWE headquarters as King Money in the Bank.

(Keller’s Analysis: Yes, Kayla is short, but Corbin was so obviously standing on a platform. That was just ridiculous.)

-Cole plugged that Jeff Hardy is back next. [c]

-Cole said WWE is proud to team with 13 other sports leagues to create the Real Heroes Project celebrating health care workers at the front lines of COVID-19.

-Renee Young interviewed Jeff Hardy mid-ring. Graves said he had a chance to interview Hardy on his podcast and talk about how excited he is about the next stage of his career without his demons holding him down. Renee asked what he still has left to prove. Hardy said he’s not sure, but he’s climbed some tall mountains in WWE and Swanton Bombed off of most of them “to lower lows than most will ever know.” Hardy said every low has taught him how to get back up and be a survivor. They cut to Sheamus backstage watching on a monitor mocking Hardy. He said the fans are usually surrounding him, cheering him on to do something completely insane. He said he can still hear the fans’ voices. “Hardy! Hardy! Hardy!” he yelled. He said they have stuck with him during his entire career and he will ask them to stick with him through one more good run in WWE. They went back to Sheamus again and asked, “Is this what people have been waiting for the last four weeks?” He headed to the ring. Hardy said he’s surprised Sheamus hasn’t interrupted him yet. Hardy took the mic and said, “I know you’re watching me,” he said. “Come on!” Sheamus’s music played and Sheamus walked out.

Sheamus stood on the stage. “If this isn’t the saddest thing I’ve seen in the WWE,” he said. “The adrenaline junkie crawled back to the ring for one more sip off the bottle and they’re not even here to give him a pity swig. Jeff, who the hell do you think still cares about you?” He said because he’s a legend, nobody will say it to his face except for him. He said fans are tired of the wasted second chances. Hardy called Sheamus a “hater.” Sheamus said he’s not a hater and he used to respect him. “How many false comebacks can one man have before we realize he’s never really coming back,” he said. Hardy said, “Maybe you should ask yourself that question, fella.” Sheamus said everybody except Jeff realizes his next failure is right around the corner. Sheamus said since he came back, he’s been sniffing out Smackdown’s weakest flames. He said his has been barely burning for far too long. “It’s time for me to put it out,” Sheamus said. He put the mic down and walked to the ring. Cole said Hardy was ready for him. Hardy dropkicked Sheamus and then hit a Whisper in the Wind and a Twist of Fate. He tore off his shirt and then leaped off the top rope with a Swanton. “Jeff Hardy is back!” declared Cole. He said Hardy embarrassed Sheamus.

(Keller’s Analysis: Hardy is often strangely awkward on the mic, and given the obviously scripted nature of what he said, he did well with it. Sheamus was good in his role, too. Again, as always, “given the circumstances.”)

-Cole plugged Bray and Braun was up next.

-A commercial aired for WWE’s Greatest Ladder Matches two hour special on Fox tomorrow night. [c]

-A brief preview video aired hyping part one of the Undertaker special on WWE Network premiering on Sunday night after MITB.

-Braun made his ring entrance as Cole plugged the MITB title match. Braun stood mid-ring and said he debuted with the Wyatt Family, but if Bray Wyatt thinks he created him and owes him for all his success, he’s delusional. He said he’s tried to talk to him through his puppets and Funhouse because he’s scared. He reiterated that if Bray has something to say to him, say it to his face. Bray walked out to his entrance theme, making an in-person appearance rather than through the pre-recorded video segments.

[HOUR TWO]

Bray entered the ring and told Braun all he wanted was for him to say he’s sorry. Braun said he doesn’t owe him anything. Bray said that’s not true. Braun said Bray will be sorry on Sunday. Bray said he knows him. “A good creator always knows his own creations, right?” he said. “I know what you’re going to say and what you’re going to do, and what’s best for you.” Braun said he doesn’t know what he’s going to do or say. Bray said Braun should come home because he doesn’t belong out there with the rest of them, and he can show him he’s special just like him. Braun shook his head, but seemed to convey he might have some self doubt. Bray said he needs to get back that Universal Title. He said “get” in a way to get under Braun’s skin. Braun said Bray doesn’t know him and at MITB, this all ends.

Bray said, “Oh Brawn, our journey is just beginning.” He said he doesn’t want to spoil the fun, but he asked him to give him a taste of things to come. He reached out with the black sheep mask. He told him to try it on and comeback home. Suddenly the puppets told Braun to come home, too, as creepy music played. Braun acted like he was maybe succumbing, but then said, “I am home and I’ve got the Universal Championship.” He said on Sunday, he’s going to keep it and he’ll be stuck playing with his puppets. Bray kept smiling at Braun. Braun smiled back and waved and cheerfully said to Bray, “Bye, see you Sunday.” Bray showed a sense of disappointment that his offer wasn’t accepted. “I tried, Braun, sorry, I tried,” he said.

Graves said, “This Sunday is going to be very, very interesting with a motivated champion and a deranged challenger.”

(Keller’s Analysis: It was interesting to see Bray outside of the post-produced Firefly Funhouse format. He was solid here and Braun carried his end. The scripted-sounding back and forth still hurts, but considering that, the idea of Bray trying to lure Braun back and planting that seed as a possibility is the right thing to do here. I think you want viewers wondering if Bray might prevail in getting Braun back into his control.)

-Otis walked up to Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak. Bryan asked how Mandy is doing. Otis said she’s upset, but she’ll be okay. Bryan and Drew then offered to update Otis on what Corbin said about him earlier. [c]

-A video package recapped the Bayley-Tamina feud.

(3) LACEY EVANS & TAMINA vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY

Tamina got in early offense. Bayley and Sasha took over for a while. Tamina knocked them to the floor. They regrouped at ringside. Lacey then walked out. Bayley told her to stay out of her business. Tamina grabbed at Bayley’s hair from inside the ring, but Bayley yanked Tamina neck-first over the rope. When Bayley leaped off the ropes at Tamina, Tamina punched her in the throat. Bayley dropped to ringside into Sasha’s arms to regroup. [c]

[A commercial aired with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart hyping that this Tuesday on FS1, they’re airing WrestleMania III as it originally aired.]

Lacey was kneeing Sasha back live. Sasha and Bayley took over on Lacey for several minutes. Tamina got a hot-tag eventually and worked over Bayley, including charging at her in the corner. When Tamina leaped off the top rope, Bayley raised her knees. Bayley then gave Tamina her Bayley-to-Belly and a top rope flying elbow drop for a “convincing” near fall. When Tamina lifted Bayley onto her shoulders. Sasha interfered. Lacey gave her a Woman’s Right. Bayley knocked her out of the ring. Tamina then gave Bayley a superkick and a Samoan Drop for the win.

WINNER: Tamina & Lacey in 14:00.

-They hyped the six-man tag team main event coming up, including a mystery partner for Bryan and Gulak. Graves wished them good luck finding a partner.

(Keller’s Analysis: Graves just sounds idiotic considering they were just seen hanging out with Otis and he hasn’t wrestled on the show. It’s just too dumb even for the a heel commentator.)

-They went to Cole and Graves on camera who plugged the MITB line-up including a tour of the WWE HQs.

-Kayla interviewed Dana Brooke and Carmella backstage. Brooke said no one including Carmella could believe she beat Naomi. Carmella said she was wrong and she apologized. Brooke said she believes she has just as good of a chance as anyone. “The risk is worth the reward of becoming Miss Money in the Bank.” Carmella said she has an advantage being a former Miss Money in the Bank. She said friendships and alliances don’t matter. She said she’ll remind everyone why Mella is Money.

-Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro made their ring entrances. [c]

-A mysterious guy in a hood with the distorted voice showed up again and showed clips from the show and said he’s watching. He said the thing about anger is you can hear it before you see it. Then he played a voice saying something is coming soon. The screen said, “The Truth Will Be Heard.”

(4) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO & KING CORBIN vs. DANIEL BRYAN & DREW GULAK & OTIS

In a not-surprise reveal, Otis came out to reveal himself as the mystery partner. Bryan went after Corbin at the bell with a dropkick. He mounted him and punched away at him. Drew tagged in, but Corbin caught him with a strike to the throat right away to take over. The heel threesome took it to Drew until he hot-tagged Otis at 4:00. Otis brushed off some Nakamura kicks and then clotheslined him. He knocked Cesaro and Corbin off the ring apron, then turned back to Nakamura and splashed him in the corner. Cole said he’s trying to picture Otis climb a ladder. Otis did the Caterpillar Elbow. He fended off an interfering Cesaro. The heels regrouped at ringside. [c]

More back and forth action for several minutes. The heels threw Otis into the ringpost. Bryan came to his aid, but Nakamura kicked him. Corbin then gave Drew a Deep Six for the three count.

WINNERS: Corbin & Cesaro & Nakamura in 12:00.

-They brawled at ringside and to the back. Corbin slid a ladder into the ring and set it up and climbed it to grab a MITB briefcase hanging from the ceiling. Bryan yanked Corbin down and kicked away at him until Corbin shoved him hard into the ladder. Corbin set up the ladder again, but Otis ran out and knocked Corbin down, then rammed him with the ladder. Cole said that’s a reminder of the damage Otis can deliver on Sunday. Otis then tried to climb the ladder but two of the rungs gave out. Cole wondered how he could win on Sunday. Corbin attacked Otis again and drove him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Bryan slid another ladder into the ring. Corbin stomped away at him. Bryan fought back and set up the taller ladder. Corbin tipped Bryan over and he dropped over the top rope. Corbin tossed Bryan over the top rope at Otis, who nearly caught him. Corbin climbed the ladder a third time in what Cole called “a symbolic moment.” Graves said the MITB briefcase is his for the taking. Cole wondered if he’d win MITB for the second time in his career.

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