SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
So when I get mad, I make a fist. I grab my pen and I write out a list. Of all the wrestling stuff that hit and missed. Let’s see who’s made the WWE Smackdown Hitlist for the May 15, 2020 episode on Fox.
•Bryan vs. Gulak: We’re still a few weeks away from Edge taking on Randy Orton in the greatest wrestling match ever. But the match between the former two-time WWE champion and the former Combat Zone Triple Crown Champion was also a really good match. The other good part here was the postmatch promo. Daniel Bryan promised to restore prestige to the WWE Intercontinental Title. Dozens of wrestlers have done this interview, but the Yes Master is good enough to make you believe.
•Sonya Deville: The incendiary half of Fire and Desire managed to cram anger, hurt, betrayal, sadism and a touch of vulnerability into what could have been an ordinary off-week promo. We liked it. We really liked it.
•Braun Strowman: On the one hand, having the Universal Monster doing backstage segments with the rest of the hoi polloi makes Strowman feel a little less special. On the other hand, isn’t it nice to have a lead babyface who doesn’t come off as a total idiot? Plus, Braun got to strut his stuff in the main event, where Miz & Morrison made him look like the extraordinarily strong fellow he is in real life.
•WWE Post-Production: One of the best parts of the show was the video package recapping Becky Lynch’s pregnancy announcement from Raw. When it happened live on a Monday, it was good moment. WWE adding the music and crowd noise gave its viewers an idea of how much cooler it would have been for Lynch to make her speech in front of a live crowd. Well done.
•Sheamus: He only made a small cameo, but the Pale Rider was there long enough to remind fans he’s in a major match on next week’s show. Sheamus also reminded fans his character is a real jerk. Mission accomplished, fella.
•Miz TV: The episode began with MizTV, where John Morrison and The Miz made fun of WWE Money In The Bank winner Otis Dozovic. The heel tag team didn’t exactly plow any new ground by making fun of Otis’s size and love of meats. The Heavy Machine played the buffoon a little more than a money drawing pro wrestler should. I have an awful feeling that the end game will involve Otis giving his briefcase over to Mandy Rose, and that’s not a good story arc for him.
•Good Charlotte: I’m supposed to buy Charlotte Flair as a fan favorite? Why? Because she’s (arguably) not as unpleasant as Smackdown Women’s Champion Karen Bayley? Nah. One of the few advantages WWE has in running shows in an empty studio is the ability to do face vs. face and heel vs. heel matches without confusing a live audience. Have the announcers push the story you’re trying to tell, and let the fans figure out the rest.
•The Dozovic-Rose Romance: Since WrestleMania, we’ve seen Otis & Mandy hug each other, kiss each other on the cheek, encourage each other in their career goals and work together against Dolph Ziggler & Sonya Deville. But we haven’t seen a lot of passion between our lovebirds.
I’m not complaining about the way Otis and Mandy are being portrayed. I’m just sorry I missed the episode where they got married.
You can find Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina on Twitter at @realpatmcneill. Listen to his weekly “Wayback Playback” watchalong podcast with Jim Valley HERE.