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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 5, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON FOX NETWORK
Announcer: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They panned the cheering audience in the Performance Center as Cole said they have a stacked card. They hyped the line-up of matches and segments. They showed Jeff Hardy backstage talking to three people. Cole observed that he seems to be a good mood.
-They aired a recap of last week’s incident in the parking lot including Braun Strowman describing what he saw. They also aired highlights of Daniel Bryan beating Sheamus in the semi-finals last week after Hardy stumbled to ringside which distracted Sheamus, plus Hardy beating up Sheamus afterward.
-Jeff Hardy made his ring entrance and played to the excited trainees on the other side of the plexiglass. Cole said they have a medical update on Elias. He said he has a torn pectoral muscle and broken ribs and could miss a couple months of action. Hardy said it’s great to see everybody. He thanked WWE management and Fox for giving him time to get something off his chest. He said last week the WWE Universe witnessed something awful and the entire show was thrown into chaos. He said Elias’s injuries could have been a lot worse. He said he wanted to paint a different portrait from his point of view.
He explained that he pulled up to the P.C. parking lot, and when he got out of the car, it felt like someone hit him with an anvil. He said everything went dark and next thing he knew, police were lifting him up and asking questions he didn’t know answers to. He said he smelled of alcohol and started to drift back to a place he said he’d never go back to. He said he worked so hard for the last eight months for sobriety, his career, and his family, and he wondered how he could explain this to his family. “How many more times could I beg for forgiveness?” he asked. The P.C. audience applauded. Hardy got emotional and said it’s all good. He said he is in WWE for a reason. He said it’s good to know that he isn’t on this path alone. He said he knows deep in his heart he did not slip on his own.
He said he passed every sobriety test police gave him. He said a witness showed up and said a person with a red hair and a red beard got out of his car and fled the scene. He said he was furious, and he couldn’t wait to get back to the P.C. He said the anger he felt could only be expressed through action. He said he tried to take everything away from him, and he’ll be damned if he lets him get away with it. Cole said, “Explosive charges from Jeff Hardy.”
Sheamus’s music played and he walked out. Sheamus said Hardy is once again blaming other people for his problems. He said people like him always have excuses. He said the witnesses who lied are enablers. He told the audience to shut their traps when they heckled him. He told Jeff to be a man and admit what he did. He said he’s not a man, though, he’s just a junkie. Hardy shook his head. Sheamus brought up Jeff’s wife and kids. He said not to worry about them because they’re used to it. Hardy charged and attacked Sheamus, but Sheamus came back and landed a Brogue Kick. Sheamus threw Hardy into the plexiglass over and over. Graves said those were incendiary statements followed by a Brogue Kick and a beatdown by Sheamus. The audience chanted, “You suck!” Cole wondered if what Hardy said was true. Graves said he hopes the truth will see the light soon. Sheamus let out a big yell and flexed on the stage.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why were the announcers so skeptical of Hardy, especially Cole? It makes no sense that Cole, at least twice, indicated Hardy’s story shouldn’t be taken at face-value. Obviously Hardy was telling the truth. Last week it was apparent that what he said happened is what happened, and yet a week later, with the story explained in detail – including a new witness at the police station – Cole is acting like Hardy might have made it all up. Cole just seemed like an idiot here.)
-Backstage Otis was walking with Mandy Rose with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Otis noticed King Corbin’s crown. He tried it on. “Oh yeah!” he said. He strutted proudly.
-Cole said Mandy and Otis are so in love. Graves objected to Otis stealing Corbin’s crown. Corbin saw his crown was missing. He asked a production guy where it was. He said Otis took it. Corbin shoved him and said he should have stopped him.
(Keller’s Analysis: The placement of the crown on a chair in the middle of the back hall was contrived. It’s like WWE isn’t even trying to give an authentic vibe to things. They could have had a photo shoot set up where Corbin left his grown and cape behind to fetch a water bottle or get some make-up, and Otis spotted the crowd next to the photo shoot backdrop and picked it up. Instead, it’s on a stool in the middle of a walkway. Just so dumb.) [c]
(1) OTIS (w/Mandy Rose) vs. KING CORBIN
During Otis’s ring entrance, they showed highlights of last week’s pool skit including the Mandy dream sequence with Otis. Corbin was upset and threw Otis into the ringpost in the opening seconds. Otis made a comeback and splashed Corbin in the corner. Corbin rolled to the floor. Otis went after him. Corbin jabbed him with a chair. The ref DQ’d him.
WINNER: Otis in 4:00 via DQ.
-They fought back in the ring where Otis made a comeback and landed the Caterpillar. He let out a yell. Cole said it wasn’t Corbin’s night.
-Graves hyped a face-to-face between Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles. Cole plugged the Women’s Tag Team Title match.
-They went to Miz and Morrison who were spying on Braun Strowman as he arrived via a video camera in the production truck. Miz made fun of Strowman driving an old car (I think a 1983 Buick Regal.) “Sweet car, Bro,” Miz said. Braun rolled his suitcase up to the P.C. [c]
-Back to Miz and Morrison. They said all of their coworkers and the fans have been telling them they don’t stand a chance. Morrison said they’ve been annoying. Miz imitated dumb fans, all of whom had a Southern drawl. Miz said some would say what they’re about to do is childish, but it’s actually strategic because angry monsters make mistakes. Miz said by the time they get to Backlash, Strowman’s life will be a living hell. They had a spy cam on Braun in the refreshment area. He poured water from a plastic bottle into his Thermos, and it fizzed up. Miz and Morrison celebrated in an obnoxiously over-the-top way. Braun was really mad and stormed off.
-Kayla interviewed Shorty G. Mojo Rawley interrupted and then said, “Sorry, little man.” He said there are far more important things to talk about such as Rob Gronkowski tragically getting robbed of his 24/7 Title. Mojo said his interview “just got cut short.” Mojo laughed and said, “See what I did there? It’s funny because you’re short.” Shorty said that was classic stuff. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura then came up behind Shorty and attacked him. New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston ran up and yelled at them that it was unnecessary.
(Keller’s Analysis: I smell a very random six-man tag match coming up later.)
-As Lacey Evans made her ring entrance, Sonya Deville attacked her from behind. That was a stiff shove from behind. Sonya smiled. Cole said their rematch is next. [c]
-A Raw ad said Christian and Edge are reuniting to talk about Edge’s scheduled match against Randy Orton. Also, an update on how Drew McIntyre is doing after the Bobby Lashley attack at the end of last week’s show.
(2) LACEY EVANS vs. SONYA DEVILLE
Sonya casually took control at the start. Lacey made a quick comeback seconds into the match. Sonya made a comeback a minute later with a kick to the gut. Sonya said this is an example of what blonds are capable of. Graves got in the obligatory reference to Lacey being a United States Marine. Lacey went for a leglock and rolled into the referee’s leg. He sold a knee injury and called for some help. The match came to a stop. A medic and another referee ran out to check on him. [c]
The match continued after the break with a new referee. They showed a clip of Sasha attacking Lacey during the break as she was checking on the referee. Sonya yanked Lacey off the ring apron to the floor by her beck. Cole called it one of the nastiest moves he’s seen. Sonya then stepped on her neck on the ring steps. Lacey yelled out in pain. Cole said he never knew Sonya was capable of this. Back in the ring Lacey made a comeback with a flying clothesline. Both were down and slow to get up. Lacey landed a springboard turning moonsault off the top rope for a near fall. She set up a neckbreaker, but Sonya countered with a knee. She landed a running knee to the chin for a two count. Sonya yelled, “Come on!” Sonya had some blood on the bridge of her nose. Mandy interrupted from the big screen. She said Sonya isn’t a fighter, she’s a failure. Sonya leaned on the top rope and yelled with rage for her to come out to the ring and say that to her face. She called her a Barbie doll. Lacey spun her around and gave her a Woman’s Right for the win. Mandy laughed.
WINNER: Evans in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another distraction finish? Sonya should be portrayed as being smarter than that. Even if WWE can justify these “excuse finishes” on an individual basis, there shouldn’t be more than one every two months.)
-Cole hyped the Women’s Tag Team match. Graves announced the six-man tag match they set up earlier. Cole said the Styles-Bryan face-to-face is next. [c]
-A vignette aired on Matt Riddle.
-Kayla interviewed Braun. He said Miz and Morrison are like two annoying bugs flying around your head, so let them have their fun. Miz and Morrison then activated something with a remote control. Green slime dumped onto Kayla. They looked guilty that their plan didn’t quite work. Miz and Morrison argued over who screwed up. Kayla said, “Those… bastards!” Miz and Morrison saw some slime on Braun said it was actually a success.
-They went to Cole and Graves at ringside. Graves said they might want to tread lightly when it comes to Braun. Cole said Styles and Bryan are taking part in the NASCAR Cup Series on Fox next Wednesday as the Grand Marshals.
-Renee Young introduced Daniel Bryan first. Bryan did his “Yes” chant on his way to the ring. Then Styles came out, acting full of himself. Styles said Bryan was a fool last week and volunteered to skip a bye, and if not for Hardy, then Sheamus would be standing there. Bryan said Styles has his way of thinking and he has his, and he’s okay with that. Styles said he took his bye because it was the smart move. He said when he looks in the mirror, he sees the best champion WWE has ever seen. He said Bryan is all heart, and he is acting noble but also stupid. Bryan said Styles is trying to get under his skin and it’s not working. He said they have two entirely different world views and different visions of what it means to become Intercontinental Champion.
Bryan said Styles will probably rarely defend the IC Title if he wins it because he thinks so few are worthy. Bryan said he’s a coward. He said his vision of being the IC Champion is defending that title every week on Smackdown against any up-and-comer or a legend. He said he doesn’t do it because it’s noble, but because he wants to test himself and learn. He said being the best isn’t who he is now, it’s who he can be. The audience cheered. Bryan said he wants the audience to be excited every week knowing there will be a title match and maybe their favorite can break through and win a title. “That’s me,” he said. “That’s my vision!” Styles said he doesn’t believe in handouts. He said he believes in earning an opportunity. He asked how Drew Gulak earned the opportunity to be his coach and work in WWE. He said it sounds like a handout to him. He said he is willing to reach across the aisle and give Drew Gulak an opportunity tonight. He said the handout is going to turn into an ass-whipping. Gulak came out and tackled Styles. They cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: I enjoyed promo, especially the parallel to what people know about their political perspectives. It rang true as they went back and forth.) [c]
(3) DREW GULAK (w/Daniel Bryan) vs. A.J. STYLES
The bell rang and Styles aggressively went after Gulak. Styles raked Gulak’s eyes to stop his momentum a few minutes in and then delivered an inverted DDT. Styles eyed Bryan before standing. Styles then set up a Styles Clash, but he was too casual about it and Gulak tripped Styles and flipped over and leveraged his shoulders down for a three count. Cole wondered what that does for Styles and his momentum. Graves called it a shocking victory, but impressive.
WINNER: Gulak in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure what this accomplished, but I don’t think Styles should be losing under any circumstances to Drew Gulak in five minutes right now. He’s Smackdown’s hot new acquisition and he’s already been defined down quite a bit going into next week’s IC Title match. Was this because Styles is winning and they want to justify giving Gulak a title match later this month? It’s like a non-title victory over a champion before the wrestler becomes champion, which doesn’t make it any better.)
-Miz and Morrison showed up in the parking lot and admired Braun’s old Buick. “It’d be a shame if something happened to it,” said Miz. They saw a fly on the windshield. Miz smashed the windshield with a golf club. Morrison then bashed it with a baseball bat over and over as Miz yelled obnoxiously. They were very pleased with themselves and couldn’t wait to see the look on Braun’s face. [c]
(4) NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) & SHORTY G vs. CESARO & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & MOJO RAWLEY
Lots of tags and back and forth action for several minutes. Kofi landed a running flip dive over the top rope onto Cesaro. Kofi sold a tweaked knee. Mojo then checked Kofi at ringside. [c]
Mojo eventually took control against Shorty and scored a near fall after a Hyperdrive. Shorty ducked a Mojo clothesline and tagged in Big E. He slammed Mojo as Kofi leaped off the top rope with a tandem Big Ending for the win.
WINNERS: New Day & Shorty G in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This match reminds me of WCW’s Battle Bowl concept where tag teams were assembled by random draw. This felt like they drew three names out of the babyface hat and three out of the heel hat and then devised an angle to try to justify it.)
-They went back to Miz and Morrison who watched Braun discover his car windshield bashed in. Miz and Morrison celebrated. Miz asked rhetorically, “Is your life a living hell now, Braun?” Braun asked, “Where are they?!” A concerned Morrison told Miz he doesn’t know they’re in the van, right? A worker told Braun that they’re in the nearby white van. The doors were locked. Miz said they are safe in there. Morrison excitedly said he can’t get them in there. Braun discovered a camera on the van and looked into it and vowed they are dead men. Miz and Morrison taunted him from inside, even though he couldn’t hear them. Braun began rocking the van, and then he lifted it and tipped it over. Braun celebrated. [c]
-The announcers hyped Backlash, including Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus just added.
(5) ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY – Women’s Tag Team Title match
Nikki and Bliss dominated early against Bayley. Bayley eventually made a comeback and tagged in Banks. Cole said Bliss & Cross are really close friends, whereas the Bayley and Sasha relationship has been severed in recent months. Nikki leaped off the ring apron onto Bayley a couple minutes later. Sasha tried to interfered, but Nikki fended her off. Bayley knocked her to the floor from behind. Sasha then landed a Meteora at ringside and they cut to a break. [c]
The heel duo beat up Nikki for several minutes. Bliss got the hot-tag eventually and rallied against Bayley. She climbed to the top rope, but Sasha distracted her. Bayley then knocked her off balance. She then gave her a Bayley-to-Belly off the top rope. Bayley landed hard on her shoulder and sold an injury. She quickly tagged in Sasha who scored a near fall after a running knee. Graves said Bayley took more out of herself after the move. Graves said Sasha couldn’t close the door. Bayley tried to interfere, but Nikki yanked her to the floor and gave her a tornado DDT. Meanwhile, Bliss sunset bombed Sasha in the ring for a near fall. Nikki tagged in and top rope crossbody blocked Sasha for a two count. Sasha crawled to the corner, but Bayley wasn’t available. Bayley tagged herself in as Sasha hit a Back Stabber. When Sasha applied the Bank Statement, Bayley entered and applied a Bank Statement of her own and kicked Sasha out of the ring. Nikki escaped and covered Bayley. Banks broke up the cover and dragged Bayley to their corner. She then tagged herself in. Sasha then applied the Bank Statement mid-ring. Bayley stopped Bliss from making the save. Sasha leveraged Cross’s shoulders down and got the three count.
WINNER: Bayley & Sasha in 13:00 to capture the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
-Nikki and Bliss tried to figure out what happened as Sasha and Bayley celebrated at ringside. Graves said Bayley is a double champion on Smackdown. Bayley yelled over the announce desk. Cole backed away as she yelled.
(Keller’s Analysis: All’s well that ends well, apparently, as Sasha seemed quite happy winning tag titles with Bayley, despite Bayley again treating her disrespectfully in that match, especially in that minute. Good tag match, and I’m interested to see the next chapter in the Bayley/Sasha storyline.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Basic standard Smackdown episode. Nothing great, nothing too awful unless you are really irritated by Miz & Morrison’s antics.