SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JUNE 5, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Items Advertised by WWE
We come off a rather bizarre night of Smackdown where the Intercontinental Championship tournament got shaken up. After tonight we have one more week of Raw and Smackdown programming before Backlash. This coming Sunday, NXT Takeover: In Your House comes our way. Here’s what’s on tap for tonight:
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross to battle Bayley & Sasha Banks with Women’s Tag Team Titles at stake
Jeff Hardy set to share his side of the story after last week’s accident
Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles to come face-to-face ahead of Intercontinental Championship clash
What do The Miz & John Morrsion have planned for Braun Strowman ahead of WWE Backlash
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (champs) vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks
Last week, it was a tag team championship summit as Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) were the guests of Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross on A Moment of Bliss. As the segment went on, Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and her BFF (for now) Sasha Banks interrupted the proceedings. That led to Sasha taking on Alexa one-on-one after Bayley suggested that she and Sasha could take back the tag team titles any time they wanted. Bayley & Sasha were the initial champs, winning the titles at Elimination Chamber 2019. Sasha and Alexa previously feuded over the Raw Women’s Championship back in 2016, which included a match at SummerSlam. Bayley for all intents and purposes volunteered Sasha for the match last week, like what she did when Tamina wanted a title match not too long ago (remember that?).
Tonight, Alexa & Nikki put their gold up against Bayley and Sasha.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m not at all expecting a title change. They could however shock us and have them win the titles, which would throw us off the scent of them heading towards a Sasha & Bayley breakup. Losing the titles would eventually fuel that possibility. Bayley continues to speak for Sasha and volunteer her for matches, and you can tell Sasha doesn’t appreciate it.
Jeff Hardy Tells All After Opening Segment Happenings
Jeff Hardy was scheduled to face Daniel Bryan in the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Championship tournament. At the onset of the show, a crime scene of sorts unfolded as Elias was down and a vehicle appeared to have been in an accident. That said it was revealed that it was a rental car in Jeff’s name. Jeff looked inebriated and was taken by police while smelling of alcohol. Elias was taken out on a stretcher. It was assumed he was driving while intoxicated and struck Elias.
Adam Pearce said that a battle royal would take place to determine who would face Bryan later in the evening. A.J. Styles, set to face Elias, received a bye into the finals. Pearce wanted to give both Bryan and A.J. byes into the finals, but Bryan didn’t accept and wanted to face someone. Sheamus would win the battle royal but come up short against Bryan who now heads to the finals against A.J. one week from now. Jeff returned to attack Sheamus after the match, prompting Michael Cole to question what was going on. Two days later, WWE put out on article that Jeff was cleared of any charges. Tonight, Jeff “tells all” regarding this incident.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s likely going to come out that Sheamus drove the car and set up Jeff by pouring alcohol on him or something. It’s fine that people were hooked into the show after seeing, and I understand that. Me personally, I’m tired of WWE using real-life issues in storylines. We don’t know what Jeff and his family have been through regarding his bouts with alcohol and drug abuse. While you’re enjoying these segments, think of the pain he went through trying to rehab or the strife he may have caused his family.
Face to Face for Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles Ahead of Intercontinental Championship Final
Earlier in the report I talked about how we got to the Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles match for the Intercontinental Championship, which takes place next week. I’ll add that A.J. told Bryan he was an idiot, referring to the fact that Bryan didn’t take the bye into the finals like he did. A.J. was set to face Elias, however Elias was taken out in the opening segment discussed earlier. Bryan defeated Sheamus who had won a battle royal earlier to advance to the finals. The battle royal featured the returns of Shorty G, Drew Gulak (whose contract expired and left WWE, however returned after coming to terms on a new deal), and Jey Uso flying solo while his brother Jimmy is out of action. Sheamus and Cesaro briefly worked together in the match, harkening back to their days as The Bar.
A.J. and Bryan are no strangers to each other in WWE, as it was Bryan who ended A.J.’s 300+ day reign as WWE Champion in November of 2018 ahead of Survivor Series. They feuded over the title through the Royal Rumble months later. They previously locked up during their time in Ring of Honor. They had a comical confrontation with Vince McMahon at the Money in the Bank ladder match in WWE Headquarters a month ago. Tonight, will be involved in the cousin of a contract signing, and that’s a face-to-face meeting.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s stupid that A.J. got a bye but Bryan didn’t. They had two weeks and could have determined an opponent for Bryan and one for A.J. tonight before the finals next week. Anyway, I’m numb to these face-to-face confrontations, as they’ve been done so many times, but we’ll see what happens. I’m more positive about this one because of the parties involved.
Miz & Morrison’s Monstrous Warning for Universal Champion Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman will defend the Universal Championship against the Miz & John Morrison in a handicap match at Backlash. The last time a world title was defended in a handicap match, if I’m not mistaken anyway, was at Royal Rumble 2018 when A.J. Styles defended the WWE Championship against Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens.
Two weeks ago, Braun defeated the Miz in a non-title match after appearing on Miz & Morrison’s Dirt Sheet. Following the match, Morrison challenged Braun to the handicap match with the Universal Championship on the line. Braun oh so graciously accepted. Last week, it was advertised on Smackdown that Miz & Morrison would have a warning for Braun tonight. WWE shows they plan to make his life a “living hell” tonight. They build more towards that match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: Who else has got money on Braun finding a partner for tonight and having a tag match with these two? Also, who else has got money on Braun and said partner losing that match to show that Miz & Morrison have the edge?
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week:
- Lacey Evans and Sonya Deville worked to a double count out. Earlier in the week they traded barbs on Twitter. It continued after the match:
- The Forgotten Sons cut another promo as they continue to introduce themselves.
- Otis and Mandy recreated the scene from the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Judge Reinhold’s character (Brad Hamilton) was in the bathroom gratifying himself while fantasizing about Phoebe Cates’ character (Linda Barrett) getting out of a pool, taking off her top and making out with him. Full disclosure, I didn’t watch that movie until 1998 and I regret it. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do so! It’s a cheesy movie at best, but it must be on your movie bucket list. WWE acknowledged that Otis and Mandy’s scene was like that of the movie. Otis was in the role of Phoebe Cates’ character though while Mandy was in Reinhold’s spot. She didn’t gratify herself, but rather symbolically squirted a mustard jar. I love it!
- Shorty G returned and defeated Cesaro. He eliminated him from the battle royal earlier as well. Cesaro proceeded to illegally eliminate Shorty towards the end. Here’s Shorty in a WWE exclusive:
While I’m critical of how they started the show, I do understand creating a hook to get people to watch. If I had a problem with things of this nature, I’d have had to stop watching WWE years ago. This is not the first time they’ve exploited real life issues into storylines. They did it two years ago with Jeff and Samoa Joe. If I recall, CM Punk may have done something to mock Jeff back when they were feuding in 2009. Scott Hall was inebriated on episodes of WCW Nitro. I get doing things to make people watch, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of what we see. That said, I do admit this all makes the Sheamus-Jeff feud interesting to watch whereas before it seemed somewhat dull. I was happy with the Lacey-Sonya match and curious to see what they’ll do going forward. I’ve been waiting on Sonya to break out for a long time and now it seems like it’s happening. I’m excited for Matt Riddle to come to Smackdown, but my instinct is to remain skeptical. That happens any time someone moves over from NXT. They still have a way to go to make Smackdown better to watch, but I’ll say they’re heading in the right direction overall.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!