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 our WWE Smackdown Hitlist for the June 26th, 2020 episode on FOX.
•Welcome To My Boneyard: This time, WWE’s loss was our gain, as the depleted roster provided the company with an opportunity to showcase the highlight of WrestleMania 36. The Undertaker faced A.J. Styles in a cinematic spectacle called a Boneyard Match, and it was really good. (If you already sat through it a second time as part of Undertaker’s “Last Ride” miniseries on WWE Network, forget I said anything and move on to the next paragraph.
•Black Sheep: Braun Strowman got to show off his promo ability on Friday Night Smackdown when he talked about his history with Bray Wyatt. Spoiler; He’s not bad. Granted, the entire premise here with a disaster. We’ve all seen far too much of the Funhouse Freak over the past several years to buy into him as any sort of demon. But the Man Of Strow made a convincing case that he once enjoyed being evil so darn much that he might be tempted to try it again, It adds a little something to the upcoming Swamp Match. Which is good, because we don’t need to see the same thing we saw at Money In The Bank.
•It’s About The Cross: If you’ve seen Smackdown in 2020, you already know Nikki Cross is the most likable lady wrestler on the roster (at least of the wrestlers they use on television). She earned a following in NXT with her crazy Scotswoman character, and she managed to make herself into the softer side of the Cross Bliss tag team. She can wrestle too. So, it was great to see Nikki earned the victory in the number one contenders’ match. Bayley vs. Nikki with a few weeks of buildup sounds like a perfect match for Extreme Rules.
•Mask Effect: When a wrestling promotion is shorthanded, they often juggle talent to make it seem like they have more depth than it appears. That’s how we got New Day & Lucha House Party against Miz & Morrison & Cesaro & Nakamura. This was a fun match with the perfect ending. In the first Smackdown episode with masked spectators, who better to get the victory than Gran Metalik?
•Covid Crisis: With apologies to the former Tom Pestock, the top heel on SmackDown isn’t King Corbin. It’s King COVID. Last week’s coronavirus outbreak at the Performance Center meant we didn’t get the scheduled WWE Intercontinental Title match between AJ Styles and Drew Gulak. Nor did we get Sheamus’s “toast” to Jeff Hardy, but that might be a case of addition by subtraction.
•Casualties: Nothing against Sarah Schreiber, but WWE really could have used Renee Young on this show. Heck, they could have used Kayla Braxton too.
•Golden Microphone: I am okay with Bayley and Sasha on commentary, and I like Michael Cole & Corey Graves selling how annoyed they are with the Role Models, but this is the sort of gimmick that works best in small doses.
You can find Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina on Twitter at @realpatmcneill. Listen to his weekly “Wayback Playback” watchalong podcast with Jim Valley over at HERE or sign up for their Patreon HERE.