Smackdown – May 1, 2020

Smackdown
Date: May 1, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

We’re almost to Money in the Bank and this time around that means we get to find out who will be filling out the ladder matches. There are two qualifying matches left to go and that means it’s time for at least Wrestlemania rematch. I’m not sure where this is going to go but it could be an interesting show. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Daniel Bryan to open things up. He loves new challenges and he can’t wait to compete in the most unique Money in the Bank match of all time. Now granted he’s a little worried about getting fined for breaking something expensive at Titan Towers. Nine years ago, he couldn’t even get booked on Smackdown and then he won Money in the Bank. Now he knows how important this is and he’s looking forward to the challenge.

Bryan wanted his friend and coach Drew Gulak to be in the match with him but that isn’t happening due to King Corbin. Cue Corbin for their match, but first we need to see a video of him taking out Gulak last week. Bryan brings up Corbin being one of the four people who managed to lose a Money in the Bank cash in so not Corbin is going to teach Bryan a lesson.

Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin

Bryan takes him down by the leg to start and kicks away before grabbing a leglock. Corbin fights up and starts slugging away, including a cheap shot when the referee tries to break things up. A right hand knocks Bryan off the top and there’s a whip into the barricade as we take a break. Back with Corbin throwing him down and hitting a knee to the face.

Corbin’s slide under the ropes clothesline is cut off by a suicide dive, because it’s not like isn’t that hard of a move to scout. Bryan starts kicking away at the leg and grabs an ankle lock. That’s broken up so Bryan charges into the corner, only to run into Deep Six for two. Bryan is back up and stomps away while shouting about revenge, setting up the suicide dive. That’s caught by the throat so Bryan kicks him in the knee and the head. Corbin is sick of this and throws a ladder at him for the DQ at 14:55.

Rating: C+. Not a bad match here with Bryan being out for revenge and losing his cool, though I’m still not sure how smart it is to fight bad ratings with a nearly fifteen minute King Corbin match to start the show. I do like the fact that this had a personal issue and wasn’t all about the fabled “building momentum”, so at least they have something new. Just get to the moment where everyone is sitting on a ladder though so we can be done with it.

Post match Bryan isn’t done and grabs the YES Lock on a ladder, only to have Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro come in for the save. Bryan gets thrown off the stage and through a bunch of ladders. Graves: “Could that happen off the roof of WWE Headquarters?” No.

Here’s Braun Strowman for a chat but the Firefly Fun House cuts him off in a hurry. Bray has a story for us about the Black Sheep, who smelled a little funny. The Black Sheep was ready to do everything but the shepard came to get him. Then the government placed a lien on the Sheep’s house and reptilians took over, because that’s what reptilians do. Bray wants to write a happier ending, but Strowman cuts him off and says come say it to his face. Strowman: “BYE!”

Make-A-Wish video.

Sheamus vs. Leon Ruff

Three Irish Curses, ten forearms to the chest, Brogue Kick for the pin at 1:53.

Post match Sheamus yells about Jeff Hardy, leading to the fourth part of the Hardy video series. This focuses on the knee injury from April but doesn’t quite bring up the legal issues while he was gone (to be fair though, those have been covered). Now he’s back and ready for the future. Hardy is back next week. This would be a bit better had he not had that one off match a few months ago.

Back in the arena, Sheamus says he’ll be here next week too.

Otis promises to beat Dolph Ziggler again, for his beautiful peach Mandy Rose. Mandy says she’s had a hard time for the last few weeks and tonight she’s focused on Carmella.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Carmella vs. Mandy Rose

Feeling out profess to start And they dive over each other a bit, setting up a low superkick for two on Mandy. A shot to the face sets up a chinlock on Carmella but here’s Sonya Deville for the distraction. She praises Mandy as the match continues, including Mandy getting two off a side slam.

Last year, Sonya almost handed Mandy the briefcase but Mandy managed to screw it up anyway. Sonya: “How embarrassing! Not nearly as embarrassing as losing to Carmella, which is probably about to happen!” Sonya says she’ll stop talking but then says she’s sick of standing up there and challenges Mandy to a fight right now. The distraction lets Carmella spin Mandy around so she can stand there and get superkicked for the pin at 3:49.

Rating: D+. If ever there was a place for the distraction rollup finish, this was it.. Instead we had Mandy get distracted, get spun around, and then stand there while Carmella superkicked her. That looked terribly fake and while the bigger story is fine, come up with a better way to do it. I do however like Sonya cutting a promo instead of just popping up for the distraction. At least it was a little different.

Post match Sonya sends her into the steps and talks a lot of trash. Sonya’s intensity has been really good, but is a showdown between Fire & Desire that big of a deal?

Post break Mandy has a bruised leg that she is getting checked out. Otis comes in to check on her but the doctor asks him to leave. That’s fine with Otis, who runs into Dolph Ziggler, who asks if Mandy is ok before leaving.

New Day vs. Forgotten Sons

Non-title, Jaxson Ryker is here with the Sons and here are Miz and Morrison to join commentary as the ten person limit is thrown out the window. Big E. throws Cutler down to start so it’s off to Kofi as Miz and Morrison make Tiger King jokes. Are those even still a thing? Kofi hits a running basement dropkick to Blake in the corner as everything breaks down.

Big E. splashes Cutler on the floor and we take a break. Back with a knee dropping Big E. as the Sons take over. A double Rock Bottom backbreaker gets two as Miz and Morrison complain about Cole saying Miz lost while Morrison retained the titles at Wrestlemania. Big E. finally shoves Blake away and the hot tag brings in Kofi to clean house.

A butterfly backbreaker gives Cutler two and everything breaks down. Cutler hits a Backstabber to set up Blake’s top rope elbow for two on Kofi as things settle a bit. Big E. gets sent outside for a posting from Ryker, leaving Kofi to take the reverse DDT/top rope stomp pin at 12:58.

Rating: C-. Yeah they’re still the Forgotten Sons, meaning that they are still as good as they have been before. It’s not a good match but I’ll give them credit for putting someone new in the division. I’ve been asking for it for so long now and saying “yes but not THEM” isn’t the best reaction to have. They’re not awful, but they’re also not that interesting in the slightest.

We look back at Bayley and Sasha Banks having issues last week, plus Tamina superkicking Bayley after the match.

Tamina doesn’t like fake girls pretending around here but here’s Sasha to say Tamina has helped her. It’s a ruse for a Bayley sneak attack though and the beating is on. Lacey Evans makes the save and everything is broken up. Yeah still not caring about Tamina.

Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville talk about how he isn’t the bad guy. Fans cheer for Otis because they see themselves in him but guys like Otis don’t win in the end. Eventually, talent is what matters and Ziggler will be Mr. Money in the Bank. Then he’ll be champion and get Mandy back. Sonya: “Sounds like a plan to me.”

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Otis

Otis runs him over to start and hits an early delayed vertical suplex for two. Ziggler gets sent into the corner and slammed down for two, followed by a catapult into the corner again. A trip tot he floor slows Otis down and Ziggler sends him into the barricade. Back from a break with Ziggler still in control, including hitting a dropkick for two. Graves mentions something that might be kind of important: the two ladder matches, with the wrestlers going up through the headquarters, will be taking place AT THE SAME TIME. They’ve hinted at that a few times but I didn’t think they would actually do it.

As I try to get my head around that brilliant idea, Otis fights back but the Caterpillar is broken up with a neck snap across the top. The Zig Zag gets two but Otis throws him down with a suplex. The Caterpillar finishes Ziggler clean at 9:53. Cole: “That is probably the biggest win of Otis’ career.” I know WWE wants you to forget about Wrestlemania but give me a break.

Rating: D+. I think we’ve pretty much hit the peak of Otis’ worth at this point and that’s fine. He got the big win at Wrestlemania and now he can do some spots in Money in the Bank without having a chance of winning. The match wasn’t very good but again, points for trying someone new and having Ziggler lose.

Overall Rating: C-. Recently, I saw someone say that there is almost nothing in the WWE midcard that had any real energy or pop. That was in my head during this show and it’s absolutely right. So many people feel like they’re in a firm bubble and nothing is going to change for them anytime soon. They’re going to do their thing, which comes and goes every week, and nothing feels important. You might get some good matches or stories, but nothing feels like it’s a big deal. That becomes a major issue year after year and it brings shows like this, without much from the main event scene, grinding to a halt.

This show had a focus and a purpose, but it never really felt important. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy could be good and they’re adding in some new people, but there is nothing on this show that really made me want to watch. It feels like so many people are firmly in their spots and aren’t going anywhere because they have found their places in WWE. That gets old fast and it has been old for a very long time. Spice it up a little and it can go a long way.

Results

Daniel Bryan b. King Corbin via DQ when Corbin used a ladder

Sheamus b. Leon Ruff – Brogue Kick

Carmella b. Mandy Rose – Superkick

Forgotten Sons b. New Day – Reverse DDT/top rope stomp combination to Kingston

Otis b. Dolph Ziggler – Caterpillar

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