Smackdown – May 29, 2020

Smackdown
Date: May 29, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

We’re very slowly closing in on Backlash but tonight is all about the Intercontinental Title tournament. That means a pair of semifinal matches and one of them is actually interesting. It’s AJ Styles vs. Elias and Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan, where I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which is the interesting one. Let’s get to it.

We open in the parking lot where Elias has been attacked. The police find the car that the attacker was in and it’s rented to Jeff Hardy. Braun Strowman was an eyewitness who called the cops and saw someone running off. The police go over to the bushes and find Jeff, who apparently smells like alcohol and looks rather out of it. They pass Elias being loaded into the ambulance and Jeff screams at him before being put in the police car. They’re really doing a DUI angle with someone currently still facing legal issues over a DUI? I know it’s going to be something else but there was NO other idea here?

The roster is briefed on the situation and Sheamus says this is Hardy’s sixth strike. AJ Styles says it’s him vs. Daniel Bryan in the finals but Bryan wants them to both have an opponent. He’s not going to be a coward so Sheamus volunteers to be one of the opponents, because Jeff had to be on something to beat him last week.

King Corbin wants in on this too so we’ll have Bryan vs. Corbin vs. Sheamus for the right to face Styles. No one is cool with that so an unnamed boss says it’s a battle royal next for the right to face Bryan in the main event, with the winner of that facing Styles for the title in two weeks. That works for everyone, leaving Styles to call Bryan an idiot.

Battle Royal

Drew Gulak, Shinsuke Nakamura, Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik, King Corbin, Cesaro, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Shorty G., Jey Uso

It’s a brawl to start and Ziggler is already doing his near elimination deal. Sheamus yells at Cole while choking Uso but has to survive Gable’s elimination attempt. Corbin punches Dorado out and Gulak follows him. The fans aren’t happy with that and it’s Metalik going after Corbin until Ziggler superkicks him out of the air. Corbin dumps Metalik and tosses Ziggler for trying to turn on him.

Jey superkicks Corbin out and we take a break. Back with the five (Sheamus, Cesaro, Uso, Gable, Nakamura) all still in and Gable getting the armbreaker over the ropes on Sheamus. A tornado DDT plants Sheamus and it’s Uso cleaning house. Gable gets rid of Cesaro to tick him off and suplexes Nakamura out clean in a heck of an upset.

Cesaro sneaks back in to toss Gable though and we’re down to Sheamus and Uso. Jey fires off forearms but gets sent to the apron. A Stunner across the top staggers Sheamus and the superkick connects back inside. Jey clotheslines him to the apron but Sheamus hangs on and hits the Brogue Kick to win at 14:13.

Rating: C-. They had some surprising moments in there with Gable getting some big eliminations, though I have no reason to believe it’s going to lead anywhere. Sheamus winning is the most logical move they have, if they insist on doing the Hardy angle for whatever reason (which might wind up being a good one). I’m not sure where it’s going though and I’m almost scared to find out.

Sonya Deville tells Lacey Evans to put her hair up and square up. Evans pops up from behind to shove her down.

Cesaro and Nakamura yell at Gable over the eliminations and Cesaro tells him to be the bigger man for once and walk away. Either that or face him in the ring. Gable hits him in the face and says challenge accepted.

Lacey Evans vs. Sonya Deville

This was set up on Twitter when Deville insulted blondes (seriously). Lacey talks about what blondes can do and gets down into referee position for an amateur wrestling fight. That goes to Lacey so Sonya shoulders her down without much trouble. Sonya ties her hair back so Lace nips up and puts her hair up as well. Lacey knocks her into the corner and gets punched in the face for her efforts, allowing Sonya to take over in the corner. Sonya stands on her hair so Lacey gator rolls her to the apron for some right hands. They fight on the floor and it’s a double countout at 4:16.

Rating: D+. They are not only having a match, but apparently a continuing story, over Lacey being a blonde. Was there no one else out there who could come up with a better idea than that? It wasn’t a horrible fight either, but hearing them talking about hair color over and over was killing it for me.

Post match Lacey says bring it but Sonya says on her time.

The Forgotten Sons, with Wesley Blake doing the talking, says he supports his brothers and gets in the blood on our hands line.

It’s time for a special tag team edition of A Moment of Bliss with New Day as the guests. Corey: “I must have been a horrible person in a past life.” Nikki Cross has a special present for New Day: SCOTTISH pancakes! Big E. pulls out some coffee beans (Big E.: “From Djibouti of course.”) and mixes them into Alexa’s coffee (with a wooden spoon that he happens to have), though she’ll save that for later.

Bliss wants to know who is up next for New Day and they like the idea of the Forgotten Sons. They ask Alexa the same thing so here are Bayley and Sasha Banks to interrupt. Banks gets in the ring and takes off her track jacket to throw in Bliss’ face. Bliss isn’t listening to Bayley and points out that Sasha is the only one here without a title. Sasha calls herself the conversation and says she put the titles on the map (with Bayley serving as the annoying hype woman). Bliss says name the time and the place but Bayley makes Bliss vs. Banks right now, even though Banks is in track pants and heels.

Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss

Bayley and Nikki Cross are on commentary and Banks has gotten some better shoes during the break. Some rollups give Bliss some early near falls and Insult to Injury connects for two. Banks is right back with the running knees in the corner for the same, leaving Nikki to LOSE IT when Bayley threatens Cole. The Meteora gives Banks two and Cross starts the LEXI chant.

Banks grabs a double arm crank and hits a backbreaker for two. Bliss faceplants her out of the corner as commentary still won’t stop shouting for two seconds. A dropkick cuts Banks off but it’s another Meteora into the corner. Two knees out of the corner gets two but Bliss fights up and goes to the top. Bayley gets up so Cross deals with her, only to have Banks grab a sunset flip for the pin at 7:18.

Rating: F. Usually I can block commentary out but this was the most annoying thing I have ever heard in wrestling. It was literally just Bayley and Cross screaming for the better part of seven minutes and taking away any focus the match might have had. It wasn’t even that good of a match in the first place but this was a nightmare to listen to and odds are we’ll get it again soon enough. The match itself was watchable enough, but commentary pulled this into a bottomless pit and dragged everything down with it.

We look back at the Hardy/Elias situation.

Shorty G. vs. Cesaro

Nakamura is here with Cesaro and how much of this show was actually booked in advance? Gable starts fast and hits a moonsault for a very quick two and then twists the knee for a bonus. Back up and Cesaro blasts him with a clothesline, followed by a gutwrench suplex. The chinlock with a knee in the back goes on but Gable fights up, earning himself a near Last Ride for two. Gable backflips out of a belly to back superplex and grabs the ankle lock, only to be sent into the ropes. Cesaro’s crucifix gets two so he tries another powerbomb, only to get reversed into a sunset flip for the pin at 4:06.

Rating: C+. After that previous debacle, I was ready to take anything here and they had a rather action packed match. I don’t believe in Gable’s push for a second of course and calling him Shorty G. is still as horrible of a decision as you could have, but at least he’s doing something and getting a win. Now keep it going and don’t just drop everything next week.

Earlier today, Otis and Mandy Rose got to spend some time by the pool with Otis pouring her some peach champagne. We go to the dream sequence where Mandy rather approves of Otis in his limited gear and it’s the homage to Fast Times At Ridgemont High, with Otis taking his shirt off. Mandy squirts the bottle of suntan lotion, only to be woken up when Otis cannonballs into the water and splash her. She rather approves of the dream and gets in the water with him for various canoodling. This is certainly a thing that happened and I’m not sure what else there is to say about it.

Kurt Angle is looking forward to seeing Randy Orton vs. Edge but he’s here for something else. He has gotten to know someone who is going to be the future of this show and introduces a video on Matt Riddle, who is officially coming to the show.

We get a Riddle highlight package.

Sheamus isn’t impressed and wants the Intercontinental Title. Daniel Bryan comes in and kicks him in the leg.

Intercontinental Title Tournament Semifinals: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan

Sheamus kicks him down to start and grabs a chinlock, only to have Bryan fight back with the kicks in the corner. The suicide dive to the floor connects and we take a break. Back with Bryan working on the arm but Sheamus elbows him down. The top rope clothesline gives Sheamus two and he says he created the YES Movement when he beat Bryan at Wrestlemania.

Bryan fights back but gets Irish Cursed into the Cloverleaf. That’s broken up so Sheamus takes him up top for a superplex. Bryan blocks that as well and hits the missile dropkick but the YES Lock is countered into White Noise for two. Sheamus runs him over again and loads up the Brogue Kick….and here’s Jeff Hardy. The distraction lets Bryan hit the running knee for the pin at 13:12.

Rating: B-. Odd ending aside, they beat each other up well enough and played off some of their history. Bryan knows exactly what he’s doing int here against a big guy and Sheamus is better than your average monster lug. I’m curious about the Hardy ending, but at least they didn’t wait long to seemingly move past the drunk/high thing.

Overall Rating: C. People talk about how something like Stadium Stampede was unrealistic and made wrestling look fake. You can argue that for yourselves, but for me, this show is what makes it look take. Of the five matches taking place, four were booked tonight. It’s true that there were two others booked in advance, but they just happened to find a solution to make the whole thing work out in the end? And it just happened to fill two hours with Hardy arriving at the very end of the show? Plus they filmed a dream sequence. It was entertaining content but the setup didn’t work for me and that hurts things a good bit.

Results

Sheamus won a battle royal last eliminating Jey Uso

Lacey Evans vs. Sonya Deville went to a double countout

Sasha Banks b. Alexa Bliss – Sunset flip

Shorty G. b. Cesaro – Sunset flip

Daniel Bryan b. Sheamus – Running knee

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