Smackdown – June 26, 2020

Smackdown
Date: June 26, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

This one has gotten interesting in a hurry as the WWE is facing a horrible Coronavirus outbreak (I’m as shocked as you are) so it isn’t clear what we’re going to be seeing here. One thing is going to be the Boneyard match in its entirety, which will eat up over a quarter of the show. Let’s get to it.

We open with a tribute to the Undertaker, with a pretty awesome highlight package.

The roster is on the stage to chant THANK YOU TAKER.

We open with a look at Undertaker debuting at Survivor Series 1990. The nearly silent reaction is about as clear cut as you can get that it worked.

John Cena and Roman Reigns talk about how awesome Undertaker is.

From Wrestlemania XXXVI:

Undertaker vs. AJ Styles

They are in a graveyard for this one and there goes the gong as a hearse pulls up to the gate. The casket is pulled out by some druids and it’s AJ inside for a good surprise. Undertaker rides in on the motorcycle to Metallica and AJ talks about Michelle McCool digging the grave. Undertaker goes after him so AJ grabs a rock, only to get sent into an open casket. Undertaker punches through a window and cuts his arm open but throws AJ on top of the hearse anyway.

Some right hands knock him off the hearse and Undertaker has a seat while asking if AJ wants more. After Undertaker quotes Clubber Lang (“You want some more? I got a lot more.”), AJ throws some leaves in his face and gets in a low blow. Undertaker stands up after some right hands and knocks AJ down again, this time into a grave. Cue the OC as this has turned into a western.

A bunch of light comes out of a building and the walls come down to reveal a bunch of masked men. They surround Undertaker and do the eternally brilliant thing of attacking him one at a time. With that taken care of, Anderson and Gallows jump Undertaker but he isn’t about to be hit with a shovel. Instead Undertaker takes it back and beats them down, allowing AJ to break a tombstone over his back.

AJ hammers away and calls him an old man but breaks his fingers on Undertaker’s head. They fight through a wall and both lay on the ground sound like they’re dead. AJ says Undertaker is nothing but Undertaker flips him off and says come on. A shovel over the back puts Undertaker down in a grave and AJ goes to the machine with a barrel of dirt. Then a light shows up behind him and Undertaker pops up to beat on him some more. AJ climbs up a well placed ladder to get on the roof of the barn, so Undertaker makes flames come up to keep him in place.

Anderson and Gallows are up there too, with Gallows being thrown off. Anderson gets Tombstoned onto the metal roof and Undertaker chokeslams AJ off the roof. Undertaker climbs down and asks AJ what his wife’s name is now. They’re just getting started as Undertaker carries him over to the grave. AJ apologizes so Undertaker picks him up and says AJ put up a great fight. Undertaker hugs him and says most people wouldn’t have given him that kind of a fight. Undertaker turns to leave….and then knocks AJ into the grave. Undertaker gets in the machine and pours the dirt on AJ for the win at about 18:30.

Rating: A+. I don’t know what else you could have wanted from this match. This went so far beyond anything resembling sane or rational and went into complete insanity territory, making it one of the most entertaining things I can remember WWE doing in a LONG time. Of course it’s not good but that’s the point. This was entertaining, and that’s a lot more than you are going to get out of most Undertaker matches these days. Watch this and be prepared to laugh quite a bit, because it’s like Final Deletion but with production value.

AJ’s hand sticks out of the dirt as Undertaker gets on his bike. He throws up the fist so more fire comes up on the building and the Undertaker symbol lights up to end the show.

As we came back from commercials during the match, Edge, Christian, Bret Hart, Kane and Ric Flair talk about how awesome Undertaker is.

Back in the arena, King Corbin talks about how Undertaker left after a thirty year career of kissing up to the McMahons. Undertaker was a charter member of Vince McMahon’s special club, which is why he was around for thirty years. He has been stealing a living from this company for twenty years and now people are out here chanting THANK YOU TAKER. That’s why Corbin wants to leave Mark Calaway with this thought: you suck. Cue Jeff Hardy for the save, because, according to Cole, he has a long, storied history with Undertaker.

Steve Austin and Kurt Angle think a lot of Undertaker.

In the back, Hardy says the Mount Rushmore of WWE would be Undertaker’s face four times. He’ll beat up Corbin tonight because he has a degree from Deadman U.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans

The winner faces Bayley for the title at Extreme Rules. It’s a brawl to start until Cross rolls Bliss up for two and immediately apologizes. Bliss rolls her up for two as the other two are down on the floor. That lets Bayley and Banks insist that they would never turn on each other, even as Lacey throws Bliss into the barricade. Back in and Brooke’s cartwheel splash hits Cross for two.

Bliss comes in and gets caught with a handspring elbow in the corner. Lacey hits the slingshot bronco buster onto Bliss and Cross at the same time before taking Brooke down for right hands to the head. Brooke elbows Evans down though and hits a Swanton for two. Twisted Bliss misses Brooke so Cross dropkicks Brooke to the floor. Lacey hits the slingshot elbow for two on Cross but has to give Brooke the Woman’s Right. The distraction lets Cross roll Lacey up for the pin at 5:17.

Rating: C. Just a quick match to set up Cross as the challenger and that’s fine for a one off title defense. There is no reason to think she’ll win the title, which has been the problem for so many of Bayley’s title defenses for so long now. Then again, I’m sure they’re just waiting for the right time for Sasha. Totally happening any show now.

HHH and Shawn Michaels think Undertaker is alright.

New Day/Lucha House Party vs. Miz/John Morrison/Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura

Big E. punches and elbows Miz to start and there’s the apron splash. Dorado adds a top rope splash but it’s off to Cesaro, who has to flip out of a powerbomb. An anklescissors takes Cesaro down and Metalik climbs onto Dorado’s shoulders for another splash. Cesaro powers him into the corner though and it’s off to Nakamura, who has to duck Trouble in Paradise. It’s quickly off to Morrison, who gets dropkicked down.

Nakamura takes Kofi down to the floor though and sends him into the Plexiglas. Everyone comes into the ring for a big staredown and we take a break. Back with Miz and Morrison working over Kofi until Big E. makes the save. Kofi finally gets away and brings in Metalik to start cleaning house. Metalik gets in a running sunset bomb for two and Dorado adds a top rope shooting star press for two. Everything breaks down and the Golden Rewind hits Morrison, followed by Metalik’s rope walk elbow to finish Miz at 11:10.

Rating: C+. They surprised me here as I would have bet on Nakamura and Cesaro pinning New Day to set up the pay per view title match. They can still go there but Lucha House Party getting the win is surprising. The division needs some more depth and there will always be room for some masked high fliers.

Corbin says he’ll beat up Hardy, even if he’s a student of Undertaker. What did that teach him? How to be an alcoholic jailbird?

Here’s Braun Strowman to talk about Bray Wyatt making him afraid. One night they were sitting in the swamp when Bray saw a snake coming out of the water. Strowman wanted to stomp it but Bray said that was his friend. Bray got face to face with the snake and it bit him, so Bray laughed. It was then that Braun knew he was facing something evil, so he started doing the devil’s work. And he loved every second of it.

We get one of the old Wyatt feed interruptions before Strowman talks about how he still has some of that evil inside him. Braun can’t keep living like this so let’s go back to the swamp. He’s either coming out of this a broken man or knowing that he beat evil. Then he can feed Bray to the alligators in the swamp. Bray’s laughter is heard and Strowman laughs with him.

There’s your cinematic match and there is also your latest Strowman segment that doesn’t make me want to watch him defend the title. I don’t want to see them in the swamp, I don’t want to see them fighting each other and I don’t really want to see Strowman. What is the big appeal here? “Hey, now look where we’re having a match!” Maybe find someone interesting enough that you don’t need to do all these bonuses?

Batista and Mick Foley talk about what it means to face Undertaker.

Jeff Hardy vs. King Corbin

Corbin elbows him in the face to start and Hardy is rocked early on. The slow stomping and shots to the back have Hardy down but he manages to knock Corbin outside. Corbin drops Hardy with a single shot to the face, only to have Jeff send him over the announcers’ table. Back in and the Whisper in the wind misses so Corbin sends Hardy shoulder first post into the post. Corbin mocks Undertaker’s kneeling pose and we take a break.

Back with the roster around the ring and Hardy fighting out of a chinlock. Corbin knocks him down again but gets sent into the corner, where he slides under the corner and decks Hardy with the running clothesline. The chinlock goes on again but Hardy jawbreaks his way to freedom. Some right hands into a basement dropkick gets two but one heck of a Deep Six gives Corbin the same. They head outside with Corbin crashing into the steps, setting up the Swanton to give Hardy the pin at 12:17.

Rating: C. Not too bad here but it felt like a low level house show semi main event. As weird as it is to have Hardy suddenly be Undertaker’s representative, it’s not like they had a much better option given their limited circumstances. Corbin getting beaten up is always worth a quick glance and it worked just fine here.

Post match Corbin jumps Hardy again but Big E. Braun and Matt Riddle all come in to take him down. A big celebration, with Undertaker appearing on the screen (Cole: “The most intriguing character in WWE history.”) and Jeff kneeling in respect, ends the show.

Overall Rating: C-. It was pretty clear that this was going to be a weird one coming in and they did what they could with what they had. They didn’t have much of a crew here and that is completely understandable. With so many people who aren’t going to be around for a little (or maybe a long) time, they did what they could have and focusing on Undertaker was a good idea. It felt like a half regular show and half tribute show and that…..I guess you could say it worked. It’s a weird week, but they didn’t have much of a choice.

Results

Nikki Cross b. Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans – Rollup to Evans

New Day/Lucha House Party b. Miz/John Morrison/Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura

Jeff Hardy b. King Corbin – Swanton

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