Welcome to my SmackDown! Review: May 22nd.Another week has gone by and so has another addition of SmackDown! As always, Sports Obsessive is here to keep you up to date with with everything that happened on SmackDown.
This week’s show started of with Miz and Morrison (hey hey, ho.. no). I don’t know about you and this could be the element of still being forced to perform in an empty Performance Centre, but The Dirt Sheet has become very stale to endure, personally. Now, that’s nothing against the performers, they are clearly the best at what the do. Perhaps Morrison super-kicking Miz through a barber shop window could spice things up but I think that may have already be done. Now, lets get real. Miz and Morrison opened up SmackDown this week and the abuse towards Mr. Money in the Bank, Otis, commenced. Miz spoke on how Otis is non-deserving of the Money in the Bank briefcase and non-deserving of a title shot against the WWE Universal Champion, Braun Strowman.
The duo naturally brought their attention to Strowman, referencing Strowman’s past with Bray Wyatt and mocking the fact that Wyatt had a choice to keep his relationship with Strowman but instead, Wyatt built the Firefly Fun House and replaced Strowman with Puppets. Before long, Strowman made his way to the ring. Strowman boasted the fact that he defeated Wyatt recently. Miz interjected his opinion. Miz told Strowman that Wyatt is not done with Strowman. The Fiend will return. Morrison then challenge Strowman to a singles match but on Miz’s behalf. Strowman accepted and the match between the Universal Champion and the hesitant Miz was made official.
Braun Strowman vs The Miz
During the match, Strowman was kicking ass and talking trash, dominating Miz in the process. Once Morrison, who was on the outside, realised that Miz may have been in trouble, he intervened with Strowman on the outside by performing a diving attack off of the barricade, which allowed Miz to slow the pace down and catch his breath. Miz took advantage of the opportunity at hand by laying the offence to Strowman. Unfortunate for Miz, his hot streak seemed to come to an end as Strowman caught a diving Miz into a waste lock and continued to pummel the former Intercontinental Champion. Strowman brought an end to the match with a powerful running power-slam to pick up the One-Two-Three! pin-fall victory. After the match, while Strowman was beginning to walk away, Morrison grabbed a microphone to address Strowman. Morrison brought up the fact the Strowman defeated him (Morrison) last week and defeated Miz on this weeks SmackDown. However, Morrison had a challenge for Strowman at the upcoming pay-per-view event, Backlash. That being a 2 on 1 handicap match with the Champion, Braun Strowman taking on The Miz and John Morrison at the same time and for The Universal Championship. Strowman happily accepted.
Winner: Braun Strowman
A.J Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura
A.J Styles has been officially traded to SmackDown, which is great news. However, it was not explained in detail why or how. That does not matter however as this return reignited an old rivalry with former Bullet Club co-member, Shinsuke Nakamura. This match was a part of the new Intercontinental Championship Tournament. The winner of this match will go on to face Elias next week. These two are evenly matched, however, Styles seemed to be in control during this match, powering over Nakamura. Styles was looking to prove the point that SmackDown is still ‘the house that A.J Styles built’. Nakamura is by no means an easy target and began to take over this match by bringing the attack to Styles with his signature Strong-Style and kicks to the head of Styles. When SmackDown returned from commercial, Styles had Nakamura locked into his Calf-Cutter submission move and it looked like Nakamura was going to tap out.
Nakamura somehow escaped and looked to position to move Styles into place for his own signature move, Styles knew what was coming and got out of the way, and quickly rolled Nakamura up for a pin fall. Nakamura reversed the move by switching the position and locking in a triangle-death-lock submission move, looking to submit the former United States Champion, A.J Styles. Styles reversed the move once again and pulled out his Styles Clash finisher move but that was not enough to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura. The match continued with back and forth again between both performers until Styles was able to get into position to pull off his Phenomenal-Forearm signature spring-board attack. Styles quickly followed up with a pin fall attempt, picking up the One-Two-Three! Styles has progressed in this Intercontinental Championship Tournament and will face off against Elias next week on SmackDown in the second round matches
Winner: A.J Styles
Charlotte vs Bayley
This was a special match. The NXT Womens Champion, Charlotte faced off against the SmackDown Womens Champion, Bayley. The ways in which both of these wrestler’s career are intertwined is part of what made this match so great, in my opinion. These women know each other so well. One thing to note firstly is that earlier in the night in a backstage segment, Bayley was seen speaking to Sasha Banks and told Banks not to accompany her to the ring for this match. Charlotte was showing off her dirty-style antics by attempting to steal multiple pin fall victory’s by using her legs on the ropes as leverage. The Queen, Charlotte Flair was exuding confidence within this match. Charlotte brought the attack to Bayley which quickly made its way outside of the ring. Charlotte sent Bayley flying over the barricade Charlotte then grabbed Michael Cole’s headset off his head and spoke into it, telling Sasha Banks to get out to the ring so that Charlotte could kick both Bayley and Sasha’s ass. Charlotte continued the match, powering over the SmackDown Womens Champion, Bayley. At one point during the match, Charlotte dragged Bayley’s body toward the turnbuckle, Charlotte climbed the ropes and looked like she was going to perform her signature moon-sault. However, Bayley had gotten to her feet and pulled Charlotte down, seemingly tweaking her knee in the process. Due to the fact that Charlotte is super-human, this angered The Queen. Charlotte proceeded to throw Bayley over the top rope and bring the fight to the outside. This may have been a trap laid out by Bayley. Bayley’s mean streak was then on show, brutally attacking the NXT Womens Champion outside of the ring. Bayley drove Charlotte shoulder first into the ring post, followed by slamming Charlotte into the apron and against the barricade. The aggressive Bayley then rolled Charlotte back into the ring looking for a pin fall, yet Charlotte kicked out.
The relentless Bayley continued the assault, punishing Charlotte Flair. Bayley was a little to cocky however, as Bayley was looking for a cross-body attack and Charlotte caught Bayley and delivered a mighty power-slam. Charlotte quickly followed up by scaling the turnbuckle, and mid moon-sault, Charlotte realised that Bayley had moved and Charlotte managed to land on her feet and delivered a Big-Boot to the face of Bayley. Charlotte dove into a pin fall position, yet Bayley kicked out at two. This match went on to prove, once again that these women are such evenly matched competitors. Bayley found herself back in the driver seat of this match and performed a diving elbow drop to the chest of Charlotte. Charlotte somehow endured the pain and still managed to lock Bayley in to a Boston-Crab submission move, looking to submit the SmackDown Womens Champion. Bayley countered out of the submission into a roll up with a two count! Bayley made her way back to her feet yet again. Bayley tried to capitalise on her opportunity in this match by slamming Charlotte shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Bayley then became frustrated with the match and stated to chop Charlotte and even attempt the figure-4 leg-lock. Charlotte responded with a punch right to the face. Charlotte continued by chopping Bayley, showing her how it’s done. Charlotte rolled Bayley up looking for the quick pin fall. However, Bayley, counter rolled up Charlotte with a pin fall, close enough to the ropes so that she count cheat her way to victory by holding onto the ropes for leverage. Bayley defeated the NXT Womens Champion, Charlotte Flair and she did it without the help of Sasha Banks.
We are never going to hear the end of this. What an incredible match.
Winner: Bayley (SmackDown Womens Champion)
Backstage segment with Bayley and Sasha Banks
After commercial, We had Bayley and Banks backstage, celebrating Bayley’s victory together. The cracks are certainly beginning to show between the two. Bayley jokingly turned to Banks mid promo and accused Banks of doubting whether or not Bayley was going to pick up the victory.
Bayley revealed she was just joking with Banks and the pair embraced with a hug. I see this as a test of trust between Bayley and Banks and it is only a matter of time before ‘the truth is revealed’.
Otis and Mandy Rose vs Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville
Next up on SmackDown was a mixed tag team match between Otis and Mandy and Ziggler and Deville. Otis and Ziggler locked up and the match was underway. Otis’ power has on show as in a matter of seconds, Otis has Ziggler on his shoulders and performed a spinning power-slam. Ziggler tucked his tail in between his legs and tagged out of the match. Sonya Deville entered the ring and as per mixed tag team match rules, Mandy got into the ring and was ready to attack her former best friend. The aggressive Deville tackled Mandy Rose into the turnbuckle. Mandy began to fight back and met Deville with a take-down of her own. Outside of the ring, all hell had broken lose between Otis and Ziggler. The two were brawling on the outside up until Ziggler drove Otis into the steel steps and it looked like Otis may have injured his left arm. Ziggler and Deville had gained control. When SmackDown returned from commercial, Deville was bringing the attack to Mandy Rose. Deville trash talked Rose as she delivered right hands into the face of her former team mate. Otis had made his way back up to the apron and was trying to encourage Mandy to make the tag. With a bit of motivation from Otis, Mandy delivered a desperation running knee to the chin of Deville.
Mandy slowly crawled to Otis’ corner of the ring.Mandy was inches away from tagging in Otis until Deville grabbed Mandy’s boot in hopes to avoid the tag being made. Mandy managed to kick herself free and lunge towards Otis! Otis ran threw the ropes in to the ring towards Ziggler and knocked Ziggler into next week. Momentum was clearly on Otis’ side as he continued to man-handle Dolph Ziggler. As Otis was warming up, Ziggler crawled over to Deville like a coward and tagged her into the match, forcing the worn-out Mandy Rose back into this mixed tag-team match. Mandy ran into the ring with every last bit of fight she had left. Mandy charged towards Deville, knocking her with a clothesline and jumping straight onto an ground attack afterwards. Mandy went for a quick pin-fall attempt but Deville kicked out at two. Meanwhile, in the corner of the camera shot, we could see Otis’ and Ziggler brawling outside the ring again. These guys could not keep their hands off each other. Back in the ring, Deville hit Rose with a knee to the face followed by a running knee to the back of the head, picking up the One-Two-Three! pin-fall victory. After the match, Otis ran back into the ring to check on Mandy. In a spilt second, while attending to Mandy, Ziggler slid into the ring and super-kicked Otis, adding insult to injury.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
The main event of SmackDown this week was the final first round match of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Before the match started, Jeff Hardy was in a backstage segment talking about how he is currently on what may be his last run in the WWE. Hardy went on to say how important the Intercontinental Championship is to him. Hardy explained how the I.C Championship was the first Championship he won on his own after originally departing from his brother Matt in the legendary tag-team The Hardy Boyz. Hardy spoke about his recent ups and downs in his personal life over the last 12 months and explained that he felt that if he could win the Intercontinental Championship at this stage in his career, everything would come for circle for him. The winner of this match will go on to face Daniel Bryan in the semi-finals next week on SmackDown. This match had a steady start with the two performers looking to over power one another to gain clear advantage going forward. SmackDown commentators, Michael Cole and Corey Graves were telling the story that Jeff Hardy is a seasoned veteran but his been displaying signs of ring-rust over the past number of weeks Sheamus was ruthless throughout this match showing no signs of respect for Hardy. Sheamus brought the fight outside the ring. Sheamus propped Hardy atop his shoulders and literally threw Hardy on top of the announcer’s table. Sheamus picked up Hardy’s limp body and rolled him back into the ring, continuing the assault. Sheamus was shouting at Hardy while beating him, saying ‘you don’t deserve another chance’. The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus was not holding back during this match, he feels that Hardy’s return to SmackDown overshadowed his own return.
Sheamus kept his momentum going by hitting Hardy with a mighty clothesline. Thing were not looking good for The Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy. Hardy however, managed to counter Sheamus with one small elbow to the face but that was enough to allow Jeff to hit the his signature whisper in the wind top rope attack. For the first time in this match, Jeff Hardy had an opening. It didn’t last long however, as Sheamus managed to get up to hit Hardy with the Irish Curse back-breaker. Sheamus wasn’t done there as he commenced the Ten beats of the bodhrán, driving his fist into Hardy’s chest ten consecutive times in a row. After being thrown back into the ring, Hardy managed to whip Sheamus into the corner of the ring, driving Sheamus’ shoulder into the steel ring post and that gave Hardy the moment that he needed to breath.The final moments of this match saw Sheamus going for his brogue kick, Hardy ducked but Sheamus followed up by attempting a power-bomb. Hardy managed to reverse the moved an roll Sheamus up for the quick pin-fall! Jeff Hardy qualified for the next round of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament and will face Daniel Bryan next week on SmackDown.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
What a SmackDown that was. Overall, I felt that this weeks show was jam packed with action from top to bottom. Miz and Morrison need a freshen up, in my opinion. A.J Styles is back on SmackDown, which is great news for us. Charlotte and Bayley completely stole the show. That definitely would have been a great main event match for this week’s show. Where does Sasha Banks fit into all of this? Otis and Mandy Rose are going to be out for retribution against Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville. Mandy seems to always fall short against Sonya. How will this all end and have we seen the last of the SmackDown hacker? Finally, Jeff Hardy defeated Sheamus and is on track to potentially become Intercontinental Champion one more time, in what seems to be his final run in WWE.
It’s all happening!
As always, I’d love to hear your take on everything SmackDown at the moment, so feel free to reach out, and we’ll have a discussion!
Thank you for joining us here at Sports Obsessive. Stay safe and we will see you next week.