SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MAY 8, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Items Advertised by WWE
Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt to come face to face
Jeff Hardy’s comeback continues
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville ready to settle dispute in the ring
Tamina to team up with Lacey Evans against Bayley & Sasha Banks
Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak await mystery partner to combat King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro
Face-to-Face: Universal Champion Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt
This coming Sunday, Braun Strowman will put the Universal Championship on the line against his former Wyatt Family leader Bray Wyatt. The latest chapter in the build for this match unfolded last week. As Braun came out to talk about their history, Bray interrupted from the Firefly Funhouse. He read him a book called “The Black Sheep,” akin to essentially what Braun was when he joined the group wearing the black sheep mask. In short, he said Braun and they had a lot of fun until Braun left and didn’t even leave a note. After that, the government took his farm and the reptilians took over. Bray said he would take the black sheep to the slaughter house, and at that point Braun had enough and invited him to come to the ring and if he had more to say to said it to his face.
Bray lost the Universal Championship at Super Showdown to Goldberg, wrestling as “The Fiend.” It looks as though he will try to regain the title in his Firefly Funhouse character at Money in the Bank. Tonight, Braun and Bray go “face-to-face.”
Frank’s Analysis: I see them telling a longer-formed story where Braun retains Sunday, but somehow give Bray a path to getting another match only this time as the Fiend.
Jeff Hardy’s Comeback Continues
Last week, they continued to tell the Jeff Hardy story as they bring him back into the fold on Smackdown. The latest video referenced his going out for an extended period last year due to a knee injury, while he held the Smackdown Tag Team Championship with (shhhhh…we can’t say) his brother Matt. It showed his reaction to being medically cleared and looking forward to coming back to WWE.
Sheamus will likely reign on his parade as he appears to have a problem with Jeff. He stayed at ringside after defeating Leon Ruff while the video was being played and got in Michael Cole’s face (social distancing?!?!?!?) after he said Jeff would be here next week (tonight). Sheamus said he would be there as well.
Frank’s Analysis: Bear in mind, Jeff has already come back and had a match with King Corbin. I remember because I did the post show that night with Wade Keller. Anyway, it’s not a big deal. I hope they have good use for Jeff, and he keeps his nose clean. I can’t say a feud with Sheamus excites me, but it’s something to do.
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville
The saga between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville continues tonight as they go one-on-one. The latest chapter in their story unfolded last week as Sonya cost Mandy her chance to get into the Money in the Bank ladder match as she was defeated by Carmella. Sonya was critiquing her performance until Mandy couldn’t take it anymore and called on Sonya to “bring it on.” Carmella super-kicked Mandy to pick up the win. After the match, Sonya attacked Mandy.
It’s been a long and winding road for these two, as Sonya corroborated with Dolph Ziggler to keep Otis and Mandy apart. Their plan is busting at the seams, as Otis defeated Ziggler to get into Money in the Bank. He also won Mandy’s heart defeating Ziggler at WrestleMania. Interestingly, as Otis was checking on Mandy because of the post-match attack, Ziggler approached Otis asking about her condition. He appeared to be sincere. The latest chapter unfolds tonight. Here’s a little Twitter trash talk by Sonya:
I already know what my body is capable of … it’s my mind that’s far superior then the rest…..Years of preparation it’s time I show you all what I’ve been working on. #ImTheStarNowBitch #OperationRuinMandy pic.twitter.com/wcXP0FBOHa
— Daria Berenato (@SonyaDevilleWWE) May 2, 2020
Somewhat related to this match tonight, here are WWE exclusives with Otis and Carmella talking about their qualifying for Money in the Bank:
Frank’s Analysis: It’s been an interesting story between all parties in this story, but I don’t have a ton of expectations for this match. Both women were low-end jobbers as Fire & Desire, and haven’t shown a history of being good wrestlers, so why should I expect the match to be any good? It’s more about the overall story though. We’ll probably end up getting a mixed tag match eventually if not tonight in WWE’s classic “reset and restart.” That would probably be better!
Lacey Evans & Tamina vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks
At Money in the Bank, Bayley will put the Smackdown Women’s Championship on the line against Tamina. It will be Tamina’s second crack at the title after partaking in the fatal five-way elimination match for the title at WrestleMania. That match involved Bayley’s BFF Sasha Banks, who failed to qualify for Money in the Bank after losing to Lacey Evans two weeks ago. Lacey was also involved in the fatal five-way.
Last week, Sasha interrupted an interview Kayla Braxton was conducting with Tamina. Sasha reminded Tamina of their time together years ago (Team B.A.D. in 2015) and how much she meant to her, and they shouldn’t resort to name calling. Bayley attacked Tamina, and Sasha joined the fray. Lacey made the save moments later. (It’s a good thing Lacey knew an interview was being conducted was able to get right in there!)
Ahead of Money in the Bank, WWE’s version of the Best Friends (Bayley & Sasha) take on Tamina & Lacey in a tag team match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: There’s not much to this. After the brawl last week, you knew they were going to announce a tag team match. They’ll probably have Tamina pin Bayley to show she has an advantage heading into Money in the Bank. I’m more interested in what happens between Sasha and Bayley, as I expect more dissention soon.
Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak & Mystery Partner vs. King Corbin & Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro
In the opening match last week, Daniel Bryan defeated King Corbin via DQ when Corbin threw a ladder at Bryan. After Corbin threw a fit, saying it wasn’t illegal (yes, it is…you toolbag) Bryan put Corbin in the Yes lock. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro, who appear to be Corbin’s cronies these days, came out for the save. They would eventually throw Bryan onto a ladder off the stage.
Later in the evening, it was announced that Bryan & Drew Gulak & a mystery partner would take on the trio of Corbin & Nakamura & Cesaro in a six-man tag team match.
Frank’s Analysis: Normally I’d be excited by a mystery partner, but WWE has persistently wasted this on somebody already on the roster. In the past the mystery partner was usually a return after a long-term absence, a debut, or someone turning. For example, they could shock everyone and have it be Sami Zayn, with the story being Sami not liking Nakamura & Cesaro running around with Corbin. I don’t see that, as there are mixed stories out there as to why we haven’t seen him, but that’s the kind of thing that would be interesting if they were using someone currently on the roster. I don’t see Jeff Hardy because they announced him returning separately.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler flanked by Jaxson Ryker) defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) in a non-title match. Here’s the Sons in a WWE exclusive:
Michael Cole announced that both the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank ladder matches would take place at the same time at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT. (I should totally drive up there and try to see the ring and ladders if they’re set up already. It’s only an hour and change from my house and it’s not like there’ll be the usual traffic heading that way!)
I always look a bit more forward to go home shows for PPVs. There’s potential to add layers to the matches on the card. I’m super curious how the Money in the Bank matches will go with the men’s and the women’s happening simultaneously. I was intrigued to begin with having it happen at headquarters. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll dip their toes in the intergender world, as they did last year with Nia Jax and Dean Ambrose. Perhaps Lacey Evans gets involved with King Corbin? It’s just a thought.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!
CATCH UP… LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 5/1: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of Bryan vs. Corbin, Otis vs. Ziggler, Rose vs. Carmella, more