Friday Night Smackdown Review #16 (4/17/2020) by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
I opened last week by saying wrestling has been tough to watch, but after last week’s Smackdown (and the Raw afterward), I’ll have to change my tune. Both shows did a great job under the circumstances, especially Smackdown. Roman Reigns is still absent, so it looks like they’re going forward with Braun as Champion for the time being. He’s FINALLY being targeted by Bray Wyatt, which I called for at least a year ago. I can’t wait to see a match between these two. That’s the main selling point for the night, but I hope we also see more of Miz & Johnny. Let’s see what happens next!
A Moment of Bliss
Oh lawd. This show opens with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross coming out to talk. Does anybody care about this? I don’t! Their special guest tonight is Braun Strowman, and I’m only interested if Braun finally tears Alexa up. They’ve been teasing this for years, it’s about time. It turns out this is not pointless drivel, it’s a direct follow-up to the main event segment last week! Braun says he won’t apologize to Bray Wyatt, get these hands, whatever. Braun sees there’s a gift for him in the corner, but it doesn’t say who it’s from! I’ve seen this before, Chucky’s in the box! Nope, it’s Braun’s old Wyatt Family sheep mask.
Match #1: Sasha Banks (w. Bayley) vs. Tamina
Oh God, more Sasha and Bayley stuff. If Tamina wins this match, she has a singles match with the champ next week. Sasha tries to give Tamina one of her shirts, but it’s a little small and Tamina’s pissed now. So, what does Sasha get if she wins? Well, Bayley says she’ll earn the respect of all the fans. Isn’t that something? Bayley’s totally ducking Sasha at this point. My only problem is if it’s this obvious to a layman like me, why hasn’t Sasha noticed it? She must not be very bright. Tamina is wrecking shit until Bayley gets involved at ringside. BUT WAIT! Lacey Evans shows up and evens the score. Tamina beats Sasha with a superkick. I’m just glad somebody other than Charlotte won this thing.
Match #2: Sheamus vs. Denzel DeJournette
Don’t know who this other guy is, probably just another underneath guy from the developmental league. The point is, I don’t envy him. Jeff Hardy better be somewhere taking notes, because Sheamus is coming for him very soon. The kid goes for a waist lock and Sheamus clobbers him with a bunch of elbows. Brogue Kick and this match is over with. Nicely done Shamo. No nonsense, just clubbing his opponent like a baby seal. Keep the change kid. For the second time in as many weeks, Sheamus hears the announcers trying to put Jeff Hardy over. Only this time, he confronts Michael Cole and punks him out before leaving. Jeff better watch himself!
Match #3: Naomi vs. Dana Brooke
This match is a qualifier for the women’s Money In the Bank match. I still don’t think Dana Brooke has won a match since she showed up in WWE, so this should be a foregone conclusion as far as who wins this thing. Even though this match isn’t the best, both women appear to treat this match with some importance, which is nice to see. Multiple near falls and Naomi lands the Butt Slam for a two count! Dana Brooke wins this thing with a sunset flip after a missed flippity flop! WHAT?!
Sonya Deville Clears the Air with Mandy Rose!
I left all the other promos out so far, but this one was heavily promoted, so I’m obligated to include it, even though I hate Mandy Rose. Sonya comes out for a promo, and this is the first time I’ve heard her talk. It looks like she’s been crying for a while. Mandy’s been blowing her off since Wrestlemania, and Sonya has something she wants to say. We all know where this is going, Sonya clearly has some feelings for Mandy, which is why she’s been trying to insert herself into this thing with Otis.
Turns out I was totally wrong! Sonya’s upset that Mandy’s been super selfish during they’re tag team run. I have to agree with this. Not only that, but she’s going to bat for Dolph too. She also compares Dolph to Otis, which is unfair. Dolph still acts like he’s in high school, not to mention Otis is like the nicest guy ever. He may be a big fat shit, but he is a legit wrestler and could wreck Dolph in no time. Sonya’s venting her real feelings here, she tells Mandy she has no talent among some other things. YES! Dolph shows up and now I’ve tuned out. How many love triangles has this guy been in? First, he was taking Vickie to pound town or something, then he stole Rusev’s girl (which made my list of worst babyface turns), and now he’s in the middle of this. Otis shows up and shit cans Dolph to the outside. Looks like we have a mixed tag match coming up soon.
Following this, we have a nice video tribute to the now-departed Howard Finkel, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 69. The last time I saw him was when Punk brought him to the ring for his match against Alberto Del Rio. I think it was 2011.
Match #4: Cesaro (w. Nakamura) vs. Daniel Bryan (w. Drew Gulak)
Another MITB qualifying match and this one should be significantly better than the last one! Before the match really starts, we get some weird promo from a guy on a computer. He thinks he’s hot shit with his fancy monitors. Bryan’s working the arm of Cesaro, but we know by now Cesaro is much too strong for that approach. Even with one arm, Cesaro is still flinging Bryan around like a rag doll. Bryan has the heart of a champion and he won’t give up. He comes off the top rope, but Cesaro makes the fair catch and gives him a backbreaker. Cesaro applies the Sharpshooter, but Bryan gets the rope break. Cesaro doesn’t immediately let go. Like it or not, that’s smart wrestling. Cesaro has until five. Bryan knows this better than anyone!
We come back from commercial to find Bryan and Cesaro locked in a battle of technique on the mat. Bryan gets the upper hand and deals out the Yes kicks. Bryan’s giving some elbows now. I love this side of him. What tenacity! Cesaro counters with a power move then applies the Crossface. Bryan turns it into the Lebell Lock, but Cesaro escapes. These guys are great wrestlers. I could review this match every week and never get bored. Bryan goes for the comeback, but Cesaro makes another fair catch on the flippity flop. Bryan with an impressive takedown into the Lebell lock! Nakamura tries to interfere in this, but Gulak blocks for Bryan and Cesaro taps out. Great match! Perfect timing, great wrestling, clearly defined stakes, a clear babyface vs. heel dynamic, and a finish that wasn’t ruined! Take notes Omega, this is how a wrestling match is done.
Main Event: The Miz vs. Jey Uso vs. Big E
Think of this as Part 2 after the Wrestlemania triple threat. I don’t know why they’re doing this, Johnny already won the title in a triple threat once. And they could have had Bryan and Cesaro wrestle for another five or ten minutes and I would have been comfortable with it! Big E comes right out with power, and he has the upper hand for the first few minutes. It’s no secret Miz and Uso can’t match strength with him. E disassembles the announce table, and Miz and Uso have to team up to put him through it. This is essentially a singles match for the time being. GO MIZ!
Not much I can really say about the rest of this, it’s a bunch of moves and near falls with very little selling involved. Miz is really killing it, but I don’t have the energy to keep up with this. He eventually puts Uso in the Figure 4 leglock, but Big E breaks it up and gives Miz the Big Ending for the win. New Day are new tag team champions. I was LOVING this show until now.
My Final Thoughts on Smackdown (4/17/2020)
This was a very well-balanced show in terms of the ratio of promos to wrestling matches. The promos were short and to the point, and the wrestling matches were all good to great. Cesaro and Bryan, you guys are treasures. I could have watched you for much longer and would have enjoyed every second, especially given the ending to the show. We went from a serious wrestling match with no-nonsense to Big E doing snow angels and winning the titles. Miz and Johnny were killing it, so I’m upset about this. Big E is a serious athlete, he should just turn on New Day and get it over with. I’m so disappointed with that ending. What will happen next week? I’m bummed out right now, so hopefully, they’ll do something to cheer me up.