This week’s WWE Smackdown was the last episode before WrestleMania Backlash with The Bloodline facing off with Drew McIntyre & RK-Bro, a Tables Match and more.
I have had a quiet, boring week due to dealing with a COVID-19 positive test on Monday night. I had mild symptoms for the most part. A sore throat was really the biggest thing for most of the week and it’s not an issue now, so I think I’m past it. I’m glad I got vaccinated with three doses. I’ve tried to avoid it, but it’s going to get a lot of us. I’m just happy people can recover quickly. Anyway, that’s enough about me. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all of the wonderful moms out there including my own. We’ll have a WrestleMania Backlash preview on Saturday and I’ll review WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday night.
The opening video package showed highlights of last week’s Smackdown when Ronda Rousey made Shotzi submit faster than Charlotte Flair could make Aliyah submit. Ronda won the “Beat the Clock Challenge” that meant nothing in the long run. It wasn’t that interesting.
The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show. They hyped up what’s coming up on the show.
Charlotte Flair, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, made her entrance for a non-title match against the same woman she faced last week. As a reminder, Charlotte faces Ronda Rousey in an “I Quit” Match for Charlotte’s SD Women’s Title at WrestleMania Backlash.
Charlotte did a promo shouting out the people that paid their hard earned money to see her. Charlotte said she didn’t know why people called Long Island the armpit of New York. Charlotte said she wasn’t humiliated last week, she was screwed and claimed Aliyah clearly tapped out or quit before the time expired. Charlotte ripped on Drew Gulak for messing up the time. Charlotte said she’ll make Ronda cry like her own baby, so she thinks Ronda will leave WWE altogether. Flair sang “hey hey goodbye” song to Rousey. Charlotte asked Aliyah if she enjoyed standing in the ring with Flair and Charlotte said she’ll preview what she will do to Ronda. Flair called her Ronda, then Flair delivered a forearm and a clothesline.
Analysis: Cheap heel heat for Flair before the match with a cheap attack. There was actually no match because the attack continued.
Flair wanted Aliyah to say “ I Quit” and Flair decked her with a forearm. Ronda Rousey ran out for the save, Rousey pulled Flair out of the ring and Rousey sent Flair into the ring post. Flair countered a Rousey move by giving her a hiptoss into the barricade. When Rousey got back in the ring, Flair did a takedown and some punches. Flair with a boot to the face followed by more punches thrown by both women. Officials went out to ringside to try to break it up with Charlotte kicking Shawn Daivari in the head (because Ronda moved) to knock him down. Jamie Noble was out there to try to break it up along with other officials. They were eventually separated with Flair out of the ring while Rousey was in the ring.
Analysis: This segment was much better than the previous segments they have done to try to make us care about their match at WrestleMania Backlash. A pull-apart brawl like that is usually an effective segment. Flair was easy to hate due to her comments before her match that never happened since Flair did a cheap attack on Aliyah. Rousey is better at a brawling segment around the ring than she is at doing promos, so you might as well book her like this. Good intensity shown by both women. I think Rousey is going to win the Smackdown Women’s Title on Sunday.
They showed a replay of last week when Shayna Baszler stomped on Naomi’s left arm/shoulder while Natalya was holding Sasha Banks to prevent a save from happening.
The Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Naomi made their entrance for Sasha’s singles match.
Shayna Baszler made her entrance with Natalya. Those two women get to challenge Banks/Naomi for the Women’s Tag Team Titles next week on Smackdown. Naomi had her left arm wrapped up to sell the attack from last week.
Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler
Banks teased stomping on the arm of Baszler, but Baszler moved, so Banks did a double knee attack to the arm. Banks tried working on the arm, Baszler kicked Banks in the head and Baszler went for an armbar. Banks got a headscissors into a pin attempt for two. Natalya was on the apron to distract, Banks was distracted and then Baszler did a tilt a whirl slam with Banks hitting face first onto the mat. Banks avoided a knee attack, Banks went for a headscissors out of the corner and Baszler did a great counter turning into a sidewalk slam. That led to a break.
Baszler was in control with an armbar on the left arm, Banks managed to send her out of the ring. Baszler back in the ring, so Banks sent her out again and Banks hit a sliding dropkick. Banks rammed Baszler’s left arm into the hood of the commentary table. Back in the ring, Banks hit the double knees for two. Banks with a shoulder tackle to the ribs, then she bounced off the ropes and got a bulldog. Banks did a headscissors on Natalya on the floor. Baszler with a knee into a cradle pin for two. Banks with a backslide pin, Baszler came back with a cradle and Natalya held Baszler’s legs against the ropes for a cheap pin. The referee didn’t see it, but it was enough for Baszler to win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: *** That was a very good match with a cheap ending since Baszler only won due to Natalya helping to keep Banks down. They worked well together. Some good counters throughout the match. I liked the intensity shown by Banks especially.
Post match, Natalya and Shayna Baszler did a cheap attack. Baszler wanted to step on Sasha’s arm, but Naomi saved Sasha and kicked Baszler out of the ring. Banks and Naomi did a double foot to the face move on Natalya. Baszler and Natalya retreated while the champs Banks/Naomi stood tall.
Analysis: I doubt Baszler & Natalya beat Banks & Naomi for the titles next week, but I think they’ll get 10-13 minutes and it’ll be a very good match.
A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown about the story with The Bloodline facing Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro.
The Usos, who are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who asked about the Face to Face segment later. They talked about how they’re not worried about Drew and RK-Bro because those guys are the two 2’s while The Usos are the 1’s.
Happy Corbin made his entrance for another boring Happy Talk segment.
There was a plug for Bad Bunny’s new album that’s available now.
Randy Orton & Riddle aka RK-Bro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Riddle did his rambling thing, so Randy stopped him. Orton didn’t say much other than that the others just have to think about they’ll be in the ring with the most dangerous letters in WWE…RK-Bro.
A replay aired from last week with Madcap Moss outsmarting Happy Corbin and getting the advantage during their fight.
Happy Corbin talked about how he was happy because of all the things he’s going to do to Moss at WrestleMania Backlash. Moss ripped on Corbin’s outfit since he looked like he was trying out for a Pitbull cover band. Moss ripped Corbin saying that it looks like a Hot Topic threw up on his chest, which was a joke about Corbin’s tattoos. Corbin said that Moss feels safe telling jokes backstage and claimed Moss didn’t have the guts to say it to his safe. Moss walked off screen and then made his appearance in the arena.
Moss got in the ring with Corbin with Moss talking about all the names Corbin has gone through and said maybe the next name he should be…Entertaining Corbin. Moss said you can go back to the Lone Wolf phase, but wolves have hair. Moss said you can be the “Big Bald Wolf” so then Moss urged the crowd to chant that, so they chanted “Big Bald Wolf.” Corbin left looking angry while Moss celebrated.
Analysis: It was a way to have Moss humiliate Corbin. I’m surprised there was no attack by Corbin at the end there. Instead, Corbin left looking sad and defeated. Their Backlash match could go either way. I think it’s fair to say most fans probably don’t care about it that much.
A video aired about Drew Gulak trying out different jobs like an interviewer, but he got beat up by Charlotte Flair. When Drew tried out as Adam Pearce’s intern, Drew was beaten up by Ronda Rousey. Drew Gulak tried out as a timekeeper last week, but he was beaten up by Charlotte Flair again. McAfee: “Every job ends this way for Drew Gulak.” That summed it up.
Drew Gulak was in the ring for a match.
Gunther made his entrance with his buddy Ludwig Kaiser while poor Drew looked afraid.
Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser) vs. Drew Gulak
They battled over an armbar and then Gunther delivered a huge chop to the chest. Gulak with a punch, but then Gunther came back with a hard kick. Gunther with a hard chop. Gunther set up Gulak on the turnbuckle for another hard chop. Gunther stretched Gulak across the top rope. Gunther applied a sleeper hold, then he let go and hit a huge Powerbomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Gunther
Analysis: 1/2* Another impressive win by Gunther. The hard chops are always fun to listen to because nobody does those chops like Gunther. I hope we get to see Gunther in a more meaningful match soon because so far it’s just been squash wins for him on Smackdown.
Post match, Ludwig Kaiser announced Gunther as the winner.
They showed a clip from WrestleMania when Rick Boogs suffered a major knee injury. The following week on Smackdown, Shinsuke Nakamura was hugged by Roman Reigns and then The Usos hit Nakamura with a double superkick.
Shinsuke Nakamura was interviewed by Megan Morant. Nakamura said that he has not forgotten about what The Bloodline did to him and one day he’ll get a piece of Roman Reigns. Nakamura walked away while Sami Zayn was shown in the background eavesdropping in order to hear what Nakamura was saying.
It was “Fight Night” because Sheamus & Ridge Holland entered for their Tables Match. Pat: “Where the hell is Butch?” No sign of Butch.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Drew said that The Bloodline would rather talk than throw their fists. Drew talked about how this Sunday at WM Backlash there’s the big six-man tag team match. Drew said that the fans at Smackdown tonight deserve to see the Head of the Table get his head kicked off his body. The fans cheered as Drew left.
A replay was shown of two weeks ago when Butch was so mad that he lost to Xavier Woods that he took off on his own. That led to WWE posting #WheresButch comedy posts on social media.
Tables Match: New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland
All four guys are legal in the match and you win when putting an opponent through a table. Woods with a DDT on Sheamus in the ring while Kofi battled Holland on the floor. Sheamus with an atomic drop, Woods with two kicks and a running knee that knocked Sheamus out of the ring. Holland back in against Woods, who avoided a slam and Kofi jumped off the top with an axhandle smash. Woods and Kofi slammed Ridge’s head into the mat. Sheamus got a hold of Kofi on the floor, so Woods jumped onto Sheamus on the floor. Woods and Kofi hit Sheamus with a table two times in the ribs. Sheamus saved Holland from being put through a table. Sheamus with a backbreaker on Kofi on the floor. Woods saved Kofi from going through a table. Holland charged at Woods on the floor, Woods moved out of the way and sent Holland into the steel steps. Kofi saved Woods from being sent into a table. Kofi kicked Sheamus off the apron to the floor. Kofi went to the top of the ring post and jumped off to take down Sheamus into the barricade. Cool spot.
Sheamus delivered the ten forearm smashes to Woods while Holland did it to Kofi. They replayed Kofi’s dive onto Sheamus into the barricade. Holland and Sheamus tried to send Kofi through a table, but Kofi avoided it with an SOS on Holland. Kofi sent Sheamus to the apron followed by some punches to the chest. Sheamus got a hold of Kofi on the apron leading to the White Noise slam on the apron. Woods kicked Sheamus down. Woods with a spin kick on Holland, then a punch that knocked down Sheamus and Woods hit a jumping kick on Holland. Woods set up a table in the ring, Holland with a headbutt and Woods superkicked Holland onto the table. Woods went up top, but he climbed very slowly and Sheamus knocked Woods down. Sheamus sent Woods into the turnbuckle. Kofi knocked Sheamus off the apron to the floor followed by a leap over the top with a Trust Fall on Sheamus on the floor. Kofi stomped on Sheamus’ chest. Kofi hit a Trouble in Paradise kick on Sheamus by the announce table. That’s when Butch appeared from under the ring. Butch fought with the New Day guys, so then Sheamus superkicked Woods and Butch hit a running knee on Kofi. Woods was isolated in the ring while Sheamus & Holland gave Woods a double spinebuster through the table for the win. This went about 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Ridge Holland
Analysis: ***1/4 I thought it was a very good and entertaining tables match. The return of Butch led to the cheap finish with the heels getting the win due to the 3-on-2 advantage. That makes sense and also protects New Day since it wasn’t a clean loss. I thought Woods and Kofi were great in the match in terms of being in the right spot and selling so well for the bigger opponents. Sheamus was impressive too while Holland is okay, but he’s still a guy developing and learning a lot.
Post match, Butch attacked Woods with punches. Sheamus and Holland pulled Butch off.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who mentioned what Drew McIntyre said about Roman Reigns earlier. Paul wondered if Kayla was flirting with him and wanted to go with him for pizza. Sami Zayn walked up to Heyman saying there’s something you need to know. Sami said that Shinsuke Nakamura wants payback. Sami said that he wants Heyman to know that Sami is the one that is going to take care of Nakamura. Heyman said that the Tribal Chief appreciates Sami’s initiative. Sami said that this was the way to get his credibility back. They thanked eachother. That was it.
Still to come: The Bloodline goes face to face with RK-McBro (Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle).
Sami Zayn walked up to WWE Official Adam Pearce asking for a match with Shinsuke Nakamura next week. Pearce told him he can have the match right now. Zayn tried to get out of it, but Pearce said it’s coming up.
Analysis: Zayn had his hands taped up, so you could tell the match was coming now. Also, if the match wasn’t happening this week then what would be in that spot? There’s no answer.
Lacey Evans was shown talking about her life for what is Chapter 5 of her life story. She talked about how her father died of an overdose and she had other family members with similar issues. Evans said that she had her first NXT match in front of her daughter. Evans talked about how she was put in the worst situations by the people that were supposed to love and protect her. Evans talked about how now she has the strength. Evans wondered what the WWE superstars can do to bring her down. Evans said she’s a confident mother, wife, sister, US Marine, a WWE superstar and soon to be a Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Lacey Evans was introduced by Samantha Irvin. Lacey made her entrance wearing some military gear. She greeted some fans, did some posing and that was it.
Analysis: These promos from Evans have been good in terms of making her a babyface that’s easy to like and support. Now that she appeared in front of the crowd, I assume she’ll be back in action any week now.
A video aired about Raquel Rodriguez showing how dominant she was in NXT and featured comments from her talking about how she’s going to make an impact that nobody will ever forget.
Sami Zayn made his entrance.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance to a good pop. Pat McAfee was dancing on the table even though it’s not the same without Rick Boogs there. Zayn didn’t like McAfee’s dancing on the table.
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura with an armdrag into a knee drop. Zayn with a back elbow while by the ropes and a forearm to the back. Zayn put his knees onto the back of Nakamura by the ropes. Nakamura came back with some kicks to the body and a step-up enziguri kick. Nakamura with a sliding German Suplex while Zayn was on the middle ropes. Nakamura charged, Zayn caught him and Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. It looked like a rough landing or Nakamura on his shoulder or maybe the back of his neck. That led to a break.
Zayn was in control with an elbow smash off the middle ropes for a two count. Zayn went for a move off the ropes again, but Nakamura hit him in the ribs. Nakamura kicked Zayn repeatedly and Nakamura jumped off the middle ropes with a kick/shin to the back of the head for two. Nakamura with strikes, Zayn ran the ropes and Nakamura went for an armbar on the right arm, but Zayn countered it into a pin attempt for two. Nakamura back up quickly with a spin kick to the head. Nakamura charged for the Kinshasa attempt, Zayn left the ring to avoid it and Nakamura delivered a running kick to Zayn on the floor. Zayn avoided Nakamura on the floor, Zayn sent Nakamura into the barricade and Zayn delivered a Helluva Kick to Nakamura on the floor. Zayn ran back in the ring at nine to beat the ten count. It’s a countout win after 10 minutes.
Winner by countout: Sami Zayn
Analysis: *** These guys always have good matches together and that’s what this was. It was a little shady with a countout win, so I’d expect to see a rematch next week with Nakamura getting a win. Anyway, I liked the story of how Sami tried to run away, then Nakamura followed, Sami was able to outsmart him and Sami hit the big Helluva Kick to keep Nakamura on the floor to allow Sami to get the win.
Zayn celebrated the win as if winning by countout is a huge accomplishment while Nakamura was frustrated at ringside.
The announcers did the rundown for this Sunday at WrestleMania Backlash:
* Smackdown Women’s Championship – I Quit Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
* Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
* Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle
They didn’t mention the other three matches: Edge vs. AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley vs. Omos and Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss.
Randy Orton & Riddle aka RK-Bro entered as the Raw Tag Team Champions to a big pop. The main event segment is up next.
Next week on Smackdown: Sasha Banks & Naomi defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Shayna Baszler & Natalya.
Face to Face: The Bloodline and Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angela the sword. Drew’s got a new “Kneel to the Steel” shirt. Drew called this trio RK-McBro earlier. Drew wanted “Strong Island” to acknowledge him, but Riddle wanted them to acknowledge things. Riddle acknowledged Randy is his best friend. Randy acknowledged he has Drew’s handprint on his chest when Randy beat him for the WWE Title two years ago. Drew acknowledged he took about four kicks in the head to win back the WWE Title. They went on to rip The Usos for kissing Roman’s ass. Drew ripped on Reigns, so then that led to Roman’s music playing.
Roman Reigns appeared with the WWE and Universal Titles along with Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos by his side. Reigns was about to say something, but then he dropped the microphone and walked towards the ring. The Bloodline got into the ring and the fight was on!
Roman and The Usos got control early as they sent Riddle and Orton out of the ring. Reigns hit Drew with a Superman Punch. The Usos held Drew in the ring as Reigns pounded on Drew with punches. Riddle and Orton were back in with Riddle hitting an RKO on Jey and Orton hitting an RKO on Jimmy. Drew capitalized on the chaos to hit Reigns with a Claymore Kick. Reigns bailed with The Usos while Drew, Randy and Riddle stood tall in the ring. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: It was an effective go-home segment. The faces got to do some fun promo work, I’m a bit surprised we never heard from Reigns, but that’s okay. The brawl was quick with the heels getting the advantage until the faces made the comeback. The fans loved it. The segment didn’t drag on. I enjoyed it.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sheamus & Ridge Holland/New Day
- Shayna Baszler/Sasha Banks
- Sami Zayn
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
I thought it was a very good episode of Smackdown this week. I almost want to say great. There were three longer matches were all well booked even with a countout finish in the Zayn/Nakamura match, the cheap ending in the Tables Match due to Butch and then Natalya helping Baszler beat Banks. I didn’t really mind any of the finishes. The fourth match was Gunther dominating again.
The Charlotte Flair/Ronda Rousey segment was the best thing they did together in the two months they’ve been feuding. A pull-apart brawl is what they needed. Both women did a great job.
As for the main event, having RK-McBro (McIntrye and RK-Bro) get the advantage over The Bloodline is a fine way to end the show on a happy note. Good promo by the faces too. I liked it as a go-home show going into WM Backlash on Sunday.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is called WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 8th. Here’s what we know so far:
* Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle
* Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
* Smackdown Women’s Championship – I Quit Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
* Edge vs. AJ Styles
* Bobby Lashley vs. Omos
* Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss
You can watch WrestleMania Backlash streaming live on Sunday, May 8, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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