Welcome to the WWE Smackdown review here on TJRWrestling. The next WWE pay-per-view is Backlash this Sunday on WWE Network. The card is mostly Raw content, but there is some Smackdown on there too. As for this week’s Smackdown, they advertised three main things:
* AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan in the finals of the Intercontinental Title tournament to crown a new champion.
* Braun Strowman, Otis and Tucker vs. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison.
* Jeff Hardy and Sheamus have a contract signing.
From the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1086. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The opening video package recapped the Jeff Hardy storyline where he claimed Sheamus was the one that attacked him and caused the car accident on Smackdown two weeks earlier. That led to Sheamus trashing Hardy on Smackdown and they got into a brawl that was won by Sheamus. Their feud will lead to a match at Backlash on Sunday.
There was a shot of the WWE Performance Center to start the show with Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcoming us to the show.
Contract Signing for Sheamus and Jeff Hardy
Renee Young hosted the contract signing in the ring with a table and some chairs. Sheamus walked out to the ring in his ring gear with a t-shirt and he had a doctor with him along with four security guys that brought something in the ring. Jeff Hardy was in more street clothes attire with a tank top and black pants.
Sheamus said that the curtain that he brought into the ring was for discretion. Hardy accused Sheamus for what happened and Sheamus said he told the police he had nothing to do. Hardy said that Sheamus has no idea what he will unleash at Backlash. Sheamus said before he signs this contract, he wants some assurances and he said that Jeff is a man that can’t be trusted. Sheamus mentioned the booze and pills while saying that a leopard doesn’t change his spots. Sheamus said he cleared it with WWE management and said before he signs the contract, Jeff has to take a urine test. Sheamus told Jeff if he fails, which he will, then he’s in trouble and Sheamus called Jeff a junkie.
Jeff said: “My name is Jeff Hardy and I’m an alcoholic.” Jeff said that if he has to do this to get to Sheamus then he’ll do it. Jeff spoke about how he goes to meetings every week talking about how he let his family down, his fans down and himself down. Jeff called Sheamus a bastard and said that he’s going to a beacon of light for everybody that struggles with this. Jeff said he’ll go along with Sheamus’ BS just to get his hands on Sheamus. That led to Sheamus saying he was thrilled about it and he paid the doctor to run a rapid test. Sheamus said that the doctor is going to supervise the whole thing. Sheamus told Renee to skedaddle because Jeff had stage fright and Renee left at that point.
Sheamus faced the camera to tell the kids at home to not be a loser like Jeff Hardy. That led to Jeff going behind the screen with the doctor and he peed into the jar. The doctor tested the “urine” in the jar and there was a lot of it in the jar. Sheamus asked if Jeff had a message to share. Sheamus turned to the camera to say: “Just say no.” Jeff said that Sheamus is having a blast with this and Jeff said: “Sometimes it is better to be pissed off than pissed on.” Jeff threw the “urine” in Sheamus’ face and Jeff signed the contract while Sheamus freaked out all around the ring to sell the “urine” getting tossed in his face. Jeff was out of the ring as Sheamus flipped over the table.
Analysis: It was a nice way for Jeff to get revenge after what Sheamus did against him in the last two weeks. The idea of throwing piss on somebody is disgusting and Sheamus sold it well. It’s a silly way to further a feud, but it also gives it a personal feel and the fans at home should be happy that the face Jeff threw some piss onto a heel like Sheamus as payback. There was a segment with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon prior to WrestleMania 22 in 2006 where they did the same angle even with the same “better to pissed off than pissed on” line that we saw here. I guess Vince really liked that angle with Shawn. You can watch that segment here if you want. (I was told by viewers on the west coast that the Fox feed edited out Jeff tossing the “urine” onto Sheamus. Fair to say that Fox didn’t like the angle.)
There was a scene with Sheamus washing his face in the washroom. The doctor went up to up to say that Jeff’s test results came back negative. Sheamus freaked out about it.
The Smackdown Tag Team Champions are The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E and they entered for a match. They kneeled down in the ring to support Black Lives Matter. Good to see that support. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro entered as the opponents for this non-title match.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) June 13, 2020
The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
Kingston tripped up Cesaro followed by a splash. When Kofi ran the ropes, Cesaro caught him and hit a backbreaker. Nakamura with some foot shaking into Kofi’s throat, but then Kingston came back with a double foot attack to the chest. Kingston sent Nakamura out of the ring, Big E got the tag, Big E sent Kingston over the top onto Nakamura. Cesaro with a boot to the face of Kingston, Big E with a clothesline on Cesaro and when Big E went on the apron, Cesaro grabbed the foot. That led to Nakamura hitting a jumping kick to the head and Cesaro with an uppercut on Big E (that the referee didn’t see) led to the break.
Cesaro was in control with a running forearm on Big E and Nakamura followed up with a rising knee lift for two. Cesaro tagged in with Big E getting some momentum with an elbow to the head and a belly to belly suplex. Kingston tagged in with a jumping punch to the head off the top rope. Kingston with a leaping clothesline and a Boom Drop on Nakamura. The wrestlers in the building where doing some New Day clapping as Kofi hit an SOS slam on Nakamura with Cesaro breaking up the pin. Big E hit a running clothesline on Cesaro over the top to the floor. Kingston with a back kick to the face of Nakamura, but Nakamura went after Kofi on the top rope. Kingston knocked Nakamura off the top rope, Kingston jumped off with a cross body block and Nakamura hit a knee to the face to counter, which led to Nakamura cradling Kofi for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
Analysis: **1/2 This was a solid tag team match as you would expect from these teams. I liked the finish because it’s something you always see with a counter using the knees and then going right into the pin like that. The problem is we see champs lose non-title all the time. If WWE could go through a month of booking Raw and Smackdown where they don’t book champs to lose non-title to set up a title match that would be wonderful. There are plenty of other ways to set up title matches. Be more creative!
The Heavy Machinery duo were backstage with Tucker holding a plate of burgers while Otis had a blindfold on. Mandy Rose gave Otis a quick kiss and she gave Otis his Money in the Bank briefcase. Tucker said that they team with Braun Strowman and tonight could be Otis’ night.
As that was going on, Jeff Hardy and Sheamus were brawling in the backstage area. It was quickly broken up by producers like D-Von Dudley, Jamie Noble and referees.
This Monday on Raw, is Drew McIntyre still WWE Champion or is it Bobby Lashley? Plus, Seth Rollins invited Rey Mysterio and Dominick to Raw.
There was a video package narrated by Corey Graves where he talked about what is so prestigious about the Intercontinental Title. This is the 41st year of the IC Title and they showed highlights of some of the famous champions in WWE history. They showed some of the great IC Champions like Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Perfect, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, British Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, plus some champions on the current roster like Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and The Miz. It ended with Graves talking about Bryan and Styles meeting in the finals.
ANalysis: Great video. I like when WWE acknowledges their history like that and gives a match an even bigger feel thanks to the quality of the video package. They didn’t show Chris Jericho even though he’s won it the most titles with 9 IC Title reigns, but that’s understandable since he works for another company.
AJ Styles entered first for the Intercontinental Title match with some of the wrestlers booing and others doing the hand pose that he does. Daniel Bryan was up next as the babyface in the match with plenty of “YES” chants in the building. Bryan and Styles stood in the ring as ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the championship introductions for them.
Analysis: Two of my favorite wrestlers and two of the best wrestlers of the last twenty years. I’ve been looking forward to this for a few weeks. I thought they might main event, but I have no problem with doing it early because I know it’s going to be a long match. I know fans might want this at Backlash instead of Fox. Frankly, I think Fox should show more big matches for titles after weeks of build because then it might help the viewership numbers.
For the Vacant Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
They battled over a wrist lock early with Bryan knocking Styles down. When Styles tried a suplex, Bryan blocked and Styles hit a double chop to the throat. Bryan managed to send Styles out of the ring leading to Bryan hitting a suicide dive on Styles on the floor. That led to a break one minute into the match.
Bryan was working on the left arm of Styles, then Styles broke free and sent Bryan into the ropes leading a dropkick from Styles. They exchanged some strikes with Styles hitting a chop, Bryan with forearms and Styles managed to slap on an armbar leading to Styles doing an arm wringer that sent Bryan left arm first into the mat. Bryan sent Styles into the ropes leading to a knee to the ribs by Bryan. That set up a favorite move of Bryan as he stomped on the back of the legs and then Bryan worked over the legs of Styles followed by a two count. Bryan worked over Styles with kicks, but then Styles with a sunset flip for two and that led to multiple nearfalls for each guy. Bryan bridged out of a pin attempt, then they ran the ropes and did a double cross body block spot to knock both guys down. They went to break about ten minutes into the match.
The Intercontinental Title was shown at ringside as Bryan worked over the left arm of Styles until Styles rolled up Bryan. Styles rolled out of a Yes Lock attempt and did a catapult to send Bryan over the top to the floor. Styles went over the top to attack Bryan, but Bryan moved and Bryan sent Styles left shoulder first into the ring post. That was a loud bang as Styles smacked the LED board. Bryan stomped on the left arm of Styles as the wrestlers in the crowd reacted to the match. Bryan with an arm wringer as he continued to work on the left arm of Styles and Bryan stomped on the elbow of Styles again. Bryan wrenched back on the left arm some more and Bryan did a double underhook into a pin for two as Styles went to the apron. Bryan with a corner whip, but when he charged with a running dropkick, Styles went down and Bryan hit the mat hard. Both guys were down as the wrestlers in the crowd clapped for them. Styles kicked the back of the left leg of Bryan and then Styles pulled on Daniel’s left knee by the edge of the apron. Styles with a knee drop on the left leg of Bryan. Styles trapped Bryan’s left knee between the middle and bottom ropes while kicking away at the left knee. When Styles held Bryan by the left leg, Bryan came back with an enziguri kick to the head. Bryan charged right into a boot to the face by Styles, who went up top, but then Bryan tripped him up and Styles went crashing into the ropes. Bryan delivered the kicks against the turnbuckle with kicks to the chest and arm. Bryan hit a hurricanrana off the top known as a Frankensteiner. They were 20 minutes into the match as the crowd chanted “yes” for Bryan and Bryan hit a few kicks to the chest. Styles came back with punches and forearms, then Bryan ran at AJ and Styles hit a clothesline with Bryan doing a flip bump, so both men were down again. That led to another break 21 minutes into the match.
The match continued after 24 minutes with Styles punching, Bryan with forearms and they exchanged forearms in the ring. Styles kicked the leg of Bryan, but then Bryan came back with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Bryan charged for a dive, but Styles came back with a kick to the injured left leg of Bryan. Styles went for a springboard attack off the ropes, but Bryan caught him into a double underhook slam into an armbar. Styles managed to get out of that and slapped on the Calf Crusher submission on the left leg of Bryan. There was an armbar counter by Bryan, but then Styles got out of that and Bryan kicked the left arm. Bryan hit a roundhouse kick to the head of Styles for a two count with Styles kicking out at the last moment. They battled on the turnbuckle with Styles managing to knock Bryan down, but then Bryan came back with a forearm to the back. Styles knocked down Bryan with repeated elbows to the head, Bryan sold it for a bit and came back with more forearms. Styles picked up Bryan and hit a belly to back suplex off the top leading to another commercial.
The match continued at the 32-minute mark with Bryan selling a left leg injury after doing a backflip off the ropes. Styles came back with a flip back into a reverse DDT on Bryan for two. Styles came back with a Pele Kick followed by a brainbuster for a two count. Bryan tripped up Styles into a jackknife cover for two. Styles went for another Pele Kick, Bryan caught him and Bryan hit a German Suplex for two. Styles countered into a German Suplex of his own for two. Bryan came back with elbow smashes to the head and then he slapped on the Yes Lock submission on the left arm of Styles until Styles managed to get to the ropes with his right foot on the bottom rope. The crowd chanted “YES” for Daniel Bryan as Bryan stomped on the face of Styles repeatedly. Bryan set up in the corner for the running knee, he led the crowd in “YES” chants, Bryan charged and Styles caught him impressively right into a Styles Clash. That was so smooth! Really good! They both took their time to get back up because they were selling, so there was no cover. Styles went to the apron and hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the top and covered Bryan to win the Intercontinental Title after 38 minutes. What a match!
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: AJ Styles
Analysis: ****3/4 That was so great. I’m not going five stars out of five, but it was very close. I may bump it up when I watch it again. This was an incredible wrestling match between two of the best wrestlers of the last 20 years and they are still at the top of their game. They told a very believable story during the match with Bryan working over the left arm of Styles during the match while Styles focused on the knee. I loved the pacing of the match, the way it was very evenly booked between them and while there were some nearfalls, they didn’t do a match with repeated finishers. It was Bryan nearly winning with the Yes Lock until Styles got to the bottom rope to break it. That was followed up by Bryan coming back with a running knee attempt that Styles turned into a Styles Clash, which was an excellent spot. Styles finishing with the Phenomenal Forearm right into the pin was the right way to end it. Styles was my pick as soon as WWE said he moved to Smackdown because I figured he would since it is his first time winning the IC Title. This was the WWE match of the year so far. It may not be topped this year. Since I know I’ll be asked “why not five stars?” I’ll just say it’s just a feeling when I watched it. I think maybe they needed to do some more nearfalls. It’s not like a match is “only” just under five stars. They earned it. As I noted, perhaps if I watched it again then maybe I would upgrade it, but I’m going to leave it where it is. The match was taped over two weeks ago and I have no idea if any mistakes were edited out. They are both outstanding, so I doubt there were many errors, but you never know what’s edited. Just saying.
Post match, Styles was selling exhaustion as he was handed the Intercontinental Championship for the first time in his career. Styles said that he is the best champion that the WWE Universe has ever seen. Styles said he was phenomenal. Bryan was out on the floor grabbing his left knee to sell the injury as referee Charles Robinson checked on him. Styles laid on the mat with the IC Title on him while selling his left arm injury. The announcers put it over as a classic match because it was.
Analysis: It’s important to keep selling after a long match like that. That’s why Styles and Bryan are two of the best. They know that it continues after the match just as it does during the match.
A recap aired of last week with The Miz and John Morrison trying to prank Braun Strowman, but then Strowman tipped over the van they were in.
Braun Strowman did a promo backstage talking trash about The Miz and John Morrison. Strowman also warned Heavy Machinery to not try anything against him since Otis has Money in the Bank and could cash in on Strowman as Universal Champion. That’s coming up in a tag team match later.
There were balloons in the ring for a celebration for the Women’s Tag Team Champions after the break.
Celebration for the Women’s Tag Team Titles
The Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks were all dressed up with their titles along with Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Title. The crowd booed them. Bayley bragged about being untouchable and the most dominant women’s champion in Smackdown history. Bayley said sometimes you can get lonely on the top, but she’s not lonely because she’s got her best friend Sasha Banks with her.
Banks said they told us, but people didn’t want to listen to them. Banks said they won their titles when they wanted to. Banks said that they did it together because together they are unstoppable. Bayley said that she had a poem, but then there was an interruption.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross showed up with Bliss mocking Bayley for poetry and Cross said that they love a good party. The IIconics were shown on the video screen with the Raw logo behind them. Billie Kay said that their time as champs ends at Backlash. Peyton Royce said that they have both beating Alexa and Nikki recently and they ended Banks/Bayley’s first title reign. The IIconics said they left them laying on Raw too. Bliss and Cross went after Banks and Bayley with punches and forearms. Banks rolled out to the floor and Bayley got tossed out of the ring as well. The segment ended with the champs down on the floor.
Analysis: It was okay as a segment to get some heat on the champions going into the Backlash triple threat match. I think Banks and Bayley will retain, but I don’t expect them to have a long championship reign.
The Miz and John Morrison were interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who got slimed by green slime because of them. Miz and Morrison cued up a music video.
It looked like a music video was going to start, but then Universal Champion Braun Strowman made his entrance. No music video after all. The Heavy Machinery team of Tucker and Otis entered with Otis carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase. No Mandy? That’s a shame. There are some impressive beards on this team.
There was a video letting us know that Matt Riddle will make his Smackdown debut next week.
The heel trio of Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and John Morrison entered together. They are close friends that probably are happy about teaming up here. Miz and Morrison challenge Strowman for the Universal Title at Backlash.
Braun Strowman, Otis and Tucker vs. The Miz, John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler
Otis with a body slam on Miz and Tucker tagged in for a double headbutt on Miz. Morrison tagged in with a back kick on Tucker. When Morrison went for a springboard attack off the ropes, Tucker caught him into a spinning slam for a two count. Ziggler with a waist lock, Tucker with a back elbow, Strowman tagged in and Strowman hit a running clothesline on Ziggler followed by a forearm to the chest. Tucker with a delayed suplex attempt as King Corbin was shown on camera and he walked over to Mandy Rose watching on a TV backstage. Corbin complained to Mandy about Otis stealing the king’s crown last week. Otis ran to the backstage area as Corbin said that Mandy was fantasizing about a man that people respect and claimed she was fantasizing about himself. Otis went after Corbin backstage and punched him repeatedly to knock him down. That was broken up. As for the match, it continues after the break.
The match continued with Miz and Morrison hitting running kicks on Tucker and Ziggler hit an elbow drop on Tucker. Otis did not return to ringside after attacking Corbin the backstage area. Morrison worked over Tucker with punches, then a kick to the leg and a kick to the head for two. Miz tagged in, Tucker sent Morrison out of the ring, Tucker sent Miz out of the ring and Ziggler tagged in, but Miz and Morrison pulled Strowman off the turnbuckle. Morrison with a jumping kick on Strowman while Miz hit a DDT on Strowman on the floor. That led to Otis going back out to ringside with Mandy. Tucker hit Ziggler with a kick to knock him down. Otis in the Bank tagged in with two clotheslines for Ziggler, a body slam on Miz and he tossed Morrison out of the ring. Ziggler with a kick to the ribs of Otis, then Otis did his no selling routine leading to some hulking up and Otis launched Ziggler with a fallaway slam over the top to the floor. Strowman with the running shoulder tackles on the floor on Miz and Morrison. Strowman sent Ziggler into the ring, Otis hit the Caterpillar into the elbow drop on Ziggler for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman, Otis and Tucker
Analysis: **1/2 This was just an average match. Normally when Strowman is in a tag he’s the one that gets the hot tag and the pinfall, but they gave that to Otis. The story of Corbin attacking Otis continued their story from last week and shows that Otis will do anything to protect Mandy. I thought going into it that the heels might win with Miz or Morrison pinning Tucker because Miz or Morrison could have used the win. Instead, Otis wins with the elbow drop on Ziggler, which has been done several times. I’d prefer to see Otis use a different move as a finisher or do the Heavy Machinery tag team finish to end it. An elbow drop is a weak way to end a match. And yes, I said that when The Rock won matches with the People’s Elbow too.
The babyface team celebrated in the ring as replays aired of the key spots in the match. The babyfaces celebrated some more with Strowman holding up the Universal Title while Otis stared at him with the Money in the Bank briefcase to tease something happening in the future. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: I have no idea when Otis will try to cash in on Strowman. I assume Strowman goes back to feuding with Bray Wyatt as The Fiend after Backlash while Otis will feud with Corbin, so both guys will be busy.
Three Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- Daniel Bryan
- Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
2020 Average: 6.20
The highlight of the show was easily the classic match between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Title. It was one of the longest matches in Smackdown history and it lived up to the hype surrounding it. I loved the story of the match with Bryan working on the left arm while Styles worked on the knee. It was very even, they each had moments where it looked like they might win. The spot with Styles countering the running knee into the Styles Clash was so awesome. They had one of the best WWE matches of the year (I think the best so far in 2020) for the IC Title and by having such a great match, it makes fans care more about the title. Could it have been a PPV match? Sure, but more people will watch this show and I think it’s important to have some great matches on “free” TV too. I highly recommend checking out Styles vs. Bryan if you love great wrestling matches.
The two other tag team matches were okay. The women’s celebration segment was very average. I think the Jeff Hardy/Sheamus segment was the kind of low brow cheap heat angle that makes people cringe when watching WWE sometimes. Tossing “urine” on a guy is lame and it was done in an angle 14 years ago, but it does give Jeff some revenge against Sheamus, so that was the point of it.
Please check out Styles vs. Bryan if you missed it. I highly recommend it. I’m pretty sure it will be the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” that we see in the coming days.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Backlash on June 14. Here’s the lineup so far.
Edge vs. Randy Orton – I think this will be the main event.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay)
United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs. Andrade
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