The most insane Money in the “Corporate” Bank is upon us, so WWE is heading full speed to what could be its most bunkers cinematic project yet. With that being said, the company still has the job of resolving the rest of its storylines. Considering SmackDown’s status at the moment, it looks like it needs a big shot in the arm in terms of peaking interest as does the whole product at the moment. Let’s get to business…
- A great cold open with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose getting ready for their match.
Mandy Rose Vs Sonya Deville
It’s a shame that the match which has the best build and story behind it is relegated to TV when WWE could have made it a step towards the eventual mixed tag. Mandy Rose starts straight away attacking Deville despite her “injuries” going right after her, but Sonya eventually found the opening to dissect Rose and work her over with her MMA background while expertly trash-talking. Mandy shows some sort of offence, and takes it outside the ring on the announce table and the steps. Rose looks completely in control and looks set to put Deville away but the latter steals one and rolls Rose up for the surprise win. It wasn’t the best technical encounter, but it was emotional enough to guarantee the continuation of the story. As we said a lot, the real value is in the mixed-tag match.
- A video highlight of Lucha House Party’s win over Miz and Morrison from two weeks ago.
New Day/Lucha House Party vs Miz & Morrison/Forgotten Sons
These 4 teams involved are going to be against each other on Sunday in a 4-fatal way for the tag team championships which makes this 8 man tag one of those “building momentum” that are focused on tensions between team memebers. Miz opens with Kofi Kingston (2010s Midcard all over again) but things break down pretty quickly with Kofi Kingston, Lince Dorado and Gran Mettalik all diving. After the commercial, Forgotten Sons were in control but New Day turned it around dominating Wesley Blake and double teaming him alongside LHP. Kofi Kingston is posted allowing Blake to tag the Miz who double teams Kingston with Morrison who gets a near fall. Jackson Ryker on the outside delivers a cheap shot to Kingston. After a while Kingston comes back only for Miz to halt him down again and deny him tagging any of his partners, with Forgotten Sons taking them out but he finds Gran Mettalik who flies around the ring as so does his partner Lince Dorado who hits a picture perfect shooting star press for a close two count. New Day went for midnight hour but they were taken out by Forgotten sons while inside the ring Miz takes advantage of an insane sequence between Lince Dorado and John Morrison to hit the LHP man with a skull crushing finale for the win. This match was amazing and got insane by the end proves once again that Forgotten Sons are better treated on SmackDown than NXT which could be an exception for NXT call-ups. The booking logic suggests that coming out of MITB will be New Day vs Forgotten Sons for the title as Lucha House Party battles Miz & Morrison for #1 contendership.
- King Corbin is interviewed backstage.
- A set of matches are announced later on for the night.
- A video recap of WWE’s “Real Heroes” collaboration to honor COVID-19 fighters, the doctors and nurses on the frontline.
Jeff Hardy returns
Finally, he is back. He got in the ring with Renee Young and started cutting a promo on his career while Sheamus in the background mocking him and his promo. Jeff eventually calls out Sheamus who comes out and cuts a good heel promo on Jeff Hardy, filled with addiction-related jargon (that’s an insider joke mostly) and sets his sights on fighting Hardy who goes for him and lays him out with a twist of fate and a Swanton bomb setting his first feud coming back. Maybe this feud looks straight of SVR 2009 but we will see where this can go.
Braun “Universal Champion” Strowman – Bray Wyatt face off
It is a very interesting dynamic with this face off between the champion and his challenger, with Strowman not exactly selling the psychological fear of such a character. Bray comes out eventually with full “Mr Rogers” cosplay on, and starts talking to Braun trying to convince him to join his side once again and “come home”. This might sound strange but there is something that doesn’t click in this feud but we will see where things will go from here. If anything, Bray Wyatt should be the winner to get ahead quickly.
- Otis meets Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak backstage, obviously he will be their partner in the 6-man tag against King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro.
- A recap of last week’s events between Bayley/Sasha Banks/Tamina/Lacey Evans which set this tag match.
Lacey Evans/Tamina vs Bayley/Sasha Banks
This match is all about more tease of dissension between Bayley and Sasha Banks who are already arguing on who starts the match but Tamina takes them out. Once the match starts properly, Tamina dominates Bayley who tags Banks. The inaugural women’s tag champions try to escape Tamina’s wrath, but Banks ends up being taken out by Lacey Evans. Back from commercial, Lacey Evans was in control until a distraction from Bayley allowed Sasha Banks to regain control. Bayley dominates Lacey Evans while Banks takes some cheap shots on the outside. Lacey eventually tags Tamina who slams Sasha on the Barricade. Back in the ring, she takes control of Bayley for a while, thwarting Banks but falls straight into a Bayley-to-belly and an elbow only for a two-count. Tamina went for a Samoan drop but Banks denies her, only for Lacey Evans to hit her with a woman’s right allowing Tamina to take advantage and hit a Superkick/Samoan drop combo for the win.
- A plug for the Undertaker’s “last ride” documentary
- A tour of the WWE HQ.
- Carmella and Dana Brooke are interviewed backstage
- Another tease from the mysterious hacker for a tag team split.
King Corbin/Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro vs Daniel Bryan/Drew Gulak/???
It has been promoted as a mystery partner alongside D-Bry and Gulak, but it is clear from the backstage hint earlier that it will be Otis who is going to tag alongside them. Despite that, the commentary still played it up as if it is really that mysterious. Indeed, it was Otis as their partner. Daniel Bryan starts hot kicking down Corbin, working his leg over intensely before tagging Gulak who continues kicking the King down. Cesaro is given the tag as he tangles with Gulak. The heels start dominating Gulak with frequent tags but he eventually tags Otis who runs wild on Nakamura before the commercial. Back from the commercial, and Corbin is in control for a while before Bryan cuts his momentum. Gulak tags in and exchanges some insane athleticism with the Swiss cyborg showing off some great mat work too. Cesaro breaks away and tags Corbin who looks vulnerable for a bit before Nakamura saves him. Gulak rolls Corbin up for a close two as things break in a hurry on the outside, while Corbin hits a “deep six” on Gulak for a shocking win. After the match, a big brawl erupts between all six of them that spills outside the ring and into the backstage area. The final scene on SmackDown is the classic symbolic ladder climb (initially) for Corbin, but he is thwarted by Bryan and Otis for a bit, but he eventually climbs it for the symbolic shot after a drawn-out brawl. Despite this kind of brawl being enjoyable, it feels like a cliche that WWE has to do each year around MITB time. Yet, it wasn’t terrible or anything though it does not add to my excitement about the match or take from it.
Overall, this was a decent episode of SmackDown, albeit with a lot of MITB cliches and the added bonkers nature of this year’s titular matches. However, the wrestling on this show was enough to warrant it the value as a good go-home show despite the lack of real intensity throughout.
Final rating: 7.5/10
After all, this is only one man’s opinion. You can reach out @austin316tn or tell me your opinion in the comments. Till next week.