WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MAY 15, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. 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
Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Money in the Bank Results Pertinent to Smackdown
- Jeff Hardy defeated Cesaro on the Kickoff Show. Here’s Hardy in a WWE exclusive:
- New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) retained the Smackdown Tag Team Championship by defeating Miz & John Morrison, Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik), and the Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake with Jaxson Ryker) in a fatal four-way match. Here’s New Day in a WWE exclusive:
- Bayley (with Sasha Banks) defeated Tamina to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Here’s Bayley and Sasha in a WWE exclusive:
- Braun Strowman defeated Bray Wyatt, portraying his Firefly Funhouse character, to retain the Universal Championship.
- Otis won the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match when King Corbin and A.J. Styles couldn’t hold onto the briefcase and it fell into Otis’ hands.
We move away from Money in the Bank and head towards Backlash which we learned will take place on June 14. On Raw this past Monday, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre issued the first “cross-brand invitation” to King Corbin for a match. Tonight, NXT Champion Charlotte Flair pays a visit to Smackdown. Technically, she’s still a member of Raw. Here are the items advertised by WWE for tonight:
Intercontinental Title declared vacant; tournament to begin
- The Queen comes to Smackdown
- Otis to get his Mr. Money in the Bank close-up on “MizTV”
- Tournament to Begin for Vacant Intercontinental Championship
This week on WWE Backstage, it was revealed that the Intercontinental Championship will be vacated due to Sami Zayn being “unable to compete.” Here’s a tweet from WWE on Fox making announcement as well as a retort from Sami:
BREAKING NEWS:@SamiZayn is unable to compete and defend the Intercontinental Championship, therefore @WWE has declared the title vacant. A tournament to crown a new Champion will begin on Friday Night Smackdown on FOX. pic.twitter.com/5qZgUyL9rC
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) May 13, 2020
I disagree with this decision and no matter what anyone says, I am still undefeated and therefore still the Intercontinental Champion. -SZ https://t.co/SUFsBFeRDB
— Sami Zayn (@SamiZayn) May 13, 2020
WWE hasn’t announced the participants for the tournament as of this writing. According to Wikipedia, the last time a tournament was held for the vacant title was 2010. Only four participants were involved and one of them was Cody Rhodes. Kofi Kingston beat Christian to win the vacant title. We start the journey to crown a new IC Champion tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: The tournament I remember most fondly for this title was won by the late WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect in 1990. The title was vacated by fellow late HOFer Ultimate Warrior because of his winning the WWE (then WWF) Championship at WrestleMania 6. I like the idea of tournaments, especially during these shows without crowds. At least the matches have consequences. As far as an early favorite, I don’t have a strong feeling about anybody. Jeff Hardy could be a candidate since he just came back. Drew Gulak has been doing good work alongside Daniel Bryan, who’s also a candidate. We’ll see when we learn of the participants. I don’t rule anybody out.
NXT Champion Charlotte Flair Appears
As I mentioned earlier, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre invited Smackdown’s King Corbin to Raw for a match. The cross-branding “valve” is apparently opening as NXT Champion Charlotte Flair will make an appearance tonight. Charlotte was a member of Smackdown from April 2017 until October of last year when she was drafted to Raw. She won the 2020 Royal Rumble and defeated Rhea Ripley for the NXT Championship at WrestleMania. Since then she’s appeared on Raw defeating Liv Morgan, as well as NXT defeating Mia Yim both in non-title matches. She retained the title over Io Shirai last week, however lost the match via DQ.
It’s not clear why she’ll be on Smackdown tonight, but of course we will find out why tonight!
Frank’s Analysis: Given the current global situation, and the fact that they let go of so many people recently, I could see why WWE would want to flexibility to move their wrestlers from show to show. I think they can do that wisely without an official roster split, but that’s a whole different conversation. I’m not sure Charlotte will bring a ton of viewers to Smackdown, but some people may be intrigued enough to tune in. If they treat “roster crossings” as a big deal and emphasize the fact that it’s being done, it could be a positive. I’m not holding my breath.
Miz TV: Guest is Mr. Money in the Bank Otis
In a shocking turn of events, Otis of Heavy Machinery won the 2020 Money in the Bank. King Corbin and A.J. Styles simultaneously unhooked the briefcase and fought over it, but as A.J. wrestled it from Corbin he lost control and it feel into Otis’ hands making him the winner. Rey Mysterio, Aleister Black, and Daniel Bryan also took part in the match. Corbin and Bryan were previous Money in the Bank winners.
Tonight, Otis joins another previous MITB winner in the Miz on an episode of Miz TV. According to WWE.com he will be “revealing his plans.” Here’s Otis and Mandy Rose talking to Charlotte Wilder of Fox Sports as well as Otis on WWE Backstage with CM Punk, Booker T, and Renee Young.
"The sooner the better. Let's get this cashed in."@otiswwe & @WWE_MandyRose sat down with their biggest fan, @TheWilderThings, to talk about #MITB, WrestleMania 36 kiss, and more! pic.twitter.com/JuSElqW1sb
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) May 13, 2020
— Mandy (@WWE_MandyRose) May 14, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I’m not sure what fumbling the briefcase into Otis’ hands does, but seeing as he couldn’t climb the ladder since it was breaking with every step, I’m guessing they needed a way to have him win. Also, if Otis even could climb the ladder, I don’t think they wanted him defeating the other participants in a clean way. That’s just my guess. I wouldn’t have booked Otis to win myself, but because the match was so rooted in comedy it probably made sense.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week:
Sonya Deville defeated Mandy Rose. Here’s Sonya in a WWE exclusive:
- The Miz and John Morrison and the Forgotten Sons defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day and Lucha House Party.
- Jeff Hardy returned and was interviewed by Renee Young. Sheamus interrupted and they went at it, with Hardy ultimately giving him a Twist of Fate and Swanton.
- Universal Champion Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt went “face-to-face” in the run-up to their match at Money in the Bank.
- Tamina & Lacey Evans defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks.
- King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak, and Otis.
I was Zack Heydorn’s guest on the PWTorch VIP exclusive podcast “On the Canvas,” breaking down the “dual” Money in the Bank ladder match. It was interesting to break down considering we hadn’t seen anything like it in the history of WWE viewing, the Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse matches notwithstanding. I encourage you to become a PWTorch VIP member to listen to the show as well as to get all the great VIP exclusive content, ad-free podcasts, and ad-free website viewing.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!