Welcome to the Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
We open up with a recap on the Jeff Hardy/Sheamus storyline before going to the ring for the contract signing for their Backlash match. Sheamus comes out with extra people and a screen and this likely isn’t going to go well. Jeff Hardy is out next. Sheamus brings up Jeff’s history and Jeff admits he is an alcoholic like he’s in an AA meeting. Sheamus won’t sign the contract unless Jeff gets drug tested on the spot. Jeff goes behind the screen with the doctor to retrieve the rather large apple juice container. While the doctor is testing it, Jeff snatches it away and tosses it in Sheamus’s face to thankfully end the spot.
Back from break with Sheamus in the bathroom cleaning up and his doctor said the test came back negative for any substances. It was nice for Jeff to get some sort of revenge on Sheamus, but throwing urine in his face was not likely the answer. I saw where the west coast feed edited the throw out and I don’t think Fox was happy with the angle either. Let’s hope Jeff can win the match decisively at Backlash.
Our opening match was The New Day taking on Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match. Nice touch by New Day to kneel in the ring supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Also, a funny moment when they threw their ring jackets at Corey Graves after taking them off. We do get a good tag match here. I could get behind a title feud between these two teams. Random thought, when is Xavier Woods due back and does it really matter? The finish was a little different as Nakamura blocked a cross body block with a knee to the face and rolling up Kofi for the win. I expect a tag title match in the next couple of weeks between these two and I won’t complain about it.
Corey Graves narrated an excellent video on the history of the Intercontinental Championship as the lead in to the Tournament Finals between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.
Oh boy, what a tournament final did we get. It was the best match in 2020 so far. This is what happens when you put two great ring veterans in a match together. It’s not quite Steamboat/Savage but pretty high up there. The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, oops wrong match, ends with AJ Styles pinning Daniel Bryan after a Phenomenal Forearm. The match went almost 40 minutes and wasn’t put on the Backlash card as it would have upstaged Edge/Orton. Plus, I’m sure Fox paid their money expecting big-time matches airing as well. If you have not seen this match yet, go watch it. You won’t be disappointed. It would have worked as the main event, too.
The cooldown segment is The Woman’s Tag Team Titles Celebration with Sasha Banks and Bayley. This was nothing special beyond filler after the amazing IC title match and the upcoming main event. While Sasha and Bayley bragged, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross showed up to the party. The IIconics appeared on the video wall so Alexa and Nikki could attack Sasha and Bayley since they were not at Raw to participate in the triple threat to make an eight-woman tag instead. Sasha and Bayley were quickly dispatched from the ring to leave Alexa and Nikki standing tall.
Main event time and we have a six-man tag with Dolph Ziggler, Miz and Morrison taking on Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery. Tucker sighting! The match was okay given for what it was. King Corbin was shown backstage hassling Mandy Rose, so Otis ran back there to take him out so that feud, unfortunately, continues. Tucker does the face in peril until Otis returns with Mandy Rose. Hot tag to Otis to clean house. Strowman runs Miz over on the outside before attempting to put Morrison into orbit, only being saved by the plexiglass surrounding the ringside area. It was a very impressive sell for sure. Ziggler gets mowed down by Strowman and then has to put The Caterpillar over as a finisher so Otis can pick up the win for his team. After replays, we close out the show with Mandy in the ring celebrating the win with the others.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows:
If you did not see the Intercontinental Title Tournament Finals match, go seek it out. Simply amazing. Let’s hope the training center recruits posing as fans were taking notes. That was a good class session right there.
The whole urine component to the Hardy/Sheamus angle wasn’t necessary. Apparently, Fox agreed.
The Title Celebration with Sasha and Bayley was kinda flat, but they did have to follow that amazing IC title match. Yes, I know the show was taped and not live but it still fell flat.
Remember to stay safe out there.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.