This week’s SmackDown featured Jeff Hardy as the guest on Miz TV, another tag team match between Sasha Banks & Bayley and Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, and a Karaoke Contest between Naomi, Lacey Evans, Tamina, and Dana Brooke. The main event also saw The New Day defending their titles against Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura. Let’s get right into the good and the bad.
Jeff Hardy def. The Miz via pinfall
Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross via pinfall
Braun Strowman def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall (from Money in the Bank PPV)
Lacey Evans vs Naomi ended in a double disqualification
Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura vs The New Day ended in a double disqualification
A Beacon Of Light
The Miz and John Morrison welcomed Jeff Hardy to another episode of Miz TV, and couldn’t help but be disrespectful to him, even before he came to the ring. When he arrived, they introduced a video package featuring the recent problems he’d been having with Sheamus. In true Miz TV fashion, they disrespected the Charismatic Enigma. The Miz said Hardy was his daughter’s favourite wrestler, but she didn’t understand the darkness inside of him, and The Miz wasn’t comfortable with it. They then said Hardy’s loss at Backlash must be eating away at him.
Hardy said he’d be lying if the loss wasn’t eating away at him. “I’m going to be a beacon of light,” said Hardy. He then talked about how he would help others with addiction. Morrison said he had goosebumps, and The Miz said he should face Sheamus in a bar fight, and that at least he would have an advantage given his addiction to alcohol. Hilarious, yet another joke poking fun at alcoholism. Hardy liked the idea, and said that he wouldn’t let anyone else down again. He thought the bar fight would be a great match, albeit a handicap match. He then said he was going to punch Miz and Morrison in their faces for “knocking him in his.” Hardy attacked both The Miz and John Morrison.
Jeff Hardy vs The Miz
The Miz started things off by controlling the match, wearing Jeff Hardy down with headlocks and a variety of kicks to the stomach. Hardy fought back and went for a Swanton, but The Miz rolled out the ring. Still on top of the turnbuckle, he jumped on Miz and Morrison on the outside. Hardy drove The Miz into the turnbuckles, but ended up getting dropkicked through the ropes and into the announcer table. He continued to assault Hardy in the ring, including a series of high knees in the corner.
Miz planted Hardy with a DDT, but he managed to kick out. Once again, Hardy was being dominated in a match, and once again, he seemed like a shell of his former self. It really feels like he’s being punished for his addictions since returning because he’s constantly being embarrassed in promos and struggling to look like a force to be reckoned with in the ring. Near the end of the match, Hardy set up for the Swanton when Sheamus appeared on the big screen to get inside his head. Thankfully, the distraction didn’t work, and he managed to roll up The Miz for the win.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this whole angle is ridiculous. We don’t need reminders every week about Jeff Hardy’s past, solely because it’s not fair to him and it doesn’t just embarrass him, but many others who struggle with addiction. I’m tired of it now, and I’m sure many others are.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura were being interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Nakamura was asked about the “upset” from last week when he defeated Kofi Kingston. Both of them felt disrespected by the question and said they would become the new tag team champions tonight. Later in the night, Kofi Kingston and Big E were interviewed, and they couldn’t help but mock Cesaro and Nakamura. Big E gave a rousing speech in the way only New Day know how, before getting Sarah to join them in a “New Day Rocks” chant. I really love the New Day.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (C) vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Cesaro started strong by dropping Kofi with a gutwrench suplex, but The New Day managed to regain control. Big E launched Nakamura over the ropes which led to some nice teamwork by the champs on Cesaro. Big E threw Kofi over the ropes with the intention to flatten their opponents, but Cesaro hit a savage uppercut on him. Nakamura tried to control in the ring, but Kofi hit the S.O.S. Both men tagged in their partners, but Big E hit three belly to belly suplexes on Cesaro. He went for a big splash, but Cesaro moved out the way.
Cesaro’s powerful striking overpowered Big E, but thanks to a kick from Kofi, he kit a Meteora on Cesaro, but only managed a two count thanks to Nakamura breaking it up. With the ref distracted, Nakamura hit a kick on Kofi and Cesaro followed up with a clothesline. All four men battled in the ring, and the referee decided to end it. They brawled all over the ring and the outside. Cesaro grabbed a table and set it up in the ring. Big E was put on the table, and Kofi was handed to Cesaro as he stood on the turnbuckle. He then powerbombed Kofi off the middle rope right through Big E and the table.
The show ended with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura holding the SmackDown tag team championship belts over the broken bodies of The New Day. It was a good match, and easily the best moment of the night, but why on Earth did the ref end it when he did? At least, let someone win the match cleanly. We needed something good to happen this week, and in a final chance by WWE to do so, they chose to end it like that. Admittedly, the powerbomb by Cesaro was great, but it was still a bit of a disappointing end to what could have been a proper war for the belts.
The Highs & Lows From The Rest Of The Show
Sasha Banks and Bailey walked out for their match against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, but before they even got to the ring, Cross ran out and jumped on Bayley and connected with a sleeper hold. After the break, the match started. Banks and Bayley double-teamed Cross and made sure they kept her in the corner. Cross fought back against Bayley and trapped her between the ring and the apron, launching a tirade of strikes. Bliss tagged in and got in a cheeky slap to Bayley’s midriff. Banks and Bayley slid out the ring and started moaning at Michael Cole. Cross grabbed the SmackDown Women’s Championship and started posing with it behind them. They turned round and went to attack Cross, but Bliss hit a baseball slide on the both of them, as Cross followed up with a crossbody on Bayley from on top of the announce table.
Banks and Bayley managed to regain control of the match after Bayley hit a stunner on Bliss through the ropes on the apron. Bliss managed to tag in Cross, and she went nuts, attacking both Bayley and Banks. She hit a swinging neckbreaker on Bayley, but Banks made the save. Cross dropkicked Banks through the ropes, and Bayley grabbed Cross and pinned her, using the ropes to pick up the win. Whilst it was by no means a great match, it was certainly a high in an otherwise disappointing show.
Showing old matches to fill up the time after weeks of original content (apart from The Undertaker tribute show) highlights one of two things: they realise the impact of Covid-19 yet still try and pump out a show, or they can’t come up with enough creatively. Either way, re-watching Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman from Money in the Bank wasn’t a particularly great match, and it did nothing to build their feud going in to Extreme Rules. I would have much preferred a three-minute promo instead.
Before the Karaoke Contest even started, I knew it would be awful. Jey Uso introduced the karaoke competition between Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, Tamina, and Naomi. Evans was up first singing a Jeff Jarrett classic. Oh God, it was terrible. Brooke followed with a song from The Honky Tonk Man. It was even worse than Evan’s attempt. Tamina shrieked over Motorhead’s HHH theme. Naomi followed by singing along to Dusty Rhodes’ ‘American Dream.’ This was car crash television. In fact, I can’t recall a more awful segment in WWE since the disrespectful bras and panties matches from the Attitude Era. Naomi won, and a fight almost broke out between Evans and Naomi. What was the point in that? Creative on SmackDown is truly at an all-time low. Were they trying to find a way to disrespect Dusty Rhodes and his legacy, or find a way to take a shot at Cody and AEW? It dragged on even further as a match between Naomi and Lacey Evans happened, but it escalated into a brawl between all four women.
AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber, and was informed he would be defending his Intercontinental Championship against Matt Riddle next week. Why couldn’t we have had more from Styles tonight instead of that Karaoke contest? If you can’t already tell, I’m still mad.
This week’s SmackDown was a definite low point for WWE. Choosing to replay Braun Strowman vs Bray Wyatt from Money in the Bank clearly showed the limit of talent available. Where was Otis? Where was Daniel Bryan? Where was Sonya Deville? The matches we did have weren’t anything special, and the Miz TV segment was ruined with even more fun being made of Jeff Hardy.
The Karaoke Showdown was awful. It demeaned the women’s talent on SmackDown, and did nothing to save the show from potentially its lowest ratings since the global pandemic. It feels as though WWE is really struggling at the moment, and instead of keeping their Superstars safe and coming back when it’s OK to do so, they’d rather put out sub-par programming.
It was by far the worst show I’ve seen since taking over as reviewer, and potentially the worst show of all year. I don’t know what WWE can do to keep going. Just stop recording shows and wait until everyone can come back. Money isn’t everything, Vince.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE