WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 29 – Bleacher Report
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The May 29 edition of Friday Night SmackDown was set to determine the semifinals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.
Jeff Hardy continued his redemption story against Daniel Bryan. AJ Styles looked to take out Elias on his way to the Intercontinental Championship.
Sonya Deville got into an argument with Lacey Evans on Twitter that led to a match. The Sassy Southern Belle would fight a red-hot Deville on the roll of her career.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross held a Tag Team Champion Summit on A Moment of Bliss with The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E.
These moments had potential to truly get fans excited for WWE Backlash 2020 as long as WWE was willing to take some chances.
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The show started with a crime scene as Jeff Hardy’s car was found slammed into Elias’. The Living Truth had to be stretched into an ambulance. The Charismatic Enigma was found inebriated, and police officers on the scene arrested him for a potential hit-and-run.
Adam Pearce led a discussion with the WWE locker room on what was happening with the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Sheamus and King Corbin fought for a second shot. AJ Styles didn’t want to fight. Daniel Bryan wanted to fight.
Pearce booked a battle royal where the winner would fight The Planet’s Champion later in the night to determine who would fight The Phenomenal One in the finals.
Corbin dominated the early portion of this match until Jey Uso threw him out in a surprise move. Shorty G eliminated both Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura, but The Swiss Cyborg snuck in and eliminated G behind the referee’s back.
Sheamus managed to take out Uso with a Brogue Kick in the apron to finally take the victory.
Sheamus wins the battle royal to earn a spot in the semifinals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.
This chaos of the opener was difficult to follow. It is likely that The Charismatic Enigma was framed, but it will take a while to get to that revelation. It is distasteful to use Hardy’s issues with substance abuse issues like this.
The battle royal did work well. It showcased G as well as Jimmy throughout, who almost pulled off the big upset. The Celtic Warrior was the obvious answer for the win, but the journey to get there had enough teases to make it feel right.
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Lacey Evans attacked Sonya Deville from behind as Deville cut a promo on The Sassy Southern Belle.
The two went to war from the bell, trading forearms. Both put up their hair as they traded trash talk. The brawling continued to the outside where the referee had to count them out.
The former MMA fighter told Evans should fight her again on her terms.
Deville vs. Evans goes to a double count out.
This was a shockingly good competitive brawl. The two were all in on the story. It felt more heated and personal than any of Deville’s matches with Mandy Rose. The two just clicked.
It would be good to lean into this feud more than that one given the results to date. The Sassy Southern Belle needs a new rival, and Deville could use someone that can truly test and push her limits.
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Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross introduced The New Day as special guests for a Tag Team Champion Summit. Cross gave Big E Celtic pancakes she made by hand while E gave her back a mug with coffee beans in water.
Bayley and Sasha Banks interrupted to establish the true best tag team on SmackDown, but the two heels got roasted by The Goddess. She pointed out The Legit Boss was the only one without gold. The Role Model booked Banks vs. Bliss on the spot, even though Banks was in high heels.
Bayley ran down sports shoes for The Boss before the bell. Cross cheered on her best friend as The Goddess fought through the technical offense of Banks.
Bayley and Cross ended fighting on the apron, causing the champ to throw the tag team champion into her best friend. This set up a corner double knee strike from Banks followed by a springboard O’Connor Roll for three.
Banks def. Bliss by pinfall.
This started out as a weird segment, but it ended up working out. Banks and Bayley are on the top of their game both on the mic and in the ring, and they elevated the segment from the moment The Role Model’s music hit.
The match was solid and helped by the enthusiastic energy of Cross. It is interesting to watch the story of Banks and Bayley progress. For now, The Boss can overcome The Role Model taking advantage of her, but that may not continue forever.
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Shorty G confronted Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura about ruining his moment in the battle royal. The Swiss Cyborg made fun of him until G punched him in the face.
The fight continued at the bell as G hit a series of rolling overhead mule kicks. While Cesaro eventually caught up to the speed of the match, he was not ready for the smaller man to slip through his grip into a surprise roll up for three.
G def. Cesaro by pinfall.
This was a fun match, but it was far too short. Cesaro and G could go 10 more minutes without any issue. At under four minutes, it did both men a disservice, though that seems far too typical for the Olympian’s WWE career.
It is nice that G is getting a spotlight again. He is too talented to be wasted. He needs to get a chance to thrive. Even if he is stuck with a terrible gimmick, he can outshine that with great matches.
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Mandy Rose and Otis were shown on vacation together. They enjoyed peach champagne near a personal pool. God’s Greatest Creation fell asleep and had a steamy dream about the big man.
Kurt Angle put over Edge vs. Randy Orton before introducing the newest member of the SmackDown roster, Matt Riddle. A video package was shown highlighting The Original Bro.
Neither of these segments worked. Rose’s weird dream was not as funny as WWE thought it was. The whole thing just seemed to miss the point of this entire story. It’s okay that Otis isn’t sexy. It’s his heart that truly won God’s Greatest Creation over.
Riddle’s debut by way of Angle introduction was too contrived. He needs to able to establish himself on his own terms for a fresh audience. He might add a new element to the blue brand, but he also has a tendency to be too over the top for his supposed top booking.
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Sheamus made sure that Daniel Bryan was not the fresh man in this contest for long. He beat down and brutalized The Planet’s Champion, throwing him into the barricade and hitting a diving clothesline for two.
The Celtic Warrior taunted the crowd’s excitement and Bryan himself for his past losses to Sheamus. Every time Bryan got up, Sheamus put him down again including a devastating running double axe handle.
However, as The Celtic Warrior prepared for a Brogue Kick, Jeff Hardy returned and distracted Sheamus, setting up a running knee for the win. Afterward, Hardy attacked Sheamus and sent him running.
Bryan def. Sheamus by pinfall to advance to the finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament.
Bryan and Sheamus have always been good together with time. This got that time and a major spotlight. The energy of the WWE Performance Center crowd gave these two extra life along the way to pull off another great match together.
It was a surprising move to have Hardy return by the end of the night. It would have been more impactful if he remained in custody until next week. Now, it is far clearer that The Celtic Warrior set up The Charismatic Enigma.
Bryan was the right man to advance. He should have a great match with AJ Styles soon. Few men are better in the ring than those two.