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May 22, 2020 | Posted by Tony Acero
WWE Smackdown

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Hey everyone! Please head over to Larry’s GoFundMe for his daughters. We all appreciate it.

When I look back on the time I’ve spent at 411mania.com, there has always been one constant; Larry. I struggled to write this without talking about myself and how long I’ve been here until I realized this was simply a byproduct of what Larry was good at. He wanted us to shine, individually, as a writer of the site. Larry wasn’t a mountain that left a shadow; he was an inspiring view just close enough to motivate, and far enough to let you live. It’s been ten years since I first covered a RAW for Larry so he could spend some time with his family, and within those ten years, the site – and Larry – altered the landscape of my life. Ten years ago, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer; Larry pushed me. Ten years ago, I didn’t know I’d publish two books; Larry pushed me. Ten years ago, I didn’t know I’d be a staple on a site I would read as a high school kid; Larry pushed me. He never shot any idea I had down, and didn’t even bat an eye when I considered helping out a friend with another wrestling site. He saw my worth, but never kissed my ass.

The internet is a strange place; it’s a world with a sheen on it. This thinly veiled world where anonymity gives strength and privacy is as powerful as one allows it. Larry let us into his life more than I think people give him credit for. We knew of his daughters, of his wife, of his mother, of his health scares, his leg loss. We knew far more than we should have, and yet there will always be aspects we will never know. Could never know. Those morsels are for his family, and I pray you remember them and cherish them. To his wife and kids: he spoke of you all the time. We knew of the love for The Colony and Hana, we knew the adoration for the wife. I hope they do, too.

If there’s one thing you could do right now; some dream that doesn’t seem realistic. A painting. A novel you’ve been working on. A mixtape. A song. A fucking new quilt. Do it. Stop the worrying; the fear of uncertainty, the possibility of failure. Just fucking do it. Don’t let anything stop you. Larry didn’t. He wanted to watch wrestling, and holy shit did he watch wrestling. Nothing stopped him. He turned that encyclopedic knowledge into something else. He ushered in a new era for a site that was just two colors. He touched lives daily. He made you feel. You can do the same for someone else. We all have a thirty-minute time limit in this ring called life, and sometimes the X gets thrown up early. Sometimes, it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes, the curtain call comes sooner than any of us would like. So go out and have the best fucking match you can with the people that you love.

As for this site; the readers; what we do here; I feel there will be some uncertainty. For me, I am here. For Larry, I am here. I am 411. I will cover Smackdown tonight and I’ll do it the best I can. I’ll maybe take a little sip of the bubbly in honor of Larry. I’ll fume under my breath that people are reading Csonka’s RAW review, and not my recap. I’ll get angry that he has more comments than me, and all he is doing is complaining while I’m actually working – even though no one worked harder than him. I’ll text him that my feed sucks, and he needs to find a replacement for RAW for the fiftieth time. I’ll leave him a long, drawn out message about what he and I need to do a podcast on, who needs to hear it, why I need The Rs back, what this site means, and a whole laundry list of items only for him to reply to me with:

RIP Boss Man.

– Tony

We start SD with a video package for Memorial Day, which most likely means more to us than just the soldiers of America – while, at the same time, not taking anything away from the men and women we’e lost in service. This is for them and for Larry and for Shad!

After Cole introduces us, we head to The Dirt Sheet! Miz refuses to acknowledge that Otis is Mr. MitB. Miz says people like Braun enable Otis.
They talk some mess before we dive deep into some garbage. We get some hand puppets to make fun of Braun followed by a Barbie version of Mandy Rose.

Well, at least it was short…

Braun comes out to scare Miz and Morrison in their trunks. He tosses some chairs, cuz who needs em. He says hello to Miz and Morrison. Braun says they’re kind of funny and their show is not half bad. So thanks for having him on. They say Braun wasn’t booked. They don’t have questions for him. Braun wants them to ask him about Bray Wyatt and his puppets.

Miz wonders if Braun thinks Bray is done with Braun. Miz says he’s faught Bray. He’s a sickness. Bray sent him spiraling down into the lowest point of his life. John saved him. Braun isn’t so lucky. John says Braun isn’t half the man Miz is. Braun got lucky last week, but if he got in the ring with Miz, he’d knock him on his ass.

Braun wonders if this is a challenge as Miz tries to back out. Braun wants a ref, and offers his hands to Miz. Freely.

Match 1: Braun Strowman vs The Miz (w/ John Morrison)

Mix ducks a right and hits a right to the face. Braun no sells and trucks it, but Miz with the go behind. Another jab, a left one, Braun gets him in the corner and hits a hard uppercut to the gut. Braun clubs the chest, sending Miz down hard. Barun sends Miz to the corner head first. Whip to Miz into the corner hard. Braun grabs Miz by the trunks, stands him up, and hits a shoulder tackle. Braun sends Miz’s face into his knee. Braun kicks the ropes at John then grabs Miz and sends him into the ropes. Miz holds on, Braun runs and topples over. Miz hits a kne to Braun. Morrison hops off the steps and kicks Braun in the face while the ref isn’t lookin. Miz leaves the ring. Braun shoves Miz. Braun goes for a splash, but Miz moves and Braun hits the ring post. Braun rolls into the ring. Miz hops onto the apron. He springboards, axe handle to Strowman. Miz to the apron. Springboard and an axe again, but Braun catches him on the shoulders. Rake of the yes by Miz. Kick to Braun. Dropkick to the knee. Kick to the face. Miz grabs the head, goes for a DDT, but Braun lifts and sends Miz in the corner then tosses him across the ring and hits a splash in the corner. Right hand to Morrison.

Braun with a tossing suplex. Braun waits for it. He lifts. Powerslam from Braun. Cover for 1…2…3!!!

Winner: Braun Strowman
In no way do I think Miz winning should have happened, but I also have no desire to see another Braun squash match.
Total Rating: *
Match Time: 3:41

Morrison on the mic tells Braun that he won a singles match tonight, and a tag last week, but at Backlash, they know what he can’t do – and that’s beat both of them at the same time for the Universal Championship.

Well that’s just stupid.

AJ Styles is here for his upcoming match.

Match 2: Intercontinental Championship Tournamen Match
AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Lockup to start and AJ backs her into the corner. Ref breaks it up and Shin kicks away. AJ with a side headlock. Backed against the ropes. Shinsuke escapes with the ref’s help gets a side headlock into a front faced and finally a go behind, but AJ works the arm and gets a hammer lock. Shinsuke elbows out and reverses. AJ hooks the arm, gets a side headlock. He wrenches. Kick from Shinsuke. AJ hops over, under, dropkick to Shin. I miss a few seconds and come back to Shin pulling AJ hard onto his back while sliding out of the ring.

We come back and they are exchanges rights and lefts in the middle of the ring. Kick from Shinsuke. Pele kick from AJ. Both men down. AJ up first. Clothesline! AJ lifts Shinsuke on his shoulders and drops him onto his knee! Pin for 1..2…NO!!! AJ locks the head of Shinsuke but he sends AJ to the corner. Shin rushes, AJ rolls the leg. Calf Crusher!!! Shinsuke tries to pull the hair. Ref stops him. AJ pulls the hold. Rope break!!! AJ releases at 2. Shinsuke grabs the head, jumps up, and hits a high kick!!! He slides for a knee, but AJ moves and hits a quick ass forearm to the face! Pin for 1..2..NO!!! AJ grabs the head. Shinsuke gets him on the shoulders. Michinoku Driver!! Pin for 1…2..NO!!!! Shinsuke lifts Aj, but AJ dries some knees to the head. Shinsuke with a kick. He flies off the 2nd rope with a knee. Shinsuke is hyped. He waits for AJ, runs with a knee!!! Pin for 1…2….NO!!!! Shinsuke calls for another knee. AJ rolls him up!!! Pin for 1..2..NO!!!!! TRIANGLE from Shinsuke, lifting his shoulder at the same time. AJ is fading. AJ lifts. Single armed STYLES CLASH!! Pin for 1…2…NO!!!

Styles on the apron. Shinsuke rushes, Styles kicks, Styles with the Phenomenal Forearm! Pin for 1..2…3!!!!

Winner: AJ Styles
The biggest issue with having a match between these two is that we expect the drama we once felt to match the wrestling – which will ALWAYS be good. When they don’t match, we get a stellar bout with an underwhelming feeling of fandom. It just doesn’t feel as important, which is problematic because it should.
Total Rating: **1/2
Match Time: Approx 14:00 w/ commercials

We get a recap of last week when Charlotte cut one of her Charlotte promos.

Backstage, Sasha and Bayley have a chat about something or other, but I’m distracted because Sasha is Sasha, and I am Tony.

Match 3: Charlotte Flair vs Bayley

Charlotte gets some chops in on Bayley then sends her into the corner, all while talking loudly. Bayley dodges a move, and sends Charlotte down head first. Cover for 1. Bayley mocks Charltote, doin the flair strut. Another lockup and Charlotte with the go behind. Bayley tries to lock the head, but Charlotte ain’t havin it. Bayley with the go behind. Elbow from Charlotte. Bayley shoots the legs and pins using the ropes, but the ref sees and won’t count it. Charlotte goes for her own pin, using the ropes, and gets a 1 count. Charlotte sent t othe corner, she runs up the ropes and flips over to the apron. Knee to Baiely. Bayley to the outside. She trips Charlotte up. Charlotte hits a clothesline to Bayley. Bayley gets sent over the barricade!

Charlotte grabs the headset of Cole. She tells Sasha to come to the ring so she can kick both their asses.

We are back, and Charlotte has a headlock from behind, screaming that she’s teaching Bayley how to be a champion. Charlotte sends her down hard head first. Charlotte whips, hits a chop. Charlotte drags Bayley to the corner. Charlotte heads to the top rope. Bayley is up and pulls the leg. Charlotte “tweaks” her knee. Bayley runs. Charlotte with a knee to the face. Charlotte gets setn over the top rope but pulls Bayley. Bayley kicks her away into the post, back first. Bayley to the outside. She goes for a dropkick though the corner, but Charlotte dodges and hits a ight hand. Bayley floats over and sends Charlotte into the barricade, then into the apron. She slides in the ring, ref hits 6. Charlotte rolls in. Cover for 1…NO!! Bayley with rights. She chokes Charlotte up on the ropes. Rollup from Charlotte for 1..2..NO!!! Bayley with a clothesline. Pin for 1..2….NO!!! Cravat from behind. Bayley hits the ropes, gets caught. Fallaway Slam from Charlotte. Bayley goes for a right, Charlotte blocks, right hand . Another. Another. Bayley with shoulders in the corner, roll out, pause favoring her jaw. Runs and Charlotte catches her and sends her into the post face first. Charlotte to the top rope. She goes for the moonsault. Lands on her feet. Big Boot to Bayley. Pin for 1..2…NO!!! Stomps from Flair to the legs. Charlotte locks her left leg up on the ropes, but Bayley kicks her away over and over .Charlotte grabs the hair. Bayley hangs her up on the ropes by dropping. Bayley grabs the head. She drags Charlotte over to the corner .She sends Charlotte into the corner. Bayley waits, runs with a knee to Charlotte. Bayley to the top rope. Elbo-NO! Charlotte has her knees up. Leg takedown, Charlotte goes for the Walls of Jericho!! She gets them, Bayley pulls her with the legs and rolls up for 1..2.NO!!! Bayley sends Charlotte into the post head first.

Bayely to the top rope. Elow drop. Hits it this time. Pin for 1..2….NO!!!!! Bayley yells at commentary, then turns to Charlotte who is begging for it. Chop to Charlotte, and Charlotte is all smiles, screaming for her to beat her. Bayley with another chop, calling Charlotte sick. Bayley hits chop after chop then grabs the leg and spins, but Charlotte hits the right hand to the face.

Charlotte up, chop to Bayley, another, another, another in the corner. She goes in on them over and over. Charlotte rolls Bayley up, Bayley reverses and holds the ropes. She gets 1…2…3!!!

Winner: Bayley
The action was solid, and got progressively more violent. The ending, I didn’t care for, as it came off too hokey on either girls’ part. The in-ring convos made little sense, especially when Bayley claimed “this is how we do it on Smackdown” as if Charlotte has been gone for years. Bayley’s celebration was great, though.
Total Rating: ***
Match Time: 14:58

Backstage, Bayley and Sasha celebrate.

Mandy has some denim-inspired gear that is, I suppose, supposed to show unity. It’s cute. Good for Otis.

Match 4: Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler vs Otis and Mandy Rose

Mandy and Sonya Blade to start. Otis wants Dolph, so we start with the men instead. Otis with a headlock nd he tosses Dolph aside like nothing. Spinning body slam to Dolph by Otis. Otis up in the corner. He humps the air then rushes with a splash. Dolph uses the ropes to get Otis back. Dolph stands. Tag to Sonya. In comes Mandy. Sonya sends Mandy into the corner. Shoulders. A right hand to the gut. Mandy with the IM AN ANGRY WOMAN PRESS aka the Thesz Press. On the outside, Dolph sends Otis into the steps Mandy rushes to check on Otis. She wonders what’s happening, even with the steps moved aside and Otis on the floor.

We are back, and Sonya has Mandy in a hold that puts Sonya in a pinning position. Sonya steps on the hair of Mandy. I guess what we missed was that Otis told Mandy to get back in the ring. Otis is still laid out on the outside. Sonya hits a high knee. Another. She whips Mandy to the corner. Right hand. Another. Mandy with a hard right out of the corner. Again. Rollup for 1..2.NO!!! Sonya kicks. Stomp to Mandy. Kick to the chest. Another kick. Mandy is able to break the tension with a kick of her own and reach for Otis as he screams for the pin. Mandy kicks away again and tags. In comes Dolph. Clothesline. A big press. Splash in the corner. Another splash is stopped with an elbow. Otis catches Dolph and sends him into the coner. Another splah and Dolph falls. He is about to hit the Big Worm, but Sonya tags herself in. Mandy runs in, hits a few rights. Sends Sonya to the coner. She runs with a knee. Mandy hits the ropes. Another knee to the face. Cover for 1…2..NO!!! Outside, Otis and Dolph go at it.

Double underhook from Mandy, but Sonya escapes. Hits a knee. Running knee to the back of the head. Pin for 1..2…3!!!!

Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville
Both Sonya and Mandy have grown quite a bit, but there are still a few missteps. Good to see them work together. Dolph is still Dolph…
Total Rating: **
Match Time: Approx 11:00

Dolph runs into the ring as Otis checks on Mandy, and Superkicks him in the face.

Backstage, Jeff Hardy talks about his love for the IC Title, and how it was the first title he won on his own. IF he won it again, everything would come full circle. What better way to get there than to beat the bully that tried to tear him down. Tonight, his path of one last blaze of glory runs right through Sheamus.

The Forgotten Sons give a viewer discretion warning. They talk about tough times and their blood being on our hands. It’s only fair that our blood is on their hands.

I’m not calling them Nazi’s….

Match 5: Intercontinental Championship Tournamen Match
Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy

Sheamus starts by just being bigger than Jeff. He stops every move Jeff tries and ends up beating down on his chest against the ropes as one does. Ejff is able to turn, hang Sheamus up, send Shemaus to the outside. Jeff hits the ropes. Dropkick to Sheamus. Jeff on th apron. He runs, and Sheamus catches him then drives him into the post back first. Still holding on, Jeff lifts and puts Jeff on his shouylders then tosses Jeff into the table.

We are back and Jeff is fighting out of the hold of Sheamus, but Sheamus pulls his head down to the mat. Knee to the face of Jeff. Another. Another. This one, he drives in for a bit to till the ref stops ihm. Jeff struggles to get up. Sheamus waits. Jeff hits some rights but Sheamus kicks, high knee. Sheamus with a clothesline, but he misses. Jeff ducks. Sheamus hits one anyway! Nice. Sheamus tells Jeff it’s not his day. Jeff fights back against the words, right hand, then a spinning kick to Sheamus. Jeff sends an elbow into the running Sheamus. Whisper in the Wind to Sheamus. Jeff covers. 1..2…NO!!! Irish Curse Backbreaker. Again! A third. Sheamus lifts Jeff on the apron and hits the ten timer, staring at Cole. Sheamus is all smiles. He grabs Jeff and lifts for a back suplex, but Jeff lands on his feet. He hits a right, dodges a shoulder and Sheamus is posted! Jeff hits the ropes. Right hand to the face. Inverted Atomic Drop. Leg drop to the crotch. Dropkick to the face. Cover for 1.2…NO!!! Jeff sends Sheamus to the outside. He walks the barricade. Clothesline from the barricade! Ref at 5. Jeff sends Sheamus into the ring. Jeff to the corner. He flies off with a Swanton, but Sheamus has the knees uP! Cover for 1..2..NO!!! HUGE Running Knee from Sheamus! Cover for 1..2…NO!!!

Sheamus in the corner. He screams Brogue, goes for it, Jeff ducks, Sheamus picks him, Jeff rolls Sheamus up. 1…2…3!!!

Winner: Jeff Hardy
Man, I hope that Jeff guy beats his personal demons and wins the IC Title. Would totally change his life, I’m sure!
Total Rating: **
Match Time: Please forgive me as I get used to taking time for matches. Totally forgot about this one.

End Show


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WWE Smackdown, Tony Acero