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SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…


WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MAY 1, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. 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

Items Advertised by WWE

Otis and Dolph Ziggler to battle in Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Mandy Rose to meet Carmella in Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Daniel Bryan looks for retribution in battle with King Corbin
The New Day welcome the Forgotten Sons to the ring for non-title clash

Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches

We put the final touches on the Money in the Bank ladder matches as we have qualifiers for the remaining spots tonight. Both matches feature previous Money in the Bank winners.

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler

If you’ve been paying attention to WWE programming in recent months, you’ll know it’s been a whirlwind between Otis of Heavy Machinery and 2012 (Smackdown) Money in the Bank winner Dolph Ziggler. Sonya Deville and Ziggler corroborated to prevent Otis and Mandy from dating and instead allow Ziggler to move in on Mandy. Last week there were no additional chapters, as they just recapped the story. Two weeks ago, Otis and Ziggler got into it after Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose brawled.

At WrestleMania, Otis defeated Ziggler and finally won the heart of Mandy. Tonight, another chapter in their story unfolds as they go one-on-one for the final spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Carmella vs. Mandy Rose

Speaking of Mandy, she has the chance to enter her second Money in the Bank match as she takes on Carmella who was the inaugural winner of the women’s version of the match in 2017. Technically she won the first two matches as she won the “do-over” match on Smackdown following a controversy involving James Ellsworth helping Carmella during the PPV edition.

Last week, along with Dana Brooke, Carmella unsuccessfully challenged Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Things have been quiet on her front in the title scene since losing the Smackdown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam 2018 to Charlotte Flair. She participated in last year’s Money in the Bank won by Bayley. Sonya Deville “allowed” Mandy to take her spot in last year’s match. She tries to enter her second match with tonight’s qualifier.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m going to go with Ziggler as he is more experienced and his build is more conducive to this type of match, but that doesn’t mean Otis can’t partake. Plus, I’m sure they want to give Ziggler a “win back” over Otis. We’ll see. As far as Mandy and Carmella, I don’t have a strong feeling either way. I suppose Sonya can cost Mandy tonight, or they can have Mandy win but Sonya costs her at MITB since the match is “no DQ.” I get the sense they want to rev up Carmella, so she has a good shot.

Unrelated to the Money in the Bank proceedings, here’s Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross after they defeated Carmella & Dana Brooke to retain their titles:

Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin

Last week, King Corbin qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match by defeating Drew Gulak who was accompanied by Daniel Bryan. Not shockingly, Corbin had a little help as Sami Zayn’s lackies Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro attacked Bryan from behind at ringside. Gulak got involved to help but got thrown into the ringpost for his troubles. After an End of Days, Corbin punched his ticket and will try to win his second Money in the Bank contract after winning it in 2017. He cashed it in unsuccessfully on … wait for it … Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. Yeah, how about having that on your resume! (I’ll talk about Jinder a little more in Monday’s Raw primer.)

Bryan, the 2011 (Smackdown) Money in the Bank winner, looks for retribution for his friend as he takes on Corbin tonight. Here’s Corbin in a WWE exclusive after his win:

Frank’s Analysis: I can deal with a Bryan vs. Corbin feud for a while, just so long as we don’t get “short” jokes the way we did when Corbin briefly feuded with Shorty G. If anybody can get a good match out of Corbin or anybody for that matter, it’s Bryan.

Non-Title Match: Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day vs. Forgotten Sons

Last week the Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake, Steven Cutler, and Jaxson Ryker) interrupted a discussion happening between Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston), former champs Miz & John Morrison, and Lucha House Party. As a brawl broke out, the Sons ultimately stood tall over New Day after they power-bombed Kofi onto Big E. Lucha House Party would subsequently defeat Miz & Morrison. They were the third team out in the discussion, claiming they were tired of seeing other teams get opportunities instead of them.

Tonight, the Forgotten Sons get put to the test as they go up against New Day in a non-title match. If you are interested, WWE put an article on their site making the argument that New Day is greatest faction in WWE history.

Frank’s Analysis: Years ago, they’re arguing D-Generation X is the greatest faction. Two years ago, they’re arguing that the Shield is the greatest faction. Isn’t it ironic now that Dean Ambrose is gone and is the AEW Championship (as Jon Moxley) all of a sudden they want to argue that New Day is the best? Who cares?

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week

Sheamus defeated Daniel Vito.
They continued the Jeff Hardy video packages, this time discussing the Hardys return at WrestleMania 33 in 2017. Sheamus confronted Michael Cole again after the video was shown.
Lacey Evans defeated Sasha Banks to qualify for Money in the Bank. Here’s Lacey in a WWE exclusive:

They showed the history between Universal Champion Braun Strowman and his upcoming opponent at Money in the Bank, Bray Wyatt.
Triple H celebrated his 25-year anniversary in WWE with his best friend Shawn Michaels. Stephanie McMahon, Ric Flair, and Road Dogg video called him while he was in the ring. Vince McMahon made a surprise appearance.

Curtis Axel

Curtis Axel (Joe Hennig) became the latest victim of WWE releases as he was let go yesterday. He is the son of the late WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) and grandson of also late Larry “The Ax” Hennig.

Initially he came up from NXT as Michael McGillicutty and was part of the faction Nexus and won the World Tag Team Championship. He was later repackaged as Curtis Axel, managed by Paul Heyman, and would win the Intercontinental Championship on Father’s Day at Payback in 2013. He dedicated the win to his father. After silently separating from Heyman he was in and out of storylines through the years. He was part of the Social Outcasts with Adam Rose, Heath Slater, and Bo Dallas. Later, he and Dallas formed the “B-Team” and had a brief run as Raw Tag Team Champions. They moved to Smackdown in last year’s draft but were seldom used.

WWE has come to terms on the release of Curtis Axel.

WWE wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.

https://t.co/E0XaMVvEkN

— WWE (@WWE) April 30, 2020

Final Thoughts

I have been invited to join long-time Pro Wrestling Torch columnist and audio host Greg Parks on Wrestling Night in America this Sunday. We’ll be previewing Money in the Bank and taking you calls & emails. I always look forward to joining Greg and especially previewing PPVs. We’ll have all the participants for the ladder matches decided and talk about potential winners, discuss what we can expect from the championship matches, and more. Perk those ears up, give a call, or send an email!

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!


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