WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from May 1

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from May 1

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just nine days from Money in the Bank on pay-per-view, the May 1 episode of SmackDown sought to fill two of the vacant spots in the male and female namesake matches as Dolph Ziggler battled Otis and Mandy Rose squared off with Carmella in qualifying matches.

    Elsewhere on the card, Daniel Bryan sought a measure of revenge against King Corbin, just one week after the heel defeated Drew Gulak with the assistance of Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Who advanced into the May 10 ladder matches, moving one step closer to a major championship opportunity?

    Find out with this recap of Friday's Fox broadcast.

Daniel Bryan Kicks Off SmackDown

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    Credit: WWE

    Daniel Bryan kicked off the evening's broadcast and before he battled King Corbin in the night's opening contest, he cut a promo in which he expressed his love for wrestling and getting to do things that have never been done before.

    Bryan talked about the uniqueness of the upcoming Money in the Bank Ladder Match held inside WWE's Corporate Headquarters on May 10. He even got a nice dig on Vince McMahon for having dinosaur bones in his office.

    He talked about the significance Money in the Bank had on his career before segueing into the injustice endured by Drew Gulak on last week's show at the hands of Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro.

    Corbin arrived on the scene and cut a promo that Bryan answered by reminding him that he is one of only four people to complete blow their Money in the Bank cash-in.

    The king claimed he was stronger and smarter and he would win the briefcase.






    This was an unexpectedly strong promo from Bryan.

    That is not to suggest he is not a quality talker but given how half-hearted the build to Money in the Bank has been, he really made the match feel like a huge deal, thanks to his ability to equate its significance to his own career. His win in the match sparked a push that few expected he would get, exactly the sort of story that helps bolster the gimmick.

    He was equally as good as he reminded Corbin of one of his greatest professional humiliations, adding heat to our opening match.

    Good stuff right out of the gate here tonight.

Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bryan withstood an early barrage of right hands by his former Golden Gloves-winning opponent and took Corbin down with a leg whip. He worked the leg of his opponent until the larger Corbin used his size advantage to turn the tide. A big right hand rocked Bryan, knocking him off the top rope and to the arena floor. He sent him shoulder-first into the ring post as the show headed to break.

    Back from the timeout, Corbin continued to control the bout, pulling and tearing at his opponent’s shoulder. Bryan scored a quick near-fall off a crucifix rollup but Corbin leveled him with a clothesline for a two-count of his own.

    A tope suicida wiped Corbin out at ringside and Bryan sparked a comeback with a middle-rope dropkick. Still nursing the shoulder, he uncorked a series of kicks about the legs of his opponent before applying a Kurt Angle-esque ankle lock. The 2019 King of the Ring again cut him off, this time with Deep Six for a near-fall. Bryan recovered and again targeted the legs, locking in a Half Crab. Corbin got to the rope, forcing the break. Seeking the sanctuary of the floor, he rolled to the outside and proceeded to throw a ladder at Bryan, drawing a disqualification.

    After the match, an irate Corbin brought a ladder into the ring and set up for the End of Days, only for Bryan to counter into the Yes Lock. Nakamura and Cesaro appeared from out of nowhere and a three-on-one assault ensued, ending with Corbin sending him into a pile of ladders.



    Bryan defeated Corbin via disqualification






    The match was getting good before the abrupt non-finish, but it makes sense to protect both men ahead of Money in the Bank rather than beating them and lessening their credibility.

    What does not make sense is Cesaro and Nakamura suddenly partnering up with Corbin, with nary a mention of their relationship with Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn. What happened to The Artist Collective and why are Nakamura and Cesaro invested in Corbin?

    That is a story that deserves some attention from the creative team because as it stands, it seems like lazy and convenient booking.

Firefly Funhouse Interrupts Braun Strowman

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    Credit: WWE

    Universal champion Braun Strowman made his way to the ring for a promo but before he could say much at all, Bray Wyatt interrupted with the latest edition of the Firefly Funhouse.

    Wyatt read “The Black Sheep,” equating himself to a shepherd who discovered The Black Sheep (Strowman), only to have him leave him with no notice. Then all of his other animals left, too.

    He vowed to come up with a happier ending, one in which he takes the Universal Championship from Strowman.

    The Monster Among Men challenged Wyatt to come to the ring but the antagonist, instead, waved and promised to see him soon.






    This has low-key been an awesome bit of storytelling.

    There is history between Wyatt and Strowman, which the former has drawn on to tell their story. A scorned shepherd, he now looks to avenge a member of his flock leaving him and to do so, he must take the title. It is simple, effective and most importantly, makes sense. 

    Now, if only it felt like Strowman had a chance in hell of retaining come May 10 and Money in the Bank.

Sheamus in Action and Jeff Hardy Is Coming Back

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    Credit: WWE

    Unfortunate soul Leon Ruff squared off with the seemingly unstoppable Sheamus.

    The young star endured consecutive Irish Curse backbreaker while Sheamus focused on Michael Cole at the commentary table, asking him if he was enjoying himself.

    A massive Brogue Kick brought an end to Ruff's suffering as Sheamus picked up another win.

    As Sheamus made his way to the table, a video package on Jeff Hardy aired, recapping his career to this point and his journey back to the squared circle.

    Upon Cole revealing that Hardy will return next week, Sheamus warned that he will be there, too.



    Sheamus defeated Ruff






    Sheamus has deserved a much higher-profile program than anything he has had the opportunity to do since he returned from injury. The return of Hardy next week provides him with one.

    The lack of star power elsewhere on the blue brand will allow The Charismatic Enigma and Celtic Warrior to thrive, two former WWE champions waging war for the right to move up the ranks. They have styles that should compliment each other. Hopefully, the matches live up to the abilities of the participants.

    Whether WWE feels comfortable sacrificing Sheamus revived singles run to put over Hardy is the question that bears watching.

Money in the Bank Qualifier: Mandy Rose vs. Carmella

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The latest addition to the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match would be determined as Mandy Rose and Carmella squared off.

    Each woman took turns showing off their athleticism before Carmella caught her opponent with a wicked kick to the face. As Rose seized control. Sonya Deville arrived. She told the story of last year’s Money in the Bank match, when she handed over her spot in the match to Rose, then helped her and The Golden Goddess still managed to lose.

    The Pride Fighter threatened to come to the ring for a fight but stopped just in time for Carmella to score the win over her distracted opponent.

    After the match, Deville hit the ring and unloaded on Rose. She sent her to the ringside area, threw her into the announce table and flattened her with a running knee to the back of the head. A satisfied Deville made her way up to the ramp as a referee asked for the trainer.



    Carmella defeated Rose






    The goal might be to make a star out of Rose but thus far, Deville has been fantastic. She has cut some excellent promos and here, showed the intensity and fury one would expect from a woman who has had her friendship dissolve before her very eyes and is sick of being overshadowed by Rose.

    The beatdown was exactly what it needed to be and put a ton of heat on the rivalry between good friend, but better enemies.

    As for the match itself, it was rather nondescript, incredibly basic as most of the spotlight was on Deville crushing it on the mic.

New Day vs. The Forgotten Sons

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    Credit: WWE

    A week after they left the SmackDown tag team champions lying, The Forgotten Sons’ Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler (with Jaxson Ryker) battled The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E in a non-title match. Before the contest could get underway, The Miz and John Morrison joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary.

    New Day controlled early Big E stood tall heading into the commercial break. Back from the timeout, the heels isolated Big E, beating him down while Cole attempted to drive a wedge between Miz and Morrison by reminding them that the latter pulled his weight at WrestleMania while The Hollywood A-Lister lost the tag titles for them.

    In the ring, Kingston received the tag and unloaded on the opposition, taking the fight to both Cutler and Blake. The former WWE champion delivered a big stomp to Cutler but a blind tag to Blake and a backstabber/top-rope elbow combo put him down for a two-count.

    Big E tried for his spear through the ropes but no one was home. Ryker, behind the official’s back, sent him into the ring post. Back in the ring, the Cutler and Blake downed Kingston to pick up the win and move into title contention.



    The Forgotten Sons defeated New Day






    New Day can have a great, energetic tag match with just about anyone, but The Forgotten Sons turned in one of their best performances as a team here.

    Cutler and Blake have grown exponentially as a team and in this match, looked like a duo that could believably beat the tag team champions.

    Miz and Morrison on commentary is always fun, but they almost stole the spotlight from the winners in what was a definitive match for them. The more that team hangs around, the less likely it is The Forgotten Sons can ever really get over.

    Unless the plan is to put Miz and Morrison back in the hunt, keep them away from the segments The Forgotten Sons are involved in so that they can effectively get over and build a reputation of their own without being overshadowed.

Money in the Bank Qualifier: Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Credit: WWE

    Fired up by the injuries suffered by his girlfriend Mandy Rose earlier in the night, Otis hit the ring for the night’s main event, a qualifying match for the Money in the Bank match. Ziggler entered confidently, having already captured the top prize in the industry after winning the coveted briefcase.

    The relentless big man pummeled Ziggler in a one-sided match before connecting shoulder-first with the ring post. Ziggler capitalized, sending him into the guardrail ahead of the commercial break.

    The Showoff continued to work over the babyface, dropping him with consecutive dropkicks. He followed up with a headlock, grounding the stronger competitor. Otis fought back, drove Ziggler into the corner and set up for the Caterpillar. Ziggler evaded it and tried for the Fameasser. Otis caught him but the heel wiggled free and delivered the Zig-Zag for a near-fall.

    Ziggler set up for a superkick but Otis caught him and dropped him with a fallaway slam. The Caterpillar followed, successfully this time, for the win.



    Otis defeated Ziggler






    For as great as the storytelling has been, Ziggler and Otis haven’t necessarily had the in-ring chemistry one would have hoped for. The match was fine for what it was but both this and the WrestleMania encounter followed a very simplified formula. Perhaps that was by design to protect Otis in a singles setting.

    The outcome was surprising as it felt like this was the opportunity to get Ziggler some heat back by dashing Otis’ dreams of competing in Money in the Bank, thus leaving the happy couple of SmackDown out of their respective ladder matches. Instead, Otis rolls into Money in the Bank one of the dark horses to win the whole thing.