Essential services aplenty under the Florida Sunshine tree via the magic of matches at Orlando’s Performance Center. Tonight’s Smackdown offers an ambitious slate of programming. We will see a historical retrospective marking 25 years oF HHH’s stint as a WWE talent. All hail the King of Kings on tonight’s edition of WWE Smackdown. The Cerebral Assassin has come a very long way since his initial overbearing snob days, harpsichord entrance music, and all. How often those cravings for Grey Poupon hit us all.
On the serious side, HHH has worn every belt imaginable and has been the driving force behind the most notable factions in WWE’s history. If it ‘s been groundbreaking and enduring, you’ll invariably find Triple H’s fingerprint all over it.
TONIGHT on #SmackDown!
– Celebrate 25 years of @TripleH! #HHH25
– @AlexaBliss_WWE & @NikkiCrossWWE defend their titles against @CarmellaWWE & @DanaBrookeWWE
– #MITB Qualifying Matches continue
… and MORE! https://t.co/305OXEDQ9C
— WWE (@WWE) April 24, 2020
All Hail the King of Kings
One of the great conventions in wrestling is seeing the honoree attacked and their ceremony sabotaged. We are curious to see if anybody will crash this party. With M.I.T.B. being just over two weeks away, the fruit would be ripe for the picking. Always room for a good surprise. After all, it would be pretty hard to outshine HHH in climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.
We will also turn back in time and review the time Braun Strowman was with the Wyatt family. From Rosebud to Black Sheep to the Monster Among Men, it has been quite the ride for the current champion.
Championship gold, a tag team that is, in the Women’s division will be on the line when Carmela and Dana Brooke face off against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Dana Brooke has already qualified for the MITB match, on quite the hot streak. Will lightning strike again, wouldn’t bet my lunch money on that even if the delivery is contact-free?
Lacey Evans has vowed to take out Sasha Banks and will get a chance to do that this very evening with a spot in MITB at stake. Could you ask for better motivation?
King Corbin fresh off a brutal beatdown of Elias last week will confront Drew Gulak and the two will vie for a MITB spot. To what extent will the WWE universe choose to limp with Elias while we wait for this feud to play itself out. The balladeer has many more tunes in his repertoire.
Kicking everything off, we feel the power of the eight-time tag team champions, the New Day.
A celebration of sorts in the ring not just as they all hail the king of kings but as Big E and Kofi.
The duo points out that they have hoisted the belt more times than such all-time greats as Demolition, the Hart Foundation, and Edge and Christian.
Then, in a moment of chutzpah at its finest, the Lucha House Party bursts upon the scene to congratulate the New Day as well as to lay claim for THEIR crack at the gold. The ring would fill up very quickly. Next up were The Miz and John Morrison or MC Miz and Johnny Drip Drip as they refer to themselves now. to let the world know that the New Day victory was”cheap” and that the former belt holders bolster the entire division.
The 8x #SmackDown Tag Team Champions #TheNewDay get caught in a melee between #ForgottenSons, #LuchaHouseParty and @mikethemiz & @TheRealMorrison! pic.twitter.com/ICkw0XAZoC
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2020
New on the scene but forgotten no more, the Forgotten Sons hop on board as well. They call out the Miz as being a “poseur” , line of the night by the way and claim that they will reign over this division. They mention their elite physical and intellectual prowess having served their country and put the whole division on notice. A donnybrook ensues and the New Day is laid out by the neophyte trio.
Drew Gulak vs. King Corbin
In the first match of the night, we saw King Corbin challenge Drew Gulak for a spot in the MITB match. Daniel Bryan at ringside to mentor and coach his friend and training partner.Gulak with a very early advantage tossing Corbin out of the ring and on to the announce table, action outside the ring being tantamount to a commercial break being imminent.
Back to in-ring action, the King hit a Clothesline and managed to get a count of two. While Gulak would, in turn, accomplish a two count, he was shortly after in a world of trouble being worn down in the corner by a determined King. The tide turned outside of the ring when Corbin was driven into the ring steps, tossed back in the ring, and hit with a Clothesline from the top rope. Gulak while looking in firm control could only garner a two count.
WAIT A MINUTE.#SmackDown #MITB @WWECesaro @ShinsukeN pic.twitter.com/eOorSTSfxO
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2020
Things drew to a close for Mr. Gulak pursuant to the interference of Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. The acolytes took Daniel Bryan out of the equation. After Gulak was rammed into the ring post, the King hit the End of Days hence earning the fifth of six spots in the MITB encounter. The royal scepter was then put to use by Corbin, backed up by Nakamura and Cesaro, to inflict a world of hurt on Gulak. Hell hath no fury like the numbers game as many a wrestler has stated.
Winner: Drew Gulak
What would Smackdown be without Sheamus pursuing his squash fest? Tonight’s prey was Daniel Vidot, an Australian former rugby player. The Brogue kick ever-present, ever effective. This tilt took less time than average rugby scrum. Vidot, staring at the lights, dreaming of running unencumbered on the pitch.
Lucha House Party vs. The Miz and John Morrison
The next match though would surprise us all. The Lucha House Party got to confront the Miz and Morrison after being challenged by them for instigating the train wreck that commenced the show. Right before that match, Sheamus, demanding respect, intimidated Michael Cole by ripping his headset off.
The Miz was ablaze early on picking Eldorado to pieces. Morrison was tagged in and did not let up. Gran Metalik was tagged in picked up an immediate two count. Momentum shifting quickly back to the former champions. John Morrison hit a pair of running knees and connected with a Shooting Star for two successive counts of two.
When the Miz looked to put this match away with a Skull Crushing Finale, it was countered by Metalik and a Sunset Flip. The sunset quickly on the Miz, a count of three, and the Lucha House Party had legitimate grounds for celebration.
The #LuchaHouseParty isn't stoppin' tonight!#SmackDown @WWEGranMetalik @LuchadorLD pic.twitter.com/JvSU9IMPba
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2020
Winners: Lucha House Party
Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks
The next match would be the standout of the evening in terms of storytelling. Lacey Evans would challenge Sasha Banks for a coveted MITB berth. The Boss stirring up the pot by bringing a picture of Summer, Lacey Evans’ daughter with her to the ring. Role models travel in packs, Bayley at ringside for this showdown.
Who's next to qualify for the Women's #MITB Ladder Match: @LaceyEvansWWE or @SashaBanksWWE? #SmackDown
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2020
Very very early on, Bayley distracted Evans who attempted to lay the champion out with a vicious right but would hit the ring post instead. This set the table for Sasha to focus on an injured body part throughout the match.
While Evans relied on an effective plan b by striking Banks with a crisp series of knees and kicks, she wasn’t able to cash in on those opportunities. Sasha Banks went back to working on her opponent’s right arm and hit a Meteora from the top rope. Impressive yet fruitless.
It was at this time that Evans took it to another level.
She drove Banks’ face into the ring post several times in a row. No fun in that thud. Sasha still had plenty of grit left and even managed to inflict Evans with a Banks Statement in the middle of the ring.
No quit in the ex-Marine but a whole lot of adrenaline. She shook off the pain in her right hand nailing Banks with the dreaded Woman’s Right. As Sasha lay prone in the ring, Bayley interjected herself at the last second draping her pal’s leg over the rope.
With the referee distracted and pleading with Bayley to cease interfering, Banks rolled Evans up for at least a count of five. All for naught with the official out of position. Evans was then able to hit another knockout punch on Banks and the very much back in place referee counted an easy three.
Winner: Lacey Evans
The shocked pair of best friends would exit the ring together. Adding insult to injury, Tamina showed up and took Bayley out with a Superkick. The two set to face one another at the MITB PPV.
Next up was the retrospective featuring Braun Stroman’s previous affiliation with the Wyatt Family. No new footage nor surprises. No need to have waited for the break for that Pepsi Max, just saying.
We also saw a review of last week’s coup de maitre, the Sonya DeVille -Mandy Rose confrontation. A cathartic cleaning of the air which only led to further woe.
Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss vs Carmella and Dana Brooke
The Woman’s tag team championship match took place next. Carmella and Dana Brooke getting their shot at immortality vs. Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss. Hard-hitting high flying action outside the ring at the outset. Carmella now in the ring did her mandatory moonwalk and even was able to pick up a two count.
The challengers’ impressive start was a mere tempest in a teapot. Nikki and Alexa would combine their efforts on a modified 3D to retain their status as champions.
Winners: Nikki Cross and Dana Brooke
Triple H: All Hail the King of Kings
The most hyped segment of the show was to follow, the 25th-anniversary celebration for HHH. With all the impressive matches and notable achievements he’s had over the years, this SHOULD have been something very special. HBK joined the proceedings immediately and it turned out to be a quarter-hour or so of sophomoric humor that was neither impressive nor even entertaining. It was kind of like a best man’s speech that has you impatiently looking at your watch and contemplating the sweet table. This was how they all hail the king of kings tonight.
Cameo appearances were made by telephone by Stephanie McMahon, Ric Flair, and Brian James. Michaels referring to Stephanie as Ms.No Fun. Vince McMahon showing up at the end, half-serious, half sarcastic, and pulling the switch on the segment of the show. Like the old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is” A fourteen-time champion deserved a lot more. As we all hail the king of kings.
Consistency seems a little hard to come by in these exceptional times. The show put on last week had moments of brilliance and intrigue. Its segments were memorable, the show got better as the night went on. Tonight, things never really took off totally. While the Evans-Banks match was a first-rate effort, apart from the Forgotten Sons referring to The Miz as a poseur, there were no takeaway moments. Quoting my favorite Aunt one again, ‘” would’ve, could’ve, should’ve DIDN”T “. One always hopes for a better product next week.