SmackDown and the WWE celebrate 25 years of Triple H!
Time to Play the Game! SmackDown helps celebrate 25 years of the Cerebral Assassin, Triple H! Plus, the WWE Women’s Tag titles are on the line!
- Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Drew Gulak w/ Daniel Bryan VS King Baron Corbin; Corbin wins and advances to the Men’s MITB match.
- Sheamus VS Daniel Vidot; Sheamus wins.
- The Miz & John Morrison VS Lucha House Party; LHP wins.
- Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Lacey Evans VS Sasha Banks; Evans wins and advances to the Women’s MITB match.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bliss-Cross VS Carmella & Dana Brooke; Bliss-Cross wins and retains the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
PLAY BY PLAY
Twenty-five years of The Game! Celebrate this quarter century of excellence tonight on SmackDown!
The New Day are here!
AWWWWW~ people at hooome~! The now EIGHT-time W, W, E, Tag, Team, CHAMPIONS~ are back on SmackDown! Big E and Kofi get all up on the announce desk before going to the ring. EIGHT TIMES, BABY! Put some respect on the name of Big E. Big E defeated the odds and won these titles for the team. Put some respeck on the name! But there’s no one here to clap… But yes, the “girls” are back around their waists! And speaking of which, late last night, Big E was- WHOA WHOA! Let’s not get into that here. But what they will get into is the historical context of what the New Day has accomplished. Kofi doesn’t want to brag but there’s no shame in being proud. They have more title reigns than: The Hart Foundation; The British Bulldogs; The New Age Outlaws; Demolition; and Edge & Christian!
Again, that’s not to brag, but to proudly declare their names are beside some of the greatest of all time! Eight is more than even the future hall of fame, now Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Tom Brady! Tom is in Tampa, baby! Beautiful! Sorry, Kofi, we know you’re a Patriots fan. But wait, here come Lucha House Party! Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik are here to be the first to congratulate the new champions. That’s #LuchaLit. But what’s not lucha lit is sitting in the back watch team after team get the opportunities that are not coming to the Lucha House Party. Tonight, LHP wants to challenge for the titles. But the former champions appear! The Miz and John Morrison just go right past LHP and to the ring.
“Really? Really?” The New Day come out like they’re legitimate?! They won the titles in a singles match! Miz & Morrison have been getting the short end of the stick since they got those titles! Their first defense: inside the Elimination Chamber! Their second defense: a singles Triple Threat Ladder Match! And as they just referenced, the third was another travesty in another singles Triple Threat match. But the New Day have never beaten Miz & Morrison in a traditional tag match. They don’t know who is pulling the strings for the New Day, but Miz & Morrison demand a fair fight. Miz & Morrison elevated those titles (Hey Hey!) They elevated the entire SmackDown Tag Division (Ho Ho!) But the New Day make those titles into JOKES! Miz & Morrison want the match tonight!
But Metalik tells Miz and Morrison to “CALLATE!” Shut up! The Miz & Morrison had their chances, now it’s time for LHP to get theirs. Morrison, you wrestled in Mexico. What exactly did he say? He said he respects Miz as a man, a wrestler and as an American. Big E confirms that’s not what he said, but he won’t repeat it. Well what did he say? Lince speaks up that Metalik said- “Do unto others!” No, wait, that’s just the Forgotten Sons joining in. Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake and Jaxson Ryker head to the ring and their mere presence riles everyone up. Miz asks who the hell these guys even are. Laugh it up. Cutler gives the introductions, and these three served their country. But ever since they come home, they’ve been treated like trash. And while you don’t know them now, y’all will know them soon enough. Because they are the ones who will reign over this division, and they will be #ForgottenNoMore.
Well maybe you don’t know The Miz. How dare you interrupt him? There is a thing in the WWE called respect. Miz has been here for 15 years! You’re a POSER! Miz was a Marine in the movies, but standing before you is a real United States Marine. So maybe shut your mouth. Blake says they’re cut from a different cloth, and have skills both physically and mentally that some would call “savage.” And the thing about these three is that they could strike anywhere, at any time, and no one will see it coming. And Blake throws the first punch! We have a brawl of all 9 men!
Miz shoves Lince into Cutler and Cutler throws Lince out. Miz and Morrison bail out to let the others fight. Cutler CLOBBERS Kofi while Ryker drags Big E up. Big E fights back but gets DECKED! Ryker rains down rights then Blake drags Big E up. Cutler is up top and leaps, MEMORY REMAINS! Ryker drags Kofi up to BOMB onto Big E! The Forgotten Sons make an impact, will the New Day remember this well?
SmackDown shares a HHH XXV Flashback!
1995, Hunter Hearst Hemsley debuts in the WWE! The Connecticut Blue Blood was a noble gentleman, who was anything but gentle in the ring. The Pedigree was proof that being a champion just comes naturally to him.
Renee Young interviews Miz and Morrison backstage.
She asks them what their plan is to deal with the Forgotten Sons. The Forgotten Sons? Who cares! They were more upset with Lucha House Party. Lince and Metalik started that fight! But what Miz and Morrison will do is have a match with them, and make it right esta noche. Will things be bueno or mal for los ex campeones?
Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Drew Gulak w/ Daniel Bryan VS King Baron Corbin!
The Goat is now the coach as the Philly Stretcher looks to join him in this year’s very special Money in the Bank “corporate ladder” match! But the Wolf King wants to rebound after his recent string of setbacks. Will Corbin’s determination bring him to brutalize Gulak the same way he did Elias last week?
The bell rings and Corbin circles with Gulak. They tie up and go around, and Corbin whips Gulak out of the ring! Gulak lands on his feet but Corbin taunts Gulak and Bryan. “You think he belongs in the ring with the big boys? This is for big boys right here.” Gulak gets up an in and circles with Corbin. They tie up again and Gulak gets low to trip Corbin. Gulak goes for a cover but Corbin slips out before a count. Gulak gets a headlock and SLAPS Corbin on the top of his head! Corbin gets up in a huff and pushes Gulak away. Gulak eggs Corbin on and the two tie up again. They end up on ropes and the ref calls for a break. Gulak gets loose and throws hands. Corbin deflects and eggs Gulak on now. Gulak dodges, Corbin dodges and Corbin throws heavy hands! Corbin elbows Gulak down and then throws haymakers.
Gulak comes back for the leg but Corbin blocks with leverage. Gulak wrenches and dropkicks the leg! He ROCKS Corbin and Corbin bails out of the ring. But Gulak wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! And then a shotgun dropkick! Gulak sends Corbin over the desk! Gulak hops up on the desk to loom over Corbin as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Gulak has Corbin’s arm and cranks on it. Corbin pushes Gulak back to a corner then whips him corner to corner. Gulak goes up and over but Corbin slides out then in! Corbin LARIATS Gulak down! Cover, TWO! Bryan coaches Gulak, referencing his own MITB win as proof it can happen for the smaller guys. But Corbin throws big forearms on Gulak to keep him down. Corbin stomps Gulak around then rams his knee into the corner. He drags Gulak out but Gulak goes after the leg. Corbin pries Gulak off but Gulak rolls him up! TWO, and Corbin knees low again. Corbin wristlocks and lifts for a YOYO SLAM! Cover, TWO! Corbin grows frustrated but Bryan rallies behind Gulak. Corbin drags Gulak up and to a corner to stomp away on the legs. The ref counts but Corbin lets up at 4.
Corbin grins as he tells Gulak to give up. Gulak blocks the stomp and throws haymakers in return! Gulak backs Corbin down and Bryan fires up for him! Corbin pushes Gulak away but Gulak dodges a clothesline to dropkick Corbin into buckles! Gulak runs, into a choke grip! Corbin lifts but Gulak sunset flips! TWO, and Corbin walks into a back elbow. Gulak runs to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Gulak grits his teeth but he’s still focused. Gulak goes for another baseball slide but Corbin dodges. Corbin goes to kick but Gulak blocks it! Gulak dragon screws Corbin into the steel steps! The ref counts but Bryan coaches Gulak up. Gulak climbs up top while Corbin gets in the ring. Gulak leaps for a big flying elbow! Cover, TWO!! Corbin survives and bails out, and then The Artist Collection attacks Bryan from behind! They drag him over the barriers and RAM him into the LED pillar!
Gulak goes out and clobbers Cesaro! Nakamura taunts Gulak, but Corbin shoves Gulak into a post! Corbin puts Gulak in, reels him in, for END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: King Baron Corbin, by pinfall (advances to the Men’s MITB Match)
SmackDown has its second entrant! Will the Wolf King climb the corporate ladder back to success?
But wait, he and the Artist Collective aren’t done. They drag Gulak up while Corbin gets his scepter! Corbin uses it to SMASH Gulak in the head!! Will Corbin move on to become the King in the Bank?
Rob Gronkowski is going back to the NFL!
He’s reuniting with Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! But wait, Gronk is still WWE 24/7 Champion! As seen on WWE Backstage, R-Truth has already put Gronk on notice via social media, but will it be that easy to tackle Gronk and take the title back?
Sheamus VS Daniel Vidot!
The Celtic Warrior was once Mr. Money in the Bank. There is still one spot open for SmackDown’s side, but no match has been made. Will Sheamus impress management enough to be put in that match?
The bell rings and Vidot takes the fight to Sheamus! But Sheamus powers him into the corner and fires off heavy hands in return! Sheamus lets up, just to come back with more! Sheamus clubs away on Vidot’s back then knees him in the head and shoulders! Vidot wobbles up but Sheamus says Vidot disrespected him. Sheamus gives Vidot ten beats of the Bodhrain! “I will NOT be disrespected!” Vidot stands up and Sheamus hits him with a BROGUE!! Cover, Sheamus wins!
Winner: Sheamus, by pinfall
The Fella just fell another opponent, but still has a lot to do in his mission to toughen up SmackDown. Will he at least get his opportunity at climbing the corporate ladder?
SmackDown presents the Jeff Hardy Story, Part 3: The Redemption.
Jeff’s recovery was helped by his being a father. After the arrests that piled up, he never wanted his girls to see that side of him again. Ruby and Myra deserve better. Ruby is named for the Hardy Boys’ mother, Ruby Moore Hardy. And Jeff knows that his mother would be greatly disappointed. She helped him through his ordeal, and that’s a fact. Jeff knew he and Matt Hardy would have to return to the WWE. It is where it all started, it is where it should all end. And so, WrestleMania 33 in 2017, it was a top secret that they arrived in Orlando for the event. Jeff admits he was a ball of nerves. But Michael Hayes told him one thing: breathe.
The New Day were the hosts of WrestleMania, and gave the Hardys their introduction for the Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder match that went from a Triple Threat to a FATAL 4 WAY! The crowds lost their mind, and the Hardys won the titles. It felt natural for them to be back, and what better match than a ladder match for Jeff to be Jeff? Jeff will never forget that night. He had gone through dark times, but coming home to the WWE was one hell of a way to start this newest chapter. How will the Charismatic Enigma’s story end? Well Part 4: The Comeback, is next week!
SmackDown has another HHH XXV Flashback!
In April of 1998, Degeneration X waged war on WCW! HHH led Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, X-Pac and Chyna on an invasion! “We have seen the enemy, and they are near.” Fans joined in on a march as DX fired the first shot in the Monday Night Wars!
The Miz & John Morrison VS Lucha House Party!
The Hollywood A-Lister and the Guru of Greatness might be aiming their anger at the wrong team, but the Golden Lynx and King of Ropes will still take them on. Will this showdown be AWWWESOME or #LuchaLit?
SmackDown returns as Sheamus suddenly returns! He again intimidates Michael Cole over the Jeff Hardy videos! What does Sheamus have against Jeff!? Meanwhile, LHP makes their entrance and this scheduled match begins with Miz and Lince. The two circle and Lince shows off his handspring. They tie up and Miz powers Lince to a corner. Miz swings but Lince dodges to kick away. Miz shoves but Lince rolls off the back to CHOP! Lince springboards into a BOOT! Miz grins as he drags Lince up and CHOPS him back! He brings Lince over to tag in Morrison for the 21st Century Classic, catapult into forearm and then elbow drop on Miz’s knees! Cover, ONE! Morrison keeps on Lince with big forearms and kicks and Miz mockingly chants “Fight Forever!”
Lince tries to get past Morrison but Morrison tilt-o-whirls Lince to the Canadian rack! Morrison throws Lince but Lince arm-drags him away! Morrison gets up and pops Lince up. Lince lands on ropes and tags in Metalik. Morrison gets under the moonsault but gets an enziguri! Lince gives Metalik the boost for the SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Tag to Lince and Lince slides under Morrison to run, but into an Alabama Lift! ROLLING Alabama! And then Morrison keeps running to SHINING WIZARD! Morrison drags Lince up and tags in Miz. They double gut buster Lince hard! “That was awesome!” Miz drops to his knees to egg Lince on while throwing haymakers. He springboard stomps Lince down, then mocks the lucha chants. Miz drags Lince up and tags in Morrison. Miz BOOTS then Morrison SHINING WIZARDS again! Standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!
Lince gets to ropes but Morrison taunts him while choking him on the ropes. Morrison even taunts Lince in Spanish. Lince CHOPS back but Morrison counter punches and ROCKS him! Takedown and ground ‘n’ pound! Morrison is taking Lince to Slam Town! Morrison drags Lince up to whip, but still gets the GOLDEN REWIND! Tag to Miz and he keeps Lince away from Lince! Lince boots Miz away and tags in Metalik! Metalik springboards and crossbodies! He kicks and chops and whips, but Miz reveres. Metalik slides under the boot, Miz gets clear of the handspring to BOOT anyway! But Metalik BOOTS back! And hits a SLING-DOG! Metalik fires up as he goes up top, for a MOONSAULT! But onto knees! Miz kips up with a wobble but he and Morrison are fired up. “Hey hey! Ho ho!” Miz drags Metalik up by his mask then full nelsons. Metalik pops up to victory roll, and Lucha House Party wins!!
Winners: Lucha House Party, by pinfall
Don’t call it a comeback, LHP’s been here for years! But will this massive win go a long way to the luchadors becoming contenders?
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Lacey Evans VS Sasha Banks!
The Sassy Southern Belle and The Boss look to settle the score in a match that is incredibly important. Sasha keeps taking jabs at Lacey by fanning herself with a little cutout of Lacey’s daughter. Will Sasha regret that when Lacey takes literal jabs back?
The bell rings and Bayley distracts “Mommy” with the cutout. Lacey swipes at Bayley but that allows Sasha to attack from behind. Sasha stomps Lacey to the apron then goes out to follow her. But Lacey throws Sasha into barriers! Bayley checks on Sasha but Lacey grabs her. Bayley begs for mercy but Sasha RAMS Lacey into the post! That right hand takes the most damage, and Sasha puts Lacey in the ring. Cover, ONE, and Sasha gives the bad arm a code breaker! Lacey staggers up but Sasha stomps her down. Sasha keeps on Lacey in the corner, and bumps her off buckles. Sasha wraps the arm around the ropes and pulls! The ref counts and Sasha lets up at 4. Sasha runs back in to set Lacey sideways and club her down. STOCK DROP MISSES! Sasha staggers into Lacey’s BOOT! Lacey then rallies and clotheslines, even with the bad arm! Lacey BOOTS Sasha back down, then grits her teeth for the Penalty Kick!
Sasha ends up in a corner and Lacey runs in. But the bad arm gives out before she could complete the swinging bronco buster! Sasha SLAMS the bad arm into the post then KICKS it! Lacey staggers back while Sasha climbs up. METEORA! Cover, TWO! Lacey powers through the pain but Sasha is right after the bad arm. Sasha hammerlocks it and then adds on a chinlock. Lacey elbows out with her good arm then drop toeholds Sasha into buckles! Lacey runs in and manages to hit the swinging bronco buster after all! Sasha is driven further into buckles, then Lacey SLAMS Sasha’s head into the LED post over and over and over and over! The ref counts and Lacey stops, but Bayley talks smack. Lacey ignores Bayley to drag Sasha up. They go to the top rope but Sasha resists the suplex. Sasha throws body shots and stands on the bad hand! Sasha slips underneath to tuck Lacey in. She stomps away on the hand! And then brings Lacey up for a POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Into the BANK STATEMENT!
Lacey endures, pries at the hold, and manages to roll free. Sasha keeps close but Lacey manages to backslide! TWO, and Sasha kicks the bad arm! Sasha runs but into a WOMAN’S RIGHT!! Lacey managed to hit her best move, and covers. But Bayley helps in the ROPEBREAK! “She’s got that ring awareness,” Bayley brags for Sasha. But as she brags, Lacey drags her into the ring! Sasha rolls Lacey u but the ref is shouting at Bayley! When he finally sees, ONE!! That would’ve been Sasha’s win! Bayley is mad at the ref but Sasha is mad at Bayley! Sasha turns around into another Woman’s Right!! Cover, Lacey wins!!
Winner: Lacey Evans, by pinfall (advances to the Women’s MITB Match)
The best friends mess each other up and the Model Soldier cashes in! And just as Bayley and Sasha are leaving, Tamina’s music hits. And then Tamina SUPERKICKS Bayley! Sasha is not at all upset by that. But will Bayley be upset when she and Tamina face off for the SmackDown Women’s Championship?
SmackDown takes a look back at the storied past of Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt.
The Wyatt Family welcomed a fourth into their flock. “Show the world the face of their destruction.” The Black Sheep, Braun Strowman, made his debut in 2015. Sister Abigail’s greatest gift and Bray Wyatt’s strongest follower would help him devastate The Shield, the Brothers of Destruction, and so many others. “It’s okay to be afraid. I don’t blame you. I will destroy anyone in my path! And I will pile the bodies to the sky, for the Eater of Worlds! Wake up, or run.” But oh where oh where has his monster gone? Fast-forward five years, after the Wyatt Family fell apart, and here we are now with a Monster Among Men and The Fiend.
It was on A Moment of Bliss that Strowman said no one knows Bray like he does. Yes, he was part of the family, but that was the part of the past he was putting behind him. Everything he has achieved, Strowman has done on his own. Greatest Royal Rumble, the Raw Tag Team Championships, the WWE Intercontinental Championship and at WrestleMania 36, the WWE Universal Championship when he defeated Goldberg. Bray didn’t create Braun, and Braun doesn’t owe Bray a thing. Now, Braun is on top! The past is the past, but sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. Bray wants his title back, but he gave Braun something back: THE BLACK SHEEP MASK! Bray says he brought Braun in from the swamp, but Braun betrayed his maker. Will the monster’s maker also be his destroyer?
SmackDown announces the last two MITB qualifiers!
For the men, the feud of Dolph Ziggler and Otis Dozovic raises the stakes! And then for the women, whether she is WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion after tonight, Carmella takes on Mandy Rose! Who will take the last spots in this year’s corporate ladder match?
Dana Brooke and Carmella meet up backstage.
They’re both ready for their tag title match, but Dana does bring up the MITB qualifier. Dana uses Carmella’s words last week to tease her, and Mella admits she has a point. Mella congratulates Dana on her successful entry, and now Mella is inspired. But they both agree to focus tonight and get the titles! Will this Fabulous Flex Appeal duo take gold before going for the money?
SmackDown has another HHH XXV Flashback!
May 2001, HHH attacks HBK, but also blows out his quadriceps. No one knew when or where he would make his return, but in only 8 months, The Game was back! January 2002, live on Monday Night Raw in Madison Square Garden, HHH appeared, stronger than ever!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bliss-Cross VS Carmella & Dana Brooke!
We heard from the Fabulous Flex Appeal that they were focused on the golden goal at hand tonight, but is focus enough? Or will the best friends deny them their momentum heading towards MITB?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and this moneymaking match begins!
Dana dropkicks Nikki out of the ring but Bliss-Cross quickly regroups. But Mella LEAPS onto Alexa! So Nikki clobbers Mella! Nikki throws her into barriers, but then turns around into Dana’s crossbody! Dana is fired up for her team even though she’s the last one standing. Teams regroup as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Dana dodges Nikki, but both women hot tag! Mella rallies on Alexa and bumps her off a boot! Mella moonwalks and runs in, for a FABULOUS bronco buster! Alexa sits up to get a FABULOUS KICK! Cover, but Nikki breaks it! Nikki bails out fast but Dana runs her over! Dana handspring back elbows Nikki into a post! Alexa wrecks Dana with a dropkick but Mella rolls her up! TWO and Alexa ROCKS Mella! Alexa puts Mella in the corner then climbs up top. Mella stops Alexa and the two brawl. Mella handsprings but Nikki tags in before the FABULOUS STEINER! Nikki catches Mella off-guard with a roll up, TWO! Nikki headbutts low then tags Alexa back in. Mella spins out of the Purge to mule kick! Nikki blocks the next kick, and flapjacks Mella up, for a Bliss-Cross 3D!! Cover, Bliss-Cross win!
Winners: Bliss-Cross, by pinfall (still WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)
A new move has been added to the repertoire, and that helps Alexa and Nikki retain! How will this hurt Mella’s chances of qualifying for MITB? And who will step up to the tag titles next?
SmackDown announces another match!
Daniel Bryan and Baron Corbin are both in the MITB match, but after what happened tonight, they will go 1v1 as a little sampler! Will the Artist Collective help the Wolf King strike down another detractor?
HHH is here!
The Game heads to the ring and wants to give the WWE Universe another of his iconic spit sprays for his entrance, but someone takes his water bottle away! HHH is a little bummed as he gets in the ring and gets a mic. “Wow. It’s hard for me to even believe, 25 years.” HHH really- Wait, Shawn Michaels is here?! HBK wears an NXT baseball cap as he joins HHH in the ring with a mic of his own. Did HHH think he’d have this celebration without him? 25 years of The Game! One of the greatest WWE performers of all time, HHH, 25th year anniversary. And if you’re not down with that, he has two words for you. Social distancing. Keep your personal space, H. He loves you, but he can’t touch. Wow, those are the two words now? Well HBK is still here to celebrate, and sent out literally hundreds of invitations to HHH’s closest friends and loved ones. And we’re all here for you. Empty arena doesn’t help that, but at least Cole and Corey are here. Well they’re required. But HHH is still a draw! You still got it!
But to be serious, HBK and HHH have been friends all of those 25 years. Before celebrating, HBK never really got the chance to thank HHH for his 25 year celebration special. That was a good time, right? Remember that one? Uh, yeah, that was a wild night. Good times, good times. What was HHH’s favorite part of that? Well, so many moments. It’s hard to boil it down. Right, of course. Impossible. But if he had to pick just one, what would it be? HHH can’t pick- Yeah, because you didn’t give HBK a special!! But hey, HBK isn’t angry about that. Wait, HBK never got one? It never happened? Wow. HHH will make heads roll in the office. Okay, okay, kidding aside, this really is about letting the world know about the man HBK has known these 25 years. It was only a couple years into that friendship did they bring it live in the form of Degeneration X.
DX was money! They had good times, a lot of fun, and everything was perfect! One take wonders, and everything they touched turned to gold. In fact, DX’s (Not So) Great Moments play. There were outtakes in filming the many promos, of course. And some jabs, such as HHH relaying HBK’s DVD was only second best selling. First best was Taker. That guy beats HBK every time. And there were some odd moments during matches, such as HHH being out on his feet for a good minute before flopping down to the mat. But through it all, they were best of friends and always got along. Except for that one Christmas party… And, well, obviously they weren’t “one take wonders.” But even those stumbles never tripped HHH up. HHH went on to bigger and better. 14 world title reigns, numerous WrestleMania matches, and countless Mania moments. HBK says he’s Mr. WrestleMania, but those pale in comparison to HHH’s highlight reel.
And speaking of, here’s the HHHighlight Reel! His first WrestleMania: A loss to the Ultimate Warrior. His second WrestleMania: A loss to Kane. Many Manias later: A loss to The Undertaker. WrestleMania XXX: A loss to Daniel Bryan. Oh hey, WrestleMania XX was… A lost to HBK. And there was another loss to Taker. And a loss to Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey in the Mania Mixed Tag Match. And of course, End of an Era was a loss to Taker. Then there was that loss to Randy Orton. And to Batista. And Roman Reigns! And Taker, John Cena, Seth Rollins, and as a reminder, Ronda Rousey. Hmm… 13 losses in 25 years… When you look at it like that, HHH wasn’t that good, was he? How many losses does HBK have? This isn’t about HBK.
But to actually actually be serious, HHH does want to thank a lot of people. Night after night, year after year, he faced many great athletes, as that highlight real showed. Taker, The Rock, Steve Austin, Batista, Mick Foley, HBK! It was incredible! Without those people, his career would be nothing. Then those people feel just as fortunate to have had HHH around. It was because of all those moments that HHH’s career began to take off. And then there was that, uh, hiccup, when HHH met “her.” Stephanie McNoFun! Nag, nag, NAG! Wait, HHH’s phone goes off. It’s Steph… She is watching right now, and it’s well-deserved, and now Shawn is talking about her? No, no, not at all! But, she’s watching it right now. No, no, he’s not mocking her. Yes, he is! She can SEE it because of the cameras! That no-good, lazy-eyed- Uh, bye, Steph! HHH hangs up and says Steph says hi. He looks great, by the way. Well, there are a lot of wacky people in HHH’s life. Oh he knows it.
Speaking of wacky, let’s not forget Ric Flair! Ric Flair joining him in Evolution was a special moment in HHH’s career. Oh hey, Ric calls now, too! The Nature Boy congratulates HHH on 25 years and is glad they’re having this for him. Ric is sure everyone in HHH’s family is proud, as are the fans in the WWE Universe. Thanks, Naitch. Just don’t let HBK superkick you at the end of this, okay? Yeah, sure. Ric gets emotional and says bye. HHH says Ric can’t help himself sometimes. Ric calls back, blubbering to no end, so SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns, and now Road Dogg has called in! Dogg jokes with HHH about his haircut. “You look like a Chia pet.” Is Ric crying? Yeah, he was. Oh okay, Dogg didn’t think Ric would get caught crying on live TV. Oh wait, they’re live now, aren’t they? Uh, yeah, Dogg. They are. Oh, okay, he forgot about his beard. HHH hangs up on Dogg and HBK says this needs to wrap. No, HHH called Fox to get clearance to go as late as they want. Good, because HBK hasn’t even gotten to that Katie Vick stuff. Wait! Is that Vince McMahon!? The Chairman is here! You didn’t think this would go without him joining in, did they? Well this is very special, so HBK will let Vince and HHH have a moment.
Vince congratulates Paul on 25 years. That is extraordinary. Under normal circumstances, Vince would come down there and give HHH a big bearhug, and maybe he and HBK would do an elbow bump. But there are certainly people around the world who are showing appreciation of this moment. Though, if there were fans live, the chant of “Triple H! Triple H!” would mostly be from family in the front row. The rest would be jeering, “BORING~!” Vince doesn’t think this has been incredibly boring, because there are things way worse than this. Like the Gobbledy Gooker! That was a long time ago. But Vince thought they needed a mascot for things, and then the giant egg hatches. Taker made his debut that same Survivor Series. Vince thought there’d be cheers for the giant turkey wrestler, but no. In fact, there weren’t even boos. It was just silence. Not that HHH was ever that bad, but it was… Well, it was Katie Vick bad.
Many don’t know, but it goes that Paul, Vince’s son in law, is naked in a “funeral home” with a mannequin for a corpse, and Vince still doesn’t know why HHH stooped to those depths. Boring and in poor taste. But Vince likens HHH’s performance out here to “Bayley, This is Your Life!” Remember that one? That was crickets. Not Bayley’s fault but hey. But seriously, Vince loves HHH. And HHH loves Vince. HBK isn’t left out, either. Tonight, this was god awful. What a way to go out! This SUCKED. To use a word HHH loves, this is rotten! If you haven’t put everyone to sleep yet, Vince will say good night. Good night, padre. Now wrap it up. Is he throwing them out? Vince leaves, the lights start coming down, and it seems this is the end of the night. Someone adds cricket noises just to prove a point. “Screwed up your career, buddy. Screwed up your career.” It wasn’t really that bad, was it?
A pretty good episode of SmackDown, and I love that the celebration of HHH basically became the roast of HHH. A shame they couldn’t do this with all the faces and names they mentioned live and in person, but this was a pretty great alternative. Vince obviously had the most tongue-in-cheek, reverse psychology promo of the bunch. It did feel a bit awkward since there were no fans to laugh along, but even Vince’s part was great. It is true that HHH has had a rather shameful WrestleMania win-loss record, and has had some very shameful segments as a character, but overall he has been a solid part of WWE history and will continue to be because of staying power, his brain being behind the NXT franchise, and obviously his marriage to Stephanie. Had to take my own playful jabs, heh.
The SmackDown Tag Team Division got some good play tonight. The promos and brawl to open the show was good, and clearly with The Revival moving on without hesitation, the Forgotten Sons are moving up into the aggressive Heel position. I do like that Miz & Morrison avoided confrontation with them to go after LHP. We got a really good match of those teams, and what a great surprise for LHP to get a win! I have been waiting for LHP to finally move up in the main roster rankings and this could be their chance, even though they did lose to Forgotten Sons last week. Sheamus wins against nWo Roman Reigns, and then scares the crap out of poor Michael Cole. Obviously this is leading towards Sheamus VS Jeff Hardy, but I feel like this is starting to force Cole into a role that parallels when good ol’ Jim Ross was strongly behind Stone Cold. I hope not, because then it feels like WWE trying to do something about former talent siding with AEW just because AEW pokes fun at WWE.
The MITB qualifiers were great tonight, with some really good story progression in each. I like that even in Sami Zayn’s absence, Cesaro and Nakamura going after Gulak and Bryan continues. Corbin qualifies so I was wrong about Elias costing him here, but maybe there are more attacks next week and Elias reinforces Bryan and Gulak for a quick Six Man before MITB. Or maybe Elias makes sure Corbin loses inside Titan Towers in the actual MITB match. Lace VS Sasha was really good, especially the part with Bayley inadvertently costing Sasha. Tamina got to stand tall against Bayley with that superkick, but I feel like this just means she won’t win. Then Bayley and Sasha can have a new feud where honestly, neither one has to turn back Face, they’re both just Heels trying to out-Heel the other. And then, if/when Sasha becomes the second-ever Women’s Grand Slam Champion, Ms. MITB cashes in.
Then next week’s MITB qualifiers sound great. I actually like that Mandy VS Sonya is being saved for later. Or at least, it looks that way. Sonya could easily attack Mella to take her spot against Mandy, but I feel like Mandy is winning either way. She and Otis should both get in so that there is a tease of them both being Mr. & Ms. MITB together. Of course, a tease means it won’t happen, but it’s always better to tease than not to. And if Mandy VS Sonya doesn’t happen next week, it really should be allowed to build past MITB to the next PPV (Extreme Rules, I believe) for some perfectly fitting No Disqualification intensity. Sonya’s promo from last week alone raised the ante on this, so a Women’s Extreme Rules with Otis and Ziggler sprinkled in on the side would be a great next step for this story.
My Score: 8.3/10