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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 20, 2017
DAYTON, OHIO AT NUTTER CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
-The show opened with a very brief video saying they’d address the controversy of Carmella winning the Money in the Bank match on Sunday night
-Live backstage, Natalya was telling Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Tamina that this is an injustice. They all talked over each other. Daniel Bryan walked in and said he hears what they’re saying, but they should calm down. He said he wants to first listen to what Carmella and Ellsworth have to say first. Natalya asked why he’d bother doing that. Bryan excused himself. The women, especially Natalya, went back to talking. Charlotte finally told her to stop talking.
-Carmella and Ellsworth’s ring entrance took place as Phillips introduced the show. JBL said again, like he did on Sunday, that there is no rule about that so no rule was broken. Byron said it’s a shame that the first Women’s MITB match was essentially won by a man. Technically, Ellsworth didn’t win, though; Carmella won because she was the first to hold the briefcase once it was off the hook. Ellsworth asked the fans what’s wrong with them because they should be cheering louder for Carmella. Carmella welcomed fans to the fabulous era of Carmella. She said the name “Carmella” has been trending worldwide for the last 48 hours. She said it wasn’t trending because she won the first-ever Women’s MITB match, but because of how she won. She said the fans are saying she disrespected a historic moment or made a mockery of the women’s division or she needed Ellsworth’s help to win the match for her. She said: “You know what I say to that? Who cares?” She held up the briefcase. She said she has been under appreciated since she was the last pick in the WWE draft. She said she’s not here for Girl Power.
She said everyone is talking about the various strengths of the various women in the division, but nobody talks about her. She said at the end of the day, none of that mattered because she is just that intelligent. She said the others in the match were making plans to make history, but she was making plans for her future. She said the fact of the matter is she won the match “fair and square.” She said back in 2014 Kane came down and helped Seth Rollins win. She said two years ago, Bray Wyatt – who wasn’t even in the damn match – prevent Roman Reigns from winning and so Sheamus was the winner. She said the “Internet trolls” had to Tweet to Daniel Bryan about publicly addressing the issue have embarrassed themselves. She called the situation pathetic. She said she earned the contract because there are no rules. “How can you break the rule if there are none?” she asked. She said when Bryan comes out later, he’ll have to man up and agree with and affirm what she just said and declare her Miss Money in the Bank. “And there’s not a damn thing any of you can do about it.”
-Backstage, Bryan told Charlotte he talked to the medical team about her neck. She interrupted and said he doesn’t need to worry about her neck. She said he just heard what Carmella “and her toad” Ellsworth said, and now it’s his time to act. Bryan said the match was technically a no DQ match. Charlotte said that should only apply to the five Superstars who are licensed to be in the match. “We were all excited to make history on Sunday, and unfortunately I guess we did,” she said. “Now do the right thing!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good foll0w-up. Carmella was obnoxiously entertaining.)
-Saxton hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler “for the first time ever on Smackdown Live.” JBL said Jinder Mahal will face Luke Harper later, too. Phillips plugged Jimmy Uso vs. a member of New Day
-A Raw commercial hyped Brock Lesnar next week. [c]
-New Day made their full elaborate ring entrance, as usual. They talked about their goal being to get the beautiful blue belts around their waists, but the Usos walked out on the match. Kofi said the Usos staged a prison break out of their own prison. Xavier threw to freeze-frames of the end of the match. Kofi introduced Big E. as “the warden.” “He’s big, he’s handsome, he got a big knight stick and he ain’t afraid to use it,” he said. “I give to you, Big E.!” Big E said in their jurisdiction, there’s no easy way out and no shortcut home because “New… Day Rocks!” The Uso’s ring entrance took place. They cut to a break, but showed the match on a split screen during the break. [c]
(1) BIG E (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) vs. JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso)
Early in the match Jey distracted Big E., giving Jimmy a chance to surprise him with a superkick. JBL said Jimmy has been one step ahead of Big E the entire match so far. Jimmy applied headlock. Big E came back with some power moves. When he set up a Big Ending, Jimmy rolled to the floor to regroup with Jey. They decided to try to walk out, but Kofi dove onto Jey. Then Xavier blocked Jimmy from leaving. Big E grabbed him from behind. Jimmy turned around and slapped him. He entered the ring, but Big E ducked an enzuigiri and then gave him a Big Endings for the win. Phillips said, “And the warden got it done.”
WINNER: Big E.
-Backstage Bryan was talking with Shane McMahon on his cell phone. In walked Natalya and Tamina. Natalya said she is proud of Bryan for being a first-time dad. She said she can relate to sleepless nights because her cat doesn’t sleep through the night. Tamina interrupted Natalya’s rambling and asked Bryan if he’s going to do the right thing. Bryan said he will have a decision soon. Natalya was teacher’s pet and thanked him profusely. He smiled but waved her bye-bye. [c]
-A commercial hyped the return of “Free Agent John Cena” in two weeks.
-Backstage, Naomi said she knows how hard the women worked, and Ellsworth being the determining factor is a disappointment, but Bryan will make the right decision. She said she’s ready for whatever the result is. In walked Lana and asked, “What about me?” She sneered at Naomi’s neon glow. Lana asked for a rematch. Naomi said, “You are so thirsty!” She said she already felt her glow. She offered her another chance, though, next week because she wants to be known as a fighting champion. She told her to get out of her face before she slaps her back to Russia.
-They went to the announcers. Phillips couldn’t believe Lana will get another title shot. JBL said she almost scored the upset of the century on Sunday night.
(Keller’s Analysis: Just remember, it’s just been established that champions get to determine when and against whom they defend titles.)
The announcers then commented on freeze-frames of the end of the Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton match including clips of Orton attacking the Singh Brothers for putting their hands on his father at ringside. Phillips said the Singh Brothers paid dearly.
-A sit down interview aired with Phillips interviewing Orton earlier. Orton said he just lost control when he saw his dad in peril. He said he beat himself and took his eye off the ball. Phillips asked if it was part of Jinder’s strategy. Orton said probably. He said he’s been through the numbers game before with the Authority or Evolution or Legacy, and he can deal with that. What he refuses to deal with is anyone disrespecting his family. He said Jinder accomplished his mission of making it personal. He said it’s not just about winning his 14th WWE World Title. He is now going to hurt Jinder bad and he doesn’t care if he ends his career. He said since he’s disrespected his family, maybe he’ll travel to India and rain down RKO’s on his extended family. He said there is no turning back now. The camera zoomed in on Orton to show how intense he was. Then it got weird for about two seconds because WWE never knows when enough is enough.
(2) DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
The bell rang 46 minutes into the first hour. JBL talked about how the Japanese approach matches with a different style and “it’s just made to be a tougher style.” He compared it to the differences between Mexican and South African style boxing. Ziggler and Nakamura felt each other out early. Nakamura showed some attitude and then went after Ziggler with some kicks at 3:00. Ziggler got in some offense by 5:00. He charged , but Nakamura backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. They cut to a break at 6:00. [c]
Ziggler controlled the action after the break. Nakamura made a comeback with a series of kicks once again. They were slow to get up. Nakamura rallied and hit Ziggler with a running knee in the corner at 11:00. At 12:00 Nakamura charged, but Ziggler side-stepped him and kicked his knee, then hit a Fameasser for a near fall. JBL touted, “What a match we have on Smackdown Live!” Nakamura countered a schoolboy attempt by Ziggler into a cross arm breaker. Ziggler raked Nakamura’s eyes, and the ref didn’t see it as Ziggler was distracting him. JBL said, “Like it or not, a pure veteran move!” Nakamura escaped a Ziggler sleeper and then nailed Ziggler with his Kinshasa for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. I’m still not sure going 17 minutes with Ziggler, even if it’s a really good WWE style match with some good “strong style” kicks in the mix, is the fast-track to getting the most out of Nakamura. That said, it’s hard not to be engaged in a Nakamura-style match, and Ziggler certainly takes great bumps and is all-around a good worker for him to shine against. So mixed feelings.)
-Bryan told Sami Zayn backstage that his sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder was incredible. Sami smiled and thanked him. Bryan said he booked him against Corbin next week. Sami liked that. Becky Lynch walked up behind them. Sami said she went through hell and he feels she got robbed. He said he was rooting for her. He left. Becky said she knows everyone is coming to Bryan today. She said she physically had it in her hands and Ellsworth slithered in and toppled over the ladder and handed it to Carmella. She said they keep talking about Smackdown is the land of opportunity, but it doesn’t feel that way. She was distraught and said it doesn’t seem to matter how hard she trains, how hard she works, and how good she is, there is always somebody willing to take a shortcut and weasel their way to the top. She said she knows it’s going to happen, yet there’s still nothing she can do. Bryan apologized. “It’s complicated,” he said. She said, “Is doing the right thing really that complicated?” She walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Tremendous promo. Absolutely tremendous! The agony of defeat on display, and finally a babyface making the case clear and strong why heels should be booed when they cheat, not complimented for taking advantage of the system. Who couldn’t relate and empathize with Becky’s frustration that playing fair isn’t getting her where she deserves to be?)
-They showed Kevin Owens heading to the entrance backstage. [c]
-Owens made his way to the ring as the announcers plugged Great Balls of Fire. He said the other MITB competitors ganged up on him because they knew he was the most dangerous man in the match “and they tried to end my career.” He said that was an absolute injustice. He said what happened to him on Sunday night wasn’t fair, but he’s still in the ring tonight, unbroken, still the new Face of America, and still the United States Champion. He said Shane likes to say Smackdown Live is the land of opportunity. He said the original land of opportunity was the United States of America, which is why it’s his duty as U.S. Champion to make Smackdown Live the land of opportunity. He said he’s going to give one lucky individual from Dayton, Ohio a chance at his title. He asked anyone in the back from Dayton to step out. Instead, A.J. Styles’s music played.
Styles said he’ll accept Owens’ open challenge. “It’s go time!” he said. Owens said he’s a typical American sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. He asked Styles if he was listening, because this is open only to people from Dayton. American Alpha’s music played and out walked Jason Jordan and Chad Gable. Owens said they’re not from Dayton, so what are they doing there. Gable said he just moved to Dayton. Owens asked, “When?” Gable said, “This morning.” He smiled. Owens asked him for his address. 3640 Colonial Glen Highway, Dayton, Ohio. Styles said he knows that place. He asked the ref to ring the bell. The ref did.
(3) KEVIN OWENS vs. CHAD GABLE – U.S. Title Open Challenge match
Gable surprised him with two amateur style takedowns and went for an ankle lock. Owens bailed out to ringside. They cut to a break, but showed the match on split screen. [c]
Owens took over and threw Gable hard into the ringside barrier. Styles joined the announcers on commentary. Owens eventually won with a Pop-Up Powerbomb in a competitive match.
-The Hype Bros. made their case to Daniel Bryan for a title shot. They showed footage of their win last year earning the title shot, but Ryder’s injury happened and they didn’t get that shot. Mojo Rawley said they feel there is no statute of limitations on that title shot. He said they’re red hot and ready to go. Bryan said the tag division has changed a lot since then, but he’ll give them a shot at earning a title shot next week against the Usos. The Hype Bros. were okay with it. Ryder said they just need a chance. [c]
-Backstage, Sami told a producer that he appreciates his opinion, but he needs a bit more of an expert judge. The camera panned over and there was Tye Dillinger helping him choose between two fast food shakes. He gave them both a “10” which didn’t help Sami at all.
-Bryan made his full ring entrance and said it’s great to be back. He said he wished it was under better circumstances. He said he has been talking with Shane McMahon and other WWE officials about this the last 48 hours and they told him he has to take his emotions out of it and stick strictly to the WWE rule book. He called all of the women out. They each came out one after another. Bryan conceded Carmella made some valid points. He said MITB matches are no DQ matches and the rulebook doesn’t say specifically you can’t have someone else climb the ladder and unhook the briefcase. It just says the first woman to hold the briefcase is the winner of the match. Bryan said there has been interference in other MITB ladder matches before. He said, that said, there has never ever been somebody who climbed the ladder and unhooked the briefcases and handed it to someone else. Carmella and Ellsworth went from cocky and elated to concerned. Bryan said they are now in uncharted territory.
Ellsworth asked Bryan what’s gotten into him. He said “becoming a daddy to a little vegan hippy baby has gotten him all soft.” He asked Bryan to get this over with. Bryan got in Ellsworth’s face and told him to shut up. He said if he talks about his baby girl one more time, he’ll punch him in the face so hard he won’t be able to breath and he will fire him. Wow! The crowd erupted into “Yes!” chants. Carmella said they have the cards, so he can’t talk to them like that. Becky interrupted. Natalya told Becky to stop sucking up to Bryan. She said just because she almost touched the briefcase doesn’t mean she won anything. Charlotte interjected and said she is here for a decision. Tamina told Charlotte that she needs to be quiet or she’ll start looking like Ellsworth. That felt weak.
Bryan told everyone to calm down. He said on Sunday they all competed in a historic match, and Carmella has chance for a first-time-ever moment because she’ll be the first women to hand over the MITB briefcase. The crowd cheered. Bryan said he won’t let somebody like Ellsworth interrupt one of the most important moments in WWE women’s history. He said next week they’ll relive that historic moment “right here on Smackdown Live.” He said there will be a Women’s MITB Ladder Match with the same five competitors. Bryan left with the briefcase. The women brawled. When the dust settled, Becky made Carmella tapout to Disarm Her as Charlotte watched.
(Keller’s Analysis: Shouldn’t there be some new rules established or at least ban Ellsworth from ringside? That should help ratings, though. This was a reasonable response to the controversial finish on Sunday. That said, Bryan said he was told he had to stick with the rules, and it appears he didn’t, so I wonder if Shane will endorse this or contradict it.) [c]
(4) JINDER MAHAL (w/Singh Brother) vs. LUKE HARPER
Jinder made his full elaborate ring entrance. They cut to a very early break. [c]
A few minutes in, Harper rallied and scored a near fall. Jinder took over and head-butted Harper on the top rope. He landed a superplex. Then Baron Corbin’s music played and he walked out to the ring. He teased cashing in the briefcase, then circled ringside and told Jinder that he is in his head. Jinder watched him circle the ring and return to the back. Harper schoolboyed a distracted Jinder for a near fall. He kicked him. The Singh Brothers distracted Harper, and Jinder delivered his finisher for the win.
WINNER: Jinder Mahal.
-After the match, Orton came out and attacked Mahal. It went on a couple minutes and included a DDT off the ringside barrier onto the ringside mat. He threw Jinder into the ring and signaled for the RKO. The Singh Brothers jumped Orton. Orton fought back and gave them RKOs as Jinder retreated.