KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 27, 2017
SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
-A video package aired hyping the Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match redo.
-Daniel Bryan came out to a huge ovation and “Yes!” chants. He hyped the big matches on Smackdown. The mention of Naomi vs. Lana didn’t get much of a response. Carmella and James Ellsworth interrupted him. Carmella said the rules clearly state there are no rules and that the winner is the first woman to gain possession of the briefcase. She said Ellsworth isn’t the first non-participant to get involved in a MITB ladder match. She asked why Seth Rollins and Sheamus didn’t have their contracts taken away. She squealed: “How can break a rule if there are no rules! I did nothing wrong! It’s not fair.” She said just because she is that much more intelligent than “every single other chic in that locker room, that gives you no right to take away what is rightfully mine.” She said her briefcase is dangling over her head. She pointed up at the briefcase.
Bryan said she makes some very valid points. He said it’s true that MITB matches are no-DQ and other people have interfered in MITB matches before, but never in history has somebody climbed the ladder and grabbed the contract and handed it to another competitor. He said he made his decision, but he wants to know what the WWE Universe thinks. He asked them if he should cancel the match and hand the MITB contract back to Carmella. “No! No!” chants broke out. When he asked if instead they should have the second Women’s MITB ladder match tonight, they cheered and broke into loud “Yes!” chants.
Ellsworth said the fans make him sick. He said they are the villains because they control “this stupid puppet,” pointing at Bryan. He said he takes pleasure taking aim at his home girl. An “Ellsworth sucks!” chant broke out. He said they’re just as pathetic as Bryan. He said he used to look up to Bryan, but now he doesn’t see a man. He sees a gutless, spineless coward with no grapefruits to cut it in the ring anymore, so he made up some injury. They had a stare down. Bryan broke into laughter and patted Ellsworth on the shoulder in a patronizing manner. “Oh James, I probably should just fire you,” he said. “But tonight it’s not about you.” He said last week he said he’s going to ban him from ringside, but he’s changed his mind. He’s going to instead ban him from the entire arena. The crowd cheered. Carmella begged Bryan to change his mind and she said Ellsworth didn’t mean anything he said. Four security guys walked out and dragged Ellsworth away. He wrapped his arms around the ropes to try to stop them. They pulled him away. He tried to run. They caught up to him and carried him away. The fans sang the “Na na na na goodbye” song. Bryan wished her luck tonight. His music played and he left her pouting in the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Entertaining segment. Everyone played their parts well. Ellsworth was better than usual here. Vince McMahon has to be pleasantly surprised by how well Carmella and Alexa Bliss have done on the main roster, which helps off-set some of the disappointment with Bayley and Sasha Banks and, to some degree lately, Charlotte. Bryan did explain why this situation was different than past MITB matches with interference, but he has yet to address whether the rules will be officially changed and why he was able to make up a rule that wasn’t written down prohibiting someone from interfering in the way Ellsworth did.)
-The announcers reacted and then plugged other matches. [c]
-Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder began their ring entrance. They cut to the backstage interview two weeks ago where Mojo was talking about using his loss to springboard to better things when Ryder patted him on the shoulder and surprised him with his return.
(1) THE USOS vs. MOJO RAWLEY & ZACK RYDER – Future Title Shot at Stake
The Hype Bros took control early, including Mojo backdropping Ryder over the top rope with a flip crash onto the Usos at ringside. Shockingly, they didn’t cut to a break. Seconds later, though, Jey kicked Ryder in the head and knocked him off the ring apron. Then they cut to a break. [c]
They aired the match during the break, with the Usos working over Ryder in their corner. Near the end of the break, Mojo got the hot tag into the match and he went to work on the Usos. Four-way action broke out and Mojo and Ryder came out on top. However, Jimmy interfered to briefly give the Usos the advantage. Ryder came back by throwing him over the top turnbuckle and into the ringpost. They came back live with the Usos taking control and suddenly Jimmy landed a top rope splash for the win. That was sudden.
WINNERS: The Usos in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was quite a quick exit from the tag team title picture for the newly reunited Hype Bros.)
-After the match, the New Day came out wearing red sweat pants and black and blue New Day t-shirts. Xavier congratulated them for winning a match instead of running away from it. Big E said they want their gold and at Battleground they’re coming for them. The Usos told them to shut up, and then they accepted their challenge. They predicted they will fail again. New Day fired back with some insults, which they celebrated the punchline of exuberantly.
-They showed Tamina warming up backstage as the announcers hyped upcoming matches. [c]
-A commercial hyped the return of John Cena next Tuesday night.
-At ringside, JBL said Cena is comparable to Michael Jordan and Tom Brady as the greatest of all-time. Phillips threw to the latest Fashion Vice segment, spoofing Miami Vice. He said Breezango want to find out why The Ascension ruined their offices.
-Breezango interrogated the Ascension. They denied doing anything. Fandango showed them the stick figure drawing and said the suspects look like that. Fandango tried to bribe the Ascension to reveal who attacked Tyler Breeze with a pair of tickets to an Eddie Money concert. Konnor said they only listen to Grind Core Thrash Metal, so no deal. Tyler produced three plastic water guns. He asked if they were feeling pressure. He produced a cheese platter and asked why they attacked him. The Ascension said they only took credit for the attack because they wanted a match at Money in the Bank. Tyler and Fandango discussed their strategy. Fandango said they were both good cops there. Tyler said, “No, we were great cops.” They returned to their office and found it trashed again. Tyler said the Ascension were there the whole time, so it couldn’t have been them. Tyler said, “This thing has more layers than Heather Locklear’s hair.” The Ascension snuck the Eddie Money tickets. Some laughs from the crowd.
-They showed Natalya warming up backstage.
-Naomi made her ring entrance. [c]
-Lana made her full ring entrance. The graphic said she is from Moscow, Russia and stars on E! Total Divas.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s so strange they list her playing herself without her accent as a credit for the Lana persona on WWE TV as she comes out in character. I mean, she’s an entirely different person on Total Divas.)
(2) NAOMI vs. LANA
They did formal ring introductions. As Naomi held up her title belt, Lana attacked her from behind. She landed an early sitout slam and scored a two count. Naomi came back with a kick and then landed a split-legged moonsault for the pin. Lana eventually got up and threw a fit.
WINNER: Naomi in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, that was fast. Not sure what to make of it, but it seems like the right move if the goal is to keep Naomi strong for whomever wins MITB later. Plus, Lana hasn’t shown she’s ready for longer matches, and storyline-wise there’s no reason for her to be able to keep up with the establish champion.)
-Dasha Fuentes interviewed Becky Lynch backstage. Fuentes recited her obviously memorized question meticulously. Becky said two weeks ago she was inches away from winning the briefcase and showing you can walk your own path and still be successful, but Ellsworth ripped that away from her. She said because Bryan did the right thing, she has a fair chance, and that’s all she needs to be the first woman to legitimately win the MITB contract. The camera hovered on Dasha for a couple seconds as she pondered the comments made by Lynch.
-Aiden English sang opera-style in the ring. Randy Orton’s ring entrance interrupted. [c]
-Back from the break, Orton was sitting mid-ring on a metal folding chair. They replayed what happened. English didn’t leave, so Orton gave him an RKO. Back live, he said he’s not leaving the ring until he gets what he wants. He said last week he tore into Jinder. He threw to the big screen for highlights from last week “to refresh your memory.” He said he wants a rematch for the WWE Title, and if he doesn’t get it, what happened last week will pale by comparison. He vowed to beat the holy hell out of Jinder in the parking lot as the fans are leaving. He said if he bumps into him in St. Louis, he’ll beat his ass again. And then he’ll do it again next week on Smackdown. He said he’ll get to the ring early and beat the living hell out of him again if he doesn’t get what he wants. He said he was going to the back to find Jinder for an beating tonight. As he began to leave the ring, Shane McMahon’s music played.
Orton returned to the ring. Shane slapped hands with fans on his way to the ring. The crowd chanted “Shane-o-Mac.” He asked San Diego what was up. They cheered. He said that he and Randy go way back, and they are live, and they can’t have him threatening the safety of the WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Orton asked what he’s going to do. He asked him if he’s going to fire him. He said if he does, he’ll show up as a ticket buyer and beat up Jinder at every show. He said he doesn’t care if he gets arrested or takes him for every penny he’s worth because he disrespected his family in front of him. He said he can make this complicated, or Shane can make the wise decision and grant him a title match against Jinder.
Shane said Orton has used similar tactics as the Singh Brothers, and those tactics have led to them (Shane and Orton) fighting in the ring before. He said he can see what Orton is feeling by looking into his eyes. He said he knows what it’s like when someone puts their hands on someone’s family member. Shane said, “Randy, you’ve got your rematch.” The crowd cheered, but when Shane said it’ll be at Battleground, there were some boos. Shane said Jinder will get to pick the stipulation, out of deference to the WWE Champion. Orton said he doesn’t give a damn what the stip is, the title is coming home where it belongs.
Jinder walked out with the Singh Brothers. He said this is exactly what’s wrong with Smackdown Live, management, and all the people in the crowd. He said Shane supports a snake like Randy Orton. A loud “USA!” chant broke out. He said that is the prejudice and bias he speaks of. He announced that it will be a Punjabi Prison match, made famous by Great Khali, whom he called his personal hero. JBL called it one of the cruelest matches in WWE history. They went to stock footage of the past Punjabi Prison match, which is made of steel-reenforced bamboo, said JBL. Jinder held up his title belt and yelled.
(Keller’s Analysis: That stock footage of the Punjabi Prison match was shown so quickly. If Shane just decided to give Orton the match, and that’s how it came across, then how did the production truck have that footage ready to show just seconds after Mahal announced the stip? On the bright side, Orton seems more engaged in the last couple weeks, which is nice to see.)
-They cut to Bryan backstage telling someone on a cell phone about the Punjabi Prison match, the first one in ten years. A.J. Styles walked in. Bryan asked him what’s up. Styles said it’s not really an Open Challenge by Kevin Owens if he is limiting it to people who live in the town. Styles said last week he was the first to accept the Open Challenge, but he didn’t get the match. Owens walked in and said he’s a typical American complaining behind his back. He said the Open Challenge is for people whom he hasn’t beaten already. He said Styles has to accept that he’s a loser. Styles said that’s fine as long as he accepts the fact that he is Ron Burgundy’s definition of San Diego. Owens asked what the hell that means; he said he didn’t get that reference. The crowd wasn’t sure they liked the one-liner. Bryan said Owens doesn’t seem to understand what an open challenge is. Bryan said when John Cena – who made his WWE debut 15 years ago today – had an Open Challenge, it was open literally to anybody. Bryan said he has an idea. He said next Tuesday is the Fourth of July, so they’re going to have an Independence Day Battle Royal, with the winner facing Owens at Battleground. Styles asked if he was in the match. When Bryan said yes, Styles said it was a great idea. Owens said it was the worst idea ever and then stormed off.
(Keller’s Analysis: This didn’t position Styles as a star. He came across a little bit like a whiner that Kevin Owens’ decision to have an Open Challenge Series didn’t have the rules he liked. Bryan’s enthusiasm for announcing a battle royal was hilarious.)
-They showed Charlotte in her robe getting ready for the MITB match. [c]
-Phillips plugged that Owens and the Usos would be guests of Renee Young and Bryan on “Talking Smack” tonight after “205 Live.”
-Mike and Maria Kanellis walked out onto the stage. She said she is the First Woman of Smackdown Live. Mike said he is Maria’s husband. Sami Zayn’s entrance interrupted. Maria asked what that was all about. “Are you kidding me!?” she said. Sami made his way to the ring for his scheduled match against Baron Corbin. Then Corbin’s ring entrance took place.
(3) SAMI ZAYN vs. BARON CORBIN
Sami got early control and Corbin bailed out. When Sami dove at him, Corbin caught him and then threw him into the ringside barrier. They cut to an early break, but the kept the camera rolling with a split screen. [c]
Corbin dominated during the break. Sami avoided a charging Corbin, and he flew shoulder-first into the ringpost. Then Sami landed a top rope body press for a near fall. They showed Shinsuke Nakamura watching backstage, making faces as he did so. Corbin blocked a suplex and gave Sami a right hand to the face. Sami staggered back into the corner. Corbin took over again, and shortly thereafter hit End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin in 8:00.
-They cut again to Shinsuke watching Corbin’s celebration backstage. Fuentes then walked in and asked him if he’d like a one-on-one match against Corbin. Nakamura said Corbin is dangerous, but he fears what he can do to him. “Perhaps he’s right to be afraid,” he said. He then walked away. Some fans chanted “Nakamura” in the background.
-Saxton plugged the Women’s Money in the Bank match up next. [c]
-They announced next week there will be a rap-off between the Usos and New Day.
(4) WOMEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
Ring entrance took place: Charlotte, Natalya, Tamina, Becky, and Carmella. The bell rang 34 minute into the second hour. Carmella quickly slid a ladder into the ring as the other four fought at ringside. She set up the ladder and climbed it, but all four other women entered the ring and stared at her mid-climb. A fight broke out with everyone. Tamina tried to climb, but the other women yanked her down. Becky gave Natalya an Exploder Suplex. She gave another suplex to Charlotte. With the ring clear, she made an attempt to set up the big ladder. Tamina jumped her from behind and knocked Becky into the ladder. Then she gave her a Samoan Drop. Then she landed a Superfly Splash. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, they showed fallen bodies at ringside. Charlotte set up a ladder, but Natalya intercepted her efforts and gave her a suplex. Tamina and Carmella brawled at ringside. Becky gave Natalya a suplex at ringside. Charlotte and Tamina battled over the ladder in center-ring. Becky ran in and climbed the ladder as Charlotte and Tamina held it up. They stood there and watched Becky reach for the briefcase, but then finally tipped it over. It was awkward. Tamina shoved Becky off the ladder. Even more awkwardness. Tamina set up the ladder again, but Charlotte kicked it into her. Natalya landed Charlotte with a discus punch. Then she shoved a ladder at Charlotte in the corner and set up another mid-ring. Charlotte used another ladder quickly scale the main ladder. She met Natalya on top. They battled over trying to get their hands on the case. Carmella tipped them both over. Becky gave Carmella a suplex mid-ring. Becky tossed the ladder out of the ring at Natalya. Tamina tackled Becky, and inexplicably Phillips said Lana speared Naomi, then apologized. They cut to a quick break. [c]
After the break, Natalya, Becky, Charlotte, and Tamina were all climbing the ladder at once. They fought each other to try to get the advantage. The ladder tipped and they all crashed. Carmella climbed the ladder and began to unhitch it, but all four women stood up and grabbed the ladder. They lifted the ladder and moved it and Carmella out of the range of the case. Carmella dove onto several women below. She was slow to get up afterward. Charlotte rammed the bottom rung of the ladder over Tamina’s chest. Then she climbed the ladder, with Tamina trapped underneath. Charlotte realized the ladder was supposed to be positioned sideways to the hard camera and moved it. Tamina rolled over and put herself under the ladder again. That was terrible looking. Carmella climbed the ladder and tried to knock Charlotte off the ladder. Tamina then pressed the ladder and knocked Charlotte and Carmella off of it. That’s a bad mess-up that undercut what could have been a cool spot. My god, give up the “better camera angle” to keep a shred of realism in place. Tamina climbed the ladder. Natalya and Becky ran in and yanked her down. They double powerbombed her mid-ring.
Natalya gave Becky a strong powerbomb next. Then she put Carmella in a sharpshooter mid-ring. Charlotte broke it up. Natalya fought Charlotte to ringside and then tossed her over the ringside barrier and into the crowd. Meanwhile, Ellsworth ran back to ringside and tried to help revive Carmella at ringside. He lifted her and threw her into the ring. Saxton protested. Then he climbed the ladder again. Becky entered the ring and kicked Carmella out of the ring. Then she tipped the ladder over and Ellsworth crotched the top rope. Becky then set up the ladder and showed fire. She climbed quickly, but Carmella pulled her leg. She yanked her down. Becky sold a right leg injury after landing. She tried to climb the ladder, but Carmella hit her with the chair in the back of the leg. She bashed her in the back with the chair. Then she climbed the ladder, unhooked it, and won. JBL said Carmella did it all by herself.
WINNER; Carmella in 24:00.