McNEILL’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/4: John Cena Returns, Rap Battle, Naomi-Lana III & Battle Royal

By Pat McNeill, PWTorch columnist

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


JULY 4th, 2017

Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton


-A Fourth of July themed video package aired.

– The ring announcer introduced the returning John Cena, who has a new royal blue T-shirt. “Let’s Go, Cena” chants dueled with “Cena sucks” chants. Cena took the microphone and talked about Independence Day and the American ideal of all men being created equal.

– Big Match John loves America, he loves Smackdown, but he doesn’t appreciate other superstars saying he’s a “part-timing mascot”. Cena says he’s not a part-timer, he’s an “all-timer”, and he plans to be on Raw and Smackdown. He still has the same passion for WWE he did 15 years ago.

– Out to interrupt John Cena is…Alexander Rusev, carrying a Bulgarian flag. Rusev says he works hard too. There were two months of commercials for Cena’s return to Smackdown, but no commercials for Rusev’s return. Rusev was waiting to hear from Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, but he decided to show up tonight instead. Rusev said the USA and the American Dream are jokes. The fans chanted “U-S-A!”

– Cena countered this is the USA, and not “Bulge Area”. Rusev said America’s 4th of July is all about stuffing your faces with hamburgers and hot dogs. The fans chanted “Yes! Yes! Yes!” at Rusev.

– Blah, blah, blah…John Cena challenged Rusev to a flag match on tonight’s show. The Phoenix crowd loved the idea. Rusev said he accepted the match, but not for tonight. Cena led the crowd in chanting “U-S-A” as Rusev left the stage.

– The announcer hyped the women’s title match, the rap battle and Wale’s appearance.

– Backstage, Daniel Bryan talked to AJ Styles and Chad Gable. Since Kevin Owens objected to having two men he’s defeated already in the battle royal tonight. Therefore, Styles will fight Gable for the right to be in the battle royal, after the break. [c]

(1) AJ STYLES vs. CHAD GABLE – Winner Is In Tonight’s Battle Royal

Phillips reminded us the winner of the battle royal gets a shot at he United States title, presumably at “Battleground”. Styles gets the early advantage as we go to break. [c]

On the inset, we could see Styles working over Gable. Styles went up top, Gable ran up for a belly-to-belly superplex, but AJ blocked it. Styles suplexed Chad into the turnbuckle. AJ went for a Styles Clash, but Gable escaped and grabbed an anklelock. Styles eventually reversed it into a calf crusher. Gable escapes, but both men are limping slightly.

The crowd thinks this is awesome. It’s pretty good.

Pele kick by Styles and Gable is wobbly. The Phenomenal forearm puts an end to it.

WINNER: AJ Styles in 8:15.

After the match, Styles helped Gable up, and we got a nod of mutual respect.

(McNeill’s Analysis: A good TV match. I wouldn’t mind seeing this again on pay-per-view two years from now.)

Backstage, Mojo Rawley has upset with last week’s loss when Zack Ryder told Mojo they’re both in tonight’s battle royal. They jokingly argued over which man will win.

Up next, Carmella & Ellsworth. Carmels-worth?[c]

Carmella and James Ellsworth make their entrance, complete with the Money In The Bank Briefcase. Ellsworth introduces Carmella to start the “Carmellabration”. Carmella taunted the fans for not believing in her, and that she gets to decide when she faces Naomi for the title. Nice segue.

Naomi has an entrance. Naomi has a microphone. She congratulated Carmella on her win, said she’d be ready, and called out “Ellsworthless”, telling James somebody wanted a word with him.

Cue Daniel Bryan’s entrance. Cue the “Yes” chants. Ellsworth tried to talk. Bryan cut him off. Daniel is barring James from the arena, fining him $10,000, and suspending him for thirty days without pay. If Ellsworth disobeys Bryan, Carmella has to give up the Money In The Bank briefcase. Ellsworth sold this to the hilt.

Naomi-Lana III is NEXT. [c]

(McNeill’s Analysis: Let’s just say this was a popular decision with the live crowd.)

Back live, Tom Phillips showed Daniel Bryan’s tweet granting Lana another match.

(2) NAOMI vs. LANA – WWE Smackdown Women’s Title

Naomi put Lana in her submission hold. Lana tapped.

WINNER: Naomi in 0:10.

Tamina hit the ring after the match and told Lana to get up. Lana sold her injured arm and reluctantly followed Tamina up the ramp.

Backstage, Dasha tried to interview Shinsuke Nakamura, but Baron Corbin blindsided Nakamura with the briefcase. Corbin asked Nakamura if he really thought Corbin was scared of him. Nakamura said “Yes!” Officials separated the two wrestlers. Battle Rap is next!

(McNeill’s Analysis: Decent segment. Short segment.)


During the break, Daniel Bryan announced the John Cena vs. Rusev flag match will take place July 23rd at “Battleground”.

Wale (pronounced Wall-E) is your Grammy nominated rap battle host. Who can ever forget the night Dory Funk Jr. and Jack Brisco rapped to a 60 minute draw?

Both The Usos and The New Day came out for the battle rap. The Usos and their posse were dressed in black. New Day came out dressed in red, white and blue. I think their entourage is dressed like the Village Police.

Wale asked both teams to keep it clean.

Big E went first for the challengers, closing out by saying even Rikishi knows that New Day rocks.

Jey Uso compared Xavier Woods to Whoopi Goldberg and made fun of Big E’s man boobs. The Usos said Xavier Woods was a rated-R superstar, who got an “Oh, no, he didn’t!” reaction from the crowd.

Kofi Kingston is up next. He has abs, the Usos have muffintops, which is why they wrestle in T-shirts. They’re in their first trimester. They’re “weenie-doos”. (Don’t ask.)

Jimmy Uso says Kofi Kingston was Jamaican, now he’s from Sheboygan (or something like that.) He’s Paul Bunyan yelling Timber, and New Day can’t beat them without a fourth member.

Xavier Woods gets to go last. The New Day dressed like a million bucks, the Usos dressed like divorced dads. The New Day are gladiators like Romans, the Usos should go back to carrying bags for Roman.

The Usos took offense and started swinging. Wale disqualified the Usos, and awarded the battle rap to the New Day.

Randy Orton is up next. [c]

(McNeill’s Analysis: There were a few funny lines, but by and large that was ponderous. It did get over that these teams don’t like each other. So there’s that.)

Titus O’Neil plugged tonight’s “205 Live”, where Titus Worldwide is taking over. Oh, goody.

Aiden English sang. He fills up my senses, like a night in the forest.

Last week, English got RKO’d by Orton. This week, it’s Orton vs. Enlish. Start your stopwatch. After Orton’s entrance, English hit Orton with the microphone. English threw Orton into the steps. Then, he continued his song as we went to commercial. [c]


We’re back, and the match is underway. English has had the advantage throughout the break. The fight went to the floor and Orton tossed English over the announce desk. Then Orton did it again. Hanging DDT off the announce table. Referee Charles Robinson has somehow not counted these guys out. Orton picked up the steel ring steps and hit English with them.

WINNER: Aiden English by disqualification in about 4:00.

Orton brought English back into the ring and gave Aiden an RKO. Cue WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, the Singhs, and Jinder Mahal’s entrance. The crowd chanted “U-S-A!” Mahal said he would like to beat tolerance into everyone in the audience. (Okay, that’s a good line.)

Orton interrupted Jinder, promising to punish Mahal’s ass in the Punjabi Prison. Nobody likes Jinder because he’s a jackass. Cue Orton’s music.

(McNeill’s Analysis: That was a lot shorter than the battle rap, and much more effective.)

Tom Phillips plugged Sunday’s pay-per-view and encouraged fans to sign up for WWE Network. The announcers ran down the lineup for “Great Balls Of Fire”.

The Independence Day Battle Royal is still to come. [c]

Tye Dillinger is backstage with Tyler Breeze, who is disguised as blonde interviewer “Tenay Young”. Tye figures out the disguise. Breeze asks Dillinger if he’s worried about Breezango. Dillinger says he is, but wonders aloud what will happen if it comes down to Breeze and Fandango. Fandango is behind them, disguised as a construction worker. After Tye leaves, the Breezangos compare notes. They don’t think Dillinger caught on.

Cut to Renee Young, who is trying to keep a straight face as she interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Kannelis. Mike’s shirt has to be seen to be believed. Maria said they have the power of love. Mike gushed about how beautiful Maria is. Off to the side, Sami Zayn is stretching, and accidentally knocked over a clangy pipe. Zayn started to apologize to Mike and Maria, but heard his entrance music playing and left. Mike and Maria weren’t happy with Sami for “runing the moment”. [c]

(McNeill’s Analysis: So, that happened.)


About fourteen men in the match. Kevin Owens was on commentary. Looks like Rowan, Harper, Styles, Zayn, Ziggler, Sin Cara, Jason Jordan and…Dolph Ziggler is eliminated, right before the commercial break. [c]

We’re back from break, and Erick Rowan is eliminating Tyler Breeze and Sin Cara. Harper eliminated Conor. Mojo eliminated Harper. Mojo and Ryder faced off. Mojo and Zack teamed up to eliminate Rowan, and then Mojo tossed out Zack. Owens acted outraged. Zayn eliminated Rawley. Styles, Zayn & Dillinger were the last three. The two men fou8ght on the apron, until Styles hit the Pele kick. and knocked Zayn out.

WINNER: Styles in about 9:00.

Owens attacked Styles after the match. Styles fought off Owens, then picked up the US Title belt AJ left in the ring. It’s Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles at Battleground!

(McNeill’s Analysis: A happy ending for the holiday episode.)

2 Comments on McNEILL’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/4: John Cena Returns, Rap Battle, Naomi-Lana III & Battle Royal

  1. Wow. Bad show. Cena returns to battle no one , but then will battle Rusev yet again at the PPV. We have seen that numerous times. Boring. Lana got her third title match for no apparent reason and each time she is worse and worse. The rap battle was not funny. The Styles match was pretty good. The battle royal was a snoozer. Overall, A D show.

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