KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 10, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-Phillips welcomed viewers to Smackdown as the camera panned the crowd. He hyped A.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka vs. James Ellsworth in a lumberjack match.
-Miz TV: Miz reacted to the crowd response by saying he has a microphone so he can be louder than all of them. He hyped that “Miz and the Missus” premiers right after Smackdown on USA Network in two weeks. He predicted he’ll win an Emmy. Then he introduced Kane and Daniel Bryan as his guests. Phillips plugged that they’d face The Bludgeon Brothers at Extreme Rules. Graves said Bryan & Kane won’t beat The Bludgeon Brothers. Saxton said it would be a tall task, but Bryan has made a career of proving doubters wrong.
Miz said he wanted to address the elephant in the room, which is that Bryan is upset that he beat him in the gauntlet match last month on Smackdown, but he promised him he was out there to be a professional and can only ask that Bryan extend him the same courtesy. Bryan said if he’s asking whether he’s going to punch Miz in the face, the answer is… He paused as fans chanted “Yes! Yes!” Kane pulled Bryan aside and had a few words with him off-mic to deter him from acting. Miz scolded the fans for booing Kane just because he was being civil. He said if they want to act like children, he’ll treat them like children; he raised his arm and said when his arm goes up, their mouths go shut.
Bryan said Miz is trying to stir the pot and he’s onto him. He said the only thing he’s worse at than stirring the pot is wrestling. Miz said Bryan is scared of him since he returned and now he’s hiding “behind this cheesy nostalgia act.” Kane took exception. Miz yelled that Bryan knows he can no longer hang with him inside the ring. Kane asked Bryan to stay calm and breathe. He said he’d keep his energy focused where it belongs – on the Bludgeons. Miz told Bryan to “hide behind your broken down demon one more time.” Kane turned and choked Miz, setting up a chokeslam. The Bludgeon Brothers’ music then played, so of course Kane stopped mid-chokeslam to star at the stage.
The Bludgeons strode to the ring. Sanity’s music then played and they attacked the distracted Kane & Bryan from behind. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan threw Kane into the ringside steps. New Day’s music played and then ran out to offset Sanity. Phillips said New Day will be facing Sanity on the Extreme Rules kickoff show on Sunday. Phillips said there were bodies everywhere and it was pure carnage. Producers and referees ran out and cleared the ring. Adam Pearce and David Finlay settled things down. Bryan, Kane, and New Day were down on the mat as Sanity stood over them and the Bludgeons returned to the back as their music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment. This likely sets up a ten-man tag match main event. I liked seeing the history between Bryan & Kane shown, and to do it under the auspices of Miz stirring the pot made a lot of sense. Miz was good here. Kane’s strong opinion on ‘N Sync was pretty funny.)
-Phillips plugged Asuka vs. James Ellsworth in a lumberjack match.
-They showed Shinsuke Nakamura warming up backstage. Graves noted that Smackdown G.M. Paige wants Nakamura and Styles at the top of their games, so she rematched Styles and Shinsuke up next. [c]
-The announcers confirmed that a ten-man tag team match was booked by Paige with the four teams in the first segment.
(1) SHIINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. A.J. STYLES
Nakamura made his ring entrance. Then Styles made his entrance. Rusev and Aiden English walked out before the bell. Rusev vowed to destroy the House that A.J. Built on Sunday. Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” Rusev said Rusev Day will haunt Styles forever. The bell rang and Nakamura went after a distracted Styles, but Styles immediately dropkicked him. Nakamura regrouped at ringside. They cut to an early break, but stayed with the action on a split screen. [c]
Styles went after him with chops at ringside. Styles controlled him with an overhead chancery, but Nakamura slipped out and kneed him in the head. They battled back and forth until the end of the break when Rusev and English joined in on commentary. Rusev said he already told his mother he won the WWE Title so she doesn’t have to worry or wonder. Nakamura knocked Styles out of mid-air on a Phenomenal Forearm attempt. Nakamura then took it to Styles at ringside. Graves said he heard Styles is spending more time in the gym and drinking his milk. Rusev laughed and said milk is for babies. Rusev said he’s been more than ready for four-and-a-half years and he’s ready to prove it. A combative Rusev said it’ll just take one kick for him to finish Styles. Nakamura controlled Styles and Rusev touted his scouting of Styles. He said he is too powerful for Styles. [c]
Graves asked if Rusev has any mind games to go along with his physical strength advantage. Rusev said he does. He said Styles is like an open book to him “and I go to the library quite often.” Styles came back and set up a Styles Clash. Nakamura kicked free and went for a triangle. Styles pushed Nakamura’s shoulders to the mat. Nakamura had to release it to avoid getting pinned. Styles sidestepped a charging Nakamura and threw him to the floor. Styles slingshot himself onto Nakamura with a Phenomenal Forearm. English stood up and yelled at Styles about what he’s in for on Sunday. Styles punched him. Rusev stood and asked if that was necessary. Nakamura kicked Styles, then charged with a Kinshasa, but he hit English when Styles moved. Styles threw Nakamura into the ringpost and rolled him into the ring. Styles then set up for the Phenomenal Forearm. Rusev yanked him off the ring apron by his leg. The ref called for the DQ.
WINNER: Styles via DQ in 17:00.
-Afterward, Rusev held Styles for Nakamura, but Jeff Hardy ran out for the save. They double-teamed him as fans chanted “Hardy! Hardy!” Paige came out and booked all four in a tag match right now. [c]
(2) A.J. STYLES & JEFF HARDY vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RUSEV
They joined the match in progress. They went to a split-screen and aired a commercial for Extreme Rules. Late in the match Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind. When he went for the cover, Nakamura broke it up. Styles threw Nakamura out of the ring and then kneed him. Rusev gave Styles the Machka Kick, knocking him off the ring apron. Hardy then gave Rusev a Twist of Fate. When he climbed to the top rope, Nakamura knocked him off the top rope. Fans booed. Rusev then gave Hardy the Machka Kick for the win.
WINNER: Rusev & Nakamura in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Logical, if not predictable, booking having the babyface champion with the secondary singles title take the pinfall against the heel challenger for the top title. Good action throughout from the Styles-Nakamura match through to the tag match. Rusev was great on commentary, playing the strong heel but also being entertaining with his dry wit.)
-Ellsworth tried to do a push up, but couldn’t. Then he did a sit-up. Carmella walked up to him and snapped that he better take care of Asuka. He said, “Don’t worry babe, I got it.” He winked her her. She told him if he winks at her again, he’ll give her a beating bigger than the one she’s giving Asuka on Sunday.
-The Smackdown Women’s Division walked to ringside to be the lumberjacks. [c]
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-Carmella made her ring entrance. Graves p0inted out she’d also be a lumberjack.
(3) JAMES ELLSWORTH vs. ASUKA – Lumberjack Match
Phillips showed Ellsworth on Twitter calling out female legends in sports. Graves said he thinks its inspiring. Phillips called it despicable and insane and classless. Ellsworth took off his shirt and asked the women to try to resist kissing him even though he’s very tempting. He told the lumberjacks none of them are ready for Asuka. Then Asuka made her ring entrance. Byron asked how delusional Ellsworth is. When Asuka went for a spinning backfist, Ellsworth ducked and rolled out of the ring. The lumberjacks threw him back into the ring. Asuka gave him a hip attack off the ring apron a minute later. Asuka kneed him in the ring. Ellsworth again crawled to ringside. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose gave him space. When he tried to run, though, they all grabbed him and threw him back into the ring. A brawl broke out among the women, giving Ellsworth an opening to try to crawl toward the back. Becky Lynch chased him down. The women brawled in a cluster. Asuka dove off the top rope onto all of them. Carmella gave Ellsworth some breath spray, but Asuka ducked it and reverse-kicked Ellsworth, knocking him into Carmella. She then put Ellsworth in the Asukalock. Ellsworth tapped out frantically.
WINNER: Asuka in 4:00.
-Afterward, Asuka fended off Carmella, but Ellsworth then sprayed her in the eyes. Carmella then superkicked Asuka in the head.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was just fine. It was good for laughs and no one was hurt.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Saxton said it might have been the worst wrestling match he’s seen in his life. Phillips plugged the ten-man tag match and narrated highlights of the show-opening brawl.
-Backstage New Day told Team Hell No they have to figure out a way to beat their opponents. Kane suggested they set them on fire and drag them to hell. Bryan asked if they can summon satan he’ll just open a portal for them. Kane said, “Technically, it’s a gate, but yes, that’s exactly what I expect.” Kofi Kingston told them to focus. Bryan said if Kane would have let him punch Miz in the face, they would have seen them coming. Kane said no they wouldn’t have. Bryan said yes they would have. They bickered back and forth and it turned into “Yes! No! Yes! No!” Big E yelled for them to stop and get it together or else they don’t stand a chance. He told Bryan he needs him to become “The Goat-Faced Killer.” Kane said this is a battle they will win. “I give you my word. This is a battle we will win. With this vow, forever has now become, this I promise you.” Bryan asked, “Was that ‘N Sync?” Kane said… “So, it still applies!” They all yelled and got fired up. [c]
-Backstage Paige approached Carmella, who was happy with Ellsworth “getting the job done.” Ellsworth said his stock with women has risen more than WWE stock. He asked Paige to pucker up because he’d make an exception for her. Paige resisted the temptation. Then she told Ellsworth he’ll be suspended above the ring in a shark cage on Sunday so he can’t interfere. Graves said that’s not how you treat an elite athlete.
(4) ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS (w/Zelina Vega) vs. SIN CARA
Sin Cara was already in the ring. Almas walked out with Vega. They cut to a recap of the interview segment with Sin Cara that led to Almas attacking him a few weeks ago. Sin Cara took Almas to the floor with a head scissors and hit an early dive through the ropes. Almas took over and they cut to an early break. [c]
They showed action during the break with Almas continuing to dominate. Sin Cara made a comeback and took Almas over with a flying head scissors over the top rope to the floor. When he leaped off the top rope, Almas lifted his knees. He then climbed to the top rope, but Sin Cara knocked him off balance. Byron said this is the best Sin Cara has looked in a long time. Almas then landed the double-stomp off the top rope (which requires the target to ridiculously hold himself in position for an extended period of time and thus is just a stupid move). Almas then landed running double knees in the corner for the win.
WINNER: Almas in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not sure it helps Almas for announcers to say Sin Cara had his best match in ages against him. Almas can be a big star on Smackdown, but even-steven matches against an established jobber, no matter how smooth he looked here, defines him down.)
-The announcer plugged the entire Extreme Rules line-up.
-A backstage promo aired with Sanity. Killian Dane said they’re there to break the status quo. Alexander Wolfe said they’re not there for the nostalgia. Eric Young said all that is left is to inflict chaos. The Bludgeons walked in and stared at Sanity, then said it was time for the bludgeoning to begin. [c]
Ring entrances took place for everyone. [c]
(5) NEW DAY & TEAM HELL NO vs. BLUDGEON BROTHERS & SANITY
Everyone began to brawl and then they cut to a break to restore order. [c]
Xavier scored some offense early, but then was beaten down by the Bludgeons and then Sanity. They cut to another break. [c]
Bryan eventually got a hot-tag and rallied against Young. New Day entered and Big E launched Kofi into Luke Harper at ringside. Killian Dane crossbody blocked Kofi on the floor. Big E speared him off the ring apron seconds later. Bryan got riled up and gave Young a running knee to the chest for the win.
WINNERS: New Day & Team Hell No in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The match never had a good chance to get going on TV because of the commercial breaks. But what aired was fine.)
-They show ended with announcers talking about momentum for Team Hell No going into Extreme Rules on Sunday. Bryan imitated Kane and got the pyro to blast. Kane was surprised and pleased.
(Keller’s Analysis: I get ending the show with Team Hell No celebrating, but there wasn’t much of a hook here otherwise. No sense of jeopardy, just silliness with the “adorable dynamic” of Bryan and Kane. I’d like to see more of a focus on Styles defending his title at the end of the show to emphasize that the belt is the most important thing, and not just a prop that someone on the mid-card holds that “some people” care about.)
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NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 7/3 WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Keller’s report on Team Hell No, Styles vs. English, Asuka vs. Ellsworth, Lynch vs. Royce