TAG DIVISION IN THE MAIN EVENT…
Recap: The show began with Team Hell No as Miz’s guests on MizTV.
Miz began by asking Daniel Bryan act professionally during the segment despite their past, and Miz claimed he would extend the same courtesy. Bryan teased punching Miz in the face but was persuaded by Kane to be civil.
Miz then played a video package showing all of the dastardly acts by Kane toward Daniel Bryan in the past. Miz issued a faux apology afterwards, claiming he did not mean to air the footage. Bryan saw through the apology and called out Miz for trying to stir the pot. Bryan told Miz he could see through the act because Miz is terrible at everything.
Kane attempted to calm down Bryan, but himself became angered when Miz said Bryan was scared and hiding behind a “broken down demon.” Kane then set up a chokeslam on Miz, but was interrupted by the Bludgeon Brothers.
Before the Bluedgeons could enter, Sanity’s music hit. With everyone watching the ramp, Sanity hit a sneak attack in the ring. While Sanity beat down Team Hell No, New Day ran in for the save. A melee broke out in which the heel teams came out on top.
It was announced that Team Hell No and New Day would face Sanity and the Bludgeon Brothers in a 10 Man Tag in the main event.
Later backstage, Team Hell Now and the New Day attempted to formulate a plan for the match. Bryan and Kane argued, as Bryan preferred attacking the knees of the taller team while Kane suggested opening a portal to hell. Big E got everyone onto the same page, and the segment ended with Kane quoting NSYNC, a callback to Miz’s prior comparison of the Team Hell No reunion to Justin Timberlake rejoining the group.
The match ended with Daniel Bryan pinning Eric Young. After the match, Kane did Bryan’s yes chants, and Bryan then attempted to do Kane’s trademark summoning of pyro on the ramp. Bryan failed at first, as the fire didn’t appear. However, on the third try he was successful.
Evaluation: The comedy between Bryan and Miz was fine, and the New Day managed to go an entire episode without doing anything cringe-worthy.
The last 40 minutes of the show had a ridiculous number of commercials and packages hyping the pay per view to fill time. The constant interruptions diminished the main event.
Forecast: The opening segment seemed to reheat the Bryan-Miz feud, so I would expect Team Hell No to lose on Sunday, with Kane returning to politics and Bryan moving on to a Miz feud for SummerSlam.
Hopefully Sanity will defeat New Day on the Kickoff Show. New Day is a comedy act that doesn’t suffer from losses (or gain from wins), and Sanity could use a strong start.
WWE & US CHAMPIONS TAG…
Recap: In the second match of the night, AJ Styles faced Shinsuke Nakamura. Rusev and Aiden English were on commentary.
After a Phenomenal Forearm to the floor by AJ, English got into AJ’s face and began to taunt him. Shinsuke used the distraction to attempt a Kinshasa on AJ, but AJ moved and Shunsuke hit English instead. Rusev then interfered and a DQ was called.
Rusev held AJ for Shinsuke to attempt a Kinshasa, however Jeff Hardy jumped in for the save. Paige then appeared and restarted the match as a tag match.
During the tag match, Jeff attempted a Swanton onto Rusev, but Shinsuke knocked him off the top rope. Rusev then hit the Matchka Kick for the win.
Evaluation: Because we’ve seen so much of AJ vs. Shinsuke, I would’ve preferred if this match had been a tag from the beginning. It would’ve allowed the tag match more time. But overall there was nothing bad here.
Forecast: Like most, I expect AJ to retain the WWE Title on Sunday. I hope that Shinsuke will take the US Title, as he has lost too many feuds already.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES II…
Recap: As was promised last week, James Ellsworth faced Asuka again, this time in a Lumberjack Match. Ellsworth did attempt to escape, but was foiled by the lumberjacks. Ellsworth almost escaped at one point when the face and heel lumberjacks began to fight each other, but he was caught by Becky Lynch and Naomi before making it to the back.
Carmella handed Ellsworth a bottle of Binaca to spray in Asuka’s eyes. Ellsworth failed and Asuka hit the Asuka Lock for the win.
After the match, Ellsworth successfully sprayed Asuka, allowing Carmella to hit her with a kick to the face.
Later backstage, Paige informed Carmella and Ellsworth that Ellsworth would be suspended above the ring in a shark cage on Sunday.
Evaluation: This went exactly as expected. Because WWE intergender matches are limited by the political correctness required to be on a network owned by a mainstream media company, it was a foregone conclusion that Ellsworth would not get any shots in on Asuka. In this particular case, that was fine as it suited the storyline.
Forecast: I would expect shenanigans involving the shark cage on Sunday. Because Ellsworth is so small, I would normally predict some gimmick where he slips through the bars, however that was already done last year with Enzo. Then again, WWE has often repeated storylines between shows, so they may not hesitate to take an angle from an old pay per view and repeat it on Sunday.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 7/3: Team Hell No Back in Action, Rusev Goes Full Heel, Sanity Saves Us from Pancakes