LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/11: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of New Day vs. KO/Zayn/Ziggler, Stomping Grounds hype, and more

By Brandon LeClair, PWTorch contributor


WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c) WWE.com

LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 11, 2019
SACRAMENTO, CA AT GOLDEN 1 CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

-The show opened with a wide pan of the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Tom Phillips announced that The Miz is being “forced” to host an edition of Miz TV on the show. The announcers teased the upcoming six man tag team match featuring New Day against Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Dolph Ziggler.

-The camera cut to the entrance, where MizTV graphics were displayed. The Miz headed to the ring in ring gear.

The crowd gave Miz a warm welcome as he looked around, standing in front of his set. He said he was being forced to “follow the script” tonight. He went through his normal MizTV introduction without any of the usual pomp and circumstance. He welcomed Drew McIntyre, and then “the breast in the world.” Miz said there was a smudge on his card and his glasses aren’t prescription. “The pest of the world.” The crowd cheered in approval. He introduced Shane McMahon, again as “the pest of the world.” Shane’s music hit, and he danced down the ramp flanked by Drew McIntyre and Elias.

The announcers threw to footage of Shane’s victory over Roman Reigns at Super Showdown.

Back live in the ring, Shane danced circles around Miz and the MizTV set. Shane accused Miz of messing up his “dummy card.” He demanded Greg Hamilton introduce him properly. Hamilton delivered his signature introduction for Shane, who stood on the turnbuckle and hammed up soaking it in. Shane said every good show has a musical guest, and invited Elias to play a song.

Elias, sporting an electric guitar again, played a brief lick. The crowd responded with a “you suck” chant. Shane said, at Super Showdown, he did exactly what he set out to do – beat Roman Reigns in the middle of the ring. He said Reigns has nothing to be ashamed about, because he lost to the best in the world.

Miz said all of Shane’s accomplishments are tainted. McMahon said that’s not how it went down. Miz threw to footage of a post-match interview with Roman Reigns at Super Showdown. Reigns said the win was handed to Shane by Drew McIntyre. Roman said he’d bounce back at Stomping Grounds and “kick ass and take names.”

Back in the ring, Drew McIntyre said it was his turn. He said Reigns’ emotions will get the better of him. McIntyre says when he hurts people, he enjoys it, and that makes him unlike anyone else in WWE. He said he’s going to kick Romans’ head off at Stomping Grounds.

Miz said Drew’s potential is being wasted by being Shane’s lackey. He told McIntyre that once he’s used him up, he’ll stab him in the back. Shane sent Miz is resentful and jealous. He told Miz he has Roman’s number, the same way he had Miz’s number.

“You realize there’s nothing special about you?” Miz said. “You are a talentless hack who won the lottery by being born a McMahon.” Shane scoffed and told Miz he was born into a “genetic cesspool that shares the DNA with a backed potato.”

Miz stood up to approach Shane, but McIntyre stepped in front of him. Shane told Miz that there may be some unfinished business. He asked Miz if he wanted another shot at the best in the world. “Why not do it right here, right now?” McIntyre removed his coat. McMahon said he’d get the match on two conditions – beat Elias, then Drew McIntyre. “If you do that, I’ll grant you your wish, a match against the best in the world,” Shane said. He asked to have the ring cleaned up, because the matches will be next.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I liked Miz’s fire here. Shane was a bit more tolerable than usual, though the crowd did start to get a little restless toward the end. Miz has been most effective as a babyface playing off of Shane, and it still feels like he should really get a clean win over him at some point.)

(1a) THE MIZ vs. ELIAS (w/ Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre)

The match was already in progress when the show returned from break. Elias had Miz down on the mat. The announcers recapped the stakes for The Miz’s series of matches tonight. Elias set Miz up in the Old School top rope position and slammed him to the mat with double knees. Miz fought back with a jawbreaker.

Miz and Elias traded punches. Miz backed Elias into the corner and hit a number of It Kicks. He ran from corner to corner and delivered a series of running double knees. Elias fought out of the corner and lifted Miz into an electric chair position. He spun him around into a sit out power bomb for a near fall.

Elias climbed to the top rope and attempted a diving elbow. Miz rolled out of the way. Both men returned to their feet, and Miz quickly hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the three count.

WINNER: The Miz in 3:00

(1b) THE MIZ vs. DREW MCINTYRE (w/ Shane McMahon)

The show immediately went to picture-in-picture commercial as McIntyre slid in the ring. Drew charged at Miz, but Miz countered with a series of shots. McIntyre quickly overpowered him and tossed him outside. He drove Miz into the ring steps. Drew brought Miz back in the ring and chopped him, then hit a quick snap suppler. He locked in a rest hold. Miz fought out, but Drew stomped him back onto the mat and delivered more chops in the corner.

Back to full screen, McIntyre continued to dominate with stiff chops. Miz ducked one, gave Drew a boot to the face, and shoved him into the ring post. McIntyre rolled outside to recover. Miz dove through the middle rope feet first with a big dropkick. Miz tossed Drew back in the ring and went for a some sort of springboard maneuver, but he slipped and fell awkwardly back into the ring.

Drew scooped him up quickly, but Miz countered into a DDT. Miz set up for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Shane hopped on the apron to distract him. Miz swung at him, but Shane jumped down. This allowed Drew to catch Miz with the Glasgow Kiss headbutt. He hit Miz with the Claymore for a three count.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre in 7:00

Shane hopped in the ring with a microphone. He said because The Miz has so much animosity toward him, he’s going to give him the match even though he didn’t beat Drew. He called for the referee to ring the bell.

(1c) THE MIZ vs. SHANE McMAHON (w/ Drew McIntyre)

Shane took off his jacket and danced around the ring, waiting for Miz to recover. Miz got to his knees, and Shane began jabbing him in the face. Miz punched Shane once, then twice in the gut. He took Shane down and mounted him, but Shane quickly made it to the topes. Shane kicked Miz in the head and applied a triangle choke. The Miz tapped out.

WINNER: Shane McMahon in 1:00

Shane paraded around the ring and then climbed onto Drew McIntyre’s shoulders. They stood over Miz’s body and Shane taunted the crowd.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Portions of the match with Drew were fine, but this wasn’t anything worth going out of your way to see. I thought perhaps Miz was going to catch a surprise victory against Shane, but having him tap out cleanly in such little time, even after facing two other opponents, made him seem rather weak.)

-Backstage, Ember Moon was playing her Nintendo Switch. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville wandered on screen. Mandy told her to get rid of the kiddie toys, take a copy of Muscle & Fitness Hers and read up on a “real superhero.” Ember called Mandy a super villain for what she and Sonya did to Carmella last week. Mandy said Carmella deserved it because she didn’t deserve to be in the match, especially since she (Mandy) had just beaten here the week prior. Mandy told Ember that Sonya was about to do the same thing.

Sonya knocked the Nintendo Switch out of Ember’s hands and she and Mandy walked off. Ember threw the magazines in the trash, then hurled the trash can across the hallway. She let out a scream and then stared angrily into the camera.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Ember tends to struggle in promos, and this was no exception. It’s very clear that they don’t really have any sort of character in mind for her, and it greatly diminishes her ability to connect. Who is she? A nerdy girl who wears red contacts and screams? That’s not a character.)

-In the arena, Daniel Bryan’s music hit. He and Rowan marched to the ring. Tom Phillips announced the duo would be in action after the break.

-The show returned with press commending John Cena’s inclusion into the Fast and the Furious franchise, including a tweet from Cena himself, who said he was honored to join the cast.

-In the ring, Daniel Bryan and Rowan taunted the crowd. Bryan said the audience was in for a real treat because the planet’s tag team champions are putting their tag team titles on the line against the “YOLO county champions” in a title unification match. The two local wrestlers in the ring carried cardboard titles. “Those can’t be real,” Saxton said.

Bryan began to speak again, but was interrupted by Heavy Machinery. Tucker said Bryan and Rowan are ducking them. Otis called them “elitist cowards.” Tucker said they were honest, hard working, blue collar solids. Otis interrupted and said they also like to have a good time (he danced absurdly to confirm this point.) Tucker said, if given the opportunity, they’ll become “the universe’s tag team champions.”

“Cool speech,” Bryan said, “but you haven’t done anything to earn a shot at the championships.” He suggested Heavy Machinery face the YOLO county tag champions instead. Heavy Machinery accepted.

(2) HEAVY MACHINERY (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic) vs. YOLO COUNTY TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

The bell rang, and Graves said Otis aspired to be a Tonka truck when he was a kid. Tucker quickly disposed of both opponents, then tagged in Otis. Otis crushed the legal man in the corner. He looked around the crowd for approval, then executed his version of the worm (the caterpillar), concluded with a big elbow. He tagged in Tucker.

Tucker set up the opponent and Otis returned for their new finisher, the Compactor – an impressive looking double team move. Tucker covered the unnamed wrestler for the quick victory.

WINNERS: Heavy Machinery in 2:00

Outside the ring, Bryan and Rowan looked on disapprovingly. Rowan tried to storm the ring, but Bryan held him back.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Heavy Machinery looked good here, both during their promo and the match. That finisher is neat, and requires a fair amount of precision to pull off. This feud with Bryan and Rowan could be really fun.)

-Backstage, Carmella led R-Truth down a hallway. Truth stopped her and recounted the trauma he’s experienced due to the 24/7 title. “My life has traumatization written all over it,” Truth said, “this 7/11 championship is ruining my life!” Carmella heard a noise and told Truth to hide in an equipment crate. He hopped in and she shut the lid. A stage hand walked into frame and told Carmella her match was up next.

Carmella told Truth to stay put while she “did her match.” She ran off. Jinder Mahal wandered down the hall and heard Truth screaming from inside the crate. He pretended to be Carmella and told Truth he was going to get help. The camera zoomed in on the crate as Truth desperately screamed “MELLA!”

-Sonya Deville’s music hit over a wide shot of the arena. She headed to the ring with Mandy Rose at her side. Phillips teased a match with Carmella coming up after the break.

(3) CARMELLA vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/ Mandy Rose)

The bell rang the moment the show returned from the break. Carmella charged and Deville and took her down with a dropkick. She slammed Deville into her boot in the corner. Sonya struggled to gain separation, but finally broke free of Carmella in the corner. She kneed Carmella in the face, then multiple times in the midsection. She covered Carmella for a two count.

Sonya gave Carmella a snapmare then put her in a headlock. She transitioned in a waist lock with her legs. Carmella fought out with pinches to the head. Deville knocked Carmella down and began pushing her head and talking trash. She kicked her in the face, then flipped into jackknife cover. Carmella turned it over and locked in the Code of Silence. Mandy put Sonya’s foot on the ropes. It took a moment, but the referee eventually noticed and broke it up.

Carmella left the ring to chase Mandy. Rose slide into the ring, Carmella followed. Sonya cut her off with a knee to the face. She rolled up Carmella for a two count. Deville charged at Carmella as she pulled herself to a standing position. Carmella side stepped and Deville crashed to the outside. Mandy helped her up. Carmella dove through the bottom rope onto both women. She tossed Sonya back in the ring.

Mandy grabbed Carmella’s leg, but Carmella caught her with a super kick. She returned to the ring, but Deville caught her with a step up knee strike. She folded Carmella over for a three count.

WINNER: Sonya Deville in 4:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: This wasn’t great. Carmella struggles to seem natural in the ring, and Deville was far too reliant on knees to the head. I’ve seen her implement more variety into her matches before, so I’m not sure why this match focused so heavily on variations of that move, but it was noticeable and it detracted from the overall quality.) 

-In a locker room backstage, Alexa Bliss stood sipping coffee and looking at her phone. Nikki Cross wandered in. Bliss looked shocked and asked Nikki if she was okay. Bliss told Cross that “a lot of hurtful things were said about you on social media” after Nikki interfered and cost Bayley a match in her hometown of San Jose. Bliss told Nikki that she secured her a match against Bayley tonight. Alexa told Nikki to see the faces of the bullies on social media on Bayley when she faces her. “Don’t hold back,” Bliss said. Nikki nodded in agreement.

-Big E’s patented New Day introduction roared to life as the camera panned the arena. New Day headed to the ring with a fresh and healthy looking Big E. Kofi Kingston tossed pancakes to the audience from a large stack. Phillips said New Day were going to celebrate Kofi’s win at Super Showdown before their six man tag match. The show went to commercial.

-The show resumed with a puff piece highlighting the children of Saudi Arabia’s experiences attending Super Showdown. That’s the route they’re taking now.

-The second hour began with New Day in the ring. They continued to dance to their music as the announcers previewed their six man tag match later in the night.

Xavier Woods said it was a very important day. Kofi agreed, confirming it to be the “actual return” of Big E. Big E gyrated and the crowd cheered and chanted “welcome back.” “If I had a title run for every return, I’d be Charlotte Flair!” Big E said. “That’s a booking joke,” Kofi replied. He started to explain, but Woods cut him off.

Woods said New Day plans to end their match quickly so that he can return to E3. New Day said all three of their opponents have tried and failed to hold New Day down. Woods asked Kofi what happened when he faced each of their three opponents. “I beat ’em,” Kofi said emphatically. Kofi said he’s going to beat Ziggler again in a steel cage at Stomping Grounds. Dolph Ziggler’s music hit.

Ziggler said he put Kofi on a pedestal, and Kofi betrayed him. Dolph called Kofi a coward, and said he betrayed himself. Dolph said there’s only one reason Kofi is still WWE Champion. Clips from Super Showdown aired, showing Xavier Woods hitting Ziggler, an action that led to the finish.

“The footage doesn’t lie, and even you’d have to admit it should’ve been me,” Ziggler said. Dolph said at Stomping Grounds, there will be no one to save Kofi. Ziggler said that, without taking the easy way out, Kofi could never beat him. Kofi retorted, saying Ziggler kicked Woods in the face first. Kevin Owens’ music hit.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn walked to either side of Ziggler. Zayn said this whole thing is an injustice. He said if someone had kicked Kofi Kingston in the face, leading to his defeat, the audience would demand justice. He said the “disgusting people” in the crowd don’t care about justice and have no morals. He said he and Kevin Owens enjoy every opportunity to beat up New Day.

Big E joked about Sami Zayn getting beat down by Seth Rollins last night on Raw. Zayn told them not to talk about that, and that Rollins should’ve been suspended for attacking an official. He called the audience hypocrites for enjoying it. Ziggler said the biggest hypocrite is standing in the ring with the WWE title.

Big E fired up defending Kofi, saying he’s the best at what he does. Kofi said he plans to kick ass and take names at Stomping Grounds, and the name he plans to take is Dolph Ziggler. He promised to remain WWE Champion. Big E said they’d given Owens, Zayn, and Ziggler a free preview of Stomping Grounds tonight, because “New Day rocks.”

(LeClair’s Analysis: New Day was good here. Having Big E really re-establishes their dynamic, and it’s refreshing to have him back in the fold. This is really only the second time we’ve seen him in any major capacity since Kofi won the title. The joke at the beginning was rather clever, too. Ziggler’s promo wasn’t quite as much of a hit, as he seemed to again delve into more of the  “community theater” promo territory.)

-Bayley was shown walking in a hallway backstage. She was approached by Kayla Braxton, who asked for Bayley’s reaction to Alexa Bliss’ accusation that Bayley “liked” offensive comments made toward Nikki Cross on Twitter. Bayley said she has no problem with Nikki, but can’t help if she gets caught up in Bliss’ social media shenanigans. She said she plans to beat Nikki and hopes its a moment Alexa Bliss won’t forget. Her music hit and she rounded the corner toward gorilla.

The camera cut to the entrance way as Bayley burst through the curtain and into the sea of Bayley Buddies. She headed to the ring as the announcers hyped Stomping Grounds and threw too commercial.

-The show returned to Aleister Black in a dimly lit room. He said there is so much conflict, but little resolution on Smackdown. He said he offers both. “The conflict is, you pick a fight with me, and the resolution is I fight you.” He said they don’t need to fight about ideologies or turf, the fight can be simple. He looked off camera and asked for someone to open the door. Light shined into the room and Black stared toward it, screaming. “The door is open!” Black yelled. He pleaded for someone to pick a fight with him. He shook violently, then slowly regained his composure. The shot faded.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I vary week to week in my assessment of how Black is being handled. This is the first time I’ve been uncomfortable judging one way or another. I think it’s really time to get Black in the ring and let him showcase what he does best.)

-In the ring, Bayley’s music continued to play as she moved around the ring. Alexa Bliss’ music hit and she walked to the ring along side an energetic Nikki Cross, who dashed quickly into the ring after being given instructions by Alexa.

(4) BAYLEY vs NIKKI CROSS (w/ Alexa Bliss)

Bayley and Cross locked up to begin the match. Bayley pushed Nikki into the corner and the referee forced the two to break. Cross ran out of the corner and took Bayley down with a cross body. Bayley returned to her feet and the two spilled to the outside. Bayley hit a running dropkick through the corner of the ring on the outside. Nikki recovered and trapped Bayley in between the ring and the apron, then fired away at her.

Back in the ring, Nikki hit a falling reverse DDT. Phillips sent the show to picture-in-picture commercial. On the small screen, Cross tossed Bayley outside and then retrieved her. She locked in a rest hold. Bayley battled out, but Nikki caught her again. Bayley broke free a second time and the show returned to full screen.

Nikki hung up Bayley in the tree of woe position, then kicked at her midsection. Bayley kicked Nikki away and got herself out of the predicament, hitting a guillotine on the ropes in the process. She dropped Cross, then hit a rolling splash for a two count. Bayley hit a back drop on Cross, then Bliss jumped onto the apron. Bayley was distracted long enough to get rolled up by Cross for a two count.

Bayley kneed Cross to the mat then went to the top rope, she bit a diving elbow and scored a three count.

WINNER: Bayley in 6:00

Bayley stared down an angered Bliss, who helped Nikki Cross to her feet on the outside.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Not much to this. Showcase match for Bayley to further the angle with Bliss. Hopefully Nikki Cross winds up more than this eventually, as she’s certainly a competent in ring worker.)

-Backstage, Jinder Mahal stood with two crew members, a referee, and a crowbar, trying to pry open a crate. The crew members told Mahal that they’d wheeled the crate containing R-Truth onto a truck, and pointing to the parking lot. Mahal took off, dragging the referee with him.

Mahal happened upon two crates on a forklift. He pounded on them, but heard nothing. He told the referee they were going to L.A. to find Truth. Once they disappeared, Truth began pounding from the inside of the crate. The forklift drove away with the crates. Carmella wandered into the parking lot, calling for Truth. “Oh no, Truth’s going to L.A.!” Saxton exclaimed.

-Tom Phillips said the Firefly Fun House would air after the break.

-After the break, last night’s edition of the Firefly Fun House aired, complete with Bray’s attack on Rambling Rabbit.

-At the announcers desk, Byron Saxton said he was feeling nauseous. Phillips segued into talking about Ziggler’s words about Kofi Kingston earlier in the night. He said the six man tag match was coming up “in a matter of moments.”

-Backstage, Kayla Braxton stood in the interview area. She introduced Apollo Crews, who she said was supposed to face Andrade last week on Smackdown. She threw to footage of Andrade’s attack on Crews, which prevented the match from happening. Crews said even though Andrade was trying to send Finn Balor a message, he doesn’t intend to be an afterthought. Zelina Vega walked on screen. She warned Apollo not to provoke Andrade.

Vega and Braxton stepped off screen as the camera panned to Apollo’s left. Chad Gable was standing there, jotting down notes on a note pad.

-Back in the arena, Kevin Owens’ music hit. He walked to the ring as the announcers teased the six man tag team main event, coming up after the break.

When the show returned, New Day was entering the ring. The announcers quickly previewed the WWE title match at Stomping Grounds.

(5) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston, Big E, & Xavier Woods) vs. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN & DOLPH ZIGGLER

Xavier Woods began the match with Dolph Ziggler. The two jockeyed for position and traded wrist locks. They transitioned briefly into some chain wrestling until Ziggler punched Woods and tagged in Sami Zayn. Tom Phillips acknowledged that Smackdown “violated the Wild Card rule” two weeks in a row with too many wrestlers from Raw.

Woods tagged in Big E and he, Woods, and Kingston ran the New Day stampede out of the corner. The stampede ended with Kofi as the legal man. Zayn side stepped a corner splash from Kingston, which sent the WWE Champion spilling to the outside. Ziggler charged and took the champion down with a running strike. Zayn tagged in Ziggler, who applied a chin lock on Kingston.

Kofi broke out, but Ziggler quickly hit a big dropkick and threw Kofi to the outside. KO crushed him with a senton on the outside. Phillips sent the show to commercial.

Back from the break, Dolph had Kofi in a sleeper hold. He dropped him to the mat then tagged in Kevin Owens. Owens taunted Kingston and kept him isolated. Owens whipped Kofi into the corner, but Kofi leaped up onto the turnbuckle then hopped off with a big dropkick, allowing him to make the hot tag into Xavier Woods.

Woods cleaned house, but not before Owens tagged in Sami Zayn. Zayn retreated to the outside, so Woods dove through the ropes onto both he and Ziggler. Xavier tossed Sami back in the ring and ascended the turnbuckle. Ziggler tripped Woods up, crouching him on the top rope. Owens tagged in and pounded on Xavier’s back. The heels dominated Woods, tagging in and out and isolating him in their corner.

The Woods beatdown lasted several minutes. Eventually, Woods landed a DDT on Kevin Owens and dragged himself to the corner, getting a separation tag into Big E. Owens tagged in Ziggler The crowd roared to life. Big E cleared the ring of Owens and Zayn, then gave Ziggler a big belly to belly suplex. He followed it up with a running splash. Ziggler used the ropes to pull himself to his feet. Big E charged, but Ziggler caught him with a knee to the head.

Ziggler kicked Big E in the knee then went for the Famouser, but Big E countered. He hoisted Ziggler into the air, walked to him to his own corner and tagged in Kofi. Big E spun Dolph into position as Kofi ascended the turnbuckle. Ziggler slid down Big E’s, stumbled into his own corner and tagged in Sami Zayn. Big E rushed at Dolph, but Dolph caught him with a super kick.

Kofi set Dolph up for the SOS, but Ziggler broke free and raked Kofi’s eyes. Sami grabbed Kofi and held him in place for a super kick. Kofi broke free and Ziggler kicked Sami. Xavier Woods entered the ring and Ziggler super kicked him. Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise on Ziggler, then on Zayn. He covered Zayn for the three count.

WINNERS: The New Day in 16:00

New Day celebrated briefly as the show went off the air in a hurry.

(LeClair’s Analysis: This match had its moments, but the isolation of Xavier Woods went on far too long and bogged down the match considerably. The crowd seemed to be growing restless, but they did come alive in a big way when Big E got the hot tag. It’s hard to get invested in these kinds of matches, particularly when they happen so frequently on Smackdown.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: An improvement over last week’s show, but still a forgettable, by-the-numbers event. Finn Balor was strangely absent again, which is becoming increasingly standard. Much of the Smackdown roster continues to go unused now that the Wild Card rule is in effect. I was pleased to see the announcers actually acknowledge that the rule of 4 has been broken two weeks in a row now, that’s not typically continuity or acknowledgment I expect to see from WWE. Again, while it is by and large an acceptable way to spend two hours, it does not feel like this show has much forward momentum or intrigue heading into a slow summer season.

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