KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 25, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with extended highlights of Undertaker saving Roman Reigns from an attack by Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre last night. Then the screen showed Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre would take place at Extreme Rules.
-They went to Shane McMahon in front of a backstage backdrop. He said Reigns had to face his two greatest rivals and his back was against the wall and his fate was inevitable, and he was so afraid of being humiliated, he got desperate and so he called on the Dead Man. Shane said he fears no man, dead or alive. He said he and Drew will make sure Roman is a dead man, too. Shane said he is in a mood because of last night. “Don’t get on my bad side because, quite frankly, I’m pissed,” he warned the Smackdown roster.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, that was awful. It’s like Shane showed up late, told the producer he only had 40 seconds before his next appointment, and then speed-read a phony-sounding speech off of a teleprompter. Yuck.)
-Phillips introduced the show and then New Day made their ring entrance. Graves asked Phillips if he seems so loose because he got a massage or something. Saxton asked, “What does that mean?” The announcers commented on freeze-frames of the finish to the Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler cage match including a cool image of Kofi mid-air at his peak height as he flew out the door and over Ziggler to victory.
Kofi talked about having some real highs and real lows since becoming champion, and he had to make “a leap of faith” to beat Ziggler on Sunday. Then the next night, before he could fully celebrate, Samoa Joe attacked him. They cut to footage of the attack. Kofi said the Coquina Clutch is like being squeezed by a Samoan shark until your world fades to black. He said he won’t let Joe eat him alive.
Ziggler then came out and said – I mean, he YELLED – that Kofi can’t look past him after he did all the hard work on Sunday. Kofi asked how many times he has to beat him. Ziggler yelled that this is his everything – his career, his life, his livelihood – and Kofi knows that Xavier Woods saved him at Super Showdown and at Stomping Grounds, Kofi “took the coward’s way out and leaped out the door to save your title.” He said everyone knows he should be WWE Champion right now. He said he spoke to management and if he wins his match tonight, he is added to the Kofi vs. Joe match at Extreme Rules. He revealed the match is against him in a two-out-of-three falls format.
-They showed Daniel Bryan & Rowan backstage. A graphic said they’d face New Day next. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Portland, Ore. as Phillips plugged the Kofi vs. Ziggler match and what’s at stake.
-Backstage Miz approached Elias as he played his guitar outside of Shane McMahon’s office. Elias told Miz that Shane is all fired up about Roman and Undertaker, so he shouldn’t walk right in there. Miz said he’d take his chances. Elias said if he goes in there, he’s a dead man walking. Miz called him Bootleg Bob Dylan. Elias played his guitar to annoy Miz. Miz asked if he’s done. Elias said he’s going to keep on playing. Miz grabbed the guitar and said he’s going to shove that guitar up the dark side of his moon. Miz told Elias to tell Shane they have unfinished business and it has to end because he and the entire WWE Universe are sick of it. Miz left. Shane walked out and told Elias those were cool jams. Elias told Shane that Miz wants a match with him. Shane said he should go beat him up. Shane said first, Miz has to beat Elias two-out-of-three falls. Elias smiled and said, “I’m ready for the big time.”
-Back to the ring, Xavier had Big E’s leg on his shoulder to show how limber Big E was or something. Or that’s how they kill time during long commercial breaks and other segments.
(1) DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN vs. THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Big E)
Bryan and Rowan made their ring entrance. Graves said Bryan and Rowan think New Day are too concerned with dancing and the antics and having fun and throwing pancakes, which lessens the values of the tag team championships. Saxton said that’s absurd. Graves said Saxton has a fifth grade education, so who is he to argue with Bryan and Rowan. Bryan and Rowan took control early. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen a few minutes into the match. [c]
Rowan and Bryan continued to control Xavier during the break. Back live to full screen, Big E got a prompt hot-tag and took it to Bryan. Bryan lifted his knees on a Big E running splash, though, and then applied the LeBell Lock. Woods broke it up. Rowan went after Xavier at ringside, but Xavier surprised him turning the corner with a dropkick. Bryan went into a series of Yes Kicks, but Big E caught a flying Bryan with a urinage. Xavier then leaped off the top rope with Midnight Hour for the clean win.
WINNERS: New Day in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid action, but a little formulaic with the long beatdown and then a hot tag and then quickly to the finish. It weakens the champs to lose like this so easily.)
-After the match, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens attacked New Day. Rowan joined in. KO and Sami played to the crowd and got booed. Then Heavy Machinery made the save.
(Keller’s Analysis: That set up an eight-man tag afterward, which plays into WWE’s continued pattern of finding ways to end matches quickly only to “reset and restart” in some form or fashion to avoid cutting away from the action during a commercial. This is going to get old fast because it feels so orchestrated, just like cutting way from a match when wrestlers spilled to ringside. There’s got to be a way to tweak this so matches just have more time even without a commercial break or a “reset and restart” forced into the scenario.) [c]
(2) HEAVY MACHINERY & NEW DAY vs. DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN & KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
After a Rowan superplex on Tucker, New Day made the save. Rowan then gave Xavier a claw slam. Rowan then went back to work on Tucker. He splashed him in the corner, then tagged in Bryan who leapaed off the top rope. Tucker ducked, and then he flipped Bryan with a clothesline. They were both slow to get up. Otis and Sami each hot-tagged in. Otis lifted and spun Sami before slamming him. KO was hilarious reacting with disdain to the technique. Owens couldn’t even stay on the ring apron to watch as Sami fell victim to The Caterpillar. Sami oddly and obviously scooted himself into better position for the move. HM the finished Sami with their Compactor double-team move. Phillips wondered if KO could have helped Sami if he didn’t walk out on the match. Byron said it’s an example of his lack of character.
WINNERS: Heavy Machinery & New Day in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure what KO walking out on Sami leads to. Could they break up again? Or will Sami blow it off because he’d do the same thing rather than watch the obnoxious Caterpillar up close.)
-They went to the announcers on camera who threw to the Nikki Cross-Alexa Bliss saga last week. Then they showed WWE.com footage after Raw last night where Nikki told Bliss she’d make it up to her. She excitedly said she got a match against Bayley on Smackdown tonight, and if she wins, then Bliss gets a rematch against Bayley at Extreme Rules. Bliss said Nikki has to win at all costs. Nikki asked if she believes in her. Bliss said yes, but seemed uncomfortable around Nikki’s energy.
-Saxton hyped the Nikki vs. Bayley match. Then they showed Miz walking backstage. No Firefly Funhouse cameos in the background tonight. [c]
-A vignette aired on Ali who spoke about his oath to fight for those lost in the night because they’re worth the fight. He wants to protect the innocent from harm, even if harm comes upon him. He said he won’t let fear deter him and his heart will lead him to do all he can. His jacket said “Mustafa Ali” on the patch.
-Shane began his ring entrance. Then Elias joined him. He sang about beating Miz faster than Golden State swept the Blazers.
(3a) THE MIZ vs. ELIAS (w/Shane McMahon) – First Fall
Graves said Miz hasn’t been the same wrestler since Shane beat him. Saxton said that’s true because Miz is more aggressive. A Shane distraction helped Elias turn the match in his favor with a knee to the head. He followed with Drift Away for the three count.
FIRST FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Elias in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another one of the totally stupid quick first falls that never would be that short if it weren’t for the three falls format, yet there’s no reason the first fall would last shorter than a standard match would. It just feels so forced and phony.) [c]
(3b) THE MIZ vs. ELIAS (w/Shane McMahon) – Second Fall
“We now reset for the second fall opportunity,” said Phillips, who has now officially transformed from a human being into a WWE-Speak Robot officially with that line. Elias grounded Miz for a while. Miz came back and threw a series of Yes Kicks as Shane stressed out at ringside. Shane stepped onto the ring apron to distract Miz. Miz gave Elias a Skull Crushing Finale anyway. Shane broke up the cover and attacked Miz with a barrage of punches. The ref DQ’d his boss, Shane. When the ring announcer said Miz won by DQ, Shane got in the ref’s face as if he had never thought about the ramifications of attacking someone mid-match. The ref said those are the rules.
SECOND FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Miz via DQ.
-Shane went back to attacking Miz, including throwing him into the announce table. They double-teamed him at ringside and threw him into the ringside barricade. Graves said this is classic McMahon. Saxton called it corporate abuse. Back in the ring Elias held up Miz as Shane speared him. Phillips said that’s a message to Roman Reigns.
(3c) THE MIZ vs. ELIAS (w/Shane McMahon) – Third Fall
The ref started the third fall. Elias leaped off the top rope with a flying elbow and scored a three count. Phillips said as a result, Miz won’t get a match against Shane. Graves called that a great strategy and a great message to Reigns and Taker.
THIRD FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Elias.
-As Shane and Elias left, they stopped and turned back to the ring. Elias held Miz in place in the corner as Shane climbed to the top rope. He landed the Coast to Coast. Shane trash-talked Miz and told him to never come at him like that again.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Finn Balor backstage. She asked about this intensity against Andrade. He said Andrade pushed him to the limits and it’s a testament to his true skills. He said the better his opposition, the better he has to be to overcome. She asked who’s next. In walked Shinsuke Nakamura. He stared at his belt and seemed to cast a spell on it with his fingers.
-Back in the ring, Miz was helped out.
-They showed Bayley and Nikki on split screen. [c]
-They celebrated being in Portland, Oregon again with pictures of the city.
(4) BAYLEY vs. NIKKI CROSS
Nikki made her ring entrance. As Bayley came out, a soundbite aired with Bayley where she said Bliss is a liar and she hopes Nikki soon learns the truth. Nikki aggressively attacked Bayley at the bell. They fought back and forth. Nikki leaped off the top rope with hard crossbody press for a near fall. Bayley dropped Nikki over the top turnbuckle with a snake eyes. They cut to a break with Bayley in control, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
Bayley tossed Nikki to ringside and then dove through the ropes, but Nikki moved and Bayley crashed hard. Nikki threw Bayley quick back into the ring and delivered a neckbreaker for a near fall. Nikki avoided a crossbody off the top rope by Bayley, then scored a near fall with a magistral cradle. They exchanged leverage near falls. Nikki absorbed a knee to the head and then reversed a Bayley pin attempt to get a three count. Nikki celebrated by leaning on the announce table and telling the announcers about her win. She then danced at ringside.
WINNER: Nikki in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Too many champions are losing non-title matches lately which is doing more to diminish the prestige of the champions and championships than it’s benefiting the story they’re telling to lead to establish who the challengers are.)
-Carmella went looking for R-Truth backstage. She came upon Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. They got into a verbal spat. They warned Carmella to watch her back. Truth then came out of a hockey penalty box backstage. Drake Maverick walked up to him and looked disheveled. He said he doesn’t have a referee and he doesn’t have anything. He said his wedding was his special day which took months of planning and thousands of dollars of his mother-in-law’s money. He said Truth took that away from him. He said he has nothing now. He said Truth has a heart of gold in there somewhere, yet he ruined his life. Truth hugged him and apologized. He said he thought it was Carmella’s wedding. Truth said, “Hornswoggle, if it means that much to you, get a ref.” Drake called a ref over. Truth yelled, “Psych!” He ran away. Then the parade of challengers – Shelton Benjamin, B-Team, The Singh Brothers, and Brian Kendrick – barged past Drake and knocked him over.
-They showed Ember Moon backstage. Saxton said she faces Deville next. [c]
-Philllips plugged the WWE ESPY Awards candidates.
(5) EMBER MOON vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Mandy Rose)
They replayed the angle last week involving donuts. Graves asked what kind of bizarre plane does Ember exist on where it’s okay to punch someone for offering her a donut. Deville came out with a Pride handkerchief hanging from the front of her trunks and another one tucked into her back pocket. Sonya scored an early two count. The action spilled to the floor early. Mandy distracted Moon, then Sonya shoved her from behind into the ringpost. Sonya then easily pinned Moon in the ring.
WINNER: Deville in under 2:00.
-An agitated Aleister Black sat down and said maniacally laughed and said it’s not funny. He said all he wants is for someone to fight him. “That’s literally all I’m asking,” he said. He threw his arms up and said he’s starting to think there’s not a single person in WWE to pick a fight with him. Then there was a knock. He got wide-eyed and took a deep breath, then looked up at the camera and smiled. Then they cut away. (ANSWER THE DOOR!)
-Ziggler made his ring entrance. [c]
(6a) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – First Fall
Saxton said Ziggler is a lucky man that he gets another chance tonight. Graves said statistically, Ziggler has had Kofi’s number over the years. Saxton said if Ziggler wins, he’s added to the match. Graves pointed out earlier that would lower Joe’s chances of winning if Ziggler were added. Kofi tossed pancakes to the crowd. Graves said sooner or later, this dream for Kofi has to come to an end. He said he’s barely held onto the title so far and he can’t keep up this pace. Phillips said it’s been an inspiration journey. They fought back and forth early. Ziggler tried to score a pin with a sunset flip and holding the ropes for added leverage, but the ref caught him. Kofi then rolled through and scored a three count.
FIRST FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Kofi in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The nonsensically short first falls continue as WWE goes to ridiculous extremes to avoid commercial break interruptions in matches. And if Phillips keeps calling these “second fall opportunities” I might finally be driven after decades of watching WWE to hit the mute button. My god.)
-Ziggler took it to Kofi at ringside, throwing him into the ringside barricade. Then he delivered a Zig Zag on the floor. [c]
(6b) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – Second Fall
Back live, Ziggler was pacing and Kofi was still hurting, barely able to stand. Kofi avoided a charging Ziggler who flew into the ringpost. Kofi scored a leverage two count. Ziggler kicked out and superkicked Kofi for the three count.
SECOND FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Ziggler in 1:00.
(6c) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – Third Fall
Rapid-fire back and forth ensued for several minutes in this “third fall opportunity” (© Tom Phillips). Ziggler set up a super kick as Kofi struggled to stand, but Kofi cartwheeled out of it and landed a Trouble in Paradise for the win. Phillips called it a remarkable gutsy win. Graves said this can’t last forever.
THIRD FALL OPPORTUNITY WINNER: Kingston.