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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 2, 2019
SAN ANTONIO, TEX.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jason Solomon from the Solomonster Sounds Off podcast to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.
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-They opened with a wide shot of the crowd and then Phillips said they wanted to begin with an update on a situation that dramatically affected everyone in WWE. They replayed the Braun Strowman spear of Bobby Lashley through the video wall on the entrance stage last night. Phillips said they’d hear from Lashley later.
-Kevin Owens Show: KO walked out to his music. He said he wanted to talk about a tag team match no one ever imagined seeing – Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre & Shane McMahon. KO introduced Shane, but wasn’t smooth calling him the “Best in the… World.” He was reading off of cue cards and said at one point “Under…” and then went to the next card and said, “Taker.” Graves took exception to KO’s approach, in particular citing disrespect for Shane. As Drew and Shane walked out Saxton said it’s going to be surreal to see Taker and Reigns as a team. Shane said he noticed KO’s introduction for him was weak, so then he had ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduce him correctly. KO threw to a clip of Undertaker showing up last night on Raw. Shane mocked being scared by Taker, then said he’s making the match No Holds Barred. Drew smiled and said Taker and Reigns have to face The Best in the World and “the most dangerous Superstar in the world.” He said people know what they’re capable of in a regular match, but now it will be a vicious, physical assault like nobody has ever seen before.
KO wanted them to throw to a specific clip. They showed Shane holding Drew back from going to the ring. Shane looked genuinely scared. Back live, KO started to mock Shane for being scared. Shane told him to be “a good little talk show host and do what you’re told as we agreed to before you came out here.” KO then read a card that said Shane beat Reigns at Super Showdown without anyone’s help. “Knowing that Roman fears that you and Drew, will you fare any better with the…” and he stopped. He read a different card that asked how it felt to lose to Undertaker at WrestleMania after he made his return after seven years away in 2016. Shane stood and was upset. Drew said the interview was over and stood up and got between Shane and KO. Dolph Ziggler then interrupted.
Ziggler walked to the ring. KO said he isn’t going to come out there and say it should have been him over and over. KO yelled, “Yeah, it should’ve been you, it shoulda been me. It shoulda been you. Yeah, it should have been you eight years ago. It was kinda, then it wasn’t, and it’s not going to be again, and it’s not going to happen. Just get over it!” Fans cheered. Ziggler said everyone knows it should be him. “I look the part,” he said. “You look like you should be entered in a hot dog eating contest.” KO said if he was in a hot dog eating contest, he’d win, whereas Ziggler can’t say that about his wrestling matches. KO told Shane to decide who gets the next opportunity against Kofi Kingston. Shane said neither of them. Drew laughed. Shane said he has an idea to shut them up. He said there have been a lot of tag teams champions who haven’t gotten along, so he booked them against Heavy Machinery. He said the winner will go on to Extreme Rules and be injected into the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match, which will now be a triple threat. Zero cheers. Drew and Shane left the ring. KO and Ziggler stared at each other. There wasn’t much crowd noise. They began to argue. KO asked for his music to play so he could get out of there. Graves said there is no way KO and Ziggler can coexist.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was all strange. KO is a babyface suddenly? At 16 minutes, it felt long, too. KO was really funny at times. The segment did set up a match for later with a stip, although I was pleased the crowd didn’t pop for yet another triple threat match announcement.)
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Daniel Bryan & Rowan backstage for their reaction to Shane making it a triple threat title defense. Bryan said he’s making the odds more difficult for them, but he vowed to walk in and walk out as champions.
-Graves said Bryan face Big E next. [c]
-Phillips hyped the GQ article about Roman Reigns’s “real life diet.”
-Kayla interviewed Xavier and Big E. Xavier said now that it’s a triple threat match, they can lose without being pinned or submitted, but they’d still take back what is rightfully theirs. Big E gyrated and then did the intro for their entrance. Saxton said watching Big E do that announcement live is more exhilarating than just listening to it and it gave him goosebumps.
(1) BIG E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. DANIEL BRYAN (w/Rowan)
Big E clotheslined Bryan hard a couple minutes in. Bryan rolled to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen during the commercial. Bryan re-entered the ring, but begged off into the corner. He bailed out to ringside again. Back in the ring he finally took control after a cheap shot kick during a lock-up. Bryan mounted Big E in the corner and punched away at him. After the break, Bryan was working on Big E’s leg relentlessly. Graves said Bryan’s strategy is sound, going after a powerhouse’s base. He threw some Yes kicks, but then Big E ducked one and rallied back including landing his running splash for a near fall. Big E dove toward Bryan, but Bryan sidestepped him and Big E tumbled to the floor. Bryan charged at Big E, but Big E hit him mid-air with an elbow. Rowan then shoved Big E into the ringpost. When Xavier ran at him, Rowan knocked him down, too. Bryan then hit a running high knee for the three count.
WINNER: Bryan in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay match, but nothing special or memorable, either. Giving Bryan the win here makes him seem vulnerable going into Extreme Rules.)
-Kayla said the tag team titles could switch hands at Extreme Rules. She introduced her guest R-Truth. She tried to throw to a replay from last night. He didn’t want to, but she did anyway. After the clip aired of Drake Maverick beating him for the 24/7 Title, Truth said he remembers when he went on his honeymoon. He said they started to go, but they couldn’t go because it rained. He said they actually never went. He said he heard Hornswoggle and his wife were right there in San Antonio, Tex. He said, “Mr. 7/11 European TV Champ, I’m coming for you. I want my baby back!”
(Keller’s Analysis: A weak Truth promo. Not funny or endearing.)
-They showed Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss backstage. Bliss told Nikki she’s going to let her host “A Moment of Bliss” later. Nikki nervous said she’s never done anything like that. Bliss gave her a pep talk and Nikki got excited. [c]
-“A Moment of Bliss” hosted by Nikki Cross. Nikki came out and was super-excited to be hosting. She smiled and hopped up and down as she looked out at the crowd. Saxton said Nikki is a little socially awkward at times. Graves told Saxton that he is, too, but they still let him out of the house. Nikki said, “Hello, San Antonio.” She said she loves and admires Bliss so much. She said she’s from Glasgow, Scotland and has a bit of an accent, but she’ll be the best host she can be. She introduced her guest, Bayley. Bayley said she’s surprised Alexa is giving her a little bit of the spotlight tonight. Nikki said she knows how Bayley feels about Alexa, but she said Alexa is more generous than she gives her credit for. Nikki said she is there to ask the tough questions. She asked why she called Alexa a liar. Bayley said she did it because she is a liar. Nikki said it is unfair how she disparages her. Bayley said last week Nikki beat her and then last night she beat Carmella, which Alexa couldn’t do. Bayley asked why she isn’t getting the title shot at Extreme Rules. Nikki stood and said she doesn’t know that, but she does want to know why she’s not facing Bayley in the ring right now. Bayley stood and accepted the challenge. Nikki ran to the ring. [c]
(2) NIKKI CROSS vs. BAYLEY
The match began right after the break. Nikki rallied, but Bayley scored a near fall with a backslide. Nikki struck Bayley in the neck, but Bayley came back with a Bayley-to-Belly for the win.
WINNER: Bayley in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good while it lasted, but it was short and the quick clean loss undercut the credibility Nikki has built up in recent matches. It’s not clear to me what the point of having that match was.)
-They showed Kofi Kingston tossing pancakes backstage as Saxton said he’d go face-to-face with Joe next. [c]
-A vignette aired with Ali saying he wants to bring change so people don’t think their identity is predestined based on their name or family background. Ali said when the billboards have him as champ front and center, it will change minds.
-Kayla stood mid-ring and introduced Kingston. Then a clip aired of Joe attacking Kofi. Then Joe came out. Joe interrupted Kayla’s first question, then suggested she get out of the ring to avoid collateral damage. “That was an act of generosity, benevolence, something you’re very familiar with,” he said. Joe said “game recognizes game,” and he knows a hustle when he sees it. He said he knows the truth about Kofi, that Kofi is always receiving help from his friends and using them, just like he does. “You’re no better than me,” he said. He said in a couple years Xavier might be his hype man and Big E might be his butler.
Kofi said at WrestleMania he beat Bryan for the WWE Title by himself. He said he beat Ziggler in a cage by himself. He said at Money in the Bank he beat Kevin Owens by himself. He said at Extreme Rules, he’ll beat Joe by himself. He asked Joe what he’s done by himself lately besides losing the U.S. Title to Ricochet. He asked what happened to the old Joe because now he’s sneaking around attacking people from behind. “Joe, let me keep it real with you for one second,” he said. “Your ass is too big to be playing hide and seek.” Joe said he’s always really slick off the top with prepared answers. He talked about Kofi pedaling his latest t-shirt to fans who think he actually cares about them.
Kofi said he’s not mad about Joe insulting him and his family. “It’s because you’re jealous,” he said, “Jealous Joe!” Fans chanted “Jealous Joe!” He said he will never have a moment like he had at WrestleMania to share with his kids. Joe said everybody still exists in their willful ignorance. He said he will prove to the people what he really is. He told Kofi to shake his hand in recognition of one fact – that the last two weeks when be put his ass to sleep, he came to realize that what is standing in front of him is the next WWE Champion. He said all deals have two sides, so for that small gesture of putting his ego aside, he’ll guarantee his safety and the safety of all those he holds dear until Extreme Rules. Joe said Kofi knows that’s a legit offer, so he asked if he’s the man he pretends to be. Joe said he has five seconds to shake his hand. Kofi held out his hand, stared at the potential handshake, smiled, and then raised his middle finger to Joe’s face. The camera angle was awful. Joe was enraged. Kofi gave him a Trouble in Paradise when he charged at him. As Kofi celebrated, Saxton said he is a proud and confident WWE Champion. Graves said Kofi might have made the target on his back a little bigger. He said he’s heard this side of Kofi existed and now they’re starting to see it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Joe and Kofi were both really good there.)
-An unnamed blond woman interviewed Heavy Machinery. They talked about facing KO and Ziggler. Tucker said they have a lot of championship reigns. Otis said they have never won a match together as a team, though. Tucker said KO and Ziggler will implode while they take care of business. Otis yelled, “We’re coming!” Graves asked, “Do they have a name for what’s wrong with Otis.”
-They showed Apollo Crews walking backstage. Saxton said he’ll face Andrade next. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of San Antonio, Tex.
-The announcers talked again about the Lashley-Braun angle. Phillips said there was conjecture about Braun maybe suffering multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. They then went to a clip from Bobby Lashley’s Twitter saying Braun got what he deserved because he could have been electrocuted “or maybe even something worse.” He said Braun knew what he was doing and didn’t care. He said Braun got the worst of it, though, as he should have. He said next time he sees Braun, “that son of a bitch,” he’s not sending him to the hospital, he’s sending him to the morgue.
(Keller’s Analysis: Let’s keep the promises to inflicting death on opponents to Undertaker.)
(3) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. APOLLO CREWS
Andrade took early control including a running double knees in the corner. Crews came back with a leaping moonsault off the ring apron onto Andrade. He threw him back into the ring and scored a one count. Phillips threw to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen. Crews dominated and eventually pressed Andrade. Andrade appeared to rake his eyes to break free. Andrade then went at Crews on the floor. After the break ended, Andrade caught Crews with an elbow. Andrade leaped at Crews at ringside, but Crews caught him and threw him into the ring. Zelina head scissored Crews into the announce table as Andrade distracted the ref. Back in the ring, Andrade quickly gave Crews his hammerlock DDT for the win. Graves said there’s a sign on the wall at the Performance Center that says, “You’re not here to fill a slot, you’re here to take a slot.” He said that is Andrade’s strategy.
WINNER: Andrade in 8:00.
-KO approached Ziggler said there’s little chance this will work out unless they devise a plan. KO told him to stand on the sidelines and look pretty. Ziggler said KO should stand on the sidelines and eat hotdogs. KO said maybe Shane has a point that together they might have more success than if they stayed apart. “It’s worth a shot,” said KO. “Let’s try. What’s the worst that can happen?” Ziggler agreed and told KO to be professional. They shok hands. As KO walked away, Ziggler said, “And no hot dogs.” KO turned back and said, “Come on.” Ziggler said, “Okay, after.”
-They showed Ember Moon backstage chatting with Carmella. [c]
-Aleister Black said last week there was a knock on his door, but when he answered it, there was no one there. He said they are already fighting on a spiritual plain. He said he doesn’t care about his reveal. He said he wants him to show up at Extreme Rules. He said they will fight through the seven layers of hell. He said he finds himself invigorated “for if you are man enough to knock on my door and to reveal yourself at Extreme Rules, that is the person who picks a fight with me.” He smiled.
(4) MANDY ROSE (w/Sonya Deville) vs. EMBER MOON
Rose scored a near fall after a knee strike a couple minutes in, then grounded Moon. Moon came back with an Eclipse for the clean win.
WINNER: Moon in 3:00.
-They cut to Shelton Benjamin. A voice off camera asked who he thinks will win the WWE Title at Extreme Rules. Shelton eyes darted around like he was watching a fly. After about 15 seconds, he smiled and walked away.
-They showed Owens and Ziggler walking backstage. [c]
(5) KEVIN OWENS & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. HEAVY MACHINERY
New Day and Bryan & Rowan were at ringside on commentary. New Day had four giant platters of pancakes. The two teams bickered during ring entrance. After Xavier bragged about restoring prestige to the tag team titles, Bryan asked Xavier to name one time they headlined a PPV. Graves asked what he learned about facing Heavy Machinery at Money in the Bank. Bryan said if they had the drive and focus that he and Rowan do, they could be hugely successful, but they don’t. The bickering went on and on. Eventually New Day heard enough and leaped at Rowan and Bryan. A brawl broke out. Big E rammed Rowan into the ringside barricade. Bryan gave him a high knee. Rowan then tipped over all the pancakes for the most heel heat of the night. He then claw-slammed Xavier through the New Day announce table. [c]
The bell rang as they returned. Phillips said “the match has been restarted due to the chaos here at ringside.” KO and Ziggler worked together to dominate after the break. Tucker eventually hot-tagged in Otis. He took Ziggler down with a running headbutt followed by a spinning bodyslam. He eventually punctuated his flurry with a Caterpillar. KO interfered. Ziggler mistakenly superkicked KO. Tucker then clotheslined Ziggler over the top rope. Heavy Machinery then finished KO with their Trash Compactor.
WINNERS: Heavy Machinery to enter Extreme Rules tag team title match.
-When Ziggler went over to KO after the match, KO gave him a Stunner. KO kicked the bottom rope and yelled and was bleeped. He said this is his show as fans chanted “One more time!” The show then ended.