SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following was originally published five years ago on PWTrorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 4, 2014
AIRED ON SYFY
3 GOOD THINGS
-Solid main event and good use of the talent involved to forward the top storyline.
-Good follow-up to Raw with Miz and Chris Jericho to set up their match next week on Raw.
-In general the show felt relevant with so much follow-up to all of the angles and developments on Raw.
3 BAD THINGS
-Big E is still doing that gospel preacher voice.
-They could have better hyped the addition of Saturday Night’s Main Event being added to WWE Network.
-It hardly seemed like a Fourth of July celebration in any way other than a couple voiceover vignettes telling us this was a special episode. Without that, there was nothing identifying this as Fourth of July. And no, Sandow imitating Bruce Springsteen doesn’t count.
SHOW SUMMARY & ANALYSIS
-The show opened with iconic American images to commemorate the Fourth of July.
-Then the generic WWE opening aired with Andre, Rock, Undertaker, Vince Sr., Ric Flair, and other mega-stars of this industry, plus David Otunga (an inside joke of some kind that’s gone on too long).
-A recap aired of The Authority and John Cena interaction on Raw leading to the announcement regarding the Fatal Four-way at Battleground.
-Seth Rollins walked out with the MITB Contract briefcase. He said he had a message for Cena. He said he got lucky on Monday night, but the clock is still ticking. He said 24 hours into his 15th reign, he was on his back and prone. He said the survival rate for everyone drops to zero if the timeline is long enough, so sooner or later he will cash in his contract and become World Hvt. Champion. He told fans to look at his face and get used to it.
Dean Ambrose walked onto the stage and said that no matter what Seth does and how much of a plan he and his “sugar daddy” Triple H concoct, he’ll be there to ruin his plan. A clip aired of Ambrose’s run-in on Raw. Seth said he knows Ambrose better than anyone and he doesn’t have what it takes to chase him persistently for a full year.
Ambrose charged to the ring and took Rollins down. Randy Orton ran out and attacked Ambrose. Roman Reigns ran out to make the save and clear the ring of the heels. Triple H joined Orton and Seth on the stage. He said tonight Ambrose must face Orton, and if Rollins interferes, he’ll be out of the Fatal Four-way at Battleground.
-Cole plugged Chris Jericho will return to Smackdown tonight. They also plugged Sheamus would defend the U.S. Title against Alberto Del Rio. [c]
-Cole and JBL plugged last Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV and hyped WWE Network is the way to access the show and all future PPVs. They also announced Saturday Night’s Main Event debuts on the Network on Monday.
(WK Reax: They put a graphic on the screen, but they didn’t explain what SNME is and how truly significant of a show it was historically. There are so many talking points including that it was the only way to watch main event WWF wrestlers against one another on broadcast TV in that area, and it was only occasion cable matches that featured anything but squash matches. It also was pro wrestling’s return to broadcast network TV. It aired in the Saturday Night Live timeslot in place of reruns and did very well and was part of the WWF brand becoming nationally recognized as the leader of the industry. The audience and prestige for SNME on NBC helped solidify the WrestleMania franchise in its early years, too. It also was as heavily scripted from the promos to commentators to wrestling matches as any pro wrestling show in history. WWE needs to get people excited about these Network debuts and not assume most WWE Network candidates have the historical knowledge necessary to get excited enough about something like this to have that sell them on the Network. They also should get people who know about SNME – from watching it back in the day or seeing the DVD release – excited to relive it or see it all for the first time.)
(1) SHEAMUS vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO – U.S. Title match
Del Rio dominated early and took Sheamus to the floor after a back stabber off the apron. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break Sheamus was in control. Del Rio came back with a twisting DDT for a near fall. Del Rio climbed to the top rope, but Sheamus mounted him from behind and pounded on his chest as the crowd counted along to ten. Del Rio fell to the mat and Sheamus then leaped at him with a shoulder tackle. He looked to the crowd and then signaled for the Brogue kick. Del Rio ducked and then attempted a Cross Ambreaker. Sheamus blocked it and shifted into the cloverleaf submission attempt. Del Rio grabbed the bottom rope. Del Rio came back with another Cross Armbreaker attempt, but Sheamus lifted him and rammed him into the corner turnbuckle. Del Rio surprised Sheamus with a kick to the jaw, but he was slow to make the cover. Instead he went for a second rope moonsault, but Sheamus moved. Del Rio rolled through and landed on his feet, but Sheamus quickly struck with the Brogue kick for the three count.
WINNER: Sheamus at 12:12.
(WK Reax: Good match. Pretty rudimentary in most ways, but they did a nice job making it work including a good final three minutes building to the finish. Refreshing change after last night’s TNA Impact where the promotion didn’t have the discipline or trust in its wrestlers to let them tell their story bell-to-bell inside the ring. This was an example of what pro wrestling is and why you don’t need overbook or mess around when you have two pros who can fill 15 minutes of TV time telling a good story using their skill set as athletes. This wasn’t booked to be “shocking” or “controversial” or even add to or advance some ongoing major storyline. What it did was act as the first quarter in a four quarter game where the rules are established and the game is played simply without gimmickry and desperation.) [c]
-The narrator guy welcomed viewers back to a special Fourth of July edition of Smackdown. They didn’t even bring out the pyro again for this show, and so far there’s nothing special about it.
-Goldust and Stardust did an eccentric segment interacting with each other and being fully in character.
-Byron Saxton asked Reigns for his reaction to what Triple H said about removing him from Battleground’s main event if he interferes in the main event. Ambrose said Triple H has to do what he has to do, but he knows Ambrose will be just fine. He said he won’t jeopardize his spot in the Fatal Four-way match. He said he’ll walk out of Battleground as the WWE World Hvt. Champion. “Believe that,” he said.
(WK Reax: It’s interesting to see Reigns’s promos evolve. He’s still finding his voice, but you can tell he’s aiming to have a certain cool factor and slow, deliberate cadence. It’s not exactly Clint Eastwood, but he’s the one who’s coming to mind when I watch Reigns and try to match him to someone well known who was seen as a a cool tough character who was also a sex symbol.)
-JBL and Cole reacted to Rollins. JBL said he might be the favorite. Cole threw to a clip from the Money in the Bank Kickoff show of his interview with Daniel Bryan, who announced he might need surgery again and doesn’t have a return date and then the Bo Dallas angle that followed.
-Bo came out and said he’s going to win tonight “for our little Daniel” (Bryan). He said you’re still winning as long as you Bo-lieve. [c]
(2) BO DALLAS vs. DIEGO (w/El Torito)
Dallas acted amused by El Torito and Diego before the match. Diego dropkicked Bo as he did an “Ole!” attempt of his own. Dallas won clean and quick with the Bo-Dog.
WINNER: Bo Dallas at 1:33.
-Afterward Bo gave Torito a pep talk by saying if as a bovine he wants to grow taller, he just has to Bo-lieve! Torito then gave Bo a gore to the butt. Bo lectured Torito not to do things like that. Torito danced in response. Bo lifted Torito over his head and slammed him to the mat.
-JBL and Cole talked about about the Miz-Jericho segment on Monday with the Wyatt Family attack. [c]
-Jericho walked to the ring and said, “For the first time in one year, Y2J is back on Smackdown.” He said he felt good on his return to Raw, but then “along came a spider.” He said he knows since he’s been gone, the Wyatt Family have become a dominant force in the industry. He said they beat him down three-on-one. Then he thanked the Wyatt Family for reminding him that WWE isn’t all about light-up jackets and music and surprise entrances and Y2J chants. He said WWE is about survival as well. He said they’re dangerous, but he can be dangerous, too. He said he can get crazy and when he’s done with them, they will never, ever be the same a-gayne. The Wyatt music interrupted.
The Wyatts appeared on the big screen. Bray said he’s a seducer and destroyer. He told Jericho to save himself. Jericho called him to the ring. Instead, Miz walked out and asked Jericho how it felt to be interrupted. Miz said he could help Jericho take down the Wyatts, but Jericho broke the golden rule by trying to hurt his, Miz’s, face. As Miz continued to talk, he entered the ring, at which point Jericho gave him a crowd-pleasing Codebreaker. [c]
-Big E. walked out for his match. An inset interview aired with Big E in gospel/preacher mode saying he would avenge the beating of his friend, Kofi. Paul Heyman walked out and bragged up Cesaro’s chances to become IC Champion. He introduced him as the next IC Champ. Cesaro then came out and attacked Big with a chair. Big E fought back and hit a an overhead throw outside of the ring. Cole asked, “What has gotten into Cesaro! He’s become a man possessed.” Heyman and Cesaro retreated without a match taking place.
(WK Reax: It looks like the booking team is trying to prove to Vince McMahon that Cesaro has a mean streak and can express intensity, something McMahon has felt Cesaro lacks. It’s beneficial to have Heyman acting like the IC Title is a big deal for him and Cesaro. It boosts the prestige of the IC Title.)
-They showed A.J. Lee skipping to the ring. [c]
(3) A.J. LEE vs. EVA MARIE
Paige sat at ringside to watch, but refused to join in commentary. A clip aired of Lee beating Paige on Raw. Eva pie-faced Lee, then ran to the ropes to avoid getting a fair beating. Eva threw A.J. to ringside near Paige, so they exchanged an intense look. Lee went for a sleeper, but Eva countered. A.J. then immediately applied her Black Widow for the win.
WINNER: A.J. via submission at 1:20.
-Paige congratulated and applauded Lee’s victory, telling her she did a good job.
-The announcers plugged Ambrose vs. Orton. [c]
-A very brief Happy Fourth of July vignette aired with sounds of fireworks. Oh so festive, WWE is.
-Damien Sandow walked out dressed up as Bruce Springsteen. As Sandow began doing a poor Springsteen impersonation, Rusev’s music played. He tossed Sandow out of the ring.
(WK Reax: Is this Rusev’s babyface turn? I’m joking, but it’s a strange position to put Rusev in – a Russian menace interrupting a bad Springsteen impersonation by a heel like Sandow.)
Lana joined Rusev and did her routine on the mic, but then was interrupted by Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger. Zeb called them “Karl Marx loving socialists.” He said there are two types of people he hates – illegal immigrants and ungrateful legal immigrants. He said he was going to educate them on the history of the USA and Russia. He asked who invented the Internet. He said it wasn’t a Russian. He asked who invented the automobile. He said it wasn’t a Russian. Same routine for man on a moon. He said the only thing Russia invented worth a crap is vodka. Zeb and Swagger entered the ring. Lana told them to be quiet. Zeb said she didn’t learn the lesson about free speech he gave her on Monday. Zeb asked the crowd to rise and say, “We, The People!” They did. Swagger gave Rusev a piercing stare. A “We, The People – U.S.A.!” chant broke out. Lana and Rusev retreated to ringside. Cole said this round goes to the Real Americans. [c]
-Cole announced Jericho vs. Miz would take place on Monday night.
(4) RANDY ORTON vs. DEAN AMBROSE
Rollins joined Cole and JBL at ringside with his briefcase. Orton’s ring entrance took place first, then Ambrose. Ambrose’s left shoulder was heavily taped. Rollins called Ambrose a hot-head. Rollins said he’s surprised Ambrose doesn’t thank him for all of the success he’s had. Orton stalled at ringside after early offense by Ambrose. Cole lectured Rollins about turning on his partners and joining The Authority. Rollins said if he hadn’t done what he did to Ambrose and Reigns, he might not have the briefcase. Cole said, “So you sold your soul.” Rollins said he took The Shield as far they were going to get. “I do what’s best for business,” he said. When Ambrose had Orton grounded, he looked over at Rollins.
Cole asked Rollins when he’ll cash in. Rollins said the beauty of it is he has a whole year to decide. Of course, he tried the day after he won it, so he’s hardly shown an intent to take his time. They cut to a break when Orton took control. [c]
Orton remained on offense after the break. Rollins said the last two years it was obvious to anyone that he organized and led The Shield. He said Ambrose should move and live his own life, just as he is doing. Ambrose rallied at 12:00 and clotheslined Orton over the top rope to the floor. Then he dove through the ropes with a shoulder tackle onto Orton. Both men were down and slow to get up. Orton grabbed his left ankle and the ref ran over to check on him. Cole said Orton was hurt. Ambrose whipped him into the barricade. Ambrose then dove onto Rollins at the announce desk. He threw him into the ringside barrier. That of course opened up Ambrose to Orton recovering and getting a few shots in on Ambrose. Ambrose fired back, though, with a clothesline. JBL said Ambrose is “fun to watch.” Orton came back with a snap powerslam. A small “RKO” chant broke out. Orton set up a DDT off the second rope, but Ambrose backdropped Orton to the floor as a counter. When Ambrose went for another dive through the ropes at Orton, Rollins stood and held up the briefcase in the path of Ambrose’s injured shoulder. The ref DQ’d Orton.
WINNER: Ambrose via DQ at 15:00.
-Afterward Orton gave Ambrose an RKO in the ring, and then yanked off his shoulder wrap. Rollins climbed to the top rope. Reigns ran out and shoved Rollins to the mat. Reigns then gave Orton the Superman Punch. Orton and Rollins retreated to the back. Cole said for tonight at least, Orton and Rollins escaped the wrath of Ambrose and Reigns.
(WK Reax: Good final segment that utilized the top storyline in WWE right now and built up the Fatal Four-way match plus the Rollins-Ambrose feud. Ambrose is hotter than Orton as an act, but going toe-to-toe with Orton is a credibility booster at this stage for Ambrose as a main event act. So all around good use of the talent they have. Rollins was good as a heel on commentary.)