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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 23, 2019
MIAMI, FLA. AT AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, David Otunga, Big E, Xavier Woods
-They opened with a two minute video package on the Kevin Owens-Shane McMahon rivalry.
-They went live to New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods dancing on the announce desk. Phillips said they’d be guest commentators tonight. He said it was originally scheduled to be Shawn Michaels, but he’ll be on Miz TV instead.
-Shane McMahon made his ring entrance. He got the lengthy ring introduction once he arrived in the ring. Fans began chanting “C.M. Punk!” Shane just kept talking, and the chant faded. Shane talked about Raw Reunion, and he said it was great that Kevin Owens wasn’t there. He said KO was, instead as usual, hiding behind social media. He said KO has challenged him to a match at Summerslam. He said Summerslam is the biggest party of the summer and it wouldn’t be complete with “the best *of* the world competing in it.” (He messed up his own moniker!) He accepted KO’s challenge. He said KO said if he doesn’t win the match, then he will quit. “You can’t wrestle!” chanted the crowd. (Smart crowd in Miami.) They showed Xavier and Big E dancing at the table. Shane said they should ask Roman Reigns if that’s true. He said KO said he would quit, which jarred his memory. He said he pulled up a few things where Kevin said something similar a year ago, “ironically, it came from the exact same building where Summerslam will take place this year.” They showed KO losing to Seth Rollins and then sitting in the middle of the ring and saying, “I quit.” Shane said, “That’s typical Kenny Owens.” He said after he beats him, KO will quit. He said this time he wants it in writing. He said he wants KO gone, and at Summerslam he’ll make sure of it. Suddenly KO’s music played. Xavier kept saying things, but they sounded like they were under his breath and it was hard to make out.
KO stood on the stage and was cheered. He said he has said a lot of things about Shane, but he’d never say he isn’t smart. He said he proved it by digging out that footage. He said he has no problem admitting that was the lowest point of his career and that isn’t the current version of himself. He said that version a year ago didn’t want to ruffle any feathers or piss anyone off, but that’s not who he is today. He said this year, he won’t quit because he’s going to beat the living hell out of Shane. Shane acted cocky and dismissive. Shane called him “quitter” again. KO said he doesn’t have to wait until Summerslam. As KO walked to the ring, Shane told him to stop of he doesn’t get his match at Summerslam. KO stopped. Fans booed. Shane said, “That’s power.” He told KO he ought to wrestle tonight, but not against him. He said he’ll wrestle Roman Reigns. Xavier said Shane doesn’t like either of them, so he wants them to wrestle each other so he can pick their bones.
-The announcers hyped Shawn Michaels on Miz TV. They showed Shinsuke Nakamura backstage with his IC Title belt. Phillips said “the momentus rising star” Apollo Crews has a huge opportunity against Nakamura next. [c]
-Backstage Shane was greeted by Elias and Drew McIntyre. Elias said Shane outdid himself tonight. He said it was beyond brilliant and genius that he matched KO against Reigns. Shane said a match of this magnitude needs to be even more special, so he appointed Drew the guest referee spot. He made Elias the guest time keeper. Elias said he always wears his watch. Shane said he will be the special guest ring announcer.
(1) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. APOLLO CREWS
Phillips called Crews “astounding.” (What’s with all these superlatives for Crews, all of a sudden?) Big E said Nakamura is very swaggy. Crews did a delayed drop vertical suplex on Nakamura. It lasted so long, Xavier and Phillips had a full conversation about it as it was happening. Crews clotheslined Nakamura over the top rope to the floor, then landed a moonsault. Big E and Xavier stood and cheered him on. They went to a commercial on split screen. [c]
Nakamura took over during the break. Crews made a comeback and signaled for a press slam. Nakamura dropped back and landed a spinning wheel kick; Phillips said, “He caught him with a left.” (Huh?) Nakamura hit his sliding snap German suplex. Then he signaled for his Kinshasa. Crews intercepted him with a kick and then an Olympic slam for a near fall. Nakamura upkicked Crews on the top rope and then landed a running knee to the gut. Crews blocked another charge and went for the standing moonsault, but Nakamura moved and hit a quick Kinshasa for the win. Big E said Apollo “showed up.”
WINNER: Nakamura in 8:00.
-Afterward, Nakamura kicked away at Crews. Xavier, Big E, and Otunga decried his actions. Otunga said it’s the new attitude of Nakamura. Phillips said they’ve seen this side of him for a year. Nakamura landed a Kinshasa at ringside. Xavier said it’s one of the hardest hitting moves in WWE. Xavier yelled, “Apollo, where are you friends?”
(Keller’s Analysis: For me, Xavier and Big E made the match unbearable. They were just obnoxious and their clowning around nonstop just undercuts the sense that the match is important. Asking Apollo where his friends are when they were sitting right there not helping felt really weird.)
-Backstage Mandy Rose came up behind Sonya Deville and covered her eyes and asked, “Guess who?” Sonya said she recognizes her name. Rose said she talked to Shane about how they overheard the Iiconics making fun of what KO did to him. She said Shane is giving them a match next week. Sonya asked if she means they’re getting a tag team title match next week (which was *not* what Rose said at all, nor was it even implied). Rose said yes, then said if they win, they deserve a tag team title match (so Rose said yes they’re getting a title shot next week only to follow up by saying if they win they get a title match).
(Keller’s Analysis: I typed that all correctly, and that’s how little sense that all made. It’s like no one listened to what they said because clearly that needed to be redone. That was one of the most unnatural, confusing, nonsense scripted exchanged I’ve seen on WWE TV.)
-They showed Miz heading toward the entrance stage backstage. [c]
-A promo aired with Ali sitting on a staircase. He said he has to rewrite his story. He said he needs to take the pen and put it back in his hands. He talked about how his body gave out on him before his heart, and how he was then replaced and forgotten. He said his injury cost him everything, but he refuses to let that be his story. He said he has the pen back and it’s going to write that he’s WWE Champion. He said nobody is writing his story but him. He said if the pen runs out of ink, he’ll use his blood. He said he will go down in history for his story.
-Miz TV: Miz plugged his TV show, “Miz & Mrs,” and then threw to a video package of highlights from Raw Reunion. He said his guest on Miz TV was not only at Raw Reunion, but he had the honor of costarring with him “Marine 6: Closed Quarters.” He asked fans to stand for HBK. Xavier and Big E sang along to Shawn’s entrance theme (which almost made all the other clowning earlier worth it). Michaels was sporting the chewing tobacco tin in his right back pocket. Michaels posed and danced. Fans chanted “HBK!” Miz said they’re having a blast tonight, just like last night. Miz asked how it felt to be at Raw Reunion. HBK said he’s been on both sides, once a young guy who wanted the old guys to give them their space and go away, but now he enjoys every second of it. Another “HBK!” chant started. Michaels talked about Seth Rollins going from the P.C. to NXT to WWE Superstar. He said now he’s going to Summerslam to face Brock Lesnar with every intention of “burning it down.” He was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler. (Good, because that was going nowhere fast.)
Ziggler said enough with these so-called legends limping to the ring “happy to be there.” He said if he’s ever like them, put him out of his misery. Miz offered to punch him in the face. Michaels asked Miz to let Ziggler get something off his chest. Ziggler said he used to idolize him. He said Michaels had a chance to go off into the sunset as the greatest performer of all time, but every chance he got, he shuffled back out there and waved to the crowd. He said it was embarrassing, “as embarrassing as Goldberg in a wrestling ring.” (Is he or a writer legit bitter at Goldberg or setting up a match with Goldberg?) He said nobody has the guts to say it to his face, but he was embarrassing. Michaels said he will admit it. “I’m not going to disagree with you,” he said, “It was embarrassing. I was embarrassed.” He said what’s more embarrassing to him is working his whole career, giving everything you’ve got, and still being left with nothing but being known as a “second rate Shawn Michaels wanna be.” (Why did Seth use that line last night if they were going this direction today with Michaels-Ziggler?) Ziggler said there’s only one second-rate Shawn Michaels out there right now “and I’m looking at him.” He said it’s real fitting that he chose to ruin his legacy by shaking hands, kissing babies, and waving like an idiot on a parade float. He said all people like Miz will be known for is kissing ass.
Miz had enough and got in Ziggler’s face. He told Ziggler to stop complaining and moaning, going after legends and champions. “In this company, you make you,” he said. “Do something about it!” Michaels held Miz back as he got more worked up. Fans chanted “Do something!” Miz and Ziggler began to undress to fight. Miz stuck his chin out. Ziggler turned his back. Michaels turned Ziggler around. Ziggler took a swing at Michaels, but Michaels ducked and Ziggler’s fist landed on Miz instead. Miz went down. Michaels punched Ziggler. Michaels checked on Miz. Ziggler superkicked Michaels. Miz chased Ziggler out of the ring. Miz bent down to check on Michaels.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m curious where this is going, but I’m not sure if Michaels was going to get involved again, I’m not sure doing an angle with Ziggler, who is going on 39 next week, is the best way to cash in on that.) [c]
(2) EMBER MOON vs. CHARLOTTE
Bayley came out early in the match and distracted Charlotte. Moon rolled her up for the win.
WINNER: Moon in under 1:00.
-Afterward, Bayley entered the ring. Charlotte kicked her. Moon then leaped off the top rope and delivered an Eclipse. She paused, then climbed back to the top rope and gave Bayley an Eclipse. Phillips characterized it as Moon “taking advantage of an opportunity.” Xavier said Moon just took Miz’s advice and is making it happen herself.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hmmm. Not sure who to admire in all that. Are they going to add Charlotte to the Bayley vs. Moon match?)
-Kofi Kingston was shown heading toward the entrance stage. [c]
-Phillips touted the publicity that Raw Reunion received as headlines flashed on the screen.
-They showed Roman getting ready for his match against KO later.
-Kofi Kingston made his way to the ring. They went to the announce table. Michael Cole replaced New Day. Phillips said Saxton wasn’t there because his father died last week. “We love you, buddy,” Phillips said as he sent his condolences.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s sad news about Byron. So sorry to hear about his loss. On a less important note, why do they need to add Cole? Is there a rule against a two man announce team? Can’t Phillips and Otunga call the show? It also waters down the Raw/Smackdown roster split, as watered down as it is, to have Cole just show up and join Phillips. They still go to the trouble to have separate ring announcers and interviewers.)
Kofi called Randy Orton to the ring and said he’s the man he hopes to face at Summerslam. Orton came out. Kofi talked about their history. He said he remembers that night on Nov. 16, 2009 at Madison Square Garden when fans were chanting his name as he whooped Orton’s ass all over the arena. He said that gives him goosebumps. He said it was supposed to move him to the next level and to the main event scene, but that’s not what happened. He said Orton used his influence to hold him back. (I believe they’re longtime pals behind the scenes, so this isn’t playing off of a real life situation.) They showed a clip of Kofi landing the Boom Drop on Orton through a table at ringside. Orton said he did hold Kofi back because he wasn’t ready back then. “And you’re not ready now,” he added. He said Kofi’s current reign is a fluke. Kofi said Orton hasn’t had to get to where he is because he just had to be Randy Orton.
Orton made fun of Kofi’s fake Jamaican accent, throwing pancakes, and shaking is ass. Orton said he gave Kofi his path to the WWE Title by taking out Ali before WrestleMania. He said he can take the WWE Title from him anytime he wants. Kofi said they should find that out at Summerslam. Orton accepted the match. Orton said the RKO will end his reign.
-Phillips hyped that Samoa Joe vs. Kofi was up next. [c]
-A sponsored vignette highlighted Aleister Black.
(3) KOFI KINGSTON vs. SAMOA JOE – Non-Title match
Orton watched from ringside. They cut to a break a few minutes in with Joe in control. [c]
In the end, Orton interfered with an RKO.
WINNER: Kofi via DQ in 8:00? (No official announcement was made.)
-Afterward Joe approached Orton, so Orton gave him an RKO. Kofi then gave Orton a Trouble in Paradise and celebrated with his title belt.
-They showed Owens taping his fists.
-Finn Balor made his ring entrance. [c]
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Balor mid-ring. They showed Bray Wyatt attacking Balor last week. Balor said he’s stared fear in the face before, and he’s never backed down. He challenged Bray, “or Fiend, or whatever you want to call yourself,” to a match at Summerslam. Suddenly Bray’s “Firefly Funhouse” video played and he showed up on the big screen. Bray said he and his friends Mercy and Ramblin Rabbit are friends of Balor, but The Fiend is not. He said The Fiend does officially accept his challenge. He then got serious and changed his tone and said The Fiend is an abomination and is no ordinary man. He closed with “Let me in” with the distorted voice as he shifted into The Fiend as the screen flickered. [c]
-They showed a postcard image of Miami as Cole hyped The Fiend’s first match against Balor at Summerslam. Then they threw to highlights of the eight 24/7 Title changes at Raw.
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Charlotte, who interrupted her own introduction. Charlotte said she will beat somebody better than Bayley and Moon at Summerslam.
-Greg Hamilton introduced Shane McMahon as the special guest ring announcer. Shane made his ring entrance, then introduced Elias and then Drew in their special roles at ringside. [c]
(4) KEVIN OWENS vs. ROMAN REIGNS
KO and Shane mouthed off to each other before the match. Drew ordered them to fight. Roman punched Drew instead. KO knocked Elias off the ring apron. Reigns and KO cornered Shane, who jumped into the ring. He slipped out of the ring, but Reigns grabbed him. Drew made the save. KO went after him. Elias hit KO with a running knee. Cole said it was just a matter of time with Shane’s crew having the numbers. They beat on Roman three-on-one. Fans chanted “You suck!” Drew and Elias held Roman as Shane punched him, and then set up a spear while mocking Reigns. KO yanked Shane out of the ring and then superkicked Drew and Elias. Reigns then speared Drew. KO gave a stunner to Elias. KO played to the crowd as Reigns chased down Shane and threw him back into the ring. Reigns gave Shane a Superman Punch. Owens gave Shane a Stunner. Reigns and KO celebrated. Reigns showed some real fire. Fans chanted “One more time!” Phillips said KO is tired of Shane holding Superstars down. KO delivered a second stunner. Phillips said something tells him Reigns will be rooting for KO at Summerslam.
WINNER: No decision, no match.
-KO said at Summerslam, he’s going to make Shane actually enjoyable because everyone is going to love the ass whipping he gives him that night.
Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jason Allen, ex-WWE Creative Team member, to break down the show with live callers and a mailbag segment.
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