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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 24, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON FOX NETWORK
Announcer: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They opened with Jeff Hardy saying: “Hello, I am Jeff Hardy, and I am an alcoholic.” He said he will be fighting tonight “in an environment that is my newfound enemy – the bar.” He said Sheamus is a manifestation of his demons, and he’s going to slay his demons tonight. “I’ll beat the holy hell out of Sheamus!” Then they went to Sheamus who chuckled at what Hardy said. He said the ache in his head won’t be a hangover, but from a Brogue Kick. He said the only thing that will make him feel better is crawling back to the bottle and drowning his sorrows. JBL said if anyone knows about a bar fight, it’s him. He said he’ll save his predictions for later, but he’s excited for it. They showed Sheamus’s personal bartender shining up glasses.
-Graves and Cole introduced the show and talked about the bar fight. Cole said Hardy has a chance to silence his demons.
-Sasha Banks and Bayley came out next to their music. They replayed the finish at Extreme Rules. Cole said Sasha isn’t really the Raw Champion, but she has a match with Asuka for the title this Monday on Raw. Sasha said greatness is defined by your quality or the state of being great. Bayley said that’s the old definition. She said now that they possess all the gold, they are the new definition. They showed a picture of themselves next to the word “greatness.” They said they don’t just talk it, they walk it. She took exception to the audience jeering them. Sasha said the Women’s Evolution is over because they started it and they are declaring it over. “It’s a new era – The Era of Sasha & Bayley Greatness.” Sasha said if you do great things, one day all your dreams can come true. Bayley said the real lesson is no matter how you try, you’ll never be as great as us.
Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss came out. Nikki was in a rage and said the era of Sasha & Bayley is over. Bayley asked if she took her rabies medicine. Alexa said this might not be the right night for this approach. Nikki remained enraged and said she wanted to take on Bayley again. Bayley said she won fair and square, but being a role model, she wants to lead by example, and Smackdown is the Land of Opportunity. She said she has to beat someone first to earn a title match. She volunteered Bliss. She said the winner can face her for her title next week. Alexa didn’t like the idea. Nikki liked it. “We have to do it!” she said. She shoved Bliss down. Sasha and Bayley laughed.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid set-up for a “fresh” match between partners. I liked Nikki’s intensity and determination. I get Bayley being willing to put her title on the line because it’d be worth seeing her two top enemies fight each other. She also is full of herself. Bliss had more of a heelish disposition the whole segment and she was resistant to a fight Nikki in the first place despite a title shot being at stake, so it set up a reason for viewers to side with Nikki and be happy if she won.) [c]
(1) NIKKI CROSS vs. ALEXA BLISS – Winner Faces Bayley next week for Smackdown Title
Bayley and Sasha were at ringside on commentary. They were their usual over-the-top obnoxious. Cole apologized when he questioned their friendship. He said they appear to be getting along very well now. Nikki scored a two count a few minutes in after a bulldog. They fought to ringside. Bliss threw Nikki into Sasha and Bayley, who were standing and taunting them. Cole cackled with laughter as they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Bliss went after Nikki’s ribs. Cole noted they were injured this past Sunday at Horror Show. Bayley and Sasha seemed genuinely delighted with themselves on color commentary. Bliss scored a two count after a sunset bomb. Nikki made a comeback and scored several near falls. Nikki ended up winning with a small package. Cole hyped next week’s match. Bliss was disappointed as Nikki leaned over and yelled at Sasha and Bayley.
WINNER: Nikki in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid action. It gave Sasha and Bayley a chance to be obnoxious and set up a TV main event next week.)
-They hyped a Firefly Funhouse up next. [c]
-Nikki was celebrating in front of the empty training ring. Bliss walked up to her and conceded Nikki got one over on her. She gave her a bottle of water. Bliss said last week she said she didn’t get the same opportunities as her, but tonight she earned it and she is happy for her. They hugged. Bliss said now it’s time to focus on Bayley and becoming the next Smackdown Women’s Champion. She said she can do it.
-Firefly Funhouse: The music got distorted, then showed a cartoon swamp. Clips aired of the Swamp match at Horror Show last Sunday including the ending when The Fiend showed up. Back in the Funhouse studio, Bray said, “Yowie Wowie, that sure was fun!” He said the family reunion warmed his soul. “Braun Strowman came back home!” he said. He said many are worried that Braun is stuck in the swamp, but he assured everyone the swamp is organic. He talked to the head from the lantern and said, “He has been unleashed.” Ominous images played of Fiend. Then Bray laughed and smiled and waved bye.
-Matt Riddle began his ring entrance. The announcers narrated highlights of the A.J. Styles vs. Riddle match and Baron Corbin’s post-match attack. [c]
(2) MATT RIDDLE vs. TONY NESE
Riddle won with a Bro Derek. Nese got a little offense before the finish. Graves said Riddle “rebounded in major fashion tonight.”
WINNER: Riddle in under 2:00.
-Riddle said he’s new around there and doesn’t know how things work, but he wanted to call out Baron Corbin. Corbin told him he is right, he doesn’t know how things work around there; he said you don’t just call out a King like that. He said his new car smell will wear off soon. He said he doesn’t belong in a professional settling like Smackdown. He said he should go back to NXT or maybe he could go be a top guy at 205 Live. Corbin said he’s so convinced he doesn’t belong there, he’s putting out a King’s Ransom to anyone who can prove he doesn’t belong in his kingdom. Riddle said he’s not a subject in his “weird, little made up kingdom.” He said he is the special guest star in the Bro Show. Nese tried to attack Riddle from behind, but Riddle sensed him coming and round-kicked him the neck.
(Keller’s Analysis: Riddle was likable and chill. Corbin was annoying and arrogant. Check, check.)
-Backstage Miz and John Morrison were looking at a laptop. Morrison pitched overly long hashtags to Miz. Miz was dismayed at Morrison and said they have a show to do, so get on with it. [c]
-They showed “Irish Shannon’s” bar in Orlando, Fla. where the bar fight will take place.
-JBL said he loves going into a bar and fighting. He said he’s been in some of the toughest bar fights ever alongside Ron Simmons. He said at a bar there are obstacles everywhere like beer bottles, some local yokel who needs to be put to sleep, and pool cues. He said a bar fight is about will. He talked up Jeff Hardy. He said there is nothing like a man fighting for redemption.
-Miz TV: Morrison continued to focus on trying to forecast trends or be trendy. They showed photos of Seth Rollins. Morrison said he looked sick and pale. They shifted to Naomi’s entrance next. Miz and Morrison gave Naomi a hard time about trending last week despite losing. They said Lacey Evans should have trended. Naomi got worked up and said she trended because of her track record earning respect from fans.
Miz and Morrison said things are going to get worse for her because they had a special guest. Lacey came out. Lacey piled on about Naomi being around for ten years and not having much to show for it and is washed up, and can only trend for losing. “Bless her heart,” she said. Naomi shoved her as she was applying lipstick, which got smeared all over her face. Lacey swung her handbag at Naomi, but Naomi blocked it. Lacey bailed out. Naomi’s music played. Lacey freaked out at her image in a make-up mirror. Naomi danced. Morrison and Miz danced with Naomi.
-Cole threw to highlights of Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakaura beating The New Day on Sunday.
-Kofi Kingston walked out of the trainer’s room. He told Big E he was told he will miss around six weeks, and they’ll get the titles back when the time is right. Kofi said with both him and Xavier Woods out, “right now is your time.” Kofi said he and Xavier talk about this all the time – that Big E is always selfless, but here and now it’s about Big E showing the world what he can do. Big E said he hears him and appreciates it. Kofi told him not to let “them” deny him for a decade before he gets his due. They hugged. Kofi asked him to be gentle. Big E told him he loves him.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like this. Big E was also super-serious, not goofing off. Could be because he was selling being dejected over the Smackdown Tag Team Title loss and Kofi being injured, but it may have set the tone for a more serious singles push. I’m intrigued.)
-A.J. Styles made his way to ringside. Cole said they’d find out who would face Styles next. [c]
(3) DREW GULAK vs. GRAN METALIK vs. LINCE DORADO vs. SHORTY G – Winner Gets IC Title shot next week
Styles complained that one of these wrestlers gets a title shot after winning just one match. After knocking Gulak out of the ring, Dorado and Metalik battled. Graves asked whom he’d most like to face. He said whomever gets beat up the most. He said not that he needs it, but it just makes sense. Cole said he’s such a brave champion. Shorty G rallied and landed a flip dive onto all three opponents at ringside. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Graves asked Styles who has impressed him the most so far. He said Shorty G. After several more minutes of fast-paced action, Shorty G applied a mid-ring anklelock on Gulak. Dorado landed a top rope splash on Shorty to break up the hold and scored a near fall. Dorado landed two moonsaults, but when he went for a third, Gulak cut him off. Shortly lifted Gulak onto his shoulders and dumped him to the floor. Then he overhead tossed Dorado. Metalik, though, leaped off the top rope and caught Shorty with an elbow for the win.
WINNER: Metalik to earn a shot against Styles next week.
-Afterward, Styles entered the ring and offered a handshake. When Metalik hesitated trusting him, Styles slapped him. Metalik slapped him back and landed a tornado DDT. Styles rolled to the floor as Cole plugged next week’s match.
(Keller’s Analysis: First Big E moves to the singles division, and now Metalik will get a showcase match against Styles next week. I’m on board for this.)
-A video aired on Otis and Mandy Rose. Cole said their story warms his heart and next week “The Love Story Continues.” [c]
-Kayla Braxton congratulated Metalik, then introduced Cesaro & Sheamus. They gloated about being newly crowned Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Nakamura said he isn’t sure what was more rewarding on Sunday – putting Kofi through the first table or putting Kofi through the second table for a big splat. Cesaro said his only regret was not putting Big E through a table as well. Nakamura said it would make a bigger splat. Cesaro said it’s not Big E’s time. Nakamura said it’s their time now and they’ll make all teams on Smackdown go splat.
-A video package aired hyping the bar fight. [c]
(4) SHEAMUS vs. JEFF HARDY – Bar Fight
Sheamus entered the bar. He asked if Hardy was there yet. The bartender said he hadn’t seen him yet. Hardy yelled, “Yo, I’m here.” He marched toward Sheamus from the back. They sat at the bar next to each other. Sheamus asked if he wanted a shot to take the edge off. Hardy asked for a cup. The bartender gave him an empty glass. Hardy poured a beer into it. Sheamus cracked a joke. Hardy said his brother had to delete his WWE career, but tonight he has to recover his. Hardy said sobriety has changed him. Sheamus said he hasn’t changed. He’s still weak and pathetic and nobody cares about him. Hardy asked if he still raises the bar. Sheamus asked if he’s a comedian. Sheamus said he is The Bar and he raises The Bar. Hardy said he is the bar. Sheamus said he’s just a pathetic junkie. Sheamus took off his hat and got ready to fight. Hardy threw the beer in Sheamus’s face. The fight began. They had music in the background. Sheamus beat up Hardy on top of the bar and pounded away at his chest over and over. He yanked him to the floor. Sheamus asked for a shot of the good stuff on the top shelf. Sheamus threw him into the brick wall. Hardy reversed Sheamus and whipped him into a stack of kegs. Hardy threw basketballs from a nearby arcade game at him, then bashed him into the wall leading to the back area.
Sheamus dragged Hardy into the bathroom. He shoved his head into the urinal and flushed. Hardy gagged and heaved. Sheamus said he had a fate for him worse than that. He showed him his face in the mirror. He said that’s who he is, a junkie. Hardy fought back and shoved Sheamus onto a toilet in a stall. Hardy left, still heaving and gagging. Sheamus got up and looked for him. He said he can’t run or hide from it. Hardy came out of a storage room with a ladder. He bashed Sheamus with it, then leaped off the bar at Sheamus. Sheamus caught him and rammed him into the brick wall. Sheamus pulled a guitar off the wall and swung it at Hardy. Hardy ducked and the guitar broke. Hardy pounded away at Sheamus. Sheamus reversed him into a drum set and they cut to a break. [c]
Sheamus pounded his chest after the break and yelled at Hardy that this is what he wanted. Hardy went after him with a drum, but Sheamus kicked it. Hardy leaped at Sheamus and tackled him. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Sheamus, then set up a ladder. Sheamus’s bartender interfered, so Hardy powerbombed him through a table. Sheamus hit Hardy from behind with a chair. He grabbed his hat, wished him sweet dreams, and put it on top of Hardy’s face. He walked behind the bar and swigged a beer. He removed the hat and Hardy’s face was suddenly covered in make-up and his eyes lit up. He attacked Sheamus. The music changed and then Hardy climbed a ladder and leaped off of it with a Swanton. The ref counted to three. Hardy blinked and his eyes went back to normal.
WINNER: Hardy in 16:00