SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JULY 1, 2022
PHOENIX, AZ AT FOOTPRINT CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a crowd shot as Michael Cole introduced the show. The Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match participants were in the ring standing atop ladders. Omos stood next to the ladders. Cole and Pat McAfee stood at ringside. They ran down the rules for the Money in the Bank matches tomorrow. Cole then threw to a graphic that showed the Men’s Money in the Bank participants.
-Back in the ring, Seth Rollins took the mic. He said that everyone is standing on ladders. Drew McIntyre said that Rollins doesn’t speak for him. Riddle agreed that Rollins doesn’t speak for McIntyre. Rollins said he thinks they can all agree that the best time to cash in would be after the Last Man Standing match at Summerslam between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. Riddle said when he cashes in he can finally beat Reigns. Sami Zayn then took the mic and said that he’s an honorary Uce and he’s going to keep the contract in the Bloodline. MVP chimed in from the apron. He said they’re all idiots, and no one has noticed the giant in the ring with them. MVP said that no one can stop Omos and he will be the last one standing. Sheamus then said that if Reigns is the Last Man Standing, he’ll be happy because he’s already cashed in on Reigns and won. He said if Lesnar wins, it’s a different ball game for him. McIntyre then told Sheamus to speak for himself as he’s beaten Lesnar in five minutes. The Miz’s music played and he made his entrance. Miz said the last time he had the contract he cashed in on McIntyre. He said he deserves to be in the match tomorrow. Ezekiel’s music played and he emerged from the back. He introduced himself, then said he was supposed to have a match against Kevin Owens, so he deserves to be in the MITB match. Happy Corbin then made his entrance. He mentioned that he won MITB before as well. Madcap Moss cut Corbin off. He said the thought of Corbin squandering the contract again is hysterical. All of the men in the ring argued. Adam Pearce appeared from the back. He asked the crew to remove the ladders from the ring. He said there’s going to be a battle royal right now. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was a lot going on. I know WWE feels the need to do his every year, but it doesn’t make anyone more excited for Money in the Bank. It’s just hard to follow and a bunch of grown men arguing like children. On top of all that, the parade of Superstars that emerged from the back have zero chance of actually winning. I would rather they just roll with the six guys they already have instead of shoehorning in another person with no realistic chance. Good news though, battle royal time!)
(1) BATTLE ROYAL
Omos took Riddle down. All of the men paired off. Zayn stayed away from everyone. Sheamus and Omos traded blows. Zayn attempted to eliminate Riddle, but Riddle hung on. McIntyre chopped away at Miz. Ezekiel was eliminated by Omos. Omos then pounded on Moss and eliminated him. Zayn tossed Miz into Omos who then eliminated Miz. MVP cheered on the outside. Riddle attacked Omos, but Omos took him down. McIntyre and Omos went face to face. McIntyre punched at Omos, but Omos grabbed McIntyre in a choke. McIntyre fell to his knees but fought back up. Omos took McIntyre down with a headbutt. Sheamus attacked Omos, but Omos dumped him in the corner. Omos then took Zayn down. Rollins and Omos went face to face. Rollins backed up and eliminated himself. Rollins taunted Omos from the outside. Riddle appeared and hit an RKO on Rollins out of nowhere. Omos grabbed Riddle and pulled him back to the apron. Riddle pulled on Omos. Sheamus and McIntyre assisted Riddle and eliminated Omos. [c]
Riddle kicked and punched at Sheamus. Zayn hit Riddle from behind and Sheamus recovered. Sheamus hit a big clothesline on Riddle. Sheamus tried to eliminate Riddle but Riddle hung on. Zayn took control on McIntyre in the corner. Sheamus and Riddle battled. The four of them plus Corbin were the only ones left in the match. McIntyre pounded on Zayn with Sheamus. Corbin took control on Riddle and hit him with a chokeslam backbreaker. Sheamus lifted Zayn’s shirt and used the Ten Beats. Zayn tried to fight back and knocked Sheamus into a Bro to Sleep from Riddle. Riddle then hit a senton on Sheamus. A “Riddle” chant broke out. Riddle hit a Randy Orton powerslam on Sheamus followed by the Draping DDT. Riddle then stalked Sheamus and went for an RKO but Sheamus countered and knocked Riddle to the apron. Riddle tried to come off the ropes, but Sheamus caught him with a big knee that eliminated Riddle. Corbin held McIntyre as Zayn punched away at him. McIntyre fought out and took Zayn down. Corbin pulled McIntyre to the corner. Zayn ran in and went for the Helluva Kick, but McIntyre moved, so he hit Corbin. McIntyre hit the neckbreaker on Zayn, then set up a Claymore. As McIntyre approached, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick out of nowhere. McIntyre recovered and took Sheamus down with a pair of clotheslines then a pair of belly to belly throws. Zayn came off the top rope and McIntyre caught him and delivered another belly to belly throw. McIntyre hit a Future Shock DDT on Sheamus. Zayn tried to eliminate McIntyre but McIntyre shrugged him off and hit a Claymore. McIntyre eliminated Zayn. McIntyre tried to eliminate Sheamus. Corbin appeared behind McIntyre and Sheamus and eliminated both men for the win.
WINNER: Happy Corbin in 15:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Actually not bad as far as battle royals go. I get having Corbin win, but does that mean he’s in Money in the Bank, now? If not, what was the purpose of this? Rhetorical questions aside, this was a solid way to kill some TV time and get a bunch of guys on the show. Mostly everyone in the MITB match got a chance to shine and that’s fine. Now that this is over, how is Pearce going to decide who’s in MITB? He hasn’t been known for his decision making recently.)
-Corbin celebrated and taunted McAfee at ringside. McAfee mock clapped for Corbin.
-They showed Natalya dressed as Ronda Rousey last week. Cole hyped a segment with Natalya coming up. [c]
-Corbin was in the back. He celebrated as Kayla Braxton appeared. Corbin said he’s so happy he’s “farting rainbows”. He ran down all the guys he eliminated. He said no one can admit how great he is. Kayla asked about McAfee’s challenge to Corbin. Corbin’s face got serious and he didn’t answer.
-They cut back to McAfee and Cole at ringside. McAfee called Corbin a bum and said he dodged the question. Cole then threw to a video package on the match between Ronda Rousey and Natalya tomorrow night at Money in the Bank. After the video, they showed a graphic for Natalya and Rousey. Cole hyped the match.
-Megan Morant welcomed Natalya in the back. Natalya said that all Rousey has left is talk. She said that Rousey’s not one to talk as she’s seen the movies that Rousey was in. Natalya said she saw the fear in Rousey’s eyes because she knew that the Sharpshooter hurt her. Natalya said that Rousey can make fun of her all she wants, but she’s going to be the first person to make Rousey tap out. Natalya said she’s going to win and become the two time Smackdown Women’s champion. She said the only thing Rousey will be left holding is her ten month old baby.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I’ll be honest, after Rousey’s rude comments last week, I hope Natalya does make her tap out. Her completely disproportionate response was a bad look. Natalya’s promo here rang true due to that fact. She shrugged off Rousey’s words and remained confident. I don’t think it’s intentional, but Nattie wasn’t a huge heel here. The match should be good if nothing else. Hopefully, all of this is a work and they can be professional. Who am I kidding, Rousey, I mean Rousey.)
-Back in the arena, the New Day’s music played and they made their entrance. Cole threw to a video recap of the Viking Raiders’ attack on the New Day last week. The New Day stood in the ring. McAfee and Cole hyped their match with the Viking Raiders for after the break. [c]
-Xavier Woods took the mic. He said the crowd name and introduced them. Kofi Kingston took the mic and said it’s great to be in Phoenix in the month of June. Woods told him June is over. Kingston said that he’s “Ju-lying”. Kingston laughed then said they make sure everyone has a good time. Woods said they gave everyone a dancing Shanky last week. He said that everyone was having fun. Kingston then said the Viking Raiders ruined it. The crowd booed. Woods asked them to boo louder. The crowd did. Woods asked for them to boo even louder. They did. Woods said they didn’t have a good Viking experience last week. Kingston said the Viking Raiders have a new more vicious attitude. Woods then said that the New Day may need to get darker. Kingston agreed.
-The Viking Raiders’ music played and they made their entrance. The ring announcer announced them as the “vicious” Viking Raiders. The Raiders entered the ring. The two teams stared each other down. Woods lifted the mic, then dropped it. The New Day attacked the Viking Raiders, but the Viking Raiders recovered quickly and attacked the New Day with their shields. They took out both members of the New Day with ease. Erik teased leaving the ring, then they came back in. They then hit a double slam on Kingston, then dragged Woods over and on top of him. Ivar stepped over the New Day as the Viking Raiders left up the ramp with their shields. Cole said they have put the Smackdown Tag Team Division on notice.
(McDonald’s Analysis: They’re really pushing this whole “new, vicious” thing aren’t they? The segment was fine. I had a feeling we weren’t actually going to get a match this soon, so this was slightly expected. I don’t see how we’re supposed to believe the New Day has a chance when they do finally get together, though. I’m interested to see how far they go with the “new” Viking Raiders.)
-In the back, all of the perspective MITB participants argued. Pearce said that a case can be made for all of them, but there can only be one. Pearce then said that there will be a Fatal Four Way match among them tonight. He said the winner will advance to Money in the Bank.
-Asuka’s music played and she made her entrance. She was followed by Liv Morgan and Alexa Bliss. They then showed a graphic for the six woman tag for after the break. Cole hyped the match as Raw vs. Smackdown. [c]
-They showed a graphic for the Fatal Four Way later tonight. In the ring, the Smackdown Women’s team gathered after their entrances.
-Becky Lynch’s music played and she made her entrance. She told the crowd they’re going to have to wait to see her fight. She said she knows one of the snakes in the match would try to take her out before tomorrow. Lynch announced that she will be on commentary.
(2) ASUKA & LIV MORGAN & ALEXA BLISS vs. SHOTZI & RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ & LACEY EVANS
Evans started against Asuka. Evans took control and hit a handstand into a bronco buster. She tagged in Rodriguez who covered Asuka for a near fall. Asuka recovered and tagged in Bliss. Bliss posed and taunted Rodriguez. Rodriguez got ahold of Bliss and tossed her into the corner, then hit her with a splash. Rodriguez then slammed Bliss and sent her to the corner. Bliss rolled out of the way and tagged Morgan. Morgan took Rodriguez down and covered her for a near fall. Morgan sent Rodriguez to the corner and then hit her with a huge running knee. Rodriguez took Morgan down then tagged in Shotzi. Shotzi got a near fall on Morgan. Shotzi attacked Morgan and then got another near fall. Morgan countered Shotzi coming into the corner and hit her with a modified backbreaker. Shotzi rolled to the outside and started to walk up the ramp. Evans tried to stop her. Morgan hit a dangerous looking suicide dive on Evans and Shotzi. Rodriguez tried to come off the apron but Asuka hit her with a hip attack. Bliss then flew to the outside and took out Rodriguez and Shotzi. The three women from Raw stood tall in the ring. [c]
Rodriguez took Asuka down short arm shoulder blocks. Bliss tagged in and took the advantage on Rodriguez. Rodriguez took over and tagged in Shotzi. Shotzi got a near fall. She then sent Bliss to the corner and hit a splash., Shotzi then used her top rope headscissors. Shotzi then suplexed Bliss into the corner then stomped at her. Shotzi ran at Bliss in the corner but Bliss caught her with an elbow followed by a rollup for a near fall. Shotzi countered into a Boston crab. Bliss fought towards the corner, then kicked at Shotzi. Bliss tagged in Asuka. Asuka hit a series of strikes on Shotzi. Asuka countered an enzuguiri attempt into an ankle lock into a German suplex. Asuka covered Shotzi for a near fall. Asuka went for a hip attack, but Shotzi moved and Morgan tagged herself in. She hit a facebuster on Shotzi and went for the cover but Rodriguez broke it up. The other women took each other out of the ring. Morgan hit Oblivion on Shotzi and got the win.
WINNER: Asuka & Liv Morgan & Alexa Bliss in 12:00
-Lynch entered the ring and hit the Rock Bottom on Asuka. She walked up the ramp as Morgan and Bliss tended to Asuka. They showed a graphic for the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match. Cole hyped the match. Afterwards, Lynch posed at the top of the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: The match was solid. Everyone got a chance to shine for the most part which seems to be the theme of the night thus far. I love Lynch on commentary, but it’s a double edged sword. She’s so good at it it’s distracting. I would rather pay attention to her commentary than the women in the ring. On top of that, her star power is so large that the other women seem less than. Lynch is great for TV, but those other things need to be considered when a decision like this is made. I assume she’ll win tomorrow, also. None of the other women really make any sense.)
-Pearce was in the back. Sonya Deville appeared. She said that what Pearce did last week was wrong. Deville said that she knows Pearce took flak from upper management. She said she knows that because she filed a formal complaint against Pearce. Deville said that what Pearce did was wrong, but what she’s about to do is also wrong. Deville slapped Pearce.
-The Usos’ music played and they made their entrance. Cole said they’ve been Tag Team champions for 347 days. Cole hyped an “ask them anything” segment with the Usos and the Street Profits as a graphic was shown. [c]
-Cole hyped the Fatal Four Way again as the graphic was shown.
-The Street Profits were in the ring. Kayla was in the ring at a podium. She said the Usos will get the first question. She asked how confident they are and how Reigns will feel if they lose. Jey asked if they looked fearful. They said they’re confident because the Bloodline runs all the damn shows. Montez Ford took the mic and he said that Reigns runs the show. Angelo Dawkins said the Usos just run to the grocery store. Kayla then asked the Street Profits if they lost their killer instinct and if they are getting along. The Profits said she probably got it from the dirt sheets. Dawkins said that Ford is his brother. Ford said they have a killer instinct every time they get in the ring with the Usos. Ford said that they respect the legacy, but the Usos are not prepared for the starving Street Profits and he said, come Saturday, they’re going to win the titles. Ford said their legacy will come to an end and the Street Profits’ legacy begins. The Usos said they actually like the Street Profits, but they’re not them, but come Saturday, the Usos are up and they want the smoke. Dawkins then said that they’re going to be new Tag champions because “ya’ll the twos, and we are the ones”. The two teams stared each other down. Cole hyped the match for tomorrow night.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I’m probably reading too much into this, but it was interesting that Dawkins was the one who answered the question about the Profits not getting along. I doubt it means anything, but if one of them turns, I would assume it’ll be him. Anyway, Ford was on point here. I love when the Profits are serious. This match feels bigger after this segment. It really needed that. It will deliver in the ring, but I’m glad we have more of a storyline reason for wanting to see it now. Ford deserves a lot of credit for that. He did a great job laying out the “mission statement” for the Profits and why this match is important to them. The Usos also showed how much their legacy means to them. This was a good segment.)
-Max Dupri was in the back with Pearce. He said he’s excited because the world is finally going to see Maximum Male Models. Pearce said that his showcase is next. Dupri breathed deeply and said yes. [c]
-Cole threw to a video package on Gunther.
-Dupri appeared in a spotlight in the ring. He said this is a momentous occassion. He introduced Mace, now pronounced Ma.ce. He came out and modeled his clothes. Photographers snapped pictures of him as Dupri explained the size of Ma.ce. He walked to the back. Dupri then introduced Mansoor, now pronounced Man.soor. He modeled a fanny pack. Dupri said he’s the epitome of Maximum Male Models due to his aura. Dupri said that male fashionistas will be begging to join. Ma.ce and Man.soor came out and posed together. Dupri said that they “titillate your guilty pleasures”.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I was on with Wade about a month ago. I guessed Mace for this gimmick, and he guessed Mansoor. I didn’t think it would be both of them, but funny that that’s how it worked out. This was, uh, interesting, I guess. I hope these guys don’t have to wrestle in those outfits. Also, is this yet another heel team for Smackdown? Where are the babyfaces for them to fight? Does WWE realize the New Day can’t feud with every other team at the same time?)
-Megan Morant welcomed Rousey in the back. Rousey said that it’s been fun teaching Natalya how to promote a fight. She said that as her supposed “friend” she should know that her baby is nine months, not ten. She said that Natalya won’t make her tap out and walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow, Ronda’s a little salty. I stand by what I said earlier. Natalya seems like the face here now. Rousey comes off as petty.)
-The Miz made his entrance. Cole hyped the signing of Logan Paul to a WWE contract as a Superstar. He said Paul is going to come after the Miz. Madcap Moss’ music played and he made his entrance. Cole hyped the Fatal Four Way. [c]
-Cole and McAfee hyped Maximum Male Models showing off the tennis collection next week in Fort Worth, Texas.
-Happy Corbin made his entrance. Cole and McAfee ran down the card for Money in the Bank tomorrow night.
(3) THE MIZ vs. MADCAP MOSS vs. EZEKIEL vs. HAPPY CORBIN – Winner Advances to Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The four men paired off. Moss hit Corbin with a clothesline then Miz rolled him up for a near fall. Ezekiel rolled up Moss for a near fall of his own. Moss hit a big elbow that took Ezekiel down and he rolled out of the ring. Corbin entered the ring and attacked Moss. Moss fought back and took Corbin down with a flying shoulder block. Miz entered and took out Moss. Corbin and Miz double teamed Moss. Corbin held Moss in the corner as Miz charged, Corbin left Moss and clotheslined Miz. Ezekiel clotheslined Corbin into the timekeeper’s area. Corbin appeared and tossed Moss into the steps. He then chokeslammed Miz onto the apron. Ezekiel came up behind Corbin, but Corbin chokeslammed Ezekiel onto the announce table. Corbin stared down McAfee as they cut to break. [c]
Moss and and Miz traded punches. Moss came off the ropes and took out Miz with a shoulder block. Corbin tried to attack Moss from behind, but Moss took him down. Moss took Miz down and went for a cover but Corbin broke up the pin. Moss slingshotted Miz into Corbin’s crotch. Moss then hit the Punchline on Corbin but Ezekiel broke up the pin. Ezekiel came off the middle rope with a crossbody but Moss rolled through and hit a fallaway slam. Miz appeared and took down Moss for a near fall. Miz hit the “it” kicks on both Moss and Ezekiel. Moss caught the last one, but Miz hit a slam and went for a cover but Corbin broke it up. Corbin hit the Deep Six on Moss for a near fall. Corbin punched at Ezekiel. Ezekiel fought back and clotheslined Corbin. He then sent Moss into the corner and traded splashes on Moss and Miz. Ezekiel then hit a big knee on Corbin followed by a spinebuster on Moss. He went after Miz but Miz countered into a Skull Crushing Finale. Corbin broke up the pin and dumped Miz on the outside. Corbin hit the End of Days on Ezekiel. Moss appeared and tossed Corbin out of the ring. He covered Ezekiel for the win.
WINNER: Madcap Moss in 10:00 to advance to the Money in the Bank Ladder match
-Cole ran down the updated Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match field. McAfee hyped the match. McAfee shouted at Corbin at ringside and called him a bum. Cole hyped Money in the Bank for tomorrow night as McAfee laughed.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Not what I expected, but of the options available, I’m cool with that. The match was fine but nothing special. All of the guys got their spots in and looked solid, but no one really stood out in a noticeable way.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A solid episode, but nothing groundbreaking happened. They tied up the loose ends they needed to heading into the PLE tomorrow night and set up the Smackdown side of things with the Usos-Street Profits and Rousey-Natalya segments. Otherwise, this show was just a showcase for the MITB participants and all of them got a little bit of shine one way or another. The event should be fine and tonight did just enough to hype it. They didn’t send us away craving anything tomorrow, though, which isn’t really great. Paint by numbers go home show.