There will be a WWE Network live event broadcast special on Saturday, July 27 at a Smackdown live event in Nashville. Here’s the official announcement from WWE:
WWE is proud to announce the SMACKVILLE special event, featuring a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship and streaming live from Nashville, Tenn. exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network on Saturday, July 27.
The explosive in-ring action will include a main event Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship in which Kofi Kingston will be challenged by Dolph Ziggler and Samoa Joe. In addition, newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura will go head-to-head with former titleholder Finn Bálor in a rematch from WWE Extreme Rules. The evening will also feature a special musical performance by Elias.
Don’t miss SMACKVILLE, streaming live from Music City, U.S.A., on Saturday, July 27, at 9 ET/6 PT, exclusively on WWE Network.
That means they will air:
Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Title
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title
Elias doing a musical performance
I assume the Elias musical performance will be interrupted by a babyface wrestler and that could lead to a match as well.
It was announced today that former WWE Champion CM Punk will make an appearance at Starrcast 3 in Chicago, which is where he lives, on Saturday, August 31. That is the day of All Elite Wrestling’s “Double or Nothing” pay-per-view, which takes place at the Sears Center in Chicago.
Here’s the official announcement from Starrcast, which is run by Conrad Thompson.
“A highlight is easily anytime anyone has a story. I do about one signing a year and the best part is always finding out how you’ve touched people’s lives in a meaningful way. A lot of it can be heavy; helped someone get clean, helped somehow with the loss of a loved one. I am always touched to know the private intimate stories people have.”
That SI article noted that Punk’s appearance is for Starrcast only and not for AEW. That doesn’t mean it will prevent wrestling fans from speculating.
Punk also talked about wrestling memories in Chicago:
“Bret vs. Austin is the match (at WrestleMania 13) that comes to mind. Hell, Bret vs. Owen in a cage at SummerSlam ‘94, too. I was there live for that one, the first event held in the United Center. Third on the list would be memories of myself vs. Cena [at the Money in the Bank pay per view in 2011]. I think it’s flattering if anyone thinks one of my matches belongs up there with the previous two I mentioned.”
Conrad Thompson also talked to Sports Illustrated about giving fans something special at Starrcast:
“I’ve always wanted to have Punk at Starrcast but the timing was never right, and I’m really excited that the stars have aligned for this August. Fans are going to get what they’ve wanted for a long time, and that is CM Punk with a live mic. It’s going to happen at Starrcast.”
It should be very interesting hear what Punk might say that day.
Some of the other superstars appearing at Starrcast are AEW mainstays like Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, Jim Ross and WWE Hall of Famers like Mick Foley, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page, Madusa (Alundra Blayze) and others will be there as well.
I have been a casual 205 Live viewer from day one. The reason I never really wrote about it is because writing about Raw and Smackdown every week is a lot. Most of the time when I watch 205 Live it’s to focus on the main event and I’m sitting on my couch when I do it. This week I figure I’m going to write about it because I want to get more content posted here on TJRWrestling on a daily basis. This will likely be a Wednesday afternoon or evening post. We’ll see how the numbers do on the site and if people are interested in these reviews.
We all know the 205 Live audience on WWE Network is not that big. However, there’s usually one great match every week and this week I know the main event is outstanding, so I feel like I should review it. I’m going to try to commit to doing these 205 Live reviews until the end of August at least and then re-assess if I want to keep doing it. I think September is going to be when we do a TJRWrestling Writer Search. What will most likely happen is another writer can either cover 205 Live for us or do more of the news posts, which would give me more time and energy to devote to this. Also, Chad Gable is one of my favorites in WWE and he’s in the main event, so that helps me in terms of making me want to review the show.
Live from Worcester, Massachusetts, this is 205 Live for episode #138. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present.
Drew Gulak, the Cruiserweight Champion, said that after Extreme Rules, he has erased all doubt and now his grip on the Cruiserweight Championship grows tighter by the day. He wondered who would step next? “My name is Drew Gulak and I am your WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Welcome to my 205 Live.”
Analysis: They used the Extreme Rules match to further establish as the Cruiserweight Champion since he won the title in a triple threat, so beating Nese in a singles match made him stand out more.
The announcers for 205 Live are Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English. I think English has done well on commentary, but I firmly believe he has untapped potential as a wrestler too.
Akira Tozawa (w/The Brian Kendrick) vs. Samir Singh (w/Sunil Singh)
Tozawa worked over Samir with chops followed by a punch to the face. Samir came back by sending Tozawa face first into the turnbuckle. Samir with a hard whip that sent Tozawa into the turnbuckle. Tozawa with a kick to the gut, then he picked up Samir and slammed him off the shoulders. Running dropkick by Tozawa sent Samir to the floor. Tozawa to the apron leading to a running flip dive into Samir against the barricade. Tozawa up top, Sunil distracted him, Samir charged, Tozawa moved and Sunil hit the ropes. Tozawa rolled him up with a sunset flip into the pin for the victory after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: *3/4 This was a decent match to put over Tozawa after fighting off the cheap tactics of the heels. Sunil can do a lot more in the ring, but he wasn’t really there to do much in this match. This was about Tozawa winning with the surprise win.
Post match, the Singh Brothers tried a double team attack, but Kendrick saved his buddy and Tozawa kicked Sunil out of the ring. The Bollywood trophy that the Singhs bring to the ring was in the ring, so Tozawa held it up in the air.
The announcers were shown on camera talking about the show.
There was a video about Humberto Carrillo. They did this a week earlier also. He just said the only thing on his mind is the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Mike Kanellis entered alone for his match. His wife Maria was backstage watching the match.
Mike Kanellis vs. Jackson James
James is an enhancement talent that was also used on Raw. Kanellis hit James with a running boot to the face followed by several chops to the chest. Kanellis with a spinebuster, corner clothesline and a running clothesline. Kanellis with another running clothesline. Kanellis hit a reverse neckbreaker that sent James face first into the mat for the pinfall win. The match was over in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mike Kanellis
Analysis: 1/2* An easy squash victory for Kanellis while James got no offense at all.
After the match, Kanellis stomped on James and tossed him out of the ring.
Mike Kanellis did a promo calling out 205 Live GM Drake Maverick and told him to fine him for that if he wants. Maverick walked down to the ring. Kanellis said that two months ago his contract expired, he could have gone anywhere in the world, but he decided to stay here at WWE for two reasons. The first reason is he wanted to prove to his wife that he’s as good as he says he is by becoming the Cruiserweight Champion. The second reason was because he wanted to kick Drake’s ass. Drake told Kanellis to take accountability and he told him the reason that he’s not where he is due to his own actions. Maverick mentioned other cruiserweights that have worked hard on 205 Live unlike Kanellis. Maverick mentioned Kanellis having a short match on Raw, so Kanellis brought up Drake’s “performance” with his wife. That drew an “oooohhhh” reaction from the crowd. Maverick said he’s never going to fight him, he’s not going to fight him – he’s the General Manager. Kanellis said that Maverick has neglected his duties because he’s been chasing the 24/7 Title and he’s walking down the street in his damn underwear. Kanellis said he’s not the joke, Drake is and Drake said he never thought Mike was a joke. Kanellis told Drake he’s not the bigger man or even half of a man. Kanellis told Drake to go home, talk to his wife and prove to her that you’re a man. Kanellis said a real man wouldn’t back down from a fight or let somebody talk down to somebody like Mike is doing to him right now. Kanellis said that a real man would get mad, then he said Drake’s wife is a filthy…and Drake punched him in the face. Drake hit a dropkick on Kanellis leading to Kanellis bailing to the floor. Kanellis had a smirk on his face while Maverick was mad in the ring.
Analysis: Good promo work from both guys. Kanellis was perfect as the antagonizing heel that tried to get under Drake’s skin by regular trash talk and then he made it more personal leading to Drake punching him.
After 205 Live, Drake Maverick announced that Kanellis can get a Cruiserweight Title match if Kanellis wins a match against…Drake.
Analysis: That should be interesting. The storyline is working and both guys did well on the show this week. Drake is not a regular wrestler in WWE. Drake is a trained wrestler, though, so having him in a match with Kanellis is the right move. Mike should win that match and go on to face Gulak unless WWE wants to go another route with somebody else.
A commercial aired for Raw Reunion on Monday.
There were highlights shown from last week’s great Anything Goes Match with Oney Lorcan beating Arya Daivari after a superplex through a table.
It was time for the main event with “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher up first. They showed highlights of their match from 205 Live one match earlier where Chad Gable beat Gallagher by countout. Chad Gable was up next. He is more tanned and with more baby oil on his body than he used to have going into a match.
Chad Gable vs. “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher
There was a handshake to start the match. Gable with a headlock leading to Gallagher countering by getting to his feet. They did some slick mat wrestling with counters and reversals of several moves leading to a staredown. Gallagher caught Gable, he sent him throat first into the top rope and flipped over into a pin attempt for two. Gable with a leaping arm drag, then a cradle and another arm drag into an armbar. When Gallagher grabbed an armbar, Gable picked him up and slammed him onto his back. Gable with a hard whip into the corner where Gallagher sold it with a sternum bump. Gallagher charged, Gable caught him and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex for two. Gable worked over the left knee of Gallagher with knee drops and a dragon screw leg whip. Gallagher got a backslide pin for two followed by a standing dropkick. Gallagher got some momentum for the first time with a punch to the face and delayed vertical suplex showing off his power. The crowd liked that spot. Gable got a roll through into a waistlock, Gallagher with a wristlock submission and Gable managed to crawl to counter into a nearfall for two. Gallagher with a back elbow to the face followed by a dropkick off the middle ropes. Gallagher knocked Gable to the floor and he whipped Gable into the barricade. Gallagher went for a suicide dive, he did not land comfortably on Gable and then Gable hit him with a German Suplex on the floor.
Gable tossed Gallagher back in leading to Gallagher getting an inside cradle for two. Gable with a double underhook Powerbomb for two and Gable transitioned into an Ankle Lock. When Gallagher got near the ropes, Gallagher dropped to the mat with the heel hook and Gallagher had a sweet escape by turning out of it. Gallagher with elbows to the face. The crowd cheered both guys for their effort. Gable with a rolling kick to the head, Gallagher off the ropes and a headbutt got a two count. Great nearfall there. The crowd was really coming alive now. Both guys were down selling for nearly a minute. Both guys were on their knees as they exchanged palm strikes, forearms to the face and Gallagher won the slugfest with punches. Gallagher sent Gable to the ropes, he charged, Gable caught him, put him on his shoulders and hit a sitout slam that sent Gallagher to the mat on his stomach. That was good for two as the crowd really popped big for that nearfall. On the replay, it almost looked like a DDT with the way Gable brought Gallagher to the mat. Gable went up top, he jumped off with a moonsault and Gallagher got the feet up to block it. Gallagher charged with the running dropkick on Gable against the turnbuckle. That was an impressive dropkick and as Gallagher covered, Gable got his foot on the bottom rope. Another great nearfall in this match. Gallagher set up Gable on the top rope for a belly to back suplex, but Gable shifted momentum and landed on top. Gable with rolled through into the bridging German Suplex (that’s called Chaos Theory) and that was enough to get the one…two…and three. It went 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chad Gable
Analysis: **** That was an excellent match. Four stars out of five. The crowd got into a lot by the time it was finished. That’s an example of winning over the crowd. It’s what all wrestlers want to do. They worked at a slow pace in the first half, but then it really picked up and they had a really fun match. It was very even the whole way although the pace really picked up when Gallagher made his comeback in the second half of the match. Both guys busted out some moves that I haven’t seen that often from either them, which makes it more special when they bust out moves that we are unfamiliar with. Gable executed his finisher perfectly in what was an impressive move to win the match.
After the match, the crowd applauded them. Joseph called it a “standing ovation” although it really wasn’t all of the crowd clapping. A lot of people were standing to watch, but not necessarily clapping. The announcers praised the match heavily. Replays aired of the key moments in the match.
Gable got to his feet first while Gallagher was seated up against the ropes. Gable helped Gallagher to his feet. Gable tapped him on the chest as a sign of respect and he left. Gallagher nodded in approval. The announcers put over the match as being outstanding and the definition of what 205 Live is all about.
Analysis: Gable getting the win here could lead to him being pushed as the next challenger to the Cruiserweight Title because he’s not doing anything else on the main roster right now. It depends on if Kanellis wins over Maverick to get the next shot at the title.
This episode of 205 Live had a runtime of 46:02 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
Drake Maverick did very well too!
I’m not going to do The Scoreboard or rate the show out of ten like in my Raw and Smackdown reviews.
It was a one match show this week and that one match was excellent as I covered above. Watch Gable vs. Gallagher if you have 15 minutes of free time because it’s worth your time. The promo exchange between Kanellis and Maverick was pretty good too.
The next WWE pay-per-view event is SummerSlam on August 11th in Toronto. This week during Raw and Smackdown, they announced the first three title matches.
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
Those are the three for sure that we know are happening.
Other possible matches based on WWE TV this week:
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Title
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet again for the US Title
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali for the Intercontinental Title
The IIconics vs. The Kabuki Warriors for the Women’s Tag Team Titles
Consider those just rumors for now. There are so many other big names without obvious opponents right now, but they will likely be on the show too.
The WWE Raw Reunion special takes place next Monday, July 22 in Tampa, Florida. A lot of names from WWE’s past have been advertised. Here’s the updated list in alphabetical order.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Ted DiBiase Sr.
There will probably be more names released in the coming days including many people that are already at Raw because they work in WWE behind the scenes, but they are not listed yet.
Kelly Kelly is currently the only woman that’s officially advertised I assume more women will be there. That’s what I mean when I say there will likely be more people there.
It’s not every day that a WWE superstar announces they have announced a new contract, but that’s exactly what Braun Strowman did today on Instagram. You can find Strowman on Instagram under his real name @AdamScherr99 here. Here’s what he wrote:
“Well I’m sure more than a few of you will like this announcement!!!!!!!! Here’s to 4 more years of being the hardest working and best big man in the whole damn industry and working for the Greatest promotion in the world the @wwe”
He also went crazy with hashtags noting that he “likes Million dollar deals” although we don’t know how much he has re-signed for.
Strowman will turn 36 years old in September. He started on the main roster in late 2015 and then got a monster singles push in July 2016 when the brand extension started. Strowman has main evented several pay-per-views already, but his quest to become Universal Champion has been unsuccessful so far. He also rarely loses any matches. It will be interesting to see if this new contract will lead to him becoming a main event performer in WWE again. It’s certainly possible.
Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Live Review right here on TJRWrestling. Here’s my review of Sunday’s WWE Extreme Rules review in case you missed it and Monday’s Raw Deal review is here as well. In case you’re wondering, Eric Bischoff, who recently signed a deal to be the new Executive Director of Smackdown, is not at Smackdown. There’s also no Bischoff influence on the show according to the Wrestling Observer. If you follow Eric on Twitter, he’s been driving across the country to his new home in CT. Maybe by next week he’ll start. Let’s get to the review.
Live from Worcester, Massachusetts, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1039. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present.
This week’s Smackdown Live started with a video package featuring the memorable promo from Kevin Owens last week when he ranted about Shane McMahon. It also included a highlight of later that night when Owens hit Shane with a Stunner.
There was a clip from “Earlier Today” with Shane McMahon standing by with security by the arena entrance. Kevin Owens arrived at the arena. Shane said he heard Kevin loud and clear, so it gave Shane the idea for the Town Hall. Shane said he won’t tolerate insubordination like Owens was doing. Owens said his contract is with WWE, not with Shane, who reminded him WWE is owned and controlled by the McMahon Family. Shane said he is Kevin’s boss. Shane told Kevin he has the night off. Shane told Kevin to have a good night, then said: “au revoir” which means goodbye in French. Owens left the arena.
Smackdown Live Town Hall
The Smackdown Live roster was on the stage with two microphones nearby for the Town Hall segment while Shane McMahon stood in the ring. Most of the wrestlers were dressed in their ring gear. The New Day trio were together off to the side, Randy Orton was front and center, Charlotte Flair was beside him, Andrade was nearby with Zelina Vega. Elias was there with his guitar. Anyway, most of the Smackdown roster was there.
It looked like it was ready to start, but instead, we got a video package of The Undertaker and Roman Reigns beating Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules.
Analysis: That means we are supposed to believe Shane is running this show and he thought it was okay to show a video of him getting his ass kicked? That’s odd.
Shane stood in the ring as Greg Hamilton did the “best in the world” introduction and as usual, “The Ham” did a fantastic job with it.
Shane started talking about Kevin Owens, but the fans greeted him with “you suck” chants. Shane said Owens is not allowed to be in the building. Shane said KO gave him the idea for the Town Hall. Shane said that as long as they are respectful, he is willing to hear what they had to say. Shane asked who wants to go first? After a bit of delay, Roman Reigns stepped up.
Roman Reigns went up to a microphone. Reigns said that Shane doesn’t get it because nobody in this room respects him. Reigns said as far as diplomacy, well, “you can kiss my ass.” That drew cheers and Reigns left. Shane said that wasn’t respectful, so Roman will be fined and he will deal with Roman later.
Analysis: That was all for Reigns on the show, but he did wrestle in a dark match later.
Charlotte Flair stepped up because Shane called on her. Charlotte claimed that what Roman said was so uncalled for. Charlotte said from one family to another, thank you so much because the McMahon Family has been nothing but gracious to her since the day she was born. Flair told fans to shut up. Flair said it makes her sick that Kevin Owens would take advantage of Shane’s kindness. Liv Morgan stepped up to the other microphone and told Flair to stop being such a phony. Morgan asked if there was anything real about her. Flair looked down at her chest. I thought the same thing. I’m sure Andrade did too. Flair asked who she is again and does she even work here? Flair mocked Morgan by saying “we’re all born with blue tongues” as a joke. Flair said he didn’t know Liv still worked there until Kevin Owens belched it out of his mouth last week. Morgan said that people like Flair are the reason why people like her don’t get a fair opportunity. Shane shut them down. That set up a match.
Buddy Murphy stepped up because Shane noted that Kevin Owens mentioned him last week. Murphy said he didn’t need Owens to fight his battles. Murphy said maybe Owens should keep his name out of his mouth or he will slap it out of his mouth. Shane said he would love to see that happen, so Murphy is not WWE’s “best kept secret” anymore according to Shane. That was all for Buddy, who was not in a match later.
Apollo Crews was called out by Shane since KO mentioned Apollo last week. Crews said he did have something to say. Crews claimed that everybody agrees with what Kevin Owens said last week. Zelina Vega and Andrade stepped up. Zelina said that Crews is sucking up to the WWE Universe and she challenged Crews to a match against Andrade. Andrade yelled at Crews in Spanish and Charlotte Flair was smiling about that. Anyway, that set up a match.
Elias stepped up with his guitar saying he is not Kevin Owens, he is Elias. The New Day trio cut him off with Xavier Woods laughing at him. Big E said that Elias is the greatest jackass in Smackdown Live history. Kofi Kingston, the WWE Champion, stepped up saying they don’t like Kevin Owens, but the man is making some good points. Kingston said it took him too long to get a shot at the WWE Championship and while Kofi was talking, Shane signaled for the microphone to be cut off. Kofi complained about how Shane wasn’t giving opportunities to the talent. The microphone shut off.
Shane had a fake apology about the microphone cutting out. Shane thanked them all for addressing things and said that the Town Hall was concluded. The fans booed.
Cesaro stepped up with Shane saying that Cesaro is a Raw guy. Cesaro said he wants Aleister Black to pick a fight him with him…tonight. Shane said you’ve got the match.
Shane said he hopes this demonstrates that he didn’t have to rule with an iron fist. Kevin Owens showed up from behind in a “WWE Crew” shirt. Owens turned Shane around, kick to the gut and Owens dropped him with a Stunner. They messed up on the first attempt since Shane went down on the kick, then Owens picked him back up and hit it. The crowd popped big for it. Owens mocked the Shane O Mac shuffle dance as well and Owens left through the crowd.
Analysis: The Town Hall took about ten minutes and it did allow for some different people to speak, so in that sense it was productive. Other than that, it was just done to set up some matches for later in the show like most show opening segments. At least they ended it on a happy note with “Stone Cold” Kevin Owens dropping Shane with a Stunner again. The fans love when he does that. I’m enjoying the KO babyface run so far.
Bonus Analysis: Good week for WWE doing the “sneak up behind the guy staring into the hard camera” spots. Drew did it to Undertaker and Owens to Shane.
A replay aired of Kevin Owens attacking Shane McMahon.
Aleister Black made his entrance for his Extreme Rules rematch with Cesaro, who was up next.
Cesaro vs. Aleister Black
Black with two kicks to the chest, Cesaro to the floor and Black did his backflip into the seated position. They went to the split screen in the US, so that means commercial here in Canada.
Cesaro with a knee to the ribs, Black with a sweep kick and a sliding knee to the face. Black with a moonsault press onto a standing Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro shoved Black into the turnbuckle, then two uppercuts and a running boot to the face for two. Cesaro transitioned into a Crossface submission. Black broke free leading to a jumping knee to the face. Black lifted up Cesaro with his foot and hit the Black Mass kick to the face with Cesaro spitting out his mouthpiece for effect. The match went about seven minutes although only about four minutes for us in Canada.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: **3/4 Good match featuring two guys who know how to make the most of their time in a seven-minute match like this. A longer match would be preferred, but WWE TV matches have changed. Black has two straight wins over Cesaro now. I think Black should keep winning, but hopefully, Cesaro isn’t lost in the shuffle going forward. I liked the way Cesaro’s mouthpiece was knocked out to put over the Black Mass as a deadly finishing move.
Shane McMahon was backstage where Dolph Ziggler walked up to him. Ziggler said that somebody needs to teach Owens a lesson and it should be him. Ziggler said he knows he can get Owens back here tonight for the main event of the show. Shane said if he can make that happen, the match is on.
Charlotte Flair was shown walking backstage for a match with Liv Morgan.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown on camera. They showed a clip of Daniel Bryan talking about how he tried to take the tag team division to the main event and he failed. Bryan said if he wants to change the planet he has to go where Daniel Bryan has not gone before.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her robe. She has not been on TV that much in the last two months, so it’s good to see her again. Liv Morgan entered as the opponent for her first match since she was moved to Smackdown three months ago. She still has the Riott Squad entrance song.
Charlotte Flair vs. Liv Morgan
Flair shoved Morgan over. Morgan with a headscissors followed by a dropkick and then she showed off her blue tongue. Flair worked over Morgan with a forearm to the back, then chops to the chest and Morgan came back with a step up enziguri kick to the head. Morgan with a stomp to the back of the head. Morgan went for a headscissors again, Flair caught her and gave her a Powerbomb. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission with Morgan tapping out to give Flair the win after two minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: *1/2 The result was never in doubt with Flair winning, but at least Morgan got some offense in and was able to show off a bit of what she can do. Morgan can have some success as a quirky underdog babyface as long as they work on her character some more.
Post match, Flair was cocky as she left with a smile on her face. Morgan looked sad about the loss. Morgan took off Corey Graves’ headset and said, “when I come back, I’m gonna be real.” Liv limped away.
Dolph Ziggler was shown backstage talking to referee Drake Wuertz with their phones out with Dolph asking him for a number for Kevin Owens. Drake gave him the number, so the idea is Ziggler was trying to get Owens back to the arena.
Ember Moon was shown walking backstage for her tag team match.
The tag team of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville entered. They did not enter to Mandy’s song, so that was a shame. Mandy is a favorite of mine. Ember Moon entered first ahead of her mystery partner, who was…the Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley. Shoutout to the fan with the ICOPRO sign in the crowd. You’ve gotta want it!
Ember Moon and Bayley vs. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose
Deville with knee strikes to the ribs of Bayley. Rose tagged in with a jumping knee and Deville with a sliding knee for two. Bayley with a belly to back suplex on Rose. Moon tagged in with a dropkick, an enziguri kick and a corner clothesline. Moon went up top, Deville in the ring, Bayley with a belly to belly to Deville and Moon hit the Eclipse off the top on Rose for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ember Moon and Bayley
Analysis: * It was a quick match to put over Moon after she had been “bullied” (I guess) by Deville and Rose over the last month.
After the match, Bayley and Moon were interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who asked Bayley about who her SummerSlam opponent might before Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Title. Bayley said she’s happy that her rivalry with Alexa Bliss is over so she can elevate the Smackdown women’s division. Bayley said she wanted to face somebody that’s talented, has charisma and dedicated to the championship if she loses…then fans chanted “Ember” and Bayley smiled at Moon. Ember: “Hell yeah.” Graves complained about it because Bayley was picking a target that she thinks she can beat and Saxton said it will be a great match. The match was made official later in the night.
Analysis: That should be a great match and it’s also a fresh matchup, which is nice after getting a lot of repeats in the last few months. It’s also a face vs. face match just like Lynch vs. Natalya, so it feels repetitive a bit that way. Both matches should be very good, though.
Shinsuke Nakamura, the new Intercontinental Champion, was interviewed Sarah Schreiber. Nakamura said he was free to reign down chaos on the whole universe. Ali showed up to say congratulations to the new champ.
Analysis: I’m all for Nakamura vs. Ali feud for the IC Title. That would be fresh.
Daniel Bryan’s “career-altering announcement” is next since he was walking backstage with Rowan.
A replay aired from earlier with Shane McMahon told Kevin Owens he was no longer allowed in the building. Owens returned with a Stunner on Shane. The announcers said that Owens has been contacted and he’s on his way back to the arena.
Let’s Hear from The New Day
The New Day made their entrance with Big E letting us know they are the six-time Tag Team Champions and Kofi is still the WWE Champion. Kofi was wearing the WWE Title while Big E and Xavier Woods had the Smackdown Tag Team Titles on.
Woods mentioned Kofi beating Samoa Joe at Extreme Rules while Kingston talked about Big E and Woods becoming the six-time Tag Team Champions. Kingston said that they are like African American leprechauns at the end of the rainbow because they’ve got all the gold. Big E said we knew what Daniel Bryan was going to say about recycling and they accepted the Tag Team Title rematch right here in Worcester.
Daniel Bryan, who was in his ring gear, entered along with his buddy Rowan as they stood on the ramp. Bryan put the microphone to his face, looked out at the crowd, looked back at Rowan and walked to the back without saying a word.
Bryan walked back out there, put the microphone to his mouth and nearly spoke, but instead, he walked to the back again. The fans booed while New Day was frustrated about it.
Bryan entered for the third time, Graves said “this is gonna be good” and fans chanted “New Day rocks.” Bryan looked out at the fans, dropped the microphone, said nothing again and walked to the back again.
Analysis: They hyped up Bryan making a “career-altering” announcement, people speculated on what it would be all day and then he said absolutely nothing. Sometimes heels troll the fans to get heat. That’s all this was. I hope Bryan gets back into WWE Title picture soon.
Samoa Joe said that it looks like Kofi’s henchmen are giving out title opportunities, so how about Kofi puts his WWE Title on the line against Samoa Joe? Joe told Kofi to be the man he claims to be.
Elias showed up without his guitar. Elias said with all due respect, Joe had his chance at Extreme Rules and it didn’t work out. Elias said if there is anybody primed and ready to take that WWE Championship from Kofi, it’s Elias.
Analysis: Really? I can’t remember the last meaningful win that Elias has had. Heels lie.
Randy Orton with the crowd reacting in a pretty big way. Orton has not been on TV that much in the last couple of months. It’s obvious what was coming here. Orton said that it’s been a while since he’s had that gold around his waist, so Kofi, he’s going to take it. Orton said he’ll take it by using the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment…RKO. Elias suggested that they should have a six-man tag team match tonight.
Woods: “Are you suggesting a six-man tag team match, playa?” Big E also said “playa” as a Teddy Long reference and Kofi said, “we accept, playa.” Orton didn’t seem interested. Kingston said you would think The Viper would be ready to strike, but it seems like he has gone a little limp. Orton walked back towards the ring, so apparently the match was on.
Analysis: It was a good promo exchange to set up the six-man tag team match. Orton was on the sidelines in part because of a minor injury, but the creative team also had nothing for him after WrestleMania.
The New Day – Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Randy Orton, Elias and Samoa Joe
Kingston with a leaping elbow on Elias for a two count. Elias kicked Kingston into the turnbuckle. Joe tagged in, hard whip sent Kingston into the turnbuckle and Kofi hit a leaping double knee attack to knock Joe down. Woods got the tag with a sliding clothesline, Kingston with a dive off the ropes and Woods with an elbow drop. Big E tagged in with a running splash on Joe for two. Elias tagged in, Big E slapped on the abdominal stretch along with the butt slapping and an elbow to the face. Woods tagged in with Big E slamming Woods onto Elias. Woods with a boot to the face of Elias followed by the Honor Roll clothesline. Orton yanked Woods down by the hair with the referee not seeing it. Elias with an elbow to the face of Woods followed by punches and Elias tossed Woods out of the ring. That led to the split screen in the US leading to a break here in Canada.
The match returned with Woods continuing as the face in peril while Elias grabbed a headlock on Woods followed by a hair pull. Elias knocked Kingston and Big E off the apron, so Joe hit Big E with a kick to the face. Elias wanted a superplex on Woods, but Woods fought him off and Woods hit a missile dropkick all the way across the ring. Kingston got the hot tag against Orton with Kingston hitting a dropkick followed by a leaping clothesline and the Boom Drop legdrop. Orton avoided Trouble in Paradise, but Kingston came back with a cross body block off the top for two with Elias making the save. Big E with a side belly to belly on Elias and Joe with a clothesline on Big E. Woods back in with punches on Joe, then a low bridge sent Joe out of the ring and Woods hit a somersault dive over the top on Joe. Woods with a kick to the face of Elias, but Joe pulled Woods off the apron. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Woods on the floor while Elias hit Big E with a running knee to the face when they were on the floor. The thing about that knee is it didn’t come close to connecting because Big E went down before Elias got up in the air. It was still treated like a big move. Elias went in the ring, Kingston avoided a move and hit a Trouble in Paradise kick to the ribs. Orton capitalized on that with a RKO on Kingston for the pinfall win after ten minutes. The crowd reacted to the RKO in a big way as usual.
Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton, Elias and Samoa Joe
Analysis: ***1/4 Good tag team match with a very exciting finish in the last two minutes as everybody hit some big moves including Orton’s RKO for the win. Orton getting the pinfall was likely done to set up the WWE Title match with Kofi Kingston at SummerSlam. It’s not official yet, but based on that booking decision, it seems likely. Perhaps they will make it a multi-man match, but I think Kofi vs. Orton is a good match to do at SummerSlam. It was 15 years ago when Orton won his first World Title at SummerSlam and what city was that in? Toronto, just like this year.
Orton stood over the fallen WWE Champion Kofi Kingston as his music played to end this match.
Analysis: There’s also a lot of history between Orton and Kingston from their feud a decade ago with the memorable Orton “STUPID” tirade in a match. They can certainly reference that when building up to a possible SummerSlam match.
The Kabuki Warriors team of Asuka and Kairi Sane were backstage with Paige for their match up next.
Carmella was backstage looking for R-Truth and Truth, who is once again the 24/7 Champion, was hiding in a washing machine. Truth was stuck, so she took off the top piece of it. Carmella said she had a hiding spot for him, but he had to have a costume. Truth kept on rattling off numbers when talking about the 24/7 Champion. Carmella told him to go to Comic Con (in San Diego) and Truth had a funny line saying don’t call him con since he paid his debt to society. Truth got out of the machine and they left.
Analysis: The San Diego Comic Con is later this week, so look for some 24/7 Title comedy skits on WWE’s social media.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) vs. The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) w/Asuka
Royce slapped Sane, so Sane chopped her and hit a headscissors. Asuka tagged in with a double knee, Sane with a neckbreaker and Asuka with a running knee attack. Kay tagged in, Asuka missed a hip attack and Kay kicked her for a two count. Asuka hit Kay with a spin kick to the face, so Kay bumped to the floor and the IIconics stayed on the floor for the countout loss. The match was under two minutes.
Winners by countout: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (Royce and Kay are still the champions)
Analysis: 1/2* That was not much of a match. It fit the cheap heel tactics of The IIconics, so it will keep the feud going. Perhaps they’ll have a SummerSlam match as well.
The IIconics celebrated holding onto the titles even though they lost the match while The Kabuki Warriors and Paige were upset about what happened. Graves said it was great strategy.
Asuka and Sane went after the champs. They whipped Kay into the barricade. Asuka brought Royce into the ring leading to a running hip attack and a kick to the head. Sane went up top and hit the Insane Elbow off the top rope onto Royce.
Analysis: Revenge for the challengers. The Insane Elbow by Sane is one of my favorite moves in WWE. Asuka might be the most poorly used wrestler in WWE considering how good she is and how little she has been utilized for most of the year.
Andrade and Zelina Vega were walking backstage ahead of the next match.
Andrade and Vega were already in the ring. Apollo Crews made his entrance. He jumped over the top into the ring and Andrade attacked him from behind. Andrade stomped away on the head of Crews. The referee asked Crews if he wanted to start the match and Crews said yes.
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Apollo Crews
Andrade with knees to the ribs. Crews missed a jumping kick and Andrade followed with punches. Andrade with a spinning back elbow to the head. Andrade with the running knees against the turnbuckle. When Andrade went for the cover, Crews hooked the arms and held Andrade down for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews
Analysis: 3/4* An upset win in a short match to put over Crews. It was like Cedric Alexander beating Drew McIntyre on Raw. I like Apollo winning a match, but when it’s that short it’s not going to mean that much to the fans. They need to have more time to show off what they can do.
A replay aired of Bray Wyatt attacking Finn Balor on Raw with Wyatt wearing “The Fiend” mask on his face.
Dolph Ziggler was shown walking backstage for his match up next.
A commercial aired for Raw Reunion on Monday in Tampa. That should be fun. I hope Steve Austin and Kevin Owens have some interaction with Austin telling him he likes Owens using the Stunner.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance for the main event. Kevin Owens entered as his opponent with Owens looking behind him as if he was anticipating an attack.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
Owens went for a kick to the gut and Stunner like at Extreme Rules, but Ziggler bailed to the floor. Owens hit an impressive somersault dive over the top onto Ziggler on the floor. Owens sent Ziggler back in the ring and went for a Senton Bomb, but Ziggler got the knees up to block. Ziggler with a Fameasser, two elbow drops and an armbar. Ziggler with a neckbreaker on Owens followed by a chinlock. Owens whipped Ziggler into the corner, Owens missed a charge and Ziggler came back with a jumping DDT for a two count. Ziggler missed a corner charge, he hit the turnbuckle and Owens hit a superkick. Owens up top with a Senton Bomb for a two count. Shane McMahon entered with Drew McIntyre, Elias and other heel wrestlers on the roster. Owens was distracted by that leading to Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag for two because it’s not his finisher anymore. Ziggler whipped Owens shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Ziggler whipped Owens into the turnbuckle again. Ziggler went for the superkick, Owens caught the foot and hit a Stunner. Owens covered, but Shane pulled Owens out of the ring. Owens with a Stunner on Shane while they were on the floor! Owens ran up the ramp while the wrestlers ran after him. It went about six minutes.
Winner by countout: Dolph Ziggler (I guess?) – When Owens left, the match was forgotten about. Shane grabbing Owens could have made it a DQ too. It could be a No Contest although it’s not like it matters that much.
Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid match where Owens should have just won by pinfall and then they could have the attack after the match, but they opted for the non-finish instead. Ziggler is fine as an upper midcard heel although he rarely wins anymore, so there’s not much of a reaction to him right now.
Shane was seated up against the side of the ring apron with McIntyre beside him. Shane was coughing to sell the Stunner. Replays aired of what happened.
Shane was coughing while sitting up against the side of the apron. Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview. Shane said that Kevin Owens is going to pay for what he did. Shane walked away with Drew to end the show.
Analysis: It seems like this will lead to Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon at SummerSlam. Perhaps they will have a stipulation where if Shane loses then he has no more power over booking matches because then WWE can move on from this heel Shane character and try something else in terms of authority figures. That could mean Heyman on Raw and Bischoff on Smackdown, but I’m not sure if WWE wants to go that route. I’m fine with minor roles for authority figures like William Regal on NXT. They don’t need to be the centerpiece of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2019 Average: 6.72 (Raw is 5.57)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5.5, 6, 7, 5
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6.5 out of 10.
Smackdown has changed from what it used to be when the brand extension happened three years ago. When the brand split happened, it was usually four matches and two of them would be over 10 minutes. Now because of the “no wrestling during breaks” rule that exists, they had seven matches and four of them were around two minutes or less. It’s not as interesting to watch when it is formatted this way. The result of the main event didn’t matter either. I did enjoy the Black/Cesaro and six-man tag team matches.
There were good moments in terms of storyline development with Kevin Owens and some others, so it’s still a slightly above average show.
The next WWE PPV is SummerSlam on August 11 in Toronto. Here’s what we know so far.
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
I assume we will be able to add Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Title, perhaps AJ Styles vs. Ricochet again for the US Title, Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali for the Intercontinental Title is possible and The IIconics vs. The Kabuki Warriors for the Women’s Tag Team Titles again. Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon is a possibility too.
There will be many more matches added in the weeks ahead.
Finn Balor lost the Intercontinental Title to Shinsuke Nakamura at Extreme Rules on the Kickoff Show on Sunday. It was the second straight match with Nakamura where Balor lost cleanly. Prior to that, Balor was barely on television over the last month. There’s no injury to report, but Balor has apparently requested some time off that has been granted to him.
It was reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin that Balor will be going on a WWE break starting next month. Balor asked WWE officials for two months and it’s not known why, but a source told Satin that Balor wanted to “recharge.” The request for time off was granted and it was noted that the time off will start at some point in August. The belief is that it will be after SummerSlam on August 11 in Toronto.
Last night on Raw, Balor had a match with Samoa Joe where Joe countered a move and hooked the arms of Balor leading to a pinfall win in a match that was only given one match. After the match, Joe tried an attack on Balor and Balor came back with his signature offense including the corner dropkick followed by the Coup de Grace double foot stomp off the top rope.
Balor was in the ring posing for the fans when the lights flickered, then the lights went off and when a spotlight was back on, Bray Wyatt was there in his “Fiend” mask. Wyatt dropped Balor with the Sister Abigail neckbreaker and the fans popped huge for it.
It’s not known yet if Wyatt will face Balor at SummerSlam, but it makes sense to do that now and if they do it, that would be a way to write out Balor after he loses that match.
TJR Thoughts: The WWE schedule is a grind as we all know, so if somebody needs a few months off to “recharge” their batteries so to speak, then it’s nice that WWE is willing to give him that. It will also freshen up the Balor character while he’s away and he can come back in October (that would be two months away) with a lot of freshness for his character.
Also, if you follow Balor on Instagram and/or Twitter, Balor is very happy in his life with his girlfriend Vero Laguera, who works for Fox Sports. I wish him all the best and if he wants to take time off to spend more time for him, that’s great for him.