WWE SmackDown Results (7/4): John Cena Returns, New #1 Contender For U.S. Title

Submitted by Eric Lynch on July 4, 2017 - 7:21pm
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The July 4th edition of WWE SmackDown aired live from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ.

- SmackDown kicks off with a special Independence Day-themed intro video.

- John Cena comes out to the ring to make his return to TV after taking time off to film his FOX reality show American Grit. The rings are red, white and blue tonight. Cena lets the fans duel "Lets Go Cena" & "Cena Sucks" chants, before asking if they missed him. Cena says tonight is about celebrating the American Dream and he loves his country. He says the WWE is like America because people come from around the world to be the best here. Cena says other wrestlers have been spreading rumors that he went Hollywood and sold out. Cena says he's not a part-timer, he's an all-timer. Cena says the reason why he's a free agent now, is because if his time in WWE is limited then he wants to go down in blaze of glory. He calls out Styles, Lesnar, Nakamura, Rollins, Reigns and others, saying you can line 'em up and he will knock them all down. Cena says he's a man with nothing to lose, the champ is back, and it couldn't be on a better day because today is our Independence Day. With that, Rusev interrupts, also making his return to TV. Rusev says while Cena was off doing his movie, Rusev was working so hard that he got injured. Rusev is upset that he didn't get comeback commercials like Cena did. Rusev says Cena won't take his opportunities away from him, and Cena's American dream is a lie just like America is a joke. This prompts a "USA" chant from the fans, and Cena invites Rusev to come down to the ring so he can punch him in the mouth. Rusev continues to bash America, and Cena says they won't back down to someone like Rusev. Cena challenges Rusev to a flag match, which Rusev accepts but not for tonight. Rusev says it'll happen on his terms when he says. Rusev leaves as Cena leads the crowd in a USA chant.

- Daniel Bryan is backstage with Chad Gable and AJ Styles. Bryan books a match between Styles and Gable for a match tonight where the winner will get a spot in the Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender for the U.S. Title. That match is next.

- AJ Styles def. Chad Gable: Gable wrestles AJ down to the mat right off the opening bell, then hits a German suplex. Gable tries to keep AJ grounded but he comes back with a leg kick, then a dropkick. AJ hits some chops to the chest, but Gable grabs him and hits a belly to belly overhead suplex. Gable starts working on AJ's right arm until AJ fights his way back up to his feet. They trade chops to the chest until AJ ducks one and grabs Gable for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. After a struggle for power in the corner, AJ hits a forearm to the face then hops up to the top rope. Gable pushes AJ off the rope down to the mat. Gable goes up top for a moonsault and misses, then AJ suplexes Gable into the turnbuckle. Gable comes back with an ankle lock, but AJ gets out and puts Gable in the Calf Crusher. Gable breaks the hold then hits a German suplex on AJ. AJ comes back with a Pele kick, then hits the Phenomenal Forearm for the win after a competitive match.

- Mojo Rawley is backstage and he looks sad. Zach Ryder comes in and says he's disappointed in their loss last week, and Mojo is too. Ryder says they should leave that in the past, and Mojo agrees they should leave things in the past. Ryder says he just got himself and Mojo into the battle royal tonight, and Mojo says he made a mistake because he's going to win it tonight and not Ryder.

- Carmella and James Ellsworth come out to the ring to gloat about their Money In the Bank victory last week. Naomi interrupts, and says there's someone who has to say something to Ellsworth. This queues Daniel Bryan, who comes down to a huge pop and says he's going to have to do something about James. Bryan says he's banned from the arena, fined $10,000, and he will be suspended without pay for 30 days. Bryan says if Ellsworth doesn't leave right now, or if he breaks any of these rules, he's taking back Carmella's Money In The Bank contract.

- Naomi (c) def. Lana: Almost as soon as the bell rings, Naomi takes Lana down and locks her in the Rings of Saturn for the win via submission.

- Immediately after the match, Tamina runs in the ring and stares down Noami. Tamina turns her attention to Lana, then tells Lana to come leave the ring with her. Tamina tells Lana "let's go" and walks to the back with her.

- The New Day, The Usos, and rapper Wale come to the ring for the rap battle contest. Each side has an entourage with them. The Usos make reference to Xavier being "rated R," which the crowd reacts loudly to. The Usos repeat the rated R line. The New Day pokes fun at The Usos' physiques and say they should go back to carrying Roman Reigns' bags. This leads to The Usos lunging at The New Day but they get pulled apart. Wale disqualifies The Usos and declares The New Day the winners of the rap battle.

- Randy Orton is backstage getting ready to come out next.

- Aiden English def. Randy Orton via DQ: We see Aiden English singing in the ring, but he quickly gets interrupted by Randy Orton's entrance. Orton poses on the turnbuckle and English asks him if he's finished. English jumps Orton from behind and hits him in the face with the mic. English beats Orton down around ringside, then takes things back in the ring. The ref finally calls for the opening bell, and Orton fires up and starts beating down English. Orton throws English over the announce table then DDTs him off of it. Orton hits English with the ring steps and gets himself disqualified, then he takes English back in the ring for an RKO.

- As Orton is celebrating in the ring, Jinder Mahal's music hits and he comes out to the stage with the Singh brothers. Jinder says Orton and the fans disrespect him because of he way he talks and he color of his skin, but despite that he is still their WWE Champion. Jinder says if he could he would put each and every one of the fans in the Punjabi Prison and beat tolerance into them. Jinder says at Battleground he will destroy Orton's legacy. Jinder says he's about to speak to his people in his language, but Orton interrupts and tells him to shut the hell up. Orton says nobody is going to stop him from punishing Jinder and RKOing him right back to India. Orton says Jinder is right that nobody likes him, but it's not because of how he looks or where he's from, it's because he's a jackass.

- Tye Dillinger is backstage and he gets approached by Tyler Breeze dressed as a woman. Breeze asks if Dillinger is worried about Breezango in the battle royal tonight. Dillinger says he's confident going into this match and hopes the teams in the match realize there can only be one winner. Dillinger tells Breeze he's a ten and leaves.

- Renee Young is backstage to interrupt Maria and Mike Kanellis. WWE appears to briefly have some technically difficulties, and when we go back to them Sami Zayn knocks something over off-camera and interrupts the interview. Zayn says he likes Maria and Mike's message about the power of love. Zayn rants to Maria and Mike until Zayn's music hits and he has to head out to the ring. Maria and Mike are not happy and say that Zayn ruined their moment. The Independence Day battle royal is up next.

- Battle Royal to determine #1 contender for U.S. Championship: Kevin Owens is on commentary for this one. Everyone starts in the ring at the same time, and the first elimination comes early when Luke Harper knocks Dolph Ziggler to the outside. Rowan eliminates Fandango next, then attempts to eliminate Breeze but Fandango catches him and throws him back in. Rowan throws Breeze outside again and this time it's for the elimination. Rowan pump-handle slams Kalisto to the outside and he lands on Breeze and Fandango. Mojo eliminates Konnor and Harper next. Ryder and Mojo now come face to face and shove each other. Rowan hits both Ryder and Mojo from behind and tries to eliminate Ryder, but Mojo saves him. Mojo and Ryder push Rowan to the outside for the elimination, then Mojo eliminates Ryder from behind for the elimination. Ryder looks shocked from ringside. Sami Zany hits the Heluva Kick on Mojo and Mojo falls outside for the elimination. It's down to AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and Tye Dillinger. Owens repeatedly tells Phillips to shut up on commentary when he talks. Dillinger works over both Zayn and Styles, then hits the Tye-Breaker on both of them. Dillinger tries to eliminate Zayn and Styles but only gets them on the apron, and Zayn pulls Dillinger outside to eliminate him. It's down to Zayn and Styles. Zayn T-bone suplexes Styles into the turnbuckle, then sets up for the Heluva Kick. Zayn goes for it but Styles ducks and Zayn falls to the apron. Zayn tries to suplex AJ to the outside, but instead AJ breaks free and hits the Pele kick on Zayn. Zayn falls down to the floor for the elimination, and AJ Styles is our winner. Winner & new #1 contender for the U.S. Title: AJ Styles

- Immediately after the match, Kevin Owens hits the ring and beats down AJ Styles. Owens grabs AJ by the hair and holds the U.S. Title in his face, and AJ kicks him in the head out of nowhere. AJ goes for the Styles Clash but Owens escapes and rolls outside. Styles holds up the U.S. Title belt in the ring as SmackDown goes off the air.

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