The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 06/25/19 Review


Live from Portland, Oregon, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1036. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. This review is sponsored by ICOPRO. 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.
Smackdown began with a video package from Raw showing The Undertaker’s surprising appearance where he saved Roman Reigns from a double team attack from Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon. They will have a tag team match at Extreme Rules. Remember when Smackdown was its own show and it didn’t feature Raw highlights? I miss those days.

Shane did a promo from his office. Shane said that he’s already beaten Roman Reigns and he’s stared in the face of The Undertaker and survived. Shane said if Roman thinks The Undertaker will fight his battles for him, they will make Roman a dead man too. Shane said he runs this company his way. Shane advised the Smackdown roster not to get on his bad side because, quite frankly, he is pissed (off). Shane stared straight forward as it ended.
The New Day group entered with Kofi Kingston having the WWE Title around his waist along with a tray of pancakes, Xavier Woods had the trombone and Big E was doing his gyrating. Kingston will defend the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe after Joe attacked Kingston on Raw. The Smackdown announce team is Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.

Let’s Hear from The New Day
Kingston said ever since he’s won the WWE Title, he’s experienced some of the greatest moments of his career and his entire life as the fans chanted “Kofi” for him. Kingston talked about the most painful, devastating, agonizing and brutalizing moments as well. Kingston said that at Stomping Grounds, defending the title inside a steel cage was a combination of those things and he took an actual leap of faith over Ziggler to remain victorious. Kingston said that before he even had a chance to celebrate, this happened on Raw.
A clip aired of Samoa Joe attacking Kingston from behind on the Raw stage. Even though Joe is a Raw guy, the brand extension doesn’t matter anymore.
Analysis: What isn’t even mentioned is that Kofi’s New Day buddies were nowhere to be found when Joe attacked. The announcers didn’t mention it and it’s not part of the story. I’m just saying that’s what the audience at home is wondering, yet WWE will ignore that.

Kingston talked about how brutal, devastating, agonizing and incredibly painful it was. Kingston said that Samoa Joe is like a Samoan shark and when he’s got the Coquina Clutch on, he’s just squeezing on you until your world fades to black. Kingston said that Joe thinks he’s found his prey, but Kofi will be damned if he will let Joe eat him alive.
Dolph Ziggler showed up on the stage to say he refuses to let this happen again. Ziggler complained about how he’s not going to let another superstar take his spot. Ziggler told Kofi he can’t turn a blind eye to him. Kofi asked how many times he has to beat him? Ziggler said this is his career, this is his life, this is his livelihood, this is everything. Ziggler said that at Super Showdown, Xavier Woods saved Kofi. At Stomping Grounds, they beat the hell out of eachother for the WWE Title and Kofi took the cowards way out by leaping out the door to save the title. Ziggler claimed that everybody knew he should be WWE Champion right now.
Ziggler said that he was talking backstage with WWE management and they let him know that if he wins his match against Kofi tonight then he will be added to Kofi vs. Joe at Extreme Rules to make it a triple threat match. Ziggler said then he will get what he deserves…the WWE Championship. Ziggler said there is one more thing. He said that it’s going to be 2 out of 3 falls and he wished Kofi “good luck, kid.” That was it. Kingston looked fine with the deal.
Analysis: I was hoping this feud would be over after Stomping Grounds, but here we go again. They have been doing too many rematches on WWE TV of late. I just don’t think another Kingston vs. Ziggler match was a good idea in terms of getting people interested in this show.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, were shown walking backstage. Huskus from the Firefly Fun House was in the background in the hallway.
(Commercial)
Elias was shown playing his guitar outside of Shane McMahon’s office when The Miz showed up. Elias warned Miz about going in there. Miz said that before Undertaker sends him six feet under at Extreme Rules, this needs to end. Miz left and Shane walked out of the room. Elias informed Shane that Miz wanted a match with Shane, who said he would go kick Miz’s ass. Shane said that Miz can face him if Miz can beat Elias in a 2 out of 3 Falls match.
Analysis: It’s the 2 out of 3 Falls Era.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Big E
This is not for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles held by Bryan and Rowan.
Bryan started with Woods with Woods hitting a dropkick. Bryan with a boot to the face, Rowan tagged in and hit a running shoulder tackle on Woods. Rowan stomped away on Woods followed by an elbow drop. Bryan got the tag, Rowan set up Woods across the top rope and Bryan hit a knee to the back of Woods for a two count. Rowan back in, Woods with a boot to the face and Rowan came back with a clothesline. Woods tried a jumping attack, Rowan caught him, Woods tried to break free and Rowan hit a running cross body block. This is where they did a split screen showing of the action, but here in Canada we don’t get that, so commercial during the match for me.
(Commercial)
Woods was still the face in peril until he hit a jumping kick to the head of Rowan. Big E did the hot tag with the usual two overhead belly to belly suplexes, the side bell to belly slam and the running splash, but Bryan got the knees up to block. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock and Woods made the save for his partner. Rowan sent Woods out of the ring, but Woods came back with a running dropkick on Rowan on the floor. Bryan charged at Big E, but Big E stopped him with a uranage slam. Big E put Bryan on his shoulder and Woods jumped off the top with the Midnight Hour double team move for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes of action.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day’s Xavier Woods and Big E
Analysis: *** It was a standard, good tag team match between two awesome teams that know what they are doing out there. Everything Bryan does is so smooth. When Big E got the hot tag, the pace really picked up and I liked the way they set up the finishing sequence. The clean win for the New Day likely means a title match in the future. It’s annoying how often WWE has champions lose non-title to build to a title match, but here we go again.

After replays aired of the finish, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn attacked Woods and Big E from behind. Rowan joined them in the attack. Heavy Machinery ran down to the ring for the save. Tucker with a clothesline on Owens and Otis with a running attack on Zayn. Rowan ran over Otis, Tucker with a kick on Rawan, Woods with a kick and Big E hit a running clothesline to send Rowan over the top to the floor.
Analysis: Typical WWE booking to set up the holla holla holla, tag team match playa. Bring back Teddy Long for this stuff.
(Commercial)
It seemed like it would be Heavy Machinery vs. Owens and Zayn, but they opted to go with an eight-man tag team match instead.

Tucker, Otis, Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Daniel Bryan, Rowan, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
Zayn worked over Tucker with punches after the heel team knocked the other faces off the apron. The heel side made several quick tags to take turns working over Tucker. Rowan worked over Tucker with several hard chops to the chest followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Rowan hit a superplex off the middle ropes on Tucker, which drew a big pop since they are two big guys. Big E and Woods made the save, but Bryan hit Big E with a running knee. Rowan hit the Iron Claw slam on Woods. Rowan with a splash on Tucker and Bryan tagged in, he jumped off the top and Tucker hit a clothesline to get some momentum going. Otis got the tag against Zayn with Otis hitting two clotheslines and spinning body slam. Owens was not impressed on the apron as he yelled at Zayn. Otis with two running splashes on Zayn. Owens was upset with what he was seeing, so Owens walked away while Otis hit the Caterpillar into an elbow drop on Zayn. Tucker tagged in leading to the Compactor double team move by Heavy Machinery as Tucker pinned Zayn to win. It went about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tucker, Otis, Big E and Xavier Woods

The announcers talked about how Owens could have saved Zayn, but he chose to walk away.
Analysis: ** It was a good way to put Heavy Machinery against more established WWE superstars. Since Heavy Machinery are new on the main roster, they need wins on Smackdown like that. Zayn and Owens got the win at Stomping Grounds, but then they lost in singles on Raw and here too. They are not booked strongly at all. I’m not sure if Owens walking away will lead to issues with Zayn, but it might go that route.

The announcers were shown on camera for the first time. Phillips noted that Alexa Bliss wasn’t there because she was in Singapore for WWE’s live event. They have shows in Japan too. A replay aired of Raw with Nikki Cross hit a neckbreaker on Natalya and Bliss got the pinfall win.
A WWE.com clip aired from after Raw with Cross telling Bliss that she has a match against Bayley on Smackdown Live and if Cross wins then Bliss gets her rematch against Bayley at Extreme Rules. Bliss told her to win at all costs. Bliss said she believed in Cross, but she won’t be there. Cross told her to enjoy Japan and she won’t let her down.
The Miz was shown walking backstage because he’s up next against Elias.

(Commercial)
There was a video package about Ali where he talked about being the reason that people believe they are worth the fight. He said he's there to protect the innocent from harm and fight with all of your heart while doing all that you could.
Analysis: They have nothing for him in terms of a storyline, so we get these video packages about Ali being a man of the people. Ali used to be a cop, so portraying as a guy that protects people makes sense.

The Miz entered for his match. Wild Card Rule in effect since Miz is a Raw guy? No. The announcers don’t even mention it. Shane McMahon was next to lead his buddy Elias to the ring. Elias played a song on an electric guitar while saying he’ll sweep The Miz faster than Golden State swept the Blazers (Portland’s NBA team), which drew boos. Elias: “Thank you, goodnight, I love none of you.” Heels are honest. Kidding. #HeelsLie

Two out of Three Falls: Elias (w/Shane McMahon) vs. The Miz
The deal is that if The Miz wins then he gets to face Shane McMahon in the future.
The Miz sent Elias out of the ring with a clothesline. Miz with a running kick on Elias on the floor. Miz tried a springboard attack, but Shane grabbed his leg. Miz did his springboard attack, Elias with a knee to the head and Elias hit the Drift Away neckbreaker for the first fall.
Elias leads 1-0.
(Commercial)

The second fall started as they returned from the break. Elias worked over Miz with punches and kicks against the turnbuckle. Graves mentioned Shane beating Miz twice in the past. Elias sat on the back of Miz while Miz was up against the ropes. Elias with a suplex for two. Elias grabbed a headlock. Miz worked over Elias with punches, then kicks to the ribs that looked very weak and the corner knee attack. Miz with double knees again, Elias went for a knee, but Miz avoided it and hit a DDT for two. Miz with the kicks and Elias came back with a rollup for two. Miz with a kick to the left shoulder and Miz punched Shane off the apron. Elias put Miz on his shoulders, Miz dropped down and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Shane McMahon broke up the pin and attacked Miz for the disqualification.
The match is tied 1-1.
When the DQ was announced, Shane yelled at the referee about it. Shane and Elias double teamed Miz with kicks while Miz was on the mat. Shane sent Miz into the top of the announce table repeatedly and then he tossed Miz over the table into the leather chairs. Shane whipped Miz into the barricade with Graves saying this was brilliant, classic McMahon. Elias held up Miz in the ring, the crowd chanted “No More Shane” and Shane, after a Roman Reigns yell, hit a Spear on Miz.
Shane told the referee to call for the bell for the third fall. Elias went up top, hit an elbow drop and covered Miz for the pinfall win. The whole thing went about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Elias (2-1)

Analysis: **1/4 The action was fine, but I was bored by this match and I’m tired of this storyline. I doubt I’m alone in saying that. They will probably do that Miz vs. Shane blowoff match this year with Miz finally getting the win (perhaps at SummerSlam), but my interest for this rivalry is low at this point. The fans chanting “No More Shane” was pretty telling, but I don’t know if Shane’s rich daddy Vince is going to listen. I'm sure in WWE's eyes, they will say that's the reaction they want.
Shane and Elias left with Graves arguing with Saxton about what happened with Graves saying Shane didn’t do anything illegal since it was between the two falls. Shane and Elias went back to the ring. Elias set up Miz against the turnbuckle, Elias held Miz back and Shane hit a Coast to Coast dropkick to the chest of Miz. Shane told Miz to never, ever come at him again. Shane and Elias left looking proud of their work.
Analysis: I’m not sure if this will lead to Miz vs. Elias at Extreme Rules, but I think Miz could use some wins as a babyface. That’s why I can see them doing that match.

Finn Balor, the Intercontinental Champion, was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. She is so short she makes Finn look tall. Finn talked about how Andrade pushed him to the limit. Finn said that the better the opposition, the better he has to be to overcome. Braxton asked who is next and Shinsuke Nakamura walked into the screen. Nakamura touched the IC Title on Balor’s shoulder.
Analysis: A Balor vs. Nakamura feud sounds good to me. They know eachother well from their years in Japan, they were in NXT at the same time and now we can see a main roster rivalry between them. I like that idea.
The Miz was shown grabbing his ribs as the referee helped him out of the ring. Some fans were chanting for Miz in support.
Nikki Cross and Bayley were shown on the split screen because they are in a match up next.
(Commercial)

Nikki Cross entered first and Bayley was up next in this non-title match.
Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
If Cross wins then Alexa Bliss gets another Women’s Smackdown Title match against Bayley at Extreme Rules.
Bayley was in control early with a clothesline, she sent Cross the apron and hit a neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist. Cross went up top with a cross body off the top onto Bayley for a two count. Bayley sent Cross into the top turnbuckle. Bayley with an elbow drop while Cross was against the ropes. It was another commercial split screen that is a commercial here in Canada.
(Commercial)

Bayley missed a corner attack when Cross moved and Cross hit a clothesline followed by a bulldog. Cross with a reverse DDT for a two count. Bayley tossed Cross out of the ring, Bayley went for a suicide dive, but Cross moved and Bayley hit the floor hard. Back in the ring, Cross hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Bayley with a knee to the face followed by a belly to back suplex for two. Bayley went up top, she missed a cross body block attack and Cross got a rollup for two. Bayley got a cover of her own for two. Bayley with a knee and she went for a pin, but Cross stayed on top of Bayley for the pinfall after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/4 Solid match with a good final two minutes. I like Nikki’s energy and the enthusiasm she has for everything that she does. It is weird that she is a veteran wrestler that has to act like a rookie that's never done anything before, but that’s how WWE books people that are new on the roster. Bayley losing non-title to set up a title match is once again, typical WWE booking. I’m so tired of the champions lose non-title on what seems like every show. It’s too repetitive.

Post match, Nikki Cross celebrated the win as if it was the greatest moment of her life. Graves celebrated as well because it meant that Alexa Bliss gets another Smackdown Title match at Bayley. Cross said she can’t wait to tell Alexa and Cross continued to celebrate.
Carmella was shown backstage looking for her buddy R-Truth. There was another Firefly Fun House puppet (Rambling Rabbit) in the background as Carmella walked up to Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. They talked trash to eachother and Deville warned Carmella to watch her back. R-Truth was hiding on some cart.
Drake Maverick walked up to R-Truth saying he didn’t have a referee with him and he had nothing. Drake complained about Truth invading his wedding and Drake spent months planning that wedding along with thousands of dollars of his mother-in-law’s money (that’s funny) to spend the moment as the 24/7 Champion, but Truth took it away from him. Drake told Truth that he has ruined his life. Truth hugged Drake saying he thought it was Carmella’s wedding. (Hey Corey Graves.) Truth told “Hornswoggle” that if it means that much to him then he can get a referee, who happened to be right there. Truth said “psych” and he loves the championship more than Drake loves his wife. Truth ran away. Midcard wrestlers went running after Truth while Drake was left looking sad.
Analysis: Poor Drake. At least these guys get a storyline unlike dozens of other people on the roster.

Ember Moon was shown walking backstage for a match up next.
(Commercial)
Ember Moon entered first for her match. They showed clips of her issues with Deville and Rose in the past. Sonya Deville was up next with Mandy Rose, who was wearing short jean shorts. The rest of her is great too. Mandy is one of my favorites.
Sonya Deville (w/Mandy Rose) vs. Ember Moon
Deville tackled Moon followed by a running knee. Moon with a forearm to the face, enziguri kick and a running dropkick. Moon and Deville were on the floor, Rose distracted, then Moon was on the apron and Deville shoved Moon into the ring post. Deville pinned Moon for the pinfall win at just over one minute of action.
Winner by pinfall: Sonya Deville
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to put over the heels with the usual storyline that the babyface has no friends, but the heels are smart enough to work together. Babyfaces in WWE are booked like idiots a lot.

After the match, Sonya and Mandy hugged in celebration of the win. Deville moved Rose’s hair over her ear in an affectionate manner. It ended there.
Analysis: That motion by Deville has caused rumors of a potential love angle with Sonya and Mandy. Sonya is a lesbian and Mandy is not, but they are legit best friends. Sonya is featured with her real-life girlfriend on the next season of Total Divas too. I don’t know if they are going to do a lesbian angle here or not. I’m just saying that’s a rumor.

Aleister Black was seated in the darkened room again. He said he’s been asking for somebody to come fight him for several weeks. Black said he is starting to think there is not one singular person that is man enough to pick a fight with him. There was a knock on the door, Black faced the camera and smiled. That was the end of it.
Analysis: The rumor is that Black’s first feud will be with Cesaro. That should be a fun match and rivalry if they get a chance to show what they can do. Cesaro was a Raw guy, but as I have said, the brand extension doesn’t matter anymore.
Dolph Ziggler entered for the main event.
(Commercial)

Kofi Kingston entered with the WWE Championship around his waist. He was without his New Day buddies.
Two out of Three Falls: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is not for Kingston’s WWE Title. If Ziggler wins then he is added to Kingston vs. Joe at Extreme Rules, as mentioned earlier.
Ziggler was in control early after a dropkick followed by a chinlock. Kingston countered a monkey flip leading to a dropkick of his own. Kingston got a rollup, Ziggler got a two count of his own and Ziggler with a knee to the ribs. Kingston with a shoulder tackle to the ribs, he went for a sunset flip, Ziggler sat on top and had his hand on the ropes. The referee saw Ziggler’s hand on the ropes. Kingston turned it into a pin of his own that was good for the first fall of the match.
Kofi Kingston leads 1-0.

After the fall, Ziggler attacked Kingston on the floor and he hit a Zig Zag on Kingston on the floor. They went to break there.
(Commercial)
The bell rang to start the second fall. Kingston was down in the corner, but he managed a rollup for two. Ziggler came back with a superkick and covered Kingston to win the second fall.
The match is tied 1-1.

The bell rang to start the third fall. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker. Ziggler whipped Kingston hard into a turnbuckle followed by a chinlock. Kingston whipped Ziggler into the turnbuckle with Dolph taking it sternum first like Bret Hart used to do. Ziggler sent Kingston face first into the middle turnbuckle followed by an elbow drop. The announcers thought that was a believable nearfall even though it was merely an elbow drop. Kingston came back with a clothesline, Ziggler avoided a dropkick and Ziggler hit a cross body block off the top, but Ziggler rolled through for two. Ziggler with a jumping DDT for two. Kingston with a leaping clothesline and Ziggler bailed to the floor. Kingston with a kick while on the apron followed by Kofi going up top with a forearm to the head for two. Ziggler wanted a Fameasser, Kingston caught him and hit a spinning Powerbomb for two. Kingston doesn’t do that move often, but it looked great there. Ziggler avoided Trouble in Paradise, Kingston got a rollup for two and Ziggler whipped Kingston into the ring post followed by the Zig Zag for two. That is not Dolph’s finisher anymore, so it was only good for two. Ziggler waited for Kingston to get up, they each avoided moves and Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston (2-1)
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good match like most of their matches. It didn't go to that extra gear where I would call it an outstanding match. The problem is they have wrestled so many times that it feels repetitive and it’s not the kind of compelling main event match that WWE should be doing to try to get fans interested in the show. The first fall was a clever way to put Kingston over with a counter and then Ziggler did the cheap attack leading to the second fall. The third fall the best of the three because they got more time and the action picked up towards the end of it. Kingston winning with the Trouble in Paradise should lead to the end of this rivalry for now.

Post match, Kingston celebrated with the WWE Title. Replays were shown of the victory while Graves said that Kofi’s WWE Title reign is going to end soon. Kofi continued to celebrate to end the show.
Analysis: Here’s a stat: The win by Kingston means that he is 21-0 since becoming WWE Champion. That’s televised matches only. He is a rare champion in WWE that isn’t booked to lose, which is great. Seth Rollins is 11-3 since becoming Universal Champion at WrestleMania, so that’s pretty good too. At least WWE is booking their two main champions well. Becky Lynch has been booked strongly too, but her feud with Lacey Evans hasn’t been that interesting.
The reason I bring up that stat is because people complain about WWE a lot and believe me, I get it as much as anyone. I’m just saying the way that Kingston has been booked has been one of the bright spots this year. I just wish he had more compelling rivalries.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kofi Kingston
  2. Dolph Ziggler
  3. Daniel Bryan

 

The Scoreboard
6 out of 10
Last week: 7
2019 Average: 6.77 (Raw is 5.56)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5, 5.5, 6, 7
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)

Final Thoughts
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6 out of 10.

It was an average Smackdown. The matches were pretty good including the main event. The problem is we have seen so many Kingston vs. Ziggler matches. Two of those matches happened this month. It’s not fresh or exciting. In terms of storyline and continuity, this felt like a poorly put together show. I’m tired of the Shane McMahon stuff. It’s not because I have a problem with heels. I’m just bored of too much Shane on every show. The fans chanted “No More Shane” and I doubt daddy Vince is going to listen. Also, there were two champions that lost non-title in order to build title matches. It happens too often. Let's see some creativity.

Smackdown has been hurt by the brand extension ending unofficially. Instead of seeing fresh faces and newer talents, we get the same people on both shows. The announcers gave up on saying “Wild Card Rule” this week, so I guess it’s WWE’s way of ignoring it.


The next WWE pay-per-view is Extreme Rules on July 14 in Philadelphia. Here’s what we know so far.

For the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans
Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Cruiserweight Championships: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese
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John Canton

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