Live from Ontario, California, this is Smackdown Live for episode #983. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
It's worth noting that the Smackdown roster is a bit shorter this week with Nakamura out due to dog bite (yes, really), plus AJ Styles and Carmella promoting the October WWE event in Australia (they have been in Australia for a few days) and Charlotte is out for a few weeks to repair a breast implant.
Miz TV with The Bludgeon Brothers
The Miz started the show by standing in the ring for his Miz TV talk show that had the “set” with chairs. Miz welcomed us to Miz TV and introduced the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Bludgeon Brothers.
The Bludgeon Brothers duo of Harper and Rowan made their entrance. When Harper and Rowan got into the ring with their mallets, Miz backed up on the other side of the ring.
The Miz mentioned they had something in common because of Daniel Bryan with Miz noting he beat Daniel Bryan in the Gauntlet Match last week. Miz asked Harper and Rowan why they attacked Daniel Bryan last week. There was no answer. The fans did the “yes” chants so Miz did his “hand goes up, mouth goes shut” routine.
Miz called for a clip of Daniel Bryan doing the interview last week talking about how he can beat the biggest and baddest men in WWE. That led to the clip of The Bludgeon Brothers having a staredown with Bryan.
Miz sucked up to the Bludgeon Brothers by saying that Bryan disrespected them and he called Bryan a glory hound. Miz said that Bryan is the villain of this film. The clip aired of the Bludgeon Brothers costing Bryan in the Gauntlet Match with a double Powerbomb. Miz told them to forget the Oscars and said they deserve Mizzies for what they did. Miz told the Bludgeon Brothers they could be the new Miztourage or be in his new film “Ruff Ruff Ref.” The film is fake, by the way. Harper and Rowan did not seem interested. Harper knocked the microphone out of The Miz’s hand.
Daniel Bryan made the interruption and the save for Miz. Bryan stood on the stage. Miz spoke, Bryan told him to shut up. Bryan told the Bludgeon Brothers that size is nothing to compared to heart. Bryan said he’s not asking them if they’ll fight him. Bryan said he’s not asking if they’ll fight, but which one will fight him first.
Harper told Bryan that he never learns, but he’ll learn tonight. The Bludgeon Brothers music started. It sounds like it will be Harper.
Analysis: It was a good follow up from last week when the Bludgeon Brothers cost Bryan the Gauntlet Match. Harper vs. Bryan has the potential to be a great match as well, so I’m all for it. Miz did a great job as the guy that stirs the pot with the microphone. It’s a role he’s always done well at.
The New Day were in their locker room with a pile of pancakes and their buddy Mr. Butterworth liquified some pancakes, which meant Woods drank some pancake batter. Up next is Xavier Woods vs. Rusev.
The New Day trio made their entrance with the pancakes in hand. The announcers did their usual bickering.
Aiden English did a song for Rusev Day asking if New Day had a waffle because everybody there thinks the pancakes are awful. English said he hopes AJ is watching because at Extreme Rules he’ll lose on Rusev Day. They were throwing pancakes at English during his song. Rusev challenges AJ Styles for the WWE Title on July 15.
Xavier Woods (w/Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English)
Woods had control early as he set up Rusev on the middle rope for a dropkick. While he did that, Big E held up a sign that said “OUCH” by Rusev. That was clever. Rusev hit a spinebuster as the show went to break.
The show returned with Woods making a comeback including a forearm to the face. Rusev with a back body drop that sent Woods to the apron and Woods came back with a DDT off the ropes for two. Woods continued the attack with a superkick, but Rusev came back with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Rusev set up Woods on the top rope. Rusev sent Woods into the turnbuckle. Rusev charged, Woods moved and sent Rusev into the ring post. Woods went up top and went for a move, but Rusev avoided it. Rusev nailed a roundhouse kick to the head. Rusev nailed the Machka Kick. Rusev slapped on the Accolade submission, Woods tapped out and Rusev got the win after about nine minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for the time given. Woods got plenty of offense, but it was no surprise that Rusev got the win since he’s getting the WWE Title match at Extreme Rules in a few weeks. They had good chemistry.
Post match, Rusev said tonight wasn’t about pancakes or Booty O’s, it was about AJ Styles. Rusev said he knows that AJ is watching and he knows AJ is scared, which he proved by punching Aiden English in the face. Fans chanted “AJ Styles/Rusev Day” during the promo. Rusev said that was just a preview at Extreme Rules. Rusev said he’s breaking the door down to AJ Styles house (AJ always says it’s the house that Styles built), he’s taking the WWE Title and it will be a great Rusev Day.
Analysis: Good promo from Rusev full of intensity. I like how he is being built up the right way as the challenger.
Jeff Hardy was shown upside down on camera. His face and eyes were painted. They showed him the right way. Hardy said he’s ready to fight.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown on camera. They noted that Shinsuke Nakamura is not cleared to compete due to injury, but Hardy is having a US Title Open Challenge.
Analysis: The reason Nakamura missed Smackdown this week is because he was bit by a police dog at a live event on Monday. They didn't say that on the show here, but that's what happened per a report on PWInsider.
Jeff Hardy, the US Champion, made his entrance to a big ovation.
Naomi and Lana were shown backstage arguing about their dance off a few weeks ago. The women from the Netflix show Glow were there saying they were all huge fans. Sure they are. Actors never lie. Anyway, they started talking about the dance off some more and I was losing my interest. Do I have to pay attention to bad skits too? I don’t know.
The Sanity trio entered and Eric Young stepped into the ring to accept the open challenge for the US Title from Jeff Hardy.
United States Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. Eric Young (w/Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe)
Hardy hit a Twist of Fate that was really sloppy early on. Hardy went up top, Young left the ring and they went to break early in the match.
Back from break, Young was in control with a choke on Hardy against the turnbuckle. Young got a two count. Young grounded Hardy in a chinlock. Young with a hard whip into the turnbuckle that got a two count. Hardy with punches, Young charged in and Hardy got a rollup. Young with a stiff clothesline that took down Hardy for a two count. Young applied another headlock to ground Hardy. Hardy with a jawbreaker, Hardy with a forearm to the face, atomic drop, double leg drop and a low dropkick for a two count. They did a double clothesline spot. The Usos made their way to ringside, which led to Wolfe and Dain going after them. The Usos started brawling with Wolfe and Dain. Young sent Jey Uso into the ring, that led to punches and the ref called for the bell for the disqualification. It went about eight minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Eric Young (Jeff Hardy is still US Champion)
Analysis: ** The match was going along fine (aside from the botched Twist of Fate) until The Usos showed up to get revenge for last week. It may seem weird that Young won after what happened, but since one of The Usos (I think Jey) punched Young, that’s what caused the disqualification. I assume WWE did this because they want to get to Hardy vs. Nakamura when Nakamura is ready, but there’s no need to have Hardy beat Young in singles. That’s why it was the disqualification. I don’t love it, but I get it.
The Usos and Hardy cleared the ring as the show went to break. It was obvious a six-man tag match was coming. HOLLA HOLLA HOLLA Teddy Long tag team match playa.
The match was made official by Smackdown GM Paige. Of course it was.
Sanity (Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe) vs. Jeff Hardy and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Dain hit a running cross body block on Jey that looked impressive. Wolfe drove Jey back into the barricade. Young tagged in with a headlock on Jey. Young drove Jey’s throat into the bottom rope leading to Dain hitting a cheap shot while the ref was distracted. Dain with a suplex. Jey tried to break free, but Dain decked him with an uppercut. Dain knocked Jimmy off the apron with a punch and Dain splashed Jey against the turnbuckle. Young tagged in with a hard punch. Jey broke free by shoving Young out of the ring. When Jey went for a tag, Young pulled Hardy off the ropes to prevent it. That’s a move that happens a lot in WWE tag team matches of late. Dain tagged, he charged at Jey, who moved and Dain hit the ring post. Jimmy got the hot tag against Wolfe with Jimmy hitting punches and a Samoan Drop. Jimmy with a cross body block off the top on Wolfe for a two count. Jimmy with a kick to the shoulder followed by a running butt splash against the turnbuckle for a two count. Young jumped off the top with an elbow drop. Dain dumped Hardy out of the ring. Jey with a superkick on Dain and Young. Both Usos hit a double superkick to knock Dain out of the ring. Jey hit a dive over the top on Young and Dain on the floor. Wolfe with a German Suplex on Jimmy, Hardy tagged in, superkick by Jimmy on Wolfe. Hardy went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Wolfe to get the pin for his team after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jeff Hardy and The Usos
Analysis: **3/4 The match was pretty good. Guys like The Usos and Jeff Hardy know what they are doing in a match like that. It’s a formula that works. I thought Sanity might go over because they are new to the main roster, so it would give them a big win to establish them as a big deal to the fans. Having them lose hurts them a bit, but I guess felt t the need to do a feel good finish. The Sanity feud with The Usos will likely continue and maybe Sanity can beat them next time in a two on two tag team match.
Becky Lynch was backstage warming up with her headphones on. A stagehand told her she was up next. Lynch is against Sonya Deville.
A commercial aired for Miz and Mrs. debuting on July 24 on USA Network.
Becky Lynch made her entrance to a nice ovation from the crowd. A clip aired from Lynch being interviewed earlier today, so Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose showed up to make fun of her leading to this match.
Sonya Deville made her entrance with Mandy Rose. My favorite of the three is Rose in case you are wondering, but I think Lynch is great and Deville is cool.
Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville (w/Mandy Rose)
Deville was in control of Lynch briefly, but Lynch came back with a kick to the gut. Deville with a kick followed by a waistlock takedown. Lynch managed to use her momentum to send Deville out of the ring. Deville pulled Lynch out of the ring, but Lynch managed to throw Deville over the announce table. They went to break there.
They returned from break with Deville slapping on a body scissors submission. A clip was shown during the break with Deville whipping Lynch into the barricade. Deville with a double leg takedown. Lynch got back up and Deville with a hard kick to the chest. Deville trapped Lynch in a body scissors again. Lynch came back with a kick out of the corner, two clotheslines and a jumping kick. Lynch with the Bexploder suplex for two. Deville with a knee out of the corner for a two count. Lynch avoided a knee strike and hit a flying forearm to the face. Deville got a rollup for two. Step up enziguri by Deville got a two count. Corner charge by Deville, Lynch with a kick, Rose distraction and Deville pulled Lynch off the ropes for a two count. Rose told Lynch to give up. Lynch sent Deville into Rose. Lynch with the Disarmer armbar on the left arm of Deville and Deville tapped out for the loss after about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ** The match was okay with Deville on offense for most of it and Lynch coming back to win. They are slowly building up Lynch with some solid wins of late, which makes me think she’ll challenge for the SD Women’s Title in the near future.
James Ellsworth was shown walking backstage with an Asuka mask on. He walked up to Tye Dillinger, who informed Ellsworth he’s a 1 instead of a 10. Somebody is up next.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega were on a cell phone for a promo. She bragged about how he took out Sin Cara and sent a message to the Smackdown locker room to stay out of their way.
Analysis: It's a shame that the creative team has had nothing for Almas for weeks. I know Sin Cara is hurt, but they should have came up with some matches for Almas.
James Ellsworth entered the arena. He has his own theme song. He went into the ring. Ellsworth complained about Asuka attacking him last week for no reason. Ellsworth said that he wanted to make something clear – he loves and respects women. Ellsworth said his love life is so hot you can fry an egg on it. Ellsworth said when it comes to Asuka there’s no love and no respect. Asuka took off his hat, jacket and shirt. That’s a not a pretty sight. Ellsworth said he wasn’t ready for Asuka last week, but he’s ready this week and he called out Asuka to try to kick him again.
Paige, the General Manager of Smackdown, walked down to the ring. Paige said that he knows Asuka isn’t there and when James found out that Asuka was in Japan with her family, Ellsworth felt like calling her out. Paige announced Carmella would defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Asuka at Extreme Rules. Ellsworth said that Asuka didn’t deserve a championship rematch. Ellsworth said that’s not the reason she’s out there – Ellsworth thinks that Paige was there to ask him on a date. Paige sarcastically said yes that’s exactly why she’s here. Paige asked how next Tuesday sounds and she touched his arm. Ellsworth said yes. She said next Tuesday sounds great. Paige added that it’s not a date with her, it’s actually a match against…Asuka. The fans cheered while Ellsworth looked scared.
Analysis: It’s not a surprise that they are going with Carmella vs. Asuka again at Extreme Rules after the cheap finish at Money in the Bank. Asuka might get the title. It’s hard to predict where WWE might go with this Carmella title reign. As for Asuka vs. Ellsworth next week, it’s rare for WWE to promote woman vs. man, but I assume it will be a quick win for Asuka since Ellsworth is booked like a joke.
There was a shot of Harper backstage with a close up on his eyes. Bryan was shown shadow boxing with Gallows and Anderson to prepare for the match. Harper vs. Bryan is next.
A commercial aired for 205 Live hyping up Lio Rush’s 205 Live debut plus Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado vs. Gulak, Kendrick and Gallagher. It’s on after Smackdown.
Harper was already in the ring with his buddy Rowan at ringside for the main event.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance full of “yes” chants and a big ovation from the crowd. The match began with about 20 minutes left in the show.
Harper (w/Rowan) vs. Daniel Bryan
Harper dumped Bryan out of the ring. Bryan went into the ring for a sliding dropkick, Harper caught him and sent Bryan into the barricade. They battled on the floor with Bryan shoving Harper into the ring post. Bryan with a kick to the ribs, but Harper punched him to knock him down. Harper slapped on a headlock. Bryan with chops, Harper with a punch, Bryan pulled down the ropes and Harper went to the floor. Bryan with a suicide dive, Harper caught him and sent Bryan face first into the table. Harper with a running boot to the face that sent Bryan over the barricade. That slam onto the announce table looked painful.
Harper with a headlock on Bryan to keep him grounded. Bryan ran across the ring going for something, but Harper caught him and hit a spinning sidewalk slam. Harper slapped on another headlock, Bryan with a jawbreaker, Harper with a forearm and Harper slapped on a headlock. Bryan with elbows to break free, but Harper stopped him with an uppercut. Bryan with a dropkick to the left arm of Harper. Bryan with two running dropkicks against the turnbuckle and Harper came back with a Michinoku Driver sitout slam for a two count. Harper grabbed another chinlock to keep Bryan grounded. Bryan got back to his feet with kicks to the arm, but Harper stopped him again with a dropkick. Harper set up Bryan on the top rope, Bryan with punches and Bryan hit a sweet Tornado DDT coming out of the corner. Bryan worked over Harper with the Yes Kicks followed by Harper getting a kick to the gut. Bryan slipped out, he got a rollup, Harper missed a clothesline and Bryan went for the Yes Lock. Harper tried to fight it and looked like he might tap out, so Rowan went in the ring for the disqualification. The match went 14 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match between two guys that have wrestled a lot going back to their pre-WWE days. I figured Rowan was going to cause the disqualification. I liked the story of the match with Bryan getting his offense in, Harper cutting him down every time and Bryan eventually wearing him down leading to the Yes Lock. Plus, the story of Bryan working on the arm to set up the Yes Lock made a lot of sense. Matches that make sense is what I want to see.
Rowan whipped Harper into the turnbuckle and Rowan hit a running cross body block to take out Bryan. Harper wanted a Powerbomb off the ropes, but here comes Kane.
Kane slowly walked down to the ring for a staredown with the Bludgeon Brothers. Kane punched Harper, choke for Rowan and the Bludgeon Brothers tried to double team Kane, but Bryan hit a missile dropkick off the top on to Harper and Rowan. Bryan with the running knee on Rowan. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Rowan to clear the Bludgeon Brothers from the ring. Bryan was shocked by it.
Bryan stared at Kane. Fans chanted “Team Hell No” for this former championship duo. Bryan backed into the corner. Kane walked towards him. Kane wanted a hug. The fans cheered. The fans chanted “yes” for it. Bryan shook his head no at first, but then he changed his mind and listened to the fans chanted “yes” at him. Bryan and Kane hugged it out like they had done many times in the past. The fans went wild for it. Bryan led the crowd in the “Yes” chants with Kane joining in.
Paige showed up on the stage with about one minute left. Kane said that at Extreme Rules, the Bludgeon Brothers will defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championships against Team Hell No – Bryan and Kane. The fans loved that as they chanted “yes” and that’s the end of Smackdown.
Analysis: The crowd is behind it and that’s fine, but the reality is Kane is a 50-year-old that has had boring matches for the last few years. Teaming him with Bryan may help him because Bryan can take the beating in the match, but it’s not that interesting to me. I'd rather see Daniel Bryan in singles PPV matches in or near the main event. Tag team matches with Kane don't excite me much, but the fans like it due to history of Team Hell No from five years ago with the comedy skits along with the “hug it out” that still worked to this day. I know WWE is also wanting to take it easy with Bryan and he’s got his contract up in September, so we don’t know if he’s staying in WWE…I assume he is. I just think if you can book Bryan in a 70 minute Rumble match two months ago, 30 minutes last week, another 15 minutes this week, he’s working all the live events and he’s clearly back to full health then you can utilize him more as a singles wrestler. Going for the tag team titles with Kane in 2018 just doesn’t interest me that much. I don’t hate it. It’s just not what I would do with Bryan right now.
There’s also the issue of how Kane can just show up on Smackdown after being a Raw guy. I’m not sure if WWE will even try to explain it, but they made no attempt to do so here. Maybe they can use the “free agent” story they do with Cena. I don’t know. Does it even matter? No. I don't care that much. Kane is at the end of his career and this could be one final feud for him. Then again, I thought he was done before and here he is again even when he's on the brink of becoming mayor of Knox County. Good for him for wanting to continue. I just don't get excited for Kane matches. Give me Bryan vs. Samoa Joe or Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a PPV match for 20 minutes over this. It's more interesting to me.
Three Stars of the Show
- Daniel Bryan
6 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2018 Average: 6.37
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7, 7, 8, 6
2018 High: 8 (April 10, May 29)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)
Smackdown gets a 6 out of 10 this week.
The show was average most of the night and then we got to see a great main event match with Bryan beating Harper by DQ plus the surprise of Kane returning.
Some big names were missing this week due to reasons I mentioned at the top of the review, so that hurt a bit this week in terms of star power.
A lot of the matches were in the 8-10 minute range, which is okay, but they didn’t really stand out.
— WWE (@WWE) June 27, 2018
The next WWE PPV is Extreme Rules on July 15 in Pittsburgh, PA. Here’s the lineup so far.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Rusev
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella vs. Asuka
Raw Tag Team Championships: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)
There will be more matches added in the weeks to come.
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