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WWE SmackDown recap & reaction (7/4)

WWE SmackDown Live

WWE “free agent” John Cena made his return and kicked off this week’s episode of SmackDown. The crowd greeted him with “John Cena sucks” chants as he made his way to the ring. Cena encouraged the crowd to boo him and stated that he was fired up tonight. Dueling “lets go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” chants echoed throughout the crowd. Cena asked the crowd if they missed them and the audience cheered. Cena discussed July 4th and the United States of America.  John stated that he loved this country and loved WWE for the same reason. Superstars from all walks of life get the opportunity to show that they can compete with the best. Cena said that Superstars have been spreading some rumors that he has gone Hollywood and that he is nothing more than a part-time mascot.

Cena said that he is not a part-timer, he is an all-timer. Cena said that he is a “free agent” because if his time in WWE is limited, he is going down in a blaze of glory. Cena called out a bunch of Superstars, including Nakamura, Owens, Reigns and Mahal. Cena said that whoever is lined up in front of him, he will knock them down. Cena claimed he has nothing to lose and Rusev finally made his SmackDown debut. Rusev made his way to the entrance ramp as the crowd chanted “USA!”. Rusev said that he was injured while Cena was off in Hollywood filming movies. Rusev complained about Cena getting comeback commercials for two months and that he never got a commercials for his return. Rusev called America a “joke” and the crowd once again started chanting “USA!”. Cena challenged Rusev to come down to the ring for a fight. Rusev made fun of Americans for stuffing their faces with cheeseburgers and hot dogs on July 4th. The crowd started chanting “yes!”.

Rusev stated that his comment was not a compliment and called everyone in arena dumb. Once again, the crowd started to chant “USA!” as Rusev raised the Bulgarian flag. Cena stated that Americans are not afraid to fight what we believe. Cena proposed a match a Flag Match between Cena and Rusev tonight. The crowd chanted “yes!” again and Cena got fired up in the ring. Rusev declined the challenge and said that he will fight on his own terms. Rusev then dropped the microphone and started waving the flag. Cena then instructed the crowd to start chanting “USA!” again and celebrated in the ring.

Reaction: It is great to see John Cena back in the WWE. It was also cool to see Rusev finally make his return. Having said that, this all felt a bit underwhelming. I’ve always felt like Rusev is undervalued in WWE and deserves to be in a main-event role. I really have no interest in seeing Cena squash Rusev again, whether it happens tonight or in the next few weeks.

Daniel Bryan had a discussion with Chad Gable and AJ Styles backstage. Bryan claimed that Owens was calling him all week and complaining that both Gable and Styles shouldn’t be in the Battle Royal later tonight to determine the #1 contender for Owens’ United States Championship. Bryan said that Owens has a valid point because he has defeated both Styles and Gable recently. SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan then made a match between Gable and Styles that will go down next on SmackDown. The winner of that match will earn a spot in the Battle Royal.

Chad Gable vs AJ Styles

Styles and Gable went back and forth to start off the match as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Gable and Styles were battling on the top turnbuckle. Gable knocked Styles to the mat and went for a Moonsault but Styles got out of the way. Styles then connected with a Suplex and Gable slammed into the turnbuckle. AJ went for the Styles Clash but Gable reversed it into the Ankle Lock in the middle of the ring. Styles broke the hold and applied the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring. Gable got out of the hold and planted Styles with a Suplex. AJ went for a roll-up but Gable kicked out at two. Styles connected with a Pele Kick that knocked Gable to the corner. Styles connected with the Phenomenal Forearm for the victory. After the match, Styles helped Gable up and showed him some respect.

Winner: AJ Styles

Reaction: This was a very solid match. I don’t really understand why Gable is wrestling in singles matches all of the sudden. American Alpha is a solid tag team and I would hate to see them separated before they even got a real chance on SmackDown.

Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder had a conversation backstage. Ryder informed Mojo that he got them into the Battle Royal later tonight. Mojo joked that Ryder just made a huge mistake because Mojo won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33.

James Ellsworth and Miss MITB Carmella made their way to the ring. Carmella bragged about winning the match twice. Carmella held up the MITB briefcase and stated that she holds all the power. SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi interrupted Carmella’s promo and danced her way to the ring. Naomi congratulated Carmella on winning MITB and reminded Carmella that she is the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Naomi stated that her eyes are always open and that she is not scared of Carmella. Naomi then called Ellsworth “Ellsworthless” and SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan came down to the ring to a great reaction from the crowd in attendance.

Ellsworth tried to speak and Bryan told him to shut up. Bryan barred Ellsworth from the arena and Ellsworth started laughing. Bryan then fined $10,000 and then suspended Ellsworth. The crowd started chanting “yes!” as Ellsworth freaked out in the ring. Bryan then informed Ellsworth if he breaks any rules of the suspension, he is stripping Carmella of the MITB briefcase.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (c) vs Lana

Naomi applied a submission hold right away and won the match.

After the match, Tamina came down to the ring and walked backstage with Lana.

Winner & Still SmackDown Women’s Champion: Naomi

Reaction: This feud was completely pointless. One can only hope that is over now. I always forget Tamina is on the SmackDown roster until she appears on the screen. I’m sure her new bond with Lana will provide countless hours of entertainment that we can all relive in the future on the WWE Network for only $9.99 per month.

Baron Corbin attacked Nakamura backstage and hit him with the MITB in the briefcase. Nakamura fought back and referees separated the two Superstars.

Rap Battle: The Usos vs New Day (hosted by Wale)

Both The Usos and New Day brought an entourage down to the ring. The Usos and New Day traded some rhymes and insulted each other. The Usos made fun of Big E’s chest and stated that he had breasts. The Usos also poked fun at Xavier Woods’ sex tape with Paige and Brad Maddox. Kofi then grabbed the microphone and poked fun at The Usos and said that they looked like they never looked that they have never been a gym. The Usos then poked fun at Kofi Kingston’s former Jamaican accent. Woods then grabbed the microphone and poked fun at the way The Usos dress. Woods said that The Usos were nothing until Naomi put Jimmy Uso on Total Divas. A brawl then started to break out. Wale then disqualified The Usos and declared New Day the winners of the rap battle.

Reaction: This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The Usos were way more entertaining than the New Day here. Kofi’s rap fell completely flat. The Usos won the rap battle in my mind simply because of the jab at Xavier Woods.

Aiden English vs Randy Orton

English attacked Orton before the match started and slammed him into the ring steps. English then proceeded to finish the song he was singing before Orton’s music hit as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Orton connected with a Powerslam and English rolled out of the ring. Orton followed him outside and launched him over the announce table. Orton then punched Aiden in the face several times and threw him into the barricade. Randy then slung English into the ring post and slammed him onto the announce table. Orton cleared off the announce table and planted English with a DDT to the floor. Orton grabbed the steel stairs and bashed English in the face. Referee Charles Robinson then disqualified Orton but Randy didn’t stop the beatdown. Orton planted English with an RKO in the ring.

After the match, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal came down to the entrance ramp and raised the title. The crowd chanted “USA!” as Mahal called the USA “the whole of prejudice and the land of ignorance”. Mahal vowed to destroy Orton’s legacy in the Punjabi Prison match at Battleground. Mahal then went to speak in Punjabi but Orton interrupted and told him to shut up. Orton said that he was going to RKO Mahal’s ass right back to India. Orton claimed that nobody liked Jinder Mahal because he was a jackass.

Winner via DQ: Aiden English

Reaction: Where were you when Aiden English defeated Randy Orton? This was the best promo Mahal cut since he won the Six-Pack Challenge to become #1 contender for the WWE Championship. There was no Cordial Mahal tonight, it was Jinder Mahal with some bass in his voice. Having said that, this feud still sucks and I cannot wait for it to be over. Randy Orton isn’t entertaining as a babyface in my opinion and I just can’t bring myself to get excited for the Punjabi Prison match. It just sounds like it is going to be a train-wreck.

Tyler Breeze (dressed as a woman) interviewed Tye Dillinger backstage. Breeze asked Dillinger what his strategy was for the Battle Royal. Fandango was pretending to be a construction worker behind Dillinger. Tye stated that Breezango might have to face each other in the match. Dillinger then joked that Breeze was a “10”.

Maria and Mike Kanellis were interviewed backstage by Renee Young. There were some technical difficulties during this segment and the camera cut out. Mike and Maria were about to kiss and Sami Zayn accidentally knocked something over. Sami Zayn then cut a goofy promo but was interrupted when his music hit. Mike then tried to kiss Maria again but she shut him down. Mike then stated that Maria was right and that the moment was ruined.

Battle Royal To Determine #1 Contender For United States Championship

Kevin Owens joined commentary for the Battle Royal.

  • Luke Harper eliminated Dolph Ziggler
  • Erick Rowan eliminated Tyler Breeze, Fandango and Sin Cara
  • Luke Harper eliminated Konnor
  • Mojo Rawley eliminated Luke Harper
  • Mojo and Ryder eliminated Erick Rowan
  • Mojo eliminated Zack Ryder
  • Sami Zayn eliminated Mojo Rawley
  • Sami Zayn eliminated Tye Dillinger
  • AJ Styles eliminated Sami Zayn

After the match, Kevin Owens attacked AJ Styles. AJ connected with a Pele Kick and went for the Styles Clash but Owens rolled out of the ring. Styles then raised the United States Championship in the ring.

Reaction: AJ Styles and Kevin Owens will most likely put on a great match in three weeks at Battleground. Overall, this week’s SmackDown was pretty forgettable. Mojo eliminating Ryder seemed to hint that the Hype Bros are on the verge of breaking up. I have no idea why WWE would do that because both RAW and SmackDown could use more tag teams. There were some entertaining segments tonight, but there really wasn’t any great wrestling. It just felt like an ordinary episode of SmackDown that you could just check out the YouTube highlights and still be up-to-date on the product.

What did you think of this week’s episode of SmackDown? Let us know in the comments below.

  • pitfallharry219

    That Tyler Breeze segment was the funniest thing I’ve seen on WWE TV in years.