Featuring what will probably be a distasteful promo by Sheamus, as well as a match between Drew Gulak and AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship, this July 3rd edition of Smackdown takes us one step closer to Extreme Rules: The Horror Show.
The Original Bro Matt Riddle comes out to talk with Micheal Cole about his experience so far on the blue brand. Cole asks him if he can put into words what it felt like to beat AJ Styles, and Matt Riddle answers with “Not really.”
Cole then asks the far more important question of “Why do you not wear shoes”. Riddle goes on to tell a weird story about getting frostbite in his feet on a family vacation in Wisconsin. He went to the doctor’s office, and according to Riddle, “They were even thinking about amputating the gross tootsies, the feets. The foots bro.” Now shoes hurt his feet, and he refuses to wear them no matter the formality level of an event.
King Corbin makes his entrance and grabs a mic. Weirdly enough, he leads with “OK Riddle, if that even is your real name.” Thank you, Thomas Pestock. He goes on to call Riddle an idiot, and complains about his beat down last week. He asks Riddle to “bow down to the King.” Riddle couldn’t care less, saying “You do you bro.” The King tells him someone needs to beat him up, but backtracks when Riddle challenges him. He instead brings out John Morrison to fight Riddle.
Matt Riddle VS John Morrison (w/ The Miz)
Corbin joins Micheal Cole and Corey Graves on commentary. The match starts off with some good mat wrestling from both wrestlers, with Riddle taking control with a takedown and a kneebar, but Morrison gets to the ropes. They go for another lock up, but Morrison hits a forearm that I’m pretty sure registered as a 7 on the Richter scale.
Riddle hits a chain of gutwrench suplexes, and Morrison goes for a Penalty Kick that Riddle counters into an ankle lock. Morrison gets to the ropes, counters a German suplex attempt by Riddle and hits a springboard kick. Morrison then delivers a neckbreaker for a 2 count.
Riddle fights back with some forearms but Morrison parkours from one corner to another and hits an enziguri, and then a springboard corkscrew crossbody for a 2 count. Morrison hits two solid shining wizards but only gets another 2 count. Morrison kicks Riddle in the chest, but Riddle fires up, screaming at Morrison to do it again. John answers with a poke to the eyes (which, according to Graves, is a genius move).
They hit each other with a forearm, causing Riddle to fall to ringside. Riddle hits King Corbin with one of his slippers and we go to commercial break. When we come back, Riddle is in control, punishing Morrison with a Bro-Ton. King Corbin has abandoned commentary to cheer on Morrison at ringside. Riddle hits a Bro to Sleep and German suplex combo (Should be called a Com-Bro, they might as well Bro-ify everything) for a 2 count.
Riddle goes for the Floating Bro, but Morrison gets the knees up. Morrison climbs up to the top rope to escape a sleeper hold, and hits a top rope Spanish fly and standing Spanish fly for a 2 count.
Matt Riddle delivers a Final Flash, and then the powerbomb Final Flash combo for another yet another 2 count. Riddle tries for the Bro Derek, but has to drop it to get The Miz and the King off the apron. John rolls Riddle up for 2, but Riddle gets the win with a roll up of his own.
Winner via pinfall: Matt Riddle
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Drew Gulak versus Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship
Styles starts out strong, beating down Gulak and hitting him with a baseball dropkick. Styles gets dirty and rakes his face on the apron. Gulak fights back, hitting a knee and victory roll, and getting a 2 count. Daniel Bryan (looking slightly less like a mountain man then I thought he would look after nearly 4 months of quarantine) gives his feedback of the match over Zoom.
Styles regains control with an ax handle and goes aggressive again, scraping his foot on Gulak’s face and hitting a snap suplex for a 1 count. Gulak fights back with some hard strikes, but AJ hits a painful dragon screw. He targets the leg further, softening him up more for the Calf Crusher.
He goes for the Crusher but Gulak reverses into his own painful submission, and Styles gets to the ropes. Styles goes to ringside, frustrated, and slams the Plexiglas right in Xia Li’s face for some reason. Gulak hits a massive baseball slide dropkick, and we go to commercial.
When we come back, Styles is in control, slamming Gulak’s shoulder into the ring post and hitting a brainbuster for a two count. Bryan admits Drew is more technically sound than him, but it’s not helping him here as Styles destroys Gulak with an STO backbreaker. He hits another backbreaker and gets a two count.
Gulak fires up, beating AJ down in the corner. Drew Gulak really does resemble Bryan, not just because of his beard but his wrestling style overall. Being a convincing underdog is difficult, but both Bryan and Gulak pull it off really well.
Gulak hits four consecutive dropkicks, and then a dangerous Michinoku driver for a 2 count. Gulak stacks AJ up in the corner and looks for a superplex, but Styles reverses it and delivers the Styles Clash. Before making the pin, he smashes Gulak with a Phenomenal Forearm, and pins him for the 1-2-3.
Winner via pinfall and still Intercontinental Champion: AJ Styles
Match Rating: 3/5
Bayley and Sasha Banks come out next, and they gladly pretend that Sasha’s loss at the Great American Bash never happened. They claim nobody respects them. They take a shot at The Undertaker (because everyone is now?), saying Taker told them that they are the best champions ever, they’re gonna win at Extreme Rules, they need a tribute episode, blah blah blah.
They grace us with their own tribute video. Sasha is called the Blueprint in this promo package, because Matt Morgan doesn’t exist anymore apparently. They start cheering for themselves after their video finishes, and thankfully Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross interrupt the tag champs.
They mock the “Role Models” by reading off a list of their own accomplishments. They say Cross is the Queen of Scotland, that Bliss was the first person to drive across Antarctica in a go-kart, etc. Bayley and Sasha make fun of them, Bliss slaps Bayley, and a match between Bayley and Bliss is scheduled next.
Alexa Bliss VS Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley (Non-title match)
Bliss controls the match, starting aggressive early, hitting forearms, stomps and amusingly, a little poke to the forehead. Bayley fights back with a turnbuckle smash, but Bliss pulls Bayley’s feet out from under her from outside.
Bliss gets a kick to the right hand when she tries to get back in, and Bayley focuses on the right arm and hand from thereon out. Bliss tries to fight out of a working hold, but Bayley slams Bliss. Bliss rolls her up for a 2 count, and Bayley hits a devastating clothesline to get her own 2 count.
Bliss fights back with a huge right hand, but Bayley slams Bliss’ hand into the apron, and pins her for a 2 count. Bayley hits a running bulldog for another 2 count. Nikki gets fired up and accidentally distracts the ref while Bayley and Sasha double team Bliss. Cross runs over and takes out Sasha. Bayley yells at Cross who’s had enough, and punches Bayley, getting Bliss disqualified.
Winner by disqualification: Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley
Match Rating: 2.5/5
There’s a promo package for the Wyatt Swamp Fight between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman, which looks like it’s going to be the best cinematic match so far. This is the sort of stuff I prefer Wyatt doing. Not that I don’t like his normal matches, but weird creepy stuff where there can be special effects and such allows the darkness in Bray’s old noggin to shine. I’d like to see Wyatt doing the Fiend again soon, but for now, a little trip down nightmare lane is welcome.
Smackdown Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E) VS Shinsuke Nakamura (w/ Cesaro)
Nakamura comes out of the gate quick with his strong style strikes, but Kofi comes right back with a couple of dropkicks, dumping Nakamura to the outside. Nakamura tries to throw Kofi to the Plexiglas, but Kofi reverses Nakamura into the glass, causing Big E to laugh maniacally.
Cesaro interferes, punching Kofi and Big E comes in to take Cesaro out. They chase each other around the ring and both get thrown out by referee Jessica Carr as we go to commercial break. When we come back, Nakamura is in control, hitting Kofi with a knee drop for 2. Nakamura hits a unique German suplex, sitting Kofi on the middle rope and sliding under him to hit the suplex.
Corey comments how criminal it is to underestimate Nakamura, and I agree. This is a G1 Climax and New Japan Cup winner, a 3 time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and a 2 time NXT Champion. This is the former leader of CHAOS, for goodness sake. He’s been turned into a bit of a joke by WWE and it’s a little sad.
Nakamura keeps Kofi from firing up, hitting him with some hard strikes and a running knee with Kofi laying on the apron. Micheal Cole counters Corey’s lament of the lack of respect for the King of Strong Style, saying the simple way to not be overlooked is to just win championships. C’mon, guys, listen to the guy who had the worst match in WrestleMania, just win the titles already. Jeez.
Kofi fires up, hitting some dropkicks, but gets caught with some sort of Codebreaker. Kofi misses Trouble in Paradise, and Nakamura makes him pay with a kick that gets him a 2 count. Nakamura sets up for the Kinshasa, Kofi dodges it, reverses an exploder suplex, and hits the S.O.S for a close 2 count.
Kofi hits a mushroom stomp for another 2 count, and sets up for Trouble in Paradise. However, Nakamura catches him in a sleeper hold, brings him to his knees with an eye rake, and hits the Kinshasa for the win. Cesaro pulls out a table for a little post match action, but Big E comes in and clears out Nakamura and Cesaro.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Match Rating: 3/5
Sheamus’ “toast” segment features a waiter and a table with so much alcohol I feel like my blood alcohol concentration raised just by watching this segment. And I don’t even drink. Hardy makes his way to the ring, calling out Sheamus and saying he just wants to get this over with.
Sheamus appears on the Titantron via Zoom call, saying he wants to give Hardy some personal space. Sheamus says he has a problem, saying he stuck up for The Undertaker last week to get a “quick fix” of appreciation. He says the solution to Hardy’s problem is to stop denying who he really is and slip back into his old habits.
He toasts Hardy rather insultingly (but at least he rhymes). The waiter holds the drink out to Hardy, while Sheamus goads him to drink it, saying it’s what Hardy wants to do deep down. Hardy takes the drink, but dumps it on the waiter, and then smashes a champagne bottle over his head. Then he drops a Swanton Bomb on this poor enhancement talent who just looks like a very skinny EC3.
Not the best segment ever, but a good way to keep their rivalry hot leading up to Extreme Rules.
Smackdown July 3rd, 2020
Good episode with some fun matches; specifically John Morrison was very impressive. They’re doing a good job of bringing all the storylines to a breaking point to be solved at Extreme Rules.