Featuring a visit from our special friends in the Funhouse, as well as a bar fight, this July 24th edition of SmackDown has a grown man confronting the demons of his addiction-riddled past and another grown man talking to puppets.

We start off the show with an appearance by the Women’s Tag Champs, Sasha Banks and Bayley, who really need a tag theme. The Women’s Champs (of everything) talk about how great they are, how you should always go for your dreams but know that you’ll never be better than them, blah blah blah, but thankfully they get interrupted by Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss.

Cross is obviously upset, and demands a rematch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bayley says she can have her rematch, but only if she can win a number-one contender’s match against Alexa Bliss. Alexa tells Nikki she doesn’t have to do this, but with an emphatic shove to Bliss, Cross heads down to the ring to make the match official.

Nikki Cross VS Alexa Bliss (Number-One Contender’s Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Cross and Bliss start out with a very respectful chain wrestling sequence, breaking when they get to the ropes and exchanging pins. Alexa gets her friend in the corner and attempts to slap her, which enrages Cross who delivers some clotheslines and avalanches.

Bliss reverses a neckbreaker from Cross into an STO. She then tries to deliver a wrecking ball dropkick, but gets caught up in the apron by Cross. Cross tries to deliver her apron trapped forearms, but Alexa escapes with a solid kick. She moves to attack Cross again, but notices the tag champs egging her on, and both contenders take out Bayley and Banks as we go to commercial.

When we come back, the two are fighting on the apron. Alexa kicks her off and then delivers a wrecking ball dropkick. Alexa beats down Cross in the corner and then traps her arm in a working hold. Cross tries to get out, but Alexa viciously targets Cross’ injured ribs, slamming her into the barricade.

She delivers another STO and traps her in the arm hold again, driving her elbow into her ribs. Cross fights back with a jawbreaker, and beats Bliss down in the corner. She climbs up to deliver the tornado DDT but gets thrown from the ropes. Alexa then delivers a sunset flip powerbomb for a 2-count.

Little Miss Bliss is vicious. Say that five times fast. Photo: WWE

Bliss climbs the ropes again and Cross runs up to meet her. Cross fails at executing a superplex, but ducks under Bliss’ kick attempt and delivers a ripcord neckbreaker for 2. Cross delivers a reverse DDT for another 2, and then climbs the ropes to hit her crossbody, but she misses and slams her injured ribs hard on the mat.

After the ref goes to check on Cross, she rolls up Bliss for the 3. Cross will face Bayley for her SmackDown Women’s Championship next week.

Winner via pinfall and Number-One Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Nikki Cross

Match Rating: 3/5

When we come back from commercial, we get a recap of the Wyatt Swamp Fight on an episode of the Firefly Fun House. Bray Wyatt expresses his happiness that Braun came home. His lantern talks to him, and he says he can’t let him back out, so I assume that the Eater of Worlds is trapped in there. He says the Eater has had his turn, and now it’s his time.

It looks like we’ll be seeing more of the Fiend soon, which is nice.

Matt Riddle VS Tony Nese

The Original Bro starts off strong with a series of gutwrench suplexes, but Nese fights back with a gorgeous moonsault. Nese locks his powerful legs around Riddle, but Riddle tries to maneuver him into the Bro-Derek, which Nese fights out of.

Tony Nese with a tight squeeze on Matt Riddle. Photo: WWE

Nese is kicked into the corner and Riddle beats him down with forearms and delivers a suplex-penalty kick combo. He then delivers the Bro-Derek for the easy win. It’s sad to see Tony Nese getting squashed by someone that he could potentially have a legitimately enjoyable match with, but what can ya do.

Winner via pinfall: Matt Riddle

Match Rating: 2.5/5

After the match, Riddle grabs a mic and calls out King Corbin. The king comes out and denies Riddle a match, saying Riddle doesn’t belong yet and that he should go back to NXT. He says he’s putting out a King’s Ransom for whoever can take out Riddle.

Next, an episode of Miz TV addressing the #naomideservesbetter hashtag following the embarrassing karaoke segment from two weeks ago. I mean, everyone in that segment deserves better, but I agree that Naomi especially needs better. These guys are, as ever, endlessly amusing. Miz and Morrison rating sickness on the Seth Rollins pukes scale is amazing.

One of the pieces of information in Naomi’s banner as she enters is that she’s married to Jimmy Uso. Because apparently whoever designs those doesn’t get what a women’s revolution is. She talks about people being behind her, and Miz and Morrison are confused that she’s trending for winning. Naomi absolutely goes off on them, talking about how people are behind her for showing up every day and never giving up.

Miz and Morrison bring out Lacey Evans, and it doesn’t take long before Lacey makes fun of Naomi just a little too much and the two start fighting. Naomi gets the better of Evans and tosses her out of the ring. Curiously, they don’t get a match, since obviously the best way capitalize on a ton of people saying that someone deserves better is to not have her wrestle, but only get made fun of.

We get a recap of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at Extreme Rules, and then we see that Kofi Kingston has been injured. Kofi says that it’s Big E’s time to have singles run, seeing as how his tag partners are out. Looks like we’ll be seeing Big E get his short WWE Title run to be interrupted by Brock Lesnar next.

Lince Dorado vs Shorty G vs Drew Gulak vs Gran Metalik (Number-One Contender’s Match for the Intercontinental Championship)

AJ Styles comes out to commentate on a Fatal Four Way to become the number-one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. The two members of Lucha House Party start by taking out both other opponents with some double teaming, then start taking each other on. Before they could really get into a solid match, Gulak pulls Dorado to the outside and slams him, but Metalik executes a crazy over the rope hurricanrana.

Shorty tries to suplex Metalik but he reverses it, then gets thrown with an arm drag. Metalik continues his control with a dropkick, but Gulak breaks up the pin. Dorado takes out Gulak with a kick, and ducks under a clothesline from Shorty to deliver a suicide dive to Gulak on the floor. Metalik tries to take out Shorty but is caught with a dropkick, and Shorty takes out all three other competitors with a moonsault as we go to commercial.

When we come back, Gulak and Shorty are double teaming Metalik. All four competitors exchange pins. Shorty hits Gulak with a suplex, and gets a 2-count from it. Shorty and Gulak double team Metalik again, but Metalik hits them both with a springboard elbow. Lince comes in and chops Gulak up in the corner, and gets a 2-count from a springboard moonsault. He tries a crossbody and gets another 2.

Lince hits a springboard stunner, but his partner breaks up the pin. While the two tag partners are arguing, Shorty comes in and suplexes Metalik and Dorado. He cannonballs both luchadors in the corner and suplexes Gulak. He then delivers a devastating olympic slam that drives Metalik right on his neck for a 2-count.

AJ Styles keeps swinging between a cocky heel who insults his possible challengers and a real nice guy who says how impressed he is with their talent, and it makes me smile.

Gulak locks in the Gu-Lock on Shorty, but it’s reversed it into an ankle lock. Dorado interrupts with a splash with crazy height, and gets a 2-count. Dorado hits Shorty with a bottom rope moonsault, a middle rope moonsault, but when he goes to the top he is stopped by Gulak.

Shorty dumps Gulak out of the ring and German suplexes Dorado off the top rope, but Metalik drops a flying elbow on him for the win. The winner certainly isn’t who I was expecting, but I absolutely love it. But again, why should I be surprised? This goes back to the whole “Why is Nakamura and Cesaro winning an upset” debate. Metalik was a highly decorated champion in CMLL, he’s more than capable of winning this match.

Gran Metalik with the elbow drop that would win him the match. Photo: WWE

AJ fakes out Metalik with a handshake that he turns into a slap, but Metalik makes a statement with a DDT. They’ll square off for the Intercontinental Title next week.

Winner via pinfall and Number-One Contender for the Intercontinental Championship: Gran Metalik

Match Rating: 4/5

Backstage, we get an interview with the tag champs. Shinsuke Nakamura has a great line, saying: “I’m not sure what was more rewarding on Sunday: putting Kofi Kingston through the first table, or putting Kofi Kingston through the second table”. They claim that it’s not Big E’s time, as Kofi claims, but their time, and frankly, I can’t argue. Their win was dominant and I can see them having a very strong title reign.

Sheamus VS Jeff Hardy (Bar Fight)

We open in a lovely looking bar, complete with a ref and Sheamus’ bartender. Sheamus is looking absolutely ridiculous, decked out in a beat-up trilby and suspenders. Jeff comes in and sits right next to him. He mentions his brother (!) and talks about how he has to save his career. He says he’s connected to everything, saying he is the TV, he is that glass, and he is the bar. Nice. Sheamus gets a drink thrown in his face and the match starts.

Hardy starts out strong, but Sheamus uses his power advantage early to beat Jeff down. He wipes him clean across the bar, breaking all the glasses on it, and delivers the 10 Beats of the Bodhran on Hardy. We can see that Hardy is cut open a little on his back.

Sheamus takes a second to get a shot, but Hardy makes him pay by running across the bar to tackle him. Hardy grabs the basketballs out of an arcade game and beats Sheamus with them, and then slams him around in the back hallway of the bar.

Jeff Hardy plays catch with Sheamus, but Sheamus doesn’t catch it and it hits him hard and I was lying about it being catch. Photo: WWE

He tries to use a metal keg, but Sheamus uses it on him, squishing his face into the wall with it. He brings Hardy into the bathroom and gives his face a wash in the urinal. Gross. He shoves Hardy in front of a mirror and insults him, which probably wasn’t a good idea, as Hardy fights back by throwing Sheamus into a toilet. Jeff gets out of the bathroom, and Sheamus goes out to follow him, yelling his name as he goes.

He looks around for him, and finds him along with the bad end of a ladder. Hardy tries to splash him off the bar, but gets caught and slammed into the wall. Sheamus tries to smash him with a guitar, but Hardy ducks. Hardy tries to throw Sheamus into a drum set, but is sent into it himself. He counters a Brogue Kick with one of the drums, and crossbodies Sheamus.

Hardy delivers a Twist of Fate to Sheamus and, of course, sets up the ladder. He drags Sheamus into position and climbs the ladder with no good intentions in mind. He gets stopped by Sheamus’ bartender, who gets powerbombed through a table for his trouble. Sheamus needs to give this guy a raise.

Sheamus comes out of nowhere with a chair, and places his trilby elegantly on the Charismatic Enigma’s head. Sheamus goes and gets himself a beer, which he downs quickly and gets a funny looking foam mustache.

He goes over to pin Jeff, but when he takes the hat off his face, Jeff has face paint and creepy contacts. He fights back against Sheamus, smashing a bottle over his head and once again climbing the ladder all the way to the top. He drops a Swanton Bomb on him and gets the win, placing the trilby back on the Celtic Warrior’s head.

Winner via pinfall: Jeff Hardy

Match Rating: 3/5



SmackDown July 24, 2020

A nice finish to one rivalry and the well designed furtherance of another. Naomi still deserves better, though.