Smackdown – July 2, 2019: Is He Back And Is It Better Than Ever?

Date: July 2, 2019
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

For the first time in a very long while, Smackdown actually has some catching up to do with Raw. Last night’s show was pretty good for a change and a lot of that has to do with the Paul Heyman influence. While it isn’t clear if Eric Bischoff’s influence will begin tonight or not, it certainly does make for an intriguing possibility. Let’s get to it.

Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.

We open with a look back at last night when Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley blew up the set and were taken away in ambulances. Lashley has been released from the medical center and we’ll hear from him tonight. Strowman is pretty banged up and may have a ruptured spleen.

Here’s Kevin Owens for the Kevin Owens Show. He reads his opening statement about the upcoming tag match at Extreme Rules (while having to switch cards between “Under” and “Taker”) and brings out his guests: Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. We see a clip of Undertaker’s appearance from last night, followed by Shane talking about his winning streak. Now it’s time to beat Reigns again and now the match is going to be No Holds Barred.

Drew talks about what they do in regular matches and how vicious of an assault the tag match is going to be. Owens doesn’t seem convinced and wants to see a piece of the footage. That would be McIntyre and Shane running away from Undertaker during his entrance. Owens thinks Shane looks a bit afraid of Undertaker but in reality, it was just a reflex action that sent Shane running into the crowd. Shane: “What are you doing?”

Shane tells him to be a good talk show host and read the cards like they agreed to. Owens reads about Shane winning at Super ShowDown with NO help….but then switches to asking about Shane losing to Undertaker after a seven year absence. Drew gets in Owens’ face but here’s Dolph Ziggler of all people. Owens cuts Ziggler off, saying that he doesn’t want to hear from Ziggler about how it should be him. Owens: “It should have been you eight years ago and it was kind of but it’s not SO GET OVER IT!!!”

Ziggler goes into his usual speech and says he looks the part but Owens looks like he should be in a hot dog eating contest. Owens says he would win, which is better than Ziggler does in wrestling matches. Owens puts it up to Shane who should get the next title shot but that won’t happen. Instead, the two of them can team up against Heavy Machinery. The winning team will be added to the Tag Team Title match at Extreme Rules to make it a triple threat. Owens’ reactions were hilarious here, but how many wet blankets can WWE manage to throw onto this show in one segment?

Daniel Bryan and Rowan don’t like their match becoming a triple threat match but will walk out with the titles anyway.

New Day is ready for a fight and promise to take their titles back at Extreme Rules.

Big E. vs. Daniel Bryan

Big E. swivels his way out of a waistlock to start and the gyrating continues as Bryan looks on. Bryan tries some running shoulders to no avail so Big E. grabs the abdominal stretch with the trombone accompanied spanking. A clothesline turns Bryan inside out and we take a break.

Back with Bryan working on Big E.’s knee but his running clothesline is countered with a pair of belly to belly suplexes. The YES Kicks are countered into another suplex and the Warrior Splash gets two. Bryan sends him to the floor though and Rowan posts Big E. While Woods dives onto Rowan, the running knee gives Bryan the pin at 8:09.

Rating: C. I’m not sure how smart it is to have a challenger lose to a champion less than two weeks before a title match but at least in this case it’s a singles match instead of a tag. Also, it’s not like New Day is going to lose momentum…well ever actually so this could have been a lot worse. Like if the match hadn’t been pretty good.

We look back at R-Truth losing the 24/7 Title to Drake Maverick last night.

R-Truth tries to talk about going on his honeymoon, but it never actually happened. He heard that Hornswoggle and his wife were here in San Antonio instead of on their honeymoon. R-Truth: “So Mr. 7/11 European TV Champion, I’m coming for you! I want my baby back!”

Alexa Bliss sends Nikki Cross out to host a Moment of Bliss because it’s time to kick her out of the nest.

Here’s Cross for a Moment of Bliss (we’re forty four minutes in and the number of talk shows currently doubles the number of matches). Nikki introduces herself and promises to talk slowly so her accent doesn’t become a problem. She brings out Bayley as her guest, who seems impressed with Nikki’s hosting so far. Nikki says she’s here to ask the tough questions, like why Bayley called Bliss a liar. Bayley says she’s telling the truth because Nikki beat her last week and then beat Carmella last night. So why isn’t Nikki getting the title shot? Nikki doesn’t know, but she’ll fight Bayley right now.

Nikki Cross vs. Bayley

Non-title. Bayley hits a dropkick and suplex at the bell before hammering away. Nikki bails to the floor for a bit and gets caught with a jawbreaker back inside. With nothing else working, Nikki jumps on her back for a choke, which is broken up in a hurry. A high crossbody works a lot better for Nikki and she hits a splash in the corner. An ensuing bulldog looks to set up the Purge but Bayley reverses into a backslide for two. The Purge is countered into the Bayley to Belly to give Bayley the pin at 3:06.

Rating: C-. Well thank goodness they cut off that Cross momentum before it got out of hand. The right move was to set something up to offer something interesting and then bail out so we can go right back to the same match we saw last month because that’s how good storytelling goes. If you want to get to Bliss vs. Cross, why make them both seem like losers before you get there?

Ali talks about how people chase the WWE Championship for money and power. He chases it to bring change to millions of minds who have been taught that their name or hometown defines them. He’s going to change that and if you believe that lie, he’ll change your mind. When he becomes WWE Champion, it’s going to change your mind. Then he’ll be on the billboards and posters and fans will see someone who looks like them. Let the chase continue. Along with the rather awesome promos. Now make them go somewhere.

Here are Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe for a face to face showdown. Joe talks about choking him out last night, which was an act of generosity. It seems that Kofi is always receiving some kind of act of generosity. Whenever New Day is given a singles match, it’s always Kofi getting the shot because he’s the New Day’s guy. Joe says they’re using the people just like he does and in a few years, Woods and Big E. can be the hype man and butler.

Kofi talks about everything he has done by himself while Joe lost the US Title to Ricochet. Joe is the one always jumping people from behind but Joe isn’t convinced. He knows Kofi always has a way out planned, like when he brought in his kids. Kofi calls Joe jealous but Joe offers a handshake in honor of choking Kofi out two weeks in a row.

If Kofi will shake his hand, Joe will promise the safety of everyone Kofi holds dear until Extreme Rules. There’s no handshake, so Joe gives him five seconds before he starts slapping Kofi around the ring. Instead Kofi flips him off (that feels WAY out of character for him) and hits Trouble in Paradise.

Heavy Machinery is very excited about their big chance tonight. They’re up against a team who has won 18 combined titles but never one as a team. They know the numbers from great scouting but Owens and Ziggler aren’t a team. They’re coming for the titles.

We look at the Strowman/Lashley explosion from last night again.

We see a video from Lashley’s Twitter, saying Strowman got what he deserved. That had nothing to do with wrestling because they went into an unsafe area. Lashley could have been electrocuted or something worse but Strowman didn’t care. The next time Lashley sees that son of a b****, he’s sending him to the morgue.

Andrade vs. Apollo Crews

Andrade stomps him into the corner to start and the running knees get two. Crews knocks him back down though and it’s an apron moonsault for two as we take a break. Back with Apollo hitting a jumping enziguri while Andrade is on the middle rope. The gorilla press drop into the standing moonsault gets two but Andrade sends him outside. That means a slingshot dive but Apollo catches him in midair. With Andrade being sent back inside, Zelina Vega gets in a hurricanrana off the steps. Back in and the hammerlock DDT gives Andrade the pin at 5:49. Not enough shown to rate but it was your usual match from both.

Owens and Ziggler say this won’t work but Owens has a plan: Ziggler stands in the corner and looks pretty while Owens does the work. Ziggler thinks Owens should just have a hot dog and let him do the work instead. Owens says they should try because the Tag Team Titles are worth it. Ziggler agrees because he’s done worse. Just no hot dogs.

Aleister Black says there was a knock at his door last week….but there was no one there. He applauds whoever knocked because whoever it was is now fighting on a spiritual plane. Now he only cares about the person showing up at Extreme Rules. For if they shall fight in the heavens, they shall fight through the seven layers of h*** and if they meet in purgatory, fighting they shall. Black flat out said the person doesn’t matter. At least he knows it too after all this time.

Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose

Sonya Deville is here with Mandy and offers an early distraction. That doesn’t seem to matter as Mandy gets caught with a forearm for two, only to come back with a belly to back faceplant. A knee to the face gives Mandy two more and we hit the chinlock. Ember fights up in a hurry and hits a jawbreaker, followed by the Eclipse for the pin at 2:16. You have to give her a win at some point I guess.

Shelton Benjamin is asked about the upcoming WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules. He looks around, smiles, and says nothing.

Heavy Machinery vs. Dolph Ziggler/Kevin Owens

The winners go on to face New Day, Daniel Bryan and Rowan, all of whom are out for commentary, at Extreme Rules. Otis takes Ziggler down to start but the fight breaks out on the floor with Bryan running through Big E. with another knee. Rowan breaks up the pancake table and claw slams Woods through it as we take a break.

Back with the match having been restarted (because there was NO OTHER OPTION other than that) and Tucker shoulders Owens down for two. Tucker dives over Owens and runs him down for two more but a low bridge sends Tucker outside. Ziggler comes in for a neckbreaker into a backsplash from Owens, setting up a Crossface.

With that broken up, Tucker comes off the middle rope with a spinning crossbody and the hot tag brings in Otis. A spinning slam and t-bone suplex gets two on Ziggler as everything breaks down. Owens gets sent outside and the Zig Zag is broken up. The Caterpillar hits Ziggler but Owens is back up with a superkick. The Stunner is broken up though and Ziggler superkicks Owens, setting up the Compactor to pin Owens at 6:13.

Rating: D+. I’m still trying to get my mind around the restart thing. Anyway, this is the right call as Heavy Machinery is a lot better than another wacky tag team. Odds are we’ll see Ziggler vs. Owens at Extreme Rules, so at least we can hear Owens rip on Ziggler’s repetitive promos again.

Post match Ziggler helps Owens up and gets Stunned for his efforts to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I would certainly hope that this wasn’t the first Bischoff show because the future would look very bleak. This wasn’t a good show with a bunch of the same things that have been happening for months now. The wrestling was nothing special, the stories were acceptable but not exactly interesting, and nothing memorable. It’s not terrible, but after last night, this was really lacking.


Daniel Bryan b. Big E. – Running knee

Bayley b. Nikki Cross – Bayley to Belly

Andrade b. Apollo Crews – Hammerlock DDT

Ember Moon b. Mandy Rose – Eclipse

Heavy Machinery b. Kevin Owens/Dolph Ziggler – Compactor to Owens

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