04th Jul2018

WWE Smackdown – July 3rd 2018: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

smackdown-2018-logo

Welcome to this week’s Smackdown review! I’m Nathan Favel and it’s time to get to the action!

Match #1: United States Champion Jeff Hardy beat The Miz in the Independence Day United States Open Challenge

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With the Fourth of July just one day away, United States Champion Jeff Hardy issued the Independence Day United States Open Challenge to anyone on the roster… enter The A-Lister. Yes, The Miz, who defeated Jeff Hardy to qualify for the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match in a barnburner last month, answered the call and took the fight to The Charismatic Enigma.

The Miz constantly attempted to ground Hardy’s aerial mastery, but The Charismatic Enigma battled back, and after the referee caught The Miz red-handed trying to use the ropes for leverage during a pinfall attempt, Hardy caught an irate A-Lister with a Twist of Fate and a must-see Swanton Bomb for the victory.

My Take: This was a good match that got its replay value from Jeff Hardy, who seems to be getting better with age, despite his battles with drugs and alcohol in recent years. The Miz has become a great heel and a solid name, but I would be surprised if The Miz was selling tickets. The Miz is a great foil for Jeff because Jeff is so likable, but natural at the same time. As far as the action is concerned, you can assume that Miz did his normal rest holds and stalling and that Jeff defied gravity like so few can. I thought this was a very nice match.

Match #2: Asuka beat James Ellsworth went to a double count-out

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella on commentary, Asuka and James Ellsworth engaged in a battle of the sexes after Carmella seemingly gave her lackey one simple instruction: Take Asuka out.

Ellsworth seemed ready to follow the orders until the bell rang and then the ultra-focused Empress of Tomorrow laid in, and an absolute pounding began. Making Ellsworth pay for his pivotal involvement in Carmella’s successful title defense at WWE Money in the Bank, the unrelenting Asuka forced Ellsworth to run away after catching him with an echoing slap. Asuka chased him, which resulted in a double count-out since Ellsworth had sprinted over the barricade and beyond. Carmella took complete advantage by blindsiding The Empress of Tomorrow while she was in hot pursuit.

The job didn’t go according to plan for the SmackDown Women’s Champion, but the night ended with Asuka briefly downed all the same, giving Carmella the edge heading into their match at WWE Extreme Rules. However, Ellsworth wasn’t totally in the clear as it SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige announced that Ellsworth would face Asuka again next week, this time in a Lumberjack Match with the entire blue brand Women’s division surrounding the ring.

My Take: I’m thrilled to see inter-gender wrestling on national television, but I just wish it would be taken more seriously. Ellsworth kept his name alive on the indy circuit by defending the Inter-gender Wrestling Champion, which was a nice way to offer some-thing different in a sea of great athletes. As a match, there wasn’t much here, which is a shame considering that we have Asuka involved, but its just nice to see a match like this be given any promotion at all.

Match #3: AJ Styles beat Aiden English

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

WWE Champion AJ Styles arrived on SmackDown LIVE ready to declare why he would defeat Rusev to retain his title at WWE Extreme Rules (aka Rusev Day), but The Phenomenal One was quickly interrupted by The Bulgarian Brute and Aiden English. Rusev let Styles know that he’s never faced anyone quite like The Super Athlete before promising to defeat him soundly at WWE Extreme Rules and move into “the house that AJ Styles built” as champion. Styles’ ensuing contest against English saw The Mozart of Mayhem try to get revenge after AJ dropped him several weeks ago, and English took advantage of a distraction from The Super Athlete right as the bell rang. That wouldn’t be enough, though, as Styles defeated English with the Calf Crusher for the tapout win.

However, The Phenomenal One would have no time to celebrate, as Styles was then met by an unexpected Machka Kick from Rusev, who locked the champion in the Accolade. Statement made.

My Take: This was a simple bout to make AJ Styles look tough, which is never necessary where AJ is concerned, but it all works out any-way, I guess. The title feud between AJ and Rusev is a solid one and should be a great match when it gets to PPV.

Match #4: Becky Lynch beat Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay – Women’s Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Looking to continue her hot streak, Becky Lynch took on Peyton Royce (with Billie Kay by her side) on SmackDown LIVE. The Irish Lass Kicker took Royce’s best, persevering through several expertly placed kicks by Peyton, locking her in the Dis-arm-her and notching the tapout victory to keep her winning streak alive.

My Take: Becky Lynch is probably the most complete female wrestler on the roster, except for Asuka and Mickie James. Becky could definitely jump in the ring with the guys and no one would mind or have a problem with it. Lynch won and it was the right decision, although, I like Royce and Kay as well.

Match #5: Main Event – Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) beat The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) – Tag Team Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With the stakes as high as could be for The Usos, Jimmy & Jey took on Team Hell No with a place in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match at WWE Extreme Rules on the line for them if they could prevail.

The two legendary tag teams went all out in a hard-hitting thriller that absolutely captivated the WWE Universe. As the match progressed, Jimmy & Jey caught fire, kept The “Yes!” Man down and continued to apply the pressure with high-impact offense. However, showing no rust at all, Daniel Bryan and Kane fought back, and when Kane incredibly caught both Usos in Chokeslam position from his back, Bryan knocked out Jimmy with the Running Knee, and The Big Red Machine connected with the Chokeslam on Jey for the win.

Team Hell No couldn’t bask in their victory as much as they would’ve liked, however, as their celebratory “Yes!” chant was cut short when The Bludgeon Brothers arrived at the top of the stage, staring holes into Bryan and Kane and reminding them of the challenge that awaits them at WWE Extreme Rules.

My Take: This was the best match on the card. Bryan continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, with numerous great performances since he’s returned from his retirement. It’s nice to see Kane back in one of the few angles/story-lines in his career that wasn’t terrible (Kane is a real trooper to put up with Vince’s bad taste). The Usos are the WWE’s answer to The Young Bucks… and it’s a pretty good answer. The Usos were so fluid here, as if they were violent feathers (I know, that’s the weirdest analogy you’ve ever heard). This was an excellent main event.

News of the Night:

  1. A SAnitY/New Day feud is being teased.
  2. Shinsuke Nakamura will be wrestling Jeff Hardy for the United States Title at Extreme Rules.
  3. James Ellsworth will wrestle Asuka in a Lumberjack Match, next week.

Final Verdict: This was miles ahead of last night’s RAW and featured an excellent main event.

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