You’re reading Spain’s SmackDown Report, when you could be reading a book or improving yourself in some way. Just you think about that.
The show starts off with a look back at the hug heard around the world. The inspirational music accompanying the lead in and the actual embrace is enough to bring a tear to your eye, if you’re the kind of psycho who cries at wrestling.
I can’t believe Bryan’s actually trying to hold a grudge in professional wrestling
Renee Young is in the ring and introduces Team Hell No, who make their way to the ring. She asks them about their relationship, and Bryan says that it’s great: sometimes they fight, sometimes they hug, but they deliver in the ring. Jesus, this guy’s got some horrific ideas about what makes a relationship work. Kane says that they’ve got an illustrious history together, and now the two of them are better than ever. He explains that he returned because he knew that Bryan’s temper was going to get him into trouble, but Kane is always watching over him.
Bryan throws a little shade at this, possibly due to the fact that the big red corpsefucker standing opposite him once attacked him whilst Daniel was General Manager of SmackDown and goddamn got away with it. Renee pounces onto the dissent, sensing that there’s a Pulitzer buried in all of this. Bryan explains that the last time they were in the ring together, it was as opponents, after which he suffered a serious injury and was later forced to act like he actually wanted the Intercontinental Championship of all things.
Kane tries to smooth things over, whilst Bryan keeps trying to turn this into an argument and starts yelling. Christ, this is my parents’ marriage all over again. Kane eventually manages to calm him down, so they actually have a better marriage than my parents. Of course, Bryan accuses Kane of trying to abduct his wife, to which Kane replies with wonderful blaseness, “Yeah, tried“. This is what Trump’s Presidency is doing to the fucking politics in your country, America. Happy Fourth of Fucking July.
Jesus, it’s like Bryan gets off on fighting, but their bitch fight is interrupted by the Usos. Oh shit: we’re hitting some dream matches early. They greet Team Hell No with their incomprehensible Uso slang, and then inform them that it’s a different time, and the Tag Team Division is their world now. They claim that they’re the ones deserving of a Tag Team Championship shot, despite a history of not being used as sex toys by the Bludgeon Brothers only because Harper and Rowan decided against it. They hug in front of Bryan and Kane, whilst backstage Naomi crosses her legs and blushes.
Bryan forgets that he’s not General Manager and tries to make a tag team match, playa. Kane, no stranger to working with authority figures, says that they’ll consider the decision and get back to them. Aware that everyone has managed to forget that she and her annoying voice existed (and it was good), Paige arrives to manage generally. She makes the tag team match for the main event, where it damn well belongs, and says that if the Usos win we’ll have a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the Championships at Extreme Rules.
Backstage, Jeff Hardy has snorted everything that didn’t fight him back, has painted his face like it got fucked by the American flag and is speaking gibberish. Or, in Jeff Hardy’s world, is going through a regular Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Asuka is wearing a mask and speaks English as a second language, and she makes more sense than Jeff Hardy.
It’s not Independence Day unless Jeff Hardy blows up the White House
Apparently this match is an Independence Day Open Challenge, which means I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get Bill Pullman making an epic speech at some stage. Jeff staggers down to the ring and waits on his opponent…and it’s the Miz. Well, I was expecting some sort of Yellow Peril/Pearl Harbor shit featuring Shinsuke Nakamura, so this is a pleasant surprise and promises a good match.
Post-entrance announcements (hit me with that big match feel), and this match is underway. Finally, we can watch a movie star beat up a junkie without having to fly out to Los Angeles. We live in a wondrous age. Miz starts off aggressively, but gets caught with a jawbreaker from Hardy. Jeff wants to end it early with a Twist of Fate, gets countered but knocks the Miz down anyway, and goes up to the top. Miz follows the Bizarre One, gets knocked down to the floor and rolls out of the ring before the Swanton Bomb can hit.
After a break, the Miz has regained control, but Hardy manages to stop his head from being whacked off the turnbuckle, smashing Miz’s face into it instead. Miz rallies with a boot to the face, which Jeff only just kicks out from. Miz surfboards Jeff’s arms behind his back, whilst Byron Saxton, in his latest attempt to be a dumb fucking asshole, claims that anyone not holding a Championship in WWE is totally a loser in order to make himself and other people feel like the Miz doesn’t have a great life. Byron Saxton is a failure as a commentator, a wrestler and as a human being.
Jeff manages to reverse the hold, battering the Miz away as he regains some momentum. A pair of forearms off the ropes knocks Miz down, and Jeff hits him with the basement dropkick. The Miz is elevated over the top rope, getting dumped on the outside before Hardy baseball slides into him. Jeff launches himself at the Miz, but the Awesome One dodges aside, leaving Hardy to crash and burn against the barricade as we go to another commercial break.
Miz seems to have tweaked his leg when we come back, and Jeff lays him out with an enzuigiri. The pair smack each other around on their knees, slowly reaching their feet together. Jeff counters the Skull-Crushing Finale, and Miz counters Cardiac Arrest right afterwards. The Twist of Fate is reversed in to the SCF, which is countered into a roll-up! The DDT drills Hardy’s face into the mat, and the Champ kicks out!
A clothesline squashes Jeff in the corner as the Miz heads to the top. Hardy dodges aside, hitting Whisper in the Wind for two! Hardy rips off his top, almost hits the Twist of Fate before the Miz counters into a roll-up with his feet on the ropes. Charles Robinson spots this and stops the count, and Miz acts like he’s won despite there being no bell and no music: repeated blows to the head are not good for you, kids. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate, the Swanton Bomb, and gets the win.
Totally fine match, even if I was sort of pulling for the Miz. Still, if we get a run of Open Challenge matches, I’m happy. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, James Ellsworth delivers a speech lifted in its entirety from The Red Pill subreddit whilst not wearing a shirt. I’d laugh if real life wasn’t so horrifying.
Not sure if this is a race thing, a pancake thing or a rasslin’ thing
Speaking of horrifying, Byron Saxton is in the ring. He’s hosting a pancake eating contest between the members of the New Day, who dance their way out to the ring. Apparently the record rate for eating pancakes, according to Tom Phillips, is 14.25 pancakes a minute, which is as impressive as it is obscene. Byron sets the timer for five minutes: please God, don’t let him be serious. I love the New Day, but we surely can’t be committing to this.
Oh, and Byron’s going to commentate it: fantastic. This is what you get when you win independence, America. Why don’t you sit in that for a while.
Suddenly the lights go out and SAnitY jump the New Day! Amazing: we get an awesome feud and I don’t have to watch men eat pancakes for five whole minutes. SAnitY deliver a brutal-looking beatdown, including one nasty spot where Young throws Woods into the leg of a downed table. The assault ends with Young elbow-dropping Xavier through that table, and SAnitY stand tall. Simple, effective, to the point: SAnitY just got booked right.
They’re really trying to frame a fight between Asuka and Ellsworth as a battle of the sexes, and I can’t imagine how condescended to any women watching this must feel.
What Vince McMahon thinks feminism is
Asuka makes her entrance, and it’s weird to actually see her in her own costume considering how much Ellsworth’s been playing dress-up recently. She’s facing Carmella at Extreme Rules for the Championship in what is apparently a regular match, making that PPV’s name pretty non-indicative if you ask me.
Here’s James Ellsworth, who’s decided that wearing a fedora tonight would be too on-the-nose. No Carmella tonight, and she was absent last week too: wonder what’s going on there. The ref, with a look on his face signalling his awareness that he’s about to see a man die, calls for the bell to ring, but then Carmella’s music hits. Oh good: not injured, then.
Carmella dances down to the ring and starts exchanging barbs with Asuka: lot of accent in that trash-talk. The Champ then heads over to do commentary, causing Graves to combust with excitement. Ellsworth is warming up in the ring as Asuka gets more and more irritated: it’s like he’s trying to annoy her so much she kills him instantly instead of drawing it out.
The bell rings, and Asuka knocks Little Jimmy out of the ring. He races back in, then back out after the Empress unleashes on him a bit. James Ellsworth takes off his shirt, which is like Kurt Angle or Undertaker lowering the straps except for…well, most of it. He covers up as Asuka beats on him, then she hits him with the airplane spin. A slap knocks him all the way around, and Ellsworth ducks out of the ring too.
Ellsworth runs for his life as Asuka gives chase. The referee keeps counting, because for some reason he still cares about this match. Asuka and Ellsworth make it back to ringside way after getting counted out, and Carmella attacks Asuka before dragging Ellsworth to the back by his hair.
Honestly, the best bit of this spectacle was Carmella’s wearied, only-sane-man commentary of the whole thing. Hopefully the Extreme Rules match proves worthy of this odd build. 1 Star.
Kane is backstage, remembering that time he electrocuted Shane McMahon’s testicles and idly wondering where good old Shane is right now. Like…is he close by? Could Kane hypothetically find and trap him before the end of the show? Could he do both of those things and source a car battery?
Bryan interrupts this psychotic reverie with diagrams for the match tonight. Well, that’s what Kane says they are, but it’s almost certainly hentai and Kane’s trying to be a bro and not out Bryan as a degenerate on national television. Bryan is here to demand an apology, which is the fastest way possible to get into a fight. He has a list of grievances, accusing Kane of breathing heavily down his phone and disemboweling squirrels, and I had honestly forgotten how funny Bryan is capable of being.
Kane issues a blanket apology, meaning he could potentially be unknowingly apologising for Bryan’s injuries, his height and the possible future breakdown of Bryan’s marriage. Rookie move, Kane.
Very funny: AJ Styles beats “the English”
Here’s AJ Styles, who just wants to avoid pancake-eating contests, battles of the sexes and have an honest-to-God wrestling match. And he’s getting one tonight against Aiden English. He gets into the ring and picks up a microphone. The crowd is really rowdy, duelling chants of “AJ Styles” and “Rusev Day”. Styles that he’ll be defending his belt next Sunday against a bigger opponent, but that’s what he loves about his job. He says that Rusev is a super-athlete, but not phenomenal.
This brings Rusev out, and he says that he doesn’t care what AJ Styles thinks. He says that Styles has never faced this Rusev. Rusev repeats what he said last week, promising to move into the House that AJ Styles Built, and asks English to give him a “Rusev Day”. Their friendship is the most wholesome thing in the WWE.
Rusev kicks things off with a distraction to Styles, allowing English to get some offence in. After a break, English is still in control; stopping AJ from getting out of the box. Styles finally responds with a flurry, knocking Aiden to the ground before hitting the forearm. Neckbreaker drops English, but the Shakespeare of Song counters the Styles Clash…right into the Calf Crusher. Aiden taps out.
This was handled right: Aiden got some offence in due to shenanigans, with Styles dominating the second he got started. 2 Stars.
Rusev attacks Styles right after the match, slinging him into the ring post before hitting the Machka Kick and applying the Accolade. The commentators act like this is all business as usual rather than a dramatic moment, which really hurts the product.
Backstage, Carmella is remonstrating Ellsworth before Paige shows up to make a Lumberjack Match next week between Ellsworth and Asuka.
If Becky gets a push but you miss the matches because you blink, is she really getting pushed?
Meanwhile, both Becky and Peyton got jobber-entranced tonight. The bell rings, and Royce gets off to an aggressive start, working Becky over in the corner. Lynch battles through it, though constant distractions from Billie allow Peyton to take back control. Royce looks intense and pissed off as she works Becky over, locking in an abdominal stretch.
Becky fights out of it, but ends up getting choked on the ropes by Peyton. Snapmare takes Becky down to the mat, and Peyton continues to stretch her out. Becky fights her way to her feet, ducking a roundhouse kick and hitting the Bexploder. Peyton runs into a calf kick, manages to kick Becky away from her and hit a knee to the side of the face. She gets Becky on her shoulders, but Lynch counters and locks in the Disarmer for the win.
This was over pretty quickly even without the entrances, but I’m fine with Becky taking out everyone in the Women’s Division on her way to a Championship match. 2 Stars.
Shinsuke Nakamura delivers a cellphone-taped promo which also manages to make more sense than anything Jeff Hardy says ever despite it being delivered by a crazy person.
American Alpha need to get back on SmackDown
Main event time, and the Usos make their way to the ring followed by Kane and Daniel Bryan. Jimmy and Bryan start off, with the Uso knocking Bryan down with a shoulder tackle. Bryan takes Jimmy to the mat before stretching him out. Kane tags in, hitting a boot to the face of the trapped Jimmy. Bryan tags back in, and Jimmy drives him to their corner, tagging in Jey. Bryan hits a forearm, tagging in Kane, who goes through Jey hard before setting him up for a chokeslam. Jimmy rushes in for the save, and both Usos are thrown out of the ring.
The Usos drag Kane to the outside and work him over, taking out Bryan when he tries to interfere, and then hurl themselves out of the ring onto Kane. After a break, Bryan has worked his way back into the match, taking Jimmy out with a flying clothesline. Running dropkicks and kicks lace Jimmy in the corner, then Bryan takes him down with a hurricanrana.
Jimmy ducks a kick, sending Bryan out onto the apron before knocking him to the ground with an enzuigiri. Jey tags in, flattening Bryan with a clothesline on the outside. Jimmy hits a bodyslam to Daniel Bryan before tagging in Jey. Samoan Wrecking Ball strikes Bryan, getting a two count. Bryan struggles to reach Kane, but the Usos keep him isolated, hitting a double-team backbreaker/chop combo. Bryan manages to duck a clothesline, but then he and Jimmy hit each other with crossbodies, wiping out.
Kane finally gets the tag, going to town on Jey Uso. Jimmy breaks up a pin before getting an uppercut from the Big Red Necrophiliac. Kane runs roughshod on the Usos, but the brothers manage to bring it back with the simple strategy of superkicking everything in sight. Both men ascend the turnbuckle for the splash, but Kane catches them both by the throat! He tosses one for Bryan to strike with the knee, and then chokeslams the other for the win!
Best match of the night with some potential for a longer contest in the future. Kane looked better than he has for some time. 2.5 Stars.
Post-match, the Bludgeon Brothers arrive to stare at Bryan and Kane, as is their wont.
Tags: aiden english, AJ Styles, Asuka, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, James Ellsworth, Jeff Hardy, Kane, rusev, Samoa Joe, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, Team Hell No, The Bludgeon Brothers, The Miz, WWE