Smackdown – June 26, 2018

Smackdown
Date: June 26, 2018
Location: Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

Things are already changing around here as the Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura United States Title match has been canceled due to Nakamura suffering an injury. There is no word on how long he’ll be out, but Hardy has issued an open challenge for the title to take the match’s place. Let’s get to it.

We open with MizTV and after a quick Daniel Bryan chant, Miz brings out the Bludgeon Brothers for their talk show debut. If that’s a selling point now, they’re in more trouble than I thought. Miz brags about beating Bryan last week and asks the Brothers why they attacked Bryan. We see a clip of Bryan’s YES promo last week, which Miz refers to as act one. The Brothers aren’t happy for some reason (just a guess of course) so Miz goes over last week like a movie plot.

Next up is a clip of Bryan coming to the ring for the gauntlet match and having his staredown with the Brothers, which didn’t lead anywhere at the time. That’s act two, and the Brothers beating Bryan down is act three. Miz suggests that it was an audition to be part of the new Miztourage, but he’s not accepting applications at the moment. They can be grips on Ruff Ruff Ref though! Cue Bryan to tell Miz to shut up because size isn’t as important as heart. Bryan wants one of the Brothers tonight and Harper seems to accept.

New Day drinks pancake milkshakes….and that’s it. Still not funny.

Xavier Woods vs. Rusev

Aiden English’s pre-match song talks about how waffles are better than pancakes. An early headscissors has Rusev in the ropes and Big E. holds up a comic strip balloon saying OUCH. A spinebuster gives Rusev two as we take a break. Back with Woods fighting out of a bearhug and speeding things up with a discus forearm. There’s the jumping DDT for two but a superkick rocks Woods, followed by a Samoan drop for two. Woods knocks him down again and tries the rope walk elbow but Rusev is already back up. There’s the Machka Kick and the Accolade ends Woods at 8:55.

Rating: D+. This was the near squash it needed to be with Rusev getting a win to help set him up for the title match against AJ Styles at Extreme Rules. Rusev probably isn’t going to win, but he’s getting a chance to move up the card even for a little bit and that’s something fans have been waiting on for a very long time.

Post match Rusev says this was all about Styles and promises to win the title.

Hardy is upside down and says he’s ready to go.

Naomi and Lana argue about who won the dance off a few weeks back when the cast of GLOW comes in. They compare evil Russian characters but Lana speaks Russian to confuse her a bit. The GLOW women suggest that Naomi and Lana team up and everything seems to be fine. Naomi thinks everyone will feel the Glow. Fine for a celebrity cameo, but proof that even good actors can’t make these horrible lines sound good.

US Title: Jeff Hardy vs. ???

Hardy is defending in an open challenge and his opponent is….Eric Young of Sanity. Young goes right at the champ to start and does his slide through the legs, only to be sent to the floor as we take an early break. Back with Young holding a chinlock and moving into a regular choke in the ropes.

Young spins Hardy’s neck around a few times and puts on a neck crank. A hard whip into the corner makes things worse and Young takes his head off with a clothesline. Jeff makes his comeback with the legdrop between the legs and there’s a double clothesline to put them both down. Cue the Usos to go after Sanity though, including going in to attack Young for the DQ at 9:41.

Rating: D+. The neck work made sense but wasn’t the most thrilling stuff in the world. With Nakamura likely only out for a short time, there was next to no chance of a title change here and there’s nothing wrong with that. It helps when you have such a deep roster and can throw people out there into a spot like this at the drop of a hat.

Usos/Jeff Hardy vs. Sanity

Joined in progress with Killian Dain getting him in the face, allowing Jey to come in and clean house. Dain runs him over too though and it’s off to Young to stomp away as well. A neck crank from Dain keeps Jey down but a missed charge is enough to slow Dain down. There’s the diving tag off to Jimmy, who gets to hit Alexander Wolfe over and over. The Samoan drop gets two and everything breaks down. About six superkicks finally put Dain on the floor and Jey hits the big dive onto Young and Dain, leaving Jeff to tag himself in. A superkick to Wolfe sets up the Swanton for the pin at 7:00.

Rating: C-. Just a match here and I’m not sure what the point is in having Sanity lose their first match together to a team thrown together. Hardy getting the pin is fine, but they really couldn’t pin an Uso off some cheating or something? Of course they’re not being written off or anything, but that’s not the best looking start.

Earlier today, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose mocked Becky Lynch and a match was set up.

Sonya Deville vs. Becky Lynch

Sonya goes with the wrestling to start and takes Lynch down but gets sent to the floor for her efforts. Becky throws her over the announcers’ table and we take a break. Back with Becky fighting out of a bodyscissors and getting kicked in the chest for her efforts. It’s off to a chinlock with another bodyscissors for a bit as Becky is in some trouble. A knee to the chest out of the corner gets two and a clothesline drops Becky for two more. Becky fights up again and sends Sonya into Mandy, followed by the Disarm-Her for the tap at 8:56.

Rating: C-. Not bad here and they’ve done a better job than I expected at turning Mandy and Sonya into workers. You can only have them around as warm bodies for so long before they have to gain some value and they’ve managed to do that. Becky seems to be getting some momentum going and that’s a good thing for everyone.

Tye Dillinger says James Ellsworth is a one.

Zelina Vega tells people to stay out of Andrade Cien Almas’ way.

Here’s Ellsworth for a chat. He talks about Asuka attacking him last week and says don’t attack a bull if you don’t want to get the horns. Ellsworth loves women and has a love life so hot you can fry an egg on it. When it comes to Asuka though, there is absolutely no love or respect. He’s ready for Asuka this week though and wants to fight.

Cue Paige instead, who says Asuka isn’t here tonight. She knows this because Ellsworth has been running around backstage asking if Asuka is here. Paige makes Asuka vs. Carmella for the title at Extreme Rules but Ellsworth suggests that Paige is here to ask him on a date. Actually yes, and Paige asks him for next Tuesday, but means Ellsworth vs. Asuka.

Harper vs. Daniel Bryan

Bryan goes with the kicks in the corner to start but gets punched in the face. They head outside with Harper getting the better of it, setting up a neck crank back inside. A missed charge sends Harper outside again and there’s the suicide dive, which is caught without much effort. Harper drops him face first onto the announcers’ table and a big boot puts Bryan over the barricade.

Back from a break with the swinging Boss Man Slam getting two on Bryan. We hit the chinlock but Bryan jawbreaks his way to freedom, setting up the corner dropkick. Bryan charges right into a Michinoku Driver for two more though and Harper takes over one more time. Harper hits a dropkick and takes Bryan up top but gets punched down. That means a tornado DDT and the YES Kicks as Harper is in trouble. The YES Lock goes on but Rowan comes in for the DQ at 13:07.

Rating: C. Bryan was fine here and that’s all this match needed to be. You can find someone to team with him later on and Bryan vs. Miz can be a big time match at Summerslam. If nothing else Bryan vs. either Brother again is fine for a TV match and you can do the same thing with whoever his partner is. The match was fine.

Post match the beatdown is on until Kane of all people comes out for the save. Kane and Bryan clean house and the fans are very pleased. The TEAM HELL NO chants start up and cue Paige to say that at Extreme Rules, HELL NO is getting the Tag Team Title shot at the Bludgeon Brothers.

Overall Rating: C+. The ending was a nice moment and they came up with a way to keep Bryan busy with a fun story (even if they don’t win the titles, which they shouldn’t) until we get to the Miz at Summerslam in a big match. Other than that, the show wasn’t too bad with some decent wrestling, but for the most part it was just kind of there. The ending worked well though and that’s the kind of big moment that the show needed.

Results

Rusev b. Xavier Woods – Accolade

Eric Young b. Jeff Hardy via DQ when the Usos interfered

Jeff Hardy/Usos b. Sanity – Swanton to Wolfe

Becky Lynch b. Sonya Deville – Disarm-Her

Daniel Bryan b. Harper via DQ when Rowan interfered

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