Date: June 12, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
It’s title night around here as we have Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the vacant Intercontinental Title. Given that Backlash is this Sunday, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the new champion crowned on Sunday instead of here. Either way, it should be an interesting match given the people involved. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus situation, including the whole drunk driving deal.
Renee Young is in the ring for a contract signing between Sheamus and Hardy. Sheamus comes out with a guy in a lab coat and security and sets up a curtain. Hardy isn’t sure what’s going on but doesn’t care after what Sheamus has put him through. Sheamus wants some assurances that Hardy will be there on Sunday so he has to take a urine test. Hardy says he’s an alcoholic and he goes to meetings every week to talk about what he has done to his fans. Jeff takes the test and Sheamus gloats so Hardy throws the contents of the cup in his face. You can hear McMahon laughing from here.
Post break Sheamus is washing his face when the doctor comes in to say the test was negative.
New Day vs. Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura
Non-title and New Day kneels during their entrance. Kofi takes Cesaro down for a splash and near fall to start, only to have Cesaro come back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Nakamura comes in for Good Vibrations but everything breaks down in a hurry. Big E. launches Kofi over the top onto both of them for the big crash on the floor. Cesaro grabs Big E.’s boot and Nakamura knees Big E. in the face as we take a break.
Back with Nakamura working Kofi over until a charge into an elbow cuts things off. Kofi goes up for a high crossbody but lands on Nakamura’s knees, setting up a small package for the very fast pin on Kofi at 6:26. Not enough shown to rate but this feels like the setup for a Backlash title match.
Tucker is back and has Otis blindfolded for some reason. He tries to teach him to use his sense of smell on some meat but Mandy Rose pops in to surprise him instead. She hands him the briefcase and Tucker reminds him ti be ready if the opportunity presents himself with Braun Strowman tonight. Hold on though as Sheamus and Hardy brawl nearby.
Video on the history of the Intercontinental Title, plus a recap of the tournament.
Intercontinental Title: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
For the vacant title. They fight over wrist control to start until Bryan dropkicks him into the corner. AJ misses a charge and gets sent to the floor for the suicide dive. Back from a break with Bryan working on the arm and then working on the other arm at the same time for a bonus. Styles fights up and hits his own dropkick before hammering away at Bryan’s head. Bryan fights out and goes after the leg as he keeps finding ways to pick AJ apart.
They go to the pinfall reversal sequence before stereo crossbodies give us a double knockdown. Back from another break with Bryan working on the arm some more and taking it to the floor. AJ sends him into the barricade but misses a slingshot dive. That lets Bryan post the arm and stomp it on the apron before taking things inside again. The arm is twisted again and Bryan stomps on it for a bonus.
The keylock keeps the pain up but Bryan misses a charge in the corner. Styles starts kicking at the leg and snaps it down over the apron. The knee is tied in the ropes so AJ can kick away but Bryan uses the good leg for an enziguri. The Phenomenal Forearm is broken up with a shove off the top and Bryan kicks away in the corner. AJ is sat on top for a super hurricanrana and there are the YES Kicks.
The big one misses though and AJ hits a hard clothesline. We take a third break and come back with the slugout in the middle of the ring until Bryan backdrops him to the floor. The suicide dive is countered with a kick to Bryan’s arm but Bryan is fine enough to suplex him into a cross armbreaker. That’s countered into the Calf Crusher for the break and then the cross armbreaker goes on again.
AJ gets out again so Bryan kicks him in the head for two and takes AJ up. An elbow knocks Bryan down and a series of them does it again. Bryan gets up top again for a belly to back superplex and we actually take a fourth break. Back again with Bryan flipping over AJ in the corner but banging up the knee again. AJ’s Pele sets up a brainbuster for two but the Styles Clash is countered into a jackknife cover (ala Drew Gulak pinning AJ last week) for two.
Bryan hits a German suplex for two before AJ hits one of his own for the same. Now it’s Bryan getting his own German suplex for another two of his own, followed by the downward elbows to the head. The YES Lock goes on but AJ gets a foot on the rope. Bryan stomps away at the head but the running knee is countered into the Styles Clash. AJ can’t cover though and they’re both down again. The Phenomena Forearm connects to give AJ the pin and the title at 38:10.
Rating: B+. Yeah what else were you expecting here? The knee vs. the arm here was a good structure for the match and they beat the heck out of each other. All of the commercial breaks got annoying though and took something away from the match. What we got was pretty great though, and doesn’t exactly bode well for what Edge and Randy Orton have to do on Sunday.
Post match AJ confirms his phenomenalness.
We recap Miz/Morrison pranking/destroying Braun Strowman’s car last week. Strowman turned their van over instead of, you know, pulling the door open and destroying them.
Strowman promises to destroy Miz and Morrison. He doesn’t mind doing the same thing to Heavy Machinery tonight if he has to.
There are balloons everywhere and here are Bayley and Sasha Banks to brag about their title win. They brag about how great they are and how much better they are going to get, with Bayley having a poem for Banks. Cue Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss to say this is going a bit far, but the IIconics popup on screen to say they’re winning the titles on Sunday. They don’t think the champs should turn their backs on Cross and Bliss, and the two of them jump Bayley and Banks.
Miz and Morrison have a new music video….but Braun Strowman’s entrance cuts things off.
Matt Riddle debuts next week.
Heavy Machinery/Braun Strowman vs. Miz/John Morrison/Dolph Ziggler
Otis scares Ziggler to the floor to start so Otis pulls Miz in instead. Tucker comes in for a double headbutt and then grabs Morrison by the arm. Morrison’s springboard is countered with a powerslam for two so it’s Ziggler coming in. That’s fine with Strowman, who forearms him in the chest. Otis comes in for a suplex but King Corbin pops up on screen and goes up to Mandy Rose.
That sends Otis charging into the back as Corbin talks about Rose fantasizing about being with a man with stature. Otis charges in and beats Corbin down as we take a break. Back with Ziggler kicking Tucker down for two as there is no Otis in sight. Ziggler front facelocks Tucker into the corner but Tucker fights to his feet. Miz and Morrison take care of Strowman though, meaning there is no one for Tucker to tag.
Cue Otis though, with Mandy following, allowing Tucker to get in a kick to the face. The hot tag brings in Otis to clean house, including tossing Ziggler over the top for a crash to the floor. Strowman is back up for the running shoulders around the ring, including a big one to Ziggler. With Ziggler mostly out of it, Strowman throws him back inside so Otis can hit the Caterpillar for the pin at 11:06.
Rating: D+. So Miz and Morrison, the unlikely challengers to the Universal Title, are left laying by Strowman to end the go home show before a pay per view match they have next to no chance of winning? All while Otis and Corbin are gearing up for a feud that will likely result in Corbin getting the briefcase? Someone get the new creative over here in a hurry, I beg of you.
Overall Rating: B. Yeah it’s a one match show, but that one match was about a third of the show and that’s all you need. They went with a different structure here and it was nice to see for a change. Obviously it isn’t something that can be done every single week, but for a one off, this was a good treat. Now just get through Backlash so we can move on to….whatever is next on the calendar.
Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura b. New Day – Small package to Kingston
AJ Styles b. Daniel Bryan – Phenomena Forearm
Braun Strowman/Heavy Machinery b. John Morrison/The Miz/Dolph Ziggler – Caterpillar to Ziggler
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