Smackdown – June 19, 2020

Smackdown
Date: June 19, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

With all of the insanity going on at the moment, it might be nice to have a wrestling show to clear the pallet a bit. We’re done with Backlash and that means it’s time to get ready for Extreme Rules. The big story tonight is the return of the Firefly Fun House, as Bray Wyatt is likely going after the World Title again. Other than that, we may have the debut of Matt Riddle. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of AJ Styles winning the Intercontinental Title last week.

Opening sequence.

There are wrestlers around the ring for Styles’ Intercontinental Title presentation. AJ is glad that everyone got their cheering right and he’s just here to say he told you so. Life’s rewards are for the people who go and claim the brass ring instead of waiting for a handout. He’s ready for the title presentation but Renee Young isn’t the right person to do it. Instead, AJ wants Daniel Bryan to do it himself.

Bryan gets in the ring and AJ says put it around his waist, but make sure not to do anything stupid. AJ says Bryan doesn’t have to do it if he’s a coward. Bryan finally puts the title on and says that last week, AJ was the better man. Bryan gets all fired up and says AJ is going to be a great champion. Imagine AJ vs. Gran Metalik or against Big E. (they both seem game), but AJ sees it a little different.

That’s fine with Bryan, who thinks Drew Gulak should get a shot because he beat AJ two weeks ago. AJ thinks Bryan is trying to get himself a title shot so he has to become #1 contender. The next person to challenge for the title is going to have to suffer the consequences. Cue the debuting Matt Riddle, much to AJ’s annoyance. AJ sees another human being looking for a handout. The fight is on with Riddle cleaning house so AJ says get a referee out here.

AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle

The wrestlers are still around the ring. Hold on though as AJ says no shoes, no shirt, no title shot. The bell rings and Riddle hits a German suplex into the rolling gutwrench suplexes for two. Riddle hammers away on the mat and kicks him in the head for two more. More shots have AJ in the corner so he snaps off a dropkick to get a breather.

Back up and Riddle kicks him down in the corner but this time AJ hits a running clothesline to the apron. Riddle gets knocked into King Corbin and gets in an argument as we take a break. Back with AJ in control but the YES Kicks just fire Riddle up. A right hand to the head puts him down though and a snap suplex gives Styles two. AJ takes him down again and a dragon screw legwhip sends Riddle into the corner.

Riddle’s comeback is cut off with a shot to the leg but a jumping knee to the face rocks AJ. A quick suplex drops AJ again and the Broton gets two. Riddle grabs a rear naked choke but has to let go when Styles bridges back for two more. The Calf Crusher goes on so Riddle goes to the ropes, meaning AJ heads outside to get in Bryan’s face. AJ yells at Bryan before loading up the Phenomenal Forearm, only to get caught in the Bro Derek to give Riddle the pin at 12:53.

Rating: B-. That’s a good way to have a debut and the lack of a clean finish helped a bit. AJ has no one to blame but himself here and that makes for a good way to set up some potential matches in the future. You could go with Styles vs. Riddle or Bryan or maybe even all three (hopefully not), or perhaps Riddle vs. Bryan for the #1 contendership. It’s nice to have the options like that though and that’s what they did here.

Post match the lumberjacks get in the ring to celebrate with Riddle, who strikes his still awesome pose.

We get a long video on Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy, including the build to Backlash and Sheamus beating him in the big showdown.

Hardy sits down for an interview with Renee Young and talks about having to put out one fire after another. He isn’t wild on Sheamus throwing his failures in his face over and over. Yes he lost the match but he’ll lose a bunch more in his career. The failures make him wonder if he is a bad father or husband but he knows he has to catch himself before the line of thinking spirals out of control. Hardy knows he is a junkie and an alcoholic and Sheamus us just another obstacle to be overcome on his road to redemption. He isn’t done yet.

Shorty G. talks about being ready to face Mojo Rawley, who is bigger and heavier than he is. He’s used to that though and Rawley, who is behind him, doesn’t know what it’s like to have eyes in the back of your head. Gable lays out Rawley with a right hand and heads to the ring. Nice idea, but Rawley was so close that Gable knowing he was there wasn’t that impressive.

Shorty G. vs. Mojo Rawley

They’re in the ring when we come back from a break (as they should be) and Gable goes straight for the ankle lock. That’s broken up so it’s a northern lights suplex for two on Rawley instead. Back up and Rawley hits a heck of a Pounce for two of his own, followed by a running splash in the corner.

Gable is right back with a German suplex out of the corner but the high crossbody is caught in a fireman’s carry. That’s reversed as well, with Gable grabbing a small package for the pin at 2:42. Cole calls that an upset and thankfully Graves cuts that nonsense off in a hurry. It’s Mojo Rawley. It’s an upset if he can figure out how to operate a spoon.

Here are Miz and Morrison for MizTV. After talking about the whole Universal Title fiasco on Sunday (Morrison: “You don’t change the rules before the big game!”), it’s time to deal with the canned ham in the room. Morrison: “Otis.” That brings out Mandy Rose as their guest, with Graves being annoyed at Cole for talking during the entrance. They get straight to the Sonya Deville discussion but she isn’t here to be insulted.

Mandy goes to leave but Miz stops her with a surprise. Cue Sonya (in a suit and tie), with Mandy asking if we’re still on this. Mandy says she’s done but Sonya says she can’t be done. Sonya rants about how Mandy has gotten all of these opportunities but what has she done with them? Win matches? Make someone better? Oh wait: made out with Otis by a pool so everyone can see.

Mandy asks why Sonya is still doing all of this and assumes it’s because she’s alone. Sonya says she’s not even mad anymore because she’s looking at the two of them and thinks the difference has to be their appearances. The only thing Mandy has is her presentation so Sonya is going to take everything Mandy has until she is as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside. The brawl is on with Sonya bailing as Miz and Morrison separate them.

It’s a shame that Mandy just has nothing to offer here because Sonya is nailing it and is telling a good story. This would be gold with someone like Trish, who could give something right back in the whole thing instead of just kind of standing there for the most part. Mandy is trying, but there just isn’t enough depth to make her work.

New Day vs. Lucha House Party

Non-title and Bayley/Sasha Banks are on commentary for some reason. After freaking out at New Day throwing their gear at commentary, Kofi and Gran Metalik trade flips to start. That doesn’t go anywhere so everything breaks down, with Big E. throwing belly to belly suplexes (Bayley and Sasha: “BAYLEY TO BELLY!”). The House Party hits some springboards to take New Day outside and that means the big flip dives as we take a break.

Back with Big E. splashing Dorado but getting caught in the Golden Rewind. Metalik comes in for the rope walk dropkick but gets dropkicked out of the air. Dorado’s top rope splash gets two on Kofi with Big E. making the save. Big E. shoves Metalik off the top and it’s Kofi’s running double stomp to Dorado. The Midnight Hour finishes Dorado at 9:35.

Rating: C. What an odd choice (not a bad thing) for a setup as you don’t often see the champs facing a team in a non-title win like this. What we got was good enough though, even with the rather bizarre commentary choice. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was a weird situation all around.

Post match, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura immediately run in to beat down New Day. The Swing into a knee to the head knocks Kofi cold and Cesaro and Nakamura head outside to celebrate with Bayley and Sasha. Cesaro yells at commentary about being here for eight years and being treated like this.

Dana Brooke, Tamina (free of the asylum), Alexa Bliss, Naomi and Lacey Evans are hanging out at the Performance Center and decide they should ALL be #1 contenders. They’ve lost Nikki Cross though and that seems concerning.

Sheamus is a bully but he wants to help raise Jeff Hardy up. He’ll do that next week as a proper Irishman should: with a proper toast.

Bayley and Sasha love that idea but here’s Nikki Cross to jump both of them. Alexa Bliss makes the save but Nikki wants Sasha right now. Bayley accepts for her.

Sasha Banks vs. Nikki Cross

Joined in progress with Nikki fighting out of the corner and hitting a dropkick. Sasha begs off and says she’s sorry before sending Nikki outside. Nikki catches her in the ring skirt and hammers away but Sasha gets in a shot to the face. The chinlock into the double arm crank has Nikki in trouble until she sends Sasha into the corner. Cross knocks her down but can’t get the Bank Statement, instead getting rolled up for two. They go to the pinfall reversal sequence until Banks hits a Meteora for the pin at 4:34.

Rating: C-. That was a pretty big coincidence to have Banks and Bayley out there to set up the match but it’s something other than arguing in the back to set up the match earlier in the night. Bayley accepting the match on Banks’ behalf should be a way to set up some strife between the two of them but I’ve long since given up on the idea of these two ever actually fighting so why bother thinking it’s happening now?

Video on Titus O’Neil’s charity efforts, which have earned him a nomination for an ESPY humanitarian award.

We look back at AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle.

Next week: AJ defends against Drew Gulak.

It’s time for the Firefly Fun House. Bray has been gone for a long time so he has joined a book club, learned the new Tik Tok moves, learned how to raise the dead, learned how to knit, and taken over a reptile society. Ramblin Rabbit pops in to say Bray has just been sitting in the corner muttering about losing to Braun Strowman. After a clip, a distressed Bray thanks him for the reminder. It’s true that he lost, but in defeat, he learned that he went about this the wrong way.

We cut to the arena where Braun Strowman comes out (now with what sounds like a train at the start of his music), causing Bray to give him thumbs down. Bray wasn’t lying about raising the dead and he morphs into the Wyatt Family version, saying that in order to move forward, they have to take a step back to where it all began. Bray created him so now Braun needs to come see him. Follow the buzzards and run. The lantern is blown out to end the show. Does WWE really think that Strowman’s time with the Wyatt Family was that important? And they’re going to fight at the Wyatt Compound aren’t they?

Overall Rating: C-. Pretty meh show with only Riddle’s debut being noteworthy (making that probably the seventh most important headline about him this week). It’s too early to say if that is going to mean anything but at least he debuted strong. Other than that, totally skippable show here as we’re heading towards a bunch of rematches before we get to the Summerslam build. That isn’t much to write home about, but June/July rarely is.

Results

Matt Riddle b. AJ Styles – Bro Derek

Shorty G. b. Mojo Rawley – Small package

New Day b. Lucha House Party – Midnight Hour to Dorado

Sasha Banks b. Nikki Cross – Meteora

 

 

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