Date: July 10, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
We’re less than ten days away from Extreme Rules and the show can’t get here fast enough. The faster it gets here, the faster it’s over and that’s a good thing for everyone involved. We need more build towards the Swamp Fight, because the pay per view is going to feature a Swamp Fight. Let’s get to it.
We open with MizTV with John Morrison serving as co-host. Morrison introduces their guest as having better face paint than 1993 Doink the Clown: Jeff Hardy. Jeff is glad to be here, but didn’t bring a clip for them to watch. Worry not though as Miz and Morrison have a clip, which is a long highlight package of Jeff’s return from his struggles and issues with Sheamus, who beat him at Backlash. Miz talks about Jeff being his daughter’s favorite wrestler but she doesn’t know the darkness underneath the bright colors.
Jeff isn’t bothered by what Sheamus has said but he is bothered by losing to Sheamus at Backlash. Miz thinks the right thing for Jeff to do is face Sheamus again, but in a setting where Jeff is more familiar. Like say, in a bar fight. That’s fine with Jeff, who is always up for a handicap match. Miz and Morrison can’t decide who Jeff should fight, so he jumps them both to start in a hurry.
Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz
Morrison is at ringside with Miz. Jeff headlocks him down to start but Miz fights up and sends him to the apron. Miz drops Jeff down onto the apron and then cannonballs onto the ribs. A kick to the face gets two but Jeff takes him down again. Morrison saves Miz from a Swanton attempt so Jeff dives onto both of them as we take a break.
Back with Jeff in trouble after Morrison helped Miz with some well placed cheating. The knee lift to the apron has Jeff in more trouble but we pause for some dancing. Jeff gets in a quick kick but can’t hit the Twist of Fate as Miz grabs a DDT instead. The YES Kicks, complete with some HEY HEY HO HO’s get two and the running crotch attack to the back of the head rocks Hardy again.
Jeff is back with a jawbreaker into the basement dropkick and splash for two. The Skull Crushing Finale is countered into a rollup for two and Jeff hits the slingshot dropkick in the corner. Morrison is knocked off the apron but here’s Sheamus on the Titantron to offer Hardy a pint. The distraction lets Miz grab a rollup but Hardy reverses into one of his own for the pin at 13:46.
Rating: C-. They were going back and forth well enough here but well done on having a little twist on the main event. I still don’t like the focus on Hardy’s issues but that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I’m sure Hardy signed off on the whole thing, but I’m not sure that makes it an acceptable idea given what a serious situation they’re dealing with here.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura don’t like the idea that it would be an upset if they win the Tag Team Titles tonight. See, they don’t sell out for the sake of merchandise and Nakamura has been sick of them for a long time now.
Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks
Non-title and Bliss/Cross jump the champs during their entrances. We settle down and start the match after a break, with Sasha taking cross into the corner. A bunch of stomping has Cross in more trouble so it’s off to Bayley, who gets tied up in the ring skirt. More forearms have Bayley in trouble so it’s back to Banks, who gets caught in a quick neckbreaker. Banks and Bayley bail to the floor and yell at commentary, allowing Cross to grab Bayley’s title for some dancing.
Bliss dropkicks them down and Cross dives onto Bayley as we take a break. Back with Bayley shouting about Steve Austin and stomping Alexa. Bliss gets choked on the ropes and sent hard into the corner, setting up the sliding lariat. Bayley clotheslines her down for two but Bliss slips away and makes the hot tag to Cross. House is cleaned, including a fisherman’s neckbreaker for two on Bayley, but Banks sends Bliss into the barricade. Cross dropkicks her through the ropes but gets rolled up with Bayley’s feet on the ropes for the pin at 12:17.
Rating: C. The ending is a little odd there, though at least points for not doing the exact same thing that they did with Banks and Asuka. I don’t buy Cross having a chance to win the title for a second but that has been the case with a lot of Bayley’s opponents over the last year. They aren’t exactly making me think that Banks and Bayley are turning on each other anytime soon, but at least we have them getting along more for an extended time.
From Money in the Bank.
Smackdown World Title: Bray Wyatt vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman is defending and it’s Bray rather than the Fiend. Braun grabs him by the throat and shoves him into the corner to start. Bray: “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!” A clothesline puts Bray down in the corner and he agrees that Braun is strong. Strowman sends him outside again but the running charge around the ring is sent over the announcers’ table.
Bray gets back inside and laughs at him but the evil seems to be coming out. Cue Huskus the Pig to say Bray can do it, meaning it’s a DDT on the floor for Bray’s first offense. Back in and Bray’s running clothesline gets two, followed by a tornado DDT into Sister Abigail for two more. Bray looks shocked for the first time and screams a lot. Ref: “It was two!”. Bray: “I KNOW!” Another Sister Abigail is countered into a chokeslam and they’re both down.
Strowman sends him outside so the running shoulder can connect but Bray kicks him off the apron. As Bray laughs inside, Strowman comes up in the black sheep mask. Bray is thrilled because he knew this would happen as Strowman rips his shirt off. Strowman drops to his knees and poses in front of a kneeling Bray. They hug as the puppets pop up to celebrate Braun being home. Then Braun takes the mask off and steps on it, setting up the running powerslam to retain at 10:43.
Rating: D. I know the Wyatt Family was a big deal for a long time but it’s not like Strowman was that important of a part. The angle makes sense but it’s not like it’s something that is going to draw that much interest. Strowman still doesn’t feel like the next big thing or a long term champion but at least the they gave him the first title defense, which he certainly needed.
Post match Bray glares at him and the Fiend pops up.
New Day is used to being told that they’re done because everyone has said they were done for years. They’re ready for Cesaro and Nakamura and start marching in place. New Day rocks you see.
And now, karaoke! We have Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, Naomi and Tamina getting 45 seconds each to sing their favorite WWE song. Jey Uso hosts and introduces Lacey, who starts with Jeff Jarrett’s (Uso: “Or Road Dogg’s.”) With My Baby Tonight. It goes as expected, so next up is Dana Brooke singing Honky Tonk Man’s Cool Cocky Bad.
Uso cuts her off for being so terrible, meaning it’s Tamina singing Time To Play The Game, which is actually even worse and gets cut off before they even get to the first verse. Finally we have Naomi singing Dusty Rhodes’ Common Man Boogie. Naomi wins, as she was the only one resembling competent. The celebration is on, but Lacey turns on her, saying that she won.
Lacey Evans vs. Naomi
Neither are in gear, including no shoes to be found. Lacey stomps her into the corner and drop toeholds her down before wrapping the top of her dress around Lacey’s head. The annoyed Lacey goes outside and shoves Dana down so Dana tells her to suck it up. Tamina glares at Lacey but Dana comes in to go after Lacey for the DQ at 1:50. This ends one of the biggest wastes of time I can remember in a long while.
AJ Styles brags about embarrassing Drew Gulak and Daniel Bryan last week, but finds out that he has to defend against Matt Riddle next week. AJ: “WHO DID HE EVER BEAT???” Interviewer: “Well he defeated you in his debut match.” AJ: “THAT WAS RHETORICAL!!!” Styles promises to win.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro
Nakamura and Cesaro are challenging. Kofi gets taken into the corner and dropped ribs first onto the top turnbuckle for his efforts. Cesaro comes in to kick away at the ribs but Kofi elbows Nakamura in the face. It’s Cesaro being sent into the corner for the Unicorn Stampede so he rolls outside. Kofi’s big dive is uppercut out of the air though and we take a break.
Back with Kofi knocking Nakamura down and bringing in Big E. to start the suplexing. The splash misses and Cesaro’s rollup gets two. Some alternating elbows and right hands to the jaw have Big E. in trouble in the corner, but Kofi tags himself in. A top rope double stomp/powerbomb combination gets two on Cesaro with Nakamura making the save. Everything breaks down and it’s a big brawl until the referee throws it out at 10:38.
Rating: C+. This took some time to get going (as tends to be the case before the break in WWE matches) but I was surprised that they didn’t go with the screwy finish. If nothing else, this gives them a reason to have a rematch without giving us an actual winner. The title match at Extreme Rules has been fairly obvious for a few weeks now so hopefully it winds up being good.
Post match the brawl continues and Cesaro powerbombs Kofi through Big E. through a table and pose to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. It was a rough sit this week with the Strowman vs. Wyatt match not being something I needed to see again and the karaoke deal being the biggest bit of filler I can remember. Even with Lacey’s turn in the middle, it was far from something that had any major value. The dead period continues for WWE as we roll towards Summerslam, and I can’t imagine it gets much better until after Extreme Rules.
Jeff Hardy b. Miz – Rollup
Bayley/Sasha Banks b. Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross – Rollup with feet on the ropes to Cross
Lacey Evans b. Naomi via DQ when Dana Brooke interfered
New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro went to a double DQ when all four brawled in the ring
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