Smackdown – July 17, 2020

Date: July 17, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

It’s the go home show for Extreme Rules and I think I can safely say thank goodness for that. We’ve had a long road to get here and there is one big match to go, as Matt Riddle challenges AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Title. Hopefully they can add in a little more for the pay per view, as it only has six matches set. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

AJ Styles is ready to beat the barefoot bump to retain the title because Riddle is a flash in the pan.

Matt Riddle is ready to beat Arrogant Jackass all over again.

Daniel Bryan is ready to see a new champion.

Alexa Bliss has a special mystery guest on A Moment of Bliss. Who is it? She doesn’t Bliss and tell.

Miz and John Morrison are getting ready for Morrison’s match against Braun Strowman. And something about fighting Jean Claude Van Damme on a yacht.

Braun Strowman hopes Bray Wyatt is watching tonight.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro are ready to pick the stipulation for Sunday’s Tag Team Title match after Cesaro beats Big E.

New Day doesn’t think so.

Big E. vs. Cesaro

Kofi Kingston and Shinsuke Nakamura are at ringside and the winner gets to pick the stipulation (between a tables match and a cage match) for Sunday. They go outside in a hurry with Big E. driving him into the steps. A spear into the steps makes it even worse but Big E. misses a charge into the post back inside. Cesaro posts him again and hits a middle rope ax handle to the head for two. The chinlock goes on but Big E. fights up with belly to belly suplexes. The apron splash connects and we take a break.

Back with Cesaro cutting off a comeback big with an uppercut but Big E. reverses the Neutralizer into the Brock Lock of all things. That’s reversed as well and Cesaro swings him into the Sharpshooter. Cesaro switches into a Crossface but Big E. makes the rope. Kofi gets taken out as Big E. loads up the Big Ending, which nearly hits the referee. The distraction lets Nakamura get in a cheap shot and the Neutralizer lets Cesaro make the choice at 10:07.

Rating: C. This is a match that could have worked better with some more time and it worked out well enough here. They had been teasing a tables match for a few weeks now so the ending wasn’t quite in doubt, but I’ll take a little drama over building momentum every time.

Post match Cesaro and Nakamura load up another table but Kofi is back for the save. Nakamura gets Cesaro off the table in time though and they bail.

King Corbin wants to see Styles retain tonight because he doesn’t like Riddle. See, Riddle is playing with fire by going after the big dogs and tonight he’s going to get burned. Tonight, people are going to realize that the Bro is a little boy.

It’s time for A Moment of Bliss, with Alexa Bliss feeling clairvoyant. She thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are going to win the NBA Championship, that Matt Riddle is winning the Intercontinental Title tonight, that Braun Strowman is going to win the Swamp Fight, and that her mystery guest is going to tear the roof off on Sunday. Nikki Cross thinks it’s her and promises to do just that against Bayley. Bliss asks how many Nitro Boosts Cross has had, because she isn’t the guest.

Cue Bayley and Sasha Banks, with Bayley promising to retain on Sunday. She has a prediction of her own: on Sunday, she is beating Nikki and Banks is beating the Empress of Yesterday Asuka, to win every belt there is. That’s all well and good, but Bayley and Banks aren’t the guest. Cue Asuka, with the brawl starting in a hurry. Bliss says get a referee out here.

Hold on though as Daniel Bryan says that he thinks Riddle is winning the title again.

Asuka/Nikki Cross vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks

Non-title. Cross throws Bayley down to start and hammers away on her in the corner. Banks offers a distraction though and Bayley pulls her down by the hair. The armbar doesn’t last long and it’s back to Bayley to stomp away. A double whip sends Cross into the corner again and Bayley grabs the chinlock. That lasts as long as your run of the mill chinlock and Cross fights up for the tag off to Asuka. House is cleaned in a hurry and Asuka ties Banks up in the ring skirt.

It’s back to Cross to forearm away and scream a lot. Bayley’s baseball slide under the corner is countered into the ring skirt as well and it’s Cross and Asuka hitting dives off the apron. Dancing takes us to the break. Back with Asuka in trouble and Banks stomping away before handing it back to Bayley. More stomping ensues and it’s Banks grabbing the chinlock.

Bayley misses an elbow though and it’s a hot tag to Cross to pick up the pace. A bulldog out of the corner drops Banks but she’s right back with a dropkick to the ribs for two. Bayley comes back in and sends Cross outside, where Cross hits a springboard tornado DDT off the announcers’ table. Everyone winds up back inside until Banks kicks Asuka to the floor. The Meteora off the apron misses and Asuka kicks Banks down, leaving Bayley to counter another DDT into a rollup with feet on the ropes to pin Cross at 14:20.

Rating: C+. The energy was high here, though I’m still not believing there is much of a chance at either title changing hands on Sunday. Bayley and Banks have been on television a lot as of late and they’re really gelling as a team as of late. The problem though is they’re beating everyone and I’m not sure who is left to give them a real challenge.

Miz fires up Morrison, who compares Strowman to a movie monster. They’re movie guys, but Miz isn’t going to be the best friend who dies fighting said monster. He’ll have Morrison’s back though.

This week’s Firefly Fun House takes us to the Swamp with Eater of Worlds Wyatt. Bray talks about how he brought Strowman here and told him the truth. He gave Strowman a purpose and created the monster. But then Strowman left, only to want to come back to the swamp to face Wyatt once and for all. Wyatt wants his monster to come home because the monster is still inside.

John Morrison vs. Braun Strowman

Non-title and Miz is in Morrison’s corner. Before the match, Strowman talks about having to go to the swamp and slap the devil in the face to end this once and for all. Strowman starts fast and hits the running clothesline in the corner. Morrison gets forearmed in the chest over and over, followed by a one armed chokeslam. The old head and arm choke sets up the running powerslam to finish Morrison at 1:47. That’s how it should have gone.

Post match, Strowman says he’s coming home. Strowman leaves and Morrison needs help getting out.

Naomi vs. Lacey Evans

Naomi cuts off Lacey’s pre-match promo and we’re ready to go. A few shots to the ribs have Lacey in early trouble but she knocks Naomi down and hits the slingshot elbow. The bottom rope moonsault hits Naomi’s raised knees and some kicks to the ribs keep Lacey in trouble. There’s a running hurricanrana to put Lacey in the corner and a kick to the head knocks her down on the apron. Lacey catches her charging in and ties the hair around the ropes for a creative stop. That’s broken up and the Woman’s Right finishes Naomi at 2:43. So why couldn’t they just do this last week?

Jeff Hardy talks about how fighting a bully like Sheamus is like fighting addiction. Yes it’s risky to walk into a bar but it’s going to be worth the chance to beat up Sheamus. As for tonight’s Intercontinental Title match…..well I’m not sure actually as Sheamus kicks him in the face. Sheamus says he’s here to cleanse Jeff of his demons, so see you next week fella. So the Bar Fight is on Smackdown and not at the pay per view? Ok then.

Bayley and Banks talk about having the momentum going into Sunday.

Cross is upset about losing and doesn’t want to let everyone down. Bliss tries to calm her down but Cross runs after Bayley and Banks, who are standing nearby. Bliss has to break it up, with Bayley wanting a leash on Cross.

Here are the same promos from AJ and Riddle that opened the show.

Intercontinental Title: Matt Riddle vs. AJ Styles

Styles is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. Riddle blocks an early Irish whip attempt and hits the rolling gutwrench suplexes to put AJ on the floor. A running knee puts AJ down again so he rips off the announcers’ table, only to get kicked in the head. We take a break and come back with AJ still in trouble as commentary thinks he’s off his game tonight.

AJ manages a belly to back faceplant to drop Riddle though and it’s time for the forearms in the corner. Some shots to the leg have Riddle in trouble and we hit the chinlock. Riddle powers up and drives him into the corner, setting up the running backsplash. The Bro To Sleep into the Final Flash connects for two and we take another break.

Back again with AJ hitting a clothesline out of the corner but Riddle strikes away without much trouble. Riddle charges into a superkick though but AJ can’t hit the Styles Clash. Instead Riddle hits a ripcord knee to the face, only to miss the Floating Bro. A brainbuster gives AJ two but he has to fight out of the Bro Derek. They strike it out with AJ reversing a Pele into the Calf Crusher. Riddle reverses that into a Bromission attempt but can’t quite get it on. Instead, AJ reverses into a cradle for the clean pin at 18:07.

Rating: B. I’m not wild on the 50/50 booking, though losing a clean fall to AJ Styles is far from some career killer. Riddle has gotten a good start to his run on Smackdown, but I’m worried about the double hit of losing here and then having to feud with Corbin for weeks on end. I know he had frostbite on his feet, but that isn’t the kind of heat he needs.

Post match AJ shakes Riddle’s hand but here’s Corbin from behind to beat Riddle down.

Overall Rating: C+. Maybe it was last week’s show being so bad but this was a lot easier to watch than most shows. Imagine that: you get rid of the stupid stuff like karaoke and have a good, long main event and the show gets that much better. I still have no desire to watch Extreme Rules, but at least they had something better here for a change.


Cesaro b. Big E. – Neutralizer

Bayley/Sasha Banks b. Asuka/Nikki Cross – Rollup with feet on the ropes to Cross

Braun Strowman b. John Morrison – Running powerslam

Lacey Evans b. Naomi – Woman’s Right

AJ Styles b. Matt Riddle – Cradle

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