6/19 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big E vs. Rusev vs. The Miz in a gauntlet match for a shot at the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules, Sanity vs. The Usos, Becky Lynch vs. Billie Kay

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Toledo, Ohio at Huntington Center

[Hour One] Paige stood backstage and ran through the results of the Smackdown related match from the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. She also hyped the five-man gauntlet match to determine which wrestler will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules…

Ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella. The broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in from ringside as she made her way to the ring. Carmella spoke about how she dealt with confidence issues when she was younger. She said she took control of her life and saw something beautiful in herself before anyone else. She said she became a champion. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want every boy and girl out there who feel like they’re just not good enough to take a look in the mirror and repeat these words: Mella is money.'”

“Psych!” Carmella said. She mocked the thought of having ever suffered with self confidence issues. She said the real lesson is just give up. She said you can work twice as hard as her and only be half as good. She boasted about winning the MITB contract last year, beating Charlotte Flair twice, and now beating Asuka. She boasted that she beat Asuka all by herself.

Asuka’s music played. A masked James Ellsworth dressed as Asuka came to the ring. He unmasked and hugged Carmella. “No one was ready for Ellsworth, especially Asuka,” he said. Ellsworth said he was back to serve the greatest woman in history. He said Carmella is better than Charlotte, Lita, Trish Stratus, Mother Teresa, Beyonce, Ronda Rousey, and Asuka.

The real Asuka made her entrance and walked with purpose to the ring. Ellsworth took off the bulk of the Asuka garb and got in her face. Asuka kicked him in the gut and knocked him down. Carmella caught Asuka with a kick and then left the ring with Ellsworth…

The broadcast team hyped Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the tag titles in a rematch from MITB… Becky Lynch was shown backstage trying to pick out the right pair of goggles. Phillips hyped her match against Billie Kay as coming up after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Carmella’s promo felt too similar to the promo that Alexa Bliss delivered last night on Raw. It was the same approach with her acting humble and then pulling the rug out. The fans didn’t seem to buy it either night. By the way, Jake Barnett is on vacation so I will be filling in tonight and next Tuesday.

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce made their entrance. They delivered a pre-match promo mocking the Toledo fans, then Lynch for losing at MITB and being Charlotte Flair’s “troll of a sidekick.” Lynch made her entrance…

1. Becky Lynch vs. Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce). Royce caused a distraction from the floor that allowed Kay to run Lynch into the post heading into a break. [C] Royce continued to interfere coming out of the break, but Lynch eventually applied the Disarmer for the win…

Becky Lynch defeated Billie Kay in 7:45.

Powell’s POV: A solid match. Here’s hoping that the powers that be heard the Chicago crowd cheering for Lynch at Money in the Bank and intend to do more with her going forward.

Jeff Hardy was shown in a dark setting with his back to the camera. Hardy noted that Shinsuke Nakamura lost to AJ Styles last week. He said he can’t forget Nakamura did to him last week. He turned around and was wearing makeup. He said his eyes were closed before. He opened his eyes to reveal contacts. He said his eyes were open now. “Shinsuke, I see you,” Hardy concluded…

A shot aired of the shadows of Sanity backstage. There was laughing and Eric Young said the chaos had arrived… Graves hyped Sanity vs. The Usos for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Nakamura goes from feuding with Styles and lands in a nice feud over the U.S. Championship with Hardy. This could be fun. Also, they only showed the shadows of the three male members of Sanity, but there was some high pitched laughter. Here’s hoping Nikki Cross was called up with the group.

Renee Young interviewed Daniel Bryan backstage and asked how he would survive the gauntlet match. He said he wouldn’t survive, he would win. He said in order to do that he might have to go through three of the best wrestlers in Rusev, Joe, and Big E. Young noted that Miz wasn’t mentioned. “I said three of the best superstars,” he said…

The Usos made their entrance and spoke about a new team showing up. They looked back on their early days and recalled wearing face paint and looking like they were on Sesame Street. The three male members of Sanity, Eric Young, Killian Dain, and Alexander Wolfe made their entrance. Once in the ring, they beat up the Usos. Dain splashed one Uso, Young and Wolfe teamed up for an elevated neckbreaker on the other…

Luke Gallows was flexing with a band and boasted to Karl Anderson that they are in the best shape of their lives. Anderson showed off his abs, then encouraged Anderson to do the same. Gallows teased doing it and then got cold feet. A separate shot aired of the Bludgeon Brothers in their masks… [C]

Powell’s POV: Pretty basic stuff and it didn’t get a rise out of the crowd. It was even worse with commentary as the broadcast team spoke about how crazy they are and then the trio delivered a fairly standard beatdown. It felt like something more memorable was in order. Maybe they will double down by having them interfere in the tag title match.

Renee Young interviewed Shinsuke Nakamura backstage about his loss to AJ Styles at MITB. He said the only reason Styles is still WWE Champion is because the referee counted fast and didn’t count in Japanese. Young asked him about Jeff Hardy’s comments from earlier. “Who?” he asked. He recalled Hardy saying his eyes are open. He said that if Hardy crosses him again he will close them…

Ring entrances for the tag title match took place… [C]

Powell’s POV: Good stuff from Nakamura. He was darker than usual and didn’t go for any laughs.

2. “Bludgeon Brothers” Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Smackdown Tag Titles. The match was joined in progress.

[Hour Two] Anderson got a two count on Harper off a spinebuster. Anderson dumped Rowan to ringside and ran into a slam from Harper, who got a two count of his won. In the end, Bludgeon Brothers hit their double powerbomb on Anderson and pinned him…

Bludgeon Brothers defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in 5:50 of television time to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.

As Bludgeon Brothers were leaving, Daniel Bryan made his entrance while the broadcast team assumed he would start the gauntlet match. Bryan stood between Harper and Rowan and stared at him. He slowly eventually walked by them and went to the ring… The Miz was shown warming up backstage. They showed Rusev and Aiden English getting fired up. Samoa Joe was shown shadow boxing. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods lifted up Big E a couple times… An ad for 205 Live hyped Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy vs. Hideo Itami…

Powell’s POV: It was an emotional reunion for Bryan and his very brief Wyatt Family brothers. I assume Bryan will be bounced before Miz enters the gauntlet match. They can’t give that match away without advertising it. Anyway, the tag match was more entertaining than the one they had on the MITB Kickoff Show. It was nice to see someone get some offense in on Bludgeon Brothers, who still managed to maintain their sense of dominance by winning clean.

Phillips spoke about Charlotte being featured in ESPN Magazine’s Body Issue… New Day made their entrance…

3. Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big E vs. Rusev vs. The Miz in a gauntlet match for a shot at the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. Woods and Kingston accompanied E during his entrance, but they didn’t stick around for the match. E performed a nice belly to bely suplex at 2:25. E splashed Bryan on the apron and they cut to break. [C]

Big E got a two count off a backbreaker. Bryan came back and slammed the knee of E into the mat. Bryan went for a heel hook, but E reached the ropes to break the hold. E did his spear through the ropes and both men crashed to ringside. Back in the ring, Bryan avoided a charging E in the corner, then blasted him with a running knee and pinned him…

Daniel Bryan pinned Big E to eliminate him in 10:55.

Samoa Joe made his entrance as the third entrant in the gauntlet match heading into a break. [C] Joe had his right elbow taped, presumably to sell MITB. Joe mauled Bryan and applied multiple submission holds before Bryan reached the ropes around 19:00. Bryan came back with a dragon screw leg whip and then slammed Joe’s knee into the ring post twice. Back in the ring, Joe performed an inverted atomic drop, a boot to the face, and a senton for a two count heading into another break. [C]

Joe caught Bryan in a sleeper, but Bryan ending up flinging Joe through the ropes to break the hold and then followed up with a running knee off the apron that didn’t look very good so the broadcast team called it a grazing blow. Back in the ring, Bryan threw his kicks. He went for a running knee. Joe rolled to ringside. Bryan followed only to have Joe apply a Coquina Clutch on the floor. Joe watched the referee count. Bryan pushed off the barricade to free himself and then raced back to the ring to beat the referee’s count.

Daniel Bryan beat Samoa Joe by count-out to eliminate him in 27:35.

The Bludgeon Brothers returned to the ring and hit their double powerbomb on Bryan. Miz’s music played and he ran to the ring, picked up Bryan, and hit him with a Skull Crushing Finale before pinning him. Miz tossed Bryan to ringside.

The Miz pinned Daniel Bryan at 28:45 to eliminate him.

Powell’s POV: That’s how it’s done. They gave viewers a taste of Bryan vs. Joe without having a clean pin or submission finish, then Miz got to pin Bryan without Bryan getting in any offense whatsoever. This was really well booked.

Rusev and Aiden English came out with Rusev being the final gauntlet match entrant. [C] English remained at ringside during the match. Rusev performed a fallaway slam for a two count at 34:50. AJ Styles was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Miz sent Rusev to ringside and then caught him with a kick through the ropes.

Later, Miz set up for his finisher, but Rusev powered out of it. Rusev caught Miz with a kick and covered him for a two count. Miz came back by clotheslining Rusev over the top rope and then running him into the ring steps. Miz rolled him back in the ring and covered him for a two count. Miz threw Daniel Bryan kicks at Rusev, who ducked the last one. They jockeyed for position and Miz performed a DDT that led to a two count. Miz set up in the corner and did Bryan’s Yes bit, but ran into a Machka kick. Rusev stomped his back and applied the Accolade for the win…

Rusev defeated The Miz in 42:50 to win a gauntlet match and earn a shot at the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. 

Phillips said Rusev earned his first ever one-on-one match for the WWE Championship. AJ Styles made his entrance with the title belt draped over his shoulder. Once in the ring, Styles put the belt down between him and Rusev and offered a handshake. Rusev accepted. English approached Styles and offered him a handshake. Styles was about to accept when English pulled his hand back. Styles punched him and then picked up his title belt and left the ring to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A highly entertaining gauntlet match. It’s hard to argue with a match that gives viewers Bryan vs. Joe without giving away a finish, Miz getting heat on Bryan, and what feels like new blood in the title picture with Rusev earning the title shot at Extreme Rules. I’m not sure where they are going with Bryan and the Bludgeon Brothers. I am looking forward to Styles vs. Rusev because it’s something different and it feels like they are finally giving Rusev a chance. I will be by shortly with an audio review of this show for the Dot Net Members. Treat yourself to our ad-free website and access over a decade of content via PWMembership.net..

See below for the Prowrestling.net Live audio show that Will Pruett and I hosted on Monday.


Readers Comments (7)

  1. ” By the way, Jake Barnett is on vacation so I will be filling in tonight and next Tuesday.”

    Whew…you had me thinking First WWE releases Big Cass then Jason Powell gets a Vince McMahon complex and releases Jake Barnett or even worse he leaves on his own and decides to start a podcast with Johnny Fairplay…what’s this world coming too:)well it’s nice to hear it’s only a vacation, hopefully it’s an enjoyable one:)

  2. That backbreaker on Daniel Bryan from Big E looked more like a botched Big Ending. And the way Bryan landed and screamed in pain has been thinking he suffered some real rib damage…

  3. Excellent gauntlet match. Tested the waters with Big E to see if he could have a compelling main event type match, protected Samoa Joe with a face saving count out loss,kicked off the Bryan/Miz feud,and gave Rusev a high profile win with a nice payoff. This is how you book a match where everybody gains something moving forward…..As usual Carmella was gold, IIconics were obnoxious and cute at the same time (don’t know why but the zoo and smelly animals line cracked me up), and Becky getting major tv time…..Sanity was a letdown, The Bar needs to get back soon from the amusement park and bring Shelton Benjamin back with them….Missed my baby Sonya Deville and still waiting on the Almas/Sin Cara match we were promised two weeks ago.

    • You didn’t like the Sanity debut?

      At first I couldn’t believe they were going straight to the Usos versus Sanity, because I thought they’d give Sanity a win or two versus a stepping stone type team to showcase them some- especially Dain, since the big guy’s so athletic. The way they did it though got Sanity to come across as dangerous and chaotic, and the Usos didn’t have to eat a pin. I mean it was short, but I was into it.

      I thought Smackdown as a whole hit on every mark. I’d echo a lot of what’s been said about the gauntlet match. So great. Carmella’s fantastic, as usual- and it’s great to see Ellsworth back. There really wasn’t a single miss on the show for me. Strong week for WWE so far, with the only thing they’ve done to make me grumble is moving toward yet another Reigns vs. Lesnar match. Otherwise, I’m really excited about some of these summer programs!

      • I didn’t so much dislike the Sanity debut as was just expecting more. Great promos hyping their debut and then having them wait so long to show up really built up the anticipation. The camera work as they made their to the ring was top notch and added to the moment but the actual attack itself was lacking. Maybe they are toning them down to differentiate them from the Bludgeons but I expected more brutality.

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