By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live on July 23, 2019 from Miami, Florida at American Airlines Arena
[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a video package on the Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon feud…
The broadcast team of Tom Phillips and David Otunga checked in from ringside while Big E and Xavier Woods danced on top of their table. It was noted that Corey Graves and Byron Saxton had the night off, and the Shawn Michaels was supposed to join them, but he will appear on Miz TV instead…
Powell’s POV: Byron Saxton announced the passing of his father earlier this week, so I assume that’s why he’s absent. My condolences to Byron and his family. Speaking of absences, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett, who is off tonight as he prepares to move. Jake write tomorrow’s Smackdown Hit List, and should be back with live coverage of Smackdown next week.
Shane McMahon made his entrance and had ring announcer Greg Hamilton give him the “Best in the World” treatment. Shane noted that Kevin Owens challenged him to a SummerSlam match and said he would quit if he can’t win. A loud “You can’t wrestle” chant broke out. “Ask Roman Reigns about that,” Shane told the hecklers.
Shane set up footage of Owens quitting on Raw on August 27, 2018 in the same venue that will host this year’s SummerSlam. Shane said it was typical of Owens to quit. Shane said the same thing would happen when he beats Owens at SummerSlam, and he wants the stipulation in writing.
Kevin Owens made his entrance. Owens said he’ll never say Shane isn’t smart. He said that clip was his career low point. He said that’s not who he his today. Owens said he knew that Shane would accept his challenge because Shane wants him gone and he loves when the spotlight is bright. Owens said he’s not going to quit, he’s going to beat the living hell out of Shane.
Owens said he was going to beat the hell out of Shane on the spot. Shane told him he better stop or he wouldn’t get his SummerSlam match. Owens stopped. Shane said that was a sign of his power. Shane booked Owens in a match against Roman Reigns for later in the show. Shane smiled and did his dance…
The broadcast team hyped Kofi Kingston’s challenger for SummerSlam being revealed, and Shawn Michaels appearing on Miz TV. Shinsuke Nakamura was shown walking backstage. Phillips said Apollo Crews would face Nakamura after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid opening exchange to make the Owens vs. Shane match official for SummerSlam. It would be a lot more fun if the match was a loser leaves WWE match rather than a one sided stipulation, but I guess this means they’re not ready to write out Shane yet. I like the announcement of Owens vs. Reigns for later in the show. I’m guessing it will somehow morph into a tag team match or an angle, but it’s still a decent hook to keep viewers watching to see what happens.
Shane was walking backstage when he encountered Drew McIntyre and Elias. Shane was labeled as a genius for booking Owens and Reigns against one another. Shane said the match of that magnitude needed something special, so he named McIntyre the special referee, Elias the guest timekeeper, and said he would be the guest ring announcer…
1. U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Apollo Crews in a non-title match. The New Day duo raved about Crews while he held up Nakamura for a vertical suplex. Crews clotheslined Nakamura to ringside and then performed a moonsault off the apron onto Nakamura on the floor. They cut to a split screen commercial break. [C]
Nakamura caught Crews with a spinning kick, then landed another kick in the corner and followed up with his sliding German suplex in the corner. Nakamura followed up with a Kinshasa attempt, but Crews caught him with a kick and performed an Olympic Slam for a good near fall.
Crews went to the top rope, but Nakamura cut him off and delivered a knee to his gut. Crews popped up a charging Nakamura and slammed him to the mat. Crews went for a standing moonsault. Nakamura rolled out of the way and followed up with the Kinshasa for the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Apollo Crews in 8:15 in a non-title match.
Nakamura attacked Crews after the bell and put the boots to him in the ring and then at ringside. Nakamura blasted Crews with another Kinshasa at ringside, then grabbed his title belt and left. “Apollo, where are your friends?” one of the New Day duo asked on commentary…
Powell’s POV: You had to know Crews was going to lose the match. After all, Ali interrupted Nakamura’s promo last week, which is WWE’s warped world somehow makes him the No. 1 contender. Don’t believe me? That’s how Nakamura became No. 1 contender when Finn Balor was the U.S. Champion. If nothing else, it was nice to see a secondary champion win a televised non-title match for a change.
Backstage, Mandy Rose told Sonya Deville that she told Shane McMahon about the time they overheard The IIconics making fun of him. Shane responded by giving them a non-title match against The IIconcis. Rose was excited because if they win then they will get a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Deville hugged Rose…
The Miz was shown walking backstage as the broadcast team hyped Miz TV with Shawn Michaels as coming up next… [C]
An upset Ali was sitting in a stairwell talking about how he has to rewrite his story. He spoke about going from a squad car to the squared circle. He noted that he was injured and replaced (by Kofi Kingston). Ali said he refuses to let that become his legacy. He said he will become the WWE Champion. He said he holds the pen and will use his own blood to write his own story if he runs out of ink…
Powell’s POV: So is Ali out for justice as we saw in those video packages or he is more concerned with rewriting his own story? I like Ali’s promo work a lot, but it feels like something changed.
The Miz stood in the ring for Miz TV and set up a lengthy video package on Raw Reunion.
Once the video concluded, Miz introduced Shawn Michaels, who wore his NXT hat. The New Day duo sang HBK’s theme song on commentary. Miz asked Michaels about his experience at Raw Reunion. Michaels said he’s been on both sides. He recalled being younger and wishing the old guys would go away, but now as they get older it’s tough to turn down the opportunity.
Michaels said the inducted Seth Rollins as an honorary member of DX. Miz thanked Michaels for the invite. Michaels said they shared the silver screen together. Miz plugged their Marine movie and said it’s available on DVD. Dolph Ziggler’s awful entrance music interrupted the talkshow. Miz said he’d be happy to punch Ziggler in the face again. Michaels said the man had something to get off his chest, so he said they should give him a moment.
Ziggler said he and everyone else idolized Michaels. He said Shawn had a chance to ride off to the sunset as the greatest of all-time. He said Shawn has embarrassed himself by shuffling back and waving to the crowd every chance he got. He said it’s as embarrassing as the legends at Raw Reunion and “Goldberg in a wrestling ring.”
Ziggler said Michaels broke his heart and told him that he was embarrassing. Michaels said he wouldn’t disagree with Ziggler, it was embarrassing. He said what’s more embarrassing is working your entire career, giving it everything you have, and still being known as a second rate Shawn Michaels wannabe. Ziggler got upset and said there’s only one second rate Shawn Michaels and he was looking at him.
Ziggler vented about Michaels and Miz kissing babies and collecting checks until The Miz cut him off. Miz recalled Ziggler whining about how it should have been him. “In this company, you make it you,” Miz said. “So I will say again, do something about it.” Ziggler seethed and teased throwing a punch while the fans chanted “do something.” Miz and Ziggler removed their jackets. Miz stuck his chin out and put his hands behind his back.
Ziggler went to leave. Michaels pulled Ziggler around. Ziggler tried to punch Michaels, who ducked, causing Miz to take the blow. Michaels knocked Ziggler down. Ziggler got up and superkicked Michaels. Miz recovered and went after Ziggler, who rolled to ringside. Miz checked on Michaels…
The broadcast team hyped Ember Moon vs. Charlotte Flair for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Despite how obnoxious Big E and Xavier Woods have been on commentary tonight, Michaels on Miz TV turned out to be very good. The insults were on point and while this will leave people wanting to see HBK vs. Ziggler, it also managed to heat up the Miz vs. Ziggler match.
2. Charlotte Flair vs. Ember Moon. Phillips noted that the match was sponsored by the burger shack. Flair clotheslined Moon and was putting the boots to her when Bayley’s entrance music played and distracted her. Bayley walked to ringside, then Moon rolled up a distracted Flair and pinned her.
Ember Moon beat Charlotte Flair in 0:45.
Moon rolled to ringside and celebrated her win with Bayley, then rolled her into the ring. Charlotte kicked a surprised Bayley in the back of the head. Moon hit an Eclipse on Charlotte, then performed the same finisher on Bayley…
Kofi Kingston was shown walking backstage… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess the burger shack didn’t pay enough to sponsor a longer match? That was actually billed as the first time ever singles match between Flair and Moon. If that’s actually the case then why not save it for something more high profile? I’m not sure if they want viewers to like Bayley more Moon, but Bayley continues to strike me as the least likable that she’s ever been during her WWE career.
[Hour Two] Phillips touted Raw Reunion while some media articles were displayed on the screen… Roman Reigns was shown backstage while Otunga hyped his match against Owens for later in the show…
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston made his entrance and threw pancakes to the crowd. Phillips hyped the Smackville one-hour special for Saturday on WWE Network. Michael Cole replaced Big E and Xavier Woods on commentary. Phillips acknowledged the death of Byron Saxton’s father and said that they love Byron.
Kingston called out Randy Orton as the man he hopes to face at SummerSlam. Orton made his entrance while the broadcast team played up the possibility that Kingston could lose the title before SummerSlam. Once Orton was in the ring, Kingston said they had a lot of history together.
Kingston said he remembered clear as day that on November 16 at Madison Square Garden, the fans were on their feet chanting his name. Kingston said it was the night that he whooped Orton’s ass all over the arena. Kingston set up a video package from the 2009 Raw event that he referenced where he performed a Boom Drop that drove Orton through a table.
Kingston said the moment still gives him goosebumps. He said it was supposed to be the moment that he took it to the next level and made it to the main event scene. “But that isn’t what happened, is it, Randy?” Kingston said. Kofi said Orton used his influence to hold him down and keep him out of the main event scene forever. Kingston said it almost worked until it didn’t. Kingston said he became what Orton never wanted him to be by becoming WWE Champion.
“You think that I used my influence to hold you back?” Orton asked. “You’re damn right I did.” Orton said he was doing Kingston a favor because he wasn’t ready back then. “And you’re not ready now,” he added. Orton said Kingston’s title reign is a fluke. Orton said he never had to work hard a day in his life to get to where he is in the company because all he had to do was be Randy Orton.
Orton said he didn’t have to fake a Jamaican accent, throw pancakes, or shake his ass. Orton said what he’s done has worked pretty well. Orton said it was only because of him that Kingston even had a title shot at WrestleMania. He explained that he hurt Ali and that led to Kingston taking his place. Orton said Kingston doesn’t deserve the championship and he can take it from him whenever he wants.
Kingston said they could put find out by having a match at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship. Orton accepted the match and said that Kingston’s fairytale will come to an end courtesy of the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment – RKO.
As Orton was walking to the back, Samoa Joe made his entrance and crossed paths with Orton on the stage. A graphic listed Joe as a Raw wrestler. Joe jawed at Kingston from ringside and then rolled into the ring while Orton watched from the stage. Orton turned and walked back toward ringside. Phillips said Kingston vs. Joe was up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good exchange that played on the well chronicled history between Kingston in Orton in a way that made sense to those who know the story, yet was easy for more casual viewers to follow. Orton was very good and came off as supremely confident in his belief that he can take the title from Kingston whenever he wants. I’m already sold on this match more than the Raw matches advertised for SummerSlam.
A burger shack sponsored a video on Aleister Black…
3. WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe in a non-title match. Orton was seated on a folding chair at ringside. Otunga said he came up around the same time as Kingston and the match with Orton is a ghost from Kofi’s past that has affected him deeply. Joe performed a uranage on Kingston going into a split screen commercial break. [C]
Orton was shown glaring at Kingston while the broadcast team said he hadn’t taken his eye off him throughout the match. Kingston battled back and set up for his finisher, but Joe stumbled into the corner. Kingston ended up leaping off the second rope and hit Joe with a shot from behind. Orton entered the ring and went for an RKO on Kingston, who stuffed it and then struck a fighter’s pose. The bell rang to end the match.
Kofi Kingston fought Samoa Joe to an apparent no-contest in a non-title match in 7:45.
Afterward, Joe approached Orton, who dropped him with an RKO. When Orton stood up, Kingston hit Orton with a Trouble in Paradise kick. Kingston celebrated with the championship…
Phillips hyped the Reigns vs. Owens match… Owens was shown taping up his fists… Smiling Finn Balor made his entrance heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Kingston vs. Joe match was nothing special, which is probably why they didn’t make a fuss over it in advance. The focus was on the angle involving Kingston and Orton and it came off well.
A burger shack sponsored graphic noted that in two months, the WWE 24/7 Title has been held by 15 wrestlers including four Hall of Famers…
Balor was in the ring when Kayla Braxton entered and interviewed him. She set up footage of Bray Wyatt attacking Balor on last week’s Raw. Braxton asked Balor why he thinks he ended up in Wyatt’s crosshairs. Balor said he doesn’t know how Wyatt’s mind works. Balor isn’t sure whether Wyatt is out to settle an old score or if this is something new. “The puppets, the attack on Mick Foley last night at Raw Reunion, and this whole Fiend persona, hell, I can’t explain any of it,” Balor said.
Braxton asked if it was fair to say that Balor was shaken. Balor said Wyatt is more twisted than ever before, but he’s faced evil before and he won’t back down now. Balor challenged Wyatt or The Fiend to face him at SummerSlam.
Bray Wyatt’s “Firefly Funhouse” opening aired and he delivered a promo from the funhouse with puppets Mercy and Rambling Rabbit at his side. Wyatt said he, Mercy, and the rabbit are big fans of Balor, but The Fiend is not. A giddy Wyatt said The Fiend is officially accepting Balor’s challenge to a match at SummerSlam.
“I should warn you, though, while you are an extraordinary man, the Fiend is no man,” Wyatt said before he shifted from friendly to serious. “The Fiend is an abomination. The Fiend is power. The Fiend remembers. Let me in.” Video footage of The Fiend aired and he was standing on the funhouse set and said, “Let me in” using a distorted voice…
The broadcast team hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: A very good segment. I was actually disappointed that they didn’t open Smackdown with an update on Mick Foley to make Wyatt’s attack feel as important as they tried to make the Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley stunt feel a few weeks back. But this was well done and The Fiend’s first match is a really nice attraction for SummerSlam.
Phillips touted that they were in Miami, then Cole hyped The Fiend’s first match for SummerSlam. Phillips set up a video package on all of the WWE 24/7 Title changes that occurred at Raw Reunion…
Sarah Schreiber stood on the interview set and said her guest requested an interview. Charlotte Flair interrupted her and said it was a slap in the face to be left off SummerSlam and for Bayley to choose her own opponent. Flair vowed that she will be at SummerSlam, then said she demands to be at SummerSlam. Charlotte said her opponent will be better than Ember Moon and she will prove that she’s the greatest female superstar of all-time…
Greg Hamilton introduced Shane McMahon as the guest ring announcer for the main event. Shane made a full entrance and then introduced Elias as the guest timekeeper, then Drew McIntyre as the special referee. [C]
Owens and Reigns made their entrances coming out of the break. Once both men were in the ring, Shane delivered introductions from ringside. Shane noted that he beat Reigns at Super ShowDown, and labeled Owens a quitter and the man who will lose to him at SummerSlam.
Owens went to ringside and grabbed a mic. Owens said he had no problem going through Reigns, Elias, and McIntyre to get to Shane. Reigns took the mic from Owens and took exception to Owens saying he would run through him. “It looks like I’m gonna whoop everybody’s ass tonight,” Reigns said. Shane called for Elias to ring the bell to start the match…
4. Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens. Reigns and Owens locked and up and had a clean break. They did it again and this time McIntyre shoved both men while forcing the break. Reigns turned and punched McIntyre, then tossed him to ringside to apparently end the match.
Roman Reigns fought Kevin Owens to an apparent no-contest.
Elias tried to run in, but Owens punched him off the apron. Shane tried to escape but ended up trapped between both men in the ring. McIntyre recovered and Shane was able to escape to ringside. Elias returned and helped McIntyre beat down Reigns while Owens was down at ringside.
Shane returned and set up for a Superman Punch, but Owens pulled him to ringside and ran him into a barricade. Owens and Reigns hit their finishers on McIntyre and Elias. Shane limped toward the back, but Reigns caught up to him and threw him back in the ring. Reigns hit Shane with a Superman Punch, then Owens gave Shane a Stunner. Fans called for “one more time.” Owens gave Shane a Stunner.
Owens celebrated on the ropes while Reigns watched from the apron. Reigns said something off-mic to Reigns while Phillips and Cole assumed that Reigns will be rooting for Owens at SummerSlam. The broadcast team recapped highlights of Reigns and Owens beating up Shane. Owens took the mic and said he would give Shane an ass whooping at SummerSlam. Another shot aired of Owens giving Shane a Stunner while Phillips wondered if that will be the scene in Toronto at SummerSlam…
Powell’s POV: I was hoping the babyfaces had worked it out and would simply attack Shane and his cronies, but this played out fine. I’m mildly surprised that Super Shane took an ass kicking before SummerSlam. I assume this means that Owens will be getting his ass kicked the next two weeks to put more heat on Shane and his guys. Overall, this was an entertaining edition of Smackdown that set the table for the more interesting of the SummerSlam matches announced thus far. I will have more to say about the show in my members’ exclusive audio review. Check back tomorrow for Jake Barnett’s Smackdown Hit List.