By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown
Taped last week in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired July 10, 2020 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary. Cole plugged the sponsor and then the duo hyped the Smackdown Tag Title match, a karaoke showdown (huh?), and more…
The Miz and John Morrison stood in the ring for the Miz TV segment. Miz built up Jeff Hardy as his guest while Morrison took verbal jabs at him, then they both mocked the dance that Hardy does as part of his entrance.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance and joined the duo in the ring. Miz played the good cop, then set up a video package on the Sheamus and Hardy feud. Miz said Hardy is his daughter’s favorite wrestler. Miz said she doesn’t about the darkness inside Hardy, and he doesn’t want her to put faith in someone who will self destruct again and let her down.
Miz asked Hardy if he’s okay after what Sheamus has put him through. Hardy said he’s been to hell and back with his addictions and it will take more than Sheamus to drive him back to where he was. Miz asked if Hardy’s loss to Sheamus at Backlash was eating at him. Hardy said it does bother him.
Hardy said he’s doing everything he can to take out Sheamus so that he can put his past behind him. He also wants to be an example for people who struggle with addiction so that he can show them that there is life beyond their wildest dreams waiting for them if they stay sober.
Miz said he and Morrison want to help Hardy. Miz said Hardy needs a rematch with Sheamus, but not inside a ring. Miz said Hardy needs to face Sheamus in a bar fight. Morrison said he could fight his physical enemy and metaphorical enemy at the same time.
Hardy said it was like a handicap match facing alcohol and Sheamus. Hardy said he’s never going back to where he was and he would take out Sheamus in the bar fight to prove once and for all that he’s on the road to redemption and success. Hardy looked to the spectator wrestlers and said he would never let them down again.
Hardy told Miz to tell Sheamus that he accepts the match. Hardy also questioned whether Miz or Morrison wanted to face him. He took issue with them inviting him onto the show to mock him and not get punched in the face. Hardy said he’s sorry that he’s disappointed people again, then cleared Miz and Morrison from the ring…
Powell’s POV: An eye for an eye match, a Swamp Fight, and now a Bar Fight. I get that WWE is stunt booking in hopes of attracting viewers to their pay-per-view events during the pandemic, but have they ever considered the idea of booking quality storylines that lead to intriguing pro wrestling matches? I know it’s a crazy concept, but perhaps they could try it one of these months and see what happens.
1. Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison). Miz fled to ringside as soon as the bell rang and huddled up with Morrison for a moment before returning to the ring. Hardy had Miz down and was setting up for his finisher when Morrison pulled Miz to ringside. Hardy dove onto both men heading into a break. [C]
Hardy put Miz down in the ring and went to the ropes again when Sheamus appeared on the big screen. Hardy climbed down and watched the screen while Sheamus taunted him by drinking from his home. Miz rolled up a distracted Hardy, who rolled through and got the pin.
Jeff Hardy defeated The Miz in 14:15.
After the match, Sheamus told Hardy “good job” and congratulated him before taking another swig of his beer…
Powell’s POV: I enjoy some level of realism in storylines, but this ongoing story regarding Hardy’s struggles with dependency issues is a turnoff. If Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard are so big on realism, how about a storyline with Mr. McMahon acting like a pervert at a tanning booth? Or maybe Brother Love can whip out a gun while mingling with other legends in a backstage segment. Come on, guys, it’ll make for great television.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro were interviewed backstage. Cesaro ranted about how he’s sick of New Day’s antics. Nakamura said there would be new tag team champions…
Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. The duo was attacked on the stage by Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross… [C] Graves hyped the karaoke showdown while Dana Brooke danced backstage…
2. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in a non-title match. From the floor, Cross pulled Bayley through the ropes and into the ring skirting, then pounded on her before rolling her back inside the ring. A short time later, Bayley pulled Banks to ringside to avoid a double team move. Cross grabbed one of the title belts and taunted them. The duo charged at her, but Bliss kicked them from the ring, then Cross dove off the broadcast table onto Bayley. [C]
Late in the match, Banks ran Bliss into the barricade at ringside. Cross dropkicked Banks through the ropes. Bayley rolled up Cross and used the ropes for leverage while getting the pin…
Sasha Banks and Bayley beat Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in 12:15 in a non-title match.
Graves hyped Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt in a flashback match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Rejoice, tag team champions won a non-title match. It’s a miracle!
Footage aired of the WWE Performance Center and then Cole set up a trailer for the WWE Battlegrounds video game…
Cole and Graves sat at their desk and set up the Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt match from May’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. The ring entrances were shown prior to the airing of the match…
[Hour Two] The Strowman vs. Wyatt match for the WWE Championship match was shown. Bray fell for Braun wearing his old black sheep mask and ended up being pinned… The broadcast team hyped Strowman vs. Wyatt meeting in a Swamp Fight at Extreme Rules…
Big E and Kofi Kingston were interviewed backstage and were asked if they are underestimating their opponents. Kingston ran through the credentials of Nakamura and Cesaro. “We did not forget who they were, they are who we thought they were,” Kingston said. Big E added they wouldn’t let them off the hook…
Powell’s POV: I didn’t expect to hear a Denny Green reference tonight. Crown their ass!
Lacey Evans was warming up for karaoke backstage when Naomi interrupted. Cole said the segment was coming up next… [C]
Jey Uso stood in the ring and hosted the karaoke showdown segment featuring Naomi, Tamina, Lacey Evans, and Dana Brooke. Uso said each woman had 45 seconds to perform and the spectator wrestlers would be the judges.
Evans sang “With My Baby Tonight.” Brooke sang the Honky Tonk Man theme song. Uso cut her off and said she was bad following the “I’m bad” line. Tamina sang “The Game” by Motorhead. She sang the “It’s time to play the game” line twice and then headbanged until Uso cut her off.
Naomi sang the “Common Man” entrance theme used by Dusty Rhodes. Uso left it up to the judges. Naomi won. She danced while celebrating until she was hit from behind by Evans. Uso tried to keep them apart. Evans took off one of her heels and tried to use it as a weapon heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: One has to wonder if Fox executives feel good about their $205 million per year investment in Smackdown after segments like this one.
3. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans. The women worked in the clothes they wore for the karaoke contest. Dana Brooke and Tamina stayed at ringside. Evans was sent to the floor. Brooke tried to check on her, but Evans shoved her down. Tamina tried to get between them, but Evans shoved her. Evans returned to the ring. Tamina and Brooke entered the ring for the no-contest finish. Tamina and Brooke ended up fighting one another…
Naomi fought Lacey Evans to an apparent non-contest in 1:45.
Powell’s POV: Is Lacey a heel again? If so, is it really because she lost a karaoke contest?
AJ Styles was interviewed backstage and boasted that he embarrassed Drew Gulak last week. Styles noted that Gulak is the coach of Daniel Bryan. He said that if that’s the level of competition he has to face then he’ll be Intercontinental Champion for a long time. Styles was informed that he would be defending the title against Matt Riddle on next week’s Smackdown. Styles vented about his loss to Riddle being a fluke and said he would beat him…
Big E and Kofi Kingston made their entrance for the main event… [C] Graves hyped Styles vs. Riddle for the Intercontinental Championship for next week’s show. The challengers made their entrances…
4. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Kingston caught Cesaro with a kick to the jaw, which caused Cesaro to roll to ringside. Big E launched Kingston toward Cesaro, who blasted him with an uppercut. [C]
Cesaro worked over Big E in the New Day corner, but Kingston tagged in and performed a double stomp from the top rope. Kingston covered Cesaro, but Nakamura broke up the pin. Kingston rolled Cesaro into another pin for another two count. Kingston ended up in the heel corner where Nakamura kicked him.
Kingston was isolated by the heels. Big E ran in to help, but the challengers cleared him from the ring. Kingston fought both heels until Big E returned to the ring. Nakamura tossed Kingston to ringside and followed him, then Big E and Cesaro battled to the floor. Cesaro slammed Big E’s head into the broadcast table.
Cesaro pulled a table out from underneath the ring and slid it inside the ring. Cesaro ran Big E into the ring steps. Kingston recovered and fought the challengers, who both threw him back first into the ring post. Cesaro set up the table in the ring while Graves said the challengers had been disqualified.
Big E and Kofi Kingston beat Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro by DQ in roughly 13:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Cesaro slapped Big E across the face, then Nakamura kicked him, and Big E ended up on the table. Cesaro and Nakamura teamed up and powerbombed Kingston onto Big E and through the table. The duo celebrated while standing over the champions.
Powell’s POV: I’m not sure what triggered the DQ finish because it happened before they used the table. Anyway, I can live with this finish. I didn’t think we’d see a title change, so the DQ beats the alternative of New Day simply plowing through them and moving on. This should lead to a rematch at the pay-per-view and because it’s Extreme Rules and we saw a table used, there’s a decent change it will be a tables match.
This was a one match show. At least we have Styles vs. Riddle to look forward to for next week. Let me know what you thought of Smackdown by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll via the main page. I will be back shortly with my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members. Have a great weekend and please be smart and stay safe.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Mike McMahon of PWTorch.com discussing his background and podcast work, plus a long chat regarding Impact Wrestling coming out of Slammiversary, including a breakdown of the notable additions to the roster, and more...