July 4th, 2016
From the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
Before the show, we are shown a majority of the female and male superstars on the roster sitting down and eating. There is all sorts of wackiness going on like the Golden Truth singing as the Vaudevillains have them leave and start singing themselves until Aiden English gets food thrown at him. This leads to the Miz, wearing all white, and Maryse coming out as he talks about this occasion not leading into a food fight. The Miz gets food thrown at him, as does Maryse which then triggers a huge food fight. Kevin Owens moves under the table and is eating a bag of chips as everyone is tossing food at each other. We also learn that the beans are bad after Jericho found a band-aid in his. After a minute or two, we see Kane and Big Show holding each other by the throat until Heath Slater throws food at him and laughs. This leads to Heath getting double chokeslammed through the table then everybody in the room laughs as they pile even more food on him before leaving. Xavier is even smiling and walking out of the room actiong is usual, jovial self. Owens comes out from the table and takes a bite out of a hot dog as he says this would never happened on Canada Day but he gets a cake tossed at his face then starts flipping out as he flips over a few tables. Lots of juvenile humor in this long segment but for a holiday-themed episode, I was fine with this.
The live show starts with Lillian Garcia singing the USA National Anthem. After that, Rusev and Titus O’Neill, dressed as Uncle Sam, come out for the United States Title match.
WWE United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) w/ Lana vs. Titus O’Neill
The match started during the break. Titus floats over Rusev in the corner then hits a slam. Titus then lays into Rusev in the corner until Rusev dumps Titus over the top rope then follows out and whips him into the stairs. Back inside, Rusev works a chinlock after a nearfall as Titus eventually powers out of that. They slug it out until Titus takes him down with a shoulder tackle and runs wild. He hits a powerslam then the Clash of the Titus but Rusev kicks out. Rusev catches Titus with a super kick as the referee was checking on him then hits another kick before locking on the Accolade as that gets the win (5:38) *1/2. After the match, Rusev reapplies the hold for a bit then grabs the mic as he mockingly starts a USA chant then tells them to celebrate for him as he wishes the USA a happy birthday.
Thoughts: Decent action while it lasted. It appears that this is the end of the feud with Rusev moving on to bigger and better things after the draft.
Tonight, we will see Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz in what is billed as a Champion vs. Champion match. Plus, a 16-Man Elimination Match with Team USA (Big Show & Apollo Crews & Zack Ryder & Dudley Boyz & Mark Henry & Jack Swagger & Kane) vs. Multi-National Alliance (Cesaro & Sheamus & Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn & Alberto Del Rio & Lucha Dragons)
The Social Outcasts come out dressed as Minuteman, with Heath sporting a sling, as they are all playing instruments. Bo is about to say why they are dressed as Minuteman but get cut off by Enzo Amore & Big Cass. The crowd engages in a loud “How You Doin'” chant and are all into their act. Enzo promises us some “star spangled banter” as Enzo proceeds to run down all of the Presidents in chronological order and says they would all be insulted if they were looking at what the Outcasts were dressed as in the ring. Big Cass says he had a bit but Enzo’s was so impressive he would not even try to top that as he leads the crowd into a S-A-W-F-T chant. I thought the bit with Enzo naming off the Presidents was clever as he and Cass were quite over again with the live crowd.
Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel w/ Heath Slater vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
The Outcasts work over Enzo in the corner to start. Axel misses an elbow drop from the top then Enzo makes the tag. Cass runs wild and drills Bo with a big boot then tags Enzo as they hit the Rocket Launcher for the win (2:05) 1/2*. After the match, Enzo puts on Bo’s wig then dances all over the ring.
Thoughts: A quick win to showcase the winners, specifically Big Cass.
Later tonight, we will see Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler. We are then shown Charlotte and Dana Brooke as they are heading out to the ring.
We are shown Sasha Banks return to RAW two weeks ago when she made the save for Paige by attacking Charlotte and Dana Brooke. After that, Charlotte and Dana are shown in the ring. Charlotte talks about how jealously is the strongest human emotion. She then talks about being the best at what she does, with the proof around her waist. Charlotte then calls out Sasha and says her jealously drives her crazy and can only hold onto the chants of “we want Sasha.” Charlotte says chants do not pay the bills, championships do as she dismisses Sasha as nothing but hype. Sasha comes out and tells Charlotte she might be champion but that she has never beaten her and if not for her dad at WrestleMania, she would be the champion. Charlotte then asks Sasha what her “Boss” name is all about before mentioning how next week will mark the one year anniversary of their debut and since she has been the champion almost the entire time, that makes her the legit boss. Sasha talks about how a boss fights for what she believes in and has style and will always throw down anywhere at anytime. As that happens, Dana tries an attack but Sasha ducks and takes her out. Charlotte hits Sasha from behind and yells at her then tries a slam but Sasha floats over and puts her in the Banks Statement until Dana pulls Charlotte to safety.
The idea of this was fine but the execution was rather poor and that brawl was a complete mess. Sasha came across as wooden on the mic and Charlotte was way too deliberate. The essence of the Boss character did not come across at all here. It’s like Sasha loses it completely once she has to speak. The spot that led to the Banks Statement was very contrived and illogical as well. Why Charlotte would pick up Sasha for a slam after a brawl is beyond me.
The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Dean Ambrose
Before the match, The Miz tells us he is pissed about his designer suit getting wrecked in the food fight before putting over his wife celebrating St. John Baptiste Day. Miz starts off the match with a shoulder block but Ambrose catches him with a hip toss then hits a pair of slams. Ambrose clotheslines Miz to the floor and goes out to rough him up. Maryse distracts Ambrose for a bit as that allows Miz to crotch Ambrose on the barricade before knocking him over as we head to break. The match returns in the ring with Miz working the leg. Ambrose counters a shinbreaker with a sunset flip and lands a few chops but misses a dropkick as Miz applies the figure-four. Ambrose reaches the rope as JBL compares Ambrose to a cockroach that never gives up. Ambrose knocks Miz out to the floor then tries to regain momentum as Miz targets the leg. Ambrose catches Miz with a boot but Miz blocks a Dirty Deeds attempt and tries for another figure-four that Ambrose turns into a small package. Ambrose knocks Miz outside and flies out with a tope as the crowd is firmly behind Ambrose. Back inside, Ambrose gets a rollup but gets kicked in the face. Miz then tries for a soccer kick but Ambrose ducks then rolls him over before getting up and hitting the Dirty Deeds for the win (9:36) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match was decent but Ambrose did not do a good enough job of selling his leg here. That was the focal point of the match and he needs to do a better job at selling, especially if he is going to be working in longer matches as the champion. However, the crowd responded well to him. The Miz has seemingly been rejuvenated since being aligned with his wife on TV and has been impressing me each week not only on the mic, but in the ring as well.
After the match, Seth Rollins came out and walked down the aisle. He saw Ambrose, who wished him luck in his match, then went into the ring. Ambrose reached the ramp then ran back down and slid into the ring as he teased attacking Rollins but instead held up his belt and joined the Spanish announce team, even speaking with them in Spanish as we came back from break. I thought Ambrose did a fine job here.
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ambrose is back at the English announce table now as the match starts. Ambrose tells JBL he is an educational force to the children as Rollins and Ziggler go back-and-forth. Rollins ducks outside then re-enters and leaves again as he is frustrated. Rollins heads over to look at Ambrose, who is on commentary saying he is doing things his way, which is the hard way. Rollins is now beating on Ziggler then they work an Irish whip sequence that ends with Ziggler hitting a dropkick. Rollins rolls outside to avoid a super kick then drops Ziggler to the floor by taking him off the top rope with an enziguiri as we head to break. The match returns with Rollins in control. Ziggler fights back until Rollins pulls him into the corner then heads up but Ziggler runs up and hits a facebuster for a nearfall. Both men are down then Ziggler gets up first and runs wild. Ziggler tries for the Sweet Chin Music but that gets blocked. After a few reversals, Rollins hits a super kick for a nearfall. He then sets up Ziggler for a spingboard knee smash but Ziggler ducks and after another reversal, catches Rollins with a super kick for two. Ziggler catches Rollins with a floating DDT then tries for the Zig Zag but Rollins shakes that off and hits the Pedigree for the win (11:15) ***.
Thoughts: Good match, although I did not care for the finishing sequence as Rollins pretty much no-sold a DDT before hitting the Pedigree. Ziggler, while still somewhat over with the fans, has done all he can in the WWE at this point and is really, really stale. Maybe a heel turn can help that out?
After the match, Rollins grabs the mic and stands on the announcers table while saying that’s how its done then talks about how no one works harder than he does. He then does not want Roman Reigns tarnishing his legacy and thinks he should be taken out of the triple-threat match at Battleground, as that gets a lot of cheers. Rollins then compares Reigns to the crowd, calling them out for cutting corners and not working hard. He then sees Ambrose standing on top of the Spanish announce table as Rollins yells at him for stealing his title and promises to take back his title, beating both Reigns and Ambrose, who tells Rollins he can have the title now as he tosses it over then attacks Rollins. They brawl as that ends with Ambrose hitting Rollins with a Dirty Deeds on the table, which did not break, as Ambrose stands tall holding the title while the crowd goes crazy.
I thought Rollins did a fine job on the mic. Hell, he even got them to stop cheering when he started bashing Reigns as he told the fans they were cheaters just like him. It also showed that if the WWE is going with the rumored Reigns redemption storyline, its really going to be tough to pull off. Overall, a fine way to hype the Triple Threat Title match at Battleground.
The announcers talk about The Club attacking John Cena two weeks ago as we see clips of that. However, this gets interrupted by a Wyatt Family promo with Bray telling us the Power of Positivity does not really exist and it is a fairy tale for children while they have fear, which is very real as Bray offers the New Day to join them.
We get a video package on Baron Corbin as they put him over for winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal as we see clips of him destroying people. Looks like they are trying to build him up again after his never-ending feud with Ziggler that did not benefit anyone involved.
Vickie Guerrero then comes out screaming as she states her case as to why she should be the new COO of Smackdown. They were using some odd camera angles here, as to not show as much of her weight gain I imagine, while she screeches and yells until security drags her away.
Big Show talks to his fellow Team USA members as we hear the “Battle Hymm of the Republic” while he channels the founding fathers as he hypes up his team to go out and fight for America. It ends with a “USA” chant. This was incredibly corny and I commend Big Show for giving it his all here.
We get a plug for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic Bracketology special that airs this Wednesday at 9pm EST after NXT on the WWE Network.
Backstage, Vickie runs into Ziggler, who tells the security guards escorting her that he has never seen her before in his life. Maybe if he said he knew her, she’d get to stay? This was dumb and bad comedy.
The Vaudevillains vs. Golden Truth
They had the lyrics to the Golden Truth song on the screen karaoke style. Why, I have no idea. This match was the result of what took place at the food fight. Breezango are sitting at ringside. R-Truth hits Gotch with a leg lariat. They tag out as Goldust beats on English for a bit. Gotch breaks up a pin attempt then tosses R-Truth to the floor, but gets tossed out himself and rammed into the apron. Back inside, English gets hit with the Solid Gold as the Golden Truth pick up the win (1:28) 1/4*.
Thoughts: A total squash. The Vaudevillains were treated like jokes here to put over the Golden Truth to build them up for their feud with Breezango.
Life Lessons with Coach Backlund. This week, Backlund wants Young to focus on being problem free and end is problems by making them submit to his will. Young cannot give Backlund an answer as to what his submission hold is as Backlund wants him to use the crossface chicken wing. At least this bit is progressing somewhat.
John Cena comes out to the ring as he will address The Club. First, he asks the crowd if they came here to have fun as he amps them up a bit. He then talks about the energy the WWE had when he first faced off against AJ Styles but how everyone got disappointed when AJ had The Club bail him out. Cena talks about wanting to see who the better man was but in the back of his mind, he knew if he fought one member of The Club, he’d be fighting them all. We are shown a replay of The Club costing Cena his chance to get added to the WWE Title match at Battleground. Cena then talks about how he is always looking over his shoulder and is here to send a message, which is “you want some, come get some.” The Club then come out as AJ was disappointed in Cena for whining and complaining about a personal setback instead of being patriotic. He then talks about how The Club were supposed to have a homecoming in Japan this week but got there to see Cena’s face all over the posters. AJ then tells Cena how they run Tokyo and soon will do the same to the WWE but that will not happen until they get rid of Cena. AJ brings up how the powers that be who did not want him 15 years ago have opened their eyes to him when he won at Money in the Bank. AJ then says those same guys all got happy when he won and how no one comes out to help Cena because he puts himself out on an island. AJ said most WWE superstars can relate to The Club and would want to be in his position to beat Cena up and will do that each week he comes out. AJ then asks what is more fun than beating up Cena week after week. AJ and The Club as they talk about how they are going to spend their holidays beating up Cena then said since its the 4th of July today, they have to do something special. The Club surround the ring then rush Cena as they stomp him down. They all take turns hammering away until Enzo & Big Cass come out for the save as they help Cena clear the ring. This ends with Cena’s theme playing as he raises the hands of Enzo & Big Cass with The Club seething on the outside.
Decent segment. I thought AJ was good on the mic, even if it ran a little long. The save by Enzo & Big Cass did not get over as much as you would think though as it appears they will have a six-man tag match in the near future. To be honest, I would just rather see AJ vs. Cena again.
The Shining Stars are holding tiny American Flags as they tell us how no one can celebrate the 4th of July like they do in Puerto Rico.
Summer Rae vs. Becky Lynch
This match was supposed to take place last week but Becky attacked Natalya at ringside instead. Becky misses a charge in the corner as Summer stretches her out as we see Natalya watching on a monitor backstage. Summer hits a spin kick for two then applies a chinlock. She then almost kills Becky while trying a suplex then Becky counters a second attempt with a small package for two. Well, Becky might have been at fault for that suplex. Becky fires up and runs wild for a bit until she gets hit with a spin kick. Summer tries another kick but Becky ducks that and puts her in the Disarmer for the win (3:00) 1/2*. Backstage, Natalya appeared disappointed over Becky winning.
Thoughts: Some sloppiness here and the crowd was dead. This was just a segment to push the Becky/Natalya feud.
We are in the Multi-National Alliance locker room as Jericho tries to take leadership with everyone bickering until Owens screams and says after what happened at that food fight, he is ready to beat on some “stupid, idiot Americans” and that they all better get on the same page. A few of them leave until we are left with Zayn, Cesaro, and the Lucha Dragons as they preach unity and the chance to show off what America is all about, which is diversity.
We get Enzo & Big Cass doing some hype for Sonic. Weird that Enzo could not spell “delicious” here but earlier on could name all of the U.S. Presidents.
The New Day come out to the ring. They do their schtick and accuse the Wyatts of engaging in incest while Xavier seems preoccupied, something he was not during the food fight. The Wyatts interrupt as they are on location from their compound as they want the New Day to come join them. Kofi makes some jokes and accepts the invite as he and Big E promise to spray positivity everywhere until Xavier interrupts and points out how dangerous the Wyatt Family is and that if they cannot see the danger in front of them, he does not think the New Day will be able to survive. Xavier leaves as the crowd is disappointed.
This Thursday on Smackdown we will find out who will be Brock Lesnar’s opponent at SummerSlam. Plus, John Cena will team with Enzo & Big Cass to take on The Club at Battleground.
Multi-National Alliance (Cesaro & Sheamus & Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn & Alberto Del Rio & Lucha Dragons) vs. Team USA (Big Show & Apollo Crews & Zack Ryder & Dudley Boyz & Mark Henry & Jack Swagger & Kane)
Match starts with Owens beating on Ryder. Sin Cara comes in and hits D-Von with a few moves but ends up eating a 3D as he is eliminated (1:07). Sheamus catches Bubba with a Brogue Kick then Kalisto hits a springboard splash for the pin as Bubba is gone (1:18). We head to break and return with no other eliminations. Cesaro and D-Von are going at it until Cesaro puts him in the swing. He then puts D-Von in the sharpshooter and makes him submit as D-Von is gone (5:35). Swagger comes in as he and Cesaro acknowledge their past as part of the Real Americans. They go at it as Cesaro escapes from the Patriot Lock and tags Jericho. Swagger clotheslines Jericho and beats on him for a bit until Jericho got his feet up on a Swagger Bomb attempt as Jericho then follows with the Codebreaker for the pin (7:46). Kane comes in and waits for Jericho to turn around and grabs his throat. Kalisto runs in and Kane grabs him then everyone runs in and brawls as we head to break and return with Del Rio having Crews in a chinlock. Crews fights out and hits a dropkick as he tags Henry, who looked really old and slow. Kalisto tags and tries a springboard move but gets caught and hit with the World’s Strongest Slam for the pin (13:20). Owens is in and hits Henry with the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the pin (13:35). Owens is beating on Ryder then yells at Zayn to do his part and tag in but whips Ryder at Zayn, who gets knocked to the floor. Zayn runs in and brawls with Owens until dumping him to the floor. Kane is in and cuts off a dive attempt with a clothesline. Then Owens runs in and hits Zayn with a chair as the ref calls for a DQ (14:50). Owens then hits Kane with a chair after blocking a chokeslam attempt and yells at the ref for getting DQ’ed as he tries to attack Zayn again but Kane stops him and hits Owens with a chair as the ref has now DQ’ed Kane (15:25). Crews comes in and hits Zayn with a standing moonsault for the pin (15:47). Sheamus runs in to hit Crews with a Brogue Kick for the pin (15:55).
We are now down to Big Show & Zack Ryder vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, Jericho, and Del Rio. Ryder is getting beat on by Sheamus and Jericho, who is spending a lot of time taunting the crowd. The crowd rallies behind Ryder as Jericho and Cesaro are fighting and that leads to Cesaro hitting them all with the uppercut train. He then uppercuts Ryder and tries for the Neutralizer but Ryder turns that into a bridging rollup for the surprise pin (18:33). Jericho is back in and beats on Ryder. Sheamus tags and tries a suplex but Ryder floats over and hits a neckbreaker as both men are down. Jericho tags in but so does Big Show as he runs wild. Show hits Jericho with the KO Punch for the pin (20:06). Del Rio comes in but Show puts him away with a chokeslam (20:28). Sheamus is the last man left on his team and tries to leave but Show beats on him for a bit. Ryder tags in and goes nuts on Sheamus until getting caught in a tilt-a-whirl slam. Sheamus then runs into Show, who pushes him back as Ryder runs over to hit the Rough Ryder for the win (22:16) *1/2. After the match, a flag fell from the ceiling as we get some patriotic music playing.
Thoughts: This match was all over the place and not in a good way. Plus, it was too damn long. There was zero flow or reason to even care about what was going on here. It was also odd to see Kane getting DQ’d after hitting someone who was already disqualified from the match. It was not an exciting way to end the show.
Final Thoughts: Look, I get they were going light here for the holiday and trying to put in a lot of comedy but in the process, they had a lot of illogical stuff take place. Plus, the comedy was mostly a miss and felt largely dated and it took up a good chunk of time. And everything else tonight that was not comedy largely fell flat. It was not a fun show to watch.
I also felt that they could have at least hyped up Battleground better than they did here. I get not starting a ton of new storylines with the draft coming up but the PPV took a back seat to the holiday theme and they could have done a bit more to hype that up.
Overall, if you went out for the Holiday and forgot to set the DVR, I would not be worried as you did not miss much at all that was vital to the key storylines.