So, Steph here to do a SmackDown before I completely forget how to recap! I’ll apologise now for the lack of pictures, but I’m doing this recap of leaked video, because SmackDown goes live here in jolly old England at 1am, and I’m damned if I’m staying up and upsetting my rabbits. They find the sound of wrestling quite disturbing.
Straight into the show, we see a graphic for the fatal fourway match tonight for the #1 contender spot for Rusev’s US title. Cesaro drives up to the arena in a swish 4×4 limo, suited and booted of course, and makes some sweet puns about uppercut parties and swinging. That is, swinging by. Not… the other type of swinging. Apollo Crews is next, talking about what an opportunity this is for him, and he’s the underdog, but that he’s going to make this possible. Next, Sheamus is gelling his hair like he does it himself – yeah right – and saying he’s glad Crews is going to be joining them for this match, because he wants a chance to kick him around. Alberto Del Rio is last, saying that Cesaro can keep his suits, Crews can have his weight room, and Sheamus can do his hair, but that he’ll be beating his old friend Rusev for the title! Stirring stuff.
There’s a fan sign saying ‘I ate Booty O’s and now I’m pregnant’. Perfection. Also, the dulcet tones of Mauro Ranallo – I’ve missed you, darling!
MATCH: Cesaro vs. Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio – Fatal Fourway #1 Contender
Cesaro straight out to strip his suit off for our enjoyment, because god yes we love to see that man take off a suit. Shoulder STILL kinesio taped up, so we’re either milking that later if he wins and faces Rusev, or he was legitimately more hurt than we realised and came back not fully recovered. I’d put my money on milking it.
Commentary is Byron Saxton, Mauro Ranallo and David “Lawler really fucked up this time” Otunga. How’s that ‘no tolerance’ domestic violence policy working out for you, WWE, still selling us the Stone Cold podcast? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Still, nice to see they haven’t quietly brought Lawler back, disguised as someone else racist and abrasive.
Del Rio out next, and I really do wish he’d give up the shiny trunks, it gives me heart palpitations, and not in a good way. Crews enters and we get a recap of last week and Sheamus kicking Crews into the steps. Speaking of, here he is, the man who was briefly our WWE World Heavyweight champion. Remember that? Ah, the halcyon days. Bioluminescent Sheamus is here to coax you into his mouth with his shiny shiny chest. Then we get a Monday recap, too, and Crews pinning Sheamus after a helping slap from Del Rio. So this SHOULD be interesting.
- Straight away, Del Rio heads for Sheamus, and Cesaro to Crews. They quickly swap and Sheamus tumbles Crews out of the ring, brawling on the outside
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Cesaro to Del Rio and Cesaro hops over the ropes for a cannonball to Sheamus
- Del Rio follows up with a kick to Sheamus, and then to Cesaro, slamming him into the barricades
- Del Rio and Sheamus argue, before both taking it out on Cesaro and rolling him back into the ring
- Sheamus and Del Rio trade blows on Cesaro, before a snap suplex from Del Rio, and a suplex from Sheamus
- Crews runs in, but is quickly sent flying out of the ring again
- Cesaro is sent over the ropes and into the announce table, and a backstabber from Del Rio takes Sheamus out of the ring too.
- Back from commercials, Del Rio has set Crews up for the double stomp, but Crews counters it, and Del Rio gets hit by Cesaro in a cross-body, and pins Del Rio for two
- Cesaro goes to take Del Rio swinging, but Sheamus interrupts with an Irish Curse Backbreaker and pins Cesaro for two
- Sheamus gets Cesaro into a Cloverleaf, and Del Rio breaks it up with a superkick to Sheamus, and a pin for two on Cesaro
- Del Rio goes for the cross-armbreaker on Sheamus, looking to make him tap, but Crews breaks it up with a standing moonsault and pins Del Rio for two
- Crews grabs Del Rio, and Sheamus comes in with a dropkick taking out both of them
- Corner set up for Cesaro’s uppercut party, and it’s Sheamus who breaks it up with a slam and a pin for two
- Sheamus heads for Crews and stomps on him, but Crews comes back with jabs, before Sheamus picks him up in a fireman’s carry
- Sheamus and Crews topple over the ropes after a cross-body from Crews, and fall out of the ring
- Step-up enzuigiri from Del Rio to Cesaro, and Cesaro falls hard, but while Del Rio grandstands, Cesaro rallies
- Cesaro gets a swing on Del Rio, and then locks in the Sharpshooter
- Del Rio taps!
So it’s Cesaro to face Rusev later in the night for the United States Championship! It’s nice to see Cesaro getting this push, and I could watch him wrestle all night, so I’m not going to complain at this result. Crews wasn’t getting it, because he’s too green, and Del Rio doesn’t need the opportunity – I’m excited to see Cesaro and Rusev later!
Del Rio jumps on a celebrating Cesaro, fresh out of the ring, and shoves him into the steps, before setting Cesaro out for a double stomp from the ring apron, Cesaro gasping for air and holding his chest as Rusev’s music plays and out he stalks, unbuckling the title belt as three refs check on Cesaro.
Rusev gets on the mic and congratulates Cesaro for managing to achieve the highest glory ever – facing Rusev. Our champion says that Cesaro should face him right now, and Cesaro’s shaking his head, moving his previously-injured shoulder and talking to the refs as he struggles to his feet. The refs help him to walk away from the ring, as Rusev shouts that he’s a coward, and Cesaro turns around. I literally hear one of the refs say ‘leave it, leave it, he’s not worth It’, like Rusev and Cesaro are drunken women outside a Wetherspoons on a Friday night, and the US title is the last Bacardi Breezer.
MATCH: Rusev vs. Cesaro – United States Championship Match
Of course, Cesaro heads back to the ring and goes to climb in, holding his left arm close to his chest like he doesn’t have full movement. Poor Cesaro, he doesn’t have much of a choice, does he?
- The second the bell rings, Rusev is on Cesaro, who ducks out of the way and hits Ruseve with uppercut after uppercut
- Rusev pushes Cesaro away and goes straight for his ribs with kicks, before tugging on that injured shoulder and wrenching it
- Right hand to Cesaro’s ribcage, and a second, before calling that he’s the greatest US champion
- Cesaro reverses a hold into a vertical suplex, and we get a chance to see Lana on the outside, getting the lay of the land
- Cesaro gets a pin for one, but he’s starting to nod as a poorly-advised ‘USA’ chant rises for the man from Switzerland, facing the man from Bulgaria. Somewhere, Kevin Owens is proud of Cesaro
- Rusev gets Cesaro in the corner and continues to ram his shoulder into Cesaro’s ribs, before grasping him in a bear hug
- Cesaro starts to break the hold, getting his arm into the gap and pushing through, getting his elbow into Rusev’s shoulder
- European uppercut from Cesaro, boot from Rusev, then a springboard European uppercut from Cesaro as chants of the Swiss Superman’s name rise
- Rusev rolls outside of the ropes, staying on the apron, and though Cesaro gets him at the back on the beck, Rusev comes back with punches and a kick to get Cesaro away from the edge
- Rusev goes to sit on the top turnbuckle, but Cesaro comes back with another European uppercut and then a dropkick to take Rusev toppling over the edge to the outside
- Cannonball from Cesaro as the ref begins the count
- Cesaro gets Rusev into the ring, climbs to the top rope and goes for a cross-body, but gets caught, landing flat and Rusev coming back with a somersault senton, pinning Cesaro for two
- Cesaro lies flat in the ring, panting with the pain, and the ref goes to check that he’s fine to continue
- RUSEV SUCKS chants
- Rusev comes in with a boot, Cesaro catches it and hits him with two European uppercuts, before a huge clothesline to pin Rusev for two, Lana screaming as it looks like her man might be pinned
- Cesaro goes to set up for the Neutralizer, but Rusev shoves him aside for a knee to the ribs
- Rusev goes for the Accolade, Cesaro rolls through and tries to get him into the Sharpshooter, but Rusev can’t be rolled over and kicks free
- Rusev for the Accolade again, Cesaro reverses it and gets Rusev pinned for two and a half
- Rusev comes up with an enzuigiri to Cesaro, and this time, when he puts on the Accolade, it’s enough to make Cesaro tap
Rusev keeps the pressure on Cesaro’s ribs a little longer than necessary, and stands above Cesaro’s crumpled body, title held aloft, still our United States champion.
Rusev and Lana are backstage, and Renee congratulates him on his win, letting him know that it’s the Fourth of July on Monday, because maybe he can’t read a calendar, and tells him it’s independence day. He says it should be renamed Rusev day, and Lana giggle sycophantically. He says he’s planned to take Lana on a lovely holiday to an island somewhere, but Renee says he’ll be facing Titus O’Neil on Monday. Poor Lana, no holiday for her.
There’s a video package about Play Unified, and WWE’s partnership with the Special Olympics, and it’s pretty awesome. We get to see Big Show being passionate about something, and Sasha and Becky being adorable, and Cesaro being a cutie. It’s nice to see, and we also get a recap of last Monday where we were introduced to Special Olympics athletes.
MATCH: Dana Brooke vs. Billie Kay
Dana Brooke is backstage, pulling on her gloves, and then it’s time for a match! She throws an aerial on the ramp, which looks bloody gorgeous, before flexing for us. She’s up against NXT’s Billie Kay! We get a recap of last week’s SmackDown, with Sasha showing up and taking down Charlotte and Dana, with Charlotte walking away from Dana and leaving her in the ring with Sasha.
- Dana starts vicious, shoving Billie away from her and shouting about this being her ring
- Billie looks hesitant, taking her time getting to her feet before the women lock up
- Dana viciously gets Billie into the corner and roughs her up, before throwing her aside easily
- Sasha is watching at her weird 45-degree angle backstage
- Dan throws Billie around the ring, but there’s a counter into a suplex from Billie
- Flapjack from Dana, who doesn’t relent with the smack talk, slamming Billie’s head into the mat and holding her by the hair
- Dana gets her foot on Billie’s throat in the corner, and keeps kicking down just in time for the count
- Lariat from Dana, flexing as she puts her foot on Billie’s throat
- Lateral press from Dana, two count
- Headlock from Dana, with Billie punching her way out, blocking a shot from Dana and punching her back easily
- Flying headscissors takeover from Billie and then a discus punch and a kick, taking Dana down for the two count
- Billie drags Dana up, but there’s a jawbreaker from Dana, before a Samoan driver to get the pin for the win
That match was a three-minute squash, but I get wanting Dana to look good, and she looked incredibly strong here. Poor Billie Kay, but hey, she got her main roster time, and more people will know her name, so all’s fair in love, war, and wrestling, I guess.
We see Sasha backstage, and Renee comes to talk to her about Dana’s victory. She says ‘the boss’ isn’t just a nickname, and that she’s never been more focused about getting the women’s championship. Sasha gives Charlotte her dues, but says that she’s coming for her – only to be interrupted by Summer Rae, probably texting Tyler Breeze some juicy gossip. Oh my god, Jess and I were just talking about how Summer needs a storyline that doesn’t involve a man, is this a taster of what might be to come? Sure, this’ll be short, but hey, it might be a bit of fun. Summer says everyone’s sick of the whole ‘boss’ thing, and that she hopes she’s on a different roster from Sasha come the draft. Sasha says she’ll take on Summer tonight (TWO WOMEN’S MATCHES I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MYSELF) and Summer looks very pleased with herself as Sasha walks off.
Miz and Maryse are in the ring for Miz TV, and Maryse addresses the crowd to introduce her white-suited husband to a chorus of lacklustre boos. He’s got his title on his shoulder, and he says that this could be the last Miz TV on SmackDown – or it could become the signature show, and he says there’s many questions that need answers. So, of course, Dean’s music plays before Miz gets a chance to finish introducing himself. Dean’s brought a brown paper bag with him, like he’s going to have his lunch, because he says his schedule has been hectic.
Dean takes a Cuban sandwich out of the bag and starts eating it, complaining about his schedule and how he hasn’t had time to rest. Little close to the bone there, guys, considering we know Dean did two shows in a row. He offers Miz a bite, but Miz won’t touch it, because it’s not organic and it has gluten in it. Dean tells us he doesn’t even know what gluten is, but reminds us he’s WWE Champion, in case we forgot, and also reminds us about the triple threat. So, still going with that, huh. And WWE Champion, that’s nice, seems like we’re headed for a title split, then.
Dean comments on the garish carpet and interesting chairs Miz has, and then Miz says that the only thing the Ambrose Asylum ever had that was worth anything was ‘that stupid plant’. Dean deliberately takes another bite of his sandwich, before telling Miz in no uncertain terms never to talk about Mitch that way. Apparently, some wounds don’t heal. The crowd agrees that the Ambrose Asylum is better than Miz TV, and even Maryse looks like she’d rather be somewhere else at this point, the crowd booing that they don’t want Miz TV. Dean talks with his mouth full, too, but we knew that from Table for Three.
The Miz calls Dean a joke, and says Stephanie is mortified that he’s champion, calls him a black mark, and that he’s an oddity, a novelty – basically all the stuff I’ve been worried about with all this joking, cheerful Dean. Miz says Dean isn’t on his level, and Dean says he can see where this is going, putting down his title as Miz takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeves. Dean takes Miz’s jacket, wipes his mouth with it, and the Maryse becomes a 1950’s washerwoman, snatching it from him, holding it up to the light, and rubbing at the stain. Really? She then throws it over Dean’s head and lets Miz cheap shot him while he can’t see. The boos rise as Miz holds his title aloft, helps his wife out of the ring, and the two of them head back up the ramp, Miz with the IC title, and Maryse looking very cross about it all. Dean grabs his title, and then picks his sandwich back up to continue eating it.
MATCH: Erick Rowan & Braun Strowman vs. Local Talent
The Wyatts are here. Hello, spooky boys, I’ve been missing you, as I’ve skipped three lots of recapping. Bray ambles out, flanked by his enormous man-baby followers Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman, and there is a woman who is every excited to shout for Rowan.
- Rowan starts off with a slam and a huge hand taking down one half of the local team
- Strowman is tagged in, climbs over the ropes, lifts one man out of his corner, and drops him on the other, still fallen from Rowan’s attack
- Strowman uses one man to pin the other, and it’s all over before even wonderful Mauro can be bothered to learn which one was which
Bray’s sat by commentary, looking pleased with his boys before he picks up a mic and heads towards the ring. The arena goes dark again as Bray poses over the fallen bodies of the two local talent, with his menacing boys behind him, and then – it’s The New Day!
Kofi is wearing his black sheep mask with its unicorn horn, talking cryptic bullshit about fear, and Big E asks if Bray fears soap, or women with big booties. Xavier Woods is stood between them, hands in his pockets, looking really nervous about the whole thing as Kofi and E joke about Bray’s penis. I kid you not.
Bray points out that Xavier isn’t laughing, and says he should tell his friends what he knows, that the devil calls for him, and Xavier looks really discomfited, as he’s told to pray, and run.
MATCH: Sasha Banks vs. Summer Rae
Summer looks wonderful as usual, draping herself on the top turnbuckle and kicking down just as Sasha’s music starts. God, I’ve missed Sasha, look at her, she’s so wonderful.
- The women lock up early, Sasha sent down by a shoulder tackle
- Summer goes for Sasha’s legs, but Sasha kicks free and hits Summer with a heavy slap
- Takeover from Sasha, before she drops Summer hard onto the mat
- Snapmare takedown by Sasha, but Summer comes up and throws Sasha out of the ring
- Summer grandstands, Sasha coming up behind her and getting her on the mat again
- Both women on the apron, Summer goes for a suplex but can’t lift Sasha, who gets a knee up and into Summer’s face
- Summer comes back with a huge kick, sending Sasha into the ring post and tumbling off the apron
- When we come back from commercial, Summer has Sasha tangled in the ropes and boot in her lower back, stretching her
- Summer breaks the hold to kick Sasha in the head, sending her sprawling into the middle of the ring
- Snap suplex from Summer Rae, who laughs in her victory instead of going for the pin, butting a couple of kicks into Sasha
- Summer goes for another snap suplex, gleefully shouting ‘again’, but Sasha wriggles free and rolls her up into a small package
- Summer kicks free, Sasha goes to pin her again. Once more, Summer wriggles free, but Sasha sets up for the backslide
- Summer’s pinned again for two, but she kicks out and whips Sasha into the corner
- Summer walks into a kick from Sasha, has her face shoved into the top turnbuckle, and then Sasha does a snapmare takeover out of the corner
- Two clotheslines to Summer Rae, who tries to get a kick in, but Sasha catches her foot
- Kick from Sasha, who goes to knee Summer in the corner, but Summer dodges, rolling up Sasha for two
- Spin kick, bilateral press from Summer, pinning Sasha for two again
- Summer goes for a suplex but Sasha lands on her feet, sending Summer into the top turnbuckle face first
- Sasha lays Summer out over the ropes, but Summer rolls free and kicks Sasha, before hitting her with a DDT, again pinning Sasha for two
- Summer reacts aggressively to the crowd chanting for Sasha, and it costs her, Sasha smashing her face on the ropes before setting up for the knee drop in the corner again
- Sasha locks in the Bank Statement, and Summer Rae taps
Wow! That was longer than five minutes, Summer Rae looked like a legitimate wrestler and a threat to Sasha, both women looked vicious and strong – I really, really enjoyed that. I want to see more of that Summer Rae, and not the one who just seems to hang around whoever her boyfriend is this week, because that was a HELL of a thing to see. Well bloody done.
We get the Raw rebound with Seth talking about Roman’s tweet where he doesn’t use the Oxford comma, and that’s how we know he’s a bad guy. Dean waves his title in Seth’s face, and Seth just becomes progressively more and more done with everyone he has to share a ring with. Then Cena and AJ – look, you know how this went down. The only funny bit is the idea of Seth Rollins turning down a fiveway or a fourway for something one-on-one, to be frank. Nothing changed about Battleground, but we did get Seth waving the title in the air, which he’s probably missed, poor baby. Give him a shiny toy to play with.
MATCH: Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz – Champion vs. Champion
Dean saunters out, gleeful, with that title looking so huge around his narrow waist, and I’m never going to get tired of seeing this man with that title, seriously. It makes me so damn happy, you’ve no idea how hard I mark out for this.
Of course, Maryse walks out her husband and coos sweet nothings in his ear, but he seems unusually focused on the oncoming match, rather than showboating, like he’s got something on his mind. Don’t know why, nothing’s on the line, but maybe he’s just conserving his energy.
- Miz ducks away from Dean early on, then comes in with a kick
- Dean catches the foot and hits Miz with a lariat, before getting him in the corner for jabs to the face
- Miz is whipped into the ropes and comes back into a strong forearm from Dean
- Snap suplex to Miz, then an elbow drop and a pin for one
- Chops from Dean, before a snapmare from Miz as well
- Miz bounces Dean’s head off the turnbuckle as Otunga calls himself and The Miz ‘a couple of thespians’ with the same glee a teenage boy finds in saying ‘fork and knife’ and realising it sounds like a sweary word
- Kicks to Dean’s mid-section, and then Miz whips him into the ropes, Dean finally landing on Miz in a cross-body
- Dean telegraphs a back body drop, so gets a boot to the face instead from Miz
- Clothesline from Ambrose sends Miz right out of the ring and onto the floor
- Suicide dive attempt, but Maryse moves Miz to the side, Dean coming out of the ring and chasing Miz back in
- Two big hip tosses from Dean to Miz, before Dean climbs to the top rope and comes down with a flying elbow
- Miz counters, goes for the Skullcrushing Finale, Dean counters by trying to go for Dirty Deeds, but Miz rolls and gets Dean out of the ring
- Miz goes for a wrecking ball dropkick, misses, walks straight into a clothesline from Dean
- Maryse is busy picking a fight with Dean, who has the posture of a man going ‘look, sweetheart, you don’t understand’ before Miz sneaks up on him with a right hand
- Both men trade blows outside the ring as the ref counts
- Miz whips Dean into the barricades, and the thud is pretty loud
- Back from commercials, Miz is working Dean’s left leg over and over, Dean clutching at his calf and limping to the corner
- Miz wraps Dean around the ring post and slams Dean’s knee into the ring post a couple of times, just for funsies
- Miz continues to work that leg, putting pressure on his knee, Dean trying to kick free from the ankle lock
- Dean fights back with punches, reverses an Irish whip, and sends Miz over the ropes onto the top turnbuckle
- Miz lands easily, bouncing Dean’s head off the top rope and sending him stumbling into the middle of the ring
- Miz goes to the top turnbuckle, but Dean comes up to meet him, both men on the ropes, Miz headbutting Dean into the centre of the ring again
- Double axe handle from Miz onto Dean, goes for the Skullcrushing Finale, Ambrose rolls him up instead and gets a pin for two
- Neckbreaker from Dean, both men dazed and lying on the mat, both rising nd Miz takes a number of jabs from Dean
- Three clotheslines in a row from Dean to Miz, before a running bulldog, pins Miz for two
- Dean stands with difficulty, that knee Miz worked giving him trouble, before he’s whipped into the corner, raising the bad leg instinctively to stop Miz from getting to him
- Miz works the knee a little harder, going for a figure four, but Dean kicks him away
- Dean comes back with a dropkick, Miz catches him and turns it into the figure four, locking it in this time
- Dean’s wild with pain, crawling backwards towards the ropes, trying to get to make the break, and he makes it, Miz holding it until four deliberately
- Miz goes to lock it straight back in, but Dean rolls him up in a small package, Miz kicking out at two
- Clothesline sends Miz over the ropes, and Dean comes through in a suicide dive, landing awkwardly on the bad knee
- Going up to the top rope, Dean leaps down, Miz dodges, and that knee takes the weight again, Dean crying out in pain
- Miz goes for the Skullcrushing Finale, Dean dodges and rolls Miz up for two, Miz rolling through and pinning Dean for two, before both men are up again
- Skullcrushing Finale hits, and Dean manages to kick out at two
- Quick shot of Maryse, who looks like she’s wondering how long she has to keep standing here for in uncomfortable shoes
- Miz goes for a kick, Dean catches him and rolls him up for two, Miz kicks out
- Corner clothesline from Miz, connects, and he goes for the double axe handle, caught by Dean
- Dean hits Dirty Deeds and pins Miz!
Still struggling on that worked knee, Dean holds his title aloft again as Maryse calls for Miz’s title to be brought to him as he lies on the floor outside the ring. She drapes the title over him like he’s a dragon and gold has healing powers, and we close out SmackDown with our WWE Champion shaking his head like a bemused puppy in the middle of the ring. We’ll see you for a patriotic Raw on Monday, recapped by zero Americans! Should be fun.