Any time Elias gets an opportunity to cut a promo on a reactive crowd like Portland is a great time. Tonight proved no different. Easily the most fun segment of the night was Elias cutting a promo. More on that later, but tonight’s SmackDown Live was one full of setup for Extreme Rules coming on July 14. There isn’t a lot of time to build for this one, so WWE scheduled a pair of 2 out of 3 Falls matches for tonight’s show. Makes sense, right?
Anyway, this wasn’t a great episode of SmackDown Live, but it was definitely a packed one full of content getting us ready for the next PPV event. Let’s get into the show.
Kofi Opening Promo
It’s formulaic at this point, but every episode of WWE television must open with a promo. Kofi cut a mediocre one here stating that life as WWE Champion has contained both ups and downs including last night’s beatdown by Samoa Joe. This segment also contained a Dolph Ziggler promo who let everyone know that he had an opportunity to join the match if he beats Kofi Kingston in a 2 out of 3 Falls match.
Daniel Bryan & Erick Rowan vs Xavier Woods & Big E
Fun match, albeit a short one. Both teams looked fairly decent with the New Day members picking up the win here. After the match, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens appeared to beat down the New Day. Heavy Machinery appeared to make the save, only to be met by Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan. Big E hit a HUGE clothesline knocking Rowan to the outside of the ring in the wind-down of this beatdown segment. This set up an 8-man tag match because, why not?
Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs New Day & Heavy Machinery
As most 8-man tag matches are, this was a mess. Lots of action in the ring with Rowan gaining the upper hand. Otis and Tucker hit their finishing moves to pick up the win. Who took the pin? If you had to ask, you’re probably also not shocked it was Sami Zayn. Seriously, Sami’s character is one of the best things going in WWE today. Why is he always damaged by taking the pins in every match? Steaks, weights, and pancakes for the win here.
Miz vs Elias in a “beat Elias and get to face Shane” match
No, I’m not kidding. In the era of “no automatic rematches, but still rematches anyway,” WWE set up the potential for yet another rematch of a feud that has gone on forever.
Backstage, we saw Miz and Elias chatting. The A-Lister told Elias that he has unfinished business with Shane and he wants to take care of before Shane faces Undertaker. He asked Elias for a match with Shane to which it seems Elias completely ignored. After Miz walked to the ring, Shane walked out of the locker room and Elias shared the Miz’s request. Shane said it’ll be a, guess what, 2 out of 3 Falls match against Elias. If Miz wins, he gets to face Shane at a later date.
In the ring, Elias and Miz had a worker’s match here. Decent stuff, with Elias picking up the first fall. The second fall went to Miz on a DQ as Shane takes a shot at Roman Reigns by delivering a spear. This set up Elias to hit the drift away and pick up the third fall over Miz, preventing the rematch none of us wanted. Elias was triumphant and turned face in my eyes.
Finn needs a new challenge
Worth noting quickly here, Finn was backstage discussing his match with Almas at Super ShowDown and stated that he needs a new challenger. Suddenly, this happens. Yes, please.
R-Truth saves the show
A great 24/7 segment happened here that must be mentioned because, frankly, the best part of WWE programming right now is the 24/7 title segments. R-Truth was backstage with Carmella and they saw Drake Maverick. Initially scared, Truth flinched only to find out Drake doesn’t have a ref. He admitted he has had nothing since he lost the title and it ruined his wedding.
Truth, in his normal hilarious confusion, stated that he thought that was Carmella’s wedding. He told Truth to get a ref only to say “psyche, I love this title more than you love your wife.” I’m not rating matches here, but I’m rating this segment an A+ 48/7 European TV Title segment. May Truth hold this belt forever.
Nikki Cross vs Bayley in a “Cross wins and Alexa gets a rematch” match
Set up by an earlier backstage segment, Nikki Cross was facing Bayley to win an opportunity for Alexa Bliss to get a rematch at Extreme Rules. Although this effectively set up yet another rematch, I have to get WWE credit here for being creative and further setting up a storyline between Cross and Bliss. This is one of the sneakiest good stories in WWE showing Alexa use yet another person for her own personal gain. There is a real opportunity for WWE to use this story to have Nikki’s beginnings on the main roster significant. This was a really short match with Nikki predictably picking up the win.
Sonya Deville vs Ember Moon
Set up last week over a doughnut segment, Ember and Sonya were squaring off in the ring. This was another short match with Ember coming up short. Ember was distracted by Mandy Rose, which gave an opening to Sonya to push her into the ring post and bring her in the ring for a roll-up. This continued the most disappointing call-up in a long time as Ember Moon continued to have moments for her to shine flounder away. Perhaps this is a part of a longer feud, but I’m hoping to see more from Ember going forward.
Aleister Black cuts a promo
Desperate for an opponent, Aleister Black cut another promo begging for one. Only this time, someone knocked on the door to end the segment.
Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston 2 out of 3 Falls
A PPV-worthy match stipulation with B level PPV stakes, Dolph must beat Kofi to be added to a triple threat match for the WWE title at Extreme Rules against Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston. Not much action for the first fall here until the end. Dolph rolled up Kofi and tried to cheat by holding on to the ropes to assist him in the pinning situation. Ref noticed, Kofi reversed and picked up fall 1. Dolph threw Kofi around the outside of the ring to gain the advantage for fall 2 before the ref restarted the match for the second fall. Smart strategy typical of a heel in these types of matches.
Abruptly back from commercial break, Kofi got a pin which Dolph kicked out of. Dolph hit a sudden Superkick and pinned Kofi to win the second fall. Both men looked exhausted here at the beginning of the third fall, Dolph attacked and Kofi fought back. The two put on a display of two completely exhausted warriors in the ring. The final third of this match finally got the crowd invested as both men started to hit big moves in an attempt to put the other away. Dolph hit a Zig-Zag that Kofi kicked out of.
The match ended with an impressive sequence here with Dolph attempting a Superkick, Trouble in Paradise counter attempt by Kofi, Superkick attempt by Dolph and finally, Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise, ending Dolph’s dreams of a WWE title match at Extreme Rules.
Overall, this wasn’t a particularly thrilling episode of SmackDown Live, but the crowd was rewarded with a solid main event. The nice thing about WWE having little time to build this show is that we already know what matches we have and there is just one week of TV left to set up the show.
This is also a detriment to the stories, but at least the writers have an excuse for giving us some rematches. Several of the matches that were built over the last two days of WWE programming are not particularly compelling, but that’s just the pains that WWE deals with due to their stacked PPV schedule.
And, most importantly, we do have some fresh matchups coming. It appears we have Nakamura vs Finn, Samoa Joe vs Kofi, and a likely title match between AJ Styles vs Ricochet built last night. Not a bad trio of matches for a two-week build.
- Xavier Woods & Big E defeated Daniel Bryan &Erick Rowan
- Xavier Woods, Big E, Otis &Tucker defeated Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
- Elias defeated the Miz 2 Out Of 3 Falls
- Nikki Cross defeated Bayley
- Sonya Deville defeated Ember Moon
- Kofi defeated Dolph Ziggler 2 Out Of 3 Falls
All pics courtesy of WWE