Smackdown – July 4, 2014: Freedom of Speech

Smackdown
Date: July 4, 2014
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s a holiday show this week which means tonight could be anywhere on a wide scale. We’re coming off Money in the Bank and the main story seems to be Dean Ambrose promising to ruin Seth Rollins trying to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. This sets up an even better story between the two which could go on for months and get better every week. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

We open with a recap of the Authority vs. Cena starting on Raw. Why Cena is shocked at being on the cover of a video game that he must have posed for isn’t made clear. The video also shows the main event and its aftermath with the failed cash-in attempt and Reigns staring HHH down to close the show.

Here’s Rollins to get things going. He talks about Cena getting lucky on Monday, but luck can’t last forever. Eventually everyone’s survival rate drops to zero, so at some point he’s going to be the new WWE Champion. This brings out Ambrose to call Seth delusional. There’s no way he’s getting his hands on those titles because Ambrose is going to be there to stop every plan that Rollins and his sugar daddy cook up.

We look at Ambrose breaking up the cash in on Raw (again) and Ambrose says that the briefcase will be Rollins’ curse for the next year. Rollins knows Ambrose can’t keep it up for a year and he can’t stop Rollins from winning the title. Dean says he’ll start right now and the fight is on but Orton comes in for the save. Reigns runs in to clean house and the heels flee. HHH pops up and makes Ambrose vs. Orton. If Reigns interferes, he’s out of the title match at Battleground.

Cole and JBL plug Saturday Night’s Main Event coming to the Network.

US Title: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

Sheamus is defending. They trade kicks to the ribs to start until Del Rio snapmares Sheamus down and kicks him in the back. Sheamus comes right back with the rolling fireman’s carry and some right hands. The announcers chuckle over Sheamus stealing Del Rio’s car a few years ago. There’s nothing funny about a feud that boring. Del Rio sends him to the floor but gets whipped into the barricade, only to be sent hard into the steps. A Backstabber on the apron puts Sheamus on the floor and sends us to a break.

Back with Sheamus hitting a running cross body to put both guys down on the floor. They get back inside for an Irish Curse as the announcers talk about Howard Finkel being born in this town. Del Rio counters the powerslam into a DDT. He goes up top but Sheamus is up there with him, setting up the ten forearms on the top rope in a nice twist on the move. They don’t have the same impact but Sheamus was probably afraid of falling and breaking his leg.

The Brogue Kick misses and Del Rio hooks the armbreaker but Sheamus is next to the ropes. The Cloverleaf gets the same result and there’s the armbreaker again. Sheamus powers up to his feet and slams Del Rio into the corner. Del Rio’s low superkick gets two but he misses a moonsault, allowing Sheamus to Brogue Kick him for the pin at 8:20 shown of 11:50.

Rating: C. I don’t mind the Brogue Kick nearly as much as a way to end a back and forth match than when Sheamus has been destroyed and the hits it out of nowhere. The match was fine and Sheamus continues to be good for the title. He’s defended it once a month since winning it and that’s a lot better than most recent champions have done.

Stardust talks about children and asks what’s in a name. Goldust comes in and says he doesn’t know but it must be pretty important. Whatever it is, itt’s written in the stars (a million miles away?). Stardust leaves but comes back in to breathe deeply.

Roman Reigns says HHH is protecting his baby boy, but Reigns knows Ambrose doesn’t need his help tonight. He’s winning the title at Battleground.

We see the same video from Raw of the Money in the Bank pre-show with Bryan’s speech and Bo Dallas’ cameo.

Bo Dallas vs. Diego

Before the match, Bo says that we all know Daniel is still a special little fellow. He’s entering the battle royal at Battleground and winning the title for little Daniel. Bo does OLE before the match and gets dropkicked in the face. He stomps Diego down in the corner and drops a knee. The Bodog gets the pin at 1:43.

Post match Bo tells Torito to Bolieve and gets gored. Torito dances at him so Bo slams him.

We look back at Miz and Jericho returning on Raw, including Jericho laying Miz out before getting beaten up by the Wyatts. Miz as the Hollywood star works well enough as a character.

Here’s Jericho with something to say. It’s been a year since he’s been on Smackdown and it’s a great feeling to be back in front of all these Jericholics. Coming back last Monday felt good too, but then along came a spider. A big, dark, venomous spider with his family. The Wyatts are one of the things that have changed since he’s been gone.

He thanks the Wyatts for remind him that the WWE isn’t just all about surprises and music and light up jackets. The WWE is about survival and he can be dangerous just like the Wyatts. He doesn’t look like anyone else, he doesn’t act like anyone else and he doesn’t think like anyone else. The Wyatts can sit in a chair and sing a song but if you want to get crazy, he can go right there with them.

The Wyatts pop up on screen and Bray says the world doesn’t have a voice of its own. It can’t tell you what it wants and needs, but it’s begging for something to point it in the right direction. A savior perhaps. Bray introduces himself to Chris but says he has a thousand faces and a million names. He is the color red in a world of black and white. Save us Chris? Save yourself.

Jericho tells Bray to come out here but gets cut off by a movie trailer. It’s Miz’s new entrance video and only lasts a few seconds before going into his usual entrance. Nice touch. Miz comes out in sunglasses and asks Jericho how it feels to be interrupted. The fans were deprived of something special on Monday when Jericho broke the Golden Rule. He tried to hurt Miz’s face, the moneymaker. If that ever happened it would cost…..something we’ll find out later as Jericho lays him out with another Codebreaker. Jericho puts the sunglasses on because that’s the kind of guy he is.

Big E. vs. Cesaro

Both of these guys are in the battle royal for the Intercontinental Title. Big E., in the preacher voice, says he’s standing up for his friend Kofi Kingston tonight. Before the match we see a clip of Cesaro destroying Kofi on Raw. Cesaro jumps Big E. before the bell and takes him out to the floor for a brawl. Big E. sends him into the barricade but gets nailed with a chair. Cesaro throws him over the announcers’ table but Big E. comes back with a belly to bell. The straps come down but Heyman gets Cesaro out of there. The bell never rang.

Eva Marie vs. AJ Lee

Non-title and Paige is sitting with JBL and Cole but isn’t on commentary. Eva kicks her in the ribs to start and rams AJ into the buckle. AJ counters a side slam into the Black Widow for the submission at 1:20. Eva was basically standing still for most of the match while AJ ran into her.

Paige applauds AJ on her win.

Damien Sandow is Bruce Springsteen this week and the fans are into it. Lana and Rusev cut him off before he can get anywhere or cause a copyright lawsuit. Sandow is quickly dispatched and the fans chant USA. Lana’s response: shut up. Lana goes into a rant about how stupid the Fourth of July is because it’s about stupid songs and making people fatter.

Colter and Rusev cut them off and rips on them for being illegal immigrants. Russians didn’t invent cars or put people on the moon, but they did invent vodka. Lana tells him to shut up. Colter’s response: why don’t YOU shut up? Colter wants the fight right now but stops for WE THE PEOPLE. Rusev backs down and leaves. Swagger is going to get broken in half by the Accolade but it’s a cool ride to get there.

Jericho vs. Miz on Monday.

Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose

Rollins is on commentary and Reigns isn’t allowed to be at ringside. Dean, with a heavily bandaged shoulder, hammers away in the corner to start so Orton bails to the floor. Back in and Dean stays on him with headbutts but Orton nails a nice dropkick for two. Ambrose gets sent into the middle buckle and Randy cranks on the bad shoulder. Orton kicks him into the ropes and is the first person smart enough to follow him over when Ambrose starts bouncing off the ropes. Another kick sends Dean outside and we take a break.

Back with Orton sidestepping a missile dropkick for two. He stays on the bad shoulder and sends it into the post. They head outside where the shoulder gets posted again and a belly to back suplex drops Ambrose onto the barricade. Back in and it’s time to crank on the arm even more. Cole brings up the free replays on the Network while asking Rollins if he needs to study Ambrose.

Dean reverses a whip and sends Orton shoulder first into the post. He drives his own shoulder into the mat to try and pop it back into place. Dean hammers away and drops him with a running forearm. A middle rope elbow to the jaw puts Orton down again and a clothesline puts him on the floor.

The suicide dive connects and both guys are down outside. Ambrose throws Randy back inside and of course goes after Rollins. He sends him into the barricade before running in to roll Randy up for two. Dirty Deeds is countered and Orton nails the powerslam but Dean backdrops out of the Elevated DDT. Another suicide dive is countered by a Rollins briefcase shot to the bad shoulder though and that’s a DQ at 9:27 shown of 12:57.

Rating: C+. The match was ok but nothing all that great. They made it pretty clear that Rollins was going to interfere and it makes sense given the story. The shoulder stuff was exactly what should have been done and the match was entertaining enough for the main event of a TV show that no one is going to watch.

Orton lays Ambrose out with an RKO and rips the bandages off the shoulder. Rollins goes up top but Reigns runs down to shove him off and nail Orton with a Superman Punch.

Overall Rating: C. This was a placeholder show with far more talking than wrestling. Like I said though, why would you waste anything important on a show airing on the Fourth of July? What we got wasn’t bad but it’s nothing you need to see. It did however show how many good things are coming for WWE as a lot of these stories sound good in theory. That’s a good sign.

Results
Sheamus b. Alberto Del Rio – Brogue Kick
Bo Dallas b. Diego – Bodog
AJ Lee b. Eva Marie – Black Widow
Dean Ambrose b. Randy Orton via DQ when Seth Rollins interfered

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