Original Air Date: July 4, 2017
Event Date: July 4, 2017 (aired live)
Commentary: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Tonight, WWE celebrates America. With puns and catchphrases and stuff.
John Cena returns to SmackDown and heads to the ring. He’s fired up because it’s Independence Day. America is about people of any race, sex, religion, etc. succeeding through hard work. The WWE is similar, people from all over the world working to be the best. Cena wants to compete with the best.
He addresses rumors about his future saying he isn’t a part-timer, he’s an all-timer. He isn’t going anywhere, and the competitive fire within him burns stronger than ever. Today, on Independence Day, the champ is here. Rusev’s music plays and he comes out to the stage.
Rusev says that while Cena was in Hollywood “playing his movies or whatnot,” Rusev worked so hard in the ring that he got hurt. He mentions the weeks of comeback commercials Cena got, wondering where the commercials for Rusev were. He sent messages to Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon but never received any responses. SmackDown is supposed to be about opportunity, but like America, it is a joke.
Cena invites Rusev into the ring, but Rusev refuses. Rusev says Americans think they can just order people around, but that’s not how it works. Cena says it’s not about bossing people around, it’s that Americans have fought to have a voice. He also suggests that he and Rusev compete in a flag match tonight. Rusev agrees to the match, but not today. He won’t be bossed around. Cena calls Rusev a coward and starts a USA chant as Rusev leaves.
Daniel Bryan tells Chad Gable and AJ Styles that Kevin Owens has been complaining that neither of them should be in tonight’s battle royal to determine a number one contender for the US Title. Bryan thinks he has a point since Owens has beaten them both recently, but he suggests that they compete in a match to determine which one of them gets to participate. They both agree.
AJ Styles vs Chad Gable
(referee: Danilo Anfibio; special stipulation: whoever wins is entered into the Independence Day Battle Royal)
Result: AJ Styles wins via pinfall after a Phenomenal Forearm
Very good match. Gable’s style fits very well with Styles. I mean, yeah, Styles can have a great match with anyone, but Gable’s amateur-influenced style with suplexes, grappling, and submissions is a great complement for Styles. This match had a number of great counters and some nice moments. My favorite part was probably near the end of the match where Gable and Styles traded submissions, then when they tried to stand up they both collapsed for a second from the damage each had inflicted on the other. I like the idea of American Alpha getting singles runs if these are the types of matches we’ll get.
Mojo Rawley is upset as he looks at a Hype Bros t-shirt. Zack Ryder walks up and tells him they have to put their loss to The Usos behind them. Mojo is still down. Ryder then tells Mojo that he got them both entered into the Independence Day battle Royal. That cheers Mojo up a bit.
Carmella and James Ellsworth head to the ring. Ellsworth wants everyone to forget about Independence Day and celebrate Miss Money in the Bank, Carmella. Carmella then completely misses the point and talks about winning the MitB contract even though everyone wanted it taken away from her. As she speaks, Naomi interrupts and dances to the ring.
Naomi says she isn’t scared of Carmella. She’s ready for her, any time. She then approaches Ellsworth, saying that someone else has some words for him. Daniel Bryan then heads to the ring.
Bryan laughs at Ellsworth and says he’s barring him from the arena tonight. He’s also fining him $10,000. And he’s suspending him for 30 days. And if he breaks any of his proclamations, Bryan will strip Carmella of the MitB contract. Carmella immediately urges Ellsworth to leave as they both head out of the ring.
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Lana vs Naomi (SD Women’s Champ)
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Naomi wins via submission with the Slay-o-mission
This was the shortest match yet between these two. It felt like they just wanted to get it out of the way. And really, if they had just left it at the PPV match, it would have been good for Lana. With these subsequent rematches it has just made it more and more clear that Lana shouldn’t be anywhere near the title. It’s odd booking in my opinion.
Tamina enters the ring after the match. She tells Lana to get up and escorts her from the ring. Everyone seems confused by Tamina’s actions.
Dasha Fuentes begins to ask Shinsuke Nakamura a question when Baron Corbin attacks him from behind. Corbin starts to talk to Nakamura when Nakamura fights back. Referees break the two of them up.
Wale is in the ring to officiate the upcoming rap battle. The Usos head to the ring with a bunch of guys in hoodies. New Day comes out next with an eclectic group of guys. Wale then says a few words to start the battle.
Big E starts with some easy shots. The Usos then lay into New Day with some nice shots and a reference to Xavier Woods’ appearance in Paige’s leaked videos. Kofi then takes his turn, mostly talking about how The Usos aren’t in very good shape. The Usos once again lay into New Day, this time referencing Kofi’s “Jamaican” heritage. Woods is up next and has the best of New Day’s rounds, talking about Total Divas and Roman Reigns.
The Usos shove New Day which starts a minor kerfuffle. Wale makes the decision to disqualify The Usos. Therefore, the winners by default, are New Day.
** The Usos actually won this though. They were way better. The current incarnation of The Usos is really great and I love what they are doing every time they’re on the mic. It’s always really good stuff. Tonight was no different, and I’m saying that as someone who was kind of dreading the rap battle. **
Titus O’Neil hypes 205 Live, saying “Titus Worldwide” is taking over the show tonight.
In the ring, Aiden English begins to sing. Randy Orton’s music interrupts and Orton heads to the ring for a match. As Orton makes his entrance, English attacks him from behind. He takes Orton to ringside and runs him into the ring steps. English then gets back in the ring and begins to sing again as we go to a commercial break. Orten gets back in the ring and their match starts during the break.
Aiden English vs Randy Orton
(referee: Charles Robinson)
Result: Aiden English wins via DQ when Orton hits English with the ring steps
This wasn’t really much of a match. After the commercial break it just consisted of Orton beating up English at ringside until he got himself disqualified.
Orton hits English with an RKO after the match. As he celebrates, Jinder Mahal comes out to the stage with the Singh brothers. Mahal talks about American prejudice and ignorance, and once again accuses people of racism. Orton stops Mahal before he can speak in Punjabi and says that no one likes Mahal not because of his skin, but because he’s a “jackass.”
Tenee Young (Tyler Breeze dressed as Renee Young) asks Tye Dillinger what his strategy is tonight in the battle royal. He says he’ll have to look out for everyone because it’s every man for himself. He also brings up the fact that Breezango might have to fight each other. That causes Breeze and Fandango (who is dressed as a construction worker or something) to briefly think about having to fight. They decide that they are teammates forever and awkwardly exchange looks.
Renee Young welcomes Maria and Mike Kanellis. Maria says that “love is undeniable, ageless, and timeless.” The video screen cuts out as they are talking, but it comes back as Sami Zayn “accidentally” interrupts by making noise as he’s preparing for the next match. Zayn says he likes their message. People need more love. He then quotes Huey Lewis (“Power of Love”).
Independence Day US Title Number One Contender Battle Royal
Sami Zayn vs Konnor vs Viktor vs Tye Dillinger vs Jason Jordan vs Mojo Rawley vs Zack Ryder vs Fandango vs Tyler Breeze vs Sin Cara vs Erick Rowan vs Luke Harper vs Epico vs Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles
(outside referees: Danilo Anfibio, Jason Ayers, Charles Robinson, Dan Engler; guest commentary: Kevin Owens)
Result: AJ Styles wins and becomes the number on contender for the US Title
Time: 7:38 (1 break)
|Elimination Order||Wrestler||Eliminations||Eliminated By||Time In Ring|
|1||Dolph Ziggler||0||Luke Harper||1:26|
|?||Epico||?||?||eliminated during break|
|?||Jason Jordan||?||?||eliminated during break|
|?||Viktor||?||?||eliminated during break|
|5||Fandango||0||Erick Rowan||1:50 (1 break)|
|6||Tyler Breeze||0||Erick Rowan||2:11 (1 break)|
|7||Sin Cara||0||Erick Rowan||2:26 (1 break)|
|8||Konnor||0||Luke Harper||2:56 (1 break)|
|9||Luke Harper||2||Mojo Rawley||2:59 (1 break)|
|10||Erick Rowan||3||Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder||3:34 (1 break)|
|11||Zack Ryder||1||Mojo Rawley||3:40 (1 break)|
|12||Mojo Rawley||3||Sami Zayn||4:04 (1 break)|
|13||Tye Dillinger||0||Sami Zayn||5:58 (1 break)|
|14||Sami Zayn||2||AJ Styles||7:38 (1 break)|
|Winner||AJ Styles||1||N/A||7:38 (1 break)|
This was an okay battle royal. There were some nice moments like when Fandango caught Tyler Breeze and helped him back into the ring to avoid elimination, and when Rawley decided to toss Ryder out of the match. The match could have been a little longer because some of the eliminations felt rushed, but it’s a TV battle royal so I don’t expect a whole lot. I do with the commentators had shown replays of the guys eliminated during the commercial break though. Epico, Jason Jordan, and Viktor were just gone with no explanation. They weren’t introduced either, so it’s like they weren’t even in the match.
Owens attacks Syles immediately after the match. He shows Styles the US Title belt, but that gives Styles the opportunity to strike back. Styles kicks Owens and goes for a Styles Clash, but Owens escapes and leaves the ring. Styles stands in the ring and holds the US Title as the show ends.
Yeah, this was alright. Aj Stlyes kind of single-handedly made the show worth watching, but I also enjoyed the rap battle more than I expected and Breezango is always entertaining.
Match of the Night
Chad Gable vs AJ Styles
A good match that I’d like to see revisited at some point.