WWE SmackDown Live Recap: July 2, 2019
A.K.A. The One Where Kofi Flipped The Bird
After Paul Heyman’s first turn with Raw, it is now Eric Bischoff’s time to take over SmackDown Live. Reports say that he’s being eased into the position of Executive Director, but expectations are going to be high. Plus the Samoa Joe-Kofi Kingstno rivalry will continue. Will we see another debut tonight, just like Street Profits on Monday? All this, and maybe some more Firefly Funhouse characters, tonight.
- Daniel Bryan def. Big E
- Bayley def. Nikki Cross
- Andrade def. Apollo Crews
- Ember Moon def. Mandy Rose
- Heavy Machinery def. Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens, earning a spot in a triple threat Tag Team Championship match at Extreme Rules
Match of the Night: Andrade def. Apollo Crews by pinfall after a Hammerlock DDT
Apollo Crews is such a talented wrestler. This was his first actual match on SmackDown Live and he was on fire. He had Andrade on the ropes before Zelina Vega interfered to give her client Andrade the advantage. These two had a ton of chemistry, and hopefully his showing will give WWE the idea to showcase Crews more. His rumored tag team with Chad Gable is still a possibility that would make a burgeoning tag team division even better.
— WWE (@WWE) July 3, 2019
Kevin Owens – Tweener?
When he returned from injury, Kevin Owens was a face for the first time in WWE. It lasted only a few short weeks, but he could be returning to the good side sooner than we would have imagined. Tonight, Owens played a more babyface role when hosting the Kevin Owens Show. He antagonized Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. When Dolph Ziggler interrupted, Owens absolutely dressed him down.
Ziggler and Owens had to tag in the main event for a shot at a tag team title opportunity. Owens seemingly wanted to make the team work. During the main event tag match, Ziggler accidentally superkicked Owens and cost them the match. Owens hit the stunner on Ziggler, and does that make him a babyface? It at minimum makes him a tweener in my book.
Stone Cold Kofi Kingston
The feud between Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston is heated. Joe keeps sneak attacking Kingston, but tonight he was direct in his criticism. He called Kingston inauthentic, and said that the champ pandered to his fans. Kingston at first tried to laugh off his challenger, but it got more intense. When Joe offered Kingston safety for his family and New Day brethren in exchange for a handshake, Kofi had different sign language for Joe.
— Tribal Krendel Chief (@Krendelrus) July 3, 2019
Kingston looks like a champion who will not be walked over. He has the toughness and edge that some of his detractors has said he lacked. One middle finger does not a bad ass champion make, but it was a start.
Ali Channeling Ali
He was meant to be the star of the gauntlet that ultimately propelled Kofi Kingston to the WWE Championship before an injury. Now, Ali has been cutting pre-taped promos about chasing the light. This week he had his absolute best. In 90 seconds, a fan could learn who Ali was, why he was fighting, and get invested in it. He was channeling his best Muhammad Ali here: a man of the people, who can wax articulate and lay the hammer down. When Ali comes back to the ring, WWE has a ready made star to showcase.
— WWE (@WWE) July 3, 2019
A show that had some standout moments, but also a lot of filler. Three of the big title feuds got plenty of time to shine: Bayley-Bliss & Cross, the Tag Team Championship picture, and Kingston-Joe. As usual the Shane McMahon stuff dragged, and none of the in-ring action felt particularly outstanding. Aside from a middle finger, an Ali promo, and Owens work, this SmackDown Live was missable.
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One More Thing:
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful hit the nail on the head with this tweet. What Nikki is now is what WWE was going for with Bayley at first. It was evident when seeing Cross host a Moment of Bliss tonight.
Hear me out: Nikki Cross is everything WWE wanted Bayley to be, but they fumbled the booking.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) July 3, 2019