The July 4th Edition of Smackdown Live saw the return of the 16 Time World Champion John Cena along with the return of The Bulgarian Brute Rusev. Naomi defended the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lana, The Usos battled the New Day in an incredible Rap Battle hosted by Wale and the Independence Day Battle Royal crowned the New Number One Contender for Kevin Owens US Championship.
The returning John Cena opens the show and talks about what Independence Day means to him. He says that he’s back and isn’t just a part timer who sold out to Hollywood, but he’ll take on anyone on Raw or Smackdown. Rusev returns upset that while Cena was in Hollywood WWE aired commercials about his return, but despite his messages to the Commissioner he received nothing. He runs down America on Independence Day. Cena challenges him to a Flag Match but Rusev of course declines. This is probably the best and safest feud for the returning Rusev & Cena; their last feud a few years ago was magic. Cena & Rusev add a lot more depth to the Smackdown Live roster. John Cena vs Rusev is made in a flag match for the Battleground PPV.
AJ Styles defeats Chad Gable in a match where the winner was entered into the Independence Day Battle Royal later in the night. This was an incredibly good match, some really solid wrestling between the two as you would expect from two wrestlers as good as Styles & Gable. After the match both men showed respect to one another. A timely reminder of how good Chad Gable is.
Carmella & James Ellsworth come to the ring and quickly run down the crowd, rubbing in their Money in the Bank victory. Naomi quickly comes out and tells Carmella she isn’t concerned about her Contract at all. Daniel Bryan comes out, the YES chants are still incredibly popular, he is still the most over person in WWE. Bryan says that he is banning Ellsworth from the building, fining him $10000 and Suspending him for 30 days. If Ellsworth doesn’t obey these rules, Bryan will strip Carmella of her Contract. Carmella quickly rushes Ellsworth out of the ring and away.
Naomi retains the Smackdown Women’s Championship in about 10 seconds forcing Lana to tap out. Tamina came out and took Lana back with her, perhaps an alliance between the two is coming. Looks like Tamina will be Lana’s bodyguard from here on. A great idea to give Tamina something to do and get her on TV, and gives Lana another direction after losing so convincingly.
Baron Corbin attacks Shinsuke Nakamura backstage. Nakamura fights back but the two are separated by officials. a quick and easily way to remind everyone of their feud.
The rap battle between The Usos and The New Day hosted by Wale was insanity! These two teams held absolutely nothing back. There were comments about Xavier Woods being R-Rated (which I am not explaining here), the Usos only being famous Jimmy’s Wife put them on Total Divas, the Usos carrying bags for Roman and much more! This was hilarious and for something that looked ridiculous to begin with, was really enjoyable. How a rap battle can end in DQ I have no idea but that’s really not that big of a deal.
Aiden English begins to sing but is quickly interrupted by Randy Orton. The match is mostly interrupted by a commercial break, but the finish comes when Orton takes the steel stairs and hits English forcing a DQ. Jinder Mahal comes out onto the ramp and talks again about how he is disrespected because of his culture and colour. Nothing special but acceptable advancement of their story.
Tye Dillinger is interviewed by Breeze dressed up as a women’s interviewer ‘Tynee Young’. Breezango in the back as like a construction worker. The two try to get Tyes strategy but Tye clearly knows what the two are up to. Breezango pull this off perfectly once again. Then Renee Young interviews Mike and Maria Kanellis in a very humorous transition, as the two are about to kiss Sami Zayn accidently knocks over some poles ruining the moment. Sami apologises for last week. A very funny and quick way to advance the Zayn & Kanellis feud and show Breezangos talents.
AJ Styles wins the Independence Day Battle Royal to become the Number One Contender for the US Championship. Kevin Owens was once again hilarious and brilliant on commentary. Notably Mojo Rawley eliminated Zack Ryder, perhaps a break up of that team and a heel turn for Mojo is on the way. Great to see Tye Dillinger put in a good performance and be the second last eliminated. AJ Styles eliminated Sami Zayn by hitting a Pele Kick while Zayn was on the apron. Good idea to have Zayn be the last eliminated given he and Owens history. Very predictable having Styles win but definitely the right result, good to make the babyface earn the opportunity despite probably being entitled to it after the finish at Backlash. Again Styles vs Owens has the potential to be the match and feud of the year given the opportunity. After the match Owens tries to jump Styles but Styles fight back, going for the Styles Clash before Owens escapes as Styles stands tall to end the show.