WWE SmackDown LIVE, July 4, 2017: Styles phenomenal en route to Independence Day Battle Royal victory
AJ Styles overcame all obstacles, including interference from United States Champion Kevin Owens himself to become the new No. 1 contender for the United States Championship. Elsewhere, Randy Orton snapped as his Punjabi Prison Match with WWE Champion Jinder Mahal at WWE Battleground draws closer.
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SmackDown Results : Quick Hits
- John Cena’s return to SmackDown LIVE was interrupted by Rusev
- AJ Styles def. Chad Gable to gain entry into the Independence Day Battle Royal
- Carmella and James Ellsworth had a Carmellabration
- SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi def. Lana
- Baron Corbin blindsided Shinsuke Nakamura backstage
- The New Day def. The Usos in the Rap Battle, hosted by Wale
- Aiden English def. Randy Orton via Disqualification
- AJ Styles won the Independence Day Battle Royal to become the No. 1 contender to the United States Championship
SmackDown Results : Full Details
John Cena’s return to SmackDown LIVE was interrupted by Rusev
PHOENIX — In his triumphant return to Team Blue on Independence Day, John Cena was treated to a hero’s welcome by the WWE Universe. Cena, a free agent, passionately claimed that he was here to prove all his doubters wrong and was ready to take on the best on both SmackDown LIVE and Raw. However, the exuberant vibe was quickly altered when Rusev finally arrived on the blue brand for the first time since the Superstar Shake-up!
Feeling slighted by both SmackDown LIVE management and the WWE Universe, Rusev degraded Cena and the USA. Cena, off-put by The Bulgarian Brute’s clear lack of respect for the Fourth of July, proclaimed that this night wasn’t about Rusev, but about America.
Rusev and Cena jaw-jacked back and forth on the topic of American ideals, and The Cenation Leader then challenged The Bulgarian Brute to a Flag Match here tonight on SmackDown LIVE. Rusev, however, was quick to decline the offer, stating he would not be bossed around by the 16-time World Champion.
It was later announced that the two would indeed have the Flag Match at WWE Battleground.
AJ Styles def. Chad Gable to gain entry into the Independence Day Battle Royal
After United States Champion Kevin Owens reminded SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan that he had defeated both AJ Styles and Chad Gable to retain his title in recent weeks, The “Yes!” Man set up a match between the two Superstars for tonight. Per Bryan, the winner would earn a spot in tonight’s Independence Day Battle Royal to determine the No. 1 contender to Owens’ title, and the loser would be left out completely. Basically, “win and you’re in.”
With so much at stake, Gable and The Phenomenal One left it all in the ring in a breathtaking bout. Much like he did against KO several weeks ago, the American Alpha member proved to be every ounce of ready and willing as his slogan suggests, but Styles gutted it out and connected with a head-ringing Phenomenal Forearm to claim the hard-fought victory, first giving Gable a nod of respect before making his exit.
Carmella and James Ellsworth had a Carmellabration
The Princess of Staten Island pulled no punches in gloating about her victory in the second-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match last week on SmackDown LIVE. However, before the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S contract-holder could boast about her accomplishments for too long, SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi hit the scene to make it clear that she would be ready for Carmella at any time.
Daniel Bryan also entered the arena, cutting the Carmellabration short and informing Ellsworth that he would be barred from the arena tonight, fined $10,000 and suspended without pay for the next 30 days due to his controversial actions last week. Bryan then made it very clear that Carmella would be stripped of the Money in the Bank contract if Ellsworth did not leave right now or if he broke any of these rules.
A shocked Carmella quickly seemed to realize that going against the boss on this one may not be the wisest of moves, so she instructed the flustered Ellsworth to leave the ring, eventually forcefully escorting him away.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi def. Lana
“Controversy” was the watchword after the conclusion of Naomi and Lana’s SmackDown Women’s Championship rematch last week, as a replay showed that Lana’s shoulder was up before the official counted to three. Because of this, Daniel Bryan announced that The Ravishing Russian would get her third opportunity at the SmackDown Women’s Title tonight on SmackDown LIVE.
The new watchword was “GLOW,” as Naomi convincingly defeated Lana with a swift submission victory. After the title bout, a distraught Ravishing Russian was surprisingly consoled by Tamina, who came to the ring after the contest and asked her to come with her. What did this seemingly random act of kindness imply?
Baron Corbin blindsided Shinsuke Nakamura backstage
Shinsuke Nakamura was attempting to take part in an interview with Dasha Fuentes backstage, but before he could even hear her first question, The Artist was bum-rushed by Baron Corbin. Clearly angered by Nakamura insinuating that he was afraid last week, The Lone Wolf took him down. However, as Corbin attempted to prolong the beating, Nakamura turned the tides, and WWE officials soon broke up the wild fracas.
The New Day def. The Usos in the Rap Battle, hosted by Wale
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos and The New Day arrived to Team Blue equipped with more bars than the Vegas strip. With Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Wale hosting, each Superstar took the mic and flowed, with humor certainly being The New Day’s zone and personal attacks being where The Usos operated most comfortably.
After the war of words began to get physically contentious, Wale called off the rest of the battle and simply declared that New Day were victorious. The New Day celebrated with Wale while the seething Usos took off with their crew.
Aiden English def. Randy Orton via Disqualification
Angered by Randy Orton’s sudden ambush last week as he tried to sing for the WWE Universe, Aiden English challenged The Viper on SmackDown LIVE tonight. English viciously attacked Orton before the bell during his pre-match solo, then gave it the full gusto once the bout began, not letting up on The Apex Predator.
However, Orton soon took over and savagely attacked English, assaulting him on the outside of the ring and slamming the steel steps into his face to prompt a disqualification. Undeterred, Orton planted English with a ring-shaking RKO before WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers interrupted.
Mahal emphatically declared that he would erase The Viper’s legacy completely after he defeats him in the Punjabi Prison Match at WWE Battleground. In response, The Viper let The Modern-Day Maharaja know that he was going to punish him inside the daunting structure en route to reclaiming the title.
AJ Styles won the Independence Day Battle Royal to become the No. 1 contender to the United States Championship
With the No. 1 contendership to the United States Championship on the line, the Independence Day Battle Royal proved to be quite the tumultuous melee.
Action moved at a pulse-pounding rate as United States Champion Kevin Owens watched on from the commentary desk. The raucous match included such highlights as Mojo Rawley eliminating his own Hype Bros partner, Zack Ryder, before being booted off the apron by Sami Zayn’s Helluva Kick.
Tye Dillinger made it to the final three and nearly claimed the victory after hitting Tye-Breakers on both AJ Styles and Zayn and tossing them to the apron, though Zayn back-body-dropped The Perfect 10 over the top rope to the floor. Styles prevailed after a thrilling exchange with Zayn that concluded when The Phenomenal One hit Zayn with a Pele Kick that sent him careening to floor from the apron.
The exhausted Styles, who earned two victories in one night, had no time to bask in the glory, however, as KO immediately attacked from behind following his win. Never one to stay down, The Phenomenal One fought back as soon as The New Face of America began to hold up his title and talk trash, and Owens fled the squared circle.