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WWE SmackDown Live results (July 4, 2017): John Cena returns

WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (July 4, 2017) from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Philadelphia.

Advertised for tonight: John Cena returns, a SmackDown women’s championship match, a battle royal to determine top contender to the US title, a rap battle, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


So the maiden lies in waiting for the sails to reach the shore. Land of beauty and abundance, innocent, you opened wide your door, but me, I'm just here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show.

The show opens with a video package celebrating the Fourth of July both as a national holiday and as an excuse to party.

John Cena makes his entrance. He's fired up tonight and he wants to hear that the crowd is as well. They oblige with a round of "Let's go Cena!" / "Cena sucks!" and he soaks in that familiar atmosphere again before asking if we missed him. He's fired up because today is Independence Day and the United States was built on an idea.

A simple idea that anyone could come to this land and with hard work, achieve greatness. For 241 years this country has been built by and defended by all walks of life and on this day we celebrate the American Dream. WWE is the same, superstars from all around th world get a chance to come here and prove they have what it takes to compete with the best.

But especially as of late, lot of folks have been running their mouth and spreading rumors about his future, that he's gone Hollywood, sold out, lost his edge, that he's nothing more than a part-timing mascot. Well allow him to retort, he's not a part-timer, he's an all-timer, and that means Monday Night Raw and SmackDown and the reason he's a free agent is because if his time in WWE is limited, he's goin' down in a blaze of freakin' glory.

If you're scratching your head in the back and think he's not talking about you, well, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, line 'em up, he'll knock 'em down! In fifteen years he's never lost the passion to stand in that ring and compete with the best and now it burns brighter than ever. He's got nothing to lose, the Franchise is back, the Champ is here, and he couldn't think of a better time than now because today is Independence Day.

Enter Rusev, carrying the Bulgarian flag. Cena says he doesn't work hard? He worked so hard in that same ring that he got hurt, while he was off in Hollywood playing his movies. We run commercials for two months about John Cena coming back while he's sitting at home rehabbing his shoulder and wondering, "Rusev, where is your comeback commercials? You deserve that."

He sent video messages to Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon and never got a response, and that's why he's here, Cena isn't taking any opportunities from him. The American Dream is a lie just like America is a joke. John asks Rusev if he's lost, because we're not in his home of Bulge Area, we're in the USA.

He says America is a joke, well, every joke has a punchline, so line up right here and he'll punch you in the mouth. Rusev says everybody thinks they can boss him around, but American Independence Day is pathetic, sitting at home, stuffing our faces with cheeseburgers and hot dogs.

Cena reminds him he forgot about the fireworks, because we blow stuff up, too, and Rusev points out that wasn't meant to be a compliment. Rusev holds the Bulgarian flag high and John asks the crowd to forgive him since he's had time to think and that's a bad idea. He has the wrong idea about Americans, it's not that we boss people around, it's that we've fought for the freedom to have a voice and we're not afraid to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

Cena proposes a flag match and the crowd is hot for it. Rusev agrees... but not today. He won't be bossed around, and they'll fight on his time, and on his terms. He puts the mic down and waves the flag vigorously. John tells him to run like a coward and that we don't do that in America, before leading the crowd in a "USA!" chant to end the segment.

Commentary hypes up the rest of our previously announced festivities and we cut to Daniel Bryan in his office.

Chad Gable rolls up, Bryan wanted to talk to him. AJ rolls up right after and Dragon says he's sick of Kevin Owens calling and complaining about how the two of them shouldn't be in the battle royal tonight, and he has a bit of a point. So he proposes a match where the winner gets into the #1 contender's battle royal.

AJ says he's not afraid of a little competition, Gable says he's more than a little competition, and Bryan informs them that the match is up next, after the break.

Back from commercial in time for entrances.

AJ Styles vs. Chad Gable (WWE United States Championship #1 Contender's Battle Royal Qualifying Match)

Circling, Gable looking to go low but Styles backs off. Collar and elbow, Chad with a waistlock takedown, keeping the hold, another takedown, into a twisting German suplex, back suplex but AJ lands on his feet and starts kicking away at the hamstrings. Drop down, dropkick, Styles in control as we go to break.

Back from commercial, Gable is on the mat but gets up to meet Styles on the turnbuckles. Headbutt knocks him back but he gets right back in, thinking avalanche belly-to-belly suplex but AJ slips down and away. To the apron, forearm, Chad blocks the springboard, up top himself, moonsault, nobody home but he lands on his feet!

Styles snaps off a straight suplex into the corner, looking to follow with the Styles Clash but Gable picks the leg and grabs an ankle lock to counter! AJ nearly in the ropes, the Olympian yanks him back, Styles kicks him down but he doesn't let go! AJ manages to reverse to a Calf Killer! Gable biting his own wrist to keep from tapping and he manages to roll Styles off him!

Styles Rush, Chad in at the end with an overhead German suplex! O'Connor roll, thinking Chaos Theory but AJ counters into a victory roll pin for a nearfall! Pele kick, up and over...

AJ Styles wins by pinfall with the Phenomenal Forearm.

Styles helps Gable up afterward, a look of respect on his face.

Mojo Rawley is chilling backstage, contemplating a Hype Bros t-shirt. Zack Ryder rolls up and asks him if he's still bummed, and Rawley says it's nothing. Ryder says it's something, but they have to put it in their rear-view mirror, and he talked to Daniel Bryan, and they're in the battle royal tonight.

Mojo turns super serious for a second and asks him if he realizes the mistake he just made before a smile plays across his face and he reminds Zack that he won the Fourth Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in Memory of Andre the Giant at WrestleMania this year. Zack tells him he only won that because he wasn't in it, and Rawley thanks Ryder for getting them the spot.

Carmella and James Ellsworth are walking backstage, and we go to break.

Back from commercial and Jimmy says they're here to celebrate something way more important than Independence Day, and predictably that thing is Carmella. Carmella asks if we thought somebody else was gonna win and makes Ellsworth hold the briefcase for her.

Everybody wanted to right a wrong and rewrite history, but the Rolling Stones said it best, you can't always get what you want... unless your name is Carmella. Because she has the briefcase, she has the power, and she decides when and where Naomi loses her title, and the only glow she's going to feel is--

Enter Naomi, with her shiny new LED-festooned title. She congratulates Carmella on winning Money in the Bank, but reminds her that she's SmackDown Women's Champion, and that contract gives her the power to get a title match whenever, but she's not shook or scared because her eyes are always open and her glow is always on.

And as for Ellsworthless, there's somebody else who has words for him...

Enter Daniel Bryan. He addresses James and asks what he's gonna do with him. Jimmy sputters and Bryan shuts him up, saying that was a rhetorical question, he knows what he's doing, he's barring him from the arena. Ellsworth laughs and laughs and asks what he's gonna do, and Bryan joins in, fining him TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!

Jimmy loses his mind, saying he doesn't have that kind of money, so Bryan also informs him he's suspended for thirty days without pay. AND, if he doesn't leave the arena THIS SECOND, or if he disobeys any rules, he's going to strip Carmella of the Money in the Bank contract!

Carmella hustles Ellsworth away as Bryan and Naomi celebrate, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Lana makes her entrance.

Lana vs. Naomi (c) (WWE SmackDown Women's Championship)

Naomi with a sunset flip, transitioning right to the submission...

Naomi wins by submission with A Bad Place, retaining the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship.

Tamina hits the ring after to tell Lana to get up and go with her. Lana is hesitant but eventually follows.

Shinsuke Nakamura is backstage for an interview but Baron Corbin blindsides him from behind with the briefcase before she can get her question out! He draws Shinsuke up and asks if he looks afraid and Nakamura blasts him back as referees run over to break them up.

We are informed that the Usos / New Day rap battle is up next, after the break.

Back from commercial I'd like to apologize in advance because I have zero clue how closely I'm gonna be able to follow this rap battle, folks.

Commentary announces that Daniel Bryan has made the Cena/Rusev flag match official for Battleground.

Wale asks Phoenix what's up and if they're ready for this, and he calls the Usos out first... and they have a posse!

Big E does the deal and New Day make their entrance, also accompanied by a posse. Theirs is Independence Day themed. Wale gives some basic instructions, all bars, no stars, keep it clean.

New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, & Xavier Woods) vs. the Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (Rap Battle)

Big E begins, running the Usos down as having done nothing before the New Day and calls them bums. And speaking of butts, say hi to your pops, because even Rikishi knows New Day rocks.

The Usos say they're going to talk about Big E's breasts, Kofi's resemblence to Whoopi Goldberg, and that Xavier's shoot height is less than his billed height, but first, welcome to the Uso Penitentiary. E is predictable, everybody knows Rikishi's their dad, but what about Big's? Are his breasts real or silicon? They asked a bunch of folks and still don't know.

They warn E not to get rated R like his boy Xavier Woods and their posse goes nuts, leading Wale to call for order. They repeat the line about Xavier and say it ain't paranoia, it's the Usos. Kofi up next for New Day, he calls out Jim Uso as looking like he's never worked out, and same for Jey since they're twins.

When you have abs that pop you can rock a crop top, but the Usos need to make like red hexagons and stop, stop. (Stop signs are octagonal, Kofi.) He continues to rap about their weight and asks why they wrestle in shirts, before answering his own question by suggesting that they look pregnant and have weeniedo, which is when your gut hangs out more than your weenie do.

Jey reminds Kofi that he used to be Jamaican, and Jimmy says he was Jafakin', and gave Jamaicans a bad nap. Fat jokes they best they have, but his forehead looks like the back of a hand and Ron Simmons would say "DAMN!" Superkick and Sharpshooter, best there is best there ever will be, Slammies, Paul Bunyan, I can't pick a thread out here.

They suggest the Usos are gonna need a fourth member to beat them and tells Wale that if he keeps hanging with New Day he'll end up in the hospital, and again, it's not paranoia, it's the Usos. Xavier up now, he says dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and that's why the Usos are dressed like recently divorced dads.

The Usos are tag champs, they made people believers, but they were nothing until his wife put them on Total Divas. They used to wear facepaint, bright colors, like showmen, but the New Day were on the horizon like a bad omen, and the Usos should get back to what they do best, and that's carrying bags for Roman.

THAT'S the one that sets off a brawl, and their posses hold them back! Wale disqualifies the Usos and orders them out of the ring.

New Day win by disqualification.

Randy Orton is walking backstage, he has a match after the break.

Back from commercial, Titus O'Neil tells us to get our popcorn ready for 205 Live, since tonight Titus Worldwide is taking over.

Aiden English is in the ring to sing us a few bars, but Orton again interrupts him. Randy makes his entrance poses and English asks if he was finished, because he's not done, and he blindsides Orton! He takes him outside and throws him into the steel steps before heading back in the ring to finish his song, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, the match is in progress.

Aiden English vs. Randy Orton

Orton has just caught English with the snap scoop powerslam and he's looking to put himself back together. Meeting English outside, he runs him over and throws him over the announce desk before caving his face in with punches. Hard into the barricade, face to post, back suplex onto the announce table!

Setting him up, hanging DDT off the table! The Viper gets the steps and referee Charles Robinson warns him to put them down. Randy clobbers Aiden with the steps...

Aiden English wins by disqualification.

Orton tosses English back in the ring after and paces, going to that special place... RKO!

Enter Jinder Mahal, flanked by the Singh Brothers as always.

He cuts a promo, saying the USA isn't the land of the free and the home of the brave, but rather the home of prejudice and the land of ignorance. We disrespect him because of how he talks and the color of his skin, but despite that he's still our WWE Champion. He'd put each and every one of us in the Punjabi Prison and beat tolerance into us if he could, but we'll have to settle for watching what he does to Randy Orton at Battleground.

He's going to destroy his legacy and prove that the Modern Day Maharaja is the only true superpower in the WWE, and he wants to talk to his people in his language. Randy interrupts and says now he's going to shut up and listen to what he has to say. Mahal thinks he has the advantage, but nobody's gonna stop him from beating ass in prison, and he might just RKO him back to India.

He's right that nobody likes him, but it's not because of how he sounds or looks, it's because he is and forever will be, a jackass.

Commentary shills for the WWE Network by talking Balls up, and then they hype our battle royal to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Tye Dillinger is walking backstage when an interview that definitely isn't Tyler Breeze rolls up to ask about his strategy. Tye's gonna stay away from the ropes and if at all possible grow eyes in the back of his head. He says Breezango are fearsome competitors but at some point they'll have to fight each other, and a construction worker who definitely isn't Fandango gets too close.

Dillinger calls Breeze a ten and Dango talks about coming to blows for America.

Maria and Mike Kanellis roll up to an interview themselves. Maria talks about the power of love, how it's undeniable, ageless, timeless, everybody wants it but not everybody gets it, and their love is the power of love. Mike says his wife is the most beautiful, perfect, beautiful woman and they go to kiss when something clatters.

Sami Zayn was stretching and he knocked something over. He apologizes and says he wants to apologize for last week as well, because he's a fan of their message in fact. Sami says love makes one man weep and another man sing, and notes that the News never seems to get as much recognition as Huey Lewis. Sami leaves for his entrance, and Mike goes in for a kiss and Maria isn't having it, and he agrees that the moment is ruined.

The battle royal is after the break.

Back from commercial we get a little hype for Talking Smack, which will feature the Kanellises, Naomi, and the winner of this battle royal.

WWE United States Championship #1 Contender's Battle Royal

Chaos to start, as ever in a battle royal. Viktor punching away at Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler to the apron but he keeps from being eliminated. Sami nearly does the job in eliminating him but moves on, Erick Rowan nearly takes Sin Cara out, Konnor is working Harper over now.

Zayn putting Dillinger in the corner, Jason Jordan struggling with Zack Ryder, Harper eliminates Ziggler and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Rowan eliminates Fandango and chucks Breeze to the apron but he leaps into Dango's arms! Back in, Erick dumps him again and he hits the floor this time. Pumphandle on Sin Cara, slam to the outside! Mojo in like a house afire on Rowan, Konnor pulls him off and they trade rights, Rawley looking to dump him but the man who was once like a rat blocks.

Harper eliminates Konnor, Mojo eliminates Luke and faces off with Ryder! Game for a bit of friendly competition, but Erick runs them over, dumps Rawley to the apron, Zack up for a slam and Mojo makes the save, the Hype Bros eliminate Rowan! MOJO ELIMINATES RYDER! Zack can't believe it but Rawley indicates it's just business.

Dillinger and Styles get fought off by Mojo but Zayn eliminates him with a Helluva Kick and we have our final three! Tye and Sami trading strikes, AJ comes over, superkicked by Stan, mounted punches from the Perfect Ten on Zayn and stomps for Styles. He takes the knee pad down, fireman's carry, Tye Breaker on Sami! One for AJ as well!

Beckoning them to rise so he can eliminate them, he tries two for one but Styles lands on the apron and Zayn holds onto the ropes for dear life! Dillinger punching away, both men teeter but do not fall and Zayn eliminates Dillinger with a back body drop! Sami throwing hands, AJ stumbling away but he's able to get a few of his own in return and starts to rally.

Zayn hits the corner exploder suplex, measuring him for the Helluva Kick, Styles sidesteps and Sami nearly eliminates himself! Struggle on the apron, Zayn looking for a suplex to the outside, AJ blocking with knees, Pele kick...

AJ Styles wins, last eliminating Sami Zayn with the Pele kick.

Kevin Owens hits the ring to put boots to AJ after his victory. Referees try to back him off but Owens pulls AJ up and tells him to take a good look at the title. Styles with an enzuigiri! He's thinking Styles Clash, KO slips out and runs up the ramp but the title is still in the ring!

AJ Styles holds the United States Championship high as Owens loses his mind.

That's the show, folks.

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