Once again, a long week of wrestling ends with WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox. Like all WWE programming, Smackdown has been struggling in the ratings, though not as bad as Monday Night Raw. In large part, that can be attributed to the fact that Smackdown is only two hours, and therefore a leaner and easier-to-consume product. Yes, it still suffers from all the WWEisms that can make Raw such a chore, but they're more condensed. That counts for something.
WWE Smackdown 7/31/2020
As usual, Smackdown opens with a series of short promos. Bayley says she's gonna beat Nikki Cross and make her cry. Cross is a sad and pathetic loser. Cross admits her confidence was blown after losing to Bayley at Extreme Rules, but it was boosted after beating Alexa Bliss, who's better than both Bayley and Sasha Banks (not true). Big E says Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods may be gone, but they're with him in spirit. Look, they're not dead. Just injured and/or doing an injury angle. The Miz will feel the power tonight. The Miz and John Morrison laugh at the idea of a Big E singles push. Hey, come on, we've seen a Miz singles push before, so how funny can this be? Miz and Morrison are the greatest tag team of the 21st century. Lacey Evans is going to give Naomi hashtag #WhatSheDeserves tonight. Naomi says what she deserves is to beat Lacey senseless (true). Gran Metalik cuts a promo in Spanish. AJ Styles praises Gran Metalik's high-flying ability, but it doesn't compare to phenomenal. Plus, Vince doesn't care about Luchadores if you're not Rey Mysterio. Smackdown is the house that AJ Styles built and all that.
I like the opening promos that Smackdown has been doing every week. It's much better to have the night planned out in advance than to take 45 minutes' worth of Triple H style opening promos to set it up. This is a multi-billion dollar company. They shouldn't be deciding the matches on the spot at the beginning of every night, based on which wrestlers argue with each other at the start of the show.
Time for Firefly Funhouse. Bray Wyatt has been searching for Braun Strowman in the swamp, but can't find him. Maybe he's been eaten by gators. Maybe he'll be trapped there forever. Maybe he has the COVID. Who knows. Bray says he never wanted to hurt Braun, only help him. But now The Fiend is awake, and he wants something Braun has. And until he gets it, no one is safe. Let him in.
Wait. He never told us what The Fiend wants. Hmm. You'd think it's the championship, but…
AJ Styles comes out, followed by Lucha House Party. AJ Styles will defend his Intercontinental Championship… after some commercials.
AJ Styles vs. Gran Metalik – Intercontintinental Championship Squash Match
Winner: AJ Styles
Oh, wait, I should wait until the match is over, shouldn't I?
After some introductions, the match gets underway. Michael Cole pitches the IC title as the "working man's championship." Corey Graves verbally fellates AJ. Cole does his best to convince us Gran Metalik has a chance in hell of beating Styles and winning the title tonight.
Styles tricks Metalik into going for a test of strength and then attacks him immediately. Styles is just excited to be in the ring with someone smaller than him for once. Styles is basically acting like the Big Show, hitting power moves like a backbreaker and standing vertical suplex. Metalik decides to speed things up on the big man and chucks him out of the ring with a hurricanrana. That snaps Styles out of it, and he starts trying more flippy shit. Metalik hurricanranas Styles from the apron to the floor and Smackdown goes to commercials.
Metalik hits a diving crossbody and gets a two-count on Styles. Styles blocks a monkey flip attempt and retakes control of the match. Babyfaces are only allowed to have control of a match in WWE for a few seconds before a commercial break and a few seconds afterward, and then again during the finish (or during a false finish). That's the way the WWE formula works.
Styles works the leg on Gran Metalik as the Performance Center crowd is ordered to boo. He does this for a while until it's time for the Gran Metalik comeback. He hits a fancy DDT that gets him a two-count. He does a missile dropkick preceded by showing off on the ropes, also a two-count. Styles is offended and hits a bunch of strikes. He rolls out to the apron for the Phenomenal Forearm. Metalik ducks and then hits an enziguri.
Metalik goes for his fancy missile dropkick again, but Styles chop blocks him mid-air. Styles gets the calf crusher, and Gran Metalik taps out.
Winner: AJ Styles (told you)
Michael Cole says Gran Metalik has nothing to be ashamed of. How does he know? Maybe he's secretly a furry. He does hang out with that Lince Dorado guy, who is definitely a furry. Graves says AJ is the best Intercontinental Champion we've ever had. After the match, Dorado comes in the ring to check on his buddy. Styles attacks him and hits the Styles Clash. "Because I'm the champ," Styles shouts at no one in particular. "That's why."
Shorty G is shaking his head, watching that match. Baron Corbin walks up behind him and says, "hurts, right?" Corbin says Shorty is standing on the sidelines. It could be him out there, but it's not. Shorty wants to know if he and Corbin are friends now. Corbin says he's always been Shorty's friends. Shorty is being overlooked. Barefoot bros are coming in and taking his spot. Shorty G catches on that Corbin is trying to get Shorty to take out Matt Riddle. Corbin says he's just speaking the truth, but the King's Ransom is still on the table. Shorty looks like he's considering it.
Michael Cole is getting the shakes because it's been several minutes since he made us watch a recap of something we've seen before, so he kicks off a video of the Jeffy Hardy vs. Sheamus bar fight from last week. Let's see if they've edited the finish better to not make it so obvious Hardy is landing on a crash pad when he does the Swanton off the ladder.
Nope. They did do a better edit on the spot where Sheamus supposedly chugs a beer, though. Jeff Hardy gets hugs from a Heavy Machinery, D-Von Dudley, and a bunch of midcarders backstage. Smackdown goes to commercials, and we've hit the thousand word limit and will go to part two of this report. See you there!
This post is part of a multi-part series: WWE Smackdown Report for July 31st 2020.