Earlier this year, Rewind It Magazine were there at the Amway Center when WWE came through Orlando for Raw. This past Friday, July 21, the world’s largest wrestling promotion came back into town for their SmackDown brand, and Rewind It were once again there to catch all of the action. What made the occasion all the more special was being able to take my son Jacob Striewski to his first ever WWE event finally, where he once again acted as photographer for Rewind It for the third straight time in a row (and second consecutive time at the Amway).
The ladies kicked the night off with a sizzle as the lovely Tiffany Stratton effortlessly took out Kiana James in the first match. Afterwards, ringside announcers Wade Barrett and Michael Cole made their dramatic entrances.
The fatal 4-way between Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, LA Knight, and Cameron Grimes was no doubt one of the biggest draws of the night that saw stars like Austin Theory and Santos Escobar also get coaxed into the mix. But the wildest moment of the match came when all four of the original men fell from the top of the turnbuckle in a massive Tower of Doom maneuver. Ultimately, Mysterio walked away with the victory and advancement to the U.S. Invitational.
Second-generation wrestler Charlotte Flair (daughter of the legendary Ric Flair) then emerged to take on Iyo Sky. The ladies duked it out for some time before Flair ultimately took the W, only to be blindsided by Asuka, who left Flair writhing in pain on the mat.
Charlotte Flair takes down Iyo Sky with ease.
In a brief backstage segment, Kayla interviewed Dominick Myseterio with Rhea Ripley by his side. As he bragged on about taking on everyone and anyone for his title, Butch of The Brawling Brutes came out to challenge him. Then former WWE legend Shawn Michaels emerged to much delight of (most) of the crowd to say what a “great idea” this was, leaving everyone stunned.
U.S. Champion Austin Theory and LWO member Santos Escobar then picked up where they left off earlier in a non-title match. Despite being the underdog, Escobar walked away with a victory after initiating a Phantom Driver on Theory.
Current NXT champion Dominik Mysterion came out (with Rhea Ripley at his side) to defend his title against Butch. Mysterio seemed to be in charge before Butch’s partner Ridge Holland came from out of nowhere to bale out his teammate.
Dirty “Dom” Mysterio holds his NXT Championship belt high as Rhea Ripley looks on.
Things then took a turn for the hilarious as Kit Wilson pushed Elton Prince (both of the Pretty Deadly tag team) down to ringside in a wheelchair. The two quickly fled as the Brutes chased them off, only for Ripley to attack Butch and effectively help Dirty “Dom” retain his title.
But of course the true show-stopper and most talked about segment of the evening came when the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and cousin Jey Uso played out the drama of the “Rules of Engagement,” signing the contract for the upcoming SummerSlam match at a desk and chairs set up in the center of the ring.
Reigns and Uso stare each other down as Solo prepares to strike.
This ended with Reigns stopping Samoan Solo from attacking Uso, only to give Uso the opening to knock Solo out of the ring with a superkick to the face. A nervous Paul Heyman could only look on with worry as Reigns and Uso stared each other down afterwards, knowing that the “Tribal Chief” status of the Bloodline story was now on the line.
As if all of this was not enough, two dark matches followed, first between Grayson Waller and AJ Styles, followed by Drew McyIntyre appearing, raising his sword high among flames in the ring before taking on Ludwig Kaiser in an off-air match. Despite some exciting moments, the energy in the crowd had begun to dissipate as many dispersed, leaving the final battle of the night (which found McIntyre ultimately winning) somewhat anti-climatic.