It’s week two of WWE’s “new era” with the roster split into two separate groups. Let’s see what Smackdown has in store for us.
Live in Nashville, Tennessee this is Smackdown for episode #885.
It started with Randy Orton, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan watching the screen showing Orton hitting Brock Lesnar with a F5 on Raw. Shane wondered if Orton was proud of himself for what he did. Shane told Orton that it was impressive. Orton mentioned the many security members they had there and wondered if it was necessary. He seemed confident that he could handle Lesnar if he showed up. Shane and Daniel told security to be ready to stop Lesnar if he comes.
Bryan and McMahon walked around the building where they walked into The Miz and Maryse. Bryan told him that there will be a three way match between Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews (Bryan actually said “Apollo Creed” from the Rocky films) and Kalisto to see who faces Miz for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam.
The WWE Champion Dean Ambrose went up to Shane and Daniel to say he was going to the ring to talk about SummerSlam.
The Smackdown intro video played. No pyro. Here comes Dean Ambrose. It’s Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam for the WWE Title. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield and David Otunga welcomed us to the show.
Ambrose talked about how he likes the view from the top because it’s about Smackdown Live, it’s about the legacy of the WWE Championship and building his own legacy. He moved on to talking about SummerSlam as well as the number one contender, Dolph Ziggler. He called out Ziggler.
Analysis: I guess they could have made this an “Ambrose Asylum” talk show segment, but instead it’s just Ambrose calling out Ziggler.
Ziggler made his entrance. They showed a graphic on his way to the ring showing some of his stats. That’s a nice touch. They did it for Ambrose too, but I didn’t point that out for him.
Ziggler told Ambrose he’s a big fan and he told Ambrose that they are pretty similar. Ambrose said they are nothing alike because Ziggler is all show while he (Ambrose) is all go. Ambrose told Ziggler that nobody is going to take the WWE Title away from him, especially Ziggler. That led to Ziggler saying that he came into the company as a male cheerleader. He mentioned the green jump suits although he didn’t say the Spirit Squad name. Ziggler said if you want to talk about scratching and crawling, you’re looking at him.
Ambrose said that what Ziggler said is true, but the difference is that Ziggler complains. Ambrose said he didn’t care what people think and that he steps over roadblocks while proving people wrong. Then he told Ziggler he’s too worried about his image, his hair and his fancy tights. Ambrose kept talking about things that Ziggler is worried about while adding that he should be worried about winning. Ambrose said that Ziggler should worry about being the guy that’s going for the WWE Champion and how he’s the guy that will lose. Ambrose knows they’re going to have a great match, but then Ambrose is gonna do what he does because he knows what he is – a winner. Ambrose told Ziggler he’ll steal the show and he’s going to lose.
Ziggler said that he went to his first WWE show in Cleveland when he was 5 years old and when he was a kid he knew it would be him in that ring. He talked about going to Kent State, being a star collegiate wrestler and hoping to get a shot at being a superstar one day. Ziggler said he’s been disrespected, undervalued, overlooked and started yelling with passion in his voice: “Do you want to know who I am? I’m the man that’s going to walk into Brooklyn and become champion because I am that damn good!” Ambrose told him he’s not going to do any of that. Ambrose told Ziggler that he’ll find out what his real problem is – that he isn’t as good as he thinks he is.
Analysis: That was really good and if you want to compare it to the Raw guys, I thought they did better than Rollins and Balor. I liked the confidence that Ambrose showed while talking about wanting to leave a legacy as the champion. That’s what the champion should think. Ziggler fired back with a lot of passion in a way that made sense. A lot of people watching that promo would likely agree with what Ziggler was saying too, which is why it worked so well.
Ambrose left the ring. The Wyatt Family logo appeared on the screen, the lights were out and then Bray Wyatt was in the ring. He dropped Ziggler with the Sister Abigail.
Wyatt asked the crowd if they think that Ziggler is going to be next WWE Champion. Wyatt said that Ziggler stole something from him and he wants it back. Wyatt challenged Ziggler to a match and if Ziggler wins then he will prove to the people he’s worthy of being the number one contender. Then Wyatt said if Ziggler fails then Wyatt will take his place at SummerSlam and he will become the number one contender. Wyatt told Ziggler, who was out on the mat, to prove to him that he was that damn good.
Analysis: Interesting development there. I’m glad Wyatt is in the mix because I thought he should have won the six man match last week. It’s good to see that he’s not forgotten.
Later on Smackdown is AJ Styles with a message for John Cena and my favorite team American Alpha debuts on Smackdown. It’s a triple threat match up next.
Shane and Daniel were talking to security guys. Dolph Ziggler went up to them saying that he wanted the match. Bryan wondered why he would want it. Ziggler said that he wants to prove everybody wrong and told them to make the match now. Shane said he’s got it. On commentary, JBL said it was stupid for Ziggler to do that.
Analysis: Nice intensity by Ziggler. It’s also a pretty big match for the main event with a lot on the line.
The Miz and Maryse were on commentary for the next match with Miz welcoming us to day 120 of his IC Title reign “world tour” as he calls it. Maryse looks tremendous. Best looking woman in WWE to me. Lana’s up there with Nikki Bella too.
Number One Contender For Intercontinental Championship: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Early on, Kalisto and Crews worked together to kick Corbin out of the ring. When Crews ran the ropes, Corbin pulled the ropes down to send him out of the ring. Kalisto hit a suicide dive to take out Corbin on the floor. They went to commercial two minutes into it.
Back from break, Kalisto jumped off the back of Crews to kick Corbin out of the ring. Crews with a Samoan Driver on Kalisto for two. There’s Corbin with a spinning slam on Crews. Corbin stomped away on Kalisto. Corbin caught Kalisto doing a top rope attack, so Crews hit a dropkick to send them both out of the ring. Crews with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Kalisto and of course it was good enough for the win. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews
The win means that will be The Miz defending the Intercontinental Title against Apollo Crews at SummerSlam.
Analysis: *1/2 It was a pretty average triple threat that was quick. It really bothers me when they have matches shorter than eight minutes with a commercial break. They should time it better so there’s no commercial during the match if it’s going to be that short. I think that’s just sloppy. Crews winning with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! was also poor. Why not hit his finisher? Do they really need to protect Kalisto at this point? It would have made Crews look more impressive if he hit his finisher to win.
Post match, Corbin attacked Kalisto from behind with a punch to the back. Crews went after Corbin with punches in the corner. Miz went in the ring and hit Crews with the Skull Crushing Finale. Corbin hit Miz with the End of Days. Corbin left while the others were all out.
Analysis: Interesting post match interaction there with Corbin doing a bit of a babyface move by attacking Miz. I doubt that means he’s turning or anything like that, but it fits his character as a loner that is also a sore loser.
Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie is next.
A commercial aired for SummerSlam featuring Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton.
As Lynch made her intro, the announcers talked about the uneasy feeling in the building with Brock Lesnar possibly showing up.
Analysis: That’s a small thing that is done to get people thinking about Lesnar in nearly every segment.
The superstar entrance for Eva Marie with a special announcer is so cheesy, yet it’s pretty eye catching. The graphic said that she was the 2013 Diva Search Winner. What Diva Search in 2013? I don’t recall it. They basically just hired her to be on Total Divas. JBL put this over like a big deal: “How lucky is Smackdown Live?”
Analysis: She is hot. I know why people hate her since she’s been there for three years and barely wrestled, but at least she has improved in the last year as her NXT work has showed.
As the match was about to begin, Eva was pointing at her leg as if it was hurt. The ref checked on her. A doctor told her as well. The referee told the ring announcer Greg Hamilton that the match will not take place, so Hamilton told the crowd.
Eva was getting helped to the back favoring her leg as the referee and trainer helped her to the back.
Analysis: What the hell was that? I have no idea. I kept waiting for somebody like Natalya to come out and attack Lynch as some kind of ploy, but that didn’t happen. It just ended with Eva “injured” and going to the back. Weird segment.
Renee Young was shown at the Smackdown Live desk with Carmella as the guest. Carmella said the injury looked serious…um…what? Alrighty then. Natalya showed up complaining about what Carmella was doing there. Natalya said she carried the women’s division for the last decade. Then she put over talking about to her uncle Bret Hart and how he agreed she’s the one that should be the dominant woman on Smackdown. Carmella talked trash to her about how Natalya should put on her cat lady outfit for match later. Natalya told her she needs to be taught a lesson.
Analysis: Easy way to set up a match. Once again the guys in charge apparently don’t book matches and people can just make them as the show goes on. At least Smackdown has that in common with Raw. What a shock.
Up next are American Alpha in action.
The Vaudevillains were in the ring for the next match.
The American Alpha duo of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable received a pretty good reaction from the crowd, but it wasn’t huge.
The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Gable showed off his technical wrestling skill early as he tripped up Gotch. Tag to Jordan, who nailed a perfect dropkick on Gotch for a two count. Tag to Gable, who connected on a top rope double clothesline, then the faces each did a dropkick and they both celebrated their effort. The heels slowed down Gable in the corner to isolate him with a double head slam. Gable avoided an English corner charge, then tossed Gotch out of the ring and hot tag Jordan, who is great at this. Jordan with punches, a dropkick, a capture suplex to Gotch and a belly to belly release on English as the crowd cheered that a lot. Shoulder tackle in the corner by Jordan on English, then he tagged in Gable and they hit their double team Grand Amplitude move for the win after about four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: American Alpha
Analysis: ** A nice showcase match for American Alpha in their main roster debut. These teams have wrestled dozens of times from their days working in NXT together. The AA team are going to be the faces of the Smackdown tag team division. There will probably be some tag titles within a month or two although no formal announcement has been made at this point. They would be a wise choice as Smackdown Tag Champs one day soon.
AJ Styles calls out John Cena next.
There was a video about the Teen Choice Awards that John Cena hosted and the Bella Twins won Female Athlete of the Year because I guess teens don’t watch enough tennis to vote for Serena Williams.
AJ Styles Chats With John Cena
Styles said he came out there to talk about John Cena…and there’s Cena’s music to cut him off. Big reaction for Cena’s entrance. Lots of kids in the crowd.
Cena told Styles he’s right here so let’s hear the message. Styles said it’s typical Cena thinking everything is about him, so he could do his favorite thing…Beat Up John Cena. Styles said he figured Cena out and Styles said he had a message for Cenation. There was a “soccer mom hair” chant for Styles. It wasn’t the whole building, but we could hear it. Cena said he’s not going to make a minivan comment or tell them to go to soccer practice.
Styles said that he’s beaten up Cena and here Cena is, still in WWE. Styles told him he doesn’t want Cena to be here. He repeated it as he said that Cena doesn’t belong in the ring with him. He wondered why people think of Cena as a hero and he said they are weak minded people. Styles ripped on Nashville saying that they have the weakest of minds – there’s a shot at TNA, which has home offices in Nashville. Styles talked about the stupid idiot, delusional little kids that want to like Cena and then he said the parents are delusional too. Styles said they’re the kind of parents that think the kids deserve a trophy for participating. He told Cena that’s just as delusional of them because he believes what the parents and kinds think about Cena. Styles told the kids they don’t get dessert before dinner, you don’t stay up late before school and you only get a trophy for being a winner. He wondered where his trophy was for beating Cena. He called himself The Elite (nice nod to his buddies The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega) and said he’s AJ Styles.
Cena talked about how he didn’t force the people to believe anything. He said when he gets in the ring the crowd goes “Let’s Go Cena” and Styles added “Cena Sucks.” The crowd started doing that familiar chant right on cue.
Styles told Cena he’s going to prove to Cenation that Cena is no more than a fraud. Styles bragged about beating him at Money in the Bank and wondered why Cena is still there. Cena’s said he’s there to shut his mouth.
Cena fired up talking about how Styles needs to be put in his place for calling out people just for believing in something. Cena told him he’s about to make him look ridiculous. Cena talked about all the other stuff going on outside WWE and the fact that he’s been 15 years, but the reason he’s there is out of love. He knows that they don’t say love in WWE because it doesn’t make you look tough, but he’s a grown ass man and he’s here out of love. Cena pointed out a kid saying he loved seeing a kid out there supporting him. He talked about parents thanking him for being great with kids, but Cena thanked them because he couldn’t do it without them. Cena said he loves doing the ESPYs, Teen Choice, the Today Show not only because it’s fun, but also because people ask him when he’s going to leave WWE. Cena said “never” because WWE is, was and always will be his home. Cena told him that tomorrow when Styles has his day off, Cena will be on Stephen Colbert’s show wearing a blue suit for Smackdown. Cena said that Styles is here to be a really good wrestler and he’s proven that if it doesn’t work out he’ll go somewhere else. Cena talked about how the words “honor, loyalty, respect” are his heartbeat and said he’s there out of love. Cena ended that rant asking Styles what he’s doing there.
Styles applauded the effort of Cena. He said it was exactly what he thought Cena would say. He talked about how that’s the John that never backs away from a challenge. Styles: “SummerSlam…AJ Styles…John Cena…one on one…no excuses…no Club…me and you.” Cena said he needs to teach his ass a less and he’s on. Styles said you know what the best part of “Slam” is and then quickly said “SummerSlam” correctly. Styles said when he beats Cena, he wants Cena to come out to the world to say “AJ Styles is better than me” and if he doesn’t then he’s a liar and if he does then he’s a loser. Either way, Styles wins. He dropped the microphone to end it. Styles left the ring as his music played.
Analysis: Great work by both guys, especially Cena. A few years ago when building up to his matches with The Rock they had him do those “I’m here because I love it” type promos all the time as a way to make him really likable. That’s kind of what this was since Styles was ripping on him and his fans. I liked the confidence that Styles showed. I’m sure there will be some viewers that will mock him for not saying “SummerSlam” right at the end, but it was a minor flub that he was able to correct. No big deal. I just know some people like being negative about everything. Anyway, it was an excellent promo by both guys. As for the SummerSlam match, it’s going to be awesome like their first match was. It was expected that they would have a match here. I hope Styles wins, but I think it’s very possible that Cena does.
Later on Smackdown it’s Ziggler vs. Wyatt.
Fandango was in the ring with Tyler Breeze. There were security guards standing outside the ring because he’s against Randy Orton.
Orton made his entrance as they showed some websites showing images of what happened on Raw. Then they aired the video of Orton hitting the RKO on Lesnar on Raw.
Randy Orton vs. Fandango (w/Tyler Breeze)
Orton hit a clothesline early. Fans chanted “RKO” early as Orton stomped on Fandango. Suplex by Orton. Breeze distracted Orton, so Fandango hit a dropkick. Fandango with a chinlock, so Orton with a back suplex. Orton hit his powerslam on Fandango and then Breeze went into the ring, so Orton hit him with a powerslam. Orton hit Fandango with the draping DDT off the ropes. JBL said “another unnamed play by play guy” would say “vintage Randy Orton” for that. Hey Mikey Cole.
Brock Lesnar was in the crowd. He jumped the barricade as Orton hit a RKO on Fandango. Then Orton turned around, Lesnar was in the ring and nailed Orton with a F5 right in the middle of the ring. Big reaction from the crowd for that. The ref called for the bell for the disqualification after three minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Randy Orton
Analysis: 1/2* The match didn’t really matter. Fandango got in some offense, but it was really about Orton’s story with Lesnar.
Lesnar stared at the fallen Orton while wearing the same Suplex City Atlanta shirt from a night earlier. Shane McMahon went down to the ring and told Lesnar to leave. Security dudes as well as referees walked Lesnar to the back with Lesnar not putting up a fight.
Analysis: Big angle there. It was predictable, but it worked well. The RKO by Orton on Raw was a bigger deal because we really didn’t see it coming just because of the idea that Smackdown people can’t be on Raw and vice versa. Lesnar showing up was teased all night, so it was pretty obvious it was coming. I’m okay with them appearing on the other show just because the match was set up before SummerSlam, so they need to promote it by having them get physical a bit.
Replays aired of Lesnar’s attack.
They showed Lesnar getting escorted out of the building. Lesnar commented saying: “Just returning the favor.” Paul Heyman showed up to leave with Lesnar. Lesnar and Heyman went into a car, so that was it for them.
Daniel Bryan was shown backstage on his cell phone wondering what to do with Brock Lesnar. Heath Slater showed up as Bryan wondered how he got there. Slater said he got in through the back door while Bryan noted that security was with Lesnar, so there’s the explanation of how Slater got in. Slater said there’s nothing bigger than Heath Slater. Bryan told Slater he has to prove that he wants it. Bryan said if he wins in a match next week, he gets a Smackdown contract. Slater said the name of Jericho’s fake partner, but then Rhyno showed up and hit Slater with a Gore! Bryan told him he’s facing Rhyno next week. Bryan went back on the phone to say he might need a medic. That was funny.
Analysis: The Slater Saga continues. He’s on every show. So thrilling huh? Don’t answer.
Renee Young was sitting in the Smackdown interview set with the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. They’re a couple that you can see on Total Divas. Ambrose said that he felt weird about the whole set, so he stood up. He was talking about how he thought he was fighting Ziggler, but now he might fight Wyatt. Ambrose talked about how Ziggler was dumb for putting the title shot on the line after just one week and said usually it takes him longer to make a bad decision. Ambrose took off the headset saying he didn’t like how it felt and left.
Analysis: That was a unique interview, but Ambrose got across the key points about Ziggler possibly losing the title shot.
Ziggler vs. Wyatt later.
Another replay of Lesnar showing up wit the F5 on Orton.
Orton got out of the trainer’s room and was interviewed by newcomer interview girl Charly Carusso. She asked about his condition, but Orton just walked off without saying anything.
Analysis: He’s not a talkative guy. That’s all I have.
Carmella made her entrance. She did a promo saying her name is Carmella and get your popcorn ready because she’s about to put on a show. Natalya showed up to attack Carmella from behind. She tossed Carmella into the barricade at ringside. Natalya hit a suplex outside the ring. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter on the floor. Carmella was screaming and tapping out. David Otunga said he never saw her uncle Bret Hart attack somebody from behind. I guess he should watch some of Bret from 1997 on WWE Network because that was one of the best heel runs ever.
Analysis: No official match. Natalya’s the top heel woman performer, so they need to get over the fact that she’s evil now. This is a good way of doing that. It sucks for Carmella, but it gives her a story for next week and going forward. She has to prove herself against the veteran Natalya.
Dolph Ziggler was getting ready as Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon walked up to him. Bryan said that he understands how Ziggler feels about nobody believing in him, but pointed out that Ziggler has nothing to win here. Shane told him that he could potentially be giving up a WWE Championship shot. Ziggler: “I see how it is. You two don’t believe in me either. Screw you.” He walked away.
Analysis: I like the aggressive side of Ziggler. Should I ask the question of what the main event would have been if Wyatt didn’t make his match with Ziggler? I guess it doesn’t really matter, but if you’re a viewer that’s a legit question you might ask. WWE doesn’t answer those questions well.
They plugged the debut of “Talking Smack” on WWE Network after Smackdown.
Analysis: I get enough WWE with Raw and Smackdown that I’m not going to watch pre and post game shows. If people want to, go for it. Also, when I wrote about Smackdown in 2009/10 I used “Talking Smack” as the title. Nice job with the show title.
Bray Wyatt made his entrance. Dean Ambrose is on commentary for this match. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt
Ziggler with a dropkick and Fameasser for two early on. Wyatt went to the floor, Ziggler charged at him and Wyatt nailed a hard clothesline to knock him down. Ziggler did a rollup where he wrenched Wyatt’s knee for a two count. Wyatt looked frustrated about it as they went to break.
They were battling on the top rope with Wyatt hitting a superplex off the middle rope. Wyatt did his spider walk into a pin for two. Long chinlock by Wyatt, Ziggler made the comeback with a jaw breaker, back elbow and two running clotheslines. Ziggler with a Stinger Splash, neckbreaker and an elbow drop gets two. Wyatt with an uppercut, suplex into a slam and a senton splash for two. Ambrose said that feels like being in a car wreck. Wyatt went to expose the top turnbuckle, the ref made him stop and Ziggler capitalized with a Zig Zag. That earned a two count. Wow that was a surprise. Thought that was it. Ziggler exposed the turnbuckle. Wyatt got up, went for Sister Abigail and Ziggler got a roll up for two. Wyatt nailed a uranage slam for a two count. That should be his finisher because it looks a lot better than Sister Abigail. The crowd was really into it now. Wyatt pounded on Ziggler to keep him down. Wyatt threw him towards the exposed turnbuckle, but it was Ziggler’s back that hit the middle turnbuckle. Ziggler sent Wyatt face first into the exposed turnbuckle with the ref looking right at it. Wyatt bounced off of it and Ziggler hit a Superkick for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good match that was given more than ten minutes with Ziggler benefiting from the big win. He didn’t have to have the match, but he did to show how good he is and the victory proves he was right to do it. I thought that Wyatt may have won, though, but in the end I’m happy they kept it how they did it. When Ziggler hit that Zig Zag and Wyatt kicked out I thought that Wyatt was for sure going to win. I was wrong there. Perhaps they are transitioning to Ziggler using the Superkick as his finisher. I don’t really mind that, but the problem is that people on both shows are using superkicks in nearly every match, so it doesn’t help Ziggler. I’m hoping that Wyatt has a legit feud soon because he looks like he’s in the best shape of his career. It’s hard to push everybody, though.
Ziggler celebrated the win. Erick Rowan showed up to attack Ziggler from behind. Ambrose went after Rowan. Wyatt got involved too. Rowan nailed a one-armed slam on Ambrose. Rowan sent Ambrose out of the ring. Wyatt nailed Ziggler with Sister Abigail to put him down. Wyatt posed over a fallen Ziggler to end the show right at two hours.
Analysis: Good heel attack. Rowan should be with Wyatt because he wouldn’t be doing much on his own anyway. I guess we can pencil in Wyatt/Rowan vs. Ziggler/Ambrose next week. They could add Wyatt to the WWE Title match at SummerSlam to make it a three way match, but I think they’ll hold off on that.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Dolph Ziggler
2. John Cena
3. Bray Wyatt
Also a good job by Ambrose and Styles in their promos as well.
7 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2016 Average: 5.95
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6, 7
2016 High: 7.5 (March 3)
2016 Low: 4 (January 21)
It gets a 7 out of 10.
It was an enjoyable show with a very good main event match as well as two strong promos to begin the show and in the middle of the show as well.
They probably could have had another one or two above average matches in the midcard, but I get why they didn’t because they wanted to get a lot of people on the show.
The big angle with Lesnar showing up worked well. Once again I know people may complain about a Raw guy on the show, but it was payback for what Orton did. After SummerSlam, there shouldn’t be anybody appearing on the other show.
They advertised two women’s matches and neither one took place. So much for a women’s revolution huh?
Since I gave Raw a 5.5/10 on Monday I guess that means Smackdown wins this week with the 7/10 score. Raw won the first week.
That’s all for me. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org