WWE News WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV Taping Report - Caldwell's Live results from Tuesday
Jun 4, 2015 - 8:30:50 PM
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WWE Smackdown TV taping report
June 2, 2015
Houston, Tex. at Toyota Center
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The day of the event, only floor seats and upper-level 400 seats were available. 100 level seats were available on Monday night, but those seats were gone on Tuesday. So, WWE was expecting a full house for the latest Smackdown TV taping in Houston, which leads into the Night of Champions PPV in September.
Dark Match: A man identified as Braun from NXT beat a local jobber introduced from Houston. Braun squashed the diminutive local prospect at 2:30. Braun looks like a cross of Bray Wyatt and Hanson from ROH.
Main Event SPOILERS
JBL and Rich Brennan were introduced for the broadcast. Jimmy Uso joined them for guest commentary.
(1) Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) beat Adam Rose (w/Rosa Mendes) at 3:30. Rose cut a pre-match promo about people not understanding his "art" and now not understanding his love for Rosa. Adam offered a handful of double entendres before the bell sounded. Ziggler won clean with a superkick.
(2) Paige beat Alicia Fox via submission to the PTO at 7:32. A. Fox showed moments of craziness from the last time she was spotlighted. But, Paige got a decisive win.
R-Truth joined commentary for the next match.
(3) King Barrett beat Jack Swagger at 8:43. Near the end of the match, Truth tried to distract Barrett by taking his crown at ringside. Truth then put the crown on JBL, Brennan, and Uso trying to play games. Swagger could not capitalize, as Barrett put him away with the Bullhammer. Truth then ran off with one of Barrett's royal objects, drawing the king's ire.
A spot aired for "Swerved" premiering Monday, June 22 after Raw on WWE Network. Another spot aired for a SpongeBob DVD release. Moving on.
The ring apron changed over to Superstars and Byron Saxton replaced JBL. Brennan and Uso stayed.
(1) Luke Harper & Erick Rowan beat Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando w/El Torito) at 3:28. Harper and Rowan hit a 3D for the win, which surprised a lot of fans.
The production crew switched over to Smackdown, which brought out Jerry Lawler and Tom Phillips to join Saxton on commentary.
Smackdown SPOILERS 6/4
WWE World Hvt. champion Seth Rollins opened the show without his title belt and by himself. Seth grabbed a chair for a visual aid explaining why he ended The Shield. Seth said he took one swing of the chair to the back of Roman Reigns to end The Shield because he decided it was his time to get in the spotlight. Rollins bragged about doing things by himself, like winning MITB last year "all by myself!," which led to him running down Kane. Rollins bragged about WrestleMania, which indirectly set the stage for Brock Lesnar coming back. Then he moved on to Dean Ambrose. He said he doesn't need The Authority to destroy Dean at the MITB PPV. Dean eventually interrupted from the videotron and called out Seth on his lies. He said he is the real World champ and he'll prove it in their ladder match at Money in the Bank. Dean paced around a ladder, then held up the WWE Title belt to a pop. Seth seethed then left the ring.
Tonight: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus and Kevin Owens's NXT Title Open Challenge.
First up was a three-team #1 contender match for the Tag Titles.
(1) Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young) beat The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) and Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) at 7:03 in a three-team match to become #1 contenders to the Tag Titles. Kids were really excited to do the "Lucha, Lucha" chant and hand motion. The match built to a Titus hot tag and went nuts tossing people around the ring. Titus then finished off Viktor with a pumphandle slam after the chaos.
Backstage, WWE tag champs New Day reacted to the Players becoming #1 contenders, suggesting a Tag Title match at Money in the Bank. Suddenly Kane walked in. He put Kofi Kingston in singles action against Neville.
(2) IC champion Ryback beat Stardust at 2:22 in a non-title match. Total squash that the audience ate up.
The Rockets's Dwight Howard continued his streak of WWE appearances, appearing on the front row for TV. Big pop for Howard fresh off the Rockets's NBA Playoffs run. Howard interacted with Lana at a house show earlier this year when Lana was in Rusev's corner. This time, Howard brought fellow Rockets player Donatas Motiejunas with him to sit on the front row. D-Mo shyly stood up next to Dwight after Howard did a big posedown routine for the ringside camera. [ CBS Sports covered Howard's appearance and backstage photo-op with Triple H HERE ]
On-stage, Paige cut a promo on the Bellas. Paige talked about not wanting to be like anyone else because she is her own person. She said it's apparent the Bellas want to protect status quo in the Divas division, but she is determined to change her world - the Divas division. She tried to offer an inspirational speech to the crowd that they change their world too. The audience is just waiting for a break-out babyface women's wrestler to get behind, but the characters are so wishy-washy that the audience seems hesitant to trust them. Paige is the best of the bunch, but the division isn't strong right now.
Backstage, Harper and Rowan talked about it being time to pay for sins. Like a good old fashioned Bray Wyatt promo, they did not identify the object of their promo.
A video for WM32 in Dallas didn't go over too well with the Houston crowd. Another SpongeBob spot aired. Two SpongeBob ads, zero WWE Network ads.
Kevin Owens came out for the NXT Open Challenge. Big reaction split for and against. He's a magnet for either people to hate him because of his tough talk about John Cena or to love him because of his tough talk challenging the establishment and "speaking their language." On the mic, Owens ran down John Cena, calling him delusional after hearing what he had to say on Raw. He vowed to end Cena's corruption polluting children's minds at MITB. This really fired up Cena Fans backing their hero or fired up anti-Cena fans nodding along with someone "speaking their truth." The open challenge was then answered by Zack Ryder. Poor Ryder was like Rey Mysterio entering #30 in the 2014 Royal Rumble. The vocal males were whispering about Samoa Joe, but settled for Ryder.
(3) Kevin Owens beat Zack Ryder at 1:10 to retain the NXT Title. Virtual squash. Owens won with the pop-up powerbomb. After the bell, Ryder recovered in the corner, so Owens smashed him with his cannonball dive. Owens then delivered another pop-up powerbomb as the referee reprimanded him.
Backstage, Sheamus took exception to Roman Reigns being considered the favorite to win the MITB match.
(4) Neville beat WWE tag champion Kofi Kingston (w/New Day) at 5:18. This felt like the comedown match after Owens's segment that Neville seems to be stuck in right now. Xavier Woods tried to antagonize D-Howard during the match, getting heat on New Day. Neville fought off a stream of interference, then quick-pinned Kofi for a three count. No Red Arrow.
Backstage, The Miz got a touch-up before coming to the ring.
A Total Divas spot aired. Notably, there were a lot more females in attendance than usual. TD seems to be carrying over to live attendance. It also points to this audience chomping at the bit for a break-out women's wrestler to get behind.
WWE officially announced Night of Champions on September 20 back at the Toyota Center. The pre-sale password is Houston. Floor Seats are going for $450 a pop.
Next was Miz TV with Lana. Miz noted that Rusev is hurting right now. So how can Lana abandon Rusev right now? She said Rusev is the one who abandoned her. Miz said he figured it out that Lana used Rusev to gain notoriety and now that Rusev cannot benefit her anymore, she is dumping him. Lana replied that Rusev is a bad person who showed his true colors. Miz didn't want to hear it, then welcomed out his surprise guest, Rusev, who limped down to the ring on crutches. Rusev was total nice-guy wanting to sing about not knowing what you have until it's gone. He begged her for one more chance. Miz backed Rusev, but Lana turned down the offer and pushed the crutches into Rusev. Enter super-mad Rusev. He called her names, ranted and raved, and was about to call her the b-word, but decided on "stupid Lana." They went for a comical delivery of Rusev trying to hold back on cursing her while ranting in broken English. Dolph Ziggler's music interrupted and Dolph escorted Lana away from ringside. Rusev's timing is impeccable.
A spot aired for Big Show in WWE Studios's new movie, "Vendetta."
(5) Roman Reigns beat Sheamus via DQ at 8:28. Reigns sold the effects of three matches on Raw, which was refreshing. Sheamus quickly targeted the injured mid-section from Raw, then dumped Reigns out of the ring and bashed him into the announce table right in front of Dwight Howard and Co. Reigns made a comeback back in the ring, which drew out Kane and J&J Security. As Reigns was about to hit the Superman Punch, Kane hit the ring and attacked Reigns for a DQ. Kane also took out Sheamus with a chokeslam.
Kane took the mic, looked up at the MITB briefcase that had been hanging above the ring the entire Smackdown, and announced himself as the last entrant in the MITB ladder match. J&J freaked out ringside, selling the idea that Kane is now one step away from Rollins's WWE Title. Kane, satisfied with himself, dropped the mic to close the show.
After the Smackdown taping ended, they did a wrap-up angle with Rollins running down to the ring to attack Reigns. Kane, J&J, and Rollins roughed up Reigns, but Dean Ambrose's music played. Huge pop for Ambrose. Kids and adults were excited to see Dean, whose following is big right now. Ambrose made the save for Reigns, then did a tug of war with Rollins over the belt. Dean suddenly let go and Rollins thought he was in the clear, but he turned around to find a Superman Punch from Reigns. Ambrose grabbed the belt again, then did a victory lap with Reigns to close the show. There was no advertised dark main event.
Overall, a pretty straight-forward maintenance show. There were some MITB developments, but otherwise the matches were pretty standard. There was no stand-out match of the night, as no match was given more than nine minutes.
Dean Ambrose was definitely a big star, enhanced by how WWE protected his appearances on the show. Also, there does not seem to be an anti-Reigns sentiment right now. The release of frustration at WrestleMania has allowed the audience to breathe again. Now, fans are either in Reigns's corner or just indifferent. But, there isn't that overwhelmingly vocal opposition. What WWE is having Reigns do in the ring still looks very basic, but the audience seems to be gravitating toward him right now.
My biggest take-away from the taping was the shift in demographics, as this was a very female-heavy crowd. The demos also included a lot of kids coming to the show at the end of the school year, the usual collection of dads and moms taking their kids to a wrestling show, and the vocal males who know the ins and outs of the product. The audience make-up produced a huge reaction for/against Owens, who has come at the right time and in the right program, and united everyone in support of Ambrose. Ambrose appeals to vocal males, but he's also connecting with kids, who were jumping up and down when Ambrose came out at the end of the show. Reigns is right below Ambrose as a "uniter of the fanbase," since there are a lot of male supporters nowadays, but there's still a stigma attached to Reigns that he's "handpicked," unlike Ambrose, who is a hot act right now.
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