A big episode of Smackdown on tap, with two title matches and a Money in the Bank qualifier. In title matches, Rusev defends his newly-won US Title against Kalisto, and Miz faces Cesaro for the I.C. Title. Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder is your MITB qualifier.
WWE Smackdown review
May 26, 2016
Taped 5/24/16 in Norfolk, Va.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– A video package previewed Money in the Bank, complete with qualifying match highlights from Raw.
– Smackdown Open.
– Tonight: Kalisto faces Rusev for the United States Championship.
– Also, the Intercontinental Championship is on the line when Cesaro challenges The Miz.
– In the ring, Michael Cole stood next to the Money in the Bank briefcase, which sat atop a small table. Cole discussed how the MITB can be cashed in. He welcomed his guest, Dean Ambrose. Cole congratulated Ambrose for winning the first-ever Asylum Match at Extreme Rules. Ambrose said he has done it all in WWE and when things get dangerous, it means he’s just getting started. Cole reminded Ambrose that 14 of the 16 MITB winners have successfully cashed in the contract. He asked Ambrose what he’s willing to do to win. Ambrose took a long pause, long enough for Kevin Owens to come out and interrupt the proceedings.
Owens first chided Cole for even being here. He said he doesn’t want to see his face here and that he better be out of the ring by the time Owens gets there. Cole complied with the bullying of Owens. Owens entered the ring and said the only thing crazy about Ambrose is that he thinks he has a chance in the MITB match. Owens vowed to walk out as Mr. MITB. Sami Zayn was next to interrupt.
Zayn discussed preventing Owens from winning the I.C. Title Ladder Match at Wrestlemania. Owens called Zayn a joke. Zayn said he’s let Owens in his head too many times and it’s cost him, but now his focus is the MITB briefcase. He also had a few harsh words for Ambrose. Alberto Del Rio interrupted in somewhat of a surprise. Del Rio said he has been Mr. MITB, unlike the others in the ring. Del Rio said he’ll do it again this year. Zayn said Del Rio has to beat Zack Ryder just to get into the match. Owens attacked Zayn from behind, and Ambrose went after Owens. Zayn went for a Helluva kick on Owens but Owens moved and Zayn stopped short before hitting Ambrose. Ambrose tried to put Zayn down with Dirty Deeds, but he escaped and the two stared at each other in the ring. Looks like they’re using the same basic build-up they did with the I.C. Title four-way at Extreme Rules. Del Rio vs. Ryder is next.
1 – ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. ZACK RYDER – MONEY IN THE BANK QUALIFYING MATCH
Ryder did an inset soundbite talking about his win at Wrestlemania and how he must still continue to beat the odds. Mauro Ranallo talked about these two having had a “terrific” match on a recent episode of WWE Main Event. Del Rio choked Ryder on the bottom rope to maintain control. Running boot to the head from outside the ring by ADR. Del Rio sold Ryder’s brief offense with more mild annoyance than pain. Flapjack by Ryder caused Del Rio to roll out of the ring. Dropkick through the ropes by Ryder, then a neck-breaker outside the ring. They cut to break at 2:23 of the match.
Back at 6:01 with Del Rio working a chin-lock. They showed Del Rio giving a double-stomp to Ryder during the break, with Ryder hung up on the barricade. Missile dropkick by Ryder missed, but a superkick to a kneeling Ryder by Del Rio didn’t. Desperation jaw-breaker by Ryder; he also connected with the follow-up Broski Boot for a near-fall. Del Rio managed to avoid the leg lariat from Ryder. He set up Ryder for the double-stomp, but Ryder moved. Rough Ryder was hit by Ryder but before he could go for the pin, Del Rio rolled out of the ring. He put Del Rio back in, but Del Rio suckered him into the arm-bar submission for the win.
WINNER: Del Rio, via submission, at 9:33. Being the ultimate underdog who gets these kinds of opportunities (and a win here and there) is not a bad role for Ryder. I just wonder what took WWE so long to realize this.
A few replays were shown.
– The announcers, on-camera, discussed the return of Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules and Raw this past week. A highlight package was shown from both nights involving Rollins.
– Rollins returns to Smackdown tonight.
– John Cena returns to Raw this Monday night.
– Enzo Amore and Big Cass came out. Enzo did his usual mic work on the way to the ring. Before Enzo could expound in the ring, The Dudley Boyz interrupted. Enzo called them “a couple haters.” He said they must be lost, but then again, he has no problem addressing anyone, anywhere. Cass said the Dudleys seem to have a problem with them, and luckily, he and Enzo are probably solvers. Cass vowed a beat-down right then and there. D-Von accepted a match and he and Bubba headed to the ring, but Bubba stopped them short saying, “…but not tonight.” Bubba said they’ll do it on Raw. He asked D-Von if they could get out of that stinkin’ town. Cass described the ECW legends as SAWFT. This could be a pretty fun feud if only they didn’t have to wrestle.
– Renee Young was backstage with Lana and Rusev. Young asked about Kalisto’s rematch coming up. Lana asked Young to address him as “the greatest United States Champion of all-time.” Rusev said America is the land of second chances but that’s not the case tonight. He called Kalisto a baby and that babies need milk, not championships. He said he would swat the bug that is Kalisto so that he’ll never be able to fly again.
– The exterior of the Norfolk Scope was shown.
– The announcers talked about the I.C. Title situation, then threw it to clips of the finish of the match at Extreme Rules, as well as Cesaro and Miz being involved in the MITB qualifying match on Raw.
– Lana was in the ring to introduce the greatest United States Champion of all-time, Rusev. As Rusev came to the ring, they showed Rusev trying to break Kalisto’s back two weeks ago on Raw.
2 – RUSEV vs. KALISTO – UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Eden Stiles, in her WWE swan song, handled formal ring introductions, with Rusev interrupting her and demanding to be announced first. First high-impact move was a springboard by Kalisto, but Rusev headbutted him out of mid-air and Kalisto crashed to the mat. They went to break at :31 of the match.
Back at 3:33 with Rusev still throwing Kalisto around the ring. Kalisto foolishly tried to slam Rusev, Predictably, it was unsuccessful, and Rusev aggressively put the boots to his opponent. Short-arm clothesline and again he went for a slam, but Rusev fell right on top of Kalisto for a two-count. After some trash-talk by Rusev, Kalisto finally slammed Rusev. Missed splash in the corner by Rusev and a roll-up for a near-fall by Kalisto. Springboard corkscrew and a spike ‘rana by Kalisto. Another two-count, at 6:20. Kalisto gave Rusev a headscissors that sent him out of the ring. Kalisto followed with a springboard moonsault. Kensuke Sasaki name-drop by Ranallo. Ranallo strangely mixed-up Kalisto and Rusev a couple times in this match before correcting himself. Rusev was set up for a 450 splash off the top, but Rusev got his knees up when Kalisto tried it. Kick to the back of the head of Kalisto. Accolade, bending Kalisto backward, and a quick tap-out.
WINNER: Rusev, via submission, at 8:55. The whole story of Kalisto trying to slam Rusev made Kalisto look pretty dumb, especially given the story of his bad back. But other than that, another entertaining match between these two.
Rusev wanted to continue the beat-down after the match, but Titus O’Neil came out to make the save. Titus wanted to fight right then and there, but Rusev backed down. Simple and effective way to set up a new challenger. Too bad Kalisto doesn’t have a tag team partner who could watch his back and save him from post-match attacks.
– The announcers talked about Charlotte getting rid of her father on Raw, and Jerry Lawler actually took Ric’s side which was somewhat surprising. They showed a video package of Ric being involved with Charlotte’s WWE career, then her kicking him to the curb. They even had sit-down soundbites from WWE Superstars reacting to the moment.
– Charlotte came to the ring. She joins the commentators, next.
3 – DANA BROOKE vs. NATALYA
Clothesline by Brooke, but she missed an elbowdrop. Natalya quickly applied a Sharpshooter to Brooke but Charlotte ran in to cause the disqualification.
WINNER: Natalya, via DQ, at :44. Either they were short on time or they didn’t trust Charlotte on commentary.
Natalya fought back after the match, throwing Brooke into Charlotte. But the heels used the numbers game to their advantage. They continued to assault Nattie, then stood tall with Charlotte’s title afterward.
– Back to the announcers, as still were shown of A.J. Styles vs. Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules. Then on Raw, they showed Styles breaking up with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, as well as the finish of Styles vs. Kevin Owens.
– Backstage, Renee Young was with Styles. She asked what was next for him. He said he felt like it was an uphill battle for him in WWE. He said he has lost some respect and some friends, but he was so close to beating Reigns for the WWE World Title. He said he’s not sure what’s next, but he’ll think of something.
– Cesaro vs. The Miz for the I.C. Title is still to come.
4 – THE GOLDEN TRUTH vs. BREEZANGO
Truth even changed his rap lyrics around to honor his newfound tag team. Truth fought off Breeze and Fandango with right hands, but Breeze whipped Truth into a Fandango dropkick. Back heel kick from Truth. Truth went to make the tag, but Goldust had been knocked down by Fandango. As Goldust recovered and tried to get involved, Breeze snuck in and gave Truth the Supermodel kick. Fandango made the pin.
WINNERS: Breezango, at 1:36. I guess the development of Golden Truth continues.
– Next, Seth Rollins makes his Smackdown return.
– Backstage in the hallway, Goldust was trying to convince R-Truth stay positive about their team despite two early losses. Breeze and Fandango walked up laughing, calling them “losers.” The heels said the fairy tale is over and that Goldilocks fell off the beanstalk and cracked her own egg, mixing about three different fairy tales into that one. They walked away and Golden Truth got back on the same page.
– Seth Rollins came out. He still got an ample amount of cheers, even after Monday night. Rollins said coming to Smackdown caps off what could be the greatest week in his life. That seems like an overstatement given what he’s accomplished in his career. He asked if the fans missed him. But he turned on them just like he did Monday night, saying, “I wish I could say the same to you.” He then walked to the back without his music playing.
– Cesaro and Miz & Maryse were walking separately in a split-screen. The I.C. Title is on the line next.
5 – CESARO vs. THE MIZ – INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Early roll-up by Cesaro, followed by a standing dropkick. Miz went to ringside and Cesaro cannonballed onto him. They went to break at :37 of the match.
Back at 3:38 with Miz going after the shoulder of Cesaro. Arm-wringer, then he threw Cesaro shoulder-first into the ringside barricade. Cesaro came back with a European uppercut or two (or several). He was trying to do it all with just one arm. DDT and a float-over by Miz, getting him a two-count. Behind the ref’s back, Maryse undid the top turnbuckle pad. The ref repaired it, but as he was repairing it, he was late to count a small package by Cesaro. It ended up only as a two-count officially. Cesaro fought out of a roll-up and Cesaro applied a Sharpshooter. Miz reached the ropes. He again reached the ropes when Cesaro went for a Swing. Miz tried to leave with the title, but Cesaro prevented it. Cross-body off the top for two by the Swiss Superman. Cesaro ran at Miz and ended up running shoulder-first into the exposed corner. Miz with the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: Miz, at 10:30.
Replays were shown of key moments in the match. Miz exited with his wife at his side, title held high overhead.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He is the host of “Moonlighting with Greg Parks,” a PWTorch VIP-exclusive audio show posted each weekend. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.