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WWE Smackdown review
June 23, 2016
Taped 6/21/16 in Tucson, Ariz.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– They combined clips of Dean Ambrose’s promo on Raw Monday night with stills of his Money in the Bank win the previous evening. Also in video package form: The Raw fallout involving Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
– Smackdown Open.
– Seth Rollins came out to start the show. Rollins reminisced about being a kid and how everyone’s parents would always tell their children that if they set their mind to it, they can do anything. Those parents are big, fat liars according to Rollins. He talked about beating Reigns at MITB in the match of his life to reclaim his rightful championship. But then Ambrose stole his championship. And now, he has to beat both Ambrose and Reigns at Battleground to get his title back. He vowed to prove at Battleground he’s the best member of the Shield. For Smackdown though, he said he wanted to prove he’s more of a man than Dean Ambrose will ever be. So he issued a one-on-one open challenge to face him in the main event of the show. The challenge was quickly answered by Sami Zayn.
Rollins asked if Zayn’s master, Kevin Owens, let him off the leash for a few hours. Rollins said he’s the perfect person for him to make an example of tonight. He cackled at the idea of facing Zayn when Dean Ambrose made his way to the ring. Ambrose instructed the ringside help to set up the Ambrose Asylum, all while Rollins protested. Ambrose called this a “championship edition” of the Ambrose Asylum and with a marker, drew a picture of the WWE Title on his Ambrose Asylum sign. Rollins wasn’t digging Ambrose’s interruption. Ambrose didn’t like Seth’s attitude. Zayn asked why they had to wait for the main event…he wanted to fight right then. Ambrose posed the question officially to Rollins. Rollins just got even madder. He stormed out of the ring. Ambrose plugged the main event and then signed off the Asylum. Interesting to see them not going away from the goofy aspects of Dean’s character even now that he’s WWE Champion.
– The announcers were shown at ringside: Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, and David Otunga (who, up to this point, had not spoken), replacing the suspended Jerry Lawler.
– Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus, in a MITB rematch, takes place tonight.
– In addition: Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke.
– Next: Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio.
1 – ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. CESARO
In an inset interview, Del Rio blamed Cesaro for his losing in the MITB match on Sunday, and vowed to take that anger out on Cesaro tonight. Cesaro also cut an inset promo, saying if ADR has a problem with him, he should take a “swing” at him and see what happens. Del Rio immediately went on the attack, hitting a tilt-a-whirl back-breaker in the early going. Cesaro responded with three of his own. A series of corner uppercuts by Cesaro, but Del Rio rolled out of the ring before the finale. Cesaro with a running cannonball off the apron onto Del Rio. Del Rio turned the tables by hitting an enzugiri onto Cesaro, knocking him off the apron and to the floor. They went to break at 1:53 of the match.
Back at 5:55 with Del Rio coming off the top with what I guess would loosely be called a double axe-handle. Del Rio applied the cross arm-breaker to Cesaro while in the ropes. Del Rio came off the ropes and Cesaro caught him with an uppercut. Springboard corkscrew uppercut by Cesaro as he began to come back. Del Rio responded with a superkick while Cearo was on his knees. That registered a near-fall. Cesaro dropkicked Del Rio on the top rope, but it showed a lot of light (even with the camera tricks). Cesaro went up to meet Del Rio, who crotched Cesaro. Cesaro countered and threw Del Rio down. Cross-body missed, but Cesaro rolled through a cross arm-breaker and hit the Neutralizer for the win.
WINNER: Cesaro, at 10:10. Good, clean win for Cesaro. He’s been stacking them up lately. The finishing sequence was really smooth with Cesaro countering Del Rio’s finish.
They replayed that exact sequence. Cesaro high-fived Ranallo a couple of times.
– Rollins vs. Zayn is the main event.
– Walking backstage in a split-screen were Apollo Crews and Sheamus. Their MITB rematch is next.
– They showed a family at ringside that was on the receiving end of the Little Caesars seat upgrade.
2 – SHEAMUS vs. APOLLO CREWS
As Crews came out, they showed stills of Crews vs. Sheamus from MITB. The two went at it with rights and forearms. Crews hit Sheamus with a running cross-body that sent both men over the top and to the floor. Crews whipped Sheamus into the ring steps. Back in, enzugiri to Sheamus and a standing moonsault by Crews for two. Knee to the gut and running forearm turned the tide in the favor of Sheamus. Sheamus charged at Crews, who low-bridged him out. Crews dove off the apron and onto Sheamus. But Sheamus hit a rolling fireman’s carry slam on Crews on the floor. Sheamus tried to get the steps ready to use, but that allowed Crews time to recover. After Crews fought back, Sheamus eventually Brogue Kicked Crews from behind, sending Crews into the steps (which Sheamus had set up on its end). Crews couldn’t answer the ten-count.
WINNER: Sheamus, via count-out, at 3:57. It didn’t undo Apollo’s win on Sunday completely, since he only lost by count-out, but it’s another story that has devolved into even-steven booking and a “rubber match” doubtlessly upcoming.
– Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke, tonight.
– The Phenomenal Clash between John Cena and A.J. Styles from Raw will be shown.
– Outside coverage of the brand split was shown.
– Stills of Cena vs. Styles from MITB were shown. Then, on Raw, Styles and Luke Gallows interfered in the Cena vs. Karl Anderson match.
– The Club was backstage, discussing how much they all enjoy beating up Cena. The Usos walked up and called Gallows and Anderson, “Head and Shoulders.” The Club pretended not to know the names of The Usos. A challenge was laid down to A.J, one-on-one. Styles said there’d be no Club involvement. Styles wanted a “sports entertainment handshake” as Gallows called it, but The Usos both dabbed away from Styles. It’ll be Jimmy Uso vs. Styles later tonight.
– The announcers reacted to what we just saw.
– Jimmy Uso came to the ring with Jey. A.J. Styles made his entrance, sans The Club. The match is next.
3 – JIMMY USO vs. A.J. STYLES
The match was joined in progress out of break, but it appeared to be in the very early stages. Uso worked the arm, but as Styles tried to kip up, Uso clenched down on him with a side headlock. Nice move. Jey, at ringside, seemed to be keeping a steady eye on the ramp as if he expected The Club out at any time. Jimmy clotheslined Styles to the outside. Styles blocked a baseball slide attempt and rammed Jimmy’s face into the steps. Styles kept Jimmy grounded back in the ring. Enzugiri (the third in three matches) by Jimmy. Styles appeared to go for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Jimmy tripped Styles up and he tumbled to the mat. Jimmy got on a roll, Samoan dropping Styles for a two-count. Superkick to Styles. He went for a cover, but Styles kicked out. Simultaneous to that, The Club came out of the crowd and attacked Jey at ringside. Jimmy dove over the top rope and onto them. Styles took out Jimmy with a slingshot forearm. Phenomenal Forearm connected for the win.
WINNER: Styles, at 6:00. Styles continues his crusade to take on tag wrestlers in singles matches on Smackdown. It wasn’t as good as Styles vs. Kofi or Styles vs. Woods, but for six minutes, it was okay.
Replays aired of some of the chaos at the end of the match.
– Lynch vs. Brooke is still to come.
– Also, Zayn vs. Rollins in the main event.
4 – THE VAUDEVILLAINS vs. KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E.
The Vauds were in the ring out of break. As New Day came out, they showed their interaction with the returning Wyatt Family on Monday night. Aiden English and Simon Gotch were on top of Kingston in the early going, cutting off the ring in the process. English trash-talked Big E., which is a losing proposition on several fronts. Kingston cut off English’s offense and both men made tags. Three belly-to-belly suplexes by Big E. to Gotch. Big splash followed. English was sent out of the ring where Kofi wiped him out in front of the announcers. Gotch didn’t see the tag to Kingston. New Day hit their double-team finish, one of the better-looking versions that they’ve done, on Gotch.
WINNERS: New Day, at 2:28. Good energy for the time it lasted. The Vaudevillains seem to have run their course already, which almost everyone seemed to predict would happen.
The Wyatt Family interrupted New Day’s celebration with a message on the Titan Tron. Bray admonished New Day for interrupting the Wyatt Family’s return Monday night. Bray said the thing about pain is that it demands to be felt. Xavier Woods looked to be greatly affected by the promo. Wyatt vowed, “New Day falls.”
– Zayn vs. Rollins is tonight’s main event.
– “Life Lessons with Coach Backlund”: Backlund wanted to review Darren Young’s goals. Young wanted to win a singles title and to be great. He also wanted to main event Wrestlemania. Backlund said he’s wrestled at Wrestlemania and won singles gold. Young said he needed a boost in the New Era. Backlund said the era he wrestled in was “The Bob Backlund Era” so he wanted to make the New Era the “Darren Young Era.”
– NXT’s Greg Hamilton was backstage with Sami Zayn. Hamilton pitched it to the backstage brawl on Raw between Zayn and Kevin Owens. Zayn repeated what he said on Monday, that he wants his feud with Owens to end. But he accepted Seth’s challenge tonight to try to get away from Owens, and to make a statement. He said Rollins needs to be concerned about him kicking his face off. Intense promo from Zayn, a nice change from the norm.
– Renee Young approached Charlotte and Dana Brooke backstage. Charlotte said they’ll dominate anyone who gets in their way. Young asked Charlotte about Sasha Banks. Charlotte said the only statement that will be made is Banks bowing down to her. She said Sasha may be the boss, but she’s the queen. Brooke said for Banks, that means playtime is over. She vowed to finish off “that carrot-top, Becky Lynch,” next.
– Becky Lynch came out for her match. She takes on Dana Brooke, next.
– They showed an Instagram post of Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers wearing a WWE Title in celebration of the Cavs winning the NBA Championship.
5 – BECKY LYNCH vs. DANA BROOKE
Before Brooke came out, they showed stills of the women’s tag match from MITB. Then on Monday, Natalya attacked Lynch backstage. Charlotte accompanied Brooke to the ring. Brooke opened the match on offense, but Lynch fired off a few right hands. She missed a charge but dropped Brooke with an inverted DDT. Lynch knocked Charlotte off the apron and Brooke rolled her up for the win.
WINNER: Brooke, at 1:13. The women’s TV matches are getting shorter and shorter, as if they’ve reverted back to pre-Divas Revolution days. David Otunga hasn’t added any real insight on commentary.
Brooke continued the assault after the match. Sasha Banks came out. She entered the ring to “Sasha” chants as Charlotte appeared ready to fight her. Charlotte exited the ring while Brooke tried to sneak attack Banks, to no avail. Bank Statement applied to Brooke as Charlotte looked on from ringside.
– Seth Rollins was walking backstage. He came upon Dean Ambrose. Ambrose said he’s got a front row seat for the main event. Rollins kept walking with Ambrose following behind him. Ambrose joins the announcers next.
– Ranallo pitched it to a preview of “Queen of the South,” which premieres following Smackdown tonight.
6 – SETH ROLLINS vs. SAMI ZAYN
Ambrose was already at the announce table when Rollins entered. Rollins had some words with Ambrose before stepping into the ring. Shoulder tackle by Rollins on Zayn. Rollins then laid across the top rope, showing overconfidence. Zayn with a few arm-drags. Dueling “Let’s Go Rollins/Sami Zayn” chants. Zayn landed hard on the outside via Rollins. Rollins was on a roll as they went to break at 2:05 of the match.
Back at 5:01 with Rollins stomping Zayn in the corner. Falcon Arrow by Rollins for two. Rollins caught Zayn with a running forearm in the corner. Sling Blade from Rollins for two. Zayn came back at about the 7:30 mark of the match, mounting Rollins in the corner and delivering rights and lefts. Rollins took a breather to avoid Zayn’s offense. Zayn leveled Rollins with a clothesline. Back in, cross-body off the top for a near-fall. Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count, with Seth’s wristband coming off. Rollins came back with a buckle bomb, but Zayn avoided the superkick and rolled up Rollins. Tornado DDT from Zayn. Zayn leapt over the top rope and onto Rollins outside the ring. However, back in, Rollins downed Zayn with a Pedigree from out of nowhere.
WINNER: Rollins, at 10:53.
Replays were shown of the end of the match. Rollins got in the face of Ambrose at ringside. Rollins appeared to back away, then attacked as Ambrose went to sit back down. Ambrose came back and went on the attack himself. He tried to hit Dirty Deeds in mid-ring, but Rollins escaped and fled up the ramp. The show closed with Ambrose holding the title high and his music playing.
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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 email@example.com.