7/26 Smackdown News & Notes – Ziggler’s big win, Orton, Benjamin, Rhyno surprise return, Slater, A. Alpha’s debut, Women’s Division

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c) WWE.com


WWE Smackdown TV News & Notes 7/26

– Dolph Ziggler was given a chance to back up his verbal claims with a big in-ring victory on the first official Smackdown Live episode Tuesday night.

Ziggler won a #1 contender Six-Pack challenge to face Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Title at Summerslam.

Ziggler pinned A.J. Styles in a match also involving John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Baron Corbin, and Apollo Crews, who opened Smackdown winning a #1 contender battle royal to get the sixth spot in the main event.

– Shane McMahon announced that Backlash will be a Smackdown-exclusive PPV on September 11 following Summerslam.

– Randy Orton returned to in-ring action for the first time this year, defeating IC champion The Miz in a non-title match.

Orton sold his shoulder injury that sidelined him for nine months to make Orton vulnerable against Brock Lesnar at Summerslam.

– WWE announced that Shelton Benjamin is returning to WWE to be part of the Smackdown brand.

– Rhyno, who recently resurfaced on NXT TV, made a surprise appearance goring Heath Slater. The announcers played it up like Rhyno signed with the Smackdown brand.

Meanwhile, Slater remains without a home after being the only eligible roster member who was not drafted in last Tuesday’s WWE Draft.

– The hook for next week’s show is the in-ring debut of NXT tag team American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable). Alpha was part of a show-opening State of the Roster address to make their main TV debut.

The former NXT tag champions are expected to headline the Smackdown tag division once it gets started next week. There was no indication if the brand will get its own Tag Titles, though.

– Becky Lynch got her win back over Natalya in a re-match from Battleground. This led to a parade of the Women’s Division on Smackdown, including Alexa Bliss and Carmella from NXT, Naomi, and Eva Marie, who was given a grand ring entrance.

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