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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
August 2, 2016
From Nashville, Tenn.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Shane McMahon, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton were watching Orton’s RKO on Brock Lesnar backstage on a monitor. Shane was not happy that Orton did what he did last night. But he did admit what Orton did was pretty awesome. A number of security guards were shown, there to protect Orton. Orton said he proved it takes only one RKO to take Lesnar down. He walked off as McMahon instructed security to make sure Lesnar doesn’t enter the building. As they were dismissed, The Miz and Maryse walked up to McMahon and Bryan. Miz was unhappy with his treatment thus far on Smackdown. Bryan booked a “New Era Triple-Threat Match” featuring Baron Corbin, Apollo “Creed” as Bryan called him, and Kalisto, with the winner facing Miz for the Intercontinental Title at Summerslam. How do they not pre-tape these segments to prevent that very flub? Dean Ambrose walked up and said he’d address the WWE Universe next.
– Smackdown Open.
– In the arena, Dean Ambrose walked out. As he did, they had a side graphic of Ambrose that described his recent win at Battleground and his upcoming title defense against Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam. That was a neat touch. Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at ringside. Ambrose introduced himself as WWE World Champion and gave a few lines about how he got to this point. He said he likes the view from the top. The first mention of Dolph Ziggler’s name by Ambrose got a few boos, but overall, not much of a reaction. He wanted to learn more about Ziggler, so he invited his challenger to the ring. Ziggler obliged.
Ziggler wore a suit jacket over his t-shirt. Ziggler said he and Ambrose are pretty similar. Ambrose declined the comparison, saying Ziggler is all “show” and he’s all “go.” Ambrose said no one is taking the title away from him, especially not Ziggler. Ziggler brought up that Ambrose entered WWE already on top, with the Shield. He said he came in as a male cheerleader. He insisted he was the one doing the scratching and crawling to get what he’s gotten. Ambrose said Ziggler wastes his time complaining, while he doesn’t care what people think. He said Ziggler is too worried about what the fans and what the office thinks about him. Ambrose said Ziggler will lose at Summerslam, even while he steals the show. Ziggler said he’s a kid from Cleveland who went to his first live event at age five, knowing that’s what he wants to do. He walked on at Kent State, setting wrestling records, hoping to get his foot in the door in WWE for the chance to steal the show. For the last seven years, he’s been the guy jerked around, told he’s not good enough, then told he’s too good. Ziggler got intense at this point, saying he’s the guy who will walk into Brooklyn, burn the place down and become champion, because he’s that damn good.
After a brief silence, Ambrose returned with, “no you’re not.” He said it’s not because anyone is holding Ziggler back or because there’s some conspiracy; instead, it’s because Ziggler isn’t as good as he thinks he is. After Ambrose left and Ziggler was left in the ring to think about what had just happened, the Wyatt Family logo flashed and Bray appeared in the ring after the lights went out. He delivered Sister Abigail to Ziggler. He said Ziggler doesn’t deserve to be champion. He said Ziggler stole something from him and he wants it back. He challenged Ziggler to face him – if Ziggler wins, he’ll prove he’s worthy of being number one contender – but if he loses, Wyatt takes his place at Summerslam. I really liked that segment, aside from the whole “Ziggler being held back” storyline. The scripting of Ambrose was well done, really challenging Ziggler’s character and what he’s about. Ziggler responded with a passionate promo that we haven’t seen from him in a long time.
– Tonight, A.J. Styles has a message for John Cena.
– Also tonight, American Alpha debuts.
– Next, it’s the Triple-Threat Match to determine the #1 contender to the I.C. Championship.
– McMahon and Bryan were talking to a few security guards backstage. Ziggler walked up and told the guys in charge that he wants the match with Wyatt. Bryan brought up the obvious, that Ziggler doesn’t have to do this and there’s nothing in it for him. Ziggler said Ambrose doesn’t think he deserves the shot, Wyatt doesn’t, and neither do the fans. And he wants to prove them all wrong. McMahon made the match. At least they gave an explanation for why he’d want to put his shot on the line with nothing to gain. That’s usually a point they gloss over.
1 – KALISTO vs. BARON CORBIN vs. APOLLO CREWS – TRIPLE-THREAT MATCH TO DETERMINE THE #1 CONTENDER TO THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Miz and Maryse were ringside at the announce desk. Corbin went after Crews to start, while Kalisto climbed on Corbin’s back as if he were some sort of pesky fly. The babyfaces teamed up to throw Corbin over the top at :37 of the match. Corbin vs. Kalisto ensued until Corbin low-bridged Crews out of the ring. Kalisto hit a suicide dive onto Corbin outside the ring. He was alone in the ring starting a “Lucha” chant as they cut to break at 1:07 of the match.
Back at 4:56 and Corbin had both opponents down in opposite corners. He traded off splashing one after the other. Crews recovered long enough to charge Corbin, but he was put down with a boot. Headscissors by Kalisto took Corbin out of the ring. Samoan drop by Crews on Kalisto for a near-fall. Kalisto climbed to the top rope but Corbin caught him. Crews dropkicked Corbin, leading to Kalisto, still being held up by Corbin, headscissoring Corbin out of the ring. Roll-up by Crews for the win.
WINNER: Crews, at 6:47. I didn’t like the roll-up finish. I was also surprised it was so short, but then again there was no real veteran WWE hand in there to lead them through this kind of match.
Corbin attacked Kalisto after the match. Crews ran back in to make the save, but Miz interjected himself and hit the Skull-Crushing Finale on Crews. Corbin came from behind a celebrating Miz and hit End of Days. This is a respectable set of future I.C. Title challengers.
– A.J. Styles has words for John Cena later on.
– Becky Lynch faces Eva Marie, next.
– Becky Lynch made her entrance for the match, followed by Eva. Eva was selling a leg injury before the match even began. The referee instructed a trainer to go check on her. The referee told ring announcer Greg Hamilton that Eva can’t compete and thus the match won’t take place. Hamilton made the announcement over the house mic. The trainer and ref helped Eva limp to the back. It begins. Let’s see how many ways they’ll come up with to avoid having her wrestle.
– On the Smackdown Live pre-and-post-game set, Renee Young was joined by Carmella. Carmella had a few harsh words for Eva Marie until Natalya walked up. Nattie didn’t like that Carmella was getting interviewed over her. She name-dropped her uncle Bret and they agreed that the women’s division on Smackdown needs a leader…like her. Carmella got out of her seat and in Nattie’s face. Nattie said she’ll teach Carmella a lesson in humility.
– Up next, American Alpha make their main roster television debut.
– Talking Smack takes place immediately after Smackdown Live on the WWE Network.
2 – THE VAUDEVILLAINS vs. AMERICAN ALPHA
No entrance for the Vauds. There didn’t seem to be a big pop for AA’s entrance. There was a “Gable” chant to Kurt Angle’s theme, though a small one, once the match began. Chad Gable did some chain wrestling to take Simon Gotch down. Jason Jordan tagged in with a dropkick. Tag made to Gable while the Vauds double-teamed Jordan, leading to Gable clotheslining both men from the top rope. Stereo dropkicks by Alpha. The Vaudevillains took back over on Gable. Hot tag to Jordan. He impressed in that role, as expected. In the end, Grand Amplitude was hit for the finish on Aiden English.
WINNERS: Alpha, at 3:27. A little surprised they didn’t get a jobber team to face. Perhaps WWE wanted to show off Gable’s selling and Jordan’s hot tag. In the end, American Alpha did nothing to dissuade anyone from thinking they’ll be big on the main roster.
– Up next, A.J. Styles’ message for John Cena.
– They showed John Cena co-hosting the Teen Choice Awards and comments solicited from celebrities by WWE’s Cathy Kelley. They also showed a Tweet from the Bella Twins after receiving the Choice Female Athlete award.
– A.J. Styles came to the ring. Styles demanded his music be cut and said he came out to talk about only one thing: John Cena. On that cue, Cena’s music played and he came out. Cena simply told Styles to talk. Styles said it’s not always about Cena (though he was the one who insisted he was only there to talk about Cena). Styles said he could do his favorite thing and beat up John Cena. He said he has a message for Cenation. “Soccer mom hair” chant from some of the fans. Styles paused to let it pick up steam, though it never sounded like it got out of one section. Styles said his problem is that he doesn’t want Cena in WWE. The crowd began to chant “what” at Styles. Styles said Cena does his little dance and people think he’s some noble hero. He called the people who follow Cena “weak-minded.”
Styles took issue with the kids that support Cena. He called the parents that support those kids, “delusional.” And Cena believes what the parents think is true about him. The hard truth: You don’t get dessert before dinner, you don’t get to stay up late on a school night, and you get no participation trophies. And stay off his lawn. He seemed upset he didn’t get a trophy after beating Cena. Cena said Styles clearly has some issues he needs to work out. Cena reminded Styles that not everybody in the crowd likes him. Styles said he’ll prove to Cenation that Cena is a fraud.
Styles asked why Cena is still in WWE, and Cena responded by saying he’s there to shut Styles’ mouth. He took his promo up a notch in defending the fanbase. He also defended himself about how much he still loves WWE despite his outside projects. Cena said while Styles is kicking up his feet on his day off tomorrow, he’ll be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in a Smackdown Live t-shirt because he doesn’t know whatever a day off is. He said Styles is only here to be a good wrestler, and if he can’t get it done in WWE, he’ll move someplace else. But for Cena, there’s no other place for him.
Styles gave a mock applause to Cena and said that’s exactly what he thought Cena would say. He said that’s the John that never backs away from a challenge. Styles put it to him: Summerslam, A.J. Styles vs. John Cena, one-on-one. “I need to teach your ass a lesson, you’re on,” responded Cena. Styles said the best part of Summerslam will be when he beats Cena and then on Smackdown Live, Cena will have to come out and admit Styles is better than him. If he doesn’t, he’s a liar. And if he does, he’s a loser. Either way, he wins. WWE REALLY wants fans to know that Cena isn’t going anywhere. It’s a promo we’ve heard from Cena before. Styles and his material weren’t great, though Styles has set a surprisingly high bar for his mic work thus far in his WWE run.
– Ziggler vs. Wyatt, with Ziggler’s Summerslam title shot on the line, is still to come.
– Security was surrounding the ringside area as Breezango was in the ring. Fandango goes one-on-one with Randy Orton after taking umbrage with what Orton said about him at Summerslam. Continuity!
3 – FANDANGO vs. RANDY ORTON
During Orton’s entrance, they showed all the press Orton got for RKO’ing Lesnar last night, followed by actually showing said RKO. Orton delivered a clothesline out of the corner and followed with stomps on Fandango’s wrists. Vertical suplex for a one-count. Tyler Breeze provided a distraction, allowing Fandango to dropkick his foe. Back suplex by Orton found the mark after working out of a rear chin-lock. Orton powerslammed Fandango, then did the same with Breeze. The match continued despite the interference. JBL brought up Lesnar and Orton training at Danny Davis’ OVW. As Orton readied for the RKO, Brock Lesnar appeared in the crowd. He was at ringside. RKO to Fandango, but Lesnar then jumped in and gave Orton an F5.
WINNER: Orton, via disqualification, at 3:04. I liked that they gave a reason for this match happening, even this level of a match. Also gives Orton a chance to continue to work off the ring rust before Summerslam.
Shane McMahon ran down to the ring with more security and referees to get Lesnar out of the arena. They sent him back through the entrance rather than through the crowd.
– They showed what happened moments ago, with Lesnar’s attack on Orton. During the break, he was ushered out of the arena by security, displaying what Otunga called a “cavalier attitude.” Paul Heyman also showed up to argue with security and escort Lesnar out of the building.
– Bryan was backstage on the phone talking about the Lesnar situation. He turned and saw Heath Slater just standing there. Does he not have peripheral vision? Bryan asked Slater how he got in there and Slater insulted Bryan’s security force. Bryan offered Slater a match next week and asked Slater to guess who it’s against. Slater guessed “Jumpin’” Marty Lunde (Arn Anderson’s real name), saying that’s the guy Chris Jericho made up on Raw. Out of nowhere, Rhyno showed up and Gored Slater. Bryan said Slater will face Rhyno next week. Really unrealistic type of segment, though I can see how they liked the idea of Rhyno Goring Slater to introduce him as Slater’s opponent.
– Ambrose was on set with Renee Young. Ambrose was uncomfortable with the set-up and said that maybe this is a new Dolph Ziggler after he accepted the match with Wyatt. He took off the headset as he didn’t like how it felt, then walked away.
– Ziggler vs. Wyatt is the Smackdown main event, and it’s next.
– Earlier tonight, Brock Lesnar evened the score against Brock Lesnar. New WWE backstage interviewer Charly Caruso (that was a quick call-up from NXT) caught up to Orton coming out of his locker room and asked about his condition. He walked away without giving an answer.
– Carmella came to the ring for a match. So…Ziggler vs. Wyatt WASN’T next. She cut a promo on the way to the ring but Natalya attacked her from behind. She locked in the Sharpshooter on Carmella at ringside. Referees broke it up. Nattie walked to the back as refs checked on Carmella.
– Bryan and McMahon walked up to Ziggler backstage when Dolph was readying himself for his match. They again tried to talk Ziggler out of taking this match. Ziggler took it as them not believing in him and told them, “screw you,” as he walked off.
– On the WWE Network, Talking Smack follows Smackdown, with Daniel Bryan and Renee Young being joined by American Alpha on this evening.
4 – BRAY WYATT vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – WINNER ADVANCES TO FACE DEAN AMBROSE FOR THE WWE WORLD TITLE AT SUMMERSLAM
After Wyatt’s entrance, Dean Ambrose was shown at the announce desk for this one. Ziggler was all business in his entrance. He’ll be on SportsCenter tomorrow night. Quick dropkick and Fameasser by Ziggler for a two-count right off the bat. Outside the ring, Ziggler ran into a clothesline from Wyatt. They went back-and-forth in the ring before cutting to break at 1:32 of the match.
Back at 4:39 with Ziggler and Wyatt both battling atop the top turnbuckle. Wyatt suplexed Ziggler off the top. Wyatt spider-walked over to make the cover, for only a two-count. Cravat applied by Wyatt. Ziggler worked back to his feet and connected on a jaw-breaker. Couple of clotheslines by Ziggler and a corner splash. Suplex throw by Wyatt and a back senton for two. Wyatt undid the top turnbuckle pad but the ref caught him before he could take it off. Zig Zag by Ziggler for a very near fall. Ziggler took the loosened pad off the corner. Ziggler rolled out of Sister Abigail and rolled Wyatt up for two. Uranage by Wyatt for two. Ziggler avoided the steel in the corner, but he sent Wyatt head-first into it. Superkick finished off Wyatt.
WINNER: Ziggler, at 11:34.
Replays of the match were shown. Ambrose stood on the announce desk holding his title. Ziggler screamed at him from the ring. As he did, Erick Rowan ran out and attacked Ziggler from behind. Ambrose ran into the ring to make the save. He fought off Wyatt and Rowan until Rowan delivered his side slam to Ambrose. Ambrose was kicked out of the ring as Wyatt gave Ziggler Sister Abigail.
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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.