WWE Smackdown LIVE review
August 16, 2016
From Austin, Tex.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– The show began with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon in their office backstage. They were excited about Summerslam and brought in Randy Orton to sign the contract for his match with Brock Lesnar. Orton signed after giving the two in charge a fair warning about what could happen in the match. After a knock on the door, Heath Slater entered with a fruit basket. Bryan read the card and it said, “to Bob, my condolences.” Slater wanted to apologize because he watched Smackdown Live back last week and realized McMahon and Bryan were going to offer him a contract. McMahon and Bryan said they can’t keep giving Slater chances. Slater thought they were in a pickle here, but Bryan said it wasn’t so, because they just weren’t going to hire him. Orton, still in the picture, took a bite of an apple from the basket and said he had an idea. And there’s your cliffhanger, I suppose.
– Smackdown Open.
– Maryse and The Miz were in the ring for Miz TV. Maryse gave her flowery introduction for her husband. Before Miz could even get out his opening remarks, Dean Ambrose’s music played and he approached the ring. Ambrose said he can’t stand the sound of Miz’s voice. He noted they’re a few days away from Summerslam, but he was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler’s music. Ziggler came to the squared circle and Ambrose immediately got in his face. Miz stepped between them. Does anyone care that Miz has an Intercontinental Title defense on Sunday, let alone Miz himself?
Miz talked up Ziggler a bit and said people, himself included, had written Ziggler off. He said Ziggler came in with such promise, but fizzled out. But Ziggler wants to prove the critics wrong, and is doing it with a career resurgence. He asked what happens if Ziggler fails at Summerslam. A fan helpfully shouted “retire!” as a response to the question. Ziggler said he’s not worried about that because he’s so focused on the WWE Championship. Ambrose called this a “new” Dolph Ziggler. He said he’s not buying it. Miz tried stirring the pot but Ziggler told him to shut his mouth. That led to a “shut your mouth” chant.
Ziggler asked what Ambrose wants from him. He said everything Ambrose has said about him over the last three weeks has made him want to kick Ambrose’s head in. After Summerslam, Ziggler said Ambrose will have to admit that Ambrose pushing Ziggler over the edge would lead to him winning the title. Ambrose gave Ziggler a reality check, saying even if Ziggler wins, the critics won’t be silenced because it doesn’t get any easier as champion. As champion, he’ll have an even bigger target on his back. And everyone knows Ziggler can’t handle pressure. “You’re happy just being some sarcastic little star of your own crappy movie.”
He said the chip on Ziggler’s shoulder will weight him down and bury him, because he’s never felt pressure like he has at Summerslam. He said Ziggler will get embarrassed and hurt on Sunday, but he’ll prove something to people. He’ll prove he doesn’t want it bad enough and never wanted it bad enough. “And you’re never gonna get it.” Ambrose held the title up right in front of Ziggler’s face. So apparently Ziggler’s past reign as champion has been eliminated from history?
Ziggler said Ambrose will scratch, claw, and bleed all over the middle of the ring, but none of it will be enough to put Ziggler away. He showed great intensity as he described everything Ambrose will be feeling in trying to put Dolph away on Sunday. In the middle of it, he said when Ambrose is looking for that one last move…then out of nowhere, a superkick from Ziggler felled Ambrose. Over a fallen Ambrose, Ziggler said Sunday, Ambrose will realize he is that damn good. More akin to the promo Ambrose cut a few weeks ago. Another pretty solid back-and-forth that really allowed fans into the heads of the competitors.
– Tonight, John Cena faces Alberto Del Rio.
– Also: Heath Slater vs. Randy Orton in another chance for Slater to win a Smackdown Live contract.
– Next: 12-man tag action with all Smackdown tag teams.
– During the break, Miz was still on the mic, this time cutting a promo on his Summerslam opponent, “Apollo Creed” (as Bryan misidentified him a few weeks ago). Apollo Crews came out, and powerbombed Miz.
1 – THE USOS & AMERICAN ALPHA & THE HYPE BROS vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS & THE ASCENSION & BREEZANGO
JBL called Breezango the strangest team since Slave Girl Moolah & The Elephant Boy. Chad Gable tossed around Viktor a little bit before Mojo Rawley kept the hype train rolling. He tried a double-team with his Hype Bro partner, but Konnor made the save. At that point, the match broke down with everybody brawling as they went to break at 1:19 of the match.
Back at 5:06 with one of the Usos making a hot tag after order had been restored. Samoan drop to Aiden English. Jason Jordan and Uso seemed to argue about something, but Jordan moved him out of the way of the oncoming attack by English. The match broke down again with everybody hitting their moves one after the other. Jey flew onto a group of heels on the outside. Grand Amplitude to English in the ring for the win.
WINNERS: American Alpha, The Usos, and The Hype Bros, at 6:49. Just over three minutes was actually shown. It really exposed the lack of depth on the Smackdown tag division when WWE only trusts a match like this to go six minutes.
– Dean Ambrose was backstage, upset and working out his neck, trying to recover from the Ziggler superkick. He faces Erick Rowan next.
– Eva Marie’s debut is next. Well, they can’t both be next unless both matches are happening at the same time. Now that would be interesting.
– Naomi came out to face Eva Marie. The joke is funnier if she tries to fight Becky Lynch every time. Naomi was clad in a black-light outfit that glowed in the dark. She handed out glowsticks to fans in the crowd and tossed what looked like wrist-bands to them. She also had remixed theme music. Her look and music reminded me of the bowling alleys that turn out the lights for black-light bowling late in the evenings. They gave the opening video and narration for Eva Marie, but in the middle of it, the voiceover guy sadly said Eva was stuck in traffic and would not make it. Eva apologizes. JBL said there have been flash-flood warnings and construction in the area of the University of Texas. I’m waiting for Eva to get a proxy to fight for her in feigning injury, only to go on the attack mid-match, a la Doink w/Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart at Summerslam 1993.
– They showed, from Hell in a Cell last year, Alberto Del Rio answering John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge, and winning. How the mighty have fallen.
– Backstage, A.J. Styles approached Alberto Del Rio. Styles said he’s a little jealous of Del Rio getting to take down the smug Cena. Styles talked about watching Del Rio beat Cena last October. He was downright giddy. Del Rio was not as happy, saying he didn’t need Styles to give him a pep talk. He said he’d beat Cena again tonight. Styles threw it in Del Rio’s face that he’s in the “main event” of Summerslam while Del Rio isn’t even on the card.
– Ambrose vs. Rowan is still to come tonight.
– Next, Orton vs. Slater.
– Curt Hawkins Facts: Curt Hawkins has counted to infinity…twice. Curt Hawkins can slam a revolving door. Curt Hawkins doesn’t flush the toilet…he scares the crap out of it. And he’s coming soon to Smackdown. I can’t wait to see how he and Zack Ryder coexist on the same brand! Will Mojo Rawley feel threatened? I hope he brings his cane back with him.
2 – RANDY ORTON vs. HEATH SLATER – IF SLATER WINS, HE GETS A SMACKDOWN LIVE CONTRACT
Orton tossed Slater immediately into the ring-post, shoulder first. And again, to the opposite post. Garvin Stomp by Orotn. Orton delivered a number of right hands to Slater in the corner. Referee Mike Chioda separated Orton from Slater, but Orton went right back to it in another corner. This time, Chioda threw out the match due to Orton’s obstinance.
WINNER: Slater, via disqualification, at 1:00. So does this mean Slater gets his contract? I’m late to the Slater party, but I’ve really been digging him lately. And the amped-up intensity shown by Orton gets him ready for Lesnar on Sunday.
Orton continued the attack post-match, throwing Slater over the announce desk at ringside. Draping DDT with Slater hung up on the barricade. Orton slithered into position back in the ring, but instead of hitting an RKO, he gave Slater a German suplex and bounced on his feet a la Lesnar. Another one for Slater. Then he readied for the RKO and hit it. With Orton still celebrating in the ring, Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan showed up on the Titan-Tron. Wyatt announced their presence, and blew out his lantern.
– Mauro Ranallo thanked Flo Rida for “Who’s With Me,” one of the official Summerslam themes.
– In the trainer’s room, a member of the WWE medical staff was checking Slater for a concussion. Slater said he was hurting all over. McMahon and Bryan came in saying Slater won his match and therefore has a contract. Laying down on the trainer’s table, Slater groggily said he beat the crap out of Lesnar and showed no mercy to Orton. The men in charge liked the name No Mercy, and agreed to use it for their October PPV. Slater said he enjoyed Bryan’s new reality show, Holy Foley. Slater wanted a pen and complimented Shane, saying he looks so beautiful tonight. He called him Stephanie and thanked him. Before he could sign it, Shane pulled the contract, apparently unhappy with being called Stephanie. Slater then couldn’t find the contract to sign despite Shane just taking it out from under his nose. Sadly, Slater did not call “no take-backs.”
– During the break, as Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan made their entrance, they had a bit of a showdown with Orton in the aisle, though it didn’t get physical.
3 – ERICK ROWAN vs. DEAN AMBROSE
After Ambrose’s entrance, they replayed Dolph’s superkick to Ambrose in the opening segment. Ambrose took the fight to Rowan early on, both inside the ring and out. That ended when Ambrose went for a cross-body. Rowan caught him and slammed him as Wyatt looked on from his rocking chair. Rowan worked Ambrose into a rear chinlock less than two minutes into the match. Whip into the turnbuckle by Rowan, which Ambrose sold big. Low-bridge to Rowan by Ambrose. He quickly re-entered the ring, but missed a big boot in the corner. Rowan missed wildly with a punch and Ambrose suplexed Rowan down. Elbowdrop off the top by Ambrose for two. Rowan created separation and nailed Ambrose with a spin kick. Lunatic Lariat found the mark. Rowan tried to fish-hook Ambrose’s mouth, but the champ kicked him in the gut and hit Dirty Deeds for the win.
WINNER: Ambrose, at 5:06. Thankfully Ambrose has a lot of energy between the ropes, because Rowan doesn’t offer much. Rowan had to do the unintentionally comedic “big man selling as if he’s trying to keep his balance” spot a few times.
The finish was replayed. As Rowan recovered in the ring, Wyatt had turned the rocking chair around to face the entrance. He tossed the sheep mask into the seat of the chair and walked to the back by himself.
– Cena vs. Del Rio happens tonight.
– Next, in the Women’s Division, Becky Lynch & Carmella face Natalya & Alexa Bliss.
4 – NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS vs. CARMELLA & BECKY LYNCH
Lynch was the only one to get a full entrance. As she did, they showed Bliss upsetting Lynch last week in her debut. Headscissors take-over by Carmella on Natalya. She ran into a clothesline, however. Bliss tagged in. JBL mentioned the possibility of a Women’s Title on Smackdown. The fans willed Carmella back to her feet and to break out of a rest-hold. Both women made tags and Lynch took the fight to both heels. Bexploder suplex out of the corner for a near-fall on Nattie. Both women went for cross-body blocks mid-ring. Eva Marie’s music then played and she came out. Eva made it halfway down the ring when Naomi’s music interrupted and she came out, wanting a fight with Eva. Naomi chased her around then into the ring. Nattie cut off Naomi and threw her out of the ring. Lynch hooked in the Disarm-Her for the victory.
WINNERS: Lynch and Carmella, via submission, at 4:13. Bliss and Carmella are going to have a hard time standing out with Eva getting a lot of the focus for the new women, and Naomi getting repackaged.
– Next, we’ll get a video package on Lesnar vs. Orton, 15 years in the making.
– Ranallo thanked Wale for “My PYT,” another official theme song for Summerslam.
– Backstage, Baron Corbin continued his bullying of Kalisto. “Some people are just victims,” he told Kalisto. He said every time Kalisto gets up he’ll put him back down. He was smooshing Kalisto’s face against one of the lift doors backstage until refs and security broke it up.
– The announcers were shown on camera, talking about Jon Stewart returning to Summerslam this year. Ranallo talked about all the offerings on WWE Network this week.
– A video package on Lesnar vs. Orton aired.
– Just added to Summerslam: Carmella, Naomi, and Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss.
– A.J. Styles came out for the main event. It’s next.
– Styles joined the announcers at ringside for Del Rio vs. Cena.
5 – ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN CENA
Dueling “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. First high-impact move of the match was a hip-toss by Cena. Del Rio took a break at ringside (and even went over the barricade and into the audience) as they went to break at 1:21 of the match.
Back at 4:52 of the match. Del Rio came off the top with a fist to the head of Cena. That garnered him a two-count. Cena avoided a Del Rio charge, leading to Del Rio crashing to the outside of the ring. Back in, Del Rio escaped an Attitude Adjustment attempt. Running boot by Del Rio put Cena down. And another one, though Cena got his hands up real early and it looked bad. Del Rio missed a third one and Cena peppered him with fists. Del Rio stepped out of the way on a Cena charge, leading to Cena going sternum-first into the buckle. DDT by Del Rio. Two-count registered at 9:05 of the match. He celebrated his success as they cut to break at 9:17.
They returned from the final break of the show at 12:40. Cena was making his comeback, hitting shoulder tackles and a slam. Five-Knuckle Shuffle connected. AA turned into a back-stabber by Del Rio for a near-fall. Cena blocked a kick, but couldn’t capitalize. Tilt-a-whirl back-breaker by Del Rio. Step-up enziugiri, but no one was home. Cena went to the top rope and Del Rio tried it again for a near-fall (with the camera on Styles as the ref counted the pin). Cross arm-breaker countered into the STF. Del Rio reached the ropes with relative ease. Superkick to Cena’s face (no hands going up this time) for two at 16:00. Cross arm-breaker applied. Cena powered out. AA hit for the win.
WINNER: Cena, at 16:54.
A Phenomenal Forearm was delivered to Cena by Styles immediately after the match announcement. Styles took the mic. He said he’s sick of hearing that the future goes through Cena. He said that when he beats Cena on Sunday, he’ll be the face the runs the place. He vowed to make Cena’s passion (WWE) his prison. He said Cena’s time is up and his time is now. Styles had second thoughts when leaving the ring and went to attack, but Cena got up and hit the AA, miraculously healed from the selling he was just doing. Or maybe he was playing possum. Cena cleared off the announce table at ringside. Cena drove Styles’ forehead into the steel steps. Cena stood on the stairs, positioned near the announce desk, and AA’d Styles through the desk. They replayed the forearm by Styles and the AA by Cena, then the AA through the table. Cena celebrated as he headed through the curtain to the back.
Did you watch Thursday’s Smackdown episode? Send your 0-10 score & Reax to firstname.lastname@example.org for our TV Reax feature.
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.