WWE Smackdown LIVE review
August 30, 2016
From Dallas, Texas
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– They showed a clip of The Miz and Daniel Bryan’s confrontation on Talking Smack on the WWE Network last week. No fancy music, no cuts, no announcers talking over the segment. It was straight-up, which gave it a stronger effect, actually.
– Backstage, Shane McMahon and Bryan were showing having been watching that on a monitor. McMahon said he thinks Bryan owes Miz an apology and that he can’t provoke talent that way. He said he agrees with what Bryan said, but he can’t get in the face of talent. Bryan said Shane was right and that maybe he won’t be so honest next time. Bryan said he finds the advice ironic coming from the man who has a beef with Brock Lesnar. Shane pondered Bryan’s zinger as the camera lingered on his reaction.
– Smackdown Open.
– The Miz charged to the ring to his music, Maryse trailing behind him. In the ring, Miz told production to cut the music. Miz told the fans not to dare boo him. He said it took 148 days to get everyone’s attention, the length of his current Intercontinental Title reign. He took issue with some of Bryan’s criticisms on Talking Smack, without citing him by name. Miz said the fans don’t see the big picture, they don’t know what goes on backstage. He said WWE calls him whenever they need a spokesperson, a movie, or a red carpet. Or to play a chicken. Miz said people boo him because he didn’t spend the first 12 years of his career wrestling in a VFW hall in front of 12 people. He tried to convince the fans he’s not a failure. Miz said the fans are cowards if they think he’s unworthy. Dolph Ziggler’s music interrupted him and he came out.
Ziggler said there’s a reason the people never get behind Miz: They see through him. He said Miz’s only interest is being famous. He just wants to walk a red carpet, hold up a title, and be famous. Ziggler said every single week, Miz has a chance to change that perception. But he never does. Ziggler said if Miz wants to prove to everyone, including his wife (“oohs” from the fans) and himself, he’ll fight Ziggler right now with no title on the line and no ref. Since when is Ziggler any kind of a measuring stick? The crowd did start a “yes” chant at that challenge. Miz appeared ready to accept, but in the end, bailed. Ziggler got on the mic as Miz and Maryse headed to the back, saying Bryan was right: Miz is a soft, safe, coward. Maryse had to hold Miz back from heading to the ring again. Both men gave great effort here, but I’m not sure of the positioning of Ziggler in this fashion. We’ve seen Ziggler vs. Miz ad nauseum.
– Dean Ambrose squares off against Baron Corbin tonight.
– In addition, Bray Wyatt has a Sermon for the Serpent (Randy Orton) later on.
– The Tag Team Championship Tournament continues when The Vaudevillains face The Hype Bros, next.
1 – THE HYPE BROS vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS – TAG-TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT MATCH
They showed a Vauds backstage promo from earlier today prior to the match. They talked about what they value, including the tag titles. Dropkick by Zack Ryder put Aiden English down quickly. Simon Gotch pulled English out of the ring before the Broski Boot could connect. English hit Ryder with a neck-breaker outside the ring. Back in, English worked the left arm of Ryder. English went to the top but rolled through a dive when Ryder moved. Mojo Rawley made the tag, but didn’t’ get much of a reaction. Two splashes to English in the corner. Broski Boot by Ryder eliminated Gotch. Rabbit clothesline by Rawley to English. Hype Ryder and the pin was made on English.
WINNERS: The Hype Bros, at 2:50. The fans don’t have much of a connection to the Hype Bros at this point. The energy from Mojo didn’t rub off on the crowd.
Replays were shown of a few sequences in the match. Charly Caruso interviewed them after the match in the ring. Ryder said there are a lot of great teams, but the Hype Train has left the train and it’s not coming back. Mojo said at Backlash, they’re taking the tag titles. The tag title bracket was shown, updated for the Hype Bros win.
– A.J. Styles was walking backstage wearing John Cena’s headband. He walked up to various people, introducing himself as the Face that Runs the Place. He said hi to someone’s name that wasn’t important enough for him to remember. It was Apollo Crews. Crews told A.J. his name and even spelled it out for him. Styles was not impressed.
– A.J. Styles came to the ring. A loud “A.J. Styles” chant greeted him. He bragged about beating John Cena at Summerslam, and said he’ll do the same to Dean Ambrose. Styles said Ambrose will see his face in his nightmares. Apollo Crews then came out to his music. And he had a microphone. This might be bad for him. Styles insisted Crews’ music get cut. He was not happy about this interruption. Crews said he went to Daniel Bryan and got permission to challenge Styles to a match. And it happens now. They wisely protected Crews on the mic there.
2 – A.J. STYLES vs. APOLLO CREWS
Crews performed a blind leap-frog, then dropkicked Styles. He dragged A.J. out of the ring and pounded on him there. Crews interacted with Mauro Ranallo, spelling “punch” for him just as he did his last name earlier. They were headed back into the ring as the show went to break, 53 seconds into the match.
Back at 4:29 with Ranallo calling this “a mouth-watering match-up.” Crews laid in some forearms to Styles, which Styles responded to in kind. Splash in the corner, followed by a jumping clothesline to Styles. Crews back-dropped Styles over the top, and Styles bumped on the apron on his way down. Apron moonsault by Crews onto Styles. Crews went for a super-plex, but Styles escaped. Styles caught cross-body and, virtually in one motion, turned it into a Samoan drop. Styles snapped Crews’ throat across the top rope. Phenomenal Forearm for the end.
WINNER: Styles, at 8:09. The announcers really tried to talk up Crews to put him over. Crews looked good, but the match at times felt like just a series of unconnected moves.
They replayed the Samoan drop and the finishing sequences.
– Ambrose vs. Corbin is still to come.
– Ranallo, David Otunga, and JBL were shown at ringside. They talked about Heath Slater and Rhyno teaming up tonight in the Tag Title Tournament. They threw it to Renee Young visiting Slater at his home this weekend. Rhyno was there. It was a mobile home. Rhyno didn’t seem thrilled to be there. Slater introduced Renee to his wife, Beulah. She was wearing a lot of makeup. A modern-day Nidia, if you will. She shook Renee’s hand and hugged Slater. Slater whispered for her to calm down. Young, Slater, and Rhyno sat at a table while Slater’s wife brought some hors d’oeuvres (mispronouncing the word), which turned out to be cheese in a can and crackers. And some sort of mini hot dog, I guess.
Young talked to Slater about him not being chosen in the WWE Draft last month. Slater wrote it off as an oversight while Rhyno sat by and at some crackers and cheese. His wife said she stopped off and bought pizza crusts for dinner. Where does one buy pizza crusts? Rhyno drew a frowny face with the cheese on a cracker. They talked about Brock Lesnar destroying him on Raw three weeks ago. Then, two weeks ago, he beat Randy Orton by disqualification on Smackdown. Slater talked about losing out on the contract, and how he didn’t mean to call Shane “beautiful.” He said they probably couldn’t meet his demands for his salary, anyway.
Young wanted to look ahead. Slater said he was lucky to stand side-by-side with Rhyno, for his family. His wife belched audibly as Rhyno just kind of gave a look. Young asked Rhyno why he volunteered to team up with Slater. He shrugged. Slater said he wanted to upgrade from the trailer to a double-wide. He said he wished his kids could be there; they weren’t at school, but out back picking up cans and bottles. Somebody squealed their tires in driving up to the front of the house. Slater and his wife left, shouting at “Roscoe,” apparently. Rhyno gave a creepy look to Young, who seemed a little uncomfortable. Okay, A LOT uncomfortable.
– Rhyno and Slater face the returning Headbangers in the tag-title tournament later on.
– Bray Wyatt’s sermon is next.
– Bray Wyatt came to the ring and sat in his rocking chair. He said he fears not snakes, nor monsters. He said he is fear. He said Orton is not a mythological serpent, but a man. Wyatt said what Lesnar did to Orton at Summerslam was very interesting, exploiting Orton’s flaws. He said that’s his game, that he eradicates the infected. Wyatt said he hopes Orton’s voices are telling him to run. That, of course, drew Orton out from backstage.
He slowly walked toward the ring. The crowd chanted “Randy.” He said the voices in his head are asking, “who in the hell does this guy think he is?” Orton said he’s been damaged a long time, which gives him most of his charm. He said Wyatt has his attention. Wyatt said Orton is no longer the predator in this situation. He said he would cut the serpent’s head off at Backlash and hang it on his mantle, like the trophy Orton is. Orton reminisced about his scars in facing Cactus Jack, and Undertaker in Hell in a Cell. But Orton said his internal scars, his demons, are what Wyatt needs to concern himself with. Orton approved of the proposed Backlash match. But he said he doesn’t fear Wyatt. He threatened to kick Wyatt’s ass right then. Orton entered the ring and the lights went out. Strangely, they didn’t follow up with the lights coming back on and Wyatt not being there, instead transitioning into a graphic for the next match.
– Next: Alexa Bliss & Natalya vs. Becky Lynch & Naomi.
– The new Smackdown Women’s Title was shown at ringside as was Nikki Bella, who joined commentary for the next match. They showed Carmella attacking her last week to turn heel, and then the Talking Smack attack.
3 – NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS vs. NAOMI & BECKY LYNCH
Leg-sweep by Naomi on Natalya, then a headscissors take-over, which led to Nattie heading outside the ring. She and Bliss seemed to have a disagreement as they went to break at 40 seconds of the match.
Back at 3:42 with Natalya holding Naomi on the mat with a front face-lock. Naomi struggled to make a tag, and was unsuccessful. Nattie knocked Lynch off the apron for good measure. Bliss tagged in and choked Naomi across the middle rope. Naomi fought back but Bliss cut off a tag. Naomi put her feet into the chest of Bliss while dropping down, knocking Bliss back. Lynch made the hot tag and went wild. Lynch went off the top and barely grazed her with one foot on a dropkick. Out of nowhere, Carmella showed up to attack Nikki. That for some reason distracted Lynch, who was rolled up and pinned by Bliss (using the tights).
WINNERS: Natalya and Bliss, at 7:20. Naomi got another match to knock the rust off, and Bliss got more main roster experience here. The match wasn’t anything special.
They replayed Carmella’s attack on Nikki. Lynch and Naomi checked on Nikki.
– They showed the announcers again, talking about the Six-Pack Challenge for the Women’s Title to take place at Backlash. Ranallo transitioned to talking about the Tag Title Tournament, and pitched it to a reintroduction of The Headbangers via video package.
– Rhyno and Slater vs. The Headbangers is next.
– The Marines are looking for a few good men…or one Curt Hawkins. There used to be a street named after Curt Hawkins but it was changed because no one crosses Curt Hawkins and lives. Curt Hawkins can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves. He’s Curt Hawkins and he’s coming soon.
4 – THE HEADBANGERS vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO – TAG-TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT MATCH
The Headbangers were given new, bland music. They look to be in pretty decent shape. Several fans held up signs opposite the hard camera reading “Heath’s kids.” Flying shoulder tackle by Slater on Mosh. He recovered and attacked Slater from behind, however. Springboard cross-body off the second rope onto Slater, who was on the apron. Nice move. Thrasher came off the top with a clothesline. Back-drop by Thrasher after he ducked a punch. Mosh settled into a rear chin-lock. Splash in the corner by Mosh, who then knocked Rhyno off the apron. Thrasher came in and they hit their finisher (the Stage Dive, I believe), but Rhyno broke it up. Rhyno pulled Slater over to his corner as Ranallo affirmed the finisher name. Rhyno made the tag, bleeding profusely above his right eye. Gore to Thrasher for the win.
WINNERS: Rhyno and Slater, at 2:54. The Headbangers are one of the more random one-off (presumably) appearances we’ve seen in a while. I have no problem bringing in nostalgia wrestlers for this sort of purpose.
The finish was replayed. The tournament brackets, updated, were shown.
– Next, Corbin vs. Ambrose.
– The exterior of the American Airlines Arena was shown.
– At ringside joining the announce team for the main event was A.J. Styles.
– In the ring was Gary “The Milkman” Millman. He’s a guy with a southern accent and a shirt and tie, with dress pants and dress shoes. He said he was licensed to compete tonight, but no one wanted to get into the ring with him. He threw out an open challenge to anyone in the back. He was down to his underwear when Kane answered the challenge. Millman tried putting his clothes back on before Kane came to the ring, but couldn’t do so in time. Chokeslam for The Milkman. As Kane headed to the back, Baron Corbin made his entrance for the main event. The two passed each other in the aisle like two ships passing in the night.
5 – BARON CORBIN vs. DEAN AMBROSE
It would’ve been nice to get a promo from Corbin somewhere on the show to talk about what a match against the champion means to him. Corbin used his strength to his advantage early on. Amborse hit a cross-body to take Corbin off his feet. Clothesline sent Corbin over the top and to ringside. Ambrose flew off the apron and clotheslined Corbin. They headed to the announce table where Ambrose slammed Corbin’s head off the announce table. Ambrose exchanged glances with Styles. Corbin grounded and pounded Ambrose. They went to break at 2:57 with Corbin in control.
Back at 5:57 of the match with Corbin standing over a fallen Ambrose. Pretty effective image there. Corbin dodged a Lunatic Lariat and put him back on the mat. It got him a two-count. Corbin slid out of the ring on an Irish Whip attempt by Ambrose, but Ambrose caught him back in with a neck-breaker. Corbin looks like he belongs in there against a guy like Ambrose, for the most part. Corbin charged the corner, but went shoulder-first into the ring post. Clothesline felled the World Champion. Second Lunatic Lariat attempt found the mark. Ambrose traveled to the top rope, but Corbin met him there. Corbin eventually ended up crashing to ringside, where Ambrose connected on a suicide dive. Front slam by Corbin back in the ring, but only for a two-count. Styles got up from the announce desk and, while Corbin had control at ringside, tried to tell Corbin to stay on him. Corbin didn’t appreciate the advice and got in A.J.’s face. Ambrose knocked Corbin into Styles from behind. Back in, Styles got on the apron twice, the second time trying to kick Ambrose but connecting with Corbin to draw a DQ.
WINNER: Corbin, via disqualification, at 12:09.
Styles threw Ambrose over the announce desk. Ambrose recovered and jumped him. Corbin got involved, but Ambrose delivered Dirty Deeds in the ring. Styles tried a Phenomenal Forearm to Ambrose, but Ambrose crotched him. Ambrose bounced Styles to further the agony. He took his title and headed to the back as Styles stayed stuck to the top rope.
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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.