6/23 Powell’s WWE Smackdown TV Review: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose, New Day vs. The Vaudevillains, Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro, Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

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By Jason Powell

WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Tucson, Arizona at Tucson Arena

[Q1] A recap aired of Dean Ambrose celebrating his WWE World Heavyweight Championship win and the events that led to the Triple Threat with Ambrose defending the title against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins at Battleground… The Smackdown opening video aired… Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

Rollins made his entrance past the Raw and Smackdown draft podiums on the stage and headed to the ring. Rollins asked the fans if they remembered their parents telling them that if they work hard, they can achieve anything they set their minds to. Rollins said Money in the Bank proved that parents were all liars. He vented about pinning Reigns at MITB and then having Dean Ambrose cash in his MITB contract to “steal” the championship.

Rollins said he would prove that he’s more of a man than Ambrose could ever be. Rollins issued an open challenge to anyone backstage to face him in the main event. “Anyone, anybody,” Rollins said. Sami Zayn’s music played. Rollins smirked. Zayn headed to the ring while Rollins rubbed his chin. “Did your master Kevin Owens let you off the leash for a couple hours?” Rollins asked. Rollins said Zayn is the perfect person for him to make an example of.

Dean Ambrose’s music played and he headed to the ring carrying the title belt over his shoulder. Ambrose said if they were going to do this, then they were going to do it right. Rollins and Zayn were looking like a couple of amateurs. He called for his Ambrose Asylum set, which was quickly set up. Rollins was protesting the entire time. Ambrose did a mic check, then welcomes viewers to his talkshow and referred to it as the championship edition. He drew a title belt on his handmade sign.

Ambrose opened the questioning by asking Rollins why he’s being such a jackass. Seth said he wasn’t playing games. Ambrose said he had a poor attitude. Zayn asked why they had to wait until the main event when they could have their match on the spot. Ambrose said he’d handle the questions, then asked the same question Zayn did. Rollins said the title and the ring are his, so they are doing things his way. Rollins called it “bull crap” and then stormed out of the ring. Ambrose hyped Rollins vs. Zayn in the main event to close the segment…

The broadcast team spoke and Mauro welcomed Otunga. They hyped Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus, and Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke, and Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio for later in the show…

Powell’s POV: A good opening segment with Rollins in full ranting heel mode. Even if the idea happens to be turning Reigns, they need Rollins to play the heel right now while Reigns is suspended. The thing that makes him most heelish is that he’s being completely hypocritical about Ambrose “stealing” the title given that Rollins also cashed in to win the title. By the way, no mention on Jerry Lawler’s absence or Reigns’ suspension. By the way, this report was done on delay because Jake Barnett had a work issue come up. He will be by this weekend with the Smackdown Hit List, and his live coverage will return next week.

[Q2] [C] A graphic noted that the Titantron is 42 feet wide, 25 feet tall, weighs over four tons, and has nearly one million LED lights…

1. Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio. Cesaro got off to a quick start, but ADR wrenched his arm over the top rope and then caught him with an enzuigiri heading into the break. [C] Del Rio continued to target Cesaro’s bad shoulder and applied the Cross Arm Breaker over the ropes. Cesaro came back and performed his springboard uppercut for a two count. ADR recovered quickly and hit a Backstabber for two. Del Rio followed up with a superkick on a kneeling Cesaro.

[Q3] Cesaro threw a dropkick as ADR was seated on the top rope. It appeared to miss, as Ranallo said it just glanced ADR. Del Rio tied up Cesaro in the tree of woe, but Cesaro sat up and flung ADR off the ropes. Cesaro went for a cross body block, but ADR shoved him aside. ADR was looking for a Cross Arm Breaker when Cesaro countered into a Neutralizer and scored the clean pin…

Cesaro defeated Alberto Del Rio.

Powell’s POV: A very good television match with the exception of the dropkick that missed. I would like to see more from those two. I’d also like to see WWE make some attempt to make the ADR character mean something again.

The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches and then split shots aired of Crews and Sheamus… [C] A shot aired of a family who had their tickets upgraded to the front row… Shots of Crews beating Sheamus at MITB were shown…

2. Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus. Crews caught Sheamus with a nice kick and followed up with a standing moonsault for a two count. Sheamus came back later and performed a Brogue Kick to the back of Crews and knocked him into the ring steps that were standing up in front of the ring post. Sheamus returned to the ring and took the count-out win. Crews was helped to the back by referees while selling a shoulder injury…

Sheamus defeated Apollo Crews by count-out.

Ranallo hyped a look at the AJ Styles vs. John Cena feud for after the break…

Powell’s POV: Sheamus winning was logical to keep the feud going. I like that it was a count-out win rather than a pinfall, as Crews doesn’t lose any momentum this way.

[Q4] [C] The broadcast team hyped the WWE Draft for the July 19 edition of Smackdown. They showed various media reports and wrestler tweets about the draft… Ranallo recapped the Cena vs. Styles feud developments from MITB and Raw…

Backstage, AJ Styles soaked up congratulations from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for his win over Cena. The Uso Brothers showed up and told a lame joke about how Styles needed help from “Head and Shoulders.” Jimmy Uso challenged Styles to a match. Styles gave Jimmy his word that The Club would not be involved in the match. Jimmy told him to shake on it, then moved his hand when Styles tried to shake his hand…

The broadcast team spoke about the match starting immediately. Otunga said Jimmy is his boy and they used to train together. He said Uso has all the tools and said that if Styles keeps his word, then Uso would win the match. The Usos made their entrance. Styles made his entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Usos were really corny backstage. If Styles volunteered to keep Gallows and Anderson backstage, why would Jimmy be in his brother’s corner?

3. AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso). Styles caught Uso going for a baseball slide and slammed his head into the ring steps. Styles jawed at Jey Uso on the floor before returning to the ring.

[Q5] Later, Jimmy performed a nice Samoan drop for a two count. Uso caught Styles with a superkick and got another two count. Anderson and Gallows jumped the guardrail and attacked Jey Uso. Jimmy Uso leapt over the top rope and onto Anderson and Gallows. Styles returned the favor and then rolled Jimmy back inside the ring. Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the win…

AJ Styles defeated Jimmy Uso.

The broadcast team hyped Lynch vs. Brooke, and the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: I hope we hear a Club promo where they point out that while they attacked Jey at ringside, they never actually interfered in the actual match. Styles and Jimmy worked well together. The in-ring action has been very good thus far.

4. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Vaudevillains in a non-title match. No televised entrance for the Vaudevillains. Footage aired of the Wyatt Family and New Day segment on Raw. Big E performed three big suplexes on Simon Gotch and then splashed him. A short time later, New Day hit their combo finisher on Gotch for the win…

New Day defeated The Vaudevillains in a non-title match.

[Q6] After the match, the Wyatt Family appeared on the big screen. Bray Wyatt spoke about how New Day preaches power and positivity, but they used their power to interrupt the return of “the leader.” He said pain demands to be felt. He took off his hat and said every knee shall fall, and New Day falls… The broadcast team hyped the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: A dominant win for New Day and no televised entrance for the Vaudevillains. Ouch. Meanwhile, Wyatt was intense and the shot of him without the hat was great. It was nice to see New Day sell the video by looking bothered by it. Maybe we will get something other than comedy from the trio during his feud.

A Life Lessons with Bob Backlund segment aired. Backlund reviewed Darren Young’s goals. Young said his main goal is to win a singles title and maybe someday main event WrestleMania. Backlund said he won at WrestleMania and won world championships. Young said he needs a boost in guidance now that they are in the new era. Backlund said they called his era the Bob Backlund era, and said they will make this the Darren Young Era…

Backstage, Greg Hamilton interviewed Sami Zayn, who was fired up as he said Rollins is worried about Ambrose when he should be worried about him kicking his face off…

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Charlotte and Dana Brooke. Charlotte said they will dominate everyone who gets in their way. Young asked about Sasha Banks. Charlotte said the only statement that will be made is Sasha bowing down to her. She said Sasha might be The Boss, but everyone knows she is The Queen. Brooke said playtime is over and she was going to finish off what was left “of that carrot top Becky Lynch”… Lynch made her entrance…

[Q7] [C] The broadcast team spoke about how Triple H gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a championship belt. A shot aired of Kevin Love wearing the belt along with a Steve Austin belt… Ranallo recapped the Lynch and Natalya issues, and then the heels made their entrance…

5. Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte). Lynch got off to a quick start and then Charlotte stood on the apron. Lynch punched Charlotte off the apron, but then Brooke kicked her and rolled her up for the win. Ranallo noted that this was the third win for Brooke over Lynch.

Dana Brooke beat Becky Lynch.

Afterward, Brooke tried to attack Lynch, but Lynch fought her off. Charlotte blasted Lynch with a kick. Sasha Banks’ music played and she made her entrance while Charlotte expressed concern. Sasha entered the ring and pointed at the title belt. Sasha took her rings off. Charlotte asked if Sasha wanted to go and then put the title down. Sasha moved in, but Charlotte fled to ringside. Brooke tried to hit Sasha from behind, but Sasha avoided it and put her in the Bank Statement…

A shot aired of Rollins walking backstage. Ambrose approached him. “You thought I was going to miss this?” Ambrose asked. “I’ve got a front row seat, baby.” Ranallo said Ambrose would join them for the match… [C]

Powell’s POV: There was nothing to the brief match, but I like that they are telling a story of Brooke getting the better of Lynch. Becky has feuds with Natalya and Brooke. Meanwhile, Charlotte is selling Sasha as a big deal simply by showing through her facial expressions that she is intimidated by her.

[Q8] Ambrose joined the broadcast team, which hyped the Battleground main event (including Reigns)…

6. Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn. The were dueling chants for Rollins and Zayn. Rollins slammed Zayn’s head into the broadcast table in front of Ambrose. Rollins was in control heading into the break. [C] Rollins worked over Zayn coming out of the break. Zayn eventually came back and Rollins took a powder by the broadcast table. Rollins looked at Ambrose, then turned into a clothesline from Zayn on the floor.

Zayn went up top and performed a cross body block for a two count. Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Zayn went for his finisher, but Rollins caught him with a kick instead. Rollins performed a Buckle Bomb. He went for a superkick on the kneeling Zayn, but Zayn caught the kick and rolled up Rollins for two. Zayn performed a tornado DDT and set up for the Helluva Kick, but Rollins ducked to ringside.

Rollins motioned as if he’d had enough. Rollins performed a big dive onto Rollins on the floor and then rolled him back inside the ring. However, Rollins caught Zayn as he returned to the ring and performed a Pedigree for the win. “Good match, though,” Ambrose said. Ambrose said Rollins will need a lot more than that to take his championship away…

Seth Rollins defeated Sami Zayn.

Afterward, Rollins jawed at Ambrose while they recapped the match. Rollins went to ringside and picked up the title belt and then Ambrose got fired up. Rollins gave him the belt back and acted like he was going to leave. Rollins turned back and attacked Ambrose, who quickly recovered and threw punches at Rollins. Ambrose had Rollins inside the ring and wanted to hit Dirty Deeds, but Rollins snuck away and headed up the ramp. The show closed with Ambrose hold his title and jawing at Rollins while Ambrose’s music played and Ranallo hyped the Battleground main event…

Powell’s POV: A good main event to a strong edition of Smackdown. There were a few good matches and everything served a purpose. There was no real filler on the show. Okay, so I still have no idea what the purpose of Bob Backlund coaching Darren Young is, but that’s quick and painless. I’m not surprised they didn’t mention Jerry Lawler, and I’m also not surprised that they didn’t acknowledge the suspension of Roman Reigns. This is the same company that hyped Brock Lesnar’s return of UFC on their website, yet hasn’t bothered to address it on their television show yet. Check back this weekend for Jake Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Hit List.


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