By Jake Barnett
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WWE Smackdown Live on the USA Network
Live from Bakersfield, California at Rabobank Arena
Randy Orton was shown backstage, and was asked about facing Alberto Del Rio tonight and Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. He said he’s known Brock Lesnar for 15 years, and he may be big and bad, but it only takes one RKO to get to Viperville. Del Rio walked up and said Viperville sounded like a joke, like Disneyland. Orton said he would give him VIP tickets, but warned him it was a bumpy ride with a rough landing. Del Rio asked if he could do it with a broken arm, and walked away. The Smackdown Live introduction then aired.
Mauro Ranallo welcomed us to the show and The Wyatt Family’s music hit. Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan made their way out to the ring. Footage was shown of Dolph Ziggler’s victory in the main event last week, and the post match attack by the Wyatt’s. Bray said that he wanted to make something very clear, and that he didn’t fall to Dolph Ziggler, he was a victim. He said Dolph had cheated him, and knew that the only way he could defeat him was to ram his head into the steel in the corner. He called himself a God, and that Dolph should get used to the fact that you can’t kill a God.
He then went on to say that he knew his friend Dean Ambrose very well, and he can tell him that his teeth are sharp, and you get too close they will rip you apart. He said that this was his show now, and there was no red and blue, it was just him against the whole damn world. Dean Ambrose made his entrance and said that Bray sounded like a big baby and not the eater of worlds, and said that Smackdown was his show. Bray said if he wanted him to get out of the way, he could come knock him off his podium. Ambrose begged off at first, saying that he knew he’d just be walking into a trap, but the more he thought about it the better the idea seemed.
Dolph Ziggler ran down and immediately got in the ring and took a beating, and Ambrose eventually followed. They timed their entrances into the ring well enough so that they both got beat down. Ambrose ended up setup for Sister Abigail, and Ziggler looked to interrupt it with a Superkick, but Bray pulled Ambrose in the way and he took the kick. Dolph kicked Rowan out of the ring and then ate Sister Abigail for his trouble. Bray and Rowan stood tall to end the segment. Orton vs. Del Rio was plugged for later, and American Alpha is set for next…[c]
My Take: That wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be. There wasn’t anything wrong with it per se, but they talked for nearly 10 minutes and we didn’t really learn anything new.
Backstage, Ambrose confronted Ziggler about kicking him in the face. Ziggler said he was getting even and Ambrose had nothing to do with it, but Ambrose thought it wasn’t an accident. Bryan and Shane McMahon walked up to separate them, and made a match between them and The Wyatt Duo later tonight. Bryan said if Dolph didn’t like it, he would repeat a phrase that Dolph said to him last week “Screw You”. In the arena American Alpha made their entrance against some jobbers. The Vaudevillians, The Hype Bros, and The Ascension walked down the ringside to observe the match.
1. American Alpha vs. Mike O’Shea and Mikey (didn’t catch his last name): Alpha made quick work with some throws and suplexes. They hit Great Amplitude after less than a minute and got the win.
American Alpha squashed some Jobbers
The rest of the tag division jumped the apron and eventually tried to jump Alpha, but had no luck. Alpha cleared them from the ring with suplexes and stood tall. Eva Marie is set for next…[c]
My Take: Smackdown continues to put it’s limited roster in situations where the weakness is very apparent. This tag division lacks enough star power without the booking putting it front and center.
The Miz and Maryse were on the set of Talking Smack with Renee Young. The Miz directed everyone’s attention to Maryse, and they crawled across the desk at each other, but Maryse couldn’t hold a straight face to keep the creep factor. Renee quickly tossed to some footage of Apollo Crews becoming the number one contender. They cut back and Miz and Maryse were splayed on the table, and made creepy comments to each other and kissed, completely ignoring Renee.
Becky Lynch made her entrance in the arena. Eva Marie then made her elaborate entrance and didn’t complain about her injury this time. Instead, her top nearly popped off and she had to cover up. The ref called it and said she couldn’t compete, and she scampered off to the back. Becky then cut an angry promo about how she was ready to go and never made excuses, and made an open challenge to the back. Alexa Bliss walked out and said that she should be careful what she wished for, because she just might get it. She said she couldn’t think of a better debut than knocking off Smackdown’s first female draft pick…[c]
My Take: Becky’s voice cracked during her promo, either that or all the caffeine she had today kicked it at once. Alexa is a good feud mate for Becky. I’m assuming she’ll cheat to win this match just to make it follow every feud Becky has had on the main roster.
2. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch: Bliss was in control when the match was joined. She made several cover attempts after a neck crank tied up in the ropes. Otunga put over Becky’s toughness for taking this match after preparing for Eva Marie, implying that Eva requires intense preparation. After Becky went on her comeback, Eva Made an entrance again and her announcer said she was ready to compete. This allowed Alexa to trip Becky and hit Twisted Bliss from the top for the win.
Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch
Eva was interviewed by Charlie at the top of the ramp, and said Alexa beat her to the punch, but she’ll be ready to make her debut next week. The Wyatt’s vs. Ambrose and Ziggler is set for later, and Del Rio vs. Orton is next…[c]
My Take: Well, interference is always an option but disappointing in this case. Eva Marie ducking Becky is amusing, but they keep putting Becky in positions where she looks like an idiot. I mean, how many times can you get fooled before people just stop caring about you?
Randy Orton made his ring entrance, followed by Alberto Del Rio. Footage was shown of the back and forth between Orton and Lesnar from last week.
3. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton: They tied up early, and Orton struck first with a shoulder block. Del Rio fired back with some kicks and strikes, but Orton turned things around with some European uppercuts and a clothesline. Orton catapulted Del Rio’s throat off the bottom rope and covered for two. Orton then sent Del Rio through the ropes with with a toss, but he held on. Orton finished the job by wrenching Del Rio’s back over the top rope, sending him crashing to the floor…[c]
Orton stomped on Del Rio, but he was able to get to his feet and hit a backstabber. He then sent Orton into the ropes shoulder first, setting up for the cross armbreaker on the injured shoulder. Del Rio climbed up top and hit a punch from the top rope haymaker. He then applied an arm bar to a grounded Orton. He released eventually, leading to Orton getting back to his feet and sending Del Rio into the corner. Del Rio fired back with a cross arm breaker over the top rope, but had to break on 5.
Del Rio climbed up top, and Orton crotched him. He then followed up with a Superplex, and sold his shoulder heavily. Del Rio and Orton traded strikes, with Orton transitioning to clotheslines and a powerslam. He then went for the draping DDT, but Del Rio reversed out of it. They then traded reversals of each other’s signature moves, until Orton finally caught Del Rio with a draping DDT. Orton then fired up for an RKO, but Del Rio escaped to the outside.
Orton clotheslined Del Rio into the timekeeper’s area, and he fired back with two chairshots to the shoulder and arm. This caused a disqualifaction.
Randy Orton defeated Alberto Del Rio by DQ
After the chair shots, Del Rio sent Orton into the ring post and then back in the ring. He set up for more chair shots, but Orton struck with an RKO to put him down. Orton celebrated as Del Rio collected himself on the outside. Backstage, Rhyno was working out when Heath Slated walked up. Slater said if he beats him tonight, he gets a contract. He asked Rhyno to help him out, because he’s two kids and he just bought a pool. Rhyno said he just won his primary contest in Michigan, and he has constituents he has to impress. Slater said his four kids are his constituents. Rhyno called him on the number of kids changing, and after Slater said it was an above ground pool, Rhyno said he couldn’t help him out…[c]
My Take: I enjoyed the Orton and Del Rio match, but it caused me to have flashbacks to Smackdown from 4 or 5 years ago. They continue to put over the RKO as Orton’s Home Run Swing, which is a fun angle, and it should be fun when Lesnar or someone else kicks out of it. The Rhyno and Slater angle is a fun diversion, but I can’t imagine the match being all that great.
The Miz was shown earlier today pulling up to The Mystery Machine. Miz complained about not being on the cover of the new WWE Scooby Movie, and in revenge Scooby shoved him into the van and stole his Audi R8. Heath Slater made his entrance, followed by Rhyno.
4. Heath Slater vs. Rhyno: Slater tied up early, but Rhyno quickly took over with a short arm clothesline. Slater got a two count after a clothesline of his own, and then applied a chin lock. Slater avoided a Gore attempt after what felt like an eternity of chin locks, and rolled up Rhyno using the ropes, but got caught by the ref. Slater argued the point, but turned around into a Gore. Rhyno covered for the win.
Rhyno defeated Heath Slater
We saw Erick Rowan reciting some poetry backstage. Bray walked up and said he was always a good soldier, but tonight he was asking him to be prepared to give his life for their family. He needed to ask him to do what he does best, and that’s destroy. Rowan looked into the camera and said run.
My Take: Slater’s quest for a contract continues, and I have a feeling he’ll get another chance. I almost think it would be better if he showed up in NXT at this point.
Bryan and Shane spoke backstage about signing Heath Slater, even after he lost. Slater walked to the back and said he was tired of being disrespected, and that he was out. Smackdown Live didn’t deserve him, and he was still the hottest free agent in wrestling.
In the arena, Carmella came out and did some bad rhyming in her best jersey shore accent, until Natalya ran from behind and attempted to jump her. Carmella saw it coming and was able to intercept her with a forearm to the face. They brawled into the ring until the ref pulled them apart to start the match.
5. Natalya vs. Carmella: Natty quickly took over and hit a suplex and some stomps. Natalya then applied a hold and talked some trash, and then went for a hair pull. Carmella went for a quick rollup that got a near fall, and Natalya quickly attacked and composed herself. She applied an abdominal stretch, and talked more trash. Carmella broke free with elbows, but Natalya quickly hit a discus clothesline and covered for a near fall. Natalya went for a sharpshooter, but Carmella escaped and applied the Code of Silence for the win.
Carmella submitted Natalya
AJ Styles vs. John Cena restrospective was plugged for next…[c]
My Take: That wasn’t the smoothest match I’ve ever seen, but it was effective in evolving both characters. Carmella showed some resilience and Nattie continues to let her narcissism cost her victories.
Renee Young was on the set of Talking Smack and she introduced some recap footage of John Cena and AJ Styles’ ongoing feud. Backstage, Baron Corbin was shown murdering Kalisto. He repeatedly kneed him in the face while his head was against a wall. He then picked him up and said that the beating was for costing him the Intercontinental Championship. In the arena, Dolph Ziggler made his entrance, followed by Dean Ambrose. It’s hard not to notice Dean Ambrose’s bald spot getting bigger. He’s barely covering it with his hair being pulled forward anymore…[c]
My Take: Baron Corbin should have taken Kalisto outside and tossed him into a truck like a lawn dart, just to making the Nash/Mysterio comparison complete.
The Wyatt’s made their ring entrance.
6. The Wyatt Family vs. Ambrose & Ziggler: Bray and Ambrose began the match, and Ambrose took over before Ziggler tagged himself in. Bray and Ziggler went back and forth for a bit until Dolph made a mistake and got too close to Rowan, who blindsided him with a clothesline from the apron…[c]
Wyatt missed a running senton and Ambrose got a hot tag from Ziggler. Ambrose took out Wyatt with a bulldog and landed a pescato on Rowan out on the floor, but ran right into a lariat from Wyatt. Rowan tagged in and applied a head vice with his fists. He then placed Ambrose on the top rope, and hit a big boot that sent him to the floor. Wyatt tagged back in and followed Ambrose to the outside. He then hit a uranage on Ambrose into the apron.
In the ring, Ambrose avoided Wyatt’s offense and hit a neck breaker. He then tagged in Ziggler, who hit a neck breaker on Rowan before sending Wyatt out to the floor. Ziggler went for a fameasser on Rowan, but he avoided it, so Ziggler adjusted and hit a jumping DDT. Rowan fired back with a spinning back kick a moment later and got a close near fall. Rowan went for a power bomb, but Ziggler slipped out and hit a ZigZag. Wyatt broke up the pin, and Ambrose ran in to send him to the floor.
Ambrose then went for a suicide dive, but it went sideways and he barely avoided landing on his head. In the ring, Ziggler avoided Rowan’s sit out Chokeslam, and got the win with a Superkick.
Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt defeated The Wyatt Family
After the match, Ambrose spiked Ziggler with Dirty Deeds, as a receipt for the Superkick earlier.
My Take: After Raw reverted to the mean last night, Smackdown followed suit. The Smackdown roster is thin to begin with, and it looks even worse without AJ Styles and John Cena being on the show. We saw some excellent promo work on last week’s Smackdown, and that just wasn’t there to buoy an average night in the ring this week. Hopefully next week will improve being that we are getting into the home stretch heading into SummerSlam.