By Jason Powell
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WWE Smackdown Live on the USA Network
Live from Austin, Texas at Frank Erwin Center
[Q1] Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan spoke about SummerSlam. Shane said he likes their chances. Bryan spoke about how it was going to be exciting. Randy Orton entered the room and they had a contract ready for him to sign. Orton said the match may not go as long as anticipated because it only takes one RKO. Orton signed the contract.
There was a knock on the door. Heath Slater entered the room with a fruit basket. He tossed and apple to Orton. Daniel Bryan noted that the fruit basket card said “To Bob, My Condolences.” Slater delivered his hottest free agent line and said he went toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar. Shane said he was surprised he was standing there and they can’t just keep giving him chances. Orton said he had an idea. He took a bite out of the apple… The Smackdown opening video aired…
The Miz and Maryse stood in the ring for the Miz TV segment. Maryse introduced Miz. Dean Ambrose made his entrance and cut off Miz. Ambrose spoke about how he normally can’t stand Miz’s voice, but SummerSlam is this weekend. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance and interrupted Ambrose. Ambrose said he didn’t need to talk to make his point. Miz got between them and said it’s his show and they were there to talk.
Miz spoke about how surprising it was to see Ziggler in the title shot. He questioned what happens if Ziggler fails to win on Sunday. Ziggler isn’t thinking about that. Ambrose said a lot of people think Ziggler has turned a corner, but he doesn’t buy it. Miz start to talk, but Ziggler told him to shut his mouth. The fans chanted “Shut Your Mouth” briefly.
Ziggler asked what Ambrose wants from him. He asked if he wants him to say that the company never got behind him or that he uses all the critics and naysayers as fuel to make himself better or that everything Ambrose said to him over the last three weeks makes him want to “kick your head right off your face.” Oops.
Ziggler said Ambrose is right and he admits it. Ziggler said Ambrose has to admit that after SummerSlam that Ambrose gave him that final push to beat him for the title. Ambrose said that was really powerful stuff. Ambrose asked if Ziggler thinks he’ll wake up and his life is transformed and the critics are silenced.
Ziggler said winning the title is when it gets really hard and there’s a target on his back. Ziggler said they both know that Ziggler doesn’t like pressure and never has. Ambrose said Ziggler happy being some sarcastic little star in his own crappy little movie. Ambrose said the chip on Ziggler’s shoulder is going to weigh him down and bury him because he’s never felt pressure like he’ll feel at SummerSlam.
Ambrose said Ziggler is going to get embarrassed and he’s going to be hurt. Ambrose said Ziggler will prove that he doesn’t want it bad enough and he’s never wanted it bad enough. Ambrose said Ziggler is never going to get it and then held up the title belt.
Ziggler said Ambrose thinks he knows him, but he doesn’t know a thing about him. Ziggler said Ambrose is going to have to dig deeper than he’s never dug before and it’s still not going to be enough to put him away. Ziggler said Ambrose will be looking for one last move. Suddenly, Ziggler superkicked Ambrose. The crowd was surprised and there were a few boos. “This Sunday you realize that I am that damn good,” Ziggler said…
[Q2] The broadcast team hyped the upcoming matches including Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good verbal exchange despite Ziggler flubbing the head/face line. They worried me for a bit, but I like the way they closed with Ziggler throwing the superkick at Ambrose and standing tall. It adds a little more tension to the match. I can’t say I’m really looking forward to this match, but I am curious to see what type of match they have. By the way, I am filling in for Jake Barnett tonight, but he will return in this slot next week.
An ad hyped John Cena appearing on Talking Smack on WWE Network after Smackdown… Footage aired from during the break of Miz delivering a promo about his SummerSlam match. Apollo Crews came out. Miz boasted about being a Hollywood A-Lister. Miz called Crews by the name of Apollo Creed, which led to Crews performing the sit-out powerbomb…
1. Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Mojo Rawley, and Zack Ryder vs. Aiden English, Simon Gotch, Konnor, Viktor, Tyler Breeze, and Fandango in a 12-man tag match. The broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga checked in. The Hype Bros were setting up for an early double team move on Konnor when Viktor ran in and broke it up. All 12 men entered the ring and traded punches heading into the break. [C]
[Q3] The rapid fire big moves took place after the break and got a rise out of the crowd. It closed with American Alpha hitting their finisher on English for the win…
Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Mojo Rawley, and Zack Ryder beat Aiden English, Simon Gotch, Konnor, Viktor, Tyler Breeze, and Fandango in 6:45.
A shot aired of Ambrose seething backstage as Mauro hyped his match against Erick Rowan for after the break. JBL hyped Eva Marie’s debut for after the break… [C[
Powell’s POV: Yes, they used the word “next” to describe both the Ambrose match and Eva debut. The heel tag teams on Smackdown continue to look like scrubs. Here’s hoping we get an Usos heel turn soon. I also hope they give Fandango and Breeze more of an edge and feature them as a serious team. I even like the Vaudevillains, but it seems like they are the designated job guys.
The lights went out and Naomi danced on the stage in gear that lights up with the lighting they used. She passed out items to the fans. Eva Marie’s entrance theme played with the narrator, who stated at the end that Eva was delayed in traffic and apologizes. At ringside, JBL said he feels for Eva and claimed there were flash flood warnings.
JBL shifted to setting up footage of John Cena defending the U.S. Title in an open challenge match against Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell. They aired the footage of Del Rio winning the match and the U.S. Title.
Powell’s POV: They wisely neglected to mention that everything that followed for Del Rio has been a huge disappointment.
Backstage, AJ Styles approached ADR and said he needs to knock the smug look off the face that runs the place. Styles brought up the HIAC pay-per-view match and said he was shocked that ADR put Cena on the shelf for nine months. ADR asked Styles if he’s done living in the past. He said he hasn’t been able to beat up Cena in a long time, so he doesn’t need his little pep talk. Styles mocked Del Rio by pointing out that he’s not even on the card…
The broadcast team hyped Ambrose vs. Rowan for later in the show, as well as Slater vs. Orton… [C]
Powell’s POV: Are they setting up an ADR turn for a feud with Styles at some point? I’d love to see them do something with the guy because he’s too talented to mean as little as he does right now. Meanwhile, the Eva Marie excuse of the week wasn’t as fun as the first couple times, but it keeps the stunt going.
[Q4] A Curt Hawkins “Fact” video aired. It said he has counted to infinity twice, can slam a revolving door, and doesn’t flush the toilet because he scares the crap out of it. Hawkins is “coming soon”…
Powell’s POV: It appears that Curt Hawkins is the WWE version of Chuck Norris. He’s a talented guy who can make others look good.
2. Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater. Orton kicked Slater and ran him through the ropes and into the posts a couple times. Orton threw punches in the corner at Orton until the referee called for the bell. Otunga said it’s like Orton didn’t even notice because he’s so focussed on facing Brock Lesnar on Sunday.
Heath Slater beat Randy Orton by DQ in 1:00.
After the match, Orton tossed Slater to ringside dropped him over the barricade, then performed a hanging DDT. The fans chanted for an RKO. Orton rolled Slater back inside the ring, waited for him to stand up, and then performed a German suplex. Orton stood up and mocked Brock’s standing shuffle. Orton picked up Slater and gave him another German suplex, then waited for him to get up and dropped him with the RKO…
The Wyatt Family video flashed as Orton was posing. Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan appeared on the big screen. “We’re here,” Wyatt announced… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s a good thing the fans like Orton as much as they do because it would not have shocked me if some of the fans had turned on him for beating up the lovable loser. I assume that Slater winning by DQ means he is getting a contract. I wish they would keep it going and turn him babyface and build up to the moment. The best thing about the segment was Orton mocking Lesnar with suplexes and the shuffle. I’d still like to hear a strong final sales pitch from Orton about his match with Lesnar.
Backstage, a trainer checked on Slater, who lied down on the trainer’s table and said he hurts all over. Slater said he thinks he won. Shane and Bryan entered the room clapping. Shane said Orton was disqualified, so technically Slater won. Slater boasted that he beat the hell out of Lesnar, and Orton didn’t stand a chance with him.
Slater claims he showed both men no mercy. Bryan said that’s a good name for their pay-per-view in Sacramento. Shane said they were looking for a name. Slater told Bryan that he loves his reality show “Holy Foley” and said he’s a much bigger mega star than that other guy. They gave Slater a contract. Slater told Shane that he looks beautiful and then thanked “Stephanie” while mumbling to himself. Shane took the contract out of his hands (which got some boos) and Slater didn’t notice until they left the room…
[Q5] Footage aired of Orton crossing paths with Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan as they made their entrance and he as heading backstage. Dean Ambrose made his entrance…
3. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) in a non-title match. Ambrose dropkicked Rowan to ringside and then performed a suicide dive. Rowan had an offensive run, but Ambrose fought back and eventually hit Dirty Deeds for the clean win. After the match, Wyatt left Rowan’s sheep mask on his rocking chair and walked away while the broadcast team questioned whether this was the end of the Wyatt Family…
Dean Ambrose beat Erick Rowan in 5:10 in a non-title match.
The broadcast team hyped a women’s tag match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice that Bray settled in on a new rocking chair after having the one Sister Abigail gave him was destroyed by Ambrose. I thought they might keep Wyatt and Rowan together and then add Luke Harper once he returns to reunite the original trio, but it looks like they are going separate ways. Let’s hope it goes smoother than it did last time and we don’t get the return of Rowan’s atrocious entrance music.
4. Becky Lynch and Carmella vs. Natalya and Alexa Bliss. Carmella was in the ring coming out of the break, so we were spared her GLOW-like entrance routine. So were Natalya and Bliss, so only Lynch received a televised entrance.
[Q6] During the match, Eva made her entrance complete with the narrator. Before the narrator could finish saying her full name, Naomi made her entrance and chased Eva to ringside. Eva ran in the ring to escape her. Natalya grabbed Naomi and tossed her to the floor. Lynch rolled up Natalya for two, then applied the Disarmer for the win…
Becky Lynch and Carmella beat Natalya and Alexa Bliss in 4:20.
JBL hyped a Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton video package for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: They had Eva show her true colors by running from Naomi. Speaking of Naomi and colors, that new entrance is too much. It’s unique and I’m guessing the reaction to it will be mixed, but my problem with it is that it makes her comes across like a Diva in a women’s division. Really, the same is true for Carmella’s entrance routine, which thankfully was not televised.
Backstage, Baron Corbin pressed Kalisto’s head against the wall. He said that every time Kalisto gets up, he will push him back down. Corbin said he does what he wants, when he wants, and to whoever he wants. Security was there to intervene…
The broadcast team hyped Jon Stewart’s appearance at SummerSlam. Otunga said he was too involved last year and he hopes that won’t be the case this time. They also hyped NXT and SummerSlam for WWE Network…
The Lesnar vs. Orton video package aired. It was the same video they have aired before with both men delivering comments in separate sit-down settings…
Mauro announced Naomi, Carmella, and Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss in a six-woman tag match for SummerSlam…
[Q7] AJ Styles made his entrance… [C] An ad aired for NXT Takeover…
5. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio. Styles sat in on commentary for the match. Otunga asked if Styles gave ADR a pep talk because he wants him to hurt Cena. ‘Yes,” Styles replied. Funny. They cut to a commercial early in the match. [C]
[Q8] ADR hit a running boot out of the corner. Cena covered his face and the kick never came close to him, but he sold it anyway. Cena came back with punches, but then ADR moved and a charging Cena crashed in the corner. Otunga asked Styles about being on his own. “You put me in that ring and I’m the most confident athlete in there, trust me,” Styles said. Del Rio was on the offensive as they cut to another commercial. [C]
Del Rio went for the enzuigiri in the corner, but Cena avoided it and then clotheslined him. Cena went up top and this time ADR caught him with the enzuigiri and got a two count. ADR caught Cena with a superkick and got another two count. Styles played cheerleader for ADR on commentary.
Cena hoisted up ADR for the Attitude Adjustment, but Del Rio countered into the Cross Arm Breaker. Cena powered up and slammed ADR to the mat. Cena performed the AA and scored the clean pin. After the match, Styles hit Cena with a Phenomenal Forearm from the top rope.
John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio in 16:50.
Styles took the mic and stood over Cena as he said he is sick and tired of hearing that the future goes through Cena. Styles said he will become the face that runs the place when he wins on Sunday. He said he will make Cena’s passion his prison. Styles said Cena’s time is up, his time is now.
Styles dropped the mic and started to leave the ring. Instead, he went back and tried to set up Cena for his finisher, but Cena powered him up and put him down with the Attitude Adjustment. Cena went to ringside and cleared the broadcast table. Cena slammed AJ’s head into the ring steps and then dragged the steps over by the table. Cena put Styles on his shoulders,w alked up the steps, and performed the AA through the table. Cena’s music played and he celebrated to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Cena getting the better of Styles on Smackdown left me thinking that Styles is going to win the match on Sunday. That seems to be the formula with the top matches, but it doesn’t always apply to Cena. Overall, Smackdown continues to make good use of the limited roster. The MVP of Smackdown truly is the lack of a third hour. I will have more to say about the show in member exclusive audio on Wednesday. Thanks for watching along with me.
Join me for live coverage of ROH Death Before Dishonor on Friday, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn on Saturday, and WWE SummerSlam on Sunday.