Tonight, SmackDown hails from my hometown of Austin, Texas.
We open SmackDown with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan presiding over Randy Orton’s signing of the contract for his match against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. He mentions that the match may not be as great as everyone is assuming because all it takes is “one RKO and match over”.
Heath Slater interrupts him, bringing a fruit basket, trying to once again endear himself with the powers that be so they will sign him to their show. Slater has never been one of my favorite superstars, but these segments the past few weeks have been some of his most entertaining ever.
We cut to the ring, where Maryse introduces her husband, The Miz and his show, Miz TV. However, before Miz can get a complete sentence out, Dean Ambrose’s music hits. Ambrose also is cut off before he can finish his sentence, when Dolph Ziggler comes out to face off against Ambrose. The men have a tense stare down before Miz can intercede. Miz brings up that no one thought Ziggler would be fighting for the WWE title, as many have completely written Ziggler off. But he then stated that Ziggler is experiencing a resurgence. He asked “what if Ziggler loses at SummerSlam. Ziggler remain focused and stated the only thing he’s concerned with is the WWE Championship. Ambrose stated that he’s not buying it though. Ziggler stated the critics, the company and Ambrose’s own words the past few weeks will push him to the brink of kicking Ambrose’s head off. Ambrose stated that IF Ziggler wins, the day he wins the belt it only gets tougher from there. He stated that Ziggler doesn’t have what it takes to deal with that and that the chip on Dolph’s shoulder will only weigh him down. Ziggler stated that Ambrose will “have to dig down deeper than he ever has before and just when he digs deeper and finds that it will not be enough”, then Ziggler super kicks Ambrose, knocking him out cold.
During the commercial break, Miz taunted his upcoming opponent, Apollo Crews, calling him Apollo Creed. Crews then nailed him with his spinout power bomb, silencing the Intercontinental Champion.
THE USOS, AMERICAN ALPHA & THE HYPE BROS vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS, THE ASCENSION & BREEZANGO (12 Man Tag Team Match): Chad Gable started off locking up with Tyler Breeze. Breeze immediately forced him into his corner and tagged in Viktor. Gable used his speed to evade Viktor and tagged in Mojo Rawley who hit a corner clothesline. Rawley tagged Zack Ryder and was prepping for a double team maneuver when all of the competitors poured into the ring before commercial break. As they returned from break, both Rawley and Konnor made the hot tags to Jey Uso and Aiden English respectively. Uso hit a corner splash on English. Jason Jordan argued with Uso over who would get the tag and English tried to sneak a hit on them. But Jordan nailed an overhead belly to belly suplex. The Usos nailed a double super kick. In the end, Jordan and Gable hit their tag finisher to English. It was an overcrowded match that luckily didn’t turn into a complete mess. WINNERS: THE USOS, AMERICAN ALPHA & THE HYPE BROS
NAOMI vs. EVA MARIE: Naomi came out with new entrance music and glow in the dark ring gear. Her entrance really played to her prior work as a dancer/cheerleader. Eva Marie’s entrance hit. Her personal ring announcer on her entrance video stated that due to traffic, Eva Marie is not able to compete. NO CONTEST.
There was then a video clip of John Cena’s first title defense after regaining the U.S. Title last October. This was against Alberto Del Rio, who defeated Cena.
AJ Styles conversed with Alberto Del Rio backstage. He stated that he’s envious that Del Rio gets to “beat up John Cena”. Del Rio stated he doesn’t need Styles’ pep talk; he’s been beating up John Cena for years. Styles, upset at Del Rio spurning his motivational chat, stated that’s why “he’s in one of the SummerSlam main events, while Del Rio isn’t even on the card.
We return from commercial break with a video package of “FACTS” about Curt Hawkins. They stated “He counted to infinity twice” and “He doesn’t flush the toilet, he scares the crap out of it”. Though these skew dangerously close to the Matt Facts that Matt Hardy used during his V1 gimmick in the early 2000s, it’s been long enough since that these are fine. Vignettes hyping up the arrival of a superstar were sorely missed and one thing that WWE has been doing right since the brand split.
RANDY ORTON vs. HEATH SLATER: This was Slater’s last chance to secure a contract to compete on SmackDown. The match opened with Randy stomping the crap out of Slater, then slinging him shoulder first into the turnbuckle repeatedly. He then followed up with a Garvin Stomp on Slater. A flurry of punches and European uppercuts in the corner, exceeding the referees five count caused Orton to get disqualified. This incensed Orton, who then unleashed hell with a beat down outside the ring. He wouldn’t stop, slamming Slater, abdomen first, over the security barrier, then nailing his hangman’s DDT. Orton dragged Slater back into the ring and then hit Heath with a pair of German suplexes, then doing Lesnar’s fight pose. He finally put Slater out of his misery with an RKO. WINNER: HEATH SLATER
Before Orton could leave the ring, Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan appeared on the Titantron to announce that they’re here. This cuts to commercial break.
After commercial break, a doctor was checking on Heath Slater, who stated he was hurting all over. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan came in. They stated that Orton got disqualified, so Slater did succeed in winning, therefore, securing a contract on SmackDown. However, Slater was delirious, thinking that Shane McMahon was his sister Stephanie and that Daniel Bryan was Mick Foley. He stated that he loves Holy Foley and that Mick is more entertaining than that “other GM”. Shane and Daniel then took the contract before Slater was able to sign.
Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan stared Orton down as they passed each other, heading to the ring.
ERICK ROWAN vs. DEAN AMBROSE: Ambrose came out the gates like a man possessed, still smarting over that super kick from Ziggler. However, Rowan turned the tide quickly by pummeling on his opponent. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds early, but Rowan escaped. Ambrose then did his suicide dive, taking down Rowan, but only momentarily. Rowan resumed his methodical beating of Ambrose, countering a cross body block into a Black Hole Slam. He then slung Ambrose into the corner and then walked on Dean’s back. Rowan’s attack focused on the lower back of Ambrose. Dean fought back with a volley of chops and punches, then showing surprising strength with a belly to back suplex. Ambrose was cut off again by a big boot from Rowan. In the end, Ambrose was able to nail Rowan with Dirty Deeds and pick up the pinfall. WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE
After the match, Bray Wyatt sat there, looking at Rowan’s sheep mask. He then looked at Rowan, then tossed the mask down and walked away from ringside, possibly hinting at a complete breakup of the Wyatt Family.
NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS vs. CARMELLA & BECKY LYNCH: Carmella started off by locking up with and getting overpowered by Natalya. Carmella wisely used her speed to stay one step ahead of her opponent, until Natalya hit her with a devastating lariat. Bliss got the tag and focused her attack on the neck and head. Both competitors got the hot tag. Lynch hit her springboard side kick, followed up by several lariats, a forearm in the corner and then the Becksploder suplex. Halfway into the match, Eva Marie’s music hits and she approached the ring. But halfway there, Naomi’s music hit. She chased Eva Marie into the ring, but Natalya grabbed Naomi by the hair slamming her down. Lynch used the distraction to her advantage and locked in the Disarmer, making Natalya tap out. WINNERS: CARMELLA & BECKY LYNCH
Come back from commercial break to see Kalisto getting bullied backstage by Baron Corbin. He stated he will do what he wants whenever he wants to whomever he wants and then slammed Kalisto’s head into the door.
Next was a video package hyping up The Beast vs. The Viper and the history of Lesnar and Orton in the WWE since 2002. Both men went on to win multiple championships. But they both state that just because they came up together in OVW, doesn’t mean that they’re friends. We then saw the replays of Orton hitting his RKO on Lesnar two weeks ago on Raw, then of Lesnar hitting Orton with an F-5 previously on SmackDown.
ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN CENA: AJ Styles came out to ringside to join the commentary team for this match. Both competitors spent the early minutes trying to feel out the other’s offense, so there was a methodical pace. Del Rio applied several chin locks and other rest holds, but were wisely used to wear down the fifteen time world champion. They both attempted a test of strength, but Del Rio kicked him in the stomach. Del Rio looked to follow up with a dropkick, but Cena dodged and Del Rio crashed and burned outside of the ring. He went back into the ring and Cena attempted an Attitude Adjustment, but Del Rio countered into a bridging German suplex. Cena attempted to build heat with a comeback, but Del Rio cut him off by dodging a running shoulder block, allowing Cena’s momentum crash himself into the turnbuckle. Cena was then planted with a DDT, barely kicking out before the referee made the three count. Cena mounted a comeback with his shoulder blocks, proto plex and five knuckle shuffle. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, yet Del Rio countered again, this time with a Backstabber. Del Rio went for his leaping enziguri, but missed it. Cena followed up with one of the stiffest clotheslines I’ve ever seen. He tried to follow up, but Del Rio connected this time with his enziguri. He tried to lock in his Cross Arm Breaker, but Cena locked in the STF. Del Rio forced the break by getting to the ropes, and then connected with two strong kicks to Cena’s face. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment again, but Del Rio countered into the Cross Arm Breaker. Cena countered with a power bomb and then hit the Attitude Adjustment, pinning his opponent. WINNER: JOHN CENA
Before you could blink, Styles hit the ring and delivered the Phenomenal Forearm, knocking out Cena. He delivered an emotional promo, stating that he’s sick of hearing “the future goes through John Cena. He picked up an unconscious Cena, looking to hit him with the Styles Clash. Cena instantly recovered and hit Styles with an Attitude Adjustment. He launched Styles into the ring stairs. Then he cleared the announcers’ table, climbed the stairs and delivered another Attitude Adjustment, putting Styles through the table to close out the show.
This was yet another SmackDown that felt like creative just threw a bunch of ideas to the wall to see what would stick. A few well executed promos and one or two strong matches were able to help the show rebound.
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