Hey there, guys. It’s been a week since the Brand Extension, and we started things off on exactly the right foot. It’s still got that whole ‘new’ feeling to it, and we haven’t started to explore all of the new opportunities for the SmackDown roster yet. Call me optimistic, but I think the good times will keep rolling.
So, hey: SmackDown!
We kick things off with Randy Orton getting yelled at by Shane and Bryan for RKO-ing Brock Lesnar. I feel like they’ve misunderstood how wrestling works, exactly. They then do agree that it was pretty awesome, but are giving Randy Orton a huge security team, because they secretly think that Lesnar is going to fucking murder him. Oh shit: are we having a Brock Lesnar invasion tonight?
Right afterwards, they run into Miz, who is pissy that Dean got a post-title match celebration at Battleground and he didn’t, even though Miz actually turned up to Ambrose’s. Daniel Bryan announces a Triple Threat match between Baron Corbin, Kalisto and Apollo Crews to find a number one contender for Miz’s Intercontinental Championship. To Miz’s credit, he seems pretty happy about it.
And apparently everyone is just hanging out backstage tonight, because Shane and Bryan take two steps and walk into Dean Ambrose, who’s going out there to address Dolph Ziggler.
Not entirely sold on the opening music, I have to say.
Dean heads out to kick off the show proper, and says that he got here by hard work and kicking ass. He says that he likes the view from the top, and that he’s got no plans of being a transitional champ, and that brings him to Dolph Ziggler, who he calls out.
Dolph complies, and he gets a fairly decent reception. Can’t say how glad I am that he’s not wearing denim anymore: he can really Seth Rollins a suit. Dolph tells Dean that he’s a big fan, and that the two of them are pretty similar. Ambrose straight up says that no: no they’re not. Ambrose worked and struggled for everything he’s ever gotten, and no-one’s going to take any of that away from him.
Ziggler calls Ambrose out on his easy ride, coming in with the Shield and perpetually being on or near the top. He, on the other hand, entered this business as a male cheerleader. Holy fuck, he referenced the Spirit Squad. I am beyond impressed. He says that it’s him who’s worked for everything, just as much as Ambrose.
Dean says that Ziggler wastes his time complaining, whereas Ambrose couldn’t give less of a fuck what anyone thinks or says about him, or the roadblocks they put in his way. Dolph cares about his image; Dean honestly doesn’t care. All he cares about is winning, and that’s why he’s going to beat Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam, even if Ziggler does steal the show.
Ziggler takes a moment, and then says that he’s the kid who saw his first WWE show at age five, and knew that he was going to do that. He’s the guy who’s constantly been blocked out, looked over and pushed aside. He’s the guy who’s going to burn Brooklyn to the ground at SummerSlam and take the WWE Championship because, in his words, he’s ‘that damn good’. Interesting choice of phrase from the number one contender there.
Ambrose tells Ziggler that it’s not going to happen, because Dolph’s not as good as he thinks he is. He then drops the mic and walks off, leaving Dolph standing there. That was some seriously good promo work from both guys, and…wait a minute…Bray Wyatt’s in the ring! Bray Wyatt hits Ziggler with Sister Abigail! He grabs a microphone and mocks Dolph for thinking that he’s going to be the WWE Champion. Dolph stole his shot, he says, and then he challenges Ziggler to a match with the title match on the line.
After the break, Dolph runs into Bryan and Shane, and says that he wants the match. Bryan says that that’s pretty fucking stupid, but Dolph doesn’t care: he’s going to prove everyone wrong at Wyatt’s expense. I’m really liking Ziggler’s new character arc so far.
The match so average, I had to watch it twice
Time to settle the issue of another number one contendership: it’s the Triple Threat match. Kalisto comes out first, and I like tab at the side of the screen which shows the wrestlers’ attributes: this whole Brand Extension has been a triumph of little touches, quite honestly. Miz and Maryse are at ringside, watching as Crews and Corbin make their own way to the ring.
Oh Lord on high: of course the website didn’t save the previous twenty minutes of review. Oh God, I have to watch a Baron Corbin match again just to write this fucking thing. This is a sign of how much I love you guys, alright? I’m voluntarily rewatching a Baron Corbin match in the name of a complete review.
Alright, so Corbin starts off by pounding the two minorities in the ring. I don’t know: I’m willing to imagine that Baron Corbin is racist as well as worthless. Kalisto and Crews manage to clothesline him out of the ring, but he low-bridges Crews out of him, and Kalisto dives out onto Corbin before we head to a break.
When we come back, Corbin’s in control, squashing Kalisto and Crews in the corner, then laying Crews out with a boot. Kalisto hurricanranas Corbin out of the ring, then eats a Samoan Drop from Crews, who’s then taken out by a spinning back suplex from Corbin. Corbin keeps laying a hurtin’ on Crews and Kalisto, before catching Kalisto’s second hurricanrana attempt. Crews dropkicks Corbin out of the ring, rolls up Kalisto and he’s our new number one contender.
This wasn’t a bad match, but I was forced to watch it twice, so there’s some angst there now. 2 Stars.
Corbin beats on Kalisto after the match. Crews makes the save, only for Miz to SCF him. Corbin then takes out Miz, because when you look like that, it’s best to let people know that their first impressions were totally correct.
Next up (again), is a a match between Eva Marie and Becky Lynch. And yeah, I know: sounds godawful, right? Except, Eva Marie pretends that her leg is hurt, so doesn’t even throw a single punch and there’s not even a match. And that might sound like a ridiculous idea, but we all need to appreciate that Eva Marie’s gimmick is one which prohibits her from wrestling, and that this was the best match that Eva Marie has ever participated in.
Backstage, Renee Young asks Carmella about just what the fuck just happened. Carmella starts trying to talk, but is interrupted by Natalya, who says that she deserves this interview because of how awesome she is, even though she’s had one run with the title and it lasted all of two months. Carmella doesn’t back down, and we might actually get a real women’s wrestling match tonight. I’ll take it.
Ready, Willing, Gable
And now the Vaudevillains are in the ring, about to be fed to American Alpha, who are making their WWE debut. Gable starts off against Gotch, outwrestling him at every turn with some beautiful mat and chain grappling. Jordan tags in, hitting a smooth dropkick before locking Gotch’s arm. Gotch hits a knee, freeing himself up to tag in English.
The Vaudevillains go for a double hip toss, but Jordan lands on his feet, tagging in Gable, who dives off the top with a double clothesline to both Vaudevillains. Double dropkicks by American Alpha to follow that up, but Gotch catches Gable’s leg, giving English the advantage. Double chops from the Vaudevillains, and they wrench Gable back down to the mat.
English goes for a charge at Gable in the corner, but the American Alpha member dodges, then sends Gotch out of the ring, ducks English again and tags in Jordan! Jordan’s on fire coming in, hitting punches and a dropkick to English, then tossing Gotch in a leg-capture suplex, then belly-to-bellys English. Spear in the corner to English, and then Grand Amplitude finishes it.
Poor Vaudevillains. American Alpha looks great, with some stuff in the ring I’ve never seen before. Looking forward to what’ll follow. 2.5 Stars.
AJ Styles makes his way to the ring, and he hushes up the music immediately, saying that he’s got something on his mind, and it’s John Cena. Before he can get much further, Cena himself comes out, and the look on Styles’ face is wonderful.
Cena says that Styles has been saying for a while that he’s got a message for him, so he’s here to hear it. Styles says that whilst he could kick Cena’s ass, he’s not going to do that right now. The crowd chants ‘soccer practice’ at Styles, but he ignores them, saying that he’s worked out what his problem with Cena really is: he’s beaten him up; he’s beaten him in a match, and Cena’s still here. Does…does AJ Styles think you have to retire if he beats you in a match? Jesus, that’d be a weird rule.
Styles says he doesn’t want John around anymore, and he can’t stand how the people fall for his act over and over again. He rips on the kids in the audience, and their parents, and says that they don’t know how the world works, with their participation trophy bullshit. Cena says that he’s not leading them on or anything: they’ve made up their minds to cheer for him. Styles says that he’s going to prove that Cenation is nothing but a fraud.
Cena finally gets fired up a little, and says that he’s still here because nothing’s changed: he loves this business and he loves his fans. Damn it, Cena, you soppy, sentimental bastard. He says he’s never leaving, no matter how famous he gets, because this is his home. Styles, Cena says, is just here to be a great wrestler, but there’s no place else for him: what the hell is Styles even doing here?
Styles applauds sarcastically. He says that’s exactly what he thought John was going to say. He challenges Cena to a match at SummerSlam: no interference, no Club, just the two of them. Cena accepts, and Styles says that he can’t wait for Cena to be forced to admit that Styles is the better man.
They may as well have played the Jaws theme throughout this one
Breezango is in the ring, and there’s security surrounding the ring. Wait, because Shane thinks that A) Brock Lesnar is going to attack Breezango and B) Breezango is worth paying money to protect? Ah, right: here comes Randy Orton. So, Shane’s not gone nuts quite yet.
Fandango throws Orton into a corner, but gets tackled right out of it. Orton stomps on the dancer, and the crowd are certainly into Randy. Suplex to Fandango gets one, and Breeze distracts Orton enough for Fandango to hit a dropkick. Fandango rains down some punches, then latches on with a sleeper hold.
Orton back suplexes his way out of the sleeper, then clotheslines Fandango twice before hitting a powerslam. Breeze charges into the ring, and takes a powerslam as well. Vintage DDT to Fandango, and now Orton wants an RKO…and Lesnar just showed up in the crowd! Orton RKOs Fandango, and then turns around into an F5!
The most formulaic match ever, but the omnipresent threat of Brock Lesnar showing up added something to it. 2 Stars.
Shane and a bunch of other security guys rush towards the ring, even though the security around the ring was just proved to be worthless. Lesnar leaves without a fight, even though I’m pretty sure he in no way answers to Shane: he’s not even on SmackDown officially. Also, Orton? Possibly a good idea not to turn your back on Brock Lesnar when you know the guy’s there.
Daniel Bryan’s on the phone in his office, which is a good excuse to have him away from that segment, because Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar in the same ring would have been too much build not to have a match. But he’s got to deal with Heath Slater, who just ninja’d his way into Bryan’s office to demand a contract. Bryan says that if he wins a match next week against Rhyno, he’ll get a contract. And then Rhyno gores Slater, out of nowhere. I honestly can’t believe they hired Rhyno back.
Backstage, Dean is getting interviewd by Renee Young, and he says that anything can happen in the WWE: Ziggler or Wyatt, it makes no difference to him. He is a little surprised that Dolph took such a suicidal approach to his number one contender spot, because usually it takes Ziggler a little longer than this to screw everything up for himself.
The newest member of the broadcast team tries to get an interview with Orton. I guess Orton’s either too pissed off or just didn’t recognise her, because he just walks off.
Carmella makes her way out to the ring, and almost gets there before Nat ambushes and kicks the shit out of her on the outside of the ring. Still way better than anything involving Eva Marie, because this has actual physical contact.
Ziggler is getting ready backstage, and Shane and Bryan show up to try and talk him down from the ledge he’s placed himself on. This just pisses Dolph off, and it will be fucking hysterical if he loses the match now, after this much build up.
The Boyhood Dream Has Come True!
Well, we’re about to find out whether that’s going to happen, because here’s Bray Wyatt. Ziggler follows him, and if he loses this match then I think next week we’re going to find him with his head in an oven. Ambrose is on commentary, and we get things underway.
Bray charges out of the corner, right into a dropkick. Fame-asser strikes, getting two, and Ziggler wants a superkick. Wyatt ducks out of the ring, and Dolph follows, running right into a hard clothesline. Bray throws Dolph into the barricade, then back into the ring, almost getting rolled up by Ziggler out of nowhere before we go to a break.
When we come back, Wyatt and Ziggler are perched on the second rope, and Bray wants himself a superplex, and he gets it. Bray spiderwalks before going for the pin, because he doesn’t care that much about being the number one contender. He locks in a sleeper hold to Dolph, keeping him on the mat. Ziggler tries to work his way back up, and finally does so, hitting a jawbreaker to create separation.
Wyatt runs into a back elbow, then takes some flying clotheslines off the ropes, then a stinger splash, the elbow and the cover for two. Both he and Wyatt take a while getting back upright, before Wyatt catches a superkick and pops Ziggler in the mouth. Suplex and a senton splash from Wyatt gets a near fall.
Bray starts unlacing the turnbuckle, but the ref backs him off, right into a Zig-Zag! Dolph goes right for the cover, but Wyatt kicks out right before the three! And now it’s Ziggler taking off the turnbuckle, and the referee’s almost in tears! Wyatt almost catches Dolph with Sister Abigail; Dolph rolls him up for two, and then takes the ura-nage for two!
Ziggler tries to fight back, but Wyatt pounds on him, keeping him down. He throws Ziggler into the corner with the exposed turnbuckle, and Dolph manages to avoid the metal, instead throwing Wyatt head-first into the exposed steel, laying him out with the superkick to win the match and retain his title shot!
Great match, with a nice focus on Ziggler staying alive and consistently almost getting the job done. Excited for him going forward. 3 Stars.
Rowan jumps Ziggler after the match, because fuck Bray Wyatt’s singles career with a cactus. Dean dives into the ring, taking on both Bray and Rowan until Rowan takes him down. He’s thrown out of the ring before Wyatt Sister Abigails Dolph for the second time tonight. Who’s betting on a tag team match next week?
Not as good as last week, which was pretty damn phenomenal. The women’s matches both seemed pointless apart from furthering feuds, only one of which I even care about. The main focus was on Dolph, Brock and Randy, all of whom delivered. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, American Alpha, apollo crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Brock Lesnar, Carmella, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Eva Marie, Fandango, jbl, John Cena, Kalisto, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, natalya neidhart, paul heyman, Randy Orton, Renee Young, smackdown, The Miz, The Vaudevillains, Tyler Breeze