Spain’s SmackDown Report for August 16th 2016: And Nobody Said “Viperville”

Columns, Top Story

Hey there, wrestling fans. This is the Spain SmackDown Report, and I am your charming and quite British host, David Spain. We are less than a week away from SummerSlam, and SmackDown is still doing pretty well in the wake of the draft: we really could have turned a corner here.

We kick the show off with Shane and Bryan backstage with Randy Orton. They’re just doing the contract signing there, because doing it in the ring is asking for trouble at this point. Heath Slater shows up wanting a contract of his very own, and he’s brought a fruit basket that I think they’re implying he stole from a funeral: that’s some serious heel shit. And everyone keeps saying the phrase ‘big pickle’, like this is a set-up to the most average porn movie ever. Orton says that he has an idea to solve this whole contract problem, but we cut away before he can tell us what it is.

I mean…I’m assuming his solution is going to take the form of some kind of wrestling match.

The show proper starts off with Miz TV, and I am resigned to the fact that my crush on Maryse is actually enough that her attempts to be annoying just fall flat. Ambrose shows up more or less immediately, stopping Miz from saying anything. Dean actually gets a little further into his spiel before Ziggler interrupts him. Miz breaks up the potential fight, bringing things back under control before we get any action on free TV.

Miz talks for a while to build up the upcoming match. He mocks Ziggler’s basically terrible career, asking what happens if he loses at SummerSlam: is this Dolph’s very last chance? Ziggler says that he’s not even thinking about after SummerSlam. All he cares about is Sunday’s Championship match. Ambrose says that he doesn’t buy this whole ‘new Dolph Ziggler’ deal, which makes Ziggler snap at Miz when he tries to interrupt.

Ziggler asks what Ambrose wants from him: does he want to admit that he thrives off his critics and naysayers and people who don’t believe in him. He also uses the phrase ‘kick your head right off your face’, which sounds just impossibly dumb. Ziggler says that it’s Dean and people like him who’ve unintentionally pushed him to where he is now. Ambrose tells Dolph that nothing’s just going to magically change if Ziggler wins the title: all the pressure just gets worse from there, and Dean doubts Dolph can take it.

Dean says that the chip on Ziggler’s shoulder is just going to weigh him down, and stop him from ever winning the big time. All he’ll prove is that he doesn’t want it bad enough, and that he never has wanted it bad enough, and that he’s never going to get it. Dean hoists the title in Dolph’s face, point made.

Ziggler says that even though Ambrose doesn’t know the first thing about him, he does know that Ambrose is going to have to throw everything at him to beat him on Sunday, but nothing he brings out is going to be enough. He starts ranting, and suddenly, right in the middle of it, just superkicks Dean right in the jaw. Holy shit: that caught me off-guard. Dolph says that he’s that damn good, and walks out of the ring. Jesus, I hope he didn’t manage to kick Dean’s head right off his face.

That was a decent opening segment. Minimal Miz, which I think worked in this case. Ambrose delivered a really solid promo in terms of its content. I was thinking that Ziggler was being a bit too dramatic, and then the superkick came right the fuck out of nowhere and sold me on it. I doubt Ziggler has a hope on Sunday, but this should be a fantastic match.

During the break, Miz called out Apollo Crews, except he called him Apollo Creed. Well, that’s Tumblr’s new thing to be offended about. Crews hit his powerbomb to the Miz, and it’s weird seeing things actually happen during the break.

Poor, poor Ascension

This here is a twelve-man tag team match with American Alpha, Ryder and Rawley and the Usos on one team, and the Ascension, the Vaudevillains and Breezango on the other. Well, at least they’ve got something to do in this belt-less world.

Gable starts off against Tyler, who tags in Viktor to beat Gable down. Gable slides out of a bodyslam, tagging in Mojo to knock Viktor around. Ryder tags in for a double-team, but Konor makes the save and a brawl breaks out before the break.

When we come back, Konor and Ryder are down, but they make tags to English and Jey Uso respectively. Jey hits a flying clothesline, a superkick, an uppercut and a Samoan drop to English! Samoan wrecking ball hits, but Jordan tags himself in. An argument develops between Jey and Jordan, until Jordan shoves the Uso out of the way to hit the Alphaplex to English!

Konor breaks up the pin, and Ryder catches him with the Broski Boot. Rawley and Ryder hit some variant of the Doomsday Device on Viktor; Rawley dispatches Tyler; Fandango kicks Rawley out of there and turns into a superkick from Jimmy! Double Uso Superkicks to Gotch, and then the Usos throw themselves out onto the heels! In the ring, English takes the Grand Amplitude and that’s the win.

Decent match. I was surprised by the awesome finisher that Ryder and Rawley pulled out, and this was a nice taste of the possibilities for these six teams. 2.5 Stars.

Is Eva actually getting paid, like, for an actual match?

Here’s Naomi, who’s got a new outfit, new theme and new entrance. Unfortunately, the focus of this match is Eva Marie…who has apparently been delayed by traffic. Well, I suppose they couldn’t exactly up the nudity. Also, I don’t know what kind of ethics and standards WWE employees are held to, but this should definitely be grounds for a disciplinary meeting.

This was another great use of Eva Marie, though it really didn’t top last week. 3 Stars.

We see a replay of Alberto Del Rio coming back to the WWE and beating John Cena. Backstage, AJ Styles shows up to talk to Del Rio, who really doesn’t seem interested in whatever Styles is selling. Styles gets bitchy, mocking Alberto for not even being on the SummerSlam card. Yeah, because that’s going to make Del Rio take his aggression out on Cena, not the guy who just insulted him.

Apparently Curt Hawkins is coming soon. I just remember him as an Edge lookalike, so you can hopefully appreciate my lack of enthusiasm.

Slater should be grateful Orton’s solution didn’t involve the phrase ‘in Heath Slater’s bag’

And yep: Randy Orton’s idea turned out to be a wrestling match. I suppose when all you have is an RKO…

Slater comes out, and immediately takes a boot to the gut. Orton throws him into the steel post, then again in the opposite corner. Hard clothesline, then the Garvin Stomps to the One Man Band. Orton uppercuts Slater in the corner, then starts pounding away at his chest in another corner. He doesn’t stop at the five count, and Heath Slater wins via DQ!

That took me by surprise. I suppose they were always going to have Slater go somewhere. 1.5 Stars.

Let us never forget that Randy Orton and Mike Chioda have just given Heath Slater a SmackDown contract. And Orton, apparently realising his mistake, has started to beat the absolute fuck out of Slater on the outside in the hopes of crippling or killing him. He drapes Slater over the timekeeper’s area barricade, hitting the Vintage DDT. According to Ranallo, this is Orton sending a message to Brock Lesnar. And that message is: ‘I, like every other WWE employee, can beat up Heath Slater’.

Orton sends Slater back into the gym, and hits him with German suplexes, mocking Lesnar, before hitting a beautiful RKO to lay Slater completely out.

The Wyatts appear on the screen, saying that they’re here. Interestingly, they explicitly show Orton still in the ring when this happens: a match between Orton and Wyatt would be pretty fantastic.

After a break, Slater is getting checked over by a medic, and he officially gets given a contract by Shane and Bryan, despite absolutely and definitely having a concussion.

Good for you, Bray

Turns out that the Wyatts actually made their entrance during Slater’s shenanigans; it actually looks like they were watching it on the titantron. During the break, Wyatt and Orton went eye-to-eye, so feud confirmed. Dean Ambrose makes his way out to the ring, looking to get down to business.

The bell rings, and Ambrose goes right after Rowan, punching him into a corner. Rowan shoves him away, and shoulder tackles him to the mat. Rowan works Dean over in the corner; Ambrose slides out of a bodyslam, almost catches the Wyatt Family member with Dirty Deeds, then sends Rowan out of the ring before diving onto him.

Back in the ring, Rowan catches Ambrose’s crossbody, planting the WWE Champion with a spinning powerslam. This time it’s Ambrose who is sent out of the ring, and Rowan follows that up with a baseball slide, knocking the champ down on the outside. Back in the ring again, Ambrose fights his way to his feet, but Rowan drags him back down to the mat by the face. Dean’s thrown into the corner, collapsing out of it before Rowan walks over him.

Headbutts to Dean in the corner by Rowan, who runs into a boot. Ambrose low-bridges Rowan, avoids a charge in the corner, leaving Rowan with a leg hung up over the top rope. Ambrose pounds Rowan again and again, finally taking the big man off his feet with a back suplex. Flying elbow drop to Rowan from the top rope gets two, and Rowan manages to catch Ambrose with a spinning kick. He keeps punching a prone Dean, who manages to elbow his way clear of a ura-nage, slips out of a powerbomb attempt and levels the big man with the Lunatic Lariat.

Rowan beats Ambrose to his feet, but walks right into a Dirty Deeds which hands Dean the win.

Not bad. Rowan got in a hell of a lot of offence considering he is never, ever going to hold that belt. 2.5 Stars.

After Ambrose walks away, Bray does too, leaving Rowan and Rowan’s sheep mask behind. He wants that fucking singles run, man.

Not enough moonwalks in wrestling

Our second Women’s Division match of the night is a tag team bout, pitting Becky Lynch and Carmella against Natalya and Alexa Bliss. Last week, Carmella won her debut match against Natalya, and Alexa Bliss did the same against Becky with a little assist from Eva Marie.

Carmella starts off against Natalya, and they lock up in the centre of the ring. Natalya backs Carmella up against the ropes, and the Princess of Staten Island comes back with a spinning headscissors takeover before running right into a discus clothesline from the veteran Natalya. She tags in Alexa Bliss, who slams Carmella’s face right off the mat before stomping on the back of her head.

Rear chinlock’s applied to Carmella near the ropes, but she jawbreakers her way out of it. Both women make tags, and Becky gets the better of both Bliss and Neidhart, taking Natalya down with clotheslines and a calf kick. Forearm in the corner, then a Bexploder suplex out of the corner gets two. Natalya fights back, leading to both women colliding off crossbodies.

And Eva Marie comes out. That asshole: she has the decency to not wrestle, but then has to get involved with other people’s matches. Unfortunately for her, Naomi shows up, apparently fine with having their match right now. She chases Eva through the ring; Natalya cuts Naomi off at the pass and throws her out of the ring, then tries to roll up Becky Lynch, but Lynch counters with the DisArmer! Natalya taps out in the centre of the ring!

Good one. With the addition of Naomi, this division really does have promise. All Eva Marie has to do is continue to not wrestle. 2.5 Stars.

Baron Corbin is either beating up or raping Kalisto backstage, and I’m actually more morally outraged about the idea of Baron Corbin being involved in a storyline rather than the prospect of him physically assaulting someone.

We have a look at the build of Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton. They tug up a whole load of old footage: really adds to the history of the whole thing. Shame the brand extension has led to a massive lack of build for what is an awesome match. I do love that Orton talks about being close to Lesnar during training and their rookie years, and Lesnar basically begins his portion of the interview by going ‘oh yeah…Rodney Orton.’

There’s now a six-woman tag match between the teams of Carmella, Naomi and Becky, and Natalya, Alexa and Eva Marie. I give it to Becky’s team, because I doubt Eva Marie’s actually going to wrestle.

I mean, she’d better fucking not.

Like Cena really cared about losing the US Title

It’s main event time, and AJ Styles is here to drawl his way through commentary. Alberto Del Rio makes his way out after him; Jesus, that two-time World Champion information in the graphic keeps fucking throwing me. And here’s John Cena, looking psyched and peppy. Bell rings, and away we go.

Both men take some time before finally locking up, with Del Rio applying the headlock. He’s sent off the ropes and comes back with a shoulder tackle, knocking John down. Again, another slow approach before the lock-up, and this time Cena ducks Del Rio after he shoots him off, leaping over him before hitting a hip toss. Del Rio ducks out of the ring and into the crowd, not letting Cena build off the offence. We go to a break.

When we come back, Del Rio gets a two-count after a blow to Cena from the top rope. Sleeper’s applied to John by Alberto, but Cena gradually reaches a vertical base. Del Rio kicks him away, but then misses a charge, flying out through the ropes and landing hard on the floor as Cena ducks out of the way. Cena wants an AA back in the ring, but Del Rio counters with a German suplex, bridging into the pin for two.

Alberto’s back in control, hitting a big boot to the face, following it up with another. Cena ducks the third, coming back with roundhouses and jabs, but this time it’s Del Rio who ducks a charge from Cena, who crashes and burns in the corner. Alberto throws Cena shoulder-first into the corner and then kicks him right in the back for a two count. Hard DDT plants Cena, getting another two count before another commercial break.

When we come back, Del Rio flies off the top rope, right into a dropkick from Cena! Cena hits shoulder tackles, then a spin-out back suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle connects, but the Attitude Adjustment is countered by a backstabber for a near fall! Del Rio stalks Cena, but John blocks the superkick, going for the STF. Del Rio fights out, pushing Cena away from him, and Cena runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! An enzuigiri into the corner is ducked by John, who runs Del Rio over with a huge clothesline!

Cena climbs up to the top rope, but Del Rio manages to hit an enzuigiri whilst he’s up there, getting the nearest fall of the match! Alberto’s about ready to call it a day: he wants the Cross Armbreaker; Cena counters, and the STF’s locked in! Del Rio reaches the ropes, and catches John with two superkicks: one in the gut and the other square in the face, but it’s still not enough!

Styles is getting antsy at ringside – we might see a run-in yet – but Del Rio approaches Cena. Cena gets him up for an Attitude Adjustment, but Alberto smoothly counters it into the Cross Armbreaker; it’s locked in, but Cena lifts Del Rio up and powerbombs him down onto the mat! AA follows immediately, and that’s the match!

Match of the night, in my opinion. Del Rio and Cena can always be counted on to put out some really solid work. 3 Stars.

Right after the match, John turns right into a Phenomenal Forearm, courtesy of Styles. AJ calls for a microphone, and says that he’s sick and tired of hearing that the future has to go through John Cena. This Sunday, he’s going to be the Face That Runs The Place. He’ll make Cena’s passion for the WWE his prison, and then calls him boy. Yeah, that never sounds good no matter who you’re talking to.

Styles is about to leave, but then changes his mind, and he wants the Styles Clash! But Cena counters, and he hits the Attitude Adjustment! He clears off the announce table, smacks Styles’ skull off the steel steps, and takes AJ up the stairs, hitting the Attitude Adjustment through the announce table! John Cena stands tall to end the show!

Not what I’d call the most brilliant show, but it was competent. The final two matches were the best of the bunch, and the Orton/Lesnar package was really quite good. See you all on the other side of SummerSlam! 7/10/

David has a jaded and cynical view of wrestling, which complements his jaded and cynical view of practically everything else. He spends his time writing novels and screenplays, lifting heavy things while listening to classical music, and waiting with bated breath for his next opportunity to say "it's Dr. Spain, actually".