WWE SmackDown Live
Watch: USA Network
August 2, 2016
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
Wow! What is this like one week into the brand split? Well we already have talk of invasions as the show opens with Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, and Daniel Bryan backstage watching highlights of Orton’s RKO of Brock Lesnar last night on Raw. Looks like we may have a run in by “the Beast” Brock Lesnar tonight. Lucky for Orton. Shane has assigned a security team to protect him. (no way this will not go bad for Orton). The Miz is backstage next with Maryse. He is informed by Daniel Bryan that tonight there will be a triple threat between Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, and Kalisto with the winner receiving a IC title shot at SummerSlam. Dean Ambrose stops by Shane and Daniel to let them know he is headed to the ring to address his people, and the number one contender to his WWE World Championship.
I totally forgot Dolph Ziggler is the number one contender. I assumed it was Styles or Cena. Dean calls Dolph to the ring to “get to know him” better. Ziggler brings up his past as a “male cheerleader”, “green jumpsuit and all”. Dolph brings up his credentials as an amateur wrestler at Kent State. Dolph gets real fired up. Segment ends as Ambrose leaves and I have to say that I am not impressed with either man, or this program for SummerSlam. Suddenly Bray Wyatt’s music plays, screen goes dark, and when the lights come back on Bray lays out Dolph with Sister Abigail. Bray stands over Dolph’s prone body and says that tonight if he beats Bray in a match he can go on to SummerSlam, if not, then Bray Wyatt gets the title shot.
Back from break, Dolph appears to be having a nervous breakdown as Shane and Daniel point out how stupid it is for Dolph to accept Bray Wyatt’s challenge, prompting Ziggler ……. to accept Bray Wyatt’s challenge. Priceless.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Miz is on commentary. WWE is so funny. Match is in the ring for like 30 seconds. Kalisto does a suicide dive to the outside on Corbin and we go to commercial. What’s the point? Seriously.
I don’t know brothers and sisters. I’m shaking my head. Back from break and we get some great in ring action. All kinds of nice spots by these three guys and then boom, out of nowhere like an RKO but not nearly as satisfying we get a flash pin as Apollo rolls up Kalisto for the win and the shot at Miz. So we get about two minutes of in ring action in the number one contenders match for the IC title. Wow. Post-match and Baron Corbin starts beating on Kalisto, Crews makes the save only to be hit with the Skull Crushing Finale by the Miz, who is laid out with the End of Days by Baron Corbin.
Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie
I’m going to start predicting the booking of each match just to amuse myself. I say Becky wins then is jumped by Naomi after the match who is jumped by Carmella, only to have Eva Marie lay out Carmella and stand alone in the ring after losing her match in the first place. That sounds about right for WWE. Great ring entrance for Eva Marie complete with personal announcer and fun facts on the screen letting us know Eva Marie was voted as a top 100 hottest woman by MAXIM. JBL screams that she can transform the woman’s division. This is even better than what I expected planned as Eva Marie starts selling that her leg hurts before the match starts, the ref calls for the trainer and it is announced that Eva Marie cannot compete tonight.
This gets even better still. Mental note to self, never underestimate the WWE writing team. We cut to the SmackDown Live panel with Renee Young (national treasure of Canada) interviewing Carmella who says she can spot a scam anywhere (in reference to Eva Marie) because she is from New York, then we get Natty who is upset that Carmella is being interviewed and not her. She name-drops Uncle Bret (Canadian Hero). The “Queen of Hearts” and the “Princess of Staten Island” go back and forth until Carmella tells Natalya to put on her “cat lady outfit” and they can have a match tonight!!
American Alpha vs. Vaudevillains
This is going to be fun as American Alpha make their WWE in ring debut here on SmackDown Live. Not as big of a pop as I would expect. Great old wrestler name drops by Mauro and JBL during this one as JBL managed to reference Scott Steiner, Larry “THE AXE” Henning, Nick Gulas, The Rockers and Karl Gotch. Mauro managed to get in Frank Gotch, Ed “Strangler” Lewis and George Hackenschmidt in a quick flurry of pioneer era grapplers. JBL wins in this match by sheer volume 6-3 (7 if you include the Rockers as two name drops). However Mauro’s guys were older and more obscure for the average WWE fan therefore we have a tie. Match starts off with some great chain wrestling by Gable. God damn this man looks real smooth in that ring. Jordan is super athletic and demonstrates it with a sick dropkick. “Lets go Alpha” chant from the crowd as they seem to be enjoying the action in the ring. Beautiful diving double clothesline off the top rope by Gable. Sick overhead delayed belly to belly suplexes by Jordan on both ‘villains. Mauro calls Jordan the savant of suplexes!! Nice! Alpha hits their Grand Amplitude finisher to defeat the Vaudevillains in 3:26 of a great opening showcase match for American Alpha. These guys come across as great white meat babyfaces in this match something I have not seen in WWE in a while. Well I guess other than Sami Zayn. Awesome segment. And the crowd really seemed to love these guys.
A video package of John Cena hosting the teen choice awards airs. I go to the kitchen for a snack.
A.J. Styles comes out to talk about John Cena. He gets two words out before Cena’s music plays and John comes out to the biggest pop of the night. The proverbial “Road Warrior pop” to be exact. Styles has a message for Cenation. Styles is going to let us know what his problem is with John Cena. He doesn’t want John Cena here. Great. How much do the writers get paid? Styles may have forgot his lines here not sure but he kind of stutter stepped for a second. Got some cheap heat by burying the city, now he’s burying the kids, now he’s burying the parents. Lots of boos which is good as Styles says Cena is just as delusional as the parents and kids. Styles is turning this around now cutting a fiery promo with a lot of conviction behind it. Cena and Styles manage to get a lets go Cena, Cena sucks chant going. Styles will prove to Cenation that Cena is a fraud. Now it’s Cena responding. I don’t like this promo but the crowd is loving it. Cena is good at this, don’t get me wrong it’s just not my thing listening to Cena talk. Arghhhh Cena is starting to win me over now with this promo. He is pretty damn good at this. I’m starting to buy into this now. That was great! Sarcastic clapping Styles now issues the challenge, Styles vs. Cena at SummerSlam. Cena accepts. This was great. Styles did a real good and was not overshadowed at all by Cena. Good job boys.
Randy Orton vs. Fandango
Security is outside the ring as rumor has it that Brock Lesnar may try to show up tonight. Mauro informs us the whole world is buzzing about the RKO out of nowhere from last night on RAW. A graphic is shown with headlines from Forbes, Fox Sports, and Bleacher Report among others talking about the RKO. And they replay the footage from Raw. For the second time tonight we are informed that SmackDown Live is trending worldwide. Fun fact. Randall Kenneth Orton is a 12 time World Champion. Wow only 3 behind John Cena and 4 behind Ric Flair.Just a squash match for Orton nothing of note. RKO chant from the crowd and as Randy is about to deliver the RKO to Fandango, Brock Lesnar shows up, hops the guard rail and lays out Orton with an F-5. This was great and suddenly I am much more excited about this match than when it was first announced. Good job here by the writers to build up this program. I guess If I’m going to criticize what’s bad I have to acknowledge what’s good as well!
They show footage of Brock Lesnar being escorted out of the arena. Cut to Daniel Bryan on the phone in his office when he notices Heath Slater who asks to be part of Smackdown which leads Bryan to say he can have a match next week and if he wins he will be signed by SmackDown. Slater asks who his match is against, Bryan says guess, Slater says jumping Marty Lunde (to pop the boys in the back), Bryan says who? and as Slater is explaining Rhyno gores him and Bryan says it’s Rhyno that he will have to face next week.
Renee Young and Dean Ambrose on the SmackDown Live post-show set. Dean talked for a bit. It was not much of a segment. Dean can talk that’s for sure. The writers however only write for Vince, and what they write generally sucks, so that’s about it for this segment.
Once again Brock Lesnar’s F-5 is shown. SmackDown Live’s newest interviewer Charlie Carusso tries to interview Randy Orton who walks away.
Carmella vs. Natalya
Natalya jumps Carmella as she makes her ring entrance. Natty puts Carmella in the sharpshooter. Natalya walks off triumphant match never takes place.
Backstage Shane and Daniel once again try to talk Ziggler into not going through with this match. Dolph says that they don’t believe in him either, Dolph says “screw you” to both men and walks off.
Winner faces Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt
Ambrose is on commentary. Dolph is fluent in American Sign Language. Match starts hot as Ziggler nails Wyatt with the dropkick, and the fame-asser for a near fall. Stiff clothesline by Bray on the outside. Back in the ring Ziggler tries a quick roll up but Bray kicks out and as we go to commercial Bray is grabbing his ankle or foot in pain. Nice super-plex by Wyatt as we return to action. Nice to hear Ambrose put over Ziggler while JBL buries him. It’s obvious that WWE has to heat up Dolph Ziggler. The story of this match is that no one believes in Dolph, heck Dolph maybe doesn’t believe in Dolph, and this match is Dolph proving he deserves to be in this position. Bray is distracted after trying to untie the turnbuckle and Ziggler capitalizes with his zig-zag for another near fall. Now Ziggler unties the turnbuckle. Nice reversal out of the sister Abigail by Dolph into a roll up for two. Sick Uranage by Bray Wyatt for a near fall. Match is heating up. Lots of back and forth action. Finish kind of comes out of nowhere as Ziggler rams Wyatt’s head into the exposed steel turnbuckle, and nails a superkick for the win. So Ziggler prevails and at SummerSlam Dean Ambrose will defend the WWE World Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Just as it appears the show is going off the air Erick Rowan attacks Ziggler from behind Dean runs in to make the save but is dispatched and Wyatt hits Ziggler with the sister Abigail to go off the air.
The show started off bad for me, but turned around when American Alpha made their debut and was better from then on. The only big disappointment for me was the lack of good matches on this show. Two hours and one match that was given any significant amount of time is pretty ridiculous to me. I have to go thumbs down on this effort overall because of the lack of actual wrestling. I can’t imagine anything on this show compelling people to tune in. Anyways brothers and sisters that’s the SmackDown Live recap. Peace!