Smackdown – July 25, 2014

Smackdown
Date: July 25, 2014
Location: Orlando Amway
Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators:
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re done with
Battleground and heading towards Summerslam with the announced main
event of Brock Lesnar challenging John Cena for the WWE Title. Other
than that the big story seems to be Reigns vs. Orton which would be
Reigns’ first big solo match on the grand stage. A win over a former
World Champion at Summerslam will be nothing but good for him. Let’s
get to it.

We open with a recap of
Lesnar being announced as the #1 contender.
Opening sequence.
Ryback/Curtis Axel
vs. Usos
Non-title. Jey and
Ryback get things going with the big guy nailing a quick hiptoss but
missing a Warrior Splash. Off to Jimmy for some chops but Ryback
shoves him out of the corner. Axel comes in and hammers away before
not ducking enough on a leapfrog from Jimmy. Curtis throws Jimmy to
the floor and Ryback nails him with a running clothesline as we take
a break.
Back with Ryback firing
off chops to Jimmy in the corner before driving him over to the other
corner for a beating from Axel. Curtis hits a running knee to the
head for two and now Ryback’s Warrior Splash connects. We hit a
chinlock for a bit before Jimmy fights up and nails an enziguri. The
hot tag brings in Jey and things speed up. There’s the running Umaga
attack to Axel and a Samoan drop gets two. Ryback gets low bridged
to the floor and there’s the Flying Uso to take him down. Axel
dropkicks Jey off the apron but some Twin Magic allows Jimmy to roll
Curtis up for the pin at 6:50 shown of 9:50.
Rating:
C.
Not a bad tag match here with the Usos working well together as
always. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ryback and Axel built up as potential
challengers, at least as a filler until there’s another team to
challenge the twins. I’m sure the Ascension will be brought up for a
big showdown one day.
One other note: at the
tapings, Ryback walked out on Axel after the match. That isn’t
mentioned or shown here so I’m guessing WWE changed its mind.
Time for MizTV. Miz
brags about winning the Intercontinental Title on Sunday and asks for
quiet on the set so he can give his acceptance speech. He thanks his
team and introduces his parents in the front row. Miz’s mom’s arms
are more defined than her son’s. Mom says it’s awesome to have the
Intercontinental Champion for a son. Miz asks who is her favorite
WWE superstar and is surprised when she says Roman Reigns. “He’s
hot!” The responses sounded intentionally scripted until the end.
Back in the ring and
Miz keeps thanking people until Bo Dallas interrupts. JBL loves the
idea of Dallas taking victory lap before he gets a victory. Bo says
it’s ok that he wasn’t thanked by name because it’s clear that Miz
Bolieves. Miz says he’s a huge fan and they should do lunch
sometime.
This brings out Dolph
Ziggler for another interruption. He says Miz’s speech was great but
don’t pretend that was some big moment. The only award Miz should
win is for hiding on the floor while Dolph did all the work. Both
Miz and Dallas have million dollar smiles and they’re both full of
it. Dallas says Ziggler can be like them if he Bolieves before
nailing Dolph with the microphone. After a break we’ve got a match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bo
Dallas
Miz is on commentary.
One thing I really like here: Cole says this was made by the
Authority during the break. But how will people know how the match
was made without a GM to walk them through it? Dallas hammers away
to start as Cole brings up how scripted Miz’s mom sounded. Bo stomps
on Dolph but charges into a boot, setting up the running DDT for two.
Ziggler throws him to the floor and teases a superkick at Miz before
going back inside for two off a Fameasser. Miz gets on the apron for
a distraction, allowing Dallas to grab a rollup and trunks to make
him 17-0 at 3:30.
Rating:
D+.
This was angle advancement and for once a triple threat title match
doesn’t sound too bad. I’m hoping Dallas winds up with the title at
some point as he’s won me over with the over the top promos. There’s
an actual story here and I’m curious to see which option they go
with.
Post match Ziggler
superkicks Bo but gets posted by the champion.
Roman Reigns says HHH
has a Plan A and a Plan B, but no plan matters when you get hit with
the Superman Punch. Tonight he’s facing Alberto Del Rio, and Alberto
better have a plan because Reigns has the punch. He’s getting there
with the talking.
Cesaro vs. Dean
Ambrose
No DQ after Ambrose got
DQ’ed on Monday. Ambrose stomps him down in the corner and wants to
know who sent Cesaro out here. He pulls out some Singapore canes and
chairs but Cesaro kicks him off the apron. Cesaro gets a cane of his
own but only hits the post, allowing Ambrose to take him over the
barricade and into the timekeeper’s area. A box of something goes
onto Cesaro’s head but he comes back with a cane shot to the chest as
Ambrose dives off the announcers’ table.
We take a break and
come back with Cesaro holding a cane over Dean’s face. He sets up
two chairs and slams Dean onto the chairs, which don’t move. Back to
the cane over the face before Cesaro nails him in the bad shoulder a
few times. Dean says bring it and catches the next swing before
hitting the rebound clothesline. Now it’s Ambrose’s turn to hammer
away with the cane.
That’s not enough for
Dean though as he sets up two chairs back to back but neither guy can
nail a suplex. Instead Dean picks one up and suplexes Cesaro through
the other chair for two. A middle rope chair shot to Cesaro’s arm
has him in trouble but he slams Dean onto a chair for a near fall of
his own. They head outside and Dean nails a suicide dive before
throwing about ten chairs into the ring.
Ambrose throws Cesaro
back in but here’s Rollins to jump Dean. It doesn’t seem to matter
as Dean clotheslines him into the crowd but gets crotched on the top
rope by Cesaro. A BIG superplex puts both guys down onto the pile of
chairs for two and Cesaro is shocked. He’s so shocked that Ambrose
grabs a small package out of nowhere for the pin at 11:39 shown of
14:39.
Rating:
B-.
Take two guys and let them beat each other up for about fifteen
minutes. Where could that go wrong? Ambrose is such an offbeat
character and he’s perfect for a match like this. Cesaro can wrestle
any style and fits in perfectly in a brawl. That superplex looked
awesome too.
Post match Rollins
comes in and helps Cesaro lay out Dean to a huge YOU SOLD OUT chant.
Dean is helped out by medics.
We recap Paige vs. AJ
from Paige’s debut up to her heel turn on Monday. They made this
feel like a pretty huge feud.
Paige vs. Naomi
Paige skips to the ring
ala AJ and actually pulls it off really well. She insists that she
and AJ are still friends. Cameron comes out right after the bell and
Paige gets in a cheap shot. The Rampaige (fisherman’s DDT) sets up
the PTO for the win at 33 seconds.
Cameron beats up Naomi
post match and says she’s here to make a statement. Naomi nails her
in the face but gets knocked off the apron.
Goldust and Stardust
look at an electrified crystal ball with Goldust saying he can see
the golden stars. The Cosmic Key is discussed some more and Goldust
pulls his head back. When he looks back, Stardust’s head has
replaced the ball. Goldust is in a magician’s hat.
R-Truth vs. Bray
Wyatt
Before the match we see
Bray attacking Jericho backstage on Raw. Bray hammers away to start
but walks into a running forearm. Truth dances a bit but turns
around to see the Spider Walk. The running cross body to the ribs
drops Truth sets up Sister Abigail for the pin at 2:04. Squash.
Post match Bray says
Truth was there when Jericho needed him, but now Jericho isn’t here
for Truth. Jericho may not be a savior, but Bray is.
Video on Stephanie
being arrested. She’ll return on Raw. Again I ask: is it really a
return when you were on the previous show?
We see Brock returning
and Heyman’s promo.
Roman Reigns vs.
Alberto Del Rio
Reigns hammers away in
the corner but Del Rio goes after the arm very quickly. He tries the
armbreaker about a minute into the match but is quickly sent to the
floor as we take an early break. Back with Reigns getting kicked in
the face but coming back with a Samoan drop and a clothesline to send
Del Rio outside. Reigns misses a charge and hits the post, allowing
Del Rio to wrap the arm around the steel. A superkick drives the arm
into the post again and it’s back inside for two.
Reigns breaks out of an
armbar in a few seconds but Del Rio sends him into the buckle. The
middle rope double stomp drives Reigns’ head into the mat. The bad
arm is rammed into the steps a few times for two and the corner
enziguri gets the same. Reigns tries to fight back but gets caught
in the armbreaker over the ropes. That’s fine with Roman as he pulls
Alberto up and nails an uppercut to knock Del Rio out to the floor.
Back in and Reigns hits
a running clothesline but charges into a boot in the corner. A
clothesline puts Del Rio down but he avoids the apron kick. I
believe that’s the first time anyone has ever done that. Del Rio
nails a baseball slide for two and puts Roman in the Tree of Woe for
some kicks to the ribs. Reigns avoids a charge and sends Del Rio’s
shoulder into the post. Now the apron kick connects, followed by the
Superman Punch and a spear for the pin at 9:32 shown of 12:32.
Rating:
B.
I liked this one way more than I was expecting. This is the kind of
win that Reigns needs: hard fought, clean wins over big names. Del
Rio may not be the best in the world, but he is a former multi-time
World Champion and a guy with a solid resume. The more guys on his
level that Reigns beats, the stronger he’s going to look.
Overall
Rating:
C+.
This is the kind of Smackdown I can work with: focusing on the
midcard and giving some big names time that they don’t get on Raw.
This show doesn’t have all the promos and segments going on to clog
everything up and it can be entertaining when they let the guys have
some time to wrestle. We had two good matches tonight and some
storybuilding stuff to fill in the gaps. That’s a good use of two
hours on Friday night.
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