June 6, 2016
From the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with Dean Ambrose heading out to the ring, where the other five members of this year’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match are standing on top of ladders. Kevin Owens cuts off Lillian Garcia to tell us all everyone knows them because they are stars, except of Sami Zayn. Owens then tells everyone that he will win the match but that the others will still be featured in the background under his shadow. Owens keeps telling everyone he will win the match and eventually be the champion as he will take on all comers, including those like Jean-Pierre Lafiette and the Four Horsemen. They all start bickering, making some more references to the WWE Network, as they call out Jericho’s lie of claiming he won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Everyone crawls down except for Jericho, who sits their posing until Ambrose climbs up next to him and knocks him down. The other fight outside of the ring until Teddy Long makes his return to interrupt the brawl. Long tells us he hears Smackdown is going to be live then messes up a line and talks about if he were in charge of Smackdown, he’d make some sort of match. Stephanie McMahon comes out and dresses Teddy down for referring to her as “baby girl.” Teddy then asks for Shane when denied a job by Stephanie but we learn that he is on vacation as Stephanie makes three matches, Del Rio vs. Zayn, Owens vs. Ambrose, and Cesaro vs. Jericho, then lets them play Teddy Long’s theme as she starts dancing.
Bad segment, although I did like the part where they made fun of Jericho lying about winning the Money in the Bank. The visual of everyone in the ring standing on ladders came off as really corny and the whole thing was far too contrived and poorly scripted. Even the brawling looked bad. I dont mind seeing Long or anything but the fact he just came out, to his theme music mind you, and talked about Smackdown did not make an ounce of sense given the fact that Stephanie got pissed at him for even showing up. Plus, Long came off poorly and felt completely out of place. Also, to continue from last week, it still seems like they are refusing to disclose any details regarding the upcoming brand split. The end result of three singles matches was not that exciting either.
An ad hyping up NXT Takeover: The End this coming Wednesday on the WWE Network.
Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho
Cesaro knocks Jericho down before catching him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Jericho punches Cesaro on the apron but gets hit with an uppercut while attempting a springboard dropkick. Cesaro roughs up Jericho outside of the ring but ends up getting dropkicked in midair after attempting a crossbody as we head to break. The action returns with Cesaro fighting back. He hits several uppercuts in the corner before starting the uppercut train. Jericho dodges an uppercut but gets caught with another one after coming off of the top rope as that gets two. Cesaro then tries a swing but Jericho counters with a cradle for a nearfall. Jericho then blocks an uppercut with the Codebreaker but Cesaro was able to roll outside. Jericho rolls Cesaro inside but Cesaro fights back and hits a deadlift superplex for two. Both men are down as Cesaro hits an uppercut but Jericho ends up putting him in the Walls of Jericho. However, Cesaro counters and puts Jericho in the swing before locking on the Sharpshooter as he ends up getting the win via submission (12:01) **3/4.
Thoughts: The last few minutes of this were really good. With Cesaro getting the win by using the Sharpshooter, I wonder if he will be using this more going forward as opposed to the Neutralizer. This wins makes Cesaro appear as one of the favorites to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
We get a replay of AJ Styles turning on John Cena last week on RAW as he has once again sided with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. This was done to hype up their match at SummerSlam.
After some tweets commemorating Muhammad Ali, we get a video package on the history between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, starting from their debut in 2012 as part of the Shield. Seth tells us he does not dislike Reigns, he just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time with regards to WrestleMania 31. Then, we are shown Seth’s injury as we get a clip from him hours after surgery telling us to all wait a few months as he will regain his title as he talks about hating being on the sidelines at WrestleMania 32 as he felt that was his spot. Rollins then said that Reigns will have to settle for being second best as it closes with us seeing Rollins running out at Extreme Rules to attack Reigns then saying he will win back the title at Money in the Bank.
Great video package, although it made you want to cheer for Rollins than boo him. They showed a lot of clips from his WWE Network special here and despite trying to make him come off as the heel, it makes you think that he should have come back as a face after showing these clips.
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
Titus O’Neill is on commentary. Swagger gets a decent reaction from his home-state. Match Starts with Rusev working a front facelock on the mat. Swagger fights out but ends up running into a heel kick. Rusev then beats on Swagger in the corner before booting him in the face. Swagger mounts a comeback and ends up catching Rusev with a powerslam for a nearfall. Rusev ducks outside after escaping from the Patriot Lock as Titus makes fun of Rusev for running away. Both men then end up clotheslining each other on the floor as Rusev shoves Swagger on top of Titus then rolls inside to beat the ten count and gets the win (3:37) *. After the match, Rusev attacks Swagger but Titus runs in to boot him down after Swagger hit a cut block.
Thoughts: The match was nothing special as they continue to build up the Rusev/Titus feud, which has been okay at the start.
John Cena heads out to the ring after the break to kick off the second hour. He talks about how last week, they had incredible energy in the ring with both AJ Styles and himself in the ring by themselves for the first-time ever. Cena then talks about his 50/50 chant as he leads the crowd in a “Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks” chant before saying how last week they chanted for both guys as he leads the crowd into that chant as they once again follow his lead. He then brings up how he hasnt had this much electricity with anyone since The Rock then asks AJ why did he attack him as he invites AJ out to explain his actions. AJ then comes out with the Club to a mixed reaction at first before the crowd starts cheering for both guys. Cena then tells AJ he did not have to take the easy way out with his friends from the “Bullet Club.”
AJ said he did this because he had a plan. AJ puts over Cena for being entertaining in his movie cameos but that once the bell rings, Cena insults him, because he would run circles around him. AJ then puts over how Cena could not beat him. Cena tells AJ that after 15 years, his insults are weak and “outdated as his jorts.” Cena then talks about how AJ did nothing at the Royal Rumble and failed twice to win the title so he had to resort to his friends saving him. Cena then tells AJ he is desperate for trying to provoke him and since he could not get past Roman Reigns, what makes him think he can get past John Cena.
AJ laughs at the notion of him being desperate and talks about how he performs and sells out where ever he goes. Cena then wants to know why its not AJ vs. Cena but rather Cena vs The Club as AJ talks about Cena burying guys like him and that the Club are his insurance policy before telling Cena he has no idea who he is dealing with as they head down to the ring. They surround Cena outside of the ring until the New Day run out for the save as the crowd goes nuts.
A really good segment. Cena was great on the mic here and came off as a guy who you want to root for and his now getting mostly cheers from the crowd. AJ also comes off better on the mic as a heel and it showed here as well. This one segment made me want to see their match at Money in the Bank. Personally, I think it has the potential to be an all-time classic.
We are shown a replay from last month at Payback when Enzo Amore suffered a concussion during the #1 Contenders match against the Vaudevillains.
The Vaudevillains vs. Enzo & Cass
The crowd was into Enzo & Cass’s post match antics. Enzo even referenced his concussion and how he forgot what happened in their last match. Gotch attacks Enzo to start and works him over in the corner. He works a chinlock as the crowd rallies behind Enzo, who is able to make the tag. Cass runs wild on Gotch until English breaks up the pin. English then tosses out Enzo in the same manner when he got concussed at Payback as Cass sees this and snaps as he hammers away in the corner. The referee keeps stepping in-between them but Cass refuses to stop as the referee rings the bell for the DQ (2:23) 1/2*. After the match, Cass beats the crap out of Gotch too as Enzo looks shocked at his partner snapping.
Thoughts: The focus here was on Cass as they showcased his anger. Cass did look really good on offense when pissed off as his stock continues to soar in the WWE. I wouldnt be shocked to see Cass get pushed as singles star before the end of the year. After this, it seems like the Vaudevillains are now just an afterthought as Cass destroyed them both. That is a shame as they have been showing a lot of improvement the past few weeks.
Backstage, Tom Phillips is with Sami Zayn. Sami talks about despite being the underdog, he can win tonight. Del Rio then interrupts and talks about how its his destiny to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match before referring to Zayn as a paper boy. This was designed to put the odds against Zayn to win the MiTB Ladder Match as they push his underdog character.
Stephanie McMahon is backstage with Teddy Long, who is dancing to his theme song on his phone. Long talks about if he ran Smackdown, he’d make a Fatal Four-Way match at Money in the Bank for the Tag Team Titles with The Vaudevillains, Enzo & Cass, and Gallows & Anderson as challengers to the New Day. Stephanie then asks Teddy how he even managed to get in the building, let alone on TV, as Long pulls out a dollar bill and says he has the “dolla dolla that make you go holla holla.” Stephanie orders Long to leave then makes a call to someone in marketing and pitches Long’s idea as her own, making the match official. This stuff with Long trying to get the Smackdown GM job is already getting old, especially since the crowd does not seem to care about him.
Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio
Cole stated that Del Rio’s 2011 was one of the greatest years by a performer in WWE history. Del Rio boots Zayn before the bell. He beats on him until Zayn comes back with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. They head outside where Zayn hits a moonsault block off of the barricade as we head to break. The match returns with Del Rio working a headlock. Zayn fights out and eventually hits a flying crossbody for a nearfall. Del Rio floats over on a suplex attempt then hits a lungblower for two. Del Rio then kicks Zayn in the face for another two count. Zayn fights back with a clothesline but eats boot while going for the Helluva Kick. They fight up top but Del Rio puts him in the Tree-of-Woe after a step-up enziguiri. Del Rio tries for the stomp but Zayn tosses him off. However, Del Rio gets back up and decks Zayn in the back of the head before climbing up top and hitting the stomp for the win (8:20) **1/4.
Thoughts: Bland match with a dead crowd. With Zayn failing on his promise to beat Del Rio, it looks like they are still going to go all in with the underdog gimmick. Zayn did not get in a lot of offense here either and Del Rio continues to coast by and disappoint in his current WWE run.
Backstage, Ambrose takes offense to Owens laughing. Owens calls Ambrose funny then said he is worried about him because he seems more off the deep end than usual. Ambrose then points out how he beat him twice before saying Owens is the one who needs help as he walks away while laughing.
Now, we get a video package from Roman Reigns to hype up his match against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. Roman points out how Rollins believes he is the smartest man before saying how he felt betrayed. Reigns talks about now standing alone after coming into the WWE with “brothers” before going into his roller coaster ride to get to WrestleMania 31, where Rollins stole the title from underneath him and how that made him feel angry, with all of his family in attendance. Reigns then calls anger sometimes being the best motivator as we see a clip of him winning the title at WrestleMania 32. After that, we see what led to the Reigns vs. Rollins match. Seeing both video packages tonight, I’d still want to root for Rollins just based off of those alone. You gotta try to make Reigns look more sympathetic here. I will say that the packages themselves are well-produced though. The WWE can make them as good as anyone.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Ambrose starts off the match by hammering away. Owens ducks outside but Ambrose follows him out and slams his head off of the announcers table until Owens returns the favor and tosses him over the table. Owens then puts on a headset and yells at Byron until Ambrose runs off of he table and hits a clothesline. Back inside, Owens escapes from a Dirty Deeds attempt then hits an enziguiri and follows that with a senton. Owens yells at Ambrose and blocks a rebound clothesline with a super kick. Owens then works a chinlock but breaks and heads up top where Ambrose cuts him off then hits a superplex as both men are down. Ambrose gets hit with a German suplex but catches Owens with a clothesline. Owens now cuts Ambrose off and follows with a cannonball for a nearfall. Ambrose blocks a Pop-Up Powerbomb with a hurricarana then flies out with a tope but gets caught and rammed into the apron. Owens then hits a splash from the apron and takes Ambrose back inside but a Pop-Up Powerbomb attempt failed as Ambrose then catches Owens with the Dirty Deeds for the win (6:35) **1/2. After the match, Ambrose sets up a ladder in the ring and climbs up to grab the briefcase suspended from the ceiling but Owens sneaks back in from behind and knocks him off before declaring that the briefcase is his.
Thoughts: Decent action, although the finish seemed abrupt. Based off of his win here and mention of two previous wins against Owens, they are making Ambrose the guy who not only has Owens’ number but also the favorite to win the MitB Ladder Match. Owens gets pinned again after last week and sometimes that is a sign you will be winning your PPV match too.
We now get more “Life Lessons with Bob Backlund.” Young asks Backlund about getting his cardio in but Backlund tells him not to run as he shakes Young’s car keys to tell him he has to walk eight hours to get to his next destination and he’ll know if Young ran if it takes less than the eight hours. Apparently, this same segment aired on Smackdown this past Thursday.
Charlotte is in the ring with Dana Brooke. She tells us that every great champion knows when they are wrong and wants to apologize to the WWE Universe and her father. However, what she said needed to be heard as we cannot understand the pressure she faces. Charlotte tells her father he is only dead to her “professionally” and that she still wants to spend Christmas together and even work out. Natalya and Becky Lynch interrupt as they do not believe Charlotte is being sincere. Charlotte then makes fun of Natalya’s dad and uncle Bret for being trainwreck and how they should all have their show together on the WWE Network. Becky & Natalya then tell Dana that Charlotte will stab her in the back at some point like she does to everyone else as Dana appears to second guess her decision to align with Charlotte and starts to back away and side with the other women. However, this was all part of the plan as she attacked Natalya from behind. They all start fighting now as Dana & Charlotte take control and end up standing tall.
The scripted dialogue was horrific here and Charlotte struggled to deal with the live crowd once again. Plus, the Charlotte/Natalya feud has ran its course but with all of the injury problems in the Womens Division, this is really the only way they have to go.
The Shining Stars are standing in front of a green screen as they talk about how their fresh flowers and drink, only available in Puerto Rico, can lower cholesterol and even cure depression, and how us Americans should come there an experience what their island has to offer. I guess they are arrogant travel agents and we are supposed to boo them for that. And they apparently went back to Puerto Rico after their only match. Regardless, this gimmick is DOA.
Tyler Breeze w/ Fandango vs. R-Truth w/ Goldust
Before the match, we get an insert of Breeze shaving Fandango’s back as that then leads to Breeze telling him about an experimental surgery available in Malaysia. It was wacky stuff but I laughed. Truth toys with Breeze to start before landing a few punches as JBL talks about the Golden Truth being an awful team. Goldust and Fandango start fighting on the outside and it ends up spilling into the ring as the match rings the bell to rule the match a no-contest (0:54) NR. Teddy Long then comes out to restart the match as a tag team match and tell us how he should be the Smackdown GM. The announcers note that Long does not work there and security ends up escorting him out of the building.
Thoughts: I admit that Breezango makes me chuckle as the duo have good chemistry together. However, this feud with the Golden Truth is bad and poor Long is trying to do his schtick but the crowd doesnt care, making his appearances seem like even more of a waste of time.
We are shown Long walk by Stephanie backstage where she tells us she let Long stay here for her amusement and that Smackdown needs to be run by someone “smart, young, and intelligent” and that person is herself as she tells Long to get the hell out. Not only did this whole show-long gag make zero sense but it also gave Long an opportunity to get his balls cut off by Stephanie. But more importantly, Stephanie also made the Smackdown GM position seem desirable by pointing out how Vince wants someone smart and young with fresh ideas for the position.
After the break, we get a video package on Muhammad Ali. It mixed clips of his boxing career and WWF appearances. A tremendous job by the production team here as they cut back to the crowd, who were all applauding. Cole then said that Gorilla Monsoon and Muhammad Ali got him “hooked on sports entertainment” as a child. I bet he did.
Next week, the Ambrose Asylum returns with guests Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
This Thursday on Smackdown, we will see Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke and Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson are out in the ring. The New Day head out for their match as they joke around about The Club possibly being like the Mickey Mouse club until they tell them the only club that matters is the one with WWE World Tag Team Champions. The teams stare down and then start brawling before their match. Xavier brifely runs wild as he hits a dive to the floor but Anderson kicks him in the face on the apron then Styles pulls him off and hits a Styles Clash on the floor as we go to break. The action then returns as we hear than Xavier is in the back getting checked out medically as this is now a handicapped match.
AJ Styles & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston
The New Day are pissed off here. Kofi starts by beating on Anderson. Big E tags and hits an overhead suplex as Cole notes how the New Day are approaching the longest Tag Title reign, held by Brian Kendrick & Paul London. Big E gets caught with a Pele Kick from AJ outside of the ring before Gallows takes him down with a big boot. The Club work over Big E until he is able to break free and make the tag. Kofi runs wild on AJ until he crashes and burns after a crossbody. Kofi is able to come back with an S.O.S. for a nearfall then the match breaks down until AJ puts Kofi away with the Phenomenal Forearm (5:19) ** After the match, The Club continues to beat down their opponents until Cena runs out for the save. Cena takes care of Gallows & Anderson until AJ attacks him from behind. AJ mocks Cena but Kofi flies in with a springboard dropkick then Big E and Cena clear the others from the ring as they stand tall with The Club on the outside.
Thoughts: The action was fine but the real story here was to show how The Club use the numbers game to their advantage and that Cena is now their #1 target. I’ve really liked the chemistry AJ and Cena have together so far.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this show was a mixed bag. They’ve done a good job at building up the World Title match and AJ vs. Cena at Money in the Bank. Also, they’ve created a lot of intrigue as to who will win the MiTB Briefcase. However, the segments with the MiTB Ladder Match competitors were subpar and the rest of the show was forgettable, if not appearing as a waste of time at points.
Regarding the video packages, they made Rollins appear more sympathetic than Reigns with his story leading up to this match but overall, they hyped this up huge, giving it a “big fight” feel and I am always a fan of that.
The Teddy Long stuff did not work tonight. The crowd did not appear to care and Long himself had a bad night as a performer, coming off more old and confused than anything else and I say this as someone who enjoyed his act years ago.
The worst part of the show was the promo segments. They were poorly written and far too overproduced to the point it makes it impossible for fans to get invested in what the performers have to say. Also, the Womens Division is in need of some help ASAP as their depth is shallow due to injury.
The bright side is that the top of the card for Money in the Bank is shaping up quite nicely. It looks like it can be a great show. And, I hope to see more video packages used to build feuds in the future. They looked great tonight.