Smackdown – August 2, 2016

Smackdown
Date: August 2, 2016
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga

Last week’s show wasn’t the greatest in the world and the reception has been mixed at best. That doesn’t mean the show is in trouble by any means though as Raw started off great and wasn’t exactly as strong last night. If nothing else we get American Alpha tonight. Let’s get to it.

We open with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan watching the end of Raw last night with Randy Orton. Shane isn’t happy because he thinks Orton has jeopardized everything but it was pretty awesome. There’s a bunch of security standing by but Orton doesn’t think they’re necessary. The bosses walk away and run into Miz and Maryse with the former saying he’s their Jason Bourne. Bryan announces a triple threat match between Baron Corbin, Apollo Creed (yes Creed) and Kalisto with the winner getting the shot at Summerslam. They keep walking and run into Dean Ambrose who says nothing of note.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Ambrose to say he loves being the captain of the blue brand and he’s here to stay. That brings us to Summerslam so Dean would like Dolph Ziggler to come out here right now. Ziggler started here as a male cheerleader and knows what it means to work hard to get to the top. Dean doesn’t want to hear it though because people told him that he wasn’t championship material and you can’t pay attention to all that negativity. You can’t be worried about what fans chant and what people say on the internet and stealing the show all night long.

All that matters is that Ziggler is facing him for the title at Summerslam. Ziggler goes into a story about going to his first WWE live event when he was five and then being a star at Kent State University as a walk-on. He’s spent seven years being told he’s too good and then not good enough and he’s going to walk into Summerslam to take the title like he deserves to.

Dean leaves and there go the lights with Bray Wyatt appearing to lay out Ziggler with Sister Abigail. Bray calls him worthless and wants a match with Ziggler tonight for the #1 contendership. Putting Wyatt in the spot would make sense but I have a bad feeling that they’re going with this as a way to put Ziggler over because the last six to eight years haven’t accomplished that yet but having Wyatt lose would be the ticket.

Post break Ziggler tells the bosses that he wants the match.

Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Winner gets the Intercontinental Title shot at Summerslam with Miz on commentary. Everyone also now has a little tail of the tape during their entrance to make things feel a little more professional. Corbin gets double teamed to the floor to start but he’s able to low bridge Crews to the floor, only to have Kalisto take Baron out with a suicide dive as we go to an early break.

Back with Corbin in control with Kalisto sends him outside. A Samoan drop gets two for Crews but Corbin comes back in with Deep Six for two of his own. Another hurricanrana attempt is countered but Corbin gets dropkicked to the floor, leaving Crews to pin Kalisto for the title shot 6:45.

Rating: C. This was barely long enough to rate with the commercial but Crews was the only option. They’re not going to go heel vs. heel for the title and Kalisto is a lost cause so Crews had to get the win. It’s nice that they’re actually doing something with him for a change though and maybe it can actually mean they’re serious about these random callups.

Post match Corbin goes after Kalisto with Crews making the save, only to eat a Skull Crushing Finale.

Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie

Eva gets her big over the top entrance, which seems to be her new standard. Actually hang on a second as Eva is claiming a leg injury before the bell. We get a trainer brought in and there’s no match. This comes off as the latest answer to “we can’t have Eva wrestle live.”

We go to Renee Young for an interview with Carmella but Natalya cuts them off. They get catty with each other (because that’s what WWE women do) and a match is teased for later.

American Alpha vs. Vaudevillains

Gable quickly takes Gotch down to start before it’s off to Jodan. That doesn’t go as well so it’s right back to Gable for a top rope double clothesline. A double dropkick sends the Vaudevillains to the floor and Alpha does their sliding pose. Chad gets beaten down for a few seconds before the hot tag brings in Jordan to clean house. The dropkicks and suplexes set up Grand Amplitude to end English at 3:28.

Rating: C+. This was exactly what the debut needed to be as they kept it short but got in everything they needed to hit. These guys really are like a modern day Steiner Brothers and the high flying makes it even more entertaining. I still don’t know why they’re doing new Smackdown Tag Team Titles though when of the seven or so teams they have, two of them are jobbers and another is Breezango. Anyway though, Alpha looked great here.

Video on John Cena hosting the Teen Choice Awards.

Here’s AJ Styles with a message for Cena but he’s cut off in a hurry by Cena himself. AJ thinks he could beat Cena up but he’s done that time after time and Cena just keeps sticking around. Styles doesn’t like Cena making these kids delusional and taking the kids with them. You don’t get dessert before dinner, you don’t stay up late with school the next day and you don’t get a trophy for participation. You’re rewarded for winning like AJ did when he beat John Cena last time.

Cena does his standard “they make up their own minds about me” but AJ cuts him off again to rant about his win again. Styles wants to know why Cena is still here with all that stuff he has going on outside of WWE. As usual, it’s because Cena loves this place. He loves doing the ESPYs and the Teen Choice Awards because people always ask him when he’s leaving WWE. That gives him another chance to say the WWE is his home and he’s never leaving.

Tomorrow when AJ is kicking it on his day off, Cena will be in New York on the Late Show representing WWE. All AJ has to do is be a great wrestler who can get up and leave when he needs to. There is no other place for Cena so what the heck is AJ doing here? AJ mockingly applauds him and issues the challenge for Summerslam, which Cena immediately accepts. Cena was great as usual but I’m really not sure what AJ’s issue was here and that’s not good.

Randy Orton vs. Fandango

Security is around ringside. The fans already want an RKO but get Orton working on the leg but walking into a dropkick instead. We’re already in a chinlock as JBL incorrectly says Orton’s father was in the main event of the first Wrestlemania (being in the corner for doesn’t mean being in the match). Breeze tries to come in and eats a powerslam, leaving Fandango to take the elevated DDT. There’s the RKO but cue Brock to come in for the F5 and the DQ at 3:05.

Rating: D. Normally I wouldn’t rate this when the last fifteen seconds of the match were Brock coming out to watch and the F5 but it’s not like it matters that much. Thank goodness they can use a team like Breezango as cannon fodder like this. But hey, we should totally buy them as title contenders soon after this.

During the break, Lesnar was forced to leave the arena.

Heath Slater comes in to see Daniel Bryan and asks for a contract. Bryan gives Slater a match next week and if he wins, he gets a job. Slater thinks he’s facing Jumping Marty Lunde (Arn Anderson’s real name) but gets Gored by Rhyno instead.

Ambrose says nothing surprises him.

Carmella vs. Natalya

And again no match with Natalya jumping Carmella from behind and putting on a Sharpshooter.

The bosses try to talk Ziggler out of the match and he says screw them.

Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler hits a dropkick and Fameasser for two less than ten seconds in. The threat of a superkick sends Bray outside and he’s hobbling on his previously injured leg. Back from a break with Bray hitting a superplex and putting on a cravate. Bray’s leg seems fine as Ziggler comes back with clotheslines and a neckbreaker. The superkick is blocked though and Bray gets two off the backsplash.

Bray goes to pull off the turnbuckle pad but gets caught with a Zig Zag for a close two. Even Dean is stunned off the kickout. Sister Abigail is countered into a rollup for two but the release Rock Bottom gets two on Dolph. Back up and Bray is sent face first into the exposed buckle (as usual, right in front of the referee because they’re worthless in WWE), followed by a superkick for the title shot at 11:34.

Rating: B. The false finishes were really good here but that lack of a DQ makes the match look so faked. At least try to make it clear that the referee isn’t looking or something because it makes them look incompetent. Speaking of incompetent, we’re really sticking with Ziggler vs. Ambrose at Summerslam? That’s what they’re going with? I mean, I know it’s not a popular move and the match won’t be that great but that’s what we’re getting because WWE decided it.

Post match Erick Rowan comes out to beat down Ziggler. Ambrose’s save attempt doesn’t work and it’s Sister Abigail on Dolph to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. I liked it better than last week but it’s really clear that adding more titles would be a horrible decision right now as the depth just isn’t there. The depth was barely there for one set of titles so the solution is clearly to double everything. That ending gives me hope that we won’t be seeing just Ambrose vs. Ziggler at Summerslam. The worst part is the match will be at least decent but there’s just no WOW factor to it and that’s a really bad thing for Smackdown’s future.

Results

Apollo Crews b. Kalisto and Baron Corbin – Rollup to Kalisto

American Alpha b. Vaudevillains – Grand Amplitude to English

Randy Orton b. Fandango via DQ when Brock Lesnar interfered

Dolph Ziggler b. Bray Wyatt – Superkick

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