July 16, 2016

From the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI

Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole


Before the Battle Royal, the Miz stands on the announcers table to tell us that the winner will get to face him for the Intercontinental Title at Battleground. He then says it doesnt matter who will win this because he will win at Battleground because he is awesome.


#1 Intercontinental Championship Contender Battle Royal: Baron Corbin, Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Darren Young, Dolph Ziggler, Vaudevillains, Dudley Boyz, The Usos, Golden Truth, Ascension, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Apollo Crews

Miz and Maryse are on commentary fror the match. Goldust backdrops Aiden English over the top rope for out first elimination. Miz puts himself over as R-Truth dumps Konnor as we see Bob Backlund on the outside offering support to Darren Young. D-Von eliminates Curtis Axel by knocking him off the apron as Cole asks Miz and Maryse what would happen if they were drafted to different shows. Baron Corbin eliminates R-Truth and Viktor then the Usos almost eliminate each other but instead they get rid of D-Von right before the break. The match returns as we saw that Dolph Ziggler eliminated Simon Gotch and Bubba Dudley got rid of Jey Uso during the break. Miz talks about how he was split from John Morrison during a draft once before as Alberto Del Rio gets rid of Goldust and Apollo Crews dumps Bo Dallas. Corbin then eliminates Jimmy Uso and Jack Swagger just seconds apart as Miz puts Corbin over as a “lone wolf.” Darren Young eliminates Bubba Dudley but walks into a slam. Del Rio cleans house until Ziggler ducks an enziguiri and hits the Fameasser. Everyone is down as Miz lists off former IC Title holders while Del Rio beats on Ziggler. He misses a kick and goes through the middle rope and hangs on until Ziggler kicks him off but he is not eliminated. Corbin whips Del Rio into the corner as Crews backdrops him over the top rope for the elimination as we are down to the final four: Crews, Young, Ziggler, and Corbin. Ziggler and Corbin go at it briefly until Corbin tosses Ziggler over the top rope from the apron. Crews tries to eliminate Corbin and they both end up spilling outside as Young is the winner (13:15) *1/2. After the match, Backlund gets into the ring and celebrates with Young, even picking him up in the process.

Thoughts: Weak battle royal for the most part. It got better towards the end but this was really short on star power and besides Corbin, no one else came out of this looking impressive. I did like the end and it was nice to see Young win but it really came across as a fluke more than anything else and the talent here showed how shallow the overall depth is in the WWE right now and adding that to the upcoming roster split is a concern.


Backstage, we see Stephanie and Shane McMahon. Stephanie wonders why their dad is coning as Shane mocks her thinking it might be due to the draft, Brock Lesnar winning at UFC 200, or even to fire someone. Stephanie then wonders if he is there for a promotion. Seth Rollins interrupts and says he might be there to speak with him and puts himself over as the #1 draft pick. Rollins then promises exclusive footage regarding the Roman Reigns controversy that he can show us tonight. Instead of the Ambrose Asylum, and due to the fact Rollins said he almost took over the “Daily Show” last year from Jon Stewart, we should get the Rollins Report. Shane and Stephanie then agree as Rollins promises them they will not be let down.

The segment was really just designed to hype Vince’s appearance and to set up the Rollins Report. However, having Rollins on his own and away from the Authority makes him come across as a bigger star. Its good to see him used this way. 



The announcers talk about Lesnar’s win at UFC 200 against Mark Hunt as we are shown some still photos from the fight before mentioning how Lesnar will be facing Randy Orton at SummerSlam. We are then shown a press conference after UFC 200 where he tells a member of the press that he has his plans laid out for the future and that includes wrestling at SummerSlam.


Backstage, Zack Ryder is walking down the hallway. He sees Rusev and swings him around, saying that he is here to challenge him to a match on RAW, just like he said. However, Sheamus attacks him from behind and tells Ryder that they will have a match instead, which is coming up next.


Sheamus vs. Zack Ryder

Ryder takes Sheamus down and hammers away. He sends Sheamus outside with a clothesline and heads out with him but Sheamus sends him into the barricade. Ryder fights back with a missile dropkick from the ring apron as they head inside, where Sheamus begs Ryder to relax. Ryder beats on Sheamus in the corner but gets caught with a clothesline while attempting the Broski Boot. Sheamus rams his shoulder against the post after missing a charge as the announcers talk about drafting strategies. Sheamus then trips Ryder off of the top rope and hits the Brogue Kick for the win (2:16) *. After the match , Rusev comes out but Ryder fights back. However, Rusev tosses him down then puts him the Accolade, where he accepts Ryder’s challenge from earlier tonight.

Thoughts: The action here was decent for the amount of time they were given but having Ryder lose clean as a sheet after trying to build him up only to have Rusev attack him and accept his challenge for a title shot does not make an ounce of sense. Ryder needs to keep winning for any chance at being a credible title contender after many years of losing.



Breezango vs. Lucha Dragons

This match was set during the RAW Pre-Show, where Breezango were making fun of the Dragons but unaware they could speak English as Sin Cara knocked Tyler Breeze’s drink in his face. Cole puts over how these teams might end after next week’s draft. Fandango dances after taking down Sin Cara but runs into an armdrag after that. Breeze tags as Sin Cara gets the best of him until missing a charge in the corner after Fandango yanked Breeze out of the way. Breezango now cuts off the ring and takes control until Sin Cara comes back with a quebrada and eventually makes the tag as Kalisto completely botches a springboard attack. Kalisto comes back and ends up drilling Breeze with a roundhouse kick. Sin Cara takes out Fandango with a plancha as Breeze almost rolls up Kalisto for the win. Kalisto heads up top but Breeze tucks his head in the turnbuckle and drills him with a super kick (a move Will Ospreay fans are familiar with) then tosses him off and gets the win (4:21) *.

Thoughts: Crowd was dead for this one. Kalisto’s stock has dropped more than my 401k post-Brexit and is just ice cold at the moment, just like the other three that were part of this match. On commentary, they kept teasing that teams can be split up for the brand extension and I think it would be best if that happened to the Lucha Dragons.


The Rollins Report is next. The fans are cheering Rollins as he comes out. Rollins puts over how he is the newest and hottest reporter in the business as that draws more boos than cheers. Rollins then promises a sitdown interview with Reigns as we get a graphic and announcer for the bit, which features Rollins asking questions with clips of previous Reigns interviews shown as the answer. It actually came off better than what I was expecting. We come back with the fans cheering then Dean Ambrose comes out and tells Rollins about being glad he decided to take the “stick out of his butt.” Rollins then calls Ambrose a coward who could not beat him one-on-one for the title. Rollins then says at Battleground, he will answer the question as to who is the best member of the Shield when he wins back the WWE Title that he never lost in the first place.  Ambrose talks about liking to have fun and proved how he is more than jokes or a utility player as the whole world knows he is on top and that he stayed here and did not run away like others as he cut an incredibly passionate promo. The crowd starts cheering for Ambrose, who tells us anyone who wants the title out of his possession will have to pry it from his hands. He then slams down the title and challenges Rollins to a match anytime, any place. Rollins says that Detroit is as good a place as any but it will be next week, as he does it on his terms.

This was a great segment. Ambrose arguably gave us his best WWE promo here and Rollins was right there with him. The passion on display by Ambrose was something else. After this was over, I wanted to see Ambrose vs. Rollins a lot more than the Triple Threat match. 


We come back from break and learn that next week we will see Ambrose vs. Rollins for the WWE World Title on RAW.


Sami Zayn is out on commentary as we are shown Owens interfering in Zayn’s match on Smackdown last week. However, Owens did not come out for his music as he is shown yelling at a few referees about it being an unsafe working environment due to Zayn’s being out there. Stephanie comes over and order s the referees to escort Zayn from ringside. He leaves as he meets Owens on the aisle and they trade blows briefly until Owens runs away after it is separated and heads into the ring, yelling at Zayn to come in if he is a tough guy.

Owens refusing to come out until Zayn was removed then having him run away from Zayn, who was held back, as he called him out for being a tough guy was some excellent heel work on his behalf. I actually think that Owens is going to be in line for a really big push after the draft. 


We cut backstage as a limo pulls up. Vince McMahon steps outside as Renee Young approaches. Vince tells her he is here to name the new commissioner of Smackdown live. Renee asks if his children are aware as he says no one is and that he might even change his mind. He then promises to reveal the decision during the show with everyone in the ring.


Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro

Owens starts off by stalling but Cesaro ends up hitting a gutwrench suplex. JBL puts over Owens as a “top three” pick while Cesaro stays in control. Owens ducks outside after nearly getting caught with the swing. Cesaro follows out but misses a charging uppercut as Owens sends Cesaro over the timekeeper’s area. Back inside, Owens gets two off of a senton. The announcers now talk about John Cena and how his time as a top star might be close to over due to outside commitments as they tie that into the draft. Cesaro hits a suplex but Owens knocks Cesaro off of the apron and into the barricade as we head to break. The action returns with Owens getting a nearfall with a neckbreaker. He misses a cannonball as both guys are down. Owens is up first but Cesaro fights back and hits a bunch of uppercuts in the corner. He knocks Owens down for a nearfall but Owens pokes him the eye. Cesaro blocks a Pop-Up Powerbomb attempt then follows with a springboard corkscrew uppercut for two. Owens ducks outside where Cesaro puts on JBL’s hat and runs around the ring to hit an uppercut. Back inside, Cesaro gets two with a crossbody then tries the swing but that fails. Cesaro blocks a tornado DDT then places Owens up top and hits a dropkick. Cesaro heads up top where Owens cuts him off after ducking underneath him then lifts him up for the TKO and gets the win (12:21) ***. After the match, Owens grabs the mic and talks about not trying to be the best in the world but Zayn runs out from the crowd and starts hammering away until Owens runs inside the ring, where Cesaro takes him down and hits the swing

Thoughts: Good match. JBL really pushed Owens on commentary all match long. Even in defeat, Cesaro came out of this looking good. The post-match stuff made little sense but they seem to want to keep just about everyone looking strong for the draft at this point.


Backstage, Renee is with The Club. They laugh at the notion John Cena cares about anyone other than himself as they point out how he is rehearsing for his gig hosting the ESPY’s. AJ said he would never leave them but after they destroy Enzo & Cass tonight, they should fly down to Los Angeles and…………………..beat up John Cena.


Heath Slater w/ Social Outcasts vs. Titus O’Neill

We get an insert promo from the Outcasts as they laugh in an overexaggerated manner after a joke about bluebrrry muffin day. Cole brings up how these two teamed up in the past as Slater Gator. Titus starts off by chopping Slater all over the ring. He then tosses him but runs into a double boot in the corner as Slater stomps away. Bo starts up a Bo Train on the outside as Slater gets two off of a DDT. Titus ends up tossing Slater across the ring from the mat then tosses him again before hitting a clothesline. Slater tries a crossbody but gets caught as Titus hits a pair of backbreakers then puts him away with the Clash of the Titus (3:09) 3/4*.

Thoughts: A brief showcase for Titus before the draft as I guess they want to continue his midcard push for a bit longer.


Renee is with Sasha Banks, who mentions how all week she has been focused on Dana Brooke and the championship around Charlotte’s waist. She then talks about not getting mad but that she gets real. The promo was okay and its clear that being backstage instead of in front of the audience is where Sasha is more comfortable on the mic.


Next, we are shown what happened with the New Day when they visited the Wyatt Family compound. The New Day are in the field as we see a young girl wearing a goat mask then a bunch of car lights shine as the Wyatt Family attack the New Day. A petrified Xavier Woods is behind a tree when Bray beats him up. After more chaos, we see Xavier get dropped as Big E and Kofi get destroyed. Xavier snaps and fights back but gets tossed into a car as Bray smashes the windows, asking where is the power of positivity now. Xavier comes out and fights back as we get slo-mo footage of the New Day approaching Bray, who is kneeling and laughing as the rest of his family stand behind him. It ends with Bray yelling “follow the buzzards.” I didnt think it was terrible or anything but the Final Deletion from TNA this was not and the end I felt was corny, with the New Day standing where they started as the Wyatt’s laughed. The production of the segment was pretty damn good though. I do not know what direction they go in next week but I assume the New Day stop joking around and it leads to a stipulation match at Battleground.


The Club head down to the ring. Enzo & Big Cass are next and do their shtick. Cass then says everyone on the roster is gunning for Cena’s spot but the difference is that if they are knock him off that spot, they will earn it where as The Club will only do it by using the numbers game. Enzo then said they have no backbone, comparing them to chicken tenders. AJ points out how Cena is not here tonight because he does not care about anyone before giving them a final chance to leave before getting destroyed but it ends with Cass doing his S-A-W-F-T routine.


Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson w/ AJ Styles vs. Enzo & Big Cass

Anderson and Enzo start things off by working the arm. Enzo gets two with a rollup and a backslide before using a side headlock take down. Anderson backs Enzo into the corner and tags out as Gallows now roughs up Enzo. Gallows & Anderson cut off the ring as the crowd chants “How you doin” to get behind Enzo while the announcers talk about the draft. Big Cass tags and beats on Anderson. Enzo tags but does not see Anderson make a blind tag and gets attacked from behind and tossed outside as we head to break. The action returns with Anderson & Gallows in control as they cut off the ring. Enzo finally makes the tag as Cass runs wild on Anderson. They are then hit with the Rocket Launcher but AJ pulls the ropes down on Cass and tosses him over the guardrail as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (10:45) **. The Club then circles Enzo but Cena’s music hits as he runs to help Enzo & Cass clear the ring.

Thoughts: Basic match but more importantly it was designed to hype up the six-man tag at Battleground and the surprise of Cena running out was cool. The crowd was into match a lot and the WWE has built this feud up well.


Dana Brooke w/ Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

The crowd chants for Sasha as she chases Dana outside after knocking her down. Back inside, Sasha slaps Dana after ramming her in the corner as Dana once again rolls out for a breather. Sasha uses an armdrag but lands on the apron after a charge as Dana kicks her off. Charlotte taunts Sasha with the belt right before the break as the match returns with Dana using a chinlock. She rams Sasha in the corner then gets two with a handspring splash. JBL puts over the Women’s Division as Dana works another chinlock. Sasha fights back and gets two after taking Dana down with a double knee smash to the chest. She sends Dana into the corner then hits a crossbody after they fought up top as that gets two. Shortly after that, Sasha uses the Banks Statement and is able to roll Dana back to the middle of the ring and gets the win (12:10) *. After the match, Charlotte mocks Sasha for thinking she is worthy of a title shot after winning one match as any fool can get lucky once. She then asks her if she is nervous about challenging her and if she can live up to the hype as she will see her Thursday.

Thoughts: A long, boring match that had no business going this long. It was like an agent watched a Tony Garea vs. Rene Goulet house show match from 1985 to lay out the template for what we saw tonight. I know the fans love Sasha and were loud for her at the beginning but this feud is not clicking right now as the Women’s Division is in a funk right now. Sasha should have beaten her in less than half the time it took.


Shane and Stephanie come out to the ring as they await the arrival of their father. Vince then comes out and expresses frustration due to the fact her kids are not going at each other’s throats to get control of RAW. He expected one of them to get stabbed or their throat slit as he wants that type of competition. The crowd chants for Shane as Vince tells them he hasnt done anything he would not. Vince then wants his kids to convince him who should be in charge of Smackdown. Stephanie talks about record profits and launching the WWE Network, while telling Vince about Shane’s appearance on Mick Foley’s podcast and that he is willing to stab him in the back at all times. Stephanie then cuts off Shane for kissing up to the fans before Shane talks about returning to the WWE five months right here in Detroit and will forever thank them for their reaction. Shane says he should run Smackdown as he represents change as he will change how the show looks, is presented, and break down the glass ceilings that he feels were choking the life out of the business. Shane then tells his dad how he is the only person on the planet that speaks his mind to him and tells it like it is, in a respectful manner of course. He then challenges his dad to pick him but not to take his word but rather from the fans as they all cheer for the change that Shane represents, as Stephanie compares this to manipulating children.

Vince says he does not run his business based on what the fans think and that one of them will have to be a commissioner of Smackdown as we get a drumroll that ends with Vince giving the job to Shane, who celebrates by dancing around the ring. Vince then ends the celebration by saying Shane is relieved of his duties of RAW and that Stephanie will be the commissioner of RAW, the “flagship” show. Vince then says he is not finished as he wants them to compete in terms of TV Ratings, social media metrics, attendance, merchandise, etc. as one of them just might inherit the “keys to the kingdom.” He even talks about not caring if they break the law just as long as they do not get caught. He then tells them both how they need a GM and that next week, they will each name their general manager and if not, he will name one for them as he wants the games to begin. He leaves as Stephanie tells Shane she has had to work twice as hard and will bury him to the point he wishes he was never even born. Shane talks about knowing her better than anyone and when she spews venom its because she is scared and just like always, she will be looking up to him at the end of the tunnel. Shane then said “game on” as Stephanie talks about there only being one “game” in the business and she is married to him before delivering a slap. Stephanie leaves as Shane thanks the fans.

I was not surprised that this ended with Shane and Stephanie running separate shows. Plus, Stephanie’s line at the end and her slap of Shane plants the seeds for an eventual Shane vs. Triple H feud. However, learning that there will be more authority figures, that will have to answer to the McMahons, is not what fans want to see. We need less corporate characters and more focus on the talent themselves. At the end of the day, we pretty much learned that we will be seeing more of the same, the McMahon Family. 


Final Thoughts: All show long, the commentators kept trying to put over the draft. And during the show, its like they wanted to highlight just about everyone and how they can be helpful to a brand. However, they really just ended up showing a lack of roster depth. Some of the booking decisions here were bad and the first hour was really weak.

I did love the Ambrose/Rollins segment and how they have been booking the Cena vs. Club feud. The Cesaro/Owens match was good too.

However, the thought of more McMahon feuding and authority figures leading into the draft is disappointing and really stale. Its tough to give it the benefit of the doubt when it pretty much involves the same people over and over again. Hopefully, the GM choices are inspired enough but I am not holding my breath on that one.

Overall, it seems like they are just biding time until the draft but at the same time they are not doing enough to showcase the talent to get fans excited to see where the wrestlers end up. They also did a poor job at building up all title contenders with the exception of Seth Rollins.