Date: August 30, 2016
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga
Much like last night, this show has a lot of potential to be something big but instead of one big match, this show is built around a few individual issues. First and foremost, we’ll see the fallout from Miz’s awesome shoot promo on Daniel Bryan, which some people didn’t expect to see referenced on TV. There’s also more of the Tag Team Title tournament and Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin. Let’s get to it.
We open with the full Miz vs. Daniel Bryan interview from last week’s Talking Smack with Bryan calling Miz soft but Miz saying his style means he doesn’t get injured and leave for six months to a year at a time. Bryan walked off and Miz went on a tirade about how the Intercontinental Title is the most important one on Smackdown because he’s the one out there every night. This was GREAT and more emotion than Miz has ever shown, which makes me think his days as champion are numbered.
Shane tells Bryan that he can’t do that to the talent and Bryan agrees. However, Bryan finds this ironic coming from the person having issues with Brock Lesnar.
Here’s a ticked off Miz with something to say. Miz doesn’t want to hear any booing because it’s taken 148 days (the length of his title reign) to get the fans’ attention. He’s bringing prestige back to this title but people think he’s soft. Yeah he wrestles a different style but it’s because he’s smart enough to see the big picture.
What the fans don’t understand is what goes on backstage. Who do you think they call when they need someone to do a red carpet premiere or a commercial or main event Wrestlemania and then dress up as a chicken? Miz didn’t spend the first twelve years of his career wrestling in front of 50 people and people booing him for that makes them cowards. Cue Dolph Ziggler and I’m done. This was getting really interesting and it’s about Dolph “RESPECT ME WHEN I’M SERIOUS AND THEN LOSE EVERY BIG MATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN” Ziggler all over again.
Dolph says no one is going to buy what Miz says because he’s never proven a thing. If Miz wants to show how tough he is, fight right now with no referees or titles on the line. Just the two of them right now. As expected, Miz teases fighting but walks off. Ziggler says Bryan was right and calls him a soft, safe coward but that’s not enough to get him to fight either.
I actually felt the air go out of me when Ziggler came out. This story had the potential to actually be something fresh but instead it’s the same old Ziggler that we’ve seen for months and have no reason to believe it’s going to be anything different this time around. Ziggler is just a played out character and I wanted something fresh this time from Miz. Instead it’s another Battle of Cleveland because that’s what WWE thinks new and different means.
Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Hype Bros vs. Vaudevillains
The villains takes over to start and send Ryder outside for a neckbreaker on the floor. The double teaming only lasts for a few moments before the tag brings in Rawley for his splashes. A running fist in the corner sets up the Hype Ryder to pin English at 2:53. This was exactly the kind of energetic match these two needed, even though they’re likely losing in the next round.
To my shock, JBL seems to love the Hype Ryders. You would expect him to hate a team like this.
Post match the Hype Bros say they’re hyped enough to win the titles.
We finally see the tournament brackets and the Usos vs. American Alpha is actually a semifinal match. That makes things a lot more interesting.
AJ Styles runs into Apollo Crews and introduces himself as the face who runs this place.
Here’s AJ Styles for a chat. AJ, in the Cena headband, says he’s already beaten up John Cena and now he’s going to win the World Title. This brings out Apollo Crews to say Daniel Bryan has granted him a match against AJ right now. I love the fact that they just got to the point here. It was clear we were getting this match the second they ran into each other so there’s no reason to waste time setting it up.
AJ Styles vs. Apollo Crews
Crews leapfrogs AJ to start and sends it outside but Crews stops to brag about a right hand. Back with AJ holding a chinlock because that’s how you come back from breaks in WWE. Crews sends him into the corner and backdrops AJ outside for a moonsault from the apron. Back in and AJ’s high cross body is countered into a Samoan drop (that’s kind of insane) for another near fall. Not that it matters as AJ stuns him across the ropes and the Phenomenal Forearm puts Crews away at 8:15.
Rating: C+. Crews is still fun to watch but he loses a lot more often than not and really doesn’t have a character to speak of. Really all I know about him is that he’s an athletic freak and that’s not exactly enough to carry you far. It only worked so well for Shelton Benjamin and Crews isn’t that far along yet.
Earlier this week, Renee Young went to Heath Slater’s trailer and met his wife for some redneck humor. As Rhino eats cheese whiz and crackers, Slater calls not being drafted an oversight. More redneck jokes ensue and Slater talks about how he’s earned a contract several times now. When they win the titles, it’s time to upgrade to a double wide. There’s talk of the kids (outside picking up bottles and cans) but a car screeching sends the Slaters outside. Rhino just keeps calmly eating crackers. I get what they were going for here but this just isn’t my kind of humor.
Here’s Bray Wyatt with a message for Randy Orton. Bray isn’t scared of snakes or monsters because he doesn’t see Orton as anything more than a man. If Orton really hears voices, Bray hopes they’re telling him to run but here’s Randy in person. Randy says that a bunch of staples in his head aren’t going to change anything because being damaged is what he does. Bray calls himself the new predator and promises to cut the serpent’s head off at Backlash. Orton talks about Bray seeing the scars on his body but needing to worry about the scars inside. He agrees to the match and goes inside but Bray vanishes.
Natalya/Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch/Naomi
Nikki Bella is on commentary to do a commercial for Total Bellas. Naomi hurricanranas Natalya to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Naomi in trouble until a jawbreaker allows the tag off to Becky. House is cleaned and everything breaks down as Carmella comes out to brawl with Nikki. In the melee, Bliss rolls Becky up and grabs the trunks for the pin at 7:21.
Rating: D+. This division really needs some promo time. I know all of their basic characters (or what they have for characters) but I really don’t know much about most of them. Almost all of them need a chance to give us a reason to care, even if it’s just a quick promo during their entrances.
Video on the Headbangers. For the life of me I don’t get why they were picked to come back. It’s like when Greg Valentine would show up on Nitro for a one off match.
Video on Curt Hawkins.
Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Headbangers vs. Rhino/Heath Slater
Mosh and Thrasher look exactly the same as they did in 1999. Slater gets beaten down to start and the springboard clothesline puts him on the floor. Some stomping sets up a chinlock as Otunga calls the Headbangers the last two Marilyn Manson fans. The Stage Dive (powerbomb/guillotine legdrop combo) gets two as Rhino makes the save. Rhino (with what looks like some blood on the left side of his face) drags Slater over for the tag and the Gore ends Mosh at 2:53. It might be time for Thrasher to go back to training wrestlers like he did with Big Show.
A guy in a suit named Derrick Milliman has been granted a match tonight and issues an open challenge. Kane comes out for a chokeslam and leaves. Were they just running short on time or something? As Kane leaves, Baron Corbin comes out for the main event. Maybe that’s what they’re trying to set up?
Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose
Non-title and AJ is on commentary. Ambrose knocks Baron to the floor to start and hits a running clothesline from the apron. Back in and Dean’s bulldog is broken up and Baron pounds away with right hands. We come back from a break with Corbin holding a chinlock and getting two off a choke legsweep. Dean fights up and gets two off his clothesline before hitting the suicide dive on the floor. Back in and the Deep Six plants Dean but AJ gets in Baron’s face and tells him to stay on it. Dean knocks Baron into Styles so AJ kicks Baron in the face for the DQ at 12:12.
Rating: C. Odd ending aside, this was a nice showcase for Corbin and it’s a good sign to not have him get pinned here. It would be nice if they gave Corbin something to do other than torture Kalisto (Did that go anywhere yet?). It’s not like they’re overflowing with options at the moment and building up a big man isn’t going to hurt anything.
Post match the main eventers fight until Dean hits Corbin with Dirty Deeds. AJ gets crotched and Dean seems to sympathize before bouncing the ropes up and down. Dean takes his belt and leaves AJ sitting on the top rope to end the show. I really don’t like having AJ look silly like that, especially after he did something good earlier tonight.
Overall Rating: B-. This felt like an older episode of Smackdown but thankfully it was one where they actually got some stuff done. Nothing major was set up (save for making Bray vs. Orton official) but they did a good job of advancing a few angles and building towards the matches later on. That’s the kind of show they needed with less than two weeks before Backlash, but I’m still not sold on this being a full on three hour pay per view.
Hype Bros b. Vaudevillains – Hype Ryder to English
AJ Styles b. Apollo Crews – Phenomenal Forearm
Alexa Bliss/Natalya b. Naomi/Becky Lynch – Rollup with a handful of trunks
Rhino/Heath Slater b. Headbangers – Gore to Mosh
Baron Corbin b. Dean Ambrose via DQ when AJ Styles interfered
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