WWE slowly edges their way towards Summerslam, and the kayfabe competition between RAW and Smackdown continues on. After the embarrassing show that was put on this week by RAW, Smackdown should be able to easily top it. But will it be that easy? Cena, Styles and many more are absent this week. Let’s see if Smackdown can put on a great show, without the great names.
The show starts off tonight with Orton being interviewed about his match later with Alberto Del Rio, and his upcoming match against Lesnar. He cuts his reoccurring promo about how it “only takes 1 RKO”, and then has a quick altercation with ADR himself. After the interview and intro video, we get Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan come out to the ring to talk about Wyatt’s loss to Ziggler on Smackdown. After enough discussion, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler come out and eventually lose a brawl to what’s left of The Wyatts. Off to commercials we go.
The interview that started the show was decent because it promoted what is happening later, but Randy needs to be more creative with his promos, because I can’t tell any promo apart. It’s the whole “it only takes 1 RKO” and all of his other forced catchphrases regurgitated that need to be changed. The confrontation in the ring after was not that good, with the heels starting off the show on top. On the other side, I do think that it is important to give The Wyatts more segments where they go over. They can’t be buried EVERY week.
Match 1: American Alpha vs 2 Local Wrestlers
Last week we saw the Smackdown debut of American Alpha, but tonight they get themselves involved in a story. Before their match, The Ascension, The Vaudevillians and The Hype Bros all come out to ringside to scout out talent. American Alpha get a quick victory, and get to fit in all of their big spots in this match. After the match, all tag teams get in a big brawl, that has American Alpha winning in the end.
I hope that they throw AA in a rivalry almost immediately, because the crowd has warmed up to them, and because there is a lacking tag program on the show currently. They will have to be a little more creative with rivalries because they don’t have a championship (currently), but I think American Alpha are so over right now that it would be a great time to throw them in the mix.
Match 2: Becky Lynch vs Eva Marie
Before our next match, we get a very comedic interview with The Miz and Maurice, that ends with them both laying on the analyst desk kissing. The Miz and Maurice are a great duo so far, and The Miz’s over the top love for Maurice is a joke that I hope continues for a much longer time.
The next match that we get tonight is a women’s match, with Eva Marie and Becky Lynch. Last week, this match was thrown out due to a kayfabe injury of Eva’s. What will Eva’s excuse be this week? She has a wardrobe malfunction. Eva gets a towel thrown to her which was conveniently ringside, and the match got cancelled. I think that this whole segment is very clever, and seems to be giving her heat. I hope that Eva is training to become much better while these delays happen, so that she can blow everyone away once it comes time for her to finally wrestle.
Match 3: Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss
After the segment, Becky calls anyone in the locker room out to face her, and Alexa Bliss answers. So instead of Eva’s debut, we get to see Alexa Bliss’s Smackdown debut. This match wasn’t that bad, with Eva Marie making a second appearance near the end of the match. As Becky is still in battle, Eva Marie’s music hits and distracts Becky, giving Alexa the win. Alexa finishes off the match with a top rope move that I saw in NXT, and I still find very impressive. As Becky eats defeat, Eva gets interviewed ringside and she claims to act very innocent about the whole situation, saying that she genuinely wanted to fight Becky, and rushed back to the ring to try to make things better. Currently as it is, this program on the show is great and is a way to give Eva heat without even needing much promo work on her half.
Match 4: Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio
Now to a match that I expected to be the main event tonight, Randy Orton faces off against Alberto Del Stinko. This match went over the coarse of 2 segments and 1 commercial break, and I would say that it was mostly worth it. The start and middle of the match were pretty good. We saw lots of back and forth action, but it sadly got ended by DQ. Del Rio hit Orton with a chair, and they continued brawling after the fact. The fight ends with an RKO. I think that they should have given Randy the win with the RKO, but they gave him the win after the match. Either way, this segment wasn’t terrible, it still achieved what it wanted, and still left me mostly happy.
Match 5: Heath Slater vs Rhyno
The very comical Heath Slater is back on the show after a loss to Jinder Mahal on RAW last week. Slater is currently jobless, but that could change if he wins this match against Rhyno. Heath Slater comes close to a win and pins using the ropes, but the ref didn’t let that fly. After he argues with the ref, he eats a “Gore” by Rhyno to lose the match. It’s official everyone, Slater is still jobless. Where does he go now? I really hope that they do the indies angle that has been rumoured online, because the suspense of what happens next is the general consensus now.
Match 6: Carmella vs Natalya
The women’s division gets a second spot on tonights show, this time with Natalya and Carmella. Carmella makes her usual entrance, but before she can even finish her talking, Natalya runs out from the ramp and they get into a fight. The match ends with both wrestlers trading submissions, with Carmella winning via one of her submissions. The end of the match was very anti-climactic, mostly because all of the moves felt like rest holds, and that we weren’t going to see a end to the match anytime soon. This whole rivalry has been lacking compared to everything else currently, and there will have to be something else involved in the rivalry to make it better.
Match 7: Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan
To make due without AJ Styles and John Cena, they play a very good video package before the main event. Our main event tonight is Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose teaming up to take down Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan. And they did exactly that. This match was the predictable formula for a tag match, but it was carried out well. I enjoyed this match very much, and it sent viewers home happy. The in-ring fighting was also very exciting and seemed to always be fast paced. After the match, Dean Ambrose does the “Dirty Deeds” to Ziggler, to advance their rivalry coming into Summerslam. I think it was good to emphasize that these guys aren’t friends, especially after such teamwork in a tag match. That ends off the show this week.
This show had the cards stacked against it. All of the big names like Cena and Styles were absent, yet they still put on a great show, and an amazing show compared to RAW this week. Of course there is room for improvement, but the program we see right now is enough to ask for.