WWE Smackdown Live Thoughts – July 26, 2016
I never write about the wrestling show I watch immediately. I like to let things sink in. As I was so excited to see what the “new era” of Smackdown (with it now being live) would bring, all I can say that was a goddamn mess and I needed to sit down and write to get it all of my chest before heading to bed.
As soon as the show started, besides the better theme music and logo than Raw, you knew the show was starting the same way as Raw – the bosses talking to the roster. And by roster, I mean the few wrestlers that could easily fit on three sides of the ring. It looked like a small promotion.
It was announced that there would be a 6 man (pack? I can’t remember) challenge where six selected Smackdown Live wrestlers would battle each other with the first one who scores the pin to go against WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose. John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, and AJ Styles were picked while the sixth person to be included needed to win a Battle Royal – which started right after the first commercial break.
The Battle Royal looked very slim and you knew that the eight people that are in tag teams weren’t going to win it, so the surprises were going to be slim. There were botched moves and even JBL was talking about how illogical it was that they didn’t team together to get Kane eliminated first.
There were botched spots and spots that made no sense. Poor Zack Ryder botching more than his fair share. I’m sure he’ll get yelled at tonight. The whole thing ended when Apollo Crews, who WWE Creative STILL hasn’t sold to their audience in ANY WAY won with a pin on Kane who, by the way, decimated most of the new wrestlers during the match. Way to build up other new talent. At least Smackdown Live followed suit and gave Crews some mic time after his win. At least a new talent got some elevation at the end.
Before I get to any more of the show I have to say the announce team was awful in their first paring as I’m so sick of JBL. I hated his wrestling, I hated his personas and I hate him on the mic. All he does is yell over the announcers. I’m getting used to Mauro Ranallo and his style of delivery but David Otunga actually surprised me with some insight and calm delivery. JBL, on the other hand, makes me cringe and I want to cram Q-Tips in my ears.
During the lead up to the main event, most of the wrestlers gave a backstage promo about what the chance to be the number one contender or the WWE Championship meant to them. I thought it was a nice touch and one of the things I appreciated about the show.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya in another match wasn’t anything to write home about. It was on the same level as their Battleground PPV match. Lynch made Natalya tap out and when she was being interviewed after her victory, Natalya just stood outside the ring and glared. Where’s the newfound heel attitude? She should have attacked her!
Instead WWE Creative decided to throw all the women out there now on the roster, new and old, to discuss who will rule Smackdown Live. There was too much going on with Alexa Bliss making her debut (and sounding great), then Naomi returning, Carmella debuting poorly, and the a narrator talking for everyone’s least favourite lady in WWE, Eva Marie. Holy shit this was a hot mess and didn’t do any of the ladies any favour.
Next up, we had to endure a pointless and long Miz TV where he was interviewing himself only to have Randy Orton come out and make things even more boring to set up a match between the two.
If you thought their exchange was horrible, holy fuck, the logic behind this mess of a “match” was even worse. You’re telling me that WWE is setting up Orton vs. Lesnar as one of the featured matches of the big night and The Miz gets the better of him for most of this? Even loud-mouthed JBL called out how stupid this was saying that Lesnar is probably at home laughing. Orton got an RKO on The Miz out of nowhere and The Miz, who had barely been touch laid there for ages while Orton walked around the ring, only to give him another and pin him.
So we’re getting squash matches on Raw and the IC Champ is being pinned like this? At the expense of Orton, who was not advertised to be wrestling his first match back in WWE in eight/nine months? What the hell were they thinking? Yeah, they can concentrate on the shoulder being a detriment to Orton for the feud with Lesnar, but this whole talk segment and match did not need to happen and WWE Creative should be ashamed for doing this just to give the audience a cheap pop of seeing an RKO.
Thank goodness we got a vignette on American Alpha as these two should not go to waste on Smackdown Live. Speaking of vignettes, I hope you’re all as happy as I am to see a returning Shelton Benjamin back in WWE sooner than later. At least these were two more positives in the show.
For the Six Man, I mean Pack match (holy hell, I should have been drinking six beer during this show to make it better match), WWE showed all the wrestler’s entrances, rang the bell to get the action started and…WENT RIGHT TO COMMERCIAL!!! Fuck me. Are you kidding me?
When we returned, the action was decent leading up to Corbin and Crews being the only two left in the ring to duke it out. They were fighting for about a good two minutes with Corbin trying to get the three count on Corbin and they WENT BACK TO COMMERCIAL!?!?!? Well, you knew then that Corbin wasn’t walking out as a winner. Holy shit. What awful pacing.
Back from commercial, Corbin and Crews were STILL the only two in the ring. Are you kidding me?!?? You’re telling me in a match less physical than a ladder match or a TLC match, where action is constantly happening all over the place, four out of the six men decided to take a nap for six minutes and let two wrestlers potentially get the win?!? WWE Creative – what the hell are you on!?!?!?
Suffice to say, the usual fast spots and Cena getting the better of some of the wrestlers happened leading to the end where Dolph Ziggler superkicked AJ Styles to get the win to become the new #1 contender. He will now face Dean Ambrose at Summerslam.
To end off this horrible show, it seemed like they went for the finish a few minutes too soon as after Ambrose came down to stare down Ziggler and they showed the replay again, Daniel Bryan was in the ring, raising hands and trying to hype the crowd up because they couldn’t end the broadcast. Then Shane came down to do the same thing and everyone was standing around mouthing to each other. It became really uncomfortable as there was about a minute and a half to go before they could leave the live feed so they showed the replay again while the announcers kept repeating the same information that we already had. Wow. That was bad.
Here are some questions I now have:
- Why was AJ Styles pinned again when Corbin or Crews could have taken the pinfall?
- Why weren’t AJ Styles and Cena more of a focal point with their storyline with AJ being frustrated about Cena pinning him at Battleground and setting up their Summerslam match?
- Why is WWE building to one of their big four PPVs with a face vs. face/fan fave vs. fan fave match? How are they going to build that now in two programs before the PPV? If the booking and the writing are illogical tonight, just think what we’ll be scratching our heads at next, especially with how Ziggler has been booked as a constant loser over the past year and a half. I would like to see this match as hopefully they’ll build it towards being the better wrestler and the importance of the belt.
- Why didn’t WWE book Bray Wyatt again against Ambrose? Heel vs. face and they could jump off the last time they feuded. I think this would have been the better choice and then throw Ziggler in as the next challenger. Where does Wyatt with his new look and no “family” go from here. Sigh. What a wasted talent.
- Why does Baron Corbin scream and throw fits so much during one match about not getting the pin? Get the job done and keep attacking – that’s your character. Play it.
Will Smackdown Live be better next week because WWE Creative blew their load with Raw last night? Maybe. But this program just showed that Smackdown Live is just the same old but with less wrestlers and that Raw is still surely the “A show” in the mind of Vince McMahon and WWE Creative. What a wasted opportunity.