WWE Smackdown Live Thoughts – August 2, 2016
With Raw coming off as a disappointment compared to last week with so few positive notes, it was interesting to see if it was because Raw put all it’s eggs in one basket last week. This week, if basket the wasn’t full on Raw it was maybe because they wanted to give half a dozen to Smackdown Live. They did! Front to back, not was Smackdown the better show, it kicked Raw‘s ass for most of the show. Now I want eggs.Before the show started, I thought things seemed a bit odd because there was an omen of misfortune coming with Daniel Bryan mistakenly calling Apollo Crews, “Apollo Creed,” when announcing that a triple threat match between Crews, Baron Corbin and Kalisto would be held to determine the number one contender to the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Thankfully that seemed like the only hiccup in the show.
The show started with Dean Ambrose calling out Dolph Ziggler. The promo exchange between the both of them really hyped up their upcoming match at Summerslam. Ambrose actually played more of the heel roll here, calling out Ziggler for thinking he’s the best since sliced bread but always being a loser no matter how good his matches were. The promo actually had some truth to it, and Ziggler’s response about people in the back saying he’s getting a push then telling him he’s too good was great for people who really keep up with the ins and outs of the product behind the scene. Ziggler getting more worked up and passionate as the exchange went on was great.
Bray Wyatt hit Ziggler with Sister Abigal after Ambrose left the ring and challenged Ambrose to a match where he’d get Ziggler’s spot at Summerslam for the WWE Championship if he won. I knew Ziggler would accept as that’s the rebuilding of the character needed for him, but with the “anything can happen” mentality of the last two to three weeks, I was actually unsure who would win the match, which is great for WWE TV.
I know some people out there in the IWC (and JBL on commentary) said it was stupid for a babyface to potentially give up their spot like Ziggler did, but for building him back up in the eyes of the fans, it was needed.
The match between Ziggler and Wyatt was great and had some good near falls close to the end of the match, but nowhere was huge spot after huge spot overbooking. Ziggler got the win and was the ambushed by Eric Rowan prompting Dean Ambrose, who was on commentary, to come in for the save. This set up next week where we’ll probably see the Wyatt Family vs. Ambrose and Ziggler, with WWE Creative setting up the story of “can they work together?” I bet we see Ambrose or Ziggler accidentally hitting their partner causing the Wyatts to win, setting up more heat for their match at Summerslam.
The number one contender match for the IC championship was good for a TV match, but going in, you know you needed a babyface to go against The Miz at Summerslam, so Baron Corbin was out from the beginning. Kalisto just had a run with the US Championship so he wasn’t a likely candidate to win in my mind. With that being said, Apollo Crews winning was great, but WWE Creative REALLY need to get the audience behind Crews by getting some vignette or backstage interviews done to get the audience, including me, to know WHO Apollo Crews is and why we should care for him.
I will say this: when The Miz is on the mic, he’s the best. That man can sell the match his opponents are in and he builds the talent up in the ring. He discusses the strengths of the men in the ring. He talks about the importance of the IC championship. He discusses why they want to be a number one contender and why the championship means something. It is more than JBL can do in a year on commentary. I hope WWE keeps The Miz on as a commentator when he’s retired in the ring because he absolutely knows how to sell the match we’re watching, those in the ring, and further a story line.
Speaking of commentary and interviews, I love the new live backstage interview area with Rene Young. I think it brings something really new and refreshing to the show. I’m glad they came up with it.
The AJ Styles/John Cena promo exchange was OK, but not as good as the exchange between Ambrose and Ziggler at the beginning of the night. I’m glad Styles called Cena and his Sheeple out for the usual blind faith crap, but I thought it was actually leading to a “loser leaves town” type of match, considering Cena will probably be out with other outside shows/appearances in the near future. Cena’s promo about staying and loving WWE was just long and winded. We’ve heard it all before and I wish Styles would have furthered the heat he was trying to get by calling him out on that or constantly interrupting him. At least this all furthers the hype for their match at Summerslam.
Both the women’s matches didn’t happen? Why? I thought we were in a women’s wrestling revolution?! Eva Marie faking an injury was a blessing in disguise as I don’t want that fake piece of plastic garbage on TV. At least Becky Lynch sold the frustration with the BS. If Lynch ever takes a pin-fall ever for Eva Marie, I’ll break something as it makes no sense.
Natalya attacked Carmella before their match and I don’t mind that as it hypes their first encounter a little bit more. I will say that Carmella is laying it on a little too thick coming to the ring and backstage with her promos. It doesn’t make her likable to me. I know that WWE knows that Enzo & Cass are money and don’t need anyone else tagging along with them like Carmella did in NXT, but I think it would have been wise to draft Carmella to Raw so the fans had something more to latch onto before splitting her up from the boys. Right now, most of the regular WWE audience just see is a woman with a forced Brooklyn accent with no story.
American Alpha made a great debut, albeit at the expense of the Vaudevillians. If there are squash matches on Raw, why couldn’t they have a squash match here? Instead, the poor Vaudevillians (whose gimmick I do hate), took the pin. At least these two teams squared off in NXT so the VV helped make American Alpha look as good as they are. Props to the VV for that, but WWE need to get more tag teams for Smackdown.
To end, I’ll mention the attack on Orton from Lesnar wasn’t a surprise considering what happened on Raw. I just really don’t care about any of it. I really don’t. I have no interest in this upcoming match. I find Brock Lesnar to be overrated in a WWE ring. I find Randy Orton to be one of the most boring people in WWE ever. I won’t take it away from Orton that he’s way better in the ring than Lesnar and pretty good in the ring for the most part, but anything leading up to most of his big matches bore the hell out of me, unless he’s the most despicable heel he can be – and he can be. I just don’t see this match being anything special at Summerslam and I don’t think WWE can get me excited me for it. I hope I’m wrong.