WWE Smackdown Live Thoughts – August 23, 2016
I should have had this up yesterday, but life happens. Anyway, I’m going to quickly run down the show and give my thoughts, like usual.
Perhaps it was because Smackdown didn’t need emergency re-writing like Raw did, but the whole show was way better than Raw this week. The show started out with a purpose: introduce the new Smackdown Women’s championship belt and the new Tag Team titles. It didn’t surprise me that these belts had a blue backing, as blue represents SD while red represents Raw. I even like that Daniel Bryan took a dig at the red Universal Championship on Tuesday night and the backlash against it.
The set up was simple for the belts: there would be a tag tournament that would culminate at the upcoming Backlash PPV in less than two weeks and matches would start on this week’s show.
The women would have one of those beat the clock challenges. I still like tournaments a lot better, but at least they’re going to do something a bit different. The crowd was so behind Becky Lynch at the beginning of the show and while I think she deserves to be the first SD Women’s champion, I don’t think it’ll happen.
The only thing I didn’t like about the beginning is that, once again, you see who thin the Smackdown women and tag team rosters are.
Heath Slater coming out was awesome once again. The crowd is getting into him more every single week and the draft is the best thing to ever happen to him. I’m surprised that Rhyno agreed to tag with him to go into the Tag Team title tournament and I’m not sure if they’ll go all the way or if this will be another bump in the road for Slater. Either way, I’m behind it because both options will elevate his character.
Seeing the tag matches this week for the tournament, there was no doubt who would be moving on to the next round: American Alpha and The Usos both picked up wins. Unfortunately that puts The Vaudevillains and Breezango into jobber territory again and will prob be off TV until after the PPV.
I thought Nikki Bella was coming out to a match with Carmella but she was interviewed before the match started. Carmella wasn’t having any of it and attacked her. So, WWE Creative has her make a surprise return as a heel at Summerslam (or at least with the heel team) and they turn around and have her turn face by having Carmella turn heel by attacking her? I’m not totally unhappy as this gives Carmella a much needed shot in the arm but it makes so sense for what just happened at Summerslam. The attack on Nikki from Carmella continued on the WWE Network’s Talking Smack show that starts right after Smackdown ends. It’s been a great show so far (more on it later) and is a good means of furthering storylines.
Before the show intro started, AJ Styles came into the locker room to gloat about his victory over John Cena. Well, Ziggler, who lost at Summerslam, wasn’t too happy and attacked Styles. This led to another attack later on in the show, which then led to a match between the two for the main event. It was announced that Styles was the number one contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE Championship, but If Ziggler won the match, the title match at Backlash would become a three-way dance.
The match between Styles and Zigger was better than the match between Ambrose and Ziggler at Summerslam. Dean Ambrose was on commentary throughout the match but just seemed so damn uninspired, even when trying to elevate the talent (like the awesome job The Miz does when he’s on commentary). In the end, Styles got the win and it makes me question where Ziggler goes from here. Will he be put into the IC program with The Miz?
Another question: where was Cena to address the crowd like Styles told him to do the week before if he lost? There was no mention of him or how AJ Styles ended up with the armband Cena left in the ring.
Orton came out in the show to address his fight with Lesnar. I loved the line where he asked the crowd if they expected to see him. I also took it as a shot at Lesnar who is too lazy to even show up after a major PPV. Bray Wyatt interrupted Orton’s promo, setting up a probable meeting between the two at Backlash. Hopefully they’ll be more into a story line between these two before a match and I can wait on these two not squaring off on the Backlash card as it has to mean something.
Speaking of Lesnar, we found out Stephanie “fined” him $500 for attacking Shane. Shane wasn’t too impressed and said that the business between him and Lesnar wasn’t over. If I didn’t want to see Orton and Lesnar fight, you can imagine that a program/match between Shane and Lesnar just makes me cringe.
Finally, to end my blurb about Smackdown, I have to talk about the after-show again: Talking Smack on the WWE Network. The Miz showed up at the end of the show irate that he wasn’t even featured on the program. Daniel Bryan gave his two cents about The Miz and said that he found The Miz to be boring and not a good wrestler. Well, The Miz went right off on Daniel Bryan, causing Bryan to walk out. I’ve added the video below for anyone who still hasn’t seen it. You need to see it to fully understand what was conveyed here.
I have to say that this is one of the best promos of the year, and I’m sure there’s maybe a tad of shooting in there. The fire and passion in his voice and eyes really pushed the message across to the audience.
I respect The Miz and he has seemed like an afterthought lately, so I totally get what he was saying and where his passion came from in the promo. He’s gotten better over the years in the ring, he can make the crowd hate him for the right reasons, and he’s right: he’s always there doing for WWE what they ask of him and always in the ring (when they book him to be). It was simply amazing and if WWE doesn’t capitalize on this somehow next week on Smackdown (and show the whole altercation on TV), then I have no f’n idea what they’re doing. Brilliant work by The Miz!