Welcome to SmackDown Live!
We open on Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, who immediately tell us that it’s all about the Superstars. That’s great guys, so… why are you here? Of course I don’t mind because it’s Daniel Bryan, everyone’s doing yes chants and standing up cheering for him when we cut to the opening titles. It’s new theme music, and I’m faintly disappointed even though I knew it was coming, because I legitimately really loved the previous theme music.
But when we come back, the whole roster is around the ring with Shane and Daniel in the middle. The yes chants fade into a “Shane O’Mac” chant, and Shane explains – as of September there will be SmackDown only pay-per-views, starting with Backlash. But first, we need an opponent for Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam.
Turns out I was wrong – the whole roster was not there, because Dean’s music hits and he makes his way down the ramp with the title over his shoulder. I gotta say, I love that Mauro Ranallo is talking about respecting a man who clawed his way to victory, because I was getting really sick of commentators talking about what a travesty it was that Dean was our champ. Some of the shine comes off it when they call SmackDown the Ambrose Asylum, but I’ll take whatever small victories I can get.
Dean tells Shane that he wants a new challenge, because he’s Dean. I’m just entirely unsurprised. Daniel Bryan reminds us that Dean will fight anyone, at any time. Even polar bears and mole people, as I recall. So six superstars will be competing tonight for the chance for be number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The first challenger to be announced is the face that runs the place, John Cena, which I’m sure comes as a surprise to no one at all. Second up is the eater of worlds, Bray Wyatt, and — does everyone get a nickname? The trend is continuing with the showoff, Dolph Ziggler. Baron Corbin doesn’t get a nickname, so I suppose I have to come up with one. The lone wolf seems too obvious, so give me time. The phenomenal AJ Styles rounds out the five – and yes, only five. Because the sixth person is going to be the winner of a battle royal, up next!
MATCH: Battle Royal
We’re straight into it when we come back from commercial. I try to figure out who I can identify at a glance, but that’s always a problem – there’s so many people around.
- Kane in one corner fighting it out with Zack Ryder and Simon Gotch; Simon Gotch is the first man eliminated.
- Kane eliminates both members of the Ascension with a double chokeslam, then picks up Kalisto to try to throw him over the ropes too. Kalisto grabs the rope to keep himself in and kicks Kane away.
- Aiden English just barely manages to drag himself back into the ring after being thrown over the ropes and landing on the apron.
- Fandango attempts to suplex Mojo Rawley out of the ring but he manages to fight out of it.
- Del Rio hits Kane with an enzuigiri in the corner then attempts to eliminate him, unsuccessfully.
- Fandango thrown over the top rope by Jey Uso; lands on the apron, and Breeze hits Uso with a supermodel kick and throws him over the ropes, eliminating him.
- The middle of a Battle Royal has to be the worst time to cut to commercial; I find it hard enough to follow all the action at the best of times.
- When we’re back, Aiden English and Erick Rowan were eliminated during commercial. This is why I don’t love commercial breaks in a Battle Royal.
- Mojo Rawley eliminated by Alberto del Rio; Breezango double-teaming Kane.
- Zack Ryder and Apollo Crews team up to eliminate Alberto del Rio just as Kane throws both members of Breezango over the top rope.
- Zack Ryder hits a missile dropkick on Kane, setting up Apollo Crews for a standing moonsault and Kalisto for a splash.
- Ryder dropkicks Kalisto, then tries to eliminate Apollo Crews.
- Kalisto and Crews team up to try to throw Ryder out of the ring, but he fights them off, hitting Kalisto with a neckbreaker before throwing him over the ropes, where he lands on the apron, coming back with a springboard assault on Ryder.
- Kane gets back to his feet, chokeslamming Kalisto over the ropes to the ground.
- Kane kicks Ryder and Crews to the ground, then hits both men with a splash in the corner. Ryder gets out of the way of the second one, then hits a Broski Boot on Kane and then Crews.
- Kane gets to his feet and chokeslams Ryder over the rope, eliminating him, then tries to do the same to Apollo Crews.
- Crews fights out, then drops as Kane comes after him, sending Kane over the top rope with his own momentum.
Renee Young comes out to interview Apollo Crews, who says he is the happiest man alive. You always look like the happiest man alive, Apollo. You’re so smiley.
Ziggler cuts a promo, saying he’s tired of the glass ceiling he’s been fighting in WWE; he’s always trying to steal the show, and ever since he was a child he’s wanted to be the best, but it’s never happened. He isn’t going to let this opportunity slip away from him again, because it’s not in anyone else’s hands – just his own.
MATCH: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Becky makes her way down to the ring first, as the commentators remind us that she was the first female draft pick for the SmackDown roster. Of course, with Natalya having beaten her at Battleground, it’s not as cut and dry as that.
Women circle each other as the bell rings, then Becky takes Natalya down locking in a headscissors.
- Natalya breaks out and reverses, Becky in a headscissors. Becky breaks out, gets back to her feet.
- Go behind, go behind, then Natalya gets Becky in a headlock. Becky bounces off the ropes to break the hold, then Natalya takes her down with a shoulder tackle.
- Becky to her feet, hitting a dropkick on Natalya; Natalya out of the ring.
- Natalya climbs back in and Becky goes on the offensive, but Natalya knocks her down and then sweeps her up for a slam.
- Becky tries to get to her feet, but Natalya steps on her stomach to keep her down, then locks on a rear chinlock.
- Becky to a vertical base, then manages to grab Natalya for a jackknife cover; kickout.
- Becky takes Natalya down with a clothesline then a dropkick. The commentary team are talking about cigarettes, I actually have no idea why.
- Becky on the turnbuckle, but Natalya pulls her down by the leg, posing over Becky’s body as we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, Natalya and Becky are locked up in the middle of the ring; Becky creates space and as Natalya comes after her, strikes with forearms.
- Natalya in the corner for Becky’s splash, then Becky whips her but Natalya reverses.
- Natalya grabs Becky’s leg, but Becky hits an enzuigiri, then climbs onto the turnbuckle for a leg drop for a two-count.
- Natalya knocks Becky to the ground and tries to lock in the Sharpshooter. Becky creates space, and Natalya hits a german suplex.
- Becky kicks out of the cover at two, and Natalya looks very upset about it.
- Becky to her feet, rolling up Natalya, but as Natalya goes to kick out, tries to turn it into the Dis-Arm-Her.
- Natalya breaks out and hits Nattie-By-Nature, but Becky kicks out.
- Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Becky reverses into the Dis-Arm-Her. Natalya taps out!
Renee comes into the ring to interview Becky, but Becky interrupts Renee’s question, yelling into the mic, “Just call me Becky Balboa, baby!”. Alexa Bliss’s music hits, and she wanders out proclaiming herself to be the hottest talent on the roster, claiming that she is what the New Era looks like.
She’s cut off by Naomi, however, who tells her to stop bragging because she hasn’t even stepped in the ring yet. It looks as though she’s about to challenge her to a match when Carmella comes out, announcing that she is the Princess of Staten Island. She, too, is cut off as Eva Marie makes her way out to the ring. This makes JBL proclaim that this might be the greatest night ever, which is… bold, and we cut away before Eva Marie can say or do anything.
That whole segment was around twelve minutes, with the match itself from bell to bell being approximately seven minutes.
Baron Corbin’s turn to cut a promo – he doesn’t want to win the match for his mother, or for anyone on the roster, or the crowd. He’s winning for himself.
It’s time for a Miz TV segment – Maryse takes the microphone first to announce to the crowd that they need to stand up for the sexiest man alive, The Miz. I feel as though there’s a certain gorgeous and delicious tag team that would object to that description, Maryse, but I understand your bias. The Miz proclaims that his guest on the now SmackDown-exclusive Miz TV is… well, he dances around it a little, dropping in lines about the legend killer and evolution, but then proclaims that it’s the most sought after Superstar, the Miz.
The Miz asks himself how he can remain so humble when he’s so amazing, then sits in the empty chair next to him, and starts answering the question, talking about how the people need a hero and he is the Intercontinental Champion with a gorgeous wife. He then gets back in the interviewer chair and asks Maryse what it’s like being Princess Leia to his Han Solo. They get distracted by each other’s beauty and go for a kiss, when suddenly Randy Orton’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring.
The crowd starts chanting “RKO!” as Randy gets in the ring. Randy explains that he was confused by the fact that Miz was clearly teasing the crowd with the thought that it was going to be him, then calls Miz an expert at playing with himself. The Miz counters by saying that Randy Orton reminds him of the Blair Witch Project – no one wanted him, but he’s there anyway. The crowd clearly disagrees, as they’re still chanting “Randy! Randy!”.
Randy Orton reminds us that Brock Lesnar may have broken the streak, but Orton was the legend killer, and that Suplex City fades in comparison to an RKO outta nowhere. Miz taunts Randy about having been on hiatus from wrestling for the past 9 months, saying that facing Brock Lesnar after that kind of time off is brutal. Orton simply counters that it doesn’t have to be his first match back.
For some reason, The Miz refuses the challenge. Randy innocently says he just wants to have a friendly scrap to knock off the ring rust, and Miz dismisses him again. Randy pushes it harder, asking if Miz is afraid of getting beaten in front of his wife, then asks who it is that “does the pitching and does the catching”. This offends Maryse enough that she accepts the challenge on her husband’s behalf, and we cut to commercial on Miz and Maryse looking annoyed and Randy looking smug.
MATCH: The Miz vs. Randy Orton
When we come back from commercial, it’s straight into the action!
The Miz rolls out of the ring as soon as the bell rings, grabbing his wife and whispering something to her.
When he climbs back into the ring, he hits Orton with a knee to the midsection then throws him out of the ring.
- Miz slams Orton into the barricade, then to the ground for a series of big stomps.
- Orton thrown into another barricade, then the Miz throws him into the ring.
- Miz kicks Orton in his injured arm, then into the corner and putting the boot in some more.
- Orton out of the ring again, and this time when Miz goes after him he’s in with strikes, but his attempt to whip Miz into the steel steps is reversed; Orton goes shoulder-first into the steps.
- Miz throws Orton back into the ring, but Orton hits an RKO outta nowhere as Miz tries to climb in after him. Maryse looks absolutely astonished at ringside.
- Randy Orton just sitting in the ring, looking at Miz and making no efforts to go for a cover, then pulls himself back and just sits, leaning against the ropes looking at the Miz’s body.
- As Maryse goes around to the other side of the ring to check on The Miz as best she can, Orton gets to his feet and paces back and forth slowly, looking down at the Miz, before nudging him over with his foot slightly and posing for the crowd.
- Miz finally gets to his feet, and Orton hits another RKO for a successful pinfall.
Orton makes quite a show of climbing very slowly up onto the turnbuckle to pose for the crowd, grabbing his shoulder as though to check it before throwing his hands up.
A video from American Alpha! Chad Gable and Jason Jordan come from the same background, and found great chemistry together in the ring. They ruined the tag team division on NXT and now want to be the faces of the tag team division on the main roster. But not until next week, when they make their SmackDown Live debut!
But right now, Heath Slater is here for some reason. He makes his way to the ring and grabs a microphone, and demands to know why it was that he was left out of the draft, and isn’t officially on either RAW or SmackDown Live. He calls out Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, asking to be put into the main event, turning the Six-Pack Challenge into a Magnificent Seven.
Shane comes out and reminds Heath Slater that this is SmackDown Live. As in, live television. As in, if he wants to be signed to either show, he should submit his resume and not just march into the ring and demand to be put into a match. Slater verbally runs through his resume, and calls himself the hottest free agent on television today.
Suddenly, the commentary team is begging Slater to turn around as someone climbs into the ring behind him,and Shane acknowledges that yes, he is looking at the hottest free agent in the business. It’s RHYNO, who takes Slater to the ground and motions to the crowd, getting quite a respectable pop.
AJ Styles promo time now; New Era? It’s the same old thing. He’s “too good” for this, and doesn’t understand what Shane and Daniel are doing. They didn’t draft Gallows and Anderson, and they’re putting him in a 6 person match for the opportunity to fight Dean Ambrose? But he’s going to beat up Bray Wyatt, beat up Dolph Ziggler, and of course, his favourite thing…
BEAT UP JOHN CENA.
Bray Wyatt’s turn for a promo. His head is bowed and he’s whispering to himself, before he looks up and says that tonight, five men will fall and he will again have the whole world in his hands.
MATCH: Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews vs. AJ Styles vs. John Cena – Number One Contender Six-Pack Challenge
Bray Wyatt makes his way down to the ring slowly with his lantern, but before he can say anything like I hoped he was going to do, he’s joined by the other competitors one at a time – Crews, Corbin, Ziggler, AJ Styles and then finally, John Cena.
The bell rings and Cena and AJ start on each other in the corner, but we cut to commercial before much else can happen there.
- When we’re back, Bray has Crews, knocking him to the ground so AJ can hit him with a knee.
- Senton from Bray Wyatt, and he bows to the crowd before motioning to AJ to take down Crews.
- AJ comes running at Crews, but gets knocked down with a clothesline from Bray Wyatt
- Ziggler back in the ring with a dropkick, then takes Bray down with a swinging neckbreaker for an unsuccessful cover.
- Ziggler goes to rebound off the ropes, but Corbin grabs him by the leg. Corbin’s attempt to get in the ring is intercepted, however, by AJ, who hits a springboard 450 splash on Bray Wyatt.
- John Cena interrupts the cover attempt, then whips AJ into the corner. AJ leapfrogs over him then gets Cena with an Ushigoroshi.
- Crews comes in and attacks AJ Styles, sending him out of the ring, but then Corbin attacks Crews, big stomps to the midsection, then more strikes and an unsuccessful lateral press.
- Corbin gets Crews in a half-nelson, but Crews strikes at Corbin, creating space. Corbin hits Crews with corner clothesline, then a slam. Crews kicks out at two.
- Another commercial break! Those are excellent in matches with lots of competitors, aren’t they?
- When we’re back, Corbin and Crews still in the ring together – strikes back and forth, Crews seemingly getting the upper hand.
- Crews rebounds off the ropes into Corbin’s arms for a slam .Kicks out at two.
- Corbin goes for End of Days, but Crews reverses into a sitout powerbomb; Bray Wyatt pulls the referee out of the ring before the count of three.
- Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail on Apollo Crews, but Dolph Ziggler comes in with the Famouser for what looks like it would be a successful cover on Bray Wyatt, but there’s still no official in the ring.
- While Ziggler is trying to get the referee and despair for what just happened, Cena comes in and hits the AA on ZIggler.
- Bray back on his feet for Sister Abigail, but Cena reverses, sending Bray towards AJ for a kick, sending Bray back out of the ring.
- Cena hits AA on AJ Styles, and the official back in the ring, but AJ kicks out.
- Crews on the turnbuckle to fly at Cena, and Cena catches him and hits an AA on him. Bray Wyatt, then Corbin, in the ring, and Cena hits an AA on them both as well. Both roll away before he can get a cover, then AJ Styles comes in to hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Cena but wait – Ziggler in with a superkick!
- Dolph Ziggler gets a successful cover on AJ Styles. Dolph Ziggler is the number one contender!
Ziggler looks like he couldn’t be happier with his victory, and I popped hard for him – and I didn’t even know he was my favourite to win this match until I started screaming that he’s here to show the world!
Dean’s music hits and Dean makes his way out to the ring. He gets in Ziggler’s face, then hoists the title above his head. The two men stare each other down and Dean slowly lowers the title to his side again, and Daniel Bryan comes in to raise the arms of both men. Dean is looking sidelong at Ziggler like he doesn’t quite know how to feel, like he’s definitely not happy. Shane McMahon’s music hits and he comes in as well, also to congratulate Dolph Ziggler.
Dean points at Ziggler, then at himself, and whatever he’s saying to Ziggler is drowned out by Ziggler’s music. Ziggler is now talking to Shane and Daniel, while Dean still watches him, and we close on that moment.
Phew! That was a heck of a moment. We’ll see you for NXT soon!