We open with Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon watching Randy Orton hit an RKO on Brock Lesnar all the way from the SmackDown Live roster on last night’s RAW. Shane is telling Orton that Lesnar is going to come after him, and that jeopardizes a lot of things beyond just Orton himself. He does acknowledge that it was pretty awesome, though, so that’s a good start. There are a lot of security guards standing by, though, because Orton can’t just keep RKOing Lesnar to save everyone.
The Miz and Maryse wander on in, and Miz demands to know why no one came out to hoist him up like they did to Dean. Bryan says he didn’t even want Miz on the show, just the championship, and tonight they’re going to determine the number one contender for his title. Dean wanders through as well, mostly just to say hi, I think.
I’m still not wild about the new theme music. I just really liked the old one, okay?
The show opens proper with Dean Ambrose’s music hitting and our champ making his way to the ring. I still love the fact that I can call Dean “our champ”. We’re reminded that in a few weeks time, Dean Ambrose will be facing off with Dolph Ziggler, who won a match last week to become number one contender. Commentary are still talking about Orton’s RKO outta nowhere on Monday Night RAW, because that’s as important as SmackDown’s champion, of course.
Dean calls himself the “WWE World Champion” because apparently no one can agree on what his championship is called. He goes on to say that he wants to stay on top, because he didn’t bust his ass for so long and beat his former Shield brothers so he could give up the view from the top of the mountain now. So that brings him to Dolph Ziggler, “mister booty shaker”. I’m more than on board with calling him that, so we all know.
Obviously, Ziggler joins him in the ring because it wouldn’t be a proper opening segment without the number one contender getting in the champ’s face. It’s some pretty gentle getting in his face, because he’s nothing but polite. But Dean throws that politeness in Ziggler’s face; Ziggler thinks they’re pretty similar, but Dean counters that Ziggler is all show and Dean isn’t, he scratches and claws his way to things. Ziggler points out that Dean had the SWAT team of Roman and Seth catapulting him into the top position, while Ziggler had to drag his way up from being a male cheerleader.
I mean, he’s not wrong.
Dean points out that the biggest difference between him and Ziggler is that Ziggler complains about having had a bad run, while Dean keeps pushing back. Dean talks a bit more about Ziggler shaking his butt, and I don’t know how to feel about it. But the general thrust of his point is that Ziggler will put on a great show and they’ll have a great match and it’ll steal the show, but Dean will still ultimately win.
Ziggler tries to sell us on the story that he was just a little kid who from the age of five wanted to be a wrestler who has been toiling for seven years being told he’s not good enough for the championship picture, and screams in Dean’s face that he is good enough. Dean calmly replies “no you’re not”, and that basically sums up the whole thing.
Dean’s music hits and he starts to walk away from the ring, when suddenly Wyatt appears as if from nowhere. Bray Wyatt floors Dolph Ziggler with a Sister Abigail, then takes the microphone, telling the crowd that Ziggler is not a credible contender to Dean’s title. He lays out a challenge – Zigger can take him on, and if he wins, he has proven that he’s worthy of being number one contender. If not, Bray takes his spot.
Later on tonight, AJ Styles has a message for John Cena, and American Alpha debuts! That’s super exciting, I’m so keen.
But up next, it’s a triple threat for number one contender for The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship!
Dolph Ziggler is backstage with Bryan and McMahon, talking about the match with Bray Wyatt. Daniel tells him that he’s got nothing to gain and everything to lose in this match. Ziggler counters that Dean doesn’t think he deserves it, the crowd doesn’t think he deserves it, and Bray doesn’t think he deserves it, so he wants to prove them all wrong!
MATCH: Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Kalisto makes his way out to the ring first. Miz is at ringside, because of course he is. Corbin makes his way out next, followed by Crews.
- Due to events beyond my control related to the internet, I’ve missed a large portion of this match. When I can see what’s going on, Corbin is on his feet and the other two are collapsed in corners.
- Corbin hits a corner splash on Crews, then Kalisto, then goes for Crews again but Crews gets out of the way, sending Corbin into the turnbuckle.
- Kalisto comes in with a headscissors takedown to Corbin, sending him out of the ring.
- Crews tries to capitalize with a Samoan Drop and a pinfall on Kalisto, but Kalisto kicks out.
- Corbin back into the ring for a big power move on Crews; Crews kicks out at two.
- Corbin points at the Miz, before stomping Kalisto and getting in some knees on Crews. Kalisto kicks him away then goes for a hurricanrana.
- Corbin catches him in powerbomb position but takes a dropkick from Crews.
- Crews gets a cheeky rollup on Kalisto for a successful pinfall.
Crews is our number one contender for the Intercontinental Title! He looks smiley as always about it. Corbin is mad, though, and comes back into the ring to beat on Kalisto, and Crews comes back to defend him. Miz comes in and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale on Crews, only to take the End of the Days from Corbin.
MATCH: Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie
Becky makes her way down to the ring first, and I’m humming her music as I tend to do. Eva Marie is out next and I really love her entrance. Very dramatic, it’s great.
Before the match even begins properly, Eva Marie starts clutching at her leg and the referee waves Becky away from her. The referee calls off the match due to Eva’s injured… knee? I have no idea what happened there, unless she tweaked it jumping down from the ropes during her entrance.
Becky looks outraged, and Eva Marie slowly climbs out of the ring with assistance.
Backstage, Renee is interviewing Carmella. Carmella points out that Eva Marie’s injury looked like a scam to her. Natalya comes in before Carmella can really elaborate, and claims that she’s the strongest woman in the division, and the two of them bicker a little over who is more important. I mean, at least no one says “sweetheart”.
MATCH: The Vaudevillains vs. American Alpha
It’s American Alpha’s SmackDown Live debut! The Vaudevillains are already in the ring when they make their way out.
- Gable and Gotch start in the ring together, and go immediately to the mat. Gable in control with a waistlock, then when he attempts to transition to the ankle lock, Gotch powers out and counters into a wristlock.
- Gable with a kipup and reverses with a legscissors takedown, and tags in Jordan.
- Beautiful dropkick from Jordan, for an unsuccessful pinfall.
- Gotch makes the tag to English, but after the double hip toss, Jordan tags Gable back in.
- Gable hits a diving double clothesline then the two men dropkick the Vaudevillains.
- English with Gable in the corner; Gotch tags back in, and tries to pin Gable with a lateral press, but kicks out at two.
- English back in, but Gable ducks the splash in the corner, and tags Jordan back in.
- Jordan with right hands to English, then a dropkick, then a pair of suplexes and Jordan is getting undressed!
- Spear in the corner, then a tag made back to Gable, and Gable gets a successful pin off the back of Grand Amplitude.
American Alpha embrace in the ring to celebrate their victory, and the commentators describe them as future tag champs. I can’t really argue with that!
Next up, AJ Styles has unfinished business with John Cena. He cuts his own entrance off before it’s quite finished, and picks up a mic, but before he can start really talking, Cena makes his way out, demanding that whatever AJ has to say, he say to his face. AJ is cut off from his retort, however, by the crowd getting together to chant at him that he’s a soccer mom. I’m so glad that’s taking off.
When AJ finally gets a chance to speak, he explains that he wants John Cena gone from WWE, and that people only like him and think he’s a hero because they’re small-minded. He also appears to be wistful for the days of Y2AJ because he calls the children who like Cena “stupid idiots”. But it’s not just the children – it’s also the parents who support their children through this, and Cena himself, who buys into what the kids and parents think about him.
AJ Styles has apparently spent a little too much time at soccer practice with his kids, though, because he demands a trophy for being phenomenal and beating John Cena. AJ wants to know why Cena is still here after AJ beat him at Money in the Bank, and Cena says he’s not giving up any time soon because it’s been 15 years and he’s here out of love. He actually really looks like he’s getting emotional as he talks through all the things he loves about the WWE, and I’m really into it. Basically, Cena is here because he loves WWE and the community and the fans, and AJ’s just here because he’s quite a good wrestler.
As he wraps up, AJ starts sarcastically clapping, and lays down a challenge: AJ Styles vs. John Cena at SummerSlam. No excuses, no help, just one-on-one. Cena, naturally, accepts. AJ demands that after Cena loses, he come out and tell the world that AJ is better than him. Which is… a little bit playground, but whatever. These two are amazing, and can sell me on it.
This is probably the biggest mood whiplash of the night, because when we come back, Breezango are in the ring.
MATCH: Fandango (with Tyler Breeze) vs. Randy Orton
Breezango are in the ring waiting as Randy Orton makes his way to the ring, back in their red gear. Fandango is gyrating and Tyler is preoccupied with his selfie stick, as they are inclined to do. We get a recap of Randy Orton RKOing Brock Lesnar outta nowhere on RAW, which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the upcoming segment, right?
- Collar and elbow tieup, and Fandango gets in with strikes on Orton then whips him into the corner. Orton comes back with a shoulder block, taking Fandango to the mat, then keeping him down with stomps.
- Crowd chanting for an RKO, but Randy keeps putting the boot in on Fandango, then drags him to his feet for a suplex. A lateral press gets a one-count.
- Tyler on the apron distracts Randy for a moment, and as the ref shoos Tyler away, Fandango hits a dropkick and takes Randy to the mat for some more strikes.
- Fandango with a headlock on Randy; Randy powers to his feet and breaks the hold into a back suplex.
- Fandango hits the mat from Randy’s clotheslines, then eats a powerslam. Tyler Breeze climbs in the ring to interfere, and takes a powerslam from Randy as well.
- Randy hits a DDT on Fandango, and takes his time enjoying the crowd response before security rush over – Brock Lesnar is in the crowd, also enjoying the show. He’s probably wondering why Fandango was not disqualified for Tyler’s blatant interference. That bugs me, too, Lesnar, don’t worry.
- Lesnar jumps the barricade and climbs into the ring. Randy hits an RKO on Fandango, who rolls out of the ring just as Lesnar hits an F5 on Randy Orton.
Shane McMahon and a whole lot more security and extra referees come rushing out to deal with Brock Lesnar, who slowly backs away from the ring. Randy Orton is still suffering in the ring, eyeing Brock as he makes his exit.
Brock Lesnar is not the only person to have made his way into the arena without permission, however – Heath Slater has found his way into Daniel Bryan’s office. Daniel tells him that he can have a SmackDown Live contract if he can beat someone. Rhyno comes in and takes him down.
Renee Young is interviewing Dean Ambrose! She asks him about Dolph Ziggler putting the number one contendership on the line, and he gets distracted by the fact that he wants to be standing rather than sitting, then tells Renee that he was surprised by Ziggler today and is happy to be surprised again if Ziggler manages to beat Bray.
Backstage, Randy is asked about the beatdown he took from Lesnar, but he just walks away without saying anything,
Carmella’s music hits, and she makes her way towards the ring! She starts us off by getting on the mic and introducing herself, but Natalya comes in and knocks Carmella to the ground, then suplexing her and locking in the Sharpshooter at ringside. Carmella frantically taps out, but because it’s not actually a match, it’s hard for anyone to stop Natalya. Eventually Natalya walks away, leaving Carmella broken on the floor.
Daniel and Shane try to talk Ziggler out of his match against Bray Wyatt, but he dismisses them because he wants to prove himself, and they’re just proving to him that they don’t think he can do it either.
MATCH: Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler
Bray Wyatt comes to the ring very slowly, and blows out his lantern in the middle of the ring. Ambrose is at ringside for this match, watching closely to see what transpires between these two.
- Ziggler dropkicks Bray straight up, sending both men to the mat.
- Follows it up with a quick Famouser, for a two-count. Bray gets to his feet and takes a superkick, sending him out of the ring.
- Ziggler follows Bray, but takes a clothesline to the ground.
- Bray knocks Ziggler into the barricade, then shouts to the crowd before dragging Ziggler back into the ring.
- Bray with strikes to Ziggler’s head, but Ziggler ducks under the clothesline that follows and goes for a rollup for a nearfall before we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, Ziggler and Bray are battling at the turnbuckle. Ziggler fights Bray back with a headbutt, but Bray counters with a better headbutt of his own and superplexes Ziggler.
- Bray pops up into the spiderwalk and goes for a cover, but Ziggler kicks out.
- Bray with a side headlock on Ziggler. Ziggler tries to power to a vertical base, but Bray keeps him down.
- Dean on commentary talking about he wants Ziggler to be the best Ziggler he can be. That’s very nice of him.
- Ziggler manages to get to a vertical base and hits Bray with several strikes and a jawbreaker.
- Ziggler in the corner; Bray comes after him and takes an elbow.
- Back and forth, and Ziggler takes Bray down with a pair of lariats and then a stinger slash.
- Ziggler with an elbow drop on Bray, for a two-count.
- Ziggler goes for the superkick, but Bray blocks and hits back with a right hand.
- Big suplex from Bray, but Ziggler kicks out just in time.
- Bray in the corner, trying to expose the turnbuckle. Commentary yells that this gives Dean Ambrose an opportunity, but it’s Dolph Ziggler, the man actually in the match, who jumps in with the Zig Zag while Bray is arguing with the ref. Bray kicks out just in time, and Ziggler pounds his fist on the ground in frustration.
- Ziggler goes to expose the turnbuckle now, and the referee yells at him but does not actually do anything about it.
- Ziggler tries to throw Bray into the turnbuckle, but Bray goes for Sister Abigail, but Ziggler counters into a roll-up for a two-count.
- Slam from Bray gets another nearfall.
- Bray gets Ziggler to his feet, but Ziggler comes back with a right hand. Ziggler back on the ground, and Bray in with kicks and strikes.
- Bray throws Ziggler into the exposed turnbuckle, but Ziggler misses the steel. Ziggler sends Bray headfirst into the steel to follow up.
- Ziggler with a superkick, and a three-count.
Maybe this is a new Dolph Ziggler! Ziggler poses on the turnbuckle and points at Dean, yelling at him that there’s nowhere for him to run and this is Ziggler’s time to shine. Erick Rowan, however, comes in to attack Ziggler, and Dean jumps to Ziggler’s defense, attacking Rowan.
Bray gets up and hits Sister Abigail on Ziggler as Dean is thrown from the ring by Rowan. Bray implores us to follow the buzzards, and that ends SmackDown Live for this week!