Welcome to SmackDown Live! It’s the final show before SummerSlam this Sunday, and so naturally we open with a contract signing for Randy Orton. He reminds us that it only takes one RKO to beat anyone before dramatically signing the contract, when Heath Slater wanders in with a fruit basket that he clearly stole from someone. No, really – the label says “To Bob, my condolences”. Slater talks some more about being the hottest free agent while Randy Orton eyes off an apple like an asshole.
The show opens proper on an episode of Miz TV! Maryse is looking very sparkly tonight as she introduces the sexiest man alive, and… oh, she’s still just talking about her husband. She and I need to have some words about this. Before it can go too far, however, Dean Ambrose makes his way down to the ring, with Dolph Ziggler not far behind. Before much of anything can happen, Ziggler is in Dean’s face screaming, “You wanna go right now?” because he just completely lacks patience as well as fashion sense.
I mean, I know it’s a cheap shot, but the man is wearing jeggings and a blazer. What do you expect from me?
The Miz compares Dolph Ziggler to the Ghostbusters remake: a flop. That’s an even cheaper joke than my jab at his fashion sense, quite frankly. In a nutshell, his point is that Dolph Ziggler has never really gone anywhere, but now he’s number one contender and on an upswing, but what happens if he loses? Ziggler tries to counter that he’s not thinking about losing, just with his eyes on the championship, and Dean can’t resist the urge to needle at him about that a bit more.
Between Miz and Dean, they get Dolph Ziggler so angry that he threatens to “kick [Dean’s] head right off his face”. I have absolutely no idea how he plans to do that, but it sounds like a thing to see, so I’m looking forward to it. Dean basically replies by telling Dolph that even if he manages to win the championship, it’s not going to fix anything. Ziggler has a chip on his shoulder, and rather than bolster him up, it’s only going to drag him down.
They claim for a while longer that they’re both amazing and the other one is going to have to push harder and harder to break through them. It goes on long enough that when the camera cuts to a different angle, I’m actually surprised – I’d totally forgotten that the Miz was still standing in the ring.
While I’m reflecting on that, I’m taking by surprise again as Dolph Ziggler punctuates his rant by superkicking Dean in the face. It’s a beautiful moment because it honestly startled me. He walks out of the ring as his music plays, and Dean clutches his face on the mat.
I’m a little disappointed that the commentators choose to undercut this moment by claiming that Ziggler is “just one superkick away” from winning. Are we just going to start saying that about everyone’s finisher, now? I’m not on board with that.
During commercial break, The Miz called out “Apollo Creed”, and Apollo Crews comes out to correct him. The Miz can’t believe that he could possibly have gotten his line wrong, so is attacked by Crews.
MATCH: The Usos, American Alpha & The Hype Bros vs. Breezango, the Vaudevillains & The Ascension
Every tagteam in the division is out to fight today. I mean, it actually is every team in the division this time, unlike last week when the Usos and Breezango were missing, so that’s an improvement. It takes a minute and a half for the first five teams to make their way out, and then a further minute just for Breezango. I assume this is so the two of them can show off their gorgeous new ring gear, which is ridiculous even by their standards.
- Tyler Breeze and Chad Gable start in the ring together; collar and elbow tie-up, Tyler backing Gable into his corner to tag in Viktor.
- Viktor sending Gable to his knees, then slapping him down again for a quick two-count.
- Viktor with Gable on his shoulder, but Gable wriggles free of the hold, then ducking under a clothesline to tag in Mojo Rawley.
- Rawley trips Viktor, then a splash in the corner; tagging in Zack Ryder for what looks like will be an attempt at the Hype Ryder. Konnor rushes the ring to interfere, and suddenly it’s a 12 man brawl as the other members of the heel team come in to assist and the faces jump into the ring to fight them off.
- When we come back from commercial, Zack Ryder and Konnor are in the ring together. Only Jey Uso, Aiden English and Fandango are visible on the apron, with the other members of the teams strewn about on the floor.
- Both men in the ring make a hot tag; Ryder tagging in Jey and Konnor tagging in English.
- Jey ducks an assault from Aiden English then hits a Samoan Drop.
- Jason Jordan enters the ring and argues with Jey, then tags himself in and suplexes Aiden English. Konnor disrupts the pin, but Zack Ryder enters the ring to hit the Broski Boot and knock him out of the ring.
- Mojo Rawley jumps in to save Ryder from an incoming Viktor, and they successfully hit the Hype Ryder.
- Tyler Breeze in with the Beauty Shot on Zack Ryder, turning around into a clothesline from Mojo Rawley, who turns around into a superkick from Fandango, who turns around into a superkick from Jimmy Uso.
- Simon Gotch attempting to interfere, but taking a superkick from Jey Uso before he can do anything. Usos standing tall in the ring, then Jey Uso diving over the top rope to floor most of the opposing team.
- Aiden English in now to send Jimmy Uso flying, but Jason Jordan climbs back into the ring, tags in Chad Gable, and together they hit Grand Amplitude for a successful three-count.
It actually takes me going back through my notes to realize that yes, Jason Jordan and Aiden English had been the legal men the whole time. The three winning teams – the faces – celebrate in the ring, as we cut away.
MATCH: Naomi vs. Eva Marie
Naomi makes her way down to the ring first, and oh my goodness – she’s a one woman rave! Her new glow in the dark bodysuit is “looking to light up” the WWE according to Mauro, but all I can think to say about it is that it’s amazing and I love it!
I’m sure you all weren’t expecting Eva Marie to actually wrestle a match or something absurd like that, were you? Of course, her announcer sends her apologies. Eva Marie is delayed due to traffic. JBL assures us that there are flash flood alerts and that must be why Eva Marie isn’t there. And then they start talking about Alberto del Rio. Because why not.
Backstage, AJ Styles is congratulating Alberto del Rio on his chance to beat up John Cena at Hell in a Cell 2015, and del Rio basically tells him to shut up and stop hyping up the idea of beating up John Cena so much. I don’t like del Rio much, but I don’t mind AJ being told to calm down a little, so I get it.
MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater
Back at the beginning of the show when Randy Orton was biting into an apple and looking smug (try it – it’s impossible to do one without the other), it’s because he was challenging Slater to a match. Poor Heath Slater, I hope your hundreds of children can afford your medical bills after all these squashes.
- Kick to the leg from Orton, then Slater is thrown into the ringpost, then the opposite ringpost.
- Slater to the ground, Orton stomping his limbs, then picking him up to his feet for a knee to the jaw.
- European uppercuts in the corner from Orton, until the referee creates distance.
- Several more strikes from Orton in the corner, and the bell rings; the referee has signalled that Orton did not create space in the corner in a timely fashion and he has been disqualified.
Orton looks like he can’t believe what has happened, and throws Slater at David Otunga. The referee screams at Orton that “it’s over” as Orton drags Slater away from the announce table and then to his feet, before picking him up and draping him on the barricade to set up for a DDT. The crowd starts chanting “RKO!” and of course, Orton can’t help but oblige. He throws Slater back into the ring and waits for him to slowly clamber to his feet. Eventually, he picks Slater up onto his feet – but for a German suplex, not an RKO. He bounces on his feet like Brock Lesnar for quite a pop from the crowd, then finally hits the long-awaited RKO and poses on the turnbuckle.
We cut straight into a Bray Wyatt promo, however, Randy still on the turnbuckle – Bray whispers that they’re here and I can’t help but shiver a little.
Backstage somewhere, Slater is being assisted by a medic because he’s hurting all over. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan come in applauding, because Slater did officially win the match so they’re going to sign him. They do not appear dissuaded by Slater mumbling nonsense about how he showed Brock Lesnar no mercy, or that he loves Daniel’s reality show with his family, but when he starts talking about how Shane looks beautiful tonight, Shane slips the contract out of his hands and walks away.
MATCH: Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose
Apparently while we were checking on Heath Slater and watching commercials, Bray and Erick were walking past Randy Orton creepily and whispering to him. Dean makes his way down to the ring, still looking kind of annoyed by Dolph Ziggler’s superkick to the face earlier in the show.
- Dean immediately on the offensive as the bell rings, backing Rowan into the corner, but he is shoved away and lands on his knees in the middle of the ring.
- Dean up on his feet, but immediately knocked to the ground again with a shoulder block.
- Rowan drags Dean to his feet and throws him face-first into the turnbuckle then hits him with several knees to the stomach.
- Picks Dean up over his shoulder, but Dean slips out of the hold and strikes Rowan in the midsection and goes for the double underhook for Dirty Deeds.
- Rowan shoves him away and both men rebound off the ropes; Dean ducks a kick from Rowan, and comes back with a dropkick that sends Rowan out of the ring.
- Dean suicide dives after him, then throws Rowan into the barricade before both men get back in the ring.
- Dean rebounds off the ropes for a crossbody, but is caught for a spinning power slam. As we cut to another angle, we see Bray Wyatt in his rocking chair, watching.
- Dean slides onto his feet outside the ring and is knocked to the floor by a baseball slide dropkick from Rowan.
- Both men back in the ring for a quick cover from Rowan; Dean kicks out at one.
- Chinlock from Rowan as the crowd chants “Let’s go Ambrose!”
- Dean powers to a vertical base but is thrown back to the ground by the larger Rowan, before being whipped into the turnbuckle.
- Rowan with an elbow then a pair of headbutts to Dean, then whips him into the opposite corner where he walks into a big boot.
- Dean still in the corner; Rowan goes for another boot, but this time Dean rolls out of the way and Rowan gets his leg caught on the top rope.
- JBL informs us that “Dean is not known for his strategy – normally he just does things”. I love how much respect our champion is earning, don’t you?
- Rowan limping as he drags himself away from the turnbuckle and after Dean, who meets him with a series of right hands, ducks under a clothesline, and picks him up for a back suplex.
- Dean onto the turnbuckle for the flying elbow drop, dropping Rowan just as he gets to his feet, getting a two-count.
- Dean rebounds off the ropes into a spinning heel kick for a nearfall.
- Rowan on top with several strikes, then steps back to let Dean get to his feet. Picks Dean up into powerbomb position, but Dean slips over the top and hits a pendulum lariat.
- Both men back onto their feet, and Rowan makes a grab for Dean, but takes a kick to the midsection into Dirty Deeds for a successful pin.
Bray Wyatt looks shocked and angry at ringside, then as Dean makes his way up the ramp with his title, Bray is just looking at Rowan’s sheep mask in what might be despair. He places it on the chair, and walks up the ramp without looking back, Rowan still collapsed in the ring.
MATCH: Natalya & Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella & Becky Lynch
When we’re back from commercial, Natalya and Alexa are already in the ring together, with Carmella’s music playing. Becky joins her in the ring shortly afterwards, with a replay of last week’s SmackDown match between Becky and Alexa.
- Natalya and Carmella start in the ring together. Collar and elbow tie-up; Carmella against the ropes, until the referee creates separation, then she’s back with strikes into a spinning headscissors.
- Carmella rebounds off the ropes into Nattie-by-Nature, but Natalya stops for a moment to taunt Becky before capitalizing.
- Natalya drags Carmella to her feet and into the corner to make the tag to Alexa, who drapes Carmella over the ropes and bounces her with a foot on her back. When she releases Carmella, she gets a two-count.
- Rear chinlock from Alexa onto Carmella; the crowd claps Carmella to her feet, and she breaks out with a jawbreaker.
- Both women make it to their corners for a tag, and Becky hits Alexa with a forearm in the corner before hitting a springboard side kick on Natalya into Alexa.
- Becky with a forearm into Natalya in the corner, then an exploder suplex for a nearfall.
- Natalya back on her feet, striking Becky, then rebounding into a crossbody that takes both women to the ground.
- Eva Marie’s music hits, because of course it does! Eva makes her way down towards the ring, but Naomi follows her down there and chases her into the ring.
- Natalya throws Naomi out the ring and Becky capitalizes with an attempted roll-up. Natalya kicks out, but Becky transitions into the Dis-Arm-Her, and Natalya taps.
Eva Marie looks shocked at ringside like she doesn’t really understand what just happened, and Becky, Carmella and Naomi celebrate together in the ring.
Bell to bell, the match was a short four minutes, with the whole segment running nearly seven minutes. It’s nice to see every woman on the roster represented in storyline, but I’d really like to see some more screen-time for them.
Backstage somewhere, Baron Corbin is pressing Kalisto’s face into a wall while taunting him about how their feud is not yet over. Some security come in to make Corbin leave Kalisto alone, and I have virtually no interest in this.
A lengthy retrospective on Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton; it’s even more things I don’t care about! Sorry, guys. Actually, I’m not that sorry.
Another match is announced for SummerSlam, however – it’s a 6 woman tag-team match, pitting Carmella, Naomi and Becky Lynch against Natalya, Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss.
MATCH: John Cena vs. Alberto del Rio
AJ Styles is joining us on commentary for this match! Alberto del Rio makes his way down to the ring first, as AJ explains to us that he thinks he knows John Cena pretty well but he’s going to take the opportunity to scout, anyway. John Cena follows soon after, and then we’re into business.
- Collar and elbow tie-up to start things off, then del Rio with a headlock.
- Rebound off the ropes and John Cena hits the floor. Duel chants of “Let’s go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” as del Rio moves in for another side headlock.
- Again the hold is broken and Cena ducks the clothesline from del Rio, and hits a hip toss that sends del Rio out of the ring as we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, del Rio leaps off the turnbuckle onto Cena for a two-count, and transitions into a chinlock.
- Cena powers to a vertical base, then breaks the hold, but is taken down with a kick from del Rio that drapes him over the bottom rope.
- Del Rio attempts to capitalize with a dropkick, but Cena drops out of the way and del Rio again goes to the outside.
- Cena throws del Rio back into the ring, then picks del Rio up into a fireman’s carry; del Rio slips out and goes behind for a suplex, bridging into a cover for a two-count.
- With Cena still on his back, del Rio goes for a stomp. AJ and the David Otunga arguing over whether Cena paid for the commentary team to talk about his Make A Wish appearances.
- Del Rio with a big boot as Cena gets to his feet, then attempts to go for another but Cena able to avoid it and gets the upper hand with strikes.
- Cena sends del Rio into the turnbuckle, but as he goes to follow, del Rio moves out of the way and Cena hits the turnbuckle face-first, getting del Rio another nearfall.
- Del Rio throws Cena into the ringpost again, then a kick to the back for another two-count.
- AJ Styles yelling at del Rio to hurt Cena more – he’s not part of the Club, he doesn’t want to #BeatUpJohnCena all the time.
- Del Rio with a DDT, and another commercial break.
- When we’re back, del Rio is on the turnbuckle again, but jumps into a dropkick from Cena that takes him to the mat.
- Cena with a pair of armdrags, into the Five Knuckle Shuffle. As Cena moves to pick him up into the fireman’s carry again, however, del Rio goes behind for the Backstabber.
- AJ quips that he certainly can see John Cena getting beat up, but as del Rio goes for another big boot, Cena catches the kick and tries to reverse into a submission move. Del Rio is able to kick him away and then hit a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker.
- Del Rio goes for a step-up enzuigiri on Cena in the corner, but Cena ducks out of the way and floors del Rio with a clothesline.
- Cena up on the middle rope, and del Rio is back onto his feet for a second attempt at the step-up enzuigiri, which lands, for a two-count.
- Del Rio tries to move into the cross arm-breaker, but is countered into the STF. Del Rio makes the ropes, and kicks Cena in the midsection, then the face for another two-count. AJ looking increasingly upset on commentary.
- Cena gets del Rio back up into the fireman’s carry, but del Rio slides off his shoulders into the cross armbreaker.
- Cena lifts up del Rio while still in the hold, forcing del Rio to break the hold, and transitions into the Attitude Adjustment for a successful pin.
Before Cena can really celebrate, AJ Styles is flying into the ring with the Phenomenal Forearm, flooring Cena. AJ looks down at his fallen adversary, then picks up the microphone and tells him that he is sick and tired of hearing that the future goes through John Cena; that after SummerSlam, AJ will be the face that runs the place.
AJ goes to climb out of the ring, but then suddenly thinks better of it, going back and attempting to pick Cena up for the Styles Clash. Cena reverses into the Attitude Adjustment, then goes for the announce table and clears it off, before returning to AJ and bouncing his head off the steel steps and… dragging the steps over next to the announce table?
He climbs the steps and hits a second Attitude Adjustment onto AJ Styles, this time from the steps through the announce table.
Cena climbs back into the ring to celebrate, and okay, I have a pretty major issue with this. Apart from the fact that I’m not sure how well that sequence gels with John Cena’s babyface persona… the main event of the final show before SummerSlam was John Cena vs. Alberto del Rio? That gets me super excited to find out the results of Dolph Ziggler vs. WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose, I don’t know about you.
Well, we’ll see you on Sunday for SummerSlam!