It’s very nearly time for our first brand-exclusive PPV following the draft! It’s time for SmackDown Live to show us what they can do. Only six matches confirmed for the show right now, so without further ado, let’s get into it!
MATCH: The Miz (with Maryse) vs. Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship Match
I have a lot of problems with this match on principle. The Miz wasn’t wrong when he complained on SmackDown Live that it seems awfully arbitrary for Dolph Ziggler to have been granted a title shot, and more than that, I am very disappointed that Dolph Ziggler has gone, on back-to-back pay-per-views, to fighting for the WWE World Championship to fighting for the Intercontinental Championship. Especially seeing as… well, I don’t see him taking the title, here. It’s not time for The Miz’s never-ending Intercontinental Championship reign to end just yet. That said, Ziggler is credible enough that I can’t see Miz winning clean.
Prediction: The Miz to retain, via disqualification or count-out.
MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This is a feud that I can get behind, as a long-time fan of Bray Wyatt, but I’m already steeling myself for disappointment, here. With Randy Orton’s recent loss to Brock Lesnar, and with his history as a wrestler, I just don’t see Bray Wyatt going over here. That being said, I don’t assume this match is going to end clean either. There’s too many possible other options, too many loose threads hanging over this match.
Prediction: No contest due to interference from a third party – possibly a face Erick Rowan.
MATCH: The Usos vs. The Hype Bros – Tag Team Tournament Final
After the Usos turned heel on American Alpha on last week’s SmackDown, Alpha have been pulled from the final leaving an open spot. The Hype Bros have put on a fine showing so far in the tournament, but I suspect the important thing here is to solidify the Usos as a heel team, and that means leading them to an aggressive win here. Not to mention, I’m not really sure what the alleged alignment of Slater and Rhyno, the other tag-team in the final, is, but it feels to me like they’re going over as faces, so all the more reason for the heels to win here.
Prediction: The Usos to win.
MATCH: TBD vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno – Tag Team Championship Match
Slater and Rhyno have been interesting, haven’t they? Somehow, WWE have got me really invested in Heath Slater, and I’m actually really entertained by this story. Without knowing for sure who the other team in the match is I suppose I could be setting myself up to be entirely on the wrong track, but my suspicion is that the match earlier in the night will give the advantage to Slater and Rhyno to become inaugural champions, and finally earn Slater that contract he’s been chasing.
Prediction: Heath Slater and Rhyno.
MATCH: Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella – Women’s Championship 6 Pack Challenge Elimination Match
As much as I am disappointed by the fact that they’ve decided to decide the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Championship by the tried and tested technique of “I don’t know, just throw them all the ring together”… what’s really been interesting me about the women’s division is that they all look credible, and I wouldn’t be disappointed by any one of them winning. So who do I think is most likely? To set the division up on the strongest footing, my heart says Becky Lynch, but my head says there’s a face with a long history behind her that will make the title look strong.
Prediction: Nikki Bella.
MATCH: Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles – WWE World Championship Match
And finally, the match that makes Jess feel really sad inside. As an unabashed fan of both AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose, I’ll be watching this match rocking a Dean t-shirt under a Phenomenal hoodie and hiding my face every time either of them gets any offense in. But, to be realistic… Dean was a lot more interesting chasing the title than he has been holding it, and as AJ Styles keeps reminding us, he was recently able to take out the face that runs the place, John Cena. If he can’t take out Dean, who can?
Prediction: AJ Styles.