The Big Takeaway --
Dean Ambrose laid out Dolph Ziggler to end SmackDown after the two of them defeated the Wyatt Family. This led to a big “Yes” chant, so perhaps the crowd isn’t buying Ziggler.
Alexa Bliss and Carmella officially had their debut matches and they both picked up wins.
AJ Styles and John Cena were not on the show, and Heath Slater is still without a contract.
Show Recap --
They opened with Randy Orton arriving backstage. Charly Caruso finally got her interview and asked how he’s staying focused on SummerSlam. Orton said he’s been hearing about the legend of Brock Lesnar for 15 years, but he’s the legend killer, and it only takes one RKO to get to Viperville.
Alberto Del Rio showed up said Viperville sounded like a place at Disneyland. Orton invited him there, but warned that it’s a bumpy ride. Del Rio accepted and said he’d break Orton’s arm.
Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan entered the ring as the announcers recapped what happened last week. Bray claimed he did not fall to Dolph Ziggler last week - he was a victim. He reminded us that Ziggler used the exposed steel, because that was the only way he could win. Bray said he was a God and you can never kill a God.
He told Ziggler to ask Dean Ambrose about him and what he’s capable of and said SmackDown was his show. The Wyatts don’t have corporate masters, there’s no red, no blue - it’s Bray Wyatt versus the world. This brought out Ambrose.
Ambrose said this must be a new era, because Bray is claiming to be a victim who got screwed over. He called Bray a baby and said SmackDown Live belongs to the WWE world champion. Bray challenged him to get in the ring to knock him off his podium. Ambrose admitted to doing stupid things in the past and knew this was a bad idea, but it was still tempting.
Ambrose looked like he was considering getting in the ring, but Ziggler ran out, jumped in the ring and attacked the Wyatts on his own. They double teamed him briefly until Ambrose made the save. The Wyatts had him down for a moment, but Ambrose sent Rowan out of the ring.
Bray grabbed Ambrose for Sister Abigail and Ziggler went for a superkick, but Bray moved and Ziggler nailed Ambrose instead. Ziggler superkicked Rowan, but ate a Sister Abigail and the Wyatts left. (Rowan left on his feet after a superkick, while Ambrose--who also took a superkick--was still down).
Backstage, Ambrose confronted Ziggler, saying he didn’t need Ziggler’s help and didn’t think the superkick was an accident. Ziggler said he was just getting even on the Wyatts. They wanted to fight right now, but they were interrupted by Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, who happened to be nearby. Bryan said they would have to team together against the Wyatts tonight, and if they can’t get along, they may not even make it to SummerSlam.
American Alpha defeated Mikey O’Shea & Mike Vega via pinfall
Jordan and Gable won in about a minute with Grand Amplitude. Before the match, Ascension, the Vaudevillains, and the Hype Bros came out to watch from ringside. Afterwards, all four teams got into a brawl, which ended with Jordan and Gable standing tall. This highlighted how weak the tag division is, to say the least.
Renee Young interviewed The Miz and Maryse backstage from the Desk. Renee wanted to cut to a video for Apollo Crews, but Miz wanted to kiss Maryse. They were about to kiss in Renee’s face but she cut to the video. When they came back to the Desk, Miz and Maryse were laying on the table, staring at each other. They eventually kissed and Renee sent it back to ringside.
Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie
Ranallo, playing it straight, said it appears Eva has recovered from her injury. Before the match could start, the straps on Eva’s top popped off and she had to hold it up with her hands. A certain portion of the crowd cheered, but they covered her up with a towel and she ran off as the crowd booed. The referee called the match off due to wardrobe malfunction.
Charly Caruso interviewed Lynch in the ring. Lynch said she shows up for a fight every week and wasn’t leaving until she got one. This brought out Alexa Bliss. Bliss said she couldn’t think of a better debut than knocking off SmackDown’s top woman draft pick. Ranallo noted that today is Bliss’ birthday.
Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch via pinfall
The match started during commercial. After the break, Bliss was in control as the crowd chanted for Becky. After a couple of minutes, Lynch made a comeback, including an Exploder. At this point, Eva’s entrance started and she came out, as her voiceover announced, “Eva Marie is now ready to compete.” The distraction allowed Bliss to knock down Lynch and hit Twisted Bliss for the win.
After the match, Eva told Caruso that she felt bad for Lynch because her knee is 100%, and would be ready to compete next week.
They showed another great moment in WWE history and it was Lesnar breaking the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 30. (I’m always grateful that my face isn’t one of the many they always show in this replay.)
Randy Orton defeated Alberto Del Rio via DQ
JBL recalled being on SmackDown when both Orton and Lesnar debuted years ago. He mentioned fighting them both, but there’s nothing quite like the beast. The crowd chanted “RKO” as the match started.
Orton had full control before and during a break, but Del Rio hit a backstabber and launched Orton shoulder-first into the post to take control. Del Rio applied the arm bar in between the ropes, but Orton followed with a superplex while still selling his shoulder.
Orton hit a draping DDT and JBL quoted Michael Cole, calling it vintage. Ranallo reminded him that he’s on SmackDown now. Del Rio dodged an RKO and left the ring, so Orton knocked him over the barricade and cleared the announce table. Orton went after Del Rio, but Del Rio hit him with a chair for the DQ.
Del Rio hit Orton a couple of times with the chair and tossed him in the ring. Of course, as Del Rio entered the ring, Orton hit him with the RKO.
Backstage, Heath Slater approached Rhyno who was getting ready for his match. Basically, Slater wanted Rhyno to let him win, since Rhyno already has a contract. Slater has two kids and just bought a new swimming pool. Rhyno said he just won his primary in Michigan and had constituents to impress. Slater said his four kids were his constituents. Rhyno pointed out that Slater just said he had two kids, not four. Anyway, Rhyno declined to help.
They aired a segment from earlier today of Miz talking to Scooby-Doo. Scooby locked Miz in the Mystery Machine van, stole his keys, and decided to steal Miz’s Audi. They didn’t show Scooby stealing the car, though, because that would be impossible.
Rhyno defeated Heath Slater via pinfall
Slater tried to win using a schoolboy with his feet on the ropes, but the referee caught him. Rhyno hit a Gore for the win in about 3 minutes.
Backstage, Bray gave Rowan a... pep talk.
Bryan told Shane that Slater almost embodies SmackDown’s fighting spirit, even though he lost. Slater barged in, red hot that he hasn’t been signed (and mentioned having seven kids). He ranted for a while before leaving. Turns out, Bryan and Shane had a contract for him, but figured he can’t sign it now. Since the show is live, presumably one of Slater’s friends can text him and tell him to get back in there.
Carmella defeated Natalya via submission
Carmella cut another bad promo on her way to the ring. Natalya ran out to attack her, but Carmella saw it coming (as did we, since the camera was deliberately facing the stage) and cut her off. They got in the ring and the referee started the match.
Natalya dominated the match for about 4 minutes. However, she took too long to apply the Sharpshooter, and Carmella clumsily countered into the Code of Silence (headscissors) and Natalya tapped out. Ranallo put over the former NXT women having successful debuts.
Renee at the Desk talked about the feud between AJ Styles and John Cena and cut to a video package. Having Renee do this instead of the announcers is a nice touch.
They cut backstage to Baron Corbin beating up Kalisto as some people yelled at him to stop. Corbin blamed Kalisto for costing him the IC Title.
Dean Ambrose & Dolph Ziggler defeated Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan via pinfall
They went to commercial one minute into the match. Wyatts had control of Ziggler after the break, but he was able to tag in Ambrose, who ran wild on Bray. He also gave Rowan a pescado, but ate a clothesline from Bray back in the ring.
Bray gave Ambrose a Uranage onto the edge of the ring apron, but back in the ring, Ambrose managed to hit a swinging neck breaker and tagged Ziggler. Ziggler hit Rowan with clotheslines, punches, an elbow drop and jumping DDT for two. Rowan followed with a spin kick for a near fall.
Ziggler came back with the Zig-Zag, but Bray broke up the cover. Ambrose knocked him out of the ring and went for a suicide dive, but caught the ropes and almost crashed hard. He caught just enough of Bray, who went down, but it looked bad.
Ziggler finished it off with a superkick on Rowan for the win. Ambrose jumped back in the ring and seemed to be on the same page as Ziggler, but he nailed Ziggler with the Dirty Deeds. This led to a big “Yes” chant from the crowd, which was funny.
Final Thoughts --
I thought this show was fine, but it reminded me a bit of the pre-draft SmackDown. I mentioned last week that SmackDown is very top-heavy with talent, and with AJ Styles and John Cena missing from this show, you could feel the lack of depth.
They stretched out the main event stuff with Ambrose and Ziggler as much as they could. Ambrose and Ziggler started making their entrances for the main event at about 9:42, they went to commercial, then the Wyatts came out, the match went one minute before another commercial, and by the time they came back it was 9:53. So, they managed to go at least 10 minutes without much happening.
Outside of the main event, newer acts were able to shine, particularly on the women’s side. It’s going to take time to build up the newer talent, so hopefully they can stay on track.