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WWE SmackDown live results: The Shane McMahon/Daniel Bryan era begins

- Air Date: July 26, 2016
- Location: First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY

- The Big News:

Dolph Ziggler will face Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship after winning a 6-pack challenge match over AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, John Cena and Bray Wyatt.

Randy Orton had his first match in 9 months, Rhyno returned, and they announced that Shelton Benjamin would be returning soon. American Alpha will debut next week.

Nothing was announced regarding a possible new Women’s Championship or Tag Team Championship.

- Show Recap: 

SmackDown started with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon backstage. Bryan said the show is not about them, it’s about the amazing superstars. The camera followed them as they walked out in front crowd. Shane said it was all about the superstars and the fans. They played Bryan’s music and he led the crowd in Yes chants, then cut to the new intro.

After the intro, Bryan and Shane were in the ring, and the entire roster surrounded them on the ring apron. Shane announced SmackDown-only PPVs starting on September 11 with Backlash. Shane said SmackDown was home to the one and only WWE Champion. Shane then introduced Dean Ambrose as the “undisputed WWE Champion,” who came out to his music.

Ambrose said he was ready for a new challenge and asked the roster who was ready to step up. Bryan loved that Ambrose was always ready to fight. Bryan announced a “6-pack challenge” to determine the number one contender to face Ambrose at SummerSlam.

They announced each guy and they got into the ring after their name was called. In order, they were: John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, and AJ Styles. Bryan noted that there was only five of them, because the sixth spot would be decided in a battle royal up next. Bryan led the crowd in Yes chants to end the segment.

Note that Ambrose was referred to as the WWE Champion, Undisputed WWE Champion, and WWE World Heavyweight Champion, all in this one segment.

Mauro Ranallo, JBL and David Otunga are on commentary. Otunga welcomed us to the “A show.” There’s a new set, graphics and theme song. The ropes are blue and there’s blue everywhere. ​

Apollo Crews won a Battle Royal to determine 6th spot in 6-Pack Challenge

Simon Gotch was eliminated first. Kane eliminated both Ascension members. Breezango eliminated Jey Uso and they went to commercial.

Aiden English was eliminated during commercial. Mojo Rawley eliminated Erick Rowan, but Mojo was then eliminated by Alberto Del Rio, which got boos from the crowd. Zack Ryder and Apollo Crews eliminated Del Rio, and Kane eliminated both Breeze and Fandango.

This left a final four of Kane, Crews, Ryder and Kalisto. The latter three took turns hitting moves on Kane. Kalisto hit Crews with Salida Del Sol. Ryder went for an elbow drop but slipped off the ropes. Kalisto hit Ryder with a spike-rana, but Kane eliminated Kalisto.

Ryder gave broski boots to Kane and Crews, but Kane eliminated Ryder. Crews flipped out a chokeslam and eliminated Kane. Crews moves on to the 6-pack challenge later tonight. After the match, Renee Young interviewed Crews, who said he was excited, but wasn’t ready to celebrate yet.

They played a video package for the return of Shelton Benjamin: "coming soon." 

They also announced the return of Brock Lesnar... on Raw.

They showed a pre-taped interview with Dolph Ziggler. He said he let things slip away once, but it’s not going to happen again. He would win tonight take his place at SummerSlam.

Becky Lynch defeated Natalya via submission 

Lynch made a comeback, which included a diving leg drop off the top rope, but Natalya kicked out. Natalya responded with a German suplex. Lynch and Natayal countered each other's submission moves, leading to Natalya hitting a discus clothesline for a near fall. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter again, but Lynch applied the Disarmer and Natalya tapped. Decent match that went about 10 minutes.

Afterwards, Renee asked Lynch about finally defeating Natalya. She said to call her “Becky Balboa,” when she was interrupted by Alexa Bliss, who called herself the personification of the new era.

Bliss was then interrupted by a returning Naomi, who told Bliss to step aside because SmackDown Live belongs to her. Naomi was then interrupted by Carmella. They’re in Buffalo, so she went for a cheap pop mentioning Staten Island, but the fans didn’t react.

Finally, Eva Marie entered and a voiceover introduced her. She just posed and didn’t say anything. All the lights turned red when she came out. She got booed.

Baron Corbin said he’s not winning this match for his parents, not for anyone on the roster, not for anyone in Buffalo, he’s winning this match for himself.

MizTV with Randy Orton 

Miz said his guest was a legend killer and teased that it would be Randy Orton, but it was actually himself. Miz and Maryse talked for a while before being interrupted by Orton. The crowd liked Orton, who made a joke about Miz playing with himself.

Miz asked Orton about Brock Lesnar. Orton wasn’t intimidated and said he used to a make a living by killing legends. He said it would only take one RKO to get to Viperville and some people actually chanted “Viperville.”

Miz said Orton’s first match back could be his last. Orton said it wouldn’t be his last match, and his return match should be tonight in Buffalo against the Intercontinental champion. Miz said no because Orton doesn’t deserve a title shot, but Orton said they could make it non-title.

Miz still didn’t want to do it, so Orton asked if he was afraid of getting beat up in front of his “pretty little wife.” Orton then asked who does the pitching and catching in their relationship. Maryse was offended and accepted the match for Miz. This felt like something out of the old era.

Non-Title: Randy Orton defeated Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall

Orton went crashing shoulder-first into the barricade and sold it like he was hurt. Miz worked over the shoulder and the announcers talked about Orton’s shoulder injury. Miz also whipped him shoulder-first into the steel steps. He then tossed Orton back in the ring, but when Miz jumped in, Orton popped up and hit an RKO.

Orton was still selling his shoulder, but instead of going for the cover, Orton deliberately got to his feet, posed, and hit a second RKO for the win in about 4 minutes. They’re really emphasizing that Orton will beat Lesnar if he can just hit the RKO.

They showed a video package for American Alpha and announced their in-ring debut next week. (They were on the ring apron at the beginning of the show, but were not in the battle royal.)

There was a jobber in the ring, but Heath Slater came down through the crowd and knocked him out. He wanted to be signed and added to the 6-pack challenge in the main event. He started a “sign Heath Slater” chant when Shane interrupted him. Shane thought Slater should send his resume.

Slater said his resume was on the Network. He called himself the brains behind Nexus, the Corre, 3MB, and the Social Outcasts. He’s also a former tag team champion and the hottest free agent. Rhyno showed up behind him as the crowd cheered. Slater eventually turned around and was gored to death.

AJ Styles pre-taped interview. He thought Shane and Bryan had something against him, because they didn’t draft the Club and now he has to qualify for a title shot. He said he would beat up everyone in the match, including John Cena, which is his favourite thing to do.

They had a corporate sponsor segment showing one of the great moments in WWE history. This time it was Daniel Bryan winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania 30.

Bray Wyatt interview. He will conquer his opponents tonight and the whole world will truly be in his hands.

Number One Contender’s 6-Pack Challenge - Dolph Ziggler defeated Bray Wyatt, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles and John Cena via pinfall 

John Cena came out last. Match started at 9:38 PM ET, but they went right to commercial. 

Bray and Styles worked over Crews after the break. Bray motioned to Styles to hit a move, but as Styles came off the ropes, Bray clotheslined him. Ziggler hit some offense on Bray, but Corbin took out Ziggler. Styles kneed Corbin, then gave Bray a springboard 450 splash, but Cena broke up the cover.

Styles gave Cena a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker, and Crews gave Styles the triple German suplexes. Corbin cut off Crews and worked him over, leading to a commercial break.

After the break, there were two different tower of doom spots at once. Styles and Ziggler caught the worst of it. This left Crews and Corbin alone. Corbin hit a deep six on Crews for a two count. Crews followed with a powerbomb, but Bray pulled the referee out of the ring and hit Sister Abigail.

Ziggler ran in and hit Bray with a Zig-Zag, but the referee was still down. Ziggler went for a superkick, but Cena gave him an AA. Styles gave Bray a Pele kick, and Cena gave Styles an AA, but Styles kicked out at two.

Cena gave Crews, Bray and Corbin the AA (separately). Styles nailed Cena with the Phenomenal forearm, but Ziggler caught Styles with a  superkick for the pinfall win. Ziggler goes on to face Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam for the WWE Title. Huh.

JBL said there would be no glass ceiling at SummerSlam. Otunga said he superkicked right through it.

Dean Ambrose came out to face off with Ziggler. They showed replays and Bryan came down to raise their hands. Shane came out to his music to shake their hands. The show ended with Ziggler’s music playing.

(Pretty sure I heard a producer yelling, “replay, replay, replay!” into somebody’s headset before they would show a replay.)

- Final Thoughts:

This was the biggest SmackDown show in a while, besides the draft last week, and definitely didn’t feel like the old B show. Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like something from a supposed new era either.

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were not focused on any less than Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley were on Raw. There was a long segment in the middle of the show involved Miz and Randy Orton, two guys who have been around forever.

There was no new talent emerging the way Finn Balor or Sasha Banks did on Raw, and it’s difficult to get excited about Dolph Ziggler.

Maybe it’s a bit unfair to compare this show to the historic Raw show on Monday, but fans will be comparing them, because that’s the whole point of this rivalry. 

On the positive side, this was still a good show and it breezed right by, unlike Raw. They have a lot of top guys to work with so hopefully they make the most of it in the coming weeks.