7/2/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
Seth Rollins started the show with a lengthy in-ring promo. Much like his show-opening promo on last week’s Smackdown, Rollins talked for a very long time without saying anything new. He essentially regurgitated his promos from this week’s Raw, before saying that Kane had booked matches for Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns before he had left for Tokyo.
Rollins announced that Ambrose would face Bray Wyatt, and that Reigns would face Rollins in the main event. Ambrose entered with a kendo stick and fended off Rollins, Mercury and Noble. Rollins escaped up the ramp and said that if Ambrose was so desperate for action, he could face Wyatt immediately.
Scott’s Thoughts: Smackdown has sure been a strange beast lately. On a story level, almost nothing happens, as is the norm for Smackdown. However, the wrestling matches themselves have been far better on Smackdown than on Raw recently. Between last week’s Ambrose/Rollins main event and this week’s matches, it’s kind of sad that WWE can’t think of anything better to do on Raw than tired, meaningless tag main events.
Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose by pinfall
Ambrose hit an early clothesline, which Wyatt answered with a shoulder tackle. Wyatt hit a suplex, but Ambrose responded with a spinning neckbreaker and a rebound clotheline. Ambrose tried for a top-rope elbuw, but Wyatt countered into a Sister Abigail attempt. Ambrose rolled Wyatt up for two, then dumped him from the ring.
Ambrose hit a dive between the ropes, then followed up back in the ring with a tornado DDT for a near-fall. Ambrose tried for another rebound clothesline, but Wyatt countered with one of his own. Wyatt followed up with a senton for a two-count, but Ambrose responded with a successful rebound clothesline.
Ambrose hit a top-rope elbow for a near-fall, before the action spilled outside. Wyatt hit a lifting side slam into the barricade, then tossed Ambrose back into the ring. Wyatt planted Ambrose with Sister Abigail for the pinfall victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: Even though these two have wrestled each other approximately four million times in the last 7-8 months, they still managed to make this encounter feel fresh and exciting. My only complaint was giving Wyatt yet another clean pinfall win over Ambrose, seeing as he had a seemingly endless series of clean victories over Ambrose just a few months ago.
Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury) by disqualification
Rollins hit a buckle bomb for an early near-fall, and Mercury took advantage of a distracted referee to take a cheap shot. Rollins climbed up top and hit a diving double stomp to the back for two. Rollins followed up with a gorilla press slam, but Reigns fought back with a series of ten clothelines in the corner.
Reigns hit a powerbomb to fully gain the advantage, but Noble and Mercury attacked him to cause the disqualification. Rollins, Mercury and Noble beat down on Reigns, until Ambrose entered with a kendo stick, taking out all three men. Rollins recovered and set up for a Pedigree on Ambrose, which Reigns broke up with a Superman punch.
Rollins and J&J tried to retreat, but Ambrose and Reigns caught Mercury before he could escape. Ambrose hit Mercury with a kendo stick repeatedly, as Noble pleaded with Rollins to go save him, but Rollins refused. Reigns hit a Superman punch and a spear on Mercury to end the show.
Scott’s Thoughts: The match itself was too short to give much of an opinion on, but I liked the post-match story of Rollins refusing to come to Mercury’s aid.
Ryback def. Mark Henry by pinfall
Ryback claimed before the match that he would Shell Shock Mark Henry. Henry cut a very heelish promo, saying that he and Big Show both felt disrespected by Ryback. So I guess Henry is still a heel after all, and everything’s all good with him and Big Show now? Even after Show squashed him in 90 seconds this Monday, and also belittled him after his loss to Ryback on last week’s Raw? Uh…okay…?
Ryback tried for an early Shell Shocked, but couldn’t get Henry up. Henry hit a clothesline, but Ryback responded with a splash for two. Ryback tried for a suplex, but was again unable to lift Henry.
Henry hit a gorilla press slam, and when Ryback tried for Shell Shocked again, Henry reversed it into a crossbody for a near-fall. Henry and Ryback hit simultaneous clotheslines, but Ryback recovered first and hit a suplex. Ryback followed up with a Meathook clothesline.
Henry tried for a World’s Strongest Slam, which Ryback reversed into a spinebuster. Ryback finally got Henry up for Shell Shocked, hitting his finisher to finish Henry off.
Scott’s Thoughts: Despite the confusion over Henry’s recent face/heel status, this was a textbook example of how a big-man brawl can still work in wrestling. I thoroughly enjoyed the match storyline of Ryback struggling to hit his typical power moves, digging deep to find a way to weaken Henry enough to defeat him. Also, even though Henry lost, this match restored his status a bit after the 90-second squash he suffered at the hands of Big Show on Monday.
This was also a great example of how Mark Henry is infinitely better at the physically intimidating brawler role than Big Show is. Henry is far more athletic than Show, his ring psychology is superior, his mic work is better…literally everything about him is better than Show. If I was put in charge of WWE, one of the first things I would do is to swap Henry and Show’s spots on the card.
Prime Time Players def. The Ascension by pinfall
Darren hit a very painful-looking sidewalk slam onto the ring apron on Viktor. Viktor fought back by driving Darren into the ring post, allowing The Ascension to isolate Darren in their corner. Konnor earned a two-count with a leg drop, and Viktor hit a gorilla press slam for two.
Darren finally responded with a back bodydrop that sent Viktor to the floor. Titus and Konnor tagged in, and Titus hit a big boot and a clothesline, forcing Viktor to make the save. Titus hit Clash of the Titus to pin Konnor.
Scott’s Thoughts: Geez, Viktor took a serious beating in that match. Far more punishment than you usually see guys taking on Smackdown.
R-Truth def. Adam Rose (w/ Rosa Mendes) by pinfall
Truth entered wearing a bedsheet with “KING WHAT’S UP” written on it, along with a cardboard crown and a toilet plunger for a scepter. Truth hit a hip toss, but Rose responded with elbow drops. Truth reversed a back bodydrop into a sunset flip for a near-fall. Truth planted Rose with a Lie Detector to earn the quick pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: R-Truth has been tremendously entertaining in 2015, and it’s been nice to see him solidify a consistent role in the midcard.
Brie Bella (w/ Alicia Fox) def. Naomi by pinfall
Brie used a distraction from Fox to hit a clothesline onto the floor outside. Back in the ring, Brie hit a missile dropkick for two. Naomi fought back with a dropkick, but Brie responded by Brie Modeing her way to a running knee strike.
Brie hit a running bulldog for a near-fall, but Naomi fought back with a facebreaker variant. Fox took advantage of a distracted ref to trip up Naomi, allowing Brie to hit a Bella Buster for the pin.
Scott’s Thoughts: I’m always on board for giving Divas a chance, but far less so when Brie Bella is the Diva who is given that chance.
Summer Rae and Rusev address the WWE Universe
Summer Rae and Rusev cut an in-ring promo, with Summer saying she wanted to be the bigger person, and apologized to Lana. Summer then said that she never should have stooped to Lana’s level. Rusev then kissed Summer’s hand. Rusev said that Summer is a real woman, who is not afraid to act or speak up, but one who also knows her place. Rusev added that he will no longer tolerate Dolph Ziggler’s threats, saying that he will tear out Dolph’s intestines and hang them to dry in his back yard to dry.
Scott’s Thoughts: Oh my god I hate this entire angle so much.