Smackdown Review – Rollins and Owens Target Cesaro

7/30/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Cesaro and Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens by pinfall

The storyline throughout the show was based on who would team with Cesaro, and it ended up being Ambrose. Cesaro hit a big uppercut on Rollins to start things off, but Rollins answered with an elbow drop for two. Owens hit a running senton on Cesaro, who responded with a sidewalk slam.

Rollins came up empty on a flying knee strike, allowing Cesaro to reach Ambrose. Ambrose hit a running crossbody on Rollins, followed by a running bulldog. Ambrose tossed Rollins from the ring and hit him with a dive between the ropes.

Back in the ring, Ambrose didn’t allow himself to be distracted by Owens, staying focused on Rollins and rolling him up for two. Ambrose hit a sitout facebuster, but Rollins gathered himself enough to hit a buckle bomb, earning a near-fall. Rollins hit a top-rope knee strike and a superkick, but Ambrose kicked out again.

Owens tagged in and climbed up top, hitting a brainbuster from the top rope, forcing Cesaro to make the save. Owens came up empty on a senton, and Ambrose reached Cesaro for the hot tag. Cesaro landed a series of uppercuts, followed by a burning hammer for two.

Cesaro transitioned into a crossface, but Rollins made the save. Cesaro swung Rollins, then locked in a Sharpshooter for a few moments, before clotheslining Owens out of the ring. In the ring, Ambrose climbed up top and hit a superplex on Rollins as the referee began to count out both Cesaro and Owens.

Ambrose dumped Rollins from the ring, but ate a superkick from Owens. Owens tried for a pop-up powerbomb on Ambrose, who leapt over Cesaro, who had run in from behind. Cesaro rolled Owens up for the pinfall victory. Cesaro jumped over the barricade and celebrated with fans, before posing with Ambrose on the announce table.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was an excellent tag match, and capped off an episode that was laser-focused on Cesaro. His victory over Owens is yet another new feather in his cap, and Cesaro looks to be on the way to main-event status.

However, as for Owens, the shine is wearing off of his victory over John Cena. Owens has been tumbling down the card recently, but I don’t think it’s anything to be too concerned about, seeing as he’s still an integral part of every Raw and Smackdown.


Cesaro def. Seth Rollins by disqualification

Rollins ran down his career accomplishments, saying that the fans’ boos have had no effect on him, seeing as he’s reached his greatest heights since they started chanting against him. Rollins said that his rage against the crowd had reached a boiling point, and he had broken Cena’s nose out of anger at the fans. Cesaro interrupted, saying that Rollins left out the best part of his match against Cena, which is when Cena made Rollins tap.

Rollins said that Cena didn’t make him tap, and that it was a strategic move because Rollins has bigger things to worry about. Cesaro said that since they have a rematch coming up already, he could just dispose of the formalities and make Rollins tap right now. A referee entered the ring, and the bell rang to begin the match.

Cesaro started off by dropping Rollins to the mat with legscrews. Kevin Owens entered, slowly walking down the ramp and joining the commentary team. Cesaro hit a backbreaker and a double footstomp, then leapt over the top rope into a sunset flip.

Cesaro reversed a Rollins crossbody into a delayed vertical suplex, then exchanged uppercuts with Rollins. Cesaro hit a sidewalk slam, then followed up with a huge uppercut when Rollins tried to go to the air. Cesaro hit Rollins with a series of uppercuts, then set up for the Cesaro Swing.

Owens jumped into the ring and predictably attacked Cesaro, causing the disqualification. Rollins shoved Owens, upset that he had interfered, but got over it pretty quickly as both men started attacking Cesaro. Several referees split the three men up, and Rollins/Owens retreated up the ramp.

Scott’s Thoughts: This match was off to a very good start, but the “Owens interferes or walks out” trope is already growing pretty tired.


Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) def. Jack Swagger by submission

Rusev said that Lana had offended him on Raw, by defiling his presents for “hot Summer.” As Swagger entered, Jimmy Uso incorrectly said that Tulsa is known as “Loud City,” which is actually a nickname for Oklahoma City that references the raucous environment at Thunder basketball games. Swagger opened up the offense with two arm drags, following up with a belly-to-back suplex.

Rusev responded with a vertical suplex, but Swagger answered with one of his own. Swagger hit a series of clotheslines, but Rusev got his feet up on a Swagger Bomb. Undeterred, Swagger planted Rusev with a belly-to-belly suplex.

Swagger couldn’t cinch in the Patriot Lock and instead tried to dive for Rusev’s knee, but Rusev jumped over him and hit a spinning heel kick for two. Rusev came up empty with a superkick, and Swagger rolled him up for two. Swagger followed up with a Swagger Bomb, earning a near-fall.

Rusev drove Swagger into the ring post, planted him with a superkick, and locked in The Accolade. Swagger nearly powered his way out, but Rusev eventually overpowered him and Swagger tapped. After the match, Rusev tried to attack Swagger, who rolled out of the way and put Rusev in the Patriot Lock. Rusev managed to escape and limp his way back up the entrance ramp.

Scott’s Thoughts: Even though they’ve wrestled each other countless times — and despite the fact that Swagger is colder than ever right now — Rusev and Swagger managed to put on a surprisingly compelling match, despite the obvious finish. I found it a bit odd to have Swagger standing tall after the match, however.


The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores (w/ El Torito) def. Big E, Kofi Kingston and The Ascension (w/ Xavier Woods) by pinfall

Sin Cara gained the early advantage with a double springboard moonsault to The Ascension, but Woods took advantage of a distracted referee to dump him onto the floor from the top rope. Kofi nailed Sin Cara with a corner dropkick, but Sin Cara reached Kalisto with the hot tag.

Kalisto hit a missile dropkick and a springboard corkscrew headbutt, followed by an enziguiri and a tornado DDT on Big E. Woods tried to make a distraction, but Torito took him out with a dropkick. Viktor tagged himself in — much to Kofi’s dismay — and Kalisto rolled him up with a headscissor for the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: So…I guess Los Matadores are suddenly faces again? Or were they thrown onto a team with the Lucha Dragons simply because they all speak Spanish? (Wouldn’t be surprising…) It must suck to be so low on the card that no one in Creative knows what your face/heel status is.


Stardust def. R-Truth by pinfall

Truth earned a two-count with a sunset flip, following up with a heel kick. Jerry Lawler had a funny moment on commentary, saying that R-Truth gets confused sometimes and had “called me up one day and asked me for my phone number.” Stardust hit The Queen’s Crossbow to quickly defeat Truth.

After the match, Stardust humiliated and beat down on Truth, until Neville made the save, hitting a dropkick and a plancha. Stardust escaped through the crowd as Neville stared him down.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was too brief to really accomplish anything, but I still like the core idea of this Stardust/Neville feud.


– A brief promo package on Becky Lynch aired, and Becky said that her mission on the main roster is to prevent Nikki Bella from becoming the longest-reigning Divas Champion ever.

– Bray Wyatt cut a backstage promo with Luke Harper. Wyatt said that Harper is willing to die for him, and wondered if Dean Ambrose would do the same for Roman Reigns. This at least had a bit more of a point than Wyatt/Harper’s pointless rambling on this week’s Raw.

– Sheamus cut a backstage promo, saying that he wouldn’t leave Randy Orton alone until Orton is gone from the WWE.