- Last week on Smackdown Live, just in case you didn't read about it or watch it last week, or are deliberately ignoring these obvious attempts at suggesting you click the link supplied in this very sentence... Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler put their differences aside long enough to defeat Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan, sandwiched in between moments of hitting each other with their respective signature moves... Randy Orton took Alberto Del Rio to Viperville, but only managed to score a victory via Disqualification... American Alpha has put the Tag Division ON NOTICE, and got into a 4-team brawl with the Ascension, Vaudevillains, and Hype Bros... Eva Marie's second attempt at an in ring debut was interrupted by a worked wardrobe malfunction, and her third attempt was just a ruse to cost Becky Lynch a match against Alexa Bliss in the latter's in-ring debut... Carmella upset Natalya after 4-minutes of Nattie showing off her mediocre skills at arrogance... The Miz doesn't seem to be taking Apollo Crews as a serious threat to his title... Baron Corbin beat the piss out of Kalisto because he's big and Kalisto is small... Heath Slater did NOT earn a contract with Smackdown Live, losing a match to Rhyno, then losing his sh*t on Shane O'Mac and D-Bry before they could offer him one for his heart and dedication... oh, and nothing from A.J. Styles and John Cena, because they were off for the tour of Australia. With the exception of that last one, that's a lot of stuff happening and being developed week-to-week for a show that doesn't feature anything happening.
- From the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. Tonight, we're promised with MIZ TV with Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose, as well as a one-on-one match between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio. Please, someone, retire these Miz TV, or Highlight Reel, or any other stupid "talk segment" designed to make an in-ring promo more important than it already is.
- Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are backstage for Randy Orton to OFFICIALLY sign the contract for SummerSlam... then how can you advertise it as happening if it wasn't a done deal? Heath Slater interrupts with a fruit basket, probably to kiss up for last week and for getting a butt-whooping courtesy of Brock Lesnar on Raw. Orton interrupts the interruption with an idea, takes the time to chew his apple... and cut to the opening of the show.
- Miz TV is kicking things off, courtesy of our host The Miz and his arm-candy, Maryse. Dean Ambrose's music interrupts Miz before he can get a sentence out, so that makes me happy. Then to continue the trend of interruptions, Dolph Ziggler shows up in his signature blazer and jeans look. Miz breaks up any physicality with some talking. Miz questions who, six months ago, thought Ziggler would be challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. I see they keep adding the words back into the name of the title. The real question is what happens if he fails. Ziggler is only concerned about SummerSlam and isn't looking beyond that. Ambrose doesn't buy into the "New Dolph Ziggler", and Ziggler cuts off Miz before he can continue to antagonize the situation. Ziggler with the line of the night, about kicking Dean's HEAD off his FACE. What happens if Ziggler wins? The next day, is everything just going to change? Everything's the same, it's just harder. Ziggler isn't willing to grab the ball for a touchdown, he's happy being a star in a crappy movie. Ziggler says Ambrose doesn't have what it takes to beat him. Ziggler goes into a hyper rant before laying Ambrose out with a Super Kick out of nowhere™. "This Sunday, you'll realize I am that damn good."
- Randy Orton vs. HEATH SLATER is official for later tonight.
- During the commercial, The Miz's ranting is interrupted by Apollo Crews, the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Title. Miz casually makes fun of him as Apollo Creed, so Crews gives him a Spin-Out Powerbomb.
- Last October at Hell in a Cell, John Cena's reign as Champion was surprisingly ended at the hands of a freshly returned Alberto Del Rio, the man given storyline credit for Cena's injury. A.J. Styles is backstage to compliment on Del Rio for beating up John Cena and putting him out of action. Del Rio cuts him off, but he's done it for a long time, and doesn't need a pep talk to do it again. Styles retorts with a "that's why I'm in the Main Event of SummerSlam, and you're not even on the card."
- Hype video for CURT HAWKINS, making his return to the WWE. That's definitely a step below Shelton Benjamin, but warm bodies are warm bodies. His "Fun Facts" are a nice reminder of when it was funny, like when Matt Hardy did it in 2002-03.
- Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan are being creepy. I guess they didn't want to wait for Orton's posing to be over.
- Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan congratulate Heath Slater on his victory and earning the contract. Slater is obviously delusional from the beating he took, mistaking Shane and Bryan for Stephanie and Foley, and I half expect him to sign the wrong name on the contract. I guess the Stephanie remark has given Shane a change of heart, as he pulls the contract away to crowd disapproval. Dammit, stop screwing with the man!
- During the Break, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton crossed paths. Planting the seeds for something down the line, huh? Nice to see them utilizing every possible second of the show, even between commercials.
- Wyatt doesn't seem bothered as he keeps his eyes on Ambrose. Scratch that, Wyatt has turned his back from the ring and is staring at the goat mask. He leaves it on his chair and calmly walks away while Rowan is still recovering in the ring.
- Commercial for the WWE 24 Special on the Diva's Evolution. I have to say that I'm thankfully I was proven wrong. Years ago, and for years after, I claimed that WWE could never make me care about their Women's Division, because they didn't care about the wrestling, just the eye candy, and trotted women out there in embarrassing segments that honestly made me dislike the fact I was a wrestling fan. It wasn't the "Diva's Revolution", but treating them as real athletes instead of the piss-break segment they'd been for the better part of 15 years.
- Backstage, Baron Corbin continues to be a bully to Kalisto, because he's bigger than him and he can do what he wants, when he wants, to whoever he wants.
- Hype video for Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar for SummerSlam.
- Officially signed for SummerSlam: Becky Lynch, Carmella, and Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Eva Marie. I'm sure this will be put on the Kickoff Show.
We return from another break, with Cena nailing Del Rio coming off the top rope with a dropkick. Cena comes off the ropes with diving shoulder tackles, followed by a back suplex and the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the AA, but Del Rio counters with the Back Stabber for two. Del Rio goes for a Super-Kick, but Cena catches the foot and goes for the STF. Del Rio kicks him off and catches Cena coming with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker. Cena avoids the enzuigiri and lays Del Rio out with a clothesline. Cena to the top rope, and this time the step-up enzuigiri connects for a near fall. Del Rio calls for the arm again, but Cena counters the Cross Arm-Breaker with the STF. Del Rio is quickly able to crawl to the ropes to force a break. Del Rio with a kick to the midsection and a Super-Kick to the kneeling Cena for a two count. Del Rio escapes the AA for a 3rd time and counters with the Cross Arm-Breaker. Cena manages to lock fists, dead lifts Del Rio up, and slams him down to break the hold. Cena with the AA out of nowhere for three at 16:52 (including two breaks). Styles interrupts Cena's celebration with a Phenomenal Forearm and a warning for Sunday. Cena wakes up from his nap and plants him with the AA on top of the table to close out the show. **3/4 Had the pacing of a really good match, but two commercial breaks will always ruin the flow for me. I'm actually looking forward to some Smackdown Exclusive Specials, just to see longer matches. They have the roster to do it with solid results.
Final Thoughts: Another well-paced show, although with a few flaws, and they are the obvious ones. I'm fine with "showcasing" a division, but a 12-Man Tag with all six tag teams, and you only give them 3-minutes to work? They could've filled an entire half hour block with a match here, with plenty of good workers to keep it going. Then there's the Women, but at least they are giving them something to do while trotting them all out. I feel like they've done a solid job promoting Ziggler as a viable threat to Ambrose, and I'm always going to look forward to Cena/Styles, but I like how they are constantly pushing the undercard acts like Heath Slater, or moving forward with a possible David vs. Goliath feud between Kalisto and Corbin. Segments on Smackdown are quick and always have something to build on for next week, and that's what makes Smackdown Live a must watch in my eyes.