WWE Smackdown LIVE!- August 30, 2016
by Scrooge McSuck
- RIP Harry "Mr. Fuji" Fujiwara. Even though he was at times the bottom-rung heel manager, he had memorable runs as the manager of Demolition during the first half of their record-setting reign as Champions, then years later "guiding" Yokozuna to 2-reigns as WWF Champion. More importantly, who can ever forget Fuji Vice and his awkward comedy segments with the Magnificent Muraco?
- Last Week on Smackdown Live... A.J. Styles defeated Dolph Ziggler in a great match to secure his Championship Match with Dean Ambrose at Backlash will remain a 1-on-1 match... Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are planning to play games with each other. Games people play, you take it or you leave it. Things that they say, just don't make it right... The Usos defeated The Ascension and American Alpha defeated Breezango in 1st Round Tag Team Title Tournament matches... The NEW Women's Champion will be crowned at Backlash in a Six-Pack Challenge... Carmella turned heel with a from-behind attack on Nikki Bella... Heath Slater found an unlikely friend in Rhyno to be allowed access into the Tag Tournament... Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss in a Women's Division Showcase... Shane McMahon has unfinished business with Brock Lesnar... Curt Hawkins is still coming... last but not least, the talk of the internet: The Miz and Daniel Bryan's verbal exchange on Talking Smack, which will definitely be followed up on during tonight's episode.
- LIVE from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. The only things we know for sure to take place tonight is Daniel Bryan's response to the Miz and the continuation of the Tag Title Tournament.
- Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are backstage. Shane insists that Daniel owes the Miz an apology for provoking talent, despite agreeing with him on his opinion (thus making him a bit guilty of the same thing). Bryan agrees, but finds it ironic that this advice is coming from the same man who has beef with Brock Lesnar.
- The Miz is power-walking his way to the ring, leaving Maryse behind in his dust. He's really not in the mood, apparently, forgoing his usual posing. He rips off CM Punk's "do I have your attention now?" line. He's going to make the Intercontinental Title relevant after quitters and serial-failures brought it down. Who do they call for a spokesperson, for appearances at the red carpet, for a commercial to play a stupid chicken? The Miz, and he does it every day without getting injured. Dolph Ziggler of all people has to interrupt. He says the fans don't get behind him because they can see through him because he only cares about being famous. If he wants to prove to everyone (and his wife) that he's not a coward, he can do it now. No Titles, no referee, no ring bell. Just a fight, here and now. Miz tries to take a walk and Dolph calls him a "soft, safe, coward" to draw him back, but Maryse is keeping him from getting to the ring.
- Tonight: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin, and Bray Wyatt's "Sermon for the Serpent." Also, The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains in the 1st Round of the Tag Title Tournament is NEXT.
The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains:
(Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley vs. Aiden English & Simon Gotch)
Winners advance to the Semi-Finals of the Tag Title Tournament, with the 1st Champions crowned at Backlash on September 11th. Ryder and English start. English with a shoulder tackle and Ryder comes back with a dropkick. He unloads with forearms, but Gotch saves English from the Broski Boot. They lure Ryder to the floor, where English greets him with a swinging neck breaker. English does some squats to work the arm. Gotch in with a T-Bone Suplex for two. Gotch does a one-arm push-up while holding a hammer-lock. He scoops Ryder up for a fireman's carry slam. English misses a senton and in comes Mojo. He lays out English with a clothesline and nails a pair of stinger splashes. He fireman lifts English into a press slam for two. Ryder with the Broski Boot to Gotch. Mojo nails English with a running forearm, and the Hype Ryder finishes at 2:50. Wow, that was really quick. * I guess this was an energetic match, but now we have to expect the Usos to turn with all the known heel teams eliminated from the tournament.
- Charley Caruso joins the Hype Bros in the ring for a post-match interview. Someone needs to keep Mojo Rawley away from a live microphone. I guess it's good to finally showcase them on Smackdown after four weeks of matches on Main Event.
- A.J. Styles is still walking around, gloating about how he's the new Face That Runs the Place. He comes across Apollo Crews, who's new gimmick is reminding everyone what his name is and spells it out for them. Styles makes his way to the ring following the commercial break. He's still wearing the "Never Give Up" headband Cena left in the ring at SummerSlam. The Face That Runs the Place, and the Face That #BeatUpJohnCena at SummerSlam is HERE. Apollo Crews interrupts, no doubt annoyed that everyone thinks he's Carl Weathers. Styles accuses Crews for asking for a spelling bee, but instead he's here to challenge Styles to a match... and it's right now.
Apollo Crews vs. A.J. Styles:
Styles quickly takes Crews to the corner and lands a chop. Crisscross and Crews sends him to the floor with a dropkick. Styles tries to trick Crews with a game of cat-and-mouse, but Crews avoids an elbow on the way back in, pulls Styles back to the floor, and nails a punch (complete with spelling it). We return from break, with Styles pulling at the face of Crews. During the break, Styles sent Crews into the ring post to turn the tide. They trade strikes until Crews connects with a pair of clotheslines. He comes off the ropes with a boot to the face, followed by a Stinger Splash and diving clothesline. Styles counters a slam with an arm drag, but gets sent to the floor on a charge. Crews follows him to the floor with a moonsault from the apron. Back inside, Crews sets Styles up across the top turnbuckle. Styles slips out of the predicament and drops Crews face-first onto the buckle. Styles dives into the corner with a clothesline. Crews catches him coming off the second rope with a fall-away slam into a Samoan drop for a near fall. Styles gets a boot up in the corner and hangs Crews up across the top rope. Styles with the Phenomenal Forearm, and that's enough for the three count at 8:10. ** Not enough without the commercial break to be much higher than a decent match. Styles gets a nice "warm up" and Crews gets a decent rub by having a competitive match with Styles. I don't care for his spelling habits, but hopefully they find something for him to do soon.
- Renee Young is on location at Heath Slater's home for an up-close and personal interview. Rhyno happens to be there, staring out the window. He introduces Renee to his "wife" Beaulah, and she's... something else. She brings them hors d'oeuvres, spray-cheese (with the logo covered) and crackers. They go over Slater's sad saga of trying to get a contract while Rhyno makes frowny-faces with the spray cheese, and his wife loves icing. Rhyno shrugs off Renee's question, stuffing his mouth with more crackers. Slater plans on upgrading his home to a double-wide, and his kids are out back picking up cans. There was a couple of laughs, but this was pretty pointless fluff. A rare miss in the sad saga of Heath Slater.
- Bray Wyatt comes out for his "Sermon for the Serpent." He says he isn't afraid of snakes, and that Orton is just a man. He's a man who claims to have venom running through his veins. Brock Lesnar exposed all of Orton's flaws at SummerSlam, and now's a broken, damaged man. He hopes that the voices inside Orton's head are telling him to run. Orton thankfully interrupts story time with Mr. Wyatt for a retort. Wyatt is encouraged to know that Orton still has the fight in him, but he's no longer the predator. At Backlash, Wyatt promises to cut the head off the serpent and hang it over his mantle as a trophy. Orton brings up battles with Mick Foley and the Undertaker and suggests the biggest scars are the one that are internal. Orton finally rushes in the ring, but the lights go out and that's all folks. I try to stay positive, but wow, I have no interest in Wyatt vs. Orton, and I don't feel like that opinion will change.
Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Alexa Bliss:
They really need to start implementing squash matches, especially for the Women, otherwise we're burning through all the matches pretty quickly. Remember, at Backlash it will be a Six-Pack Challenge to determine the new Champion, with these four women, as well as Carmella and Nikki Bella, involved in the match. Speaking of Nikki Bella, she's joined the commentary team, so expect Carmella to attack her. Natalya and Naomi start. Crisscross and Naomi with a head scissors takeover, sending Natalya to the floor. We return from break with Nattie in control with a side headlock. Bliss tags in, choking Naomi across the middle rope, followed by stomping Naomi's face into the canvas. Naomi fights out of the corner, but Bliss cuts off the tag attempt. Becky with the hot tag, laying Bliss out with clotheslines and a jumping leg lariat. She hits the diving forearm in the corner and comes off the top with a missile dropkick for two. Suddenly Carmella shows up to attack Nikki, and we have a brawl on the floor. This distracts Becky Lynch for some reason, allowing Alexa Bliss to roll her hook and grab a handful of tights for three at 7:22. ¾* Most of this was a commercial break and they seemed to be in cruise control. It was blatantly obvious that Carmella was going to make an appearance.
- Nostalgia video to hype the "return" of the Head Bangers. Not to be a jerk, but I never cared for them as a team during the Attitude Era, but warm bodies are warm bodies.
- Curt Hawkins is COMING SOON. Apparently he can win a game of Connect Four in just three moves.
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Head Bangers:
The final match of the 1st Round of the Tag Team Championship Tournament. Mosh and Thrasher haven't been on WWF TV in over 15-years, and for a while, WWE routinely mocked them as one of the worst teams of all time, especially to hold the Tag Titles (a short reign in the Fall of 1997). Slater and Rhyno might have a shot at making it to the Semi-Finals. A section of the crowd has "Heath's Kids" signs. Cute. Slater and Mosh start. Slater with a side headlock and a diving shoulder tackle. Mosh knocks a celebrating Slater to the apron and springboards over the top rope with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes and Thrasher with a clothesline from the middle rope. Slater tries to rally, but Thrasher takes him down with a back suplex. Whip to the ropes and the Head Bangers with a flapjack for two. Mosh with a dive into the corner and a cheap shot to Rhyno. Thrasher with a guillotine leg drop for a near fall. Rhyno pulls Slater to the corner and tags in. GORE~! to Mosh finishes at 2:54. Rhyno looks to have been split open on the cheap shot. How the hell do you cut someone doing almost nothing?! * Another quick match, but it was for the better. Is this the end of the Head Bangers on WWE Smackdown Live?!
- The Brackets are official: The Semi-Finals will feature American Alpha vs. The Usos, and The Hype Bros vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno. With only 12 days until Backlash, I'm expecting both Semi-Finals matches on the show next week.
- Some goof named Gary "The Milkman" Milliman is in the ring for a lame promo. I guess he's the long-lost son of Jake Milliman, the winner of the infamous Great American Turkey Hunt in the AWA Team Challenge Series. He strips down to his tighty-whities, and here's Kane to remind everyone he's not he Smackdown roster. The Milkman tries to hurry and put his clothes back on, but Kane gets to him first and plants him with a Choke-Slam (from Heck). That was an odd way to fill 90-seconds of the show, as we quickly rush into...
Dean Ambrose (WWE Champion) vs. Baron Corbin:
Main Event of the night, and the first time we've gotten to see the WWE Champion. I guess Corbin's program with Kalisto is on hold, unless WWE is working everyone with a fake injury report. Ambrose is still scheduled to defend the WWE World Title against A.J. Styles at Backlash. Styles has joined commentary for the match. Lockup, Ambrose with a headlock, but a shoulder tackle benefits Corbin. Whip to the ropes and Ambrose comes back with a diving body press. He sends Corbin to the floor with a clothesline and comes off the apron with another dive. Ambrose with a boot in the corner and a missile dropkick from the second rope. Corbin counters a bulldog attempt and nails a clothesline across the back of the head. Corbin with ground-and-pound and choking. We return from break with Corbin in control with a chin-lock. Corbin goes for the Lunatic Lariat, but Corbin throws him down by the throat for a two count. Ambrose escapes another chin-lock. Corbin does a quick slide in-and-out but runs into a swinging neck breaker. Ambrose with strikes, but Corbin blocks Dirty Deeds. He misses a charge, meeting the post shoulder first. Corbin quickly recovers and nails Ambrose with a brutal clothesline. Ambrose hits the Lunatic Lariat on the second attempt for two. They fight on the ropes, with Ambrose getting the better of the exchange. Corbin charges and goes flying over the top rope. Ambrose hits the ropes and follows with tope suicida. Back inside and Corbin with Deep Six for a near fall. Styles and Corbin end up exchanging words, allowing Ambrose to nail them from behind. Ambrose comes off the top with the big elbow drop for 2.9999. Styles with a distraction, allowing Corbin to roll Ambrose up for two. Styles tries to nail Ambrose, but hits Corbin instead, and it's a Disqualification at 10:12. Post-match, Ambrose brawls with Styles, hits Corbin with Dirty Deeds, and crotches Styles across the top rope to counter the Phenomenal Forearm. ** Not a "good" match, but it put over Ambrose as a fighting Champion, even with a big match scheduled for Backlash in less than two weeks, and helps give Corbin a rub by having a competitive match with the Champion. Cheap finish is forgiven since you don't need Corbin jobbing on TV.
Final Thoughts: Overall, a weak episode of Smackdown, the weakest since the split. To stay positive, at least when a show isn't particularly good, it's not like a bad episode of Raw, and contains itself to just two hours. We filled out the rest of the 1st Round of the Tag Title Tournament, which meant no Usos or American Alpha, they've already announced the Women's Six-Pack Challenge so we had to showcase them all on an already busy show. The exchange between Ziggler and Miz was well done, but I'm sure some will complain about Ziggler/Miz over the IC Title. A.J. Styles is still gloating about beating Cena and got a win over Apollo Crews, while Dean Ambrose got a showcase with Baron Corbin. As much as I said it was a weak show, everything was short and watchable. What wasn't watchable is a nonsensical program with Wyatt and Orton that just reeks of desperately searching for something for Wyatt to do without making him a Main Event level JTTS.
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