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WWE Smackdown!- August 9, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck

Alexa Bliss

- Last week on Smackdown (Live), for those of you who blatantly ignore the obvious attempts at suggesting you go back and read the recap itself...

Dolph Ziggler defeated Bray Wyatt in a match with his #1 Contenders spot on the line. After the match, Erick Rowan reestablished his alliance with Wyatt, and helped lay out Dean Ambrose... Eva Marie made a grand entrance, only to have to call the match off for a mild hamstring strain... American Alpha made their highly anticipated main roster debut, easily disposing of the Vaudevillains... Shelton Benjamin will NOT be joining Smackdown Live, having to undergo rotator cuff surgery... Natalya beat the crap out of Carmella, and I still am not convinced those in charge of writing for Carmella's character understand she needs to get baby-face reactions... Apollo "Don't Call Me Creed" Crews won a Triple Threat to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Title, but it was Baron Corbin who was left standing when all was said and done... Rhyno laid out Heath Slater for the second week in a row, and Slater gets a chance to earn a Smackdown Live contract... oh, and Brock Lesnar showed up and gave Randy Orton an F-5.

- Randy Orton is WALKING before being interrupted by Charly Caruso for an interview. This is 15 years in the making! Orton reminds us he is a "Legend Killer", and one RKO is all it takes to get to Viperville. Alberto Del Rio shows up from the last two weeks of obscurity, and since Cena and AJ are in New Zealand, IT'S ABOUT TIME THEY'RE USING HIM! Orton makes threats, and Del Rio suggests he try and do it with a broken arm.

- Bray Wyatt comes out to open the show proper, with Erick Rowan in tow. I guess he didn't make the trip to New Zealand, after all (they advertised New Day vs. Rowan and Strowman). Wyatt says he didn't fall to Ziggler. Ziggler gave in to desperation, ramming him into the exposed turnbuckle. He throws insults at Ziggler and Dean Ambrose and claims Smackdown as his. Ambrose comes out to interrupt and calls him out for being a baby. Wyatt laughs at the idea that Smackdown belongs to Ambrose, who is now allowed to call himself WWE WORLD Champion. Ambrose says he knows better to run into a 2-on-1 handicap before we get the interruption of the interruption, this time by Dolph Ziggler. He jumps in and attacks Rowan. Wyatt from behind to take advantage, and now Ambrose begrudgingly gets involved to even the odds. Rowan gets dumped over the top rope and Ziggler goes for Wyatt but accidentally hits Ambrose with a Super-Kick. Super-Kick to Rowan, and Wyatt with Sister Abigail on Ziggler to end the segment. At least we've reaffirmed that Rowan is still a goof.

- Backstage, Ambrose says he owes Ziggler one. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon interrupt to announce the obvious: Ambrose and Ziggler will team up and take on Wyatt and Rowan. If Ziggler doesn't like it, then to quote him last week, "Screw You."

American Alpha vs. Mike Vega & Mikey O'Shea:

Well, this should be quick. Before the match can begin, the Ascension, the Vaudevillains, and the Hype Bros. make their presence known. Gable with a takedown on Vega. Jordan in with a takedown of his own, followed by a dragon-screw leg whip. O'Shea runs into a double hip toss and double dropkick. Vega gets a right in, but it doesn't affect Jordan. He gets thrown overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex. Jordan with a charging shoulder to the midsection, and Grand Amplitude finishes at 1:12. Post-match, all four teams into a big brawl. The Hype Bros. and Ascension take each other out, leaving American Alpha to clear the ring of the Vaudevillains. Must be a more casual crowd this week, giving very little reaction to American Alpha. The squash did what it needed to do, and they're trying to establish a Tag Team Division. Unfortunately, they need to repair a lot of the teams on Smackdown before they can be considered credible.

- Coming up next... the debut of Eva Marie! Again!

- Renee Young is at the interview set for Day 127 of the Miz's never-ending Intercontinental Championship reign. Miz and Maryse make googly eyes as we throw it to a hype video for Apollo Crews. Hype videos are always good time filler, but they have to let him actually win matches without the need of a surprise roll up (and that's exactly how he scored a fall on KALISTO). Miz nor Maryse doesn't seem to be taking it seriously. In years gone by, an over-confident champion usually leads to a title change.

- So... are you expecting Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie this week, too? Well, guess what. We just got swerved AGAIN. Eva Marie does her grand entrance and teases another hamstring issue, but this time her top has magically come undone. I'm glad they happened to have a towel handy at ringside for such an occasion. Worked wardrobe malfunctions = reactions. Charly Caruso interviews Becky Lynch, and she wants a fight, so we get...

Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss:

Except for about 30-seconds of face time two weeks ago, we haven't seen Bliss on either Smackdown or Main Event. Unfortunately, she's already positioned as the #3 heel on a depth chart of three (behind Natalya and Eva Marie). We join the match already in progress, with Bliss choking Becky across the middle rope and stomping on the back of her head for a two count. Bliss with several more pin attempts, all for two counts. Becky fights out of a chin-lock, landing a series of rights. She comes off the ropes with a pair of clotheslines, followed by a jumping heel kick. Becky is STRAIGHT FIRE with a crushing forearm and Beck-Sploder, and suddenly Eva Marie's music plays and she gets an obnoxious "ready to compete" re-introduction. This is awesome trolling. Bliss interrupts the interruption (a trend for tonight), choke slams Becky down, and comes off the top with Twisted Bliss for three at 2:36 (shown). Eva Marie with a post-match promo, and she will be ready to debut next week. Not the most impressive debut for Alexa Bliss, but I'm looking forward to the continuing saga of Eva Marie and how they will weasel out of her match next week.

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio:

This could've been a Main Event of the Week™, but it's only going on for the top of the second hour. With the 2016 Rio Olympics, I don't think it matters what is on at the top of the hour. Lockup and a clean break. Orton with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Del Rio with a sharp kick to the leg. Orton blocks being sent to the turnbuckle pad and lands a series of European uppercuts. Orton with mounted punches in the corner, followed by a charging clothesline. He rakes the eyes with his boot laces and hits a slingshot from under the bottom rope for two. Del Rio comes back with more strikes, but misses a dive through the ropes. We return from break, with Orton giving Del Rio the Garvin Stomp for a near fall. Whip to the ropes and Del Rio comes back with a Back Stabber. He sends Orton's shoulder into the post (insert shoulder injury story here). Del Rio follows him to the floor and rams the arm across the ring steps. Del Rio to the top rope with a big fist for a two count. Orton fights out of an arm-bar with a thumb to the eye and connects with a standing dropkick. He sets Del Rio across the top turnbuckle, but gets caught in a form of the cross arm-breaker across the top rope. Del Rio to the top again, and this time he gets dropped across the turnbuckle. Orton follows him up and takes him down with a Super-Plex, but sells the arm as if he were on the receiving end. They trade blows until Orton switches to clotheslines. Orton with a snap Power-Slam. Del Rio counters the draping DDT. Orton goes for his signature back breaker, but Del Rio counters. Orton escapes the cross arm-breaker, but Del Rio slips out of the RKO. Orton with the draping DDT on attempt #2, but Del Rio rolls away from another RKO attempt. Orton follows, sending him into the time keepers section with a clothesline. He undresses the announcers table and Del Rio bashes his surgically repaired arm with a chair for the Disqualification at 12:20 (including a commercial break). Del Rio goes to finish the job in the ring, but Orton with an RKO Out of Nowhere™. *** Good match and a protective finish that actually makes sense. Del Rio is still a valuable asset to the roster for as long as they decide to keep him around.

- Rhyno is backstage, as is a creeping Heath Slater. Slater tries to get pity from Rhyno and asks him, without asking him, to lay down for him so he can take care of his two kids and to pay for his pool. Suddenly he has four kids and an above ground pool, but Rhyno politely turns him down both times.

- The Miz shows up for a taped shilling segment for the new Scooby-Doo/WWE cross-over. The first one, WrestleMania Mystery, was actually really fun. Maybe this will be better than the turd they did with the Flintstones license.

Rhyno vs. Heath Slater:

In case you missed it last week, Heath Slater has to beat Rhyno to earn a contract with Smackdown Live. David Otunga tries to make an excuse about Daniel Bryan having a soft spot for Slater because they started in WWE as Nexus. They trade wrist-locks. Rhyno with a side headlock and a shoulder tackle. Crisscross, Rhyno blocks a hip toss and lays Slater out with a short clothesline (and that's not a knock on Rhyno's T-Rex arms). Slater takes control, sending Rhyno to the corner, and lays him out with a charging boot for a two count. Another cover for two. One more time, same result. Rhyno fights out of a chin-lock, but gets slammed down by a handful of hair. Knee to the midsection and another chin-lock. Rhyno escapes and takes Slater down with a belly-to-belly suplex. He sets up in the corner but misses the Gore. Slater with a roll up, but the referee sees his feet on the ropes. He argues with the referee, and its GORE~! for three at 3:06. Poor Slater. Maybe next week. * Fine for what it was. I actually am looking forward to the continuing saga of Heath Slater, too.

- Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan with another creepy promo. It's rewind material at this point. Did I say rewind? I meant Fast Forward. Just like Daniel Bryan, I'm leaving my bloopers in.

- Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan discuss giving a contract to Heath Slater. Even though he lost, they are impressed by his heart and dedication. Slater interrupts, and refuses to let them speak, basically screwing himself out of the contract they were just about to offer him.

Carmella vs. Natalya:

Carmella's dying on live television streak has reached three weeks. They might as well just turn her heel, too. Natalya tries to attack from behind again, but this time Carmella sees it coming and actually gets the upper hand. They make it to the ring this time, but the referee forces a break. Carmella with a Thesz Press at the bell. Natalya throws her into the ropes and takes her down with a double fistful of hair. Crowd actually musters a "How You Doin" chant for about 5-seconds. Natalya with a pair snap suplexes and some gloating. Carmella with a kick to the... uh... female area, but Natalya no-sells it and regains control with a modified surf board. Carmella fights to her feet, but gets thrown down again. Carmella with a surprise roll up for two. Natalya with a hooking clothesline and more showboating. She casually sits on Carmella's chest for a two count, sparking a shove from Carmella. Natalya with an abdominal stretch and some trash talking. Carmella with elbows to the leg. Whip to the ropes and Nattie-By-Nature connects for a near fall. She goes for the Sharpshooter, but Carmella trips her up and hooks the Code of Silence for the tap-out at 4:08. * Match wasn't very good (or good at all, honestly), but it told a story. Natalya was over-confident and Carmella took advantage. Builds to a practical rematch instead of doing a rematch for the sake of 50/50.

- Hype video for the John Cena/A.J. Styles feud. Both men are on the tour of New Zealand and Australia, so they weren't available for a live appearance.

- UNDERCARD PROGRAM ALERT! They cut backstage to Baron Corbin stomping the proverbial mud-hole in Kalisto. I guess that's the receipt for Kalisto "costing him the Intercontinental Title" last week.

Dean Ambrose & Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan:

Who doesn't love the good, old fashioned "mismatched partners who dislike each other" trope? Wyatt and Rowan attack from behind, with Rowan taking Ziggler to the floor. Ambrose runs the ropes in a weird bit of slow motion ducking under a clothesline and connects with a clothesline of his own. Ziggler tags himself in and spends too much time arguing with Ambrose. Ziggler nails Wyatt coming off the ropes with a dropkick. Ziggler whiffs on something and Rowan greets him with a lariat from the apron as we take our last break. We return from commercial, with Wyatt planting Ziggler with a slam. He comes off the ropes, missing a senton. Ambrose with the tag and he connects with a pair of forearms. Whip to the ropes and a diving clothesline, followed by a running bulldog. He knocks Rowan off the apron and hits a pescado. Back inside and Wyatt lays him out with a short clothesline. That must be the move of the match. Rowan with a jumping splash for two. He does the Double Noogie and rests Ambrose across the top tope for some clobbering. Rowan with a running boot, knocking Ambrose to the floor. Ambrose sends Wyatt into the security wall, but gets caught coming off the apron and Wyatt slams him onto the apron with a uranage. Ambrose unsuccessfully going for Dirty Deeds and a Lunatic Lariat, but a swinging neck breaker does fine. Ziggler with the tag and he lays into Rowan. Neck breaker and elbow drop gets two. Rowan avoids the Rocker Dropper, but Ziggler with a roll up instead for two. DDT for another two count. Rowan blocks a Super-Kick and nails him with a spinning heel kick for a near fall. Ziggler with a Zig-Zag, but Wyatt breaks the cover. Ambrose fights out of Sister Abigail, dumps Wyatt to the floor, and blows a tope suicida. Ziggler escapes a Rock Bottom and finishes Rowan with the Super-Kick at 10:41. Post-match, Ambrose returns the favor from earlier, laying Ziggler out with Dirty Deeds. Who didn't see that coming? ** Fine tag team match to build towards next week.

Final Thoughts: I don't bother to let the opinion of other reviewers effect my enjoyment of Smackdown. The depth chart is filled with fresh faces from NXT and a decent core of upper-tier talent. Yes, they need a bit more to the midcard, but tonight proved that even without Cena and Styles, they could successfully fill the entire show without trotting everyone out for a match. Ambrose/Ziggler is being built well after some uncertainty, Miz's arrogant behavior makes him prone for a fall from grace, they did a decent job at giving Carmella an underdog victory, called attention to the American Alpha as the team to beat on Smackdown Live, and even stuff with Eva Marie and Heath Slater has been really enjoyable. The only complaint I had for the show was the poor in-ring debut of Alexa Bliss. Other than that, a good week for Smackdown Live.

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