WWE Thursday Night Smackdown – July 9th, 2015
From the land of beer and beer drinkers, Milwaukee Wisconsin, it’s Raw’s little brother – the blue brand – it’s Smackdown!
After Brock Lesnar absolutely dismantled both J&J Security along with their $55,000 dollar car (WWE wanted to be sure that everyone watching knew ten times over how much the car cost – I wonder why?), Seth Rollins took to the ring on his own tonight – seemingly – as he faced Ryback in a Champion vs Champion main event match. Also on the program: Rusev puts on his dancing shoes; Dean Ambrose vs Bo Dallas part two, and Roman Reigns vs Big Show part seventeen; the latest edition of “Which Divas do I root for?”; and Randy Orton beats up former NXT tag team champions. All on this week’s edition of Smackdown!
- Opening segment: Seth Rollins and Paul Heyman cut promos on the upcoming championship match at Battleground. No tag match is made for later on in the show.
- Dean Ambrose vs Bo Dallas: Ambrose wins with Dirty Deeds.
- backstage: Big Show pep talks Seth Rollins.
- Rusev vs Fandango: Rusev wins by submission with Accolade.
- Big Show vs Roman Reigns: Bray Wyatt interferes, causes DQ. Reigns suffers chokeslam and sister Abigail, Wyatt poses over fallen body.
- Titus O’Neil vs Big E Langston: Titus wins with Clash of the Titus.
- Randy Orton cuts promo in-ring on Sheamus. The Ascension confronts, Orton takes them out with RKOs.
- replay of Owens/Cena/Cesaro incident from Monday Night Raw.
- Naomi & Tamina vs Brie Bella & Alicia Fox (with Nikki Bella): Nikki causes distraction, Fox hits scissor-kick on Tamina, pin-fall for the victory.
- Ryback (c) vs Seth Rollins (c): Seth Rollins opts for count-out loss. Big Show joins and they beat on Ryback. Roman Reigns makes the save, the two of them take out the heels to stand tall at close.
- The opening confrontation between the champ and the advocate for the beast lacked the impact of their series of exchanges leading up the Royal Rumble this past January. At that time, Rollins came off as a worthy opponent to the undisputed master talker of the Fed. In this back and forth, it was Heyman who came out the clear winner. The man behind the number one contender weaved together with ease a wonderful speech about J&J’s demolished car being a metaphor for Rollins after Battleground, while Seth’s retort amounted to little more than the adult equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?”
- That being said, Rollins still came off as strong, and that was helped by the fact that he appeared with no one else at his side. This is hopefully a sight we see more of as his championship reign proceeds – while it still does, that is.
- Some wonder why Dean Ambrose is suddenly finding himself in a program with Bo Dallas, for seemingly no real reason. Some believe that to go from number one contender to the most prestigious belt in the land, and even carting it around on his shoulder for a couple of weeks, to working with someone just above the status of comedic jobber heel is a massive step down and a waste of Ambrose’s time and talent. But to be honest, the pairing works. Yes, the program doesn’t do much for Ambrose’s quest for gold, but Dallas was in desperate need of a substantial feud with someone who could raise his stock on the roster. Working with Ambrose will do wonders for Dallas’s career, and it already has. This match was probably the best single performance we’ve seen from the former NXT champion since arriving on the main roster.
- In a brief segment from the announce table, Tom Phillips plugs the WWE Network. He informs us that it is now available in over 175 countries, including the UK, France and Italy. Jerry Lawler adds: “I’d just like to say ‘Ciao’ to all our fans in Italy. We love ya.” Does Lawler know that ciao means good-bye?
- The Bulgarian Brute has adopted boots as part of his ring wear now, obviously a mandate from the higher ups concerned for his well-being. It’s a good idea, and it doesn’t detract too much from his legitimate fighter gimmick. Summer Rae was playing her part of valet a bit too well at times (why would she, a white-bread American girl, react negatively to a chant of “USA”?).
- This partnership is a tad awkward, but it works on a certain level. It has the appearance of Rusev attempting to make Summer into a replacement for Lana in both her mannerisms and behaviour. They could work this angle in the weeks to come. We could see Rusev suggesting/demanding that Summer Rae wear suits, style her hair up in a bun, even maybe talk in an accent. This could ultimately cause a dissolution, and expose just how hung up the monster is for his Fay Ray.
- Big Show and Roman Reigns have fought so many times and know each other so well, they always put on a decent match now. This felt a bit like filler, but it worked in tying together three running feuds on the same night. Bray Wyatt’s mind games with Roman Reigns were going in a very sinister direction, involving threats to Reigns’s family and particularly his daughter.
- It seems as though WWE received some negative feedback about that direction and have decided to pursue it no further. Instead, Wyatt’s mind games have become an elaborate game of hide and seek. Wyatt, to his credit, has never looked better. His physicality, his facial expressions, his intensity – nobody can match his commitment to the bit, and few could take such a borderline supernatural gimmick and make it so legitimately compelling. Both these performers are benefiting greatly from working together.
- The match between members of the Prime Time Players and New Day respectively was short and uninspired. These two powerhouses seem content to coast on a limited move set and sense of humour, and have seemingly stopped striving for a more innovative approach to their matches. How many times have we seen them work together, and how many times do they take the action to uncharted waters? Without the presence of their teammates causing havoc at ringside, there would be nothing interesting to see here.
- Randy Orton cut a very nice promo on the Celtic Warrior. The rivalry with Sheamus appeared to be pulled out of a hat when it began, as nothing but something to keep these two A-list wrestlers busy for a while, but Orton is still a commanding talker and succeeded in getting everyone on board with the feud, despite his latest brief absence from the ring.
- The Ascension… what can you say? Former NXT Tag Champions, the first tag team brought up from NXT to the main roster after dominating their competition for a year, jobbed out to a single wrestler who made it look easy. What did they do and who did they piss off?
- Side note: Tom Phillips used “Outta nowhere!” incorrectly. Granted, the first RKO on Viktor, that was pretty sudden. The second one on Konnor came only after Orton set it up with his trademark crowd-goading ritual. That was the definition of premeditated. Hardly out of nowhere. Just because it’s a popular catchphrase, Tom, does not make it applicable every time.
- Naomi, Tamina, Alicia Fox and the Bellas continue to be the only Divas featured on the main roster aside from Paige. Where are all the other wrestlers? What are they doing to contribute to this current storyline, which is supposed to be affecting the entire roster of women, not just a few. Furthermore, the logical development to occur would be to have Tamina and Naomi join with Paige to overthrow the evil reign of Team Bella – but during this match, Jimmy Uso put down such a notion when it was brought up. Where is this going, then? Once again, Team Bellas are booked as total heels and win using under-handed tactics, yet are cheered in victory. The confusion of character within the ranks of the Divas division continues.
- Sidenote: Brie Bella cranked over into “Brie mode!” less than a minute into this match. Someone should tell her it has more effect if she saves it for later in the match, maybe after she gets a hot tag or comes back after getting worked over for a while. It kind of leaves her with nowhere to go if she uses it to open.
- Ryback looked fantastic against the World Heavyweight Champion, dominating the first leg of the match with power moves and working the crowd. Rollins got his heat back, though, looking equally impressive against the far more powerful opponent. These two showed why they are champions. The ending to the match and the aftermath, however, stripped down any kind of build Rollins enjoyed up to that point.
- It seemed that a more mutually beneficial ending would be to have Big Show interfere, maybe knock out Ryback with a KO Punch and get the big man counted out: Ryback loses, but he doesn’t look weak; Rollins looks a bit cheap and villainous, but he gets one in the win column; and the feud between the IC Champ and Big Show develops. Instead, the Heavyweight Champion not only took another loss on television, but he didn’t even get his heat back after the match. It was a double loss for the face of the Authority on the way to the biggest challenge of his championship reign. Ryback benefited from this push, but he would benefit giving the champ a run for his money alone – he doesn’t need to win.
- The other incomplete element here: when Roman Reigns came down to equalize the Big Show interference, where was Bray Wyatt? It seems the further involvement of Reigns’s current rival would have added a twist and allowed Rollins to end the show on a powerful note, instead of building up the Intercontinental Champion and Roman Reigns (a non-champion and non-contender) at the expense of the defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion. This was a bit of poor booking that may have been entertaining, but ultimately did more harm than good.
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