After WWE tweeted that not only would Becky Lynch not be able to compete at the No Mercy PPV due to medical reasons, but that the main event would start the show, my husband decided that we would skip writing a results article and just try to enjoy the show. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV, Backlash, had a terrible card but turned out to be a great three hours, so I went into No Mercy with a healthy amount of optimism. My mistake.
Curt Hawkins was initially going to have his debut match at No Mercy, but instead popped out randomly during the preshow at around 7:15pm EST before the majority of fans were even in their seats. He walked to the ring to a list of Chuck Norris-type facts while waving around a walking stick. Hawkins announced that his first match would actually be on October 11th on Smackdown, and the crowd couldn’t care less. This was such a poor choice for what was meant to be a strong debut.
The preshow kickoff match featured The Hype Bros and American Alpha versus The Ascension and The Vaudevillains. It was a solid fight, with the Hype Bros and American Alpha picking up the win after a nine minute match. I don’t think this was the best use of the preshow though. We have an entire hour to eat up, and the match only gets 15% of that time? We don’t need to hear Jerry Lawler sexually harass female talent for 45 minutes. Give us longer and better preshow matches.
Our first match was the “main event” where AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat match. Styles actually tapped out, but because both Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had a submission hold on him, the match was restarted. First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this main event opened the PPV. I thought that maybe they were saving something else for the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps they moved it so it wasn’t airing during the debate, but that doesn’t make sense either since everything is On Demand on the Network. It was a confusing move, and I still have yet to figure out why they did it.
Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a decent match, but Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in a match that would have been better left off the card. The women had a little over 5 minutes to compete, and it ended with Bliss throwing a fit after her loss. It makes her look weak and childish, which is a poor move considering she is the number one contender for Lynch’s title. Time and time again, we hear about the Women’s Revolution. I’m still waiting for it to begin.
The highlight of the night for me was watching Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully retain against The Usos. It was a solid match and it’s so amazing to hear Slater being cheered for, getting hot tags, and being able to actually perform in the ring instead of job out. The second high point for me was Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz and becoming Intercontinental Champion. This was a twenty minute match of nonstop action. Online rumors had Ziggler leaving WWE to pursue a career in comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t true.
Baron Corbin defeated the new and improved Jack Swagger in a singles match that was forgettable. Our actual main event was Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton. I was terrified that WWE was going to try and turn this into their version of Impact Wrestling’s The Great War, but they spared us. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even bother making this match a No Disqualification fight. It was good to see Bray Wyatt finally get a win, but he still didn’t get it clean thanks to a surprise return by Luke Harper. Harper didn’t interfere, simply showed up as a distraction to allow Wyatt to steal a win.
Overall, this PPV was better suited for a Tuesday night episode of Smackdown than it was for a Sunday evening. Whatever magic went into Backlash was completely lost for No Mercy. We apologize for the lack of coverage on Sunday, but have no regrets, as any article we posted was going to tear that PPV into pieces. Hopefully they can get it together by Tuesday and give their talent the better booking they deserve.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Viper, Randy Orton, slithers to the ring at the start of the show. Starting off with a pun? Yeah, sure, why not. Orton gets on the mic and immediately calls out Bray Wyatt. He says the reason Bray is so obsessed with fear is because he’s afraid of Orton. The Viper says if Bray is man enough then he should get his ass to the ring right now. Wyatt Family sound and we cut to Bray cutting a promo backstage in the dark. He alludes to the story of Hansel and Gretel and says he left his own trail of breadcrumbs for Randy to follow. Then calls himself a god. He says if Randy wants to hurt him he better hurry up. Then he shows an hour glass and says the sands of time are running out. This promo is just all over the map. Desperate times for creatively buried Bray Wyatt. The big screen fades out and Orton rolls out of the ring and walks up the ramp. Flat segment and provided absolutely no new reason to get even remotely excited about their upcoming match.
Dean Ambrose interviewed backstage. He says AJ Styles keeps bragging about beating John Cena, but Ambrose beat Cena last week so he says that it’s old news. He plans on making Styles cry in their title match later tonight. First commercial break at 8:10. So far, Smackdown is not beating Raw. At least they started with a match.
When we return, there are way too many people in the ring. We’re about to have an 8-man tag team match. Goodie. Heath Slater and Rhyno with American Alpha to take on The Ascension and The Usos, who come out to new entrance music. They walk out dressed like Hispanic gangbangers. The Usos start the match isolating Chad Gable and working his taped knee into the commercial break. When we return Gable is still down. Everybody but Slater and Jey Uso go down and Gable finally gets Slater the hot tag. He drops Jey with a neckbreaker but Konnor breaks it up. Jimmy tags in and puts the Tequila Sunrise submission on Slater and he taps out. Short match with nothing new.
John Cena, excuse me….Ghetto Cena, is interviewed backstage. He says at No Mercy he will be a 16-time champion. The Miz and Maryse are shown. Miz covers a hallway photo of Lebron James with a poster of Miz holding the IC Belt. HaHa. Then we cut to Randy Orton looking at some weird pickaxe hanging on the wall in the shadows. He turns it, making an arrow point which he follows. As Orton leaves, Erick Rowan turns the axe the other way. What is the point of all this? I’m bored. That was too many cuts at once with multiple segments just hastily thrown together. Not a good broadcast for Smackdown thus far tonight. Commercial break.
After, Bray Wyatt is shown with the hour glass half run through. He says Orton is running out of time. In the ring, Carmella and Natalya are set to take on Naomi and Nikki Bella. Carmella and Naomi start the match. Sloppy match to start and it only runs for about a minute before yet another commercial break. When we return, Natalya is beating Naomi outside the ring. Near fall back in the ring. Crowd just not into this one, and I can’t really blame them. Carmella tags and continues beating down Naomi who can’t catch a break. She is limping on her right leg. Natalya tagged back in and continues working on Naomi. She is taking a whooping. Nikki finally tags in and for some reason the crowd cheers her. Nikki goes after Carmella but she rakes Nikki in the eyes. She kicks Naomi off the apron and rolls Nikki up for the pinfall.
Randy Orton backstage with creepy red messages painted all over the walls. He enters a door marked I AM A GOD, slowly creeping the door open. Inside is a cardboard cut out of Orton with its eyes missing. He opens another door marked PREDATOR OR PREY. Erick Rowan hides on the other side, but Orton doesn’t enter. He closes the door and walks away. Rowan shakes the handle on the other side and we go to commercial. What in the holy hell are we even watching? This might be the worst episode of Smackdown Live since the brand split. I know Donald Trump fried all our brains last night, but this is bad even for WWE Creative.
The Miz comes out, finally breathing some life into the broadcast. Can’t believe I’m saying that in 2016, but it’s the truth. Miz celebration ceremony. Red carpet in the ring, posters of him in the corners, fireworks shot off at the top of the ramp. Maryse introduces her husband. He gets a lackluster welcome from his home crowd. Then we get to see a Miz build promo package from his Real World days until now. Miz says, “Cleveland, I’m home.” and this time the crowd cheers for him. Then he gets a cheap pop mentioning the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. He says over a million people paraded for them when they won but all he got was a lousy ring setup. He calls Lebron James a traitor and the crowd has turned on him again. HaHa. He welcomes his parents sitting ringside. Dolph Ziggler’s parents are also ringside. He says they created “an elite level, world class loser.” Ziggler’s music hits and he comes to the ring. Maryse keeps Ziggler back. Ziggler calls Miz a cheater and goes to leave. Miz asks him when he’s going to just end his mediocre career. Miz says Ziggler’s career makes him sick and he would be embarrassed if it was his. Miz then utterly destroys Ziggler verbally and it is pretty brutal. Ziggler says give him one more title shot and if he loses he is gone from WWE. “I either walk out champion….or I’m done.” And Miz says at No Mercy in two weeks, career versus title match. Hell yes.
After the break, Bray Wyatt in the back doing another bout of rambling. Becky Lynch comes down the ramp. Alexa Bliss runs down and attacks her from behind. She takes her belt off and tells Becky she doesn’t deserve it. Curt Hawkins vignette that is super lame. And commercial. Then more Bray Wyatt BS. This is hard to watch. The crowd is hitting him with WHAT!? chants after every sentence. Orton stands up behind Bray wearing the sheep mask. Bray turns and gets punched and the two start fighting. Bray runs off as Randy laughs. Randy puts the sheep mask on and starts singing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands with audio masked with Bray talking. Not sure what that is about. Crowd is so bored they start a New Day Rocks chant.
John Cena joins commentary which only solidifies how much I hate this episode of Smackdown. Dean Ambrose comes down, followed by his opponent, AJ Styles. This match is for the WWE World Championship. The fight spills out to the announce table. Commercial. After we come back, Styles is running the table in the ring. Having a hard time concentrating on the match because Cena talks through the entire thing. The crowd injecting a lot of life into an otherwise generic match. Cloverleaf by Ambrose, then a Calf Crusher by Styles. Neither man submits. Finally some action as Ambrose violently clotheslines Styles off the top rope. Styles misses badly with a 450 splash springboard. Ambrose climbs to the top of the turnbuckle and drops an elbow on Styles. Cover, but kick out at two. Ambrose attacks John Cena on commentary. Cena tries to get in the ring but the ref stops him and misses a pin. Ambrose attacks Cena and then Styles rolls him up for the pinfall. After, Cena gets in Ambrose’s face as Styles walks out. Ambrose tries a Dirty Deeds, but Cena counters into an Attitude Adjustment. Styles attacks Cena from behind but he hits another Attitude Adjustment and then lifts the championship up. Dreadful.
If it wasn’t for the title and didn’t have Cena on commentary, that was the Smackdown of old main event. People are going to call it awesome though. Very bad episode of Smackdown tonight. Strike two for WWE this week. If not for The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, there was nothing worth mentioning. Not sure why Creative has fell off this week, but hard to get interested in the product at the moment. What did you all think of the broadcast? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
If you didn’t bother to tune in to the WWE Network Sunday night to see Smackdown Live presenting WWE Backlash, you should be forced to do the shame walk from Game of Thrones and then made to watch Santino promos for five hours. It was a spectacular event, maybe one of the best pay-per-views of the year thus far. I am more than excited to see what this episode brings us tonight. So let’s get into it.
The champ is here! (Those are A.J. Styles’ words, not mine.) The show kicks off with the Phenomenal new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He is cut short by John Cena. Womp-Womp. This was predictable as soon as Styles won. Cena says Styles has something that belongs to him and he wants the championship. Literally without question the safest, most boring option WWE could go with. Ghetto Cena does his played out gimmick; says he wants to be a 16-time world champion. Enter Dean Ambrose, angry and cutting a path right to the ring. Ambrose gets in the face of Styles and starts shooting off on the mic. Cena interrupts him and questions whether he even has balls. If that sounds familiar, it’s because John Cena uses the same promo against every opponent he has ever faced. Some form of testicles, balls, scrotum, sack, etc. Take your pick, he has one line. And for some reason the crowd always eats it up like it was the first time they saw a boob in middle school.
Shane McMahon comes out. He praises Ambrose and Styles in their performances at Backlash, until, he says, Styles took the easy way out. Shane sets up the umpteenth triple threat title match for No Mercy next month. Yawn. He sets up a tag match later. Cena and Ambrose vs Styles and an opponent of his choosing. All the progress Backlash made and now here we are retracing our steps back to Shitville and Mayor John Cena is once again shoved down our throats. I am so disappointed with this segment and everything that just took place. Commercial break.
The Hype Bros and The Usos are in the ring ready for a match when we return. Zack Ryder and Jey Uso start the match. Jey goes after Ryder’s injured and wrapped left leg. He isolates Ryder in their corner and tags in Jimmy. He works on the leg with multiple shots and then tags Jey back in. He puts an ankle lock on using his body as leverage. Mojo and Jimmy get tagged in and Mojo clobbers Jimmy in the corner. Jey distracts the ref and Jimmy rakes Mojo’s eyes. Super kick and mojo is down. Jey is tagged in and he splashes off the tap rope into the cover for the pinfall. Solid match. Only complaint is it was really short. I am enjoying this Uso heel turn and would have gladly watched them in action some more. Well told story, even in the brief few minutes all four men were in action.
Really lousy Curt Hawkins vignette after the break. They should have done something better with him. This crappy Chuck Norris Facts gimmick is just not getting me excited for his debut. The Miz and Maryse come down to the ring. He says he doesn’t care if everybody calls him a coward because he walked out of Backlash with his beautiful wife and the Intercontinental Championship. Miz calls himself a main-eventer and then The Showoff interrupts him. Ziggler says Miz is just trying to sell himself to himself because he doesn’t believe his own words. Ziggler wants a rematch with no wives, no gimmicks, just him and Miz. Maryse stutters through half a sentence and then Daniel Bryan comes out and says Dolph will get his rematch. Miz says he won’t defend his title until his contract is renegotiated. He storms out of the ring leaving Bryan and Ziggler (and wife, Maryse) confused. Backstage Styles runs into Baron Corbin in the hallway. He asks him to be his tag partner. Corbin says, “Your partner? I’d rather be your opponent. I want that title,” and then walks away into a commercial fade out.
He is coming down to the ring when we return, set to take on Apollo Crews, in a rematch from Sunday. Before the bell even rings, Corbin attacks Crews off the apron and then hits End of Days outside on the floor. Corbin gets back in the ring. Jack Swagger’s music hits. He walks out in a t-shirt and jeans with a backwards baseball cap. Corbin rolls out of the ring and leaves, which is disappointing. Swagger says he signed a contract with Smackdown Live. He cuts a weird promo about something. It was strange and I just laughed at him. Not sure about this frat boy gimmick.
Becky Lynch comes out, beaming from ear to ear with her new fancy title. She says Philadelphia (where Smackdown is tonight) is a fighting town and she’s a fighting champion so, and I quote, “Bring it brooooooooooos!” Naomi comes out in her blacklight entrance. This is about to be a Fatal-5-Way to determine Becky’s next challenger. Naomi’s opponents will be Nikki Bella, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella. These ladies put on a fantastic match Sunday so I’m not dreading this one. When the bell rings, all five just go hard after each other. Lots of offense, lot of lovely bodies flying around. Nikki and Natalya are left in the ring. Nikki almost gets a pinfall but Carmella breaks it up. Good action throughout this one. I am eating a plate of ribs while I type this so apologies for the lack of details. Just enjoying watching these ladies work. Carmella kicks Nikki to the mat, but before she can cover, Alexa Bliss runs in and throws Carmella out of the ring. She covers Nikki for the win! New #1 Contender is Bliss’d! Yes! Styles backstage asks Kane to be his partner. He only laughs at AJ and walks away.
Shane in the ring after another commercial. He introduces Heath Slater bay-bay! He comes out with Rhyno. Crowd goes wild. This is so awesome. It has been a really great story the past few weeks. Shane says he is a man of his word and wants to make Heath’s job official. He hands him a contract. Slater signs it and crowd chants “You deserve it!” Slater says they will fight anybody, anytime, anywhere. The Ascension (UGHHHHH) interrupts and says how about them right now. Shane clears the ring and says get a ref out there. Commercial break. When we come back Ascension is viciously dominating. They run the ring for a few minutes, but they are no match for Rhyno’s GORE! Pinfall and they have their first successful title defense. Daniel Bryan found Styles a teammate. The weird-mouthed James Elsworth whose claim to fame is being squashed by Braun Strowman.
The Viper, Randy Orton comes down to the ring. Huge pop from the crowd for him and an RKO chant. Orton calls out Bray Wyatt. But instead of coming out, he has a foggy vignette. Wyatt cryptically tells Orton not to sleep. Cut to black and we come back to a dim arena. Bray leans against the announce table and stares at Orton. Randy beckons him into the ring. Bray takes his jacket and hat off, but Erick Rowan appears behind Orton and beats him down. Orton is down for a moment but then he just jumps up and hits a RKO. Lackluster segment for all.
AJ Styles comes down. Then his ridiculous partner, Elsworth comes walking out. The Miz pommels him from behind and hits a Skull Crushing Finale on the ramp. He looks in the camera and says, “He’s the main event, Daniel? This guy?! I’m the main event!” Miz gets in the ring and squares up to Styles. They shake hands! Miz is Styles’ tag team partner tonight! After the break, Miz is dominating Cena. Styles and Ambrose tag in and just go at each other. No love loss there. Miz sneaking attacks on Ambrose while the ref is distracted. Cena and Miz in and Cena does his patent pending Five Moves of Doom. Attitude Adjustment and Cena covers Miz for the win. Cena celebrates and Ambrose hits him with Dirty Deeds. Crowd boos? Ambrose yells at Cena he better never disrespect him again. Interesting. Dull match and a flat main event.
I enjoyed the broadcast for the most part, but the booking was strange. No Mercy is shaping up to be a pay-per-view that fans could afford to miss. What did you think of Smackdown Live tonight? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I’m in desperate need of a pick me up tonight after yesterday’s depressing situation with Finn Balor, who relinquished the Universal Title due to injury. Nikki Bella is set to make her official Smackdown debut this evening, coming after her surprise return at Summerslam. On the Smackdown Live preshow, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon fined Brock Lesnar only $500 for his attack on her brother, Shane, so it’ll be interesting to see if that is addressed tonight.
Smackdown begins in the locker room where AJ Styles names himself as The New Face That Runs The Place, thanks to his victory over John Cena at Summerslam. He puts on Cena’s “Never Give Up” armband that Cena left in the ring on Sunday, then calls out Dolph Ziggler for being a loser. After a brief brawl, Styles leaves the locker room. New feud?
The two new titles are in the ring as we begin; the new tag titles are the same design as the originals, but are colored silver on a blue leather belt. The new women’s title is also an exact replica of the original, but with a blue background behind the “W.” Before you start bitching, they could have gone off the wall with all of this, but they kept it simple. Let’s not let it ruin the entire show, okay? Daniel Bryan tells the six women of Smackdown that any one of them could potentially be champion, and the crowd start chanting for Nattie. The new Smackdown women’s champion will be crowned at Backlash, the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, and the contenders will be decided with a Six Pack Challenge. This will also be where the Smackdown tag team champions will be crowned, with a Tag Team Title Tournament that will start tonight and crown a winner at Backlash.
Slater’s Gonna Slate! Heath Slater interrupts regarding his lack of contract. Slater proposes to Bryan and McMahon that they allow him to compete for the tag titles. Slater is hilarious; I love this. Bryan says that if Slater can find a partner by the end of the night, they will turn this into an eight team tournament. But Slater will only get a contract if he wins the ENTIRE tournament. Poor Heath Slater and his fifteen children.
AJ Styles picks this time to come out, tells Slater to get lost, and says that they need to talk about The New Face That Runs The Place! It seems like Styles is letting this new title (that he has given himself) go to his head. Out of nowhere, Ziggler comes out and clocks Styles in the back of the head! Bryan and McMahon send the entire tag division out of the ring to break it up! Damn, this was a great start to the night. Kudos.
Our first match will be Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, with Naomi and Natalya ringside at commentary. The match is pretty back and forth in the beginning, with Lynch looking for the Disarmer and Bliss able to block every attempt. Bliss is the smallest on the Smackdown roster, but quite possibly the most vicious. Bliss gets Lynch caught up on the ropes and is able to get a pin attempt, but Lynch counters with clotheslines that takes Bliss down. Bliss slams Lynch to the mat into a pin via flip from the middle rope, but Lynch kicks out at two. Lynch is able to lock in the Disarmer and Bliss has no choice but to tap. Natalya is on commentary with an attitude, going back and forth with Naomi in an awkward exchange as Lynch celebrates her win.
Backstage, Slater approaches The Miz and asks if he will be his Tag Team partner. Slater thinks that Miz is agreeing to do it, but it turns out that Miz is on his bluetooth talking a movie deal and didn’t hear a single word that Slater said. Poor Heath Slater and his twenty-five hungry children.
Our next match is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Ascension versus The Usos. The Ascension attack The Usos as soon as the bell rings, taking them down and going for an early pin. Using quick tags, they are keeping their opponent isolated and unable to tag in his brother. The crowd starts a small Uso chant, but it fades quickly as Konnor goes for another pin attempt. Uso finally tags in his brother and hits a Cross Body, then a super kick on Viktor. He hits a Samoan Drop and goes for the finish, but Konnor jumps in to save his partner. Jimmy hits a splash and gets the pin for the win. JBL keeps telling us that The Usos are the favorites for this tournament, but I’m not buying it.
The New Face That Runs The Place is going to try to make his entrance uninterrupted; AJ Styles comes to the ring, still holding Cena’s arm band. Styles says he sees lots of angry faces in the crowd (not to mention jealous faces in the locker room) because of his win at Summerslam. Styles wants the Cena fans to convert over to Styles fans so they don’t have to cry into their cereal. As Styles is yelling, Ziggler comes out again to go on the attack, but security and Bryan stop it from happening. Bryan says that Styles does indeed deserve to be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but since Ziggler and Styles want to fight so bad, they will have a match tonight. If Styles wins, he gets a title match at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he gets added to the match and it becomes a Triple Threat. Second option please!!
Up now, Carmella will be facing the returning Nikki Bella. Before the match, Renee Young enters the ring to interview Nikki. Carmella isn’t having any of it though and attacks Nikki mid-sentence. She lays Nikki out and the crowd cheers! Eventually, another referee jumps in to break it up, but Carmella is yelling insults and refusing to back off. She leaves the ring, only to jump back in and attack Nikki once more as she cradles her neck. I’ve gotta say, I like this side of Carmella. It was also nice not to see the predictable Bella win upon her return.
At the top of the second hour, Randy Orton comes out, obviously not dressed to compete give the ten staples in his skull. He gets a great welcome from the crowd, and admits that he was in one hell of a fight against Brock Lesnar. Orton says he is unhappy with the match being called as a TKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt’s music hits! The man steps out alone, slowly walking to the ring with his lantern in hand. He sits in his rocker, asking Orton how his head is feeling. Wyatt saw Orton’s eyes go blank after Lesnar busted him open, and says it is a reminder that Orton is just a man. A man who hurts, suffers, and dies. But Wyatt is not just a man, he is a God. (Sidenote: this only works if you guys start booking him better!!) He promises that Orton will find out more “in time.” And just like that, he vanishes.
Backstage, Slater asks Arn Anderson if he will be his tag team partner. He tells Anderson that he is his last and final hope! He’s running out of time. Anderson declines, but Rhyno steps in and volunteers himself to be Heath’s partner! I’m so glad that Slater’s thirty-seven children won’t have to go hungry!
Our next Tag Team Tournament Match is American Alpha versus Breezango. Gable and Fandango start things off, with Fandango immediately going to the ropes for a break. Breeze and Jordan tag in, and American Alpha take out both of their opponents before the legal men get back in the ring. Jordan and Gable are so good, but the main roster audience still isn’t behind them as they should be. A USA chant gets going, which means… what exactly in this match? Gable gets Breeze locked in an arm bar in the middle of the ring, targeting the shoulder. Alpha is using quick tags to keep Breeze isolated, but he is able to shove Gable into Fandango and nearly win the match.
During the commercial, Breeze and Fandango have controlled the match, but when we return, Jordan comes in and dominates both Breeze and Fandango, delivering fantastic suplexes before tagging in Gable. Jordan attacks Fandango outside of the ring to keep him from interfering, then tags himself in. The near falls are starting now, and things are getting tense. This is a fantastic match! These four are bringing their best tonight, and it’s a shame they both can’t advance. Breeze and Jordan are going back and forth with pins, and both looks frustrated beyond belief. Jordan hits a suplex into a spear, then tags in Gable who pins Breeze for the win! This was awesome, but I’m glad my boys won. And I’m glad they didn’t awkwardly caress the tag titles like The Usos did.
After a relaxing night of gambling, Dean Ambrose comes out to join the commentary team to watch our main event from ringside. Ziggler and Styles will battle, and hopefully we don’t see John Cena. I’m probably asking for too much. The crowd is split on who to support, and Styles is quick to leave the ring to get a breather. To remind you, a Styles victory guarantees him a match at Backlash against Ambrose, but a Ziggler victory makes that match a Triple Threat. As we return from commercial, Styles is in control and Ziggler is stuck in the corner, but he’s able to dodge and get some relief. Ziggler is thrown hard against the turnbuckle, then hit with a backbreaker into a pin. Ziggler tries for a very sloppy, and obviously unsuccessful roll up before Styles retaliates and knocks him to the mat once again. Ziggler is finally able to land a few punches, but Styles catches him on the ropes with a neckbreaker.
Styles is not holding anything back in this, throwing Ziggler into the stairs and all but ignoring the referee’s instructions. Ziggler finally hits a beautiful dropkick on Styles! Both men are briefly down, then Ziggler tries for a pin after an elbow drop. Ziggler hits the Famouser but Styles kicks out just barely in time. I want a Triple Threat; come on! Near fall after near fall, and neither man will give up. Ziggler hits an amazing DDT, but damn it, Styles kicks out. I’m stressed out at this point. Just make it a Triple Threat because you know it’ll be awesome. Styles hits Ziggler with a cheap shot while he is hung up on the ropes, then hits the Styles Clash for the win. Damn it.
After the victory, Styles gets in Ambrose’s face and snatches off his headset. I always forget how tall Ambrose is until we have moments like this. Styles backs off with a smile on his face, and we end our broadcast. This was a fantastic Smackdown! After a couple of weeks thinking that the brand split wasn’t agreeing with WWE anymore, we get a much needed night like this. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see you all tomorrow for NXT and CWC coverage!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Brace yourself, sports fans. This one might go as long as this year’s WrestleMania. It’s supposed to be a stacked matchcard with virtually every Superstar in action tonight. Vince McMahon really has his work cut out for him tonight because NXT tore the roof off the Barclay Center last night. So without further ado, let’s dissect this pay-per-view.
The preshow kicks off with a 12-man tag match, which is a ridiculous thing to have on a pay-per-view. The Vaudevillians team with The Ascension and Breezango to take on The Hype Bros, The Usos, and American Alpha. Chad Gable and Tyler Breeze start the match and Gable shows off a little bit, looking solid. Jay Uso tags in and the crowd boo’s. It’s hard to get excited about this one. We have twelve guys, all fighting for essentially nothing. There is no tag title on Smackdown. Why was American Alpha even drafted there? For that matter, why are there even tag teams on Smackdown? It’s an odd thing, and just another example of why the brand split isn’t the best idea. It’s a shame because Chad and Gable deserve better. Everyone in this match puts on a good show. But the attendance is full of empty seats, and not even Mauro Ranallo can get anything going.
Zack Ryder continues to do a good job and it’s no wonder they gave him a push earlier this year. Jimmy Uso and Tyler Breeze are the last men standing, as Jimmy Samoan Drops him to the mat. Konnor tries to block him but Jimmy kicks him. Jordan tags in and suplexes both Fandango and Breeze. Suplex on Gotch, but English breaks up the pinfall. Powerbomb by English on Gable. Hats off to these guys for avoiding the doomed “spot-fest” that many of these matches become. Everyone gets their stuff in, but it feels organic; going with the flow of the match. Breeze and Viktor get slammed by Mojo Rawley. The action is quick and exciting. Crowd gets a little more lively as things progress. Gable and Jordan drop Viktor and Jay Uso steals the win for the tagfall. Baron Corbin interrupts the pre-show panel to cut a quick promo on Kalisto who was injured and couldn’t compete in their match tonight.
The Dudley Boyz come out to take on Neville and Sami Zayn. Neville and Devon kick things off. Neville and Zayn work well together as a team. Dudleys are still as good as ever. This one is pretty fun. Crowd into it. Some near falls throughout. A miscommunication by Devon and Bubba Ray allows Neville to hit the Red Arrow for the pinfall. Good match, not too long and not too short. It will be interesting to see if this Neville and Zayn team continues and whether a rift will start to grow between The Dudley Boyz.
The final match of the preshow is Sheamus taking on Cesaro in the first match of their Best of 7 Series. This one is brutal from the start, with both men using a bit of stiff, strong style. Sheamus takes control as we head into a little commercial break. Sheamus puts some strong moves on Cesaro, and gets a couple of near falls. Cesaro Swing on Sheamus into a figure four leglock. Sheamus breaks it up. Cesaro tries again, gets blocked and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him into a pinfall victory. Sheamus is up 1-0. A mostly entertaining trio of matches to kick off the preshow, but I find myself scratching my head trying to determine if there was a point to any of them. A 12-man tag? The Dudley Boyz in 2016? Sheamus and Cesaro six more times after this? Eek.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, crowd sets the roof on fire. Brilliant way to start the show and get the crowd into it. Enzo does his usual thing, ripping up the mic and getting everybody up on their feet. He calls New York the greatest city in the world. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho come down. The match starts and Owens and Y2J knock Cass off the apron and double team Enzo. Enzo and Jericho are the official legal men, and Jericho goes to work chopping the smaller guy. Enzo is as good a seller as Dolph Ziggler and he always makes his opponents shine. Enzo takes a beating for awhile, including a hard frog-splash by Kevin Owens. Big Cass gets the hot tag and takes down both Owens and Jericho. He drops an Empire Elbow on Y2J. Followed by a big boot as Jericho leaps off the top rope. Owens saves the match, attacking Enzo and Cass both. Owens throws Enzo to Jericho, who hits a Code Breaker and he covers for the pinfall win. The hometown boys lose, and the crowd is unhappy about it. Good match to kick things off. After the match, Owens and Jericho walk up the ramp screaming “I Love You!” at each other. Backstage segment with Jon Stewart and The New Day, adding really nothing to the show.
Sasha Banks defends her WWE Women’s Championship next against Charlotte. It seems a really bizarre booking choice to do this match so early, and also doing it prior to this shit-storm 6-woman tag match that is happening later. Both ladies came to play, and they trade physical attacks to start. Charlotte botches several moves in a row and looks like an amateur out there. She may have legit injured Sasha with a terrible fail off the top rope. Charlotte tries a Figure Four leglock, but Sasha kicks her off. Moments later, Sasha is thrown into the corner. Sasha counters a Razor’s Edge off the top rope and both women hit the mat hard. This is brutal to watch. Sasha locks in a nice Boston Crab using the ropes as leverage, but she has to break it as the ref counts to five. A double knee slam into Charlotte’s back, leaves both ladies holding their lower backs and grimacing. Sasha jumps off the apron and drops both knees on Charlotte’s face, dropping her down to the ground outside. Ref starts a ten count. Charlotte goes for Natural Selection, but Sasha counters into the Bank Statement. Charlotte worms her way out of it. Neck breaker by Charlotte, then hits Natural Selection. Sasha kicks out at two. Charlotte tries a tilt-a-whirl but Sasha reverses it into another Bank Statement. Charlotte rolls her over onto her shoulders and three seconds later, Charlotte regains the Women’s Championship. This seems like a terrible finish and should definitely lead into something. They cleaned it up towards the end, but that one got off to a rocky start. Not the best outing these two have had against each other. Backstage segment with The Club, AJ Styles, and Finn Balor teasing the Bullet Club.
The Miz comes down, accompanied by Maryse. Apollo Crews is challenging for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz attacks in the corner early, and Crews is reeling. Things slow way down, and the match hits a lull. Crews hits him with a boot and both men are down. Standing moonsault by Crews is the highlight so far, but he fails to cover. Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale for the win. Another mediocre match that just comes across as a waste of air time. So far the show has just been okay. Still waiting for a big wow moment.
Up next AJ Styles looks to beat up John Cena. Crowd starts a very vocal John Cena Sucks sing-along. It’s a decent match to start, but the problem with this matchup is Styles is way more talented than Cena, and Cena just goes through his usual run-of-the-mill Five Moves of Doom. Styles hits the Styles Clash and Cena kicks out. Attitude Adjustment by Cena, but Styles kicks out. The pair do their best, but what else is there to milk out of this rivalry? They burned this one months ago. Now we are just going through all the familiar motions. Attitude Adjustment by Styles this time, but Cena kicks out. Styles attempts a springboard 450 splash, but Cena moves out of the way. Styles locks in the Calf Crusher submission. Cena gets out and climbs the top rope. Leg drop on Styles, hitting him in the back of the head. Kick out at two. Some exciting false finishes in this one, but again nothing really new. John Cena looks stunned that Styles just keeps kicking out. Styles Clash again on Cena, but no cover. Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope and Styles covers Cena for the win. This one didn’t really have a pay-per-view feel. Mauro Ranallo really helped to make that match more than it was, so hats off to him.
BREAKING: News just came through the wire that Sasha Banks dropped the title because she violated the wellness policy. Official suspension coming tomorrow. Damn, if that rumor is true what a shame! We’ll cover it more later this week when more official word comes out from the WWE camp.
Jon Stewart comes out, making me wonder what is on TV right now that I might be able to watch to curb my boredom. He sports a New Day t-shirt and unicorn horn and brings the group out, sans Big E Langston. They are set to defend their Tag Team Championship titles against The Club. Xavier Woods does a great job throughout this one, especially for someone we don’t really get to see go very often. Gallows and Anderson are such a great tag team. They hit Magic Killer on Xavier and then Jon Stewart distracts. The Club goes to put Stewart crotch first on the ring post. Crowd starts a YES! chant. Before they can hurt him, Big E runs in and attacks Gallows and Anderson. Ref calls for the bell. Big E slams Anderson into the barricade. Match ends in DQ finish, which is weird because Big E is a member of New Day. But it’s whatever. Fun segment and New Day will have the tag titles going into tomorrow.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are in the ring as Dolph Ziggler comes out to challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Fast start to this as it spills out of the ring. Spinning neckbreaker by Ziggler after slamming Ambrose into the barricade. Ambrose pounds Ziggler’s head on the steel steps twice before they get back in the ring. Ziggler pulls out all the stops, by Ambrose manages to kick out every time. Elbow off the top rope by Dean but Ziggler kicks out. Simple back and forth here, letting both guys trade momentum. Ambrose kicks out of a Zig Zag. Is it just me or were finishers just completely burned all night tonight? Been a long time since WWE protected finishers. Sleeper hold by Ziggler. Ambrose gets out of it and blocks a Super Kick. Huge clothesline sends Ziggler to the match. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose to retain. Exciting match. Might be my favorite so far tonight. But again, nothing spectacular has happened. This is supposed to be the big event of the summer and it is falling short of delivering in my opinion.
Tag action up next with six women going at it. I have not been looking forward to this at all. Let’s get it over with. Naomi comes out first, looking like a forensic crime scene under a black light. But her entrance is definitely memorable. She is tagging with Carmella and Becky Lynch, two of my favorites. Their opponents are Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Nikki Bella. Lynch and Bliss start the match. Another match that honestly means nothing. Why? Because these are six women that can never compete for the Women’s Championship because it’s on Raw and they are Smackdown competitors. Putting this on the actual pay-per-view card and not the preshow is questionable. Also, let’s just put this out there: Nikki Bella is not a good wrestler. There, I said it. An okay outing from these ladies. Carmella and Bliss have one of their best matches so far since coming up to the main roster. Nikki Bella gets the win by pinning Carmella. Eh. Still have yet to be blown away by anything tonight. So far, HHH has won the weekend.
They show the Universal Championship and it’s terrible. Looks just like the world title only red. It looks like it was designed by Eva Marie. What a piece of trash, both the name and the physical belt. Shame. Seth Rollins comes out, with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley ringside. The Demon King, Finn Balor, makes an incredible entrance. Crowd. Goes. Ape. Shit. The bell rings and Balor doesn’t hesitate. He dropkicks Rollins. Balor goes to work aggressively attacking Rollins left leg. Outside the ring, Rollins tosses Balor into the timekeeper’s area. Rollins very methodical for this match, being aggressive and not letting up on Balor. Running kick off the apron for Balor to regain control. He hits a Slingblade on Rollins in the ring. Rollins recovers and tries a Pedigree but it gets blocked and Balor kicks him. Both men down. 1916 by Balor, but Rollins kicks out. The match is pretty exciting, but the crowd is giving a shit response, trying to hijack it with chants unrelated to the match. Foot stomp off the corner and Finn Balor is the first WWE Universal Champion. How cool is that? First WWE wrestler to win a title on their first pay-per-view match as well. The future is bright with these two in the driver’s seat. Nice match, but again, same complaint as all night: nothing amazing has happened yet. And with Orton and Lesnar as the go home, I think SummerSlam came up short on its goals for the evening.
Rusev versus Roman Reigns for the United States Championship up next. As it’s 10:30 already, I don’t see this one going very long. Reigns throws Rusev into the timekeeper area. Same spot as the last match. SMH. They are brawling and a bunch of refs try to break them up. Match hasn’t even officially started yet. Reigns goes after Rusev with a steel chair. Reigns continues to beat him down a few more minutes and then walks out. Crowd boos him heavily. Rusev struggles to get up as crowd starts chanting, “We Want Slater!” and then a “CM Punk!” chant. Ringside doctor says Rusev is unable to compete tonight. Reigns comes back down the ramp and Spears him. Reigns seemingly ruins the whole segment by pumping his arms at the crowd and then smiling at the top of the ramp. Empty segment for my money.
Main event time. Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton, a match that really isn’t going to do much to pep up this pay-per-view. And ultimately another match on the card that means little to nothing, a label that has been woven into every fiber of this show so far tonight. The bell rings and we’re off. Lesnar slams Orton in the corner and tries for a suplex. But Orton dropkicks him. Orton tries an RKO and Lesnar shoves him off and slams him down to the mat. German suplex by Lesnar. And a second. Orton scrambling. A third German suplex as Paul Heyman laughs at ringside. Beatdown in the corner, then another suplex. Orton hasn’t been on his feet for a few minutes. A sixth suplex and this one is getting out of control. Outside of the ring, Orton tries to fight back but Lesnar picks him up and slams him on the announce table. The table doesn’t break, but Lesnar fixes that. He tosses Orton off the barricade into the table and it smashes apart. Lesnar picks apart a second announce table and puts Orton on it. Orton pops up and hits an RKO on the table. It doesn’t break. As they get back in the ring, Orton DDT’s Lesnar off the second rope. As Lesnar gets up, Orton hits an RKO. Lesnar kicks out at two. Orton goes for his old school punt kick, but Lesnar pops up and F5’s him. Orton kicks out at two. Lesnar punches Orton over and over again and the ref separates them and calls for a doctor as Orton is busted wide open, bleeding all over the ring. Lesnar pushes the doctor aside and keeps punching Orton’s head. The ref calls for the bell and this is over. Lesnar wins by TKO. Lesnar goes after Orton again. Shane McMahon runs in to check on Orton and Lesnar cuts him off. Lesnar F5’s Shane. Heyman starts screaming, “What did you do!?” And that’s the end of the show. I love seeing Lesnar destroy someone, so this was fun.
The theme of tonight will be “At least it wasn’t WrestleMania.” It wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t have a SummerSlam feel to it. If this had been Battleground or Payback, it would be been great. But I don’t think any segment tonight really came across as successful. Everything missed the mark and was off by just a little bit. The booking leading into the show was rushed, there were too many matches, and the order of the matches themselves was confusing. Whether or not this is just the final hiccup of the brand split before the new pay-per-views take off remains to be seen. Judging this right out of the gate, though, it just wasn’t all that it could have been. At the end of the day, what did any of it mean or accomplish? The honest answer is not a whole lot. We are right back in the same rut we were in prior to the brand split. What did you all think about WWE’s 2016 SummerSlam? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for Monday Night Raw.
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Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Barclays center in New York City will be hosting this year’s Summerslam, starting at 7pm with a two hour preshow beginning at 5pm. Former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, will be the special celebrity guest and will likely provide comic relief and at least one awkward run-in with Seth Rollins. This is the first PPV since the brand split, but the matches are nearly all Raw vs Raw or Smackdown vs Smackdown. Every title is on the line, and we will finally get to see the brand new Universal Title. Let’s take a look at the massive card and make some predictions.
Cesaro vs Sheamus – First Match in the Best of Seven Series (Preshow Kickoff)
On the go-home Raw on Monday, Mick Foley announced that these two enemies would have a best of seven series to finally bury their beef. I still have yet to decide how I feel about this series. Seven matches ahead, when we have already seen two, will have the potential to get real stale really fast. I hope that we get stipulated matches in the future, as the Summerslam match is a straight singles match. The first win in a series will give the victor bragging rights and a slight edge on their competitor, which both men obviously will be battling for. Cesaro and Sheamus are both extremely talented, so I hope they are on their A game.
F2H Prediction – Sheamus
Sami Zayn and Neville vs The Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
Since returning to action after an injury, Neville has yet to find himself in a decent storyline or feud. Sami Zayn is done with Kevin Owens, at least for now, and is looking to move on. The Dudley Boyz are veteran wrestlers who have no problem taking a backseat to the younger talent in order to give them a push or help them along in a current storyline. They have lost more matches than they’ve won since their heel turn, and their once sure thing for the tag titles has become a very distant memory. This match will be all about Zayn and Neville, and I hope they take full advantage.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn and Neville
American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder), The Usos vs Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor), The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) – 12 Man Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
We already saw this match on Smackdown, which makes this addition a little disappointing. We’re throwing too many tag teams together into one mess of a match, where certain people will struggle for the spotlight and others will be forgotten in the background. WWE has not done its job in introducing American Alpha and The Hype Bros to the main roster audience. Those who don’t watch NXT are missing out on knowing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, and don’t fully appreciate the pairing of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder. It’s a shame, but I hope they rectify it.
F2H Prediction – American Alpha, The Hype Bros, The Usos
Carmella, Becky Lynch, Naomi vs Natalya, Alexa Bliss – Six Woman Tag Match
This match was put together on the go home episode of Smackdown. Eva Marie was meant to compete with Natalya and Bliss, but was suspended for 30 days on August 18th after violating the WWE’s wellness policy. This is a great opportunity for Alexa Bliss and Carmella to introduce themselves to the large chunk of the audience who isn’t familiar with NXT and don’t know their characters. Bliss and Carmella went back to their roots on Wednesday to complete in another six woman tag on NXT, which I hope the main roster audience had a chance to see. We have five incredible athletes (and a sixth still unnamed as of the time of this writing) that are capable of doing a lot more than we’ve had the chance to see on the main roster. I hope tonight is their night.
F2H Prediction – Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi
The Miz (c) vs Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match
I absolutely love The Miz as champ. He’s shady, underhanded, and conceited. He weasels his way into victories and isn’t bothered at all if he isn’t winning clean. Apollo Crews is the exact opposite of his opponent. He is honest, positive, and a team player through and through. Maryse will no doubt be ringside, giving Miz the edge, as Crews will be going it solo. I don’t expect a fair fight whatsoever. You simply don’t get that with The Miz, so Crews is going to have to play it safe and keep his eyes open. He will have to watch Maryse while also fighting his opponent, and he’ll have to ensure Miz doesn’t try to cause a DQ by throwing him into the ref or placing a weapon in his vicinity. Apollo Crews will shine, regardless of the outcome; he definitely earned and deserves this title shot.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens – Tag Team Match
I’m not a fan of Chris Jericho (go easy on me, hardcore fans) but I appreciate the person he is and the work that he does. That said, I am really enjoying him when paired with Kevin Owens. Owens and Enzo are two of the best trash talkers on the roster, so a war of words between the two is gold no matter what. Jericho and Owens have adjusted their style to act slightly more comedic, making them a better match for Enzo and Cass. This feud has been entertaining since the moment it started and will make for a fantastic tag match tonight. I hope we eventually get to see Enzo and Cass put into the Tag Title picture where they belong. How you doin?
F2H Prediction – Enzo and Big Cass
The New Day (c) vs The Club – Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will be fighting Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows without Big E, as he is nursing an injury to his man bits. I do hope that Big E will be present, but he has only been with us via Twitter lately. Anderson and Gallows have been utilizing a brilliant doctor gimmick, complete with every testicle pun you can possibly think of. They have Big E’s manhood in a jar, and have two smaller jars ready for Kingston and Woods. The New Day are the longest reigning WWE Tag Team champions as of July 20th and show no signs of giving up the titles. Their biggest competition on Raw, other than The Club, would be Enzo and Cass or Jeri-KO (if their tag team stays together). Golden Truth are more comic relief than anything else, and The Shining Stars are yet another failed gimmick for Primo and Epico. I am worried about New Day’s situation without Big E, and eager to see what this means for their title match.
F2H Prediction – The Club
John Cena vs AJ Styles – Singles Match
My favorite thing is to watch Styles BEAT UP JOHN CENA! It’s nice to see Cena out of the title picture and involved with someone who is a serious veteran in the business instead of a new talent who is still trying to find their footing. This absolutely must be a clean match for Styles with no assistance whatsoever from The Club. Win or lose, he needs to ensure he keeps this one-on-one. John Cena is one of my least favorite people; I get that he does a lot of good in the world and kids love him, but he’s just not my cup of tea, guys. I’m beyond ready to see “the face that runs the place” go part time and let someone else take the reins. I don’t know if Styles is that guy or not, but it’s a good place to start.
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – Women’s Championship Match
Finally, The Boss holds the gold! Sasha Banks has had one hell of a journey from NXT to the main roster to finally becoming WWE Women’s Champion. Even Charlotte had to briefly break character on Raw and smile when she saw her friend holding the title high above her head. Dana Brooke is banned from ringside tonight, so Charlotte won’t have her lackey to go to for help in winning back the title. Unless she has some other tricks in mind or another person waiting in the wings, she is going to have to win or lose this match all on her own. These two women are huge talents and deserve every bit of success. They will ensure that you don’t use this match as the “beer run/bathroom break;” this will be a must see.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton – Singles Match
Lesnar and Orton were the first to overstep their boundaries and show up on the shows that they were not drafted to. Orton snuck onto Raw to deliver an RKO to the beast, and Lesnar invaded Smackdown to seek his revenge. I wish they had saved that for much later, but what’s done is done. This is Viperville versus Suplex City, a match fifteen years in the making. The promos leading up to this match have been fantastic and portray both men as unstoppable forces. I’m always excited to see Lesnar fight, and very happy that Orton is finally back from injury. I would like to see Lesnar turn an RKO attempt into an F5, and for Orton to get creative with his RKOs outta nowhere. This should be a brutal match; I hope both men bring it.
F2H Prediction – Brock Lesnar
Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns – United States Championship Match
Roman Reigns failed a drug test, got himself suspended for 30 days, became the butt of Seth Rollins’ jokes during his suspension, and got himself removed from the WWE Heavyweight title picture. His push isn’t completely in the can though, since he has a chance to win the United States title off of Rusev. Our current champion recently married the lovely Lana in a ceremony that was filmed for Total Divas. They will have a separate ceremony overseas next month. Rusev has been an unstoppable champion, but unfortunately, most of his feuds devolve into USA vs Russia when they have the potential to be so much more. I’m not big on Reigns as he is right now; I miss the strong and silent, less showy wrestler he was with The Shield. Whatever happens during this match, I hope Lana avoids being caught in the crossfire.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – WWE World Championship Match
I can’t believe that Dolph Ziggler is actually in this match! He once held the World Heavyweight title after one of the greatest Money In The Bank cash-ins in history, but fell down quite a few notches thanks to his criticism of the company and disapproval from the powers that be. Ziggler delivered an amazing promo on the go home episode of Raw; it was the best he has sounded in quite some time. Dean Ambrose is a very unconventional champion, but you can’t help but like the guy. He’s unpredictable, but has been getting more in touch with his serious side ever since winning the gold. I’m a big fan of both of these men, so this is a win-win situation for me; regardless of the outcome, I’m happy with the champion.
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
I am fangirling all over the place over this match! A lot of people are upset that the Demon King reveal was “wasted” on Raw, but we’ve already seen how unfamiliar the main roster audience is with most of the NXT roster and gimmicks, so this was a way of introducing everyone to him and getting them hyped for what is to come at Summerslam. Yes, it would have been better to save the reveal, but I see the logic behind the decision. Seth Rollins is a fantastic champ, but so is Finn Balor. This is another win-win for me because I love both guys and would enjoy seeing either as champion. It’s so exciting to see Balor on the main roster, plus in the title picture so soon, plus facing Rollins! This match alone is worth you signing up for the Network immediately. I’m so happy for Balor for his call up to the main roster and am thrilled to see him battle such a great competitor in Rollins.
F2H Prediction – Finn Balor
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Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The show starts with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan having Randy Orton sign his contract for SummerSlam. Heath Slater knocks and enters with a giant fruit basket. He tosses an apple at Orton. Slater says he rewatched Smackdown from last week and is wondering about the contract they were going to give him. After the opening intro, Maryse and The Miz are in the ring doing some MizTV. Dean Ambrose interrupts quickly. Dolph Ziggler cuts him off as he starts speaking. Ziggler and Ambrose nearly square off, but Miz gets between them and starts firing shots. The segment is a little awkward. Ambrose tries to school Ziggler on being a champ, even though Ziggler has won the world title three times. Ambrose keeps calling him “kiddo” and acting like Ziggler has never been in a competitive match in his life. Creative had zero ideas for his promo. Just generic spew of mediocrity. Ziggler responds, actually fired up and showing emotion. He ends his rant by clocking Ambrose in the face and saying, “This Sunday, you’ll see that I’m just that damn good.”
Twelve man tag match coming up next. Yes. Six days before a pay-per-view. A twelve man tag match. (((sigh))) The Usos, American Alpha, and The Hype Bros taking on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension, and Breezango. I don’t really care enough to write about this one. No tag title on Smackdown so what is even the point? This is a waste of air, and a big waste of time for American Alpha. There is no point to this match and the outcome matters for absolutely nothing. American Alpha wins. What a terribly boring Smackdown so far.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Naomi comes out under black lights doing some sort of weird Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader routine wearing neon clothes, carrying a backpack and throwing things into the audience. Alright, to be fair to her, it does look kind of cool. But just when I get into that, Eva Marie comes out and makes me hate this segment all over again. Let’s see what sort of shenanigans she has to get out of her match this week. The announcer says she was delayed due to traffic and will not be able to compete. Naomi doesn’t even have a match. They just cut away to Del Rio backstage. What was the point?
After the break, Randy Orton comes out after a brief Curt Hawkins teaser promo. Heath Slater comes out to continue his campaign for a new contract. Orton throws him shoulder first in two corners and then clothes lines him to the mat. He lays into him with a bunch of stomps and then whips him into the corner. No offense from Slater yet. Several strikes by Orton, so many, in fact, the ref calls for the bell. Crowd starts booing. Orton tosses Slater out of the ring. Then over the announce table into the commentary chairs. He drops him stomach first onto the barricade and then rolls him back into the ring. Slater can barely get up. Orton suplexes Slater and then mocks Brock Lesnar’s bouncing shuffle. He suplexes him again and then ‘goes to that place.’ Slater stands up and takes an RKO. Technically, Slater won, so he should get a contract now, right? Right?!
Slater is shown backstage with a doctor and is loopy. Bryan and Shane come up and he confuses them for Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. The contract they are about to give him gets taken away as Shane is insulted.
The Wyatt Family comes to the ring. Dean Ambrose vs Erick Rowan. Another meaningless segment. There has been nothing of value tonight on Smackdown; certainly not a whole lot leading into what’s taking place on Sunday. Just a bunch of strange booking decisions. Dirty Deeds and Ambrose wins. After the match Bray Wyatt turns his rocking chair around on Rowan. He stares at the sheep mask, disappointed. He places it on the chair and walks out, leaving Rowan in the ring by himself.
Becky Lynch and Carmella take on Natalya and Alexa Bliss after the break. Eva Marie interrupts during the match and Naomi chases her around the ring. Natalya gets distracted and takes a submission tapout from Becky Lynch. Another lackluster match.
The main event is Del Rio vs John Cena, with AJ Styles on commentary. Cena for some reason has red, white, and blue arm bands on for some reason. And has an American flag on his pants, with a matching red, white, blue belt. Attitude Adjustment takes this one home as Cena wins. Decent match, all things considered. Styles runs in after and attacks Cena from behind. A few moments later, Cena hits an AA off the steel steps against Styles into the announce table. Just an absolute awful Smackdown. I keep seeing people on social media saying Smackdown has gotten better and I just don’t see it. Dismal. Sorry for such a heartless article, but I really can’t get excited with WWE’s direction right now. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
It’s time for the second live Smackdown of the year, and the first since the brand draft. The night kicks off with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. They let us know that Smackdown is not about them; it’s about the talent and the fans. Of course, they say this while doing a YES chant to Bryan’s music, but we’ll let that slide. The entire roster is surrounding the ring, and Backlash is announced as the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, which will be held on September 11, 2016. Dean Ambrose is invited out to the ring, as the next order of business is to find him an opponent at SummerSlam. Tonight, a six-pack challenge will be held to determine the number one contender. The first contender is John Cena, because of course it is. The second entrant will be Bray Wyatt, followed by Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, and AJ Styles. The sixth contender’s spot is open to everyone; the winner of the upcoming Battle Royal will earn that 6th spot.
JBL, Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga are our new announce team, and we get a brief introduction to them before the Battle Royal begins. Simon Gotch is the first eliminated, about 30 seconds in. Alberto Del Rio and an Uso team up on Kalisto, but fail. Both members of The Ascension are eliminated by Kane next. Kane goes after Kalisto next, but can’t quite get it done. Apollo Crews is up on the ropes, but he saves himself. Tyler Breeze is pinned in the corner by Erick Rowan. Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder are looking out for each other. Jey Uso is eliminated thanks to Breezango, and we cut to first commercial.
During the break, Aiden English was eliminated, along with Erick Rowan. Mojo Rawley is eliminated by Del Rio, who then goes after Ryder. Kalisto botches a move, but Del Rio ends up eliminated anyway. Kane eliminates Breezango and we are left with him, Kalisto, Ryder and Crews. Crews does an amazing standing moonsault onto Kane, and at this point, everyone is down on the mat. Ryder botches a dropkick (JBL calls him out) and Kalisto is saved. Kalisto redeems himself, but Ryder botches a move off the ropes and just falls down. Kane eliminates Kalisto by throwing him out of the ring by his throat. Kane hurls Ryder out of the ring and it’s down to him and Crews. Crews dodges a chokeslam with a flip and eliminates Kane! Congratulations to Apollo Crews! Well deserved!
Before the commercial break, we get a video package for the return of Shelton Benjamin. Dolph Ziggler then addresses the crowd now via video package to discuss his plans to be in the main event at Summerslam. Our next match is a Women’s one-on-one; Becky Lynch versus Natalya. It’s difficult to take Natalya serious as a heel when she looks like a life-size Bratz doll. This starts off as a very athletic match, which is a great thing to see. Charlotte and Sasha Banks set the bar high with their performance last night. Lynch hits a dropkick that drives Natalya from the ring. Natalya keeps cheering for herself as she slams Lynch into the mat. Lynch finally gets Natalya down, hits a leg drop, and tries for the pin, but fails. Natalya hits a German Suplex but can’t get the pin either. Natalya tries for the Sharpshooter, but Lynch counters and locks in The Disarmer to force the tap and win.
As Lynch celebrates, Alexa Bliss interrupts, calling herself the hottest star on Smackdown. She is interrupted by Naomi, who calls her out for talking big when she hasn’t even competed on the main roster yet. Now Carmella is here! She barely gets going before Eva Marie comes out with the most obnoxious, self-absorbed, ridiculous entrance I have ever seen in my life. Eva Marie is garbage personified and I’m so incredibly annoyed at having to waste 30 seconds on seeing her.
Baron Corbin delivers a statement via video package now, stating he will win tonight, and he’s doing it for him and him alone. Now, time for MizTV. Maryse is screeching about something, calling Miz the sexiest man alive. I like The Miz, but I disagree with that statement. Anyway, The Miz is interviewing himself. Randy Orton thankfully interrupts the Miz lovefest, then calls him out for “playing with himself.” A RANDY chant starts. They move on to discuss the match Orton has at Summerslam against Brock Lesnar. Orton tries to set up a match against Miz, but he declines. Orton makes a joke about Maryse wearing a strap on and giving it to the Miz, so Maryse gets all heated and accepts the match on behalf of her husband.
Following the break, Orton faces Miz, who immediately rolls out of the ring. Miz attacks Orton’s shoulder and beats him into the ground outside of the ring. Back in the ring, he hits the shoulder again with a kick, then starts delivering kicks to his midsection as Orton is stuck in the corner. Orton tries to turn the match around, but gets thrown into the steel steps. Miz rolls Orton back into the ring, and Orton hits a surprise RKO, but doesn’t go for the cover. Instead, he sits by the ropes and just watches as Miz lays in the ring. Orton slowly gets to his feet, still watching Miz lay on the mat. Miz finally gets to his feet and Orton hits a second RKO, goes for the cover, and wins.
After the break, we get a fantastic video package for American Alpha, which is a great way to introduce the non-NXT audience to this tag team. They will compete for the first time on the main roster next week. In the ring, a local talent is set to perform, but Heath Slater comes out of nowhere, knocks the guy out of the ring, and grabs a microphone. He is the only non-injured performer who was not drafted. He demands to become part of the main event; make it a Magnificent Seven Pack Challenge. He starts a Sign Heath Slater chant. Shane McMahon tells Slater he should submit a resume, to which Slater replies by listing all his accomplishments, which are actually pretty damn impressive. As Slater is going off, Rhyno slips into the ring and GORES Slater. Poor Heath Slater.
It’s AJ Styles’ turn to address us in his video package, telling us how good he is and discussing how ridiculous it is that he even has to compete in this main event to qualify. After the commercial, Bray Wyatt takes his turn, reminding us that he is the Eater of Worlds, and tonight, he will cause five other men to fall. And with that, it’s finally time for our main event! Cena is out last, of course.
There are no count-outs, no disqualifications, and you must win via pinfall or submission. The match is 10 seconds in and we break for commercial. As we return, Wyatt, Styles and Crews are the only three in the ring. Wyatt lays out Styles with a rough Clothesline, then Ziggler is back in the ring to deliver a dropkick and then an elbow to Wyatt, before trying for a pin. Corbin pulls Ziggler from the ring and lays him out, but Styles hits Corbin with a knee. Styles tries to pin Wyatt after hitting a 450 Springboard, but Cena breaks it up. Crews is in now, Suplexing Ziggler all over the ring. Crews is pinned by Corbin, but kicks free. Corbin is destroying Crews, as the pair are alone in the ring, but can’t get the pin. We then break for our hopefully last commercial.
When we return, everyone is back in action, but no one is able to finish this match. We’re quickly back to Corbin and Crews alone, as Crews hits Corbin with some solid punches, but Corbin is able to pin him again, then goes off on the referee for not calling it a three count. Crews hits a powerbomb, Bray Wyatt takes out the referee and goes into that creepy backbend, and hits Crews with Sister Abigail. Ziggler hits Wyatt with a Zig Zag and pins him for the three count, but the damn ref is outside of the ring hugging his knee! Cena hits Ziggler with the AA, then hits Styles with the AA and almost wins the match. Cena hits Crews with the AA, then hits Wyatt with one, and pretends to struggle with picking up Corbin, but eventually gets him. Out of nowhere Styles eliminates Cena. And even more out of nowhere, DOLPH ZIGGLER comes in and WINS! Are you kidding me! Ziggler gets it? This is amazing!! Man, this truly is a new era. Ambrose comes down to the ring to stare down Ziggler, Bryan comes out to lift both their arms into the air, McMahon congratulates Ziggler, and this ends our night.
Tonight was a fantastic two hours of wrestling. This new era is really living up to its name and I’m getting really excited about WWE’s product again. Please leave your comments and thoughts about tonight below, and let us know what you think of Ziggler winning the main event and challenging Ambrose at Summerslam. We’ll see you all next week!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Last night was the official kick off party for the first live Smackdown episode, during which the entire WWE landscape was upended and changed forever. Who went where? We discuss below each draft pick and how they fit in the picture going forward.
Seth Rollins got the #1 Draft pick slot, headed over to Monday Night Raw. This one seems obvious. He is quite definitely the future and deserves to be the main guy at Raw. A+ pick.
Dean Ambrose went second, headed to Smackdown. Another obvious choice. They can’t have both Ambrose and Rollins on the same show. Not such a great idea to send the World Heavyweight Championship over to Smackdown, and for that reason we have to give this pick a B+.
Charlotte was the first female wrestler selected and she goes to Monday Night Raw. Her reign as champion has gone on a little too long and she needs to drop the title soon. Because of that, I for one do not care where she goes. I’m giving this pick a C. Not because it’s terrible but because C is right in the middle and neutral is how I feel about Charlotte.
AJ Styles to Smackdown, in a move that could really help propel the “B+ show” into prominence. Styles is a superstar and wherever he goes, viewers will tune in to see him. Although, on the flip side he is almost too good for Smackdown. This pick deserves an A-.
Finn Balor to Raw. This one worries me because we all know how great Balor is. And we all know how shitty Vince is with character gimmicks. I almost wish Balor had gone to Smackdown to put a little bit of a buffer between him and Vince’s main creative team. But Balor deserves Raw. He deserves a top spot. B+ for the overall decision to draft him to Raw and a C- for drafting him a week before a crap pay-per-view on a Tuesday night. Before you get up in arms and send me hate mail, these are just my opinions and the grades are in no way a reflection of the athletes themselves.
Roman Reigns to Raw. I hate this pick. I understand it, but I hate it. Roman Reigns should not be a top tier guy. He should never have been. But it is what it is. I wish he would get back to NXT for development because his ringwork is stale and his mic work is awful. As it is, he’s going to Raw and I give that my lowest grade so far of a D+.
John Cena to Smackdown. The only grade I can give this is an A+ because it means that the flagship show will not feature Cena. Although, one could make the argument to downgrade to an A- because Cena went to the show that has the world title, which is stressful for people that hate Cena any where near the WHC.
Brock Lesnar to Raw. I’m not sure if I want to give this an A+ or a B+. On one hand, Lesnar deserves to be on Raw. He is a heavyweight powerhouse. But on the other, Smackdown could really use him to infuse some badassery into it. Yes, I just used the word badassery. Let’s settle with an A for now until we see when and if this part-timer comes back.
Randy Orton to Smackdown. My initial grade for this is a C+. Only because it seems like a setup to shove Lesnar and Orton down our throats for the next month prior SummerSlam. Also, Cena was drafted to Smackdown and we really don’t need anymore matches between these two. However, I am willing to bump the grade up to a B+ because AJ Styles versus Randy Orton is a dream match to me. And I truly believe Orton taking on Baron Corbin could be some sort of beautiful hoss match, charged with ego and dripping with arrogance.
The New Day to Raw. I like this one because they split The Wyatt Family up tonight, which means New Day will probably retain their titles this weekend and that means the tag division will be strong on Raw. Not splitting up New Day was a wise decision. Giving this draft a solid A.
Sami Zayn to Raw. Automatic A+. Zayn is right where he needs to be, and hopefully he will get a push now.
Bray Wyatt to Smackdown. This one is a little bothersome to me. Wyatt has all the tools to be a behemoth superstar. But WWE has creatively dropped the ball on him continuously, as well as making odd booking choices for his match outcomes. If his most recent track record the past year is anything to go off of, sending him to Smackdown cannot be a good sign. D+ for this draft pick. I will admit if I am wrong. Maybe the point of this is to bring him back to life and have him stand alone for a push. I hope that’s the case.
Sasha Banks to Raw. This is a no brainer. Solid gold A. And you can take that to the bank.
Becky Lynch to Smackdown. I’m alright with this selection. It’s apparent that she isn’t getting a title push, and moving to Smackdown gives her a chance to teach the lower card gals and help elevate them in some great matches. She’s likable by the fans and she could help boost the women’s division over in Smackdown. A- for this one, with the one drawback being that she very well could be buried in Smackdown obscurity.
Chris Jericho is picked up by Raw. Now, I am biased on this one because I hate old man Fozzy-bear. Jericho over the past year has had way too many pushes. He has main evented tons of Raw episodes, won a large handful of pay-per-view matches, and even went over at WreslteMania this year. It’s time for these older guys to stop being in the spotlight. I give this draft pick an F. Send Jericho to Smackdown. Better yet, send him home. He should not have been drafted to Raw and certainly shouldn’t have gone this high up in the picks.
Rusev and Lana to Raw. Another no brainer. Rusev looks like a champion. Lana looks like a million bucks. Why wouldn’t you want these two easy-on-the-eyes roster members on your highest rated show? A+
The Miz and Maryse go to Smackdown. Giving this one a C-. I am over The Miz. And I am definitely over The Miz being Intercontinental Championship. And Maryse does nothing, so why was she included in this draft? The only reason this got a C- and not a D- is because he went to Smackdown and not Raw. Keep the title off of Miz, and keep the Miz off of Raw.
Kevin Owens to Raw equals A++. Owens and Zayn are on the same show. That’s money all day. Raw being the prominent show means that Owens gets to be in the spotlight where he belongs. Good stuff, here.
Baron Corbin to Smackdown is a weird thing. But, with the other guys being drafted there, it could spell good things for the Lone Wolf. If a couple of superstars take them under their wing, it could make Corbin a better worker and smoother on the mic. A- for this, in my opinion. The worry here is the big man being jobbed out and lost in the shuffle.
Enzo and Cass to Raw. Again, no brainer. A+. Keep the tag division strong.
Gallows and Anderson to Raw. Initially this looks like a B- at best. However, it was announced that Finn Balor will be coming to raw. I will bump this up to an A- as I salivate at the thought of mainstream Bulletclub action as Balor takes over the duo and forms a new stable.
American Alpha to Smackdown is a D- for me. These guys deserve to be at the top. If they are getting the callup they deserve Monday Night Raw. That’s it, period. Nothing else is even acceptable. I am very angry about this draft pick. It’s all kinds of wrong, and I cringe at American Alpha having to take on The Usos.
Big Show to Raw. Meh. Giving this one my second F of the draft. Big Show is old as time. He is overused in obscure segments, flip-flopping back and forth between heel and face. I’d rather see him taking a smaller role on Smackdown then wasting television time on Raw. I would have swapped him for Baron Corbin in a heartbeat.
Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown; this one is both hot and cold. On the one hand, this could be a new, fresh start for The Showoff. He is really talented and could benefit from a reboot. On the other hand, I get the sense that the potential to bury him is there and that worries me. Ziggler is a hell of a wrestler and I hope he doesn’t get hidden away on Tuesday nights. Giving this one a straight down the middle C.
Nia Jax from NXT up to Raw. Really? Over Bayley? What a strange call-up, not only for Jax probably not being ready for this, but also the fact they sent her to Raw. D- draft. Keep in mind, the grades are solely on the draft decisions and nothing more.
Neville to Raw is a good choice. Once he returns from injury, he can carry any match and will be a big addition to the cruiserweight division. Giving this one an A+.
Natalya was drafted to Smackdown. I don’t immediately hate this, but it does seem like more betrayal on her family name. She has never gotten a real title push and has never even won the women’s or diva’s belts. She is talented and deserves more than what WWE does with her. I’d prefer her to be on Raw, so this gets a B- from me.
Cesaro to Raw. This is a really solid choice and is hopefully a sign of good things to come for the Swiss Superman. Easy A. Shame on WWE for drafting him so far down on the list. He should have been top ten material.
Alberto Del Rio to Smackdown makes me sad. He hasn’t been properly utilized in WWE for a long time. He is one of the most talented guys on the roster. He seemed annoyed on the WWE Network being interviewed after the draft. I am disappointed right along with him. C-
Sheamus to Raw. I think this one would get a D+ either way. There’s really no place for Sheamus right now, and I really just don’t care.
Golden Truth to Raw. See above. D+ for R-Truth and Goldust.
The Usos to Smackdown. This annoys me because a more interesting angle would have been to split these two up. One to each show and we get to see them stand alone. C-
Titus O’Neal to Raw. Now all he needs is some sort of title. B+ for my money. Would have given an A but Vince has no idea what to do with big, black Adonises.
Kane to Smackdown. I was surprised for this decision. Kane is by and far better than Big Show currently. They should have been swapped. However, Kane will make a home for himself anywhere he goes. And it will be fun to see a little tension between him and Daniel Bryan. A- for this one.
Paige to Raw. She needs to be out of the top tier of the women’s division. She should have gone to Smackdown. C grading for this draft pick.
Darren Young to Raw. I don’t think he’s ready, for either a Raw spot or a title shot against The Miz. D- and that’s being generous.
Kalisto to Smackdown. D+ because this one just doesn’t hold enough weight for me to care one way or another.
Sin Cara to Raw. Sin Cara falls into the same camp as his former partner Kalisto. Although, he might see a big career booster once cruiserweight gets going. For now, a reluctant C+.
Naomi to Smackdown. D+ because she’s almost obscure enough to just get released from the company.
Jack Swagger to Raw. I like it. He’s a worker, he’s big, and the fans dig him. A- decision.
The Ascension to Smackdown. I am giving this an F because Ascension should have never come up from NXT in the first place. They aren’t main roster material and they have been nothing but the job-squad ever since they came up.
The Dudley Boyz to Raw. C- for this decision. They should be no higher than Smackdown.
Zack Ryder to Smackdown. What the heck, I’ll get on board with WWE’s decision to suddenly push the guy. Give this draft decision an A-.
Summer Rae to Raw. Do I like this? I don’t know. Haven’t really seen her as of late. It depends in what capacity she joins the Raw Roster. We’ll give this an apprehensive C.
Apollo Crews to Smackdown. This one irritated me. I really wanted to see him get a slight push and be well received by the fans. Seems like Smackdown isn’t the place for that. B- for this, and hopefully Crews can keep the smile on his face.
Mark Henry to Raw was another baffling decision. Henry, Kane, Big Show, and Jericho should have all been sent to Smackdown to be used sparingly. That being said, I like Henry. And if we actually get to see him running some matches, this could be a B pick.
Alexa Bliss to Smackdown was a bit of a shocker. But this is well deserved. She has really earned her place in NXT lately. I think she’s ready, so let’s give her a chance. I’m rolling with this one. Even A.
Braun Strowman to Raw. I am giving this a D grading because Strowman only made it to Raw because Vince McMahon loves giants. Nothing more. His skill level is not Raw quality.
Breezango to Smackdown. I wish they had split the pair up. Tyler Breeze is talented, but them going to Smackdown as a tag team is dismal. Especially if they go against American Alpha. The skill just is not there. C- is my vote here.
Bo Dallas to Raw. Giving yet another F. I dislike this guy and having him on Raw is a waste of all our time.
Eva Marie to Smackdown. What grade is lower than an F? The test score is so low I may just not grade the test and ask the dean to kick her out of school on an expulsion. She is one of the worst female wrestlers I have ever seen and she should stay off any WWE programming.
Shining Stars to Raw. These guys haven’t done anything at all to warrant being taken to Raw. D- for me.
The Vaudevillians to Smackdown. Finally a team that can go against American Alpha. I like the decision. A-
Alicia Fox to Raw. Meaningless roster pick that just took up a spot that could have been better suited for someone with way more talent. D-
Erick Rowan to Smackdown. I’m okay with this. He’s definitely a B+ player and belongs on the B+ show. In fact, that’s the grade we’ll give this decision.
Dana Brooke to Raw. I think her future could be bright, once she breaks away from Charlotte. Good choice and the right place for her. She needs to go solo though. A-
Mojo Rawley to Smackdown. Strange callup, but if he joins Ryder and the Hype Bros become a main roster tag team, this is a really good thing. I have no complaints about this so let’s hit it with a decent A-.
Curtis Axel to Raw. Ugh. Stay off my television. No star power, and what has he done for us lately? A whole lot of nothing. Heath Slater is much better liked by the fans than Curtis Axel. I didn’t like this weird decision. D+
Carmella to Smackdown is head-scratching. She floundered a bit in NXT after Enzo and Cass left. It would make sense to bring her up and pair her back with them. Now she has to move up solo on a bigger stage and it could spell disaster for her. Not a fan of this draft pick. I’m happy for her, but she should be with her boys. C-
A couple of interesting take away’s from this draft:
- The split up of The Club. While many would view this as a negative for Gallows and Anderson, lest we forget that Finn Balor is a big member of the global Bulletclub, what he calls the Balorclub in NXT. With him and The Club being drafted to Raw, that can only mean good things. Styles gets to go be a badass solo competitor and stand on his own. And Balor can start building a new stable.
- No mention of The Undertaker, which isn’t necessarily an oversight. His status is year to year and this whole brand split might fall apart before WrestleMania next year.
- AJ Styles is solo now and is on the brand with the world title. That just made things all sorts of interesting.
- Nobody drafted Heath Slater. He got a funny segment where he was left sitting in the dark, but it is pretty shitty to not include him. He is the best guy in the Social Outcasts group. The fact that Bo Dallas got drafted and he didn’t is garbage.
- We still don’t know who Sasha Banks will have as a tag partner at Battleground, which potentially could mean we may see a few more drafts next week, including but not limited to Bayley from NXT.
- Three names surprisingly left out of the draft were Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and Eric Young. This would have been a perfect time to transition them up. They are veterans and shouldn’t hang around NXT too long.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker