The show opens with Shane McMahon and Randy Orton watching a tape from RAW, where Orton hit the RKO on Brock Lesnar. Shane isn’t happy because Orton put himself in danger. Lesnar will come after him, and Shane won’t stop Lesnar. He’s going to punish Lesnar later. We see that there are security and Daniel Bryan in the area as well. Orton says he’s not worried, because it only takes one RKO to drop Lesnar. Bryan and Shane send some of the security to watch Orton and the rest to watch the building for Lesnar.
The Miz interrupts them as they are walking away. He blathers on about how great he is, even though no one on the show wants him around. Bryan said he was excited to draft the IC title to Smackdown, not the guy holding it. Tonight, there will be a “New Era” triple threat match with Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews (which Bryan calls “Apollo Creed”) and Kalisto, with the winner facing Miz at Summerslam for the title.
They walk a bit further, and Dean Ambrose is there. He’s going to head to the ring to address the new #1 contender for the WWE World title.
Opening video, and we go right to Ambrose coming out to do just that. We are in Nashville, TN this week. A small stat screen runs next to Ambrose as he comes down to the ring, which is a nice touch. Ambrose welcomes the crowd and introduces himself. He got to this point by busting his butt and beating both of his former Shield brothers to become the #1 man in the industry. He wants to stay on top of the “Blue Brand” and build his legacy. He’s here to stay, which brings us to Summerslam and Dolph Ziggler. Last week, Ziggler won a six-pack challenge to get this title match. Ambrose invites Ziggler to come down so we can learn a bit more about the new #1 contender.
Ziggler gets the stat screen as well, which leads me to believe this will be a regular thing. I’m okay with it. Ziggler says he and Ambrose are similar. Ambrose disagrees. Ziggler is all show, and Ambrose is all go. He scratched and clawed to get the title, and no one is taking it from him, especially Ziggler. Ziggler points out he got his start in WWE as a male cheerleader while Ambrose started basically at the top. Ziggler knows about clawing and scratching to the top. Ambrose says Ziggler is feeling sorry for himself. The difference between them is Ziggler wastes his time complaining.
Ambrose doesn’t give a damn what people think and steps over all the roadblocks. He did all that and became champion. Ziggler can’t say the same because he’s too worried about his image and what people think about him. Ziggler should only be worried about winning. Who Ziggler is is the guy who is going to lose at Summerslam. Ziggler will steal the show like he always does, and they’ll tear the house down. Ambrose is a winner. Ziggler will steal the show…and lose in the process. Ziggler says he’s the kid from Cleveland who went to his first event when he was 5 and said, “One day, that will be me.” He broke records at Kent State in hopes of one day getting to this point. He’s the guy who has been disrespected, undervalued and overlooked for seven years. He’s the man the who will walk into Summerslam, beat Ambrose’s ass, burn the place to the ground and walk out the champion because he is just that damn good.
Once again, Ambrose disagrees. It won’t be because anyone is holding him back or anything. The real problem is Ziggler isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Ambrose leaves as Ziggler stares out into the crowd.
The lights go out, and Bray Wyatt is in the ring. He lays Ziggler out with Sister Abigail. He accuses Ziggler of stealing something from him, and he wants it back. He has a challenge for Ziggler tonight for a match, and if Ziggler loses, Wyatt wants his spot at Summerslam. Ziggler needs to prove to Wyatt he’s that damn good. Follow the buzzards.
Tonight, AJ Styles has a face-off with John Cena, and we get the debut of American Alpha.
MATCH 1-WINNER BECOMES THE NUMBER-ONE CONTENDER FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: BARON CORBIN VS. APOLLO CREWS VS. KALISTO
The match is joined in progress as Corbin is standing tall while Kalisto is slumped in the corner. Corbin hits both Crews and Kalisto with corner splashes. Crews hits one on Kalisto before eating a boot. Kalisto then dives off Crews’ back to hit Corbin, sending him to the floor. Crews then catches Kalisto with a pop-up Samoan drop for 2. Miz and Maryse are on commentary, not that anyone cares. Crews hits the Deep Six on Crews for 2. Corbin stomps Kalisto down against the ropes before Kalisto kicks him away. Crews throws in a few punches before Kalisto comes off the top with a hurricanrana, which Corbin catches. Crews dropkicks Corbin in the back, allowing Kalisto to finish the move and send Corbin to the outside. Crews then rolls Kalisto up in a schoolboy for 3.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: APOLLO CREWS
Corbin then assaults Kalisto in the ring. Crews and Miz both hit the ring. Crews fights off Corbin before Miz plants him with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Corbin then gives the End of Days to the Miz.
Oh, Jeezus. Becky Lynch has to attempt to make chicken salad out of chickensh*t by facing Eva Marie tonight.
Dolph Ziggler is with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. He wants the match tonight. No one thinks he deserves the title match, and he’s going to prove everyone wrong tonight by going through Bray Wyatt. Shane gives him what he wants.
MATCH 2: BECKY LYNCH VS. EVA MARIE
I have read Smackdown will get its own Tag titles, as well as its own Women’s title, after Summerslam is over. Please keep Eva Marie as far away from that belt as possible. Why on earth is she employed? And I mean on the planet in general.
Marie makes her completely asinine entrance, and the audience clearly wants to pull an nWo and rain trash down upon her. JBL tries to compare her debut to the first tennis match for Venus or Serena Williams, because he is a complete waste of life. I am only recapping this because of Becky Lynch. Marie is even worse than Dana Brooke in terms of in-ring work. Marie is pretending to have a knee injury before the match even starts. It’s obviously a ruse, but given how much a clown shoe she actually is, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were real. A trainer checks on her as she pretends to not be able to bend her knee. Referee Rudy Charles says she can’t compete and the match is called off.
WINNER: NO CONTEST.
Holy f**k, they’re going with this. Charles and the trainer are actually assisting her to the back. Please, please, PLEASE let me find out this is real.
Renee Young is standing by with Carmella. Ugh. She claims it looks serious, but she can spot a scam a mile away. Thankfully, Natalya interrupts. She has carried this division the last decade and she should be the one getting interviewed. She was talking to her uncle, Bret Hart, and they said the division needs a strong leader, which is her. Carmella tries to pop off and boy, does she suck. Carmella challenges Nattie to a match tonight, which Nattie accepts before mocking her opponent.
MATCH 2A: THE VAUDEVILLAINS (AIDEN ENGLISH AND SIMON GOTCH) VS. AMERICAN ALPHA (CHAD GABLE AND JASON JORDAN)
The ‘Villains are the set fodder for the debuting American Alpha, who have terrible entrance music. What is it with these new guys getting ridiculously generic themes?
Gotch and Gable start, with Gable hitting a waistlock takedown before turning it into an ankle pick. Gotch counters with an arm wringer, which Gable reverses into a leg-scissors. Gable goes right into an armbar, then tags in Jordan. Jordan pops off a dropkick after a drop-down by Gable for 2, then goes to work in the arm. Gotch breaks free with a knee and tags in English. Jordan lands on his feet off a double hiptoss and tags in Gable, who dives over his own partner with a double flying clothesline. Alpha hit a pair of dropkicks before playing to the crowd. English and Gable back in, with Gable being tripped by Gotch. English works over Gable in the corner before Gotch tags in for a double chop, a double punch and a double hair whip for 2. Gotch hits a European uppercut before English comes in, missing a corner attack. Gotch gets tossed to the floor. Gable ducks a clothesline by English and tags in Jordan, who goes to town on Gotch with punches and a dropkick. Gotch tries to interfere and gets tossed with a leg-capture suplex. English then gets a high overhead belly-to-belly. Jordan lands a big shoulder in the corner and tags in Gable, tossing English into a bridging back suplex by Gable for 3.
WINNERS: AMERICAN ALPHA
Interesting finish for American Alpha. That music has to go, though.
It’s now time for a face-to-face between AJ Styles and John Cena. Styles is out first. He orders the music to be shut off and says he’s only here to talk about Cena.
Cue Cena, who isn’t going to wait around for Styles to talk anymore. Cena is here for the message Styles has for him. Styles calls this typical. Cena is smug and thinks everything is about him. Since he’s out here, Styles could do his favourite thing, which is beat Cena’s ass. Styles laughs a bit before saying he has figured Cena out. Before Cena interrupted him, he had a message for the “CeNation”. But, since Cena is out here, he can hear this as well, because he needs to. Styles was going to tell the audience what his problem with Cena really is. He’s beaten Cena up, he’s beaten him in the ring, yet Cena is still here. He doesn’t want Cena here. His problem with Cena is Cena doesn’t belong in the ring with him, and the only reason he’s still here is because Cena does his song and dance, and people think he’s a noble hero. Those people are weak-minded. Nashville is the weakest of minds. Trust him, he knows. Hi, Dixie!
Styles calls the kids in Nashville deluded idiots. The parents are just as delusional. They think participation trophies are good. And who is as delusional as all of them? Cena himself. Cena believes what all of these people think is true about him. The hard truth is you don’t get dessert before dinner, you don’t stay up on a school night, and you don’t get a trophy for participating. You get a trophy for being a winner. Styles is a winner. Styles beat Cena. Where’s his trophy? He is the elite, the greatest, he is “The Phenomenal”. Cena says Styles has issues, but that’s okay. Styles doesn’t see what’s actually going on. Cena gets mocked by fans all the time. He starts a “Let’s go Cena” chant, only for Styles to lead to a simultaneous “Cena sucks” chant. He will prove to the “CeNation” that Cena is no more than a fraud. The future goes through him? Styles did that at MITB. So, why is he still here? Cena says he’s here to shut Styles’ mouth. Styles needs to be responsible for what he says. Styles called out everyone in the building because they believe in something. Cena is going to make him look ridiculous. Styles just asked why Cena is still here, despite the fact that he’s been here fifteen years. He’s here out of love. He doesn’t care if that doesn’t make him look tough, either.
Cena panders to the crowd, laying it on Hulk Hogan-levels of thick. He then brags about all the TV appearances he does on shows I don’t give a damn about. Blah, blah, blah. Styles’ part of this promo has been good, proving he can talk despite people saying he can’t. Cena? It’s the same shtick you’ve heard a billion times.
Eventually, Cena finally gets to the point and says Styles is only here to prove he’s a good wrestler, and if that doesn’t work out, he’ll take up shop somewhere else like he always has before. There’s no place else for Cena. More pandering and shouting. He asks Styles why he’s here. Styles gives Cena a standing ovation and says that’s exactly what he thought Cena would say. That’s the Cena he knows, the Cena that says the same damn thing week after week, the same Cena that doesn’t back away from a challenge. Styles challenges Cena to one more match at Summerslam, with no Club interference this time. Cena accepts.
Styles says the best part of Summerslam will be when Styles beats him, then on the Smackdown after that, Cena will come out and say Styles is better than him. If he doesn’t, he’s a liar. If he does, he’s a loser. Either way, Styles wins.
MATCH 3: FANDANGO (W/TYLER BREEZE) VS. RANDY ORTON
Jeezus. I wonder who will win this? The ring is surrounded by the indy security guards from earlier. We go back to the clip from RAW again, because WWE desperately want fans to believe Orton might beat Lesnar. No one gives a damn about the walking injury that is Randy Orton anymore.
Orton has a new t-shirt. It’s the name of his finisher on the front, and “Outta Nowhere” on the back. Rubbish. Fandango starts on offense with punches. Orton no-sells and hits a clothesline. He does the Garvin Stomp. A few stomps to the midsection, followed by a suplex for 1. Breeze distracts Orton, which allows Fandango to hit a dropkick for 1. Fandango pounds on Orton a bit, then goes into a chinlock in this GRUELING match. Orton counters with a back suplex and immediately goes back to no-selling. Four Moves of Boredom, telegraphing the powerslam a mile away in the process. Breeze runs in and gets a powerslam as well. Orton is moving in slow-motion since his return, it seems. He is awful. The suspended DDT connects. Orton calls for the RKO, but then spots Brock Lesnar, who has just come to ringside. Lesnar hops the barricade as Orton hits the RKO. He turns around and Lesnar hits an F-5, leading to the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: RANDY ORTON.
Shane McMahon and the rest of the indy security guards run down to ringside to get Lesnar out of here. Lesnar leaves relatively peacefully, followed by all of the security guys.
During the commercials, we see Lesnar and Paul Heyman leave the building after Lesnar tells Shane he was just returning the favour.
Daniel Bryan is on the phone with someone, talking about about he doesn’t know what to do with Lesnar. He puts the caller on hold when he notices Heath Slater in his office. He asks how Slater got in here, to which Slater replies “The back door.” He thinks he’d look awesome on the Summerslam poster. He’s the hottest free agent in the company. Bryan says if he wants a contract on this show, he’ll have to earn it. Bryan proposes a match next week. If he wins, he gets a contract with the show. Slater likes it, then is offered a guess as to who his opponent will be. He guesses “Jumpin'” Marty Lundy. I’m guessing that’s a cheap knock-off of the man-god known as “Jumpin'” Jeff Farmer. As Slater explains who Lundy is, Rhyno gores him. There’s your match next week.
Renee Young is with Dean Ambrose and is asked about the Ziggler/Wyatt match later tonight. Ambrose complains about the weird set, then says he’s surprised by the whole situation, save for Wyatt’s appearance. He knows Wyatt better than anyone. What surprised him is Ziggler putting his title match on the line for no real reason. It normally takes Ziggler longer to self-destruct. Maybe this is a new Dolph Ziggler, and he’ll be surprised twice in one week. Ambrose doesn’t like the headset and throws it down.
We get a replay of Lesnar showing up during the Orton match, and that leads to Orton coming out of the training room. Some new interviewer lady asks what his condition. He takes an obscenely loud drink of water and just walks away.
MATCH 4: CARMELLA VS. NATALYA
Holy balls, Carmella is just all kinds of terrible. Thankfully, Nattie interrupts her pre-match spiel by just kicking the hell out of her. Nattie locks in the Sharpshooter at ringside and becomes my hero tonight. David Otunga claims he never saw Bret Hart attack anyone from behind. Much like JBL, Otunga is a complete waste of life.
WINNER: NO CONTEST
Well! Despite a strong show last week, this one is straight down the sh*tter. Two matches have not even started, and both were in the women’s division. What a nosedive.
Dolph Ziggler is in the back warming up. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan come up to talk to him. Bryan knows what’s going through his head better than anyone, but he has nothing to gain here. Ziggler accuses them of not believing in him before telling them, “Screw you.”
MATCH 4A: BRAY WYATT VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER (IF WYATT WINS, HE GETS ZIGGLER’S TITLE MATCH AT SUMMERSLAM)
Dean Ambrose is on commentary for this match. Ziggler immediately hits a dropkick and follows with a rocker dropper for 2. He calls for the superkick, but Wyatt sees it coming and bails to the floor. Ziggler heads out and runs right into a clothesline. Wyatt throws Ziggler into the barricade, then rolls him back in. Wyatt pounds on Ziggler before Ziggler ducks a clothesline and rolls Wyatt up for 1. Wyatt appears to have tweaked his knee on the roll-up (?). Commercials.
Back from the break, Ziggler is fighting off a superplex attempt, but fails. Wyatt crab-walks over to Ziggler and covers him for 2 before immediately applying a rear chinlock. Ziggler fights up, so Wyatt clubs him right back down before locking in a cravat. Ziggler fights out and hits a jawbreaker. He then connects with a back elbow in the corner before ducking a clothesline. He hits two of his own, a corner splash and a neckbreaker. The Shot to the Heart gets 2. Wyatt blocks a superkick and nails a big uppercut. Wyatt follows up with a standing suplex, then hits the running senton for 2. Wyatt signals for Sister Abigail, but then starts pulling off the top turnbuckle. Referee Rudy Charles stops him from taking it off all the way, and the momentary distraction allows Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag. However, Wyatt kicks out at 2. Ziggler goes to finish the job on the turnbuckle and goes to throw Wyatt into it. Wyatt counters into Sister Abigail, which Ziggler counters into a schoolboy for 2. Wyatt plants Ziggler with a standing uranage for 2. Wyatt pulls Ziggler up by the hair and eats a right. He shakes it off and beats the hell out of Ziggler, then tosses him into the exposed buckle. Ziggler remember and lands against the middle buckle instead, then sends Wyatt face-first into the exposed one. Somehow, that isn’t a DQ. Ziggler than lands the superkick for 3, thus retaining his title match.
WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER.
Two years ago, Wyatt would have destroyed Ziggler. How the mighty have fallen. Decent match, though.
Ziggler screams at Ambrose that this is his year. Ambrose wants the real Ziggler? He’s right here. Ambrose stands on the announce desk and raises the title belt up. All of a sudden, Erick Rowan shows up and blindsides Ziggler. Why do I get the feeling we’re getting yet another version of the Wyatt Family? Ambrose hits the ring and goes after both heels until Rowan hits his incredibly sh*tty version of a uranage that is sometimes his finisher. Ambrose gets thrown from the ring, and Wyatt plants Ziggler with Sister Abigail.
END OF SHOW.
Follow Dustin Nichols at @Xdustineflx