The show opens with the entire brand roster surrounding the ring. Commissioner Shane McMahon and GM Daniel Bryan are in the ring. This is the first post-Draft episode. Shane says this show is about opportunity, and starting on September 11th, there are going to be Smackdown-only PPVs, beginning with Backlash. Now onto Summerslam. SD has the WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose, so he needs an opponent for the big show.
Shane welcomes Ambrose down to the ring, and he joins Shane & Bryan in the middle, still surrounded by the roster. Ambrose likes the Summerslam idea. He’s ready for a new challenge after Battleground. Looking around the ring, he knows everyone wants that belt, so who’s first? Bryan loves Ambrose’s “can-do” attitude, and he has a plan for Ambrose’s opponent. Tonight marks the return of the Six-Pack Challenge. Six wrestlers will face each other, with the winner getting the title match. The first entrant into the match will be…*Bryan looks around*…John Cena. Gee, go figure. Cena enters the ring as Shane announces entrant #2…Bray Wyatt. Wyatt is more or less dressed like Attitude Era Undertaker. Entrant #3 is Dolph Ziggler. #4 is Baron Corbin. Corbin gets pretty much no response from the crowd. Again, go figure. #5 is AJ Styles. Bryan points out only 5 have been called. The sixth spot is open to everyone else. That spot will be determined with a battle royal, which is up next.
MATCH 1-15-MAN BATTLE ROYAL TO DETERMINE THE SIXTH ENTRANT IN TONIGHT’S #1 CONTENDER SIX-PACK CHALLENGE; PARTICIPANTS: TYLER BREEZE, APOLLO CREWS, ALBERTO DEL RIO, AIDEN ENGLISH, FANDANGO, SIMON GOTCH, KALISTO, KANE, KONNOR, MOJO RAWLEY, ERICK ROWAN, ZACK RYDER, JEY USO AND VIKTOR
The new SD commentary team is Mauro Ronallo, David Otunga and JBL. Can’t say I’m too pleased with two thirds of this team. Gotch is eliminated early on. Kane eliminates both members of the Ascension with a double choke. Rawley is looking a bit chubby tonight. Jey is throwing a bunch of superkicks before tossing Fandango. Fandango holds on, and he eliminates Jey Uso with the help of Breeze. I don’t see Jimmy Uso anywhere. Commercials.
Back from the break, and Mauro informs us English was eliminated during the break. Rowan was also eliminated, courtesy of Rawley. Just as I type that, ADR eliminates Rawley. Crews eliminates ADR with a clothesline. Kane eliminates both halves of Breezango. We’re down to Kane, Kalisto, Crews and Ryder. The three faces triple-team Kane with a bunch of high spots. Ryder tries to toss Crews, but is struggling. He fights Ryder off, then tries to eliminate Ryder. Kalisto helps out, but Ryder hangs on. He snaps Kalisto with a neckbreaker, then tosses him. Kalisto lands on the apron as Crews clotheslines Ryder outside. Ryder also lands on the apron. Kalisto comes off the top with a springboard sit-down splash on Crews, then puts him down with the Salida Del Sol. Ryder botches the El-Bro Drop, so Kalisto hits a spike ‘rana. Kane is back up, and he tosses Kalisto with one hand. Kane takes over on Crews and Ryder until he misses a corner splash. Ryder hits him with a Broski Boot, then gives one to Crews. Ryder gets caught on a Rough Ryder attempt and gets thrown to the floor. Crews flips out of a chokeslam and low-bridges Kane to get the upset win.
WINNER: APOLLO CREWS.
Crews moves onto the main event tonight with a shot at the World title at stake.
Renee Young is at ringside for an interview. Crews is happy, but he’s not really going to celebrate until he wins again later tonight.
Dolph Ziggler gets a pre-recorded interview, talking about hitting his head on the glass ceiling. He lost his way somewhere along the line. Tonight, he’s starting over. Things are in his hands. When the main event ends, he’ll be taking his place at Summerslam.
MATCH 2: BECKY LYNCH VS. NATALYA
Glad my girl and Nattie are here, but I’m not sure what they’ll be fighting for yet since there’s no Women’s title on the show. Given that WWE just created the Universal title for RAW, I will be curious to see if new Women’s and Tag titles are created for Smackdown (since those are both on RAW).
Nattie hits a hip throw, leading a series of reversals and mirror moves. Nattie escapes a waistlock and turns it into a side headlock. She hits a shoulder off the ropes, flips over Lynch, then gets planted with a dropkick, sending her to the floor. Nattie comes back in with a boot and a hair whip before choking Lynch over the middle rope. Nattie hits a bodyslam and celebrates before applying a modified surfboard. She snaps Lynch down by the hair once more, then literally walks over her before going into a sleeper. Lynch armdrags and a schoolgirl gets 2. Lynch blocks a roll-up and blasts Nattie with a trio of clotheslines. She misses Straight Fire before hitting a couple back elbows. Lynch sets up a tornado DDT, but gets swept down to the mat. Commercials.
Back from the break (a commercial break during a women’s match? Women actually getting decent time for a televised match? It’s a Festivus miracle!), Nattie has Lynch in an armbar, turned into an abdominal stretch. Lynch manages to break free with a hiptoss, then starts peppering Nattie with forearms. She hits Straight Fire this time, then goes for a spin kick. Nattie blocks and throws her to the corner. She blocks another kick, which sets up an enziguri for Lynch. Lynch heads up top and hits a guillotine legdrop for 2. There’s a move you don’t see too often anymore, and it was a good one. Lynch looks to work the arm before Nattie reverses into a Sharpshooter attempt. Lynch kicks Nattie away before getting caught with a release German for 2. Lynch blocks the discus clothesline and turns it into the Disarmar. Nattie reverses into the Sharpshooter, which gets kicked away. The discus clothesline, now dubbed Nattie By Nature, connects on the second try, but it only gets 2. Nattie goes to the Sharpshooter yet again, but Lynch pulls her right down into the Disarmer. She cranks back hard, and Nattie taps.
WINNER: BECKY LYNCH.
Hot damn. A surprise win in the battle royal (which was fairly entertaining), followed by an excellent women’s match that was actually given a good amount of time? What show am I watching? This isn’t the usual dreck I recap every week!
Renee Young is in the ring with Lynch (odd not seeing these interviews in the back), and she starts to talk about redemption. Lynch cuts her off and says, “Just call me ‘Becky Balboa’, baby!”
Alexa Bliss makes her SD debut by interrupting this segment. Oh, dear Jeezus…I already hate her. She rambles on before Naomi cuts her off. I did NOT miss her. She rambles as well. Carmella is now out her, also making her debut. She’s even worse than Bliss! Now…oh, sweet christ…I had forgotten SHE got drafted to this show. It’s the worst thing to happen to women’s wrestling in history, Eva Marie. She gets a big, dramatic entrance, complete with a pre-recorded personal announcer. No one gives a damn about her. You could cut the apathy with a knife in this crowd. And guess what? She does absolutely nothing in this segment. Not a damn thing!
The Miz and Maryse are going to be out next. Things started out so well! How is this going to get worse?
FACK! I just had to say something.
It’s Baron Corbin. He gets a pre-recorded promo, and he’s not winning the match tonight for no one but himself. Well, thanks for that. I thought you might be winning it for the announcers or the referee. Jackass.
It’s “MizTV” time. And who is his guest? Oh, why did I have to ask? It’s the Miz himself. He asks himself questions. Then answers them. Pure rubbish. Then he interviews Maryse. Even worse.
Oh, crap. Randy Orton has awoken from the coma his own voice put him in. Orton, Miz and Maryse. I have a trifecta from hell. Orton got rid of the elbow pads that just looked weird on him. I hope he blows out an elbow now. Given his track record, it’s likely. Orton thought Miz was introducing him as a guest earlier. He makes a masturbation joke. Ha-ha-larious. He reminds us he has a record for killing legends. One RKO is going to “Send Lesnar’s ass straight to Viperville”. If that’s his new catchphrase, Hubbard help us. Miz points out Orton hasn’t wrestled in 9 months. His first match back at Summerslam could be his last. Orton wants a match tonight. You know exactly where this is going, and it isn’t good. Miz refuses a match for tonight and won’t defend the title. Orton doesn’t want the title anyway. Miz points out he beat Orton for the WWE title. Orton inches closer to him, likely setting up an RKO. He then implies that Maryse pegs Miz. Aren’t sex jokes just hysterical? Maryse accepts a match on Miz’s behalf.
MATCH 3: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION THE MIZ (W/MARYSE) VS. RANDY ORTON (NON-TITLE)
Orton looks like hell. Any muscle he had is gone. In fact, he appears to have inherited JBL’s man-boobs. Miz bails to the floor right away, then comes back in with a cheap shot. Orton gets thrown face-first onto the floor and is holding his shoulder, the one he came back from surgery over. Miz focuses on it and rams Orton shoulder-first into the barricade after stomping it down a bit. Back in the ring, Miz with a boot to the shoulder. Miz stomps Orton down in the corner, targeting the shoulder with each stomp. Orton rolls to the floor and immediately no-sells the effects with some strikes until Miz throws him shoulder-first into the ring steps. Orton gets thrown into the barricade again before getting rolled back in the ring. Orton pops up with an RKO. Instead of covering Miz, he no-sells all of the effects and just leans against the bottom rope. He remembers he’s supposed to sell the shoulder and shakes his arm a bit. He nudges Miz with his foot, then parades around the ring. Gawd, he looks like hell. Orton pounds his fists into the mat and hits another RKO for 3.
WINNER: RANDY ORTON.
We get a hype video for American Alpha, who will be making their Smackdown debut next week. I’ve heard these guys wrestle like the Steiners or the Self-Proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team, so this could be fun.
Some jobber is in the ring, and he gets attacked by Heath Slater. Slater kicks him to the floor, then gets on the mic and says there has to have been a mistake. How the hell has he not been drafted to either show? If Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon want to lead SD into the new era, how about they put Slater into the main event and make it a “Magnificent Seven-Pack” Challenge. He starts a “Sign Heath Slater” chant before Shane comes out. He says if Slater is looking for a job, there are better ways to accomplish that, like send in a resume’. Slater plugs the WWE Network and tells Shane to go back, watch it, and it will show Shane his resume’. He calls himself the brains behind the Nexus and the Corre (not something to brag about), as well as the head of 3MB and the Social Outcasts (even less brag-worthy). He’s a 3-time tag champ, and if given the opportunity, he can do much more. He calls himself the hottest free agent in sports entertainment today. All of a sudden, Rhyno of all people enters the ring. Shane agrees and says he’s looking at the hottest free agent, Slater turns around, and Rhyno Gores him into oblivion. Amazingly enough, Mauro mentions that he’s a former NWA World Champion, a title he won in TNA.
Huh. Gotta say I didn’t expect that. I didn’t think Rhyno would ever get called back to the main roster. I’m fine with this. Rhyno is barely 40 and can help get some of the younger guys on the main roster over more, just like he did in NXT.
Time for AJ Styles’ promo video. He doesn’t know what Shane and Bryan have against him, except maybe that he’s too good. First, they didn’t draft the Club, and now he has to qualify for a title match. He’s the obvious pick. He’ll beat up the other 5 tonight without the Club, including John Cena, his favourite target.
Bray Wyatt promo now. Typical Wyatt stuff. Tonight, 5 men will fall and soon, he will truly have the whole world in his hands. Buffalo…he’s here.
MATCH 4-SIX-PACK CHALLENGE; WINNER BECOMES THE #1 CONTENDER FOR THE WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: BRAY WYATT VS. APOLLO CREWS VS. BARON CORBIN VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. AJ STYLES VS. JOHN CENA
I could be mistaken, but this might be the first six-pack challenge since Survivor Series 2001, in which Trish Stratus snagged her first Women’s title.
The six pair off and it’s just a slugfest in the opening moments. Commercials.
Back from the break, Wyatt and Styles are double-teaming Crews as everyone else is laid out at ringside. Wyatt hits a running senton. He now has dreadlocks. Jeezus. Styles goes for a jumping knee in a game of “Can You Top This?”, but Wyatt turns on him and hits a back elbow. Ziggler comes back in and takes out the heels, ending with a Shot to the Heart on Wyatt for 2. Ziggler gets pulled to the floor by Corbin. Styles blasts Corbin with a knee to the face, then comes off the top with a springboard 450 splash on Wyatt for 2. Cena breaks that pin up, then goes on the attack before Styles nails him with the Ushi-Goroshi. Crews comes in with a trio of Germans on Styles, the last being a release version. Corbin hits an STO on Crews, but it’s only good for 2. Corbin is skinny-fat. He, like Orton, looks like hell. Corbin gets another 2 off a back elbow, then rakes Crews’ face before locking in a half-nelson/chinlock combo. Crews easily fights out, but gets caught with a punch and a corner clothesline. Corbin hits a back suplex for 2. Commercials.
Back once again, Corbin, Ziggler and Styles do a Tower of Doom spot in one corner while the other three do one opposite. Cena and Ziggler bail to the floor, followed by Styles and Wyatt. Corbin and Crews duke it out before Corbin hits the Deep Six for 2. He throws a tantrum in screams at the referee before signaling for the End of Days. Crews counters into the blue thunderbomb for only 2 as Wyatt yanks the referee to the floor. There are no DQs, so the match continues on. Corbin rolls out as Wyatt is on his feet. He quickly drops Crews with Sister Abigail, but doesn’t go for the pin, which costs him. Crews rolls to the floor, and Ziggler nails Wyatt with the Zig-Zag. There’s no referee, so Ziggler gets only a visual win. The referee is apparently out with a bum knee. Ziggler signals for the superkick, but he’s intercepted by Cena, who hits the Attitude Adjustment. Cena blocks Sister Abigail and shoves Wyatt off, who gets caught with a Pele’ by Styles. Cena then hits the Attitude Adjustment on Styles, but Styles kicks out at 2. Styles rolls to the floor as Crews climbs up top. He comes off the top, leading to the Cena roll-through spot that he loves so much. He sets up the AA once more, which connects. Wyatt gets one as well. Corbin is up next, but Cena struggles to pick him up, despite the fact that he weighs less than Wyatt, who Cena picked up with no trouble. He gets Corbin up on the second try and hits the AA. Styles comes off the top with the Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Cena out to the floor. He then turns around and gets blasted with a Ziggler superkick, turning Styles inside-out, which is good for 3.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: DOLPH ZIGGLER.
Second surprise win of the night. Ziggler gets his first title match in literally years when he faces Dean Ambrose at Summerslam.
Speaking of Ambrose, he interrupts Ziggler’s celebration by coming down to the ring. He gets in Ziggler’s face a bit before raising the title over his head. They smirk at each other and have a staredown before Daniel Bryan comes down and raises both of their hands. Shane McMahon joins in as well. This is actually a nice touch, as it makes the main event feel more important, as well as the impending title match. Ziggler and Ambrose jaw-jack a bit more as the show goes off the air.
END OF SHOW.
Overall, the Draft is a step in the right direction. “MizTV” was a waste of time (as was the follow-up squash match), and the segment introducing all the new women to Smackdown was excrutiating. Aside from that, we got three decent-to-good matches, two upsets and a surprise return. All of these are good things. I hope this kind of pace keeps going, because the show might just become not only watchable, but enjoyable once again.