WWE Smackdown is live tonight in Austin, TX, and is the final show before Sunday’s WWE Summerslam! We will have live coverage of the show beginning at 8pm EST.
Already announced for tonight’s episode is a final showdown between Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose on MizTV. Will the two come to blows? Probably. And how will The Miz factor in with all this, considering he has an upcoming bout against Apollo Crews at Summerslam? Plus, will Bray Wyatt get involved in any way?
Plus, John Cena is scheduled to take on Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio took Cena’s US Title some time ago, and these two have gone to battle before. Will Cena come out on top heading into his match against AJ Styles? Will Del Rio get the best of Cena?
Join us here at 8pm to find out, and follow along on Twitter @RingRap!
- It’s a stream of consciousness, baby!
- Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are backstage, and introduce a contract to Randy Orton for his match against Brock Lesnar. Orton says it’s only one RKO to Viperville.
- Heath Slater comes in with a giant basket of fruit. He throws one at Orton, and it falls into his crossed arms. Anyhow, Heath wants the contract he was supposed to be offered last week. He talks about standing toe to toe with Lesnar. Shane isn’t impressed though, since Slater was pretty rude to them. Slater says they’re in a pickle. Bryan astutely says it’s the other way around.
- Orton, ever the well spoken, says he has an idea. He takes a bite of his apple, and he leaves me hanging! Don’t leave me hanging, Randy!
- Time to rock out to the Smackdown theme. Doot doot doo.
- In the arena, The Miz and Maryse are already ready for MizTV. Dean Ambrose is nice enough to interrupt immediately. Thanks Dean! He starts to talk, but Dolph Ziggler cuts him off.
- Ziggler says he’s not sorry he cut Dean off. Dean gets in his face and they’re ready to fight! Except The Miz isn’t allowing it. Bummer.
- The Miz says a lot of people had Ziggler written off. He calls him a flop. “You kind of just fizzled out.” Funny, Miz. Anyhow, he talks about his career resurgence, and what would happen if Ziggler fails. Ziggler says he’s not worried about after Summerslam, just this Sunday, and the WWE Championship.
- Ambrose talks about this new Ziggler, so much fire and intensity. Ambrose doesn’t feel Ziggler’s turned a corner. “I don’t buy it.” Ziggler asks what Ambrose wants from him. To admit that the company never got behind him? That he uses the negative words as fuel? That everything he’s said makes him want to kick his head off his face?
- …is that a thing?
- Ziggler wants Ambrose to admit that Ambrose alone was the thing to push him over the edge. Ambrose says it’s powerful stuff, tugging at his heartstrings. He plays Devil’s Advocate, and says what if he does win. “You think you just wake up and your life is just magically transformed? You think the critics are silenced? No. That’s not how it works.” He points to the belt and says “this” is when it starts getting really hard. He says the day he wins is the day the pressure is turned up. He says Ziggler can’t handle the pressure, and you gotta have ice water running through your veins to handle that job. He takes a jab at Ziggler’s movie.
- Ambrose talks about the chip on Ziggler’s shoulder – he says it’s going to weigh him down and bury him. “You have never felt pressure like you have at Summerslam.” Ambrose says Ziggler is going to prove to everyone that he doesn’t want it bad enough. “You’ve never wanted it bad enough, and you’re never gonna get it.” Ambrose holds the belt high.
- Ziggler asks him if he’s got it all figured out. He says Ambrose doesn’t know a thing about him, but he does know that this Sunday he’ll have to push through every limit he’s pushed through before. He’ll have to dig down deep and still it’s not enough to put him away. Ziggler starts amping up the promo, saying that as Dean is looking deep inside, looking for one last move…. and then he SUPERKICKS HIM IN THE FACE.
- Dean collects his teeth and Ziggler walks away. And as for me? I’m not crazy on a feud built around the idea that “the man” is holding Ziggler back, but whatever. Ziggler is getting a shot, and I’m good with that.
- Some solid matches tonight, but up next is a 12-man tag team match! Oh boy….
- Apparently, during the break, The Miz continued to talk trash, making fun of Apollo Crews‘ name, calling him Apollo Creed. Crews doesn’t like it, and drops him in the middle of the ring.
- Right, so… 12-man tag team match time.
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) & American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) & The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch & Aiden English) & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) & Breezeango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
- Gable and Breeze start it off, and Viktor tags in immediately. Should I bother calling this? Nah.
- Blind tag to Mojo Rawley, first time in a match in a Smackdown ring. He does a move then tags in Ryder. Immediately all hell breaks loose. There goes that match.
- Well, maybe not. We come back from break, and things are in order. Jey Uso gets the tag and goes crazy on Aiden English.
- Jason Jordan tags himself in, has words with Uso. Ryder and Mojo do some cool stuff. Everyone hits everyone. It’s crazy. Anyhow, Gable and Jordan hit their finisher on Aiden English for the win.
- Dean Ambrose adjusts his jaw backstage. Also, Eva Marie is making her debut (again) next!
- Just in case you missed it, last week we almost saw Eva Marie’s boobs. Almost.
- Naomi comes out to new music, and she is covered in glow in the dark gear. She dances on the stage, and starts passing out glow sticks. Black lights everywhere. Even her hair is glowing. This is freaking cool.
- Naomi awaits Eva Marie in the ring, and the epic announcer rattles off everything about here. Just as we think she’s about to come to the ring, the red lights go off, the arena immediately returns to normal, and the announcer says that Eva Marie is stuck in traffic and won’t be appearing tonight. “She apologizes.” Amazing!
- JBL plays it up like this is the worst thing ever. Just amazing. Just amazing.
- We see a replay of Alberto Del Rio‘s return to WWE last October, when he defeated John Cena for the United States Championship. I like that they are making a big deal out of his match against Cena.
- AJ Styles approaches Del Rio backstage, laughs, and says he gets to rub the smirk off the “face that runs the place.” Styles says he’s jealous, but he’s getting a front row seat. Styles hypes up that Hell in a Cell match when Del Rio won. Del Rio asks if he’s living in the past, and says he’s been beating up John Cena for years. He doesn’t need the pep talk. Styles says maybe that’s why he’s in the main event of Summerslam, and Del Rio isn’t even on the card. Ooooo, burn!
- After the break, we see a hype video for Curt Hawkins, introducing a number of facts, including counting to infinity twice, slamming a revolving door, and scaring the crap out of toilets. What? Anyhow, he’s coming soon, and judging by this, he’s stealing Matt Hardy’s old gimmick.
- Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater is next, and if Slater wins, he gets signed to Smackdown. Slater hobbles to the ring, selling the beating from last night. Orton immediately goes on the offense, tearing Slater apart. Orton is very aggressive, and the referee calls for the bell, disqualifying Orton. I guess that means Slater gets a contract!
- Orton tosses Slater out of the ring. The beatings will continue! Slater goes flying over the announcer’s table. DDT off the barricade, and Orton starts pacing. The fans chant RKO! RKO! RKO! And he’s going to oblige. He rolls Slater back into the ring and nails him with… a German suplex? He hops around on his feet like Brock Lesnar. He picks Slater up again and hits another German, then finally an RKO!
- Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan are here. Or so they say. We’re going to a commercial, so they’re exactly there yet.
- Backstage, a doctor is checking on Heath Slater. Slater lays down, says he’s hurting all over. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan walk in and say that he technically won, so he’s on. Heath Slater says he showed both Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton absolutely no mercy. Shane and Bryan think this is a good name for their September pay-per-view, and they’re going with it. Meanwhile, Slater is delusional and thinks he’s talking to Mick Foley. He thinks Shane is Stephanie, and he calls him beautiful. Heath gets ready to sign it, but Shane takes it out of his hands. The fans boo this, and Slater starts to realize the contract is gone.
- I think the Heath Slater contract story has run it’s course.
- Apparently, during commercial, Wyatt and Orton had a bit of a staredown.
- Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose is up next, and Rowan has control early on. Dean goes for a surprise Dirty Deeds, but it’s countered. He dropkicks Rowan out of the ring and dives through the ropes onto him. Rowan gains control back in the ring, slamming Ambrose to the mat. Rowan gets a kick in, Dean fires back with a series of elbows. Ambrose with a back drop. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds for the win.
- Erick Rowan sells the loss as Bray Wyatt turns his chair around, facing away from the ring. He looks at Rowan’s mask, then throws it on the chair and walks away.
- We’re having some nasty storms going on here at the moment, and the power in my home flickered. Thanks to that, my cable box rebooted.
- I came back to see Eva Marie walking out to the ring. Naomi’s music hits and she backs Eva towards the ring. I guess there was a match in progress? Natalya tosses Naomi out of the ring, Becky Lynch locks in the Disarm-her and picks up the win. I guess it was a tag match? Carmella and Becky Lynch won. No idea who Nattie was with.
- Shoutout to @DJsparkles_real for being the first to let me know it was Alexa Bliss.
- Backstage, Baron Corbin is smashing Kalisto‘s face into a door. He’s basically a bully. He tells Kalisto he does what he wants to whoever he wants, when he wants.
- Just a reminder, Jon Stewart is at Summerslam, just in case you missed him.
- A video hypes up Lesnar vs. Orton at Summerslam. Lots of clips from their OVW days.
- A newly announced match for Summerslam: Becky Lynch & Naomi & Carmella vs. Natalya & Eva Marie & Alexa Bliss. That could be fun!
- AJ Styles heads to the ring. We go to the break.
- We come back from break, and AJ is on commentary. He wants to scout Cena, but says he knows him pretty well.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena has about 20 minutes to close the show. Plenty of time, assuming this is the last match of the night. They lock up, and Del Rio takes Cena down. Cena hits a leapfrog into a hip toss, and Del Rio regroups out of the ring, as we go to break.
- Del Rio has control out of the break. The two have a test of strength of sorts, with Del Rio taking a shortcut. He misses Cena and dives right through the ropes to the outside. The announcers talk about Cena earning respect. He misses Del Rio in the corner, slamming into it chest first. Del Rio continues to run the show as we go to another break.
- Out of the break, Cena catches Del Rio with a clunky dropkick. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Del Rio counters an AA with a back stabber for two. Tilt-a-whirl back breaker connects. Del Rio tries to follow up with an enzuigiri and misses. Cena goes up top and Del Rio hits that enzuigiri this time. Del Rio misses the cross arm breaker, and Cena locks in an STF. Del Rio to the ropes, he catches Cena off guard with a kick, and another one right to the mush. Two-count. Del Rio counters another AA attempt and hits the cross arm breaker. Cena lifts him and powerbombs him off. AA connects and it’s over. John Cena wins.
- AJ Styles immediately heads to the apron, hitting a Phenomenal Forearm. Cena is laid out. AJ has a mic, and says he’s sick and tired of hearing the future goes through John Cena. He says when he beats Cena, he will be the face that runs this place. He starts to leave the ring, but turns and goes for a Styles Clash. Cena reverses it into an AA, dropping Styles in the middle of the ring.
- Except Cena looks pissed. He tears apart the announcer’s table, slams AJ into the steps head first, then drags the stairs over to the table. He picks AJ up and walks up the steps, and AA’s him right through the announcer’s table. Cena poses to the crowd. AJ is out. And we’re done.
Aside from my power outage and the few minutes of footage I missed out on, this was a pretty solid show overall. I think it built nicely to the Smackdown feuds, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Smackdown is benefiting greatly having an hour less than Raw. The show just feels more concise. I don’t know that it’s better content or worse content, but we have less filler for sure, and I think it makes for a better show.
Del Rio vs. Cena was a solid main event, and though we’ve seen it before, nothing was “given away for free” here. The tag division is a bit of a mess right now, as is the women’s division, but I feel like things will even out after Summerslam, and we’ll get some more direction.
As far as Ziggler vs. Ambrose? Well, the match will be good, but I just struggle to find the belief that Ziggler might pick up the win. Something drastic needs to happen with his character before I am comfortable buying into it.
We have a Reader Poll on the site, as well as on Twitter. Be sure to vote and let us know what you thought of the show, and then head over to Twitter to let us know which show was better. Bill and I are recording Ring Rap Audio tomorrow night, and we’ve got plenty to talk about, so get in your Favorite Thing in Wrestling! Thank you for reading folks!