August 26, 2016

WWE Smackdown Live - 8/23/2016

WWE Smackdown Live
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut

Quick Results:

  1. Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss by submission. 
  2. Tag Team Tournament (Round 1): The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) defeated The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor).
  3. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella did not officially start. 
  4. Tag Team Tournament (Round 1): American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) defeated Tyler Breeze and Fandango. 
  5. AJ Styles defeated Dolph Ziggler. 

This week's Smackdown opened up with the show long story of AJ Styles bragging about beating Cena. He was backstage and bragged to members of the roster, putting down Ziggler in the process. This started a pull apart brawl between the two. Baron Corbin and Erick Rowan were both there separating AJ and Ziggler which went against their gimmick. Otherwise, this was a good opening.

The roster was in the ring as Shane and Daniel Bryan introduced the new Women's title, which looks just like the RAW Women's title. He also introduced the new tag team titles, which also look like their RAW counterparts. The audience did not boo this. They announced a women's 6 pack challenge and a tag team tournament, where championship matches taking place at at Backlash.

Heath Slater, who continues to get more over, demanded a spot in the tournament. Shane and Bryan say if he and a partner win the tournament, Slater will get a roster spot. AJ Styles came out but was attacked by Ziggler as they were separated by the roster. This was an eventful opening segment as Smackdown is still trying to establish their roster. Just looking at the roster, I imagine Becky Lynch winning the Women's title and American Alpha winning the tag team titles. The divisions don't have established talent but they have enough personality that they can get over. The Slater storyline is fun and they can keep dragging it out. It seems he gave up trying to get a RAW contract, as he was absent from RAW this week.

The opening match saw Becky Lynch, who is incredibly over, against Alexa Bliss, who was recently featured in Muscle and Fitness magazine. Naomi and Natalya were on commentary. Becky wrestled a technical match, working over Bliss' arm for the Disarmer. Alexa had a nice kick to the back of Becky's head which looked like it connected. Becky eventually won with the Disarmer. Solid match between these two. Alexa Bliss has improved a lot in NXT and can be a strong candidate to win the title at Backlash.

Slater tried asking Miz to be his partner and Miz said yes but it turns out he was on the phone with "Spielberg" about being the new Indiana Jones.

The Usos came out to face the Ascension and they did not do their normal entrance routine on the ramp. There have been rumors of a heel turn and maybe this is the first sign. The Ascension got in a lot of offense, working over Jimmy until he tagged in Jey. Jimmy hit a Suicide Dive while Jey got the win with a Splash. This was another solid match on this show but it was hard to buy The Ascension winning.

AJ Styles, who was all over this show, came out wearing Cena's arm band. He told the crowd they don't have to be Cena fans anymore and kept saying he is the face that runs the place. He surprisingly got a mixed reaction from this crowd. Ziggler came out and they teased a brawl until Daniel Bryan interrupted. He made a strange announcement stating that if AJ can beat Ziggler, he will get a title shot, but if Ziggler wins, it will be a triple threat. I guess they did that to make people believe there is a chance Ziggler would win.

Another Curt Hawkins vignette aired with more Chuck Norris facts.

Carmella came out and did not cut a promo before her match. She was set to face Nikki Bella, who was getting interviewed in the ring. Carmella attacked Nikki out of nowhere, hitting a Downward Spiral followed by the Bella Bomb. Nikki was selling her neck. Carmella was not catching on as a babyface so this was a good move. Nikki is returning from injury and would have been cheered anyway.

Randy Orton came out and had noticeable staples on top of his head. I was surprised to see him and he even said "I bet you're surprised to see me" to the audience. He was addressing Lesnar, saying their paths will cross again but Bray Wyatt came out, without Erick Rowan. He said Orton is a just a man while he is a God. The lights went out and Bray disappeared. I'm all for a Wyatt/Orton program but Bray Wyatt needs to win, hopefully with Rowan's help. Bray is pretty much a cult leader and for that, he needs a cult.

Shane was being pressed for an interview backstage and said Stephanie is not taking the Lesnar situation seriously and the thing between he and Lesnar is not over. I presume this will lead to a match between Shane and Brock but I would rather see Shane assign someone to face Brock.

Slater continued to be a highlight of the show, telling someone off camera "we could be like the Four Horsemen, I'll be Ric Flair and you can be Arn Anderson" and it turns out he was talking to Arn himself, who said he could not help him. Rhyno then showed up and agreed to be his partner. This will be an interesting team but I do not see them winning the tournament, despite Slater's popularity.

Tyler Breeze and Fandango took on American Alpha and, just like the other tag match, this one was back and forth. Breeze even had a few believable nearfalls, including one with the Super Model Kick. Jordan eventually hit a Capture-plex, running Spear, and Gable got the win following a Grand Amplitude. This was a way better match than expected and I even believed Breeze-ango could win.

Dean Ambrose arrived wearing a big hat and a Mohegan Sun shirt. He said he was just made aware of the main event and that he will be on commentary. This is the more "whacky" Dean Ambrose character that is hard to take seriously as a main eventer.

AJ seems to be wrestling more of a heel style here against Ziggler. He kept attacking Dolph in the corner and did not do much high flying. Ziggler avoided the 450 and hit a Zig Zag for a nearfall. AJ kicked Ziggler's leg in the ropes and won with the Styles Clash instead of the Calf Crusher. He had a staredown with Ambrose to close the show.

Even though Ziggler lost, I feel there is a plan in place for him. In the meantime, Styles is a good contender to Ambrose's title but I do not seem him winning, as much as I would like him to.

Smackdown has an advantage over RAW since it is a two hour show and the crowd won't be as burned out. This was a pretty decent show, just like RAW. The build to Backlash started off on the right foot, as we now have a number 1 contender as well two title matches. It will be difficult to fill the rest of the card but I assume Orton will face Bray Wyatt and Baron Corbin will face Kalisto. 

Match of the Night: American Alpha vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango. 

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