Michael Cole-ing – Your Smackdown Recap for May 26, 2016


This Smackdown comes to us from some swanky auditorium with a great water feature in Norfolk, Virginia.

A Night of Two Title Matches

As announced earlier this week, Smackdown was set to be anchored by two title matches.  It’s very possible that they’ve defended the Intercontinental Title a lot on Smackdown, but it doesn’t feel like it to me.  The U.S. Title, in Del Rio and Kalisto’s hands, seemed like a natural spot for a Smackdown defense.  The IC title has always just felt slightly more important to me.

Kalisto Vs. Rusev (US Champ)

In a rematch from Extreme Rules, we saw Kalisto battle everyone’s favorite Bulgarian (and only Bulgarian they know).  It’s mainly a repeat of what we saw at Extreme Rules, with a couple of notable exceptions.

First, there’s Rusev being announced, by Lana of course, as the “Greatest U.S. Champion of All Time.”  Once in the ring, he stops Eden, on one of the lasts matches as announcer, from introducing the challenger first.  He insists in being introduced first and owns that moment.

I loved the spot where Kalisto attempted to body slam Rusev only to be…crushed under the weight of the greatest US Champion.  This is old school wrestling storytelling:

I talked about storytelling, right?  Kalisto eventually went for a second slam and barely pulled it off, much to the surprise of Rusev.  It’s something that I’ve felt has been a little lacking from Kalisto.  He does cool shit but that’s been about it.  Rusev has already done more in two matches than Kalisto has done in his entire reign.

This Hurricanrana-DDT, SpikeRana, was quite spectacular as well:

Rusev retains with another modified Accolade, of course.  But then…Titus comes out to challenge Rusev for US Championship.  Yes, Titus O’Neil.  He’s not just trying to go to Universal Studios with you and your family to have one of the most awkward dinners, he wants Rusev’s hardware.  Maybe it can be good?  I don’t know.  Probably not.  Perhaps this is Vince still angry from the D-Bry tribute and is just giving Rusev someone to crush.  Matchka, Matchka, Matchka!

Cesaro Vs. The Miz w/ Maryse

This match is another example of The Miz being a master of the WWE-style heel antics.  The whole match hinged on one heel distraction which had a great payoff later in the match.  Early on, in an attempt to distract the ref, Maryse removes one of the turnbuckles.  The ref couldn’t leave it alone and quickly tries to retie it to the exposed steel ring.  He gets it 75% of the way back on only to stop for a count as Cesaro has Miz pinned.  The ref quickly forgets about it (and so did I actually) in typical WWE fashion.  Perhaps he actually thought he was doing a good job?

Meanwhile, the match was filled with uppercuts galore to the extent where Miz just tried to bail.

Only to be met with more uppercuts.

Remember that turnbuckle though?  The Miz takes it off yet again and dodges out of the way as Cesaro charged towards him.  The collision dazed Cesaro setting Miz up for a great Skull Crushing Finale.

I love Miz’s selling since seeing him at a house show in Los Angeles in December.  The match between Ziggy and Miz was the highlight of the night.

A Couple of Perros

Smackdown started inexplicably with Michael Cole and the MitB briefcase in the ring.  He started by interviewing Ambrose and, like clockwork, here comes the parade of Dean’s competitors for that contract.

First out, Kevin Owens asking what Cole is doing there?  He chases Cole out of the ring.  Why even have him there?  You could have easily just had Ambrose start a promo without the pretext.  Did they really want Cole there just so Owens can make fun of him?  Is Cole going to win the MitB briefcase?

Next, Zayn is out with his typical anti-KO rhetoric.  And finally we have Cesaro, wait, Del Rio?  And he’s looking for a match?  What was looking like a good MitB ladder match has turned into the potential garbage fire.  Why is El Patron Del Rio so boring?

Zach Ryder Vs. Del Rio (MitB qualifier)

“My pesos are on Del Rio!” – King

What can I say?  This match went exactly how you’d imagine for everyone’s favorite jobber (“You Know it!”).  What I do think is interesting is that Ryder is actually allowed to get in longer matches as opposed to his efforts in 2015 and early 2016.  He actually hit the Ruff Ryder!  I can only recall him hitting that on NXT or Main Event.  Del Rio takes out Ryder with an immediate submission, a pretty tame looking armbar.

If Ryder had won, you could ask that question, “Can Ryder do it again?.”  The answer would be “no” but there would be that hope.  With Del Rio, it’s going to be the worst option if he wins and I don’t see how he adds much to the match if he isn’t going to win.

Other Stuff

What I liked:

  • “When things start getting dangerous, I’m just getting started.”  – Ambrose at the top of the show.
  • “Roman still uses MySpace” sign.
  • Sad AJ Interview backstage.  What IS next for him?
  • Extended “What’s Up” performance.  I loved it.  It went on forever, just like the Golden Truth gimmick.
  • Rollins Promo – He basically showed up to do a shorter version of what he did on Raw.  Love it.  He can take the same promo and put a new spin on it, unlike THE GUY.
    “Did you miss me?  I wish I could say the same for you!”  -laughs-

What I didn’t like:

  • Dana Vs. Nattie
    The match lasted about 2 minutes (I wasn’t really timing it) and was just an excuse for Charlotte to interfere and beat down Nattie with Dana.  I’m surprised that this particular feud is still going on.  Somebody better get a clean pin at some point.
  • Golden Truth Vs. Fabreeze (I refuse their official name)
    I’m a bigger fan of the Golden Truth than Matt is, but this one didn’t hold my attention.

On paper, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this SD.  In fact, I delayed watching it but the two title matches kept me interested and my undying hope that Ryder can somehow ascend from his jobber status was exciting.