SmackDown Live: The Ballad of Apollo Creed

After a weak first Smackdown Live last week, the show brought it this week.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of wrestling, but that didn’t really matter.  This is what the first show should have been.

Smackdown Live came to us from Nashville, Tennessee.

Welcome to Promo City

You’d think that a show so heavy on the promos wouldn’t be that good but there’s something…different about these.  To borrow from Becky Lynch (more on her later), these two promos were straight fire.  In both cases, they were duels.

Dean Ambrose & Dolph Ziggler

One of the things I love about Dean is that he can lean heel without actually turning.  Think of that moment in the 2014 Royal Rumble where he suddenly tries to put out Roman.  Or just the other random times he’s put the Dirty Deeds on “his brother.”  Him being goofy one moment and vicious the next really makes this work.  And he wrestles in jeans…so he’s, you know, nuts.

Dean invites Ambrose out at the beginning of the show to get to know his challenger.

In what seems to be a response to the IWC Dean, he’s fired up in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen him.  He was yelling.  He was matching Dean note-for-note and even mentioned how he was stuck in the shitty Spirit Squad gimmick at the start of his WWE run.  It’s a solid promo that felt real and from the heart.  It didn’t feel rehearsed.  I honestly wonder if the promo reigns have been loosened, just a little bit.

Bray Wyatt appears and takes out Ziggler with the Sister Abigail and challenges Ziggler for his #1 contender spot in the main event.  Ziggler, despite protests from Shane and Bryan, takes the match to prove it to Ambrose and the WWE Universe that he deserves his spot, that it’s not just luck.

A.J. Styles & John Cena

At first, I thought that maybe the Ambrose/Ziggler promo might have been a fluke.  It wasn’t.  A.J. and Cena delivered the strongest promo together since they started their program.  This was even better than the contract signing from a couple of months ago.  I’ll probably do an injustice recapping this.  I just recommend watching it.

It’s official:  Cena Vs. Styles at Summerslam.

Ziggler Vs. Bray Wyatt

Let’s just talk about Bray Wyatt.  Similarly to Ziggler, there seems to be a fire behind Bray that I haven’t seen since I started watching again (WM 31).  A couple of months ago, I would have probably groaned when I heard this was the main event.  Tonight, the feeling couldn’t have been more different.

Bray’s work has been a little crisper and quicker than I’m used to seeing from him.  It seems he’s improved a bit in his time recovering from injury.

Ziggler seems to be actively reorganizing his drawer of endless finishers.  Gone is the ZigZag as his ultimate finisher.  He hit one on Bray mid-match and it did nothing.  What finished him off?  A superkick!  Well, a superkick after Bray collided with an exposed turnbuckle anyway.  Ziggy picked up the win and looks a little stronger going into Summerslam.

Rowan appeared outta nowhere and hurt Ziggy.  Ambrose, who was on commentary, tried to help but received some botched Rock Bottom-like move from Rowan.  If this was the old SmackDown, I’d say we’d end up with a Ziggler and Ambrose Vs. Rowan and Wyatt next week.  Let’s see what actually happens.

So What’s Happening with the Women’s Division?

Another week, still no belt.  There is a rumor that they’re getting a belt after Summerslam for the SDL Backlash Network Special.  This kind of makes sense because it seems like they’re just wasting time right now.

Steer into the Hate: Becky Lynch Vs. Eva Marie

I’ve got to give the WWE credit, they’re steering into the Eva Marie hate.  It’s almost like they’ve learned from the whole Roman Reigns push.  They also know

Eva came out to that same ridiculous announcer from last week.

As she made her way to the ring, I was wondering how this was going to go.  Eva isn’t as terrible as she has the reputation for but she’s can’t match Lynch in the ring.

I got my answer soon after though.  As she came down from the turnbuckle, she seems to hurt her leg.  The trainer is called over and the match is over before it even begins.  Becky and the Nashville crowd can’t believe what’s happening as Eva is helped to the back.


I was excited to see Carmella.  I was excited for SDL to get fabulous.

Natalya ruined the party and gave a Sharpshooter to Carmella before she could actually get to the ring.  No match.

What’s Next for the Women’s Devision?

I expect them to spin their wheels for the next two weeks.  I think the rumors are true.  Perhaps they’ll get the Universal Women’s Championship in Smackdown Live Blue.  I just wish they’d announce it ahead of time Summerslam.

Perhaps Carmella and Nattie will have a pre-show match but I don’t expect really anything else from this division.

Invasion: Part 2

Shane and D-Bry reprimanded Orton at the top of the program for invading Raw and “jeopardizing everything.”  Side note:  what’s the actual consequence of this?

Shane hired a bunch of local wrestlers security to protect SDL and Randy Orton in case of (the inevitable) Brock retaliation.

It’s almost as if they knew how predictable this was when they scheduled Orton in a match against Fandango (w/ Breeze at ringside) surrounded by security.  And, yeah, this happened:

Atlanta and Nashville, you missed your chance at “steroid city” chants.  How disappointing.

And The Rest of It:

  • Daniel Bryan announced a #1 contenders match for the IC Title between Kalisto, Baron Corbin, and Apollo Creed.  That’s what I’m talking about!  Throw a few competitors in the pot and baby, you got a stew going!

    Sadly, he meant everyone’s smiling robot, Apollo Crews, who secured the win to face The Miz at some point in the future.
  • American Alpha debuts against The Vaudevillians.
    Jordan and Gable handily get the win here.  It’ll be great for them to be recognized in some way for being the best tag team on Smackdown.  I wonder what they can do to recognize that officially…In other news, The Vaudevillians are still jobbing.  I wonder how much has to do with the incident with Sin Cara and how much is just because they’re not that over.  Hopefully they get another chance a couple months down the line.
  • Speaking of JBL, he’s still hot garbage and doesn’t belong on Smackdown with Mauro.
  • Heath Slater convinced Bryan to give him a match next week for a shot at a roster slot on SDL.  He found out he’ll be facing Rhyno for the opportunity only to be gored a few seconds later.
  • There was a commercial that let everyone know that new episodes of Chrisley Knows Best are coming soon!
  • Apparently there’s a SDL Post Show, Talking Smack, right after each episode of SDL, hosted by Renee Young.
  • I dig the new side graphics.