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May 15, 2015

Your WWE SmackDown rundown: Ambrose and Reigns look like strong contenders heading into Payback

Wrestling WWE
051515_smackdown_WWE SmackDown/WWE

Smackdown came to us this week from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins felt the heat at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana Thursday night. The champion is still at odds with Kane, who will supposedly be fired if Rollins doesn’t retain his championship at Payback on Sunday night. That didn’t stop the Director of Operations from putting Rollins in a match against Ryback later in the night, a match that Rollins would be fortunate enough to win with a little bit of outside help that wasn’t in the form of J & J Security.

It would be a good test for Rollins as he’s set to defend his championship in a Fatal 4 Way on Sunday night at Payback. But that’s not all that happened Thursday night.

Here are some of the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

Dean Ambrose started off SmackDown by calling out Roman Reigns just to say he wasn’t going to apologize for hitting him with Dirty Deeds at the end of Monday Night Raw. Being former brothers from their time with The Shield, both Ambrose and Reigns are exhibiting a mutual respect for each other during the buildup to the Payback main event. Director of Operations, Kane, interrupted the semi-Shield reunion and booked Ambrose in a match against Sheamus.

After the main event, Renee Young interviewed Rollins backstage before he and his security were interrupted by Ambrose, who had a plate of cookies that looked pretty tremendous. But, of course, it turned into a brawl before Reigns saved Ambrose from an outnumbered beating and Rollins and his cronies scampered away, leaving his title behind. Ambrose picked it up and hoisted it on Reigns’ shoulder before saying, “Don’t worry. I take it on Sunday.”

I think the best match on Sunday’s Payback card will be the “I Quit” match between United States Champion, John Cena, and Rusev. The two have had some great matches together, and there’s no reason to expect anything different come Sunday night. Lana read a statement, apologizing for turning her back on Russia and “indulging in our perverse Western customs.” Lana begged for Russia’s and Rusev’s forgiveness for her faults. I still think hinting toward a Rusev/Lana split isn’t needed for the Rusev/Cena feud, but it looks like that’s eventually where this will go. If it means Lana wrestling in the Divas division, I’m all for it. Rusev then showed a loop of Cena saying “I quit” during his promo on Raw, conveniently without context.

Bray Wyatt interrupted the opening video for SmackDown with a message for Ryback, which was pretty damn cool. We learned that Wyatt would face Ryback in a match at Payback – which WWE conveniently saved to announce until after my Payback preview was posted. My prediction: Wyatt wins. Boom. As Ryback was making his way down to the ring to take on Rollins, Wyatt attacked him out of nowhere. It’ll be interesting to see if these two Nexus alumni are able to have a good match together despite both of their limitations in the ring.

The WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day, continue to impress me week after week. Thursday night on SmackDown, they had to get a few things off their chest on their way to the ring when Kofi Kingston took on Tyson Kidd in a singles match. Xavier Woods called Cesaro and Kidd cheaters, while Big E said they’re bad people, and gave some justifications – they don’t recycle, they double-dip, and they buy one movie ticket but go and see two movies. If any of these are true, I completely understand why The New Day despises them. The New Day certainly has been the change we needed to see in the tag team division.

And Cesaro and Kidd are certainly ready for their two-out-of-three falls match.

It was good seeing Bo Dallas back, and even better seeing Neville take him out.

The Divas division has been an afterthought the last few weeks with nothing really happening other than the return of Tamina Snuka as the muscle for Naomi. In a backstage promo, Naomi gave some insight into her new attitude, saying her and Tamina are tired of being overlooked. Tamina said her and Naomi run the division now. “Sometimes a good girl gotta be bad in order to get things done.” I dig it.

The party is over.

Don’t forget – you can catch WWE Payback on Sunday night, for FREE, by subscribing right here. And remember, in just two weeks, Elimination Chamber returns to pay-per-view on the WWE Network.

Match rundown

     • Dean Ambrose d. Sheamus by pinfall after Sheamus hit his head on the ring post and Ambrose schoolboyed him.

     • Non-Title: Seth Rollins (c) d. Ryback by pinfall via a superkick. Ryback was attacked by Bray Wyatt before the match started.

     • Tyson Kidd d. Kofi Kingston by submission after Kingston tapped to the Sharpshooter.

     • Neville d. Bo Dallas by pinfall via the Red Arrow.

     • No Disqualification: Roman Reigns d. Kane by pinfall after hitting him with the spear through a table.