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July 31, 2015

WWE SmackDown rundown: Cesaro shines in the main event spotlight

SmackDown emanated from the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK on Thursday night, and it showcased some pretty good matches, despite no championships being on the line. Cesaro is getting plenty of television time since his partner, Tyson Kidd, will be out for the next year after having surgery on his injured neck. Honestly, Cesaro has taken that brass ring and held onto it. He’s has great matches with Seth Rollins, John Cena and Kevin Owens since his re-emergence as a key figure.

The match didn’t last long, but that didn’t mean that it was over between Cesaro and Rollins – we were in for a tag team main event featuring Cesaro and a partner of his choosing against Rollins and Owens.

Long-time wrestling fans love seeing new blood rising [an actual title of a WCW pay-per-view], so Cesaro being given an opportunity really has energized the fan base a bit. With Owens on the downswing and not being considered as a main eventer anymore by WWE’s suits, a terrible decision pretty much agreed by everybody except them, Cesaro may be emerging as main eventer soon – finally.

Time will tell, but this may be Cesaro’s time.

Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, opened up SmackDown with a promo on how he legitimately broke John Cena’s nose. Cena needed emergency surgery and has been pulled from this weekend’s WWE live events and is no longer advertised for Monday Night Raw next week.

With Rollins going on about Cena’s broken nose, Cesaro came out and lambasted Rollins for tapping out to Cena’s STF on Raw, to which Rollins described as a strategic move because he has more important things to worry about. Cesaro said he’d see Rollins later in the main event, but changed his mind and actually had Rollins agree to the match then and there. What an awesome way to kick off SmackDown.

What could have been a great match was marred by outside interference by Owens, but that leaves a lot to be desired. It was almost perfect, because we know we’re going to see Owens and Cesaro face off at Summerslam, and after that feud ends, maybe Cesaro will be elevated again to the main event. Sure, we can hope, and history isn’t on our side, but the sky’s the limit for Cesaro.

The main event featured Owens and Rollins teaming up against Cesaro and his partner, Dean Ambrose. This was a fantastic tag team match that had a good ending, because it sort of protected everybody, Owens was pinned by Cesaro, but it wasn’t a finish that made Owens look bad, and it made Cesaro look smart by taking advantage of the fact he was still the legal man when Owens apparently thought it was Ambrose. It was a good SmackDown main event.

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper cut another backstage promo directed at Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, and it was more of the same from Raw. Sometimes I don’t know why SmackDown has segments almost identical to what we’ve seen on Raw, but I understand that continuing to tell a story is important. I don’t mind Wyatt and Harper cutting a promo again, but make it different. There’s really no difference in Wyatt’s promos from Raw to SmackDown.

Sure, Monday to Monday is a long enough time to change the promos around a bit, but I’d like to see some squash matches for Wyatt and Harper to rebuild them up. Their promos are good, but they need the physical aspect behind them to once again be one of those feared teams in the entire company. Promos won’t always do that.

Rusev and Jack Swagger renewed their rivalry in a pretty good television match Thursday night. Rusev, slowly but surely being built back up after falling less than gracefully from the top, got the win via his Accolade. Swagger wasn’t done and was able to counter Rusev’s attacks after the match and catch him in the Patriot Lock before Rusev was able to break loose and get away.

Sheamus’s feud with Randy Orton is getting personal. Though he wasn’t in action on SmackDown, Sheamus had some words for Orton.

Stardust and Neville’s feud continued, albeit one of the minor ones in WWE right now. But I thought this segment was really well done and as long as both can keep me entertained, I’ll continue to watch them tell their story.

Neville won’t back down.

Match rundown

     • Non-Title: Cesaro d. Seth Rollins (c) by disqualification after Kevin Owens ran in to attack Cesaro.

     • Los Matadores and Lucha Dragons d. The Ascension and The New Day by pinfall after Kalisto pinned Viktor with a sunset flip.

     • Rusev d. Jack Swagger by submission via The Accolade. Rusev attacks Swagger after the bell, but Swagger counters into the Patriot Lock and then Rusev leaves.

     • Stardust d. R-Truth by pinfall via the Queen’s Crossbow [formerly Dark Matter]. Stardust puts a mask on R-Truth and calls for Neville, who comes out and attacks Stardust before he retreats into the crowd.

     • Cesaro and Dean Ambrose d. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens by pinfall after Cesaro rolls up Owens.