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August 14, 2015

WWE SmackDown rundown: Rollins and Owens gain a cheap win over Cesaro and Neville

Wrestling WWE
081415_smackdown-wwe Smackdown/WWE

The Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, played host to this week's Smackdown.

SmackDown at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon once again led off with a promo by the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, and I have to admit, I’m getting tired of the entire cookie-cutter format WWE uses for their flagship shows every week. Whether it’s a promo by Rollins, The Authority, or to a lesser extent, John Cena, there is literally no variety week to week in how WWE presents the openings to their programs.

It’s so frustrating. It’s the same thing every time. I don’t know why this particular promo made me rant and rave about this, but it’s long overdue for some type of change. Have a match first, and a promo in the second block of the opening hour, or just wait until the beginning of the second hour to have the first big promo. That would be fine, and likely wouldn’t have an adverse impact on ratings.

I just want something different. The same opening of every WWE television show is getting to the point of insulting. It’s basically telling us, “You’re going to watch regardless, so we don’t care.” It’s borderline insulting. Come up with something new, WWE.

OK. Phew. Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

Since I already went on a tangent about the opening of SmackDown, let’s just focus on the positives here. I love the fact Cesaro and Kevin Owens are playing a big part in current storylines, and the fact that Neville confronted Rollins in the ring allowed us not to forget his near-win for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship last week on Monday Night Raw.

However, Rollins’ promo was still boring. Without Cena to combat him on the mic, he’s really just talking in circles and it’s not doing much for him. He can only gloat so long about breaking Cena’s nose, and it’s already getting old. Luckily for us, the opening promo led to a tag team main event match that was awesome.

With SmackDown currently being the “B” show, it still has the ability to showcase the talents of Cesaro, Owens and Neville in a meaningful way, and that’s exactly what WWE did with those three on Thursday night. Put in the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and they had all the makings of a great match. Surprisingly, the heels came out on top with a cheap win for Rollins after pulling the tights of Cesaro while he was going for the big swing on Owens, but the program went off the air with the faces on top as Cesaro slammed Owens onto the mat and Neville nailed him with the Red Arrow.

It’s nice to see Cesaro get some personality going on television.

Sheamus and Randy Orton are likely on a collision course for Summerslam, but it’s interesting that the match hasn’t been made official yet. While there are rumors circulating that Sheamus has a concussion, it’s hard to believe those because he took an RKO last Monday on Raw after trying to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase against Rollins. But it looks as if Sheamus is focused on Orton, and even though a match between the two hasn’t been made official yet for Summerslam, I expect that to occur at some point between now and the end of next Monday’s episode of Raw.

Ryback’s surprise return on Monday Night Raw was really well done, and the WWE was smart to utilize Daniel Bryan’s appearance to put over Ryback after his battle with the staph infection in his knee. On Thursday night, the Intercontinental Champion addressed the crowd and told him he pushed through to win the championship at the Elimination Chamber event on May 31st, and he pushed through his staph infection by Meat Hook-ing, Shell Shocking, then Trailblazing his way to Portland for the show. Good crowd response here from Ryback. It’s good to see The Big Guy back, but I have a suspicion he won’t be champion after Summerslam. I still think The Miz escapes that Triple Threat Match against Ryback and the Big Show with the title.

There wasn’t much furthering the Reigns/Ambrose/Wyatt/Harper storyline on SmackDown, but Reigns and Harper still fought in an entertaining match. The two sides brawled after Reigns defeated Harper by disqualification, and the faces got the better of the heels. I’m looking for some big angle to happen on Raw to really hammer home the importance of this tag team match at Summerslam, because I just think it’s missing something.

I’m really pumped to see this Tag Team Championship match at Summerslam, only for one reason – The New Day. Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston have become even more entertaining after losing the Tag Team Titles to the Prime Time Players, and Darren Young and Titus O’Neil have done nothing of note since winning the titles. I really am pulling for The New Day to regain the titles because they’re the most entertaining act in WWE today, even in losing matches.

Charlotte was again on the winning end, this time against Naomi, who had Tamina and Sasha Banks in her corner. Becky Lynch was in Charlotte’s corner, and conspicuous by her absence, Paige was in Orlando at the live Tough Enough taping, as she does every Tuesday. One would think this would be the perfect opportunity for Team B.A.D. to really put a beating on Charlotte and Lynch and gain some heat back, but nope. Charlotte made Naomi tap and that was it. No interference, no attack by the heels, nothing. That was a waste.

Nice backstage attack on Neville by Stardust and King Barrett. Not that it matters – Barrett’s going to likely eat the pin at Summerslam, anyway.

I’ll have my Summerslam predictions right here at The Philly Voice next week. You won’t want to miss them.

Match rundown

     • Charlotte d. Naomi by submission via the Figure Eight leglock.

     • Roman Reigns d. Luke Harper by disqualification after Bray Wyatt interferes and attacks Reigns. Ambrose and Reigns brawl with Wyatt and Harper until the latter pair runs off.

     • Non-Title Match: Prime Time Players (c) d. The New Day [Big E and Xavier Woods] by pinfall after Darren Young hit Woods with the double-knee gutbuster. The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores appeared to prevent The New Day from leaving the arena.

     • Seth Rollins (c) and Kevin Owens d. Neville and Cesaro by pinfall after Rollins rolls up Cesaro and holds onto the tights for the victory.