July 10, 2015
The BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI was the site for SmackDown this week, and the main event was Champion vs. Champion, although there were no titles on the line. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, would face the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Ryback, in a pretty good television main event. The highlight, of course, had to be the standing 5-hour suplex that Ryback gave Rollins.
And remember, Battleground is just over a week away. That means I’ll have an in-depth Battleground preview right here at PhillyVoice.com next week, along with a complete review of the show the morning after. If you want to hear some of my quick predictions already, Philly.com’s Vaughn Johnson and I talked about it on our podcast last week on Wildfire Radio. Give it a listen here.
Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion opened the show, by himself, in the ring, and had a promo war with Paul Heyman. That’s probably not the situation anyone wants to be involved in at this point, as Heyman’s promo skills are unmatched by anybody in the wrestling industry.
After the 2015 Cadillac CTS that Brock Lesnar destroyed on Raw was towed out to the side of the SmackDown set, Heyman appeared on the stage and did what he does best. As Rollins and Heyman jawed back and forth, selling the July 19th main event by using mere words, something came to my mind.
I have a feeling the Battleground main event is going to be one of the best matches we’ve seen that we didn’t expect to see. Nobody is predicting this Lesnar-Rollins face-off will be one of the best matches ever, and with good reason. Their styles are so different, and Lesnar isn’t going to wow anybody with any technical moves. He’s proven he really doesn’t need to, though. Rollins has taken that brass ring and run with it, and I have a feeling both he and Lesnar will deliver a top-notch match that nobody is anticipating.
If Rollins wrestles as good as he talks when Heyman has a mic opposite him, we’re in for one hell of a main event next Sunday.
Backstage, we saw some Authority bonding, as Big Show, with an Under Armour shirt under his tights, approached Rollins and pumped him up for his match against Ryback later in the night. And Show thought he would do Rollins a solid and take care of Roman Reigns. So, some harmony remains in The Authority. For now.
As for Show and Reigns, of course the match would feature some sort of appearance by Bray Wyatt. Once Reigns was about to go for his Superman punch, the lights went out and Wyatt hit the ramp. Sort of. Just like Raw, the Wyatt in the aisle was a decoy, and Wyatt tried attacking Reigns from behind before Reigns hit him with a Superman punch. Wyatt was able to recover and grab Reigns and crotch him on the ringpost from the outside of the ring, and Show delivered a chokeslam to Reigns.
Wyatt then hit his rival with Sister Abigail and left him lying in the ring.
And Rollins? He ran away from Ryback. Way to make the champ look strong, guys. Show came out and the two made their way to the ring and attacked Ryback before Reigns made the save.
Rusev made his long-anticipated return to the ring on… SmackDown. There are two trains of thought here, and I’ll go through both of them.
One: Keep Rusev out of the ring until his return match with Dolph Ziggler. It builds up the suspense and inevitable destruction awaiting Ziggler once Rusev is healthy.
Two: Put Rusev in the ring right away to remind the audience he’s a destructive force, despite John Cena making him look like a jabroni from WrestleMania on. And even though his match with Fandango was a lot more competitive than I had imagined it would be before it started, Rusev not letting go of The Accolade at first was a nice touch.
What do I prefer? I liked seeing Rusev back in action, and it builds the story that Rusev is still a monster and Ziggler is in for one hell of a match when the two meet in the ring. If Rusev’s first match back came against Ziggler, there’s very little buildup that he’s actually as dangerous in the ring as he was before he broke his ankle. I like WWE putting him back in the ring a little early, with his new boots and all.
And there’s no way he should lose to Ziggler, but I have a feeling the first match between the two will end in a surprise win for the former Spirit Squad member. And I don’t like that feeling at all.
The Prime Time Players are really growing on me. They’ve got the personality and deserve more television time than just one segment per show. They have the personality and they bring it in the ring. They’re golden right now, and WWE needs to showcase them as much as they can.
The feud that nobody wants to see got more heated, I guess, Thursday night on SmackDown. Randy Orton, fresh off returning and brawling with Sheamus Monday night on Raw, had some words for the Celtic Warrior. At least there’s continuity, though, as WWE produced a video package reminding us why Orton seeks revenge against the Money in the Bank winner dating back to last month.
To make matters worse, The Ascension appeared for their weekly comedic segment, eating a couple of RKOs for their troubles.
If Alicia Fox’s character is supposed to be awkward, she’s doing one hell of a job. If not, then… well…
• Dean Ambrose d. Bo Dallas by pinfall via Dirty Deeds. This was actually a pretty good and long match, all things considered.
• Rusev d. Fandango by submission via The Accolade. The commentators didn’t mention Fandango’s and Summer Rae’s history once. Nice.
• Roman Reigns d. Big Show by disqualification after Bray Wyatt attacked Reigns from behind in the ring.
• Titus O’Neil d. Big E by pinfall via The referee ejected Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston after they got involved too much at the beginning of the match.
• Brie Bella and Alicia Fox d. Naomi and Tamina Snuka by pinfall after Fox hit Tamina with a scissor kick.
• Non-title: Ryback (c-IC) d. Seth Rollins (c-WWE) by countout after Rollins left the ring and ran up to the ramp.