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April 15, 2016

WWE SmackDown rundown: Zayn and Jericho go one-on-one, tag tournament continues

On Thursday night, SmackDown invaded the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego and continued a string of strong shows from WWE after WrestleMania 32 two weeks ago. The tournament for the No. 1 contendership to the WWE World Tag Team Championships continued on Thursday night, along with a good main event and a match in the 9 o’clock hour that could have been the main event.

Before we get to SmackDown, Michael Cole sat down with Zack Ryder this week for’s interview of the week, and Ryder opened up about dealing with cancer when he was in high school and how it has shaped who he is today. It’s an eye-opening interview that sheds light into who Ryder is outside of his wrestling character.

Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

Zayn and Jericho headline the show, Owens and Ambrose make their presence felt

Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho fought each other in the night’s main event, with each of their respective rivals at ringside on commentary. In a backstage promo before the match, Jericho said Dean Ambrose is an amateur who is too stupid to know what respect is or too much of an idiot to know who he is. Jericho as a heel has been so much more awesome than usual, and it seems like it’s because he’s actively trying to get the audience to hate him. It’s working.

It also helps that he’s feuding with guys such as AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn. Towards the end of the match, Jericho attacked Ambrose, who was on commentary at ringside along with Kevin Owens. After Jericho’s attack, Zayn backdropped him onto Owens, so now both color commentators were now laid out.

Owens would attack Zayn inside the ring, causing the disqualification. Ambrose came in and attacked Jericho, and then Zayn saved Ambrose from a powerbomb attempt by Owens as the two fan favorites stood tall in the ring to end the show.

Styles takes nasty bump, but defeats Del Rio

AJ Styles was executing one of his fantastic promos backstage when Alberto Del Rio interrupted him, setting up one of the night’s big matches. Del Rio said Styles doesn’t belong in WWE and that he was way out of his range. Something tells me Del Rio’s about to get a rude awakening as to just who Styles is.

More than halfway through the match, Del Rio nailed Styles with an inverted suplex from the turnbuckle, and the landing was nasty. Styles landed almost directly on his head, but finished the match. He rolled Del Rio up in an Oklahoma Roll, which is the first time I’ve heard that said on WWE television in a long, long time.

Styles was holding his head after the match, but it could have been him just selling the match or the bump, because no doctor came out to tend to him.

Ryder confronts Miz, has to deal with the End of Days

Miz TV actually opened up the program, with The Miz and his wife, Maryse, who welcomed her husband in French. After each of them runs down how amazing each other is, which was actually kind of cute, in a weird, awkward forced way, Zack Ryder interrupted. We thought they were building to a third Intercontinental Championship match between the two, but The Miz pulled a bait and switch and said Ryder already had an opponent, and that would be Baron Corbin.

That led to Corbin and Ryder having it out, with Corbin coming out on top.

The tag team tournament is down to the Final Four

The tournament to crown new number one contenders for the WWE World Tag Team Championships, held currently by The New Day, continued on Thursday night with Enzo and Big Cass and The Vaudevillains both advancing. The new NXT callups have been very impressive in their debut matches, and it would be awesome to see them in the finals and see Enzo and Big Cass have to face off against The New Day. Imagine the promos between the two teams.

Enzo and Big Cass took down The Ascension rather easily, but is anyone surprised by that?

The Vaudevillains defeated Goldust and Fandango to advance in the tournament in a fairly easy match for them. A week in and The Vaudevillains have already more credibility than The Ascension ever did. I’d say that’s impressive, but The Ascension is so wasted beyond repair.

In the semifinals, The Usos will take on The Vaudevillains and Enzo and Big Cass will take on the Dudley Boyz.

Match breakdown

•    Baron Corbin d. Zack Ryder by pinfall via the End of Days. Corbin kept attacking Ryder after the match, but Dolph Ziggler made the save.

•    Emma d. Paige by pinfall after she counters Paige’s move and hits her head into the top turnbuckle.

•    Tag Team Tournament First Round Match: Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady d. The Ascension by pinfall after a double team Rocket Launcher on Viktor.

•    AJ Styles d. Alberto Del Rio by pinfall via an Oklahoma Roll.

•    Tag Team Tournament First Round Match: The Vaudevillains d. Goldust and Fandango by pinfall after they hit the Whirling Dervish on Fandango.

•    Sami Zayn d. Chris Jericho by disqualification after Kevin Owens attacked Zayn. Owens and Dean Ambrose were on commentary at ringside during the match.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickpiccone

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