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July 17, 2015

WWE SmackDown rundown: Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns trade advantages days before Battleground

WWE Wrestling
071715_smackdown_wwe WWE/Smackdown

Thursday's night's Smackdown came to us from Alabama.

Three days in advance of WWE Battleground, WWE rode into the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Alabama for the final show until Brock Lesnar takes on Seth Rollins with a chance to regain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This SmackDown, however, was more about pushing the issue between Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. And that was perfectly okay with me.

The top two matches have already sold the card for anyone interested in watching. Lesnar and Rollins needs nothing added to make it a must-see match, and the United States Championship Match is probably the most anticipated match on the card. So I’m glad WWE focused on one of the matches that needed to hammer home the point that, “Hey. Bray Wyatt is still creepy.” I think this show did that.

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

Roman Reigns kicked off SmackDown on Thursday night to a great pop. He said that Bray Wyatt’s not inside his head, not throwing him off his game, and he isn’t breaking his focus.

Wyatt interrupted Reigns’ promo on cue. He said Reigns is the perfect combination of brutality and brains, and that he could finally see why the people chose him. Wyatt says those people are not real, and while Reigns is “gallavanting” around out in the ring, he’s hanging in the back with the people he truly cares about. He compared Reigns to a dog and that he will obey him. He tells Reigns to go home and tell everyone that he’s sorry because he can’t promise he’s coming home after Battleground.

Good promo here. Reigns brought the intensity and Wyatt brought some more mind games. I’m hoping this match is a dark horse for Match of the Night on Sunday.

The two would later see each other in the main event after Wyatt would interfere, but Reigns fought him off.

Cesaro and Rusev put on a great match for the audience on Thursday night, but I’m a bit surprised that Cesaro came out victorious. The two were involved in a fantastic Triple Threat Match with Kevin Owens on Raw, and that turned into basically a one-on-one match between Cesaro and Rusev after Owens hightailed it to the back.

The end of the match has become known to be classic Cesaro. He delivered a huge European uppercut to Rusev after a high-risk maneuver from the Bulgarian Brute, and then finished him off with The Neutralizer. The great thing about this is that it meant a lot and Cesaro’s reaction proved that. The announcers even put over how important a win it was. It was, in fact, only the second time Rusev has ever been pinned. The first time, of course, was to the current United States Champion, John Cena.

Even after the match, they kept the celebration for Cesaro going.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t see hardly all of Cena nor Owens. But, Owens did have these words backstage for the champion.

Naomi, Tamina and the NXT Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, are now touted as Team BAD. The Best At Dominating, you see. This new direction for the Divas division is something everybody has been waiting for months to see, and seeing it finally play out is absolutely awesome. It just adds another entertaining segment to the shows, and I’m all for it.

I’m interested in seeing what WWE does with Stardust. He lost a rematch to Neville on Thursday, but he attacked him backstage during an interview segment. I don’t really think we need to see Cody Rhodes – the son of the late Dusty Rhodes, just go out and be plain again, especially considering that he’s not a real contender for any championship at the moment. I’m glad he’s back on television in his Stardust character because it gives him something to strive for. And, of course, I’m sure his dad would’ve wanted him to continue doing what he does.

Not a whole lot happened on the go-home show to Battleground, but that’s to be expected. You can check out my Battleground preview right here. I’ll have a complete Battleground review on Monday morning.

Match rundown

     •  The New Day [Kofi Kingston and Big E] d. Lucha Dragons by pinfall via a DDT into the Big Ending.

     •  King Barrett d. Jack Swagger by pinfall via the Bull Hammer. R-Truth came out after the match for a promo.

     •  Cesaro d. Rusev by pinfall via the Neutralizer.

     •  Neville d. Stardust by pinfall via the Victory Roll.

     •  Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns d. Big Show and Sheamus by disqualification after Bray Wyatt came up from under the ring and attacked Reigns. After a huge brawl, Ambrose and Reigns stood tall.