What an insane night on Monday! There were no less than four awesome matches and it truly was a new era as they managed to make two huge new stars in Finn Balor and Sasha Banks as well as setting up some squash matches to start putting over people like Nia Jax and Braun Strowman. That brings us to tonight where Smackdown! Live will have a LOT to live up to in terms of the night's entertainment. Will they bring the goods tonight? Will someone step up as Dean Ambrose's first challenger? Will Bryan and Shane be in the background as much as Foley and Stephanie were last night? Only time will tell... and that time is 8pm/ET right here on Wrestling News World! Make sure to join me here for LIVE coverage as the show airs!
SMACKDOWN! LIVE (07.26.16)
BUFFALO, NY (First Niagara Center)
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, David Otunga
Written by Brendan Wahl
We start off with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon walking through the entrance onto the stage. They say that it's all about the superstars, the viewers and the fans. Bryan's music kicks in and they do the "Yes!" chants to the delight of the crowd.
New opening video and it's pretty cool. Song is pretty decent too.
We come back to the ring and it looks like the entire roster is out there and standing on the ring apron. Shane says that Smackdown is about opportunity and seizing those opportunities and announces that September 11th will be a Smackdown-exclusive PPV called Backlash. Tonight, we need to find an opponent for Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam and so Shane brings out the WWE Champion himself to a pretty big ovation. Dean looks around at all the superstars and asks who's gonna step up and be the first to challenge him. Bryan says that he loves that about Ambrose and that he will fight anyone at any time. Bryan decrees that there will be a 6-pack challenge #1 contendership match with the winner facing Ambrose for the WWE Title at SummerSlam. The participants will be John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin and AJ Styles. Daniel points out that there's only five of them because the sixth spot is open to everyone. The person who gets the sixth spot will be the winner of a battle royale, which will start NEXT.
NEXT: A Battle Royale to determine the 6th challenger in the 6-pack challenge #1 contendership match!
Let's see. We've got Kane, the Vaudevillains, Zack Ryder, Mojo Rawley, Kalisto, one of the Usos, Erick Rowan... oh and Gotch is eliminated. Apollo Crews, Breezango and Alberto Del Rio are also there. Oh, and the Ascension because Kane just eliminated both of them at the same time. Kane tries to take out Kalisto of all people. Rowan works over English but can't get him out. Lots of aimless brawling here so it's tough to call. Uso is superkicking everyone in sight but he can't toss Fandango. Breezango manage to eliminate Jey Uso. During the commercial break, Aiden English got eliminated as did Erick Rowan as a result of Mojo Rawley. Meanwhile, Del Rio disposes of Rawley and it actually gets some heat. Crews tosses Del Rio and Kane eliminates another tag team (this time it's Breezango). We've got Kane, Crews, Ryder and Kalisto. Crews is impressive and each of the babyfaces take their turns working over Kane with high-impact moves. Wait, is Kane even a heel? Who knows? Ryder nails Kalisto and misses a dropkick pretty badly. He goes after Crews but he fights out of it and tries to eliminate Ryder. Even with Kalisto's help, Zack still fights out and nails Kalisto with a neckbreaker. Kalisto and Ryder both end up on the apron but neither are eliminated. Kalisto nails Crews with Salina Del Sol and Ryder goes for the Elbro but he slips in an awkward spot and kinda flops over. Kane eliminates Kalisto but Ryder does well for himself for a bit... until Kane eliminates him leaving it down to Kane and Apollo Crews. Kane goes for a chokeslam, Apollo counters and then low bridges him for the final elimination.
WINNER: Apollo Crews (12:43)
Renee Young interviews Apollo at ringside and he says he's the happiest man alive but he won't start his celebration until he wins the main event tonight and goes on to SummerSlam.
We get a video for Shelton Benjamin, who will be coming back to Smackdown! Live soon. Whoa.
Dolph Ziggler says that he's been banging his head against the glass ceiling in WWE and somewhere along the way he got lost. Ziggler talks about being a young fan and wanting to be the best. Tonight, it starts all over again. Tonight, Dolph plans on taking his place at SummerSlam as the show goes off the air.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Let's see if Becky can get her revenge. She starts on the advantage but they exchange headlocks and holds until Nattie takes her down with a shoulderblock. Nattie flips over her and gets taken down by a single-leg dropkick so she bails to the outside. A cheapshot allows Nattie to take over again and she does so by choking Becky on the ropes and then executing a crushing bodyslam. Natalya keeps Becky down with a hairpull and then simply walks over her before taking her down into a rear chinlock. Becky escapes it and gets a rollup for a near fall. Nattie quickly goes for a rollup but Becky blocks it and nails her with a pair of clotheslines and a heel kick. Becky gets fired up but Nattie avoids a corner charge and walks right into an elbow. Becky goes for something but Nattie yanks her off the top rope. We're back from commercial and Natalya has an abdominal stretch applied until Becky hiptosses out of it. Becky fires away with forearms and an uppercut along with a running forearm into the corner. However, Nattie counters one shot and puts her in the corner. Becky takes her down with an enzuiguri and heads up top with a leg drop for a very close near fall. Natalya almost gets the Sharpshooter but DOES manage to execute a German release suplex for a two count of her own. Becky goes for a rollup into the Dis-Arm-Her but Nattie counters and goes for the Sharpshooter. Becky fires her off so Nattie takes her down with a discus lariat for a two count. She goes for the Sharpshooter yet again but Becky gets the Dis-Arm-Her THIS time for the submission victory!
WINNER via SUBMISSION: Becky Lynch (10:21)
Renee Young interviews Becky in the ring and she declares herself Becky Balboa! OH! Alexa Bliss makes her debut and interrupts Becky to tell her that she's the newest and hottest star. She calls herself the personification of what the new era looks like... and here's... Naomi? She says that Alexa is running her mouth and hasn't even stepped in the ring yet. She tells her to move to the side because she's gonna shine... and now we get Carmella's debut. Carmella talks about being the princess of Staten Island and... oh God... Eva Marie is here. We get a ridiculous voiceover introduction for Eva that's actually pretty funny as Eva comes out and flaunts her body on the stage before blowing everyone a kiss.
Baron Corbin says he's not winning this match for anyone else but himself.
MIZTV w/Intercontinental Champion The Miz [w /Maryse]
Miz says that we are creating history tonight and says that his guest tonight is... himself! Miz then decides to interview himself by going back and forth between directors chairs. He asks how he remains so humble when everybody loves and looks up to him and he responds that the people need a hero and he is everything that the rest of the roster is NOT. He brags about being the Intercontinental Champion and wants everyone to be proud of him because they can't be proud of themselves. He asks Maryse what it's like being married to Han Solo. They get all lovey and kiss each other until Randy Orton and his entrance music cuts them off. The crowd chants "RKO" and Randy heard his opening introduction and thought he was talking about him so he just decided to come out to the ring. Randy calls Miz an expert at "playing with [himself]" but Miz asks why he decided to interrupt MizTV. Randy reminds Miz that he used to kill legends in the WWE but Miz responds by telling him that his first match back could be his last one. Randy says that SummerSlam won't be his last match but it doesn't have to be his first match either because that could take place right here tonight against the IC Champion himself. Miz polls the audience and then says no because Randy doesn't just get a title shot like that. Randy agrees and says that they could just have some friendly competition between two old friends. Miz reminds Randy of when he cashed in on him for the title and says he's not falling for Randy's tricks and making the match. In turn, Randy insults Miz's masculinity and suggests that his wife wears the pants between the two of them. Maryse takes offense to that and makes the match herself!
Randy Orton vs. The Miz (Intercontinental Champion) [w /Maryse]
Miz stalls on the outside immediately and then starts on the offense when he gets in the ring with kicks and then throws him to the outside. Randy seems to hurt his shoulder so Miz hauls away on it and then whips him into the barrier directly on his right shoulder. Back in the ring, Miz boots Orton in the shoulder and then hammers away in the corner with stomps to the mid-section. Randy bails to the outside for some recovery but Miz is all over him. Randy gets sent into the steps now and again Randy is clutching that shoulder. Pretty realistic selling as I originally thought he was actually hurt. Miz gets him back in the ring... but then Orton nails him with the RKO out of nowhere but doesn't go for the cover for some reason. Randy backs up and sits against the ropes and then walks around the ring. He moves Miz around and toys with him before posing for the crowd and getting them riled up. What is going on here? OK, now Randy pounds the mat and nails Miz with another RKO and finally covers for the win.
WINNER via PINFALL: Randy Orton (4:54)
We get a cool video of American Alpha to establish their skills as a tag team.
Heath Slater gets in the ring and attacks some scrub and grabs the microphone. He wonders how in the world he could not have been drafted to RAW or Smackdown! Live. He says that they should put him in the main event and make it a SEVEN-pack challenge. He starts a "Sign Heath Slater" chant and the fans actually join him somewhat. Shane McMahon makes his way out and says that they're live right now and suggests that he send in a resume. Slater says that Shane should search for him on the Network and goes over some of his "accomplishments." He refers to himself as the hottest free agent today... and here comes Rhyno right behind him. Shane says he's looking at the hottest free agent right now... but Heath doesn't know that Shane is talking about Rhyno. One Gore later and Heath knows that Rhyno has arrived!
AJ Styles talks about the New Era being much like the Old Era with power-hungry authority figures playing favourites. He says that Smackdown! didn't draft the Club and now AJ has to qualify to face Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam. He'll still beat them all up though and also #beatupjohncena like he always does.
Bray Wyatt gives his thoughts on the 6-pack challenge and says that some things always stay the same. He says it all revolves around him and he will have the whole world in his hands.
6-Pack Challenge (Winner faces Dean Ambrose for the WWE Title at SummerSlam)
John Cena vs. Apollo Crews vs. Dolph Ziggler AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Baron Corbin
We get a big brawl between everyone to start and twenty seconds in, we go to commercial. When we come back, AJ and Wyatt are double-teaming Crews. Wyatt lands on Apollo with a senton and sarcastically bows to the crowd before AJ tries to do his own move on Crews... and runs into a clothesline from Wyatt. Dolph then dropkicks Bray and nails him with a neckbreaker and huge elbowdrop for a two count. Baron pulls Ziggler out and nails him but AJ kicks him down and gets a springboard 450 on Bray for a two count that's interrupted by Cena. Now AJ and Cena go at it but Crews quickly breaks that up with rolling Germans on the Phenomenal One. Baron comes back in now and gets an STO on Crews for two. Baron stomps away on Crews and knees him in the gut before nailing him with a back elbow for a near fall. He pulls at Apollo's face and puts on a modified cobra clutch but Apollo quickly fights out of it. Baron squashes him with a corner clothesline and a huge back suplex gets Corbin another two count.
Back from commercial, we get a massive Tower of Doom spot with all six competitors. Corbin and Crews square off in the ring again with the boo/yay punch spot before Crews takes the upper hand. However, Corbin catches him with a spinning back suplex for a near fall. Crews escapes Baron's finish and nails him with a sit-down powerbomb but Bray Wyatt yanks the referee out of the ring. Bray freaks Crews out with his spider walk and nails Sister Abigail but Dolph nails HIM with the Zig-Zag. However, there's no ref to count the pinfall! He goes for a superkick but Cena catches Dolph with the AA. AJ Styles nails Wyatt with the Pele Kick and then Cena hits Styles with the AA for a heart-stopping two count. MY GOD, THAT WAS CLOSE! Crews comes back in with a flying cross-body on Cena but he rolls through and nails HIM with the AA! Bray comes in and gets one too! Now Baron Corbin is in and despite some struggle, he gets an AA too! AJ comes out of nowhere with the Phenomenal Forearm but DOLPH ZIGGLER superkicks AJ for the pinfall victory! WHAT!? Holy cow!
WINNER via PINFALL (over Styles): Dolph Ziggler (12:35)
Dolph does a victory lap and the crowd is in absolute shock. Dean Ambrose then comes out with the WWE Title over his shoulder and gets face-to-face with his SummerSlam challenger. Daniel Bryan even comes in to congratulate Dolph as does Shane. What an interesting situation! Thanks for joining us, folks! G'night!