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Two big WWE returns! Dean Ambrose’s Summerslam opponent decided! And someone forgot to bring the hard cam from Raw… That’s right, we’re reviewing Smackdown Live this week…
The first brand split episode of Smackdown Live opened with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan talking about why Smackdown is so great. It’s the land of opportunity, not where the same people dominate the main event scene all the time *cough* Raw *cough*
Oh yeah, Finn Balor.
Shane revealed the first Smackdown-only Pay Per View will be Backlash, then he welcomed WWE Champion – that’s the title solely limited to the planet Earth – Dean Ambrose down to the ring. They’re going to find him a #1 contender for Summerslam.
Because fatal fourways are sooo Monday Night, Bryan announced it’ll be decided in a ‘six-pack challenge’ match in the main event. Does the Smackdown roster even have six main eventers? It’ll be John Cena, Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. I know what you’re thinking: Not Ziggler and Corbin again! No, that there are only five names there. The sixth spot is to be decided in a battle royal, which starts right now!
This was when I realised Smackdown’s ‘new, original look’ meant no fixed hard camera. They used a crane instead, which meant it was always roaming. The hard cam is fixed because it provides a visual backbone to hang all the other shots on. It’s a reference point. But the crane made everything feel disjointed, like everyone was wrestling on a boat. Apollo Crews ended up eliminating Kane in the end to progress to the main event.
BECKY LYNCH BEAT NATALYA
After a video package revealed Shelton Benjamin’s return next week, Becky Lynch took on Natalya in a Battleground rematch. They had a decent amount of time, but I’m just not invested in Nattie as a heel. Becky won with the Disarmer.
After the match, they did that thing where different people come out to interrupt each other. It’s a very ‘Old Era’ trope. There was no real end to this segment, just an Eva Marie entrance. Which actually, many do consider as the end point of wrestling.
RANDY ORTON BEAT THE MIZ
Randy Orton interrupted a Miz TV segment of Miz interviewing himself. Otron’s got a new album out soon, so he’s doing the talkshow rounds. The Viper was cracking jokes and interacting with the crowd – this is a rejuvenated Randy Orton. He goaded The Miz into a non-title match, which he won with two RKOs from outta nowhere.
Why couldn’t they have used someone else to lose to Randy? Smackdown had a chance to make the Intercontinental Champion important again, but they devalued it from the first show.
SLATERS GONNA SLATE
Heath Slater never got picked in last week’s draft, so he’s running a ‘Sign Heath Slater’ campaign. He claimed to be the hottest free agent in sports entertainment today. The perfect cue for Rhyno to redebut on Smackdown and gore him to pieces. And now, the main event.
To find out what Oli thought of the main event, and this episode of Smackdown Live as a whole, watch the video below…
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