Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown 6/30/16: The Best Fighting The Best
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
The Best Fighting The Best
– We’re actually fans of SmackDown’s occasional “cheesy promo mash-up cold open” where they’ll announce a match and then mash together promos from the competitors with fancy music in the background. This episode was one of them, as it was announced that a fatal four-way between Cesaro, Apollo Crews, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio would determine who’d fight WWE United States Champion Rusev later in the show for the belt. Cesaro’s promo was probably the coolest since he literally drove a van in his secret agent suit, rolled down the window and “invited his opponents to an uppercut party.” Crews put over his underdog status being the reason he could win. Sheamus questioned Crews’ involvement in the match (assumedly to presume their feud) and proclaimed he’d have fun kicking off Crews’ head before ultimately dethroning his old buddy Rusev. Del Rio finished it off as he made fun of Sheamus’ hair problems (given their tensions on Raw, this wasn’t new) and dismissed Crews as a threat. True – this could be cheesy as hell, but we got a big match and heard from all the competitors in the first two minutes. Job done.
– Little did we know that this fatal four-way would actually happen right now, as Cesaro, Crews, Del Rio and Sheamus all hit the ring. Now, this was a fun opener start to finish. The key component to it was that any of these four could’ve won and pulled off a worthwhile match with Rusev. Out of who made sense to win, that was down to Crews and Cesaro. At the same time though, it allowed tensions between Sheamus/Del Rio to blossom even more in an open forum and the feud between Sheamus/Crews to continue. Cesaro and Del Rio had also recently clashed, so really it was a feud orgy, so to speak. Crews and Cesaro got to shine with their moves. We liked the finish and how Cesaro was able to counter the Cross Arm-breaker into his Big Swing/Sharpshooter combo to make Del Rio tap out. Predictable, yet fresh. Even better, the post-match angle where Del Rio attacked Cesaro from behind and delivered his Double Stomp on the apron to the floor gave Cesaro an out in the event of a loss to Rusev. After all, Rusev’s feuding with Titus O’Neil and we’d assume he’d have the belt for that. Nevertheless, there was a reason for a Cesaro-Rusev match and oh look at that, it’s on now it seems, as Rusev rushed the ring. He taunted Cesaro into the match now as he called him a coward while Cesaro received medical attention.
– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Rusev and Cesaro had the predictable result thanks to the injury “excuse” for Cesaro, yet was nowhere near the squash it could’ve been initially. This was the story of the opportunistic monster heel trying to wipe out the injured yet resilient babyface who held out as long as he could. The action got better with time and towards the finish, it actually became a bit nerve-racking. Cesaro had a couple close near-falls that teased a Title change and worked his way out of a first Accolade attempt, but fell victim to the second one to tap out and lose. A noble effort from Cesaro though and he puts in another excellent performance.
– Given that the next week’s Raw was a “Fourth Of July” edition, many expected a throwaway show. There was some attempt to liven it up as we learned in Rusev/Lana’s backstage promo that O’Neil would get the next Title shot on Raw. Liked Rusev’s banter about how he was a true American hero.
– A smart idea to showcase Dana Brooke in the ring with an easy squash victory as she defeated Billie Kay, who made her main roster debut. Isn’t it sad Kay got a main-roster call-up before Bayley? Anyways, Sasha Banks was shown watching backstage and after about 30 seconds of Kay offense, Brooke hit her finisher and that was it.
– Banks got to show some stick fire with her backstage promo as she reacted to Brooke’s win and pointed out that she was the same woman who tapped out to her on Raw and that she had WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte in her full sights. She put her over as being on top of the mountain, but she was back with a purpose. Summer Rae inserted herself into the picture texting to Banks’ dismay and dissed her as “all flash and no funk,” a little throwback to the shade she used to throw Lana. Banks’ response was great and set up a match between the two for later.
– The MizTV segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Maryse and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose was the only thing hyped for the show from Raw, so we expected it to deliver. Miz was great here, as he put himself over as a big movie star in a three-piece designer suit and that was contrasted by Ambrose, who came onto the set with a Cuban sandwich, leather jacket and jeans. The whole segment was basically Miz comparing his “Champion Self” to Ambrose’s “Jeans” look and why Ambrose as WWE Champion was an embarrassment. It’s good to see Ambrose poke some fun at himself and acknowledge that he’s more about his in-ring style than literal style. The jacket bit we saw coming the moment Ambrose came to the ring, so it was cool this time to see it end with Miz/Maryse using the jacket as a blindfold to lay Ambrose out. We thought maybe this was a mini-feud to keep Ambrose busy until Battleground, but then it was announced they’d fight later on and it all made sense.
– The Erick Rowan/Braun Strowman-Two Local Jobbers match was pretty self-explanatory and short at that. Too short for us to even remember what happened, but that was okay, because it was followed with a mock Wyatt Family-style promo from WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day. It was mainly Kofi Kingston/Big E who laid out the material that fear was something that weak people used, while Woods stood conflicted and nervous. Bray noticed it and used it as he pointed out to Woods that he wasn’t laughing and mentioned that the “Devil called for him.” He then advised them to run. That was it. It did advance their feud to some extent, but we’ll get more on Raw probably. What they do with Woods from here, your guess is as a good as ours.
– We fully expected Banks to beat Rae in their match, so the predictability factor was present, yet it didn’t come off as a squash at all. In fact, this was closer than we gave it credit. You could tell Rae had improved in the ring and Banks carried her to a nice effort. The fun had to eventually end as Banks hit her double knees into the Bank Statement to tap Rae out. All in all, a gutsy-ish win for Banks.
– The “Champion Vs. Champion” main event (a SmackDown specialty) between Miz and Ambrose was a good choice for a SmackDown main event. We didn’t doubt for a second that Ambrose wouldn’t go over, yet like the previous match, it teased us a bit that perhaps Miz would cheat or something like that. It was pretty even-handed, as it was a “right down to the wire” vibe in the finish. Ambrose seemed lucky to hit Dirty Deeds when he did since Miz hit one Skull-Crushing Finale already, but the result remained the same. The World Champion is the better man. A strong in-ring edition of SmackDown and while some storylines advanced, it was nothing you didn’t see on Raw. One of SmackDown’s main problems, but that’d be fixed after the Jul. 19 draft.
- Winner Receives Shot At WWE United States Championship Later – Fatal Four-Way – Cesaro def. Alberto Del Rio, Apollo Crews and Sheamus
- WWE United States Championship – Rusev (Champion) (w/Lana) def. Cesaro via submission
- Dana Brooke def. Billie Kay via pinfall
- Sasha Banks def. Summer Rae via submission
- Dean Ambrose def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
Posted on July 31, 2016, in WWE and tagged Alberto Del Rio, Apollo Crews, Battleground, Billie Kay, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Dana Brooke, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Erick Rowan, Lana, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Renee Young, Sasha Banks, Sheamus, Summer Rae, The Miz, The New Day. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.