Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 7/26/16: Superkicking The Glass Ceiling

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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.






(Aired 7/26/16)

Superkicking The Glass Ceiling

– On the SmackDown side of the WWE Brand Split, we were promised live shows on Tuesdays and a crew led by Commissioner Shane McMahon/General Manager Daniel Bryan. As for the announce team, gone were Byron Saxton and Jerry Lawler, replaced with JBL and David Otunga. Mauro Ranallo is great as always, but that’ll take some getting used to. SmackDown started in similar fashion to Raw, but with Shane/Bryan backstage as they led the camera to the ring, already filled with roster inhabitants. Of course they hit Bryan’s music so the crowd had an excuse to chant “Yes!” and act all crazy on camera. SmackDown also had new generic rock music and a montage for its theme. Shane revealed that SmackDown would have its first exclusive Pay-Per-View on Sep. 11 entitled “Backlash.” After that, they introduced WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose and announced the goal was to find him an opponent for SummerSlam, which would be done via a Six-Pack Challenge, that’d involve Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles thus far. The last contestant would be decided though an impromptu Battle Royale. Not a bad start to the show, since it set the table for what we could expect and this played into the “Break The Glass Ceiling” mission objective of the show.

– The Battle Royale for the sixth spot between Kane, Simon Gotch, Sin Cara, Viktor, Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder, Alberto Del Rio, Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Kalisto, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso. Apollo Crews, Konnor, Aiden English and Erick Rowan was essentially a “bottom of the barrel” bout to make a name of a “lower-tier” talent and it worked in some regard. Guys like Crews, Del Rio, Kane and Ryder were able to be the ones to go far. Ryder had the crowd’s support, but slipped up a few times to the point where even they couldn’t let it go so easily. The finishing sequence was well-done, as Crews avoided elimination by Kane to be the one to eliminate him and easily get that last spot. Clever booking since this put Crews over in a way that wouldn’t be forgotten even if he wouldn’t win that big spot. Crews’ post-match promo played into his humbled personality, as he also mentioned that he didn’t want to celebrate too soon and looked to get ready for the main event.

– The Shelton Benjamin hype video gave us chills in the good way. Of course, we all know his shoulder injury put these return plans on the shelf, so it was only a mere tease, but at least we’ll always have that to hold onto.

– Ziggler’s backstage promo was the first of several of the Six-Pack competitors, a smart move throughout the night. Ziggler focused on how he “lost his way” but now had a new purpose with the draft and could be the one to get that big honor. Pretty good stuff.

– The Becky Lynch-Natalya continued off their Battleground conflicts, which was actually better than their predecessor match. They’ve begun to gel in the ring at the right time, as they worked hard and gave the vibe they knew each other’s moves inside and out. We also did like that Lynch got her revenge win with the Disarmer, but there’s a glaring problem with these SmackDown ladies at the moment. With the WWE Women’s Championship on Raw, what do the SmackDown ladies fight for? There should be a Title of some sort for the brand. The post-match promo segment that followed where we saw introductions of Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Carmella and Eva Marie as they briefly interrupted one another didn’t give us much substance, outside the ridiculous voice-over narration introduction of Eva. This only magnified the problem further that these are all catty ladies with nothing to fight for. Our biggest hopes was a Bliss-Lynch feud, but once the other ladies came out, the purpose was clear. Promo-wise, we thought Bliss was maybe the best of the bunch. Carmella didn’t garner much reaction surprisingly.

– Corbin’s backstage promo hyped the main event and stuck to his “All in for me” gimmick as regarding his chances in the bout. SmackDown could be a good place to watch him progress.

– The MizTV segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Maryse and Randy Orton was a good second appearance for Orton, who seems to be obsessed with heel talk shows and we got more hype for the SummerSlam match between him and Brock Lesnar. This was a nice exchange, as Orton made bold sexual jokes towards Miz and questioned his manhood, who in turn tried to mentally rattle him with Lesnar’s resume of destruction. We figured this would set up a match between these two, but we like that it was Maryse who accepted the proposal against the Champ’s wishes.

– The Miz-Orton match was The Viper’s in-ring return and he didn’t miss a beat. Logically, Miz targeted Orton’s past injured shoulder to dominate the early minutes, before Orton hit an RKO “outta nowhere,” before he waited and methodically hit a second one to cleanly pin the IC Champ. We’re curious if this sets up a future IC Title match given the result after SummerSlam? On the commentary side, JBL did a decent job of hyping up the Orton-Lesnar match.

– The American Alpha hype video did just enough to cover what they were all about – humbled athletes with superb chemistry amidst similar amateur wrestling backgrounds. Their mission to be the “Faces of the Tag Team Revolution” made a lot of sense and we couldn’t wait to see their debut next week.

– The in-ring segment with Heath Slater, Shane, the Jobber and Rhyno was an interesting way to reintroduce Rhyno to casual WWE fans, who might remember him from the Attitude Era days. Of course, this was done at Slater’s expense, but he garnered enough attention with his “angry free agent” schtick to transition it into Rhyno’s gore. We were more surprised Slater actually name-dropped Nexus, The Corre, “One-Man Band,” 3MB and Social Outcasts. To his credit, Slater sells these attacks brilliantly and we could see why they chose him for it. We just wonder if Rhyno is now a part of SmackDown or is just another free agent. How did there come to be free agents anyway?

– Styles’ backstage promo gave more main event hype, as he expressed dissatisfaction about having to prove himself to Shane/Bryan and thought they didn’t like him because he was too good, something the current Styles character would say. Of course, he mentioned “beating up” everybody. It was hard to argue the point that going in, he was probably the favorite, with face Ambrose as the Champ.

– It seems with the draft is the attempt to strike Wyatt on the babyface side of things. Of course, he said the world revolved around him and he’d have the whole world in his hands, but the way he set up his “I’m here” line felt pretty face-like.

– With the week, SmackDown actually provided the better main event, as the Six-Pack Challenge to determine who faced Ambrose at SummerSlam with Wyatt, Crews, Ziggler, Cena, Corbin and Styles shined in many ways. Each guy got to stand out in their own way. Styles flashed his aerials with an impressive springboard 450 splash onto Cena. Crews looked opportunistic at times, his biggest highlight being the way he grabbed Styles for a mean German Suplex before he could cover Cena after the 450. Wyatt was received well during the match and was almost positioned to win a few times. The action was great and fast-paced, as everybody hit rapid-fire finishers on one another. Ziggler had Wyatt pinned at one point, but a Ref bump prevented that pinfall. It could’ve gone either way and we liked that Cena dominated towards the end, only to get wiped out by Styles, who was then taken down with a Ziggler superkick for the quick pin. The crowd was hot for the end, surprisingly. This also meant that Ziggler would be back in the main event picture, as the show ended with Bryan/Shane/Ambrose congratulating him. Not a bad way to end the show, since it tied in with the “Break The Glass Ceiling” theme so far and it was clear we were done seeing the same old thing.






Quick Results

  • Battle Royale For Sixth Spot in WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender Six-Pack Challenge – Apollo Crews def. Konnor, Viktor, Kane, Zack Ryder, Mojo Rawley, Alberto Del Rio, Simon Gotch, Aiden English, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso and Erick Rowan 
  • Becky Lynch def. Natalya via submission 
  • Randy Orton def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall 
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender Six-Pack Challenge – Dolph Ziggler def. John Cena, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin via pinfall 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on September 3, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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