Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Weekly Wrasslin' Wroundup (SD Live

A pretty strong Smackdown this week. It helps that it's focused largely on the better wrestlers on their roster, and finally getting to build their own title scene. Should be a pretty decent couple of weeks before their Backlash PPV, but eventually Orton, Miz, Corbin, etc. will be back to prominence.

Smackdown opens strong, with a locker room scene that features AJ Styles bragging about beating John Cena and being shitty to a dejected Dolph Ziggler, enraging Ziggler and leading to, as they say, a physical confrontation.

We then go to the ring, and with Summerslam in the rear view mirror, Smacdown finally gets to introduce its own tag and women's titles, which, as far as I can tell, are the old designs on blue belts. The Women's Title will be decided in a six-way match at Backlash, and the tag belts will be determined by a seven-team tournament starting tonight. But wait, it's Heath Slater! If he can find a partner and win the tag belts, he gets a Smackdown contract. Since the finals will probably be Usos-Alpha, Heath Slater's strangely effective saga will probably continue.

Our first match is a short but competent affair, in which Becky Lynch gets her win back over Alexa Bliss via the Disarmer, while Natalya and Naomi struggle on commentary for different reasons - Natalya because her character choices are weird and offputting, and Naomi from a lack of mic experience.

After Slater fails to get Miz to be his partner, the Ascension take on the Usos, which is a challenging dynamic for any fan. The Usos win, of course, because just being in a short, competitive match on one of the main shows is the best the Ascension's careers have been in months.

AJ Styles is out to gloat. A lot. To the extent that you gotta wonder if Smackdown Live has figured out their live show timing yet. He's finally interrupted by Ziggler, which brings out Daniel Bryan, who awkwardly explains that AJ is the #! contneder at Backlash, but if Ziggler can beat AJ tnnight, it becomes an AJ-Ziggler-Ambrose triple threat. Either way, it should be a solid match.

The build for the women's title match continues with Carmella vs. the returning Nikki Bella, but Carmella attacks her during the pre-match in-ring interview. A heel turn makes sense for Carmella at this point, since she was not getting over as a face, and she can abandon the moonwalk and the squealing and just wrestle and find some new character traits in the process.

And now it's Randy Orton time, and his rambling, unintentionally addled promo attempting to be irritated at his match being stopped at Summerslam is blissfully interrupted by Bray Wyatt. Wyatt gets spooky at Randy Orton because that's what he does. He says he's a god and can never die, which, if true, makes him a shitty god because he sure can lose a lot of wrestling matches.

Rhyno's gonna be Heath Slater's tag partner. Weird timing for that reveal, but whatever.

Back to the tag tournament, with American Alpha vs. Breezango. There are no surprises here, but I could watch Chad Gable wrestle a sack of potatoes. Alpha advances. Breezango gets way more than The Ascension got, though, including a replay of that lovely midair-catch-to-suplex. Alpha still looks like a million bucks.

And then, our main event. AJ Styles vs. Ziggler, if Ziggler wins, the title match is a triple threat. A stipulation like that makes you think the only reason it exists is so that Ziggler would win, and after a decent match with a lot of near wins, Styles hits the Styles Clash and pins him. Ambrose-Styles one on one for the title at Backlash. Huh. I hope this is part of a longer plan for Ziggler. He seems re-energized. I mean, he's still kind of wrestling The Dolph Ziggler Match over and over, but he's putting a lot of fire into it.

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