– Air Date: July 14, 2016 (July 13 in Canada)
– Location: Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
– The Big News:
The final edition of SmackDown on Thursday was spent pushing next week’s live draft show and Battleground. For Battleground, the Wyatt Family vs. New Day in a six-man tag match was made official, as well as Zack Ryder vs. Rusev for the US Championship.
Also, Charlotte and Dana Brooke will face Sasha Banks and a partner of her choosing.
– Show Recap:
SmackDown started the same way it did the previous two weeks, with quick promos by different wrestlers in various areas of the arena. First was Kevin Owens, who showed a birthday card that Sami Zayn gave his son before all this stuff happened between them.
Owens said all his son got in the card was $20 Canadian, even though Zayn was practically his godfather. Owens pocketed the money and said Zayn better not get involved in his match with Dean Ambrose tonight.
Next, they showed Charlotte and Dana Brooke entering in a limo. Charlotte again compared Sasha Banks to Nicki Minaj and called herself the champ. Brooke said lightning won’t strike twice.
Next, Maryse applied makeup on The Miz, who said he would show that Darren Young won’t be great again.
Finally, Dean Ambrose, in a dark room wearing sunglasses, said tonight could be his last time on SmackDown, so he would do one of his favorite things — tangling with Kevin Owens, busting Owens’ knees, and splattering his face into the mat.
Sasha Banks defeated Dana Brooke (w/ WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte) via submission
After about four minutes, Banks knocked Charlotte off the apron leading to a schoolboy by Brooke, which Banks reversed into a crossface for the win.
Charlotte attacked Banks from behind immediately after the match, tossed her over the announce table, posed with the belt, and called herself “the boss.”
They showed the announcement of Shane McMahon as SmackDown commissioner and his tweet about signing a general manager. He was then shown talking to Ambrose backstage.
Dolph Ziggler defeated US Champion Rusev (w/Lana) via pinfall in a non-title match
Saxton mentioned that Ziggler was being inducted into Kent State University’s Varsity “K” Hall of Fame, which is true. He didn’t mention when, but it’s happening in September.
Rusev kicked Ziggler in the head and was about to apply the Accolade, but Zack Ryder’s music hit and he came out.
As Ryder yelled at Rusev, Ziggler went for the Zig-Zag, but Rusev gave him a belly-to-belly to the outside of the ring. Rusev went outside and launched Ziggler into Ryder.
However, once Rusev got back in the ring, Ryder’s distraction allowed Ziggler to catch him with a schoolboy for the win.
Afterwards, Rusev had a Bret Hart-level meltdown, as he ripped stuff off the announce table and smashed some monitors. He was right to be mad, he totally got screwed. Before the match, Ryder vs. Rusev was made official for Battleground.
They showed the Wyatt Family vs. New Day brawl at the Wyatt compound in its entirety. A six-man tag between these teams was announced for Battleground.
AJ Styles & Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows) defeated Enzo & Cass via submission
Enzo said he was sick of hearing the Club call themselves “too sweet” and informed us that even salt looks like sugar. He called them a couple haters and “salty,” which almost got a “salty” chant from the crowd.
Cass said they didn’t want to hurt the Club before Battleground. It was on their list of things to do but not yet. He then realized they have nothing else to do, so they’ll go ahead and hurt them now. Cass called them soft, which pissed off Styles.
Enzo and Cass were all over the Club early. Cass launched Enzo into all three Club members and they went to commercial. Styles used a referee distraction to cheap shot Enzo and the Club took over from there. There were dueling chants of “Let’s go Enzo” and “AJ Styles.”
The finish was different than most WWE tag matches. They built and built to the hot tag, but the Club kept cutting off Enzo. He almost made the tag, but Cass was pulled off the apron by Gallows. Cass took him out, but Anderson took out Cass with a flying knee.
This left Styles alone with Enzo in the ring and Styles caught him in the Calf Crusher. Enzo struggled briefly but had nowhere to go and tapped out. The match was about 14 minutes.
They showed the Brock Lesnar UFC stuff from Raw and plugged his match with Randy Orton at SummerSlam, as well as Orton appearing on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel at Battleground.
Kalisto (w/Sin Cara) defeated Tyler Breeze (w/Fandango) via pinfall
Kalisto won in a couple of minutes with Salida Del Sol. The real story of this match was on commentary. Saxton was excited to see Kalisto, so Lawler said Saxton would pick Kalisto first or second in the draft. Saxton responded, “Without a doubt.”
Lawler laughed and mocked him for this, then everything went silent for a moment. When the match started, Lawler asked him about taking Undertaker or Lesnar instead, but Saxton tried to defend himself by saying those guys weren’t around as much.
Lawler said they were money regardless how often they were around. For the record, Ranallo said he would pick Dean Ambrose number one overall.
They showed Shane McMahon talking to Becky Lynch backstage.
Miz TV with Darren Young and Bob Backlund
Miz put over Backlund as a two-time WWE champion and the crowd lightly cheered. Miz cut to a video package for Backlund, similar to what they would use for a Hall of Fame video, and the crowd cheered louder this time.
This was all a setup, though. Miz wanted to cut to a highlight package of Darren Young, but a test pattern came up on the screen instead.
Young said that with Backlund at his side, he was going to take the I-C Title from Miz. Miz said Young didn’t really even win the Battle Royal on Raw, everyone else just lost.
Backlund said Miz was not a role model and therefore not a good champion. He said they need a role model as champion. Maryse called him old. They mocked Backlund some more, so Young got in Miz’s face. Young said he would teach Miz some respect after he beats him for the title.
Miz told him not to touch his mic again or else. Young grabbed the mic and dared Miz to do something, but Miz and Maryse left instead.
Banks was being looked after in the trainer’s room when Charlotte and Brooke walked in. Banks jumped to her feet for a fight, but Charlotte told her that she’s getting a match at Battleground.
Banks thought it was a title match, but Charlotte said it’s actually a tag match, assuming Banks can find a partner.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens via DQ in a non-title match
They were ready to go, but Seth Rollins’ music hit and he came out to join commentary. The match quickly spilled to the outside, which led to Rollins attacking Ambrose from behind for a DQ. Sami Zayn ran out to make the save and the good guys cleared the ring.
Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn & WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose via pinfall
The match was made during commercial and when they came back the crowd chanted “This is awesome.” Lawler said three of these guys could potentially be the number one pick, whereas Zayn should be their parking valet. Ranallo mentioned that it was Zayn’s birthday on Tuesday.
Ambrose and Zayn both hit springboard pescados, but Rollins cut off Zayn in the ring with a sling blade. After a break, they worked over Zayn until he hit Rollins with a Michinoku driver and made the hot tag to Ambrose, who hit Owens with punches in the corner, then a backdrop and flying elbow drop.
Rollins made a blind tag and tried to catch Ambrose by surprise, but Ambrose wasn’t fooled and hit him with a neckbreaker. Zayn dropkicked Owens out of the ring and Rollins took out Zayn with a kick. Ambrose then hit a rebound clothesline on Rollins.
Ambrose countered a Pedigree into a back body drop and tagged Zayn, who hit a crossbody for a near fall, followed by an exploder into the turnbuckle. Ambrose tried a suicide dive on Owens, but Owens caught him and tossed him into the steel steps.
Zayn countered a Pedigree into a DDT and tried for a Helluva kick, but Owens pulled Rollins out of the way. Zayn crashed into the turnbuckle and Rollins followed with the Pedigree for the win. Good match that went about 15 minutes.
Afterwards, Owens went to powerbomb Zayn onto the apron, but Ambrose saved him and tossed Owens into the barricade. Ambrose then went after Rollins and tried Dirty Deeds but Rollins bailed. Ranallo pushed their WWE title match on Raw, as well as the draft as they went off the air.
– Final Thoughts:
This was a normal edition of SmackDown and they reminded us of next week’s live draft show at every opportunity while not forgetting about Battleground. Ranallo did a great job pushing all the important stuff.