Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The SmackDown Files: The All Blue, Clone Everything Edition (8-23-2016)

By: Keila Cash 

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! emanated from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The fallout from SummerSlam continued as Smackdown finally introduced the brand new Tag Team and Women’s championships. Plus, Randy Orton proved that he was alive after taking a bloody and gory trip to Suplex City courtesy of Brock Lesnar. Finally, a new number one contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Title was determined. All that and more can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live! in no particular order.

·         At least Dolph Ziggler sold dejection after he failed to win the WWE World Championship at SummerSlam. Getting in a brief scuffle with AJ Styles was a nice way to illustrate his frustration.

·         I guess everything is uniform when it comes to the new Tag Team and Women Titles on SD Live! They are blue and exact duplicates of the championship belts on Raw. How original. *Insert sarcasm here*

·         The Heath Slater saga continues as he has been tasked to find a tag team partner to compete in the tournament to crown the new tag team champs on SD Live! However, Slater and his partner must run the table in order to secure a contract on the blue brand. Otherwise, he will remain the hottest free agent in WWE.

·         Ziggler continued his Bitter Man Party as he attacked Styles from behind during the opening segment. The tag teams had to separate both men as the show went to commercial break.

·         I am glad that SD Live! finally introduced the secondary titles which will give the broadcast a greater sense of purpose besides wrestlers trading wins back and forth with nothing on the line worth fighting for. Plus, it gives the Backlash PPV an automatic jolt in terms of importance as well.

·         As for Ziggler and Styles, it’s a tale of two storylines. Styles is riding high after picking up a major win against John Cena while Ziggler is portraying the sulking wrestler who failed to live up to the hype when it counted most. It’s a weird dynamic because Ziggler has no credibility as a babyface and his only course of action is to turn heel. It seems logical enough, but will the creative team actually do it?

·         Becky Lynch picked up the win against Alexa Bliss via the Dis-Arm-Her. It was a decent match while it lasted and I am glad Lynch evened the series to make up for Eva Marie’s spectacular distraction a couple of weeks ago.

·         The Usos advanced to the semifinals of the Tag Team Tournament by making quick work of The Ascension via the Frog Splash. The match was nothing to write home about, but it should be noted that Jimmy and Jey’s face paint was darker than usual. It’s a subtle detail, but it is a sign that a much needed heel turn is happening very soon.

·         Daniel Bryan announced that Ziggler and Styles would settle their issues in a high stakes match later tonight. If Styles wins, he will go on to face Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he will be added to the title match to make it a Triple Threat. Therefore, Styles gets his shot regardless and the only thing he has to be pissed off about is Ziggler being added to the mix to play spoiler. Ziggler is in an all or nothing situation which plays into his downward spiral perfectly.

·         Carmella just executed the easiest heel turn in history by attacking Nikki Bella. Carmella irritates me for all the wrong reasons and I’m glad that the creative team was smart enough to reverse course on her character by making her annoying for all the right reasons. Plus, it makes Nikki Bella a sympathetic figure who is coming back from a career-threatening neck injury. This is a win-win in my book.

·         Randy Orton is wearing Tapout gear. And PANTS!!! The Corporate Viper is in the building, ladies and gentleman.

·         It appears that Orton will be feuding with Bray Wyatt. After their stare down last week, it was expected. Wyatt didn’t have much to say besides proclaiming that Orton was a mere man while he was a God among men. It is a teaser for things to come. Let’s hope things don’t get too hokey because I believe both guys are capable of having a good match if they are given something substantial to work with from a storyline standpoint.

·         It looks like Heath Slater just found his tag team partner. Rhyno is going to help Slater pay for his above-ground swimming pool in their quest to become Smackdown Tag Team Champs. How sweet. It brings a tear to my eye…

·         American Alpha and Breezango had a really nice match that intensified after the commercial break. The action was strong throughout and I loved how the heat grew as the match went on. Tyler Breeze and Fandango had a nice showing and managed to get a couple of near falls on Chad Gable and Jason Jordan, but the outcome was never in question. This had the potential to be even better if they were given more time. Wrestling tournaments are supposed to be fun despite the predetermined result. The Cruiserweight Classic is a great example that.

·         AJ Styles crushed Dolph Ziggler’s hopes and dreams after he dropped The Show Off with the Styles Clash to become the number one contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Championship. I thought Styles vs. Ziggler was very good as Ziggler wrestled with a sense of passion and urgency that was missing from his title match against Ambrose at SummerSlam. It was the best bout on the show by a landslide that also built to a nice crescendo after the second commercial break. It told a great story and I liked how chill Ambrose was on commentary as he spoke highly of both men while remaining confident that he could defeat them one-on-one or in a triple threat match.

·         The show ended with Styles and Ambrose having a brief stare down as Mauro Ranallo wrapped up the show on time for a change. Whew!

·         As for Ziggler, he is out in the cold with no sense of direction. I guess Sulk Fest 2016 will continue with a dark cloud hanging over Ziggler’s head for not winning the big one. I wonder where The Show Off goes from here. Let’s hope he doesn’t take a trip back to mid-card hell because that will be Ziggler’s final destination if the next chapter of his story leaves fans underwhelmed. We shall find out soon enough.

·         Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! was decent at best. It’s an easy show to watch, but the in-ring action was light with a couple of exceptions. The roster remains thin, but I think certain wrestlers can be trusted to carry the load and keep the crowd happy for the most part. The training wheels have to come off at Backlash in a few weeks. It’s SD Live’s! first standalone PPV and they must deliver the goods in the ring for a considerable amount of time. One has to assume that these B-Shows won’t last more than a couple of hours due to the brand extension, but it would do everybody a world of good to use Tuesday nights as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. With the secondary titles finally being established, there is no excuse for the blue brand to be light on wrestling action. Especially after Daniel Bryan made that point loud and clear last month. Just saying…

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

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