Thursday, July 16, 2015

WWE Smackdown Review - July 16th, 2015

This is the first time I've watched and/or reviewed Smackdown in MONTHS. What made me choose this week to break that streak? Well, Cesaro & Rusev tore it down with Kevin Owens in a triple threat match on Raw and they have a match here tonight so I HAD to see it so I figured I may as well attempt to make it through the entire episode despite it being quite hard sometimes. So that's the question that will be answered by the time this look at tonight's episode of Smackdown is over - was it worth the time?

I tuned in a few minutes late, but Reigns & Wyatt are having an exchange to start the show. Wyatt is on the screen delivering his part well. As I've said in Raw reviews for weeks now, I'm not into Wyatt at all the moment. Despite that, he's extremely talented and this feud with Reigns has been slightly better than his others although it still lacks true reason behind it. As for Reigns, he was alright here. The crowd was clearly behind him which is all that matters, I guess. I just still feel like his promo game comes across as too fake/scripted. It has improved, I just think it has a long way to go before getting where it needs to/can be.

1) Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston)

The last time these two teams clashed was on Raw a few weeks ago. It was a solid contest however it was clear they weren't fully used to working with each other. Here, it felt like they meshed better together and they delivered a match just as fun as their previous encounter although I almost may consider it step down which sounds weird considering they worked better together as a whole this time. They just had more time on that Raw episode which translated into a better match due to them having more time to bust out their best. This was enjoyable while it lasted though. PLUS Titus & Darren were on commentary which was great.

Match rating - **3/4

Post match, The New Day cut a pretty awesome promo. I love seeing the tag division get so much time in the ring AND on the mic. PTP runs them off afterward and pose with the belts, nice way to head into Battleground.

Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns are backstage getting us hyped for the main event tag aside from the fact that Big Show is involved.

2) Cesaro vs. Rusev
HERE WE GO! They start off with a rough lock up that leads to a strength battle. I was bummed that Cesaro lost to Rusev on Raw as I felt like him winning then FINALLY beating Cena afterwards would've been a cool story. None the less, as this bout got going, I realized how perfectly the outcome of the 3 way set up this match. Cesaro flurried some early before Rusev began dominating. The crowd is loving Cesaro and the fact that he lost makes them want to see him win more. Therefore having Rusev dominate then Cesaro keep fighting and ultimately make the comeback was the perfect story to go with here and thats what they did. Both men looked fantastic here doing everything they did with the most precision possible. As most of you already know, I'm a huge Cesaro fan however this set of matches has really made Rusev grow on me. The little things he does are so good. For instance, Cesaro went for the running uppercut on the outside and Rusev met him with a superkick then rolled him back in the ring. Rusev gets on the apron and stares at Cesaro then at the turnbuckle contemplating his next move. I loved his expressions and stuff here. To me, this series of matches against Cesaro has let him come out more and show his personality like he did during the promo on Raw. This wasn't on the level of the Raw three way, but it was certainly a good successor. Cesaro gets his win back! YES!

Match rating - ***1/2

3) Neville vs. Stardust

I said all that needs to be said about this in my Raw review, pretty much. Neville does his stuff. Stardust does his. This go round, the ref catches Stardust using the ropes and Neville ends up picking up the win. Hopefully he eventual third match between these two takes place on Raw and gets more time because I still have faith they can put together something memorable. Until then the artwork for this match will be better than the bout itself.

Match rating - **

Sasha Banks, Naomi, & Tamina backstage

Wonderful segment here. I love all the shine that the undercard is getting as far as promos and such go. These three go way better together than I expected. Naomi delivered easily the best promo I've heard her give yet Sasha was somehow able to top it simply by being her and it ruled. I'm excited for where this goes. I'm crossing my fingers for a six woman tag on Raw.

4) Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus & The Big Show
I've yet to see a bad Ambreigns tag and this was no different. Arguably the best Smackdown match of the year thus far came thanks to those two so let's see what goes down here. I really didn't have much expectation for this, to be honest because none of these guys, sadly, have done anything noteworthy in recent weeks, but THIS changed that. Really exciting match from start to finish. Reigns hit his apron dropkick on Sheamus AND Show early on. Sheamus & Show end up working over Ambrose which builds to the HOT tag for Roman. He cleans house and it's awesome because it's what he does best. Ambrose goes for a dive on Big Show and HE CATCHES HIM! Show positions Ambrose for a chokeslam on the announce table and AMBROSE REVERSES INTO A DDT THROUGH IT! I didn't see that coming at all! Reigns and Sheamus are battling in the ring. Reigns gets the upperhand, sets him up for the spear and BRAY WYATT HITS THE RING! The match ends in a DQ which blows, but the brawl was great so I can't complain. This was the best possible way to end Smackdown. Hot match and brawl with Reigns getting a massive reception for his schtick which never gets old. If he'd just stick to this kind of stuff in ring, I'd consider myself a fan. Then they give him a script and a mic and I cringe. Anyway, good stuff here!

Match rating - ***1/4

Overall thoughts:
Shockingly enough, this was a solid show. There were multiple replay segments for Rollins/Lesnar and the Divas movement however everything else was worth a look aside from Stardust/Neville which wasn't horrendous by any means because they are fun to watch. Cesaro/Rusev and the main event are both worth a look plus Lucha Dragons/New Day was a fun tag divsion showcase. I'd say check this out if you missed it. Just fast forward through all the replay segments and you've got an enjoyable viewing session.

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