This Week in WWE – SmackDown (8/2/2016)

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On this episode of SmackDown (8/2/2016), American Alpha makes their debut, Brock gets revenge, Carmella gets a rude welcome, and Ziggler finds a way to keep the number one contender’s spot!

Ambrose/Ziggler

At first, I thought the whole segment between Ambrose and Ziggler was a making Dolph look extremely bad. He was painted as a whiner and complainer and as if he couldn’t back his desires up with his work. As I sat there listening, it sunk in, this is what they want. WWE wants to make it look like Dolph doesn’t have what it takes anymore. They want the fans to rally behind him a little bit. In 2 weeks, Dolph has become more interesting than the last year because they’re letting him show his personality on the microphone. You’re hearing raw emotion and what he really feels. I’ve always liked Dolph and felt like he deserved maybe a little more opportunity than he had and maybe this is it. My guess is that at SummerSlam, we’ll see a big heel turn for Dolph Ziggler on Dean Ambose and he will win the WWE World Championship. Ziggler has always been a better heel than face and I think he could be a viable champion for months to come if they do orchestrate a turn. SummerSlam is the perfect time for a relentless Dolph to win at all costs by using some under-handed tactic to beat Ambrose. It was a nice touch for Dolph to beat Bray to retain his #1 contender’s spot.

The Intercontinental Championship

I hate The Miz. I love that I hate The Miz because that means he’s doing his job. Miz is, like it or not, one of the best heels on the roster. The thing I don’t like is that he’s carrying the IC title and barely defending it. Look over on Raw and Rusev is defending that US title regularly, as it should be. Mid-card titles should be defended frequently, they’re the workhorse titles. Miz is booked in a way we’re he’s the cowardly, opportunistic villain, however, we see more Miz TV segments than title defenses. I don’t know if this is exactly by design or not, but it’s not the best thing for this prestigious title. Miz is great all-around, I just feel his character holding the title doesn’t do much for it. For this reason, I could see Apollo Crews winning the title at SummerSlam after winning the #1 contender’s match. Apollo is the perfect person to hold this title, he’s a great worker and I can see his character not backing down from any title defense, the exact opposite of the character Miz portrays. The mid-card on SmackDown isn’t very crowded, so here’s hoping they can keep coming up with new and interesting feuds after this first one comes to an end. With Apollo holding the title, I think we can at least be assured there will be some entertaining title matches.

American Alpha

This is my favourite team in all of wrestling, hands down. I was so excited to see their debut on SmackDown. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable have the pedigree to back up the hype with Gable being a 2012 Olympian and Jordan being a former amateur wrestler. This team is a case of two people simply being perfect partners for each other. Jason Jordan was floundering for a long time without being given an opportunity in NXT. He and Gable were put together and these two took off to amazing heights. It’s funny because the announce team mentioned The Steiner Brothers and The Rockers as being influences to American Alpha and those two teams are exactly who they remind me of. They come up with amazing double-team moves like The Rockers used to do and they are so technically sound like The Steiners were. I don’t have a bad thing to say about these two, they debuted against The Vaudevillains and won with Grand Amplitude in a very solid match. They’re already fan favourites on the blue brand and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this team.

AJ Styles/John Cena

I didn’t like the promo from John Cena during his AJ Styles segment. John always talks about how he loves WWE and he’d never go anywhere else. It’s something that he says almost every time. At this point, it’s just something for him to feel superior over other people. As Daniel Bryan said in Talking Smack, people have families and have to work elsewhere to feed those families. So while John has the money to take time off or do other things outside WWE, a lot of other wrestlers don’t have that same luxury. I just want Cena to stop talking about himself like he’s so much better than the rest of the locker room. If he had been stalled at the mid-card instead of shot to the WWE title in 2005, he probably would have left like Christian did, or RVD did, etc. AJ Styles doesn’t need to play the cowardly heel who needs The Club anymore, he doesn’t have them. AJ needs to look as strong as possible and these ridiculous, “I stay because I love it” promos are not a way to do that. I for one hope AJ wins in their SummerSlam encounter and wins clean. Cena is reportedly going to be taking more time off and AJ could certainly use that boost after being handed multiple losses the last few months.

Natalya/Carmella

I love Carmella because she’s different. She’s the “Princess of Staten Island” after all. Carmella brings a different attitude to the women’s locker room. I remember when I would cringe watching her matches and now I look forward to them. She’s certainly come a long way since those early days in NXT. I could easily see her becoming the most popular woman on SmackDown with her quick-witted promo work and moon-walking on the ramp. I’m excited about the difference Natalya will make working with her and I am certain that was by design. Carmella is still improving and a lengthy feud with Nattie might be exactly what she needs to put her over the top. Nattie has quietly become a force in the women’s division again at long last. She’s a much more efficient worker as a heel and she will really help some of these girls along. Nattie’s work with Becky Lynch made Becky shine again when it seemed like she was losing some steam. Carmella as a heel or a face will be one of the main players in the SmackDown women’s locker room for quite some time if I had to put money on it.

Lesnar/Orton

I’ll touch on this a little bit since it was expected. Lesnar invaded SD even with all the security members at ringside to attack Randy Orton and then left quietly with Paul Heyman saying, “Just returning the favour”. This is Brock Lesnar. Since when does Brock just return the favour? This was one of the most puzzling things that I’ve seen in a long time. Brock is relentless, the beast. He doesn’t get one shot in and then leave. He should be beating up Orton and the security staff! It was just so out of character to make a quick-strike and walk away. I guess we’ll see what the weeks to come have in store for these two, but it’s not an interesting feud to me thus far.

Conclusion

I thought it was a fairly weak SmackDown show this week after the highs of last week. The wrestling was great which is always a positive, but there just isn’t that much going on to keep my interest. They’ll certainly need a women’s title and a set of tag titles for this brand to have something to compete over. Eva Marie was also a major bust, I was hoping they were going to actually have her show that she can wrestle and all we got was a fake injury angle which makes her look even worse. I really feel like Raw got gifted everything and the talented performers on SmackDown have to wait for something good to happen.

 

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