August 30, 2016
From the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX
Your hosts are David Otunga, JBL, and Mauro Ranallo.
The show begins with the clip of The Miz and Daniel Bryan confrontation on “Talking Smack” when the Miz goes off on Bryan for calling him a coward and how he wrestles daily without getting hurt and is not the one who lied to the fans and never came back and if he loved wrestling so much, he should quit and wrestle in the “bingo halls” with his “indy pals.” We then cut to Shane McMahon and Bryan as Shane actually tells Bryan he owes Miz an aplology, even though he agreed with what he said. Shane then advises that in the future, Bryan not get into the talents’ faces as Bryan agrees, yet feels its ironic coming from the person who did the same to Brock Lesnar. This was the only time Bryan appeared on screen, meaning he did not appear on Miz TV as advertised. Following up on last week’s hot segment with some false advertisement is not the best thing to do, although it was later explained after the show on “Talking Smack” that he left last week because Miz was right and if he wasnt a coward he would leave the WWE and wrestle on the Independent scene.
Miz TV is on next after the credits. Miz tells the crowd not to boo him as he is the Intercontinental Champion and has been brushed aside by the GM. Miz says the IC Title has been soiled by failures and quitters and laughs at those saying he wrestles a soft style because he is smart enough to not get hit in the face. He also talks about doing everything that is asked of him but the fans do not think he is worthy because he did not spend the “first twelve years of his career wrestling in VFW halls.” Miz then calls the fans cowards and unworthy but Dolph Ziggler comes out to interrupt. Dolph says Miz makes some great points but there is a reason the people will never get behind him and that i because they can see right through him and that he just wants to be famous, which is why no one believes in him and why Bryan called in a coward. Dolph say Miz just wants to walk out on the red carpet and hold a title and depite having a chance to change the fans perceptions each week, he chooses not to then says if he wants to prove to the people, GM, his wife, and himself then do it right now by fighting him right here and right now. Dolph continues to challenge Miz to a fight as Miz hands the belt to his wife. Miz then walks out of the ring and take off his jacket before teasing going back in but he leaves. Dolph then said it proved that Miz is a “soft, safe coward” as Miz heads back down the aisle. A “coward” chant breaks out but Maryse convinces Miz to head backstage.
A really good segment. The Miz got to speak and show where he was coming from while Ziggler came out to tell the Miz how his act is transparent and gave him a chance to prove him wrong with a fight as Miz showed his true colors and backed off. I will say that I do not particularly care to see another Ziggler/Miz feud but this time it actually has a solid premise and both guys did well on the mic to set it up. It also appears that this was designed to elevate the Intercontinental Title, which has been treated poorly since the draft. The first segment was good but lets see if they can sustain this momentum going forward.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match: Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains
The Vaudevillains were shown in a black-and-white promo expressing how much they want the Tag Team Titles. Ryder and English start this off with Ryder taking control early. English ducks out as Ryder takes Gotch out with a kick on the outside but English hits a swinging neckbreaker. Back inside, English works the arm then tags out as Gotch hits an overhead suplex for a two count. Ryder dodges an attack and tags Mojo, who runs wild on English. Gotch breaks up a pin attempt as the match breaks down. Gotch gets dumped and the Hype Bros hit the High Ryder for the win (2:50) *. After the match, Charly Caruso interviews the Hype Bros and says they are only two wins away from the gold. The Hype Bros make train-related puns to talk about how they cannot be stopped.
Thoughts: The match was a fine way to put over the Hype Bros. The post match promo was quite lame, however.
AJ Styles is walking backstage, saying hi to everyone, while wearing Cena’s headband. He asks Apollo Crews for his name as Crews spells it out, prompting AJ to say how this is not a spelling bee as he reminds Crews that he is the face that runs the p-l-a-c-e.
AJ Styles heads out to the ring. The announcer tells us AJ now wants to be referred to as the “face that runs the place.” AJ tells us that the Phenomenal One is here, as is the “face that beat up John Cena and will beat Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship.” AJ promises that Dean will see his face in his nightmares and goes on about that when Apollo Crews interrupts. AJ demands they cut his music and demands to know why Crews has interrupted. Crews tells us he went to Bryan and got permission to wrestle AJ tonight and that match takes place right now. AJ is great in his current heel role but Crews really seemed uncomfortable on the mic here.
AJ Styles vs. Apollo Crews
AJ attacks Crews after the bell. Crews then hits AJ with a dropkick and pulls him outside. Crews then asks the announcers if they saw what he just did as we head to break. We return with AJ in control as he shoved Crews off of the apron during the break. Crews fights back and boots AJ in the face and follows with a corner splash. He backdrops AJ to the floor and hits a moonsault block from the apron. Back inside, they head up top as AJ escapes then hits a forearm smash. Crews catches AJ coming off the top and turns it into a Samoan Drop for two. AJ avoids an attack from Crews then sets up for the the Phenomenal Forearm and hits that for the win (8:05) **1/4.
Thoughts: They tried to elevate Crews here and he some cool stuff but the match felt off at times. While having a lot of potential, he is still a work in progress. It also gives AJ another decisive win as they have done a great job at keeping him strong since SummerSlam.
Later tonight, Baron Corbin will face Dean Ambrose.
We are shown a segment from Heath Slater’s home, which is a trailer. We see his wife, who looks trashy and a bit on the heavy side, as Renee Young and Rhyno appear quite uncomfortable. Slater’s wife comes out with a plate of crackers and spray cheese as Young wants to know how Slater got to this point as we see the clip of Slater at the draft when it ended as he was not selected. Mrs. Slater informs her man that she picked up “pizza crusts” for dinner as we see more clips of Slater from the past few weeks. Rhyno is eating the crackers as Young asks why he decided to team up with Slater and just shrugs his shoulders as Slater tells us Rhyno is helping him out while saying a contract will allow his family to upgrade to a double-wide trailer as his kids are currently out collecting bottles and cans and not at school like Young expected.
The WWE really stumbled upon something with Slater’s new gimmick. This segment made you want to see Slater & Rhyno win this contract. The comedy stuff here worked for the most part, it was almost like a “Tuesday Night Titans” segment from 2016 we were watching, and Rhyno’s reaction when asked why he was teaming with Slater killed me. If the WWE plays this right, the reaction Slater gets when finally winning a contract can be huge.
Bray Wyatt talks about fearing no man because he has no fear. He sees Randy Orton as just a man and the fact he thinks he has venom running through his veins excites him. Bray likes Orton because he is sick and says that Brock Lesnar exposed all of his flaws at SummerSlam and that if he really has voices in his head, he prays they are telling him to run. Orton then comes out to tell Bray that the voices in his head are asking him who the hell does Bray think he is and laughs at the notion he was damaged before getting staples in his head, stating it is part of his charm. Bray tells us this is the Orton he was hoping for and admires his courage but no longer understands that he is not the predator and at Backlash, he will “cut the serpent’s head off” and hang it on his wall like a trophy. Orton then tells Bray he has played this game with many people over the years yet he is still standing as he talks about all of the scars he has got over the years. Orton tells Bray needs to concern himself with the internal demons and knows Bray has them as well then accepts the challenge for a match at Backlash. Orton then tells Bray he is not afraid of him and is also not afraid to kick his ass right now as he charges the ring. The lights go off after that as part of Bray’s disappearing act.
The big news here is that Orton vs. Bray is now official for Backlash. Both guys did a fine job here I thought.
Natalya & Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi & Becky Lynch
Nikki Bella joins on commentary. Natalya beats on Naomi to start as Nikki talks about “Total Bellas.” Naomi comes back and takes Natalya down with a hurricarana as we head to break. The action returns with Natalya working a front facelock on Naomi. Natalya breaks and knocks Becky off of the apron before tagging out. Alexa works over Naomi briefly then drags her back to the middle of the ring as she tried to make a tag. Nikki said she was inspired to come back due to all of the talent in the women’s division as Naomi finally makes the tag. Becky runs wild and gets two with a dropkick as Natalya breaks that up. The match breaks down as Carmella runs out to attack Nikki and sends her into the barricade. Becky yells at Carmella but that allows Alexa to roll her up while grabbing the tights for the win (7:20) *1/2. After the match, Becky checks on Nikki.
Thoughts: The match was rough at times, especially when it was between Naomi and Alexa, but it showed all six women who will be fighting for the title at Backlash and got over the Carmella/Nikki feud.
We get a video package on the Headbangers to hype their return tonight after sixteen years as they will be facing Heath Slater & Rhyno in the Tag Team Tournament.
A video with more Curt Hawkins facts appears as he will be returning soon
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match: The Headbangers vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Mosh beats on Slater to start. He even takes him down on the apron with a springboard clothesline. Thrash tags and also hits a clothesline and follows with a back suplex for two. The Headbangers hit Slater with a double flapjack then Mosh works a headlock as Rhyno rallies the fans behind his partner. Mosh then knocks Rhyno down as the Headbangers hit a powerbomb/top rope leg drop combo but Rhyno breaks up the pin and sends Mosh outside. Rhyno then drags Slater to the corner and tags himself in and hits Thrash with the Gore for the win (2:45) 3/4*.
Thoughts: This was fun for what it was. The Headbangers seemed to work stiff here as both Rhyno and Slater were bloodied here. Rhyno was pouring blood from a cut near his eye. Slater and Rhyno advance, to the delight of the crowd.
After the break, a guy in a tie and suit who goes by Gary “The Milk Man” Milliman says he got a license to compete tonight. However, he cannot find an opponent. Milliman then strips down to his underwear and socks as Kane comes out and hits a chokeslam. A pointless segment, I guess designed to remind us Kane is still on the roster. They did show Corbin and Kane walk by each other as Corbin came out for his match but did not tease much of a confrontation. Why not have Corbin come out and destroy the guy to put him over for the main event?
Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose
AJ Styles is on commentary. Corbin beats on Ambrose to start. Ambrose comes back with a clothesline then beats on Corbin. Ambrose takes out Corbin with a dive from the apron then slams his head off of the announcers table righ in front of AJ. Back inside, Ambrose hit a dropkick from the top rope but Corbin shoves him i the corner after a bulldog attempt then hammers away after hitting a clothesline. Corbin dumps Ambrose right before the break and the match returns with Corbin still in control. He cuts off an Ambrose comeback then yells at the crowd before going back to a chinlock. Corbin slides outide after an Irish whip then runs in only to get caught with a swinging neckbreaker as both men are down. Ambrose floats over on a slam but Corbin backs him in the corner. Ambrose manages a rollup but Corbin comes back with a clothesline. Ambrose fights back and hits a rebound clothesline for two. Ambrose heads up top but Corbin cuts him off. Corbin heads up for a superplex but Ambrose knocks him down then pulls the ropes down so he can fly out with a tope. BAck inside, Corbin catches Ambrose with the Deep Six for a nearfall. They head back to the outside then AJ leaves commentary to tell Corbin to stay on the attack but Corbin is upset and gets in AJ’s face as they argue. Ambrose knees Corbin from behind, knocking AJ down, and heads inside to get two with a clothesline. AJ tries to kick Ambrose but hits Corbin instead as the ref calls for the DQ (12:07) **1/4. AJ and Ambrose brawl as Corbin hits Ambrose from behind. Corbin rolls Ambrose in the ring but gets caught with the Dirty Deeds. AJ then sets up for the Phenomenal Forearm but Ambrose crotches him on the top rope as Dean pats AJ on the shoulder before moving the ropes up and down before leaving.
Thoughts: The match was okay but the ending was a little goofy, even if the cocky AJ got some comeuppance. Ambrose has not been able to carry himself like a champion in the ring since the draft and this did not have a main event feel. You can see the WWE is high on Corbin as he was well protected in this match.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was an unremarkable show. The best thing tonight was the Miz TV segment and they are doing a great job getting Slater over as an underdog. However, they gave Crews and Corbin chances tonight and unfortunately, they were unable to impress. Crews really showed a lack of presence when he had to speak and Corbin still struggles to get the fans to react to him in matches.
They are doing a good job at building to Backlash though as they have just one more show to finalize the PPV. And AJ is by far and away the star of the brand right now. Its tough to think he will not come out of Backlash as the Champion but if he wins the belt, who will he feud with?