Reviews

WWE Smackdown 7/1/16 Review – USA Debut

Air Date: 7/1/16

Another wrestling show debuts on a new network this week, although I have a feeling this will be better than iMPACT. I am really interested to see how Mauro Ronallo does on this show, I am not as big of a fan of his as many other people were but he is pretty damn good so this’ll be interesting.

We start the show with a recap of the main event angle of RAW and then are reminded of the two big title matches tonight, Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch and Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens.

The show starts proper with a boring promo between Alberto and Cena. Cena wanted Del Rio to defend his title here tonight but Del Rio only agreed to a non-title match with anyone except Cena, which prompted Kalisto to come out. Cena was his usual charismatic self here and the promo was at least quick and let to a match, knowing what we know now about him it’s weird to see Cena doing the lucha arms without much obvious looking pain.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto

This was far better than their match from late last year. Del Rio dominated much of the match but left the ring to mock Cena, who was at ringside, which ultimately led to Kalisto hitting a hurricanrana for the win. I guess Kalisto is going to have a US title shot sometime soon, I am down for that. Kalisto wins with a hurricanrana into a pin ** ¾

Backstage Becky cuts a promo hyping her title match later tonight, this was one of the few times since coming to the main roster that Becky hasn’t looked like an idiot. She was upset that her friends had turned on her and was out for revenge tonight, short and sweet.

MizTV is a “Royal Rumble special” this week, New Day, Dolph Ziggler, Goldust, and Neville come out saying they are going to win the rumble, same stuff we get every year. There was a fun little comedy segment in this with R-Truth coming out to answer Del Rio’s challenge, although even that joke has been so overdone at this point that I am bored of it. The faces throw out the heels as we get an eight man tag match.

Dolph Ziggler, Neville, Goldust, and R-Truth vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) and The Miz

This was your standard WWE multi-man tag match with the heels having a long control segment and then the faces making a comeback and winning the match. Dolph Ziggler pins The Miz after a superkick ** ½

Ric flair and Charlotte are asked about Charlotte’s match later tonight. Charlotte comes across much more confident on the mic than I can remember in the past.

Charlotte © (w/Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Divas Championship)

Everything about this match was better than their RAW match from this week. That’s nothing against the RAW match, which was more about the angle than the match itself, but this was a lot of fun. Becky is incredibly underrated, even among more the more hardcore fanbase, and this was a great showing from her. This was the match where I really noticed how good Mauro’s more sports like commentary is, especially with Jerry Lawler seemingly becoming more of a heel. Good match worth checking out. Charlotte pins Becky with help from Ric Flair and the ring ropes ***

Kevin Owens cut a promo backstage about his title match with Ambrose in the main event. It was a minute long, I have nothing really to say about it. We got some more video packages after that and then a promo with Dean Ambrose about the main event. Good stuff, I like that they are hyping the main event throughout the show and really making it feel like a big deal that the title is being defended here.

Dean Ambrose © vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Dean Ambrose’s strength in the ring is as a brawler, which should be no surprise given his background in death matches. The early parts of this match was worked as a straight up wrestling match, which did nothing for me, but at about the half way point it developed into more of a brawl that worked really well as Owens is no slouch either. I am including the post-match brawl in the rating for this match as it really added to the whole presentation. I am expecting some kind of street fight stipulation match between these two in the near future which, given what we saw here, could be a lot of fun. No Contest due to Double Count-Out ***

Overall: 5.5

What an easy watch this was compared to most other shows. Nothing felt overly long, and even the poor MizTV and eight man tag matches had some bright spots. Mauro on commentary is an interesting change and I am still not sold on him, but this was a good first performance, and it seemed like his performance even brought up Lawler who was on top form tonight. A really solid showing here, with many more to come I hope.

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