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Smackdown - August 16, 2013

Date: August 16, 2013
Location: SAP Center, San Jose, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're two days away from Summerslam and the card is finally set. The main matches have gotten the best builds, which makes the most sense given that they're selling the show entirely. There isn't much to talk about tonight as we'll mainly be focusing on a final push towards Los Angeles and Summerslam. Let's get to it.

Theme song gets us going.

Here are the Wyatts to open things up. After a video recapping the Wyatts vs. Kane, Bray says the Family's actions have been misinterpreted lately. Once upon a time there was a special little boy who went to school but the kids there were cruel. The boy was bigger than the other kids so they made fun of him and beat him up for being himself. One day that boy decided to change the world, but instead he ran away and hid behind another crutch.

He hid behind a mask and thought it would make everything better. That boy was Kane and everyone eats up his lies. Well Bray Wyatt says no more while crawling around on his knees. He walks on water just because he can and bites the head off a snake just to taste its poison. This Sunday in the City of Angels, Bray will prove that one man's hell is another man's paradise, so follow the buzzards.

Kane's pyro goes off and Kane runs in from behind, taking out the Family before going in to fight Wyatt himself. Bray charges at Kane but gets punched down in the corner. The Family comes back in again and Bray runs Kane over, allowing the Family to beat him down. Bray is in the corner, bending over backwards so he can watch this upside down. Sister Abigail lays Kane out. Bray continues to be so eerily creepy that the character is perfect.

Damien Sandow vs. Christian

Jobber entrance for Sandow as he handcuffs the briefcase to the post again. Sandow headbutts him down to start but gets his neck snapped across the top rope. A middle rope dropkick gets two for Christian but Sandow drapes him over the top rope to take over. Off to a body vice before Christian is thrown to the floor again. A whip into the steps puts Christian down again and we take a break.

Back with Sandow holding a chinlock but Christian fights out with elbows to the ribs. Sandow fires off some knees to the head to take over but gets backdropped down moments later. The reverse DDT gets two on Sandown but he ducks a cross body to put Christian down again. Christian's sunset flip out of the corner gets another near fall but Sandow cartwheels out of the Killswitch. The Russian legsweep sets up the Wind-Up Elbow but Christian small packages Sandow for the pin at 5:20 shown of 8:05.

Rating: C. The match was ok but the same problems are here as they are in all Sandow matches: he never feels like a favorite to win anything and his offense isn't building to anything because he doesn't have a big finisher. I know he has the Terminus, but when is the last time that won a match? Sandow needs some big changes to his in ring work if anyone is going to buy him as a threat. The worst thing is most of his problems aren't even his fault. He's been booked as a loser and it's really hard to get out of that downward spiral.

Post match Sandow goes after Christian again and gets speared down, just in case you thought he had some dignity left. Del Rio comes in from behind and lays out Christian. He says Christian will never be champion and loads up the cross armbreaker but Christian counters into the Killswitch. So Del Rio and Sandow just both got laid out in the stretch of a minute, yet WWE will still wonder why no one is impressed by either guy.

Renee Young asks if RVD is worried about the other members of Shield interfering. He looks over his shoulders and sees Big Show and Mark Henry. “No, not really.” The giants say they'll be watching RVD's back on Sunday.

Kaitlyn/Natalya vs. AJ Lee/Layla

Natalya gets us going with Layla with Nattie taking over with a headlock on the mat. Layla keeps getting taken down but she kicks out of a Sharpshooter attempt. An AJ distraction lets Layla get in a cheap shot and it's off to AJ for a choke. Natalya finally snapmares out of it and brings in Kaitlyn to clean house. A backbreaker gets two on AJ and she charges into the fireman's carry gutbuster for two. Everything breaks down and Layla trips up Kaitlyn, allowing AJ to hit a Shining Wizard for the pin at 4:18.

Rating: C-. Not much to see here but Kaitlyn's fall down the Divas' ladder continues. At least her feud with AJ is pretty much done after this Sunday as we're moving towards Layla vs. Kaitlyn and AJ vs. Natalya. I don't know if someone has taken over the division but it's been much better lately.

Ryback laughs off the question of why he isn't on Summerslam. He says he lives for brutality and beats up a backstage guy to show how mean he is. Ryback has a spiffy new vest.

Video on Punk vs. Lesnar on Sunday, focusing on Punk's time as a Paul Heyman Guy. I think some of this is from Punk's documentary. Punk asked Heyman to not accompany him to the ring anymore and Heyman cost Punk the MITB case. Heyman brought Lesnar back in and Brock destroyed Punk, setting up Summerslam. Really good video here, highlighting everything in the feud and doing a good job of making the match feel like it'll be a war.

We recap the opening with the Wyatt Family and Kane.

Shield vs. Mark Henry/Big Show/Rob Van Dam

Rollins ducks a right hand from Henry to start and is easily shoved into the wrong corner. A hard slam puts Seth down again and Van Dam comes in with a kick off the top rope. The standing moonsault gets two but Ambrose comes in off a blind tag and clotheslines RVD in the back of the head. A loud WE WANT BIG SHOW chant starts up as Reigns comes in with a big slam of his own. We hit the chinlock for a few moments before Roman just stands in front of Rob and looks at him.

A quick spin kick puts Reigns down and it's off to Big Show off the hot tag. Big Show cleans house until Roman low bridges him to the floor. Show seemed to be grabbing his hamstring or hip. Henry runs over Reigns and throws him at the announce table but Rollins dives over the top to take Mark out. Big Show beats the count at nine and knocks Ambrose out cold with the right hand. Rob comes in with the Five Star for the pin at 4:48.

Rating: C. Remember when Shield was stealing the show and having all those great matches against all star teams? Now they're losing in five minutes to another all star team on Smackdown. This combination could have had a good match with Shield if they had the time to work a tag team formula, but with less than five minutes and a third of that being spent on the floor and on the ending, it didn't get to go anywhere. It was fun while it lasted though.

The Miz vs. Jack Swagger

Colter calls Miz a phony and blames Hollywood types like him for allowing the destruction of America. Miz takes him straight into the corner and rains down right hands before going after the leg. Jack kicks him away and sends Miz into the corner before doing pushups on Miz's back. A shoulder block puts Miz down but he catches Swagger in the reverse DDT backbreaker and a neckbreaker. The short DDT gets two for Miz and he goes up top, only to be distracted by Cesaro and shoved off the top. Colter and Cesaro are ejected, allowing Miz to get a quick rollup for the pin at 3:18.

Rating: D+. For some reason I still like Miz. He's nothing special in the ring and would be better suited as a commentator, but I still like him. This was just a way to remind us what Miz does before he's host of Summerslam, which I'm guessing means he'll have authority of some sort at the PPV. Swagger continues to be nothing of note.

Curtis Axel vs. Zack Ryder

Non-title. Feeling out process to start with Ryder grabbing an armbar. Axel comes back with right hands and sends Zack into the corner to take over. Ryder gets the knees up in the corner and dropkicks Axel down, only to miss the Broski Boot. Curtis ducks a high cross body and a hard clothesline puts Ryder down again. A quick belly to back suplex puts Ryder down as a CM Punk chant starts. Axel hits his neckbreaker into a Diamond Cutter for the pin at 2:59. Pretty much a squash.

Post break Heyman says he was outsmarted on Raw by CM Punk. Punk snuck up on them and hit Lesnar in the face with a camera, so congratulations. Heyman talks about the marketing for Summerslam shifting from Punk wanting revenge to being hunted for revenge. Punk goes down this Sunday.

Video recapping Cena vs. Bryan. The idea of having Cena pick Bryan as the opponent was brilliant.

Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan

No DQ. Bryan takes him to the mat and hooks Barrett's legs for a surfboard but stomps Wade's knees into the mat. Wade comes back with a shot to the head but Bryan backflips over him in the corner and hits the running clothesline. Now a clothesline from Barrett puts Daniel on the floor and Wade whips him into the barricade. A big boot misses and Barrett gets caught on the barricade, allowing Bryan to fire off some kicks.

Goat Boy pulls out a table but gets rammed into the announce table and sent into the steps to put him down again. The table is sent into the ring but Barrett brings in a kendo stick for some shots to the back. Bryan gets the stick away and Barrett bails to the floor, only to get caught by the FLYING GOAT. Back in and the missile dropkick puts Wade down....and here's Vince. In a PLAID SUIT.

We take a break and come back with Barrett getting two off a neckbreaker. Vince is looking on from ringside. The table is set up in the corner but Bryan hurricanranas out of a powerbomb. The flying knee off the apron puts Wade down but Barrett sends him into the post to take over. Vince: “YES! YES! YES!” Back in and Wade drives the chair into Bryan's ribs but a middle rope chair shot only hits mat.

Bryan Hulks Up and hits the running dropkick in the corner before picking up the kendo stick. He alternates between stick shots to Wade's shoulder and kicks to the chest. The big kick to the head misses and Bryan puts on the YES Lock but Vince pulls the referee out before the submission. Barrett hits the Bull Hammer and Brad Maddox comes out for a regular speed two count.

Bryan escapes a pumphandle slam and kicks Wade in the head but Brad won't count. Daniel stares him down and Vince slips the kendo stick to Barrett. Wade knocks Brad out by mistake and Bryan puts Barrett through the table. Vince puts on the referee shirt but here's HHH to referee. Bryan hits a swan dive on Barrett for the pin at 13:15 shown of 16:15.

Rating: C+. Did we really just have four referees (if you count Vince) for a Smackdown main event? This was getting close to the Attitude Era style of so insane it's entertaining. However, this match makes me worried about what Cena vs. Bryan is going to be like. Those two could have a masterpiece but they might have Vince and HHH take the match over and drag it down. If Cena's arm is that badly hurt though, that might be all they can do.

Orton comes out and holds up the briefcase to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The matches weren't all that great but this show was about getting us ready for Summerslam. They did a great job at hyping up Punk vs. Lesnar with some of the videos and I'm looking forward to Wyatt vs. Kane more than I was earlier. That being said, Cena vs. Bryan is looking shakier and shakier every day with Vince and HHH being there because there's nothing wrong with making the main event of Summerslam a pit stop in their big story. This was a good enough show though and did its job of promoting the PPV.

Christian b. Damien Sandow – Small Package
AJ Lee/Layla b. Kaitlyn/Natalya – Shining Wizard to Kaitlyn
Rob Van Dam/Big Show/Mark Henry b. Shield – Five Star Frog Splash to Ambrose
The Miz b. Jack Swagger – Rollup
Curtis Axel b. Zack Ryder – Neckbreaker into a faceplant
Daniel Bryan b. Wade Barrett – Swan Dive

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  1. Is it just me or is anyone else really enjoying Orton right now?

  2. The Shield are fine. But I'm thinking that they need to break up soon. I'd love to see Rollins in a singles push.

  3. I am. I never have gotten the hatred he gets. He has good matches and his character isn't all that bad, plus he hasn't been a world champion in like two years.

  4. Assuming the heel turn/Vince alliance goes down I wonder if the IWC will like him more?

  5. Probably not. WWE was oversaturated with him two or three years ago so that's the complaint for the rest of Orton's career.

  6. My complaint is that he's a bore. You could even say bland.

  7. I could see that. His character isn't great but his in ring stuff makes up for it for me.

  8. Yeah he's so great. Babyfaces don't need comebacks! Heels don't need heat segments! What we really need is more of Orton's ugly clothesline cutting off the momentum every second! And who needs selling when we could have Orton looking like he just smelled a fart or acting like a snake? I just don't see the appeal of the guy.

  9. He works better when he gets more time. His feud with Christian was great stuff.

  10. I'd like to nominate Vince pulling the first ref out of the ring as the official "Worst Ref-Bump Ever". The guy was unconscious for ten minutes simply because someone pulled on his leg!? Seriously!

  11. Christian is great stuff. Orton is a robot.

  12. I've always been an Orton supporter, yet no one on the blog wants to give him the credit he deserves. He's a much improved wrestler/character compared to 5-6 years ago. His matches use to be boring/worst of the night now they're pretty fucking good matches and I'm looking forward to his eventual heel turn.

    But I guess once you shit in someone bag, you're hated for life.

  13. I do like that he has an established moveset, including a DDT involving the rope, that back breaker thing, the snap powerslam, the RKO, and the head punt if we're feeling frisky. He's established, you know what to expect, and when they throw a wrinkle into a match and utilize one of these moves in a different way, it's kinda innovative. (This is really because the RKO on the steps was so fucking cool a few years back and I became a sorta fanboy for life)

  14. Some of it's residual hatred, sure. But let's break it down.

    He's not good at talking. That's a big strike for a main eventer.

    He employs no psychology. I don't think he grasps the concept at all. He just goes through his matches, working through his repertoire until only the RKO is left. Even the elevated DDT, which is a cool move, is something that should be used rarely because of how vicious it looks, yet he hands them out like party favours.

    The worst offence is that his push has been unwarranted. Hypothetically speaking, even if he's decent now it took a good 6+ years of watching him on WWE TV instead of floundering in the indies.

    My theory is that everyone in the company likes and respects his father so they treat him with kid gloves and he's a decent looking guy, so they push him and let him get away with being unprofessional and being dull. And yes, he's over now, but it took years and years of having faith in him. Mark Henry's good now too, but by all rights he should've been gone years ago.

  15. In his defense, if you had a move that you can hit out of nowhere in a millisecond at any time and it is rarely kicked out of, would you bother with psychology? HE RKO'D John Cena during an Attitude Adjustment!

  16. ...And the fuckers sell an inferior Diamond Cutter like its a tombstone. Motherfuckers.

  17. If The Shield does break up, who gets custody of the entrance music?
    I actually think winning the Tag/US titles hurt The Shield in a way. Since they all became champs it took away the "We're not getting our shot" underdog element of their characters. They were so hot at the time that it made sense to put the belts on them, but after that I don't think the writers could figure out where to go from there.
    The Shield can still go out there and put on a great match, but that's all they've been doing since winning the titles -- having matches, occasionally attacking someone to set up a brief feud (Mark Henry), but with little reason or story behind it.

  18. When was the last time both the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles were not defended at SummerSlam?

  19. It takes two to tango - I generally think that Orton is awful, but those matches were fantastic.

    To me, I've always gotten the impression that Orton basically just sleepwalks through his matches, putting no real effort in, hitting his spots and calling it a night. However, when he IS motivated (and maybe it's only against certain people that he likes or respects, who knows), like against Christian or Foley or Bryan, he is certainly capable of having a great match. The guy is obviously kind of a douche, and his lazy behavior in the ring is one of the reasons I can't stand him; he CAN be really good, but he only seems to put effort into a handful of matches every few years.

  20. Well in the ref's defense.. I know if MY boss physically assaulted me, I would sell the shit out of it in hopes of getting a nice fat lawsuit out of it. Whiplash!!!!

  21. I disagree. Especially when compared to what else was happening at that time.

  22. That sums up my take on him too. He's no ring general but with the right opponent he can have a great match. Just keep him FAR away from HHH.

  23. Worst goes to Hebner when Jericho murdered him into a table and instead Hebner just shook it off like it was nothing.

  24. A lot of your complaints are just opinions.

    Orton, when motivated, is killer on the mic and ring. His Legend Killer run was amazing. He was great as the leader of Legacy and head-punting people. He's not everyone's cup of tea nor does he want to be.

  25. The problem with them getting the belts was the fact that they have to defend them and keep them. The tag titles were great when Kane/Bryan were being chased and were trying to get them back and then when Bryan/Orton fought for them on a PPV. But they go straight from 3 main event guys to the Usos and having to sell doubt for them when they're essentially jobbers and have been since the day they stepped into the company.

    If the company had healthy midcard title scenes then them having the belts would be great. They wouldn't have to lose matches to create doubt that they could stay champs and they could face other hot acts instead of mismatched teams and guys far below the main event level.

  26. Obviously, you're not a golfer.

    Hey look, YOU may like him. Cool, man. But he isn't a good actor. He can't fucking act or talk worth a rat's ass. I know he doesn't care about being everyone's "cup of tea" because he's worth at least a couple of million.

    But he's shite. Pure, unadulterated shite. Nobody cares about any feud he's in because it'd be "generic heel vs. Someone". He's Blandy Boreton.

  27. Hebner's THE referee, though. He'll push a cunt back like he don't give a fuck.

  28. The "bump" itself was even worse. He hit the ground with about the same force as somebody who tripped up the stairs and his head didn't make contact, yet he sold it like a Klitschko gave him a left hook.

  29. He is very carryable to a good match with other good workers. He is horrible when he wrestles other not so great workers. His matches with Bryan, Christian, and others have always been good.

    But it is tough for me to like someone who has done such horrible things in his life, the bag rib, the hotel trashings, the steroids, the going AWOL.

  30. So did they steal the Bully Ray character of about 2 years ago and try to give it to Ryback? Ryback is no Bully Ray in pulling it off.

  31. Hate him for the AWOL stuff? Ok, I'll give you that. But he's not the first or last to shit on someone's stuff or trash a hotel, yet we give him the most shit for it.

    By all mean, I'm not saying he's a D-Bry level when it comes to his talent but everyone acts like he's so unwatchable when he's actually pretty decent.

    Point is, the Orton we hated back then is long gone.

  32. That mid-air RKO he did on Evan Bourne might be one of the most legitimately cool things I'll see in Wrestling.

  33. I do hope he turns heel though, because I don't like him, and yea his going AWOL is why i've disliked him, the rest of the stuff just has been added on, but as a heel I can boo him, cheer people to beat him, and enjoy the good matches he has.

    It does seem like he's matured quite a bit from interviews and such I have seen. Just, when they do The Tribute to the Troops shows and you see a sea of our armed forces members cheering for a man who went AWOL, it seems very very wrong.

  34. I was there that night. The place exploded when he pulled that off.

  35. I don't think he's smart enough to be a great wrestler. He needs an intelligent opponent who can motivate him.

  36. There's more people that like him that don't.

    You're just in the era of Butthurt Aggression.

  37. I'll throatfuck you and the whole Orton clan, buddy boy.

    Actually, most people don't like him. Consider the people who left when he first became champion.

  38. It takes Papa to Shango.

  39. The Tag Titles are gonna be defended


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