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Smackdown - July 25, 2014

Date: July 25, 2014
Location: Orlando Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're done with Battleground and heading towards Summerslam with the announced main event of Brock Lesnar challenging John Cena for the WWE Title. Other than that the big story seems to be Reigns vs. Orton which would be Reigns' first big solo match on the grand stage. A win over a former World Champion at Summerslam will be nothing but good for him. Let's get to it.

We open with a recap of Lesnar being announced as the #1 contender.

Opening sequence.

Ryback/Curtis Axel vs. Usos

Non-title. Jey and Ryback get things going with the big guy nailing a quick hiptoss but missing a Warrior Splash. Off to Jimmy for some chops but Ryback shoves him out of the corner. Axel comes in and hammers away before not ducking enough on a leapfrog from Jimmy. Curtis throws Jimmy to the floor and Ryback nails him with a running clothesline as we take a break.

Back with Ryback firing off chops to Jimmy in the corner before driving him over to the other corner for a beating from Axel. Curtis hits a running knee to the head for two and now Ryback's Warrior Splash connects. We hit a chinlock for a bit before Jimmy fights up and nails an enziguri. The hot tag brings in Jey and things speed up. There's the running Umaga attack to Axel and a Samoan drop gets two. Ryback gets low bridged to the floor and there's the Flying Uso to take him down. Axel dropkicks Jey off the apron but some Twin Magic allows Jimmy to roll Curtis up for the pin at 6:50 shown of 9:50.

Rating: C. Not a bad tag match here with the Usos working well together as always. I wouldn't mind seeing Ryback and Axel built up as potential challengers, at least as a filler until there's another team to challenge the twins. I'm sure the Ascension will be brought up for a big showdown one day.

One other note: at the tapings, Ryback walked out on Axel after the match. That isn't mentioned or shown here so I'm guessing WWE changed its mind.

Time for MizTV. Miz brags about winning the Intercontinental Title on Sunday and asks for quiet on the set so he can give his acceptance speech. He thanks his team and introduces his parents in the front row. Miz's mom's arms are more defined than her son's. Mom says it's awesome to have the Intercontinental Champion for a son. Miz asks who is her favorite WWE superstar and is surprised when she says Roman Reigns. “He's hot!” The responses sounded intentionally scripted until the end.

Back in the ring and Miz keeps thanking people until Bo Dallas interrupts. JBL loves the idea of Dallas taking victory lap before he gets a victory. Bo says it's ok that he wasn't thanked by name because it's clear that Miz Bolieves. Miz says he's a huge fan and they should do lunch sometime.

This brings out Dolph Ziggler for another interruption. He says Miz's speech was great but don't pretend that was some big moment. The only award Miz should win is for hiding on the floor while Dolph did all the work. Both Miz and Dallas have million dollar smiles and they're both full of it. Dallas says Ziggler can be like them if he Bolieves before nailing Dolph with the microphone. After a break we've got a match.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bo Dallas

Miz is on commentary. One thing I really like here: Cole says this was made by the Authority during the break. But how will people know how the match was made without a GM to walk them through it? Dallas hammers away to start as Cole brings up how scripted Miz's mom sounded. Bo stomps on Dolph but charges into a boot, setting up the running DDT for two. Ziggler throws him to the floor and teases a superkick at Miz before going back inside for two off a Fameasser. Miz gets on the apron for a distraction, allowing Dallas to grab a rollup and trunks to make him 17-0 at 3:30.

Rating: D+. This was angle advancement and for once a triple threat title match doesn't sound too bad. I'm hoping Dallas winds up with the title at some point as he's won me over with the over the top promos. There's an actual story here and I'm curious to see which option they go with.

Post match Ziggler superkicks Bo but gets posted by the champion.

Roman Reigns says HHH has a Plan A and a Plan B, but no plan matters when you get hit with the Superman Punch. Tonight he's facing Alberto Del Rio, and Alberto better have a plan because Reigns has the punch. He's getting there with the talking.

Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose

No DQ after Ambrose got DQ'ed on Monday. Ambrose stomps him down in the corner and wants to know who sent Cesaro out here. He pulls out some Singapore canes and chairs but Cesaro kicks him off the apron. Cesaro gets a cane of his own but only hits the post, allowing Ambrose to take him over the barricade and into the timekeeper's area. A box of something goes onto Cesaro's head but he comes back with a cane shot to the chest as Ambrose dives off the announcers' table.

We take a break and come back with Cesaro holding a cane over Dean's face. He sets up two chairs and slams Dean onto the chairs, which don't move. Back to the cane over the face before Cesaro nails him in the bad shoulder a few times. Dean says bring it and catches the next swing before hitting the rebound clothesline. Now it's Ambrose's turn to hammer away with the cane.

That's not enough for Dean though as he sets up two chairs back to back but neither guy can nail a suplex. Instead Dean picks one up and suplexes Cesaro through the other chair for two. A middle rope chair shot to Cesaro's arm has him in trouble but he slams Dean onto a chair for a near fall of his own. They head outside and Dean nails a suicide dive before throwing about ten chairs into the ring.

Ambrose throws Cesaro back in but here's Rollins to jump Dean. It doesn't seem to matter as Dean clotheslines him into the crowd but gets crotched on the top rope by Cesaro. A BIG superplex puts both guys down onto the pile of chairs for two and Cesaro is shocked. He's so shocked that Ambrose grabs a small package out of nowhere for the pin at 11:39 shown of 14:39.

Rating: B-. Take two guys and let them beat each other up for about fifteen minutes. Where could that go wrong? Ambrose is such an offbeat character and he's perfect for a match like this. Cesaro can wrestle any style and fits in perfectly in a brawl. That superplex looked awesome too.

Post match Rollins comes in and helps Cesaro lay out Dean to a huge YOU SOLD OUT chant. Dean is helped out by medics.

We recap Paige vs. AJ from Paige's debut up to her heel turn on Monday. They made this feel like a pretty huge feud.

Paige vs. Naomi

Paige skips to the ring ala AJ and actually pulls it off really well. She insists that she and AJ are still friends. Cameron comes out right after the bell and Paige gets in a cheap shot. The Rampaige (fisherman's DDT) sets up the PTO for the win at 33 seconds.

Cameron beats up Naomi post match and says she's here to make a statement. Naomi nails her in the face but gets knocked off the apron.

Goldust and Stardust look at an electrified crystal ball with Goldust saying he can see the golden stars. The Cosmic Key is discussed some more and Goldust pulls his head back. When he looks back, Stardust's head has replaced the ball. Goldust is in a magician's hat.

R-Truth vs. Bray Wyatt

Before the match we see Bray attacking Jericho backstage on Raw. Bray hammers away to start but walks into a running forearm. Truth dances a bit but turns around to see the Spider Walk. The running cross body to the ribs drops Truth sets up Sister Abigail for the pin at 2:04. Squash.

Post match Bray says Truth was there when Jericho needed him, but now Jericho isn't here for Truth. Jericho may not be a savior, but Bray is.

Video on Stephanie being arrested. She'll return on Raw. Again I ask: is it really a return when you were on the previous show?

We see Brock returning and Heyman's promo.

Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio

Reigns hammers away in the corner but Del Rio goes after the arm very quickly. He tries the armbreaker about a minute into the match but is quickly sent to the floor as we take an early break. Back with Reigns getting kicked in the face but coming back with a Samoan drop and a clothesline to send Del Rio outside. Reigns misses a charge and hits the post, allowing Del Rio to wrap the arm around the steel. A superkick drives the arm into the post again and it's back inside for two.

Reigns breaks out of an armbar in a few seconds but Del Rio sends him into the buckle. The middle rope double stomp drives Reigns' head into the mat. The bad arm is rammed into the steps a few times for two and the corner enziguri gets the same. Reigns tries to fight back but gets caught in the armbreaker over the ropes. That's fine with Roman as he pulls Alberto up and nails an uppercut to knock Del Rio out to the floor.

Back in and Reigns hits a running clothesline but charges into a boot in the corner. A clothesline puts Del Rio down but he avoids the apron kick. I believe that's the first time anyone has ever done that. Del Rio nails a baseball slide for two and puts Roman in the Tree of Woe for some kicks to the ribs. Reigns avoids a charge and sends Del Rio's shoulder into the post. Now the apron kick connects, followed by the Superman Punch and a spear for the pin at 9:32 shown of 12:32.

Rating: B. I liked this one way more than I was expecting. This is the kind of win that Reigns needs: hard fought, clean wins over big names. Del Rio may not be the best in the world, but he is a former multi-time World Champion and a guy with a solid resume. The more guys on his level that Reigns beats, the stronger he's going to look.

Overall Rating: C+. This is the kind of Smackdown I can work with: focusing on the midcard and giving some big names time that they don't get on Raw. This show doesn't have all the promos and segments going on to clog everything up and it can be entertaining when they let the guys have some time to wrestle. We had two good matches tonight and some storybuilding stuff to fill in the gaps. That's a good use of two hours on Friday night.

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  1. That was nice of Rollins to help Rollins.

  2. Maybe Reigns is working on his selling? He seemed to do a much better job tonight. Still needs to work on the move set though.

    And Del Rio is a dependable hand that should stay in the mid card. He'd be a perfect first feud for Sami Zayn.

  3. Wait, Miz's dad returned? That's awesome!

  4. kbwrestlingreviewsJuly 25, 2014 at 8:33 PM


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  6. What's Mike Tenay doin' in Amway Arena, Miggel?!

  7. kbwrestlingreviewsJuly 25, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    I really need to stop doing these at 430am.

  8. Must be because you saw Orlando and your brain automatically Thought impact.

  9. kbwrestlingreviewsJuly 25, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Very well may be.

  10. It would be cool to see Bray's mindgames actually work and Truth shows up as the newest member of the Family to attack Jericho.

  11. I am now 100% sure that WWE has decided to let Goldust and Cody do shrooms, weed, and acid for a month and not wrestle, and I am 100% in favor of this

  12. Gotta be honest, I got a kick out of the whole Miz segment. He's playing his character really well and has the mannerisms down pat but the crowd could not possibly care any less.

    Maybe they shouldn't have jobbed him out non stop for 2 years before giving him another gimmick.

  13. ADR is a good hand in ring. very rare you see a bad match from him.

  14. Eat a dick.

    Good review, Thomas. Looking forward to going back and watching Cesaro-Ambrose 2. Would not mind an extended program for them.

  15. I liked that they gave Miz, Dolph and Dallas a pretty lengthy segment. That's the kind of thing that would usually be reserved for the A+ players on RAW, and what I wish they'd do more of with the mid-card guys on shows like Superstars and Main Event. If you can only give them a short amount of time on RAW, they can still develop their characters and maybe even grow a fan base on the B-level shows.

  16. I've been saying for about a year (after the Kane-Bray feud fizzled) that the Wyatts need a new convert. So far the only person they've convinced to "follow the buzzards" was Daniel Bryan, and that wasn't even real. Having Bray brainwash and convert a couple people (including a Diva) soon would make the character more effective.

  17. You can tell HHH is in charge because we're seeing a resurgence in long, greasy hair. Reigns, Rollins, Bray, Kane and Bo Dallas are all being pushed.

  18. And didn't he have pretty decent heat with Ricardo and the cars?

  19. Alright, WWE: Del Rio made your guy Reigns look like an actual main eventer. Now give Del Rio a decent angle and some character motivation. Feud him with Sheamus, Swagger, Stardust ... somebody. He'll deliver.

  20. Well, John Dena made it clear that those were not Del Rico's cars!

  21. kbwrestlingreviewsJuly 26, 2014 at 4:40 AM

    Much appreciated.

    They have good chemistry together.

  22. This was the most fun I've had watching Smackdown in awhile. To be fair, I've only seen maybe five or six episodes this year.

  23. Cody Rhodes can take any shred of a gimmick and knock it out of the park. as much as i'd love to see him get something serious, he's so good at these weirdo gimmicks i kinda just want to see him keep doing those.

  24. Bayley being brought up from NXT and brainwashed into being "Sister Abigail" would be great, as everybody loves her; plus, whoever is feuding with them can eventually free her from the Family.

  25. As someone noted recently, let's see a few suplexes and maybe a powerslam every now and then. He doesn't have to be Cesaro in terms of busting out new stuff every few weeks, but expanding the move set can only be good.

  26. Eat an entire PALLET of dicks

  27. Del Rio reminds me of Chael Sonnen. As if he often plows through the middle tier guys, gets in contention, but constantly comes short against the top guys.

  28. So I just saw ADR vs Reigns. Very solid. I'd call it 2.5 stars, to maybe 2.75. I thought Del Rio gave reigns a good show in a big singles match for him.

  29. I like the idea of a diva joining

  30. I thought Miz made that clear?

  31. They really do need Sister Abigail to show up.

  32. What's strange is that why would anyone want to be a main eventer, when they can play goofy gimmicks and get paid the same amount?

  33. Well, yeah. He isn't a bad worker, just a stale character.

  34. kbwrestlingreviewsJuly 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I believe they said she died.

  35. It was definitely my favorite Smackdown of the year, I fast forwarded some of it but for the most part everything was enjoyable and advanced storyline nicely.

  36. AverageJoeEverymanJuly 26, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    A diva with a beard

  37. AverageJoeEverymanJuly 26, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Loved that he avoided the apron dropkick and came back with the dropkick to the outside.

  38. blahblahblahblah5July 26, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    I hate to quibble with your ratings, but I'm gonna. No way was Reigns/ADR better than Ambrose/Cesaro. The latter was one of the better segments on WWE TV in a while. Simple and effective. Brutal match, awesome out-of-nowhere interference, brutal beatdown, two guys who just hate each other. Is it too much to ask for that on a weekly basis?

  39. I would actually say that ADR is the best worker on the roster right now.

    Now, he isn't the most interesting or dynamic wrestler, and he definitely isn't the best or most entertaining character, but in terms of keeping a match together and making everything click? He's the man. Top notch psychology.

  40. Chael is a much better mic worker, and ADR is a much better person...and athlete...and MMA fighter...

  41. ADR carried Roman in that match, I forget how good Del Rio is.

  42. Sheamus and Swagger? Eh...we've seen that shit.

    I could do with an ADR/Ambrose feud. Dean's got a gimpy arm, ADR gimps arms.

  43. I love how he was willing to have his own mom say that Roman Reigns was her favorite wrestler because he's hot. Just a great chickenshit heel moment.

  44. WWE doesn't have the best record with dead women that have important relationships to greasy haired pseudo-supernatural monsters.


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