The home of the undisputed champ brings their second episode of the “new era” to us tonight from Nashville.
Before we get started - a small rant from “previews boy”. As mentioned in the sentence above, this is early days for the second coming of the brand split era. The Creative, web site and social media teams over at Titan Towers are probably still adapting to having two separate brands to write for and promote. But any content from WWE.com or their other online presences pertaining to the blue brand has been coming out after Raw is wrapped up for the week. If they are truly distinct products which don’t depend on one another, why wouldn’t they start hyping SmackDown Live days in advance like typically do for the Monday night product?
It’s a small thing, and probably impacts those of us in the business of talking about their shows more than the average fan. But it reinforces the image SmackDown is the B-show... no matter what night it airs, what suffix you give its name or how much you tell us it’s just as important as the flagship product.
Fans of tag wrestling in general and former NXT tag champs American Alpha in particular, rejoice! The duo of Chad Gable & Jason Jordan were the focus of the above spot, which ran several times during last night’s broadcast of Raw on USA Network.
There’s no mention of what the former amateur standouts will be doing, and there are no titles for them to chase at this point, but if you’re new to Gable & Jordan, get ready to be impressed. If other “new era” debuts give us any indication, they’ll likely squash someone. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially because the Alphas make even that a blast to watch.
Later in that teaser, we’re told AJ Styles will deliver a message to John Cena. The Phenomenal One took the pin in last week’s Six Pack Challenge match, causing some fans to get upset. Whether you agree or disagree with that booking, it was definitely his second straight loss. And since the one before Dolph Ziggler beat him came at the hands of a Cena-led team at Battleground... well, those guys have unfinished business.
Whether the Face That Runs the Place can fit an appearance into his business schedule so he receives the message in person remains to be seen.
The Title Scene
Just as controversial as AJ taking the pin in last week’s main event was who pinned him. The sudden re-elevation of Dolph Ziggler to main event status produced no small amount of discussion online last week. Tonight, we’ll continue to see how the Show-Off presents himself, and how WWE champ Dean Ambrose responds, as they head into a SummerSlam showdown.
Despite holding the blue brand’s only other piece of hardware, Intercontinental titleholder The Miz was used to establish Randy Orton on his way to a match against Brock Lesnar at the next pay-per-view (PPV). Perhaps the Awesome One will get a win, or a new challenger, tonight?
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Orton “invaded” Raw last night to hit an RKO on the Beast Incarnate. Stephanie McMahon could be heard blaming her brother, SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane, as that show went off the air. Will there be repercussions for the Viper slithering into Atlanta?
- After getting her win back from Natalya, Becky Lynch had to hear from the entire women’s roster. Will Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Naomi or Eva Marie do more than enter this week? And what is Victoria talking about?
- If the former Women’s champ does launch a comeback, she’ll be following in the footsteps of Shelton Benjamin (“coming soon”) and Rhyno (back last week).
- After a surprising win of his own to start the July 26 episode, Apollo Crews found himself without much to do by the end of the show. Crews, along with Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt and Alberto Del Rio, will be trying to find an angle they can work tonight.
Three weeks until SummerSlam!
What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?
Editor’s note: The original version of this post listed the location of the Aug. 2 show as San Diego. That has been corrected to accurately reflect Nashville as hosting SmackDown Live this week.