This week's episode of SmackDown, airing on the SyFy Network on July 23, 2015, comes from Lincoln, Nebraska. This was the fallout show from WWE Battleground pay-per-view this past Sunday. For full results and the live blog click here.
Let's get started.
Owens versus Cesaro
The back and forth between WWE Superstars Kevin Owens and Cesaro has been a "thing" for at least the past month now. This week on Smackdown, the two were the main focus of the show. First, Kevin Owens was scheduled in a match against the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, due to Owens leaving Rusev high and dry during a six man tag match this past week on RAW. Before the match, Owens explained why he walked away from the match: It wasn't really important to him. Owens also explained that him tapping out to Cena was "living to fight another day". Yeah, I did not really like a guy presented the way Owens has to imply that Cena was mere seconds from putting him on the shelf and he had no other choice but to quit.
Owens versus Rusev was a really good match on a show where every match was good. Rusev came down to the ring, fired up and ready to take the fight straight to Owens. I am really not understanding the direction the WWE is going with Rusev. On one hand, he's being a creepy sleazeball with Lana and Summer Rae. On the other, he's put in sympathetic positions as he was this past Monday and, here, on this show, was definitely booked like a babyface justifiably seeking revenge against Owens. Rusev did not do anything remotely worthy of boos tonight. In fact, Owens leaving the match because Rusev was properly kicking his ass is heat that you give a face. I'm so confused about that.
After Owens gladly accepted a count out loss against Rusev, Cesaro was shown backstage, giving an interview. He spoke about some of the things he has had to endure while making a name for himself in the business, particularly that he hasn't spent Christmas with his family in eleven years. Cesaro wants to be the proof that anyone can come to American and reach their dreams if they just work hard. Owens interrupted Cesaro, mocking him for the things he had said. There was a nice little back and forth between the two. These guys have natural chemistry as rivals. Keep this up, WWE.
Later on in the night, Cesaro took on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins. While some people may not be content with the WWE WHC playing a supporting role in someone else's storyline, I feel Rollins needed this match with Cesaro. This match did more to rehabilitate the image of Sir Brave Rollins than his match against Brock Lesnar at Battleground. Yes, there was a spot where Rollins decided he was going to ditch the match but that is par for the course at this point. What I really liked is that Rollins won the match completely on his own without any help whatsoever. Yes, he poked Cesaro in the eye but after months of having Kane and J&J Security, seeing Rollins get a pinfall on his own accord was a thing of absolute beauty. And the match was the second best of the night.
After Rollins won, Owens appeared to add insult to injury on Cesaro. So a rivalry that humbly began on Smackdown when Cesaro challenged Owens a few weeks ago appears to be fleshing out into a full blown feud. I am looking forward to the two going at it in the ring and in promos. There is something about Cesaro that makes him a much better foil for Owens than Cena ever would.
And also: Walk Owens Walk.
The Revolution will be Televised
This week, the Bella Twins took on Team BAD (Beautiful and Dangerous). A little while before the match, a video package of the BOSS, Sasha Banks was shown. It did what it was suppose to do: introduce those unfamiliar with Miss Banks. I am definitely getting the vibe that, if Sasha is not the leader right now, she will take that position pretty quickly. Tamina will fall in line and I pray Naomi does as well. She is nowhere near ready to go against Sasha in any way.
Let me just say that this tag match was the best match of the night for me. I really loved that both teams displayed cohesive tag team spots. Naomi and Sasha work well as a heel team. And I think Naomi is finally learning to slow down in the ring and cut out all those moves that she cannot execute properly. Her strikes are some of the best in the division. Nikki Bella was the MVP of the match, however. Loved her doing pushups while performing head scissors on a prone opponent. I hope she continues doing that.
The issue I really had was that the Bellas were the obviously face team here and I still do not understand why. Although Sasha did get an audible pop when she was first tagged into the match, the crowd was solidly behind the Bellas and they were in the typical WWE face tag team position. Other than that, I thought this was the best women's match since this whole angle has started. It is obvious these women are making the most of this opportunity and, if this fails, it will not be because of them.
Also, it is clear to me now that Naomi must job whenever her husband is on commentary so I was not surprised at all that she ate the pin.
All the Rest
Sheamus versus Dean Ambrose: This was a nice little match before Bray Wyatt interrupted but that's his gimmick now so I'll allow it. I am quite happy that Bray is actually targeting Dean, as he warned Roman Reigns that he would. I look forward to where this story is potentially going. I have no issues with the rumors of who Ambreigns' partner may be if the Wyatts get another member. I think it would make this angle hotter but that is just my opinion. I will not spoil who that partner might be for anyone who does not follow the rumors.
Neville versus Adam Rose: Even though this was an exhibition for Neville, it was still an entertaining match. I actually like that Neville is reluctant to play along with Stardust. It makes him seem like a reluctant hero to Stardust's villain. I am hoping more of this angle plays out on SmackDown where it can get the attention it deserves.
King Barrett promo: I DON'T CARE. Seriously, I do not care about any part of this now that R-Truth will not be involved. I hope Barrett's promo does not lead to another failed Barrett push. I think I have suffered through enough of them since returning as a full time viewer. #SorryNotSorry.
This was a WRESTLING show, ladies and gentlemen, one where every match was quality and told stories that will further along the angles overall. Plus, there was no one on the show whose involvement I am opposed to on principle so I was able to enjoy SmackDown much more than I had RAW or Battleground this week.
Oh, yeah, and the show started with a match.
That's all for this week, Cagesiders. What are you thoughts on the show? Let me know what you think in the comment section.