This week's episode of SmackDown aired on the USA Network on June 2, 2016, originating from Rockford, Illinois. The WWE is building towards the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV). For full results and the live blog, click here.
The Club is Taking Over
The World Famous Two-Time WWE Tag Team Champions started SmackDown tonight. After shilling for the brand split and SmackDown going live on July 19, the group addressed the Club's actions on Monday. This brought out Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The duo promised that the Tag Team Championship will join the Club. New Day made fun of the Club's name, playing it silly, while the Club remained serious.
The banter brought of the undisputed leader of the Club, AJ Styles, who brags about his beat down of John Cena this past Monday on RAW, along with the New Day. Styles proclaimed that the WWE belongs to the Club. The New Day's banter lead to Styles calling Kofi Kingston a joke. Kingston clapped back, saying it took Styles ten years just to make it to the WWE.
Styles threw down a challenge to Kofi for a match later on in the evening and Kingston accepted. I am not sure how to deal with the dynamic of the Club versus New Day. Something felt off about it to me; I just cannot put my finger on what it was exactly.
AJ Styles versus Kofi Kingston was announced as the main event. Both had their stable mates ringside. The two started off trying to use their quickness to get the advantage on the other and ended up in a stalemate. The feeling each other part was pretty nice, with Styles heeling it up with Anderson and Gallows two sweeting each other fater Styles did a good move.
Kofi took advantage with a hurricanrana and a solo unicorn stampede. This lead to all six men getting into the ring for a stand-off as the show went to a commercial break. Back from the break, AJ and Kofi had another stalemate in the ring, which lead to another standoff outside between all six men. Styles took advantage of a distracted Kingston and used the outside environment to down the Tag Team Champion.
Styles hit a running back breaker. Kingston attempted a comeback with a jawbreaker but Styles hit a series of fast strikes to take Kofi down again. Styles sent Kingston into the corner. Kingston ducked Styles and hit a monkey flip, followed by a flying cross body. After the New Day drop, Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise but Styles hit a Ushigoroshi.
After some back and forth, Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm but Xavier distracted him by playing the trombone. Kofi hit an SOS for a near fall. Outside of the ring, Anderson took out Xavier. Gallows attacked Big E but he sent him into the barricade. Anderson came at him and ate a Belly to Belly on the announce table for his trouble. Kofi took his attention from Styles to help his New Day partner outside with a suicide dive to Gallows. Unfortunately, Styles hit a Pele kick to Kingston when he entered the ring again, setting up the Styles Clash. Styles wins by pin fall and stands tall to end the show.
Hell of a match. Cannot wait for the six man tag match between New Day and the Club this Monday on RAW. Oh, you know it's happening.
The Likable Lunatics versus Mexi-Canada
Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn are interviewed backstage to talk about teaming with Ambrose against Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Owens. Zayn said he and Ambrose will be on the same team then brought up Ambrose's disparaging comments about Canadians. As Ambrose tried to explain, Owens and Del Rio crashed the interview. Owens claimed Zayn is trying to manipulate Ambrose into letting his guard down because they are both in the Money in the Bank match together and said Zayn cannot be trusted.
Zayn fired back that Owens is the untrustworthy one, adding that Del Rio is one of the biggest snakes in the WWE. Del Rio ran both is opponents down, even calling Ambrose a "paper boy". Ambrose invited Owens and Del Rio to forego their scheduled match and fight right then but Owens and Del Rio decided to wait for the match.
Later that night, the match started with Owens and Zayn. Owens was confident and cocky when he had the advantage but quickly tagged out once Zayn was on offense. Zayn gained control of Del Rio and got a tag in to Ambrose. He worked Del Rio over some before he and Zayn took him down with a double back elbow. Zayn got a near fall. Del Rio reversed Zayn's suplex into a backstabber and then took Ambrose out from the apron, giving his team control for the first time in the match.
Zayn got trapped in the heel corner as Del Rio and Owens employed quick tags and stiff offense to keep the Likable One down. Zayn was able to slip away from Del Rio to tag Ambrose back in, who took Del Rio out with a tope suicida. A mistake lead to Del Rio driving Ambrose's head into the apron, which turned the tide again to Owens and Del Rio's favor.
After hitting Ambrose with a double stomp from the second rope, Del Rio tagged in Owens who dropped a lifeless Ambrose outside the ring. As Del Rio and Owens beat on Ambrose, Zayn did a suicide dive onto both of them to help his partner. Ambrose hit a rebound clothesline on KO and fought to tag in Zayn but Del Rio came in and knocked Zayn off the apron. Ambrose got to his corner but had no partner to tag as Zayn wass still recovering on the floor.
Del Rio made a mistake and hits an enziguri on KO when Ambrose moves out of their corner. Ambrose finally got the tag to Zayn. Zayn a hit the Helluva kick to get a pin fall victory on Del Rio.
Great, great tag match. After the match, Owens grabbed a headset and proclaimed he was sick of his partners losing matches for him. He retrievesda ladder and put it into the ring. As he set up the ladder, Cesaro ran out and got into the ring. He hit Owens with a springboard European uppercut (in a suit and sunglasses), set up the ladder, and got the Money in the Bank briefcase, sitting on top of the ladder.
- Charlotte versus Becky Lynch: This was a good match between two women who are not strangers to one another. After Charlotte controlled the pace at the start, Becky was on a flurry of offense against the Women's Champion, when Dana Brooke, who was ringside, inserted herself into the match. She took a hit from Becky so Charlotte could take advantage. This distraction did not help for long, as Becky fought back even harder and soon the two women were trading offense. Becky switched a Figure 4 attempt into the Disarmer when Dana Brooke interfered to cause a disqualification. After the match, Natalya arrived. She and Becky get Dana and Charlotte in their finishers before the Champ and her friend bail out, leaving through the crowd.
- The Dudley Boys versus Golden Truth: OMG! THEY HAVE THE WORDS TO THEIR ENTRANCE ON THE SCREEN KARAOKE STYLE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Freezango was in the VIP lounge ringside for this match. The Dudley Boyz win after D-Von got a roll up on Goldust after interference by Breezango. After the match, Breeze and Fandango mocked the group on the microphone.
- Baron Corbin backstage interview: The Lone Wolf gave an interview to Renee Young before leaving the arena, saying that the next time the WWE Universe would see him would be when he ends Dolph Ziggler.
- Rusev versus Jack Swagger: Rusev attacked Swagger before the match began but Swagger got in a Patriot Lock at the start of the bell. The two men had a really good back and forth match but in the end Rusev won the match with the Accolade. Rusev would not break the hold after the match. Titus O'Neil came out to stop him and Rusev took a powder. Titus challenged Rusev to get back in the ring and fight like a champion, but the two time United States Champion declined.
- Make Darren Young Great Again: So . . . how long do we get these vignettes before I get to experience the pleasure of Bob Backlund with a live microphone?
I like AJ Styles as a bad guy. He seems comfortable as the leader of the Club. I did not feel like the interaction between the Club and New Day in the opener was genuine. It did not feel like two groups with a legitimate beef with each other but that is just my opinion. The fact that New Day played the segment silly while the Club were serious did not help matters for me. This changed when it was time to get physical, though, so this is not something I am necessarily concerned about.
Kevin Owens continues to be an absolute delight each and every time the man is on my television/laptop. He seems to carry the tone for every angle he is in. I also like the chemistry between Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn and would not mind seeing the two against each other sometime down the line.
Also, kudos to Tyler Breeze and Fandango for being the tag team I did not realize I wanted until it happened.
Another good show.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
That's all for this week, Cagesiders! Don't you dare be sour, leave your opinion of the show in the comment section and FEEL THE POWAH!