7/26 WWE Smackdown Live Review: Dolph Ziggler pulls off the upset, Randy Orton works off the ring rust


WWE Smackdown Live Review
July 26, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

With the reboot of RAW taking place just 24 hours ago, it was Smackdown’s turn tonight in Buffalo. WWE once again stepped it up with top notch production and a new vibe for the Smackdown brand going forward.

I had always quite enjoyed live editions of Smackdown and even though they did tend to carry a vibe similar to RAW, tonight felt different and in a good way.

Dolph Ziggler pulls off the upset

I really wasn’t expecting Dolph Ziggler to get the win during the Six Pack Challenge main event. That was a very pleasant surprise and something that has been truly lacking on WWE programming (Finn Balor getting a clean win over Roman Reigns last night is another example of this). Ziggler now moves on to challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam in four weeks.

It’s been a very long time since Ziggler’s awesome moment the night after WrestleMania 29 back in 2013 when he cashed in his “Money in the Bank” briefcase and defeated Alberto Del Rio to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. A series of concussions set back the upward trajectory of Ziggler’s WWE career. I’m not a big “this guy needs push” guy, but if anyone deserves it, it is Ziggler.

WWE did a great job incorporating newcomers like Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin into this match. Our first glimpse of Bray Wyatt as a solo act showed a ton of promise. The same could be said for AJ Styles who seems to be settling into his role with WWE quite nicely. The addition of John Cena always helps and it sure feels like we are getting ready to wrap things up with the face of the company.

Randy Orton works off the ring rust

It was a nice treat to get to see Randy Orton’s first match back in over nine months. The Miz was a good choice of an opponent tonight. Aside from the belt marks losing their minds about a champion getting pinned, I really liked the added focus of the RKO tonight and letting that first one sink in. Orton did a phenomenal job of selling his shoulder as well.

Quick Thoughts

* Simon Gotch says hello to the reports that he wasn’t supposed to be at TV this week.

* Zack Ryder had a really rough (no pun intended) night with unfortunate botches.

* Eva Marie’s entrance is worth going out of your way to see if you missed it.

* I’m really enjoying the potential of this Heath Slater not getting drafted storyline.

* Will be interesting to see what we get out of a returning Shelton Benjamin and Rhyno.

Overall Impression

While it didn’t feel like WWE knocked it out of the park with this kickoff of a new era for Smackdown Live, the company definitely produced a well paced and entertaining two hours of live television on Tuesday night.

We still have plenty of more new faces to see in action and that is exactly what they should be doing instead of firing off everything they have for this first show out.

Let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below.