Smackdown opened up with Mark Henry teaming with a returning Big Show to take on the tag team Rybaxel.
Henry and Show went over after hitting simultaneous Worlds Strongest Slams and Chokeslams to Ryback and Curtis Axel respectively, with Show pinning Axel for the win. After the match it was hinted by the commentators that two would remain a tag team, something which makes sense as WWE hasn't really had anything for the two to do recently and they were briefly a tag team last year, a partnership that ended when Henry became injured.
Ambrose v Rollins plans
Next, Dean Ambrose chose the stipulation for his match at Summerslam with Seth Rollins. After jokingly running down several potential options, Rollins interrupted to urge his former partner to hurry up and make his real choice.
Ambrose then alluded to the enemies they made during their time in The Shield, who would like to see the two "tear each other apart" and chose a Lumberjack match, with the same enemies surrounding the ring.
As a way of selling the match. this made perfect sense as it played perfectly into Ambrose's character - he doesn't want any kind of advantage in the match, he really just wants to fight. It also made sense to reference the Shield's past and the idea that the faces they attacked wouldn't start supporting Ambrose all of a sudden, just because they are on the same side of the fence.
Rollins then said that the Authority had given him permission to choose the opponent for Ambrose tonight and chose Randy Orton.
Sin Cara v Sandow
Sin Cara faced Damien Sandow dressed as a border patrol agent, continuing the impersonation gimmick he has had for several months now. Sin Cara won with a Swanton Bomb in just over two minutes.
Rollins v Ziggler
Rollins then beat Dolph Ziggler in a match which had been set up by a backstage confrontation earlier in the show. The match lasted 12 minutes and was unsurprisingly good, given we've seen them face off numerous times since Rollins' heel turn and each encounter has been entertaining. The finish saw Rollins throw Ziggler about around the outside of the ring a few times, before putting him back in and hitting a curb stop for the three count.
Paige v Natayla
Paige defeated Natayla in a surprisingly short match. Natayla had Paige in the Sharpshooter after half a minute. Paige got to the ropes, hit the Paige-Turner (outside of the ring) and then applied the PTO for a submission victory in just over two minutes. Given the good 10 minute match the two had on NXT last year, one would have thought they would have been given longer to put on a good wrestling show.
Rusev v Big E
Rusev faced Big E in a short match with a couple of botches. Rusev won via submission with the Accolade. It may have appeared odd to some as Big E was begging to turn heel with the whole 2014 Nation of Domination group gimmick, yet was playing the babyface role here. Hopefully they haven't given up on the trio (they weren't on Raw either), as it was something refreshing for three fairly stale faces in Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston.
Ambrose v Orton
The main event saw the second really good wrestling match of the night (after Rollins-Ziggler) with Ambrose beating Orton via disqualification. The match was just under 10 minutes long and the finish saw Ambrose punch an interfering Rollins off the ring apron, then hit his Dirty Deeds finisher on Orton before Rollins pulled him out of the ring with the referee's count at two.
Rollins then brawled with Ambrose, and as Ambrose was getting the upper hand, Orton intervened with an RKO. Rollins then continued his beat down, which included pouring a drink over Ambrose as revenge for Monday night and finally hitting a curb stomp to end the show.
The finish to the match seemed to confirm that WWE is serious about pushing Ambrose as he appeared to have Orton defeated clean, but that is still to be determined. There was also backstage interviews with Orton and Chris Jericho during the show, with both hyping up their upcoming matches at Summerslam.
Overall this was a slightly unusual Smackdown as only one match (the main event) had any post-match drama - the other five were just regular matches, which is to be expected more on Smackdown than Raw. The Ambrose-Rollins match was sold well but it was really just a run of the mill show that won't do much in the way of stemming the criticism that Monday Night's Raw received.
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