Smackdown – July 30, 2015: The Balancing Act

I knocked this out tonight instead of Thursday so we’ll see how this goes early instead of waiting for showtime.

Date: July 30, 2015
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Jimmy Uso, Jerry Lawler, Tom Phillips

Smackdown has the potential to be interesting this week as we could get some more midcard build for Summerslam, which could be some of the more interesting stuff going on in WWE at the moment. The big story is likely to be Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens, which could be the match of the night at the pay per view. I don’t like that many could’s. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Seth Rollins to open things up. Seth: “SO WHAT?” Those are the words he’s heard so many times over the year. He heard them when he was the first person to cash in Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania and the man who stood toe to toe with Brock Lesnar at Battleground and came out with the title. This past Monday he reached his breaking point and the victim of his rage was John Cena, who went to the emergency room with a broken nose.

We see a clip of the knee that broke Cena’s nose and Rollins calls himself an artist, but here’s Cesaro to interrupt. Cesaro really doesn’t want to hear Rollins go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how great he thinks he is like he does every single week. See, Rollins is leaving out the part where Cena made him tap out. Rollins calls it a strategic move that he made because he has bigger things to worry about than the US Title. Cesaro says he’ll see Rollins later tonight, unless they both want to have their match right now.

Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins

Non-title. Cesaro goes after the leg with some dragon screw leg whips to start but the threat of a Sharpshooter sends the champ bailing to the floor. Cue Kevin Owens to watch as we take a break. Back with Rollins holding a headlock and Owens’ head holding a headset for commentary. Cesaro double stomps Seth for two and catches a diving Rollins in midair. That’s not enough of a power display for Cesaro though so he throws Rollins up for a suplex. As I say every week, that man is scary strong.

Rollins is able to send him into the buckle with the release Downward Spiral and now it’s Seth with the European uppercuts for a change of pace. A chinlock doesn’t get Rollins very far as Cesaro powers out (I’m as shocked as you are) with a belly to back suplex. Cesaro loads up the Swing but Owens comes in for the DQ at 8:35.

Rating: C. This was fun while it lasted but it didn’t have enough time to go anywhere, especially with a good chunk of this match taking place in the commercial. Cesaro vs. Owens could be one heck of a brawl, especially if they let them have fifteen minutes or so. I mean, it’s a four hour show so there’s no reason every match shouldn’t have a lot of time right? Assuming there’s no lame musical guest so……yeah Cesaro vs. Owens is going to be lucky to get eight minutes right?

Owens lays out Cesaro and Rollins gets in a few shots of his own.

Los Matadores/Lucha Dragons vs. New Day/Ascension

Weren’t the two masked teams fighting on Monday? Before the match, New Day says the Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores could be #1 contenders, so if New Day wins tonight, they should be the #1 contenders! After some WAY over the top introductions, it’s Woods on the floor as Diego leg sweeps Viktor to start. A slingshot elbow from Diego sets up a slingshot hilo from Sin Cara, who starts working on the arm.

It’s off to Konnor for some hard kicks to the ribs before New Day breaks up a dive and sends Cara out to the floor. Well that sucks. Back from a break with Woods calling Cara stupid as the villains take turns stomping away in the corner. Viktor’s chinlock doesn’t work very well as the Players say they’d love to face the Usos. Big E. holds Cara for a running knee to the face (well mask) from Kofi as Woods is still going on.

Darren passes the time by wearing glasses and taking notes. That’s not something you often see but it makes sense. Viktor runs Cara over for two more as hear about Big E. making Young sick for some reason that Young doesn’t want to get into. A Crossface keeps Cara in trouble but he finally avoids a charge, allowing for the Kalisto. Everything breaks down and Kalisto kicks Big E. down, leaving Torito to hit a kind of 619 to knock Woods silly. Big E. loads up the Midnight Hour but Viktor takes Kofi’s tag, only to get rolled up by Kalisto for the pin at 10:10.

Rating: C+. Standard face in peril tag match here but I liked Woods on the floor and the Players on commentary. They’re setting up some decent stuff here with the division, but it says a lot that the NXT tag team division has equal depth with half the roster. I could see a big multi-team match at Summerslam, even though I’m really not a fan of them. Just give me a feud with a story.

Owens is told that the Authority has made Owens/Rollins vs. Cesaro/whomever he can find. Kevin isn’t pleased and is going to take it out on Cesaro’s partner.

Video on Becky Lynch, complete with some old school pictures of her in Japan with Natalya.

Luke Harper says Bray Wyatt saved him by showing him the truth so now Harper has everything he needs. Wyatt talks about Harper liking where he is now and deciding to stay. Anyone but you Roman.

Rusev comes out for his match but first up he and Summer have something to say…..about the fish thing from Raw. Lana ruined the hot Summer because she’s jealous and now Rusev would never fall for her again. After winning tonight, Rusev is going to take Summer and Dog Ziggler for a walk anywhere but Oklahoma. Maybe they’ll lay on a blanket, stare into each other’s eyes and….oh geez here we go again.

Rusev vs. Jack Swagger

SERIOUSLY??? Well to be fair we’re in Oklahoma and Swagger hasn’t lost to Rusev recently. Swagger starts with some AMERICAN armdrags to send Rusev outside as Tom makes the mistake of talking about their rivalry last year, because that’s so thrilling to hear about. Back in and Swagger wrestles him to the mat but Rusev just throws him into the corner and drives a knee into the face.

Rusev starts in on the back but since Swagger used to be something years ago, Rusev can’t just beat him in three minutes and shorten our agony. The slow stomping continues as the fans try to believe. So Oklahoma is the new center of delusion? Swagger comes back with some clotheslines and punches in the corner, only to have Rusev blast him in the face as we go to a break, because this feud just has to keep going. Back with Rusev holding a front facelock as the fans are already dying.

Swagger fights up and kicks Rusev’s ducked face but the Vader Bomb misses. Instead Jack plants him with a belly to belly and is promptly nailed with a spinwheel kick. The back and forth continues as Swagger goes after the leg to set up the Vader Bomb. Tom: “What is it going to take to put away Rusev?” A different opponent Tom. The superkick sets up the Accolade so Swagger can tap to Rusev at 14:40, because that’s the entirety of Swagger’s job description.

Rating: D. I know I wanted the old Rusev back but did we really need to see ANOTHER destruction of Jack Swagger? I know he isn’t ever going anywhere but good grief we get the point already. Find ANYONE else, even if it’s some rookie jobber, for Rusev to beat up every time you want to do Rusev vs. Swagger because it’s dead.

Post match Swagger pulls himself up and avoids a charge, followed by the Patriot Lock to Rusev for Oklahoma’s consolation prize.

Cesaro isn’t going to hunt for a partner because no one here owes him anything. He’s gotten here on his own (I’d try to forget the Heyman era too) and if he has to, he’ll fight on his own. I liked this but Cesaro can’t connect to me so maybe it’s a desire for nachos that I’m interpreting as caring about a wrestler.

We recap Neville vs. Stardust. It might not lead anywhere, but it’s certainly different.

Stardust vs. R-Truth

R-Truth has been using that theme song for over 12 years. When is it time that he gets started? He’s really bad about procrastinating. They run the ropes to start and we get a bit of an awkward pause as Truth has to hit a running fist to take over. Stardust gets in some shots, R-Truth gets in his kicks, Stardust sends him into the buckle and the Queen’s Crossbow (Cross Rhodes) is good for the pin at 2:01.

Stardust says Neville has failed this city (a line from Arrow) so here’s Neville to save Truth from further beating. Again, nothing great, but I’m kind of liking this.

Sheamus says he kicked Orton in the face on Monday for Orton showing him up at Battleground. He did it because he’s a real man, unlike Orton who just thinks he’s a real man. How many REAL MAN characters are there going these days? The idea of WWE without Orton is like Oklahoma without Tulsa: a dream come true. Hey, did you know that Vince hates Oklahoma?

Video on Undertaker vs. Lesnar. Brock is back on Monday.

Cesaro/??? vs. Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins

Cesaro is here alone until Dean Ambrose comes down as a surprise. It’s a big brawl before the bell with the good guys cleaning house twice in a row as we wait for the opening bell. We take a break and come back with the bell (THANK YOU!), meaning it’s Dean vs. Seth before Cesaro quickly comes in to keep the champ on the mat. Owens gets punched off the apron but the distraction lets Rollins gets in a shot to take over.

The bad guys take over with Owens firing off knees in the corner and it’s back to Rollins for a chinlock. Back to Owens for some right hands for two (seriously?) and a chinlock of his own. Rollins comes back in and misses the top rope knee to the head, allowing the hot tag to Dean. He backdrops Seth to the floor for a suicide dive. Dean’s superplex doesn’t work as well as Rollins counters into a buckle bomb for two. You wouldn’t expect a power move like that to work for someone like Rollins but he makes it look good.

The top rope knee to the head and low superkick get two more but Owens takes too much time going up and gets crotched for his efforts. You don’t try to superplex Kevin Owens though as he counters into the swinging superplex for another near fall as Cesaro dives in with a double stomp for the save. The backsplash misses too and it’s the real hot tag to Cesaro.

That kind of reverse Angle Slam sets up the Crossface on Owens but Rollins’ attempt at a save earns him a Swing. Cesaro clotheslines Owens outside, leaving Dean to stop Rollins from diving on the two of them. Instead Dean superplexes Rollins down, only to have Owens try the Pop Up Powerbomb. Dean is ready though and slips out, setting up a rollup from Cesaro for the pin on Kevin at 14:03.

Rating: B-. I had a better time with this than I was expecting as it felt like an old Coliseum Video exclusive where they took two random pairings and gave them time to have a fun match. It’s nice to see Cesaro getting a big win for a change, but I’m not sure where Owens goes if he loses at Summerslam.

Overall Rating: C. The main event and Rusev vs. Swagger mess cancel each other out so we’ll say the show was in the middle. I can easily live with Smackdown as a wrestling heavy show focusing on the midcard instead of the lame show it’s been for so long, though I have almost no faith in WWE to keep this up. Maybe they’ll start fixing things when Smackdown moves to USA in January, but I don’t have a reason to get my hopes up. Fun enough show this week if you ignore the really dull Rusev vs. Swagger mess.


Cesaro b. Seth Rollins via DQ when Kevin Owens interfered

Los Matadores/Lucha Dragons b. New Day/Ascension – Rollup to Viktor

Rusev b. Jack Swagger – Accolade

Stardust b. R-Truth – Queen’s Crossbow

Cesaro/Dean Ambrose b. Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins – Rollup to Owens


  1. Heyo says:

    Funny enough, this Smackdown took place in my hometown. I still live close to Tulsa so it wouldn’t be that hard to see it. But I didn’t go to see it even though I love wrestling and would like to see one show eventually, because that’s how little faith I have in WWE at the moment. I was convinced with this year’s booking that if I went to Smackdown, I was going to see something so stupid that it would be soul crushing(and it sounds like Rusev vs. Swagger came close to that).

    I still hope that WWE gets good enough that I can expect them to be consistently good, but I don’t have that faith in them right now.

  2. El Killjoy says:

    A show for the midcard? Now if only they had a title to show off. Oh, wait. They decided the midcard champion should feud with the World Champion. 7 months after their last 4 month long feud.

  3. MrHashasheen says:

    Swagger could have returned to tag with Cesaro, and the two could have worked opposite Owens/Rollins in the main event just fine. Being an Okie Swagger would have had a pop, and you could then feed anyone to Rusev in his match while The Real Americans took it to the the Beard & Blonde Connection.

  4. Gunther_224 says:

    Good review. How were you able to review it so early? I had to disagree on Swagger vs Rusev though. They have an undeniable chemistry in the ring.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    The show airs in Canada on Wednesday and can easily be found online after it goes off the air.

    Hubcap Dave Reply:

    Swagger’s that ant who thinks he can move that rubber tree plant…….