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WWE Smackdown Results: July 14, 2016

Results and analysis from the last SmackDown before the show goes live.

Dean Ambrose has been WWE Champion since cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase the same night he won it.

The show taped in Grand Rapids, Michigan, kicks off with in-ring action between Sasha Banks and Dana Brooke.

Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke

The win comes via submission as Banks continues her clear push to a match against Women’s Champion Charlotte.

Fans are clearly ready to see Banks get her one-on-one shot at Charlotte, and that’s the direction this story is headed. Based on later info from this show, that match is probably set for SummerSlam, which would probably be a more appropriate setting.

Dolph Ziggler def. Rusev (non-title match)

The United States Champion falls victim to a distraction by Zack Ryder, who was on commentary, and Ziggler is able to get the roll-up victory.

This trope has become completely overused in WWE programming as of late. One side of a mid-card feud, usually side with the upper hand, has a match with their current feud on commentary. Predictably, the guest commentator gets involved, and that results in something of an upset loss, and often the next contender for the belt if there’s one in question. It would be good if Ziggler could get some good mojo out of this, but there needs to be a more unique way to get there if that’s the target.

AJ Styles/Karl Anderson def. Enzo/Cass

Styles gets Cass to submit to his Calf Crusher finishing move to get the victory.

As much as WWE fans don’t want to see Enzo and Cass lose, the Club needs to get a win or two in this feud. Since Styles is likely going to be a strong singles competitor and eventual champion, there should be no complaint about him getting the finish in a match like this.

Zack Ryder def. Alberto Del Rio

This is a brief match with Ryder reversing Del Rio’s awful corner stomp finish into a Rough Ryder. After the match, Rusev comes out to attack his BattleGround opponent but Ryder dodges a superkick to respond with a dropkick of his own.

It’s really unclear what the endgame is here with Ryder getting another championship shot in 2016. If the goal is simply to have Rusev mow down opponents until a major match at SummerSlam, Ryder is actually an ideal choice for that so that others don’t get wasted in such a role. He’s good for a short-lived crowd reaction, but his future likely lies with the Hype Bros. If the plan is to have him beat Rusev, however, that would be something of a letdown.

Tyler Breeze def. Kalisto

We get a rare superkick sighting as a finisher, with Fandango providing a distraction for his tag-team partner.

It’s no secret that Fandango and Breeze are really working as a tag team. They have personality, and having them as a duo allows both to shine in the ring without having to completely carry the “pretty boy” gimmick alone.

Up next is a Miz TV segment, with Darren Young and Bob Backlund as guets. Miz asks Young – the new No. 1 contender for his Intercontinental Championship – if he’s nervous, which starts Backlund yelling. After some back and forth, Backlund puts Miz in the Crossface Chickenwing until Maryse gets him to let go.

It’s safe to say everyone was expecting some sort of push for Young, but it’s somewhat surprising that he’s getting a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. The belt has been cooled by Miz’s absence, so this would’ve seemed like a good time to get it on to someone like Sami Zayn or Kevin Owens heading into SummerSlam. As is, it’s hard to see Young getting pushed to that position, which could mean his push is temporary.

Next, R-Truth and Goldust try to convince Shane McMahon to draft the Golden Truth to the SmackDown roster. As would be expected, Goldust weirds Shane out.

This brings up an interesting point that was addressed on RAW: how tag teams will be handled in next week’s draft. It would be somewhat silly to break up tag teams, particularly with as much trouble as the creative team has already had keeping tag teams relevant. It would be better to declare teams like the Usos, Dudleys and New Day a unit and allow them to be drafted as such.

Charlotte announces that she and Dana Brook will square off against Sasha Banks and a partner of her choosing at BattleGround. 

Ideally, this spot goes to Bayley. The draft is the perfect chance to bring her into main roster action, and this would be a very exciting matchup. There are other options like Becky Lynch and Paige, but both of those women have been part of similar matches in recent months.

Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens (disqualification)

The DQ comes when Seth Rollins interferes, but Sami Zayn comes in to make the save. That leads to Shane McMahon coming out to make a tag match.

Rollins/Owens def. Ambrose/Zayn

Owens serves as a distraction, which allows Seth to hit Zayn with the Pedigree. Rollins challenges Ambrose to a fight, but after tossing Owens over the ropes, the WWE champ drops Rollins with the Dirty Deeds and stands tall.

If there’s going to be a grab-bag tag match on SmackDown, this one is fine. All four of these guys know how to work, and this is a real treat for the fans in the arena and watching at home for the last non-live SmackDown for now.

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