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Ziggler Wins Big, Orton Returns (Smackdown Live recap 26/07/16)

Smackdown this week comes from Buffalo, New York for the first episode of the New Era of Smackdown Live!

The show was opened by Shane and Daniel in the ring, as they ushered in the New Era. They announced that from September, Smackdown would be having its very first own-brand Pay Per View, and it’s the return of Backlash. They then announced that tonight they would find a number one contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE Championship. They announced this would take place in the format of a ‘six pack challenge’. The men competing would be John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles and the sixth spot would be given to the winner of a battle royal. And that match would take place next.

Simon Gotch was the first man to be eliminated, and he was quickly followed by the Ascension as the Demon Kane pushed both men out. Breezango were then able to eliminate one of the men they faced on Sunday at Battleground, Jey Uso. Aiden English and Erick Rowan were both eliminated in the commercial break, before Alberto Del Rio eliminated one-half of the Hype Bros, Mojo Rawley. Del Rio and Breezango quickly followed, with Kane being the dominator once again. Kane then eliminated yet another competitor, this time it was the guy who does the lucha thing, Kalisto. He then eliminated the other Hype Bro, Zack Ryder. It was then down to just Kane and Apollo Crews. Kane attempted a chokeslam, but Crews flipped out of it before baiting Kane towards the top rope, where he then ducked out of an attempted clothesline and tipped Kane over the top to win the matchup and claim the final spot in the night’s main event.

It was then announced on a video package during the break that Shelton Benjamin would be returning to the WWE, and would be joining Smackdown Live’s roster soon.

Next up was a rematch from Sunday Night, as Becky Lynch looked to get revenge on Natalya. The match began with Natalya on top, as she scoop-slammed Becky in the middle of the ring, before getting her in a rear chin lock. It didn’t take long for Becky to regain some momentum, as she quickly landed clotheslines and dropkicks alike.

The match returned after the break to Becky fighting out of an abdominal stretch by Natalya, as she then continued to slam forearms into the face of her opponent. Becky continued to build on her advantage, as Becky hit a seated leg drop from the top rope. Becky was then able to lock in the dis-arm-her, and won the match via submission, gaining some much-needed revenge from her loss at the weekend.

Then, a melee of new women on Smackdown Live, including Eva Marie, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, and Carmella each took a moment on the mic to stake their claim for glory on Smackdown Live.

Next up, it was time for Miz TV, with special guest…The Miz. However, it didn’t take long before he was interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton claimed that he was there to challenge Miz to a match and that he isn’t worried about Lesnar at SummerSlam. Orton continued to goad the Miz into a match before his wife Maryse accepted on his behalf. So it was set, Randy Orton would face the Miz tonight on his return to in-ring action.

That matchup was next, and it began with The Miz immediately took a moment outside of the ring to compose himself. This proved extremely pivotal for The Miz, as he then took randy to the outside and threw him into the barricade. He then brought the Viper back into the ring, before hitting him with a missile dropkick.

It didn’t take long for Randy to get back into the match however, as he hit The Miz with an RKO from outta nowhere as he was returning to the ring. Orton then picked him up, and hit another thunderous RKO to pick up the win in his first match in over 9 months.

The hottest free agent in the WWE, Heath Slater, made his way to the ring through the crowd to demand that Smackdown sign him. He then was told to submit a resume by Shane McMahon, before Rhyno appeared from under the ring to hit Heath with a Gore to confirm his return to the WWE.

It was then time for the night’s main event, the six pack matchup to decide who will face Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. The match began with all six man brawling inside the ring, but the pecking order was quickly established, with AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt taking it in turns to outdo one another on Apollo Crews. Baron Corbin reignited his rivalry with Dolph Ziggler briefly, as he landed a huge right to the skull of the show off on the outside, before taking the fight to Apollo Crews back in the ring, crushing him in the corner with a vicious splash.

Cena then got his first real taste of action the match, as he hit a huge AA to AJ Styles, but the Phenomenal One Kicked out at Two. Cena then proceeded to hit Apollo Crews, Bray Wyatt and Baron Corbin with AA’s, before getting squashed by a huge Phenomenal Forearm by AJ Styles, who was then in turn hit by a huge super kick by Dolph Ziggler who was then able to cover Styles, and by some miracle picked up the win and is the new challenger to Dean Ambrose.

So that was it for the first *proper* SmackDown Live! What did you think? Make sure you leave a comment below and keep visiting for up-to-date content from the world of Professional Wrestling.

Liam’s Smackdown Rating: 7.5/10

Liam Shone

Liam is a WWE/Football writer for the site and supports the Oakland Raiders and Liverpool FC. He's been writing for Realsport since March 2016 and began a degree in Sports Journalism in September 2016 at Southampton Solent University.

Ziggler Wins Big, Orton Returns (Smackdown Live recap 26/07/16)

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