SmackDown Recap: July 26
S2016 episode 881 Aired on July 26, 2016

Is the New Era officially in full swing? Why “YES!” it is. SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon and his General Manager, Daniel Bryan, kicked off the first post-WWE Draft episode of the blue brand by addressing the entire roster in the ring.

Shane-O-Mac and Bryan announced a Six-Pack Challenge WWE World Title No. 1 Contender’s Match between John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles and the winner of a Battle Royal. The victor of the Six-Pack Challenge would then be first in line for a chance at Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Championship at SummerSlam.

Oh, and one last plot twist? The Battle Royal would begin immediately.

Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse promised a former World Champion on the SmackDown Live debut of “Miz TV,” and they got one … just, not exactly the one they were expecting.

Raining on The A-Lister’s parade and plan to seemingly interview himself at length on national television, Randy Orton interrupted. The Miz, much like Chris Jericho during “The Highlight Reel” at WWE Battleground, saw fit to poke and prod at The Viper’s chances against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. In response, Orton simply saw an opportunity to fight, goading The Miz into an impromptu match on SmackDown Live!

Still in an uproar after The Viper had insulted him during “Miz TV,” The Miz came at Orton strong in the early goings of their impromptu showdown. However, The Apex Predator showed no signs of rust despite this being his first match in over nine months and eventually preyed and found his moment, striking with two straight RKOs, sending The Miz straight to Viperville.

Still in an uproar that he was the only Superstar in all of WWE not drafted last week (what a bummer to miss out on being Mr. Irrelevant, am I right?), Slater sneakily snuck onto SmackDown Live to protest, taking out a local competitor who was gearing up to compete. Slater demanded that he be signed immediately and inserted into tonight’s main event, thus making it a “Magnificent Seven-Pack Challenge.”

Shane McMahon came out to try and talk Slater down some, but the three-time Tag Team Champion simply could not be reasoned with. What occurred next, in basic terminology, was a GOOORRRRRRREEEE!

The Man Beast Rhyno reemerged on SmackDown Live, making a major impact by completely decimating Slater with his signature maneuver. Rhyno will join Shelton Benjamin as yet another hot free agent signing to the SmackDown Live brand.

The New Era has proven to be full of twists, turns, zags and, now … Ziggler.

Action was at a premium as six Superstars vied with valor in a one-fall to a finish Six-Pack Challenge, where the winner would take on Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship at SummerSlam.

Prophesizing during the WWE Draft last week that a change of scenery to the blue brand is exactly what he needed to reignite his career, Ziggler’s passion burned bright on SmackDown Live as he outlasted John Cena, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, Battle Royal Winner Apollo Crews and pinned AJ Styles to advance to the championship match at SummerSlam.

After the match, Ambrose made his way to the ring and he and Ziggler stared each other down, giving the WWE Universe just a slight taste of what is to come at SummerSlam.

As Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon came out to congratulate both Ziggler and Ambrose, the exclamation point on the start of SmackDown Live’s New Era had been made and Ziggler’s statement could not be clearer — The Showoff is now not just here to show the world … he’s here to literally take it.

In other action... Apollo Crews triumphed in Battle Royal to determine the sixth entrant in the Six-Pack Challenge WWE World Championship No. 1 Contender's Match... and Becky Lynch def. Natalya.