The word “coward” has altered the fortunes of many over the past several weeks. First, it got United States Women’s National Soccer Team goalie Hope Solo suspended from the squad, and now it has The Miz, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler all intertwined in an explosive situation.
Following the exchange between Bryan and Miz on Talking Smack last week and Bryan still clearly on edge about it in a conversation with Shane McMahon at the beginning of the show, Miz came out with a passionate plea following up on Talking Smack and was then joined by Ziggler who fired right back. After several rounds of verbal battle between the two, Ziggler challenged Miz to a straight up fight on the spot
The Intercontinental Champion contemplated the offer, but ultimately declined. Ziggler, clearly bothered by both this and his own recent shortcomings, did not back down, finally hitting him with that familiar word … coward. The mere mention of the word enraged The A-Lister, prompting wife Maryse to hold him back, but still led to no match.
We are getting closer and closer to confirming that the medical benefits of “beating up” (and beating) John Cena appear to be a wave of euphoria that lasts forever. A shame Gallows and Anderson are now former doctors so we cannot get an official diagnosis.
AJ Styles continued to ride that wave, though, as he made his way to the ring to address the Dallas faithful to continually gloat about defeating Cena at SummerSlam, call himself “the new” Face that Runs the Place and also proactively boast about how he expects to defeat WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose at Backlash.
However, The Phenomenal One’s party was cut short by Apollo Crews, who was none too pleased that Styles had disrespected him backstage a few moments prior. Styles was irritated by Crews’ interruption, but it was the relayed message from Shane McMahon that put him over the edge: Styles would have to stop talking and start fighting – against Crews – right then!
Two of the best athletes on SmackDown Live and in all of WWE went at it with fury, but it ultimately was Styles who continued to ride the wave, finishing Crews off with The Phenomenal Forearm, pushing on strongly toward his WWE World Championship Match at Backlash.
Following their tense verbal exchange last week that saw Bray Wyatt interrupt Randy Orton, The Viper turned the tables by cutting off The Eater of Worlds’ “Sermon for the Serpent” this week.
Orton and Wyatt went tit-for-tat on the microphone, with The Apex Predator calling out Wyatt’s claims of him being damaged, while Wyatt zoned in on Orton, claiming he was now the prey and that Wyatt would chop the serpent’s head off at Backlash.
Orton not only accepted Wyatt’s Backlash challenge, but was also ready to go immediately. However, much like last week, Wyatt mysteriously and ambiguously disappeared.
If you wanted to see The New Era encapsulated look no further than Ambrose vs. Corbin — two rugged Superstars simply looking to make a statement. And make a statement they did with a hard-hitting contest that certainly delivered for the WWE Universe.
After an impressive showing from Corbin where he certainly appeared to have the WWE World Champion reeling several times, Ambrose had Corbin reeling. However, Styles, who was on commentary, could not help but interject himself into the match both verbally and physically, ultimately doing so one too many times, accidentally kicking Corbin when aiming for Ambrose, causing a disqualifcation victory for The Lone Wolf.
Ambrose wasted no time in pouncing on Styles after the match, with the two immediately going at it, both on the floor and in the ring. A total melee ensued, also involving Corbin, that resulted in Ambrose getting the better of both Corbin and Styles, leaving The Phenomenal One in a rather precarious position on the ropes as the show concluded.
In other action... The Hype Bros def. The Vaudevillains in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Match... Natalya & Alexa Bliss def. Becky Lynch & Naomi... and Heath Slater & Rhyno def. The Headbangers in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Match.