KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
September 6, 2016
From Lincoln, NE.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Smackdown Open.
– Daniel Bryan was in the ring, in the middle of conducting a “Yes!” chant. The Smackdown Women’s Title was on a podium in the ring with him. He talked about the first ever women’s Six-Pack Elimination Challenge at Backlash. Bryan discussed how the match will progress vis-à-vis eliminations. The winner will be crowned champion. But tonight, all the women in that match will be involved in a six-woman tag match. Before that, there will be a women’s championship forum. First up: Becky Lynch.
Lynch thought for sure Nikki Bella would be first. Bryan said Lynch was the first Smackdown draft pick amongst the women. Bryan plugged the Total Bellas season premiere. He asked Lynch what it would mean being the first Smackdown Women’s Champion. She talked about all that has happened to her in WWE, including the losses, stitches, and those who have turned on her. She said everything she has fought for has led her to this moment. She said Sunday would be the greatest night of her life. Natalya’s music interrupted and she came out.
Nattie, from the aisle, said the worst night of her career was the WWE Draft, because she got stuck with Lynch. She said Smackdown Live was supposed to be her kingdom. She made fun of Lynch’s “cheap, unnatural hair color.” Lynch said Nattie has changed and asked what has happened to her. All of a sudden the camera caught Alexa Bliss already at ringside. No music for her I guess. Bliss took shots at both Natalya and Lynch, as well as Bryan, calling him “a Bella trophy husband.”
Carmella was in the ring by the time she interrupted. She bragged about taking out Nikki Bella. Lynch broke in and asked Bliss if she was going to let Carmella interrupt her like that. Bliss and Carmella then went at it verbally, eventually involving Natalya. Nattie finally realized Lynch was trying to turn them against each other. They advanced on Lynch as the crowd chanted “Becky.” Naomi ran out to stand by Lynch’s side, as did Nikki. Natalya punched Nikki in the face, leading to a brief fracas. The babyfaces stood tall in the end. Nice to see the women getting multiple segments in a show, but this was not the writing of women at their best.
– Backstage at catering (or the snack table as it were), Dean Ambrose walked in and sipped someone’s coffee, then poured a ton of sugar in it when he didn’t like the taste. He handed it back to the guy and said “you’re welcome.”
– Tonight, Ambrose and A.J. Styles will meet in the middle of the ring.
– Bryan and Shane McMahon were discussing the opening segment backstage. Shane was stumbling all over his lines. The Miz and Maryse walked in and complained about them worrying more about the Women’s Title than the Intercontinental Title. He complained about having to defend against “a loser like Dolph Ziggler” at Backlash. Miz thought Bryan was doing this to spite him. Bryan said unlike Miz, the women out there were willing to fight, but when Ziggler challenged him last week, MIz walked away. Bryan volunteered that Miz can hand over the title if he doesn’t want to defend it Sunday. Miz’s music played, so he grudgingly walked away.
As Miz came to the ring, Dolph Ziggler was shown at the announce desk with Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga.
1 – THE MIZ vs. APOLLO CREWS
Crews with a shoulder tackle and Miz crawled to the ropes to create separation. Ziggler’s attitude seems that he’s resigned to losing but will always give 100%. That must be reassuring to his fans. Crews showed some great athleticism, followed by a dropkick. Miz held his mouth in pain as he fled to Maryse at ringside. Moonsault from the apron onto Miz’s arm. I’m really getting to despise that move. They went to break at 2:06 of the match.
Back at 5:59 with Miz grabbing Crews by the nose, leading to a punch. Neckbreaker combo by Miz for two. JBL claimed it was Ziggler who re-ignited Miz’s fire, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. Sunset flip by Miz, rolled through by Crews, with Crews hitting one of his own. After a near-fall, Miz delivered a big boot. Corner clothesline by Miz. Ziggler reminisced about his previous gimmicks as a cheerleader and caddy. Crews fired back on offense, hitting a corner splash and a flying clothesline. Miz elbowed out of a suplex attempt and went to ringside. He open-hand slapped Ziggler. Crews went outside and Miz pushed Crews into Ziggler. Crews was sent shoulder-first into the ring-post by Miz. Back in, Skull Crushing Finale.
WINNER: Miz, at 10:12. This was decent, but Ziggler’s character is all over the place. When Crews fires up for his comeback, he really looks good and can get the fans behind him even if they hadn’t been during the match.
Miz and Maryse were outside the ring post-match with ZIggler in the ring. The title was still in the ring. Miz whispered something to Maryse. She went in and got the title while Ziggler called Miz a coward off-mic.
– Renee Young was at the Talking Smack set with A.J. Styles. She cued up Styles crossing paths after the main event of Smackdown last week. Styles yelled at a stage-hand, blaming him for giving Young the footage she just ran. He took the headset off the man and said if he smashed it, the guy would probably get fired. He pushed the guy away as they faded out.
– Ranallo plugged Connor’s Cure and the “Get the Gear, Give the Gear” campaign.
– The announcers threw it to a video package of American Alpha.
– The Usos were chatting backstage when Charly Caruso came up to them. She simply made a statement that they’d be facing American Alpha later on in the semi-finals of the tag tournament, then stuck a mic in their face without even asking a question. It’s so weird how the backstage announcers are produced. The Usos talked about AA being drafted ahead of them and certainly came off as babyfaces in this promo.
– In his smoky, anonymous bunker, Bray Wyatt was in his rocking chair. He talked about what life was like back in the day, how men had to scour the woods for their next meal. But in the woods was another creature, an apex predator. He said they both had the same mentality: survival. But the predator had no morality or conscience. It was described as “survival of the fittest.” But, he said, mankind learned to adapt. And those once great predators became nothing more than playthings. He told Randy Orton that history repeats itself and that Orton is no longer the great predator. He said he is the evolution of man, a god. Predator becomes prey.
– Nikki Bella came out. Six-woman tag action follows.
– Becky Lynch was finishing up her entrance out of break. No one else came out during the break. Naomi followed her, then the heels
2 – NIKKI BELLA & BECKY LYNCH & NAOMI vs. NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS & CARMELLA
Bliss pie-faced Naomi to start the match. Naomi responded with her series of bicycle kicks. Otunga called the match Sunday a must-win for Lynch. Waist-lock take-down by Naomi on Carmella. Lynch and Carmella did a series of counters wherein Lynch ended up backsliding Carmella for two. Roll-up by Lynch, also for two. Nikki tagged in and she went hard after Carmella, but Carmella managed to escape Nikki’s wrath. The show went to break at 2:19 of the match.
Back at 5:41 with Lynch working offense against Carmella. Bex-ploder for two. The heels managed to team up to take out Lynch. Hair-pull take-down by the double-team of Carmella and Natalya. Next it was Bliss and Nattie showing solid teamwork. Small package by Lynch for two. “Becky” chant as she fought from behind in a long heat segment. Lynch missed an enzuigiri, but Bliss missed an elbowdrop. Tag to Nikki at 11:11. She missed a corner charge but fought back with a forearm and a kick off the second rope. Jaw-breaker by Bliss. Carmella tagged in, but Nikki caught her in a fireman’s carry and turned it into a cutter for two, with the pin broken up by Bliss. Everyone got involved here. Once it was down to Carmella and Nikki, Carmella locked in the Code of Silence. Nikki tapped.
WINNERS: Natalya, Carmella, and Bliss, at 12:54. I liked the decision to go with Carmella submitting Nikki there. The crowd stayed with the match despite the length and the relative newcomers in it. It helped that Lynch is a babyface over with the crowd and the heels got heat on her for most of the match.
They replayed some key moments late.
– Tonight, a meeting of the minds with Ambrose and Styles.
– They Hype Bros take on Heath Slater & Rhyno in a Tag-Team Tournament Match later on.
– The Usos were walking backstage. They also showed American Alpha sauntering down the hallway. The two teams meet in the tournament semi-finals, next.
3 – THE USOS vs. AMERICAN ALPHA – TAG-TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL MATCH
The two teams shook hands prior to the match, but with Alpha’s backs turned as soon as the bell rang, The Usos attacked him. Alpha recovered quickly and Grand Amplitude ended The Usos’ run.
WINNERS: Alpha, at :28. Shocking. I was settled in for a good, long match. I guess they’re just teasing us, but I don’t see Alpha getting a great match out of either of the other semi-final teams at Backlash.
Post-match, The Usos offered a handshake. Alpha accepted, but The Usos turned heel by attacking both men. Jason Jordan was posted shoulder-first. They went after Chad Gable’s knee next. Gable was locked in a half-crab while one of The Usos came off the top and splashed the other. Finally, a number of refs came out to run off The Usos. The ringside doc, as well as Jordan, came in to check on Gable.
– A replay was shown of what happened moments ago in the finish of the match, and the post-match attack.
– The announcers were shown solemnly addressing the actions of the Usos.
– Randy Orton was walking backstage when Caruso approached him. She asked for his reaction to what Wyatt said earlier on. Orton tried to speak Wyatt’s language by giving a parable of his own. It was about a hunter, a rabbit, and a snake. But they didn’t walk into a bar. He said he’d wait patiently for Wyatt at Backlash, and Wyatt won’t know what hit him.
– Fandango was in the ring. He said Tyler Breeze couldn’t be there tonight. The fans actually booed. He said Breeze is in Dubai, looking for the finest silks for their fashion line. But he did have someone to dance with him tonight. It was some random, middle-aged, tattooed woman named Patty. She said the tattoos meant she liked nature. Fandango asked if her hips were as wild as her tattoos. Fandango cued the music and encouraged her to dance. She ended up dabbing after doing some moves. Fandango said her hips were full of lies. She said her hips were the truth and he can’t handle the truth. He excused her from the ring and asked if anyone else had fire in their belly to dance. Kane came out. Fandango called Kane “a big ol’ red fiery dancin’ machine.” He asked if Kane wanted to dance. Instead, Kane chokeslammed him. “Go Big Red” chant from the Cornhusker faithful.
– Paranoid A.J. Styles continued his warpath backstage. He thought two guys on phones were looking at pictures of him. It was one of the guy’s family. Styles whipped the phone at the wall and gave them the, “don’t you know who I am?” routine. He told the guy to pick up his broken phone.
– Next, the other semi-final Tag Team Title Tournament Match.
– The video package on Connor The Crusher aired for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
– The exterior of Pinnacle Bank Arena was shown.
– Curt Hawkins Facts: “Curt Hawkins tells his GPS where to go”; “Ghosts are reported to have had Curt Hawkins sightings”; “Forest fires worry about the spread of Curt Hawkins.” He returns to Smackdown Live next week.
4 – THE HYPE BROS vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO – TAG-TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL MATCH
The Slater clan was shown at ringside. Slater caught Zack Ryder with an atomic drop. He ran into a double-knee from Ryder, and a middle-rope dropkick. Tackle by Mojo Rawley took out Slater’s knee. He used some football moves to keep Slater from his corner, then clotheslined him over the top. Rhyno ran into a Rawley clothesline at ringside. The Hype Bros were in control as they went to break 1:30 into the match.
Back at 5:08 of the match with Rawley holding Slater in a rear chinlock. Corner splash from Rawley missed. The crowd was firmly in the Slater/Rhyno camp. Big pop when Rhyno tagged in. Spear on Ryder in the corner. Spinebuster by Rhyno, but Rawley broke up the pin. Ryder schoolboyed Slater for two. Rhyno pulled Slater out of the way of a Broski Boot. Rhyno tagged himself in as the crowd chanted “Gore.” He obliged, taking out Ryder and picking up the win.
WINNERS: Slater and Rhyno, at 7:03.
Slater celebrated with his family at ringside. The tournament graphic was shown, with American Alpha vs. Rhyno & Slater in the finals on Sunday. The announcers reacted to the finals match-up, and again talked about The Usos attacking American Alpha. They replayed that attack.
– At the Talking Smack desk, Renee Young said Shane McMahon was told that American Alpha is “questionable” for Backlash. She said McMahon would join her to give a further update on Talking Smack. The Usos invaded the set and said American Alpha was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He said the fans turned their back on them after they’ve busted their ass for six years trying to get respect. “We done with that,” they said.
– Ambrose was getting his hair done backstage, readying for his face-to-face encounter with Styles.
– Dean Ambrose came out, followed by A.J. Styles. Greg Hamilton referred to Styles as, “the man who would like to be announced as The Face that Runs the Place.” Charly Caruso was in the ring to officiate this face-to-face confrontation. Ambrose said things could get a little ugly and said they’ll take it from here. Caruso put up a bit of a protest, but ended up leaving the ring. Styels was handed a bag by Ambrose, a gift of sorts. It was a bowling trophy, and a participation trophy at that. He said he felt bad for Styles, saying that’s the only trophy Styles will ever get from him. Styles chastised Ambrose for treating this as a joke.
Ambrose reminded Styles he looked like a joke last week and he showed that footage again. Ambrose said he was just trying to give Styles a high-pitched voice to go with his soccer-mom haircut. “Soccer mom” chant ensued. Styles showed off the arm-band he procured from beating John Cena. He said THAT was HIS trophy. Styles said the trophy over Ambrose’s shoulder (the WWE World Title) would be the one he’s taking from Ambrose on Sunday. Styles said Cena took him seriously and he beat him clean in the middle of the ring. “You’re not John Cena,” Styles said of Ambrose.
Ambrose agreed, saying Styles beat Cena in a wrestling match. But that’s not the game he plays. He fights in a battlefield. And the only time he and Styles were in the ring together, Ambrose came out on top. He said he’ll drive Styles’ head into the canvas like a railroad spike. He said they don’t give trophies to “the face that comes in second place.” That’s a deep burn. Styles kicked Ambrose low. He broke the trophy over Ambrose’s knee. Styles lorded over Ambrose as Ambrose held himself in pain.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He is the host of “Moonlighting with Greg Parks,” a PWTorch VIP-exclusive audio show posted each weekend. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.