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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
September 13, 2016
From Philadelphia PA.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– A video package covering this past Sunday’s Backlash was shown, with each match (except the first tag match, I think) on the show getting a few stills into the highlight package.
– Smackdown Open.
– Ring announcing Greg Hamilton introduced the self-proclaimed Face that Runs the Place, and the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, A.J. Styles. As Styles came out, Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at ringside. “The champ…is…here!” Styles started his promo with a shot at John Cena. Styles played the “I told you so” game. He was at his cockiest here. “I’m the champ that runs the camp,” is the catchphrase he tried to get over, but it just doesn’t have the same ring. Once he’d repeated his new mantra a few times, John Cena’s music hit and he came out to oppose Styles on the microphone.
After a pause for the mixed crowd reaction, Cena said Styles has something of his and he’d like it back. Styles gave back Cena’s headband (not the original, as we learned on the post-Backlash PWTorch Livecast…that’s in the possession of Jonny Fairplay). Cena said he was talking about the championship. Cena said his one goal left in WWE is to become the 16-time champ. Dean Ambrose’s music was cued up next and he walked to the ring, scowl on his face.
Ambrose went right up to Styles and said they’re now enemies, and he said he’ll make A.J.’s life miserable. He said he’s going to take back the title with interest. Cena turned him around mid-promo. Cena brought up the irony of Ambrose crotching Styles a few weeks ago on Smackdown, then complaining about losing to a low blow. He said he’s glad Steve Austin called him out a few weeks ago on the Stone Cold Podcast, then said all Ambrose has proven is that he has no balls. Ambrose said he has no patience for Cena’s sanctimonious bull-crap, then called him a “lazy part-timer.” That’s worse than questioning his manhood!
Ambrose said Cena can’t keep up anymore. He said WWE uses Cena as a corporate puppet and that he can’t get it done in the ring anymore. He said Cena couldn’t get past “this chump” (Styles) at Summerslam, asking what makes Cena think he can get by him. Shane McMahon’s music interrupted and he shuffled to the ring. McMahon mentioned the emotion running high amongst all three of them. He told Styles that he and Cena tore the house down at Summerslam. Shane said he did the same with Ambrose at Backlash.
To Ambrose, he said Dean is owed a one-on-one rematch at a later date. At No Mercy, Styles will be defending the title against John Cena…and Ambrose in a Triple Threat Match. However, tonight, Cena and Ambrose will team up to take on Styles and a partner of his choosing. If he can find one. But if he can’t, the General Manager will appoint one for him. Pretty long opening segment for Smackdown, clocking in at about 19 minutes (counting the Backlash video package). But it was newsworthy.
– Randy Orton will address the Bray Wyatt attack at Backlash tonight.
– Tonight, a Fatal Five-Way to determine the #1 Contender for the Smackdown Women’s Title
1 – THE USOS vs. THE HYPE BROS
No entrance for either team. Wonder if the opening segment ran long. Ryder’s left knee was taped from Sunday, and Jey Uso immediately went after it. Jimmy and Jey were both wearing white pants and red shoes, with Jimmy wearing a red top. JBL called them “Hype Brothers.” Ranallo plugged Heath Slater signing his Smackdown Live contract later in the show. Mojo Rawley made the hot tag and sent Jimmy flying with a tackle. Rawley avoided a Jey splash and ended up running into Jimmy in the corner. Jimmy came back and superkicked Mojo. Tag to Jey, who splashed Mojo off the top for the victory.
WINNERS: The Usos, at 2:21. Just a quick match to get the Usos back over after their loss to Slater and Rhyno on Sunday. They’ll have to carry the heel side of the Smackdown tag division for a while.
Replays were shown of the finish and what led to it.
– As mentioned by Mauro during the first match, Slater signs his Smackdown contract coming up.
– The Miz and Maryse were walking backstage. We’ll hear from Miz, next.
– “Stop signs say ‘please and thank you’ to Curt Hawkins.” “As cubs, wolves are told the tale of the wolf who cried Curt Hawkins.” “Curt Hawkins has been known to scare clocks into ticking counterclockwise.” Those were all said by Hawkins himself in a backstage vignette, with the last one said while he bent over and looked through his own legs. He said it’s time for Smackdown Live to face the facts.
– The Miz came to the ring with Maryse. Stills of Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler from Backlash were shown. Miz said most of the WWE Universe has been calling him a coward lately. “Coward” chant didn’t really catch fire with the live crowd. Miz said he left Backlash with his wife by his side and the I.C. Title over his shoulder. He said he’s held the title longer than 132 former champions, like Pat Patterson, Triple H, and Ziggler. He said the title is more prestigious than at any time in history. Ziggler came out to his music.
He cut a promo on his way to the ring. He said Miz is trying to sell himself to everyone in the building, but deep down, Miz knows neither the guys in the back nor the WWE Universe will ever see him as a top guy. Miz said anytime he’s on the show, he’s the main event. He said if he lived and died by what the fans thought of him, he’d be six feet under, like Ziggler’s career. The fans liked that shot. Ziggler admitted he was in a slump, but said Miz’s reign with have an asterisk because of how he’s won the title. Ziggler wanted another shot at the title, no excuses.
Maryse interrupted and was booed heavily. She’s one of the more over heels on the brand. Miz told the fans to shut their mouths while his wife spoke. But before she could get any further, Daniel Bryan came out. Bryan said Maryse cheated at Backlash, and so Ziggler will get his rematch. It’s nice to see the authority figures pointing out the cheating on Sunday (Miz and Styles) and doing something about it. Miz brought up the renegotiation stunt he tried at Backlash and said Bryan won’t get what he wants until Miz gets what he wants. Miz said he wouldn’t defend the title until Bryan acquiesced. Bryan entered the ring, causing Miz and Maryse to split. They left through the crowd.
– Styles walked up to Baron Corbin backstage. Styles said he knows Corbin has a rematch with Apollo Crews tonight, but offered him something better: A shot to tag with him tonight. Corbin woodenly said he’d rather be A.J.’s opponent because he wants his title.
– Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin was scheduled next. No entrance for Corbin. Corbin attacked Crews before the bell, while Crews was posing for the fans on the second rope. Corbin delivered End of Days to Crews at ringside. As Corbin stood mid-ring, Jack Swagger’s music played he walked out wearing a backward hat, black t-shirt and jeans. Corbin left the ring when Swagger stood up to him. Swagger said as of 12:01 am, he’s officially a member of the Smackdown roster. He talked about being an All-American wrestler with a smokin’ hot wife. He told fans to forget what they think they know about him. He said Smackdown is a land of opportunity and he’s going to be a big problem. Actually, he said, “we’re” going to be a big problem. Then he did the “we the people.” First, he needs to lose the “we the people” thing. Second, that promo was definitely…different…for Swagger. Shades of the Monday Night War when guys would switch companies and make their first appearance in street clothes.
– The main event is Ambrose and Cena vs. Styles and a partner of his choice.
– Becky Lynch was walking backstage, title around her waist. We’ll hear from her next.
– Tonight, Baron Corbin will join Renee Young on Talking Smack on the WWE Network, to address the Smackdown Live signing of Jack Swagger.
– Becky Lynch came out. Charly Caruso was in the ring to interview Lynch. She asked Lynch how she feels and whether or not the moment has sunk in yet. “You deserve it” chants from the crowd. She said she was in the fight of her life Sunday. Lynch said the saying “the journey is greater than the destination” never took her journey, and her destination is pretty sweet. She said she’s a fighter and implored the women to come at her. Naomi danced her way to the ring for the Fatal Five-Way Match. We’re three minutes from the top of the second hour, and we’ve had just over two minutes of in-ring action on this show.
2 – NAOMI vs. NIKKI BELLA vs. NATALYA vs. ALEXA BLISS vs. CARMELLA – FATAL FIVE-WAY TO DETERMINE THE #1 CONTENDER TO THE SMACKDOWN LIVE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Bliss was back in her Harley Quinn outfit. Lynch was seated ringside to observe this match. Nikki attacked Carmella at the bell, while Nattie and Bliss double-teamed Naomi. Natalya rolled up Nikki for two. Snap suplexes by Natalya on Nikki and Bliss. Nikk and Carmella went face-to-face, but Carmella escaped before Nikki could do further damage. So Nikki went after her and launched herself off the stairs and into Carmella with a clothesline. Nikki delivered an electric chair to Naomi. Bliss snuck in and covered Naomi for two. Enzuigiri by Naomi to Bliss. Full-nelson bomb followed. Bella Buster by Nikki on Nattie got her a very near fall. Nikki kicked out of a pin attempt following a Rear View from Naomi. Carmella superkicked Nikki, but Bliss tossed Carmella out of the ring and stole the pin.
WINNER: Bliss, at 5:11. Realistically, it was either Bliss or Natalya, and Natalya and Lynch was just recently done. Certainly a vote of confidence for Bliss, who impressed at Backlash.
The finish was replayed.
– Styles was still backstage, searching for a partner. He walked up to Kane. He asked Kane to tag up with him tonight. Kane simply laughed and walked away.
– Up next, Heath Slater’s Smackdown Live contract signing.
– Shane McMahon was in the ring with a contract signing table and the special carpet. He talked about Smackdown Live being a land of opportunity. He said one individual has seized that opportunity. McMahon introduced Heath Slater, who came out with his tag partner, Rhyno. On his way to the ring, his facts graphic noted Slater “has 7 kids (that he knows of).” The crowd chanted “ECW” for Rhyno. McMahon asked Slater to sign on the dotted line. Slater did so, with the crowd politely popping.
Slater thanked McMahon and Bryan, his beautiful wife Beulah, and Rhyno. Slater said they’d take on anyone, anywhere. Rhyno thanked all of his kids. He began naming them off as if he were Cletus from The Simpsons. The Ascension interrupted Slater’s rant. They have new face paint! They wanted to take Slater up on his “anytime, anywhere, anybody” offer. Slater wasn’t hot to accept right now. McMahon disagreed with Slater and got the crew to set up the ring for the match. It’s next.
3 – HEATH SLATER & RHYNO vs. THE ASCENSION – SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The match was joined in progress out of break. Konnor and Viktor double-teamed Slater with a weird slam-splash combo (I think Konnor dropped Slater too early). Rhyno got the crowd to cheer Slater. Slater kicked Viktor away and made the tag to Rhyno. Spinebuster for a two-count. Slater jumped Konnor, who broke up the pin. Gore to Viktor, and the champs retain.
WINNERS: Rhyno and Slater, at 2:09. Knowing WWE’s booking, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop with Slater and for them to pull the rug out from under him. Thus far, it’s been a great ride.
– Continuing his tag partner search backstage, Styles came up on Daniel Bryan. Styles said he doesn’t need a partner tonight. Bryan said he’s appointed a partner for Styles tonight. It was former Braun Strowman jobber James Ellsworth. Styles was disgusted and walked away. “You’re going to do great,” said Bryan to Ellsworth.
– Randy Orton has a message for Bray Wyatt, next.
– The announcers talked about the Cruiserweight Classic live finale tomorrow night on the WWE Network. Otunga picked T.J. Perkins for the win. JBL chose Kota Ibushi.
– Randy Orton headed to the ring. Stills were shown of Wyatt backstage after the Orton attack, as well as his match with Kane at Backlash. Orton said all Wyatt does is talk. Well, he DID attack Orton backstage at Backlash. He claimed Wyatt was afraid of him, which is why he attacked Orton from behind. He said Wyatt isn’t the first to try, nor will he be the last, to end Orton’s career. He said if Wyatt has the balls, he should come down and face his fear.
Wyatt responded on the Titan-Tron. He said a wise man knows when to stay down. He said he gave Orton a way out, and all he had to do was stay down. Instead, Orton chose to embarrass Wyatt. Wyatt said he knows what he must do. He told Orton not to sleep. Wyatt showed up in front of the announce desk with the lights in the arena still darkened. Orton challenged him to get into the ring. Wyatt seemed ready to go, but after the lights went out again, Erick Rowan appeared in the ring behind Orton and he ambushed Orton. So I guess the tease of Rowan and Wyatt breaking up isn’t leading anywhere? Rowan’s time on offense was brief, as Orton hit the RKO to stand tall with Wyatt having disappeared.
– Cena and Ambrose vs. Styles and…Ellsworth? Hey, he made it into the graphic. Match is next.
– Alexa Bliss will be joining Baron Corbin as guests on Talking Smack after Smackdown on the WWE Network.
– A.J. Styles came to the ring first. James Ellsworth was announced and he started coming down the ramp. He was attacked from behind by The Miz. He told Bryan through the camera that he’s the main event. Miz gave Ellsworth a Skull Crushing Finale onto the ramp. Miz and Styles shook hands in the ring. All entrances were made for the final match, which takes place next.
4 – A.J. STYLES & THE MIZ vs. JOHN CENA & DEAN AMBROSE
This match was also joined in progress, with Miz having his way with Cena. Kick to the knee and a low DDT for two. Styles cheap-shotted Cena with a kick as Miz had the ref distracted. Ambrose tagged in, but it wasn’t a great pop or anything. He caught a Styles second-rope cross-body, and delivered a swinging back-breaker. Elbow off the top for two. Outside the ring, Ambrose sent Miz into the barricade. It allowed Styles time to recover. He hit the Pele kick to Ambrose as they cut to break with a little over three minutes of the match having been shown.
Both Ambrose and Miz were down out of break. Ambrose, instead of going for the tag, tried to continue punishing Miz. Miz came off the top with a double axe-handle as Cena sold frustration with Ambrose’s hard-headedness. Styles tagged in and knocked Cena off the apron to further rile him up. Telling a simple story here leading into the upcoming No Mercy Triple-Threat title match. Styles cut off an Ambrose comeback attempt. Ambrose finally landed a swinging neck-breaker before tagging Cena. Ambrose back-dropped Styles out of the ring. Ambrose hit a suicide dive while Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Miz. Not surprised in the least he took the pin here.
WINNERS: Cena and Ambrose, 9:37 shown.
Ambrose kept an eye on Cena post-match as Cena posed on the second turnbuckle. When he got down, Ambrose hit him with Dirty Deeds. The crowd booed that heavily. The closing moments of the match were replayed, as well as Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds to Cena. The first No Mercy graphic was shown for the upcoming Triple-Threat title match. Cena was still selling in the ring while Ambrose focused his attention on Styles and the title.
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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.