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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
September 20, 2016
From Birmingham, Ala.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– A video package previewed tonight’s big matches: Dean Ambrose goes one-on-one with John Cena. Plus: For the Intercontinental Championship, Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz.
– Daniel Bryan was in the ring for a contract signing. Gosh, there’s another Smackdown brand PPV in less than three weeks. Bryan said the Smackdown Women’s Title would be defended for the first time at No Mercy and tonight, the first-ever Smackdown Women’s Title match contract signing. They should save the term “first-ever” for monumental happenings. Bryan chided the fans for booing when he said he’d try to keep things civil. He introduced the champion, Becky Lynch, first. Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at the announce desk ringside. Lynch assured Bryan she’d keep things civil, at his request.
Alexa Bliss was next to be introduced. As Bliss came out, they showed a clip of her earning a title shot last Tuesday on Smackdown. Bliss took a shot at Lynch for the champ saying she had “thick skin” before Bliss came out. Bliss said Lynch doesn’t fit the role of the champion. Oh great, THIS argument again. It’s now infecting the women’s divisions. Bliss said Lynch’s role is to succeed, and then fail miserably. She said Lynch’s life story is the loveable Superstar “who never gets it.” Bliss said Lynch was born to be a loser.
“Becky” chants from the Birmingham faithful. Lynch recited her life story of her overcoming the odds to this point. She said she wasn’t born to be a champion, but she believed in herself. Lynch said she wants the title more than Bliss and will rip Bliss’s head off at No Mercy. Bliss mockingly said Lynch was “so inspirational.” Bliss said she’ll expose Lynch for what she really is: A one-hit wonder. Bliss went to sign the contract, but hit Lynch with it (inside that hard folder!). Then she dumped the table onto Lynch. After Bliss began to head to the back, Lynch attacked her from behind. She didn’t get in much offense before Bliss escaped to the back. Lynch went back to the ring and signed her name on the dotted line. Lynch was her usual great self, but Bliss was tremendous on the mic.
– The Usos were walking backstage. They take on American Alpha, next. Alpha was shown, ultra-focused, heading down a separate hallway.
– Daniel Bryan was walking down the corridor backstage. Luckily, The Miz came upon him, otherwise, it would’ve been awkward having the camera track him for nothing to happen. Bryan brought up the newly-renegotiated contract with The Miz. Miz was unhappy with his slated title defense tonight. Bryan offered to cancel the match, thereby also canceling Miz’s new contract. The fine print apparently said Miz had to defend his title. It wasn’t clear that it meant he had to defend it “tonight,” making it weird to have fine print in the contract forcing the champion to actually defend his title. Miz walked off in a huff, compliant to Bryan’s request.
1 – THE USOS vs. AMERICAN ALPHA
Footage was shown during Jimmy and Jey’s entrance of them attacking Alpha two weeks ago after their tournament match. In a brief clip from earlier, Chad Gable said he’s still standing. Jason Jordan said they’re taking it to another level tonight. Gable brawled with both Usos at the bell. The winner of this match will face Heath Slater and Rhyno at No Mercy for the Smackdown tag titles. The tag champs were shown observing the match on a monitor backstage, Rhyno eating crackers and Cheese Whiz. Stereo dropkicks by Alpha. The Usos tied up Gable’s injured left leg in the ropes. They kicked at it, sending Gable to the ringside mat, screaming in pain. They went to break at 1:51 of the match.
Back at 5:48 with The Usos in control of Alpha via working Gable’s leg. JBL speculated that Gable may have come back too early from his injury. Gable back-dropped one of the Usos out of the ring and crawled to Jordan. Jey made the save, however. Tag was finally made at 7:15. Jordan took Jey down and released a belly-to-belly suplex on Jimmy. Jordan went for a belly-to-belly off the top, but couldn’t complete the deal. Tag was made to Jimmy after Jey landed a superkick. Splash off the top, but the pin was broken up by Gable. Jey threw Gable out of the ring, and Gable sold hit his knee on the way out. Another superkick to Jordan, but he shrugged it off and nailed Jimmy with a clothesline. Gable’s knee gave out in the corner and Jordan refused to tag him in. Again Gable was taken out. Double superkicks onto Jordan. Samoan splash by Jey for the win.
WINNERS: The Usos, at 10:39. Alpha lost, but not in a way that will hurt them tremendously. This was focused on working Gable’s leg; you have to imagine both teams will really be able to let it rip in a future PPV tag match.
Highlights of the match were shown.
– Backstage, Rhyno and Slater discussed facing The Usos again. Slater said it’s like the fairy tale, “Beauty and the Man-Beast.” He talked about wanting to get the WWE Universe behind them. He wanted to do an “I say Rhy, you say No” chant, similar to what the Usos used to do. Rhyno wasn’t having that. The Usos walked in, breathing heavily, saying they only lost at Backlash because they had to fight twice in one night. They were going to knock the crackers out of Rhyno’s hand. But instead, they offered to take out Slater’s knee if they didn’t give up the titles right there. Rhyno crumpled the crackers in his hand and got between Slater and the Usos. That caused the Usos to scurry away.
– Randy Orton takes on Erick Rowan tonight.
– Jack Swagger was ringside at the announce table.
2 – APOLLO CREWS vs. BARON CORBIN
No smiling or slapping hands for Crews on his way to the ring. They showed Baron Corbin’s pre-match attack on Crews last week and Swagger’s Smackdown appearance. Swagger said Corbin may have been the toughest guy on Smackdown before he showed up. Crews started off with right hands to Corbin. Crews fought with Corbin outside the ring, throwing him into the barricade. Back in the ring, but not for long, as Corbin kicked Crews out again. Corbin pelted Crews with forearms to the head. Corbin sent Crews’s rib cage into the ring post. End of Days finished it.
WINNER: Corbin, at 2:46. They pretty much telegraphed the finish by situating Swagger at ringside. Crews has not benefitted from the roster split thus far like many assumed he would.
Swagger went face-to-face with Corbin at ringside after the match, before Corbin quickly walked away.
– Ambrose was near a chain-link fence in a darkened area of the arena, “getting ready” for his match with Cena. Which amounted to pounding his fist in his hand several times.
– Also tonight: Ziggler vs. Miz for the I.C. Title.
– The announcers congratulated Rami Malek for his Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Mr. Robot.
– “When Curt Hawkins makes a fist, the Doomsday clock ticks ahead three minutes.” “At night, Dreamcatchers hang Curt Hawkins-catchers above their beds.” “2016’s most popular baby names are Curt Hawkins, Curt Hawkins and Curt Hawkins.” He did funny voices for each one.
– Nikki Bella and Naomi were walking backstage when Charly Caruso walked up to them. She asked them how they’d keep the momentum of the division going against Natalya and Carmella. Naomi said it’s glow time in the women’s division. She explained what that meant and said Nikki has the glow. But Natalya’s glow fizzled out a long time ago. She said she has an antidote for all Natalya’s hate. Nikki said Carmella is just out to make a name for herself. She talked about the injury she overcame and how she’s fighting every match as if it’s her last.
– Renee Young was backstage with Dolph Ziggler. She asked how tonight is going to be different. Ziggler said he has to give everything he has to win the title. He said anything can happen on Smackdown Live. He called Miz a scumbag and said Miz is desperate. But so is he, desperate to show he belongs. Ziggler said he wasn’t supposed to be World Champion or a Kent State Hall-of-Famer, but he was both. He said to prove how good he is, he’ll have to shut Miz up once and for all.
– Both Ziggler and Miz made their entrances for the I.C. Title match. It’s next.
– Formal ring introductions took place for the following contest.
3 – DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE MIZ – INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Ziggler mounted Miz on the match and Miz crawled to the ropes for a break. Ziggler kept using a mat-based attack. Ziggler found himself on the apron, then the floor after a Miz dropkick. Miz got great heat after a double axe-handle to Ziggler. Miz imitated Bryan’s buzzsaw kicks, but Ziggler caught the final one and felled the champ with a fist. Ziggler ran shoulder-first into the ring post. Running boot to a seated Ziggler for a two-count. Ziggler tried coming back, but again Ziggler was sent shoulder-first into the post. Corner dropkicks from Miz, again, a la Bryan. Another double axe-handle attempt, but Ziggler met him in mid-air with a dropkick. A clothesline took both Ziggler and Miz over the top rope and to ringside. They cut to break at 7:59 of the match.
Back at 10:54 with Ziggler attempting to suplex Miz off the top turnbuckle. Miz tried to turn it into a sunset flip/powerbomb. It turned into a slingshot sit-out powerbomb for a two-count. Miz tried to work the leg, but Ziggler surprised him and grabbed a submission. Miz frantically got to the ropes to break. Roll-up by Ziggler for two, then a Fameasser for a near-fall at 12:55. The crowd was really into that one. Miz struggled to stay on his feet. Maryse tried to spray Ziggler once again, like at Backlash, but the ref caught her. He then tossed Maryse from ringside. The two traded roll-ups. Ziggler with a Zig Zag for a very near-fall. Miz retrieved the I.C. Title and tried to leave, but Ziggler cut him off. He sent Miz into the steps. Miz, title still in hand, was rolled into the ring. As the ref got the title out of the ring, Miz sprayed Ziggler with whatever Maryse had, then hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: Miz, at 15:57. On par with their Backlash match, for sure. For as much as the perception is that the booking has damaged Ziggler, the crowd was into him here. There has to be something Bryan can do here to make things right with Ziggler/punish Miz for his actions, right?
– Cena vs. Ambrose is tonight.
– Next, Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan. Orton was walking backstage, preparing to face Rowan.
– WWE is going gold to promote the fight against pediatric cancer all month.
4 – ERICK ROWAN vs. RANDY ORTON
No entrance for Rowan. He had a sheep mask that was made up to look like a clown. Orton tried an RKO early to no avail. Spinning slam by Rowan. Dropkick took Orton off his feet and Orton rolled to ringside. After dominating the first 1:47, Rowan was caught with a DDT on the ropes as he reentered the ring. Orton readied for, then connected on the RKO.
WINNER: Orton, at 2:21. No surprise here, though having Rowan take the entire match until the DDT and RKO was a little odd. This gets Orton a win heading into, presumably, a match with Wyatt at No Mercy.
The lights went out after the match, and when they came on, all that was left of Rowan was his sheep mask. Wyatt then appeared on the Titan-Tron, giving Orton mock applause. Wyatt said Orton is still a man who can die at any moment, whereas he’s a god that can never die.
– Next, Nikki Bella and Naomi face Carmella and Natalya.
5 – NATALYA & CARMELLA vs. NIKKI BELLA & NAOMI
Naomi was the only one to get an entrance. Nikki hit Nattie with a forearm right at the bell. She kicked Carmella out of the ring as she had Nattie in a fireman’s carry, dropping Nattie in the process. Natalya locked Nikki in the Sharpshooter, but Carmella pulled her out of the ring and sent Nikki into the barricade. The bell rang at this point with no official decision, though JBL mentioned a DQ.
WINNERS: Bella and Naomi, via disqualification, at :33. That was a mess.
Post-match, Naomi recovered and knocked Natalya (in the ring) down, then chased of Carmella to check on Nikki.
– Caruso interviewed A.J. Styles backstage. He used the dictionary definition of the term “rival” to point out the fact that he has no rival on Smackdown. He said he’s superior to everyone in every way. Styles said the only way the title will be taken from him is if he’s not beaten to lose it. He said he’s going to sit back and enjoy Cena and Ambrose ripping each other apart tonight.
– John Cena came out. He takes on Dean Ambrose, next.
6 – JOHN CENA vs. DEAN AMBROSE
“Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chant broke out at the outset of the match. Cena went for an early Attitude Adjustment. Ambrose countered with an attempted Dirty Deeds. Neither man could hit their finish. Cena ended up running into the ring post and convalescing outside the ring as the show cut to its final break.
Back at 5:51 of the match with Ambrose dealing rights and lefts to the chin of Cena. STF applied by Cena. Ambrose ushered Cena out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ambrose landed a cross-body. Cena rolled through and hit the AA on Ambrose for two. Cena tried a second one, but Ambrose countered into Dirty Deeds for a near-fall. Ambrose and Cena traded fisticuffs. Cena went for an AA again, but Ambrose ended up rolling Cena up for three. Wow. Clean as a sheet.
WINNER: Ambrose, at 10:10.
Out of nowhere, with Cena at ringside, Styles attacked him, diving off the barricade and taking out Cena with a forearm. Then he entered the ring and Pele kicked Ambrose. Daniel Bryan walked out from backstage. He said that last week, Dean Ambrose was promised a one-on-one World Title rematch by Shane McMahon. And that match will happen next Tuesday on Smackdown Live. Ah, Ambrose’s win makes a lot more sense now. Styles wasn’t happy about Bryan’s announcement. Ambrose recovered and hit Styles with Dirty Deeds. The finish of the main event was replayed, as was Styles’ attack on both men and Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds to Styles. The camera focused on Ambrose with his music playing to close the show.
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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.