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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
September 27, 2016
From Cleveland, Ohio
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– The show began with a preview of tonight’s main event, a rematch from Backlash in which A.J. Styles puts his WWE World Title on the line against former champion Dean Ambrose.
– Smackdown Open.
– In the arena, Randy Orton made his way out first. As he sauntered down the aisle, Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at the announce desk. “Randy” chants greeted Orton once his music ceased. He surmised that Bray Wyatt plays mind-games in order to cause his opponents to lose focus. Not only that, but Wyatt is in fact the one afraid. He said people are afraid of many things, including snakes. However, Wyatt is afraid of him. Orton demanded Wyatt come to the ring to face his fear. The lights went out and Wyatt appeared on the Titan-Tron.
He had a story for Orton – Hansel and Gretel. After the story, Wyatt said Orton is in no positon to make demands. He showed off an hourglass and said time was running out on Orton. Then he began to sing “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Orton angrily left the ring and walked, with a purpose, to the back. The announcers reacted to what we had just seen.
– Dean Ambrose was walking backstage. Charly Caruso came up to him and asked him what’s going through his mind before his title match. Nothing PG is going through his mind, according to Ambrose. Ambrose took a few shots at John Cena and said Styles stole his title by kicking him low at Backlash. And tonight, The Face that Runs the Place is going to be the Guy Who’s Going to Cry.
– Eight-man tag action is next, with Rhyno and Heath Slater teaming with American Alpha to face The Usos and The Ascension.
1 – AMERICAN ALPHA & RHYNO & HEATH SLATER vs. THE ASCENSION & THE USOS
Kind of odd entrance order here, as American Alpha, Rhyno and Slater, and The Ascension were all in the ring out of break, but Slater’s music was playing. The Usos entrance was shown, which means The Ascension either entered first or between babyface team entrances. Anyway, as The Usos came out, they showed the team getting a victory of Alpha last week. It’ll be Usos vs. Slater and Rhyno at No Mercy.
The Usos continued working on differentiating their look, and even The Ascension had new face paint. Otunga FINALLY gave us details of his conversation with Rikishi that he never got a chance to finish last week. Totally not worth the wait. Jason Jordan worked over Jimmy (wearing a shirt) with an arm-bar. Jey (no shirt) tagged in and Alpha hit a double monkey-flip on them. Chad Gable locked in an Alberto Del Rio-like arm-bar on Jey over the top rope. Once again, The Usos found success going after the knee of Gable outside the ring. They cut to break with Gable selling the knee at 2:39 of the match.
Back at 6:26 with Konnor and Viktor working over Gable in the heel corner. They cut off a Gable comeback, but he finally made the tag to Slater at 8:42. Running high knee to Jey. then a neck-breaker. Konnor broke up a pin. Each man hit a move or two until it was down again to Slater and Jey. Jey missed a superkick but Jimmy made a blind tag and superkicked Slater. Double-team to take out Slater’s knee. Tequila Sunrise submission applied by Jimmy forced Slater to tap.
WINNERS: The Usos and The Ascension, at 9:57. I like the addition of the submission finish. The Ascension’s stock rises by virtue of associating with the top tag team acts. And Slater losing here makes sense given his character and the direction of the title feud.
Replays were shown of the match.
– Caruso approached John Cena backstage. He’ll be ringside for tonight’s match. Cena gave a bit of a scouting report on both competitors and said he’ll be prepared to make history at No Mercy. He wants to use No Mercy to become the 16-time WWE Champion.
– Backstage, Maryse and The Miz approached a picture of LeBron James on the wall listing all of his accomplishments. That popped the crowd. Miz waved over an assistant who had a picture of Miz and Miz was silently instructing him to place it over the LeBron picture. Funny. The crowd, of course, booed.
– Backstage, Orton walked into what appeared to be a locker room doubling as Wyatt’s compound on the night. There was some sort of weapon attached to one of the side of the lockers. Orton turned it as if it would open a secret passageway. Instead, he just wandered away as someone in the crowd yelled “turn on a light.” When the camera went back to where he twisted the attachment, it was back in its original position. Then the camera panned further to the right and Erick Rowan was standing there in his sheep mask.
– Back to Wyatt, hourglass in hand. He said Orton has never been good at taking direction. He said Orton is being sucked into the underbelly of life, and he may found out what that’s like tonight.
2 – NATALYA & CARMELLA vs. NAOMI & NIKKI BELLA
The heels were already in the ring. They showed a pre-taped inset promo where Natalya said Naomi is “all glow and no show.” Carmella said she’ll make Nikki disappear forever. The background in the shot was like an early 90s promo. After the babyfaces came to the ring, an inset promo with them was shown. Naomi said she always shines bright. Nikki said the two of them are fearless and Carmella is fuel to keep her legacy burning forever. Gag-worthy.
Carmella got one over on Naomi and celebrated a little too much. Naomi tripped Carmella to bring her back down to earth. Face-buster by Nikki on Carmella. The heels regrouped at ringside as they went to break at 1:28 of the match.
Back at 4:59 with Natalya celebrating in the ring while Naomi nursed a leg injury outside the ring. Nattie dropped Naomi with a slam outside the ring. Naomi tried to make a tag, but Natalya prevented it. Carmella tagged in and choked Naomi in the middle rope, sitting on the back of her neck and taunting Nikki. Inside cradle by Naomi for two. A version of the Bronco Buster in the corner by Carmella. Another near-fall on a roll-up by Naomi. Slingshot suplex by Natalya, dropping Naomi on her rear end. Naomi finally made the tag at 8:55. Nikki hit a springboard enzuigiri to Natalya, among other moves. Carmella got involved and seemed to pay for it, at least at first. She had made the tag and while Natalya tried to interfere, Carmella used a front roll-up on Nikki, surprising her for the win.
WINNERS: Natalya and Carmella, at 10:04. Some decent work here, but the crowd wasn’t particularly up for it. They’re really trying to establish Carmella by having her go over Nikki multiple times. She just doesn’t have a character that’s connecting yet.
Orton continued his trek backstage. “I AM A GOD” was written on a door. On a power box, “one way out, choose wisely.” Then, “Predator or Prey” on a second door. They were all written in red, I’m assuming we were supposed to think it’s blood. Orton opened the door, and behind it was a cardboard Randy Orton with the eyes cut out and “prey” written on his chest. That’ll haunt your nightmares. He slowly opened the “Predator or Prey” door. A camera on the other side helpfully showed Rowan standing off the side in his mask. Orton shut the door and moved on. Not sure if he saw Rowan, but Rowan was apparently locked in whatever room that was and couldn’t get out.
– The Miz’s Homecoming Celebration is next.
– The Miz and Maryse came to the ring. It was set up with red carpet on the mat and pictures of Miz set up on easels in the ring. Lots of fireworks for the duo. Maryse introduced Miz as “the prodigal son of Cleveland.” He was over as a heel. They played a video package on Miz’s career, including a clip of an interview from 2004 when he was on Tough Enough, and from his time on The Real World. Hey, even a clip of him as host of Smackdown. Back live, he talked about the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship, which popped the crowd. “And this is all I get?” Miz said, to turn them back against him. He said when the crowd opened their arms to a traitor like LeBron James, he was winning titles. Miz showed off his parents in the crowd, in the long-awaited return of Miz’s dad to television.
Miz turned his attention to Dolph Ziggler’s parents in the crowd. He said it must be really hard for them. He said they created an elite-level loser. Well, Ziggler’s dad was wearing a Cleveland Browns shirt. His mom seemed aghast at that shot by Miz. Ziggler then charged to the ring and took a mic. He demanded Miz stop talking to his parents and address him with any comments he might have. Miz said he’s already said everything he needs to say to Ziggler’s face when he’s beaten him at every turn. Ziggler pointed out Miz cheated, but Miz didn’t care. Miz asked Ziggler when he’s going to end his mediocre career. “Your career makes me absolutely sick, and I would be embarrassed if it was mine,” said Miz.
Miz said Ziggler just keeps on losing. He said he feels sorry for Ziggler. He said he’s not going to grant Ziggler another match if that’s what he came out to ask for. Miz said he’s going to celebrate in Hollywood. “See you around, kid,” said Miz. He went to ringside to Dolph’s parents and sarcastically said, “you must be so proud.” On his way up the ramp, Ziggler stopped Miz by referring to him by his real first name. Ziggler said the ring is all he has, and that he lives for it. “But sometimes, the things you love don’t always love you back.” Ziggler, emotionally charged, admitted his career isn’t where he wants it to be, but he can’t stop himself. Ziggler asked for one more shot at Miz’s title. Now he just sounds desperate. “One more time” chant from the crowd. Ziggler said he’ll put up his career.
Miz was intrigued. He went back to the ring and said if he wins, Ziggler doesn’t get to go to Raw or NXT or take a sabbatical, he’s done forever. “Either way, I’ll be out of my misery,” said Ziggler. Miz was all-too-happy to agree to the match, saying if Ziggler wouldn’t hang up his career, he’ll do it for him. Miz walked to the back, title raised above his head, with no music playing.
– Ambrose was shadow boxing backstage, readying for his match against Styles.
– The exterior of the Quicken Loans Arena was shown under an ad for WWE 2K17.
– Wyatt addressed the camera backstage, saying the door is wide open for Orton, though Orton is acting like a mouse in a maze. He told Orton to be careful.
– Becky Lynch came out, but she was attacked from behind on the entranceway by Alexa Bliss. She slammed Lynch’s face into the LED ramp and told Lynch she doesn’t deserve the Smackdown Women’s Title.
– Tonight, the WWE World Title is on the line as A.J. Styles takes on Dean Ambrose (despite Otunga’s attempts to plug the Bliss vs. Lynch No Mercy match over this graphic).
– “Gravity has to obey the law of Curt Hawkins.” “Doctors recommend that each night, sleep gets at least eight hours of Curt Hawkins.” “The earth is 70% water and 30% Curt Hawkins.” Next week, Hawkins will be making a Big Curt Hawkins Announcement.
– As the announcers talked about the No Mercy Triple Threat WWE Title Match, Wyatt interrupted with his latest message, growing impatient with the lack of Orton. He said the Viper has no fangs. He asked where Orton was. From behind him popped up Orton in a sheep mask. Wyatt called Orton a coward. He turned around right into Orton, who pelted Wyatt with right hands, sending Wyatt off-camera. Orton laughed and picked up the sheep mask. He sat in Wyatt’s rocking chair and put the mask on. He started singing “I’ve got the whole world in my hands.” The video started speeding up and slowing down before eventually showing Wyatt again sitting in the chair talking but with no sound. I’m assuming that was some kind of production error, as the announcers never referenced it in discussing the segment.
– Caruso went up to Styles backstage and asked him about the opinions shared earlier by Cena and Ambrose. Styles said he beat up John Cena, then beat John Cena. He beat up Dean Ambrose, then beat Dean Ambrose. Styles said all eyes last night were on the presidential debate (a shot at Raw?), all eyes tonight will be on him as he retains the WWE World Title.
– John Cena came to the ring. He’s out to watch the main event.
– WWE celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring singer Ritchie Valens of “La Bamba” fame.
– Tonight on Talking Smack, John Cena and Becky Lynch join Renee Young and Daniel Bryan.
– Cena was at the announce table for the main event.
3 – DEAN AMBROSE vs. A.J. STYLES – WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Ambrose got off to a hot start. He clotheslined Styles over the top rope and to ringside. Ambrose placed Styles on the announce desk and pounded away. They cut away to break at 1:10 of the match.
Back at 5:07 of the match with Styles in the midst of wearing down Ambrose. Double-clothesline spot laid out both men. Styles came off the second rope with a cross-body, but Ambrose caught him and delivered a swinging back-breaker. John Cena compared himself to Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson as someone who can juggle everything on his plate. Texas Cloverleaf by Ambrose. Styles brought Ambrose down throat-first across the top rope, but Ambrose wiped him out, sending off the apron with a forearm. Suicide dive followed. Ambrose took out Styles with an elbowdrop off the top rope outside the ring. Both men were down, again, as they cut to break shy of the 10:00 mark.
When the show returned, Styles worked the left leg of Ambrose. Calf Crusher applied in the middle of the ring. Ambrose grabbed Styles around the neck and slammed his head into the mat to break. That’s such an Ambrose escape. Swinging neck-breaker by Ambrose caused another reset at about 15:00. Styles kicked at the leg of Ambrose. The two men countered each other until Ambrose got the better of the reversals. Styles held Ambrose in a Torture Rack, turning it into a powerbomb for two. Ambrose crotched Styles on the top rope, a nod to their build to Backlash. Ambrose came off the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Styles down into the ring. Styles created separation with a back elbow, and followed it up with a Pele kick. Springboard 450 missed. Ambrose to the top for another elbowdrop. Near-fall at 19:33. Ambrose landed on his knee trying an offensive move outside the ring, and Styles responded with a running knee to the face. Styles put Ambrose in the ring, then slugged Cena. Cena tried getting into the ring. Because of Cena, the ref was late to count on an Ambrose O’Connor roll. Styles kicked out and Ambrose went outside the ring to nail Cena. Back in, Styles with an O’Connor roll of his own, grabbing the pants of Ambrose for leverage and the pin.
WINNER: Styles, at 21:17.
Styles escaped the scene while Cena and Ambrose argued. Attitude Adjustment to Ambrose. Styles tried to hit-and-run, but Cena stopped him and delivered an AA to A.J. Cena held the title over his head as his music played. Replays of the finish of the match, as well as the post-match, were shown. With Ambrose and Styles out in the ring, Cena celebrated on the stage.
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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.