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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
October 18, 2016
From Denver, Col.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Last Tuesday, A.J. Styles fought this decade’s Colin Delaney, James Ellsworth, in a non-title match with Dean Ambrose as a guest referee. Clips were shown of this Battle of the Century.
– As announced on Talking Smack last week, Ellsworth challenges Styles for the WWE World Title this week.
– Ellsworth, was wrapping his fists backstage when Dean Ambrose walked in with a t-shirt featuring Ellsworth’s mug on it. Ellsworth was given a word or two of encouragement by Ambrose before Dean walked off, leaving Ellsworth with that perpetual look of bewilderment on his face.
– Randy Orton entered the arena. Stills were shown of Orton vs. Bray Wyatt at No Mercy two weeks ago, where Luke Harper made his return. “But what happened to Kane?!” asked Mauro Ranallo, referencing Kane disappearing from the match on Smackdown last week. The other announcers went silent for an awkwardly long time, not answering Mauro. Kane’s disappearance happened on Smackdown last week and not No Mercy, which they were discussing, so Mauro may have gotten the two mixed up. Orton had the mic in the ring and he said he feels like he’s losing his mind. He said he’s coming for Wyatt.
That appeared to be all he wanted to say, but before he could leave, the lights went out and Wyatt was on the Titan-Tron, lying in a casket surrounded by folks in sheep masks. A hint at an upcoming gimmick match between the two? Wyatt spoke from the casket, saying he’s about to take Orton on a journey in which he’ll be gasping for breath over and over again. “By the way…he’s here.” That was the cue for Luke Harper’s music to play in the arena. He walked out to face Orton, one-on-one.
1 – RANDY ORTON vs. LUKE HARPER
Harper took Orton off his feet with a dropkick early on. He went for a suicide dive, but Orton got his forearm up to block. Harper went to the second rope, but was stopped. Suplex off the top by Orton. The lights went off and Wyatt’s music began to play, 1:25 into the match. The druids/folks in sheep masks wheeled Wyatt out in the casket. Wyatt was sitting up, holding a lantern. He had the full attention of Orton. They went to break at 2:33 of the match.
Back at 5:30 with Orton on the mat outside the ring, in front of a kneeling Wyatt. Orton made it into the ring at the referee’s count of nine. Michinoku driver by Harper for two. Wyatt opened up the casket and shut it, taunting Orton. Harper tried to throw Orton into the casket, but Orton reversed it and Harper was able to stop short. As Orton was going for his rope-aided DDT, Wyatt interfered.
WINNER: Orton, via disqualification, at 7:50. The action wasn’t thrilling while it lasted, though Harper continues to show singles potential.
Wyatt and Harper readied Orton to end up in the casket. When Wyatt opened it, Kane was in it. Kane fended off Wyatt and Harper from the apron. He went to the top rope as Orton hit a draping DDT on Wyatt. Kane came off the top with a clothesline to Harper. Orton went for the RKO, but the lights went out, and when they came back on, Wyatt and Harper were nowhere to be found. Orton and Wyatt were panned for working too deliberate of a pace at No Mercy, so of course WWE adds Kane to the mix.
– Andrea D’Marco was backstage with A.J. Styles. He said he scratched and clawed to become the Face that Runs the Place. Styles called Ellsworth a “no-talent, fat, skinny turd.” He said he knows Ambrose is going to try something, try to embarrass him. Ambrose said this could be like WCW all over again, when David Arquette won the WCW Title. Styles said he would find Ambrose and take him apart piece by piece. You could see the struggle within Styles, going from confident champion to worried about Ambrose costing him his title.
– Styles vs. Ellsworth for the title is still to come.
– Tonight: The Spirit Squad and The Miz face Heath Slater, Rhyno, and Dolph Ziggler.
– Next: Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss.
2 – ALEXA BLISS vs. NAOMI
No entrance for Bliss. David Otunga said Bliss was wearing a Freddy Krueger-inspired outfit tonight, red and gray. A shoving match ensued between the women, where Bliss eventually hid behind the ref. She tried to use him shielding her to her offensive advantage, to no avail. Thesz Press by Naomi. Series of jump kicks followed by a dropkick. A very low percentage of those kicks actually connected, to the point where the camera angle settled in behind Naomi so you could barely see the kicks. Springboard cross-body found the mark onto Bliss for a near-fall. Naomi stayed on offense for the duration. Bliss tried to recover at ringside while they went to break at 3:58 of the match.
Back at 8:05 with Bliss back in the ring and Naomi fighting out of a rest-hold. Cravat applied by Bliss. The ladies fought for positioning, with Naomi winning out and delivering a back-breaker. High-flying offense from Naomi to get the crowd into the action. Split-legged moonsault for two at the ten minute mark of the match. Bliss crotched Naomi on the top rope and pulled her down by her hair. Twisted Bliss finished Naomi.
WINNER: Bliss, at 10:51. As expected, with a Smackdown Women’s Title match on the horizon, Bliss gets her win back against Naomi. The action in the match was very hit or miss.
Replays were shown of key moments in the match. Renee Young interviewed Bliss after the match. She asked Bliss for comments about the upcoming title match. Bliss said the fairy tale will be over for Becky Lynch in three weeks. She said the fairest of them all will be crowned champion in Scotland.
– Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at ringside. They discussed the possibility of James Ellsworth walking out of Smackdown Live as WWE Champion.
– Last week, Dolph Ziggler was victorious over his former Spirit Squad mates. They showed Miz attacking post-match, and the tag champs making the save. That six-man tag match is upcoming.
– Curt Hawkins has his very first Smackdown match…allegedly…next.
– Apollo Crews was in the ring. Curt Hawkins came out and voiced over his own entrance in pre-recorded fashion. “You wanted to see Curt Hawkins last week, but he didn’t want to see you.” He also got the city he was wrestling wrong on purpose. “The sun wears sunscreen to protect itself from Curt Hawkins.” Sort of like Eva Marie’s entrance in that way, I guess. Hawkins taunted Crews in the ring, saying after tonight, Apollo Crews will have to change his name to “Apollo Lose.” Crews punched Hawkins, and Hawkins left the ring and exited up the ramp. He’s more like Eva Marie than I initially thought.
– James Ellsworth. A.J. Styles. WWE World Title. Tonight.
– The Bella Twins were featured in the most recent Muscle & Fitness Magazine.
– Carmella was walking backstage. She wants to present the “truth” about Nikki Bella, and she’ll do so next.
– Carmella came out. As she did, they showed her attacking Nikki Bella last week following Nikki’s interview with Renee Young. Then, Nikki came out, trying to get her hands on Carmella. In the ring, Carmella complained about hearing Nikki’s music at Summerslam when she had her first pay-per view match. She said she doesn’t get the appeal of Nikki. She was going to get to the truth about Nikki when Nikki’s music played and she stormed to the ring. Bella asked Carmella to say whatever she has to say, to her face. Carmella complained about Nikki again stealing her spotlight. She said Nikki can get away with whatever since her boyfriend is John Cena. She refused to walk on eggshells around Nikki like everyone else. Nikki said Carmella is like every jealous hater that she’s come across in the past five years.
Carmella asked about Nikki trying to hide the relationship. Nikki wisely noted she has two TV shows that expose their relationship, as well as tons of pics of them online. Nikki said she chooses not to go down that road on Smackdown Live because what matters is what athletes do in the ring (hint: they wrestle). Nikki shamed Carmella for diminishing her accomplishments because of a man. Carmella responded by calling Nikki a gold-digger. Carmella cued up footage from Total Bellas that I guess showed Nikki being needy around Cena. Nikki mocked Carmella for being able to edit together footage and said she doesn’t need a man to fight her battles for her. Nikki talked about the neck injury that almost ended her career and said she’s not afraid of Carmella, either. Carmella said Nikki may be fearless, but she used her looks, her sister, and her boyfriend, to get where she is today. Carmella dropped the mic and left the ring. Both women did really well there, with a predictably heavy push for the Total Bellas show.
– Young approached Ellsworth backstage (while he was wearing the t-shirt sporting his own visage). Ellsworth said his hand is shaking while preparing for this match. Ellsworth said he knows he’s not in A.J.’s league, but one day, he’ll be able to tell his grandchildren that he competed for the WWE World Title on Smackdown Live. He was on the verge of tears there at the end.
– Next, a six-man tag match featuring Ziggler, Rhyno, and Slater taking on Mikey, Kenny, and The Miz.
3 – THE MIZ & THE SPIRIT SQUAD vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & RHYNO & HEATH SLATER
Only one entrance for each side, which seems like a rarity these days. Slater and Rhyno were shown in an inset interview. Slater answered the question of why he and Rhyno saved Ziggler last week, saying he did it for the kids, who need role models. Rhyno said he just doesn’t like male cheerleaders. Otunga tried to say that Kenny and Mikey were coaching high-school cheerleading when they came back to try to get a rub off Ziggler. Slater and Rhyno got the better of the Spirit Squad to start. Jumping back elbow by Kenny took down Ziggler. MIz demanded a tag, but as he came in, he was met with a dropkick. Miz turned the tide in the heel corner, but Ziggler fought out. Miz ducked a superkick and the match went to break at 2:42.
Back at 5:44 with Ziggler fending off all three members of the heel team. However, Maryse tripped him up and allowed Miz to take over on offense. “Slater” chants as Ziggler countered Mikey into a vertical suplex. Miz tagged in, and he cut off Ziggler’s attempt at a tag. Ziggler grazed Miz with a superkick that Miz sold like death. Kenny tagged in, as did Slater, at the 8:30 mark. Slater got the better of Kenny and Mikey. Neck-breaker on Kenny was broken up by Mikey. Mikey found himself on the wrong end of a Gore. Ranallo did the Joey Styles “Gore! Gore! Gore!” call. Out of the fracas emerged Kenny, who rolled up Slater (after Miz bopped him on the head with a punch) for the win.
WINNERS: Miz and Spirit Squad, at 9:16. I wouldn’t have guessed WWE would look to Spirit Squad to help them with the lack of tag team depth on Smackdown, but here we are. They’ll get easy heel heat against the babyface team, anyway.
– Daniel Bryan was on the phone with Shane McMahon, talking about Stephanie accepting their Survivor Series elimination match challenge(s). Natalya walked up and volunteered to be the first entrant on the Smackdown women’s team. She explained why she deserved a spot, and in doing so, Bryan noted she quoted Whitney Houston. Bryan was noncommittal about adding Nattie to the team. “Are you following my cat on Instagram?” asked Natalya. The segment ended with her showing Bryan cat pictures.
– Members of the Denver Broncos were shown at ringside.
4 – JACK SWAGGER vs. BARON CORBIN
No entrance for Swagger. Corbin’s inset interview had him talking about Swagger’s existence being a joke and how the people only chant along with him to have fun at his expense. Corbin knocked Swagger off of the apron and into the barricade. Corbin delivered forearms into Swagger’s head, with Swagger pinned against the barricade. Looked pretty brutal. Back in the ring, End of Days from Corbin for the win.
WINNER: Corbin, at 1:39. Yeah, that’s probably what that match should’ve been. So much for Swagger being Smackdown’s first big free-agent acquisition from Raw.
The End of Days was shown from a few different angles.
– Natalya was still showing her cat pics to Bryan backstage. Dean Ambrose finally walked onto the scene in a ref’s shirt to give Bryan a reprieve. Ambrose promised no hijinks and to call it right down the middle. Bryan said Ambrose cannot referee tonight. “I’m such a good ref, though,” was Ambrose’s defense. Bryan said Ambrose can be anything else he wants, including commentator, timekeeper or ring announce. “Great, I’ll do that!” he said. Bryan wasn’t sure which one he meant, but Ambrose walked off before he could ask.
– The exterior of the Pepsi Center was shown.
– Dean Ambrose came out first. A.J. Styles was next. He looked very serious ahead of his match against Ellsworth. Ambrose was seated in the timekeeper’s area. James Ellsworth was out last. Ambrose approached the ring and shooed aside Greg Hamilton. “Ellsworth” chants. “This is ridiculous!” Styles shouted to the crowd. Ambrose handled ring introductions. He took some creative license in describing the men. He then went to ringside to ring the bell.
5 – JAMES ELLSWORTH vs. A.J. STYLES – WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
He rang it way too many times to start the match. It distracted Styles and allowed Ellsworth to wring his arm. Styles locked Ellsworth in an abdominal stretch, but Ambrose got the mic and tried to stop the match because they had to go to commercial. They did so, with the match in progress, at :48.
Back at 4:20 of the match. As Ellsworth slipped out of a chin-lock (har har), Ambrose narrated a Titan-Tron ad for Ellsworth’s t-shirt on WWEShop.com. Dropkick by Styles. A dueling “Let’s go Ellsworth/A.J. Styles” chant took place. Snap suplex of Ellsworth into the corner. Styles left the ring and told Ambrose this assault is on Ambrose. Styles placed Ellsworth on the top rope and tried to deliver a superplex. Ambrose read that a blue Toyota Corolla’s lights were on in the parking lot. He also said the WWE Programs were sponsored by Verizon. Ellsworth tried to take advantage of the distraction but missed a cross-body from the top. Styles threw Ellsworth out of the ring. “He should donate his body to science-fiction,” remarked JBL. Ambrose tossed Ellsworth back in. Out he went again, then back in. It went on like this. A dizzy Ellsworth tried to regain his bearings while Styles argued with Ambrose. Ellsworth pulled Styles’s foot when A.J. was on the top. Superkick by Ellsworth. Pin for a two-count. Otunga called it “No-Chin music.” Ambrose was cheering hard for Ellsworth. Ellsworth charged at Styles, who caught him for a spinebuster. Ambrose got on the mic and said Styles was making Ellsworth look like a million dollars. He kept riling up Styles, who was finally disqualified for not breaking on the ref’s five-count in the corner.
WINNER: Ellsworth, via disqualification, at 11:58.
Ambrose announced Styles as the loser, then gave him Dirty Deeds in the ring. Ambrose announced Ellsworth as the winner (and also as the guy with more victories over Styles than John Cena). Dirty Deeds was replayed. Ambrose tried to help up Ellsworth after the bout, but Ellsworth was pretty much out of it.
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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.