KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
October 25, 2016
From Green Bay, Wisc.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– A video package showed James Ellsworth’s World Title shot against A.J. Styles last week, and Dean Ambrose’s involvement in it. Tonight, Styles faces Dean Ambrose; and if Ambrose wins, he gets a shot at A.J.’s title.
– Backstage, Ambrose was discussing a reckless driving charge with a production assistant. James Ellsworth walked up to personally thank Ambrose for everything he’s done for him lately. He wanted to return the favor and asked to be in Ambrose’s corner when Dean faces Styles tonight. Ambrose wasn’t thrilled with the idea and let Ellsworth down easy, asking him to stay in the back. Ellsworth seemed a tad hurt by that as Ambrose walked off.
– Bray Wyatt walked out. As he got to the ring, they showed what happened last week when Kane popped up out of Wyatt’s casket after the Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper match. The babyfaces had the advantage until Wyatt and Harper ran off. When Kane came out, Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at ringside.
1 – BRAY WYATT vs. KANE – NO-DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
I feel like the new hard camera angle during matches makes the ring look smaller. But I don’t really have a problem with its use to differentiate the show from Raw. Wyatt and Kane went back-and-forth to start. Wyatt came off the second rope, but was caught with a thrust to the throat. Wyatt rolled out of the ring when Kane went to the top for a clothesline. He went for a chair, but Kane delivered a right hand and Bray dropped the chair. Kane sent Wyatt into the steel steps. He then began to rearrange the announce desk. He went to chokeslam Wyatt on it, but he lights went out. When they came back on, Harper was standing atop the desk. He kicked Kane, then knocked him down with a clothesline. The show went to break at 3:02 of the match.
Apparently, Wyatt had owned Kane throughout the break. Wyatt took Kane down with a clothesline for two at 6:28. Kane caught Wyatt with a big boot when Bray charged at him in the corner. For some reason, Harper continued to stay at ringside despite the no-DQ stips, which could in theory make this a two-on-one beat-down. Clothesline off the top by Kane. Harper pulled Wyatt out of the ring before a chokeslam could be delivered. Kane briefly fought off both men, but the numbers were too much. Uranage by Wyatt for two. Sister Abigail was countered, but Kane couldn’t capitalize. With both men down, Randy Orton’s music hit and he ran out. He and Harper went face-to-face. Harper exited the ring. Wyatt reached his feet and both babyfaces readied for their finish. Orton surprised everyone by RKO’ing Kane. He then slithered out of the ring. Wyatt covered Kane for the win.
WINNER: Wyatt, at 10:35. WWE has done Wyatt no favors by pairing him with Orton and Kane, two methodical workers, post-draft. Wyatt himself has a character that inherently works more slowly, but I’d like to see what he could do in an extended feud on Smackdown with an up-temp worker.
They replayed Orton’s apparent turn and the finish.
– Backstage, Andrea D’Marco stumbled over her words in reacting to the last segment, then introducing A.J. Styles. Styles talked about Ambrose helping Ellsworth beat him, then said tonight, he’ll rearrange Ambrose’s face so that he looks like Ellsworth. He said Ambrose would have to be carried out tonight. And if he sees Ellsworth, it’ll be more than his chin that’ll be missing.
– Becky Lynch is back, and she’ll be in the ring for an interview with Renee Young, next.
– In the ring, Renee Young introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Just as Lynch was saying it was good to be back, Alexa Bliss’s music hit and she walked out. Bliss told Young to scamper after saying she was glad Lynch returned from back surgery (Lynch denied this). Bliss told Lynch that she’s got a yellow streak down her spine. Lynch called Bliss “Dumbo” for making Disney references and defended herself, saying doctors wouldn’t let her out of the hospital let alone compete at the last PPV. Bliss said Lynch is a con-artist. She wondered aloud what the next Lynch excuse will be in two weeks. Lynch promised to be in Glasgow and rip Bliss to shreds. Bliss told Lynch to hand on tight to the title, because in two weeks, it’ll be hers.
Bliss attacked Lynch, but Lynch fought her off. They brawled at ringside, where Bliss slammed Lynch spine-first into the ring post. Next up was a visit to the barricade. Back in the ring, DDT from Bliss. She went to the timekeeper’s area and pulled out a can of some kind of spray. She spray-painted a yellow streak down Becky’s back. Bliss has vaulted to one of the top two or three promos in this company. A graphic was shown for Lynch vs. Bliss in Scotland in two weeks.
– Styles vs. Ambrose is tonight, and if Ambrose wins, he becomes #1 contender to the WWE World Title.
2 – THE ASCENSION vs. THE HYPE BROS – SURVIVOR SERIES QUALIFYING MATCH
No entrance for The Ascension, but they did get an inset interview. They talked about rising at Survivor Series. The Hype Bros cut one of their own, with Mojo making some football references. The Ascension got the early advantage in the match. Viktor had Ryder down while Mojo tried to get the crowd into it. The former Packer was wearing green and gold in Titletown. Konnor and Mojo sparred verbally, allowing Ryder to hit a jawbreaker. Konnor missed an elbowdrop off the second rope and both men were down. Rawley tagged in at 2:47, as did Viktor. Konnor broke up a pin after a slam, but was eventually sent shoulder-first into the post. Hype Ryder finished off Viktor.
WINNERS: Hype Bros, at 3:48. I like the idea of qualifying matches for the tag team Survivor Series match. It does expose the lack of depth in that division, but at least gives the teams some momentum heading into the PPV.
– Styles vs. Ambrose is tonight.
– They showed some of the Lombardi Trophies on display in Green Bay.
– The announcers were shown on-camera as Ranallo fed it to a video of Orton turning on Kane from earlier in the night.
– Orton was staring at the camera backstage when D’Marco asked him if he cared to explain his actions from earlier in the night. Orton stayed silent until finally saying, “if you can’t beat’em, join’em.”
– Kane, Heath Slater, Rhyno, and James Ellsworth all guest on Talking Smack on the WWE Network following Smackdown.
– Like any good General Manager, Daniel Bryan was on the phone backstage discussing, with Shane McMahon, a team captain for Survivor Series. Natalya walked in. She said she was thinking about Raw and the competition the women are facing. Nattie called Charlotte “Charlotte Flair” like Mick Foley did on Raw, so I wonder if that’s going to be something going forward. Natalya said she should be the team captain of the Smackdown women. Bryan wanted to make the winner of Nataly vs. Nikki the captain of the Smackdown women’s team. The loser…will not be on the team at all. I feel like the champion should be the captain (or at least have the opportunity) if she’s in the match. Unless the championship is going to change hands soon…
– Nikki Bella came to the ring for her match with Natalya. It’s next.
3 – NIKKI BELLA vs. NATALYA – WINNER BECOMES TEAM CAPTAIN AT SURVIVOR SERIES; LOSER IS OFF THE TEAM
The women exchanged roll-ups within the first minute. JBL talked about his Survivor Series experience. Sadly, it did not include comment about teaming with Salvatore Sincere and The Sultan. Abdominal stretch by Natalya as she settled into a position of dominance. Nikki came back with a Thesz Press. Sharpshooter locked in by Nattie. Nikki reached the ropes. However, like after the Thesz Press, she couldn’t sustain the momentum. That is, until she hit a face-buster. Second rope enzugiri by Nikki for two. Michinoku Driver by Natalya as the two continued exchanging offense. Surfboard set up by Nattie, but Nikki impressively powered out and locked in an STF ten times better-looking than John Cena’s. Nattie tapped.
WINNER: Nikki, at 6:41. Fine for what it was, though a greater sense of urgency earlier in the match would’ve been nice to see given what was at stake. The announcers spent too much of the match trying to manufacture the non-existent Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry.
Carmella attacked Nikki after the match, which included her giving Nikki the Bella Buster. The finish was replayed, and so was Carmella’s attack.
– D’Marco caught up to Ambrose backstage and asked for his reaction to what Styles said earlier in the show. Ambrose agreed that tonight is not about fun and games. He said payback is a you-know-what and said tonight will be fun and games for him.
– The Miz and Maryse were walking backstage. They came upon The Spirit Squad, who joined them in the walk. A State of the Intercontinental Title Address will take place next.
– The Miz, Maryse, and The Spirit Squad were on their way to the ring out of break. Kenny and Mikey performed a cheer for The Miz, calling him the greatest I.C. Champ in history. Miz said it’s been 16 days living in a world where he’s not our I.C. Champion. He said he feels most sorry for the legends who paved the way to make the Intercontinental Title prestigious. He name-dropped Pat Patterson, saying he’s probably in Montreal with a tear streaming down his face. Ziggler interrupted and walked out with a purpose.
He said the fans finally have a fighting champion and he granted Miz a rematch right now. Miz said he’ll have his rematch when he’s good and ready. But a fight can be accommodated. The three men in the ring advanced on Ziggler at ringside until Heath Slater and Rhyno came out to back up Ziggler. The three babyfaces hit the ring and Maryse stood in between the groups. Slater said it doesn’t look like they really want to fight, putting Maryse in front of them. Miz called Slater a joke. Slater said a champion wouldn’t run from a challenge like Miz is doing. The babyfaces reveled in Slater’s burn. Miz reminded them that Kenny pinned him last week. And the Squad would love to challenge for the tag titles. Slater mentioned buying stocks down on Puerto Rico. Apparently, the Shining Stars’ pitch worked on someone. Slater tried to bow out but Rhyno accepted. Miz demanded a ref as the show cut to break. The Squad doesn’t have the same chemistry with Miz as guys like Alex Riley and Damien Sandow did.
4 – THE SPIRIT SQUAD vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO – WWE SMACKDOWN TAG-TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler were on commentary, with Maryse sitting next to Miz. This match was joined in progress. Kenny catapulted Slater throat-first into the middle rope. “We want Rhyno” from the crowd. Back-flip by Mikey with the assist from Kenny. Slater back-dropped out of a piledriver attempt. He couldn’t reach Rhyno, however. Mikey aggressively worked a rear chin-lock, which was nice to see for a change. Rhyno finally tagged in to an “ECW” chant. Kenny came off the second rope and feigned a knee injury. Mikey kicked Rhyno in the head and Kenny rolled him up for two. Rhyno delivered a belly-to-belly to Mikey. Ziggler and Miz finally came to blows at ringside. Or almost, anyway, as Slater knocked Kenny off the apron and onto Miz. Rhyno Gored Mikey for the pin.
WINNERS: Rhyno and Slater, 4:07 shown. I have no problem with The Spirit Squad getting a title shot; I do think it was better to give it away on Smackdown rather than to save it for PPV, where it probably wouldn’t have much value, even with as thin as the tag division is.
– Next, Ambrose vs. Styles.
– From WWE Studios, Scott Stanford, Jerry Lawler, Lita, and Booker T. did a hard-sell for Hell in a Cell on the WWE Network. They also mentioned Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar is official, after the news was broken on Twitter earlier today.
– Ambrose was walking backstage when he came upon a dejected Ellsworth. Ambrose didn’t like to see him sulking. Ellsworth said he wishes Ambrose would let him return the favor to Ambrose, as for the past few weeks, he has felt like a real winner. He begged Ambrose to let him be in his corner. Ambrose acquiesced. He told Ellsworth, “be careful.”
5 – A.J. STYLES vs. DEAN AMBROSE – IF AMBROSE WINS, HE BECOMES #1 CONTENDER TO THE WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Ellsworth accompanied Ambrose to the ring. Ambrose put the boots to Styles in the corner. Back elbow found the mark. Ambrose mounted Styles in the corner and hammered away. Styles went outside the ring and knocked down Ellsworth. Ambrose helped him up. Springboard forearm to Ambrose as he was checking on Ellsworth. They went to break at 1:45 of the match.
Back at 5:17 with Ambrose on the receiving end of a Styles dropkick. Ambrose upped the tempo with a fisherman suplex following a suicide dive and a clothesline. Backslide by Ambrose transitioned into an arm-bar after Styles kicked out. Cloverleaf applied by Ambrose. With both men on the apron, Styles DDT’d Ambrose, who flipped while taking it. Both men were down on the floor as they went to break at 8:40.
Back at 12:27 with both men back in the ring. Styles attempted a superplex, but Ambrose instead planted him face-first onto the canvas. Elbow off the top from Ambrose. Swinging neckbreaker by Ambrose for two. Springboard moonsault into an inverted DDT by Styles. Seamless. Only a two-count, though. Stiff clothesline by Ambrose and a great sell by Styles on the Lunatic Lariat. Styles locked in the Calf Crusher following a superplex. Ambrose reached the ropes. With Ambrose barely able to stand, Styles took the opportunity to deliver a dropkick through the ropes to Ellsworth. Near-fall on a roll-up by Ambrose. Pele kick from Styles. Ambrose dumped Styles outside near Ellsworth. Ellsworth began hulking up. He superkicked Styles. He then locked eyes with Ambrose, realizing he probably cost him his title shot. After a long look by referee Mike Chioda (to add to the drama, I guess), he called for the bell.
WINNER: Styles, via disqualification, at 19:57.
A replay was shown of the Ellsworth dropkick, then superkick. Ambrose and Ellsworth, both staying separate from each other, expressed their disappointment in the outcome.
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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 email@example.com.