KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 25, 2016
GREEN BAY, WISC.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
ANNOUNCERS: Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga.
-They opened the show with extended clips of the Dean Ambrose-A.J. Styles-James Ellsworth saga including Styles on Talking Smack complaining about Ambrose and demanding a match with him this week. Daniel Bryan agreed, but if Ambrose wins, he gets a title shot at a later date.
-Dean was telling a backstage worker that reckless driving is a relative term and he needs a warrant to search his vehicle. Inside joke, I assume. Ellsworth walked up to Ambrose. Ambrose said he’s looking good. Ellsworth asked who thought he could win twice against the World Champion. Dean said literally no one. Ellsworth asked to be at ringside for his match later. Ambrose smiled, but hemmed and hawed and said it might not be a great idea. He said he can hang out backstage and they’ll catch up later. Ellsworth looked like a kid who wasn’t invited to the cool kids party.
-Bray Wyatt made his ring entrance. They reviewed last week’s match where Kane reappeared in a casket, but then Bray disappeared after the lights went out.
(1) KANE vs. BRAY WYATT
At 2:00, Kane set up a chokeslam of Bray on the ringside table. JBL noted it’s a no-DQ match. The lights went out. When they came back on, Luke Harper was standing on the announce table. He kicked Kane and then gave him a spinning clothesline. Otunga said it’s no DQ so he can do that legally. They cut to a break. [c]
Bray had Kane in a chinlock after the break. Kane eventually made a comeback and fended off Harper at ringside. Harper jumped onto the ring apron and distracted Kane, giving Bray an opening to chokeslam Kane and score a believable near fall. Otunga said Bray was showing frustration. When Harper stood on the ring apron again, Randy Orton ran out. They met center-ring. Harper slowly left the ring and looked intimidated by Orton’s presence. Kane stood up. He and Orton signaled for their finishers. Orton then gave Kane an RKO out of nowhere. Then he slithered out of the ring. “Oh my God! What?!” exclaimed Mauro. Bray covered and pinned Kane. Orton walked to the back. Bray and Harper looked on confused but intrigued.
WINNER: Bray in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Anything to shake up Randy Orton, whose been flat since losing to Brock Lesnar, and some would argue rather flat for years now. Orton’s turned so many times, though, it’s hard to take any role he plays all that seriously. Who fills the babyface slot, if indeed this is a semi-permanent heel turn?)
-Charly backstage, “The night has just started and it’s safe to tay, and it’s safe to say what we just saw was unexpected.” She kept her composure as she tripped over her unnatural and cliche-ridden introduction of the interview segment. She said “speaking of unexpected, nothing is more unexpected than” Styles losing to Ellsworth twice. Styles said Ellsworth can’t lace his boots. He said he’s sure Ambrose enjoys making him look like a fool, but he’s going to rearrange his face so bad he’ll wish he looked like James Ellsworth. He said he’ll have to be carried out. He said if he sees Ellsworth, he’ll be missing more than his chin when he’s done with him.
-Otunga hyped the return of Becky Lynch tonight with an in-ring interview next. [c]
-Becky made her ring entrance. Rene Young said it’s good to see her back. As Becky in her signature deep guttural tone said it’s great to be back. Alexa Bliss then interrupted her. She said it’s great to see she’s doing so well after back surgery. Becky said she didn’t have back surgery. Alexa said that’s true. She told Renee she’d take care of this, so leave the ring. Renee did after a little more encouragement. Alexa said Becky faked an injury to avoid defending her title. Becky said she was rushed to the emergency room and doctors wouldn’t let her compete. Alexa said Becky is a world class con artist. Alexa said she can fool all of “these people,” saying “these people” as if she was cleaning up vomit. She said her pathetic life means absolutely nothing. Alexa said she should save everyone the embarrassment of a match and just hand her the title belt. Becky said no. Alexa ended up sucker punching her, then beating her up at ringside. Back in the ring she delivered a DDT, then she stepped on her back as she left the ring. She re-entered the ring with a spray can and sprayed a yellow stripe on her back. Good thing Becky didn’t wear a yellow shirt tonight.
-JBL plugged Styles vs. Ambrose. [c]
-A pre-recorded promo aired with Ascension who said it’s all about survival of the fittest, and there is no team bigger and better than them, so they will rise at Survivor Series.
-A pre-recorded promo aired with Mojo Rawley talking about trying out for the Green Bay Packers in the past. Zack Ryder said they’re going to show Team Raw that in order to survive, they don’t just get hyped, you gotta stay hyped.
(2) THE ASCENSION vs. THE HYPE BROS.
I’m sure this is the match Mauro dreamed of calling when he signed on to announce for WWE. Mauro explained this is one of a series of qualifying matches to earn a spot on Team Smackdown to face Team Raw at Survivor Series. He said Rhyno & Heath Slater are on the team automatically because they’re tag champs. The Ascension dominated from the start and for several minutes until Mojo hot-tagged in. Viktor also tagged in, but Mojo took it to him. Connor broke up a Mojo pin attempt. Seconds later, though, Mojo and Ryder finished Connor with the Hype Ryder. Otunga said Hype Bros. looked great. JBL said, “Survivor Series just got hot!”
WINNERS: The Hype Bros. in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I confess I was rooting for a double countout here. Overstatements like JBL saying the Hype Bros. winning meant Survivor Series “just got hot” is one of those credibility killers.)
-The announcers hyped Styles vs. Ambrose in the main event.
-A commercial hyped Goldberg returning to Raw next week. [c]
-They replayed Orton’s apparent turn on Kane earlier.
-Charly asked Orton backstage to explain his actions. Orton stared straight ahead intensely and didn’t react to the question. Charly held the mic there for an awkwardly long time. Orton looked at her, then slowly said, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
-Mauro plugged that Kane, Slater & Rhyno, and Ellsworth will all be guests on Talking Smack after Smackdown on WWE Network.
-Daniel Bryan told Shane McMahon on the phone they need strong team captains who can lead. Natalya walked in and said she’s concerned. She said the first-ever Women’s Hell in a Cell match is this Sunday and she doesn’t want the Raw Women’s Division to steal their thunder. She said appointing her as the Team Captain is the answer to bring all of the attention back to Smackdown Live. Bryan said, “That’s interesting, and thank you for volunteering.” He said the winner of her match with Nikki Bella gets to be captain. Natalya liked that. Bryan said the loser, though, won’t be on the Survivor Series team at all. Natalya was worried and she walked away. JBL said Nattie got more than she bargained for.
-Nikki Bella made her ring entrance. [c]
(4) NIKKI BELLA vs. NATALYA
JBL said the key to Survivor Series is to survive and a lot of times with people you don’t normally get along with. He said that means you get along with some people for just one night a year in order to help survive. Natalya took over at ringside with a spinning clothesline at 2:00.
JBL kept talking about what’s at stake at Survivor Series, saying pride is on the line, and if you lose, you have to wait a full year to have a chance at revenge. Otunga said he was Team Captain of Team Johnny once. JBL said he doesn’t want to see Stephanie McMahon and “that bean bag of a man they call G.M.” brag that they beat Smackdown. At 4:00 Natalya applied the sharpshooter, but Nikki crawled over and reached the bottom rope. A minute later Natalya landed a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Nikki countered into an STF and applied it pretty well, and Natalya tapped suddenly and frantically. Otunga said she’s been studying up, even though she applied it better than Cena ever has. I think she’s been watching New Japan, not Cena.
WINNER: Nikki in 6:00.
-After the match, Carmella attacked Nikki and then gave her a Bella Buster.
-Charly interviewed Ambrose backstage. Ambrose said tonight isn’t about fun and games like the last couple weeks, it’s about getting a chance at taking back the WWE Title. Ambrose said, “Karma’s a… you know, that word for a female dog.” He said tonight will be fun and games, but not for Styles.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t think it’s ever worth drawing attention to words you can’t say on TV on a pro wrestling show. It just makes too many viewers resent the PG rating for a product they think calls for swearing because it’s men and women in heated feuds they settle with fights.) [c]
-The Miz and Maryse walked to the ring followed by Spirit Squad. The Spirit Squad did a cheer for Miz. JBL said that’s great and he wishes he thought of having a male cheerlead team when he was champion. Miz said it’s Day 16 of the Ziggler IC Title Burial Tour. He said this is mostly a shame because of all of the legends who held the IC Title. He said Pat Patterson is probably crying. Dolph Ziggler walked out. He said he feels sorry for everyone who has had to deal with his crap the last six months. He said he is a fighting champion and he’s ready to put his title on the line against him right here, right now. Miz asked the crowd if that’s what they wanted to see. Miz said he doesn’t get goaded into accepting on someone else’s terms, and he’ll have his rematch when he is good and ready. He said if Ziggler is looking for a fight, they can accommodate him. As Spirit Squad and Miz moved toward Ziggler at ringside, Slater and Rhyno walked out. Slater asked Miz what his problem is. Miz said more embarrassing than Ziggler being the IC Champion is having them as tag champs. Miz tried to goad Slater into giving the Squad a tag title shot. Slater said he’s concentrating on some time share in Puerto Rico. Miz asked if he’s scared. Rhyno then yanked the mic and said challenge accepted. Miz called for the ref.
(Keller’s Analysis: The star of this segment was Rhyno who just stood there the whole time staring at Kenny like he wanted to destroy him.) [c]
(5) RHYNO & HEATH SLATER vs. THE SPIRIT SQUAD (Kenny & Mikey)
Miz and Maryse joined the announcers. So did Ziggler. Ziggler provided insight into the Spirit Squad. He said he used to be roommates with Mikey back in the day and he was a student of wrestling and studied wrestling tapes. Dolph made the first ill-advised reference to the World Series that was on live against Smackdown. Then again, anyone who got the reference and isn’t watching the game deserves to miss it. When Rhyno hot-tagged in, some fans chanted “ECW! ECW!” The Squad used fake injury trickery to take over. Miz and Ziggler’s argument at ringside escalated. Slater knocked a distracted Kenny off the ring apron and he landed on Miz. Then Rhyno hit the Gore on Mikey for the win.
WINNERS: Rhyno & Slater in 4:00. [c]
-They went to a WWE studio segment with Scott Sandford, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Lita hyping Hell in a Cell’s line-up and noting that you can see it free with a new subscription to WWE Network.
(Keller’s Analysis: That hard sell and studio setting made me think I hit the remote and landed on some QVC type of challenge. Did they really need four people to do that? It was also like I turned on CNN and where there’s always a panel discussion with too many people.)
-Ellsworth begged Ambrose again to let him be in his corner. Ambrose gave in and told him okay, but be careful.
-A.J. Styles made his full ring entrance. Then Ambrose, with Ellsworth trailing behind. JBL said, “What the hell is this, bring your pet to work?” Yeah, that’s going to help viewers root for Smackdown at Survivor Series when JBL’s being that big of a jerk. Who would want JBL to feel let down?
(6) A.J. STYLES vs. DEAN AMBROSE
Ambrose clotheslined Styles over the top rope a minute into the match after a flurry of early action. Styles got up and shoved Ellsworth down hard. Ambrose went to check on Ellsworth, who was adjusting his chin, which turned into more jokes. Styles then dove onto Ambrose at ringside. [c]
After the break, Ambrose dove into Styles on the floor and Styles went hard into the ringside barrier. Back in the ring Ambrose countered a Fujiwara armbar with a cloverleaf, which Mauro pointed out Dory Funk Jr. made famous. Styles blocked Dean’s attempt to suplex him into the ring. Styles ended up suplexing Dean onto the side of the ring apron and they both fell hard to the floor. They cut to another break at 10:00. That also looked dangerous. They didn’t replay it from a better angle before cutting to a break, though. [c]
Near the end, Dean couldn’t stand on his knee. Styles saw that as a chance to give Ellsworth a running slidekick at ringside, knocking him down hard. When Styles springboarded back in, Dean caught him. They went into a rapid sequence leading to Dean backdropping Styles over the top rope to the floor. Ellsworth stood up and fired up and then gave Styles a superkick, which Otunga called “No Chin Music.” The ref saw that and DQ’d Dean. Dean threw a fit. Ellsworth looked remorseful at ringside. JBL said Ellsworth is the biggest idiot on the planet. Otunga said “the kid’s in over his head” and he blamed Ambrose for giving in to Ellsworth’s begged.
WINNER: Styles via DQ.