SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE Smackdown LIVE review
November 1, 2016
From Newark, N.J.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Smackdown Open.
– James Ellsworth was introduced into the arena first. He was not his usual enthusiastic self. The reason, as shown in a flashback to last week, was because he cost Dean Ambrose the WWE World Title. In the ring, Ellsworth thanked Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan for allowing him to come out and say goodbye. Scattered “No” chants were heard. Ellsworth said he hasn’t been able to sleep since last week. He wanted to tell Ambrose he was truly sorry for what he did, so he can move on with his life. Ambrose then came out.
Ambrose said he’s had a lot of time to think…about ripping Ellsworth’s head off with his bare hands. But he can’t stay mad, so Ellsworth doesn’t owe him an apology. Ellsworth said because of Ambrose, he has two wins over A.J. Styles, yet he repaid Ambrose by losing his cool and costing him his match with Styles. “Any man with two hands can make a mistake,” said Ellsworth. Ambrose called it water under the bridge. He told Ellsworth to never ever get in his way again. Ellsworth kept trying to apologize despite Ambrose forgiving him. Styles’s music hit and he walked out with a mic in his hand.
“Are you kidding me, Big Game James?” He asked why Ellsworth would apologize to Ambrose. “A.J. Styles” chant from the crowd. Styles turned the Newark fans against him, though. He told Ellsworth that Ambrose has been using him; and in fact, he respects Ellsworth more than Ambrose. He said in their title match, he was going to make it quick and painless against Ellsworth, but Ambrose kept egging him on. If anything, Styles said, Ellsworth owes him. He said because of him, people are wearing shirts with Ellsworth’s face on them.
Ambrose got in A.J.’s face and said Ellsworth doesn’t take the cheap, easy way out like A.J. Ellsworth got between the two as they were about to come to blows. He pushed Ellsworth into Ambrose, then hit a kick to Ambrose’s head. He followed that up by throwing Ellsworth out of the ring. Phenomenal Forearm to Ambrose. Effective opening segment that dragged a bit when it was Ellsworth and Ambrose. The idea that WWE is considering signing Ellsworth to a contract is incredibly short-sighted, given how obvious it is that Ellsworth has a short shelf-life as a meaningful character.
– Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were shown at ringside. They sent it to a video package of Bray Wyatt vs. Kane from last week, where Randy Orton helped cost Kane the match.
– Next, in a No-Disqualification Match, Randy Orton vs. Kane.
– Daniel Bryan was walking backstage when he came upon Ellsworth and Ambrose. They were in a discussion and Bryan said they needed to bring it down a notch. Ellsworth was again profusely apologizing to Ambrose. He was nearly in tears, though Ambrose said there’s nothing else he can do. Bryan said Ambrose will get another shot at Styles…tonight. And if he wins, he’ll become #1 contender to the WWE World Title. It’s his last chance – no matter what. Ambrose stared down Ellsworth before leaving. Bryan told Ellsworth he’s allowed to stick around and watch the match, but under no circumstances is he to go to ringside. Ellsworth nodded in understanding.
1 – RANDY ORTON vs. KANE – NO-DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
The fight went right to the outside, where a chair was procured. Kane used it on Orton’s back. In the ring, sidewalk slam by Kane. As Kane set up to chokeslam Orton, the lights went out. When they came back on, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt were stationed at ringside. Kane avoided an RKO and booted Orton down. Kane was pulled out of the ring by Wyatt, but he was able to fight them off. The numbers game caught up to Kane and he was RKO’d by Orton.
WINNER: Orton, at 2:08. There have been some short matches on Smackdown since the split that I wouldn’t expect to necessarily go short. This is one of them. This is also a fine use for Kane at this stage.
After the match, Orton and Harper stared at each other as Kane worked his way to his feet. Harper delivered a discus clothesline to put Kane back down. Harper pointed at Orton, then at Wyatt. Orton shoved Kane into Wyatt, who felled Kane with Sister Abigail. Wyat knelt over Kane while Orton stood on the second rope. The two men posed at the same time.
– Daniel Bryan will be on Miz TV later on, with an announcement about the Smackdown Survivor Series team.
– Carmella and Alexa Bliss were walking backstage. Carmella knocked a drink out of the hand of a guy sitting on one of the production trunks. Then they showed Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella walking elsewhere. It’s women’s tag action, next.
– A character piece vignette aired on “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin.
2 – CARMELLA & ALEXA BLISS vs. NIKKI BELLA & BECKY LYNCH
The heels didn’t get an entrance. They showed a bit of Alexa’s promo on Lynch last week, and Lynch’s attack, as Lynch came to the ring. Next week, Bliss challenges for the Women’s Championship. Bliss tagged in early as Carmella wanted no part of Nikki. Dropkick by Nikki took Bliss down, and a dropkick by Lynch dropped Carmella. The babyfaces had the advantage early on. They went to break at 1:04 of the match.
Back at 4:40 with Lynch and Carmella both tagging in for their respective teams. Lynch went on offense and hit an inverted DDT on Bliss, but Carmella had the referee distracted. Bliss grabbed Lynch in a sleeper, and may have raked her eyes in the process, then delivered a DDT for the victory.
WINNERS: Bliss and Carmella, at 5:56. Only about two minutes of that was shown. They didn’t give away too much between Bliss and Lynch.
The end of the match was replayed. Dasha Fuentes tried to conduct an in-ring interview with the winners after the match, but Bliss shooed her away. Great first impression for viewers of the new Smackdown broadcaster. Bliss played interviewer and asked Carmella who she looks forward to humiliating at Survivor Series nwo that they’ve disposed of Bella and Lynch for the millionth time. Carmella made fun of Bayley and called Charlotte an “overhyped Daddy’s girl,” which actually drew a gasp from the crowd. She said they will dominate the “chicks” on Raw.
Carmella then interviewed Bliss, asking her the strategy for her title match next week. Bliss said Lynch’s 15 minutes of fame will be over and her fairy tale will come to an end. She told Lynch to consider her the Wicked Witch of WWE. “I’ll get you my pretty…and your Smackdown Women’s Title, too.” Bliss revealed nothing of her strategy to defeat Lynch!
– Bryan and McMahon were backstage. They granted Naomi the fifth spot on the Smackdown Women’s Survivor Series team, joining Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Nikki Bella, and Becky Lynch. Naomi said she knows the Smackdown women will shine at Survivor Series. She walked out and after McMahon shared his concern with how the women treated each other in the previous segment, as it relates to them teaming up at Survivor Series. Natalya walked in and offered to coach the team. She recited lines to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Bryan allowed her to be the Survivor Series coach for the team.
– Tonight, Dean Ambrose has another chance to become #1 Contender to the WWE World Title. It’s his last opportunity…until his next opportunity.
– The Spirit Squad was in the ring. Their cheer was interrupted by American Alpha.
3 – THE SPIRIT SQUAD vs. AMERICAN ALPHA – SURVIVOR SERIES QUALIFYING MATCH
Kenny caught Gable with a right hand after a distraction by Mikey. Moonsault by Mikey for a one-count. Both men hit the ropes and apparently there was a headbutt somewhere as they connected, though it showed so much light I’m not sure who was actually supposed to have hit the move. Jason Jordan tagged in and worked over both cheerleaders. Jordan missed a shoulder charge in the corner. Kenny rolled him up for two. After Kenny was taken out, Alpha hit Grand Amplitude for the win.
WINNERS: Alpha, at 1:59. It’s amazing how much Alpha has already been killed off in terms of crowd reaction. They’re talented enough to work their way back, but the Survivor Series match needs to be a showcase for them.
– The announcers sent it to clips of the opening segment of Raw last night, involving Goldberg, Paul Heyman, and Rusev.
– Next: Daniel Bryan guests on Miz TV.
– Wrestlemania has been named one of the most valuable sports brands by Forbes Magazine, for the second straight year.
– Miz and Maryse were in the ring for Miz TV. Miz said his next guest is someone with whom he’s had a prickly past, but he’s here to get answers about the Survivor Series. He brought out Bryan. “Daniel Bryan” chant greeted him. Miz talked about how nice it was that they shared the ring without chewing each other’s heads off. He said he runs a tight ship on Miz TV, unlike Bryan’s colleagues on Talking Smack. Bryan countered that he could just cancel Miz TV. Bryan wanted to make an announcement about the Survivor Series teams. He started with the Smackdown Tag Team Qualifying matches, of which there are two left. He did it to bother Miz, who clearly wanted to know if he would be on the men’s Smackdown Survivor Series team.
Bryan said the Superstars representing Smackdown would be Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose…and…A.J. Styles. Well that seemed obvious. Should’ve listed Styles first and left Orton or Corbin for the last spot for some real drama. Also, kind of a slight not to have the Intercontinental Champion on the team. Miz was disappointed about not being on the team. Bryan should’ve offered him a shot to be on the Smackdown tag team squad if he could find a partner for a qualifying match. Miz asked if Bryan set out to humiliate him publicly, and in front of his wife. Miz said Bryan has no interest in leading “Team Raw” to victory (I assume he meant Smackdown). He said this show is full of opportunities, so long as your name isn’t Miz.
Bryan said he and Shane did consider Miz, but they had to pick wrestlers who aren’t afraid to fight. He said last week, Miz turned Ziggler down for an I.C. Title rematch. He said they needed men to fight on their terms. Miz said Bryan will lead Team Smackdown to get obliterated by Team Raw. Miz said he’s not scared to fight: Bryan is. Miz placed Maryse between himself and Bryan, telling Bryan he isn’t good at anything anymore. He told Bryan to go back to moping around John Cena’s house on Total Bellas. Bryan got angry and tossed one of Miz’s director’s chairs on set. Miz and Maryse exited the ring. Bryan said what Miz is best at sure isn’t wrestling. He told Miz to go hide behind the commentator’s desk and to leave the fighting to the real superstars. He said there are a ton of guys in the back who would love the chances that Miz gets. He said Ziggler will defend his title in an open challenge right now. We’ll find out who accepts the open challenge, next.
– With Miz and Maryse on commentary, Curt Hawkins came out to answer Dolph Ziggler’s Open Challenge. Hawkins got cheap heat by saying he was in Atlantic City. Hawkins said there’s going to be a lot of sore necks tomorrow when he becomes new I.C. Champ. Hawkins said tonight, Ziggler will have to face the facts.
4 – DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. CURT HAWKINS – INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
WINNER: Ziggler, at :07. Is it possible Hawkins misses GFW? Probably not. But still…
After a replay, Renee Young interviewed Ziggler. Ziggler said because Miz turned down his offer of a title shot last week, he’s making an I.C. Title Open Challenge for anyone from Monday Night Raw at Survivor Series. He said he’s “that damn good.” Jeez, just a month or so ago he was questioning his career choice. Now he wins one match and all that confidence is back.
– Fuentes interviewed Ambrose backstage, mistakenly calling James Ellsworth “James Ellis.” Well, that doesn’t help her cause, either. Ambrose, in a subtle way, let her know about the mistake. Ellsworth caught his eye off-camera, and Ellsworth again asked Ambrose to come to ringside with him. Ambrose was more emphatic this week, telling Ellsworth no.
– The Headbangers will look to qualify for the Survivor Series team, taking on The Usos.
– After an exterior shot of the Prudential Center, they replayed the Wyatts getting involved in Orton vs. Kane from earlier in the night.
– Orton was backstage in a dark place with Wyatt and Harper. Wyatt said Orton’s desire to join them has been met with skepticism by some. After all, Orton being the viper represents deception. But anyone with Orton’s credentials is welcome in his family. Harper seemed surprised. Orton said he was born with the devil whispering in his ear and he’s done trying to fight it. Hide your gym bags, wrestlers. “Bray, you are a god,” said Orton. Lights flickered in Orton’s eyes. Creepy.
5 – THE HEADBANGERS vs. THE USOS – SURVIVOR SERIES QUALIFYING MATCH
The Headbangers were already in the ring. The Usos attacked Mosh and Thrasher before the bell. The match started and Jey hit a Samoan drop on Thrasher. Both teams made tags 45 seconds in. Mosh did some work against Jimmy. After a pin was broken up, Jey delivered an uppercut to Mosh while the ref escorted Thrasher out of the ring. Roll-up for the win.
WINNERS: The Usos, at 1:23. Why protect the Headbangers like that? I know The Usos are heels but man, give them a dominating win here.
– Fuentes approached Styles backstage and asked him about his upcoming match with Ambrose. He was unhappy about being accosted for comment again. Styles faked enthusiasm for entertaining the fans. He said tonight, after he beats Ambrose, Ellsworth will have to crawl into whatever bargain bin he came out of.
– Ambrose and Ellsworth were walking backstage. Ambrose promised to exchange Christmas cards and said they’ll keep in touch, but he can’t be at ringside. He asked Ellsworth if he has his phone. “Good, because any man with two hands…can call an Uber and get a ride out of here.” He literally showed Ellsworth the door out of the arena.
– WWE won 18 awards across multiple platforms in the W3 Interactive and Visual Arts Awards.
– A.J. Styles made his entrance for the main event, followed by Dean Ambrose. It begins next.
6 – A.J. STYLES vs. DEAN AMBROSE – IF AMBROSE WINS, HE BECOMES THE #1 CONTENDER TO THE WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Ambrose went after Styles right at the bell, fighting him outside the ring and throwing him over the announce desk. Styles flipped Ambrose into a roll-up for two. Ambrose tried a few of his own, to no avail. Butterfly suplex off the top by Ambrose, but only for two. Styles countered Ambrose into the Calf Crusher. Ambrose reached the ropes quickly. With a running start, Ambrose knocked Styles off the barricade with a forearm and into the timekeeper’s area. Blockbuster attempt by Ambrose missed, and he came up holding his knee. They went to break at 4:32 of the match.
Back at about 8:20 with Styles trying a springboard forearm, but Ambrose dropkicked him as Styles went to springboard. He ended up outside the ring, where Ambrose hit a diving elbow onto Styles on the floor. Back in the ring, Ambrose sold his knee again, though he picked up momentum offensively. Ambrose rolled out of a Calf Crusher, but Styles suplexed Ambrose into the corner, folding him up in the process. Double clothesline left both men on the mat. “Ellsworth” chants, and what do you know, he came out through the crowd and began slamming the apron in cheering for Ambrose. Ambrose got up, incredulous. Pele Kick by Styles for two at 11:46. Security ran out from backstage, and Ellsworth high-tailed it through the crowd. This time Styles was distracted and Ambrose earned a near-fall. Calf Crusher by Styles countered the Dirty Deeds. Ambrose again reached the ropes. Ellsworth, still chased by security, came to ringside again. They kept him out of the ring. As they took him away from ringside, Styles plowed him over the announce table. Phenomenal Forearm countered into Dirty Deeds for the Ambrose pinfall.
WINNER: Ambrose, at 13:44.
Ellsworth was dragged around ringside, barely conscious, but security. He had a smile on his face, though, as Ambrose won. Replays of Ellsworth-related incidents during the match were shown. Ambrose limped up the ramp, catching up to security and Ellsworth. Ambrose shrugged his shoulders and smiled as he helped Ellsworth to his feet. Then he just let him drop and security continued taking him backstage to close the show.
Did you watch Tuesday’s Smackdown episode? Send your 0-10 score & Reax to email@example.com for our TV Reax feature.
Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He co-hosts the PWTorch Livecast PPV post-shows at least once a month. 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.