WWE Smackdown LIVE review
November 15, 2016
From Wilkes Barre, Pa.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– A bunch of highlights from the previous 899 episodes of Smackdown were shown in a video package. It led into a hype package for tonight, where Dolph Ziggler will put his Intercontinental Title on the line against The Miz. Plus, on The Cutting Edge, the Smackdown Survivor Series. And, The Undertaker returns to Smackdown.
– In the arena, Shane McMahon entered first. He was joined on the stage by Daniel Bryan. The men talked about it being the 900th episode of the show, and Bryan hyped up the live crowd by announcing Edge and Undertaker’s returns tonight. Shane said he couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the show than with the I.C. Title match. So that’s what they did.
Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and “host” Tom Phillips were shown at the announce table at ringside. When Miz came to the ring, they showed Miz defeating Ziggler to retain his I.C. Title two months ago at Backlash. As Ziggler came out, they showed him beating Miz for that very title at No Mercy last month. Greg Hamilton handled formal pre-match ring introductions.
1 – THE MIZ vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Ziggler went for a superkick, Miz flinched, and Ziggler rolled him up for two. The two went back and forth, obviously very familiar with each other’s offense, before coming to a stalemate. They took a break at that point, 1:20 into the match.
Back at 4:47 with Miz scaling the top rope. He came off, but was caught in mid-air with a dropkick. Miz got up first, however, and hit the neck-breaker combo for two. Ranallo put over the I.C. Title while JBL and Otunga argued over who would better represent Smackdown at Survivor Series against Sami Zayn in defending the title, Miz or Ziggler. Clothesline in the corner for Miz missed the mark. Swinging neck-breaker of his own by Ziggler. Miz tried a jackknife cover with the ropes for leverage, but referee Mike Chioda caught him. Ziggler registered a very near-fall just before break, at 9:39 of the contest.
Back at 13:30 with Ziggler again coming very close to retaining his title via pinfall. “Yes” kicks by Miz, met with “no” chants from the fans. Running knee to the face of Ziggler, followed by the Skull Crushing Finale. Ranallo has officially gone over to the dark side, calling the match over before Ziggler kicked out. Ziggler blocked a figure-four, which eventually led to a Zig Zag. Miz got his foot on the rope on the pin attempt. JBL lauded Miz’s ring presence. The Spirit Squad ran to the ring as Ziggler set up for a superkick. He knocked both off the apron, but it allowed Miz to take over and lock in the figure-four. Ziggler reached the bottom rope after struggling for a while in the move. Small package by Ziggler, but Maryse gave a shove that the ref didn’t see, turning the move in Miz’s favor, allowing him to pick up the win.
WINNER: Miz, at 17:53. That Ziggler. What a loser. The match was all about counter after counter, built on both men knowing each other’s offense inside and out.
After a replay, the Survivor Series graphic was updated to show The Miz defending his newly-won Intercontinental Title against Sami Zayn.
– To the announcers, where Tom Phillips threw it to a video recap of the Survivor Series summit that took place last night on Raw.
– Tonight, the Smackdown Survivor Series team will guest on The Cutting Edge.
– Also, Undertaker returns.
– Smackdown moment from episode #36, August 27, 2000: Steve Austin blows up the DX Express Bus.
– They showed a Tweet from Sami Zayn reacting to The Miz’s I.C. Title win moments ago.
– Alexa Bliss was talking to Daniel Bryan backstage, showing Bryan that her foot was on the rope during the finish of the match last week. Bryan didn’t have time for her, especially now that this is the fifth time she’s brought this up with him. He asked her to focus her energy on beating Team Raw at Survivor Series, promising her a rematch in the process. Natalya and her whistle entered the scene. She called this a “teachable moment.” She advised Bliss to get back up again when she gets knocked down. Yes, a quote from Chumbawumba this week, which Bliss pointed out. She was exasperated, and walked off. “What is a Chumbawumba?” asked Natalya, to Bryan.
2 – ONEY LORCAN vs. KALISTO
No entrance for Lorcan, but he did get NXT chyron. His presence on the show is a surprise. They showed Baron Corbin attacking Kalisto last week, before Kalisto got the better of him. Lorcan attacked Kalisto right at the bell. Running forearm to the back of the neck, followed by a half-nelson overhead throw. Kalisto went after Lorcan with kicks, then went for a springboard, but slipped and ate the mat. To his credit, Lorcan didn’t miss a beat, going right on the attack. After a few exchanges, Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol for the win.
WINNER: Kalisto, at 1:14. Credit Kalisto and especially Lorcan for covering well for Kalisto’s botch. Although given the storyline of Corbin “slipping” on the apron last week, leading to Kalisto’s attack, call it a kind of poetic justice.
Replays were shown of the key moments in that match.
– Carmella takes on Nikki Bella tonight.
– Undertaker’s music played in the background as the camera focused on his familiar headgear backstage. A hand from off-camera picked it up.
– Episode #1: August 26, 1999: Triple H vs. The Rock for the title with Shawn Michaels as special referee. Not sure why they didn’t show this one first.
– The announcers were shown on-camera talking Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at Survivor Series.
– They showed a Rock Instagram video with comments congratulating WWE on the 900th episode of Smackdown.
– The Smackdown Survivor Series Tag Team squad (sans Breezango) was getting hyped backstage. Heath Slater said they brought in a motivational speaker to get the team ready for Sunday. In walked King Booker, in King character. Before he could give his full decree, Breezango walked in and, as the fashion police, gave them all tickets, including Booker. Fandango called him “King Booger,” and Booker did the “tell me you didn’t just say that” bit. Book sent them away while the rest of the team chanted “all hail King Booker.”
– Nikki Bella came to the ring for her match against Carmella. It’s next.
– Smackdown Moment from episode #149: June 27, 2002: John Cena debuts, showing Ruthless Aggression against Kurt Angle.
3 – NIKKI BELLA vs. CARMELLA
Still not much of a reaction for Carmella’s entrance. Carmella taunted Nikki by giving her the “you can’t see me” treatment. Nikki chased Carmella out of the ring, then back in. Carmella went after the neck of Nikki, but a face-buster allowed Bella to take over. Dropkick by Nikki and Carmella tried to regroup outside. Carmella grabbed Nikki by the neck and gave her a neck-breaker from under the bottom rope in the ring, to the floor. Back in the ring, Nikki was able to kick out on a pin attempt. Carmella caught Nikki with a side kick following a surprise roll-up by Nikki. “You’re not so fearless now!” shouted Carmella. Sleeper by Carmella until the crowd woke up and got behind Nikki. Nikki tried to find comfort in the corner, but Carmella did not let up. Another sleeper. This time the crowd got into it sooner. Bronco Buster missed and both ladies were down, six minutes in. Through the crowd came Charlotte, wearing her Raw Women’s Title, and carrying a ticket. She took a seat at ringside. They went to break at 7:02.
Back at 10:18 with Nikki fighting off ANOTHER sleeper hold. Charlotte was still at her seat in the crowd. Alabama Slam by Bella. The fight went outside and, whaddya know, right in front of Charlotte. Charlotte cheered obnoxiously for Nikki, leading to Nikki striking her with a forearm. Nikki got the best of her at ringside, and the ref called for the bell.
WINNER: No Contest (no announcement), at 11:33. Carmella has improved her heel presence, but the match wasn’t technically impressive for going ten-plus minutes.
As Nikki continued to beat down Charlotte in the ring, the rest of the Raw women ran in to help. Carmella came to, and tried to help Nikki, but was fended off. The Smackdown women came out and everyone brawled. The idea that Carmella, in a heated feud with Nikki, would help her just because they’re on the same brand, is somewhat ridiculous. Same with the Raw babyface women teaming up with the heel women to do a five-on-one attack on a Smackdown babyface. What a mess, this booking. Anyway, the big spots were Nia Jax crashing into the barricade and collapsing it when Becky Lynch moved, and Naomi flying off the top and onto Dana Brooke, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox, and Charlotte. The Smackdown women stood tall.
– The five-man Smackdown team will be on The Cutting Edge later on.
– Backstage, The Undertaker’s music was again heard, and a shadow of the man on the wall was shown.
– Smackdown is the number two longest running weekly episodic television show. Using WWE math, of course.
– Renee Young was backstage at the Talking Smack set. She talked about the Fantasy Warfare match-up at Survivor Series. A video package aired chronicling this feud. Young then plugged the USA Network premiere of “Shooter,” airing after Smackdown. They showed a clip from that show.
– In the ring were The Spirit Squad, Vaudevillains, Headbangers, and Ascension. That’s quite the team. They’re taking on the Smackdown Survivor Series tag team…team. It’ll take place next.
4 – THE VAUDEVILLAINS & THE HEADBANGERS & THE SPIRIT SQUAD & THE ASCENSION vs. AMERICAN ALPHA & BREEZANGO & THE HYPE BROS. & THE USOS
The match was joined in progress, with team captains Rhyno and Heath Slater sitting this one out. Jimmy Uso tagged himself in and Jason Jordan wasn’t too pleased with it. The Usos worked over Mikey for a bit. “We want Slater” chant, but the man isn’t even in the match. Mojo Rawley tagged in and went to work on Simon Gotch. Cross-body by Gotch, caught and slammed by Rawley. Ryder came in and delivered a neck-breaker for two. A chop to Mojo only fired him up. “We want Rhyno” chant now. Viktor relieved Gotch and went on the offensive against Ryder. Middle-rope dropkick by Ryder and a clothesline sent Viktor over the top. Wrecking Ball dropkick on Konnor, but Viktor attacked Ryder from behind outside. The two sides nearly came to blows outside the ring as they went to break, 4:25 into what has been shown.
The hot tag was made by Chad Gable soon after they returned from break, as he was paired with Thrasher. Gable was able to fight off both members of the Headbangers, however. Jordan came in and suplexed Mosh over the top. Spirit Squad took him out, and everybody hit their moves. The Usos flew over the top and onto most of the teams. Grand Amplitude on Thrasher and Gable officially picked up the win.
WINNERS: Alpha, Usos, Breezango, and Hype Bros, 10:48 shown. It’s nice to have enough teams on the brand where you don’t need to job teams that will actually be in the match to build it up. Actually thought they should’ve disposed of the lesser teams a little quicker, though the ability to make frequent tags and keep each side fresh evens things up a little bit.
Replays were shown of the match.
– The announcers talked about how to subscribe to the WWE Network and the advantages of such a subscription.
– Edge came out to host The Cutting Edge. And yes, Tony Chimel was there to make the ring announcement. He’ll be on Sportscenter tomorrow night at 9pm EST. Edge, not Chimel. Edge talks, next.
– The Cutting Edge set was down to just a black carpet over the mat. Not an accoutrement in sight. Edge said it was good to be back and that he bleeds blue. He said he has a vested interest in the Raw vs. Smackdown matches at Survivor Series. He brought out Team Smackdown, which came out to the Smackdown theme. James Ellsworth was there as well. Edge wanted to shake the hand of the man that personified Smackdown more than anyone else. He feigned going toward A.J. Styles, but instead shook Ellsworth’s hand. Ellsworth said he’s been a fan of Edge his whole life. He asked to do a five-second pose, but Styles broke up the love-fest. Styles said no one cares about Ellsworth OR Edge. He told Edge to direct his questions toward him.
So instead, Edge went over to Randy Orton, his former partner in Rated RKO. Edge asked about him joining The Wyatt Family. Bray stepped in and told Edge the Randy he once knew is dead. He said the world will see a far more dangerous viper than ever before on Sunday. Edge told Shane McMahon he has his work cut out for him. Shane said no one has to get along or like each other on the team, but for just one night, they all have to be on the same page. He gave a bit of a pep talk to the team. Shane called Smackdown “Shane-O-Mac-Down.” Styles said that sounds stupid.
Styles said the team will stick together because of him, because he decided to coexist with a hothead like Dean Ambrose. Ambrose said as soon as Smackdown wins on Sunday, he’s coming after Styles. He previewed, briefly, his TLC Match coming up with Styles in December. As the team continued arguing, Undertaker’s gong sounded and his music began to play. He entered the arena at 9:54 EST. As he entered the ring, the entire Smackdown team was on the other side of it, giving him a wide berth. Taker stood face-to-face with Shane. He backed off after that and took a mic.
He said there could be no better man to be Commissioner of Smackdown than the man who has no fear. Then he pointed at Shane. Taker said he’s back for two reasons: First, Wrestlemania will no longer define him. He said he’s taking souls and digging holes. He said he was born at Survivor Series. And Smackdown has always been his home. The second reason (I’m not sure there was a real first reason, but we’re on his time): He told the team if they fail (pause for “you still got it” chant), they will have reason to fear him. Taker said Team Raw better “Rest in Peace.” Ranallo gave a last minute hard-sell for Survivor Series. The show was cut off as JBL was about to say something and with Taker doing the throat-slash gesture.
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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 email@example.com.