It’s the first Smackdown episode following Sunday’s Backlash pay-per-view that saw AJ Styles win the WWE Title from Dean Ambrose. You can click here if you missed my review or want to read it again.
Live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this is Smackdown for episode #891.
A video package aired showing highlights from Backlash with a focus on the low blow that Styles hit on Ambrose. They showed the low blow part, but didn’t show the Styles Clash that he hit after it.
The Smackdown intro video aired.
The new WWE World Champion AJ Styles made his entrance. He’s wearing the WWE Title, which I like better than people that put it on their shoulder. He was introduced as the “face that runs the place” because he requested it. Mostly cheers from the crowd even though he’s a heel. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield and David Otunga were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.
Styles: “The Champ Is Here!” Then he said “I told you so” and added that he did everything he said he was going to be. He bragged about beating John Cena and now he is the face that runs the place. He said he’d beat Dean Ambrose for the WWE Title and he did that too. Styles said if he told us the sky was green, don’t bother looking out the window because it’s green. Styles said that he’s the “Champ that runs the camp.” He said it about it four times.
John Cena’s music hit as Cena made his return after not appearing on WWE TV since SummerSlam. He went in the ring to go face to face with Styles.
Cena said that Styles has something that belongs to him that he wants to have back. Styles gave Cena the armband that he took after Styles beat Cena at SummerSlam. Cena said that Styles still has something that belongs to him and it zoomed in on the WWE Title. Cena said he finally decided to take it back, the World Heavyweight Champion. Cena said if he can hold that gold one more time he’s in the conversation with The Man (Ric Flair) referring to 16 World Titles because Cena has 15 World Titles. Cena said he wants to make history off Styles. It led to Cena saying he has one more goal in WWE…to proudly announce that the 16-time champ is here.
The former WWE Champion Dean Ambrose went into the ring to go face to face. Ambrose said that Styles stole from him when Styles kicked him in the jewels. Ambrose said from this moment forward he’s going to make Styles’ life miserable. Ambrose said he’s going to bury Styles and take back what is his.
Cena said that Ambrose is complaining that Styles kicked him in the balls after Ambrose put Styles on the top rope by the balls. Then Cena told Ambrose that Stone Cold was right about Ambrose on his podcast. Cena told Ambrose that he has no balls.
Ambrose told Cena he doesn’t give a damn what he thinks. Ambrose said that Cena is a “lazy part-timer” that can’t keep up anymore. He said that Cena can’t get it done in the ring anymore. Ambrose pointed out that Cena couldn’t beat “this chump” Styles at SummerSlam.
The Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon entered the ring to settle what’s going on. Shane said he had to come out there. He said that Styles and Cena tore the house down at SummerSlam. Shane noted that Styles beat Cena in the ring clean 1-2-3 and it’s an enormous accomplishment. Shane said that Styles has earned the right to say the “face that runs the place.” Shane praised the AJ/Dean match too. When Shane talked about Backlash, he said that AJ took the easy way out to beat Dean. Even though he did that, he’s still the WWE Champion. Shane told Ambrose that he’ll have his one on one rematch, but not at the moment. Shane said that at No Mercy, Styles will defend the WWE Title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match.
Shane moved on to talking about Smackdown tonight. He said that it will be Cena and Ambrose against Styles and a partner of his choosing.
Analysis: That was a great opening promo. Some awesome lines by Cena and Ambrose. Styles was very good too. The best part about it is they made it personal with Cena and Ambrose taking shots at eachother. Too many scripted promos in WWE hurt the product. This one was scripted of course, but it came off as more real than what we usually hear. As for the triple threat at No Mercy, I could see it coming. I don’t mind it at all although WWE does multi-man matches too often for my liking. Any match with Styles is going to be outstanding, though.
Later on Smackdown, Randy Orton addresses Bray Wyatt. There’s a 5-Way women’s match to see who faces Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Title.
There was a video about Connor’s Cure and WWE’s support for pediatric cancer research.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley)
The Usos are in red and white gear. The heels worked on Ryder for a bit. Rawley got the tag, cleaned house with a running tackle and corner splashes. Jey tripped up Ryder on the apron. Jimmy ended up stopping Rawley with a superkick. Jey nailed a top rope splash to pin Rawley. The match went about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
After the win, JBL did the usual heel announcer thing saying The Usos look better than ever. They just lost clean on Sunday, but apparently they are better than ever! I get why they say it, but it’s a bit silly coming off a title match loss.
Analysis: 1/2* That was so rushed. I was barely paying attention at the start, then Ryder made the hot tag to Rawley after like one minute and it was over so quickly. It was just a way to put over The Usos. Very forgettable match. I feel bad for wrestlers when they get no time to show what they can do.
Later on Smackdown, Heath Slater signs his contract. The Miz and Maryse were shown walking backstage.
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There was a video about Curt Hawkins with him saying that it’s time for Smackdown Live to “face the facts.”
Analysis: That's his debut or return? Thrilling. Now that's sarcasm.
The Intercontinental Champion The Miz entered along with his lovely wife Maryse. He is not dressed to wrestle. Miz said that for weeks, Daniel Bryan and the WWE Universe have been calling him a coward. He said that you can call him a coward, but he left with the IC Title on his shoulder. Miz said it’s day 162 of his world tour and he’s held the title for more than 132 different Intercontinental Champions saying he’s held it longer than people like Pat Patterson, Triple H and Dolph Ziggler. That’s a unique list. Miz said he’s a main eventer.
Dolph Ziggler walked out to the ring saying that Miz is trying to prove to himself that he’s the actual champion. Ziggler knows that deep down inside, no matter what he does, superstars laugh at him and Miz knows why. Ziggler told Miz that the WWE Universe will never see Miz as a top guy because they will always see through him. Miz said that any time he’s on this show or any show he is the main event. Miz didn’t care about the WWE Universe and mocked Ziggler’s career.
Ziggler admitted that he’s at a crossroads in his career, but Miz will always have an asterisk by his name and his career. Ziggler wanted Miz to have one more match. No gimmicks, no valets, no girlfriends, no wives, no stunt doubles, no excusive. Ziggler said “just you and me.”
Maryse spoke up as the crowd booed her. Miz grabbed the microphone to tell the crowd to shut up while Maryse is talking.
The Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan said that Maryse is the reason Miz is still the IC Champion and Ziggler will get his rematch. Miz said that Ziggler didn’t earn the right for a title shot in the first place and he’s not getting a rematch. Miz wants his contract renegotiated. Miz said the title won’t be defended on Smackdown or any show unless he gets what he wants. Bryan went into the ring as Miz and Maryse left through the crowd.
Analysis: That was an awkward way to end it. The GM Bryan should have the power to make any match at any time and a guy leaving through the crowd like Miz shouldn’t be able to stop that from happening. I’m not really that excited about another Ziggler vs. Miz match. I don’t think the crowd really wants it either. It seems to be where they are going, though.
AJ Styles walked up to Baron Corbin backstage. Styles asked Corbin to be his partner in the main event. Corbin said he’d rather be his opponent because he wants that title.
Analysis: So a guy who almost never main events doesn’t want to main event? What a genius. I know he's a lone wolf. I just want his character to make some progress.
Baron Corbin was in the ring. Apollo Crews made his entrance. Corbin attacked him outside the ring with the End of Days. No match.
Analysis: That was weird. I was ready for a match after all of those promos, but there’s another angle.
Jack Swagger’s music hit. He made his entrance wearing a black shirt and a backwards hat. Corbin left the ring. Swagger said that as of 12:01 this morning Smackdown Live is his home. Swagger talked about how we should forget about what we knew about him before because he’s a great athlete with a smoking hot wife. how he’s going to be a big problem on Smackdown Live. Then he said we’re gonna be a big problem and did the “We The People” chant to end it.
Analysis: Good for Swagger. I have always liked him. He’s an athletic big guy that has potential if they really get behind him. He wasn’t doing anything on wrong, so it was a simple way to have him leave Raw to become a Smackdown talent.
Tag match main event still to come.
Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage.
Analysis: They are 50 minutes into the show and so far there’s only been one match that went two minutes.
The Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance. She was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso.
Fans chanted “you deserve it” at Becky Lynch. She said that it’s fitting that the first place that Becky Balboa gets to celebrate her Women’s Title is right here in Philadelphia (Rocky Balboa was from Philly as you probably know). She talked about being in the fight of her life at Backlash. Lynch said the journey is greater than the destination, but whoever said that didn’t travel this journey because this destination is pretty sweet. Lynch said “come at me bros” to end the promo.
Analysis: A solid promo from Lynch as always. She is a true face that comes off as genuine similar to Bayley on Raw.
The women made their entrance for the Five Pack Challenge with Naomi walking out first. Nikki Bella made her entrance as we hit the top of the second hour. There’s Natalya in the third spot, Alexa Bliss has the Harley Quinn-like outfit again and Carmella is out last. Lynch was sitting at ringside, but she's not on commentary.
Fatal 5-Way #1 Contender’s Match: Nikki Bella vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Natalya
It’s first fall wins the match here instead of an elimination match like they did at Backlash. Natalya dominated early with a clothesline, then snap suplexes and a Michinoku Driver on Naomi. Nikki sent Natalya head first into the knee for a two count as Carmella broke up the pin. Nikki nailed a running clothesline off the stairs to knock down Carmella on the floor. Naomi with a sunset flip over the top rope on Natalya for a two count. Naomi went on Nikki’s shoulders and then Nikki dropped her with the Electric Chair Drop. Bliss got the two count on both girls. Naomi with a great step up enziguri on Bliss. Natalya with a running basement dropkick on Bliss and Naomi gets two. Nikki with a Bella Buster on Natalya gets just two. Naomi with the Rear View aka the Flying Ass gets two. Natalya sent Naomi’s face into the steel steps. Nikki tossed Natalya into the barricade. When Nikki had Bliss on her shoulders, Carmella nailed a superkick to knock Nikki down. Bliss sent Carmella out of the ring and Bliss covered Nikki for the win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alex Bliss
Analysis: **1/2 It was a pretty good match. They fit in a lot of action in there. There were some big moves in there, people were kicking out of signature moves and then Carmella just showed up to factor into the finish. It seems like she was on the floor for much of the match. Bliss getting the win is a solid choice because she’s a new top contender. I doubt they are going to take the title off Lynch any time soon, so Bliss is just somebody that can gain experience by working with a talented performer like Lynch. I’m a little surprised that Bliss pinned Nikki to win. I figured it would be Naomi taking the pin.
AJ Styles was shown backstage. He walked up to Kane and suggested they become a team for this match. Kane left and walked away.
The Heath Slater contract signing is up next.
PLUG TIME: We do a TJRWrestling Podcast every week that you can listen to right here on Podbean or use iTunes by searching “TJRWrestling” or “John Canton” to get it. Last week we had WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitor TJ Perkins as our guest. This week we are recording shows that will be available on Wednesday and Friday.
Heath Slater Contract Signing
The Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon was in the ring with a table as well as a contract. He talked about this man seizing an opportunity and he brought out Slater. Here comes Slater with his “I Got Kids” shirt with “I Need This Job” on the back along with his Tag Team Champion partner Rhyno. Slater hugged Shane when he got into the ring. Some fans chanted “ECW” for Rhyno since Philly was the home of ECW.
Shane congratulated them for their Tag Team Title win at Backlash. There was a contract in the ring. Slater held it up in the air. Slater signed the contract.
Slater: “Woo! Heath Slater baby!” He thanked Shane and Daniel Bryan for making this happen. Slater told his wife Beulah that they are moving into a double wide. Slater also thanked his tag team partner Rhyno. Another “ECW” chant started. Slater said that they’ll take on anybody anywhere. Slater thanked his kids. He said the names of his “kids” that are fictional, but he was cut off.
The Ascension duo of Konnor and Viktor said that any place, any time, then how about right now against The Ascension? They have different face time, but otherwise have the same look.
Slater didn’t seem interested in having a match. Shane said it’s actually a good time to do this. The ring was cleared out and they went to break.
Analysis: Slater’s energy is a lot of fun. He’s been booked a comedy loser for a couple of years. Now he’s a comedy face, but at least he has a title. The storyline for him has worked well. It proves that any character can be rehabilitated with good booking. All the creative team has to do is care about a guy, give them a chance and it might work like it did for Slater.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
The Ascension were in control as the show returned from the break. They did this spot where Konnor held up Slater and Viktor was going to hit hihm with a top rope move, but Viktor didn’t even connect with it. The crowd booed because they missed the spot. Konnor was sent into the ring post. Slater tagged Rhyno in. Rhyno with a clothesline on Viktor and a spinebuster gets two. Konnor broke up the pin. Slater jumped on Konnor’s back with a sleeper, but he got dumped to the floor. Rhyno sent Konnor out of the ring with a shoulder tackle. Rhyno hit a Gore on Viktor for the win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Analysis: * It was fine, but it was a rushed tag match like the other one. The story is that Rhyno does all the work, Slater can only seem to do comedy stuff and Rhyno ended up getting the win. They will be booked as fluke champions it looks like. I doubt they hold the titles that long until The Usos win them and then have a long term story with American Alpha.
AJ Styles was backstage. Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan walked up to. Styles said he didn’t need a partner. Bryan brought out Styles’ partner…James. It’s James Ellsworth, who was a Raw jobber that is awkward looking.
Analysis: That was funny if they stick with it.
The Cruiserweight Classic finale is Wednesday at 9pmET and it’s two hours. It’s on WWE Network. I’m writing about that show too. Looking forward to it. Otunga picks Perkins to win and JBL picks Ibushi.
Randy Orton walked out for a promo. He was not in his ring gear. Orton posed in the ring. He said that Bray Wyatt is scared of him, which is why Wyatt attacked him at Backlash. Orton called Wyatt out to the ring to face his fear.
Analysis: They are being a bit edgy on this show by saying “balls” a few times. I don’t mind it.
Bray Wyatt did a promo from his backstage lair. He spoke for about a minute while ending it by saying “don’t sleep Randy” a couple of times.
Wyatt appeared at ringside in a darkened ring aside from the light from the cell phones in the crowd. Erick Rowan was in the ring wearing his sheep mask. Rowan attacked Orton from behind. He knocked Orton down. Orton got back to his feet and dropped Rowan with a RKO. Orton’s music played so that ended it.
Analysis: It was a quick promo from Orton. Rowan attacking him was pretty random because it appeared as though Wyatt dumped Rowan since he loses nearly every match he’s in, yet they used Rowan to try to attack Orton. Obviously, the Orton/Wyatt story is going to continue, which is fine because they didn’t have the advertised match at Backlash. I’m a little surprised Wyatt didn’t get his win back against Kane. Maybe next week.
Main event tag match is up next. This graphic makes me laugh because of the Ellsworth face.
The WWE Champion AJ Styles made his entrance. He’s on ESPN Sportscenter on Wednesday at 9pmET.
James Ellsworth made his entrance, but The Miz attacked him on the ramp with a clothesline to the back. He beat on him a bit. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Ellsworth on the ramp. Miz was yelling about how he’s the main event.
Analysis: That’s a shame. EllsworthMania was running wild for a few moments at least.
John Cena made his entrance as they mentioned the No Mercy main event on October 9: Styles vs. Cena vs. Ambrose for the WWE Title. Here comes Ambrose. The tag match is coming up next.
John Cena & Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles & The Miz
The match started during the break. They showed a clip of Styles hitting the Ushigoroshi fireman’s carry into the knee. Miz worked on Cena in the ring with a snap DDT for a two count. Miz missed a running corner charge after Cena moved. Ambrose tagged in for his team against Styles. Ambrose with a running clothesline as well as a spinning slam into a backbreaker. Flying elbow off the top gets two for Ambrose. Miz tried to interfere, so Ambrose knocked him down and sent Miz into the barricade. Back in the ring, Styles nailed a Pele Kick to knock Ambrose down. They went to break four minutes into the show and with nine minutes left in the show.
Back from break, Miz hit a double axehandle on Ambrose. Styles got in a cheap punch on Cena as the heels worked on Ambrose. JBL defended Styles and Miz for not being cheap because some people call it opportunity. Styles kicked Ambrose in the ribs to keep him down. Ambrose avoided a Styles attack and hit a swinging neckbreaker.
Cena got the hot tag against Miz. Cena with the shoulder tackles, the spinning suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Miz. Cena went for the AA, but Miz fought out of it and Styles was dumped to the floor by Ambrose. Ambrose took out Styles with a suicide dive on the floor. Cena with the Attitude Adjustment on Miz for the pinfall after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: John Cena & Dean Ambrose
Analysis: **3/4 It was a very basic and standard tag team match. It felt like a house show match where they did the most basic stuff with Cena getting the hot tag, hitting his usual offense and getting the easy pinfall on Miz. It’s a good thing that Styles didn’t take the pin because he just won the WWE Title and he shouldn’t lose matches that quickly. Of course he was on the losing end here, but it doesn’t really hurt Styles. Since Cena has been off TV for nearly a month, it was no surprise that he won for his team. The loss isn't good for Miz in terms of him looking better of late, but it was pretty obvious he was taking the pin here.
Post match, Dean Ambrose turned on Cena and hit the Dirty Deeds. A lot of the crowd was booing Ambrose. Ambrose talked trash to Cena.
Analysis: That was well done. Big reaction from the crowd for Ambrose attacking Cena. Is it a heel turn? I don’t think so. It was more of a “sending the message” thing to build some heat for the No Mercy match. I don’t think it means more than that.
Ambrose left the ring looking proud of what he did. There was another plug for the No Mercy main event. Ambrose started at Styles while Cena was down in the ring. The show went off the air right at 10pmET like usual.
Analysis: Good ending with people wondering if Ambrose has turned. Once again, I don’t think that’s what it is, but I saw some chatter on Twitter about it. I want Ambrose to be a heel. I just don't think he's there at this point.
Styles will retain at No Mercy. Cena is rumored to go film American Grit season two later in October and will probably be off TV until the new year, so he's not going to win. I doubt Ambrose gets the title back so soon. Styles is a long term champion.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
2. John Cena
3. Dean Ambrose
6 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2016 Average: 5.96
2016 Average Post Brand Split (July 26): 6.06 (Raw is at 5.77)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 5.5, 8, 6, 5
2016 High: 8 (August 23)
2016 Low: 4 (January 21)
It gets a 6 out of 10.
Good show for promos, but the in-ring work was poor. The main reason for that is they didn’t have many matches and several of the matches were too short.
The highlight of the show was the opening promo, which is because they were able to say some stuff that you don’t always hear and it felt more personal than typical WWE trash talk.
The women’s match was well done even though it was short.
I thought Raw was a bit better than Smackdown this week.
I’ll be back after the Cruiserweight Classic finale on Wednesday with a review of that show too. Four straight days of reviews. Love it, I think. With that show I will love it. Very excited for it.
That’s all for now. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
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