As we predicted earlier, the 2016 TLC is set to be a spectacle. This is one of the premiere events of the year and the fact that it is a Smackdown Live exclusive has us excited that perhaps it will be a really powerful pay-per-view for WWE. Without further ado, let’s get into the show with our live play-by-play, match results and instant feedback.
The pre-show gave us some tag team action to get things going. American Alpha, Hype Bros and Apollo Crews took on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension and Curt Hawkins. Whole lot of silliness and antics throughout this one. Too many goofy personalities crammed into one match. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of massive tag team matches. Ten competitors outside of a Royal Rumble or a battle royale is far too many. The Alphas did pretty solid and the match wasn’t flat by any stretch of the term. All ten guys put on a great show for the crowd, who were lively and behind the match. In the end Gable and Jordan pick up the pinfall for their team. Okay match with the correct ending.
The first match as the show begins is for the Smackdown Live tag team titles. The Wyatt Family (featuring Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt) challenging Heath Slater and Rhyno. This match was a little short in my opinion. Solid action. The finish was Wyatt distracting Rhyno and Orton hit him with an RKO out of nowhere. After the match, Orton and Bray put the titles on Harper’s shoulders and then posed for the crowd. Very interesting booking here. This is the first time heels have held these titles. It will be fun to see what they do with it. Give it up for Smackdown always pushing the unexpected into our laps. With the pre-show victory, one has to assume American Alpha will be coming down the line to challenge The Wyatt Family for their new shiny belts.
Next up is a No Disqualification match between Nikki Bella and Carmella. As feuds go, this one is ice cold. It doesn’t really do anything in the grander scheme for either woman or the viewing audience. But, a No DQ match is usually a good way to keep me interested. There’s always the possibility of serious injury or death, two things I have often wished on Nikki Bella (and her boyfriend). Carmella dominates to start and eventually ties Nikki upside down in the corner. She gets a kendo stick out and hits Nikki in the stomach. Nikki turns the table when she sprays Carmella in the face with a fire extinguisher. Rack Attack 2.0 lays Carmella out and Nikki picks up the pinfall win. After the match, Carmella gets on the mic and says she didn’t attack Nikki at Survivor Series. She tells her it was Natalya. Duh, we all knew that the moment it happened.
It’s not even 9:00PM yet and the third match is about to start. That seems odd. Half their matches in the first hour? Maybe WWE is starting to end PPV’s earlier. The next bout is Dolph Ziggler challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in none other than a ladder match. Ziggler the aggressor to start the match. The fight spills out of the ring and Miz plants Ziggler on the ramp with a super kick. They stay outside the ring for quite awhile using ladders as weapons against one another. Ziggler hits an outstanding satellite DDT on a ladder and both men are down. Ziggler finally gets a large ladder into the ring. He attempts to set it up but Miz dropkicks him from behind.
The Miz mocks Daniel Bryan at one point with a YES! gesture right before dropkicking a ladder into Ziggler. Both men climb a ladder and trade blows right below the title. Ziggler knocks Miz off but before he can recover, Miz yanks him down. Miz goes to work on Ziggler’s leg, slamming it into a ladder over and over. Miz wraps Ziggler’s leg through a ladder wrung and then locks in a Figure Four leglock. Ouch. Miz then hits a Skull Crushing Finale into a ladder. Miz sets up a ladder and tries to grab the belt. Ziggler knocks the ladder away and Miz is hanging from the belt! Ziggler slams the ladder into his knee and Miz falls to the mat and rolls out of the ring. Ziggler climbs up the ladder on one leg, but before he gets to the top, Miz runs in and powerbombs him into a ladder. The pair are at the top of a ladder again and then Ziggler starts hitting Miz with headbutts. Miz falls down. Miz pops up and kicks Ziggler in the junk. Twice. Ziggler crumples to the mat as Miz climbs up and retains his IC title.
As ladder matches go, nothing groundbreaking happens. It’s hard to top some of the epic matches we’ve seen in the past. But it is entertaining throughout. Both men bring their a-game. The crowd was really behind Ziggler so the finish was booed, but it was actually really great. I enjoyed that bout. Best match so far tonight. After the match, The Miz gets on the mic and dedicates his victory to Daniel Bryan.
Next match is a chairs match between Baron Corbin and Kalisto. As you might expect, Corbin dominates to start this match, spilling the action out around the ring. He manhandles Kalisto like a paper doll. Kalisto rallies with some nice offense and the two manage to get some oh’s and ah’s from the crowd with some pretty devastating moves, ie: violence. Kalisto dives out of the ring towards Corbin, but he catches the tiny Lucha and hits a Deep Six on the floor. In the ring, Corbin covers but Kalisto kicks out. Corbin hits End of Days on a pile of chairs and that’s the ballgame. A breakout out match for both guys, really. Very nice to watch. The arena crowd was flat, but make no mistake that this was a really great match to watch.
Natalya is interviewed and asked about attacking Nikki. Instead she wishes Becky Lynch luck in her title defense. Then she calls the comments Carmella made absurd and calls her a liar. Natalya versus Nikki or Carmella is not a very promising feud. Let’s hope they skip that and move on to something else. This interview did segue nicely into the next match. Alexa Bliss challenging Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a tables match. Both ladies aggressive to start. Becky is the first to set a table up outside the ring, but Alexa stops her from utilizing it. The crowd is shit throughout this one, chanting for other things unrelated to the match. Charlotte and Sasha spoiled us on Raw this past week, but Becky and Alexa are putting on a good show. Outside the ring, Alexa powerbombs Becky through a table for the win! What!? That’s exciting! Alexa Bliss is my favorite female on both rosters so this is really great. Yes!
The main event of the night is Dean Ambrose challenging AJ Styles in a traditional TLC match for the WWE World Championship. The championship hangs high above the ring. Ambrose going right after the champ as soon as the bell rings. Ambrose clotheslines Styles outside the ring. He follows the champ out and they fight up the ramp. This spills out into the crowd. Ambrose is all over the map. He puts a trash can on Styles and hits him near the announce table with a chair. He gets in the ring and sets up a ladder, but Styles recovers enough to stop him, planting him on the mat. Styles takes control as the crowd rallies behind him, chanting his name.
Ambrose pounds Styles into a group of chairs, garnering a “Holy Shit!” chant from the crowd. Ambrose throws Styles through the metal legs of a table. Styles bounces back and suplexes Ambrose through a table. Wow, a really terrific few minutes of action. Goodness. Dirty Deeds and Phenomenal Forearm both countered, respectively, and then Ambrose throws Styles out of the ring. Ambrose puts Styles on one announce table and sets a ladder up on a second table. Ambrose off the ladder, dropping an elbow into Styles, crashing through the announce table. Mauro Ranallo screams, “Oh my god!” and then the announce team falls silent as the crowd chants, “This is awesome!”
Ambrose leaves Styles in the wreckage and gets a ladder into the ring. He climbs towards the belt. Styles gets on the apron and leaps off the top rope to hit a Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Ambrose off the ladder. They both recover and crawl up either side of the ladder. They knock each other off the ladder and then Ambrose spins Styles into the ladder. Styles sets Ambrose on a table outside the ring and does a 450 splash off the top rope, driving Ambrose through the table. Styles sets a ladder up in the ring as James Ellsworth comes down. Styles foregoes the ladder and goes after Ellsworth. Ambrose hops up and hits Dirty Deeds on the steel steps.
Ambrose scrambles into the ring and sets up a ladder under the title. Ambrose gets up two rungs before Styles joins him on the ladder. Ambrose knocks him off the ladder and out of the ring. Just as Ambrose is reaching for the title Ellsworth tips the ladder over and Ambrose goes through two tables! Ellsworth cheers on Styles has he sets up a ladder and slowly works his way to the top. Styles grabs his title and retains. What a fantastic match. Easily the best match of the night. Bravo. Once again, Smackdown Live has outdone themselves, continuing to stand out within the WWE brand split.
What did you think of tonight’s pay-per-view? Let us know in the comments below! See you all tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After WWE tweeted that not only would Becky Lynch not be able to compete at the No Mercy PPV due to medical reasons, but that the main event would start the show, my husband decided that we would skip writing a results article and just try to enjoy the show. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV, Backlash, had a terrible card but turned out to be a great three hours, so I went into No Mercy with a healthy amount of optimism. My mistake.
Curt Hawkins was initially going to have his debut match at No Mercy, but instead popped out randomly during the preshow at around 7:15pm EST before the majority of fans were even in their seats. He walked to the ring to a list of Chuck Norris-type facts while waving around a walking stick. Hawkins announced that his first match would actually be on October 11th on Smackdown, and the crowd couldn’t care less. This was such a poor choice for what was meant to be a strong debut.
The preshow kickoff match featured The Hype Bros and American Alpha versus The Ascension and The Vaudevillains. It was a solid fight, with the Hype Bros and American Alpha picking up the win after a nine minute match. I don’t think this was the best use of the preshow though. We have an entire hour to eat up, and the match only gets 15% of that time? We don’t need to hear Jerry Lawler sexually harass female talent for 45 minutes. Give us longer and better preshow matches.
Our first match was the “main event” where AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat match. Styles actually tapped out, but because both Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had a submission hold on him, the match was restarted. First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this main event opened the PPV. I thought that maybe they were saving something else for the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps they moved it so it wasn’t airing during the debate, but that doesn’t make sense either since everything is On Demand on the Network. It was a confusing move, and I still have yet to figure out why they did it.
Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a decent match, but Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in a match that would have been better left off the card. The women had a little over 5 minutes to compete, and it ended with Bliss throwing a fit after her loss. It makes her look weak and childish, which is a poor move considering she is the number one contender for Lynch’s title. Time and time again, we hear about the Women’s Revolution. I’m still waiting for it to begin.
The highlight of the night for me was watching Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully retain against The Usos. It was a solid match and it’s so amazing to hear Slater being cheered for, getting hot tags, and being able to actually perform in the ring instead of job out. The second high point for me was Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz and becoming Intercontinental Champion. This was a twenty minute match of nonstop action. Online rumors had Ziggler leaving WWE to pursue a career in comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t true.
Baron Corbin defeated the new and improved Jack Swagger in a singles match that was forgettable. Our actual main event was Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton. I was terrified that WWE was going to try and turn this into their version of Impact Wrestling’s The Great War, but they spared us. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even bother making this match a No Disqualification fight. It was good to see Bray Wyatt finally get a win, but he still didn’t get it clean thanks to a surprise return by Luke Harper. Harper didn’t interfere, simply showed up as a distraction to allow Wyatt to steal a win.
Overall, this PPV was better suited for a Tuesday night episode of Smackdown than it was for a Sunday evening. Whatever magic went into Backlash was completely lost for No Mercy. We apologize for the lack of coverage on Sunday, but have no regrets, as any article we posted was going to tear that PPV into pieces. Hopefully they can get it together by Tuesday and give their talent the better booking they deserve.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Our second Smackdown exclusive PPV will be No Mercy on October 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California. The go home episode of Smackdown was absolutely terrible; my husband didn’t hold back in his review of the show, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Heath Slater and Rhyno’s run in was the best part of the entire two hours, and they didn’t even get to have a match. Even with all this, I feel strangely positive about this PPV. The card for Backlash was pitiful, but the PPV somehow ended up being one of the best WWE has had in months. Let’s take a look at the No Mercy match card and make some predictions.
Curt Hawkins vs TBA – Singles Match
The build towards Hawkins’ television debut has been a play on the Chuck Norris jokes, and has not gone over well with me. He made his in ring return already at a WWE Live event at the beginning of the month, beating Apollo Crews in a singles match in Las Vegas. The last time I saw Hawkins, he was getting squashed by Ryback while teaming with Tyler Reks. He then asked to be released from WWE, went to NXT after a surgery to lose most of his matches, and spent the next couple of years bouncing from company to company. Not surprisingly, I don’t see him as a Chuck Norris level kind of guy after all of that. His opponent is still undetermined at the time of this posting, but I imagine it will be some local jobber. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear “let’s go jobber” chants from the crowd.
F2H Prediction – Curt Hawkins
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – Singles Match
After getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton found himself targeted by the Eater of Worlds. Bray Wyatt has been on the world’s worst losing streak, but still insists that he is a God. On this past Smackdown, Orton locked Wyatt in a storage locker, and Wyatt escaped after talking to some mystery figure just off of camera. Prior to that, they have been involved in equally senseless altercations backstage and in the ring. At one point, Orton looked like he was trying to escape one of Jigsaw’s traps. The whole set up has been ridiculous, and not the positive kind. But who knows; maybe these two will surprise us.
F2H Prediction – Randy Orton
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship “Title vs Career” Match
Right now, The Miz is at the top of his game. Since Daniel Bryan can’t compete and fight for his honor after Miz shamed him on Talking Smack, Dolph Ziggler was thrown into the mix. The video package that Miz put together for Ziggler was one of very few highlights on the go home Smackdown. Both men have been underappreciated over the past couple of years, so I’m glad that they have an opportunity now to prove a lot of people wrong. I would like to see Maryse banned from ringside before the match even begins; she tried the hairspray in the face trick one time too many and I don’t care to see her try anything else. That isn’t to say I want to see a fair fight, I simply want to see Miz be tricky all on his own,
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler, via Disqualification; Miz retains the title
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – Singles Match
When Nikki Bella returned to the ring, I fully expected her to get a ridiculous push. Instead, she got her ass handed to her courtesy of the Princess of Staten Island. Carmella was once a hype girl for Enzo Amore and Big Cass when the trio was on NXT together. When her boys were drafted to Raw, she stayed behind and was able to establish herself as a singles competitor before being Smackdown’s final draft pick. She started out as her usual self, but quickly showed us her darker side once she felt that she was being upstaged by Bella. I have been enjoying this new side of Carmella, and I give WWE a lot of credit for not going the predictable route with a big Bella push. Provided they get a decent time slot to compete, this could turn into a really good bout.
F2H Prediction – Carmella
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Usos – Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos turned heel and finally ditched their ridiculous wardrobe. Of course, now they look like gangbangers from a 90s after school special, but I’ll take what I can get. The real stars here are our Tag Team champions; Rhyno, Heath Slater, and all of Heath’s kids. Who could have guessed that Slater would be the top guy after he was completely left out of the draft? His journey to get a contract was a bumpy one and began with a lot of his typical jobbing. Thanks to Rhyno, he scored the tag titles, a contract, and has been creating comedy gold every week. Their success is a likely reason American Alpha was pulled from the title picture; no one is cheering for Alpha when Slater and Rhyno are so strong. I’m a bit worried about this match because you know how much WWE loves The Rock’s relatives, but at least Slater has his contract, his doublewide, and his above ground pool.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss –Women’s Championship Match
You can tell that Becky Lynch is a proud champion; she is incredibly excited to have won the title and is always eager to defend it. Alexa Bliss is as evil as she is small and earned the right to fight for Lynch’s title after beating out the other women on Smackdown’s roster (excluding Eva Marie, whose suspension is over, but she is still out of action). Bliss is quickly becoming one of my favorite female wrestlers, and is definitely my favorite on Smackdown. Nothing against Lynch, but I believe Bliss is much better in promos and has a better handle on her character. Coming off a female title match as the main event of Monday Night Raw, I hope these two really bring it tonight and try to upstage Charlotte and Sasha Banks.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs John Cena – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Hey, guys! John Cena is in the title picture again! At least it took him a little while to get there this time around. I keep forgetting that Styles is our Smackdown World champion, and that’s through no fault of his own. For some reason, this title fight has failed to hold my interest since the brand split. Styles has gotten one hell of a push to the top ever since his debut at the Royal Rumble. In less than a year, he dethroned Cena as “the face that runs the place,” plus won the top title in his brand. Dean Ambrose was an odd choice for champion; I was happy he won, but I’m also secretly happy he doesn’t hold the gold anymore. We all know that Cena is going to get at least one more title run. The question is, does it happen at just any PPV or is it saved for WrestleMania?
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
The preshow will begin at 7pm EST on the WWE Network, with the main event beginning at 8pm EST. There are no preshow matches set at the time of this posting, but we suspect that Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin will be a last minute addition. Follow us on Twitter (FaceToHeel, OhhhTweener, MrNotWell) as we live tweet the event and provide feedback after the show concludes.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The show immediately kicks off with a match; Bray Wyatt versus Kane. The difference between Smackdown and Raw is that on Monday nights we have to wait 25 minutes to see a contest. Bray goes right for the big red demon as soon as the bell rings. Kane recovers with a sidewalk slam and then a DDT. Wyatt slams Kane and then hangs upside down from the turnbuckle. Just then, Randy Orton interrupts on the big screen. He says if Wyatt thinks he is the predator, he should come catch his prey. Wyatt turns and Kane tries to chokeslam him, but Wyatt rolls out of the ring. The ref starts a 10 count and Wyatt walks out. Kane wins via countout. Bray Wyatt stands at the top of the ramp laughing. He yells, “You’ll get yours, Kane! They all will!” Empty words from a man jobbed out and stacking up losses to everyone on the roster.
Baron Corbin is interviewed briefly backstage. He is asked about Jack Swagger. As Baron gives a weak promo, Swagger interrupts and gets in his face. Swagger says let’s find out right now. Baron says see me in the ring. Swagger says he will go find Daniel Bryan and get them a match. Corbin ends the segment with a flimsy, “You do that.”
Alexa Bliss takes on Nikki Bella next. Carmella joins commentary. This one spills out of the ring rather quickly and Nikki throws Alexa into Carmella. Back in the ring, Nikki goes for her finisher, but Carmella runs in from behind and attacks her. Then Alexa and Carmella take turns beating down Nikki. Becky Lynch’s music hits and she runs in to save Nikki. Commercial break. After the break, you guessed it…tag team match. This one ends up being Bliss vs Lynch and Alexa hits Twisted Bliss moonsault for the pinfall. Really flat match that didn’t really do a lot to be honest. Two mediocre, half-assed matches so far tonight. Smackdown not fairing very well. As if to sum this up perfectly, we are then shown a backstage segment of Orton locking Bray in a storage unit with a rocking chair.
The Vaudevillians in the ring next to take on The Hype Bros. During an all over the place match, The Ascension come out and stand at the top of the ramp. I referred to this third mediocre match as hot trash on Twitter. Nothing at all of meaning has happened tonight in order to set the stage or garner excitement for No Mercy. This is the Smackdown of ole when people couldn’t be bothered to tune into SyFy. The Hype Bros win. If you can call anybody in the match a winner. Ascension does nothing but stand there and stare. Bunch of watered-down tag team action.
MizTV on next with The Miz out with his wife Maryse. This is going to be a Dolph-umentary. His words, not mine. He calls out Ziggler who answers and heads to the ring. We are then shown a Ziggler career package. But it is spun to show Ziggler as an ultimate failure. It’s pretty harsh but absolutely hilarious. I laughed several times. Miz continues to verbally assault Ziggler and then brings out two members of the Spirit Squad. They do a cheer spelling out Dolph’s first name. Then they attack Dolph and beat him down as Miz and Maryse walks out. Ziggler fights back with superkicks. The best thing that has happened all night.
Jey Uso versus Jason Jordan in singles competition up next. In less than two minutes, Jordan wins the match. Jimmy throws Chad Gable into the steel steps. As Jordan runs out to help, Jey takes him out at the knee. They roll him in the ring and are about to hit Tequila Sunrise, but Rhyno and Heath Slater run in to save the day. The Usos cut and run. Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin wrestle next, which as exciting as it sounds. Swagger puts in the Patriot Lock. As Baron is trying to reach over and over for the bottom rope, the ref thinks he is tapping out and calls for the bell. Swagger wins. Still haven’t had a strong, solid match tonight…
…and we aren’t going to. There isn’t a main event tonight. Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, and John Cena just jabber-jaw for the last ten minutes. Ambrose interrupts Styles, mad about Cena. Cena interrupts and Styles cuts him off before he can speak. Cena takes his hat off and tries to speak, but Ambrose cuts him off. Ambrose cuts a scathing promo on Cena. Cena attacks him and then Styles. He takes both down, grabs the title and his music starts. Styles attacks him from behind. He bounds off the ropes and hits a Phenomenal Forearm. He grabs the title and his music hits. Ambrose attacks him and hits Dirty Deeds on the ramp. He holds the title up as his music hits.
That’s all she wrote. Super weak Smackdown episode. I am utterly disappointed. Raw actually beat them this week, but it should be considered a pyrrhic victory as neither show wowed in its presentation. Besides Ambrose and The Miz/Ziggler segment, there was nothing good at all about tonight’s show. Two big thumbs down.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Viper, Randy Orton, slithers to the ring at the start of the show. Starting off with a pun? Yeah, sure, why not. Orton gets on the mic and immediately calls out Bray Wyatt. He says the reason Bray is so obsessed with fear is because he’s afraid of Orton. The Viper says if Bray is man enough then he should get his ass to the ring right now. Wyatt Family sound and we cut to Bray cutting a promo backstage in the dark. He alludes to the story of Hansel and Gretel and says he left his own trail of breadcrumbs for Randy to follow. Then calls himself a god. He says if Randy wants to hurt him he better hurry up. Then he shows an hour glass and says the sands of time are running out. This promo is just all over the map. Desperate times for creatively buried Bray Wyatt. The big screen fades out and Orton rolls out of the ring and walks up the ramp. Flat segment and provided absolutely no new reason to get even remotely excited about their upcoming match.
Dean Ambrose interviewed backstage. He says AJ Styles keeps bragging about beating John Cena, but Ambrose beat Cena last week so he says that it’s old news. He plans on making Styles cry in their title match later tonight. First commercial break at 8:10. So far, Smackdown is not beating Raw. At least they started with a match.
When we return, there are way too many people in the ring. We’re about to have an 8-man tag team match. Goodie. Heath Slater and Rhyno with American Alpha to take on The Ascension and The Usos, who come out to new entrance music. They walk out dressed like Hispanic gangbangers. The Usos start the match isolating Chad Gable and working his taped knee into the commercial break. When we return Gable is still down. Everybody but Slater and Jey Uso go down and Gable finally gets Slater the hot tag. He drops Jey with a neckbreaker but Konnor breaks it up. Jimmy tags in and puts the Tequila Sunrise submission on Slater and he taps out. Short match with nothing new.
John Cena, excuse me….Ghetto Cena, is interviewed backstage. He says at No Mercy he will be a 16-time champion. The Miz and Maryse are shown. Miz covers a hallway photo of Lebron James with a poster of Miz holding the IC Belt. HaHa. Then we cut to Randy Orton looking at some weird pickaxe hanging on the wall in the shadows. He turns it, making an arrow point which he follows. As Orton leaves, Erick Rowan turns the axe the other way. What is the point of all this? I’m bored. That was too many cuts at once with multiple segments just hastily thrown together. Not a good broadcast for Smackdown thus far tonight. Commercial break.
After, Bray Wyatt is shown with the hour glass half run through. He says Orton is running out of time. In the ring, Carmella and Natalya are set to take on Naomi and Nikki Bella. Carmella and Naomi start the match. Sloppy match to start and it only runs for about a minute before yet another commercial break. When we return, Natalya is beating Naomi outside the ring. Near fall back in the ring. Crowd just not into this one, and I can’t really blame them. Carmella tags and continues beating down Naomi who can’t catch a break. She is limping on her right leg. Natalya tagged back in and continues working on Naomi. She is taking a whooping. Nikki finally tags in and for some reason the crowd cheers her. Nikki goes after Carmella but she rakes Nikki in the eyes. She kicks Naomi off the apron and rolls Nikki up for the pinfall.
Randy Orton backstage with creepy red messages painted all over the walls. He enters a door marked I AM A GOD, slowly creeping the door open. Inside is a cardboard cut out of Orton with its eyes missing. He opens another door marked PREDATOR OR PREY. Erick Rowan hides on the other side, but Orton doesn’t enter. He closes the door and walks away. Rowan shakes the handle on the other side and we go to commercial. What in the holy hell are we even watching? This might be the worst episode of Smackdown Live since the brand split. I know Donald Trump fried all our brains last night, but this is bad even for WWE Creative.
The Miz comes out, finally breathing some life into the broadcast. Can’t believe I’m saying that in 2016, but it’s the truth. Miz celebration ceremony. Red carpet in the ring, posters of him in the corners, fireworks shot off at the top of the ramp. Maryse introduces her husband. He gets a lackluster welcome from his home crowd. Then we get to see a Miz build promo package from his Real World days until now. Miz says, “Cleveland, I’m home.” and this time the crowd cheers for him. Then he gets a cheap pop mentioning the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. He says over a million people paraded for them when they won but all he got was a lousy ring setup. He calls Lebron James a traitor and the crowd has turned on him again. HaHa. He welcomes his parents sitting ringside. Dolph Ziggler’s parents are also ringside. He says they created “an elite level, world class loser.” Ziggler’s music hits and he comes to the ring. Maryse keeps Ziggler back. Ziggler calls Miz a cheater and goes to leave. Miz asks him when he’s going to just end his mediocre career. Miz says Ziggler’s career makes him sick and he would be embarrassed if it was his. Miz then utterly destroys Ziggler verbally and it is pretty brutal. Ziggler says give him one more title shot and if he loses he is gone from WWE. “I either walk out champion….or I’m done.” And Miz says at No Mercy in two weeks, career versus title match. Hell yes.
After the break, Bray Wyatt in the back doing another bout of rambling. Becky Lynch comes down the ramp. Alexa Bliss runs down and attacks her from behind. She takes her belt off and tells Becky she doesn’t deserve it. Curt Hawkins vignette that is super lame. And commercial. Then more Bray Wyatt BS. This is hard to watch. The crowd is hitting him with WHAT!? chants after every sentence. Orton stands up behind Bray wearing the sheep mask. Bray turns and gets punched and the two start fighting. Bray runs off as Randy laughs. Randy puts the sheep mask on and starts singing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands with audio masked with Bray talking. Not sure what that is about. Crowd is so bored they start a New Day Rocks chant.
John Cena joins commentary which only solidifies how much I hate this episode of Smackdown. Dean Ambrose comes down, followed by his opponent, AJ Styles. This match is for the WWE World Championship. The fight spills out to the announce table. Commercial. After we come back, Styles is running the table in the ring. Having a hard time concentrating on the match because Cena talks through the entire thing. The crowd injecting a lot of life into an otherwise generic match. Cloverleaf by Ambrose, then a Calf Crusher by Styles. Neither man submits. Finally some action as Ambrose violently clotheslines Styles off the top rope. Styles misses badly with a 450 splash springboard. Ambrose climbs to the top of the turnbuckle and drops an elbow on Styles. Cover, but kick out at two. Ambrose attacks John Cena on commentary. Cena tries to get in the ring but the ref stops him and misses a pin. Ambrose attacks Cena and then Styles rolls him up for the pinfall. After, Cena gets in Ambrose’s face as Styles walks out. Ambrose tries a Dirty Deeds, but Cena counters into an Attitude Adjustment. Styles attacks Cena from behind but he hits another Attitude Adjustment and then lifts the championship up. Dreadful.
If it wasn’t for the title and didn’t have Cena on commentary, that was the Smackdown of old main event. People are going to call it awesome though. Very bad episode of Smackdown tonight. Strike two for WWE this week. If not for The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, there was nothing worth mentioning. Not sure why Creative has fell off this week, but hard to get interested in the product at the moment. What did you all think of the broadcast? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
— We kicked off the week shooting around some scenarios with John Cena’s future as a part-timer, retiring The Undertaker, and moving the WWE into a younger generation. We learned that Shelton Benjamin was injured and his WWE future is questionable at this particular point in time. He will most likely need surgery and may be on the injured list for several months.
— Monday Night Raw gave us the go home show leading up to tonight’s pay-per-view. We saw a women’s tag match, Rusev taking on Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns versus Kevin Owens in a steel cage! Plus, the introduction of the Cruiserweights. All this and more in our full review of RAW.
— Smackdown Live came at us on Tuesday and featured The Usos can full dark side, American Alpha’s return, The Miz forced to defend his Intercontinental Championship, and The Viper, Randy Orton, in action. The main event was John Cena against Dean Ambrose in singles competition. Read all about it HERE.
— Taped from Full Sail, NXT arrived on the WWE Network on Wednesday. Samoa Joe gave William Regal a very stern ultimatum about Shinsuke Nakamura and the rest of the locker room. Cruiserweight Classic Tournament competitor, Cedric Alexander, made his NXT in-ring debut. And Austin Aries called out Hideo Itami. Read all about the latest taping right HERE.
— Dixie Carter won the week with yet another fantastic episode of TNA’s Impact Wrestling. The stage is slowly being set for Bound For Glory. We saw the Grand Championship tournament finals lock in their last two, Maria Kanellis-Bennett public training, an X-Division Championship match, and a four-man tag team match for the main event featuring Lashley, EC3, Moose, and The Miracle. Read about the entire stellar broadcast HERE.
— The last NJPW before Wrestle Kingdom came to us from AXSTV on Friday, featuring a CMLL World Welterweight Championship title defense, and a tag match between four warring competitors. The main event was Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata taking on Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii, and boy did they go to war. Read the full play-by-play HERE.
— And of course, tonight is WWE’s Clash of Champions PPV live from Indianapolis, IN. Face To Heel will be live from the arena! We will try to Tweet, get lots of photos, and soak in every wonderful moment. Read all about our full match predictions HERE and be sure to follow our site and our writers on twitter: @FaceToHeel, @OhhhTweener, @MrNotWell. Enjoy the show everybody and we’ll see you tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Earlier tonight we posted how to book Smackdown Live into WrestleMania 33. If you missed that little gem, read it HERE. To catch up on last week’s episode of Smackdown Live, you can read our full match results and feedback HERE.
Tonight’s broadcast kicks off with Daniel Bryan once again hijacking the show with a YES! chant. I bet he’s sour that Brian Kendrick isn’t on his show. He’s in the ring with a table set up ready for a contract signing. He brings out Becky Lynch. Alexa Bliss enters. The two trade barbs while Daniel Bryan looks on awkwardly. It’s not a terrible segment, but neither really takes a hard shot at the other. That is until Alexa slaps Becky in the face, signs the contract, throws it at her, and then dumps the table on her. Bliss walks out as the crowd boo’s. Becky follows her up the ramp and attacks her from behind. Alexa hightails it to the back and the crowd starts chanting for the Lass Kicker. Flat segment saved at the end by the terrific heel work of Bliss.
The Usos comes down, set to take on American Alpha. Gable looks good after his “injury.” The Usos go after his still taped up knee with wonderful heel tactics. Jason Jordan gets the hot tag and looks studly. He takes down both Usos. Couple of super kicks and a splash end this one. The Usos go on to face Rhyno and Heath Slater at No Mercy. Okay match, nothing really spectacular. And the outcome was predictable before the match even got under way. Like WWE would have American Alpha take on the current goldenboy tag team champs. Sucks for American Alpha, looks like they are stuck in limbo until Slater and his partner drop the belts.
Jack Swagger joins commentary for our next match: Apollo Crews taking on Baron Crorbin. This is a total squash match. Corbin wins with End of Days. After he acts like he is going to attack Swagger, but nothing happens. Really just dead air for this entire segment. The next match is for the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz defends his title once again against Dolph Ziggler. The match starts off strong for Ziggler as Miz appears to phone it in. Luckily he warms up and becomes the awesome heel he is. Both men do their thing and this one picks up momentum. Huge dropkick from Ziggler as Miz comes off the top rope. Both men are down and Maryse tries to rally her husband. The crowd is really behind this match and it probably should have been the main event. Ref sends Maryse packing and Ziggler damn near picks up the victory with one of the most amazing false finishes I have ever seen. Miz goes and collects his title and tries to leave. Ziggler gets to him and throws him into the steel steps. As they get back in the ring, ref is distracted by getting the title out of the ring. Miz sprays Ziggler, hits Skull Crushing Finale and covers to retain! Excellent match. Good job to both competitors. Highlight of the night so far.
Randy Orton against Erick Rowan next. Bizarre booking, but we’ll go with it. Rowan dominates to start. A few moments later, an RKO ends it. Short, strange match. After, the lights go down and Randy stands alone in the ring with the sheep mask. Bray cuts his “I’m a god” promo once again and tells Orton to run. To be honest, neither guy seems very powerful at the moment. Orton got his ass beat by Lesnar and I can’t remember the last time Wyatt got any series of good wins going. This is a feud not worth a lick and doesn’t look to pick up any sort of momentum before No Mercy.
Natalya and Carmella tag against Nikki Bella and Naomi. Before the match could even get going, Carmella just beats the holy hell out of Nikki and the ref calls for disqualification. Alrighty then. I am digging Carmella’s new attitude. Keeps her relevant even though she is out of the title picture.
Main event time. John Cena and Dean Ambrose wrestling each other. Not the best use of time, but it’s whatever. Weak start for this one. Ambrose seems lethargic. Cena does his usual Five Moves of Doom. It’s just hard to get excited for this match. Call me ‘disinterested.’ Ambrose rolls up and pins John Cena on live TV. What?! After the match, Styles attacks Ambrose from behind. Daniel Bryan gets on the mic at the top of the ramp. He says Ambrose gets a shot at the title next Tuesday on Smackdown Live. Ambrose kicks Styles and hits Dirty Deeds. His music plays us out.
Rough broadcast this week. A whole lot of filler and very little killer. Some of these guys look like they are just going through the motions. What happened to that fire we saw in the early weeks of the brand split? Both Raw and Smackdown fell through this week. Disappointing, especially with the guys that have the main titles right now. What did you think of the show? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Greetings, pro-wrestling fans! This has been a very interesting week in the world of sports entertainment! We shit the bed on Monday and Tuesday and missed our weekly Raw and Smackdown Live episodes. Our sincere apologies. Our laptop bit the bullet and left us stranded. We had to improvise most of the week but we are finally back and better than ever! So here’s what you may have missed this week in wrestling.
— The late, great Mr. Fuji got his own Collection added to the WWE Network featuring his work as a solo competitor, tag partner, and manager. Alberto Del Rio officially got released by the WWE. Fans around the world were left wondering if his girlfriend, WWE Superstar Paige, was transitioning out of the company as well. The beloved fan favorites American Alpha took their tag team antics to Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope Wednesday night to discuss their start as partners, amateur careers, and future as a team. The Coach kept it light and it was just a likable interview for the pair of future Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
— Wednesday night gave us some serious wrestling action as NXT saw four matches during the hour long broadcast including: Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Ember Moon, and TM61. It was a fun show and the Full Sail Crowd was lively. Read all about it HERE. Following NXT, the WWE Network gave us the final round of quarter-final matches for the Cruiserweight Classic. Zack Sabre Jr. took on Noam Dar and T.J. Perkins wrestled Rich Swann. It was two more classic matches for the CWC and set the stage for next week’s live two hour finale. See who made the Final Four in our full review.
— Thursday Night! I knew you’d come! Yes, TNA brought us a brand new episode of Impact Wrestling. And yes, Broken Matt Hardy treated the entire world to another fantastically epic moment in pro-wrestling history. Decay (Rosemary, Abyss, Crazzy Steve) invaded Cameron, North Carolina and tried to steal King Maxell. It was one for the history books as Decay or Delete gave us more fireworks, more green mist, and more insane Hardy moments than ever before. And if that wasn’t enough, Gail Kim tagged with Jade, the King of the Mountain Championship was retired, and The Miracle got an opponent for Bound For Glory. Don’t hesitate to read all about #ImpactOnPOP!
— AXSTV brought us some killer tag team action on Friday’s new episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was worth watching and featured some of Japan’s biggest names. Read all about the phenomenal hour long broadcast HERE. We don’t typically cover UFC on here, but we did this past Saturday as UFC 203 saw the debut of former WWE World Champion CM Punk in the octagon. Unfortunately it was a brutal first fight. Mickey Gall tapped Punk out in the first round. We covered the event briefly HERE.
— And of course, last night Smackdown Live presented the 2016 Backlash pay-per-view. It was a premiere event and was arguably one of the best live WWE Network shows put on so far this year. We crowned a first time ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, first time ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions, and both the Intercontinental and World titles were defended. Who won? Who retained? Well, you don’t think we’re gonna give that information away here do ya?! You have to go read our article with full match results and feedback. That’s all for now. See you tonight for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE’s Backlash will be the first PPV since the brand split and will crown the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion and Tag Team Champions. The Backlash PPV is not new to WWE; this is the 12th under this name. Fans of American Alpha will be disappointed, as Jason Jordan and Chad Gable will not be competing tonight due to a storyline injury to Gable. Let’s run down the match card and make some predictions.
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship Match
On Talking Smack, The Miz absolutely eviscerated Daniel Bryan. It was an incredible show from Miz and a great reminder why he is a fantastic champion. WWE capitalized on this by siccing Dolph Ziggler on our IC champ, which ended up making Miz look weak and cowardly. It was a frustrating move, but necessary to set up this match. Obviously Miz is not above doing something underhanded to keep his championship, and he definitely isn’t afraid to use wife Maryse to his advantage either. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not this is a fair fight.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs Carmella vs Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Bella vs Naomi – Six Pack Challenge for the Women’s Championship
This will be an elimination challenge, where the last woman standing will win the Smackdown Women’s title for the first time. We have a couple former champions here, but the majority have yet to told a title in the WWE and are likely extra motivated to gain a victory. The returning Nikki Bella is an obvious favorite, but Natalya has been plowing through her competition lately and is finally asserting herself. Becky Lynch has had title shots in the past and could easily win tonight, but Naomi, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss all present different challenges and could be the ones to eliminate a stronger competitor. I’m excited to see this match; it looks like it will take up a large time slot and allow these women to really bring it.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
The Usos vs The Hype Bros – Tag Team Championship Qualifying Match
My theory about American Alpha being removed from this competition is that it would hurt them to be beaten by Slater and Rhyno, and it would hurt if they were to beat them. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how much the fans rallied behind Slater. The segment with his “wife” was hilarious, and the failure after failure to get a contract has been incredibly entertaining. The Usos took a dark turn on Smackdown, likely setting up a future feud between them and Alpha. Hype Bros are strong competitors and will give The Usos a run for their money; Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley are both energetic and decent in the ring, so this one could go either way.
F2H Prediction – The Usos
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
Randy Orton got his ass handed to him at Summerslam. It was a one-sided fight that resulted in Orton lying in a pool of blood while Brock Lesnar stood over him. Afterwards, Bray Wyatt set his sights on Orton, saying that the display at Summerslam proved that he is only a man. This would be awesome, except that Wyatt is almost never booked to win anymore, so his threats come up empty. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bray Wyatt, but it’s difficult to believe his hype when he can’t win a match. We’ll see if his luck changes Sunday night.
F2H Prediction – Bray Wyatt
Usos/Hype Bros Winner vs Heath Slater & Rhyno – Tag Team Championship Match
Heath Slater has gone from jobbing in quick matches to earning a title match on a PPV. Every time he failed to earn a contract, the fans rallied behind him more. His “kids” sitting ringside at the last Smackdown made things even better. Rhyno has easily fallen into the role of Slater’s sidekick, muscle, and comedic relief. If Slater doesn’t win tonight, he doesn’t get his contract. There is a chance that this story could get dragged out further, but I think it’s ready for the next chapter.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater and Rhyno
Dean Ambrose (c) vs AJ Styles – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Title Match
AJ Styles took out John Cena and became the new face that runs the place. Naturally, the next step after knocking off Cena is to get yourself a championship. Dean Ambrose has been a great rival for Styles, but a lot of their interactions have felt forced. Styles’ anger at Ambrose doesn’t feel genuine, and it makes this battle feel a bit awkward. Ambrose is an unconventional champion, which is what we needed. He doesn’t care who he faces and doesn’t back down from anyone. Even with the shaky set up, this should be a fantastic title match.
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
The Backlash preshow will begin at 7:00 PM live on the WWE Network, with the main event starting at 8:00 PM EST. Follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel as we will be live tweeting during the PPV and providing instant feedback afterwards if you’re unable to watch. As always, leave your own predictions in the comments section below. Which match are you looking forward to most? Who will be the first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion? Tell us your thoughts below. See you on Sunday!
Last night Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, known by their tag team name American Alpha, joined Jonathan “The Coach” Coachman for Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope WWE segment. This was recorded prior to the events that unfolded on Smackdown Live with The Usos acting them and ruining their chances for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
The boys discuss their excitement with being called to the main roster and the difference between the WWE and NXT locker rooms, as well as the difference between amateur and professional wrestling crowds. The main difference they say is that in amateur wrestling you are trained to block out the crowd and concentrate. For WWE they have to embrace the crowd and feed off their energy to make the match better.
Jordan jokes about how Gable kept bothering him to be a tag partner and it took awhile for him to warm to the idea. But once they got together the chemistry was real and he knew they were meant to be a team. The duo discuss how their tag team name came to be, with both men considering themselves the alphas of NXT. It was a short interview, but continued to show just how well these two mesh together.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker