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
If you didn’t bother to tune in to the WWE Network Sunday night to see Smackdown Live presenting WWE Backlash, you should be forced to do the shame walk from Game of Thrones and then made to watch Santino promos for five hours. It was a spectacular event, maybe one of the best pay-per-views of the year thus far. I am more than excited to see what this episode brings us tonight. So let’s get into it.
The champ is here! (Those are A.J. Styles’ words, not mine.) The show kicks off with the Phenomenal new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He is cut short by John Cena. Womp-Womp. This was predictable as soon as Styles won. Cena says Styles has something that belongs to him and he wants the championship. Literally without question the safest, most boring option WWE could go with. Ghetto Cena does his played out gimmick; says he wants to be a 16-time world champion. Enter Dean Ambrose, angry and cutting a path right to the ring. Ambrose gets in the face of Styles and starts shooting off on the mic. Cena interrupts him and questions whether he even has balls. If that sounds familiar, it’s because John Cena uses the same promo against every opponent he has ever faced. Some form of testicles, balls, scrotum, sack, etc. Take your pick, he has one line. And for some reason the crowd always eats it up like it was the first time they saw a boob in middle school.
Shane McMahon comes out. He praises Ambrose and Styles in their performances at Backlash, until, he says, Styles took the easy way out. Shane sets up the umpteenth triple threat title match for No Mercy next month. Yawn. He sets up a tag match later. Cena and Ambrose vs Styles and an opponent of his choosing. All the progress Backlash made and now here we are retracing our steps back to Shitville and Mayor John Cena is once again shoved down our throats. I am so disappointed with this segment and everything that just took place. Commercial break.
The Hype Bros and The Usos are in the ring ready for a match when we return. Zack Ryder and Jey Uso start the match. Jey goes after Ryder’s injured and wrapped left leg. He isolates Ryder in their corner and tags in Jimmy. He works on the leg with multiple shots and then tags Jey back in. He puts an ankle lock on using his body as leverage. Mojo and Jimmy get tagged in and Mojo clobbers Jimmy in the corner. Jey distracts the ref and Jimmy rakes Mojo’s eyes. Super kick and mojo is down. Jey is tagged in and he splashes off the tap rope into the cover for the pinfall. Solid match. Only complaint is it was really short. I am enjoying this Uso heel turn and would have gladly watched them in action some more. Well told story, even in the brief few minutes all four men were in action.
Really lousy Curt Hawkins vignette after the break. They should have done something better with him. This crappy Chuck Norris Facts gimmick is just not getting me excited for his debut. The Miz and Maryse come down to the ring. He says he doesn’t care if everybody calls him a coward because he walked out of Backlash with his beautiful wife and the Intercontinental Championship. Miz calls himself a main-eventer and then The Showoff interrupts him. Ziggler says Miz is just trying to sell himself to himself because he doesn’t believe his own words. Ziggler wants a rematch with no wives, no gimmicks, just him and Miz. Maryse stutters through half a sentence and then Daniel Bryan comes out and says Dolph will get his rematch. Miz says he won’t defend his title until his contract is renegotiated. He storms out of the ring leaving Bryan and Ziggler (and wife, Maryse) confused. Backstage Styles runs into Baron Corbin in the hallway. He asks him to be his tag partner. Corbin says, “Your partner? I’d rather be your opponent. I want that title,” and then walks away into a commercial fade out.
He is coming down to the ring when we return, set to take on Apollo Crews, in a rematch from Sunday. Before the bell even rings, Corbin attacks Crews off the apron and then hits End of Days outside on the floor. Corbin gets back in the ring. Jack Swagger’s music hits. He walks out in a t-shirt and jeans with a backwards baseball cap. Corbin rolls out of the ring and leaves, which is disappointing. Swagger says he signed a contract with Smackdown Live. He cuts a weird promo about something. It was strange and I just laughed at him. Not sure about this frat boy gimmick.
Becky Lynch comes out, beaming from ear to ear with her new fancy title. She says Philadelphia (where Smackdown is tonight) is a fighting town and she’s a fighting champion so, and I quote, “Bring it brooooooooooos!” Naomi comes out in her blacklight entrance. This is about to be a Fatal-5-Way to determine Becky’s next challenger. Naomi’s opponents will be Nikki Bella, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella. These ladies put on a fantastic match Sunday so I’m not dreading this one. When the bell rings, all five just go hard after each other. Lots of offense, lot of lovely bodies flying around. Nikki and Natalya are left in the ring. Nikki almost gets a pinfall but Carmella breaks it up. Good action throughout this one. I am eating a plate of ribs while I type this so apologies for the lack of details. Just enjoying watching these ladies work. Carmella kicks Nikki to the mat, but before she can cover, Alexa Bliss runs in and throws Carmella out of the ring. She covers Nikki for the win! New #1 Contender is Bliss’d! Yes! Styles backstage asks Kane to be his partner. He only laughs at AJ and walks away.
Shane in the ring after another commercial. He introduces Heath Slater bay-bay! He comes out with Rhyno. Crowd goes wild. This is so awesome. It has been a really great story the past few weeks. Shane says he is a man of his word and wants to make Heath’s job official. He hands him a contract. Slater signs it and crowd chants “You deserve it!” Slater says they will fight anybody, anytime, anywhere. The Ascension (UGHHHHH) interrupts and says how about them right now. Shane clears the ring and says get a ref out there. Commercial break. When we come back Ascension is viciously dominating. They run the ring for a few minutes, but they are no match for Rhyno’s GORE! Pinfall and they have their first successful title defense. Daniel Bryan found Styles a teammate. The weird-mouthed James Elsworth whose claim to fame is being squashed by Braun Strowman.
The Viper, Randy Orton comes down to the ring. Huge pop from the crowd for him and an RKO chant. Orton calls out Bray Wyatt. But instead of coming out, he has a foggy vignette. Wyatt cryptically tells Orton not to sleep. Cut to black and we come back to a dim arena. Bray leans against the announce table and stares at Orton. Randy beckons him into the ring. Bray takes his jacket and hat off, but Erick Rowan appears behind Orton and beats him down. Orton is down for a moment but then he just jumps up and hits a RKO. Lackluster segment for all.
AJ Styles comes down. Then his ridiculous partner, Elsworth comes walking out. The Miz pommels him from behind and hits a Skull Crushing Finale on the ramp. He looks in the camera and says, “He’s the main event, Daniel? This guy?! I’m the main event!” Miz gets in the ring and squares up to Styles. They shake hands! Miz is Styles’ tag team partner tonight! After the break, Miz is dominating Cena. Styles and Ambrose tag in and just go at each other. No love loss there. Miz sneaking attacks on Ambrose while the ref is distracted. Cena and Miz in and Cena does his patent pending Five Moves of Doom. Attitude Adjustment and Cena covers Miz for the win. Cena celebrates and Ambrose hits him with Dirty Deeds. Crowd boos? Ambrose yells at Cena he better never disrespect him again. Interesting. Dull match and a flat main event.
I enjoyed the broadcast for the most part, but the booking was strange. No Mercy is shaping up to be a pay-per-view that fans could afford to miss. What did you think of Smackdown Live tonight? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
For ill or for gain, history is being made tonight. Smackdown Live is debuting it’s first stand-alone PPV on the WWE Network, Backlash. The match card is not very stacked. It would appear they have a low number of matches for a three hour event. It was announced moments ago that Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews would square off in the pre-show. But first, #SignHeathSlater was trending as he and Rhyno join Tom Phillips in the social media lounge. First question is what if Heath loses. Slater says he can’t lose because he has everything riding on the line. Heath says when they win he is buying tiki-torches to put all around his above-ground pool. Rhyno and Slater are hilarious in tandem, playing off each other to the viewer’s delight. Rhyno is excited to win so that they don’t have to swim at the community pool anymore. And he wants Slater to take his family to Golden Corral. When asked about a possible tag team name they joke: “Beauty and the Man-Beast.” We will be live posting and updating this article throughout the broadcast.
Alexa Bliss joins the pre-show panel wearing her hair, make-up and ring gear like a cool Harley Quinn costume. She cuts a promo saying she has plans for tonight and that everyone is looking at the new Smackdown Live Women’s Champion. Renee Young says she is tiny but terrible. She seems ready for the Women’s Six Pack Challenge later this evening.
JBL, Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga are shown ringside and we are ready for some in-ring action. Apollo Crews comes out to a decent pop from the crowd. The stadium is mostly filled at this point which is good. Many times the pre-show matches have a lot of empty seats. When Baron Corbin’s music hits, crowd is vocally polarized. If it was ten years ago, it would seem that Corbin’s path would most definitely have to cross Kane at some point. Grappling to start, Corbin tosses Crews off. They pace each other and then lock up again. There is bad blood between these two due to run-in’s down in NXT. Huge shoulder tackle off the ropes from Corbin to put Crews down. Crews pops up and dropkicks the big man. Crews tries a springboard off the top rope but Corbin clobbers him with a massive punch and he tumbles off the apron to the floor below. Commercial break.
When we return both men are in the ring and it’s more of Corbin dominating Crews. A kick on the apron gives Crews some breathing room. He hits a leaping lariat and finally puts Corbin down. Corbin recovers and whips Crews into the corner, and then punches him in the back of the head. Crowd boos as Corbin unleashes a flurry of punches. He knees Crews in the face. Devastating clothesline by Corbin and he covers Crews. Mere two count and the crowd can’t believe it. Running knee by Crews and both men are down. Referee starts a 10 count. Both men up at 8. A kick and a standing moonsault by Crews and he covers Corbin but no dice as he kicks out at two. Olympic slam by Crews but again Corbin kicks out. Corbin hits a Deep Six and covers Crews, but he kicks out. Crowd fired up now. Outside of the ring Corbin tries to run at Crews, but he moves and Corbin collides with the steel steps. Crews gets him back in the ring, climbs the top rope but Corbin rolls away. Crews jumps down and punches Corbin in the corner. Corbin explodes out with an End of Days and covers for the pinfall victory. That was a well-done match for these two. Might have been the best we have seen Baron Corbin on the main roster. And Apollo Crews was as good as ever. High marks for just a pre-show match.
Pretty epic, long promo package for AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose at 7:57. They are really hyping this match up. I hope the actual match delivers. The pre-show panel is split on which one will walk out as the champion. Hopefully the match will be a straight up, clean bout. If John Cena runs in to do something, that will really take away the title’s credibility. On the first ever Smackdown Live pay-per-view, we don’t need any gimmicks or shenanigans in the main event.
Here Comes The Money! The Smackdown Live commissioner, Shane McMahon comes down to the ring. General Manager, Daniel Bryan, then comes down to his typical, huge crowd reaction. A YES! chant starts. And if anybody wondered how they would fill three hours with only six matches, well here we are. Shane thanks the production crew, staff, roster, and audience for Smackdown Live’s success. Shane goes over the title matches for the night and ends with talking about the Sixpack Challenge for the Women’s Title which is kicking off the show! Becky Lynch comes down, fired up. Natalya walks out looking confused as to whether she is a face or heel. Her character has been in limbo for a long while. Naomi comes out to her bright lite dance show which is terrific to watch. She may be the dark horse to steal the belt tonight. With this gimmick having her run with the title is fine by me. Alexa Bliss comes out, followed by Carmella. Those are the two I hope win the new title. Nikki Bella comes out last. My son groans, as did my wife, as did I. We all hate the Bella’s in this household! All six women in at once and single elimination for this one.
Female brawl to start, clearing out the ring and leaving Naomi and Lynch to square off. Naomi strikes Lynch with a bunch of kicks, but then Lynch throws her over the top rope. Carmella attacks her from behind and tries a cover. Kick out at two. Nikki gets in the ring and faces off against her nemesis Carmella. Natalya and Bliss attack both from behind. Natalya throws Carmella into the barricade as Bliss puts Nikki down and tries a cover. Nikki jumps off the second rope and kicks Bliss. Near fall, but Bliss kicks out at two. Basement dropkick from Natalya on Bliss as Niki rolls out of the ring. Lynch comes in and takes Natalya and Bliss down. Suplex by Natalya on Lynch. I am struggling to keep up with all the action, which is a rare statement for a women’s match. Proud of all these ladies putting on a fantastic match. The ring clears out and Nikki goes ballistic on Carmella. Carmella gets Nikki in the Code of Silence, but Nikki gets out. She slams Carmella and covers, but a kickout from Ms. Fabulous. No one eliminated yet. Superplex/powerbomb from Natalya, Carmella and Nikki in the corner. Took too long to setup. But they nailed it and it looked nice. Crowd starts a “This Is Awesome!” chant. Carmella and Bliss square off. Carmella dumps her out, Nikki dumps Carmella out. Five women down outside, Naomi off the top rope, spring-boarding down and taking out all of them. She nearly slips on the rope, but thankfully she pulled it off.
Bliss punches Natalya in the corner. Naomi and Natalya absolutely destroy Bliss with a suplex powerbomb. Naomi covers her and she is gone. Natalya then locks in the Sharp Shooter on Naomi. She taps out in a matter of seconds. Natalya takes out Carmella and then Nikki clothesline Natalya. Backbreaker on Nattie and Nikki covers. Three count and Natalya is gone. Carmella small package on Nikki and she eliminates her! Yes! Crowd starts a chant for Becky. Becky puts the Dissarmer submission on Carmella and makes her tap! Becky Lynch is the first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion! After the match, Becky is interviewed in near tears. She thanks the crowd, who cheer her on. Nice start to the show, proper booking, this pay-per-view has been great so far.
Bray Wyatt is shown backstage attacking Randy Orton. He slams his leg in a door before a ref intervenes. Orton is rumored to not be competing and Kane will take his place. Very disappointing. The Usos come out in new ring gear, no face paint. Heel turn complete. The Hype Bros come out next. The winner of this match faces Heath Slater and Rhyno later tonight. Mojo and Ryder look strong to start, really taking it to the Usos. Huge missile dropkick off the apron by Ryder and then Mojo shoulder tackles both Usos nearly out of their shoes. Loving this match so far! Things slow down as Jey goes to work on Ryder. The Usos isolate Ryder, not letting him get a tag. Ryder hits a hangman’s neckbreaker out of nowhere and plants Jey. Mojo reaches out for a tag. Jimmy gets a tag instead and he runs across the ring to knock Mojo off the apron. Jimmy and Jey double team Ryder. He clears the ring and manages to get Mojo in. Stinger splash by Mojo and he hits a military press slam on Jey. He tags Ryder who hits a Frankensteiner on Jey, but Jimmy breaks up the pin. As Ryder is distracted by Jimmy, Jey takes him out at the knee. Half crab submission and Ryder has no choice but to tap out. The bad guy Usos are here to stay. And I think I like them. They advance to fight Slater and Rhyno for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships later tonight.
Dolph Ziggler comes down next, challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. Before Miz comes out, he is shown backstage talking to Daniel Bryan. He demands a contract negotiation to be “paid like the A-lister I am.” Bryan is silent. The Miz says, “What? Nothing to say? And you call me a coward.” He sends Bryan back to his “cubby-hole” and enters the arena with wife, Maryse. This match should be good. Feels like the Ziggler/Miz feud is what the Ziggler/Ambrose feud could have and should have been. Spine buster by Ziggler right out of the gate. Miz rolls out of the ring to regroup. Mat grappling by Ziggler once Miz rolls back in. He shows his amateur skills. Miz fights back with a punch and a slam. Crowd boos. Ziggler off the ropes and he lands two dropkicks on Miz. Miz catapults Ziggler against the bottom rope. Cover but Ziggler kicks out at two. Bow and arrow stretch by Miz and Ziggler screams in pain. Miz catapults Ziggler out of the ring. Miz takes control for a few minutes. He hits three dropkicks in a row in the corner.
He taunts Daniel Bryan and then hits a running clothesline on Ziggler. Miz hops up to the top rope and drops off with a double ax handle on Ziggler. Skull Crushing Finale attempt by Miz but Ziggler blocks it and dropkicks him. Both men down. Ziggler recovers, hits a swinging neckbreaker, spinebuster and then drops an elbow. He covers but Miz kicks out at two. Miz crashes shoulder first into the corner. Ziggler tries a Zig Zag, but Miz powerbombs him off the ropes then down to the mat. He covers, but Ziggler kicks out. That was a lovely series of moves. The crowd has been fired up throughout this entire broadcast and have stayed lit for this match as well. Zig Zag by Ziggler, but Miz kicks out. Crowd in a frenzy. Headlock by Ziggler as he leaps on Miz’s back. He drops to one knee, face turning red. Miz runs Ziggler into the turnbuckle and he collapses. DDT by Ziggler and he covers but a long two count is all he gets. Super kick by Ziggler but Miz blocks it and hits a DDT into a Figure Four Leglock. Ziggler screams. Ziggler takes a long time to crawl to the rope, but he manages and the ref breaks the hold. Miz kicks him in the face. Miz tries another leglock but Ziggler kicks him in the butt. When he turns around, superkick by Ziggler. He covers, but Miz reaches his leg out and touches the bottom rope with his toe. Ref stops the count. That was a really nice false finish. Both men out of the ring and ref starts a 10 count. Ziggler gets him in. When the ref is distracted, Maryse sprays Ziggler in the face. Skull Crushing Finale and Miz retains.
Bray Wyatt comes to the ring amidst his fireflies. Due to injury Randy Orton is not cleared to compete tonight. Bray Wyatt wants the 10 count to signify his victory via forfeit. Bell rings and the ref starts a 10 count. He rings the bell and Wyatt gets up on the corner and holds his arms out. The announcer informs us all of his victory. However, he says, Bray Wyatt will have a no holds barred match against Kane! What!? Thank you Shane and Daniel! Bell rings and they just go after each other. The history between these two has already been established. We don’t need a gimmick or a story. Just let them go at it. They quickly spill out of the ring and Kane clears the announce table. Bray hits him with the ring bell then slams his head against the apron. Wyatt picks up a chair. But Kane socks him in the mouth. In the ring Bray clobbers Kane with a steel chair. This one is just brutal. What a great idea to throw this in the middle of the pay-per-view. Smart booking.
Outside the ring, Wyatt takes apart one of the other announce tables. He lays Kane on one and stands on the next one over. He poses like Randy Orton and then leaps back first into Kane, breaking the table. Crowd starts a “Holy Shit!” chant. Back in the ring, Bray attempts a Sister Abigail but Kane blocks it and chokeslams him. Cover, but Bray kicks out at two. Kane puts a chair on the mat and runs a thumb across his throat. He picks Bray up but instead Wyatt counters and slams Kane into the chair. He covers but a kickout at two. Bray can’t believe it. Randy Orton limps out, crowd goes wild. Bray stares him down. Kane sits up. Orton comes in the ring and RKO’s Bray Wyatt. Crowd erupts. Kane chokeslams Bray against the chair and covers him. Three seconds later and Bray Wyatt’s pay-per-view losing streak continues. I’m not sold on the outcome, but you can’t hate on that match. It was damn good. Nice palette cleanser for the rest of the broadcast.
Time to determine who is going to be the inaugural Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions. Heel Usos come down first followed by Slater and Rhyno who get a huge pop. Rhyno and Jey start and the crowd starts an “E-C-DUB!” chant. Slater tags in but the Usos double team him and suplex him into the steel post outside the ring. They isolate Slater, not allowing him to tag. The Usos do a great job as heels. Everytime Slater is close to a tag they either pull him to the mat or they kick Rhyno away. It’s fun to watch. This is how you tell a good story. Slater and Jey collide and both men are down. Heath crawls around trying to find his corner. He does and tags in Rhyno who quickly takes the Usos apart. Belly to belly suplex on Jimmy. Slater tags himself in and hits a pair of neckbreakers on the Usos. He kicks Jimmy in the gut and hits a DDT. He covers, but Jey pulls him out of the ring. Superkick by Jimmy, but Rhyno hits him with Gore! Slater rolls in, covers, and that’s all she wrote! Crowd goes wild! Your first Tag Team Champions for the Smackdown brand are Heath Slater and Rhyno! Slater has a contract! Yes! Crowd starts a “You deserve it!” chant. Heath says, “This is probably the biggest night of my life. You know, besides, like a couple of my kids being bored.” He yells to his wife they’re getting a double-wide. This is a great moment.
Dean Ambrose defends his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles for tonight’s main event. Styles is introduced as The Face Who Runs The Place. Some light grappling to start. Ambrose does some good arm drags. Nothing much exciting happens at the beginning. The crowd starts a chant for JBL. Styles argues with the ref multiple times. Offense finally gets going with Ambrose hitting a backdrop. Styles trips him into the rope, throat first. Crowd split with dueling chants for both. The pacing is a little stagnant in this one. Not sure why these two chose to move this slow, but the crowd is still into it. The pair botch a move off the top rope. Not sure what it was supposed to be but both slam into the mat awkwardly and are down. Ref starts a 10 count. Styles rolls outside of the ring and Ambrose drops an elbow on him off the top rope. Back in the ring, Styles suplexes Ambrose into the turnbuckles. The match is slow and methodical, but not necessarily boring. Just seems like an odd flow considering all the highs we’ve had all night. Styles locks in the calf crusher submission. Ambrose struggles to the bottom rope and manages to break the hold. Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Ambrose grabs the ropes. On the apron, Ambrose catapults Styles into the steel apron. Back in the ring, Styles lifts Ambrose into a firemen’s carry and then flips Ambrose into a neckbreaker.
Springboard 450 Splash into a cover by Styles. Ambrose narrowly kicks out. Ambrose dropkicks Styles out of the ring and then leaps out after him. He throws Styles into and over the announce table. Then he throws him into the crowd. He climbs the announce tables and jumps over the barricade to drop an elbow on Styles. Back in the ring Ambrose clothesline Styles head over heels. Ambrose tries Dirty Deeds, but Ambrose runs into the ref. Low blow by Styles and he hits a really terrible Styles Clash that he almost botches. He covers and the ref counts to three. Styles wins and holds the belt above his head. Well, is something about to happen? It’s only 10:37. Feels like we still have another ten minutes to go. Styles walks up the ramp laughing, clutching the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to his chest. But no, the trademark box pops up and this one is over. Really weird early finish. But pretty decent match for the world title.
Overall, the pay-per-view itself was maybe one of the best WWE has done this year. The pre-show match was excellent, even being slated in a bad spot. Both men really did a fantastic job firing up the crowd and keeping them excited for the main show. The show kicked off in a shocking manner with the women’s Sixpack Challenge which was jam packed with terrific action. One of the best female matches we have seen in awhile and the right lady won. The Usos had a very successful heel turn and demonstrated they are new and improved against The Hype Bros. And that was just the first hour! The Miz and Dolph Ziggler made the Intercontinental Championship match matter, putting on a near-flawless match. The ending probably made some people mad, but Miz is a heel. And he does whatever it takes to hold on to his prestigious title. Besides, having a wonky finish protected Ziggler a little bit. Kane and Bray Wyatt had a hell of a match. The finish is questionable. Not sure why Wyatt became the permanent jobber at pay-per-views, but the match was fun to watch. And technically he beat Randy Orton in the record books. Slater and Rhyno are so over and their win solidifies their place at the table. Loved the match, loved the outcome. AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose put on a good match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. But it was very slow and didn’t really wow me. If I had one complaint for the night it would be just utterly being done with Ambrose as champion. This match tonight shined a spotlight on the fact he can’t carry a match and is not main event material. Throughout the match you can clearly see him calling spots the whole time. And to me it looked like Styles was having to hinder himself in order to keep up with Ambrose’s slow, clunky style. But the crowd and commentary were amazing all night tonight. Even David Otunga wasn’t completely horrible. Overall just a really solid show from Smackdown tonight. No lulls in action, no boring segments. I was very impressed. What did you think of tonight’s show? Let us know in the comments below! See you tomorrow 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!
This year’s Battleground PPV will be the final event before the WWE’s brand extension goes into effect. It will take place at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and is the fourth PPV under the Battleground name. These PPVs aren’t typically the most thrilling, and this year may not be an exception considering that over half the matches on the card are some sort of tag match, plus the Tag and Women’s titles aren’t even on the line. Let’s take a look at the card and make some predictions.
Breezango vs The Usos – PPV Kickoff Tag Match
Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Tyler Breeze. I enjoyed him immensely in NXT, but unfortunately his move to the main roster hasn’t been totally positive. He’s been utilized mainly as comic relief, which is a misuse of his talent. Teaming with Fandango could have worked, but WWE hasn’t taken it seriously. In regards to the Usos, I have never been a fan. They quickly became stale to me; regardless of who they face or what the situation is, they are always the same exact duo. They never evolve or adapt, and as someone over the age of 12, that bores me. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by something incredible in this kickoff match, but I won’t hold my breath.
F2H Prediction – The Usos
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman) – Six Man Tag Match
After the embarrassing fight at the Wyatt compound, we look to close out this family versus family battle. The Wyatt family as it currently stands is no more due to the brand split; Braun Strowman will be going solo, while Bray and Erick are still able to band together as a duo. It may be a good move for the Wyatts, as nothing positive has been done with them lately. New Day’s dynamic is too comical and upbeat for a feud with the Wyatts to make sense, and it’s resulted in a lot of forced and uncomfortable interactions. New Day can take a loss here and be fine, but the Wyatts will suffer from yet another loss on their record. I hope for their sake, they are made to look strong.
F2H Prediction – The Wyatt Family
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens – Singles Match
Zayn and Owens are incredible together; these two represent everything that is right about wrestling. They’ve worked together for years, and it shows. Down the line, I would enjoy seeing them together as a team, but for now I’m incredibly content to watch them fight forever. Owens is by far one of my favorite wrestlers in any company; he’s skilled in the ring and in promos, brilliant when put on commentary, and hilarious on Twitter when he refuses to break character and harasses his haters and fans alike. This is only the beginning of what we’re going to see from these two; I can’t wait to see what’s in their future.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn
The Miz (c) vs Darren Young – Intercontinental Title Match
We’re going to make Darren Young great again! I had the pleasure of being in the same area as Bob Backlund once, at a live show in Chicago. He was outside, begging for cash in exchange for pictures with fans. It was one of the few times I’ve feared for my life; the man is unstable. The Miz has won his last few titles in very shady ways, and now has wife Maryse by his side to help him hold onto the IC title. Young has Backlund in his corner, which is like having an unarmed nuke in the hands of a toddler. There are so many ways that this match could go sideways considering Maryse and Backlund will be at ringside, Miz is notorious for finding shady ways to win, and Young is a wildcard. I truly don’t know what to expect from this match, but I hope Miz and Young deliver.
F2H Prediction – Darren Young
Sasha Banks & TBD vs Charlotte & Dana Brooke – Tag Team Match
I have two thoughts for Sasha Banks’ mystery partner. The first is the wish of most fans; Bayley will join Sasha and make her debut by winning this match after pinning Charlotte. The second is what I realistically think will happen; Nia Jax will partner with Sasha and they will form a team similar to what AJ Lee had with Tamina Snuka. Having Nia debut at Battleground and team with Sasha would be a strong way for her to make a statement and assert herself as a real force in the Women’s division. It would also even the odds, since Charlotte can’t be champion without having a sidekick around 24/7. I just hope WWE doesn’t blow this by choosing someone that doesn’t make sense for her partner, like Summer Rae or god forbid Eva Marie.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks & TBD
Enzo Amore, Big Cass, & John Cena vs The Club (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson) – Six Man Tag Match
With the brand split, Enzo and Cass will be separated from John Cena, and AJ Styles will be separated from Gallows and Anderson. This will theoretically be the last time we see all six of these men compete together. Enzo and Cass don’t benefit from being paired with Cena; they are one of the strongest tag teams around and don’t need validation from “the face that runs the place.” Styles, in my opinion, is stronger alone and will be able to branch out and accomplish more with The Club over on Raw. We’ve seen enough build for this fight to know what to expect. As much as some people would love to see Finn Balor come out, reunite The Club, and make some sort of grand statement, it likely won’t happen tonight. Styles and Cena will likely continue to battle on Smackdown, as Enzo and Cass will be able to fight The Club on Raw.
F2H Prediction – Enzo, Cass, and Cena
Rusev (c) vs Zack Ryder – United States Title Match
Zack Ryder got his WrestleMania moment when he was not only able to come out to his entrance music for the first time, but he won the Intercontinental Title at WM 32. He lost the title to The Miz before he could even celebrate having it, but that’s a whole other story. Rusev is a great US champion, especially with Lana by his side. I like this pairing because Ryder isn’t a symbol of the United States like Jack Swagger is or Cena tries to be. He’s not trying to make this into a US vs Russia match, he just wants to win the title. I hope this doesn’t turn into a squash match and that Ryder is able to gain the upper hand at least a few times on his larger opponent.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Becky Lynch vs Natalya – Singles Match
For some reason, Natalya lost her mind and decides to start attacking Becky Lynch. Natalya is finally ready to stop living in the background and assert herself to rise to the top of the Women’s division. She is a veteran in the company who doesn’t get a lot of chances for success, and for a while she was stuck playing sidekick to the tag team of Cesaro and husband Tyson Kidd. Lynch has been on the main roster for about a year now, and while she has been touted as one of the pioneers of the “revolution,” she hasn’t gotten a chance to really branch out. It would be nice to see this feud truly be about the wrestling instead of devolve into a petty girl vs girl argument over jealousy or some other trivial factor. Both women are extremely talented and can do a lot more in the ring than we’ve seen to date.
F2H Prediction – Becky Lynch
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
In my opinion, Roman Reigns should not be a part of this match. The failure of the drug test, allegedly for Adderall, isn’t the worst thing that a person could do, but is enough to warrant removal from this championship match. Ambrose and Rollins have been stuck throwing his name into conversations for the past few weeks in order to keep him relevant, and it isn’t fair to the two men who managed not to pop pills while in Vegas. Reigns also proved that he isn’t a successful champion. He failed to connect with the crowd as either a face or a heel, his skills on the microphone have yet to improve, and he concentrates more on theatrics than he does on wrestling. Ambrose and Rollins deserve a two on two. My hope is that they gang up on Reigns to take him out early on in the match so that they can have the fight they both deserve. Rumors state that Vince McMahon is fed up with Reigns, so there is a good chance that we don’t see a lot of him. As long as he doesn’t walk away from Battleground with the gold around his waist, I’ll be happy.
F2H Prediction – Seth Rollins
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
On March 3, 2014, Jimmy and Jey Uso won their first titles in WWE when they defeated the New Age Outlaws to become Tag Team Champions. At WrestleMania XXX, they successfully defended those titles in a Fatal Four Way against Rybaxel, The Real Americans, and Los Matadores. They entered into a rivalry against The Wyatt Family, defending their titles time and time again against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Their reign has been a good one as far as retaining the titles is concerned, but has fallen flat in every other way. The twins didn’t even defend their titles at Summerslam, which is billed as the WWE’s second biggest Pay Per View of the year.
The Usos are both skilled competitors. They have a great fan base and do a fine job of connecting with the younger crowd. Their entrance is high energy and always receives a big response from the audience. They work well together and are one of the better tag teams in WWE history. Things are being done right on paper, but it hasn’t translated into a successful title reign. It didn’t take long for their matches to become stale and predictable. There’s only so many times we can see The Usos face off against Ryback and Curtis Axel, a team that had no chance of getting the gold. The same goes for Harper and Rowan; as much as I’d like to see The Wyatt Family as champions, it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. With no danger of The Usos ever losing, it’s impossible to get excited about any match they have.
Any title is only as good as the person holding it. The importance of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in Daniel Bryan’s hands at the conclusion of WrestleMania XXX was enormous. That title not only represented the new face of the WWE, but was a symbol of victory over months of struggle. It was proof that hard work and a lot of heart can truly pay off. Fast forward to the night when John Cena became WWE World Heavyweight Champ, and you have a title that is now nothing more than one more trophy on Cena’s mantle. It’s a symbol of nothing more than Vince McMahon’s love for his golden boy and the cash he rakes in. Throw that title on the shoulders of Brock Lesnar, and it becomes a big middle finger to Cena, to the Authority, and to a good number of the fans.
The Usos have held onto the titles for nearly seven months but they have not made any progress in making them relevant. Being Tag Team Champion was a big deal when the New Age Outlaws returned to become six time champs, so The Usos should have had an easy time staying on top since that is where they got to start. They were obviously enthusiastic about winning the gold, but enthusiasm can only take you so far. I’ve seen The Usos compete many times, but I don’t know who The Usos are. Not once have I seen any of their personality shine through in their promos. If not for Total Divas, I’d wonder if they had personalities at all. They showed genuine joy when they initially won, but everything after that has felt like just another part of their job, devoid of care or emotion.
Not all of the blame can be laid on the shoulders of these Samoan twins. The booking choices made by creative have been very lazy. Other than one off the wall match against Randy Orton and Batista after WrestleMania, every match has basically been a rerun of last week. The feud with The Wyatt Family began in January 2014, before they became champs, and has only recently come to an end after eight long months of the same thing over and over; The Wyatt’s can seriously dominate, but not when it matters. When they weren’t battling The Wyatt’s, The Usos were pitted against Rybaxel over and over again. I do understand that there aren’t endless possibilities when it comes to tag teams, but you have to give fans more if you want us to remain engaged.
At Night Of Champions, we finally have something to look forward to. The Usos will face off against Goldust and Stardust, which are a very new tag team due to Cody’s recent transformation into the bizarre Stardust. The two teams have been at each other’s throats for the past couple of weeks, so we should have some exciting matches in the future between these men, regardless of who emerges as the winner at NoC. There is also the newly formed team of Mark Henry and Big Show to worry about. With Henry in tag matches plus battling Rusev, and Show looking better than he has in years, this is a duo to be feared. We also have The Miz and Damien Mizdow, Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil, Dolph Ziggler and R-Ziggler, and if the rumors are true, The Miz and NXT’s Tyler Breeze. As far as tag matches go, the possibilities are pretty endless.
Everything necessary to make the Tag Team titles relevant is right in front of us, except for one minor detail. We need new champions. The Usos have had their time. They may have grown their fan base but they haven’t grown as wrestlers. The titles are wasted on these two men, who are better suited as a mid-card team, and I don’t say that as an insult. Right now, the titles need to go to competitors who can elevate them and get the entire arena to care about every single time the titles are on the line and every match in between defenses. Goldust and Stardust are a perfect start. Where the titles go from there is anyone’s guess, but the bottom line is that the best thing to do for the gold is to keep it out of The Usos’ hands.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker