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
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
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
Last week’s episode was a phenomenal hour of wrestling. As we edge closer to the semi-finals and the debut of the Cruiserweight Division on Monday Night Raw, this tournament is only getting sweeter and sweeter. It’s building momentum to help secure the sagging middle hour of Raw. Without further ado, let’s give you a rundown of tonight’s episode.
The first match on the card is England’s Zack Sabre Jr. going up against Noam Dar of Scotland, the youngest competitor in the entire tournament and the first ever Israeli-born wrestler ever in WWE. Dar tries for a takedown early, but Sabre’s no dummy. He blocks it and stands up. Sabre keeps the pressure on slow and steady, wearing down Dar. That is until Dar dropkicks Sabre’s left knee. He then wrenches him up with a wrist-lock down to the mat. Sabre reverses, making Dar scream out. He recovers and drops elbows on Sabre’s left leg. Dar does not let up on the leg. Kicking, hitting, locking in submissions.
This match slows down for a few moments until the pair trade a few covers reversed into covers. Offense is limited for a moment as both men catch their breath. Penalty kick by Dar then a suplex, cover, but Sabre kicks out on an early two. Dar goes after the left leg again. Sabre kicks him off with his good leg, but Dar goes right back in. This time Sabre punches out. A weak penalty kick by Sabre into a cover. Dar kicks out. A kick drops Sabre on the apron, he stands and takes another kick off the apron. Dar runs up, dives out, and takes Sabre down. He pops up and rolls Sabre into the ring. Sabre in the corner and Dar runs into him with a dropkick. Cover, but Sabre narrowly avoids losing.
Knee bar by Dar, but Sabre manages to roll it into a cover. Dar kicks out and puts the knee bar right back in. Sabre reverses it into an arm bar then a bridge cover. No dice. I begin to question the stamina as both men. They are visibly exhausted and a bit shaky in the ring. Their move set has slowed way down. I don’t want to call this match boring at times, but it’s not as exciting as some of the other matches we’ve seen. Sabre misses with a knee drop of the top rope. Dar sets Sabre up on the ropes, then kicks him in his left leg. He gets a knee bar locked in and Sabre screams as he tries to get the bottom rope. Sabre rolls them both out of the ring. Sabre lands badly on his elbow and the ref checks on him. Ref starts a ten count and both barely make it in. Dar goes right after the bad arm immediately, dropping Sabre to the mat. Sabre with a kick, Dar with a kick, Sabre spins him down and pins his arms way back between his legs. Dar can’t even tap, he just nods over and over to the ref who calls for the bell. Sabre advances.
Our last quarter-finals match is the Filipino Flyer, T.J. Perkins, battling Rich Swann out of the United States. Perkins holds back after the bell rings to let Swann get the crowd fired up with chants and dancing. Once the two go after each other, they are evenly matched, swapping various moves on the mat and both leaping back to their feet. Slow grind for a few moments. Perkins showboats for a few minutes. Crowd is in to it, I’m not so much. Just wrestle. If I’m judging fairly, his skill level is nowhere near the amount of hype he plugs for himself in the ring. Speaking off, he attempts a flip off the apron, misses and clutches his leg after landing badly. Perkins leaps off the second rope and dropkicks Swann from the apron. Both men down and the ref starts a 10 count.
Back in the ring, Perkins puts a reverse chin-lock on Swann. Perkins targets the left knee of Swann. The same gimmick we saw in the previous match. Don’t follow with the same spot, youngsters. That’s basic wrestling rules. Perkins does various submission holds on the leg. Crowd tries to rally Swann. He gets to his feet and clotheslines Perkins. Swinging neck-breaker to follow. He hits a DDT and covers, but Perkins kicks out at two. Perkins with his own neck-breaker. He puts Swann up on the top rope but Swann throws Perkins down to the floor outside the ring. Perkins pops up and punches Swann then springboards into a Frankensteiner. Perkins climbs to the top rope and Swann hits him with a Frankensteiner. A pair of two counts as Perkins just won’t stay down.
Knee bar by Perkins, but Swann gets to the ropes and breaks it up. The pair trade crazy kicks in the center of the ring until Perkins is dropped. Swann collapses on his left leg. Knee bar again by Perkins. Swann struggles to make the ropes and finally has no choose but to tap out. As soon as the ref calls for the bell, Perkins lets go and checks on Swann to make sure he is alright. T.J. Perkins advances. And then there were four. The semi-finals are set. T.J. Perkins, Zack Sabre Jr., Gran Metalik, Kota Ibushi are the final four left in the tournament.
Decent episode of the tournament. But both matches were slow paced and not the thrilling bouts we’ve come to expect. They weren’t bad by any stretch of the word. Just a little flat, especially with the semi-finals coming up next week. Maybe we’ve been spoiled too much with greatness. Next week we get treated to a two hour live finale. The winner will be crowned. I’m putting my money on Kota Ibushi winning the whole thing. If not him then Gran Metalik. I’d be very surprised if someone else wins. And two weeks from now, we get to find out who in the tournament makes it up to Raw’s main roster. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Who do you like the field of four? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading. Have a good night, pro-wrestling fans!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
We are coming off of a very strong Smackdown from last week, which was followed by an episode of Talking Smack that has had people talking all week. Daniel Bryan called out The Miz for wrestling “like a coward,” and for wrestling in the soft WWE style. The Miz came back at him hard, defending his style because he has never been injured in his entire career and is dedicated and present. He went off on Bryan, and Maryse looked so uncomfortable. Renee Young tried to calm Miz down, but Bryan was so flustered that he walked off the set while Miz finished what was an amazing tirade. I have been a fan of The Miz for a while, and he owned that interview. This is HIS show. Standing ovation for The Miz.
After a recap of that amazing moment, we cut to Bryan and Shane McMahon, who were backstage rewatching the interview. McMahon says that while he agrees with Bryan, he shouldn’t have provoked The Miz and owes him an apology. Bryan says he finds his comments ironic coming from the guy who has beef with Brock Lesnar; that comment gets a good pop from the crowd.
As we move to the arena, The Miz storms out to the ring, demanding his music be cut and asking if he has our attention now. Miz defends his style as being smart and accuses the fans of not seeing the big picture. He says he can do it all, day in and day out, without injury. But we boo him because he didn’t start in the small venues like some wrestlers, didn’t fail over and over before he succeeded. If Miz is unworthy, what are we? Cowards. Dolph Ziggler interrupts, and for once, I’m not happy to see him. Ziggler says that the fans won’t ever get behind him because they can see through his act. Miz just wants to be famous, and that’s why no one believes in him.
If Miz wants to prove to everyone that he isn’t a coward, prove it now. No referee, no title match, just an honest fight. The Miz takes off the jacket, rolls up his sleeves, but isn’t giving in to Ziggler’s request. Ziggler grabs a mic and calls him a soft, safe coward. Miz starts rushing back to the ring as the crowd chants COWARD, but Maryse holds him back. I’m not exactly sure why Ziggler had to get involved here. This took a strong segment and made it into something it didn’t need to be.
Our first match of the night is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Hype Bros versus The Vaudevillains. Ryder and English start off the match with Ryder in complete control. English leaves the ring for a breather, and Ryder hits Gotch with a kick, allowing English to get him with a Swinging Neckbreaker. Rawley and Ryder are looking fantastic in this match! Ryder hits a Broksi Boot and the crowd is cheering as the pair fly around the ring. The two team up to take down both men, then hit the Hype Ryder for the win! They will advance to the semi finals of the tag team tournament.
AJ Styles comes out to the ring next, again calling himself “the face that runs the place.” He promises to beat Dean Ambrose at Backlash and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Apollo Crews picks this moment to come out and stop Styles’ personal love-fest. Crews says he got permission to challenge Styles to a match that starts now. Crews is an incredible athlete and is proving it with this match, hitting Styles with a solid punch and asking Mauro Ranallo if he got a good look at it. During the commercial break, Styles regained control, but Crews is quick to take it back when we return. Crews is able to throw Styles over the top rope, then flip out of the ring to take him down again. Ranallo calls him a “flying tank,” and this tank is back in the ring hitting Styles with punches to the midsection. He takes Styles to the top rope, but Styles is able to duck away. Styles hits Crews with a cross body, but Crews catches him and hits a Samoan Drop. Amazing! Styles hits a Phenomenal Forearm and pins Crews for the win. Very energetic match, and a good showing by both men.
Heath Slater visits with Renee Young in his… trailer out back? His wife, who looks like a fan Snooki, serves cheese in a can with crackers and what looks like raw hot dogs as Renee tries to interview Slater and Rhyno. As Renee asks about Slater’s confrontation with Brock Lesnar, Rhyno draws cheese frowny faces on crackers. I want to invite Rhyno and Slater to dinner. This is hilarious! Unfortunately we can’t meet the kids; they’re out back collecting cans and bottles.
Bray Wyatt walks out to the ring next, accompanied by his fireflies, but without Erick Rowan. He calls out Randy Orton, calling him sick, but that’s what he likes about him. He’s interested in how Lesnar exploited him at Summerslam. He tells Orton to run, but his music hits instead. Orton says that the voices in his head are asking him who in the hell does Wyatt think he is. Orton says his charm comes from the fact that he’s been damaged for a long time. Wyatt has his attention. Wyatt says that Orton is no longer the predator in this situation. At Backlash, Wyatt will cut the serpent’s head off and hang it on his mantle as a trophy. The crowd is obnoxiously chanting “Husky Harris,” and Orton responds by saying he respects Wyatt in a way because they both have their demons. He agrees to the match at Backlash, but strongly says he isn’t afraid of Wyatt. The arena goes dark, and they awkwardly cut away. Abrupt ending.
Alexa Bliss and Natalya will face off with Naomi and Becky Lynch now, with Nikki Bella on commentary. Oh joy. Naomi and Natalya start things off, but I’m distracted because David Otunga insists on talking with Nikki Bella about Total Bellas, their new reality show on E! Alexa Bliss is tagged in, and the two throw Naomi to the mat, then pin her on the ropes. Otunga says “she’s trying to snatch Naomi’s edges off,” and now I’m laughing too hard to pay attention. Becky Lynch is tagged in, and she goes to the top rope to land a kick on Bliss. She tries for a cover, but Natalya breaks it up. Out of nowhere, Carmella comes out and starts attacking Nikki Bella. The distraction allows Bliss to roll up Lynch and get the win for her team. We didn’t get to see too much of this match thanks to the commercial break and Carmella’s distraction, but it definitely got interesting towards the end.
Our next match is another tag; Heath Slater and Rhyno versus The Headbangers. You can tell a lot of the crowd has no idea who these guys are. Slater and Rhyno come out to a big pop, and there is an entire section of “Heath’s Kids.” Mosh and Slater start things off, with Slater in control, but Mosh hits Slater outside of the ring, then tags in his partner. Thrasher takes Slater down easily; he and his partner are keeping Slater away from Rhyno to control this match. Poor Slater has a bloody lip, Rhyno is down thanks to an elbow from Mosh, and Slater nearly gets pinned but Rhyno saves the match. He tags himself in, floors Thrasher, and wins the match! Slater and Rhyno advance! YES! Not sure where all the blood on Rhyno’s head came from though…
Gary “The Milk Man” Millman is in the ring demanding an opponent. Who is this dude? Fireworks hit and Kane comes down to the ring! Man, I haven’t seen him in a while! Milk Man starts trying to get his pants back on, but it’s too late. Oh dear god, he’s just wearing normal underwear, not even trunks. Kane delivers a chokeslam and quickly departs.
Main event time! AJ Styles is on commentary as Baron Corbin comes to the ring to face Dean Ambrose. Kane and Corbin cross paths, briefly making eye contact and hopefully setting up something for later. Corbin takes control of the match early on, hitting Ambrose in the chest and sending him to his knees. Ambrose is able to knock Corbin off his feet, then send him over the top rope. He jumps from the apron and takes Corbin to the mat, then slams him into the announce table, sending a message to Styles. Corbin hits a lariat and then delivers kick after kick to Ambrose’s midsection. Ambrose finally breaks Corbin’s momentum with a well-timed neckbreaker. He hits a mean clothesline and pins Corbin, but he kicks out. Ambrose knocks Corbin from the ring, dives out to take him down, and then poses for a moment on the barricade. Corbin is able to hit a Deep Six back in the ring, but Ambrose kicks out. Styles gets up and in Corbin’s face, which he isn’t happy about. Ambrose takes advantage, knocks Corbin into Styles, and nearly wins the match. Styles gets up on the apron, then accidentally kicks Corbin in the face, causing the match being called due to disqualification. Ambrose leaves the ring to attack Styles, then Corbin goes after Ambrose. Our champ hits Dirty Deeds on Corbin, then trips Styles up on the ropes, sending his man bits right into the rope. The noise he’s making is hilariously awful. So of course, Ambrose responds by bouncing him up and down on the rope before shaking his hand and grabbing his title.
We’re a little over a week away from Backlash, our first brand exclusive PPV since the draft. Ambrose will face off with Styles for the title, and we’ll crown our first Smackdown tag champions and our first Smackdown Women’s champ. This was another solid Smackdown; two weeks in a row! We’ll bring you our Backlash predictions after next week’s Smackdown airs. Let us know your thoughts below, and follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Round two continues tonight, and we can only hope it’s as amazing as it was last week. WWE has really hit a homerun with this cruiserweight tournament. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that when they bring the division up to Monday Night Raw it stays this special. Without further ado, let’s review tonight’s newest episode!
Three matches scheduled for tonight. The first is Rich Swann (United States) taking on Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico). Some insane athleticism from both guys to start. They are fast and agile as all hell. Crowd applaud break 30 seconds in. They keep doing high risk moves but the other guy counters with an impressive athletic move. The two have fun with the crowd, doing some dances. Major dropkick by Swann. Dorado off the top rope with a missile dropkick. And then we are outside the ring. Back in the ring, spinning neckbreaker by Swann. The pair trade submissions on the mat. Huge chop by Dorado! Forearms traded between the two then Swann gets Dorado on the top rope. Blocked and Dorado gets off the ropes. Moments later double scissors kick by both men, and they drop to the mat. Ref starts a ten count. They get to their feet and trade blows, both wobbling. Cross body off the top rope by Dorado, near fall. DDT by Swann, and a near fall for him. Standing 450 splash by Swann, but Dorado gets his knees up and then tries a cover. Two count. Elbow and kick by Dorado. Huge kick by Swann. Reverse hurricanrana by Dorado and a two count. Dorado misses with a Shooting Star Press. Swann climbs the top rope. A Phoenix Splash for the pinfall! Swann advances to the quarter finals. Wow. That was a hell of a match.
Next up, Zack Sabre Jr. (England) gets set to take on the dangerous submission expert Drew Gulak (United States). Sabre tries to shake hands before the match and Gulak slaps his hand away. They run right at each other out of their respective corners as soon as the bell rings. Straitjacket submission by Sabre early in the match. Gulak reverses it into the same hold. Zabre reverses that and pulls Gulak’s arms behind his back. This is some vicious grappling. Springboard into a stomp kick by Gulak. Chop in the corner. Then a suplex. Gulak covers, but Zabre kicks out at two. Another submission by Gulak. Gulak leaps off the top rope but Zabre grabs him in mid-air and follows him down to the ground into an armbar submission. A gruesome torture rack hold by Gulak. Ouch. Tries a cover after but no dice. Ankle lock by Gulak. Gulak tosses Zabre into the ropes. Penalty kick by Zabre and two count on Gulak. The pair trade some painful looking slaps in the middle of the ring. Bridge submission out of no where and Gulak’s shoulders can’t get up after three! That was so cool to watch. Geez, never seen grappling and submission wrestling like that. Those two are experts at their craft. Terrific match! Zack Sabre Jr. advances. After the match, Zabre again tries to shake hands. Gulak sort of taps his hand real quick and then rolls out of the ring.
One match left on the card and it should be a doozy. The high-flying T.J. Perkins (Philippines) takes on the incredible Johnny Gargano (United States) for the final spot in the quarter finals. Grappling to start, as per the usual course for this tournament. Perkins with a scissors leg takedown. Armbar by Gargano but Perkins quickly reverses it. Irish whip into a dropkick sends Perkins out of the ring and Gargano leaps out after him, knocking him down. Ref starts a ten count. Chop by Gargano, then he rolls Perkins into the ring. Submission by Gargano. Perkins reverses it into a rocking horse submission, into a Romero Special. This one slows down for a few minutes. Gargano chops Perkins in the corner multiple times. The pair trade some devastating kicks. Outside the ring, Perkins reverses Gargano leg first into the timekeeper area. He lands painfully. Ref starts counting them both out. They manage to get back in the ring and Perkins kicks Gargano and nearly gets a pinfall. Springboard rebound dropkick by Perkins but Gargano kicks out at two. Gargano attempts to get a submission on Perkins, but he blocks it. Gargano holding his left knee, grimacing. Neckbreaker by Perkins. Gargano launches Perkins face first into the corner like a lawndart and covers. Perkins narrowly kicks out at two. Crowd in a frenzy now. Superkick by Gargano. Perkins rolls him through into a kneebar submission on Gargano’s bad knee. He crawls to the ropes. Perkins locks it in even tighter and Gargano has no choice but to tap out! Goodness! Everybody is shocked! What a finish! Can we consider this one a minor upset? Tough week for Johnny Gargano.
Just another outstanding group of matches out of the Cruiserweight Classic. This truly gets better each and every week. I can’t wait to see who wins this whole thing. What did you think of tonight’s three matches? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for TNA!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I’m in desperate need of a pick me up tonight after yesterday’s depressing situation with Finn Balor, who relinquished the Universal Title due to injury. Nikki Bella is set to make her official Smackdown debut this evening, coming after her surprise return at Summerslam. On the Smackdown Live preshow, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon fined Brock Lesnar only $500 for his attack on her brother, Shane, so it’ll be interesting to see if that is addressed tonight.
Smackdown begins in the locker room where AJ Styles names himself as The New Face That Runs The Place, thanks to his victory over John Cena at Summerslam. He puts on Cena’s “Never Give Up” armband that Cena left in the ring on Sunday, then calls out Dolph Ziggler for being a loser. After a brief brawl, Styles leaves the locker room. New feud?
The two new titles are in the ring as we begin; the new tag titles are the same design as the originals, but are colored silver on a blue leather belt. The new women’s title is also an exact replica of the original, but with a blue background behind the “W.” Before you start bitching, they could have gone off the wall with all of this, but they kept it simple. Let’s not let it ruin the entire show, okay? Daniel Bryan tells the six women of Smackdown that any one of them could potentially be champion, and the crowd start chanting for Nattie. The new Smackdown women’s champion will be crowned at Backlash, the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, and the contenders will be decided with a Six Pack Challenge. This will also be where the Smackdown tag team champions will be crowned, with a Tag Team Title Tournament that will start tonight and crown a winner at Backlash.
Slater’s Gonna Slate! Heath Slater interrupts regarding his lack of contract. Slater proposes to Bryan and McMahon that they allow him to compete for the tag titles. Slater is hilarious; I love this. Bryan says that if Slater can find a partner by the end of the night, they will turn this into an eight team tournament. But Slater will only get a contract if he wins the ENTIRE tournament. Poor Heath Slater and his fifteen children.
AJ Styles picks this time to come out, tells Slater to get lost, and says that they need to talk about The New Face That Runs The Place! It seems like Styles is letting this new title (that he has given himself) go to his head. Out of nowhere, Ziggler comes out and clocks Styles in the back of the head! Bryan and McMahon send the entire tag division out of the ring to break it up! Damn, this was a great start to the night. Kudos.
Our first match will be Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, with Naomi and Natalya ringside at commentary. The match is pretty back and forth in the beginning, with Lynch looking for the Disarmer and Bliss able to block every attempt. Bliss is the smallest on the Smackdown roster, but quite possibly the most vicious. Bliss gets Lynch caught up on the ropes and is able to get a pin attempt, but Lynch counters with clotheslines that takes Bliss down. Bliss slams Lynch to the mat into a pin via flip from the middle rope, but Lynch kicks out at two. Lynch is able to lock in the Disarmer and Bliss has no choice but to tap. Natalya is on commentary with an attitude, going back and forth with Naomi in an awkward exchange as Lynch celebrates her win.
Backstage, Slater approaches The Miz and asks if he will be his Tag Team partner. Slater thinks that Miz is agreeing to do it, but it turns out that Miz is on his bluetooth talking a movie deal and didn’t hear a single word that Slater said. Poor Heath Slater and his twenty-five hungry children.
Our next match is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Ascension versus The Usos. The Ascension attack The Usos as soon as the bell rings, taking them down and going for an early pin. Using quick tags, they are keeping their opponent isolated and unable to tag in his brother. The crowd starts a small Uso chant, but it fades quickly as Konnor goes for another pin attempt. Uso finally tags in his brother and hits a Cross Body, then a super kick on Viktor. He hits a Samoan Drop and goes for the finish, but Konnor jumps in to save his partner. Jimmy hits a splash and gets the pin for the win. JBL keeps telling us that The Usos are the favorites for this tournament, but I’m not buying it.
The New Face That Runs The Place is going to try to make his entrance uninterrupted; AJ Styles comes to the ring, still holding Cena’s arm band. Styles says he sees lots of angry faces in the crowd (not to mention jealous faces in the locker room) because of his win at Summerslam. Styles wants the Cena fans to convert over to Styles fans so they don’t have to cry into their cereal. As Styles is yelling, Ziggler comes out again to go on the attack, but security and Bryan stop it from happening. Bryan says that Styles does indeed deserve to be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but since Ziggler and Styles want to fight so bad, they will have a match tonight. If Styles wins, he gets a title match at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he gets added to the match and it becomes a Triple Threat. Second option please!!
Up now, Carmella will be facing the returning Nikki Bella. Before the match, Renee Young enters the ring to interview Nikki. Carmella isn’t having any of it though and attacks Nikki mid-sentence. She lays Nikki out and the crowd cheers! Eventually, another referee jumps in to break it up, but Carmella is yelling insults and refusing to back off. She leaves the ring, only to jump back in and attack Nikki once more as she cradles her neck. I’ve gotta say, I like this side of Carmella. It was also nice not to see the predictable Bella win upon her return.
At the top of the second hour, Randy Orton comes out, obviously not dressed to compete give the ten staples in his skull. He gets a great welcome from the crowd, and admits that he was in one hell of a fight against Brock Lesnar. Orton says he is unhappy with the match being called as a TKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt’s music hits! The man steps out alone, slowly walking to the ring with his lantern in hand. He sits in his rocker, asking Orton how his head is feeling. Wyatt saw Orton’s eyes go blank after Lesnar busted him open, and says it is a reminder that Orton is just a man. A man who hurts, suffers, and dies. But Wyatt is not just a man, he is a God. (Sidenote: this only works if you guys start booking him better!!) He promises that Orton will find out more “in time.” And just like that, he vanishes.
Backstage, Slater asks Arn Anderson if he will be his tag team partner. He tells Anderson that he is his last and final hope! He’s running out of time. Anderson declines, but Rhyno steps in and volunteers himself to be Heath’s partner! I’m so glad that Slater’s thirty-seven children won’t have to go hungry!
Our next Tag Team Tournament Match is American Alpha versus Breezango. Gable and Fandango start things off, with Fandango immediately going to the ropes for a break. Breeze and Jordan tag in, and American Alpha take out both of their opponents before the legal men get back in the ring. Jordan and Gable are so good, but the main roster audience still isn’t behind them as they should be. A USA chant gets going, which means… what exactly in this match? Gable gets Breeze locked in an arm bar in the middle of the ring, targeting the shoulder. Alpha is using quick tags to keep Breeze isolated, but he is able to shove Gable into Fandango and nearly win the match.
During the commercial, Breeze and Fandango have controlled the match, but when we return, Jordan comes in and dominates both Breeze and Fandango, delivering fantastic suplexes before tagging in Gable. Jordan attacks Fandango outside of the ring to keep him from interfering, then tags himself in. The near falls are starting now, and things are getting tense. This is a fantastic match! These four are bringing their best tonight, and it’s a shame they both can’t advance. Breeze and Jordan are going back and forth with pins, and both looks frustrated beyond belief. Jordan hits a suplex into a spear, then tags in Gable who pins Breeze for the win! This was awesome, but I’m glad my boys won. And I’m glad they didn’t awkwardly caress the tag titles like The Usos did.
After a relaxing night of gambling, Dean Ambrose comes out to join the commentary team to watch our main event from ringside. Ziggler and Styles will battle, and hopefully we don’t see John Cena. I’m probably asking for too much. The crowd is split on who to support, and Styles is quick to leave the ring to get a breather. To remind you, a Styles victory guarantees him a match at Backlash against Ambrose, but a Ziggler victory makes that match a Triple Threat. As we return from commercial, Styles is in control and Ziggler is stuck in the corner, but he’s able to dodge and get some relief. Ziggler is thrown hard against the turnbuckle, then hit with a backbreaker into a pin. Ziggler tries for a very sloppy, and obviously unsuccessful roll up before Styles retaliates and knocks him to the mat once again. Ziggler is finally able to land a few punches, but Styles catches him on the ropes with a neckbreaker.
Styles is not holding anything back in this, throwing Ziggler into the stairs and all but ignoring the referee’s instructions. Ziggler finally hits a beautiful dropkick on Styles! Both men are briefly down, then Ziggler tries for a pin after an elbow drop. Ziggler hits the Famouser but Styles kicks out just barely in time. I want a Triple Threat; come on! Near fall after near fall, and neither man will give up. Ziggler hits an amazing DDT, but damn it, Styles kicks out. I’m stressed out at this point. Just make it a Triple Threat because you know it’ll be awesome. Styles hits Ziggler with a cheap shot while he is hung up on the ropes, then hits the Styles Clash for the win. Damn it.
After the victory, Styles gets in Ambrose’s face and snatches off his headset. I always forget how tall Ambrose is until we have moments like this. Styles backs off with a smile on his face, and we end our broadcast. This was a fantastic Smackdown! After a couple of weeks thinking that the brand split wasn’t agreeing with WWE anymore, we get a much needed night like this. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see you all tomorrow for NXT and CWC coverage!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker