Writer’s Note: As you have noticed, Face To Heel has been on a hiatus of sorts over the past several weeks. While we are still keeping up on wrestling throughout the week, we have been neglecting the website and our Twitter account. Thanks to some health issues that I am still attempting to get a handle on, and my husband’s efforts to keep our family going, there hasn’t been much time or enthusiasm for getting in front of a computer and discussing the PPVs or the weekly shows.
Thankfully, I am well enough to be back at work on a part time basis and will once again be churning out as many articles as I can possibly handle. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us; I promise we have not abandoned our readers or our love of wrestling. Please follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel for updates, live coverage, and contests; and follow our writers, @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener.
The eighth annual Tables, Ladders, & Chairs pay-per-view goes live tonight and will be exclusively under the Smackdown Live brand this time around. It will be held in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. As or right now, we have six verified matches on the card, but we’ll likely see some last minute additions thrown into the pre-show. This event always ends the year on an exciting note and typically has a few jaw-dropping moments that will be talking about as we head towards the Royal Rumble. Let’s take a look at the TLC match card and make some F2H predictions!
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – No Disqualifications Singles Match
It’s nice to see the women getting a No Disqualification match, though I have my doubts about the quality we’re going to receive. Carmella is great, but is still pretty green. Nikki Bella, in my opinion, is incredibly overrated and will probably have too many concerns about re-injury to take a No DQ match seriously. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect the only No DQ action we get is a lot of outside ring work and a few throws into the barricade.
F2H Prediction – Nikki Bella
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin – Chairs Singles Match
I’ve forgotten why the giant Baron Corbin is picking on teensy tiny Kalisto, but I am glad to see Corbin on the main card of a PPV. I expected him to get a bigger push after winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but I guess that doesn’t have much meaning after the first couple weeks have passed by. This seems like an obvious squash match for Kalisto considering that there are chairs involved, but he has quickness on his side and could surprise us. The real question here is whether we’ll see a run-in from a frustrated Sami Zayn.
F2H Prediction – Baron Corbin
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
I love The Miz as IC champ! That said, I also love Dolph Ziggler, so it’s difficult for me to just pick one competitor to cheer for. We assume Ziggler is going to fight clean, and Miz is going to use whatever he can, including his wife, to trip Ziggler up and keep his title. The hairspray nonsense, the Spirit Squad; he has a lot of ridiculous ideas, but they keep working. Having this be a ladder match may work in Dolph’s favor if he can be smart about it and be quicker than Miz. Don’t get your hopes up about Maryse being banned from ringside though. This will definitely be two on one.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss – Tables Match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
This is awesome. This is so awesome. I love this. Alexa Bliss is probably my favorite female on the Smackdown roster, and I’m very curious to see this tiny athlete lugging around giant tables. I love that WWE is taking more chances with their women; first dropping the “Diva” name, and then putting them into more risky and exciting matches. I’ve seen women go through tables before, but on WWE? That’s not exactly commonplace. This should be one hell of a match.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton – Tag Match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
2016 has been a strange year, so it only makes sense that Heath Slater would have a title and be one of the top guys on Smackdown. Keeping with the strange, Randy Orton is now part of the Wyatt Family, because why not? This match is filled with a lot of What The Hell Is Going On? This will be a straight tag match with no stipulations, but will no doubt still be an exciting one to watch. I hope Slater and Rhyno pull out a victory so Slater can hold on to that double wide. And yes, Face To Heel is continuing its refusal of calling them Beauty and the Man Beast. That’s a terrible name. Terrible, terrible name.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose – Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the WWE World Championship
Our main event will be a traditional TLC match between Styles and Ambrose, two guys who aren’t afraid to put it all on the line. I have to wonder how James Ellsworth is going to fit into this match. I definitely want to see him ringside supporting Ambrose, and while I do not want him to affect the outcome of the match, it would be good to see him take a chair shot, push Styles off a ladder, or get slammed through a table. I love that chinless wonder. Eventually Ambrose has to turn on Ellsworth so maybe tonight will be the night when he slips up and costs Dean his shot at winning the belt by accident.
F2H Prediction – Dean Ambrose
The pre-show will begin live on the WWE Network at 7:00PM EST, with the main show beginning at 8:00PM EST. Hopefully we don’t get an early ending the way we did with Survivor Series and the booking will be strong throughout. Be sure to Tweet along with us at @FaceToHeel during the show, and keep your eye out for our next giveaway contest! Let us know in the comments below your own predictions and what you are most looking forward to on tonight’s card.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
After WWE tweeted that not only would Becky Lynch not be able to compete at the No Mercy PPV due to medical reasons, but that the main event would start the show, my husband decided that we would skip writing a results article and just try to enjoy the show. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV, Backlash, had a terrible card but turned out to be a great three hours, so I went into No Mercy with a healthy amount of optimism. My mistake.
Curt Hawkins was initially going to have his debut match at No Mercy, but instead popped out randomly during the preshow at around 7:15pm EST before the majority of fans were even in their seats. He walked to the ring to a list of Chuck Norris-type facts while waving around a walking stick. Hawkins announced that his first match would actually be on October 11th on Smackdown, and the crowd couldn’t care less. This was such a poor choice for what was meant to be a strong debut.
The preshow kickoff match featured The Hype Bros and American Alpha versus The Ascension and The Vaudevillains. It was a solid fight, with the Hype Bros and American Alpha picking up the win after a nine minute match. I don’t think this was the best use of the preshow though. We have an entire hour to eat up, and the match only gets 15% of that time? We don’t need to hear Jerry Lawler sexually harass female talent for 45 minutes. Give us longer and better preshow matches.
Our first match was the “main event” where AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat match. Styles actually tapped out, but because both Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had a submission hold on him, the match was restarted. First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this main event opened the PPV. I thought that maybe they were saving something else for the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps they moved it so it wasn’t airing during the debate, but that doesn’t make sense either since everything is On Demand on the Network. It was a confusing move, and I still have yet to figure out why they did it.
Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a decent match, but Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in a match that would have been better left off the card. The women had a little over 5 minutes to compete, and it ended with Bliss throwing a fit after her loss. It makes her look weak and childish, which is a poor move considering she is the number one contender for Lynch’s title. Time and time again, we hear about the Women’s Revolution. I’m still waiting for it to begin.
The highlight of the night for me was watching Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully retain against The Usos. It was a solid match and it’s so amazing to hear Slater being cheered for, getting hot tags, and being able to actually perform in the ring instead of job out. The second high point for me was Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz and becoming Intercontinental Champion. This was a twenty minute match of nonstop action. Online rumors had Ziggler leaving WWE to pursue a career in comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t true.
Baron Corbin defeated the new and improved Jack Swagger in a singles match that was forgettable. Our actual main event was Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton. I was terrified that WWE was going to try and turn this into their version of Impact Wrestling’s The Great War, but they spared us. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even bother making this match a No Disqualification fight. It was good to see Bray Wyatt finally get a win, but he still didn’t get it clean thanks to a surprise return by Luke Harper. Harper didn’t interfere, simply showed up as a distraction to allow Wyatt to steal a win.
Overall, this PPV was better suited for a Tuesday night episode of Smackdown than it was for a Sunday evening. Whatever magic went into Backlash was completely lost for No Mercy. We apologize for the lack of coverage on Sunday, but have no regrets, as any article we posted was going to tear that PPV into pieces. Hopefully they can get it together by Tuesday and give their talent the better booking they deserve.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Our second Smackdown exclusive PPV will be No Mercy on October 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California. The go home episode of Smackdown was absolutely terrible; my husband didn’t hold back in his review of the show, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Heath Slater and Rhyno’s run in was the best part of the entire two hours, and they didn’t even get to have a match. Even with all this, I feel strangely positive about this PPV. The card for Backlash was pitiful, but the PPV somehow ended up being one of the best WWE has had in months. Let’s take a look at the No Mercy match card and make some predictions.
Curt Hawkins vs TBA – Singles Match
The build towards Hawkins’ television debut has been a play on the Chuck Norris jokes, and has not gone over well with me. He made his in ring return already at a WWE Live event at the beginning of the month, beating Apollo Crews in a singles match in Las Vegas. The last time I saw Hawkins, he was getting squashed by Ryback while teaming with Tyler Reks. He then asked to be released from WWE, went to NXT after a surgery to lose most of his matches, and spent the next couple of years bouncing from company to company. Not surprisingly, I don’t see him as a Chuck Norris level kind of guy after all of that. His opponent is still undetermined at the time of this posting, but I imagine it will be some local jobber. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear “let’s go jobber” chants from the crowd.
F2H Prediction – Curt Hawkins
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – Singles Match
After getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton found himself targeted by the Eater of Worlds. Bray Wyatt has been on the world’s worst losing streak, but still insists that he is a God. On this past Smackdown, Orton locked Wyatt in a storage locker, and Wyatt escaped after talking to some mystery figure just off of camera. Prior to that, they have been involved in equally senseless altercations backstage and in the ring. At one point, Orton looked like he was trying to escape one of Jigsaw’s traps. The whole set up has been ridiculous, and not the positive kind. But who knows; maybe these two will surprise us.
F2H Prediction – Randy Orton
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship “Title vs Career” Match
Right now, The Miz is at the top of his game. Since Daniel Bryan can’t compete and fight for his honor after Miz shamed him on Talking Smack, Dolph Ziggler was thrown into the mix. The video package that Miz put together for Ziggler was one of very few highlights on the go home Smackdown. Both men have been underappreciated over the past couple of years, so I’m glad that they have an opportunity now to prove a lot of people wrong. I would like to see Maryse banned from ringside before the match even begins; she tried the hairspray in the face trick one time too many and I don’t care to see her try anything else. That isn’t to say I want to see a fair fight, I simply want to see Miz be tricky all on his own,
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler, via Disqualification; Miz retains the title
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – Singles Match
When Nikki Bella returned to the ring, I fully expected her to get a ridiculous push. Instead, she got her ass handed to her courtesy of the Princess of Staten Island. Carmella was once a hype girl for Enzo Amore and Big Cass when the trio was on NXT together. When her boys were drafted to Raw, she stayed behind and was able to establish herself as a singles competitor before being Smackdown’s final draft pick. She started out as her usual self, but quickly showed us her darker side once she felt that she was being upstaged by Bella. I have been enjoying this new side of Carmella, and I give WWE a lot of credit for not going the predictable route with a big Bella push. Provided they get a decent time slot to compete, this could turn into a really good bout.
F2H Prediction – Carmella
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Usos – Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos turned heel and finally ditched their ridiculous wardrobe. Of course, now they look like gangbangers from a 90s after school special, but I’ll take what I can get. The real stars here are our Tag Team champions; Rhyno, Heath Slater, and all of Heath’s kids. Who could have guessed that Slater would be the top guy after he was completely left out of the draft? His journey to get a contract was a bumpy one and began with a lot of his typical jobbing. Thanks to Rhyno, he scored the tag titles, a contract, and has been creating comedy gold every week. Their success is a likely reason American Alpha was pulled from the title picture; no one is cheering for Alpha when Slater and Rhyno are so strong. I’m a bit worried about this match because you know how much WWE loves The Rock’s relatives, but at least Slater has his contract, his doublewide, and his above ground pool.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss –Women’s Championship Match
You can tell that Becky Lynch is a proud champion; she is incredibly excited to have won the title and is always eager to defend it. Alexa Bliss is as evil as she is small and earned the right to fight for Lynch’s title after beating out the other women on Smackdown’s roster (excluding Eva Marie, whose suspension is over, but she is still out of action). Bliss is quickly becoming one of my favorite female wrestlers, and is definitely my favorite on Smackdown. Nothing against Lynch, but I believe Bliss is much better in promos and has a better handle on her character. Coming off a female title match as the main event of Monday Night Raw, I hope these two really bring it tonight and try to upstage Charlotte and Sasha Banks.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs John Cena – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Hey, guys! John Cena is in the title picture again! At least it took him a little while to get there this time around. I keep forgetting that Styles is our Smackdown World champion, and that’s through no fault of his own. For some reason, this title fight has failed to hold my interest since the brand split. Styles has gotten one hell of a push to the top ever since his debut at the Royal Rumble. In less than a year, he dethroned Cena as “the face that runs the place,” plus won the top title in his brand. Dean Ambrose was an odd choice for champion; I was happy he won, but I’m also secretly happy he doesn’t hold the gold anymore. We all know that Cena is going to get at least one more title run. The question is, does it happen at just any PPV or is it saved for WrestleMania?
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
The preshow will begin at 7pm EST on the WWE Network, with the main event beginning at 8pm EST. There are no preshow matches set at the time of this posting, but we suspect that Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin will be a last minute addition. Follow us on Twitter (FaceToHeel, OhhhTweener, MrNotWell) as we live tweet the event and provide feedback after the show concludes.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The 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
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!
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
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
The show starts with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan having Randy Orton sign his contract for SummerSlam. Heath Slater knocks and enters with a giant fruit basket. He tosses an apple at Orton. Slater says he rewatched Smackdown from last week and is wondering about the contract they were going to give him. After the opening intro, Maryse and The Miz are in the ring doing some MizTV. Dean Ambrose interrupts quickly. Dolph Ziggler cuts him off as he starts speaking. Ziggler and Ambrose nearly square off, but Miz gets between them and starts firing shots. The segment is a little awkward. Ambrose tries to school Ziggler on being a champ, even though Ziggler has won the world title three times. Ambrose keeps calling him “kiddo” and acting like Ziggler has never been in a competitive match in his life. Creative had zero ideas for his promo. Just generic spew of mediocrity. Ziggler responds, actually fired up and showing emotion. He ends his rant by clocking Ambrose in the face and saying, “This Sunday, you’ll see that I’m just that damn good.”
Twelve man tag match coming up next. Yes. Six days before a pay-per-view. A twelve man tag match. (((sigh))) The Usos, American Alpha, and The Hype Bros taking on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension, and Breezango. I don’t really care enough to write about this one. No tag title on Smackdown so what is even the point? This is a waste of air, and a big waste of time for American Alpha. There is no point to this match and the outcome matters for absolutely nothing. American Alpha wins. What a terribly boring Smackdown so far.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Naomi comes out under black lights doing some sort of weird Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader routine wearing neon clothes, carrying a backpack and throwing things into the audience. Alright, to be fair to her, it does look kind of cool. But just when I get into that, Eva Marie comes out and makes me hate this segment all over again. Let’s see what sort of shenanigans she has to get out of her match this week. The announcer says she was delayed due to traffic and will not be able to compete. Naomi doesn’t even have a match. They just cut away to Del Rio backstage. What was the point?
After the break, Randy Orton comes out after a brief Curt Hawkins teaser promo. Heath Slater comes out to continue his campaign for a new contract. Orton throws him shoulder first in two corners and then clothes lines him to the mat. He lays into him with a bunch of stomps and then whips him into the corner. No offense from Slater yet. Several strikes by Orton, so many, in fact, the ref calls for the bell. Crowd starts booing. Orton tosses Slater out of the ring. Then over the announce table into the commentary chairs. He drops him stomach first onto the barricade and then rolls him back into the ring. Slater can barely get up. Orton suplexes Slater and then mocks Brock Lesnar’s bouncing shuffle. He suplexes him again and then ‘goes to that place.’ Slater stands up and takes an RKO. Technically, Slater won, so he should get a contract now, right? Right?!
Slater is shown backstage with a doctor and is loopy. Bryan and Shane come up and he confuses them for Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. The contract they are about to give him gets taken away as Shane is insulted.
The Wyatt Family comes to the ring. Dean Ambrose vs Erick Rowan. Another meaningless segment. There has been nothing of value tonight on Smackdown; certainly not a whole lot leading into what’s taking place on Sunday. Just a bunch of strange booking decisions. Dirty Deeds and Ambrose wins. After the match Bray Wyatt turns his rocking chair around on Rowan. He stares at the sheep mask, disappointed. He places it on the chair and walks out, leaving Rowan in the ring by himself.
Becky Lynch and Carmella take on Natalya and Alexa Bliss after the break. Eva Marie interrupts during the match and Naomi chases her around the ring. Natalya gets distracted and takes a submission tapout from Becky Lynch. Another lackluster match.
The main event is Del Rio vs John Cena, with AJ Styles on commentary. Cena for some reason has red, white, and blue arm bands on for some reason. And has an American flag on his pants, with a matching red, white, blue belt. Attitude Adjustment takes this one home as Cena wins. Decent match, all things considered. Styles runs in after and attacks Cena from behind. A few moments later, Cena hits an AA off the steel steps against Styles into the announce table. Just an absolute awful Smackdown. I keep seeing people on social media saying Smackdown has gotten better and I just don’t see it. Dismal. Sorry for such a heartless article, but I really can’t get excited with WWE’s direction right now. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker