Date: September 13, 2016
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga
Backlash has come and gone and a few things have changed. In addition to having inaugural Smackdown Tag Team Champions (Heath Slater/Rhyno) and an inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion (Becky Lynch), AJ Styles has finally won the big one and become Smackdown World Champion. No Mercy is in less than a month and tonight we start dealing with all these new developments. Let’s get to it.
We open with a Backlash recap, thankfully kept down to about two minutes.
Here’s AJ, who is now introduced as the face that runs this place. He’s done everything he told us he would do and now he’s the WWE World Champion (the belt is a very nice fit too). Now he’s the champ that runs the camp but here’s John Cena to interrupt. Cena looks a bit stunned before saying AJ has something that he would like back. The 16 time champ is here but Dean Ambrose cuts him off.
Dean wants his title back but Cena cuts him off as well, saying that Dean didn’t take AJ seriously enough. Maybe Steve Austin was right to call him out on the podcast. Ambrose doesn’t take kindly to that and calls Cena a lazy part timer. Cena would be better off hosting award shows because he’s not able to keep up with the new generation.
This brings out Shane McMahon to praise all of their work before talking about AJ taking a shortcut to become WWE Champion. Therefore, AJ will be defending against Cena and Ambrose in a triple dance at No Mercy. As for tonight though, it’s Cena/Ambrose vs. AJ/a partner of his choosing. If AJ can’t find one, Daniel Bryan will pick one for him.
Connor’s Cure video.
Usos vs. Hype Bros
No entrances here and the twins start in on Ryder’s bad leg. A kick to Jimmy’s back allows the tag off to Rawley for the house cleaning but Jey gets in a superkick. The Superfly splash ends Mojo at 2:22.
Curt Hawkins talks about wolf cubs.
Here are Miz and Maryse for a chat. Miz has held the title for 162 days, which is longer than 132 other former champions, including Dolph Ziggler. This brings out Ziggler to say Miz will never be seen as a top guy. Yeah he’d never main event Wrestlemania or anything like that. Apparently Miz has never earned any respect so all he has to do is beat Ziggler one time with nothing but the two of them. This brings out Daniel Bryan (JBL: “The General Manager of Raw!”) to say Ziggler gets a rematch. Miz says no because he wants his contract renegotiated. Bryan gets in the ring and Miz bails into the crowd.
To recap: since Ziggler challenged Dean Ambrose for the title, the goal has gone from defending the World Title to winning the big one (the Intercontinental Title in this case) to now earning respect by being viewed as a main eventer, which apparently doesn’t include a successful title defense in the main event of Wrestlemania. Now the way to earn respect is to pin Dolph Ziggler, meaning almost the whole roster is respected.
Baron Corbin isn’t interested in being AJ’s partner because he’d rather be his opponent.
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Rematch from Backlash’s pre-show. Corbin jumps Crews during the entrances and hits the End of Days on the floor. No match but Jack Swagger of all people comes out, seemingly having jumped to Smackdown.
Swagger: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN IT’S THE ROLLING STONES!” You’ve seen him wrestle for a long time but you don’t know Jack. We, as in we the people, are going to be a big problem.
Here’s Becky Lynch for her first appearance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. That means the required YOU DESERVE IT before Becky can talk about being the only one that survived on Sunday. The journey was worth it so come at her bros.
Naomi vs. Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Natalya
Again I’d like to point out that it’s a really bad sign that every possible challenger can be put into one match. One fall to a finish with the winner getting a title shot at some point in the future. It’s a big brawl to start of course with Natalya taking over off a series of suplexes. Nikki takes her down with a facebuster but Carmella makes the save. That means the big showdown but Carmella bails outside again.
Instead it’s Naomi kicking Nikki in the face but getting caught in an electric chair drop. Alexa and Natalya come back in and go to the corner, allowing Naomi to hit a running enziguri. The Bella Buster and Rear View get two each but Alexa kicks Nikki off the top. Carmella comes back in with a superkick but Bliss steals the pin on Nikki at 5:13.
Rating: D+. So Bliss is the most successful of Sunday’s losers. This division is starting to act like the X-Division with the wild matches and only a limited amount of character development for most of the women. Bliss is a good choice for the first challenger as she can wrestle a passable enough match to make Becky look good before her more serious opponent.
Kane laughs at AJ for suggesting a partnership.
Here’s Shane to introduce Heath Slater (and Rhyno) for the official contract signing. Slater signs before anything else can happen and praises Rhyno for being a great partner. They’ll fight anyone anywhere and it’s time to thank his kids. However, here’s the Ascension to interrupt and ask for a title shot right now. Slater says not right now because there’s a table, a red carpet and no referee. Shane thinks we can ix that so let’s defend the belts right now.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Heath Slater/Rhyno vs. Ascension
Ascension is challenging and this is joined in progress with Slater in trouble. Something off the top is horribly botched with Viktor dropping Slater as Konnor lands on him. The hot tag brings in Rhyno for a spinebuster before Slater is dumped to the floor. Rhyno Gores Viktor to retain at 2:04.
AJ says he doesn’t need a partner but Daniel has appointed one for him: one of the jobbers AJ insulted on Sunday.
Randy Orton comes out to address Bray Wyatt, but not before some extra posing. Orton has finally figured out that Bray calls himself the face of fear because he’s afraid. Right now Orton is ready for a fight so Bray can come out here and face his fear. Instead Bray comes up on screen to warn Randy not to sleep. The lights go out again and Bray is on the floor behind Randy, who is actually smart enough to turn around before Bray can do anything. Bray takes off the gear but the lights go out again, allowing Erick Rowan (Didn’t they split?) to come in and jump Orton…..who scores with a quick RKO to take care of that loser.
John Cena/Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles/James Ellsworth
Actually hang on a second as Miz jumps Ellsworth and hammers away. We have a replacement. I fully support the idea of Miz moving back to the main event.
John Cena/Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles/The Miz
Joined in progress again with Miz kicking Cena in the face before it’s off to Dean for some clotheslines on AJ. A quick Pele takes Dean down and we go to another break. Back with Miz ax handling Dean so it can be back to AJ. We hit a chinlock on Ambrose for a bit before he shoves AJ away and makes the hot tag off to Cena. Everything breaks down and Dean sends AJ to the floor, leaving Cena to AA Miz for the pin at 9:50.
Rating: C. Just a main event tag but it did move us all the way up to 19:27 of total wrestling tonight, assuming you count the three and a half minutes spent in the commercial. I could have gone without Miz getting pinned but hopefully it means he moves up to the main event for the first time in way too long. I know he’s not the most popular guy but he has the credentials and the character to make it work.
Post match Dean gives Cena Dirty Deeds and actually gets booed. I’m not sure if that was a heel turn or not but it felt pretty close.
Overall Rating: B-. They moved a lot of stuff forward tonight and very little of it had to do with the wrestling. We get a new name in Swagger (which was very badly needed), a new main event feud with Cena vs. Ambrose and Miz also moving up to the main event scene, though likely dropping the Intercontinental Title to Ziggler at No Mercy. It really is amazing how much faster this show feels than Raw (which shows you how much that third hour kills Raw) and that’s such a help. I’m having fun watching Smackdown and I haven’t had that feeling on a Monday in a long time. Good show tonight that helped solve some problems.
Usos b. Hype Bros – Superfly splash to Rawley
Alexa Bliss b. Nikki Bella, Natalya, Carmella and Naomi – Superkick to Bella
Heath Slater/Rhyno b. Ascension – Gore to Viktor
John Cena/Dean Ambrose b. The Miz/AJ Styles – AA to the Miz
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