Smackdown – November 15, 2016

Smackdown
Date: November 15, 2016
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, John Bradshaw Layfield, Tom Phillips

It’s the 900th episode and also the final show before Sunday’s Survivor Series. That means there’s a lot of potential for hijinks and shenanigans tonight, which could mean for a very entertaining show. If nothing else maybe they can do something other than having wacky partners who can’t get along four times in one night. Let’s get to it.

We open with a quick montage of great Smackdown moments before previewing tonight’s show. It’s always cool to see the older days and WWE knows how to pull those things off very well.

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon come out and welcome us to the show, mainly focusing on the big events before introducing the first match.

Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Miz is challenging and the winner gets to defend against Sami Zayn on Sunday. After the Big Match Intros, Mauro starts in with the standard talking points about how awesome the Intercontinental Title is. Miz gets him to the ground to start but can’t hit either finisher before we take an early break.

Back with both guys down before Miz hits the Reality Check for two. It’s time to start in on the knees until Miz gets sent leg first into the buckle to give the champ a breather. The big elbow gets two for Ziggler and he grabs the sleeper, sending Miz straight to the ropes. The Fameasser (without much contact of course) gets two for Ziggler and we take a second break.

We come back again with Miz mocking Bryan’s YES pose before starting with the YES Kicks. A running knee to the face sets up the Skull Crushing Finale with Mauro falling victim to the “WELL THAT HAS TO BE IT” syndrome, guaranteeing that Ziggler kicks out at two. The Zig Zag gets the same result for the champ (because WWE doesn’t know many ways to do big matches) but here’s the Spirit Squad for the distraction to set up the Figure Four. Ziggler makes the ropes and grabs a small package, only to have Maryse shove it over so Miz can get the title back at 17:53.

Rating: B. This wasn’t quite as good as the No Mercy match but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. I’m a bit sick of the Spirit Squad interfering every single time as they really don’t have much else to do with Ziggler at this point. The same finish could have been done without them but I’ve seen worse ideas. At least Miz won and should be able to have a better match as a result.

We look back at the end of last night’s show.

Clip of Steve Austin destroying the DX Express back in 2000.

Alexa Bliss presents her case for a rematch against Becky Lynch to Bryan, who gives it to her but won’t give her a date. Cue Natalya with that freaking whistle but her inspirational message sends Bliss storming off.

Kalisto vs. Oney Lorcan

Lorcan is from NXT and goes right after Kalisto with a knee to the head. A suplex gets two as JBL tries to convince us that Lorcan is similar to Brian Kendrick. The Salida Del Sol gives Kalisto the pin at 1:14.

Undertaker picks up his hat.

Clip of Rock vs. HHH from the first episode.

Quick montage of Rock’s appearances on Smackdown.

The Smackdown tag team Survivor Series team is ready for Sunday. Heath Slater and Rhyno have brought in a motivational speaker: KING BOOKAH! Before he can read a proclamation, Breezango comes in to give Booker a ticket for his fashion sense. This turns him into Booker T. to yell at Breezango and hit the catchphrase. An ALL HAIL KING BOOKER chant breaks out. This was perfect for a quick cameo.

Clip of John Cena debuting against Kurt Angle in 2002.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

Feeling out process to start with Carmella doing You Can’t See Me. A snap suplex puts Carmella down and Nikki mostly botches a dropkick which barely grazes Carmella in the ribs. Carmella comes right back by slamming Nikki neck first onto the floor before ramming her face in for good measure.

Back in and Carmella grabs a chinlock, which actually makes sense for once. We hit the hair pulling but Carmella stops to dance for no apparent reason. The Bronco Buster misses….and here’s Charlotte through the crowd to have a seat as we take a break. Back with a Disaster Kick sending Carmella outside and the big shout off between Bella and Charlotte. The brawl is on and it’s a no contest at 11:34.

Rating: C. I really don’t know why Nikki vs. Charlotte is supposed to be some big deal when we saw it about a year ago and it wasn’t anything special. I know Nikki is the star of the Smackdown women’s division but at least give us something a little more fresh. Either that or just put the title on Nikki already so we can hear how inspiring it is.

Team Raw comes in for the beatdown (including Bayley, which is pretty out of character for her) and Carmella joins in. Team Smackdown runs out for the save with Carmella celebrating with them, which is just stupid on all counts.

Renee Young previews Goldberg vs. Lesnar, which means she introduces a video package on the match.

Headbangers/Ascension/Spirit Squad/Vaudevillains vs. Usos/Hype Bros/Breezango/American Alpha

The official Smackdown team take turns on Mikey to start but Jimmy tags himself in, much to Jordan’s annoyance. Gotch comes in and gets the same treatment as the fans want Slater. Well they have him, albeit on the floor as extra support. Rawley, in Zubaz pants, gets two off a running seated senton and it’s off to Ryder vs. Viktor. Everyone heads to the floor and we take a break during the big shouting match.

Back with Ryder fighting out of the corner and making the hot tag off to Gable for some house cleaning. Everything breaks down with one team coming in to take out the next until only the Usos are left for a big double dive to take out about ten people. A slightly botched Grand Amplitude ends Thrasher at 10:40.

Rating: D+. There’s only so much you can do in a match like this where no one is going to get any significant time and the whole thing is going to be a mess. It was fun enough though and they were smart to leave this at four teams each instead of adding the extra four people. Sunday’s version should be fun with a little more drama and a chance for people to shine a bit more.

It’s time for the Cutting Edge with the Smackdown team as special guests. Edge’s hair has grown out a bit and he has a good sized beard, making him look a bit like Mick Foley. After a break, Edge talks about bleeding blue and brings out the team as a group. Edge shakes Ellsworth’s hand because James has been such an inspiration for him. Ellsworth is stunned but manages to ask for a Five Second Pose. That’s not cool with the champ though because it should be him getting the attention instead of James.

Instead, Edge asks Orton what’s up with joining the Wyatt Family. Bray says the Randy that Edge once knew is dead because this Sunday, the world will see a more dangerous viper. Shane takes the mic and says they only have to get along for one night but AJ starts ripping into Ambrose. This turns into a promo for TLC but here’s Undertaker to cut them off.

Undertaker actually praises Shane and tips his hat to him before saying he’s here for two reasons. Wrestlemania will no longer define who he is because he’s back to take souls and dig holes. Survivor Series was where he was born and Smackdown has always been his home. He says there’s no reason for Smackdown to fail but if they do, they’ll have reason to fear the Deadman. Raw will Rest in Peace….and that’s it.

Overall Rating: C. Undertaker’s speech is continuing on the Network right? I mean, he came out and praised the Smackdown team and that’s about it. That’s really not something you would expect Undertaker to do and it felt out of place for him. At least Shane gets to stay on the team though and that’s what matters for some reason.

This show wasn’t great but it’s miles ahead of Raw. Above all else it actually mixed things up a little bit and didn’t drag all night long. They even made a new match for Sunday and built on some stuff that wasn’t just about the three matches. Character logic issues aside, this was a perfectly fine go home show and that’s all it needed to be.

As for a big anniversary show…..yeah this was fine. They aired a few clips and then cut them off in the middle, as is so often the case with WWE. Booker’s cameo was fine and it made sense to have Edge and Undertaker show up at the end as they were the biggest Smackdown exclusive stars. They were kind of handcuffed with a major pay per view to set up and that’s understandable.

Results

Miz b. Dolph Ziggler – Small package

Kalisto b. Oney Lorcan – Salida Del Sol

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella went to a no contest when Nikki started brawling with Charlotte

Usos/Hype Bros/American Alpha/Breezango b. Headbangers/Ascension/Vaudevillains/Spirit Squad – Grand Amplitude to Thrasher

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