Date: October 11, 2016
Location: SAP Center, San Jose, California
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga
It’s the show after No Mercy and that means it’s time to start getting ready for Survivor Series. There isn’t another Smackdown only pay per view until later in the year so we’ll get to see some stuff with both brands interacting. Other than that we’ll need a new #1 contender for AJ Styles. Let’s get to it.
We open with a pay per view recap, focusing as the Smackdown World and Intercontinental Title matches.
Here’s Dolph Ziggler to get things going. The fans tell Ziggler that he did it and Ziggler says WE DID IT. Ziggler didn’t know how things were going to go until Sunday and check your cable guide if you don’t believe him. (My cable guide for this show says “and a look at Dolph Ziggler’s exit from WWE.” Well done if that was a fake out.) He didn’t know if Sunday was going to be his last time but he pulled it off one more time.
Cue Miz and Maryse with Miz going on a rant about how this is just the second act of the story. This is the Empire Strikes Back before he beats Ziggler once and for all. Miz gets in a great line about how people like him get the girl and the gold and he’s already got the girl. Ziggler shows us a clip of Miz crying on Sunday but Miz says he isn’t done with Ziggler….and neither are there. Cue the Spirit Squad and it’s time for a handicap match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Spirit Squad
Non-title with Ziggler clearing the ring in about thirty seconds before we go to a quick break. For a bonus, we can actually see what’s going on during the breaks via a split screen. Back with the Squad in control and Kenny putting on a chinlock. Mikey gets caught in a sleeper before a double DDT plants both cheerleaders. A superkick knocks Kenny silly (Mauro: “OH MY GOD! HE KILLED KENNY!”) for the pin at 6:43.
Rating: D. So Ziggler has the big moment on Sunday and tonight he’s fighting two over the hill male cheerleaders. Ziggler seemingly can’t help but get away from the low level comedy which so often drags his character down. It’s bad enough that his name is Dolph Ziggler but he has to fight goons like these two? Hopefully this is a one off moment because it’s already taken away a bit of the momentum.
Post match Miz goes after Ziggler but Heath Slater and Rhyno of all people make the save.
We see a WW2K17 version of Miz vs. Ziggler from Sunday. Ignore Ziggler’s tights being the wrong colors.
Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan have a special announcement for Survivor Series: a five on five Raw vs. Smackdown Survivor Series match, a five on five Raw vs. Smackdown tag team Survivor Series match and a five on five Raw vs. Smackdown women’s Survivor Series match. I’d much rather them beef up a big pay per view than make it into its own show again.
Naomi vs. Carmella
Carmella jumps her before the bell and we take a break. We come back joined in progress with Carmella holding Naomi in a chinlock and talking trash as Alexa Bliss is shown watching backstage. Naomi’s dancing kicks have Carmella reeling but she pulls Naomi off the middle rope to take over. Cue Nikki Bella (who Carmella attacked earlier today) for a distraction though and Naomi rolls Carmella up for the pin at 2:57 shown. That’s becoming way too common of a finish again.
Alexa says she can beat Naomi any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Bryan comes in and says she can prove that next Tuesday.
Jimmy Uso vs. Chad Gable
Gable takes him to the mat and works on an armbar but gets superkicked in the ribs. The Samoan drop keeps Jimmy in his comfort zone and we hit a chinlock. Gable pops right back up and hits a spinning top rope clothesline to show off a bit. A cross armbreaker over the ropes has Jimmy in trouble but Jimmy grabs a rollup with Jey holding him in place for the pin at 2:50.
The Hype Bros talk about picking up women and Ghostbusters when the Ascension interrupt. Evil staring ensues and a tag match is probably set up for later.
Here’s AJ Styles to brag about his win on Sunday. He beat Dean Ambrose and John Cena in a single match and that’s simply phenomenal. The fans are a bunch of losers for wanting to cheer Cena when he’s off trying to be Kelly Ripa’s co-host or for cheering someone as weird as Ambrose. Most champions would take a year off after a win like he had at No Mercy but AJ isn’t even taking a night off. Instead he’s giving someone a chance tonight so bring out his opponent. Cue Ambrose but that’s not who AJ meant. Ambrose accuses Dean of ducking him but AJ has a newcomer in mind.
AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth
It’s chin guy! Non-title of course. Dean kind of wants to see this because Ellsworth 3:16 says if you’ve got two hands, you’ve got a fighting chance. AJ wants Dean gone but here’s Bryan to say hang on a second. The match will take place and Ambrose will be the guest referee. Dean steals the referee’s shirt and makes AJ hold everything in his pockets, including a flask and Tic-Tacs.
The bell rings and we get a weapons check before going to a break. Back with barely any contact having taken place, which makes me wonder why bothered ringing the bell before the break. Dean won’t let him use a closed fish but AJ argues that everyone uses it in WWE. James throws a right hand and AJ is so incensed that he chases James around the ring. Back in and Dean trips AJ so Ellsworth can get a rollup for two.
The Calf Crusher makes Ellsworth tap but Dean stops to take a phone call. JBL: “HE CAN’T HEAR THAT BEHIND HIM???” JBL annoys me as much as anyone but he’s hilarious when he snaps like that. Ellsworth is thrown outside but Dean throws him back in, only to stop to flirt with a good looking woman. Back in and the Styles Clash gives AJ two as Dean stops to stare at him before three. Dirty Deeds lays AJ out and Ellsworth gets a very close two. Dean heads outside to steal a soda before giving AJ another Dirty Deeds. A fast count gives Ellsworth the pin at 10:34.
Rating: B. This was a lot of fun and I had a blast with it. They were trying for goofy here and went with something over the top instead of the same tropes they always use in these things. It’s also nice to see a heel get this treatment instead of a face for once. That being said, they might have been better served to do this on a different night than right after AJ wins such a huge match.
Randy Orton asks Kane if he wants to go on the ride through his nightmares. Kane agrees, but says Orton has issues.
Royal Rumble By the Numbers video.
AJ yells at the bosses so he’ll take issues into his own hands. Daniel says he has an idea for Ellsworth for next week.
Wyatt Family vs. Kane/Randy Orton
Before the match, the Wyatts say the world being crazy has brought them back together. Tonight Randy and his monster can join them in the abyss. Bray hammers on Kane to start so Kane throws him into the corner for right hands of his own. A big boot looks to set up the chokeslam but Bray bails to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Orton superplexing Harper and making the tag to Kane. That goes bad for the masked one though as he gets double teamed in the corner with the Wyatts starting in on his ankle. Kane easily fights them off and brings Orton back in to clean house. The elevated DDT plants Wyatt but Orton gets distracted by the big guys fighting outside.
The referee yells at Kane, allowing Harper to superkick Orton down. Wyatt misses the backsplash though…and there go the lights again. They come back on to have Harper in Kane’s place on the apron, allowing Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail for the pin on Orton at 10:49. Kane is nowhere to be seen. JBL: “You don’t just lose a 7ft tall superstar!”
Rating: C+. The ending was fine for Wyatt Family standards and I’m glad Bray pinned Orton again. If nothing else it means that we’re not likely to be seeing Orton getting the World Title shot for the time being so at least it’s not time to get annoyed. It’s not the best ending in the world but it came after two hours instead of three so I can live with it a bit better.
Overall Rating: C. Totally watchable show with a good set of matches announced for Survivor Series and a really fun AJ match. The wrestling wasn’t the point here as they were much more about bringing things down from No Mercy and making it clear that we’re coming up on a bunch of rematches. I actually liked No Mercy so that’s not the worst thing in the world.
Also, I really can’t emphasize enough how much the missing hour helps this show. You can have stuff like a vanishing Kane, Ziggler fighting cheerleaders and a screwy referee but no matter what happens there’s never more than two hours left, as is so often the case on Raw. It’s an easy show to sit through and they do entertaining stuff to boot. Good stuff here, as usual.
Dolph Ziggler b. Spirit Squad – Superkick to Kenny
Naomi b. Carmella – Rollup
Jimmy Uso b. Chad Gable – Rollup with assistance from Jey Uso
James Ellsworth b. AJ Styles – Pin after Dirty Deeds from Dean Ambrose
Wyatt Family b. Randy Orton/Kane – Sister Abigail to Orton
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