Date: October 18, 2016
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga, Mauro Ranallo
This is an interesting time for Smackdown as they don’t really have anything to do for the next month until Survivor Series. That means some upgraded TV shows, including tonight as James Ellsworth (The Chin Who Got The Pin) challenges AJ Styles for the Smackdown World Title. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s Ellsworth vs. Styles match to set up the title rematch.
Dean Ambrose gives Ellsworth a pep talk and his own shirt, which you can really buy at WWEshop.com.
Here’s Randy Orton to open things up. Orton praises Bray Wyatt for being far more evil than Randy expected. Escaping Wyatt is like trying to get out of quicksand: the more you pull, the tighter it becomes. Bray appears on screen from inside a coffin and says he’s having so much fun messing with Orton. By the way, he’s here.
Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Harper shoves him outside to start but his suicide dive is broken up with a forearm. Back in and Luke goes up, earning himself a superplex back down. There go the lights though and we’ve got Bray being brought to the ring in his coffin, carried by druids in sheep masks. We come back from a break with Orton on the floor and Bray walking around near the casket. A Michinoku Driver gets two for Harper but he can’t put Orton in the casket. Instead, Orton comes back with his clothesline and powerslam but Wyatt comes in for the DQ at 7:48. Too much was spent on Bray’s entrance and the commercial to rate this, though it was just angle advancement.
The Wyatts load up the casket but Kane is inside. Orton and Kane clean house but the lights go out again and the Wyatts disappear. Now this is the kind of thing I can go with: the Wyatts using their supernatural powers to mess with people and stay a step or two ahead of their opponents. We don’t see that enough.
AJ Styles is worried because Dean Ambrose is lurking around tonight. This could wind up being just like in WCW when David Arquette became WCW World Champion. If Ambrose tries something, AJ will find him anywhere he goes.
Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss
Alexa has Nightmare on Elm Street style attire. Naomi starts fast with right hands and those dancing kicks. Back up and Bliss eats a springboard clothesline, followed by a legdrop for two. Bliss gets sent into the buckle and heads outside as we go to a break. Back with Naomi scoring off a backbreaker and jawbreaker, only to be sent hard into the corner again. A quick Twisted Bliss gives Alexa the pin at 10:49.
Rating: D+. So what in the world was the point in having Naomi go over at the pay per view? Like really, what did that accomplish? Alexa just comes right back and wins on Smackdown like the No Mercy match never happened. This is the kind of thing that you never see on Smackdown and feels like it belongs on Raw.
Bliss says Becky’s fairy tale ends in three weeks when she becomes the champion, just like the fairest of them all.
We look back at Miz beating down Dolph Ziggler last week until Heath Slater and Rhyno made the save.
Curt Hawkins vs. Apollo Crews
Hawkins’ theme music is him reciting his Curt Facts. After he wins tonight, Apollo is going to have to change his last name to LOSE. Apollo hits him in the face and that’s enough for Curt, who walks out before the bell. No match.
Here’s Carmella for a talk about Nikki Bella. Two months ago she was basking in the glow of her first pay per view match but heard Nikki Bella’s music. Before she can get much further though, here’s a ticked off Nikki. Carmella says she’s stealing the spotlight again but that’s not surprising since Nikki’s boyfriend is John Cena. Nikki doesn’t think that’s much of a surprise since the relationship is featured on two TV shows and all over the internet. She’s right actually.
Carmella shows us clips from Total Divas and Total Bellas with Nikki being some…..well being a big bunch of stuff ranging from annoying to needy to talkative to nothing out of the ordinary. The graphic says Total Need-Freak but Nikki says she wears the pants in her relationship and fights her own battles. It’s all about being fearless and all the fans know she’s not afraid of anything, including a Boss, a Queen or a Princess from Staten Island. Carmella: “Did John help you come up with that?” She accuses Nikki of using her looks and relationship to become famous but leaves before Nikki can do anything.
Ellsworth can’t believe this is happening and starts crying over the idea of telling his grandkids about this.
Miz/Spirit Squad vs. Dolph Ziggler/Heath Slater/Rhyno
Rhyno clotheslines Mikey down to start as Otunga talks about the Spirit Squad coaching high school cheerleading. Slater and Ziggler take turns on Mikey as Miz looks on. Mikey finally gets in a few shots on Dolph and brings him into the corner for the tag off to Miz. The threat of a superkick sends Miz outside though and we take a break.
Back with Miz in control of Ziggler and handing it back to Kenny for two off a legdrop. The fans want Slater but have to settle for Dolph suplexing Mikey. Miz comes in and knocks Rhyno off the apron, only to walk into the superkick from Dolph. The big diving tag brings in Slater as everything breaks down. Rhyno Gores Mikey and Slater rolls Kenny up for two. A right hand from Miz gives Kenny the pin on Slater at 9:25.
Rating: C. This was fine and I guess sets up the Spirit Squad as the next challengers for the Tag Team Titles. It’s not exactly the Usos or American Alpha but when you have all of five teams (since Breezango has disappeared), adding in another is hardly the worst thing you can do. At least Ziggler didn’t get pinned.
Natalya comes in to see Daniel Bryan and offers her services on the Survivor Series women’s team. Bryan isn’t sure, even though there are only five women active at the moment. Natalya: “Are you following my cat on Instagram?”
Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin says this is for everyone who says WE THE PEOPLE. A shoulder block knocks Swagger off the apron and into the barricade so Corbin can drive in a bunch of forearms to the back of the head. End of Days wraps Swagger up at 1:40.
Natalya is still showing Bryan her cats when Ambrose comes in wearing a referee shirt. Bryan says thanks but no thanks. If Dean wants to, he can be timekeeper, ring announcers or whatever. Dean: “I’ll do that.”
Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth
AJ is defending and Ambrose is at ringside to do a variety of jobs. Ambrose handles ring announcing and introduces Ellsworth as weighing about 160 or 170 and as Rocky II, III and IV rolled into one. After ringing the bell about 50 times, Ambrose grabs the mic and says to stop the match because we have to take a break. Back with AJ hammering away in the corner as JBL loses his mind about Ellsworth being in a title match.
AJ starts taking his time but Dean says someone has left the lights on in their Corolla. With some frustration setting in, AJ throws James outside but Dean throws him back in. This is repeated about five times and the distraction lets Ellsworth get in a superkick. JBL: “DON’T DO IT! DON’T DO IT!” Otunga: “He hit him with No Chin Music!” The fans start getting behind Ellsworth….until he charges into a spinebuster. AJ hammers away in the corner…..and that’s a DQ at 13:15. Dean: “The loser of this match: AJ Styles!”
Rating: C. Obviously the wrestling wasn’t the point here but I liked the idea. Would you rather have them advance Dean vs. AJ with the same stuff they’ve run into the ground for years now or with something fresh for a change? The last two weeks have been fun for a change and that’s exactly the point. It’s advancing the story in a different way, which is far better than seeing AJ and Dean with tag partners for a one off match.
Dean gives AJ Dirty Deeds and announces Ellsworth as the man who has more victories over Styles than John Cena. Ellsworth can’t stand up to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The storytelling around here continues to feel fresh as we’re getting a lot of the same stuff presented in different ways. I don’t feel bored throughout this show and there’s nothing as stupid as Titus Brand Rolexes. This actually works as a wrestling show and they’re building to some good stuff coming up. Good little show here with a fun main event and that’s all you need.
Randy Orton b. Luke Harper via DQ when Bray Wyatt interfered
Alexa Bliss b. Naomi – Twisted Bliss
Miz/Spirit Squad b. Dolph Ziggler/Heath Slater/Rhyno – Rollup to Slater
Baron Corbin b. Jack Swagger – End of Days
James Ellsworth b. AJ Styles via DQ when Styles wouldn’t stop attacking in the corner
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