Date: October 25, 2016
Location: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga
It’s another big week as we have a pay per view rematch from Backlash with AJ Styles facing Dean Ambrose in a non-title match. If Ambrose wins, he gets a title shot at some point in the future. There’s a good chance James Ellsworth will get involved to possibly wrap up his story. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth title match with Ellsworth winning via DQ. After the match, Daniel Bryan made Styles vs. Dean Ambrose for this week.
Ambrose is in the back talking about his match with Styles. Ellsworth comes up and offers to help but Dean thinks it’s better for him to stay in the back.
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
No DQ. They trade big uppercuts and clotheslines to start until Kane takes it outside and whips Bray into the steps. The chokeslam through the announcers’ table is loaded up but Luke Harper appears and gives Kane the discus lariat. Back from a break with Kane fighting out of a chinlock (I thought these guys were different.) and stopping a charge with a big boot. Harper saves his boss from the chokeslam and Bray’s release Rock Bottom gets two. Harper gets involved again so here’s Randy Orton……to RKO Kane and freak the heck out of Wyatt. Bray covers Kane for the pin at 10:37.
Rating: C-. This was much more of an angle than a match but again, the difference from Raw is this is interesting. I’m curious to see where this is going while most of the stuff on Monday comes and goes with little interest. My guess is Orton trying to get into Wyatt’s head instead of a heel turn, which works for me as I’ve always liked Orton vs. Kane matches.
Styles is ready to take care of Dean and warns Ellsworth to stay away. AJ also says Ellsworth looks like an action figure that melted in a microwave. That’s about as accurate as you’re going to get with him.
Becky Lynch makes her return from injury but is immediately cut off by Alexa Bliss. She accuses Becky of leaving out of fear of losing her precious title. The Cinderella story is ending soon and Bliss will get the title that she deserves. The fight is on but Bliss lays her out and grabs a conveniently placed can of spray paint. A yellow streak goes up the champ’s back and Bliss smirks as she leaves.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Ascension vs. Hype Bros
The winners are on the Survivor Series team, along with Heath Slater and Rhyno who were granted an automatic spot. Mojo, a former Green Bay Packer, is VERY popular here as he starts with Viktor. Ryder is quickly in for a dropkick to knock Konnor off the apron, only to have Ascension take over with some double teaming. Too much trash talking allows Ryder to get in a jawbreaker but a spinebuster stops a hot tag. A middle rope elbow misses though and the hot tag brings in Rawley for his corner splashes. Viktor misses a charge and the Hype Ryder sends the Bros to Survivor Series at 3:50.
Rating: C. Well were you really expecting anything else? Ascension might have won one tag match in a year (on Superstars in February over Fandango and Damien Sandow) so it’s kind of hard to buy that they’re going to win here, or anywhere for that matter. The Hype Bros are already more successful than I was expecting and that’s cool to see.
Orton says if you can’t beat them, join them.
Bryan is talking about the need for strong team captains when Natalya comes in. She’s been thinking about the Raw women’s team and thinks she should be captain. Daniel isn’t sure but makes Natalya’s match against Nikki Bella for the captain’s spot. However, the loser is off the team entirely.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
Nikki actually tries an Oklahoma roll to start but makes the mistake of going outside, allowing Nattie By Nature to get two. An abdominal stretch and some stomps to the ribs set up the Sharpshooter but Nikki dives over to the ropes. Natalya misses a legdrop and something like the Beautiful Disaster gets two. The surfboard goes on but Nikki powers out and grabs an STF (prepare to hear about her being a great submission wrestler) for the tap out at 6:07.
Rating: D+. I wasn’t feeling this one but there’s really no way around Nikki being the captain. Natalya is just there while Bella has been one of the top stars in the division for a long time now. The STF is a nice change of pace for Nikki and she even added a little twist by hooking the foot and chin at the same time.
Carmella attacks Nikki after the match and gives her a Bella Buster.
Ambrose is ready to win because karma is a bad thing.
Here are Miz, Maryse and the Spirit Squad to talk about the Intercontinental Title. Miz feels sorry for the legends that fought to make the Intercontinental Title so important. As Miz talks about Pat Patterson, here comes Dolph Ziggler to say he wants to fight. The Squad is ready so Heath Slater and Rhyno come out to even the odds. Maryse gets in the way and insults are exchanged. Miz suggests that the Spirit Squad get a Tag Team Title shot but thinks Heath is too scared. Rhyno accepts for the team and we’re got a title match.
Tag Team Titles: Spirit Squad vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno
Miz and Ziggler are on commentary. Slater and Rhyno are defending and this is joined in progress with Slater caught in a chinlock. The comeback is cut off and we hit another chinlock to keep the champs in trouble. Slater fights up and dives over for the tag as everything breaks down. The commentators get in the expected argument and it’s Mikey being knocked off the apron onto Miz. A Gore to Kenny retains the titles at 4:03.
Rating: C-. This was fine and a basic tag match with Slater and Rhyno beating yet another team. I don’t think anyone really considers them to be great champions but they could have been a joke and are turning into perfectly acceptable champions. Also, by having them win matches like this one, it’s going to mean more when they lose the belts. It’s putting in effort early for a later payoff, which is a lost art in wrestling.
Hell in a Cell preview.
Ambrose is on the way to the ring when he runs into Ellsworth. Dean: “Didn’t I tell you to stay in the back and sulk?” James begs to be in Dean’s corner and Ambrose eventually relents, much to the audience’s delight.
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose
Non-title with Ellsworth in the corner and a win makes Dean #1 contender. Ambrose starts fast and stomps away in the corner but AJ comes right back with some shots of his own. With a look towards Ellsworth, AJ scores with the slingshot dive to take us to a break. Back with Dean hitting the suicide dive and grabbing a Fujiwara armbar of all things. AJ rolls out but gets caught in a Texas cloverleaf, sending him crawling over to the ropes. Back up and they fight over a suplex off the apron, only to have AJ suplex him out to the floor for a crash.
We come back from another break with Dean fighting up and hitting the top rope standing elbow drop. AJ’s strike rush is countered into a swinging neckbreaker but he scores with the springboard into the reverse DDT. The Styles Clash is countered into a rollup for two and the rebound lariat drops both guys. AJ comes right back with the Calf Crusher but Dean grabs the champ’s head and slams it into the mat for a break.
The hold goes on again but the power of Ellsworth makes Dean crawl to the ropes, just like Randy saved Rip in No Holds Barred. That’s enough for AJ who takes James out with a baseball slide. The Pele looks to set up the Styles Clash but Dean backdrops AJ to the floor. Ellsworth superkicks Styles……and that’s a DQ at 19:57 with Dean nearly losing his mind.
Rating: B. Good match here and the ending makes sense. I’m not sure where this leads and you have to imagine that Ambrose will get a title shot somehow down the road anyway. Above all else, Ambrose can only blame himself as he invited Ellsworth to come out to ringside. It’s also a good way to protect both guys, which you also don’t see enough.
Overall Rating: B-. This felt like another NXT show with Smackdown banners. The wrestling wasn’t great at times but they advanced almost every story and treated them all like big deals. I’m curious to see where Orton and the Wyatts go, as well as finding out what’s next for AJ and Dean. I don’t get those feelings on Raw and that’s a big reason why Smackdown is better.
Bray Wyatt b. Kane – Pin after an RKO from Randy Orton
Hype Bros b. Ascension – Hype Ryder to Viktor
Nikki Bella b. Natalya – STF
Heath Slater/Rhyno b. Spirit Squad – Gore to Kenny
AJ Styles b. Dean Ambrose via DQ when James Ellsworth interfered
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