By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose: A strong main event in terms of match quality. The post match angle was logical in terms of giving Cena some momentum given his recent losses to both of his No Mercy opponents. As much as I enjoyed the actual match, I also had some issues with the way it was presented. More on that in the Misses section.
The Usos and The Ascension vs. Heath Slater, Rhyno, and American Alpha: A big Hit for the Usos. Jimmy and Jey’s latest look was strong, and it was great that their entrance music was finally replaced now that they are heels. It was also logical for them to win the match for their team by pinning one of the tag champs while also injuring his knee in the process. At this point, I’m not even sure what to say about The Ascension other than wondering if this is the first match they’ve won in 2016.
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler: Miz’s Dad!!! Okay, now that I got that out of my system, I really enjoy the new Miz. The homecoming was over the top heel fun, but Miz has found the right tone for his character. After years of being the obnoxious pest heel, he’s developed more of an edge and developed credibility in the process. Unfortunately, I assume that his championship reign will come to an end now that Ziggler has put his career on the line. Even so, the setup for the big showdown match was well done. The only real issue I have with it is that Ziggler should have sought some type of guarantee that the hairspray wouldn’t have come into play again by having Maryse banned from ringside. It just seems odd that he’s so accepting of losing in that manner.
Alexa Bliss attacks Becky Lynch: Simple and effective in terms of setting up their No Mercy match. This helped make up for last week when they spoiled the Bliss attack on Lynch at the contract signing by having Lynch come back and get the last shot in.
Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt: A minor Hit for the cat and mouse game making for interesting television. It was silly to see a camera inside the room with Erick Rowan. Is that how Orton figured out that he shouldn’t enter that room? Ugh.
WWE Smackdown Misses
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose presentation: The match quality was certainly a Hit, but the presentation left a lot to be desired. They didn’t do nearly enough throughout the night to make it feel special to have the WWE Championship defended on television. They never sold me on the possibility of Ambrose regaining his championship either. And while John Cena’s commentary was interesting, there was so much about his pursuit of a sixteenth championship and the No Mercy main event that it didn’t feel like the match they were calling was nearly as important.
Dean Ambrose promo: I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to do as much damage as Ambrose did during a short promo. After reminding everyone that Smackdown is a PG show for no good reason, Ambrose addressed his win over John Cena. He wasn’t proud of the accomplishment. Rather, Ambrose mocked the idea of AJ Styles bragging about his win over Cena by saying it wasn’t a big deal because he did it last week too. Ambrose then stated that Cena is old news. While this may be somewhat true to the Ambrose character, he and/or the writer should have cared more about the bigger picture. What good can possibly come from diminishing the signature wins of Styles and Ambrose? When Cena loses, it should always be treated like a major event, not something for the too cool Ambrose character to downplay.