10/4 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: AJ Styles, John Cena, and Dean Ambrose confrontation, final push for No Mercy

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By Jake Barnett

Live from San Diego, California at Valley View Casino Center

The show opened straight to the arena and Bray Wyatt made his ring entrance for a match. The announce team bantered about his feud with Randy Orton and their match at No Mercy. Kane then made his ring entrance.

1. Bray Wyatt vs. Kane: After some early back and forth, Wyatt took control with a hard Irish Whip into the corner, and then applied a rear chinlock. Kane escaped the hold and hit the ropes, but ate a clothesline on the rebound. Kane got in some offense after Bray missed a running senton, and hit a sidewalk slam and a jumping DDT. Kane signaled for a chokeslam, but Wyatt reversed and hit a nice looking uranage.

Wyatt crab walked from the corner and then eyed Randy Orton on the Tron upside down. Orton said he was looking at the world the way Bray sees it, upside down. At No Mercy, he would turn his world right side up. He claimed he could play his game as well as he could, and told Wyatt to come find him. Kane sat up during this monologue, and went for a Chokeslam. He looked to have bitten his lip or tongue at some point, because he had fairly significant amount of blood rolling down his chin. Wyatt was dumped out to the floor, and decided he wasn’t interested in rejoining the match. The ref counted him out.

Kane defeated Bray Wyatt via Countout

Backstage, Baron Corbin was interviewed and asked about Jack Swagger. He said he didn’t know why Daniel Bryan signed him, but if he insisted on getting in his business, he would have to….Jack Swagger interrupted. Corbin got in his face and said he would drop him where he stands. Swagger asked him if he wanted to finish this conversation in the ring, and said he would find Daniel Bryan to make the match. Corbin agreed. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella was advertised for later…[c]

My Take: Not a hot opening, but it was serviceable to start off tonight’s story between Wyatt and Orton. Too bad about Kane’s lip. That looked like it might be one of those annoying cuts on the corner of your mouth where you can’t really do much eating or talking without a lot of discomfort.

Wyatt wandered backstage and muttered to an imaginary Randy Orton that his time had come. Alexa Bliss made her entrance in the arena, followed by Nikki Bella. Carmella was already on commentary.

2. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella: They traded some strikes and basic offense to start, until Nikki hit a dropkick that sent Alexa out to the floor. Nikki then threw Bliss into Carmella, and then tossed her back into the ring. Carmella quickly interfered and the match was called.

Nikki Bella defeated Alexa Bliss by DQ

Becky Lynch ran down to interrupt the two on one beating, and the heels were tossed out of the ring. Mauro said they would sort it out during the break, so tag match incoming…[c]

3. Alexa Bliss and Carmella vs. Nikki Bella and Becky Lynch: Carmella worked over Nikki on the mat and hit a bronco buster in the corner. She then tagged in Bliss, who hit double knees and covered for a near fall. Carmella tagged back in and applied a rear chin lock. She then pulled the hair and taunted the crowd for some boos. She attempted another Bronco Buster, but Nikki avoided and tagged in Lynch. Becky cleaned house and hit two exploder suplexes on Bliss. She then charged the corner, but Carmella pulled her out of the ring.

Bliss distracted the ref, and Carmella hit a superkick on Becky. Nikki then ran in and cleared Carmella out of the ring and ran her up the ramp. Alexa Bliss hit Twisted Bliss and covered Becky for the win.

Alexa Bliss and Carmella defeated Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella

Backstage, Bray Wyatt found an empty rocking chair backstage. He yelled and asked Orton if that was all he had. Orton then ran out and slammed an accordion door shut and locked the door to the storage crate that Wyatt was trapped in. Orton asked Wyatt what it was like to be hunted, and then looked up in the sky and said “Lord, have mercy….or not.” A camera showed Wyatt pounding on the walls inside his new cell…[c]

My Take: I don’t mind the Champion taking a pin here, but it didn’t really feel like a major moment for Bliss as much as it was another one of those times Lynch walked into a trap. I hope they find a way for her to remain a babyface without being a total moron, because as a storyline crutch it’s pretty much out of gas.

Daniel Bryan made his way out to the ring for the Susan G. Komen segment. In tow behind him looked to be a group of cancer survivors. Bryan said that last night WWE had the honor of kicking off their 5th year of working with Susan G. Komen. Bryan said this new campaign, called More Than Pink, where it’s about more than making donations. He then introduced the five women in the ring to a nice reaction, and said they were women that had taken action in the fight against Breast Cancer.

Bryan said there were 3.1 Million Breast Cancer survivors in the US. Bryan said heroes don’t always wear capes, and asked if the women in the ring were heroes. He then asked if those women were champions, and a yes chant broke out. His music started early, and Bryan had ti cut them off. Underneath a pink sheet in the ring, he uncovered Smackdown Women’s Championship replicas, and gave them to the women in the ring. Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin was confirmed for later on in the show…[c]

The Vaudevillains were in the ring, as the Hype Bros made their entrance.

4. The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains: Mojo hit a scoop slam on Gotch and then did a very theatrical fist drop. Mojo tagged in Ryder, and the Ascension were shown loitering on the stage. The distraction allowed Gotch to take control and he tagged in English. He hit an exploder suplex on Ryder and then posed for the crowd. We then saw rapid tags from The Vaudevillains and they isolated Ryder in their corner. Ryder hit a sunset flip on Gotch and was able to escape the grasp of Simon Gotch. He tagged in Mojo, who hit a pounce type maneuver on Gotch. Ryder and Mojo then hit a Hype Ryder from the top on Aiden English and picked up the win.

The Hype Bros defeated The Vaudevillains

A MizTV Dolphumentary on Dolph Zigger is coming up next…[c]

My Take: This was a good effort, but neither of these teams has much momentum at the moment. There’s a pretty sharp drop off in the tag team quality on Smackdown after you get past the top 3 teams. Hopefully they can resurrect some of these acts.

The Vaudevillains were in the ring, as the Hype Bros made their entrance.

4. The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains: Mojo hit a scoop slam on Gotch and then did a very theatrical fist drop. Mojo tagged in Ryder, and the Ascension were shown loitering on the stage. The distraction allowed Gotch to take control and he tagged in English. He hit an exploder suplex on Ryder and then posed for the crowd. We then saw rapid tags from The Vaudevillains and they isolated Ryder in their corner. Ryder hit a sunset flip on Gotch and was able to escape the grasp of Simon Gotch. He tagged in Mojo, who hit a pounce type maneuver on Gotch. Ryder and Mojo then hit a Hype Ryder from the top on Aiden English and picked up the win.

The Hype Bros defeated The Vaudevillains

A MizTV Dolphumentary on Dolph Zigger is coming up next…[c]

My Take: This was a good effort, but neither of these teams has much momentum at the moment. There’s a pretty sharp drop off in the tag team quality on Smackdown after you get past the top 3 teams. Hopefully they can resurrect some of these acts.The Vaudevillains were in the ring, as the Hype Bros made their entrance.

Miz welcome everyone to a “very special” edition of MizTV, and then invited out the guest of honor Dolph Ziggler. Miz said tonight wasn’t about him, it was about Dolph Ziggler. Miz said his career might be over on Sunday, but it won’t be forgotten. It was mostly a mockumentary about how Ziggler was a constant embarrassment to himself. Miz laughed and said if his career was as much of an embarrassment as Ziggler’s he’d have quit years ago.

Ziggler said the difference between him and Miz is that he loves it. He loves every kid in the front row, he loves to grand Make-a-wishes, and for every 10 embarrassing moment, there was one of pure glory. He talked about cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase to become World Champion, and how he got to experience that everyone in the arena and everyone at home got to live through with him. Dolph said despite all the ups and downs, he wouldn’t trade it in for anything, and he’s not done yet.

Miz told him his career was over on Sunday, and it would be because of him. Miz then said he had the perfect thing to cheer him up. Kenny and Mikey of the Spirit Squad ran down and gave an embarrassing rendition of their old cheer routine. It then devolved into a brawl, as Dolph got in Miz’s face and the spirit squad members blindsided Ziggler. Dolph got the best of both of them, but couldn’t connect a superkick on the Miz before he escaped through the ropes.

Bray Wyatt was shown backstage getting impatient in his shipping container. The faceoff between John Cena, AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose later in the show. Jason Jordan vs. Jimmy Uso is next…[c]

My Take: Pissed off Ziggler is better than sad bastard Ziggler. I don’t know how much more you can expect from them in the ring compared to their last few matches, but the stakes have been raised for Sunday and the direction they go with Ziggler will be interesting to watch.

The Usos made their entrance, Jason Jordan was already in the ring.

5. Jason Jordan vs. Jey Uso: Jey snapped Jordan’s neck over the rope violently early in the match, and then applied a rear chin lock. Jordan escaped and surprised Jey with a stack up pin from a wheelbarrow position, and got a surprise victory.

Jason Jordan defeated Jey Uso

Post Match, Jimmy Uso attacked Chad Gable on the outside, and Jey hit a chop block on Jordan. Slater and Rhyno ran down to make the save as it appeared the Usos’s were attempting to injure Jason Jordan. The heels were cleared out and jawed with Slater and Rhyno as they walked away.

Backstage, Bray Wyatt was shown singing to himself in his chair. He then switched gears and began to talking to Abigail, and said he was glad she was back, and he was ready to go home…[c]

My Take: Wyatt is interesting by himself. WWE would do well to eventually turn him babyface, as people are ready for it based on their reactions to him. The Usos have really shined since turning heel. More great work from them here.

Randy Orton opened the shipping container backstage, and found Bray missing. He panicked and threw the rocking chair against the wall. Footage of John Cena on Talking Smack last week was shown. He told Dean Ambrose that it’s not that he thinks he’s a bad guy, it’s that he doesn’t think of him at all. In the arena, Jack Swagger made his ring entrance…[c]

We got another Curt Hawkins vignette, where he made an announcement that he would compete at No Mercy. Baron Corbin then made his ring entrance.

6. Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger: These guys have been simmering for weeks, and they open up with a collar and elbow tie up. What gives? After some early back and forth, Corbin used a momentary lapse from the ref to take a cheap shot at Swagger. He then pummeled him with some ground and pound…[c]

Corbin continued to dominate with a deep six during the break. He hit some heavy strikes, but Swagger escaped and got fired up. He hit a big boot and a clothesline, and then hit a splash in the corner. Corbin got his feet up when Swagger went for a Swagger Bob, but Swagger picked the ankle. Corbin reached for the ropes in an awkward manner, which the ref interpreted as a tap. Swagger was then awarded a tainted victory.

Jack Swagger defeated Baron Corbin by submission

Corbin flipped out after the match and turned over the steps and top portion of the announce desk. The World Championship face off is next…[c]

My Take: An ok match, but it was hampered by the fact that they tried to get too cute with the finish. Corbin flailed for the ropes so unnaturally that both he and the ref look like dopes for the outcome of the match. I’d be surprised if a rematch isn’t added to the No Mercy card.

AJ Styles made his entrance and said the champ is here. Styles said they say Smackdown Live is the land of opportunity, and he agrees with that. At Summerslam, he had the opportunity to beat John Cena and become the face that runs the place. At Backlash, he had the opportunity to beat Dean Ambrose and win the WWE World Champion, and obviously he did it. At No Mercy, he can beat them both and…..Dean Ambrose made his entrance.

Ambrose came down and started making jokes about the clown that runs the town. He then got into some revisionist history about having AJ Styles beat last week, and blamed it on John Cena for getting involved in his business. He told Cena he should be happy he brought the title to Smackdown so he would even have a chance at breaking Ric Flair’s record. Cena then interrupted and went down to the ring.

Styles to Cena that everyone knows what he’s going to say, so for once in his life just shut up. He mocked Cena by saying he was going to talk about chasing history and Ric Flair’s record. He told Cena he would never be in the conversation about being in the same league as Ric Flair, no matter how many championships he won. While Cena was chasing history, he was making it, and if he was Cena he wouldn’t be worried about Ric Flair, he would worry about AJ Styles.

Cena tried to speak, but he was shut down again by Ambrose. Dean said he would save him the time and cut through all his political manipulations. He said Cena would say that he needs to stop making excuses and put in the work, and somehow make him sound like the bad guy even though he was the one who got screwed out of two title shots. He said he’s never been one to come in and kiss Cena’s ass or ask him for advice or whatever it takes to get his respect.

Dean told Cena that he was plastic and fake and he tries to make himself sound like the hardest working guy in the company, but reminded Cena that Dean had the most matches in the company for the last two years. He told him while Cena was flying to awards shows, he was fighting wars, and that he would be standing right in the corner while he played the part of being John Cena on TV.

Cena said talk is cheap, and tackled Ambrose. He then threw AJ Styles underneath the ropes out to the floor, and hit an AA on Ambrose. Cena posed with the belt, but AJ re-entered and hit a Phenomenal Forearm. He grabbed his championship belt and tried to leave, but was assaulted by Ambrose, who ended up hitting Dirty Deeds on the ramp and got the last word as the show went off the air.

My Take: That was a hot closing segment. Easily the best on the show, which shouldn’t be surprising will all the starpower. Ambrose was on fire here with his promo, and I stand by my thought that he should turn heel here shortly. He’s got a cocky swagger about him that would make him a very fun guy to watch if he’s cut loose. Styles more than held his own with his part of the promo, and I think Cena did well by just wearing some good facial expressions while these two were trashing his character. I expect Styles to retain on Sunday, but they have done a nice job making it seem plausible that this could go in any direction.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Brian Pillman Jr., who discusses his training, following his father's footsteps, his own career aspirations, being part of the Hart Foundation faction, his big match at the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view, working with Jushin Liger, touring the WWE Performance Center, and much more...


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