By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from San Jose, California at SAP Center
Some still were shown were shown from No Mercy, and immediately Dolph Ziggler was introduced the arena and made his entrance. Ziggler said “We did it!” and raised the championship in the air. He said he let his emotions get the best of him and he put his career on the line for one more shot at the Intercontinental Championship. He told the crowd if they didn’t believe him, they could check their TV Guide and press the info button. He said he thought it would be the last time he would tape up in the locker room and wrestling in the ring, and for the first time in his career he found himself doubting whether he could do it.
But, as soon he hit the ring, he knew where he belonged in the WWE and he deserved to be a champion. Miz then decided to make his entrance and interrupt, and he and Maryse entered wearing all black with dark glasses. They stood silently for a moment and shushed Ziggler when he prompted them to speak up. Miz asked the crowd if they were happy, and they cheered. He said he was mourning the Intercontinental Championship, and said he was the one who had brought prestige back to the title and made it the most valuable title on Smackdown Live. He said Ziggler’s win was a funeral for the Championship.
Miz said if Ziggler thought it was over, he was kidding himself. This was act 2 of their story, and the hero gets the gold and the girl at the end of the story, and he’s already got the girl. Ziggler said that he was about to show the WWE Universe something, but it’s better that he was there. Footage was shown of Miz pouting and crying after he lost at No Mercy, and then the crowd and Ziggler mocked him for it. Miz silenced Ziggler and asked him if he had done everything to keep his championship, just wait to see what he’ll do to get it back. He told Ziggler he wasn’t done with him, and neither were they. The Spirit Squad then made their entrance, and announced they would face Ziggler in a handicap match.
1. Dolph Ziggler vs Mikey & Kenny: Ziggler dumped Mikey to the outside and they cut to a picture in picture of the match while the commercials aired. We got no audio from the match, but Miz stalked Ziggler on the outside to set up the Spirit Squad taking control of the match. Kenny tagged in and hit a hard clothesline. Mikey and Kenny worked quick tags, and took some shots at Ziggler, including a nice looking vertical suplex from Kenny. He hit another Lariat and tagged out for some elbow drops.
Mikey couldn’t land anything on an elusive Ziggler, and ended up backing him into the corner. Ziggler escaped quickly and took out Kenny by sliding underneath him on the apron and pulling him out to the floor. Ziggler countered a double team attempt in the ring with a double ddt. Mikey caught Ziggler with a neck crank on the ropes, and then Kenny hit a jumping clothesline for a near fall. Ziggler quickly fired back and hit a superkick on Kenny, and then covered quickly for the win.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Mikey & Kenny
After the match, Miz ran in and put a beating on Ziggler. The Spirit Squad joined in, but Beauty and the Man Beast ran down and cleared out the ring. Becky Lynch’s situation was recalled as the announce team plugged the Women’s Championship on November 8th, and Randy Orton would face the Wyatt Family later on tonight. Mauro said that we would hear an announcement from the Smackdown General Manager and Commissioner about Survivor Series next…[c]
My Take: Man, if we are just getting to Act 3 of their story, I don’t see the momentum going anywhere but down from where they were at No Mercy. Hopefully we see the rematch between the two on Smackdown, so they can be involved with something else at Survivor Series.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon were shown backstage and spoke about the upcoming 30th Anniversary of Survivor Series. Shane McMahon talked about Smackdown being a land of opportunity, and made some challenges to Raw to make it the biggest Survivor Series ever. He challenged Raw to a traditional Survivor Series match between Raw’s 5 best Male Wrestlers, Female Wrestlers, and 5 Best Tag Teams. Bryan then asked the crowd if they thought Raw should say yes, and then he began a yes chant.
Carmella made her entrance in the arena, and then footage was shown of Nikki Bella being interviewed by Renee Young. She plugged Total Bellas before being thrown into some equipment backstage by Carmella. Naomi then made her entrance with her “Glow Time” scrolling LED sunglasses. Before the bell, Carmella assaulted Naomi as she got through her dance routine in the ring…[c]
2. Carmella vs. Naomi: The match was joined in progress. Carmella had control during the early portion of the match until Naomi fired back with some kicks and a running bulldog into the corner. Carmella looked to reassert herself when Nikki Bella came out wearing her gear. This distracted Carmella enough for Naomi to get the win with a rollup.
Naomi defeated Carmella
After the match, Nikki attempted to extract some revenge on Carmella, but she bailed through the crowd. Backstage, Alexa Bliss talked trash about Naomi, and said she could beat her any day of the week. Daniel Bryan walked up and told her if that was the case, how about next week on Tuesday…[c]
My Take: Not sure how I feel about Survivor Series becoming essentially returning to being a novelty show. My first reaction was a little negative, but the idea is already starting to grow on me. The women’s division really feels the absence of Becky Lynch, but perhaps this will give enough time to others to make them feel more important in the long run.
American Alpha and The Usos are in the ring. Jimmy Uso will take on Chad Gable will be competing in singles action.
3. Chad Gable vs. Jimmy Uso: Gable went after Jimmy’s right arm in the early going. He dropped a knee on it and used his mat wrestling to apply holds from a couple of different angles. Jimmy fired back with some strikes and a chin lock, but an attempt to send Gable to the outside backfired, and he got dumped to the floor for his efforts. Gabe went back to the arm briefly, but ended up getting rolled up charging into the corner. Jey Uso gave a leverage assist to his brother and stole a victory from Gable.
Jimmy Uso defeated Chad Gable
Backstage, The Hype Bros were talking, and Mojo asked where Ryder was the previous night. He told him he was probably in his room by himself while Mojo was with all the ladies. Ryder got serious and it was apparent someone had entered the room. Mojo turned around and found The Ascension there staring at him. They were silent and then walked away, at which point Mojo said they weren’t hyped. AJ Styles victory speech is next…[c]
My Take: Alpha and The Usos is going to be fantastic when they get around to having a long form feud. The Usos continue to embrace their heel roles, but the finish to that match looked really weak and made everyone involved look kind of silly. Whatever Jey Uso was trying to do didn’t quite come off right and it didn’t offer any additional leverage for his brother, despite that being the intention.
AJ Styles made his entrance as stills were shown of his victory at No Mercy. Styles said the champ was here, and then bragged about defeating John Cena and Dean Ambrose at the same time at No Mercy. Styles then invited the crowd to cheer him, and then called them a bunch of losers. He said there was only room for one on this bandwagon, and told them to go cheer for John Cena or Dean Ambrose. He said Cena may be too busy trying to be Kelly Ripa’s cohost, and Ambrose is a lunatic loser, but they could try.
Styles said he beat John Cena, and Dean Ambrose, and then beat them both at the same time. Some people might not like the way it went down, but he’s a winner and winners find a way to win. He then said Smackdown is a land of opportunity, and went to introduce his next opponent. Dean Ambrose interrupted Styles and told him that he didn’t want none. He told Styles that he had him beat at Backlash and he had him tapping 2 days ago. Styles said everybody knows 2 guys can’t tap out 1 in a Triple Threat, so quit whining. He then invited his opponent down to the ring, and out came James Ellsworth.
Styles said he was going to give James Ellsworth an opportunity after The Miz beat the crap out of him. Ambrose said he kind of wanted to see it, and then headed towards the announce table. Styles told him to leave, and then Daniel Bryan interrupted. Bryan said he was the one who makes the matches, and since he was a huge James Ellsworth fan, he made the match with Dean Ambrose as the referee. Ambrose got dressed and inspected Dean Ambrose’s gear very thoroughly. Bryan said if Styles touches Ambrose, he could be fined or suspended.
The match continued to setup during the commercial break inside picture in picture, but it was mostly a comedy routine between the three men. It stopped and started multiple times with Styles getting increasingly impatient with Ambrose. Finally, they tied up.
4. AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth: They paced around each other and Styles gave him an arm drag. Styles laughed as Ambrose gave Ellsworth pointers. Styles complained to Ambrose, which allowed Ellsworth to sneak up from behind and hit an arm drag of his own. Styles backed Ellsworth into a corner and took a shot at Ellsworth. Ambrose protected Ellsworth in the corner and kept Styles from throwing closed fists. Styles argued with Ambrose, and then turned around into a punch to the face.
Styles chased Ellsworth around the ring and Ambrose tripped up Styles as he got in the ring. A moment later, Styles rolled Ellsworth into a Calf Crusher, and Ambrose took a phone call rather than listen to Ellsworth tap out. Styles chucked Ellsworth out of the ring and into the barricade. Ambrose started rapidly counting and Styles was forced to throw Ellsworth back into the ring.
Ambrose went outside and started to talk with a female fan and was going to autograph her photo. Styles ran outside and slapped the photo out of her hand. Styles then hit the Styles Clash in the ring, and covered, but Ambrose refused to count. Ambrose then hit Dirty Deeds on AJ, and pulled Ellsworth over to cover, but Styles kicked out. Ambrose then ran outside and got a drink, and came back in for another Dirty Deeds. He then pulled Ellsworth over and made the count.
James Ellsworth defeated AJ Styles
After the match, Ambrose held up Ambrose’s arms, and he was basically dead to the world. Backstage, Randy Orton told Kane he was tired of living in Bray Wyatt’s world, and asked if Bray was ready to live in his. He said he feels nothing but pain, chaos and torment, and wanted to know if Kane was in or not. Kane said he was, but that Orton had issues. We got our first Royal Rumble by the numbers video package…[c]
My Take: The Ellsworth thing was good comedy at first, but it overstayed it’s welcome after a while. Styles promo wasn’t his best either. He repeated himself too much for my liking. I’m sure Jason Powell is cursing my name for speaking ill of his boy Ellsworth, but the longer it played out the less funny it got. They are dragging Kane into this Wyatt and Orton feud again, which will only serve to make the matches paced even slower somehow.
Backstage, AJ Styles walked up to Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan and was fuming about his loss. He wondered why he hadn’t slapped the taste of of Bryan’s mouth already, and Shane told him to cool it. Shane told him that he only had himself to blame for wanting that match, and said it would be recorded in history that James Ellsworth defeated the Phenomenal AJ Styles. AJ said he understood, and muttered about taking things into his own hands. Wyatt & Haper vs. Orton & Kane was hyped for next…[c]
Wyatt and Harper made their entrance, and Harper had a microphone. He said this world has put him to sleep, but now he is wide awake, because he has seen the light. Wyatt then said that the light is shining brighter than it ever has, but it’s not enough to pierce the darkness. He said that the darkness is where the monsters, the gods come from, and he told Orton to bring his Monster with him, because he brought his. Wyatt then said they would beat them down into the black hole abyss from which they can never return…[c]
Kane made his ring entrance, followed by Randy Orton.
5. Randy Orton & Kane vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper: Kane and Harper started the match, and Harper won the initial punching battle. Wyatt tagged in and ran into a Big Boot, and rolled out to the floor. Orton tossed him back into the ring and Kane setup for a chokeslam, but Wyatt escaped and bailed out to the floor on a friendlier side of the ring…[c]
Randy Orton hit a superplex on Harper and made a tag. Kane entered and hit a big boot, clothesline, side slam combination. He then hit a seated dropkick on Harper, and turned his attention to Wyatt on the apron. Harper recovered and at that point he and Wyatt were able to turn the tables. They took turns working over Kane in their corner. Kane broke free after getting a boot up on a charging Harper, and then both men made tags. Orton got fired up and unloaded on Wyatt. They ended up on the floor, and tossed Wyatt into the announce table.
Harper made a run at him and flew over the announce table, while Wyatt got tossed into the steps on the far side of the ring. Orton his his hanging DDT and fired up for an RKO. He was distracted by Kane and Harper on the outside. Kane was directed back to his side of the ring by the ref, and Orton ate a Superkick in the ring from Harper. Shortly after, the Wyatt Sounder hit and when the lights came on Harper was standing on the apron where Kane should have been. Orton turned around into Sister Abigail and covered for the win.
Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper defeated Randy Orton & Kane
The Wyatt’s celebrated as the announce team sold a big mystery about where Kane was.
My Take: Everybody has caught on to people sliding under the ring at this point, right? I mean, was that a big shocking reveal to anyone? What is the purpose of this story? I don’t understand anyone’s motivation. It’s the worst thing on Smackdown and the writers are giving it a lot of time and mileage due to the lack of star power on the show. The whole angle is an albatross at this point.