By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from Green Bay, Wisconsin at Resch Center
[Q1] Smackdown opened with a recap of James Ellsworth defeating AJ Styles by DQ last week… Backstage, Dean Ambrose was talking to with a crew member about someone not having a warrant to check his vehicle. James Ellsworth entered the room and thanked Ambrose for helping him get two wins over Styles. Ellsworth asked if he could be in Ambrose’s corner. Ambrose basically blew him off by saying they would hang out later and catch up. There were boos from the live crowd…
Powell’s POV: Are they actually setting up an Ellsworth heel turn? By the way, thanks to Jake Barnett for swapping live coverage with me this week so that I could go to Raw last night. Jake will return with Smackdown live coverage next week.
Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were on commentary… Bray Wyatt made his entrance. Kane made his entrance for their match. The broadcast team was shown on camera for the first time…
1. Bray Wyatt vs. Kane in a No DQ match. Luke Harper did not accompany Wyatt to ringside. Wyatt and Kane took the action to the floor where Kane ran Wyatt into the ring steps. Kane took the broadcast table apart and went for a chokeslam. The Wyatt Family video flashed and then Harper was standing on top of table. Harper attacked Kane while the broadcast team reminded viewers that there were no DQs. [C]
[Q2] Kane battled back, but he was distracted by Harper, allowing Wyatt to perform a uranage for a two count. Harper was going to interfere again. Randy Orton’s music hit and he ran to the ring and then stared at Harper, who backed down. Kane set up for a chokeslam while Orton struck the Viper’s Pose. Suddenly, Orton hit the RKO on Kane. Wyatt looked as surprised as anyone before and after pinning Kane…
Bray Wyatt pinned Kane in 10:40.
Powell’s POV: Well, that was an unexpected development. I was going to point out the silliness of JBL telling us that Orton said he would be watching the match intently only to let Harper interfere a couple times before finally making the save, but we don’t have to worry about that one. Instead, we are left wondering what they are doing with Orton. Are they really turning him heel to feud with Kane? That seems odd. If Orton is still a babyface, then he’s the second top babyface to be booed already tonight.
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed AJ Styles, who said he couldn’t get Ellsworth out of his head. He said Ellsworth looked like someone took a WWE action figure and melted it in the microwave. Styles said he’s going to rearrange Ambrose’s face and he would wish that he looked like Ellsworth. Styles said Ellsworth will be missing more than a chin if he sees him.
The broadcast team hyped the return of Becky Lynch for after the break… [C]
Renee Young stood in the ring and introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch for an interview. Lynch slapped hands with fans at ringside. She’s such a good babyface that she didn’t gag when she had to slap the hand of a guy wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey. Lynch barely said a word before she was interrupted.
Alexa Bliss came out and said Lynch looked good for someone who just had back surgery. Lynch said she didn’t have back surgery. Bliss called Young “Katie Couric” and dismissed her. There was a brief “Becky” chant. Lynch said she was rushed to the hospital and the doctors wouldn’t let her leave let along compete. She apologized for their match being postponed.
[Q3] Bliss said Lynch is a world class con artist and she wasn’t buying it. Bliss asked her to hand over the championship. Lynch got fired up. Bliss told her to clam down and hold onto her title because in two weeks it becomes hers. Bliss tried to sucker punch Lynch, who blocked it and hit Bliss. They went to ringside where Bliss got the better of the brawl.
Back inside the ring, Bliss performed a DDT and then walked over the women’s champion. Bliss walked to the timekeeper’s area and grabbed a can of spray paint and then painted a yellow line down Lynch’s back, which played off of something she said earlier in her promo…
The broadcast team hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid segment that put some heat on Bliss and made the returning Lynch look sympathetic. The yellow paint bit wasn’t very effective as it felt a little tame since she basically ruined Lynch’s shirt and pants. Still, I like the way they are building to the women’s championship match that will take place on November 8 in Glasgow.
2. The Ascension vs. The Hype Bros in a Survivor Series tag match qualifier. The Ascension got a pre-tape promo in which they claimed to be the biggest band baddest team. They said they will rise at Survivor Series. Mojo Rawley came out wearing a Packers hat and Zubaz. In a pre-tape, he said he made the team once when he tried out for the Packers. Vomit. This was good for a brief “Go, Pack, Go” chant. Mojo performed a couple of corner splashes, which Ranallo called Lambeau Leaps. The Hype Bros hit their finisher and Rawley pinned Viktor…
The Hype Bros beat The Ascension in 3:50 to earn a spot on the Smackdown Survivor Series tag team.
[Q4] The broadcast team hyped the main event… An ad for Raw hyped Goldberg’s return… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match worked with the live crowd. It was hard to tell how much of that was due to Rawley playing up the Packers theme and how much was a case of the fans actually liking the Hype Bros. Do the other teams on Smackdown win squash matches to earn their spots in the tag match? If not, they may have to put some singles wrestlers in makeshift tag teams because there are not many teams in the division.
A shot aired of some trophies that are completely foreign to me as a Vikings fan. See, it goes both ways…
Backstage, Caruso asked Orton to comment. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Orton replied after a long pause… Ranallo hyped Kane, Heath Slater, Rhyno, and James Ellsworth for Talking Smack…
Powell’s POV: My guess is Orton’s run as a Wyatt Family member lasts about as long as Daniel Bryan’s run with the team. Orton just started wearing pants on television after all these years. There’s no way he’s ready for overalls.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was on the phone when Natalya entered the room and said appointing her the team captain is the best way to bring back all the attention from Raw to Smackdown. Bryan booked her in a match against Nikki Bella. The winner of the match will captain the team, but the loser won’t be on the team…
Nikki Bella made her entrance heading into a break… [C] Natalya made her entrance…
3. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya to become captain of the Smackdown women’s team at Survivor Series. The loser is out of the Survivor Series match. The loser is out of the Survivor Series match. Otunga said he initially thought it was a bad idea to have one of these women lose a spot on the team, but then he decided there’s no way they could coexist. JBL spoke about how the match makes you get along with people to the point that he could even get along with Mauro for one night if he had to.
[Q5] Natalya was in control of the offense when she asked the crowd if they like Nikki. “I love Nikki Bella,” Natalya added. She applied the Sharpshooter, but Nikki reached the ropes to break the hold. Nikki came back and caught Natalya with a kick off the second rope for a two count. Natalya hit a Michinoku Driver for two. In the end, Nikki fought out of a surfboard and then applied the STF for the submission win. After the match, Carmella attacked Nikki and put her down with the Bella Buster…
Nikki Bella beat Natalya in 6:45 to become captain of Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.
Powell’s POV: I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know the Bella Buster was a thing. Anyway, the broadcast team played up Nikki using John Cena’s finishing hold. Was there any doubt that Nikki would be the captain of the Survivor Series team? On the bright side, at least they can’t screw a Hart at Survivor Series this year now that Natalya is out of the match.
Backstage, Caruso interviewed Ambrose, who said he had fun messing with AJ Styles over the last two weeks, but tonight is about becoming No. 1 contender. He wrapped it up by saying there actually would be fun and games for him… A shot aired of The Miz and Maryse walking backstage and past the high-fiving Spirit Squad…
The Miz, Maryse, Mikey, and Kenny headed to the ring. The Spirit Squad members did a cheer to introduce Miz, who said that we’re 16 days into living in a world where he’s not the Intercontinental Champion. Miz spoke about Pat Patterson sitting in Montreal with a tear running down his cheek. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. JBL said Ziggler was doing what he does best by interrupting people.
[Q6] Ziggler said the people have a fighting champion and he offered to give Miz his rematch on the spot. Miz teased the idea and the dopey fans chanted Yes! even though Miz was dressing in a suit and tie. Miz said he will have his rematch when he’s good and ready. Miz said they could give Ziggler a fight.
Heath Slater and Rhyno made their entrance and then entered the ring along with Ziggler. Slater pointed out that Maryse was standing in front of the heels. Slater asked Miz what his problem is. Miz called Slater a joke, and said he and Rhyno holding the tag titles is more embarrassing than Ziggler holding the IC Title. Slater said a champion wouldn’t run from a challenge, then yelled “burn” and “double burn.” Miz returned fire by pointing out that Kenny pinned him last week.
Miz challenged the tag champs to put the titles on the line against Spirit Squad. Slater didn’t seem very excited about the match. Rhyno took the mic and said, “You’re on.” Miz called for a referee… [C]
Powell’s POV: I usually get a kick out of Slater’s antics and promos, but this was pretty bad.
4. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Mikey and Kenny for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. The match was joined in progress. Miz and Ziggler sat in on commentary. There were multiple chants of “We Want Rhyno.” The crowd popped once he tagged in and worked over both heels. At ringside, Miz and Ziggler dropped their headsets and began arguing. Kenny was sent flying into Miz at ringside, then Rhyno gored Mikey and pinned him…
Heath Slater and Rhyno defeated Mikey and Kenny to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
The broadcast team hyped the main event as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: With the tag title match out of the way, it feels like WWE has gotten everything there is to get out of the Spirit Squad gimmick.
[Q7] A shot aired of the Vince Lombardi statue outside Lambeau Field (no jabs, it’s a great place to watch a game)… The pre-show team checked in and hyped the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and to pimp WWE Network. They noted that no subscribers could get HIAC and Survivor Series for free if they signed up now…
Backstage, Ambrose found James Ellsworth hanging his head. Ellsworth was sad that Ambrose wouldn’t let him be in his corner. He begged him, then Ambrose agreed… Ring entrances for the main event took place…
5. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose (w/James Ellsworth in a non-title match. Ambrose becomes No. 1 contender if he wins. Ambrose clotheslined Styles to ringside early. Styles ran over and hit Ellsworth. Ambrose checked on Ellsworth. Styles dove over the top rope and onto Styles on the floor heading into a break. [C]
[Q8] Ambrose dominated the action coming out of the break. They fought on the apron when Styles ended up suplexing Ambrose onto the edge of the ring heading into another break. [C]
Ambrose caught Style with his top rope elbow at 13:50. Ellsworth continued to clap and encourage Ambrose from the floor. At 15:00, Ambrose went for a superplex, but Styles slipped out and came back with a springboard reverse DDT for a two count. Styles went for his finisher, but Ambrose rolled him over for two. Styles caught him with a pair of strikes, but Ambrose came back with the teetering clothesline.
Ambrose performed a superplex at 16:30. Styles recovered and applied the Calf Crusher, but Ambrose fought free and slammed the head of Styles into the mat a few times. Styles reapplied the hold. Ambrose reached the ropes to break it. After using some rough facials while in the hold, Ambrose did a good job of selling it after it was released.
Styles took another cheap shot at Ellsworth by kicking him through the ropes. Ambrose caught Styles with a kick off a springboard. At 19:00, Styles went for his finisher, but Ambrose dumped him to ringside. Ellsworth fired up while waiting for Styles to stand up and then blasted him with No Chin Music. Ambrose and the referee looked surprised. The referee called for the bell and disqualified Ambrose, and Ellsworth was immediately apologetic…
AJ Styles beat Dean Ambrose by DQ in 19:50.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match with a surprising finish in that I assumed Ambrose would become No. 1 contender. I guess there’s really no reason to go there now since both men will probably be in the Survivor Series match and there’s not a Smackdown pay-per-view until December. I’m happy they didn’t turn Ellsworth, but I still wonder if that’s something they’ll do as a surprise once his character starts to drop in popularity. Overall, a decent edition of Smackdown at a time when they have a lot of time to fill without their own pay-per-view to build towards. Thanks for watching along with me (or just checking in during the World Series).