11/01 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Daniel Bryan appears on Miz TV, Survivor Series tag team qualifiers

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By Jason Powell

WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center

[Q1] The Smackdown opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage… Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were on commentary…

James Ellsworth headed to the ring complete with an instrumental entrance theme. He doesn’t have a video wall. Rather, they just have a big graphic that lists his name. The broadcast team recapped Ellsworth getting Dean Ambrose disqualified last week and costing him a title shot.

Once in the ring, Ellsworth took a long pause before he started. Ellsworth thanked Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan for letting him come out to say goodbye. There were some fans who chanted yet, but they were quickly outnumbered by “no” chants. Ellsworth said he hasn’t been able to eat or sleep. He said he can’t move on in his life until he tells Ambrose he’s truly sorry. Ellsworth called for Ambrose to join him.

Ambrose made his entrance. Ambrose put his arm around Ellsworth and called him his buddy, his pal, and his special little boy. He said he had time to think about ripping his head off with his bare hands, but he can’t stay mad at him. Ambrose said Ellsworth doesn’t owe him an apology. Ellsworth said it’s the least he could do and said it’s because of Ambrose that he has two wins over AJ Styles, and he repaid him by costing him a title shot.

Ellsworth said he came to Smackdown to fight, but last week wasn’t his fight. Ambrose said it’s okay and it’s water under the bridge. Ambrose told Ellsworth to never, ever get in his way again. Ellsworth said if he could go back in time and change things he would. Ellsworth apologized again.

WWE Champion AJ Styles made his entrance. Styles asked why Ellsworth was apologizing. Styles asked Ellsworth if he can see what Ambrose has been doing. The crowd chanted for Styles, who paused and then said he knows his name. Styles accused Ambrose of using him. Styles said he respects Ellsworth more than Ambrose does. Styles claimed he was going to make it quick and painless when they met, but Ambrose prolonged it.

Styles said Ellsworth owes him some of his merchandise check and his entire career. Ambrose stepped up and said that he likes Ellsworth because he’s a real tough guy who does things the hard working way unlike Styles. Ellsworth got between Ambrose and Styles, who shoved Ellsworth into Ambrose and then kicked Ambrose. Styles tossed Ellsworth to the floor and then hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Ambrose…

The broadcast team set up a video package that recapped Randy Orton turning on Kane and included a bunch of creepy images… The broadcast team hyped Orton vs. Kane in a No DQ match for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good segment. You had to know they weren’t going to have Ambrose snap on Ellsworth because it would be too heelish. Styles planted the seed for an Ellsworth heel turn. We’ll see if they go in that direction. By the way, Jake Barnett was a late scratch tonight for live coverage, but he will return next week.

[Q2] Backstage, Daniel Bryan approach the apologetic Ellsworth and Ambrose, who told Ellsworth there’s nothing else he can say. Bryan said Ambrose would get another shot at Styles and will become number one contender if he wins. Bryan said it’s his last chance no matter what. Bryan told Ellsworth to stay backstage, watch, and even take part in Talking Smack, but he can’t go to ringside during the match under any circumstances…

1. Randy Orton vs. Kane in a No DQ match. Orton came out to his usual theme and wore his usual gear. The broadcast team tried to play up that he was a changed man. Orton slammed Kane into the ring post. Kane came back and was in control of the match when the Wyatt video flashed and both Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper were both at ringside. Kane roughed up the Wyatts and then set up for a chokeslam, but the Wyatts entered the ring. Orton used the direction to hit the RKO for the win…

Randy Orton defeated Kane in a No DQ match in 2:10.

After the match, Orton and the Wyatts stared at one another. Harper gave Kane a discus clothesline. Orton shoved Kane toward Wyatt, who delivered Sister Abigail. Orton struck his usual pose on the ropes while Wyatt posed over Kane in the ring…

The broadcast team hyped Miz TV with Daniel Bryan, who will make an announcement regarding Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. They also hyped Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella vs. Carmella and Alexa Bliss… [C]

Powell’s POV: All signs still point to Orton’s involvement with the Wyatt Family being a ruse. I’m not sure what they are going for, but I must say that it beats hocus pocus or the Wyatt promos that feel repetitive because he’s never booked to back up the things he talks about.

[Q3] A Baron Corbin video package aired. He spoke about not needing friends and how he just doesn’t give a damn. The black and white video footage showed him in the ring and riding a motorcycle…

2. Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss and Carmella. The babyfaces received televised entrances while the heels were already in the ring. The broadcast team hyped Lynch vs. Bliss for the title for next week. They cut to break roughly a minute into the match. [C] Late in the match, Lynch knocked Carmella off the apron. Bliss raked the eyes of Lynch from behind and then performed a DDT for the win…

Alexa Bliss and Carmella defeated Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella in 5:55.

After the match, Dasha Fuentes tried to interview Bliss and Carmella, but Bliss sent her away and took the mic. Carmella mocked Bayley and called Charlotte an overhyped daddy’s girl. She said Nikki better know her role and let her be on the team. Bliss said Lynch’s 15 minutes of fame end next week and her fairytale ends. She said Lynch can consider her the wicked witch of WWE. “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your Smackdown Women’s Title too,” Bliss concluded…

Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon congratulated Naomi on being the fifth member of Team Smackdown. He said she would be joining Carmella, Bliss, Bella, and Lynch. Naomi thanked them and said it’s glow time. Natalya entered the picture and asked to be the coach of the team. She read the lyrics to “Respect.” Bryan gave her the role of coach at Survivor Series…

The broadcast team hyped the latest Ambrose vs. Styles match…

Powell’s POV: Is it wrong that I hope Ambrose loses because they are burning me out on Ambrose vs. Styles matches? Anyway, we saw more commercials than action in the women’s match, but I’m happy they made Bliss look strong again heading into her title match. Carmella did a good job of trash talking. Bliss’s delivery was good, but the wicked witch verbiage was weak. Coach Natalya? They must have something in mind. I just hope it’s not as cheesy as her new lyric reciting gimmick.

[Q4] [C] 3. American Alpha vs. Mikey and Kenny in a Team Smackdown qualifying match. The broadcast team put over Alpha strong. Alpha hit their finisher on Mikey for the quick win…

American Alpha beat Mikey and Kenny in 2:00 to qualify for Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.

The broadcast team set up a Goldberg and Brock Lesnar video package, then hyped Miz TV with Daniel Bryan… [C]

Powell’s POV: Just a quick squash win for Alpha. The Spirit Squad duo continues to serve a purpose by losing to Dolph Ziggler, then Rhyno and Heath Slater, and now Alpha. I’m not sure what else is left to do with them, but I also felt that way after their tag title match.

[Q5] The Miz and Maryse were in the ring for Miz TV. Daniel Bryan was introduced as their guest and received the biggest reaction of the night. Bryan took a seat and the fans chanted his name. Miz asked if he could start his show now and whether they would rather they just listen to the fans all day.

Miz said he runs a tight ship on Miz TV unlike Bryan’s crew on Talking Smack. Bryan said he could just cancel Miz TV if he wants to be passive aggressive. Bryan was there to make Survivor Series announcements. He said there were two more qualifying matches for the tag match.

Miz asked about the men’s team. Bryan said he and Shane spoke about it and their team is Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and AJ Styles. Miz was unhappy he was left off the team. Bryan knew it and smiled. Bryan accused Bryan of humiliating him on his show in front of his wife. The fans chanted yes.

Miz said Smackdown is full of opportunities for everyone other than him. Bryan said they considered Miz, but they need wrestlers who are not afraid to fight. Bryan said Miz proved his afraid to fight when he didn’t accept Dolph Ziggler’s offer to give him a rematch last week. Miz said Bryan is the one who is scared to fight. Miz put Maryse in front of him. Miz said Bryan isn’t good at his job or anything else anymore, and told him to go back to moping around John Cena’s house on Total Bellas.

Bryan got fired up and knocked a chair over. Bryan said whatever Miz is best at, it’s certainly not wrestling. He told him to go run his mouth behind the commentator’s desk and leave the real fighting to the superstars. Bryan said there are a ton of guys in the back who would love the opportunity Miz turned down last week. Bryan told him to run his mouth while Ziggler put his title on the line in an open challenge. Ziggler made his entrance. The broadcast team played up the question of who would challenge Ziggler… [C]

Powell’s POV: If Ziggler is so great, why didn’t Bryan and Shane put him on their team? That said, a good exchange from Bryan and Miz. I wonder if they are going to book the Ziggler vs. Miz rematch for Survivor Series.

Ranallo announced that American Alpha and Dean Ambrose will be the guests on Talking Smack…

[Q6] Curt Hawkins made his entrance and said Ziggler would have to face the fans when he won the Intercontinental Championship…

4. Dolph Ziggler vs. Curt Hawkins for the Intercontinental Title. Miz sat in on commentary. The bell rang, Hawkins turned around, and Ziggler superkicked him. Ziggler covered Hawkins and got the win. Miz called it a cheap shot by a cheap champion…

Dolph Ziggler beat Curt Hawkins in 0:07 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Renee Young entered the ring and interviewed Ziggler, who said Miz wants his rematch on his terms, but now they are doing it on his terms. Ziggler issued an open challenge to anyone on Raw to try to take his title. Miz was upset…

Powell’s POV: Ranallo said Survivor Series is the only time Raw and Smackdown go head to head, so I assume the challenge is for Survivor Series.

Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asked Dean Ambrose feels confident he can defeat AJ Styles knowing that “James Ellis” will not be present. Ambrose said of course, then corrected her on the name. Ellsworth entered the picture and asked if there was any way he could come to ringside. Ambrose said no. Ellsworth said he just wants to make things right and pleaded with him. Ellsworth told him to go eat some Halloween candy or something.

The broadcast team hyped the Survivor Series tag team qualifier…

Powell’s POV: I would question if Fuentes is being Mike Adamle for Halloween a day late, but I can’t even tell all of the WWE brunette backstage interviewers apart. Meanwhile, Ellsworth is becoming a pest, so I assume he’s turning.

The broadcast team recapped Kane vs. Orton from earlier in the show…

[Q7] Backstage, Wyatt said told Orton there has been skepticism about him joining the family given that he’s a snake. Wyatt said potential like that is welcome in the family. Orton said he was born with a devil whispering in his ear and he’s done trying to fight it. Orton said it’s almost as if the darkness has shown him the light. Orton told Wyatt that he is a god. There was cheesy music and and even cheesier effect with light in Orton’s eyes…

5. The Usos vs. The Headbangers in a qualifying match for Survivor Series. The Headbangers didn’t get a televised entrance. The Usos attacked them before the bell. Mosh got a two count on Jimmy Uso that Jey had to break up. Thrasher threw Jimmy to the floor. Jimmy punched Mosh from the floor and then Jimmy rolled up Mosh for the win…

The Usos beat The Headbangers in 1:30 to qualify for Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.

Backstage, AJ Styles was asked about his title match and said Ellsworth is going to crawl back into the bargain bin he came out of… In another part of the backstage area, Ambrose showed Ellsworth the door and told him any man with two hands can call an Uber…

Powell’s POV: The tag match was quick and painless. Ellsworth went from being the lovable loser to being cast as a pest over the course of the show. If Ellsworth is not turning heel, Ambrose could probably get away with kicking his ass next week if he interferes in tonight’s match. I didn’t feel that way coming into this show. How quickly things can change.

The broadcast team boasted about WWE winning awards… Ring entrances for the main event took place… [C]

6. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose in a non-title match. Ambrose becomes No. 1 contender if he wins, but it’s his final chance. Ambrose jumped Styles from behind when the bell rang and worked him over in and out of the ring. Ambrose dominated the first four minutes of the match and then Styles clipped his knee going into the break. [C]

Ambrose caught Styles with a dropkick as he was going for a springboard move. Ambrose went up top and performed his flying elbow onto Styles on the floor. Ambrose sold knee pain once they were both back in the ring. At 9:50, Styles suplexed Ambrose into the corner. Ambrose came right back and got a two count.

Styles and Ambrose performed a double clothesline spot. James Ellsworth ran to ringside and started pounding on the mat. Ambrose wasn’t happy to see him. Ambrose turned into a kick by Styles, who covered him for a two count. Security ran out and chased Ellsworth through the crowd and out of the lower bowl.

At 12:25, Styles applied the Calf Crusher on the bad leg, which Ambrose broke by reaching the ropes. Ellsworth returned to ringside with security chasing him. Security grabbed Ellsworth. Styles went to ringside and shoulder blocked Ellsworth over the broadcast table. Styles went up and leapt into a kick from Ambrose, who then hit Dirty Deeds for the win…

Dean Ambrose defeated AJ Styles in 13:35 to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

After the match, Ellsworth was shown smiling as security dragged him away. Ambrose walked up to the stage where security was holding a smiling Ellsworth. One of the security guards made a hilariously corny mean face. Ambrose took Ellsworth from security, asked if he was okay, and then dropped him once he confirmed. Security dragged the smiling Ellsworth away…

Powell’s POV: A good match, yet I can’t help but feel like the Styles vs. Ambrose feud has been overexposed. The drama with Ellsworth was fun. He ended the night a babyface, but he became such a pest that they could turn him and add him to AJ’s act and people would buy it. Is he obsessed with helping Ambrose or becoming obsessed with Ambrose? If Ambrose rejects him, will that be all it takes for him to turn and help Styles instead? Okay, fine, the Ellsworth dynamic is keeping me engaged in the overexposed program. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. I’ll be by tomorrow with a member exclusive audio review, and John Moore will be by in the morning with his great Talking Smack recap.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...


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