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The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live Review 09/20/16

The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live Review 09/20/16

This week’s Smackdown continues the road to No Mercy in October. Some of the announced matches this week: Cena vs. Ambrose, Miz vs. Ziggler for the IC Title and Usos vs. American Alpha.

Live from Birmingham, Alabama this is Smackdown for episode #892.

There was a brief video package about John Cena and Dean Ambrose getting in eachother’s faces last week.

Women’s Championship Contract Signing

The Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan was in the ring with a table, a contract and two microphones. He’s there to moderate the first ever Smackdown Women’s Championship contract signing. When Bryan said they’re going to keep things civil, some people booed and Bryan goes “don’t boo that.” That’s funny.

The Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch entered to a big ovation from the crowd. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield and David Otunga welcomed us to the show. Lynch said “come at me, bro” and here comes Alexa Bliss. A clip aired of Bliss winning a Fatal 5-Way match last week to earn the number one contender spot.

Lynch said that while Bliss is preparing for a pageant, Lynch is preparing for a fight. Bliss said that Lynch’s role in life is not to be a champion, but a woman that succeeds and fails miserably. Then Lynch can become the superstar that never quite gets it. Bliss told Lynch she wasn’t born to be a champion, she was born to be a loser.

Lynch said that she listened when they said that you can be anything you want to be and she worked real hard to be champion. Lynch spoke about how she wants to be champion. Lynch said she wasn’t born to be a champion, but she fought to be a champion.

Bliss signed the contract. Bliss did the heel move by knocking Lynch down by using the black folder that was holding the contract and dumped the table onto her. Bliss left the ring. Lynch chased after her and Bliss ran up the ramp. Lynch went back in the ring to sign the contract. Their match is on October 9 at No Mercy.

Analysis: That was well done. I liked seeing them get promo time to start the show because you don’t see that for the women’s division on Raw or Smackdown very often. Bliss is really good as a cocky heel even though she’s the smallest girl in WWE. Lynch is so likable. It’s hard not to root for her and see her do well.

The Usos were shown walking backstage and so were American Alpha. Tag match up next.

(Commercial)

Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan was walking backstage. The Miz and his wife Maryse walked up to him. Miz seemed angry about something. Bryan wondered if it was about the new contract, but Miz said it’s not that and Bryan figured out it’s the IC Title match. Bryan said that if Miz doesn’t defend the title then he doesn’t have a contract. Miz shut up and the Miz match against Ziggler is still on.

Analysis: There was a bit more to it than what I have there, but that’s the gist of it. I think they just wanted to point out that Miz has his new contract.

Prior to the tag match, Gable & Jordan did a pre-tape promo about how they are ready to get revenge against The Usos.

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)

Gable had his left knee bandaged up because of the injury angle from two weeks ago. Heath Slater and Rhyno were shown watching backstage eating some crackers with cheese whiz. Nice double team move by AA with dropkicks on both guys. Gable with a forearm smash to Jimmy, but then the Usos double teamed him with Jey kicking Gable while he was in the ropes. Jimmy nailed a jumping kick to the knee to knock Gable to the floor as they played up the knee injury. They went to break two minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jey was working over the knee of Gable. They replayed a spot where Jimmy suplexed Gable into the ropes. Gable knocked Jey off the apron and hit a back body drop on Jimmy to send both Usos out of the ring. Hot tag to Jordan against Jey. Jordan with overhead belly to belly suplexes for both guys. Jordan with shoulder tackles for both Usos. Jordan with an Alpha Plex gets two on Jey. They battled on the top rope with Jey fighting him off with headbutts. Jey superkick and Jimmy tagged in with a Samoan Splash off the top for a two count as Gable made the save. Jey dumped Gable out of the ring with Gable grabbing his knee in pain. Jordan with an Alpha Plex on Jey. Jimmy nailed a superkick on Jordan, but then Jordan came back with a hard clothesline on Jimmy. Gable wanted a tag, but his ankle was hurting. Jordan saw that he was hurting, so he didn’t tag him in. Jordan with a rollup on Jimmy gets two. Jey tagged in and kicked the knee of Gable. The Usos hit a double superkick on Jordan followed by Jey hitting a Samoa Splash off the top for the pinfall win after 12 minutes. Gable was too hurt to make the save.

Winners by pinfall: The Usos

With the win, The Usos get a Tag Team Title match against Heath Slater & Rhyno at No Mercy

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good tag match. It was easy to follow the story with Gable trying to fight as hard as he can with the knee injury, Jordan looked great when he was in there, but the Usos were too smart to lose the match. Heel Usos are really aggressive in the ring. It’s easy to hate them because they’re targeting the knee of Gable, but it’s also smart for their characters to do that because it gives them an advantage. I don’t mind American Alpha losing because this is about the long term build. They can get by the Usos months down the road. Don’t give it away yet.

Back to Slater & Rhyno in the locker room. They commented that they already beat The Usos. Slater said it’s like that tall tale “Beauty and the Manbeast.” Slater said he wants to get the fans more into their matches by chanting “Rhy” and the fans chanting “no” so the fans in the arena were doing it. The Usos showed up. They told them that Slater & Rhyno got lucky at Backlash. The Usos gave them two options where they can hand over the titles or they can take Slater’s knee out so that he can go back to his raggedy ass kids. Rhyno stood in front of Slater to prevent something as The Usos left.

Analysis: Good stuff. Heel Usos are so refreshing. They needed to do that turn badly and they are back to being one of the best teams in WWE. I would assume they are having fun doing it too. I think Usos will the titles at No Mercy. Rhyno and Slater are a short term team most likely.

Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan is coming up later.

(Commercial)

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There was a video about baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

New Smackdown signee Jack Swagger is on commentary for the next match. Swagger said he had no issues with Baron Corbin, but now Corbin is the second toughest guy on Smackdown after him.

Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Crews with a running kick to the face followed by a fallaway slam for a two count. Swagger said he’s on Smackdown to become the WWE Champion one day. Crews whipped Corbin into the barricade at ringside followed by a jumping enziguri kick to the head. Back in the ring, Corbin kicked Crews to send him out of the ring. Corbin nailed Crews with some forearm shots to the head. Corbin kicked the back of Crews while he was up against the ring post. Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Crews for the win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: * It was a fairly easy win for Corbin with Crews getting some offense early, but once Corbin took it outside the ring there was no comeback for Crews. I like that Corbin looked dominant in the win because it makes him look really strong. With that said, I keep waiting for Crews to get some sort of meaningful feud or storyline at some point.

Post match, Corbin walked up to Swagger at ringside. He pointed at him and just left. No physical confrontation as Swagger just looked on.

Dean Ambrose was shown getting ready for a match against John Cena later. Also, Miz vs. Ziggler for IC Title.

(Commercial)

They congratulated Rami Malek from Mr. Robot (a USA Network show) for winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmy Awards.

Curt Hawkins was shown talking about how it’s time to “face the facts” on Smackdown Live.  One of his facts was that “Curt Hawkins” was a popular baby name.

Nikki Bella and Naomi were shown backstage as Charly Caruso showed up to interview them. Naomi said it’s glow time on Smackdown. She said the glow is about confidence, not being afraid to be yourself and choosing to shine through adversity. Naomi put over Nikki for overcoming adversity. Nikki thanked her and called Naomi “Trin” because her real name is Trinity. Naomi said she’s got an anecdote for Natalya later. Nikki said that ever since she’s joined Smackdown, Carmella has had it out for her. Nikki talked about how she’s overcome a grueling injury and she fights every match like it’s her last. Nikki feels rebooted and Carmella is just a bootleg.

Analysis: Solid promo from the girls. Naomi is much better as a face – she’s more natural in this role. I like Nikki more as a heel, but they need her as a face at this point.

Dolph Ziggler was interviewed by Renee Young backstage. Ziggler said he hasn’t been winning lately, but he knows anything can happen on Smackdown Live. He said they have a resident Brangelina with Miz and Maryse (that’s timely). Ziggler talked about how Miz clings to that title desperately. Ziggler was about things he wasn’t supposed to be and things he did in his career like being in the Kent State Hall of Fame. He was fired up by the end of it and then he made his entrance for the match.

Analysis: Ziggler’s really good at those kinds of promos where he’s got all that energy talking about how hungry he is. It’s easier for him to do that instead of those overly scripted promos that don’t come off as natural.

The Miz and Maryse made their entrance as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

As the show returned from break, the in-ring intros took place for the IC Title match.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler was aggressive early, so Miz bailed to the floor multiple times to create some space. Ziggler knocked down Miz with a clothesline outside the ring. Maryse yelled at Ziggler to distract him, so Miz took advantage with some kicks and dropkick that sent Ziggler to the floor. Miz tossed Ziggler into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Miz with a double axe off the top rope. Ziggler wanted a DDT, but Miz tossed Ziggler in the air to send him down. Miz mocked Daniel Bryan with some Bryan like kicks to the chest of Ziggler, but then Ziggler nailed him with a punch. Miz avoided a corner charge, so Ziggler went crashing into the turnbuckle. Miz with a kick to the seated Ziggler for a two count. Ziggler with running clotheslines, a corner splash and Miz shoved him into the ring post again to stop Ziggler’s momentum. Miz with two running corner dropkicks like Bryan. Then Miz nailed his corner clothesline. Miz up top again, he jumped off the top with nothing and Ziggler nailed a great dropkick for a two count. They each countered signature moves and Ziggler nailed a leaping DDT for a two count. Great nearfall there. Ziggler with a clothesline sent both guys over the top to the floor.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Miz did a slingshot sitout Powerbomb for a two count. They did that spot at Backlash as well and it was good for a believable nearfall. Miz kneed the back of the left leg. Ziggler went for a submission, but Miz got to the ropes. Miz with a boot to the face for two. Ziggler got a rollup for two. Ziggler with a Fameasser gets two, which got a big reaction from the crowd. That move always works so well as a nearfall. Miz held onto the ropes to block the Zig Zag. Maryse went to interfere with the spray, but the ref saw it and sent her to the back. Miz was angry about it. Ziggler rollup gets two. Miz rollup with tights for two. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag for one…two…no. That was an awesome nearfall. Most believable nearfall of the match so far. Miz crawled out of the ring. Miz grabbed the IC Title and looked like he was going to leave, but Ziggler stopped him. Ziggler sent Miz into the steel steps. Miz tossed the title across the ring, ref grabbed the title, Miz sprayed Ziggler in the eyes with perfume, Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale and won after 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

Analysis: ***1/2 That was an awesome match from these guys just like at Backlash. When Maryse got ejected, most people probably thought that Ziggler might find a way to win the match. Ziggler came so close to winning multiple times. That’s why it is so great that Miz cheated to win the match in a really cheap manner once again. We want heels that cheat to win matches. Miz does it so well. He’s performing at a high level right now and I think he’s having the best run of his career in terms of really good matches. Ziggler usually delivers in the ring all the time anyway. They’ve figured out what works in their matches. I’m glad they were given a lot of time to have a competitive match like that. I’m not sure if Miz will face Ziggler again because it was a cheap ending, but it would make sense to do some kind of match with a stipulation if WWE wants to put the title on Ziggler soon. If Ziggler doesn't win the title then this angle should lead to him turning heel at some point out of frustration more than anything.

Orton vs. Rowan is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for Connor’s Cure and the research they do for pediatric cancer.

Randy Orton made his entrance. His opponent was already in the ring wearing his sheep mask.

Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan

Orton went for the RKO early, but Rowan caught him and hit a powerslam. Rowan nailed a dropkick that sent Orton outside the ring. Rowan sent him face first into the steel steps. Rowan rolled him back in the ring, Orton kicked him in the chest and hit the draping DDT off the ropes. JBL said another announcer might say “vintage Orton” referencing Cole. Orton hit the RKO for the win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: * It was just a quick match to put over Orton now that he’s cleared to wrestle again. If anybody went into that match thinking that Rowan might win then they don’t watch enough wrestling. Orton hit two moves to win easily.

Post match, the Wyatt Family logo appeared on the screen as the lights went out. Then a spotlight was in the ring with the Rowan mask in there.

Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen noting the crowd loves him. Wyatt said that Orton is just a man that can die at any moment while Bray is a god and a god can never die. “Run.” That ended it.

Analysis: They didn’t have a match at Backlash as scheduled, so it makes sense to keep the rivalry going. They’ll probably have a match at No Mercy on October 9.

Women’s tag match up next: Nikki & Naomi vs. Carmella & Natalya.

(Commercial)

The women’s tag is up next with Natalya and Carmella already in the ring. Nikki was also in the ring. Naomi got the televised entrance because her glow in the dark routine is cool.

Nikki Bella & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella

Natalya went for a Sharpshooter on Nikki early on. Carmella just grabbed Nikki and pulled her out of the ring. That’s it for the “match” after less than a minute.

Winners by disqualification: Nikki Bella & Naomi

Carmella sent Nikki into the barricade. Carmella nailed Nikki with several punches. Naomi decked Natalya in the ring, then Naomi left the ring and Carmella backed off.

Analysis: I’m not going to rate it because it was an angle more than a match. It just furthered the story with Carmella being jealous of Nikki and constantly attacking her. Not much more to it than that.

AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. He said that he beat John Cena and Dean Ambrose, so he doesn’t have a rivalry because of his victories. Styles said he’s the WWE World Champion and he’s superior in every way. He complained about being in a triple threat at No Mercy. He said the silver lining is that Cena and Ambrose will rip eachother apart tonight while Styles soaks it all in because the champ is and always will be…here.

Analysis: A typical good heel promo from Styles. He’s really doing a great job in terms of promos of late. I know his ring work gets all the attention as it should, but he’s one of the better talkers in WWE as well.

John Cena made his entrance for the main event. Good reaction to him with mostly cheers.

(Commercial)

There were clips of Steve Austin as a way to promote all the content on WWE Network that he’s a part of.

Dean Ambrose made his entrance as we were reminded of the No Mercy main event on October 9: Styles vs. Cena vs. Ambrose for the WWE Title.

John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose

The match began at 9:45pmET so they should get more than ten minutes. Cena was in control early. Both guys went for finishing moves, but neither guy could get it and Cena grabbed a headlock. Cena whipped Ambrose into the corner, Ambrose moved and Cena went shoulder first into the corner. Break time three minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Ambrose was the aggressor as the match returned from break. Ambrose with a clothesline followed by a bulldog. Cena tripped him up and applied the STF submission in the ring. Ambrose was able to crawl to the ropes. Ambrose dumped Cena to the floor. Ambrose hit his suicide dive to take out Cena outside the ring. That looked more nasty than when Ambrose usually does that spot. Hard landing for both guys. Back in the ring, Ambrose went for a cross body block, but Cena caught him and hit an Attitude Adjustment for just two. Cena went for AA again, but Ambrose slipped out of it and hit Dirty Deeds for two. Each man kicked out of finishers. They exchanged punches. Ambrose countered the Attitude Adjustment attempt with a sunset flip rollup for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose

Analysis: *** That was a solid match. It was a little weird to see them kicking out of finishers in a match that barely went ten minutes, but they told the story that this match was a big deal right away. The fact that Ambrose won clean with a rollup shows that anybody can beat anybody at any time. I’m shocked that Cena lost clean because it's so rare to see Cena lose a singles match clean on television. A PPV match is a different story. I'm glad they did it because that kind of finish will get people talking, that's for sure. While I enjoyed the match a lot, I also wish they got more time. It's not a major complaint, though, because Smackdown was very good this week. There just wasn't more time to give them.

After the match, Styles showed up to attack Cena outside the ring with a forearm shot. Styles went into the ring and hit Ambrose with a Pele Kick to knock him down.

Daniel Bryan appeared on the ramp to say that last week, Shane McMahon promised Dean Ambrose a one on one match for the WWE Title. Bryan said that match is going to happen next week on Smackdown Live. Ambrose got back up and hit Dirty Deeds on Styles.

Ambrose stood tall while Styles was in the ring. Replays aired of what just happened. Another reminder that it’s Styles vs. Ambrose vs. Cena at No Mercy.

The show ended right at 10pmET with Dean Ambrose walking away looking happy about how the show ended.

Analysis: Big match for next week. I like it a lot. Styles in action is always a good thing. I really liked their match at Backlash too, so I hope they get a lot of time next week as well.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Dolph Ziggler

2. The Miz

3. (tie) Dean Ambrose

3. (tie) John Cena

The Usos and American Alpha did a great job too. One of those weeks where there's a lot of names that can go here.

 

The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 6

2016 Average: 6

2016 Average Post Brand Split (July 26): 6.22 (Raw is at 5.77)

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5.5, 5.5, 8, 6

2016 High: 8 (August 23)

2016 Low: 4 (January 21)

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10.

I enjoyed Smackdown a lot this week. There was a good flow to it, which is what I tweeted during the show as well. Where Raw tends to drag because they need to fill three hours every week, Smackdown is able to fill the show with meaningful segments for most of the night.

The Ziggler/Miz match was outstanding. It’s great to see a competitive title match get that much time. The ending pissed off the fans, but so what? Miz is a heel. It adds to the story.

The ending of the show was really well done as well. Cena losing clean is a shock. Setting up Styles vs. Ambrose next week is awesome. I’m pumped for it already.

Everything that took place on Smackdown made sense to me. With Raw, I found myself questioning a lot of things because I thought they handled some things poorly.

Check out Smackdown Live this week if you missed it because it was a lot of fun to watch and write about.

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PLUG TIME: We do a TJRWrestling Podcast every week that you can listen to right here on Podbean or use iTunes by searching “TJRWrestling” or “John Canton” to get it. Last week we did two episodes and our new ones are released usually on Thursdays. Please check it out! Thanks!

That’s all for now. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Go Los Angeles Rams.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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