Live from Ottawa, Ontario this is Smackdown for episode #901.
In case you're wondering, I still haven't posted my Survivor Series and NXT Takeover reviews. It's been a crappy week, so I'm a bit behind on things. They are coming this week.
The show began with videos showing Smackdown Live’s win over Raw in the men’s elimination match. That match ended with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton as the surviving members of the match.
Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon entered the ring slowly to a huge ovation. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga and host Tom Phillips welcomed us to the show.
Shane was greeted with “Shane O Mac” chants and he said what’s up Ottawa. He said he’s not his normal, energetic self because after Survivor Series he felt like he was in a car accident. Fans chanted “you still got it” at him. Shane gave a shoutout to Team Raw members Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, who received the most boos out of those names. He says Roman nearly separated Shane from his Jordans (shoes), so he has to give him props for that. Shane said he wanted to specifically thank Smackdown’s survivors Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Then he mentioned AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose not being able to get along. Ambrose made his entrance.
Ambrose made his entrance to a good ovation. He mentioned the fresh new snow there in Ottawa. Shane mentioned how Ambrose teamed up with his Shield buddies to put AJ Styles through a table. Ambrose brought out the MVP of Team Smackdown that individually took out Braun Strowman…it’s James Ellsworth.
Ellsworth walked out with a giant neck brace after Braun Strowman threw him off the stage and through a table at Survivor Series. When Ellsworth got in the ring, Ambrose told Shane to tell Ellsworth the surprise about the Smackdown contract. Shane told Ellsworth he’s earned a Smackdown contract. Shane told Ambrose he would give him the night off and Dean didn’t seem thrilled about it. Shane told Ambrose to leave the building because he’s been too much of a lunatic of late.
AJ Styles, the WWE World Champion, made his entrance as Ambrose walked up the ramp. Styles just walked by him. Styles wondered when Smackdown Live became the land of undeserved opportunity. Styles told Shane he needs to kick Ambrose off of Smackdown Live. Styles said that Ambrose didn’t deserve an opportunity to face Styles for the WWE Title at TLC. Styles complained about Ellsworth getting a contract and Shane said he deserved it. Styles talked about how he deserved a contract while Ellsworth didn’t deserve anything. Styles told Ellsworth to face him in a match later on Smackdown and make it a Ladder Match. If Ellsworth climbs the ladder to grab the contract then Ellsworth earned his contract. Styles said he’s going to grab the contract and rip it up in Ellsworth’s face. Ellsworth replied saying he didn’t mind facing Styles with his contract on the line while noting he has beat Styles twice. He said if he wins then he wants a future opportunity at the WWE World Championship. Ellsworth said he wanted it all or nothing at all.
Shane made it official for later on Smackdown: Styles vs. Ellsworth in a Ladder Match with Ellsworth’s contract on the line. Styles left the ring. Ambrose was back in the ring with Shane and Ellsworth.
Analysis: It went about 15 minutes like a typical opening promo during a WWE TV show. This is the third time they are doing this match with Ellsworth coming up with wins the previous two times thanks to Ambrose’s help. Ellsworth did legitimately get a WWE contract recently, so it looks like they will try to make it official during this show although seeing him beat Styles again could hurt Styles. I don’t mind the Ellsworth stuff, but if they dedicated that much TV time to some of the males and females that need it then it would probably help them more.
The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse were doing a photo shoot when Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan walked up to him. Miz said that it’s Miz-giving and Bryan should thank Miz for keeping the IC Title on Smackdown Live. Bryan said that Miz humiliated them by the way he beat Sami Zayn at Survivor Series. Miz reminded him that he just got the win. Bryan put Miz in an IC Title match against Kalisto because Baron Corbin cost Kalisto the Cruiserweight Title at Smackdown. Bryan told them that match is up next.
Analysis: That makes sense from a storyline perspective since Kalisto was screwed out of his title shot.
Later in the show, there’s a tag team turmoil match later to determine the number one contenders for the tag team titles.
There were images shown Survivor Series.
Shane was backstage with Ambrose again telling him to leave the building.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Kalisto
Kalisto used his speed early on. He knocked Miz out of the ring and hit a suicide dive to knock him down on the floor. The show went to break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Kalisto hit a springboard senton and a corkscrew splash for a two count. JBL complained about Miz having to defend the title again. Kalisto countered a slingshot Powerbomb into a hurricanrana and then hit a snap hurricanrana for a two count. Kalisto slowly went up top and noticed Baron Corbin, who was on the apron. Kalisto kicked Corbin off the apron. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale to win the match after seven minutes of action.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: ** A cheap win by Miz, who barely got any offense in the match. Kalisto controlled all of it, was distracted by Corbin and Miz finished him off right after that. They do matches like that so it makes the loser look stronger in defeat because he could have won if not for Corbin.
Post match, Miz left with Maryse. Corbin went into the ring and hit the End of Days slam on Kalisto.
Analysis: The rivalry continues. It will probably lead to a match at TLC in two weeks.
Miz was on the stage with Maryse. Ziggler showed up from behind. Miz turned around and Ziggler hit a superkick to drop Miz.
Analysis: There may be another Miz/Ziggler match on the horizon at TLC since Ziggler hasn’t got his title rematch yet.
Shane and Daniel were backstage in the office. They were concerned about all of the attacks happening on the show. Daniel left as Alexa Bliss showed up and then Becky Lynch showed up. Lynch told Bliss she’ll get her rematch at TLC in two weeks. Natalya showed up with the whistle. Natalya said she watched Survivor Series with 2Pawz the cat and said their loss was the result of Lynch. Natalya told Lynch she’s threatened by Alexa and was distracted. Shane cut them all off to say it would have been nice if Nikki Bella was in the match because maybe they would have won. Shane put Becky in a match with Natalya. Natalya quoted the Celine Dion song “My Heart Will Go On.” She left with Bliss. Ambrose showed up with a pizza while Shane wondered why he was there. Shane was left with a pizza.
Analysis: There’s a lot going on during this show. At least they made a match here and set up Lynch vs. Bliss at TLC in two weeks.
A video aired about the WrestleMania ticket on sale party from last week. Same video aired on raw.
Tag Team turmoil is up next.
Baron Corbin was backstage. Daniel Bryan showed up. Bryan told Corbin he’s being reckless and stupid. He said he cost Smackdown at Survivor Series by interfering in Kalisto’s match. Bryan put Corbin in a match against Kane for later.
Tag Team Turmoil
Two teams start. When one of them gets eliminated, another team takes on whatever team is left. The winners get a Tag Team Title match at TLC.
The Ascension vs. Hype Bros
Konnor and Viktor were aggressive early as they sent Rawley into the barricade. Ryder missed a diving attack on Viktor, so Konnor nailed a clothesline on Ryder on the floor. The heels worked over Ryder with quick tags. Ryder nailed a double neckbreaker to take down both guys. Rawley nailed a running punch on Konnor, then he held up Viktor and Ryder jumped off the ropes with the Hype Ryder double team move.
The Ascension eliminated by Hype Bros
Breezango ran to the ring next.
Hype Bros vs. Breezango
Both Breezango guys got dumped to the floor, so Rawley gave Ryder a back drop over the top to take out Breeze and Fandango on the floor.
Back from break, Ryder missed a missile dropkick on Breeze. Fandango hit a slingshot elbow drop on Ryder while Breeze was holding him and that’s enough to eliminate Ryder.
Hype Bros eliminated by Breezango
American Alpha ran down to the ring.
Breezango vs. American Alpha
Double kick to the head by Breezango as Tag Team Champions Rhyno and Heath Slater were backstage watching on a monitor. Fandango did a sunset flip on Gable, but Gable sat on top and pinned him.
Breezango eliminated by American Alpha
The Vaudevillains ran down to the ring.
American Alpha vs. The Usos
They sent Aiden English out of the ring. Jordan had Gotch in a waist lock, Gable hit a dropkick and Jordan hit a bridging German Suplex on Gotch to eliminate him. That was about 10 seconds.
Breezango eliminated by American Alpha
The Usos slowly walked down to the ring.
American Alpha vs. The Usos
The match was about to begin and the show went to break.
Analysis: There were some quick eliminations in there. I’m glad that it led to a showdown between AA and The Usos because they are the best teams on this show.
Back from break, The Usos isolated Jason Jordan in their corner. Jimmy slapped on a headlock on Jordan. Usos hit a double back suplex on Jordan. More quick tags by the Usos with Jimmy hitting a forearm smash on Jordan against the turnbuckle. Jey hit a kick to the gut on Jordan leading to a two count. Jordan broke free and got the hot tag to Gable. Dropkick by Gable on Jimmy and an overhead Alphaplex. Gable with a clothesline off the top on Jey, who wasn’t legal. Gable hit a bridging German Suplex on Jimmy for a two count. They went outside the ring with Jimmy shoving Gable into the ring post. Jimmy with a backbreaker, Jey did a blind tag and hit a forearm smash off the top for a two count on Gable. Jordan made the blind tag, he put Jey on his shoulders and Gable hit an Avalanche Bulldog off the top for two as Jimmy made the save. Jordan dumped Jimmy out of the ring, Jey hit a superkick. Jey went for a top rope splash, Jordan got his knees up, rollup gets two as Jey kicked out of it. Jimmy took out Gable on the apron. Chop block on Jordan. Usos went for a double team move, but Gable nailed a German Suplex. Grand Amplitude by AA led to the pinfall win for American Alpha. The whole thing went about 20 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: American Alpha
Analysis: *** I’m not going to rate the whole thing, so I’ll just put three stars down mainly for the American Alpha vs. Usos part of the match. They did an awesome job of doing some nearfalls at the end of the match that were believable and also were things we had seen in their previous matches. I was happy to see American Alpha get the win because I thought it might be their chance to break through.
Bray Wyatt’s graphic showed up on the screen. He had Luke Harper and Randy Orton with him. Wyatt said that AA hasn’t faced all the tag teams and Randy said they were a family. Wyatt added that next week, Wyatt and Randy will face them.
Analysis: That was likely taped on Sunday because Orton went home to be with his wife, who just gave birth to a baby girl. Tag team turmoil is usually a one night thing, but apparently it extends to next week. Wyatt and Orton are likely going to win that. Maybe WWE will have this Wyatt/Orton rivalry last longer than I thought. Orton will probably turn face leading to a WrestleMania match. I thought it would be sooner.
Backstage in the office, Daniel Bryan talked with James Ellsworth. It led to Ellsworth saying he’s going to fight and said that any man with two legs has a fighting chance to climb a ladder. Dean Ambrose showed up win a Mountie costume. Ellsworth left. Shane walked in to say that Ambrose’s behavior is disrespectful and insubordinate. Shane said he’s going to leave before he does something he regrets. Ambrose told Bryan: “The Mountie always gets his man!” The crowd cheered as Bryan tried to contain his laughter.
Analysis: Good job by Ambrose busting out the Mountie line to end the segment.
A commercial for 205 Live aired. It starts next week on WWE Network after Smackdown.
Images were shown from Survivor Series.
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
Alexa Bliss is on commentary for this match. It was an even start to the match. Otunga wondered why Bliss got another title match since she lost and Bliss pointed out that her foot was on the rope. Lynch climbed the ropes, Natalya grabbed her while she was there and she nailed a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. It went to break two minutes in.
Back from break, Natalya had Lynch locked in the abdominal stretch. Natalya nailed her spinning clothesline for a two count. Natalya hit a Michinoku Driver for two as she sat on Lynch. Lynch started her comeback with a back elbow, two clotheslines and the leg lariat. Lynch hit the straight fire forearm. Natalya tripped her up to counter the Disarmer attempt. Rollup gets two. Bexplex by Lynch. Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, Lynch tripped her up and applied the Disarmer for the submission win after about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: Becky Lynch
Analysis: **1/2 A solid match as usual from them. They are two of the better technical wrestlers among the women in WWE, so when they do reversals and submission moves they make them look realistic. No surprise that Lynch got the win since she’s facing Bliss at TLC. It’s nice to see a champion win non-title since it is so rare these days.
As soon as the match was over, Bliss went into the ring and hit Lynch with a DDT. Bliss posed over the fallen Lynch and left looking happy.
Analysis: Cheap attack by the heel Bliss, which is what you’d expect from her to add head to their storyline.
A WWEShop video aired with Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley shilling merchandise.
Styles vs. Ellsworth still to come in a ladder match. Kane vs. Corbin is up next.
Daniel Bryan was alone in his office talking on a phone. The Miz showed up with Maryse holding an ice pack on his face. Miz said Bryan will probably end up giving Ziggler another IC Title match. Bryan said Ziggler deserves a rematch. Miz said this is the last time and Bryan agreed, noting that win or lose those two are going their separate ways. Bryan said it would be a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title.
Analysis: They’ve had several different kinds of matches, but not a Ladder Match in their series yet. It makes sense as a way to end the feud for good.
Carmella was on the phone in the locker room. Nikki Bella showed up to take her phone away. Nikki accused Carmella of attacking her. Carmella said she always took credit for her attacks. Carmella told her that Nikki has a lot of enemies, so maybe it was Charlotte, Dana Brooke or somebody from the E Network. Nikki let her know that Daniel Bryan put them in a match at TLC with No Disqualification as the stipulation. Carmella left while Nikki taunted her wondering if she was scared.
Analysis: I think it’s pretty silly that Nikki doesn’t think that Natalya was the one that attacked her since Natalya was the coach and replaced her in the match. They didn’t even mention that possibility during this show. As for their TLC match, I think Nikki is likely going over there, but we could see Natalya attack Nikki to prevent her from winning.
Kane made his entrance, Baron Corbin made his entrance and they went to break with about 20 minutes left in the show.
Kane vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin rocked Kane with a punch early on. Kane came back with an uppercut punch of his own. Forearm smash by Corbin sent Kane out of the ring. Kalisto showed up with a springboard dropkick, so the ref called for the bell. Kalisto left the ring to avoid a Corbin attack. It went about two minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Baron Corbin
Analysis: 1/4* If they timed the commercial better they would have been able to show more action. Instead, it was barely a match.
Post match, Kane hit a Chokeslam on Corbin. He left. Kalisto grabbed a chair. Corbin left the ring. Corbin went into the ring, Kalisto threw the chair at him and hit a Van Daminator kick to send Corbin out of the ring.
Analysis: As soon a I saw that, I thought that would mean their Survivor Series match (not yet announced) will be a Chairs Match. That was confirmed by Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack.
Styles vs. Ellsworth in a Contract Ladder Match is up next.
They advertised Talking Smack after the show.
James Ellsworth was already in the ring. AJ Styles made his entrance.
Contract Ladder Match: AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth
This is not for Styles’ WWE World Title. There’s a contract hanging above the ring with ladders all around ringside.
Ellsworth started with a neckbrace, but Styles took it off and kicked him out of the ring. Styles set up a ladder in the ring while Ellsworth was still down on the floor. Styles hit a backbreaker while Ellsworth had a back brace on. Stiff kick to the ribs by Styles. Styles climbed up the ladder with Ellsworth trapped under it. Dean Ambrose showed up in Ottawa Senators NHL hockey gear. Ambrose hit a clothesline on Styles to send him out of the ring. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Ambrose. Styles climbed the ladder, Ellsworth shoved it and Styles landed over the top rope and onto the floor outside the ring. That was a nasty looking bump there where Styles could have got hurt pretty bad. Ellsworth hit the No Chin Music kick. Styles’ left foot was caught between the ropes in the Shawn Michaels spot. Ellsworth climbed up and pulled down the contract to win the match after six minutes.
Winner: James Ellsworth
The win means that Ellsworth is on the Smackdown Live roster and also gets a future championship opportunity.
Analysis: *1/2 It was a comedy match like their two other matches. Styles shows how good he is by finding ways to make these matches feel entertaining. Styles losing to Ellsworth three times hurts his title reign because fans think of Ellsworth as a joke and having a credible performer like Styles losing to him in seven minutes makes Styles look bad.
After the match, JBL was ranting about how only in a country like Bizarro Land Canada can a loser like Ellsworth earn a contract. Ellsworth was in tears as he held the contract. JBL freaked out as Ambrose and Ellsworth celebrated on the announce table. The show went off with Ellsworth celebrating with Ambrose.
Analysis: I thought JBL’s ranting was pretty good there. He’s the heel announcer whining about this loser performer like Ellsworth finding a way to get a WWE deal.
I don’t mind the Ellsworth stuff, but there are people like Apollo Crews that have yet to have a storyline. Is it smart for WWE to invest so much time in Ellsworth when there are people on the roster doing nothing? I know it’s about furthering Styles vs. Ambrose, but I think it’s hurting Styles. It’s typical WWE where they are doing too much of the same thing and doing the Ellsworth thing to the point that it’s getting annoying.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
2. Dean Ambrose
3. American Alpha
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2016 Average: 6.08
2016 Average Post Brand Split (July 26): 6.31 - Raw is at 5.86
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 6, 6.5, 7, 4.5
2016 High: 8 (August 23/September 27)
2016 Low: 4 (January 21)
It gets a 6.5 out of 10.
This was a wild show with all kind of attacks and weird things happening after matches as well. The good thing is they added five matches to TLC and all of them have been built up pretty well too.
I give Raw the slight edge over Smackdown this week in part because the in-ring action
Here’s the TLC lineup for the show that takes place on December 4.
WWE World Championship: AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
No Disqualification: Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
Chairs Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
That’s it as far as official matches go. The Tag Title match will likely be Slater/Rhyno defending against Orton/Wyatt.
That’s all for now. Go Toronto Raptors. Go Los Angeles Rams.
John Canton – [email protected]