Welcome to SmackDown Live! No Mercy was a bit of a shamble for me, what with battling a headcold and also being on a plane, but fortunately the show today opens with a recap of the important events of the show. Dolph Ziggler is our Intercontinental Champion, AJ Styles retained the World Championship – it’s a good time for SmackDown!
Ziggler makes his way out to the ring to start the show proper, having traded out his pink tights from No Mercy for his classic black ones. The crowd takes up a “You deserve it” chant, and Ziggler takes the mic to give a very heartfelt promo about how he didn’t know if he was going to even still be here today. The fact that he stops for an aside about spray-tanning Zack Ryder’s back does not detract from the fact that it’s very emotional to hear him talk about nearly leaving WWE, even if I feel like someone needs to explain to him that there’s a time and a place for that kind of discussion.
Miz and Maryse come out to interrupt, both decked out in black formalwear with sunglasses. They’re bowing their heads solemnly as they enter the ring, which Miz explains is because they are mourning the death of the Intercontinental Championship. Miz wants his title back, because that’s how this story is meant to go – the hero gets the gold and the girl. Ziggler disparages Miz’s ‘very loud’ speech about the championship, then teases him for crying about losing the championship. I can’t actually hate the Miz right now; as the crowd erupts in a ‘You Were Crying’ chant, I actually feel bad for the guy, especially as he takes the mic and explains that it’s because he has passion and he was despairing for losing everything that he worked so hard for, despairing for the fact that the title he worked so hard to make credible is now back in the toilet.
Can we just… can we just steer clear of teasing men for being emotional? That’s not a funny punchline.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Spirit Squad – Handicap Match
I’m alarmed as the Spirit Squad come out, and announce that they’ll be facing Ziggler in a handicap match. I was still busy being mad about the fact that ‘haha, you were crying’ was used as a punchline by a face.
- When we’re back from commercial, Dolph goes for a superkick, but his foot is caught and he goes to the mat with a clothesline.
- Ziggler thrown into the ropes, then rebounds and locks in the sleeper hold. Mikey backs him into the corner to break the hold, and Ziggler slides out under the rope and takes Kenny off the apron.
- Mikey gets Ziggler in a fireman’s carry, but Ziggler slips out. Kenny tags in, and Dolph takes them both down with a double DDT.
- Superkick from Ziggler to Kenny, and Ziggler gets the three-count!
Miz leaps into the ring as soon as the bell rings, landing a series of strikes on Ziggler then hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale. He beckons the two Spirit Squad guys over, who prepare to lay a bigger beatdown on the collapsed Ziggler, but Beauty and the Man-Beast come running up the ramp to make the save and Miz, Maryse and the Spirit Squad make their way up the ramp.
Slater and Rhyno help Dolph to his feet and they stand tall together as the heels leave.
Becky and Alexa is confirmed for November 8th in Glasgow! I was concerned that she would be relinquishing her title tonight, but it seems that they are standing by her facing Bliss in a month’s time.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are telling us about Survivor Series! SmackDown is challenging RAW to a five-on-five women’s match at Survivor Series, which the crowd seems to react very positively to.
MATCH: Carmella vs. Naomi
Speaking of the SmackDown women’s division, Carmella makes her way to the ring after her loss to Nikki Bella at No Mercy. Earlier tonight, Carmella paid Nikki back for this by assaulting her after a quick interview with Renee Young. Referees came to escort her away after she finished her assault, which is interesting timing. But tonight, on the show, she’s facing Naomi! Before the bell rings, Carmella is on her with an assault, but the referee separates her as we cut to commercial.
- The match is underway when we come back, with Naomi in a rear chinlock and the crowd chanting “How you doin’?”
- Naomi powers out, but Carmella is able to lock in again. Naomi powers to her feet again and sends Carmella into the turnbuckle to break the hold.
- Alexa Bliss awkwardly watching at an angle backstage. As you do.
- Split-legged jawbreaker from Naomi, then a series of kicks.
- Naomi up onto the turnbuckle for a crossbody, but Carmella kicks out at two.
- Carmella drags Naomi by her hair into the middle of the ring, but is distracted as Nikki makes her way out to the ring.
- Naomi capitalizes on Carmella’s distraction with a roll-up, for a three-count!
Nikki leaps into the ring to attack Carmella, and Carmella makes a hasty escape through the crowd. Three-minute women’s match, though with no idea how much we missed during the commercial break.
Backstage, Charly Caruso is asking Alexa Bliss her opinion on this. Alexa claims that Naomi beat her at No Mercy because she was expecting to have been facing Becky instead, and wasn’t prepared for a motion sickness rave. Daniel tells her that she can face Naomi next week, then, fully prepared.
MATCH: Chad Gable (with Jason Jordan) vs. Jimmy Uso (with Jey Uso)
We’re straight into the match when we come back from commercial! Unfortunately, I had some problems with this match and was not able to closely watch. This seems to be some kind of running gag with American Alpha matches, and it’s in no way intentional. They just seem to always appear on the show at the exact moment everyone in the world decides they need to take my attention away from the broadcast.
Gable puts on a good show against Jimmy, and seems to be in control, but some blatant heel work wins the day for the Usos; Jey leans through the ropes to support Jimmy with his feet during a cover, and the referee doesn’t notice for the three-count. Jimmy Uso wins!
The Hype Bros are in a locker room somewhere. They are trying to be hype, which is not much of an effort, talking about setting their sights on the tag-team titles, until the Ascension walks in and stares at them. The Ascension are decidedly not hyped.
I’m not going to say it lest you mistake me for a broken record, but you know full well what I’m thinking.
AJ Styles comes out to give a victory speech. He needs to just rub it in to everyone that he beat Dean Ambrose and he beat John Cena and he beat them both at the same time. But he’s going to be a fighting champion, and there’s someone of main event quality he wants to fight, so they should come out!
Instead, Dean comes out to point out that he knows that he can beat AJ Styles, but AJ doesn’t care. Dean might be able to beat AJ, but AJ did beat Dean, so that’s the important thing. AJ Styles beckons to the ramp again, and James Ellsworth comes out. Dean is baffled and entertained and Ellsworth looks faintly terrified, but apparently this is happening.
Dean finally just sort of rolls his eyes and tells AJ, “Well, Ellsworth 3:16 says if you got two hands, you got a fighting chance” and goes to settle himself at commentary. AJ tells him to go away, but Daniel Bryan comes out and announces that Dean doesn’t have to go away because he’s going to be special guest referee for this match. Dean takes a perplexingly long time to steal the referee’s shirt and then empty his pockets, before he finally allows the match to begin.
MATCH: AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth – Dean Ambrose as special guest referee
I… I don’t even know what this match is. I mean, I literally just wrote what it is in the headline. But I don’t know what this match is.
- When we’re back, the match is well underway. No one is surprised that AJ is backing Ellsworth into the corner with strikes.
- AJ goes for a strike on Ellsworth, but Dean catches his arm and tells him that closed fists are not allowed in WWE product. AJ argues with him, and Ellsworth comes out of the corner to strike AJ.
- Ellsworth runs from AJ’s retaliation, and Dean trips AJ over. Ellsworth tries to go for a cover, which Dean counts far too quickly, but AJ kicks out anyway.
- AJ locks in the Calf Crusher on Ellsworth, and Ellsworth starts to frantically tap out while Dean takes a quick phone call.
- AJ releases the Calf Crusher to ask what the hell Dean thinks he’s doing, and Ellsworth rolls out of the ring.
- AJ follows Ellsworth out of the ring and Dean commences the fastest ten count I have ever heard. They get back in the ring just in time, but then Dean wanders away to go flirt with a woman in the crowd.
- AJ tries to get Dean to come back, and he sort of ambles back to the ring as AJ hits a Styles Clash on Ellsworth. Now it’s time for the longest three-count I’ve ever seen in my life.
- Dean hits AJ with a Dirty Deeds, which I don’t think is a legitimate play, but I’m not a referee so I can’t say for sure.
- Dean places Ellsworth on top of AJ for a cover, but AJ kicks out. Dean hits AJ with a second Dirty Deeds, then places Ellsworth on top of AJ again for a very fast three-count. Ellsworth wins!
I still don’t know what happened. Don’t even ask me.
Randy Orton is backstage asking Kane if he’ll help him take out Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper, because he’s tired of living in Bray Wyatt’s world. I’m still shocked that Bray beat him at No Mercy, I really am.
AJ is backstage threatening Daniel Bryan because of how the match against Ellsworth panned out. Shane shuts him down, and AJ storms off, still furious. Quietly, Daniel comments that he has an idea, but does not yet elaborate.
MATCH: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Kane & Randy Orton
This match has taken a very long time to get started, with two commercial breaks between the ‘up next’ and the bell actually ringing. Still, as Randy Orton poses on the turnbuckle, we are finally ready to get underway.
- Harper and Kane start things off together in the ring. Kane is dominating Harper, but Harper makes the tag to Wyatt swiftly.
- Kane with Wyatt in the corner for a series of strikes, then Wyatt rebounds off the ropes into a boot.
- Wyatt out of the ring and Orton sends him headfirst into the apron. When Wyatt gets back in the ring, Kane grabs him in chokeslam grip, but Wyatt breaks the hold and rolls out of the ring.
- When we’re back from commercial, it’s Orton and Harper in the ring, with Orton hitting Harper with a superplex.
- Kane tags in, clotheslining Harper then hitting a sidewalk slam. However, Kane tries to get cute by hitting a dropkick on Harper then grabbing both Bray and Luke for a chokeslam; they break the hold.
- Harper hits a dropkick of his own, then Bray throws Kane into the barricade.
- Back in the ring, Bray with a running senton on Kane, then tagging in Harper again.
- Harper superkicks Kane, then rains down a series of boots in the corner.
- Bray back into the fray, with some boots of his own, then Harper back in, but Kane hits a DDT on Harper.
- Both men scramble to their corner, and Orton takes Bray down with a pair of clotheslines.
- Powerslam by Randy Orton, then the action moves outside the ring. Bray almost thrown into the announce table, but he breaks away and Harper ends up thrown into the commentators, then Bray into the steel steps.
- Back in the ring, Orton with a DDT on Bray, then pounds the mat. Kane and Harper fighting on the outside.
- Orton sets up for the RKO, but Bray pushes Randy into a superkick from Harper. Bray misses with the senton, however.
- As Orton slowly tries to make his way to tag in Kane, the arena goes dark. When we’re back, Kane isn’t on the apron anymore – it’s Harper!
- Randy looks shocked, and confused, and turns around right into a Sister Abigail from Bray for a three-count.
Kane is still nowhere to be seen, but Randy is suffering on the mat and Bray kneels in front of Luke Harper on the ramp. He exclaims, “Follow the buzzards!” as Mauro begs to know where Kane went, and we cut away.