Welcome to SmackDown Live! Coming to us tonight from Newark, New Jersey, we open the show with… James Ellsworth. I’m so glad that such top talent is opening the show. We briefly recap the events of last week, where Ellsworth hit No Chin Music on AJ Styles and then broke down as he realized that he so gravely disappointed Dean Ambrose.
Ellsworth still looks devastated as he stands in the ring. The crowd is chanting “Ellsworth”, but that’s not much of a comfort. He’s here to say goodbye to us, and he’s barely eaten or slept, and doesn’t think he will until he gets the opportunity to apologize to Dean for his interference in that match. Dean comes out on cue, and tells Ellsworth that he’s thought plenty over the past week about ripping his head off with his bare hands, but he can’t say no to Ellsworth’s puppy-dog eyes and E.T. the extra-terrestrial face, and Ellsworth doesn’t owe him an apology. Didn’t Martin make that joke on the Mark Remark this week?
Dean comforts Ellsworth as he apologizes, and tells him that it’s okay provided that he never, ever, ever, ever gets in Dean’s way again. AJ interrupts as Ellsworth fires off another apology, and tells Ellsworth that he can’t believe he’s apologizing to Dean. The crowd takes up in an “AJ Styles” chant, and AJ snaps that he knows his name, but he’s got something to say.
AJ explains to Ellsworth that Dean has just been using him, manipulating him, and that AJ has shown him more respect than Dean has. This ends up nearly being a punch-up between AJ and Dean, but Ellsworth puts himself between them. That doesn’t last long – AJ just shoves Ellsworth into Dean, then throws Ellsworth out of the ring ands hits a Phenomenal Forearm on Dean.
Backstage, Dean and Ellsworth are arguing and Daniel Bryan has to come break it up. Ellsworth is still apologizing to Dean, and Dean is trying to tell him there’s nothing he can do to fix or change it. Daniel offers him another match against AJ Styles, another shot at becoming Number One Contender, but also assures him that this is his last chance no matter what. Daniel also tells Ellsworth that he’s more than welcome to hang around backstage during filming and watch, but he is under no circumstances to go to ringside at any point tonight. Ellsworth looks up at the camera like a baby turtle. What a poppet.
MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Kane – No Disqualification Match
What is up with all these No DQ matches lately? There seems to be more than usual. It’s like how W2K17 keeps generating Falls Count Anywhere matches even though it’s not a particularly common stipulation.
- Orton off to a quick start, with both men tumbling out of the ring and Orton throwing Kane into the ringpost and then picking up a chair.
- Kane gets his hands on the chair and throws Randy back into the ring.
- Irish whip from Orton, reversed, and Kane hits a sidewalk slam.
- Kane preparing for the chokeslam, when the arena goes dark and the Wyatts show up. Randy is preparing for the RKO, but Kane counters and starts attacking the Wyatts.
- Kane back in the ring, gets his hand on Randy for the chokeslam, but the Wyatts follow him in. Kane kicks Harper away, and goes to chokeslam Bray, but Randy hits an RKO for a three-count.
Orton and Harper stare each other down, and as Kane tries to get up, Harper knocks him back down with a clothesline and then Bray hits Sister Abigail. Randy Orton is still standing and watching silently. As Bray kneels down next to Kane, Randy climbs up onto the turnbuckle and poses. The crowd doesn’t seem to know how to respond.
Baron Corbin is in a black and white cage. Corbin, Hell in a Cell just happened. You missed it. This leads into a video package of him riding motorcycles and generally being Corbin at us.
MATCH: Carmella & Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella & Becky Lynch
The two feuds collide in a tag-team match this week! Next week, Becky is defending her title against Alexa, but for now we’re seeing them all together. Nikki seems to have redone her hair; it looks different than I remember.
- Nikki and Carmella start in the ring together, but Carmella quickly rolls out of the ring, then almost tauntingly tags in Alexa.
- Waistlock from Nikki, but Alexa breaks the hold and tries to push Becky off the apron. Some messy action as all four women briefly get involved in a skirmish, but Becky and Nikki stand strong as Alexa and Carmella fall out of the ring.
- When we’re back from commercial, it’s Carmella and Becky in the ring together, with Becky with the upper hand. Forearm into the corner, then a springboard sidekick on Carmella.
- Becky with a backpress, but Alexa breaks up the pin.
- Alexa tags in, and Becky goes for a cover but Carmella is distracting the referee so there’s no count.
- Becky gets up to protest, and Alexa locks in a sleeper hold, then transitions to a DDT for a successful three-count.
Someone tries to come and interview Alexa after the match, but Alexa simply says “no” and takes the microphone to interview Carmella, asking her who she’s looking to humiliate at Survivor Series. Is it side ponytail fangirl hugger Bayley? Daddy’s girl Charlotte? Well, not a one of the RAW women can hang with the SmackDown women, so it’s rather a moot point.
It’s Carmella’s turn to ask the questions next, as she asks Alexa what her strategy is for her championship match. Alexa doesn’t exactly talk strategy, but she does claim to be the wicked witch of the WWE and tells Becky, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your SmackDown women’s title too”. Her evil cackle isn’t the best I’ve ever heard, but it’s not bad either.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan confirms that the SmackDown women’s team will be Nikki Bella, Carmella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Naomi. He and Shane are a little concerned that with the feuds going on that their team won’t be very strong, but Natalya offers to coach the team to help with that – Alexa and Carmella look up to her, and she gets on well with Nikki and Naomi on Total Divas, so Becky is the only one she clashes with. Natalya promises to turn the kittens into lionesses as she leaves.
MATCH: The Spirit Squad vs. American Alpha – Survivor Series Qualifier Match
I absentmindedly sing along with the Spirit Squad music as it’s playing when we come back from commercial, and I really have a problem, as it turns out. I just sing along with everything. Alpha make their way out to join in, then we’re straight into business.
- Gable and Kenny start things off, Gable with a waistlock on Kenny. Kenny breaks the hold and hits a scoopslam on Gable.
- Mikey tags in, with a one-count cover, then a rear chinlock. Gable back to a vertical base.
- Commentary reminds us that Jordan and Gable have no issues with cheerleaders, which is great, but David Otunga tells us that he’d rather have Alpha representing SmackDown than “the cheerleaders from Bring It On”. I don’t see why. I love Bring It On.
- Jordan tags in, dropkicking Mikey,
- Kenny tags back in, for a tag-team assault on Jordan, but Gable on the apron trips up Kenny as he rebounds off the ropes.
- Jordan tags in Gable for Grand Amplitude, and it’s all over!
Alpha has joined the Hype Bros and Beauty and the Manbeast in representing SmackDown Live at Survivor Series! Only two spots left to fill, and still the Usos, Breezango and the Vaudevillains to fight for it.
As an idle aside, something that was drawn to my attention yesterday; with the addition of the Spirit Squad, the heels now outnumber the faces in the SmackDown tagteam division. Is there an imminent face-turn for perhaps Breezango or the Vaudevillains?
It’s time for Miz TV! Miz and Maryse are now decked out in red, apparently no longer in mourning. Maryse introduces her husband as the most beautiful man on Earth, and I still hold that there are more beautiful men just on the SmackDown roster, but it’s so sweet to see how these two evil beauties love each other so much. Miz introduces his guest for today, Daniel Bryan, who comes out to huge “Yes!” chants.
Miz explains to Daniel that he gets along with his guests on Miz TV, unlike on Talking Smack, and Daniel tells Miz that if he’s going to be passive-aggressive, he can always cancel Miz TV. That’s not what Miz wants to talk about, though; he wants to talk about the men’s SmackDown Survivor Series team. Daniel and Shane have made a decision – Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and… AJ Styles!
This is not the news that Miz wanted to hear, and he’s outraged that he didn’t make the team. Not to mention, he’s upset that Daniel Bryan came on his show, in front of his wife, to humiliate him by telling him that. The crowd laughs and chants, and Miz reminds them that when his hand goes up their mouths go shut, and they actually quiet a little as he continues to yell at Daniel Bryan about how he needs to make the team. Daniel tells him that he was considered, but that they need superstars that aren’t afraid to fight, and Miz has proven that he is not that person.
Miz screams back that Daniel is the one who is scared to fight, and he puts his arm around Maryse as he tells him, rather more quietly, that Daniel has nothing left that he’s any good at except moping around. Daniel knocks over a chair in anger, and Miz rolls out of the ring rather than face him. Daniel shouts at him that Miz might as well just go sit behind the commentator’s desk and run his mouth and leave the wrestling to the superstars who are actually willing to fight and good at it. If he’s not willing to fight Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title, there’s dozens of superstars in the locker room who will, and Ziggler will defend the title in an open challenge now.
Curt Hawkins comes out to challenge Ziggler for the title, this being a challenge that is tailor-made for his special set of skills.
MATCH: Curt Hawkins vs. Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship Match
Hawkins and Ziggler circle each other, and Hawkins drops his cane outside the ring as the bell rings.
- Ziggler with a superkick, then a three-count.
Renee comes out to interview Ziggler after the match. Dolph brags about how gorgeous he looks with the Intercontinental Championship over his shoulder, then announces that he’s willing to defend the title any time anyone wants to come for it. Miz looks positively mutinous.
Dean is backstage, and he again explains that he wants to take responsibility for what went wrong with James Ellsworth last week because he shouldn’t have let him come to ringside. He caps this off by telling Ellsworth to go eat some Halloween candy, and not to interfere in his match.
In a dark room somewhere, Bray and Harper are talking to Randy Orton. Bray tells Orton that he’s a snake, a serpent, the devil himself, and with credentials like that, he’s more than welcome in the Wyatt family. Orton says he was born with the devil whispering in his ear, and he’s done trying to fight it, and that he understands now that Bray Wyatt is a god. Orton’s eyes flash, and it’s time for him to grow an enormous beard, I suppose.
MATCH: The Usos vs. The Headbangers – Survivor Series Qualifier Match
The Usos attack before the match even begins, and the bell rings quickly to start the match officially.
- Jey Uso with a Samoan Drop on Thrasher.
- Both men tag in their partners, and Mosh drops Jimmy with a clothesline then whips him into the ringpost.
- Mosh with an attempted cover on Jimmy, but Jey breaks it up.
- Quick roll-up from Jimmy while Jey causes a distraction at ringside, and the Usos have qualified!
Only one spot left open, and Breezango and the Vaudevillains still left to fight for the spot.
MATCH: AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose
JBL tells us yet again that Dean Ambrose just does stuff. I haven’t heard that line for a while, though perhaps I’ve just been tuning it out. I did not miss it. Ellsworth has left the building and been banned from ringside, so hopefully this match will go ahead with fewer shenanigans.
- The bell rings, and Dean immediately pushes AJ out of the ring from behind, then dives out after him.
- AJ thrown into the announce table, then over it, then into the barricade. Dean is not holding back much.
- Back in the ring, and Dean backs AJ into the corner with strikes.
- Sunset flip from AJ gets a two-count, then a small package from Dean gets a two-count.
- Dean locks in the Cloverleaf, but AJ is able to make a rope break.
- Dean puts AJ up on the top rope for an avalanche butterfly superplex for a two-count.
- AJ back into the corner, then Dean rebounds him off the ropes. AJ able to counter Dean’s offense into the Calf Crusher; Dean makes a rope break.
- Dean scrambles out of the ring, then as AJ follows him, sends him over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area with a forearm.
- Back in the ring, two count for Ambrose, then a back elbow.
- Dean misses with his aerial offense off the turnbuckle, and seems to land badly on his knee.
- When we’re back from commercial, AJ sets up for a springboard move – either the 450 or the Phenomenal Forearm – but Dean counters with a dropkick, sending AJ to the outside.
- Dean off the top rope to the outside with an elbow drop, then AJ thrown back into the ring.
- Dean looks for Dirty Deeds, but AJ counters. Dean comes back with three clotheslines, each of which knocks AJ off his feet.
- AJ goes for the Calf Crusher again, but Dean rolls out before he can lock in. Dean attempts to suplex AJ, but AJ reverses into a suplex into the corner.
- Facebuster from Dean gets a two-count.
- James Ellsworth runs in from the crowd as if from nowhere, and starts cheerleading for Dean. Dean tries to shoo him away, but AJ hits a Pele Kick as Dean turns around. Dean kicks out of the cover at two.
- Security charge in to chase Ellsworth away. Rollup from Dean while AJ is watching, but AJ kicks out.
- AJ looking for the inverted DDT, but Dean blocks. AJ locks in the Calf Crusher, and Dean struggles, but eventually makes the rope break.
- Ellsworth runs back in, still chased by security, and AJ looks frankly perplexed until he jumps off the apron and throws Ellsworth into the announce table.
- AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Dean kicks him out of the air and hits Dirty Deeds for a three-count! Dean is our number one contender.
Ellsworth is dragged away from the ring by security, but he’s smiling to himself; he’s made up for last week.