Welcome to SmackDown Live! James Ellsworth is part of the opening sequence now, which is either new or I just haven’t noticed it before! The ramp is decorated with a number of tables, ladders and chairs in honour of the upcoming PPV of the same name. Renee Young starts us off in the ring, wearing a very cute leather jacket in preparation for a contract signing for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Alexa Bliss comes down to the ring first, and covers her ears as Becky’s music hits so our champion can make her way down to the ring. As Renee starts to lead the women towards the signing, Alexa snaps back that they can take it from there but will let her know if they need bad fashion advice. Excuse you, Alexa. I love Renee’s fashion sense. Even the fashion police could only ticket her based on her hair. Becky counters that it’s a bit rich for Alexa to criticize people’s fashion tastes when her aesthetic is basically Harley Quinn, then compares Alexa to her four year old cousin, who is also a blonde who loves glitter and has tantrums when she doesn’t get her way.
Becky comically pretends like she can’t see Alexa when Alexa says that there’s always someone better, right in front of her. Both women sign the contract, then Becky shushes Alexa and tells her to answer a quick question before they move on. The question is a right hook, then a suplex, then Alexa into the turnbuckle for a series of kicks before Becky clears the signing table and props Alexa up on the turnbuckle for a superplex. Alexa fights back with elbows, and knocks Becky herself back through the table.
When we come back from commercial, we replay exactly the same sequence again. WWE, how can you have so little faith in us? You trust us to remember Jericho and Fandango at WrestleMania 29, and to pop for a Shield reunion, but we can’t recall the women’s champion going through a table literally two minutes ago?
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler & Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin & The Miz (with Maryse)
We recap the basics of the two feuds; Dolph Ziggler and the Miz have been battling over the Intercontinental Title for the last couple of months, leading up to a ladder match at TLC. Meanwhile, Baron Corbin and Kalisto are having a chairs match because they hate each other. I have an issue with Baron Corbin in a tag team match on principle, but as Miz and Maryse make their way out to the ring I’m just filled with a certain joy. They’re my second favourite couple in the WWE, honestly.
- Corbin and Ziggler start in the ring together. Dolph knocks Miz off the apron to start off with, then Corbin knocks him to the mat with a clothesline and we cut to commercial.
- Ziggler whipped into the corner when we’re back, then Kalisto knocked off the apron as well and Ziggler thrown over the ropes.
- Miz tags in, then pulls out a ladder and throws Ziggler into it. Ziggler manages to catch himself before he hits it, and DDTs Miz on the outside, following up with a superkick.
- Ziggler and Miz manage to only just beat the count back into the ring, and Miz tries to stop Ziggler making the tag, but falls just short.
- Springboard corkscrew from Kalisto, for a two-count.
- Big boot from the Miz drops Kalisto, then he’s back outside the ring to take his anger out on Dolph Ziggler. Kalisto suicide dives after him, as Ziggler superkicks Miz on the outside.
- Maryse knocks the ladder over onto Ziggler, as Kalisto gets a rollup on the Miz in the ring. Corbin comes in with a chair, and Kalisto and Ziggler win by disqualification!
Kalisto and Ziggler both look broken, neither really looking like a victor in any more than a technical sense, as Baron Corbin and Miz celebrate at least being on their feet as the match ends.
Backstage somewhere, Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are claiming they’re totally prepared for the Wyatt family. I can’t imagine any way that might backfire. They don’t care if Bray has the whole world in his hands; they just want the tag team titles in their hands.
Dark Wyatt time! Randy says he used to be just like American Alpha, blinded by titles and being the best, and now together they can prove that they have a bond which cannot be broken. Bray tells Luke Harper to send Kane back to hell tonight, because Randy is his favourite now. His Wyatt beard is coming along well, I am happy to report.
MATCH: Carmella vs. ??
Carmella makes her way out to the ring first, and the crowd takes up in a ‘How you doing’ chant for her. She makes a public apology to John Cena for what she’s about to do to his girlfriend – popping her ‘Bella twins’ out of her back and ruining her face – which is… weird and creepy, honestly. Nikki Bella runs out to attack Carmella, and someone on commentary says something about how you shouldn’t talk trash about a woman’s boyfriend because this is what happens. Uh, Carmella was trash-talking Nikki, not John. That was in no way about Cena, honestly. Nikki is apparently not Carmella’s scheduled opponent, but she laid such a beating on Carmella that Carmella just stumbles up the ramp unable to compete, while Nikki stands strong in the ring.
I just really wish I didn’t know, with still more than hour to go of the show, that this means we’re not actually getting a women’s match tonight. This isn’t a spoiler, I just recognize the pattern.
Up next we have a returning segment – it’s the Ambrose Asylum! James Ellsworth is the special guest for tonight and he’s just the most excitable little puppy I’ve ever seen. First of all, Dean would like to know why Ellsworth has such terrible boots given that he’s a WWE superstar now. Dean, you shared a single bed room with Roman and Seth because you forgot that you could afford a real hotel room. Stop throwing shade. Also those shoes are amazing.
Anyway, Ellsworth says he owes Dean, and at first Dean says that’s not necessary, then admits that he wouldn’t mind if Ellsworth washed his car and bought him a six-pack. Moving on, Dean asks Ellsworth if he’ll be backing him or AJ at TLC, and Ellsworth admits it would be an honour to fight Dean for the title, but he has already beaten AJ so he’d kind of like him to retain, too. AJ comes out to interrupt because he doesn’t like it when Ellsworth is happy, and stands himself on the announce table to trash-talk Ellsworth some. Dean points out that the guy that AJ is trashtalking has beaten him several times, and AJ counters that’s just because Dean helped him to make a joke out of AJ, and if Dean doesn’t start to show him respect, AJ will beat it out of him.
There’s a long list of things that AJ is going to do to spite Dean, and Dean concedes that AJ is extremely physically talented but is really, really easily psyched out. AJ counters with the tried and tested method of throwing Dean into a ladder and laying down assault on both him and Ellsworth. Ellsworth sets up like he’s planning to hit No Chin Music, but AJ drops him with ease and throws a ladder at him instead. This all goes on for honestly an uncomfortably long time, with AJ hitting Ellsworth with the Styles Clash from the steps onto the floor. As referees and then medics rush over to help him, my mind is just suddenly full of memories of that time that Ellsworth took the Styles Clash all wrong and I hope he’s legitimately okay.
Dean is walking with his cute little bestie to the ambulance backstage, telling the paramedics how to do their jobs, and honestly I think that’s adorable.
MATCH: Kane vs. Luke Harper
Luke is here to send Kane back to hell as instructed. Also, it’s been an hour and fifteen minutes, and we are just now embarking on our second match of the show. Seriously, SmackDown?
- Collar and elbow tieup, then Harper with a side headlock.
- Shoulder block from Harper does absolutely nothing to Kane, who just stares back at him.
- Kane ducks a clothesline, then knocks Harper off his feet in turn.
- Harper with a series of uppercuts sending Kane into the corner, then they gesture at each other menacingly before Kane makes a grab for Harper and Harper ducks out of the ring instead.
- Harper climbs back into the ring to meet a big boot. Commentary makes some comment about ‘that Braun Strowman guy on RAW’ as though we’ve all just forgotten that Harper and Strowman used to be Wyatt family brothers.
- When we’re back from commercial, Harper has Kane on the ground in a headlock; Kane gets to his feet and breaks the hold with a jawbreaker.
- Harper avoids a chokeslam, then takes Kane off his feet with a kick for a two-count.
- Strikes from Harper, but then Kane hits a DDT. Both men get back to their feet, and Kane knocks Harper down with clotheslines, then a sidewalk slam for a two-count.
- Harper in the corner, and Kane comes in with a splash. Harper comes back with a dropkick.
- Kane now in the corner with Harper raining down elbows, but Kane picks him up for a powerbomb, and Harper kicks out just in time.
- Another chokeslam is avoided just in time, and Harper goes for the discus clothesline but that is also avoided.
- Kane up on the top rope, but Harper moves out of the way and hits a superkick as Kane lands. Kane kicks out at two.
- Superplex by Kane knocks both men off their feet. Both get back to their feet and there’s strikes back and forth before Kane finally hits the chokeslam for a three-count. Kane wins!
Kane celebrates with his pyro, as Harper lays in the middle of the ring and commentary wonders how Bray is going to feel about Harper failing him like this.
Backstage, Becky is icing her back as Renee comes to ask her if she’s okay. Becky explains that the doctors say she’s bruised up, but she doesn’t care if she has to wear an icepack until Sunday – she’s competing at TLC. Renee reports that Alexa has requested that their match be made a tables match. Becky doesn’t care, because she doesn’t care what kind of match it is, as long as they have a match.
MATCH: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton vs. American Alpha – Number One Contenders Match
Both teams make their way down to the ring, and we’re reminded that this match is to determine who beats Slater and Rhyno at TLC. Sorry, I mean, who faces Slater and Rhyno at TLC. My predictions are creeping through.
- Jordan and Randy starting things off, Jordan knocking Randy off balance then Randy knocking Jordan into the corner.
- Reversal on an Irish whip, and Randy hits the turnbuckle, then Jordan with an arm drag.
- Randy breaks the hold and tags in Bray; Jordan tries to go for a quick rollup, then a waistlock takedown before knocking Bray into the corner and tagging in Gable.
- Gable with several shoulders in the corner, then Jordan tags back in and American Alpha hits a double dropkick.
- Bray out of the ring clearing the announce table angrily, before making his way back into the ring. I miss a large portion of what happens next, but when we’re back, Gable and Randy are in the ring.
- Bray knocks Gable off the turnbuckle, and Randy looks rather smug as we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, it’s Gable and Bray, with Bray getting a quick two-count.
- Strikes back and forth on the apron, then Bray hits a DDT onto the apron and rolls both of them back in – but only for a quick one-count.
- Randy tags back in and tries for a quick cover, then transitions into a rear chinlock as Gable kicks out.
- Gable gets to his feet slowly as the crowd chant ‘RKO’.
- Gable breaks way, but takes a powerslam from Randy Orton. Commentary reminds us that Randy Orton was the legend killer, as we see Slater and Rhyno eating popcorn and watching.
- Dropkick from Gable knocks Bray off his feet as he tags in, then Gable goes to make the tag but Bray has managed to knock Jordan off the apron just in time.
- Randy tags back in, setting Gable up on the turnbuckle. Jordan distracts both the referee and Randy Orton a moment, and when Randy climbs up for the superplex Gable tries to fight him off but is unsuccessful – big superplex means they’re both struggling.
- Both Bray and Jordan tag in, and Jordan dropkicks Randy off the apron before taking Jordan down with an overhead belly-to-belly. Bray kicks out at two.
- Randy tries to interfere, but Jordan throws him out of the ring and Gable takes him out with a cannonball off the apron.
- Bray with a big clothesline then Jordan with a German suplex and he’s getting partly naked! The arena goes dark though, and when we come back, Harper has materialized at ringside.
- Jordan turns to look at Harper, and Bray picks him up for Sister Abigail. Gable interferes with a dropkick on Bray, then goes for Grand Amplitude, but Randy comes in with an RKO.
- Sister Abigail, and the Wyatts are going to TLC!
Harper joins Bray in the ring, as Randy climbs up onto the turnbuckle. Randy exposes his gorgeous body as Bray spreads his arms wide.
Andrea D’Marco asks Slater and Rhyno how they feel about facing Bray and Randy at TLC, but AJ comes in to say that no one cares about the tag team championships and to ask where his interview is. Rhyno steps up to go for AJ, but then Dean flies in, calling AJ a bastard and laying into him with strikes. Slater and Rhyno cheer Dean on, and that’s the moment that ends the go home show.
We’ll see you at TLC!