Smackdown Live Recap & Review
San Jose, California
Rolling off of this past Sunday’s so-so PPV, No Mercy, Smackdown kicks off with a review of the best match from that night, by bringing out Dolph Ziggler to kick off the show. The new intercontinental champion cut another fiery and passionate promo, before being once again interrupted by the Miz and his wife Maryse. In a great heel move Miz and Maryse come out dressed in all black, mourning Miz’s loss of the IC belt. Claiming the belt now to be dead and tainted by the mediocrity of Dolph Ziggler. Not sure if Miz was going off of a script, or shooting from the hip, but it was a great promo and proves once again why he’s arguably one of the top ten heels in the business. Sadly this great back and forth is ended with the Miz bringing out Mikey and Kenny from the Spirit Squad, to an entirely silent crowd. Finally a boo or two can be heard from the crowd, as the realization sinks in that the Spirit Squad are about to have a match, as Miz and Maryse join the commentators table.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Spirit Squad : Handicap Match
Dolph kicks the match off strongly, getting the jump on his former team mates, and throws Mikey from the ring, before clothes lining Kenny from the ring after wards ( I finally know which one is which. Still don’t know if that’s a good thing or not though). Dolph gets in some strong offense early on, before the Spirit Squad gets the better of him with the double team. The Spirit Squad get in their licks on Ziggler, briefly over powering him, but Ziggler eventually gets the upper hand, even getting in a double DDT. After sending Mikey flying from the ring, Dolph hits Kenny with a super kick, while Mauro Ronallo yells out OMG he killed Kenny. Dolph gets the win over Spirit Squad by pinning Kenny for the count. Immediately Miz attacks Ziggler after the match and Spirit Squad joins in, till Heath Slater and Rhyno come out for the save.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon announce their plans for this years upcoming Survivor Series. A five on five traditional Survivor Series match ups, composed of superstars from both Raw & Smackdown. The GM and Commissioner go on to propose three matches total. 5 on 5 men superstars. 5 on 5 tag teams battle. Then a 5 on 5 women superstars elimination match. If Raw agrees this might be the most exciting Survivor Series I’ve seen since the early 2000’s.
Carmella vs Naomi
Carmella jumps Naomi right as the match starts. Probably a little upset her intro was cut to show a backstage segment of Nikki Bella from earlier in the night. Carmella hides her shaky wrestling skills well by playing the rough heel. Wild strikes and kicks, and rough looking headlocks lend well to her new character. We get a shot of Alexa Bliss watching the match from backstage, as she’s still mad about her loss to Naomi from Sunday night. As Carmella is getting the better of Naomi, Nikki Bella comes down to the ring distracting Carmella. Naomi sneaks from behind and grabs Carmella in a roll up pin with bridge and gets the one, two, three. Nikki then crashes the ring, and proceeds to chase Carmella clear from the ring area, as she escapes through the crowd. After wards Alexa Bliss cuts a backstage interview talking smack about losing to Naomi. Daniel Bryan then comes out and makes a rematch between Alexa Bliss and Naomi for next week. Nice to see Naomi getting a strong push. With her new found entrance and costumes, maybe WWE creative will start to craft more of a character around her.
Jimmy Uso vs Chad Gable
Chad Gable starts off strong, showing off his mat wrestling skills with submission after submission on Jimmy’s right arm. Strong offense from Chad Gable through out this match. Lots of unique submissions, slams, and even some top turnbuckle moves. Gable has been very impressive in the ring, and out of him and Jordan, I feel Gable shows more personality when on the mic. With all of the recent solo matches, you can tell WWE is grooming Gable for something major for the future. In the end though Gable is defeated by Jimmy Uso who grabs Gable in a roll up, and gets the cheating assist from his bro Jey. This was a good quick match, that builds more on to this feud between The Uso’s and The Alpha’s.
Hype Bros in the locker room as Mojo Rawley starts speaking a bunch of nonsense. Gibberish actually, when he and Zack Ryder are interrupted by a glaring and silent Ascension. New face paint on, reminds you even more of their similarities to the Legion of Doom. Not a bad look for the guys, let’s see where they take it.
AJ Styles vs Mystery Opponent
AJ Styles kicks off the second half of Smackdown, coming out boasting about his win from No Mercy, exalting his self, stating his win was nothing but phenomenal. Smirking at the camera at his cheesy line. Styles announces his next opponent and out walks Dean Ambrose, leaving AJ looking surprised. Dean goes in on Styles and tells him he wont get out of his rematch, and he wont allow anyone to jump his spot in the title feud. Styles then says Ambrose is definitely not his opponent and again announces his opponent, and out walks James Ellsworth. After some back and forth between Styles and Ambrose, Dean Ambrose is made special guest referee by Daniel Bryan after AJ tries to kick Dean from ring side. Several comedic spots from Dean Ambrose as he plays the worst ref ever, gets good pops from the crowd. I’m really impressed though with James Ellsworth. Not only showing heart, but showing he can take a bump better than most, as AJ mercilessly pummels him in and out the ring repeatedly. AJ pins Ellsworth several times, but Dean Amborse fails to perform the count each time, annoying the champ even further. At one point Ellsworth gets hit with one of the scariest Styles clashes I’ve seen in a long time, by tucking his head instead of keeping it straight. It’s a wonder he got up after that. After more shenanigans from Ambrose, he eventually hits AJ with the dirty deeds and then rolls Ellsworth on top of AJ and does a fast count, and declares James Ellsworth the winner in a shocking but oh so entertaining upset.
Opens with a shot of Randy Orton walking around backstage, looking lost in another arena the second week in a row, before he runs comes across Kane. Randy then cuts a very Wyatt-esqe promo, that even makes Kane say he’s got issues. Kane agrees to team up with Orton against Bray Wyatt and the newly returning Luke Harper in a tag team match for later that night.
AJ Styles comes out arguing with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon about his loss to James Ellsworth, and how they could let Dean Ambrose get away with his games. Styles is reprimanded by Shane though, and told to check the attitude. Shane then happily makes Ellsworth’s win over Styles official, stating the pin will go in the record books.
Wyatt Family vs Randy Orton & Kane
This match was clearly designed to make the Wyatts look strong and dominant. This is something that has needed to happen for a long time, since Bray was on quite a losing streak for awhile. It also helps the newly returned Luke Harper, who proves he hasn’t missed a beat in the ring. Lots of good offense from Bray and Luke Harper. By keeping Kane on the outside for most of the match, it didn’t show his age in the ring, and also didn’t make either the Wyatts or Randy look weak, as they had to beat him with the double team tactics all night. The few spots Kane does get in the match, play to his strengths, and this ends up being a surprisingly good match. Pulling one of their famous lights out sneak moves, right as Randy went for the tag to Kane, Luke Harper appears where Kane was standing, allowing Bray to hit Randy Orton with the sister Abigail for the win.
While not an action packed episode, the matches were good if not a little brief, and with the exception of one or two very minor missteps, the two hour broadcast flew by. With entertaining backstage skits, and lots of story progression, Smackdown once again beats out Raw this week in entertainment value. Clearly Smackdown’s writers and bookers have been paying attention to what their fans have been saying, cause it seems that each week they make up for mistakes made the week before. Smackdown is on a roll, and it seems like they know it.
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