WWE Smackdown is coming at us LIVE from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, PA tonight starting at 8pm Eastern, and we will have live coverage of the show as it happens. If you are attending the show, and would like to be a contributor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us up on Twitter @RingRap.
At Sunday’s Backlash, three new champions were crowned, with Rhyno & Heath Slater winning the WWE Smackdown Tag Championships, Becky Lynch winning the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship, and AJ Styles defeating Dean Ambrose to become the new WWE World Champion. Who will be the first challengers for all three? And what about The Miz, who retained the WWE Intercontinental Championship thanks to a little help from Maryse?
Join in the fun starting at 8pm Eastern!
Our show opens up with a recap of WWE Backlash, then kicks in to the intro music. We are in Philadelphia, PA tonight. Greg Hamilton introduces the Face that Runs the place, and NEW WWE World Champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles. Our announcers talk about AJ cheating to win last night. Otunga says he didn’t need to cheat to win, it was an awesome match. JBL says he still became the WWE Champion.
AJ grabs a mic and says “The Champ is Here!” He hates to say he told us so… quietly… so he’s gonna yell it. I TOLD YOU SO. Everything he said he was gonna do, he did. “I told you I was gonna beat John Cena, and at Summerslam I beat John Cena, and now I am the Face that Runs the Place. And I told you I was gonna beat Dean Ambrose, and at Backlash, I beat Dean Ambrose and became the new WWE World Champion.” He says if he told us he could beat John Cena and Dean Ambrose with an arm tied behind his back, he could do it. It’s gospel. If he told us the winning lotto numbers, we better buy a ticket. “These lips don’t lie, and this trophy right here is the proof.” He says he’s the Champ that Runs the Camp.
And then, John Cena’s music hits, and he comes out to a loud reaction. Cena says we can hear all the people – they know what he knows – that AJ has something that belongs to him, and he has finally decided that he would like it back. AJ takes off his armband and throws it at him, since he doesn’t need it anymore. He’s got the World Championship. Cena says AJ still has something that belongs to him. “Bad news for you, I’ve finally decided that I’d like to take it back.” Cena points at the title, and says the greatest champion of all time has said “To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.” If he can hold the title one more time, he’s in the conversation with the man (implying he could tie Ric Flair’s record). He acknowledges that AJ is the Face that Runs the Place, but Cena has one goal left in WWE – to announce that the 16-time champ is here.
Dean Ambrose doesn’t like this, and he walks out with a purpose. He walks past Cena and gets in AJ’s face. AJ raises the title high. Ambrose says AJ made the biggest mistake of his life – he can handle losing a match and titles come and go, but when he kicked him “in the jewels” he stole from him. He made an enemy out of Styles. He promises to make his life miserable – take back the title with interest. As he continues, John Cena spins him around, questions Ambrose for complaining about losing to a low blow when just a week prior he hung Styles across the ropes by his crotch. Cena says Stone Cold was right when he called him out on his podcast. Cena says he’s surprised the low blow even hurt, since Ambrose has only shown the WWE Universe he has no balls, “Brah.” A loud Cena chant breaks out.
Ambrose apologizes, says he doesn’t give a damn about what Cena thinks and calls him a “lazy part timer.” Huge “Ohhhhhhs” from the fans here. Ambrose says he’s better off doing award shows because he can’t keep up anymore. “WWE uses you as a corporate puppet” saying he looks good on a cereal box and on morning shows, but he can’t get it done in the ring. He says Cena couldn’t get through AJ, how could he possibly get through Ambrose?
And then Shane McMahon dances out. McMahon tries to calm the three down, acknowledges the crowd, and says with all the talent in the ring he had to come out there. He says AJ Styles and John Cena tore the house down at Summerslam, and he defeated John Cena in the middle of the ring clean, but he finds the Face that Runs the Place stuff annoying, even though he’s earned it.
Shane says on Sunday he and Ambrose tore the house down, up until the end when AJ took the easy way out. It’s not how he pictured a new champ being crowned, but nonetheless, he’s the champ. Shane says Ambrose is owed a rematch, but not at the moment. At No Mercy, Styles is going to defend the championship against both John Cena and Dean Ambrose.
As far as tonight, Cena and Ambrose are going to team up against AJ Styles and a partner of his choosing. He says he’ll have no trouble finding one, but if he does, Daniel Bryan can appoint one for him. Interesting.
Tonight, Randy Orton addresses Bray Wyatt, and a new #1 Contender for the Women’s Championship will be crowned in a Fatal 5-Way.
A good opening to start the show. AJ is showing great confidence, John Cena is always solid, but Dean Ambrose really did seem to have a different gear on his promo. Good stuff all around. I feel like Ambrose is getting the short end of the stick at No Mercy, however.
A video package airs for Connor’s Cure, and we’re in the ring for a rematch from Backlash – The Usos vs. The Hype Bros.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley)
Immediately, Jey Uso goes for Zack Ryder’s left leg, which was weakened at Backlash. Jimmy tags in and continues the assault, tags to Jey. Jey locks in a leg log in the middle of the ring. Ryder literally kicks himself free and tags in Mojo. Mojo hits a pounce on Jimmy and it looks awesome, and should be his finisher, but it’s not. Jimmy Uso rakes the eyes on a distraction, hits a superkick on Mojo, and tags in Jey, who hits a top rope frog splash for the win.
Winners: The Usos
Short match, not far from a squash, but Mojo looked good in the time he was in the ring.
Later tonight, Heath Slater signs a Smackdown contract, but next, The Miz and Maryse will head to the ring.
We return to Curt Hawkins giving us a bunch
Chuck Norris Curt Hawkins facts, but in person. He says it’s time for Smackdown to face the facts.
The Miz and Maryse head out to the ring. The lights are low. Miz says for weeks, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and most fans have been calling him a coward. He says he left Backlash with his beautiful wife and his Intercontinental Championship on his shoulder. It’s now Day 162 of Miz’s IC Title World Tour. He compares himself to Pat Patterson and says he’s made the title more prestigious than ever.
Dolph Ziggler interrupts him, says it’s a funny thing that he’s trying to sell himself as an actual champion. He says Miz knows deep down inside, the fans and the wrestlers in back will never see him as a top guy, a true main eventer, because they’ll always see through him.
Miz says any time he’s on this show or any show, he’s the main event. He says if he lived and died by the respect of the WWE Universe, he might as well be buried six feet under, just like Ziggler’s career. Ziggler agrees, says he’s at a crossroads, but Miz is crushing it. Of course, he’ll always have an asterix next to his name, just like his win at Backlash. “Do you actually want to earn some respect?” Ziggler asks for one more time – no gimmicks, no valets, no Maryse, no stunt doubles, no excuses. Just the two of them.
Maryse asks him if he wants a rematch for the IC Title, and Daniel Bryan comes out for the first time tonight. Bryan says Maryse cheated at Backlash, and the only reason Miz is still champ. Ziggler will get his rematch. Miz says Ziggler never earned the right to be #1 Contender in the first place, and he isn’t getting a rematch. He wants his contract renegotiated, and Bryan’s not getting what he wants until Miz gets what he wants. The title isn’t getting defended anywhere – he’s calling his own shots, and there’s nothing Bryan can do about it. They leave the ring through the audience.
Ziggler and Bryan look at each other, and Bryan looks frustrated.
Ziggler keeps mentioning that he has some soul searching, but I’ve yet to see any of it actually play out. Miz was great here, as expected.
Backstage, AJ Styles approaches Baron Corbin. Corbin asks him what he wants, and Styles asks him to partner up with him. Corbin says he’d rather be his opponent, and he wants the title. Corbin walks away.
After the break, Corbin is in the ring for a rematch.
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Corbin attacks Crews while Crews is still doing his entrance. He slams him into the barricade, then hits End of Days to the floor. The bell never even rang.
And then, Jack Swagger’s music hits. JBL sounds bored when he announces that he heard rumors about Jack Swagger leaving Raw. Swagger is not in gear – he’s in jeans and a t-shirt. Corbin stares him down and leaves the ring.
Swagger says something about the Rolling Stones that falls completely flat, and then says as of 12:01 this morning he’s on Smackdown. He lists his accolades – a Division 1 All American, a former Heavyweight Champion, and a stone-cold fox of a wife. He says the fans may think they know his abilities in the ring, but we don’t know jack. He says Smackdown is a land of opportunity and he’s going to be a big problem – “We’re gonna be a big problem!” He leads the fans in a We the People chant.
Well, it was a clunky promo at best, but it also felt like it was unscripted. I’d rather have bad unscripted promos than mediocre scripted ones. That said, this could be a renewed push for Swagger, if he capitalizes on it. They’re clearly giving him another shot. Let’s see if it pays off.
Back from break, Greg Hamilton welcomes our new WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch! Lynch walks out, new belt around her waist, and she’s looking extremely excited. Charly Caruso asks her about being the new champ and how it feels. She thanks the fans and says it’s fitting that “Becky Balboa” is in Philly for the first night. She talks about being in the fight of her life at Backlash. She says someone once said it’s about the journey, not the destination, but whoever said that has never had “that” (the belt) as their destination. Philly is a fighting city, so “Come at me, bros!” She holds the title up high.
Naomi’s music hits for a full entrance, and the bell rings for the #1 Contenders match.
Naomi vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella in a Fatal 5-Way to be the #1 Contender to the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Nikki Bella immediately tackles Carmella, who bails out of the ring. Natalya slams Bella into the corner while Bliss and Naomi tie it up. Natalya goes for a roll-up, which Carmella breaks up. Natalya hits an STO to Carmella, and a snap suplex to Bella and then Bliss. 1-count on Naomi.
Natalya and Bella mix it up. Bella with a face buster for two, also broken up by Carmella. Bella hits a leaping clothesline to Carmella on the floor. Naomi goes for a sunset flip on Natalya, Bella breaks it up. Naomi hits a kick to the head and goes for a head scissors from the top rope. Bella does an Electric Chair drop. Bliss takes the opportunity to cover Naomi. Two-count.
Natalya and Bliss tangle, and Bliss counters Natalya but eats an enzuigiri. Natalya runs over both Naomi and Bliss, hits a basement dropkick and gets two. Bella hits the Bella Buster to Nattie for a near fall. Naomi hits a rear view for two. Naomi missing a baseball slide to Nattie, and Nattie sends her head first into the ring post. Bella sends Natalya into the barricade. Back in the ring, Bliss and Bella. Bella sets Bliss up top, and climbs up with her, but Bliss elbows out. She goes to the top turnbuckle, but her feet are slipped out. Carmella hits a superkick on Nikki Bella, but Bliss recovers quick enough to toss Carmella out of the ring and steal the pinfall.
Winner: Alexa Bliss to become the #1 Contender to the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Unexpected, especially considering she was the first eliminated on Sunday. I like it though. Bliss can be really great on the mic, so I’m looking forward to seeing her and Lynch go back and forth, and if she does lose in her first challenge, it’s no big deal. She can bounce back, being so new to the roster.
AJ Styles approaches someone backstage – “Just the man – creature I was looking for.” It’s Kane. He gets straight to the point – he needs a tag team partner tonight. The Phenomenal One and The Devil’s Favorite Demon tagging up. Kane just laughs and walks away.
We come back from break, and Shane McMahon is once again in the ring. There’s a table in the ring. He says it’s a special occassion, and Smackdown is about opportunity. He wants to single out one individual, who has seized that opportunity by becoming the new WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champion, earning his place on the Smackdown roster. He introduces Heath Slater, who comes out with his partner, Rhyno. I can’t help but crack up at one of Slater’s facts on the right – he has 7 kids that he knows of.
Slater hugs Shane McMahon once he enters the ring. Rhyno is a little more on the straight and narrow here, but hyping up the crowd. An “ECW” chant breaks out. Shane congratulates them for becoming the first ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions. He says he’s a man of his word, and they have official business to do. Slater holds up the contract to applause. Slater signs his name, and he’s officially on Smackdown.
Slater grabs the mic and yells “HEATH SLATER BABY!” He thanks Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan for making it happen. He thanks his wife Beullah, and says they’re getting a refridgerator box to pack up their stuff so they can move to a double-wide. He thanks Rhyno (and acknowledges the ECW chants). He says there was talk that he could do it on his own, but he didn’t think he could, and he found Rhyno – his friend and partner. He puts his arm around Rhyno, who looks at him funny like “Don’t do that.” He says they’ll take on anyone, any place, anywhere.
Finally, Slater wants to thank all of his kids – Roscoe, Betty Lou (“I’m gonna get you a tongue.”) Roslyn Snow, Remmeny Monroe, and he continues until The Ascension interrupt them. They have completely different facepaint, which I’m totally fine with.
Konnor asks “Any place? How about right here?” Viktor asks about right now? And anybody? How about The Ascension? Slater tries to weasel out of it, there’s a table in the ring, no referee, etc. Shane says they actually could do it now, and the crew starts rolling up the rug. It’s happening now, but we go to commercial first.
Rhyno & Heath Slater (c) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
We join the match in progress. They have Slater isolated. Rhyno gets sent out of the ring, and The Ascension sets up some sort of a double-team, but Konnor drops Slater too soon and Viktor just sort of falls on him. It looks bad and Philly starts booing the mishap. Rhyno breaks the pin, and sends Konnor shoulder-first into the ring post. Rhyno heads back to the corner and makes the hot tag to Rhyno. Viktor feeds Rhyno for a flurry of offense. Rhyno hits a shoulder in the corner, and a spine buster. Konnor breaks up the pin. Slater jumps on his back, and Konnor dumps him out of the ring, but Rhyno hits Konnor from behind. He hits a Gore on Viktor for the win.
Winners: Rhyno & Heath Slater to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Even in a new tag division, The Ascension are still jobbers.
Backstage, AJ Styles still wanders around. Styles meets up with Daniel Bryan, and Bryan asks him if he’s found a partner. Styles says he doesn’t need a partner. Bryan says he found one for him, and introduces him to everyone’s favorite jobber, James Ellsworth. He holds his hand out for a handshake, but Styles just walks away. Bryan tells him he’s going to do great.
After the break, Mauro Ranallo hypes up the Cruiserweight Classic Finale.
Randy Orton walks out to the ring, no visible hobble. The fans chant loudly for him, and he milks it, posing on the ropes again. He addresses Bray Wyatt, says all he does is talk. “You say you’re the face of fear?” He says it’s because he’s afraid – afraid of him. That’s why he attacked him from behind. He says it didn’t work and he won’t be the first, or last, to try. He’s in the ring and ready for a fight. “So Bray Wyatt, if you’ve got the balls, come on down to the ring and face your fear.”
Bray’s music cuts in, and he’s backstage in a lot of fog. He says a wise man knows when to stay down. The world they live in is cruel and unfair. He says he gave Orton a gift – a way out. All he had to do was stay down. Instead, he chose to embarrass him. Now, he knows what he must do. Not fire, not bullets, not daggers can end this now. “Don’t sleep, Randy. Do Not Sleep.”
And magically, Bray is behind him, outside the ring. Orton turns around to see him, and begs him to come into the ring. Wyatt’s music hits, and the arena goes dark. When the lights come back on, it’s Erick Rowan, attacking Orton from behind. Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere onto Rowan. No sign of Wyatt, however.
After the break, it’s time for our Tag Team Main Event.
AJ Styles &
James Ellsworth The Miz vs. John Cena & Dean Ambrose
As Ellsworth comes to the ring, The Miz attacks him from behind on the ramp. He looks into the camera and says “I’m the main event Daniel!” He hits Ellsworth with a Skull Crushing Finale on the ramp, then tosses him aside, and walks to the ring to join AJ Styles. They shake hands, and then Cena and Ambrose complete their separate entrances. We go to break.
We join the match in progress, with Miz and Cena in the ring. Styles hits Cena from the apron, and it gives Miz a chance to hit a running clothesline. He misses a second one. Tags to Ambrose and Styles, and Ambrose is on fire. He takes out Styles with a series of clotheslines, and catches Styles with a swinging back breaker. Ambrose goes up top and hits a flying clothesline for two.
Action spills out of the ring, and Ambrose tosses Miz into the barricade, but Styles is still legal. Back in the ring, Styles hits a Pele kick and we go to break. When we come back, Miz and Ambrose are laid out. Ambrose is back to his feet first. Instead of tagging in Cena, he sets Miz up for a suplex from the top rope, but Miz fights free and hits a double axe handle. He tags in Styles.
Ambrose lays into Styles with chops, but Styles fires back. Ambrose fights to his feet, and Cena again, wants the tag. Ambrose hits a swinging neckbreaker, and again, both are out. Tags all around. Cena hits a Five Knucle Shuffle on Miz. AJ charges and Ambrose sends him over the top rope, and goes diving out of the ring. Meanwhile, Cena hits an AA on The Miz for the win.
Winners: Dean Ambrose & John Cena
After the match, Ambrose catches Cena with a Dirty Deeds out of nowhere. Mixed reaction from the crowd for that one.
Disappointing to see The Miz take the fall here, but it raises his stock being in the ring with three headliners. On that level I’m fine with it.
We’ve got a main event for No Mercy, and they’re starting the hype nice and early, which I like. Overall, a maintenance show, really, but it’s necessary coming out of such a newsworthy pay-per-view like Backlash.
We have a new #1 Contender for the Women’s Title with Alexa Bliss being the first one to step up. I like it. It will give her credibility in the top tier, and I think she and Becky Lynch could have some really good exchanges, both on the mic and in the ring, but I don’t expect her to dethrone Lynch so early in her title reign.
As far as the Tag Division goes, well we will have to wait a week to see where that’s heading, it seems.
Curt Hawkins? I already don’t like him.
Overall, I feel that this was one of the weaker Smackdowns lately, so I’m plugging this as a 3/5 on the rating. Be sure to take a moment to vote and let us know what you thought of the show! Thanks for reading tonight folks!