WWE Smackdown is live in Birmingham, AL this evening, and we will have coverage of the show starting at 8pm Eastern. Already announced, The Miz, who managed to renegotiate his contract with Daniel Bryan, is defending the Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Plus, Dean Ambrose takes on John Cena in a singles match.
All this plus lots more starting at 8pm! Be sure to join us here for coverage, or on Twitter @RingRap!
A brief video hypes up Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena, plus The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the IC Title. I’m curious to see the placement of the second match.
We go to the arena and Daniel Bryan is in the ring, a table in the middle, and the entire arena chanting Yes! He says in less than three weeks, the Smackdown Women’s Championship will be defended for the first time at No Mercy. Tonight, it’s the first ever Smackdown Women’s Contract Signing. He says they’re going to keep things civil. Some fans boo and Bryan scolds them “Don’t boo that.” Hilarious.
He introduces Becky Lynch first, our Smackdown Women’s Champion. Bryan reminds her what he just said, she agreed to keep it civil, has a thick skin, and says “Come at me bro.” Bryan introduces Alexa Bliss, our #1 Contender for the Women’s Championship. Bliss makes some wisecracks at her, asking if she has the hyde of a rhino. Lynch says the difference between the two of them is while Bliss prepares for a pageant, Lynch is preparing for a fight. Bliss says that is NOT the only difference between the two of them. She doesn’t believe that Lynch fits the role of a champion. Bliss says her role in life is to succeed and then fail miserably. “You know it’s true.” She says after, she goes back to doing what she does best – being the lovable superstar that never quite gets the win. “You weren’t born to be a champion, Becky. You were born to be a loser.”
Lynch says she’s right – “I wasn’t born to be a champion. I was born to live in a small house by the side of the road in Dublin. I was born to work a job I didn’t like just to make ends meet. I was not born to be a champion, but I watched far too much TV and I listened when they told me if I believed in myself, I could be anything I wanted to be. And I wanted to be champion – I wanted to be champion real bad.” She says she was not born to be champion, but she has poured her heart and soul into it so she can raise the title above her heard. She wants the belt a lot more than Bliss does, and if Bliss thinks she’s gonna take it from her, she’ll rip her head off.
Bliss feigns emotion, and says “Puh-leeze.” She says she was born to be a champion and will take the title from her, exposing her as a one-hit wonder. She picks up the contract and hits Lynch with it before signing her name, throwing the contract at her, and then flipping the table over on her.
Bliss leaves the ring, but Becky Lynch gets up and chases after her up the ramp, getting in a few shots before Bliss retreats backstage. A “Becky” chant breaks out and she comes back into the ring to sign her name on the dotted line. Bryan hands her title back and Lynch raises the title with pride.
Lynch is carrying herself with a confidence these past two weeks, and it’s really refreshing. She speaks as a face should – with pride. She talks about working hard and earning her wins. Bliss is great as the smarmy bitch you want to see get her face slapped in. Nice segment here, both ladies know their characters well.
Backstage, The Usos and American Alpha both ready up for a match against each other. The winner gets a shot at the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Daniel Bryan walks backstage. He’s approached by The Miz and Maryse, who stare him down. Miz says “We have a problem.” Bryan says it can’t be about his newly negotiated contract, can it? Miz says no. How about his Intercontinental Championship defense? Yup. Bryan says they can cancel the match. Miz is pleased and starts to walk away. Bryan says “Yeah, we cancel your match and we cancel the contract, no big deal.” Miz looks pissed. Bryan asks him if he read the fine print, and says he must’ve been too busy bashing him on Twitter to read the contract. He reminds him that they agreed that they would renegotiate the contract and he would defend the title. Bryan says he can not have the match but then his contract would be cancelled, and that would make it really difficult for him to “Do what (Bryan) can’t do anymore.” He asks if they have a problem. Miz says no and walks away.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
We see a recap of the happenings two weeks ago when The Usos injured Chad Gable. We get an inset promo from American Alpha. Gable talks about how The Usos tried to take him out but he’s still standing. Jordan says they attacked his friend and now it’s personal. They’re back and they’re on the hunt for the Smackdown Tag titles, Ready Willing and Gable. Lots of fire in this promo. Good stuff.
Chad Gable immediately attacks Jimmy Uso. Jey runs in and Gable sends him out too. Gable hits a suplex for a quick pin, and starts working on the leg of Jimmy. Tag to Jordan, who keeps on the leg. We see Rhyno and Heath Slater watching the match backstage, while eating crackers and canned cheese. Funny.
A little bit of double teaming wraps Gable’s leg up in the ropes, and The Usos target the bad knee. A jumping kick to the leg sends Gable off the apron and to the floor as we go to break. When we return, Gable is still in the ring, and The Usos are focusing on the leg. Gable fights free from the corner and literally crawls to his corner, but Jey Uso cuts him off. Gable reaches and makes the tag, and Jordan is on fire. Jordan hits a pair of overhead belly to belly suplexes, and drops the straps. Shoulder to both Usos, single underhook to Jey and it’s two.
Jordan sets Jey up in the corner and goes up top. He teases a suplex, but gets pushed off. He leaps up again and goes a second time, but Jey hits a set of headbutts. Superkick and a tag, Jimmy hits a splash, Gable barely breaks it up. Gable can’t stand, and Jey tosses him out of the ring, Gable crashing on the leg when he hits the floor. He sells it on the floor. Jordan hits an overhead suplex, eats a superkick from Jimmy, but counters with a clothesline.
Jordan goes back to his corner, and Gable tries to stand, but can’t. Jordan asks him if he’s good, and Gable says yes, but Jordan feels it’s best not to tag him in. Jimmy tags in, Jey takes out Gable’s bad leg, and The Usos hit a pair of superkicks followed by a splash for the win.
Winners: The Usos to become the #1 Contenders for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Paint by numbers story in this match but it works. Now we’re building up a serious feud with The Usos and American Alpha, and I love it. The Usos go on to No Mercy for the tag titles, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up the win. American Alpha keeps the chase, and it gets even more personal.
Backstage, Slater and Rhyno talk about facing The Usos. Slater wants to call their team “Beauty and the Man-Beast.” Rhyno shoots him a look. He says he wants to get the WWE Universe behind them. Rhyno says they need ’em behind us. Slater says he’s gonna get them to chant at them like The Usos used to. “When I say Rhy, you say No! Rhy No Rhy No! Rhyno doesn’t like it, but the fans do chant a little bit. The Usos walk in straight from the match and ask if they’re having a cake party. They say they cheated at Backlash because The Usos had to compete twice that night. Jimmy wants to knock the crackers off his plate, Rhyno tells him not to think about that. The Usos want to take the titles and threaten to take out Slater’s knee too, sending him and his “26 kids” back to the mudhole. Rhyno throws down his plate and steps up, and The Usos walk away.
Back from break, Jack Swagger is at ringside on commentary.
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Jack Swagger talks about how Corbin is a tough guy, but he’s beat up tough guys all his life. Until Swagger showed up, Corbin might’ve been the toughest, but now he’s number two.
Crews and Corbin go at it immediately. Swagger says he signed with Smackdown because it’s the A Show and the home of the WWE Championship. “I want it, and that’s why I’m here.” Outside the ring, Crews tosses Corbin into the barricade. He hits an impressive enzuigiri and rolls Corbin back in. Two-count.
Corbin hits a boot that sends Crews out of the ring. Crews recovers on the barricade, and Corbin lays into Crews with nasty looking elbows on the barricade. He puts Crews across the corner of the apron and kicks him into the ring post over and over again. He hits End of Days and puts Crews away.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Corbin immediately rolls out of the ring and goes face to face with Swagger. He points at him and says something, then walks away.
Crews was looking fired up until Corbin started to get the upper hand, and it was all Corbin from there. Not sure what their end goal with Crews is right now, but they sure are making Corbin look strong and it’s working.
We get another Curt Hawkins vignette. He tells SD Live to “Face the facts.” Ugh.
Charly Caruso interviews Naomi and Nikki Bella backstage. Naomi says every Tuesday it’s Glow Time, and the glow is all about confidence, not being afraid to be yourself, and choosing to shine above any adversity. She says “Nikki B” definitely has the glow (they hug). But as for Natalya? Her glow fizzled out a long time ago. She used to be respected, now she’s just corrupt. Tonight she’ll make her feel the glow. Nikki talks about Carmella, and says she’s not the Nikki Bella of a year ago, and she had to overcome a major surgery. She fights every match like it’s her last. She says she feels rebooted, but Carmella is nothing but a boot leg.
Renee Young interviews Dolph Ziggler. She asks him about having one more opportunity at the IC title, and wonders how this is different. He says it’s different but it ends up being the same. He has to give everything he has to win the championship. He says he hasn’t been winning lately. He then starts talking about The Miz and Maryse. “You can say what you want about The Miz – he’s loud and obnoxious, a coward, a cheater, a scumbag slimy worm that walks around Hollywood, but you gotta call him champion. He says Miz is desperate, but he’s desperate to prove himself too. He says he wasn’t supposed to be World Champion but he did it. He wasn’t supposed to be a Kent State Hall of Famer but he is. Tonight he’s going to prove to himself and everyone by shutting The Miz up and winning the whole damn thing. He yells “Now hit my music!” And they do.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
We get full championship intros after the break. The bell rings and Ziggler takes to grappling with The Miz. Miz bails out of the ring early on, and Ziggler follows him out. He ducks a clothesline and hits his own. Ziggler rolls Miz into the ring. Miz hits a pair of dropkicks and a running third sending Ziggler to the floor.
Miz rolls Zigs back in and heads up top. He hits a double axe handle from the top rope. Ziggler recovers and tries to hit a DDT, but Miz pushes him off. Miz mocks Daniel Bryan and starts using his kicks. Ziggler counters one and drops him to the mat, but misses a shoulder in the corner. Miz hits a running kick to the face for two. He stretches Ziggler out. Ziggler recovers with a pair of diving clotheslines and a splash in the corner, but Miz counters and sends him into the ring post yet again. The Miz seems to be countering everything Ziggler’s got.
Miz mocks Daniel Bryan once more with a pair of running corner dropkicks before hitting his own running clothesline in the corner. He comes off the top rope into a dropkick from Ziggler, and both men are out. Ziggler counters a Skull Crushing Finale with a DDT for a near fall. Ziggler goes for a superkick and Miz dodges, but Ziggler connects with a clothesline that sends both men over the top. We go to break.
Both men are up top when we return. Miz goes for a sunset flip powerbomb, and slingshots Ziggler off the top rope for a near fall. Miz starts working the leg. Ziggler counters a Figure Four with a sleeper, but it’s broken on the ropes. Ziggler goes for a roll-up and a Fame Asser for a near fall. The place goes nuts for the false finish.
Both men struggle to their feet. Ziggler is up first, and he leaps onto Miz’s back, but Miz shrugs him off. Ziggler connects with an elbow, and Miz tries to distract the referee so Maryse can get involved. The ref sees it and tosses Maryse out, and the crowd goes crazy. Miz yells at the ref, and Ziggler goes for a roll-up. Miz reverses it and grabs the tights, but Ziggler kicks out. He hits a Zig Zag, and Miz kicks out at 2.75.
Miz crawls to the timekeeper’s area and grabs his title, retreating to the back. Ziggler follows him out, tosses him into the stairs at ringside, then rolls him back into the ring, belt and all. The referee goes to toss the belt back out of the ring, and Miz must’ve grabbed something under the ring, because he sprays Ziggler in the eyes when the ref wasn’t looking. He hits the Skull Crushing Finale, the referee counts to three and it’s over.
Winner: The Miz to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ziggler sells the eyes as Miz rolls out of the ring. The announcers recap the match.
This was a very good match. Both men know each other so well, so given the time they had it’s not hard to believe. The Miz is making a solid case for the best heel on any WWE show right now, and it’s hard to argue against it considering he’s got some really great heat, but he’s also busting his ass and proving that he can be a top tier player. As far as Ziggler goes, well he’s been talking about being on a losing streak but yet nothing has changed. It’s the same old Ziggler. When does that stop?
Up next, Randy Orton in action!
Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan
Rowan has a new mask. Same as the old one, but clowned up a bit. Orton goes for an early RKO, but Rowan counters with a powerslam and some fists to the face. He hits a pair of diving elbows, and works Orton in the corner. Dropkick to Orton sends him to the mat.
Rowan fights Orton outside the ring, then rolls him in. Orton recovers and hits his on-the-ropes DDT. RKO and it’s over.
Winner: Randy Orton
The finish was really never in doubt here.
Bray Wyatt’s music hits, lights go out, and when they’re back on, the ring is clear and Rowan’s mask is the only thing in the ring. Another flash of noise and Wyatt is backstage clapping for Orton. “The viper strikes again.” He says the two of them are bonded by the most unholy of matrimonies. He says Orton is still just a man but he is a god. “A god can never die. Run.”
Women’s tag action up next.
Nikki Bella & Naomi vs. Carmella & Natalya
Nikki and Natalya start it out. Carmella tries to interrupt, and Nattie locks in a sharp shooter. Carmella drags Bella out of the ring and tosses her into the barricade repeatedly, and stomps on her. The referee throws the match out.
Naomi takes Natalya out with a kick, and goes to Bella’s aid. Carmella retreats and poses on the ramp.
Backstage, AJ Styles shines up his belt. Charly Caruso approaches him and asks about his rivalry with both Cena and Ambrose, but AJ cuts her off and says he doesn’t have a rivalry with either. He beat both of them. He’s the face that runs the place, the champ that runs the camp. So why does he get in a triple threat match at No Mercy? The only way it gets taken from him is if he doesn’t have to get beat to lose it. He says Cena and Ambrose are gonna rip each other apart tonight and he’s gonna sit back and soak it all up. The champ is and always will be here, and he points at him self.
John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose gets an early headlock takedown. He hits a shoulder block and Cena recovers in the corner. Cena and Ambrose trade reversals on their finisher, but Cena slows it down with a headlock. Cena misses a shoulder block in the corner and rolls out of the ring. We go to break.
Ambrose is in control out of the break, and connects with a running bulldog out of the corner. Cena counters him with an STF. Ambrose manages to dump Cena to the floor. Ambrose leaps out of the ring onto Cena at ringside. Ambrose leaps with a cross body, but Cena counters with an AA. And Ambrose kicks out. He goes for a second one, and Ambrose counters with Dirty Deeds. Cena kicks out.
Both men trade punches. Ambrose bounces off the ropes with a jab, and goes for a Rebound clothesline, but Cena sets up the AA. Ambrose rolls into a sunset flip rollup and gets the surprise pin.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Out of nowhere, AJ Styles attacked Cena with a flying forearm. He goes into the ring and hits a Pele kick on Ambrose. Daniel Bryan walks out and addresses Styles. He says “That was phenomenal.” He says last week Shane McMahon promised Ambrose a one on one rematch for the title – and that match is next Tuesday on Smackdown Live! AJ talks some trash and turns to Ambrose, who kicks him and hits Dirty Deeds, leaving Styles lying in the ring.
It’s a little frustrating to have Cena lose to a roll-up when both he and Ambrose kicks out of each other’s finishers. That said, this was a good match and a nice tease of things to come. I’m definitely looking forward to the title match next week, and I like that they took the time to actually promote a match for next week’s Smackdown.
Overall, another strong show from the brand in blue. There’s some good character development in the undercard with Baron Corbin getting stronger each week. The Miz is proving his worth against Dolph Ziggler. We have a strong babyface women’s champ and a strong heelish #1 Contender, and the rest of the Women’s division is making moves as well. Things are happening, and it’s all good.
Bill and I will undoubtedly talk about Raw and Smackdown tomorrow on Ring Rap Audio. Make sure you send in your Favorite Thing in Wrestling before we record, and we’ll discuss it on the air. Thanks for reading tonight folks!