WWE Smackdown is in San Jose, CA this evening, and we will have live coverage of the broadcast starting at 8pm Eastern. The announced main event is Kane & Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper. Plus, Dolph Ziggler is the new Intercontinental Champion. What will he have to say? Will he change his attitude any, or continue down the same path?
All this plus lots more starting at 8pm Eastern. Be sure to follow along here and on Twitter, @RingRap!
A video package highlights No Mercy, which aired on Sunday. There is special focus on Dolph Ziggler’s win over The Miz, and AJ Styles retaining the title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose.
We go to the ring, and Greg Hamilton introduces the New WWE Intercontinental Champion, Dolph Ziggler! Ziggler comes out, raises the title and says “We did it!” He talks about the moments leading up to No Mercy. He says he put his entire career on the line for one more shot at the IC title. He says he didn’t know if he was going to be here for Smackdown – “If you don’t believe me, check the info guide and hit the preview button.” He gave himself one way out – win. He didn’t know if that would be the last time he would see the fans, tape up in the training room, the last time he was gonna spray-tan Zack Ryder’s back, the last time he would walk into the ring. For the first time in 12 years, he doubted himself and that maybe he made a mistake. He says he let his emotions get the best of him. People told him he didn’t have to do this, but he did. But what if he didn’t win? He says when he set foot in the ring Sunday, he knew that this was where he belonged, this was his home, and no matter what, hell was gonna freeze over, but he was walking out Intercontinental Champion, and dammit, “we” did it.
The Miz heads out to interrupt, Maryse at his side. Both of them are dressed in all black, and look like they’re at a funeral. They stand in silence in the middle of the ring. Ziggler starts to speak, but Miz shushes him. “I want to take a moment to mourn the death of the Intercontinental Championship.” He asks if everyone is happy, because Sunday 188 days came to an end. Miz says he was the one to bring the prestige back to the title. Miz is fired up. He says Ziggler’s victory is a funeral for the IC Title’s legacy, because it’s dragged down by Ziggler’s mediocrity. He says it’s not the end of the story though, it’s just act two. This is the part of the movie where the hero overcomes the odds – Miz is that hero. He says Ziggler is just a layover. “The hero gets the gold and the girl, and I’ve already got the girl. Now I want my gold back.”
Ziggler calls that a “loud speech,” and says he’s about to share something with everyone, but it’s alot better now that Miz is there too. It’s a video package showing Ziggler’s win, and Miz’s face after the match. Ziggler asks him if he was crying. Miz says that face was everything he worked for and sacrificed being ripped from him. The fans chant “You were crying.” Funny. Miz claims the fans and Ziggler don’t know what sacrifice is. Miz says if he did everything to keep the title, imagine what he’ll do to get it back. “I’m not done with you, and neither are they.”
The two members of The Spirit Squad come out, and do a cheer, and basically, it’s a handicap match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey)
Miz and Maryse sit at ringside. Ziggler takes on Mikey first, and quickly sends him out of the ring. Kenny comes in and is quickly sent over the top rope too. We go to break, with the action continuing in the top left corner. It’s an awesome touch and I wouldn’t be opposed to see it more often. Anyhow… Miz suckers Ziggler outside the ring Kenny and gets control. He attacks Ziggler on the apron, then goes for a cover. Mikey keeps control of things, sending Ziggler into the corner, but Ziggler counters with a nice dropkick.
Out of the break, Kenny has control. He locks in a chin lock, and attacks the neck. Kenny hits a clothesline and tags in Mikey, who drops some elbows. Ziggler locks in a sleeper, but Mikey breaks out in the corner. Ziggler takes out Kenny on the apron, runs back into attack Mikey, but Mikey counters and tags in Kenny. Ziggler hits a double-DDT on both men. He hits a splash in the corner, and a series of clotheslines. Mikey snaps his neck across the ropes and Kenny goes for the cover. It’s worth two.
Kenny drops the straps – he means business now. Ziggler hits a superkick and Mauro says “He killed Kenny!” It’s over.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Miz doesn’t even wait – he runs in and attacks Ziggler, hits him with a skull-crushing finale, and then orders the Spirit Squad to attack, but Rhyno and Heath Slater come running out to make the save. Miz and company bail out as Slater and Rhyno check on Ziggler, helping him to his feet.
I *love* that the tag champs came out to make the save here. You rarely see people with no affiliation helping each other out any more, and it’s a small thing that goes a long way.
The announcers talk about Becky Lynch being unable to compete Sunday at No Mercy. The announced date for the Women’s Championship Match is now November 8th, when Alexa Bliss gets her shot.
Up next, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan make an announcement regarding Survivor Series.
The announcers hype up the new WWE 2K17 video game. They show in-game footage of Ziggler vs. The Miz, mixing in actual footage from their match at No Mercy.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are backstage, and they talk about Survivor Series being the 30th annual event. They want to make it the most amazing show ever. With Raw’s announcements for Hell in a Cell, Shane feels that they need to up the ante and make it a can’t miss spectacle. The one time of the year that Raw and Smackdown compete against each other in the biggest way possible. They propose a 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match, with Smackdown’s best against Raw’s best.
But that’s not all, because they’re competing neck and neck with Raw in the ratings, but proving what show is the best can only be done in the ring, so they want to do a 5-on-5 Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match, with Smackdown’s five best teams against Raw’s five best teams. And, why not do one for the women too? A 5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match! They’re throwing down the challenge. Will Raw accept? Daniel Bryan hopes they say yes!
I assumed there would be a brand vs. brand match at some point on the show, but I assumed it would be the men and it would be a throwaway. I really love the idea of the tag teams and the women getting their chance to shine too. It shows both divisions have importance, and actually makes Survivor Series feel like, well, Survivor Series again.
The only downside? We’re going to be forced to have faces and heels working together in a story that really, doesn’t make much sense.
Back to the arena…
Carmella vs. Naomi
During Carmella’s entrance, we see a backstage interview with Nikki Bella talking about her show, beating Carmella, etc. The interview wraps up, and Carmella attacks her, throwing her into a cart.
Carmella attacks Naomi during her dance routine, before the bell rings. She backs into the corner as we go to break.
We return and Carmella has Naomi in a headlock. Surprising, right? She drops Naomi with a sitout neck breaker. Naomi backs Carmella into the corner, as Alexa Bliss watches backstage. Carmella plays up to the crowd. Naomi catches her with a jawbreaker. She lays in a flurry of kicks and yells “It’s glow time baby!” Naomi heads up top and hits a cross body for two.
Nikki Bella heads down the ring, with a bunch of referees trailing after her. Naomi sneaks in a move with the distraction, and it’s good for the win.
Bella charges the ring and chases after Carmella, who bails out and takes off through the audience. Bella and Naomi celebrate in the ring together.
Charly Caruso asks Bliss backstage about her loss at No Mercy. Bliss says she was expecting a title match, not a rave, and if she knew she was facing Naomi, they wouldn’t have that conversation, because she can beat Naomi any day of the week. Daniel Bryan walks in and cuts her off. He makes the match – Bliss vs. Naomi, next week.
I am so happy to see even midcard matches promoted a week in advance. It makes such a huge difference.
Back from break, no entrances here.
Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) vs. Chad Gable (w/ Jason Jordan)
Gable goes on the offense immediately, using his wrestling skill to twist Uso around. He works the arm, focusing on it much as The Usos have worked his knee. Uso counters Gable and hits a Samoan Drop for two. He locks in a headlock.
Gable skins the cat and uses a headscissors to take Uso over the top. Back in the ring, he hits a back body drop and attacks with punches in the corner. He hits a flying clothesline off the top rope and hits an exploder suplex. In the corner, Gable locks an armbar on the ropes. Uso counters Gable with a roll-up, and Jey helps give Jimmy some leverage, pushing on his brother’s back with his feet from the apron. It’s good enough for a win.
Winner: Jimmy Uso
Too short to matter. Their saga continues.
Backstage, Mojo Rawley is getting hyped. Zack Ryder walks in and says the tag division is stacked. Rawley asks where he was last night – he had three chicks. Ryder says he’s not that kind of guy. Rawley teases him for playing with action figures, Ryder says it’s a ComicCon exclusive. He tries to get Rawley to stay focused, and The Ascension walk in. The two teams have a staredown, and The Ascension walks away.
Out of the break, the WWE World Champion, AJ Styles, heads to the ring. He says The Champ is Here. “It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” He says he beat both John Cena and Dean Ambrose at the same time at No Mercy. It’s not just great – it’s Phenomenal. He begs the audience to cheer for him, and then calls them all losers. “I know, I know, you live vicariously through me. I’m the champ, I know that.” He says there’s only room for one on this bandwagon.
He tells the fans to go cheer for John Cena, but he’s out trying to be Kelly Ripa’s cohost, so we can cheer for Dean Ambrose instead. “Oh my god, you guys would actually cheer for that lunatic loser?” He calls the audience pathetic. “Enough about you, let’s talk about me.”
Styles says he beat Dean Ambrose, he beat John Cena. Some people might not have liked the way it went down, but he is a winner, and winners find a way to win. “Did I mention I beat Dean Ambrose and John Cena at the same time? It’s so nice, I’ll say it twice. I beat Dean Ambrose and John Cena at the same time.” He says most champs would take a month off, but not him, because Smackdown is a land of opportunity. He’s giving someone a chance at a main event slot, and points to the ramp. “Bring my man down!”
Dean Ambrose heads to the ring, mic in hand. Styles says no. Ambrose says he knows he wasn’t talking about him, Styles agrees. Ambrose says AJ likes the easy way out. He had him beat three weeks ago, had him tapping two weeks ago. Styles says he took advantage of an unfair opportunity since two men can’t tap out one man in a triple threat match. Ambrose says Styles belongs to him, and noone is jumping him in line. “Oh that’s good, because this guy is not on the roster.” He requests his opponent, and it’s James Ellsworth!
Ellsworth comes to the ring, very excited. Styles pats him on the back and introduces him. He tells Ambrose not to touch him. He says Ellsworth was supposed to be his tag partner over a month ago, but The Miz beat him up. So tonight he’s going to get his opportunity to face AJ Styles (in a non-title match of course). Ambrose says “I’m going to be completely honest with ya AJ… I kinda want to see this. Because Ellsworth 3:16 says if ya got two hands you’ve got a fighting chance! I’m gonna get a front-row seat.” AJ says no and says Ambrose isn’t going to distract Ellsworth. He won’t let Ambrose “ruin it for Ellsworth.” He tells Ambrose to beat his feet, move along, take a shower, scram!
Daniel Bryan interrupts, says he’s the one that makes the matches. He is a huge James Ellsworth fan, so the match is indeed going to happen right now! He says AJ is right, Dean Ambrose can’t be at ringside… but he can be the special guest referee! Ambrose literally takes the referee’s shirt right off his back and puts it on. Bryan reminds AJ that if he puts his hands on this referee, like any referee, he’ll be fined and/or suspended.
Ambrose tucks the shirt in and hands AJ the contents of his jeans pockets. There’s a flask, a pocket watch, Tic-Tacs, and a bunch of other stuff.
AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth
Ambrose checks Styles for any foreign objects and we go to a commercial, leaving the action in the inset. Ambrose makes AJ go through all sorts of requirements before checking Ellsworth for foreign objects. The commercial airs and nothing really happens for a while, until Ambrose finally gives them the go-ahead to start, except he gets in the way. This happens multiple times.
Lots of shenanigans. Ellsworth gets an arm drag, then hides behind Ambrose. They finally lock up, and Ellsworth backs into the corner. Styles lays in a forearm or two, then follows Ellsworth to the other corner, laying in kicks. Ellsworth runs out of the ring and AJ chases after him, and back in the ring, Ambrose trips AJ. Ellsworth gets a near roll-up.
Styles hits a brain buster suplex on Ellsworth, and shortly thereafter locks in the Calf Crusher. Ambrose “takes a phonecall” while Ellsworth taps out ferociously. AJ gets pissed and tosses Ellsworth out of the ring. Ambrose starts counting very fast. AJ rolls Ellsworth in almost immediately. AJ sends him back out, and Ambrose rolls him back in this time, then turns his attention to an attractive young lady at ringside that wants an autograph. He chats her up and gets ready to sign for her, when AJ knocks the poster out of her hand. Ambrose takes some popcorn from someone nearby, and rolls back in the ring as AJ sets up the Styles Clash. It looked like Ellsworth might’ve tucked his head on that one, a big no-no. Ambrose reluctantly counts, but stops at two. He gets up, hits AJ Styles with Dirty Deeds, and then rolls Ellsworth on top of Styles. It’s a two-count.
Ambrose heads back out of the ring, gets a drink from a fan, hits another Dirty Deeds, and then does a really fast count for Ellsworth.
Winner: James Ellsworth
Ambrose heads up the ramp, Ellsworth is laid out on the ramp.
Ambrose does the zany unhinged humor well, but it’s defined his character too much. When he flips and flops back and forth between funny Ambrose and serious Ambrose, it’s hard to know how to react to him. When he’s put in a big-money spot as champ, or going for the title, how can we take him seriously, if he’s acting like this? It’s poor booking. Pick and stick.
Randy Orton is wandering around backstage. He sees Kane, and tells him he’s the only other one in the building that knows what it’s like to go through hell. He says he’s tired of living in Bray Wyatt’s world. Can Wyatt live in his? In his world, there’s no games, just pain, misery, agony, chaos, voices begging him to stop (but he doesn’t listen). He says there’s no way out of his world. “So what do you say… do you want to come along for the ride?” Kane says he’s in, and says “Randy, you’ve got issues.”
A commercial for the Royal Rumble airs, a “by the numbers” commercial. I love these commercials, but isn’t it a little early?
AJ Styles yells at McMahon and Bryan backstage. He’s pissed. McMahon tells him if he’s going to be angry at anyone, be angry at himself. McMahon says it’s official – The Phenomenal AJ Styles lost to James Ellsworth. Styles says he’s going to have to take things into his own hands.
Bryan says he has an idea for Ellsworth for next week.
Our tag team main event is up next.
Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton & Kane
Harper says “This world has put me to sleep, but now I am wide awake, and I have seen the light.” He looks at Wyatt and hands the mic to him. “That light is shining brighter than it ever has, but it cannot pierce the darkness.” He talks about a black hole consuming everything that comes near it, but out of this black hole come the creatures of dominance, the gods. “Bring on your monster, Randy. I bought mine.” We go to break before Orton and Kane make their entrances.
Harper and Kane start it out, and early on, Harper tags out. Wyatt lays into Kane in the corner, Kane reverses it and unleashes a flurry of fists. Wyatt bails out of the ring, and Orton attacks him, shoving him back in. Kane goes for a choke slam, Wyatt bails out again. We go to another break.
We return to Harper getting superplexed by Orton. Wyatt and Kane in the ring, Wyatt hits a senton for a near fall, and follows it up with some kicks. Harper tags in and hits a sidekick. Back and forth tags here, keeping Kane isolated. Hot tags to both sides, Orton getting his hands on Wyatt finally, he hits a powerslam. Thesz Press into fists. Orton sets Wyatt up, but Wyatt drags him out of the ring, and they brawl onto the announcer’s table. Orton sends Harper over the table, and hits Wyatt with a clothesline. He launches him into the barricade, then the steps.
Orton rolls Wyatt back in before 10. Kane and Harper brawl on the outside, and the referee scolds Kane for it. Harper sneaks in the ring and counters an RKO with a superkick. Wyatt misses a running senton. Orton reaches to tag in Kane, but Wyatt’s music hits and the lights go out. When they come back on, Kane is gone, Harper is in his place. He reaches for a tag, Orton looks confused, and Wyatt hits Sister Abigail out of nowhere. Kane is completely gone. Wyatt gets the pin.
Winner: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
Well, that was more of the same. More hocus pocus, more smoke and mirrors, more silliness. I just don’t find it appealing. Kane is mysteriously gone? Not really. He’s probably just under the ring.
I want to be able to take Wyatt seriously but it’s so hard to when his matches are filled with all these tricks. Same for Harper. He can have a huge impact on Smackdown, but I feel he’s just being wasted by tagging with Wyatt – again.
The rest of the show? Not bad. Despite the glaring issues with heels and faces teaming for a Survivor Series match, I am excited about the prospects of there being three of them – men’s, women’s, and tag. As far as the rest goes, well, it’s still the same feuds. Ziggler and Miz. Orton and Wyatt. Styles and Ambrose. Really, nothing has changed. At all.
Our reader poll is up. I’m giving this one a thumbs in the middle. Not a bad show but certainly not great. What did you think? Let us know by voting, and hit us up with your Favorite Thing in Wrestling for Ring Rap Audio tomorrow night!