WWE Is in the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for the fourth night in a row of live content. With Smackdown’s Men’s Team becoming victorious at Survivor Series, it was one of the few times the Blue Brand showed superiority during the night. It wasn’t without a price, as AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose had some significant physical bickering between the two. With TLC just around the corner, what sort of altercation with the WWE Champ and the top contender have?
Also, already announced is a Tag Team Turmoil match to determine the #1 Contender for Heath Slater and Rhyno’s Smackdown Tag Titles. Who will go on to face the champs at TLC?
We will have some sort of live coverage starting tonight at 8pm Eastern! Join us here and on Twitter @RingRap!
The show begins with a video recap of the events of Survivor Series’ 5-on-5 Men’s Match. They put special attention on the Dean Ambrose/AJ Styles feud, and Shane McMahon diving through the table, plus James Ellsworth holding onto Braun Strowman’s leg. We see The Wyatt Family standing tall as we go to the live arena.
Shane McMahon walks to the ring a little more slowly than usual. I have to imagine he’s hurting tonight. He thanks the fans for their chant, and asks them to excuse him for not being so energetic. He says he feels like he’s been in a car accident. The fans chant “You’ve still got it.” He thanks them. He gives a shoutout to team Raw (boos), and name drops each member on Raw. He gives extra props to Roman Reigns for nearly “knocking him out of his Jordans.” He was shocked that the last two left standing were Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, as he assumed he’d have the most problems with them, and he was disappointed he actually did have the most issues with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose interrupts him mid-sentence, and heads to the ring. Ambrose wants to know why he’s got no energy – a new day is shining and Team Smackdown was victorious. Shane says when he helped Team Raw powerbomb AJ Styles in a little “Shield Reunion” he didn’t know it wouldn’t hurt their chances of winning. Ambrose brushes it off and wants to focus on the positives, like the MVP of Team Smackdown, the man who “single handedly took out Braun Strowman,” James Ellsworth.
And Ellsworth’s music hits. He comes out wearing a neck brace, and can barely get into the ring. He shakes their hands. Ambrose asks Shane if he had a surprise for Ellsworth, but Shane says he wanted to do that privately in the back. Ambrose jumps up and down and says that he’s getting a Smackdown contract. Shane looks upset that Ambrose is doing this in public, but acknowledges it. Ellsworth is happy but in pain.
Shane turns to Ambrose and says he’s been out of control as of late, and he’s giving Ambrose the night off. Ambrose says that’s cool, let’s go celebrate. “Wings on me. Poutine?” Shane stresses that Ambrose needs to leave the building. Now. Ambrose shrugs and starts to walk away, and as he does, AJ Styles’ music hits.
The two men walk past each other on the ramp as AJ walks out. He wants to know when Smackdown became the land of undeserved opportunity. He says Shane needs to kick Dean Ambrose off of Smackdown Live for what he did at Survivor Series, and he doesn’t deserve a shot at AJ at TLC. “And you’re gonna give James Ellsworth a Smackdown Live contract?” He says he can’t do this. Shane says Ellsworth deserves this contract. AJ says Ellsworth doesn’t deserve anything, and that this contract is being “given” to him. He didn’t earn it. AJ says guys like him earned a contract – bled, scratched, clawed, etc. Styles challenges Ellsworth to face him tonight, saying he needs a warmup for TLC – let’s make it a ladder match. He says if he climbs the ladder and grabs the contract, he earned the contract, but that’s not gonna happen. AJ is gonna grab the contract and rip it up in his face.
Shane says Ellsworth doesn’t need to listen to him, but Ellsworth says he doesn’t mind since he’s already beaten AJ twice. He says he’ll put the contract on the line, but if he wins, he gets a future opportunity at the WWE World Championship. Ellsworth tells Shane he wants it all or nothing at all. Shane makes the match official.
Dean Ambrose pops up behind Shane and Ellsworth as Shane’s music plays. Shane looks at him like “Why are you here?” and walks away.
Backstage, The Miz and Maryse pose for a photo shoot. Daniel Bryan approaches him and tells him to wrap this up. Miz asks if it’s time for his big celebration? He calls it Miz-giving, as Bryan will thank him for keeping the title on Smackdown. Bryan says Miz actually humiliated Smackdown thanks to Maryse interfering in the match Sunday. Miz says “I won, didn’t I?” He did something both Bryan and Ziggler couldn’t do – be a fighting champion. Bryan agrees and says he does have something for him – it was a calculated risk putting the IC title on the line, in return for the Cruiserweight division possibly coming to Smackdown, but Baron Corbin ruined it. “So tonight, I’m giving you the opportunity to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Kalisto.” Miz starts to protest, but Bryan says the match is next.
The announcers plug the Tag Team Turmoil match for later tonight.
After the break, Shane insists that Ambrose leave the arena, and he walks him to the door.
Kalisto vs. The Miz (c) w/ Maryse for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The two lock up. Kalisto uses speed to counter a wristlock. He flips out and gets a quick pin. Kalisto sends Miz out of the ring and follows it up with a dive outside as we go to break.
We come back to Miz laying into Kalisto with Daniel Bryan kicks. He misses a charge in the corner. Kalisto rolls away and counters Miz, hitting a shoulder and a flying senton. Corkscrew tornado for two. Kalisto goes for a short hurricarana, but Miz goes for a powerbomb. It’s countered with a slingshot instead. Kalisto goes for another cover for two.
Kalisto heads up top, but the camera goes into the audience. Kalisto waited up top a bit long, looks like someone may have missed their cue, as Baron Corbin runs in and tries to attack Kalisto. Kalisto kicks him off the apron, and Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
Winner: The Miz
Corbin looks on from outside the ring, then enters to attack Kalisto. He hits him with End of Days.
On the ramp, Miz gloats, but turns into a superkick from Dolph Ziggler. Ugh.
On TV, that attack looked sloppy. The camera went looking for Corbin, Kalisto held onto his top rope attack for too long, overall just the timing was off. That said, everything else was fine. But why is Ziggler still tangling with Miz? That feud really does need to die at this point.
Backstage, Bryan says they can’t have this and will take care of it. As he’s about to walk out, Alexa Bliss walks in. Bryan says he doesn’t have time for her… “But Shane does!” Bliss starts to say she was promised… and Becky Lynch comes in and interrupts, saying she’ll get her rematch in two weeks at “T L See ya then!” They bicker until Natalya walks in, blowing her whistle. She says she knows Shane is stressed. She stayed up with her cats watching Survivor Series, and says Becky Lynch was responsible for the loss. The three bicker, and Shane says they’re all to blame, and it would’ve been nice to have the captain in the match. Shane makes a match between Lynch and Natalya. Natalya rewords a song from Titanic, much to Alexa Bliss’s chagrin. Both walk away separately. Lynch asks what it’s from and Dean Ambrose walks in with a pizza, tells her it’s Titanic. He gives Shane a piece of pizza. Ambrose says he had to come back with the pizza. Shane insists he leave. Becky says a bad pun as Ambrose leaves. He yells he heard it. Complete chaos.
A video airs for the Wrestlemania on-sale party. We go to break.
We return to Baron Corbin walking backstage. Daniel Bryan approaches him, and says what he’s doing is reckless and stupid, and he doesn’t see the bigger picture. Corbin says he IS the bigger picture. Bryan counters him – “Not yet you’re not.” He cost Smackdown the Cruiserweight division and now he’s interfering in title matches because of a grudge. He says actions have consequences, and tonight he’s going to be in a match against a “close, personal friend” – Kane.
Time for the Tag Team Turmoil match! Two teams face off one at a time. As a team is pinned or submitted, the next takes their place, until one team is left standing.
The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Both teams are already in the ring. The bell rings and immediately The Ascension go on the attack. They double-team Mojo outside the ring. Ryder misses a dive and is sent over the ropes. Viktor tags in Konnor, taking out Ryder at ringside. Back in the ring, two count and a tag to Viktor. Rapid tags, keeping Ryder in their corner. Ryder hits a double neck breaker, and Mojo finally gets back in. Hype Ryder and it’s over.
Winner: The Hype Bros
Next out, Breezango. Immediately.
The Hype Bros vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Early on, Mojo sends Ryder over the top onto Breezango as we go to break. We return, and Ryder hits a pair of knees to Breeze. Broski Boot misses. Breeze and Fandango double-team Ryder, for the elimination.
Breezango vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Fandango goes for an early roll-up on Gable. He hangs Gable up on the ropes and tags in Breeze. Double-kick for two. Gable drops onto Fandango after a sunset flip for the pin.
Winner: American Alpha
American Alpha vs. The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch & Aiden English)
English is immediately tossed up by Jordan, and Gotch is German Suplexed into a bridge for the win.
Winner: American Alpha
American Alpha vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
The Usos take their time heading to the ring. We go to break after the first lockup. We come back and Jason Jordan is at ringside. Jimmy Uso rolls him back into the ring, hitting a headbutt. They keep Jordan in their corner. Tag to Jey, cover for two. The Usos keeps Jordan cornered through rapid tags. Jey gets a two-count off of a lateral press.
Jordan gets a hope spot and makes the tag to Gable. Gable clears house and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. A cross-body clothesline followed by a German into a bridge for two. The action spills outside and Gable is sent into the ring post. Blind tag, a double-team and a near fall for the Usos.
Jordan sets Jey Uso up for an Avalanche Bulldog and it connects, but Jimmy breaks it up. Superkick leads to a Samoan Splash, but Jordan gets the knees up for a near fall. Jimmy Uso hits a chop block and they go for the double-team, but Gable breaks it up. They hit Grand Amplitude and pick up the win.
Winner: American Alpha
It seemed like that was it, but then The Wyatt Family’s interrupt music hits. Bray, Harper and Randy Orton appear on the screen. Bray tells American Alpha not to be so quick to celebrate. “You haven’t faced all the tag teams. Orton says they’re not just a team, they’re a family. Bray says next week, he and Randy are coming for them. “Run.”
JBL is confused. “Tag Team Turmoil continues?” That’s a good question. I’m confused too.
The matches were too quick to have meaning, until Usos vs. American Alpha. And that really is a fine place to stop, but clearly they have big plans for Orton and Wyatt. With Randy Orton’s wife giving birth today, it’s understandable that Orton isn’t wrestling, and I hope that he’s already home celebrating with his family.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan chats with James Ellsworth. Bryan wants to make sure he’s ok with doing this. Ellsworth says even if he were 100%, AJ Styles has more talent in his pinky than he does in his entire body. But in the WWE anything can happen. He never thought he’d have even one match against AJ, let alone three, and he never thought he’d be in the same ring as Edge and The Undertaker. But it happened. “Any man with two hands has a fighting change, so maybe tonight any man with two feet can climb a ladder and achieve a dream.” Daniel Bryan starts to stress something to him, until Dean Ambrose walks in dressed as a Mountie. He says AJ is a dangerous man. Bryan asks Ellsworth to excuse him. Bryan turns to Ambrose and says if Shane sees him he’s going to lose it, and sure enough, Shane walks in and loses it. Ambrose says he’ll leave again, but wants to know if Shane wants to know why he’s dressed like that. “It’s a hell of a story.” It pushes Shane’s buttons and he starts flipping out, but Bryan calms him down and suggests that maybe Shane leave. Shane agrees, before he does something he’ll regret. As Shane leaves, Bryan asks him why he’s dressed like that. Ambrose says it’s obvious and tells him to pass along a message to Styles – The Mountie always gets his man. Bryan can barely keep a straight face.
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
Alexa Bliss is at ringside here. Back and forth here, until Lynch starts firing up with some forearms. Natalya hits a sit-out powerbomb for two. We come back from break, and Natalya is stretching out Lynch. Natalya hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Natalya rips a chunk of her own hair out and throws it outside the ring. Lynch starts to fire up with lariats. She hits a forearm in the corner, and starts to go for her finisher, but Natalya rolls her up. Another attempt, another rollup. Lynch hits a Becksplex. Natalya sends Lynch into the turnbuckle and goes for a sharpshooter, but Lynch counters with a Disarmher for the win.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Bliss immediately attacks Lynch, laying her out on the mat.
Not a very good match for either lady.
In a pretaped segment, Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder sell stuff on WWEShop.com.
After the break, Daniel Bryan is on the phone. He’s interrupted by The Miz, who is pissed about the attack by Dolph Ziggler. Bryan gives Ziggler his rematch at TLC – a ladder match! Bryan says win or lose, after TLC the two of them go their separate ways.
Backstage, Carmella is on the phone with someone, until Nikki Bella walks in and yells at her. Bella believes Carmella took her out at Survivor Series, and Carmella denies it. Carmella says it could’ve been anyone from Raw or the E Network. “You’ve made a lot of enemies.” Nikki says whether Carmella says did it or not, their squabble comes to an end. Daniel Bryan approved a No DQ match between them at TLC.
Kane vs. Baron Corbin
Kane goes for a chokeslam right away. He takes out Corbin with a boot. Corbin counters with a right hand and Kane goes stumbling, but Kane follows up with his own right. Kane sends Corbin to the ropes, and Corbin slides through, but back in the ring, Kalisto runs in and attacks. The referee calls for the bell, and off the distraction, Kane choke-slams Corbin to the mat.
Winner: Baron Corbin via DQ
Kalisto heads back into the ring after Kane’s pyro goes off. Kalisto rolls out of the ring and grabs a chair and takes a swing. Corbin bails out of the ring before Kalisto can hit him. Corbin talks trash and runs back in, but Kalisto kicks the chair into his face. Corbin bails out.
I guess they’re having a chairs match at TLC.
James Ellsworth vs. AJ Styles in a Ladder Match – Contract vs. Title Shot
Ellsworth takes a swing at Styles and misses. Worthy of note, he still has the neckbrace on. Well, the brace comes off pretty quickly as AJ pushes him out of the ring. He goes for a ladder and brings it to the inside. Ellsworth grabs onto the ladder, and Styles pushes it into him. He sets up the ladder as Ellsworth sells it outside the ring. Styles starts to climb, and Ellsworth runs in. AJ kicks him off the ladder. He tears off Ellsworth’s shirt, revealing a back brace. AJ sets Ellsworth upside down on the ladder and kicks him.
AJ starts to climb again, and as he gets to the contract, Ambrose in a hockey uniform heads out to the ring. He attacks Styles and sets him over the top rope, then shakes Ellsworth awake. Styles hits a Phenomenal Forearm to Ambrose. Styles starts to climb up again, but Ellsworth pushes the ladder, sending Styles crashing out of the ring. Styles starts to climb back in, and Ellsworth hits No Chin Music. Styles’ leg is caught in the rope and he struggles to get free as Ellsworth grabs the contract and drops to the floor.
Winner: James Ellsworth
The announcers hype what just happened as Dean Ambrose lifts him into the air. Ellsworth has tears in his eyes as he holds the contract. Ambrose sets him down on the announcer’s table. JBL is furious, says he “might be contagious.” Hilarious.
A very predictable end to a spectacle of a match. Not much to really write about, honestly. It’s all story.
And that’s kind of the theme of Smackdown. They were all about getting the pieces in place for TLC, and they’ve established a pretty solid card with feuds that actually do fit the stipulations. It’s sad that after this, most (if not all) of these feuds will have come to an end, and WWE will be forced to scramble and hit the reset button on Smackdown.
Bill and I will have stuff to say about Smackdown, Raw, Survivor Series, Takeover, and more tomorrow on Ring Rap Audio. Please send in your Favorite Thing in Wrestling using the hashtag #FTIW. We’ll see you tomorrow!