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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Oct. 4, 2016): Merciless

In their continued efforts to one up Raw, tonight the blue brand comes our way from a couple hours down the 405. What do they have planned for San Diego to get you ready for a pay-per-view (PPV) this Sunday?

The Headliner(s)

Most of us are probably just waiting to see how AJ Styles responds to Dean Ambrose and John Cena’s memorable Talking Smack promos on the after-show, but the champ will also address the two men who will try to take the WWE World title from him this Sunday at No Mercy on SmackDown.

Last week, Cena verbally going after Ambrose and treating him like an afterthought on Renee Young’s show was the least of Styles worries. Sure, he retained the championship in a singles match against the Lunatic Fringe, but he was assisted by a distraction from the former Face That Runs the Place (and his own underhanded, tights-grabbing ways).

Then, Johnny C hit Attitude Adjustments on both his rivals, standing tallk to end the show sending a message that he doesn’t plan on waiting to tie Ric Flair’s record for WWE world titles.

Tonight, all three men will be in the ring for what amount to final statements before No Mercy. Who can position himself for a big win on Sunday? Does AJ demand Ambrose & Cena’s attention, or continue to let them focus on each other while he does whatever it takes to remain champ?

We’ll find out tonight in the other big debate on the airwaves!

The Title Scene

The post-draft “new” era has meant many title shots for Dolph Ziggler, but the Show-Off hasn’t been able to get a belt back around his waist. Desperate for one more shot at the Intercontinental championship, he crashed Miz’s homecoming celebration in their mutual hometown of Cleveland last week, and slapped his career on the line at No Mercy. Hard to see how they’re going to top last week’s segment which set up their career vs. title match for Sunday, but SmackDown has been on a quite a roll.

With the ink already dry on the contract for their Women’s title bout, Alexa Bliss made sure Becky Lynch didn’t forget about her by attacking the champ before Lynch’s scheduled match. If the Lasskicker’s own Talking Smack interview was any indication, Bliss’ plan may have backfired - only creating a more motivated Irishwoman for their showdown on Sunday.

No more time for cheese & crackers. Tag Team champs Heath Slater & Rhyno have a date this weekend with an angry Jimmy & Jey Uso. And coming off an eight-man match where they pinned Slates, Rikishi’s boys have to like their chances of becoming three-time WWE titleholders.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what happened when Randy Orton donned a sheep mask after attacking Bray Wyatt last week. But I’m pretty sure - now that the Viper’s been medically cleared - it’s gonna lead to a match in Sacramento.

- When you consider the friction between Naomi & Natalya, and Carmella & Nikki Bella, you’d figure there would have to be at least one more women’s match added to Sunday’s card.

- Here’s a fact. Curt Hawkins has an announcement for us this week. I doubt he can beat the shot of him looking at the camera through his own legs from last week, but let’s give him a shot.

- Apollo Crews. Baron Corbin. Kane. Not sure if they’ll be doing anything tonight, just reminding you they’re on the roster for this show.

It’s the go home show for No Mercy!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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