As a reward for his role in eliminating Raw’s Braun Strowman from the men’s elimination tag match at Survivor Series this past Sunday (Nov. 20), SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon was all set to give his team’s mascot, James Ellsworth, a full-time contract.
Dean Ambrose spoiled the surprise (and we actually learned about it through the wrestling web last week), but this was still an exciting moment. Until World champion AJ Styles came out to rain on the Chinless One’s parade.
Ever the fighter, James opted to earn his contract by fighting Styles in a ladder match... with one catch. If the banged up Ellsworth (Strowman did throw him through a table, after all) could climb and grab the contract hanging above the ring, he’d not only get to sign it, but he’d get a future shot at the championship.
Shane agreed - while in the process of banning Dean from the building for his lunatic ways, including siding with his old Shield brothers against fellow SmackDown Superstar Styles at Survivor Series.
Of course, Ambrose found a way to stick around and ended up attacking the champ mid-match to help turn the tide for his little buddy.
That created an opening for Ellsworth to regroup, which he used to muster the energy to send AJ crashing to the floor by shoving over a ladder, and then deliver a No Chin Music superkick - resulting in Styles’ foot getting stuck in the ropes. The man with two hands and a fighting chance climbed the ladder, grabbed the contract, and celebrated with Dean.
Now, if he can go 4 - 0 against the Face that Runs the Place, he’ll be WWE World champ.
How’s that for climbing the ladder?