This week’s episode of SmackDown Live, airing on October 18, 2016, came from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. For the live blog of the show by ReverendKain, click here. For additional coverage, check out 14fizzpatrick and myself on Live After SmackDown Live.
A Chin-derella Story
James "Two Hands" Ellsworth was seen to open the show, preparing for his WWE World Championship match against the Champion, AJ Styles, when Dean Ambrose presented him with an official WWE James Ellsworth t-shirt, calling him a WWE Superstar and wished him good luck.
Later in the show, Styles shared his thoughts on the main event. He said it was a surreal moment. Styles had scratched and clawed to be called the Face that Runs the place and now he had to defend his title against that no-talent turd, Ellsworth. He said he knew Ambrose would find a way to screw him. He equated Ellsworth winning to when David Arquette won the WCW World Championship and said he was embarrassed to even be in the same ring with Ellsworth. Styles promised that if Ambrose caused him to lose the title, he would find Ambrose and tear him piece by piece.
Later, Ellsworth talked about her nervous he was for the match tonight. He said that he knew he did not deserve the opportunity he had and, through tears, said that one day he will be able to tell his grand kids one day that he competed for the WWE World Championship. Aw, shucks . . . .
Dean Ambrose entered the arena prior to the main event starting, to be the time keeper/ring announcer or whatever he wants, basically. Styles came out next, clearly irritated by Ambrose's presence. James Ellsworth was next and got a "Gold-berg" like chant from the audience. Ambrose was pretty gold doing the ring announcements for this match, adding his own unique flair to the challenger and champions introductions. He also rang the bell for an unreasonably long time.
Ellsworth attempted to take advantage of the distraction but Styles got him in an abdominal stretch. Ambrose then announced that the match had to be stopped for a "commercial time-out", which actually happened as the show went to commercial.
Back from commercial, Styles was in control when Ambrose announced that Ellsworth's shirt was available on WWE's website as well as in the arena. The story of the match was that Ellsworth quite clearly was outmatched but Ambrose would provide a constant distraction for the Champ. JBL losing his mind that Ellsworth could actually win made the entire situation much better. Even Otunga's "Chin that Got the Win" was not bad.
Rightfully, the referee could have thrown the match out when Ambrose continued to throw Ellsworth back in the ring. Ellsworth got a glimmer of hope by pushing Styles face first into the turnbuckle then hitting No Chin Music for a nearfall, which drove the crowd nuts. Styles began to beat Ellsworth in the ring, which Ambrose egged him on, so Styles beat him in the corner until Styles got disqualified, making Styles lose to Ellsworth for the second week in a row. Ambrose delivered a Dirty Deeds to Styles before announcing, "The man who has more wins over AJ Styles than John Cena, James Ellsworth!"
This was perfectly done.
On Talking Smack, Styles claimed that Daniel Bryan had turned into the exact Authority he used to fight against. He asked from Ambrose in a match last week and, if Ambrose wins, then Ambrose gets another shot at the WWE World Championship.
And, for all you Ellsworth fans, a little treat:
A Snake in Quick Sand
Randy Orton officially opened the show in a match against Luke Harper. Before the match, Orton admitted that the evil of Bray Wyatt is more than he could ever imagined. He likened the experience to being in "quick sand." Orton said that he feels as if he is losing his mind but that is definitely a bad thing for Wyatt because Orton is wrath and vengeance and he is coming for Wyatt.
Wyatt appeared onscreen in a coffin and told Orton that he is about to take him on a journey that will suffocate him. He ended his small speech with "He’s here", which brought out Wyatt’s most loyal goon, Luke Harper.
The match started off with neither man taking control. Harper sent Orton out of the ring but was countered on a suicide dive attempt. Back in the ring, Orton hit a superplex when the lights went off and Wyatt’s music began to play. Men in sheep masks brought out Wyatt in the same coffin as the show took its first commercial break.
After the break, Orton was laid out of the ring and facing a ten count from the referee. Orton just beat the count but Harper stayed on him, applying a headlock after a nearfall. Orton fought out of the hold but got hit with a Michinoku driver for another nearfall. Harper's goal seemed to wear Orton down as he applied a headlock once more. Harper went to toss Orton into the coffin but Orton reversed momentum. Harper had to stop himself from entering the coffin himself.
As Orton took over, Wyatt interfered in the match, causing a disqualification. Harper and Wyatt beat Orton down. Wyatt went to put Orton in the coffin but Kane emerged from out of nowhere. Kane and Orton teamed up to take out the Wyatts, getting them down on the mat. When both were going for their finishers, the lights went out. When the lights came back on again, both Harper and Wyatt had disappeared.
A Blissful GLOW
The number one contender for the SmackDown Women's Championship, Alexa Bliss, took on Naomi in a rematch from their bout at No Mercy. The stage had been set by SDL General Manager, Daniel Bryan, that Naomi should be in the conversation for the championship if she were to beat Bliss again. The match started with a traditional tie-up, both women looking to take control. Bliss attempted to use the referee to her advantage to no avail but gained control with a knee to the stomach. Naomi took over with her signature kicks and hit a springboard crossbody for a nearfall.
Naomi got another nearfall after a leg drop. Bliss got a momentary reprieve by using Naomi's hair to take her down but Naomi was back in control after a drop toehold into the bottom turnbuckle sent had Alexa take a powder before going to a commercial break. Bliss gained control on the outside of ring with a hard slap during the commercial break and kept control once back on the air. Naomi countered a side headlock into a backbreaker and then began to make her comeback.
Bliss barely kicked out of a split-legged moonsault. Then Naomi went to the top rope, which cost her as Bliss stopped her and pulled her down using her hair. One Twisted Bliss later and Bliss solidly defeated Naomi, perhaps proving that last Sunday's loss was a fluke.
After the match, Renee Young asked Bliss for her comments about her upcoming title match against Becky Lynch on November 8. Using several Disney references, Bliss guaranteed that the "fairy tale will be over" and she will become the new SD Women's Champion.
The Shade of It All!!!
First of all, Carmella is THE WORST!!!! Anyway, Bootleg Nikki Bella came out to the ring and complained about losing to Nikki Bella at Summerslam. She claimed to not know why fans think Nikki is awesome and was going to "spill the tea". Luckily, Nikki came out to the ring to confront her face to face. Carmella complained about Nikki stealing her spotlight. She also said that Nikki can do whatever she wants is because her boyfriend is John Cena, which is a lie. Nikki called Carmella a jealous hater, which she is.
Nikki said she chooses not to talk about her relationship because she is an athlete and shamed Carmella for bring her relationship into it. She likened Carmella to the "internet bullies" that Nikki has had to deal with for the last four years. Carmella called Nikki a golddigger and then showed clips of Nikki from Total Divas, calling her a "need freak". Nikki responded by saying she wears the pants in her relationship, she pays her own bills, and she paved her own way in the ring. Nikki then talked about her neck surgery, explaining why she's fearless. She had a great line where she said that she is not afraid of "a boss" or "a queen" but definitely not the "princess of Staten Island".
Carmella claimed that Nikki used her looks to get in the door, her sister in the ring (which is just laughable. I love Brie but Nikki is undoubtedly better than her), and her boyfriend to become famous. Since Carmella's mouth was now empty of all the lies and slander she was holding, she made her exit, leaving Nikki upset.
WAIT A MINUTE!!! DIDN'T CARMELLA TOTALLY JACK HER BOYFRIEND'S GIMMICK IN NXT? SHE IS THE WOOOOORST!!!!!!
Seems like Carmella isn't the only person who takes exception to Nikki Bella after this promo, either:
And Nikki's response:
Other Matches and Segments:
- Apollo Crews versus Curt Hawkins: Hawkins cut a promo before the match, telling Crews that all he has to fear is fear himself and . . . Curt Hawkins. Also told him that he would have to change his name to Apollo Lose. Apollo struck him so Hawkins refused to wrestle the match, saying Crews ruined Hawkins' debut and then left. This guy is never going to wrestle, is he? He inherited Eva Marie's gimmick.
- Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, and Rhyno versus The Miz and the Spirit Squad: The WWE is really playing up the "Odd Couple"aspect of the tag team champions' relationship. Rhyno and Kenny started the match off. The Champions had solid control until Kenny hit a flying elbow on Ziggler, to which Miz wanted in the match. Miz was able to get Ziggler pinned into his corner but Ziggler fought out the attack and sent Miz's team to regroup during the commercial break. After the break, Ziggler was in control until Maryse pulled his leg and Miz took advantage. Ziggler played a great face in peril as Miz's team beat him down. A desperation superkick led to Slater getting the hot tag, which erupted the crowd. The match broke down and Kenny got the roll up victory after Miz cheap shotted Slater during the melee.
- Backstage segment: Natalya approached Daniel Bryan to enter the SmackDown Women's team match for Survivor Series. She then quoted Whitney Houston while making her pitch, which I really hope is a new part of her gimmick. The segment ended with her talking about her cat's social media.
- Jack Swagger versus Baron Corbin: This is another rematch from No Mercy. Corbin's prematch interview called Swagger a joke and said that his whole "We the People" was really the fans making fun at his expense. Corbin said him beating Swagger would be him beating everyone who says the quote around the World. The match started off with Swagger sending Corbin to the outside. Swagger got the tables turned on him and was shot off the apron into the barricade. Corbin brought the fight outside, pummeling him with forearms against the barricade. Corbin hit the End of Days early to squash Swagger in a very short and brutal match. By the way, Banter Corbin was magnificent needling at Bryan on Talking Smack. He has zero respect for these little indie guys. Zero.
- Backstage: Natalya was still bothering Bryan about her cat when Ambrose came to talk to him, wearing a referee shirt. Ambrose promised to call the match down the middle. Bryan told Ambrose that he cannot be the referee but told him that he could still be a time keeper, ring announcer, or commentator. Ambrose responded by saying, "Great! I'll do that!" without specifying exactly which one he would do.
Final Thoughts and Opinions:
I overall enjoyed this episode. SmackDown Live has never lost their narrative since the brand split began. Whether the actions delivers or not, the story lines and motivations remain clear and continue to unfold, which I can always appreciate. What I enjoyed the most about the show is the Nikki Bella-Carmella story continues to grow and tonight it was taken to a much needed deeper level. These two women aren't concerned with making history. They aren't concerned with being the "first" anything. They just flat out don't like each other and want to beat each other up, which I much great appreciate.
Baron Corbin looked great. The six man was a fun match with a logical ending. I actually enjoy Curt Hawkins' gimmick. The supernatural angle with Orton, Kane, and the Wyatts might not be for everyone but I am intrigued with where the angle leads. And how it will affect all involved
While I must admit, I am not a fan of James Ellsworth in any way, shape, or form, I can appreciate that he is a mere pawn in the mind games Dean Ambrose is playing against AJ Styles. Unlike last week, I actually found Ambrose's antics quite entertaining this week, because he was not the referee and therefore, in my mind, had way more leeway to be silly and distract Styles.
All in all, an enjoyable program, as it usually is. Keep up the great work, blue brand! Give RAW hell at Survivor Series!
Oh, yeah, CARMELLA IS THE WORST!!!!!
Rating: 9.25 out of 10