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WWE SmackDown Live Recap & Reactions (Nov. 1, 2016): The Lunatic Ellsworth

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This week’s episode of SmackDown Live originated from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, airing live on the USA Network on November 1, 2016. The WWE is building towards the joint brand Survivor Series later this month. For full results and the live blog, click here. For more coverage on the show tonight, check out a special guest host edition of Live After SmackDown Live! with Fizzy.

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Making Things Right

The Man with Two Hands, James Ellsworth, started the show, as the audience is reminded that he cost Dean Ambrose a shot at the WWE World Championship title shot last week. He stood in the ring for a moment, looking upset, before he started by thanking Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan for giving him a moment to say goodbye. This news did not please the crowd, who responded with "No!" chants.

Ellsworth said he was not able to live with himself until he can apologize to Ambrose and calls him out. The Lunatic Fringe did, indeed, come out to the ring and he seemed a bit upset. But he did say that he cannot stay upset at Ellsworth with his puppy dog eyes and that everything was "all good". Ellsworth continued to apologize, saying "Any man with two hands can make a mistake."

Ambrose went on to say that it was okay but warned him to never, ever, ever get in his way again. Ellsworth apologized again, which brought out the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles. Styles asked Ellsworth why would he apologize to Ambrose since Ambrose has been using Ellsworth for the past few weeks. If Ellsworth owed anyone an apology (and a merch check), it was Styles.

A confrontation ensued in the ring between Styles and Ambrose, with Styles gaining the upper hand by pushing Ellsworth into Ambrose. The Champ stood tall over Ambrose after pushing Ellsworth from the ring and hitting Ambrose with a Phenomenal Forearm.

In a backstage segment after the commercial break, Dean was upset at Ellsworth for getting in the way again. Daniel Bryan appeared to calm things down. He gave Dean Ambrose another shot at Styles, saying if Dean beat the Champ tonight, he would become number one contender. But this would be Ambrose’s last chance. Also, the SDL GM told Ellsworth that "under no circumstances is he to go ringside".

In the main event of Styles versus Ambrose, Dean started off hot with a suicide dive and kept the control for a good portion in the beginning. He wrestled like a man who knew this was his last chance. Styles was able lock in a Calf Crusher, which Ambrose broke with a rope break. Ambrose regained control outside and kept his urgent pace up, gaining a nearfall. A collision between the two left Ambrose favoring his left knee as the show took its final commercial break.

Ambrose fought through his pain and hit a dive onto Styles outside of the ring. Back in the ring, Ambrose missed with Dirty Deeds but hit a wicked clothesline. Still favoring his knee, Ambrose fought out of another Calf Crusher but Styles suplexed him into the corner turnbuckle. Ambrose recovered enough to get a near fall on the Champ. Lots of countering lead to a double clothesline which left both men lying.

Ellsworth appeared from the crowd ringside and distracted Ambrose, which lead to a near fall for Styles. Security came to chase Ellsworth through the crowd. Another series of counters lead to another Calf Crusher but Ambrose got to the ropes again.

Ellsworth is caught by security ringside and Styles goes to attack him. Styles then went for a Phenomenal Forearm on Dean but Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Styles to win the match and become number one contender for the WWE World Championship. So the Champ was undone here by his own arrogance and selfish need to hurt a defenseless man. After the match, Dean went to thank Ellsworth for doing all he could to make up last week’s mistake.

Aww, shucks.

Later, on Talking Smack, it was announced that Dean Ambrose will challenge AJ Styles in a TLC match at the TLC pay-per-view in December.

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"I’ll Get You, My Pretty . . ."

Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella took on Alexa Bliss and Carmella in a tag team match. Nikki started the match for her team, with Bootleg Nikki doing everything she could to avoid having a fair face to face confrontation with the Fearless One. So, of course, Carmella has Alexa start the match but Miss Five Feet of Fury was able to hold her own with Nikki. She also took a shot at Becky on the apron. Her confidence got the best of her, though, as Nikki and Becky had momentum on their side when the show took a break for commercial.

Back from the break, Lynch was giving "straight fire" to Carmella, almost pinning her before Alexa broke up the pin. She also took Nikki out by throwing Becky into Nikki. Bliss officially tagged in again but was hit with a Scorpion Death Drop from the Women’s Champion. Carmella distracted the referee when Lynch had Alexa pinned. Bliss then raked Lynch in the eyes and got the pinfall victory after a hard DDT.

Some Renee Young wannabe (Dasha Fuentes) attempted to interview Alexa and Carmella after the match but she was dismissed and the two women instead interviewed each other. I loved the way the two ladies interacted here. Carmella was actually pretty good talking trash against the RAW ladies, particularly Bayley and Charlotte. Alexa talked up her defeating Becky for the Women’s Championship next week in Glascow.

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Talking Smack on Miz TV

Maryse introduced her husband, the Miz, to host Miz TV. The special guest for the show was none other than SmackDown Live’s general manager, Daniel Bryan. Miz promised to remain professional to discuss the men’s team for Survivor Series. After admonishing the crowd for their Bryan love, Miz took a shot at Talking Smack, to which Bryan suggested canceling Miz TV.

Bryan started by stating that there would be two more qualifying matches for the tag teams to join the blue brand. Miz asked about the men’s team. The list is as follows: Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and AJ Styles. Of course, being omitted from the team upset the Miz. He felt as if Bryan set out to humiliate him. Miz called Bryan "petty and jealous" and said the blue brand is full of opportunities to everyone except the Miz.

Bryan said that the Miz was considered for the team but that Miz is afraid to fight because the Miz refused his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship and the blue brand needs men who need to fight on "our terms". Miz said that Bryan is leading the team to failure and said that Bryan was the one who was scared to fight (while putting his wife in between himself and Daniel). He said that Bryan was not good at his job, or anything anymore other than moping around John Cena’s house on Total Bellas.

That comment got Bryan all kinds of fired up and it looked like he would actually put hands on the Miz, causing Miz and Maryse to leave the ring. Bryan told Miz to sit at commentary and run his mouth, because that is what he is good at, while Dolph Ziggler defends his title in an open challenge.

Daniel Bryan versus the Miz is one of the hottest feuds of the year and the two have never touched each other. Imagine that.

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Other Matches and Segments:

  • Randy Orton versus Kane (no disqualification match): Kane was seeking some retribution for Orton turning on him to help Bray Wyatt defeat him last week. A chair quickly came into play in the match, with Kane taking it from Orton and using it first. Just as Kane had things well in hand, Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper appeared-OUTTANOWHERE-to give an assist to the Apex Predator. It did not take long for Orton to hit an RKO and defeat Kane. After the match, Wyatt sat back in a corner and watched as Harper added insult to injury with an extra attack on Kane. Then Randy Orton actually "fed" Kane up to take the Sister Abigail from Wyatt. By all appearances, Randy is now a part of the Wyatt Family
  • The Baron Corbin vignette reminded me of old Hell’s Angel footage
  • Backstage Shane and Daniel confirmed the blue brand’s women’s team: Captain Nikki Bella, Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Naomi. Then Natalya, now referencing Aretha Franklin’s "Respect" talked her way into being made the coach for the women’s team. Long live the crazy cat lady!
  • Spirit Squad versus American Alpha: This match was for a spot on the Survivor Series 10 person elimination match. Mikey and Kenny tried their best but American Alpha made quick work of them, when Gable got the pinfall victory. AA joins Beauty and the Man Beast and the Hype Bros to represent the blue brand.
  • Dolph Ziggler versus Curt Hawkins: Ziggler won with a superkick right after the bell. Was the "debut" match that Curt deserved. Ziggler gave an interview after the match with Renee Young. Ziggler put an open challenge to any RAW Superstar at Survivor Series for the Intercontinental Championship, which did not sit well with the Miz.
  • Backstage: This Renee Young wannabe messed up and called Ellsworth "Ellis" when interviewing Ambrose. Ellsworth showed up to plead with Dean about being ringside and "making things right". Dean refused and told him to "take a hike" and go eat some Halloween candy.
  • Wyatt segment: Orton is done trying to fight the darkness. He has seen the light and Bray Wyatt is a god, according to the Viper. This was unsettling almost. I was skeptical but I think Orton might actually be on Wyatt’s team for real.
  • The Usos versus the Headbangers: The Samoan Wrecking Crew started the match hot, attacking the Attitude Era rejects before the match even got started. The Usos made it a quick match, getting a pin off a dirty roll-up. The duo is now on the blue brand’s team for SS as well.
  • Backstage: Styles promised to beat Ambrose again and, this time, Ellsworth won’t be an excuse. Meanwhile, Ambrose escorted Ellsworth out of the building.

Final Thoughts and Opinions:

Another solid show, even though I was not blown away by anything. There was a lot packed into these two hours and with good reason. I very much enjoyed Carmella tonight and that is not something I have been able to say since she was in NXT. Alexa was also great. Just chill with the Disney reference, mkay?

I hate to be a party pooper here but I am sick of James Ellsworth. I really want this to be the last I have seen of him for a while, although I doubt it. Sorry, not sorry.

The evolution of Randy Orton into a Wyatt is sneaky interesting and fun. Harper is playing his role of cautious brother to Wyatt perfectly here. Without saying a word, you can tell he has not bought it fully, nor should he.

Ambrose was superb all night tonight, from showing frustration with Ellsworth but still not wanting to go "full lunatic" on the poor fella to the absolute urgency he showed with facing Styles in the ring and even being an understanding big brother (He has one of those himself) to Ellsworth with a hug at the end. Styles was also great as a slimy a-hole but tonight was Dean Ambrose’s night. He gave an A plus performance the entire show.

The Miz and Daniel Bryan are destined to do this thing forever and I love it.

Curt Hawkins ‘debut’ match was absolutely perfect.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10