The WWE Smackdown brand rolls on from Sunday’s No Mercy event as the focus will be on Survivor Series, which takes place on November 20. That means we could get some new rivalries going into that show next month or perhaps some No Mercy matches will carry over to Survivor Series. If you missed my No Mercy review, click here to read it.

Live from San Jose, California this is Smackdown for episode #895.

There was a video package about key moments from No Mercy.

The new Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler entered the ring first for a promo. He’s a five-time IC Champion.

Ziggler received the “you deserve it” chant just like Sasha Banks received on Raw. Ziggler said they did it. He said his only way out of the match at No Mercy was to win. He claimed he didn’t know if it was the last time he’d sit in the arena and formulate a plan and even spray tan Zack Ryder’s back. He didn’t know if it was the last time he’d walk the aisle. For the first time in years, he doubted himself. He needed to know what if he didn’t win. Then he said when he won the IC Title this is where he belongs, this is his home and he was going to overcome everything to win the Intercontinental Title. He ended up his fired up speech saying, “We Did It.”

The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse walked out in all black attire and shades for both of them.

Miz and Maryse went in the ring. They bowed their heads in a moment of silence. Ziggler asked if he would say something. Miz said he wanted to take a moment to mourn the death of the Intercontinental Championship. Miz said that on Sunday, his 188-day reign was over and he was the one that brought the prestige back to that title. Miz talked about how he was a hero that was there to carry a title. Miz said the hero gets the girl and the gold, but he’s already got the girl, so he wants the gold back.

Ziggler said he wanted to share something with the WWE Universe. There was a clip of Ziggler pinning Miz to win the IC Title at Sunday. Then it showed the clip of Miz crying against the middle ropes. Ziggler asked if he was crying.

Miz talked about how that face is everything he’s worked for and sacrificed getting ripped away from him. Fans chanted “you were crying” at Miz. A fired up Miz kept on talking about how hard he worked to keep that title and he’s going to work even harder to get it back. Miz said he’s not done with Ziggler and neither are they. It’s the Spirit Squad.

Analysis: Good promo from both guys. I’m glad Ziggler got a few moments alone to talk about what he was thinking going into the match. They really built up the match well and had people believing he might be done. Miz fired back with a lot of intensity as I would expect. Best part of the way Miz has been booked is they have stopped the cheesy comedy crap and he’s a more serious guy. It’s working well for him.

Kenny and Mikey from the Spirit Squad showed up for a handicap match against Ziggler that Ziggler requested. Miz and Maryse left the ring, a ref showed up in the ring and we’re getting a match.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kenny & Mikey of the Spirit Squad

Ziggler dumped Mikey out of the ring and then a clothesline sent Kenny over the top to the floor. The show went to break one minute into it.

(Commercial)

The heels were in control as Kenny worked over Ziggler with a chinlock. Hard clothesline from Kenny knocked down Ziggler. Mikey was in there against Ziggler for a bit, but Ziggler fought back against him and knocked Kenny off the apron. Kenny tagged back in. Ziggler nailed a double DDT on the heels that looked really impressive. Corner splash by Ziggler on Kenny. Mikey snapped the neck of Ziggler against the ropes and Kenny made a leaping clothesline for a two count. Good nearfall. Ziggler slipped out of a Powerbomb attempt and nailed a Superkick on Kenny to pin him after 7 minutes. Ranallo yelled “Oh my God he killed Kenny” as a South Park reference after the superkick.

Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler

Analysis: ** It was a solid handicap match. There was really only one moment where it looked like Ziggler might lose, but I don’t think anybody watching this would think that the Spirit Squad was going to win. I thought the finish was well done with Ziggler hitting the superkick out of nowhere to win. That’s why that’s a good finishing move. It can end a match at any time.

Post match, Miz attacked Ziggler from behind. Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale knock Ziggler down. Miz told the Spirit Squad to attack Ziggler again, but Rhyno and Heath Slater ran down to the ring for the save. The heels left the ring while Ziggler was helped to his feet by Rhyno/Slater and Ziggler’s music played to end the segment.

Analysis: Cheap attack by Miz fits his character. It looks like the Spirit Squad is going to stick around so they can do this as a six man tag match next week. Just a guess. Kenny is somebody they might keep around long term too.

Becky Lynch is out of action now with some undisclosed medical condition, but she will defend the Smackdown Women’s Title against Alexa Bliss on November 8th on Smackdown Live.

Later on Smackdown is Orton/Kane vs. Wyatt/Harper.

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are up next.

(Commercial)

The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield and David Otunga were shown on camera hyping up the newly released WWE 2K17 video game.

They showed a video with clips of Miz/Ziggler from No Mercy along with clips from the video game that show how life like the game looks. That was pretty cool.

The Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan were on camera backstage. They talked about wanting to make Survivor Series memorable. Bryan wants to offer an opportunity. Shane said they are throwing down the gauntlet for a 5 on 5 elimination match with Smackdown’s best male competitors against Raw’s best male competitors. They also suggested doing a 5 Smackdown tag teams against 5 Raw tag teams (that means a 10 on 10 match) and 5 Smackdown women wrestlers against 5 Raw women wrestlers.

Analysis: That’s cool with me. I just hope there are some stipulations on the matches like the winners get some perks instead of just bragging about winning. I’m not sure what they can do, but I think if you rewarded the five men that win the elimination match with the last five spots in Royal Rumble that would work. Just an idea that I’ve written about for like ten years. I’m still waiting for them to do it haha.

Carmella made her entrance. Earlier in the day, Nikki Bella was doing some interview and Carmella attacked her from behind. The feud must continue apparently.

Naomi entered the ring and Carmella attacked her before the match could even begin. The show went to break.

(Commercial)

Naomi vs. Carmella

Carmella was in control with a hair pull like neckbreaker for a two count. Alexa Bliss was shown watching a monitor backstage. Carmella did a lot of taunting, so Naomi came back with a jawbreaker to create some space. Naomi kicked her a bunch of times to fire up the crowd. Bulldog into the turnbuckle by Naomi. Naomi with a cross body block off the top rope for two. Carmella tripped up Naomi against the ropes and slammed her hard onto the mat. Nikki Bella walked down to the ring, but referees prevented her from getting into the ring. Naomi with an O’Connor rollup into the bridge for the victory after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Naomi

Analysis: * A short match to give Naomi the distraction win. I liked two things about that: No ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the finish and they didn’t play Nikki’s song during the match. Naomi’s also on a bit of a win streak after beating Bliss on Sunday, so it’s another example of Smackdown booking making sense by giving somebody momentum with wins.

Post match, Nikki went after Carmella in the ring. Carmella ran away, Nikki grabbed her by the foot, but Carmella jumped the barricade and ran to the back.

Analysis: The heel runs away leaving the face frustrated about trying to get her hands on her. Simple booking that works.

Alexa Bliss was interviewed by Andrea Dimarco. Alexa said she can beat Naomi any day of the week. Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan showed up to tell Alexa she’ll face Naomi next Tuesday on Smackdown Live.

Coming up later is AJ Styles’ historic victory speech.

A video aired about Eva Longoria for Hispanic Heritage month.

(Commercial)

There was some clip from Total Bellas sponsored by Payday as I wish I was watching this on DVR so I can fast forward.

Jimmy Uso (w/Jey) vs. Chad Gable (w/Jason Jordan)

No televised entrance for these guys. I guess they’re not as important as Total Bellas. Gable was aggressive early on, but then Jimmy came back with a Samoan Drop. Nice comeback by Gable with a headscissors takedown over the top to the floor. Back body drop by Gable. Gable with a clothesline off the turnbuckle and then the Alphaplex. Armbar by Gable against the ropes. Jimmy with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with brother Jey using his foot to lean on him for momentum. That was enough for the win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso

Analysis: *1/4 A quick match with the heels getting the win by cheating. It feels like they’ve done that match before or something similar with The Usos finding a way to beat American Alpha. The Usos continue to have the advantage against them. It’s simple storytelling, but it works.

Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder were in the locker room. Mojo was all hyped like usual. The Ascension showed up with black and silver face paint on their faces. They just stared at them. Then they left. Rawley said they ain’t hype.

Analysis: They had a staredown last week on Smackdown as well. At least Smackdown tries to involve most of their roster.

The WWE Champion AJ Styles is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for Goldberg showing up on Raw wondering if he will accept Paul Heyman’s challenge for a match against Brock Lesnar.

AJ Styles Addresses The WWE Universe

The WWE World Champion AJ Styles made his entrance. Images were shown of his match at No Mercy on Sunday.

Styles started off saying “The Champ Is Here” while bragging about beating both John Cena and Dean Ambrose at the same time at No Mercy. He said it was phenomenal. Styles told the crowd to cheer for him and then he called them a bunch of losers that live vicariously through him. He said there’s only room for one person on this bandwagon. Styles suggested that the crowd cheers for John Cena or Dean Ambrose, but then he mocked both of them.

Styles said that he beat Ambrose and Cena again. He talked about being a winner that finds a way to win. He bragged about beating them again at the same time. Styles spoke about how most champions might take a year off, or a month or a night, but not him. Styles talked about how he’s going to give somebody of main event status an opportunity against him.

Dean Ambrose walked out in a t-shirt and jeans. Styles said he wasn’t talking about him. Ambrose got in his face to say that Styles likes the easy way out and that Styles “don’t want none” of Ambrose. Styles wondered what he was doing out there. Ambrose said he wasn’t done with him and nobody on the roster is going to jump him in the line. Styles talked about how this guy isn’t even on the roster.

It’s James Ellsworth! Yes. Mark out time. He went down to the ring.

Styles said that Ellsworth was going to be Styles’ partner last month, but then Miz took him out. Styles said that Ellsworth is going to face him in a non-title match.

Ambrose said Ellsworth 3:16 says if you’ve got two hands you’ve got a fighting chance. Ambrose wanted to watch the match at ringside. Styles didn’t want him to be there to distract Ellsworth.

The Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan showed up on the ramp to interrupt the proceedings. Bryan said that lucky for Styles, he is a huge James Ellsworth, so this match is going to happen right now. Bryan added that Ambrose will not be at ringside because Ambrose will be the special guest referee. There was a referee in the ring, so Ambrose took off the referee’s shirt and put it on. Bryan added that if Styles hits Ambrose then he may get fined or suspended. Ambrose took things out of his pockets, put them in Styles’ hands and Styles tossed them out of the ring.

Analysis: That was fun. Styles does a great job as the cocky heel champion that is getting cheered from the crowd, but still does enough things to get booed. Ambrose telling him that it’s not over suggests that there’s more to this rivalry. The Ellsworth thing made me laugh because they’ve done it a few times now and it just works because he looks like the perfect awkward jobber to be in a spot like this.

The action starts after the break.

(Commercial)

AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth

Styles was aggressive as Ambrose backed him out of the corner. Ambrose blocked Styles from throwing a punch. Ellsworth nailed Styles with a punch of his own. Styles chased after Ellsworth and Styles tripped because Ambrose stuck his leg out. Ellsworth got a rollup, but Styles kicked out. Styles nailed a clothesline followed by a suplex. Backbreaker by Styles. They battled in the corner, Ambrose put on the Calf Crusher and Ambrose pulled out his phone to answer a call. Ellsworth was tapping out, but Ambrose was on the phone, so he never saw it. The comedy match continues. Styles tossed Ellsworth back first into the barricade and then a hard body slam on the floor. Back in the ring, Styles dumped Ellsworth to the floor and Ambrose rolled Ellsworth back in. Ambrose was distracted by a pretty girl at ringside as he took a picture with her. Styles hit Styles Clash on Ellsworth that looked nasty because I think Ellsworth tucked his head when you’re not supposed to. Styles covered for a three count. Ambrose counted one, two and stopped. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Styles. Ambrose looked around and the crowd cheered. Ambrose put Ellsworth’s arm over Styles, but Styles got his arm up at two. Ambrose was stunned by it, so he had a drink at ringside. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Styles again, then he put Ellsworth on top again and Styles didn’t kick out, so Ellsworth beat Styles after seven minutes. Ellsworth wins! Ellsworth wins! Ellsworth wins!

Winner by pinfall: James Ellsworth

Analysis: * It was just a comedy match to further the Styles/Ambrose angle, so it’s a hard match to rate. I thought Ambrose was really entertaining during the match. I didn’t think they would actually have Styles lose. I thought they might do something where Styles gets the win and then Ambrose attacks him after. Instead, they went with Ambrose screwing him by not counting the obvious pin. It was a fluke win in a comedy match, so Styles won’t be hurt by it.

Randy Orton was backstage with Kane and Orton talked about the voices in his head. Orton asked Kane if he wanted to come along for the ride against Bray Wyatt. Kane said he’s in, but Orton has issues.

A promo video aired for Royal Rumble 2017 on January 29 with tickets on sale this Friday. It’s in San Antonio at the Alamodome.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of Ellsworth beating Styles in a comedy match before the break.

Styles was backstage complaining to Shane and Daniel about what happened. Shane said AJ wanted the match, so he shouldn’t be mad at Dean, James or Daniel. Shane said that it’s official that AJ Styles lost to James Ellsworth. Styles said he understood. Styles left with Bryan saying to Shane that he had an idea for next week.

Analysis: They might do Styles vs. Ellsworth again next week with the WWE Title on the line since Ellsworth “earned” a title shot with a non-title win. (On Talking Smack, Bryan did announce Styles vs. Ellsworth for the WWE Title next week.)

On Talking Smack on WWE Network after the show it’s Nikki Bella and James Ellsworth as the guests on the show.

Main event tag match is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for Komen.org/WWE for WWE’s “More Thank Pink” movement in the month of October.

The announcers talked about how James Ellsworth had a victory over AJ Styles, but then the Wyatt Family introduction took place.

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper made their entrance. Luke Harper said that the world put him to sleep, but now he’s wide awake and he’s seen the light. Wyatt said that there’s a black hole that consumes everything that comes near it, but then there are the gods like them. Wyatt suggested that Orton bring his monster because he’s got his in Harper. Another commercial.

Analysis: Good to see Harper back. He’s one of the most underrated guys in WWE that always puts on good matches. He missed most of the year with a major knee injury.

(Commercial)

Kane made his entrance first followed by Randy Orton.

Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Kane & Randy Orton

The bell rang at 9:48pmET so they won’t get that much time. Kane slugged it out with Wyatt early on. Boot to the face by Kane to Wyatt. Orton attacked Kane outside the ring and tossed him back in the ring. Wyatt broke the grip of Kane and left the ring as they went to break one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Orton nailed a superplex. Kane was in there with Harper and hit a seated dropkick. Kane grabbed both guys by the throat, but then Harper came back with a dropkick of his own. Wyatt slammed Kane’s into the ring apron and then tossed him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Wyatt with a running senton for two. Harper tagged in to continue to work on Kane. Harper ducked his head and Kane nailed a DDT.

Orton tagged in against Wyatt with Orton hitting clotheslines and then the spinning powerslam. Orton with the Thesz Press leading to punches. Wyatt pulled Orton out of the ring, but Orton slammed him face first into the announce table. Orton tossed Harper over the announce table. Orton sent Wyatt into the barricade and then tossed him into the steps. Back in the ring, Wyatt begged off. Orton nailed the draping DDT off the ropes. The ref told Kane to leave Harper alone outside the ring, which led to Harper nailing a superkick on Orton. Wyatt missed a senton splash. Kane wanted the tag, but then the Wyatt Family logo appeared on screen. When the lights went back on, Kane was gone and Harper was standing where Kane was. Harper smiled at Orton. Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail on Orton and covered for the win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper

Analysis: **1/2 It was an okay tag match. The ending to the match was very unique. I’m not sure what to say other than I like that WWE is doing different stuff with the Wyatt Family. It makes them stand out from the pack as a unique team. Orton will probably get a win back in a week or two or perhaps all the way at Survivor Series.

Smackdown ended right at 10pmET with Wyatt and Harper smiling about their win while the announcers wondered what happened to Kane.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. James Ellsworth – Yep.

2. Dolph Ziggler

3. AJ Styles

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 5.5

2016 Average: 6.05

2016 Average Post Brand Split (July 26): 6.33 – Raw is at 6.13

Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 8, 7.5, 6, 5.5

2016 High: 8 (August 23/September 27)

2016 Low: 4 (January 21)

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 6.5 out of 10.

It’s a weird show to rate, so I gave it a score right above the yearly average. In terms of matches there really wasn’t anything that memorable. However, in terms of story progression, promos and fun moments I thought it was an enjoyable show.

The big news of the show was the three 5 on 5 matches that are likely going to happen at Survivor Series. It’s not official yet, but it’s coming.

I thought the Ziggler promo and match was well done in the early part of the show. In the second half of the show, the Ellsworth/Styles thing stood out as a comedy angle that worked.

At No Mercy on Sunday they said that Curt Hawkins would have a match on this show. He did not. I’m not sure why.

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That’s all for now. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Go Los Angeles Rams.

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