WWE Smackdown LIVE!- September 6, 2016
by Scrooge McSuck
- Last week on Smackdown Live... The much-talked about angle between The Miz and Daniel Bryan was killed because of fear fans were expecting Bryan would be returning to the ring (he's not, you fools!), so they pushed Miz into a program with, wait for it... DOLPH ZIGGLER. To be fair, they had a decent exchange, and I'm not talking about their KFC commercial... A.J. Styles pinned Apollo Crews, gloated about beating John Cena at SummerSlam, and almost busted his Jesus Zipper trying to interfere in the Dean Ambrose/Baron Corbin main event (he actually sold being on the rope well into the post-show dark match)... The Hype Bros defeated the Vaudevillains and the whacky team of Rhyno and Heath Slater defeated the Head Bangers (yes, THOSE Head Bangers) to advance to the Semi-Finals of the Tag Title Tournament... Carmella is making it a trend to #BeatUpNikkiBella, while Alexa Bliss scored another fluke victory over Becky Lynch... Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are two broken men looking to break each other some more... "The Demon" Kane "returned" and beat up the illegitimate son of Jake Milliman, then had a brief confrontation with Corbin... Curt Hawkins is still coming (FACT). That brings us up to speed, I'd say.
- Live from the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, NE, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga calling the action unless otherwise noted. Tonight we'll be seeing a face-to-face confrontation between Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles, as well as the two semi-final matches for the Tag Title tournament: The Usos vs. American Alpha and The Hype Bros vs. Slater and Rhyno.
- Daniel Bryan is in the ring and the NEW Women's Championship is on display, so we have a good idea what they're promoting first: the Women's Six-Pack Challenge at Backlash on Sunday. It'll be ELIMINATION STYLE, which means no fluke victory, or at least not just one to decide the new Champion. Bryan is going to have a Women's forum, and first introduces us to the #1 (female) draft pick for Smackdown, Becky Lynch. Oh, on October 5th, Total Bellas debuts on the E! Network to boos. Wow, we found something the fans will boo Bryan for. Becky says it's all about the journey and it'll be worth all the pain and losses. Natalya comes out and complains about being stuck on Smackdown with Becky and all her complaining. Suddenly, without music or any kind of hoopla, Alexa Bliss calls both out for failing and complaining, then calls Bryan a "Bella trophy husband." Carmella shows up (also without music) and her usual shtick (and the crowd still barely reacts). Becky tries stirring the pot (like Angelo Dawkins) and Alexa says Carmella is the least of her troubles. Natalya plays peacemaker for the heels, and the beat down is interrupted by Naomi and her Glow™ and finally the star of the division, Nikki Bella. Natalya takes the first shot at Nikki and quickly the ring is cleared of the heels.
- Dean Ambrose is backstage at the fake catering table and pours a can of sugar into someone else's coffee because it sucks. Well, that was very nice of him. Ambrose's concerns over being whacky sure seems to be more important to him than remaining the WWE World Champion.
- Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan confirm that there will be a Six-Women's Tag later tonight. The Miz interrupts and complains that they're more concerned with the Women than the Intercontinental Championship, and now he has to defend it against a non-contending loser like Dolph Ziggler. Bryan says the women are willing to fight, and last week so was Ziggler, but the Miz wasn't. Regardless of his opinion, if he doesn't want the match, he can relinquish the Championship right now.
Apollo Crews vs. The Miz (w/ Maryse):
Non-Title Match. Dolph Ziggler is sitting at ringside to join the commentary team. Poor Apollo Crews has really lost any momentum he might've had for the brand split. I'm sure he'll get his chances down the line, but for now, he should be in the spot that Ziggler is in. Apollo grabs a waist-lock and puts Miz down with a shoulder tackle. Crews with another waist-lock and takedown into a front face-lock. Miz forces a break in the corner and lands some cheap shots. He tries to take Apollo over with a side headlock, but Crews plants his feet and counters. Crisscross, Apollo shows off his athleticism and connects with a dropkick, sending Miz to the floor to regroup. Crews follows and hits a moonsault as we go to a commercial. We come back, with Crews teasing a comeback. He counters a knee lift with a roll up for two. Miz with a back breaker and neck breaker for a two count. Miz with knees to the face, snap mare, and a modified surfboard. Apollo rolls through a sunset flip and takes Miz over with his own for two. Miz is up first and lays out Crews with a big boot. He charges into the corner with a clothesline. Miz makes a slow trip to the top rope and gets caught on the way down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Crews gets an elbow up on a charge attempt and connects with a pair of clotheslines. He hits a Stinger Splash in the corner, followed by a jumping clothesline. Crews goes for the Spin-Out Powerbomb, but Miz escapes and rolls to the floor. He bitch slaps Ziggler and outsmarts both Crews and Ziggler, knocking them into each other. He sends Crews into the post and finishes with the Skull Crushing Finale at 10:12. Woah, Miz was allowed to look competent and like a Champion? That's a shocker. Post-match, Ziggler holds the title belt hostage, so Miz sends his wife into the ring to retrieve it. **1/2 Better than the SummerSlam match and the crowd was actually into it from time to time. Crews kind of looked like a schmuck, but was allowed to be competitive.
- "The New Face That Runs the Place" A.J. Styles is at the Talking Smack set with Renee Young, and hopefully his Jesus Zipper is at 100% for Backlash. Styles is mad about them showing footage from last week and yells at some random production assistant. Yes, he's still wearing the "Never Give Up" head band on his arm. After chewing the poor guy out, we abruptly cut away to the next round of commercials.
- Hype video for American Alpha. They've officially put the Smackdown Tag Team Division "on notice." They defeated Breezango in a pretty good (TV) match two weeks ago. The Usos are backstage and nothing but smiles. They're a bit obnoxious and I wouldn't be surprised if they did something dirty to advance.
- Bray Wyatt is alone in his room of smog. Remember when Ambrose destroyed his rocking chair and it was gone forever? Maybe his chair has the same regenerative powers that the shark in the Jaws sequels has. He makes the same point as last week. The Viper is no longer the Predator that used to strike fear in people. Bray Wyatt is the evolution of man that has surpassed the Predators of years gone by and at Backlash, the Predator becomes prey, and his remains will be the chunks of meat stuck in the teeth of the eater of worlds.
Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella:
This feels like something we'd see on those old Prime Time specials that were meant as last-minute hypes for WrestleMania or SummerSlam. Have I mentioned that I actually miss the Eva Marie stuff? Just one more week and she'll (hopefully) be back to troll everyone. Naomi and Bliss start. Naomi immediately makes me hate life, doing the jumping in place kicks (and an enzuigiri) for a quick two count. Naomi with a waist-lock takedown and a spanking for Carmella. Becky shows Carmella up on a counters and crisscross sequence before taking her over with a back slide for two. Slow-motion sunset flip for two. Carmella knocks Becky into Nikki and scurried out of the ring like a rat. We return from break with Becky getting the hot tag. She hits Carmella with a pair of clotheslines and jumping heel kick. Becky with a diving FIRE-ARM into the corner and the Beck-Sploder for two. Natalya sweeps Becky off the apron after the rest of her team failed. Carmella with ground-and-pound for two. Carmella taunts Nikki by mocking her ring entrance booty shake then grabs a chin-lock on Becky. Bliss and Natalya with a double snap mare and wish bone. Alexa slams Becky face-first to the canvas and makes her kiss it with a series of boots to the back of the head. Becky with a small package for two. Natalya with a snap mare and basement dropkick. Nikki gets knocked off the apron and Nattie plants Becky with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Hart Attack clothesline for two. Becky with a school boy for two. Natalya avoids an enzuigiri and drags Becky back into her corner. Becky fights off Alexa and hot tag to Nikki. She connects with clotheslines and a one-foot dropkick. She misses a charge to the corner, but recovers and springboards off the second rope with a kick to the face for two. Alexa with a jaw breaker and tag to Carmella. Nikki catches her immediately with the TKO but Alexa breaks the cover. Natalya with Nattie-By-Nature to Nikki. Naomi with some bullcrap move to Natalya. Alexa with the double knees somersault on Nikki, and Carmella makes her tap out to the Code of Silence at 12:49. **1/4 Perfectly acceptable, but you can tell the quality of work drops severely beyond Becky, Natalya, and Nikki. I'm very shocked Nikki took the loss instead of the ready-made-jobber Naomi.
American Alpha vs. The Usos:
(Chad Gable & Jason Jordan vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Semi-Finals Match #1 of 2 tonight. This easily could've been the Finals, so you have to expect some kind of underhanded finish that screws over American Alpha. Gable and Jordan will be on ESPN SportsCenter tomorrow night for the (almost) weekly interview with the Coach. They shake hands before the bell, but the Usos attack as soon as American Alpha turn their backs. Gable and Jordan quickly recover, toss Jimmy out of the ring, and finish with Grand Amplitude at 0:29. Did I seriously just see that? The Usos aren't good sports about it, with Jimmy knocking Jordan out with a Super Kick and sending him into the ring post. That leaves Gable by himself, and Jey with a jumping Super Kick to the back of the knee in a pretty awesome "injury" angle set up. They had insult to injury with Jimmy coming off the top with a splash across the leg. That was a much more convincing scenario than a mid-match heel-turn by hooking tights or something else lame that WWE writers are known to do. What does this mean for American Alpha's chances in the Finals?!
- We recap what just happened, with JBL and David Otunga doing the "for shame" voices.
- Randy Orton mocks Bray Wyatt by telling a bedtime story and somehow that just killed whatever momentum Bray's interview from earlier did to my interest in the match. I guess it's better than when Roman Reigns did an interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk during his feud with the Big Show.
- Fandango is in the ring and I already assume he's getting destroyed by "The Demon" Kane. Tyler Breeze isn't here, so he's found someone to "Tango with Fandango". He doesn't care for her dance moves. Her hips are full of lies. She makes a reference to A Few Good Men, so you know Vince wrote it. 23-year old movie references. "Is there anyone with fire in the belly" and there's your cue. FIRE. Fandango makes the best of the situation and gets planted with a Choke-Slam for it. In case you didn't believe any of this, Kane mocks the "Fandango-ing" pose on his way out.
- A.J. Styles smashes some poor schmucks phone against the wall, still embarrassed over what happened to him last week.
- It's Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Visit ConnorTheCrusher.org (redirected to JimmyV.org) for more information and to donate to Conor's Cure.
- Curt Hawkins arrives... NEXT WEEK. I guess Ghosts have reported Curt Hawkins sightings. Sounds like a rejected ending to The Sixth Sense, which I'm sure Vince McMahon will watch in 2023.
The Hype Bros vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno:
Semi-Finals Match #2 and the winners get an obvious advantage with the possibility of severe injury to Chad Gable. Will the Cinderella story for Slater and Rhyno continue, or will the clock toll twelve and turn their chariot into a rotten Pumpkin? There's a bunch of kids in the front row that are allegedly Slater's kids (there's a YouTube video that basically explains the "comedy"). Slater and Ryder start. Slater with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Crisscross, Slater with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Ryder gets the double knees up in the corner and comes off the middle rope with a missile dropkick for two. Mojo clips the knee of Slater and traps him in the corner with hos football stance. He takes Slater over with a back drop and sends him to the floor with a clothesline. Ryder with a baseball slide and Mojo takes out Rhyno with a clothesline. We return from commercial break with Mojo in control of a chin-lock. Slater avoids the Stinger Splash and the crowd is HYPED... for Rhyno's hot tag! He runs over Ryder with shoulder tackles. Ryder with forearms but Rhyno plants him with a spine-buster for two. Slater tags in and sends Mojo to the floor, where Rhyno gives him a receipt for earlier. Ryder with a roll up for 2.9999. He sends Slater into the corner for the Broski Boot, but Rhyno saves! Rhyno tags in and nails Ryder with the GORE~! for the three count at 7:18! Slater and Rhyno's "Miracle in the Ring" continues! Ryder celebrates with his "family" as I continue to be amazed that they got Slater over. *1/2 Just another match, but the crowd was actually into the underdog story for Rhyno and Slater.
- Rene Young has an update Chad Gable's status to "Questionable" for Sunday. The Usos storm onto the set to explain their actions. They had it bottled up in them for a while and American Alpha happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The WWE Universe turned their back on the Usos, but had no problem cheering for the noobs. About time they did something worth a damn.
- Main Event Segment is the teased face-to-face between Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles. Ambrose comes to the ring with a mysterious bag. I wouldn't be surprised if there's something along the lines of Jesus Zipper Ointment in there, knowing the humor we've come to know and loath. Ambrose quickly dismisses Charley Caruso from her role as moderator. Ambrose offers Styles a present, since he loves trophy, and it turns out to be an old "participants" Bowling Trophy. That was a bigger let down than the ointment joke I suggested! Ambrose says that's the only trophy Styles will get from him. Styles questions Ambrose's attitude and ability to take him seriously, so we get a replay of last week's riding of the top rope that went on for about 10-minutes. Ambrose says he wanted to give him a high-pitch voice to go with his Soccer Mom haircut. Styles flashes the Cena band and promises to take the trophy resting on his shoulder on Sunday. Cena actually took him seriously and still lost clean in the middle of the ring at SummerSlam. Ambrose goes on a long rant, talking a mile a minute, and calls Styles the Face that Comes in 2nd Place. Styles responds with a kick to the junk, smashes the worthless bowling trophy over his knee, and trash talks Ambrose as we fade to Copyright.
Final Thoughts: A huge improvement over last week's lackluster episode. They put the hard-sell on all the matches for Backlash (at least the meaningful ones, nobody cares about whatever filler might be used to pad the show's run time), including giving us the Finals for the Tag Title Tournament as well as a darn good heel turn from the Usos, attempting to injure Chad Gable and ruin the chances of American Alpha against the underdog team of Slater and Rhyno. Bray Wyatt cut a rambling promo that actually sold the match well, but then Orton kind of delivered some poorly scripted bed-time story to kill my enjoyment again. The Women's Title is being promoted well, and I'm surprised they let Carmella get the fall on Nikki, but I wouldn't mind more fleshing out for certain people. It seems like it's the top three and then the rest scrounging for something. The only "negative" segment would be Kane destroying Fandango, but even that was mostly salvaged by Fandango's commitment to try and get anything over. Next week on Smackdown we'll have all the fallout from Smackdown's Backlash.
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