- Last week on Smackdown Live... who cares, it was the go-home show for Backlash, which means... LAST SUNDAY AT BACKLASH... A.J. Styles, the self-proclaimed Face That Runs the Place, is the NEW WWE World Champion, defeating the Lunatic Fringe and sending him back to the mid-card where he belongs... Randy Orton was not cleared to compete, but cleared to perform an RKO, as the WWE pulled a bait-and-switch, giving us Bray Wyatt vs. KANE. Guess who went over (Hint: Big Red [Blank] for the win)... The unlikely duo of Heath Slater and Rhyno achieved the dream of being the 1st Smackdown Tag Team Champions, defeating the Usos in the Finals of the Tag Title Tournament... Becky Lynch survived the Six-Pack Challenge to become the 1st ever Smackdown Women's Champion... The Miz not only succeeded in trolling Daniel Bryan, but retained the Intercontinental Title against perennial loser Dolph Ziggler. Maybe he can challenge Becky Lynch for the Women's Title at No Mercy?
- Live on the USA Network on September 13th, 2016, from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David "Captain Obvious" Otunga calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Advertised for tonight's show: Heath Slater finally gets to sign a WWE Smackdown Contract, a 5-Women's #1 Contenders Match, and the Usos vs. The Hype Bros. BUT WHAT ABOUT CURT HAWKINS?!
- A.J. Styles comes out to celebrate winning the WWE World Championship, and he STILL has the John Cena head band on his arm. Quite a trophy collection earned over the last four weeks. He's being loud and obnoxious about everything, as expected. He beat John Cena at SummerSlam to become the Face That Runs the Place™, and at Backlash, he beat Dean Ambrose to become the NEW WWE World Champion. If he said he could beat Cena and Ambrose with one hand tied behind his back, then you better believe it. If he says the sky is green, don't bother looking out the window, the SKY IS GREEN. Now he's "The Champ That Runs the Camp." Camp WWE? That show was terrible! Suddenly John Cena shows up for the first time in four weeks and the crowd loves to boo him. Cena says Styles has something that belongs to him, so Styles takes off the "Never Give Up" band and throws it at him! That's not what he was talking about. One more Championship and he ties Ric Flair's record-setting number. Styles may be the Face That Runs the Place, but he's The Man Who Never Quits™.
Dean Ambrose interrupts to remind us he's still alive. Styles flashes his new trophy in his face because his new character is picking fights with everyone. Ambrose says he's going to make Styles' life as miserable as possible. Cena interrupts him and calls him out for the whining about a low blow after what he did to Styles on the top rope two weeks ago and says Ambrose shouldn't have been hurt because he has no balls. Ambrose says he doesn't give a damn about what Cena thinks and calls him a "lazy part-timer." Cena's better off doing award shows because he can't keep up any more. He looks good on morning shows and cereal boxes but he can't get it done in the ring. The interruptions continue, this time in the form of Shane McMahon. He brings us up to speed about what has happened. Dean Ambrose is due a title rematch, and will get it in a Triple Threat Match at No Mercy when he and John Cena challenge A.J. Styles. BUT TONIGHT, IN THIS VERY RING, Cena and Ambrose team up to take on A.J. Styles and a partner of his choice... if he can find one. If he can't, the General Manager will appoint him one. Great segment to open the show with some passionate promos and convincing delivery.
- Curt Hawkins tells us some more Curt Hawkins FACTS. It's time to FACE THE FACTS. I thought he was debuting this week? Unless they meant "pre-taped promos of him".
- The Miz comes out to celebrate day #162 of the Miz's Never-Ending Intercontinental Championship World Tour (second only to WCW vs. n.W.o. World Tour). I'm sure I screwed that up. Whether he's a coward or not, he left Backlash with the Intercontinental Championship. Dolph Ziggler quickly interrupts him, because that's the thing we do on Smackdown. Showing poor manners. Is Ziggler wearing skinny jeans? He's still trying to get under Miz's skin about not being the top guy. Miz says if he lived and died by the respect of the WWE Universe, he'd be six-feet under just like Dolph's career. Ziggler dares him to earn some respect and challenges him to a rematch. No gimmicks, no valets, no stunt doubles, and no excuses (among other poorly scripted crap). Maryse gets in his face to the biggest heel reaction of the night thus far. Daniel Bryan comes out to call out the Miz and Maryse and declares that Ziggler will get a rematch. Miz rightfully points out he didn't earn the #1 contender spot to begin with. Miz wants to renegotiate his contract before he agrees to anything, and is holding the Intercontinental Title hostage until that happens.
- A.J. Styles comes across Baron Corbin. He casually mentions that Corbin has a rematch tonight with Apollo Crews. Corbin says he'd rather be his opponent because he wants the belt.
- For the third time, it's a segment for a Champion to celebrate. This time it's Becky Lynch, Smackdown's 1st ever Women's Champion. Charley Caruso joins her in the ring for a traditional interview. The crowd chants "You Deserve It." It seems only fitting that the first place for "Becky Balboa" to show up her new Title is in Philadelphia. Just like Philly is a fighting city, she's a fighting Woman.
- A.J. Styles is still looking for a partner and comes across The Demon KANE. Not to be confused with the Demon KING. "The Phenomenal One and the Devil's Favorite Demon" has a nice ring to it, but Kane just walks away laughing maniacally.
- Shane McMahon is in the ring for the official contract signing of the Hottest Free Agent, and NEW co-holder of the Tag Team Championship, Heath Slater. He has a new "I Got Kids / I Need This Job" t-shirt that nobody in their right mind would buy... no, I didn't order it. Who's going to interrupt? I'm guessing the Usos. Slater shows off the contract... and signs it. HEATH SLATER IS OFFICIALLY A SMACKDOWN SUPERSTAR! He thanks Shane McMahon, Daniel Bryan, his wife Bealuh, who is packing up their stuff to move into a double wide, his man (beast) Rhyno, and all his kids (Rosco, Betty-Lou with no tongue, Justin and Josh). The Ascension interrupt and want a shot right here, right now. One fan: "You guys are scrubs!" He has a point.
- A.J. Styles runs into Daniel Bryan and says he doesn't need a partner, so he brings in the goofy-faced scrub (James Ellsworth) that jobbed to Braun Strowman on the first brand-split episode of Monday Night Raw. Maybe he can be this decade's Colin Delaney?
- We're rapidly running out of time, but Randy Orton is here to address the Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt. Maybe they can bait-and-switch at No Mercy, too?! Orton drops the mic and poses... that would've been the greatest rush-job for a segment ever, but nope, Orton begins talking. He calls out Wyatt for being afraid of him, and that's why he attacked him from behind and tried to literally slam the door on his career. Orton calls him out to "face his fear", but he's in an undisclosed location with a fog machine. He says a wise man knows when to stay down. He rambles a bit and tells Orton not to sleep. Cut back to the arena and Wyatt is standing in front of the announcers table. They tease a fight, but the lights go out, and Rowan attacks Orton from behind. I guess he's suffering from Dana Brooke Syndrome. Orton hits him with the RKO Out of Nowhere™, making it the most meaningless sneak attack in history.
We return from commercial (including babyface Usos shilling 5-Hour Energy), with Ambrose having laid out the Miz with a Lunatic Lariat. He chooses not to tag and sets Miz up across the top rope. Miz fights out of his grasp, punches him down, and comes off with a double axe-handle. Styles takes a cheap shot at Cena, creating a distraction to allow the Miz to choke Ambrose in the corner. Ambrose comes back with chops, but Styles retaliates with his own and lands a hard kick to the ribs. Ambrose fights out of a chin-lock and counters a back-hand punch with a swinging neck breaker. Cena gets the tag and comes off the ropes with shoulder tackles on the Miz. He takes Miz down with a back suplex and comes off the ropes with the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the AA, but Styles interrupts the attempt. Ambrose dumps him to the floor and hits the tope suicida. Cena with the AA to Miz, and that's it at 9:46 (including the commercial break). So much for having leverage in contract negotiations. ** Perfectly fine house show level Main Event. Post-match, Ambrose gives Cena a dirty look and actually delivers something: Dirty Deeds in the center of the ring. Crowd actually BOOS something that happened to Cena!
Final Thoughts: Not a heck of a lot of wrestling, with less than 25-miat nutes of bell-to-bell time on a show that is usually 80+ minutes without commercials, but they pushed multiple storylines hard through non-wrestling segments, and the matches were mostly designed to advance different agendas. We opened the door for the Triple Threat for the WWE Title with a hot exchange of words between Cena, Styles, and Ambrose, the Miz pulling a power play with the Intercontinental Title, The Usos continue to show ruthless aggression, Rhyno keeps carrying Heath Slater to success, Alexa Bliss steals the top contenders spot, and Baron Corbin seems destined to be a big pet project, laying Apollo Crews out before their scheduled match. The only negatives are the uninspired program between Orton and Wyatt, and that GOD AWFUL promo from Jack Swagger. Smackdown with another winning week, advancing storylines and not giving away big matches on a weekly basis.