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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- November 1, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck


American Alpha

- Apologies for the lateness of another Smackdown Live recap. Now that the World Series is over (congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for finally ending their 108 years of misery, and woo-hoo for former Rays manager Joe Maddon and Series MVP Ben Zobrist), I can get back to a normal viewing schedule for my rasslin' fix.

- Last week on Smackdown Live... Dean Ambrose failed to earn the spot as the #1 Contender when James Ellsworth accidentally caused him to be Disqualified against A.J. Styles... Randy Orton "shockingly" turned on Kane and appears to have joined the Wyatt Family... Nikki Bella made Natalya tap to the STF to be the Captain of the Women's Survivor Series Team... The Hype Bros won a qualifying match over The Ascension to earn a spot on the Tag Team Survivor Series team... Alexa Bliss punked out Becky Lynch and spray-painted her spine yellow... Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully defended the Tag Titles against the Spirit Squad... Dolph Ziggler offered Miz a title match, but the Miz rejected because it wasn't on his terms.

- LIVE from Newark, NJ, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga calling the action, unless otherwise noted.

- James Ellsworth of all people comes out to kick the show off, with some generic theme music straight out of the early 2000's. We get a replay of what happened to close out the show last week, and he looks like someone just killed (and possibly fed him) his puppy (the culprit? Melvin Upton Jr. His nickname is BOSSMAN JR. after all). Ellsworth thanks Shane O'Mac and D-Bry for letting him come out to say goodbye. He calls out Dean Ambrose to give him an apology. Ambrose insists an apology isn't necessary, while holding back the obvious attempts at wanting to knock his block off for costing him a shot at the WWE World Title. A.J. Styles interrupts (and calls Ellsworth "Big Game James") and the crowd is into him, so he does what any good heel should and tells them off. He says Ambrose has been using him (Ellsworth) this whole time, and if he owes anyone an apology, it's to him (AJ)... and a cut of the merchandise check. Things get physical, with Styles tossing Ellsworth out of the ring and nailing Ambrose with the Phenomenal Forearm.

- Highlights from last Tuesday where Randy Orton appears to have formed an alliance with Bray Wyatt. "If you can't beat them, join them."

- Daniel Bryan calms things down backstage between Ambrose and Ellsworth. Bryan offers Ambrose another chance at A.J. Styles to earn his spot as the #1 contender, and this is his last chance (and I don't mean one of those Major League Baseball, Steve Howe, kind of last chances!). Under no circumstances, Ellsworth is not allowed to be at ringside (which means he'll show up at ringside).

No Disqualification Match:
Kane vs. Randy Orton:

Might as well advertise this as a "people are going to interfere" match." Orton is trying extra hard not to play to the crowd, because he swears, he's with Bray Wyatt, and there's nothing more to think about. Has Kane been using his older theme music again, or am I going crazy? Orton immediately rolls to the floor, sends Kane to the post, and grabs a chair. Kane boots him in the midsection and whacks him with the chair instead. Back inside, Kane sends Orton to the corner, charges in with an avalanche, and connects with his signature side slam. He calls for the Choke-Slam, but SURPRISE, Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper show up. Kane blocks an RKO attempt, then gets pulled to the floor. He fights the 3-on-1 situation for a few moments, but Orton with RKO Out of Nowhere to finish Kane off at 2:08 (what is this, the Attitude Era!?). Post-match, Luke Harper hits the Discus Clothesline and Orton throws Kane into Wyatt for Sister Abigail. Everyone poses, as if they're on the same page.

- Baron Corbin vignette. He's the Lone Wolf, and he doesn't care about what anyone else thinks about him and has zero remorse.

Becky Lynch & Nikki Bella vs. Carmella & Alexa Bliss:

I'm surprised they found a fresh match-up for the Women, but knowing my poor memory lately, they probably did do this match on TV and I just plum forgot about it. Becky is the only one to get a full entrance, and hey, did you know Carmella has a new t-shirt available on WWE Shop? Nikki and Carmella start, but Carmella quickly rolls to the floor, and Alexa tags herself in upon return. Nikki grabs a waist-lock, but Bliss nails her with an elbow and throws her down by the hair. Nikki sends her to the floor with a dropkick, and Becky does the same to Carmella. Synchronized baseball slides as we take a break. We come back with Becky hitting Carmella with a pair of clotheslines and a jumping heel kick. She charges into the corner with a forearm, springs off the ropes with a side kick, and tosses Carmella with an Exploder Suplex for two. Bliss tosses Becky into Nikki and tags herself in. Becky catches her coming and hits a reverse DDT, but the referee is distracted. Becky knocks Carmella off the apron. Bliss hops on her back to take the eyes, and a DDT finishes at 2:20 (excluding a commercial break). That's another victory for Alexa Bliss over Becky Lynch, and next week we finally get the title match.

- Post-match, Alexa Bliss turns away the random interview girl and the two cut their own promo about the Survivor Series 5-on-5 Women's Match (running down Charlotte and Bayley on Raw) before Alexa Bliss focuses her attention on next week's Championship Match in Glasgow Scotland.

- Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan inform Naomi she'll be the 5th Women for the Survivor Series Team, joining Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss. I'd question how some of them "earned" their spot, but they've literally used all their available options without any cute "pick up a ringer" situations. Natalya shows up and gets appointed the role of "Coach" because she gets along with everyone (well, except Becky). I have a feeling she was trying to rip off the lines from another song in her little speech. Something about respect.

American Alpha vs. The Spirit Squad:

(Chad Gable & Jason Jordan vs. Kenny & Mikey)
The winning team earns a shot on the Tag Team Survivor Series unit. Hopefully they start pushing American Alpha as more than second bananas. Gable and Kenny start. Gable with a waist-lock takedown. Kenny with a slam and an assisted moonsault from Mikey for a one count. Whip to the ropes and Mikey connects with a diving headbutt. Kenny to the top rope, but he misses the guillotine leg drop. Jordan tags in and unloads on Kenny. Press slam to Mikey and an overhead belly-to-belly suplex to Kenny. Mikey pulls Kenny from harm's way and Kenny rolls him up for two. Whip to the ropes, Gable with the blind tag, and Grand Amplitude finishes at 2:00. That result shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

- The Miz and Maryse are in the ring for a Special Edition of Miz TV... with Daniel Bryan. This should get interesting. There's already tension as the segment begins, with Bryan threatening to cancel Miz TV if he's unhappy with things on Smackdown. Bryan says there's still two more qualifying matches for the Smackdown Tag Teams, but that's not what the Miz wanted to know. He wants to know about the men's SINGLES Team. After careful consideration, the list of 5 includes: Randy Orton, Baron Corbin (HA! I KNEW IT!), Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and after teasing it's the Miz, selects A.J. Styles. Miz's look of disdain is priceless. Miz asks if he was even considered, but Bryan says no, so Miz goes off on Bryan's attitude towards him. Hold the phone, Bryan says he was considered, until he proved himself a coward last week who wouldn't fight unless it was on "his terms." Miz yells Bryan he's scared to fight, hides behind his wife, and says he's not good at anything anymore, and to go back and mope around John Cena's house. Bryan tosses a chair across the ring and calls Miz out for his wrestling abilities again, and leave the real fighting to the Superstars and announces an open challenge for the Intercontinental Title.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Dolph Ziggler © vs. Curt Hawkins:

Wow, Hawkins has the chance to become the Intercontinental Champion in his first match on Smackdown Live! He incorrectly says we're in Atlantic City. His "Smackdown Facts" list him as "Curt HAWKINGS." Proof reading is your friend, WWF. There's going to be a lot of sore necks, because he'll be turning heads when he becomes the NEW Intercontinental Champion. He says Dolph is the sad, sorry, sucker who has to face the facts. Bell rings, Super-Kick, and Ziggler retains at :07. Well, so much for that debut. I question needing to run vignettes for TWO MONTHS, but we all knew he was signed for enhancement purposes. Post-match, Ziggler offers an Intercontinental Title shot to anyone on the Raw Roster for Survivor Series (and Miz adds a few words of rebuttal in between his lines). The direction is clear that Miz gets his rematch at TLC.

- Andrea D'Marco interviews Dean Ambrose and botches James Ellsworth's name (called him James Ellis) and Ambrose corrects her. There's no excuse not to do another take unless people find these entertaining or if they are planned botched lines (see also: Apollo Creed). Ellsworth asks Ambrose to come to ringside again, but Ambrose refuses his offer and tells him to eat some Halloween candy.

- Randy Orton is in a dark closet with Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper and says the devil has been whispering into his ear since he was a child, and that he's done fighting it. The darkness has shown him the light, and Bray Wyatt is a God (insert special effects for Orton's eyes here). Luke Harper's body language gives me the impression that he doesn't buy this "transformation" of the Apex Predator.

The Headbangers vs. The Usos:

(Mosh & Thrasher vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso)
You know what I like about Smackdown? They utilize part-time talent like the Headbangers and Spirit Squad to put over the every-day talent. I don't know why they don't do the same with Raw. Another Survivor Series Qualifying Match where the result is not in doubt. The Usos attack before the bell and trap Thrasher in the corner. Jey with a Samoan drop for two. Thrasher escapes a chin-lock with elbows and surprises Jey with a swinging neck breaker. Mosh tags in and connects with a pair of clotheslines. Whip to the corner and Mosh with a jumping hip attack, followed by a falling face buster. Jey with a cheap shot from the floor, and Jimmy rolls him up (with a handful of Mosh's skirt) for the three count at 1:25. That leaves one spot left for the Smackdown Tag Teams, with Slater and Rhyno, American Alpha, The Hype Bros, and The Usos already qualified.

- A.J. Styles is annoyed by being stopped for an interview on his way to the ring. He cuts a sarcastic promo before saying he's going to beat Dean Ambrose (again) and Ellsworth can crawl back into the bargain bin he came out of. Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose shows Ellsworth the Exit so he doesn't screw up his last chance at the Championship.

Dean Ambrose vs. A.J. Styles:

Non-Title Match. Main Event of the evening, and if Dean Ambrose is victorious, he earns his spot as the #1 Contender. If Styles wins, then Ambrose doesn't get any more Championship opportunities. Ambrose attacks Styles from behind with a knee, sending him to the floor. Ambrose follows with tope suicida. Ambrose rolls him back inside, but Styles rolls back out. Ambrose throws him over the announcers table and rams him into the security wall. Back inside, Ambrose covers for a one count. Whip to the ropes and Styles with a sunset flip for two. Ambrose with a small package for two. Roll-up for two. He sweeps the legs and traps Styles in the Texas Cloverleaf, but Styles quickly makes it to the ropes. Ambrose with a Butterfly Super-Plex for a two count. Whip to the ropes and Styles quickly hooks the Calf Crusher, but Ambrose makes it to the ropes. They take it to the floor, with Styles in pursuit. Ambrose catches him coming, straddles him across the barricade, and comes charging with a big forearm, knocking Styles into the timekeeper's area. Ambrose rolls him back in the ring for a two count. Styles reverses a whip to the corner, but meets an elbow. Ambrose misses a Blockbuster and is selling the knee.

We return from commercial break with Ambrose dropkicking the ropes to interrupt Styles' Phenomenal Forearm. Ambrose takes a trip to the third floor and comes down with his signature elbow. Back inside, Styles avoids Dirty Deeds. Ambrose with a series of forearms and a diving clothesline. Styles avoids a charge and goes for the Calf Crusher, but Ambrose rolls through. Styles regains control, sending Ambrose into the turnbuckles with a suplex. They go through with a series of waistlock switches until Ambrose plants him with a Full Nelson Bomb for a near fall. Styles with a flurry of strikes, but the Styles Clash is countered and both men connect on a clothesline. Suddenly, James Ellsworth comes through the crowd to be at ringside, much to Ambrose's displeasure. Styles with the Pele Kick for two. Security comes out and chases Ellsworth into the crowd. Ambrose with a roll up on Styles for two. Lunatic Lariat misses. Ambrose avoids the springboard DDT, but gets caught in the Calf Crusher. For the second time, he breaks the hold by making it to the ropes. Ellsworth has lead the security crew back to ringside, distracting Styles momentarily, so Styles throws him over the announcers table. He hops back on the apron for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Ambrose counters with a boot and Dirty Deeds to finish at 10:11 (excluding a commercial break). The security squad drags Ellsworth away, who appears to be smiling, possibly for helping cost Styles the match. ***1/2 Even though it was in an abridged form, this had the makings of a Pay-Per-View quality Main Event, had it gone another 5-10 minutes and didn't have the ending with Ellsworth. On Talking Smack, it was announced that Dean Ambrose gets his title match at TLC in, you guessed it, a TLC Match.

Final Thoughts: Another week of pushing things forward for the Smackdown brand. Dean Ambrose earns his spot (again) to challenge A.J. Styles for the WWE World Title. They continue to tease a possible program between The Miz and Daniel Bryan, despite the likelihood that WWE will never medically clear Daniel Bryan. The Survivor Series is shaping up, with the entire 5-on-5 Men's Singles and 5-on-5 Women's Teams announced, and all but one of the Tag Teams has been announced for the 10-on-10. The NXT formula was in super effect, with a lot of short matches, with nothing topping 2 ½ minutes (after factoring out the commercial interruptions), and a hot main event.

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