- Last week on Smackdown Live... Dean Ambrose pinned John Cena in the Main Event (Cena's 1st TV job since Spring of 2012), and has been granted a one-on-one rematch with A.J. Styles for the WWE World Title... Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt still have beef, and Erick Rowan once again played the sacrificial lamb... The Usos took advantage of the still recuperating Chad Gable and defeated American Alpha to earn a shot at the Tag Titles at No Mercy... Becky Lynch stood up for all underdog's with goofy laughs and got a table thrown on top of her courtesy of Alexa Bliss... Carmella still hates Nikki Bella for reasons... The Miz once again found a way to retain his Intercontinental Championship over Dolph Ziggler in what was his last chance, and I don't mean one of those MLB, Steve Howe, kind of last chances... Baron Corbin and Jack Swagger are on a collision course... Curt Hawkins is even goofier than the week before...
- From the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Advertised for tonight is the WWE World Championship Match between A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose.
- Randy Orton comes to the ring to kick things off. I wonder if they'll mention the rematch with Brock Lesnar in Chicago on Saturday... I'm just kidding, we know that won't be mentioned. Orton cuts right to the fact of the matter: Bray Wyatt is afraid. Enough mind games and sneak attacks, he wants Bray to prove he's man enough and face him right now. The lights cut in and out and Wyatt is giving us a synopsis of Hansel and Gretel. Wyatt has left behind his own trail of bread crumbs, but they won't lead Orton home. He whips out an hourglass and sings his classic "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" as the sands of time slip away. Seriously, is this going anywhere?
- Dean Ambrose is stopped backstage for a quick word. He's got a lot of things on his mind, but unfortunately this is a PG show. He says just like Styles, he beat Cena, and that's old news... just like Cena. He's going to turn the Face That Runs the Place into the Guy That's Gonna Cry when he takes back his Championship.
- John Cena is also walking backstage and gets interrupted by Charley Caruso. I wonder if she sprinted around the stadium or he just happened to walk down the same hallway as Ambrose. Regardless who walks into No Mercy as Champion, the man walking out will be the 16-time Champion.
- The Miz and Maryse are also backstage and want to cover up a poster of LeBron James.
- Randy Orton is in Bray Wyatt's Warp-Zone (did he find the special tunnel in World 3-1 at the bottom of the waterfall?) and comes across what I'm assuming is an arrow pointing him in the direction he needs to go. Erick Rowan is hanging around, because we can't find a spot for Luke Harper on Smackdown, he must be used and used poorly on Raw. We return from commercial and we're back in Bray Wyatt's chamber (his Vegetable spitting machine is off-screen... why would he have that there anyway if he hates vegetables).
- Randy Orton has given up on playing Super Mario Bros. 2 (it was all a dream. Subcon = Subconscious. Get it?!) and decided to walk onto the set of See No Evil 3. Behind one door is a cardboard cut-out of himself without eyes, and behind door #2, Erick Rowan. Both are worth about $5 OBO on eBay.
- The Miz's Homecoming Celebration, as part of his new lucrative contract, is next! The ring is filled with enlarged photographs of the Miz's favorite person, and a bunch of pyro goes off. That's one hell of a negotiation. Getting pyro in 2016 is like pulling teeth unless you're related to Roman Reigns. We follow with a video montage dedicated to... seriously, I don't really have to say it, do I? They even used footage of the pissed off little girl we see in all them dank memes. Miz isn't satisfied by the "hero's welcome" he receives. He gives a shout out to his parents, who are at ringside. Remember when Papa Miz no-sold his son getting a butt-whooping? Dolph Ziggler's parents are ringside, as well. That's a heck of a coincidence. Dolph rushes to the ring, taking exception to Miz's unflattering comments. To sum up a career, Miz calls Ziggler a loser. The warm-up guy who gets everyone happy and just loses. Miz walks off, but Ziggler calls him back (he called him "Mike", so you know he means business). He gives his typical passionate, talking-too-loud promo before issuing the challenge: one more shot at the Intercontinental Title. All he has to put up as collateral is his career. It's Title vs. Career at No Mercy. Fine segment, but pouting, screaming Ziggler promos seem too forced. Saving the segment is the corner they've just booked themselves in, with either Miz having to lose the title or Ziggler ending his "career."
- Bray Wyatt is still being creepy.
- Becky Lynch is scheduled for a match (against whom, I have no idea, since this is a six-women division and we've seen four of them already), but Alexa Bliss attacks from behind, coming through the wall of steam. She slams her face-first into the ramp and rips off her Women's Championship, taunts her for a moment, then throws it back at her. Seriously, what was Becky Lynch going to do, wrestle the Invisible Woman? Was she watching that Al Snow match where he fought himself in a Hardcore Match?
- Curt Hawkins continues to act more and more like a goof, with doofy jokes, camera angles, and camera cuts. Next week, Hawkins has a BIG CURT HAWKINS ANNOUNCEMENT. That they'll stop with these stupid vignettes?
- The psychological battle between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt concludes, at least for one night, with Randy Orton showing up behind Wyatt, wearing a sheep mask, and chases Wyatt off after a series of forearms. He picks the mask up, puts it back on, and suddenly he video distorts and Wyatt is singing his favorite song. What in the blue hell is going on with these two? I thought I've seen it all, but these two had a show long series of bizarre segments.
- A.J. Styles is... take a guess... walking backstage when he's interrupted for another impromptu interview. Does she just hide in a corner and wait for someone to walk by?! Styles has #BeatUpJohnCena, beat John Cena, #BeatUpDeanAmbrose, and beat Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Title. Tonight, he's going to beat Dean Ambrose, again, and all you're going to hear is "Winner, and Still WWE World Champion, the Phenomenal A.J. Styles."
We return from another commercial, with Styles going to work on the left knee. During the commercial, Styles sandwiched the knee and drove it hard to the canvas. Whip to the ropes, Styles counters a hip toss attempt with the Calf-Crusher. Ambrose fights through the pain and slams Styles head against the canvas to break the hold. Ambrose counters the Styles Clash with a back drop. Styles escapes Dirty Deeds and hits a flurry of strikes until Ambrose surprises him with a swinging neck breaker. They make it to their feet and trade blows. Styles targets the knee. He hits a big forearm and counters the Lunatic Lariat. Ambrose fights out of a Ushigoroshi attempt and hits a Butterfly Bomb for two. Styles fights out of the corner, puts Ambrose in a Torture Rack, and turns it into a twirling Powerbomb for a near fall. Ambrose avoids a forearm and straddles Styles across the top rope. He knocks him silly with a second rope clothesline for a near fall. Styles surprises Ambrose with a forearm and the Pele Kick. He heads to the apron and misses a springboard 450 splash. Ambrose to the top rope with the big elbow for two. Ambrose sends Styles to the floor, but a plancha attempt misses and Styles nails him with a running knee. He sends Ambrose back in the ring and cheap shots Cena because his favorite hobby is to #BeatUpJohnCena. Ambrose with a roll-up, but the referee is distracted by Cena. Ambrose goes after Cena and gets rolled up (with a handful of tights), allowing Styles to retain at 14:20 (excluding two breaks). Post-match, Cena gets in Ambrose's face and hits the AA. Styles comes back in the ring and eats the AA as well. ***1/4 Really good for television, and if not for the commercial breaks interrupting the momentum early and often, this would've been rated higher.
Final Thoughts: No Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan tonight. That's a bit of a surprise, but also is nice to see they don't need that crutch every week. Only three matches tonight, but all had their own degree of developing a story to a more important match at No Mercy. Styles defeated Ambrose in a rare Smackdown Live title defense, the Usos have a win under their belt over Slater and Rhyno, and the stuff between Carmella and Nikki Bella is still far from being resolved. Miz and Ziggler had interesting interaction, setting up a Title vs. Career Match, and the stuff with Wyatt and Orton was at least something new, if uninteresting half the time.