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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- October 18, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck

Slater and Rhyno

- Last week on Smackdown Live...James Ellsworth scored the upset of the century over WWE World Champion A.J. Styles, with a little help from Dean Ambrose, of course...Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper played some parlor tricks in the main event against Randy Orton and Kane...Dolph Ziggler defeated the Spirit Squad in a handicap match and seems to have a formed an alliance with Rhyno and Heath Slater...The Ascension allegedly watched Mojo Rawley get dressed...Nikki Bella was attacked by Carmella backstage, so she distracted her for a roll-up finish in a match with Naomi...Jimmy Uso pinned Chad Gable with a little help from Jey...Alexa Bliss insists Naomi's victory at No Mercy was a fluke...Curt Hawkins still hasn't debuted...and the Survivor Series is going to be stacked.

- Live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Advertised this week is a rematch between Naomi and Alexa Bliss, and A.J. Styles defending the WWE World Title against...James Ellsworth. Will the "Chinderella" story continue tonight?! Dean Ambrose presents Ellsworth his own shirt, and it's GLORIOUS.

- Randy Orton is out to kick off the show. "The evil inside Bray Wyatt is deeper than I ever believed." Trying to escape his world is like trying to get out of quicksand. The war between the two of them is far from over. We cut to the undisclosed location, with five men wearing the black sheep masks and Wyatt lying inside an open coffin. He speaks cryptically until Luke Harper's music plays, and we have a match...

Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper:

This should be more competitive than Orton vs. Erick Rowan. How many people remember Harper is a former Intercontinental Champion? Lockup and neither man budges. Orton with uppercuts, but Harper quickly sends him to the floor with a dropkick. He goes for a tope suicida, but Orton meets him with a forearm. Back inside, Harper with a pair of boots. He takes too long coming off the ropes, allowing Orton to pound away and take him off the top with a Super-Plex. VINTAGE (BOB) ORTON! Suddenly, Wyatt's music plays to interrupt the action, with Wyatt being rolled out in the coffin, sitting as casually as possible. We return from commercial, and I guess the match is continuing. Orton just barely beats the count back in the ring and is met with an elbow drop. Orton fights out of a chin-lock, but walks into a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Harper with the Gator-Roll while Wyatt continues to play with his new toy. Harper tries tossing Orton into the coffin, but Orton counters. Orton with a pair of clotheslines and a snap power-slam. He sets up for the draping DDT, but Wyatt runs in for the Disqualification at 4:56 (excluding one break). They do a 2-on-1 beating until they try to put Orton in the coffin. Who else but Kane shows up from inside the thing to even the odds. Has he been trapped in some kind of void for a week? *1/2 Just a so-so match used to advance this storyline. I expect rematches with more time and more competitiveness down the line.

- A.J. Styles Interview. Last week doesn't seem to hamper his overconfidence. He calls Ellsworth an untalented fat, skinny turd and a noodle of a man, and expects Dean Ambrose to try and pull a WCW on him, like when David Arquette won the Championship.

Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss:

Rematch from No Mercy. Let's see if we play the 50/50 game. Looks like Alexa Bliss is sporting some Nightmare on Elm Street inspired gear. I don't know if that's considered as "hot" as Harley Quinn, but it changes things up at least. Lockup and nobody with the advantage. Lockup into the ropes and Alexa starts a shoving match. She tries a sneak attack from behind the referee, but Naomi sees it coming. Naomi with a Thesz Press. Bliss with a knee to the midsection. Naomi with the goofy kicks and a dropkick. Naomi with a roundhouse kick from the apron and springboard body press for a near fall. Snap mare, sliding clothesline, and a leg drop for another two count. Bliss escapes a chin-lock with a handful of hair. Naomi with a drop toe hold into the buckle, sending Bliss to the floor to recover. We return from break with Bliss in control of a chin-lock. Naomi eventually counters with a back breaker. Naomi with a lariat and a sit-out jaw breaker. "It's GLOW time!" Split-legged moonsault for a two count. Naomi goes to the top, but Bliss straddles her across the turnbuckle. Bliss takes a trip to the top and the Twisted Bliss finishes at 6:45 (excluding one break). * These two just don't have the chemistry, and Bliss needs a better worker to carry the match. At least they didn't put Naomi over her again.

- Renee Young interviews Alexa Bliss after the match, continuing to hype her Championship Match against Becky Lynch in Glasgow, Scotland on Smackdown Live on November 8th. Becky's fairy tale will be over and the Champion will be the "fairest of them all." At least Roman Reigns isn't quoting this to promote his matches.

- Curt Hawkins debuts...NEXT. FINALLY! I was about to consider Shelton Benjamin's debut being more likely to take place than Hawkins. Hawkins is scheduled to fight Apollo Crews. Oh please, don't tell me they're going to job Crews to this jabroni. Hawkins talks over his own entrance as if he's Eva Marie. This isn't just annoying, but people clearly don't care either. He tells Apollo to prepare himself...to face the facts. Crews shuts Hawkins up with a short right hand, sending Hawkins to the floor. Hawkins says Apollo just ruined his big debut, and has deprived everyone from seeing him, so he takes a walk before the match could officially begin. OH MY GOD. This was lame. This stuff works for Eva Marie because of the overwhelming disdain the audience has for her in general. With Hawkins, it's doing it for the sake of doing it.

- Carmella comes out to set the record straight. She paints the picture: It was SummerSlam in Brooklyn, NY, and Nikki Bella had to show up and steal the spotlight from her Pay-Per-View debut. Nikki Bella interrupts almost immediately, and she's sadly not sporting the booty jorts. Carmella accuses her of stealing her spotlight again, because her boyfriend is John Cena and she can do whatever she wants. BURN! I guess we're supposed to forget that Total Divas, Total Bellas, and Social Media exists, but still a decent try at being edgy, I guess. Carmella also calls her a "Total Need Freak" and shows clips from that new show on the E! Network to show Nikki being a whiney, needy person. Nikki's attempts at cutting a fired up babyface promo is serious consideration for the fast forward button being used.

- Renee Young is backstage for an interview with James Ellsworth. He cuts adequate promo to sum up his experience as a nobody suddenly becoming a somebody.

Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, and Rhyno vs. The Miz & The Spirit Squad (w/ Maryse):

Six-Man Tag Team Action! Slater and Rhyno with an inset promo to explain their actions last week. Slater did it for his kids, because kids need role models, and Rhyno hates male cheerleaders. Rhyno and Mikey start. They trade headlocks. Whip to the ropes and Rhyno with a shoulder tackle. He charges into the corner with a shoulder to the midsection. Rhyno catches Kenny coming off the top with a belly-to-belly suplex. Slater with a deep arm drag into the arm-bar. Kenny with a diving back elbow to Ziggler. Miz wants in and runs into a dropkick. Ziggler with the Stinger Splash, but Miz counters a neck breaker and puts the boots to him in the corner. Dolph fights out of the 3-on-1 and sends Miz to the floor for a breather. We return from break with Ziggler hitting a pair of clotheslines and mounted punches. He goes for the Famouser, but Maryse hooks the leg, allowing Miz to attack from behind. Miz with a chin-lock as the crowd chants for Slater. Kenny and Mikey take turns putting the boots to Dolph. Dolph blocks and counters a suplex on Mikey. Miz cuts off another tag attempt and takes a cheap shot at Rhyno. Dolph from out of nowhere with the Super-Kick and finally the hot tag is made to Slater. He pounds away on Kenny and comes off the ropes with a high knee. Jumping neck breaker for a two count. Rghyno in with the GORE~! to Mikey. Slater with the O'Connor Role on Kenny for two. Miz with a forearm from outside the ring, and Kenny rolls Slater up for the upset at 6:19. ** Fine action, but nothing spectacular. When the Spirit Squad are considered better options, you have to question things when you're Breezango, The Vaudevillains, and The Ascension.

- Daniel Bryan is on the phone with exposition via conversation with "Shane McMahon." Natalya interrupts and wants to be the first women to be listed for the 5-on-5 Women's Elimination Match. She claims leadership values to bring a team together. Bryan accuses her speech of plagiarizing Whitney Houston.

Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin:

I'm not going to lie, I'm not very excited for this one. I'm just super-hyped for Styles vs. Ellsworth, so nothing else will come to close to matching that level. During an inset promo, Corbin says Swagger's existence is a joke. Swagger ducks under a clothesline and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Corbin reverses a whip to the ropes, but gets sent to the floor with a clothesline. Swagger follows to toss him back in the ring. Corbin quickly recovers, and shoulder tackles Swagger into the barricade. I loved doing that spot in No Mercy on the N64. Corbin pounds away across the back of the neck of Swagger. Back inside, Corbin with End of Days to finish at 1:39. That's what you call a squash match. Enjoy your demotion to Main Event, your time on the main Smackdown roster was fun.

- Natalya is still showing off photos of her cat on Instagram when Dean Ambrose interrupts, still wearing a referee's shirt. Daniel Bryan breaks the bad news to him that he won't be the referee for tonight's Championship Match, but does offer him the opportunity to be at ringside. Ambrose jumps on the offer before the offer is made completely clear.

WWE World Championship Match:
A.J. Styles © vs. James Ellsworth:

Main Event of the evening, and this isn't a joke. Styles doesn't do his usual ring entrance, probably upset over the possibility of being screwed over by Ambrose, who is at ringside to perform the job as what I guess is timekeeper...for now. Ambrose quickly takes over the duties of the ring announcer. He gives Ellsworth a glowing introduction, and predictably buries Styles. Ambrose rings the bell in an obnoxious, distracting way. Ellsworth goes on the attack and gets caught in an abdominal stretch. Ambrose tells them to stop the match for a commercial timeout. We return from the break with Styles in control. Snap mare into a chin-lock, but Ellsworth slips right out because he has no chin. Ambrose promotes the NEW Ellsworth t-shirts on WWE Shop. Styles tosses Ellsworth into the corner and lands a pair of forearms. Whip to the ropes and Styles with a dropkick. Styles with a snap suplex into the turnbuckles. Otunga says Ellsworth is "The Chin That Got the Win." JBL: "If that trends, I quit."

Styles goes for a super-plex and time for another distraction from Ambrose. Ellsworth misses a flying body press, but good thing he didn't land on his chin. Styles tosses him to the floor, so Ambrose rolls him back in to avoid being counted out. They go back and forth with the poor bastard, which has to be a big rib on the guy having to take the bump over and over at a quicker clip each time. Ellsworth yanks Styles off the top and hits Sweet (No) Chin Music. ONE! TWO! KICKOUT BY STYLES! Styles with a spine buster and a flurry of forearms. Ambrose taunts Styles to punch and kick Ellsworth harder. Styles continues to punish Ellsworth until the referee calls for the Disqualification at 8:34, and Ambrose announces Styles as the loser of the match. Ambrose runs in and hits Styles with Dirty Deeds, and announces Ellsworth as the man with more victories over Styles than John Cena. I don't even know how to rate this, but this was a great use of a guy like Ellsworth.

Final Thoughts: Interesting show this week. Decent amount of wrestling, but nothing that really stood out, and they're trying to push new feuds. It seems like a surprise that so little focus was on Miz and Ziggler, but they could stand a week or two from being the main focus, and we've officially given the Spirit Squad a chance at being the next challengers for the Tag Titles. Seems odd to introduce the casket into a storyline between Wyatt and Orton, but it probably won't factor into anything next week. Carmella is making it personal with Nikki after the whole feud began over professional jealousy. Baron Corbin put the finishing touches on Swagger's revival. There was plenty to see here, but with Survivor Series so far away, it definitely felt like a show that wasn't must see, either, if that makes sense.

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