By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! emanated from The Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Dean Ambrose ended SD Live! on a shocking note last week as he laid out John Cena with Dirty Deeds. The fans actually booed Ambrose which was surprising because he is such a fan favorite. It should be noted that the crowd response for the Lunatic Fringe has shifted in recent weeks. He’s not getting booed out of the building, but the Boo Bird section has been very vocal as of late. Did the trend continue tonight or was it all an aberration? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live! in no particular order.
· Daniel Bryan’s proclamation that the SmackDown Women’s Championship contract signing between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss would remain civil fell on deaf ears as Bliss attacked Lynch. Lynch recovered from the sneak attack and got a small measure of revenge on Harley Quinn 2.0 before she scurried backstage to fight another day on her terms.
· The promo exchange leading up to the table flipping was good as Bliss did a nice job playing the mean girl by saying that Lynch was not born to be a champion and was only meant to finish second place in life.
· Lynch didn’t refute her claims, but she flipped the script by saying that she was born to work at a job that she didn’t like. However, watching wrestling on television motivated her to be anything that she wanted to be. She wasn’t born to be a champion, but she fought to become one.
· Bliss feigned sympathy and vowed to expose Lynch as a one hit wonder at No Mercy by winning the Women’s Title.
· After that parting shot, the physicality ensued to wrap up the opening segment.
· As I said last week, the Bliss-Lynch feud is a slam dunk to get over if both ladies have good material to sink their teeth into. That was the case tonight and I thought both ladies held their own on the mic. Bliss showed nice aggression during her attack on Lynch, but it wouldn’t hurt her to display that same fire in her promos. Her delivery was fine, but it was missing that extra emotional spark to push the segment over the top. Bliss will get more comfortable on the mic in due time. Despite that minor criticism, I thought this was a good way to start the show.
· The Usos will face Heath Slater and Rhyno for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at No Mercy in a few weeks as they defeated American Alpha.
· The Usos and American Alpha had a good match that firmly established The Usos as badass heels as they targeted Chad Gable’s left knee. Jimmy and Jey were vicious in their assault as the fans voiced their displeasure at the twins’ tactics. Jason Jordan tried to carry the load for his team, but it was to no avail as Gable was unable to help him due to his knee injury.
· Jey Uso delivered a sick chop block to Gable’s knee which allowed both Usos to Superkick Jordan and finished him off with a Samoan Splash to secure their spot at the PPV.
· The Usos had their best in-ring performance since turning heel. They were cruel and their offense was hard hitting. Gable did a good job selling his knee while Jordan did a nice bit of storytelling when he refused to tag Gable in the match because he was concerned about his well-being. This bout told a great multi-layered story that will continue to unfold once The Usos win the Tag Team Titles next month. I love Slater and Rhyno, but their fairytale must come to an end at No Mercy in order for the tag team division to thrive in the long run.
· Slater and Rhyno sized up their opponents backstage while feasting on some Ritz Crackers and Cheese Whiz. I guess Slater’s new contract enables him to afford the finer name brand products in life.
· The Usos crashed the party and insulted Slater’s “26 raggedy ass kids.” Their words, not mine. Rhyno crumbled up the crackers with his hand to show that no one disses Slater’s kids and gets away with it. Things just got personal and it should be fun to see Slater pissed off and angry for a change. He provides great comic relief, but it’s nice to see a different side of his character when shit gets real.
· Apollo Crews put up a good fight, but Baron Corbin had his number once again as he defeated him with End of Days. Crews and Corbin had a solid match while it lasted, but seeing Crews lose over and over again is becoming disheartening to watch. Corbin showed fire for a change and had a stare off with Jack Swagger which indicates that The All-American American might be next on his beat down list. It’s an interesting clash of styles. Let’s see if Swagger can pull something out of the Lone Wolf and vice versa. It’s a good test for both men to see if they can get over in a meaningful way.
· The Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship when he sprayed Dolph Ziggler in the face with Maryse’s Mystery Substance. This allowed The Awesome One to nail The Show Off with the Skull Crushing Finale to pick up the tainted win. Miz tried to walk away from the match, but Ziggler stopped him. However, Miz was sneaky enough to pick up the spray Maryse left behind after she got ejected from ringside and use it to his advantage. It was devious, but smart at the same time.
· Miz and Ziggler had a very good match before the shenanigans ensued. Both men displayed great in-ring chemistry and the crowd was into all the near falls. The closest fall came when Ziggler nailed Miz with The Zig Zag. It was a great spot that even had me shocked for a moment. From Miz channeling his inner Daniel Bryan to Ziggler’s awesome dropkick to Miz in mid-air, this match had it all. And the fans wanted Ziggler to win the big one for a change. That is a major accomplishment.
· Ziggler will probably air his grievances about getting screwed over once again. Daniel Bryan will presumably book Ziggler vs. Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at No Mercy. Strict stipulations will be put in place to ensure that there will be a clean and clear winner. In a perfect world, Miz should beat Ziggler fair and square which will drive Ziggler into madness. One can only hope at this point.
· Randy Orton quickly dispatched Erick Rowan with an RKO. At least the people got their money’s worth.
· Bray Wyatt delivered a very morbid promo about him and Orton joined together in unholy matrimony. They are destined to be together until death does them part. Unfortunately, Orton is a mere mortal who can die at any moment while Wyatt is a God who can never meet the same fate. It was short, sweet, and creepy as hell. Orton better sleep with one eye open because the Grim Reaper is coming for him. Figuratively speaking…
· Naomi’s ring entrance lasted longer than her tag team match with Nikki Bella. Carmella got disqualified for attacking Nikki while Natalya had her in the Sharp Shooter. I was disappointed that the match was so short, but it makes sense in a weird way. Carmella has had Nikki’s number for weeks. Nikki is playing the role of the underdog for the first time in her career. Every match could be her last according to her. Therefore, it makes sense for her to fight from behind in order to come out on the other side stronger than ever.
· One can presume that Carmella and Nikki will face off at No Mercy and here’s hoping that the match is booked to accentuate the strengths of both ladies instead of exposing their weaknesses.
· Wow! Dean Ambrose rolled up John Cena for the win. The match was good while it lasted as both men kicked out of their finishers which made little sense because those moments should be saved for a PPV. In modern day WWE, tradition is thrown out the window. In any event, Ambrose picked up a signature win against Cena which is a very good thing in my opinion. Cena is a Teflon Don at this point. A loss won’t hurt him. Plus, Ambrose can continue his narrative of Cena losing his touch as a wrestler. It’s far from the truth, but it works from a storyline standpoint because Cena has been on a losing skid as of late.
· After the match was over, AJ Styles blindsided Cena with a Phenomenal Forearm from the top of the barricade at ringside. He followed things up with a Pele Kick to Ambrose inside the ring.
· However, his celebration was short-lived when Danial Bryan announced that Styles would defend his WWE World Championship against Ambrose next week on SD Live! Styles was not a happy camper and tried to finish Ambrose off with the Styles Clash. Ambrose pounced first and dropped Styles with Dirty Deeds as the show went off the air.
· I am glad that Shane McMahon’s announcement about Ambrose deserving a one-on-one rematch against Styles came into play tonight. I thought Shane misspoke at first, but it gives SD a hot main event for next week. If they are given enough time, Styles and Ambrose should have a stellar match. I don’t expect a title change, but the ending will go a long way towards adding heat to the Triple Threat Match at No Mercy.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! was good. The show did a nice job in terms of building the card for No Mercy which takes place in a couple of weeks. Things are coming together nicely and I am looking forward to the PPV.
· The broadcast was well paced and the in-ring action ranged from solid to very good. Everything on the show served a purpose and that’s all I can ask for as a wrestling fan.
· WWE announcing Styles vs. Ambrose for the WWE World Title a week in advance will give fans a built-in reason to watch SD Live! next Tuesday. The rest of the show leading up to the main event needs to be just as enticing. I think the blue brand can get the job done in that department. We shall find out soon enough.
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!