By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! emanated from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Land is now the City of Champions and I am not talking about the Cavaliers. The Miz made his triumphant return to his hometown and one can only imagine the reception the Intercontinental Champion received. Plus, the WWE World Title was on the line as Styles and Ambrose faced off in a rematch from Backlash a few weeks ago. Who walked away with the championship heading into the Triple Threat Match at No Mercy next Sunday? The answer to that pressing question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live! in no particular order.
· Randy Orton is on a mission to find Bray Wyatt. The Omnipotent One left a trail of breadcrumbs for Orton to follow, but time is of the essence. Wyatt had an hourglass which immediately made me think about Days of our Lives. He finished things off with a spooky rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands” to wrap up the opening segment.
· This was an okay way to start SD Live! Orton and Wyatt did their usual back and forth banter which added nothing to their feud. It was uneventful for the most part. Let’s hope their backstage game of cat and mouse offers more suspense and excitement.
· The Usos are sporting new ring gear and fresh theme music. I guess the Polynesian chant and face paint have been retired. It’s a smart move considering their recent heel turn.
· That was a nice double monkey flip spot by American Alpha as the tossed The Usos ass over teakettle in near stereo.
· Jimmy Uso made Heath Slater tap out to the Tequila Sunrise after Jey provided the assist when they attacked Slater’s leg. It was a sick spot which gave them momentum heading to No Mercy next week.
· The tag team match featuring Heath Slater, Rhyno, and American Alpha vs. The Usos and The Ascension was solid as it had great heat throughout. Slater was the star of the match after Gable made the hot tag during the closing minutes of the bout.
· Slater got a chance to show what he can do in the ring and he looked good until he got double teamed by The Usos. Slater might be portrayed as a comedic figure, but he can actually engage the audience with his wrestling ability when given the opportunity to do so. Even The Ascension looked halfway decent for a change. Nice work from everyone involved.
· I guess Orton should have traveled east instead of west. Erick Rowan switched the makeshift arrow and it appears that Orton is heading to Parts Unknown…
· The Miz just tried LeBron James and pissed off everyone inside The Q when he placed his picture over James’. Instant heel heat.
· Carmella rolled up Nikki Bella to pick up the clean win for her team. Natalya and Carmella vs. Naomi and Nikki Bella was another solid tag team bout. Naomi sold a leg injury for most of the match as Natalya and Carmella worked her over. Naomi eventually made the hot tag to Nikki and she held her own until Carmella rolled her up for the 1-2-3. Carmella gets to brag about pinning the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time while Nikki tries to regroup from this latest setback. It’s a difficult story to spin considering Nikki lost fair and square. We shall see how it all plays out.
· In the twisted “Let’s Make a Deal” portion of the show, Orton had to choose between Door #1 or Door #2. Behind the “I am a God” door was a standup poster of Orton with his eyes blotted out. He opened the Predator or Prey door and found nothing even though Rowan was hiding behind the door. Orton was wise enough not to take a look-see and continued his search for Wyatt. Let the fun and games continue! *Insert Sarcasm Here*
· Dolph Ziggler put his career on the line as he challenged The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz accepted and said that Ziggler would not have an out by signing with Raw or NXT. There would be no sabbatical to reflect on his latest loss. If Ziggler lost, he is out of WWE for good.
· The promo exchange leading up that bombshell announcement was outstanding. The Miz was excellent on the mic as he talked about being the first man to deliver a championship to Cleveland before LeBron James did it earlier this year. He wasn’t given a parade and was pissed off at his lukewarm homecoming celebration. Miz praised his parents who were in the crowd and took a shot at Ziggler’s mom and dad as well. He said they must be proud that they raised a world class elite loser. That verbal jab caused Ziggler to come out and warn Miz to leave his parents alone.
· Miz proceeded to cut an awesome promo on Ziggler as he ran down all the reasons he was a loser while Miz will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
· Ziggler did a great job displaying passion and admitted that wrestling was his addiction of choice. Despite the achievements and setbacks he has experienced throughout his career, he can’t let it go. The ring is his mistress and the only way to go cold turkey is to put everything on the line at No Mercy. If he wins the IC Title, he gets to keep the love affair going. If he loses, the clock will strike midnight for The Showoff.
· Unless Ziggler’s contract is about to expire, I think it’s safe to say that he is going to win his match versus Miz. If not, my whole theory of Ziggler snapping and going on a much-needed heel run will be shot to hell. I have a stake in this as well, damn it!
· Despite my fears, this segment ruled and The Miz’s WrestleMania-esque video package chronicling his career to kick off his homecoming was great as well.
· Alexa Bliss made a statement as she attacked Becky Lynch from behind on the entrance ramp. Alexa removed the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Becky’s waist and taunted her with it which added a bit of heat to their title bout at No Mercy next Sunday. Plus, there is no need for both women to face each other before the PPV. They have traded enough wins and losses on television over the past couple of months to satisfy the 50/50 booking quota.
· X Marks The Spot. Randy Orton found Bray Wyatt and quickly kicked his ass. The sheep mask looks good on Orton. Just a random observation.
· And now Wyatt is sitting back in his chair acting as if nothing happened. Did we just experience a serious case of psychedelia? That was strange…
· AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship turned into a “Beat Up John Cena Party” as Styles nailed Cena with a stiff forearm for no apparent reason and proceeded to get caught by Ambrose with a rollup. Ambrose had a visual pin fall on Styles, but the referee was too busy dealing with Cena. Styles kicked out at two which caused Ambrose to roll out of the ring and deliver a stiff shot to Cena. He gets back in the ring only to get rolled up Styles for the win. It should be noted that Styles grabbed the back of Ambrose’s jeans in order to retain his title.
· After the match was over, Cena and Ambrose got into a shoving match which ended with Cena dropping Ambrose with the Attitude Adjustment. Styles tried to attack Cena from behind, but also ate an AA for his efforts. The show ended with Cena raising the WWE World Title high above his head and pointing at the No Mercy Graphic on the LED Screen which added a touch of nonverbal hype for the Triple Threat Match next Sunday.
· Before the chaos ensued, Styles and Ambrose had a good match. It featured hard-hitting action and both guys worked hard to make the title bout feel important. Styles was on his “A” Game and Ambrose was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as he showed nice fire throughout the match. The outcome was never in doubt, but Ambrose didn’t lose any heat as Styles cheated once again to notch another win under his belt. It gives both men a chance to continue their feud heading into Survivor Series in November if the company is patient enough not to burn through multiple nontitle matches between now and then.
· Next week is the go-home show for No Mercy. Who will stand tall heading into the WWE World Championship match? We shall see. In any event, this was a hot way to end the show with Cena standing tall after losing to Ambrose last week.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! was good. As always, it is an easy show to get through and WWE did a nice job hyping the No Mercy PPV which takes place one week from Sunday. Every segment served a purpose with the second hour of the broadcast being especially strong with The Miz-Ziggler promo exchange and the main event featuring Styles, Ambrose, and Cena. The Orton-Wyatt saga completely befuddled me as I didn’t have a clue what was going on after Orton supposedly attacked Wyatt. I felt like I was watching a game show where the winner is given a lifetime supply of acid with a side order of confusion. Orton and Wyatt can’t wrestle each other fast enough. However, will fans care about the match after watching the wackiness of this feud unfold over the last couple of weeks?
· Next week’s episode of SD Live! should put the final exclamation point on The No Mercy hype. It is a legacy PPV and I expect the blue brand to pull out all the stops to make their October offering an appetizing one that fans will enjoy. However, it might be rough sailing for WWE because the second Presidential Debate and Sunday Night Football is also taking place that night. In the network era, it shouldn’t hurt them too much as the PPV is available On Demand which allows viewers to watch the highlights after the debate and football game is over. The live interest will be low, but let’s hope WWE can overcome adversity by delivering a buzzworthy show despite the television competition. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next Monday with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!