By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. WWE completes its two-night stand in the Mile High City as they present the biggest match in company history as AJ Styles defends the WWE World Championship against James Ellsworth. This a match one week in the making. This is a battle that will stand the test of time. It is greater than any wrestling war from the past, present, or future. Did all of these hyperboles come to fruition or did I overhype this match to an embarrassing degree? The answer to this question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.
· The Chinderella Story of James Ellsworth? Mauro Ranallo is too much. I love him to pieces for having such a way with words.
· Bray Wyatt was chilling in the coffin like it was a Sleep Number bed. It was eerie as his band of merry sheep men were watching over him like they were at a wake.
· Wyatt just pulled a page out of The Undertaker’s playbook by having his band of merry sheep men escorted him to the ring while he is maxing and relaxing in the coffin. The similarities are striking. It’s a cool visual, but it’s not enough to salvage his feud with Orton at this point.
· The Bad News: Bray Wyatt interfered in Randy Orton’s match against Luke Harper which drew an automatic disqualification.
· The Good News: Kane has been found safe and sound inside Wyatt’s coffin. Kane and Orton laid out Wyatt and Harper until the dastardly duo made their escape when they disappeared into thin air via their lights off, lights on trickeration.
· Orton and Harper had an okay match until the copout finish. Harper showed flashes of his power and agility which remained intact despite having knee surgery earlier this year.
· The Orton-Wyatt feud continues to drag along and it wouldn’t shock me to see both men face off in a Casket Match at Survivor Series next month because the gimmick is now in play. The sooner this rivalry is deader than dead, the better.
· Alexa Bliss is rocking the Freddie Kruger cosplay. Very creative and it’s not even Halloween yet!
· Bliss reasserted herself as the true number one contender for Becky Lynch’s SmackDown Women’s Championship as she pinned Naomi via Twisted Bliss. Their match was miles better than the one they had at No Mercy last Sunday. Naomi looked strong despite the loss while Bliss carried herself like a heel that managed to get legit heat. That will do her a world of good as she gets ready for her title match against Lynch in Glasgow, Scotland in a few weeks.
· Is Curt Hawkins doing his own voiceovers to put himself as he makes his way to the ring? If so, that is egomaniacal and hilarious at the same time.
· I guess Hawkins is pulling an Eva Marie by finding excuses to get out of his debut match.
· Sadly, Apollo Crews was nothing more than a prop to get over Hawkins’ character. Based on the tepid crowd reaction, the segment failed in that respect.
· Dear Carmella: AJ Lee and Paige would like their promos back from 2013 and 2015. I am so sick of WWE using the relationship card as an attempt to discredit Nikki Bella’s credibility as a wrestler. Nikki is not an in-ring technician, but she has improved by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. I can’t knock her hustle and effort in that regard.
· Nikki made me cringe when she started her women’s empowerment spiel a la Stephanie McMahon. However, things got better down the stretch as she defended herself as wearing the pants in her relationship with John Cena. Nikki even threw a little shade by saying that she is not afraid of any Boss or Queen. Those code words were directed at Sasha Banks and Charlotte.
· However, Carmella had the last word when she stated that Nikki Bella used her looks to get her foot in the door in WWE. She used her sister to get her foot in the ring and used John Cena in order to become a celebrity. Without those three things, she wouldn’t have a career. And with that, The Staten Island Princess made her exit before Nikki had a chance to respond.
· Nikki showed passion when she explained that her career almost came to an end due to her neck injury, but it wasn’t enough to save this segment from being somewhat of a disaster in terms of execution and originality.
· Kenny defeated Heath Slater as he picked up the win for his team. The Miz provided the assist when he sucker punched Slater which allowed Kenny to secure the victory. The match was fine, but it was nothing to write home outside of Ziggler super kicking Miz and Slater getting the hot tag to fire up the crowd towards the end of the bout.
· I will say That Miz and The Spirit Squad were color-coordinated as they sported green gear. Maryse didn’t get the memo because she wore her silver leotard and black jacket.
· Natalya just quoted Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” as she tried to convince Daniel Bryan to add her to the Traditional Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Tag Team Match. Then, she pimped her cat’s Instagram page for good measure. This backstage segment damn near caused me to wave my red pom-poms for Monday Night Raw because her sales pitch sucked.
· Thanks for coming, Jack Swagger. Baron Corbin made quick work of Swagger when he finished him off with End of Days. Corbin was aggressive from the moment the bell rang. He delivered a series of vicious forearms that Swagger could not recover from which led to the finish. I guess Corbin can move on to bigger and better things while Swagger continues to drown in mid-card hell. Poor thing...
· James Ellsworth had the near fall of his life when he delivered a super kick to AJ Styles. The crowd lost their minds as memories of David Arquette winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship flashed before my eyes. It was a crazy moment that was easily the highlight of the match.
· Styles got disqualified when he didn’t stop punching Ellsworth in the corner before the count of five. Styles remains the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but Dean Ambrose made it a point to announce that Ellsworth has more wins over The Phenomenal One than John Cena. That is one hell of stat which happens to be absolutely true.
· Ambrose nailed Styles with Dirty Deeds and raised Ellsworth’s hand in victory as SD Live went off the air.
· It was a crazy way to end the show. Styles beat the hell out of Ellsworth, but the No Chin Wonder still looked strong. The fans were chanting his name a la Goldberg and his t-shirt is going to be a WWE Shop best seller. The guy is getting over and has developed a cult following in the process. Between him and Slater, they are the Cinderella Stories of 2016. It’s pretty damn cool.
· Ambrose did a great job trolling Styles as he got under his skin from start to finish. Styles is going to go ballistic on Ambrose sooner or later. The promos will be even better as this feud should have enough time to stew until Survivor Series next month. The creative team is playing it smart by not having Styles beat the hell out of Ambrose. Yet.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was adequate. The in-ring action was subpar, but the main event saved things from an entertainment standpoint. Everything else on the else on the show felt bland and lifeless for the most part.
· SD Live has lost a bit of momentum as of late. There are a couple of feuds that could liven things up immediately, but WWE is trying to pace themselves which is completely understandable. However, it makes the show harder to watch if there is no sense of excitement to keep fans engaged each week. There are injuries to account for as well, but it feels as if all the momentum the blue brand gained over the past couple of months has come to a screeching halt in recent weeks. If the company is hell bent on having Brand Wars 2016 at Survivor Series, it’s time to start building some people up instead of cooling them off.
· It’s a sticky situation because major PPVs are being used as a marketing tool instead of getting over individual feuds in an organic way. That’s called the Pigeonhole Effect which does more harm than good when the wrestlers are forced turn chicken shit into chicken salad. Once Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series is over, things should get back to normal. Outside of Styles destroying Ambrose in the very near future, there is little to get excited about on the SD Live front. Let’s hope the creative team can recapture the magic they had in Cleveland because that was a clear example of what this show can be every week when they are on their A Game.
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 installment of The Raw Expose. See you later, boys and girls!