Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The SmackDown Files: The Taking Souls and Digging Holes Edition (11-15-2016)

By: Keila Cash 

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. The 900th episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. This is the final live show before Survivor Series and the blue brand is going all out to make sure that the November Classic is hyped to the fullest. WWE Hall of Famer Edge returns with a special edition of The Cutting Edge as he interviews the men representing SD Live after they invaded Raw last night. Plus, The Undertaker returns to his old stomping ground for the first time since defeating Shane McMahon at WrestleMania earlier this year. How did The Dead Man make his presence known? Did anyone rest in peace? The answer to these questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.

·        Dolph Ziggler will not defend his Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn because The Miz defeated him in shocking fashion and will go on to represent SD Live at Survivor Series as he takes on Zayn for the title.

·        Maryse provided a major assist when she reversed Ziggler’s roll-up by giving her husband a gentle push in the right direction in order to score the winning pin fall.

·        Ziggler and Miz had a very good match that featured counters, near falls, and Miz doing his best Daniel Bryan impersonation when he nailed Ziggler with a wicked flying knee followed by The Skull Crushing Finale. Ziggler kicked out at the last minute and would get his chance to finish Miz off with the Zig Zag, but Miz placed his foot on the bottom rope to break up the count.

·        The Spirit Squad interfered as they tried to distract Ziggler but they ate a couple of superkicks instead. Their involvement played into the outcome of the match as Miz became a six-time Intercontinental Champion.

·        Ziggler got his happy ending last month by winning the IC Title. Despite this crushing loss, he is owed a rematch. Things might get sticky if Zayn wins the title because the prestigious belt would go to Monday Night Raw. Therefore, Miz will probably win on Sunday to keep the feud going. Plus, my dream scenario of Ziggler snapping is still alive. It’s faint at this point, but The Showoff needs a character revamp. Stat!

·        Kalisto had a nasty slip on the rope, but he managed to recover and defeat Oney Lorcan via the Salina Del Sol. Lorcan had a nice showing, but it was negated by Kalisto’s botch that killed the flow of the match. Let’s hope the Masked Luchador has a better outing against Brian Kendrick at Survivor Series. If he does, he will win the Cruiserweight Championship and bring the entire division to SD Live where it belongs.
·        King Booker!!!

·        Jimmy Uso is trying so hard to keep a straight face as Booker speaks in his fake English accent.

·        This was a nice blast from the past. King Booker and Queen Sharmell were a weekly highlight as they brought a sense of royalty and class to SmackDown. Booker’s title reign was a national travesty, but the gimmick itself was awesome. It’s always good to look on the Brightside of things.

·        The most notable thing that took place during Nikki Bella’s match with Carmella was Charlotte making a surprise appearance when she bought a ticket and watched the bout from the front row.

·        Nikki was having none of it and nailed Charlotte with a stiff elbow. She dragged Charlotte over the barricade and the fight was on. The referee called for the bell as the rest of Team Raw consisting of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, and Dana Brooke stormed the ring to attack Nikki. Carmella put her issues with Nikki aside and tried to help her captain. She got double teamed until the rest of Team SD Live made their way to the ring to even the odds.

·        The brawl was sloppy in spots, but Nia Jax going through the barricade was the highlight of the segment. Naomi taking out the rest of the Raw ladies with a springboard cross body over the top rope onto the outside was a pretty sweet spot as well.

·        The women representing the blue brand held home turf as Raw Team regrouped heading into their match at Survivor Series.

·        As for Nikki vs. Carmella, it was fine until the interference took place.  Both ladies showed good intensity, but the match didn’t build to its proper crescendo due to the Raw Invasion. They will probably have their blow-off match at the TLC PPV next month.

·        Overall, the segment was a nice way to build up the Five-on-Five Women’s Match at Survivor Series.

·        The Tag Teams representing Team SmackDown worked as a cohesive unit as they faced The Vaudevillians, The Ascension, The Headbangers, and The Spirit Squad in a 16-man tag team match. The match was solid as team blue gained momentum heading into Sunday.  Heath Slater and Rhyno were the most popular team, but they weren’t involved in the match. Both men acknowledged the cheers and chants, but the fans still wanted to see the Tag Team Champs in action.

·        Things broke down as The Usos laid out everyone with a double dive over the top rope while American Alpha dropped one of The Headbangers with Grand Amplitude to score the pin fall.

·        I guess Heath Slater and Rhyno invited their teammates to the new Slater Estate and treated them to some Ritz crackers and Cheese Whiz. That is a great way to promote brand unity.

·        Edge got a crazy ovation. His theme music still gives me chills. The Rated R Superstar looks like an honorary member of The Wyatt Family.

·        The Undertaker returned during The Cutting Edge and basically told Team SmackDown that they better beat Team Raw at Survivor Series. If not, the whole team would rest in peace. He also confirmed that his career is not over yet and will presumably compete at WrestleMania next year.

·        The in-fighting amongst team members was kept at bay until AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose got into it on the mic. The Phenom put a stop to that by putting everyone on notice that they had a job to do. Will Team Blue heed his advice or should they get their personal affairs in order come next Tuesday? We will find out soon enough.

·        This was a hot way to end the show as WWE barely had enough time to go off the air before the debut of Shooter on the USA Network. The fans interjected themselves by chanting “You Still Got” at Taker which damn near caused the show to end with a cliffhanger. Fortunately, disaster was averted as Mauro Ranallo did a final hard sell for Survivor Series. JBL tried to add in his two cents, but he got cut off at the last minute. I am sending a gift basket to USA Network for shutting him up with barely a second to spare. Gracias!

·        Overall, I thought that tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. As I mentioned last week, WWE might have a difficult time balancing the 900th episode of SD Live while trying to promote Survivor Series at the same time. The company did a nice job emphasizing the importance of the PPV. However, the brand war between both shows still rings hollow for some reason. It comes off as being inauthentic because the teams are not fighting for anything except trying to prove which brand is more dominant.

·        It’s just like the Bragging Rights PPV minus the goofy trophy. There are a couple of matches that could shake things up depending on the outcome. Outside of that, the Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Matches don’t have anything on the line. The whole Fantasy Warfare tagline is corny as hell which makes fans groan instead of care about these matches on an emotional level. The mashups should be fun, but will it be enough to keep the PPV interesting? The Toronto crowd is going to be hot, but they have a tendency to make the show about themselves if things fall off a cliff.

·        Survivor Series could be a memorable event for a number of reasons. Goldberg could have a career resurgence if he doesn’t get blown up in the first five minutes during his match against Brock Lesnar. The Tag Team matches should be great if the right people are paired off against each other.

·        Most importantly, the IC and Cruiserweight Titles being exclusive to SmackDown will help the blue brand stock up the mid-card scene with wrestlers who have more real estate to work with on Tuesday nights if they are given enough time to showcase what they can do in the ring. The secondary titles should remain separate entities because the wrestlers who are not weight eligible for the Cruiserweight Division need to have something to fight for as well. If that’s the case, Raw might have a rough night at Survivor Series because they will be playing from behind and must rely on their teams to save face. It should be an interesting night to say the least.

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

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