It’s time to break down yet another episode of your delight every Tuesday night, Smackdown Live. This week, the show was live from Burmingham, Alabama and we saw The Miz defend his Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Also, John Cena went one-on-one with Dean Ambrose in the main event. Here’s Shawn Wilken‘s Smackdown Live review.
Smackdown Live Review 9/20/2016
Women’s Championship Contract Signing
We start things off with Smackdown Live general manager Daniel Bryan, a table, a contract and two microphones. It’s time to sign the contract to make the Smackdown Women’s Championship match official. Both Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss make their way to the ring, as highlights of last week’s number one contender’s match play. Some harsh words coming from Alexa, who calls Lynch a one-hit wonder that was never born to be a champion.
After Becky fires up by stating she fought to become one, Alexa turns the tables on Lynch. Literally. After swatting Lynch with the contract, Alexa signed the papers before flipping the table on Lynch. Lynch responds with some revenge and stands tall as the segment comes to an end. A strong opening to Smackdown with some excellent dialogue.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Table Flips
Reading The Fine Print
Daniel Bryan is backstage, when suddenly The Miz and Maryse show up. Happy with his contract, one thing that still bothers The Miz is his title match with Dolph Ziggler tonight. Bryan suggests that he could cancel the match, but he’d also have to cancel the contract as well. Miz is then faced with the reality that his contract negotiations only occur if he defends his Intercontinental Title against Ziggler. Miz storms off, clearly unhappy with the situation he has found himself in.
Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Contract Conundrums
The Usos vs. American Alpha
Looking for revenge after their chances of winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles were dashed, American Alpha made their return to confront The Usos. The match got underway with some highly-aggressive offense from Chad Gable, who focused on the knee of his opponent. It was just two weeks ago that The Usos had injured Gable’s knee, forcing American Alpha out of the tag team tournament.
Gable sold the underdog story well in this match, leading up to the hot tag to Jason Jordan. Jordan ran wild on The Usos, before a rake to the eyes and a Samoan Splash nearly ended the bout. After re-gaining the upper hand, Jordan refused to tag in Gable due to the knee being re-aggravated during the match. The Usos would make him pay, hitting a double superkick and a Samoan Splash to gain the pinfall.
These two teams continue to display excellent chemistry in the ring and tell a great story. The Usos now head to No Mercy to face Heath Slater and Rhyno for the Tag Team Titles.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Chivalrous Competitors
The Usos Deliver a Message to Slater and Rhyno
Following their victory, The Usos confronted The Beauty and The Man Best backstage. They gave the tag champions a choice; either hand them the titles or they’ll beat them down and take them. When The Usos brought up Slater’s kids, Rhyno became enraged, crushing his crackers and cheese. The whole segment was quality, but came off as more comedic than serious. Hopefully we’ll see a serious side to Slater in the upcoming weeks.
Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Crushed Crackers
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Jack Swagger is out to observe the following match at ringside. Baron Corbin faces off against Apollo Crews in a battle fans were robbed of one week ago. The match was short and sweet, and Corbin put on a display of physical domination. The match saw its End of Days, and Corbin then confronted Swagger at ringside. Swagger did nothing but stare the Lone Wolf down.
Heading to commercial break, Dean Ambrose is seen backstage. He looks to be preparing for his big match against John Cena, later tonight.
Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Swaggie Staredowns
Facing Facts & Backstage Babble-talk
Is it comedy? Is it impersonations? What is Curt Hawkins aiming for? On the bright side, his segments don’t last very long and when he does return, he’ll be fed to whoever Smackdown is building up. Let’s face the facts, Hawkins is nothing more than mid-card fodder.
Nikki Bella and Naomi are walking around, acting buddy-buddy and smiling. They seem to have a problem with Natalya. Whatever it is, nobody really cared and the highlight of the entire thing was the ending. These segments have been about as random as… well, this:
Dolph Ziggler then cut a pretty inspiring promo which, weirdly enough, included Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Ziggler pointed out that he is just as desperate as The Miz, and all he needs is one more chance to prove he can still do it. He pointed out that he wasn’t supposed to be a World Champion, but he accomplished that. A solid way to hype up their match which is up next.
Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Facts, 1/10 Fodder and 7/10 Last Chances
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz(c) w/ Maryse
The Intercontinental Championship is on the line, as The Miz and Dolph Ziggler go one-on-one. A perfect way to open up the second hour of the show this week. The match kicks off with a showcase of Ziggler’s desperation, attempting early pinfalls and submission holds. Amidst early attempts to play the cowardly heel, Miz eventually gains the upper hand and goes to work. His offense included some mocking of Daniel Bryan, including stealing his taunt and using the buzz-saw kicks. His obsession with the Smackdown General Manager even went so far that the Miz utilized the running dropkick combo.
Building up to the finish of the match, Maryse was caught with the hairspray in hand and was ejected by the official. This resulted in a chain of heart-stopping events, including Miz kicking out of the Zig-Zag. However, the hairspray would come in handy a little later. As the referee was distracted with the title belt, Miz would spray Ziggler in the face. Hitting his Skull-Crushing Finale, Miz put away Ziggler once again.
Such unbelievable chemistry these two have in the ring. It’s no wonder why they are given nearly a third of the final hour for their bout. There’s no doubt that with another screwy finish, we’ll get a third and final match between the two at No Mercy.
Backstage, Randy Orton is on his way to the ring for some one-on-one competition.
Segment/Match Quality- 9/10 Heart-Crushing Finales
Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan
I hear voices in my head and what in the hell is Erick Rowan wearing? Orton and Rowan battle, a result of their altercation from last week. We got to see Rowan perform a dropkick, which was impressive, but that was about it. Orton made short work of his opponent, hit the RKO and earned the three-count.
Post-match, Bray Wyatt congratulated Orton on his win, clapping and laughing. Wyatt proclaims that the two are intertwined with one another, until death do them part. Only Gods don’t die, and Wyatt certainly thinks he’s one.
Segment/Match Quality- 5/10 Endangered Vipers
Naomi & Nikki Bella vs. Carmella & Natalya
The match ended via disqualification because Carmella broke up a Natalya submission attempt, just to throw Nikki Bella into the barricade? You know what? Nope.
Segment/Match Quality- 1/10 Nopes
Rivalry? What rivalry? I beat them all.
AJ Styles is backstage to discuss his rivalry with both John Cena and Dean Ambrose. He points out that he’s beaten both of them already, so there is no rivalry. Styles states that the only way he’ll lose the title is if he loses it in a match where he doesn’t have to be pinned. Silver lining in it all is that up next, he’ll get to watch Cena and Ambrose rip each other apart.
Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Phenomenal Promos
John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose
Trusted with the final twenty minutes of the show, Cena and Ambrose battled it out. Last week, Ambrose left Cena lying in the middle of the ring after delivering Dirty Deeds. This left a sour taste in Cena’s mouth and here we are.
For what it’s worth, the match itself was entertaining and had great psychology between the two. The grittier side of Ambrose has the wrestling universe invested, and it seems like he’s transitioning into a kingpin “tweener”. It’s a breath of fresh air from his lunatic character, although perhaps his lunacy becomes a bit more sinister.
The match met it’s end when Dean Ambrose countered an Attitude Adjustment into a roll-up for the three count, much to the shock of Cena. Unfortunately, it would be AJ Styles that would get the last laugh between the three. Jumping over the barricade, he delivered a Phenomenal Forearm to Cena before hitting Ambrose with a Pele Kick.
Daniel Bryan came out to address next week’s main event, which pits AJ Styles against Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. A rematch from Backlash. Styles turns around in frustration, only to be hit with a Dirty Deeds. The show ends with Ambrose standing tall and Styles flat on his back.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Unhinged Attitudes
Best Segment/Match of the Night- The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
Fans already got the opportunity to witness what these two can do at Backlash. Thankfully, their program is receiving a justified extension. Ziggler and Miz have tremendous chemistry together and both possess the ability to tell a fantastic story. The Maryse ejection could have been saved for the final match between the two, but it was still a nice touch. It was also a solid decision to have Miz continue winning via cowardly methods.
Given they were trusted with 15-20 minutes each time, these two need another level. Perhaps a 30-minute iron man match at No Mercy.
Worst Segment/Match of the Night- Everything Nikki Bella & Naomi
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just that nobody cares. They’ve spent a careless amount of time to build this feud between Nikki Bella and Carmella, but for what gain? Naomi’s entrance is migraine-inducing, and so is everything else about this entire portion of the show. As mentioned earlier; Nope.
Oh, and get rid of David Otunga. PLEASE!
Show Quality- 7/10 Woo’s
This week, I’m revising my ratings by not including the Women’s match, Bella/Naomi and Hawkins segments. Those three moments alone brought the rating down from a 7 to a 5, which is unfair. The show, without those three segments, was a solid two hours of wrestling and storyline build. For yet another week, Smackdown seems to have Raw beat in the program build department.