Date: October 18, 2016
Location: Pepsi Center in Denver, CO
The Big Takeaway —
James Ellsworth got a nearfall on AJ Styles, but Styles retained his title thanks to a disqualification. The crowd was super into Ellsworth. See below for more.
The only other thing somewhat notable was the segment between Carmella and Nikki Bella. Carmella “exposed” Nikki’s relationship with John Cena and accused her of using him to become a celebrity.
Update: On Talking Smack, Daniel Bryan granted AJ Styles a match with Dean Ambrose next week after Styles demanded it. If Ambrose wins, he gets a title shot.
Show Recap —
They aired a recap of James Ellsworth defeating AJ Styles last week. They made it seem like one Dirty Deeds from Dean Ambrose–not two–is what put Styles away.
Ellsworth was shown backstage struggling to apply his wrist tape. Ambrose appeared and handed Ellsworth his new official t-shirt, which is just a black shirt with his face on it. (Ambrose also has a new shirt.) Mauro Ranallo put over Ellsworth’s “chinderella” story.
Randy Orton came out. He said Bray Wyatt’s evil runs deeper than he thought, and trying to fight out of it was like trying to fight out of quicksand. Orton said he’s coming for Bray. Bray appeared on the screen lying in a casket. He said he was coming for Randall and let us know Luke Harper is here. Orton had some awful dialogue and he seemed less than enthused having to read it.
Randy Orton defeated Luke Harper via DQ
Orton hit a superplex less than two minutes into the match when the lights went out. Bray was carried out in the casket and they went to commercial. JBL and David Otunga tried to pretend how scary a visual this was. After the break, Orton was about to make his comeback but Bray interfered for a DQ.
They beat down on Orton, but when Bray opened the casket, Kane was suddenly inside. This got a pretty good pop. (The casket was visibly empty earlier.) Kane helped Orton fend off the Wyatts, but before they could put them away, the lights went out again (the crowd booed) and the Wyatts were gone.
Backstage, Andrea asked Styles about tonight’s match. Styles reminded us that he was the WWE Champion, and yet, he has to wrestle a fat-skinny turd. Styles, acting concerned, knows Ambrose will try to get involved and maybe we’ll see the biggest upset in WWE history. He said it’s like WCW all over again, and specifically mentioned David Arquette. Styles said if Ambrose costs him the title, he will find Dean wherever he goes. I’m not sure if Styles was trying to appear insincere about his concern, but either way, he came off poorly.
Alexa Bliss defeated Naomi
Bliss’ outfit paid homage to Freddy Krueger. She didn’t get an entrance, but Naomi did of course. This went through a break and Bliss briefly had control, but Naomi took most of the match. She hit a split-legged moonsault for a nearfall. She went back to the top but Bliss yanked her down and nailed Twisted Bliss for the win after about 10 minutes.
Afterwards, Renee Young asked Bliss about her upcoming championship match against Becky Lynch. Bliss said the fairy tale would be over in three weeks and she will become champion. The crowd seems into Bliss.
They aired a commercial for Raw advertising Brock Lesnar. Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Miz and the Spirit Squad was announced for later tonight.
Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins
Match never happened. Hawkins got very little reaction. He called Crews, “Apollo Lose,” so Crews punched him in the face. Hawkins was pissed and told the crowd that Crews cost them the chance to see his debut. He left. Where’s the GM?
They showed Carmella backstage and said she’d be addressing the fans after a commercial, which a great act break.
Carmella and Nikki Bella promo
Carmella was pissed that Nikki Bella stole her spotlight at SummerSlam. She doesn’t get why the crowd liked Nikki, and she was here to “spill the tea.” Nikki came out because she wanted to hear this face-to-face. Carmella wasn’t surprised to see her and said Nikki gets whatever she wants because John Cena was her boyfriend.
Carmella accused her of trying to hide their relationship, but Nikki reminded her of the two different TV shows about it. She said “shame on you” and the crowd chanted “shame” at Carmella. Carmella called her a gold digger and showed clips from Total Divas/Total Bellas of Nikki acting needy and helpless around Cena, as well as Brie saying she has major issues.
Nikki said she paved her own road, pays her own bills, and wears the pants in her relationship. When she was told she wasn’t good enough, she trained harder. She was told she would never wrestle again after getting hurt, but nobody would stop her, not a “boss” or a “queen,” and certainly not Carmella. Carmella accused Nikki of using her looks to get in the business, using her sister to get in the ring, and using Cena to become a celebrity. She dropped the mic and left.
Backstage, Renee caught up to Ellsworth, who admitted to being nervous. He survived last week and couldn’t believe Daniel Bryan actually spoke to him. Ellsworth knows he’s not in Styles’ league, but one day, he’ll be able to tell his grandchildren that he competed for the WWE title on SmackDown. Ellsworth was wearing his new t-shirt.
6-Man Tag Match: The Miz & The Spirit Squad defeated Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater & Rhyno
In an inset promo, Slater said they saved Ziggler last week because he wanted to be a role model for his kids. Rhyno said he just doesn’t like male cheerleaders. After a break, the bad guys took control after Maryse distracted Ziggler and Miz attacked him from behind.
The crowd desperately chanted for Slater, who eventually got the hot tag and ran wild. Rhyno also gored Mikey. Kenny pushed Slater into the ropes and Miz punched him in the face, leading to Kenny using a roll-up for the win.
(There was a moment in the match where JBL teed up Otunga for an easy joke, but he didn’t take advantage until a producer fed him the line. JBL flat-out called him on this.)
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was on the phone with Shane McMahon discussing their options for Survivor Series. Natalya showed up and wanted to be the first to volunteer for SmackDown women’s team and talked about being an inspiration. Bryan noticed she was actually quoting Whitney Houston, but Natalya denied it. She then asked Bryan if he was following her cat on Instagram.
Members of the Denver Broncos were shown at ringside.
Baron Corbin defeated Jack Swagger
Corbin wears a sleeveless shirt to wrestle now. He won in two minutes with End of Days.
Backstage, Natalya was still showing Bryan pictures of her cat. Bryan seemed to be dying alive, but was relieved when Dean Ambrose showed up. Ambrose was wearing a referee shirt and said he would call it down the line tonight because he knew how important the match was. Bryan told him he couldn’t be the referee, but he could be the ring announcer or timekeeper or guest commentator. Ambrose said “Ok, I’ll do that” and left. Bryan wasn’t sure which one he meant.
WWE World Championship: James Ellsworth defeated AJ Styles via DQ
Ambrose came out first and appears to have chosen timekeeper has his duty. Styles, who really is concerned I guess, didn’t do his usual entrance. Ellsworth has theme music and got loud “Ellsworth” chants.
Ambrose is now the ring announcer. He announced this as a title match and added,“seriously, this is for the world title.” He introduced Ellsworth who got a big pop and more chants of his name. He introduced Styles as the current and temporary WWE Champion. Ambrose went back to being the timekeeper and started the match by ringing the bell about 30 times.
This distracted Styles so Ellsworth tried to take advantage, but Styles put him in an abdominal stretch. Ellsworth fell down for a moment before Styles hooked it back in. Ambrose stopped the match because they had to go to commercial.
After the break, Styles tried a chinlock, but Ellsworth slipped right out because he doesn’t have a chin. Styles slapped him. Ambrose interrupted the match again to plug Ellsworth’s new t-shirt, which really is for sale. Styles hit a dropkick. There are dueling chants of “AJ Styles” and “Let’s go Ellsworth.”
Styles went outside to tell Ambrose this was his fault. He went for a superplex, but Ambrose interrupted the match again to let the audience know somebody left their car lights on, and to plug a sponsor. Ellsworth tried to use the distraction to hit a flying crossbody, but Styles simply stepped out of the way.
Styles tossed Ellsworth out of the ring, so Ambrose tossed him back in. Styles tossed him out again, and Ambrose again tossed him in. This went back and forth about five more times.
Styles went to the top rope to yell at Ambrose. Ellsworth grabbed his leg and Styles fell face first against the turnbuckle. Ellsworth nailed a superkick and the crowd popped huge. He went for a cover and got a nearfall.
Styles then crushed him with a spinebuster and killed him with some forearms. Styles kicked him in the corner and Ambrose said he kicked like a soccer mom. This pissed off Styles, who killed Ellsworth with more forearms in the corner. He wouldn’t stop, so the referee disqualified him.
Ambrose announced Styles as the loser of the match. He went in the ring to finish the announcement, but gave Styles a Dirty Deeds. He announced Ellsworth as the winner and the man who has more wins over AJ Styles than John Cena. The crowd chanted for Ellsworth, who was barely clinging to life.
Final Thoughts —
SmackDown is easy enough to watch, but this was really a nothing show until the main event. The main event segment was really enjoyable, though. The crowd was into it and everyone involved was great. My one complaint is this isn’t exactly helping AJ Styles.