Smack Down Live Review and Recap
Green Bay, Wisconsin
A quick recap package from last week’s Smack Down is first to run, highlighting the biggest underdog does good story this year. James Ellsworth beating WWE World Champion AJ Styles two times in a row. The no chinned wrestling Rudy, has been on quite the run with the help of Dean Ambrose. From there we get a shot of Ambrose in the locker room talking to someone (who are all these random backstage people?), when none other than Ellsworth walks up to a huge pop from the crowd. At this point I’m not sure what it “It” is about Ellsworth that’s so appealing, but he’s got the crowd squarely behind him. He’s like a walking and talking, live action, inspirational sports movie. Ellsworth proceeds to thank Ambrose for all the help along the way, and then asks Ambrose if he could accompany him to the ring tonight for his match with AJ Styles. While the crowd pops again, Ambrose turns down Ellsworth’s offer, in a bit of a hell-ish move, and even gets a few boo’s from the crowd as he walks off, leaving a sad faced James Ellsworth.
Bray Wyatt Vs Kane: No DQ
Immediately after the exchange in the locker room the scene changes to Bray Wyatt making his still great, entrance to the ring. After a quick recap of the fight between Bray, Orton, Kane, and Luke Harper, Kane then makes his entrance to the ring. More of a slug fest than a wrestling match, Kane puts on a decent outing tonight against Bray tonight. Things really get interesting though when the fight goes outside, as Kane begins to throw Bray about. After ramming Bray into the steel steps, Kane goes to the announcers table and begins removing the monitors, indicating hes about to put Bray Wyatt through the table. Kane grabs Bray and drags him to the table when the lights cut out, and the infamous “Breeeh” sound blares out. When the lights come back on, we see Luke Harper standing on top of the announcer’s table, wild eyed as ever, stunning Kane motionless. Harper then kicks Kane in the face, then hits him with a clothesline as the show goes to break. Upon returning from commercial break Bray now has Kane in the ring, grinding him down with a side headlock. Bray keeps the big man on the mat, neutralizing his size advantage. This goes on for a bit until Kane mounts on offense, which draws the assist from Harper again. Kane battles them off but not for long. Wyatt eventually gets the upper hand again, and sets up Kane for the sister Abigail. Kane breaks free, and the two men knock each other to the mat causing Harper to enter the ring once again. Randy Orton’s music begins playing, and out comes Randy, seemingly coming to Kane’s defense. Randy enters the ring getting between Harper and Kane. Harper then exits the ring not wanting to have anything to do with Randy Orton. Orton and Kane then set their sights on Bray Wyatt who’s still lying on the mat. Randy does his ground and pound move,preparing for one of his signature RKO’s, and then out of nowhere (wink, wink), RKO’s Kane, before rolling out of the ring and walking up the ramp with out a word. Bray and Harper look just as confused as the crowd, doing a good job of selling the twist. Bray then crawls over and pins Kane for the three count, the whole time looking bewildered by Randy Orton’s actions.
AJ Styles comes out, irate, cocky, and, whiny as ever. He shows once again why he makes such a great heel champ, as he proceeds to roast James Ellsworth. You’d think Jeff Ross wrote AJ’s material about Ellsworth, and whether written before hand or not, AJ delivers each line with out missing a beat. AJ then goes on a bit about his match against Dean Ambrose tonight, before ending the promo promising that if he runs into James Ellsworth tonight, he’ll walk away missing more than his chin.
Coming back from break, we find Renee Young in the ring, as she introduces Becky Lynch to the ring. This is Becky’s first appearance in almost a month, as she’s back from her recent illness. Before Renee and Becky can get their interview going their interrupted by Alexa Bliss’s music. She then says how nice it is for Becky to be back from her back injury, before rudely dismissing Renee Young from the ring. She then says to Becky, that ever since she came to Smack Down she’s grown a yellow streak down her spine. Alexa then cuts a darn good promo against Becky, even out doing her in several moments, delivering her lines with a little more pizazz than Becky. Alexa then throws a blow towards Becky, which causes a short fight between the ladies. After tumbling outside Bliss gets the better of Becky Lynch, throwing her against the barricade outside. She then rolls Becky back into the ring, and delivers a hard DDT to Becky in the middle of the ring. Not done yet, Alexa Bliss then goes back outside of the ring and grabs a can of spray paint, and quickly rolls back into the ring, where she spray’s a yellow streak down Becky Lynch’s back.
The Ascension Vs The Hype Bros
I really like the Ascension’s new look with the black and silver face paint. The promo’s haven’t gotten much better, but they look much more menacing. The Hype Bro’s look their usual ridiculous selves, and cut another unintelligible promo, and it really makes me wonder where this is going? If it was being played with some kind of comedic feel, at least I would get it, if not like it. Since it’s being played so matter of fact though, makes it come off weird and dated. The Ascension put on a tag team wrestling clinic, as they demolish Zack Ryder for the first four to five minutes of the match. Looking good and strong, it’s kind of ad to see them lose so quickly after Mojo Rawley gets the tag into the ring. Rawley literally runs around the ring and flings his body into his opponents knocking them about. The Ascension are put out of their misery after Viktor is hit with a Hype Ryder, and Mojo pins him for the count. While I don’t really like the tag team combo of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder, I do like them individually. Zack was doing nicely for himself at the beginning of this year, and you can tell he seems ready to be taken more seriously, and leave the “Long Island Ice Z” character behind. While Mojo is new and excited to be in the business. He would do well as a solo flying wild party man character, and it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for him. Either way Hype Bros go over, and are now going to be participants in the tag team challenge at Survivor’s Series.
Randy Orton is asked if he cares to explain his actions from earlier tonight when he RKO’ed Kane. Randy then stares into the camera for quite awhile, before saying
“If you can’t beam em. Join em.”
Quick cut of Daniel Bryan talking on the phone, as Natalya steps up. She makes her case about wanting to be the team captain for the Smack Down women team at Survivor Series. Daniel then says he had also spoken to Nikki Bella about it, and she wanted to be captain as well. Daniel then proposes a match between Nikki and Natalya to determine who would be captain. He raises the stakes even higher, and says that the loser, will not only not be captain, but will not be able to be on the team at all.
Nikki Bella Vs Natalya
Nikki and Natalya try to put on more of a traditional wrestling match, as they have a lot of back and forth, and quick close pins through out the match. Anyone who’s watched wrestling for awhile no of Natalya’s pedigree and skills, and she puts on a competent, if not stiff match. Nikki has clearly been practicing, and learning some new moves, as this is the most diverse set of offenses moves I’ve seen out of her, from even before her injury. The longer the match goes though the better it gets. Both women seeming to get more comfortable, and they begin moving more fluently. Natalya gets to show off her submission arsenal, from her uncle Bret’s sharpshooter, all the way to the surfboard. It’s the latter move though that proves the mistake, as Nikki counter’s it into an STF ( wonder who’s idea that was? ). With no where to go, Natalya taps out, giving Nikki the win by submission. Before Nikki can even celebrate though, Carmella runs out and begins attacking Nikki Bella, beating her into the corner. She then gloats over her, as her music begins to play.
Dean Ambrose is asked about AJ Styles comments he made about him earlier. Dean cuts on OK promo. Not much to be said that these two haven’t said in the past month already. Ambrose try’s to play it like the loose wild man, but when he stops himself from cussing, the schtick losses it’s allure. I’m not saying that he should cuss, since it is PG TV. Something more clever could have been done, to still make him come across as unhinged without cussing. I like Dean Ambrose a lot, but if they don’t find the right balance of crazy then the character won’t work the way their trying to push him right now.
Heath Slater & Rhyno Vs The Spirit Squad
The Miz and Maryse make their way down to the ring, being flanked by the Spirit Squad. Miz and Maryse are still dressed for a funeral, and Miz immediately goes into his bit about Ziggler not being worthy of the title, and how he’s burying it. Ziggler comes out and tells Miz he’s a fighting champion, and will give him his rematch anytime. Miz and the Spirit Squad then move as if they are gonna jump Dolph, when Heath and Rhyno come down to his rescue. After a bit of back and forth, a match is suggested between, the tag team champions and the Spirit Squad, and rather surprisingly it end’s up being for the Smack Down tag team championships. With Dolph Ziggler and Miz guest commentating, the match begins between the champs, and the male cheer leaders. It’s not a bad match, but it’s not a very good one either. More than anything it’s a pointless endeavor. After a little bit of back and forth between Heath Slater and both members of the Spirit Squad, Rhyno is tagged in and begins to disassemble both men in quick fashion. After some brief shenanigans between Miz and Dolph Ziggler, one of the Spirit Squad guys is knocked from the ring on to the Miz, while Rhyno hits the Gore on the other for the pin.
AJ Styles Vs Dean Ambrose: Number 1 Contenders Match
On the way to the ring for his match against AJ, Dean runs into James Ellsworth looking sad still. Dean stops asking whats wrong, and even tell Ellsworth to keep his chin up ( wink wink, again ). After another speech from Ellsworth about living his dream, and Dean inspiring him, Dean then agrees to let Ellsworth come out to the ring with him. AJ comes down to the ring first, looking completely annoyed to be there. Soon after Dean Ambrose comes ambling down with James Ellsworth in tow. The match quickly jumps off, and while I think Dean’s story line has been a little back and forth lately, his wrestling skills haven’t slipped a step. He and AJ both put their all into it, and show why they are the current main event guys for Smack Down. AJ plays the slick, underhanded heel by attacking Ellsworth outside of the ring to distract Dean, which in turn allows Ambrose to stop and check on his new found friend, endearing the crowd to him as more of a baby face. Good work all around from all parties involved. Both Ambrose and Styles pull out some aerial moves outside of the ring, and end up trading submission moves later on in the match. AJ Styles even hits Ambrose with a suplex on the ring apron. Dean is able to battle back, and after a top rope clothesline, he has AJ back on the ropes. The two trade blows back and forth, and every moment you think one man is going to pin the other, there’s a kick out. After nearly causing Dean Ambrose to tap out, for no reason AJ Styles then runs and performs a drop kick outside of the ring to James Ellsworth flattening him. AJ and Ambrose resume their fight, just for AJ to be back dropped out of the ring to the floor, to a waiting angry James Ellsworth. With the crowd pumping him up, Ellsworth waits for AJ to get up from the ground, for his chance to strike. As AJ gets up from the ground, he turns towards Ellsworth and is met with a bright shiny red left boot with some “No Chin Music”. The referee clearly see’s this and has no other choice than to disqualify Dean Ambrose, declaring AJ Styles the winner.
Tonight’s Smack Down Live had a lot of ups and downs. Overall a good show, I’m not one hundred percent sure about some of the directions some story lines are going in. I really liked the opening of the show, and the twist with Randy Orton and the Wyatt family. Has some string potential, and I’m curious where it’s going. The writers are going to have to give the Hype Bro’s some direction, or break them up, and let them go solo, and do something interesting. Maybe even a feud between the two, and letting Zack go heel for awhile would be fun. What ever they do it needs to be done fast. Only other major issue was the Spirit Squad. It half way worked when Miz was trying to mess with Dolph, and it produced some very minor funny moments, but I’m not sure why they are still around now that Dolph is champ. If WWE wants to keep them around, give them a new gimmick. With those two exceptions, and matches, the rest of the show was pretty fun. Still moved along at a good pace, and with a nice mix of wrestling, and backstage interviews, the show was able to highlight multiple different things happening, with out getting to cluttered. B- episode to me.