After a video package recapping the events of WWE Backlash, which sounded like a mediocre show aside from Becky Lynch becoming the inaugural WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion and AJ Styles capturing the World title, we go to the arena. We are in Philadelphia, PA this week, and we’re kicking things off with the aforementioned new WWE World Champion.
The audio tracking is off on my feed and I’m having internet problems, so this will be a bare-bones recap this week. Sorry, folks, but I have to work with what I’m given.
Styles starts by saying the champ is here. He hates to say he told you so, so he’ll yell it instead. He’s done everything he said he was going to do. He said he’d beat John Cena, which he did at Summerslam, making him “the face that runs the place”. Then, he said he’d beat Dean Ambrose, and at Backlash, he did just that, becoming the new champion in the process. If he said he could beat them both with one arm tied behind his back, according to Styles, it is the gospel. If Styles tells you something will happen, it will. These lips don’t lie, and this trophy (the belt) is the proof. He is now the “champ that runs the camp”. He repeats this several times, which leads to Cena making his return after a couple of weeks of absence.
Cena comes, and he’s heavily booed. He says the people know what he knows, and that is that Styles has something that belongs to Cena, and he wants it back. Styles takes off the armband and hands it to him. He doesn’t need it anymore, since he has the title. Cena claims Styles still has something that is his, and he wants it back, meaning the title. He basically compares himself to Ric Flair, then says he wants to win the belt at least one more time and make history. And, he’d like to make history off Styles. Cena doesn’t quit, and he has one goal left: to announce the 16-time champ is here!
Dean Ambrose doesn’t take kindly to this and makes his way down. He says Styles made the biggest mistake of his life on Sunday. He can handle losing a match or a title, but Styles kicked him in the balls and stole from him. Styles now has an enemy, which changes his life. From now on, Ambrose is going to make Styles’ life miserable. He’s going to bury Styles and take back what is his. Cena interrupts and whines about Ambrose bitching. Steve Austin was right when he called Ambrose out on his podcast. Ambrose has shown the WWE Universe nothing except that he has no balls. Ambrose says Cena must have mistaken Ambrose for someone who gives a damn what Cena says or thinks. He has no patience for Cena and calls him a lazy part-timer. Cena is better off doing TV shows and movies, because he can’t keep up anymore. He’s used as a WWE corporate puppet, because everyone knows he can’t do it in the ring anymore.
This brings out the commissioner, Shane McMahon. With all this talent in the ring, he couldn’t help coming out here. He compliments Styles/Cena from Summerslam, especially praising Styles. Styles has earned the right to be so cocky, and he earned his right onto Backlash. He and Ambrose tore the house down until Styles took the easy way. That’s not what Shane wanted, but nevertheless, Styles is the new champion. Ambrose is owed a rematch, and he will get it at a later date. At No Mercy, Styles will defend the title against John Cena…and Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match. That’s then; let’s move onto tonight. Tonight, Cena and Ambrose will face Styles and a partner of his choosing. If he can’t find a partner, however, the GM will appoint one.
Randy Orton will be here tonight to address the attack by Bray Wyatt at Backlash. Also, Becky Lynch’s first title contender will be determined in a fatal 5-way match.
The audio seems to have corrected itself, so the recap should be a bit smoother (for me, at least).
MATCH 1: THE HYPE BROS (MOJO RAWLEY AND ZACK RYDER) VS. THE USO (JEY AND JIMMY)
The Usos get the jobber non-entrance treatment this week. The Usos have new gear for their heel turn, and it looks terrible. They look like they’re wearing trash bags. Ryder starts with some shots in the corner on one of the Usos before tweaking his knee. The Uso hits a chopblock, then tags in his brother, which is apparently Jimmy. Jimmy works Ryder’s damaged knee over before tagging Jey back in, who kicks Ryder and applies a terrible ankle lock. Ryder breaks free by kicking Jey in the back, then boots him away before tagging in Rawley. Jimmy also tags in before getting Pounced out of his boots. Rawley avoids an attack by Jey and sends him into his brother in the corner. Jimmy gets splashed in the corner as Jey bails. At ringside, Jey takes out Ryder’s leg on the apron, then distracts the referee as Jimmy rakes the eyes. Jimmy hits a superkick and tags in Jey, who comes off the top with a Samoan Splash for 3.
WINNER: THE USOS
The Usos need new entrance music with this heel turn.
Later tonight, Heath Slater officially signs his Smackdown contract.
We get a video for Curt Hawkins, only it’s actually him this time. He says it’s time to face the facts.
The Miz and Maryse come out. I don’t care. He blathers on about retaining the IC title at Backlash. Dolph Ziggler interrupts, because apparently this feud is going to continue to the delight of no one. Ziggler accuses Miz of trying to sell himself to everyone, as well as himself, which is completely true. The fans will never see the Miz as a top guy, which is also true. Miz rambles on about how he’s a main-eventer. He calls Ziggler’s career buried. Ziggler admits he’s in a slump, but Miz is crushing it. However, he’ll always have an asterisk next to his name. If he wants to earn some respect and prove himself, how about one more time? No valets, no stunt doubles, no pepper spray, nothing except Miz and Ziggler. Maryse interrupts, and she’s just as sucktastic on the mic as her husband. Maryse asks if what Ziggler wants is a rematch, because she’s is the embodiment of the “dumb blonde” stereotype.
Daniel Bryan interrupts and says Maryse is the only reason Miz is still champion. Therefore, Ziggler will get his rematch. Miz whines some more and refuses a rematch. Ziggler won’t get what he wants until Miz gets his contract renegotiated. Bryan walks down to the ring as Miz yells. He bails through the crowd as Bryan enters the ring, and that’s the end of the segment.
AJ Styles comes across Baron Corbin. Styles offers Corbin to be his partner in the main event tonight. Corbin would rather be his opponent, because he wants the title, and he says it in the most sleep-inducing way possible.
MATCH 2: BARON CORBIN VS. APOLLO CREWS
This is a rematch from Backlash. Crews lost that match, because he hasn’t won a one-on-one match in ages.
Corbin attacks Crews from behind before the bell rings, knocking him to the floor. Crews gets thrown into the barricade before getting laid out with the End of Days.
Jack Swagger comes out. Apparently, his RAW contract just ran out and he has now signed with Smackdown. Curious, since the Draft was only a few weeks ago, and who signs a contract for a few weeks? Also, Swagger still has a job? Anyway, Swagger enters the ring, and Corbin bails. Swagger yells, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Rolling Stones!” to absolutely ZERO reaction. As of 12:01 this morning, Smackdown is his new home. He lists off his credentials, then says you may think you know his abilities in the ring, but you don’t know Jack. Smackdown is a land of opportunity, and he’s going to be a “big problem, maaan…” Check that: WE are going to be a big problem.
That was…just an awful promo. Who signed off on that?
Becky Lynch makes her way out for her first appearance on Smackdown as the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion. That gold looks pretty fantastic around her waist. Charley Caruso is in the ring for an interview. She asks if the moment has sunk in as a “You deserve it” chant breaks out. She thinks it’s fitting that the first place “Becky Balboa” would show off her new title is in Philadelphia. On Sunday, she was in the fight of her life, but she wanted nothing more than that title. She beat five other women and is now the champion. They say the journey is greater than the destination. Whoever said that never traveled her journey or arrived at her destination. Philly is a fighting city, and she’s a fighting woman, “So come at me.”
MATCH 2A-FATAL 5-WAY TO DETERMINE THE #1 CONTENDER FOR THE WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: NAOMI VS. NIKKI BELLA VS. NATALYA VS. ALEXA BLISS VS. CARMELLA
Lynch is at ringside, watching the match, but not on commentary, which is a shame. Bliss is still doing the Harley Quinn look, which is awful. Fitting, given four of the five women in this match. All five women are legal all the time, so this will be a clusterf**k. Nattie hits Carmella with Nattie By Nature early on, then starts snapping off suplexes. Naomi gets a Michinoku driver #2 for a 1-count as Nikki breaks it up. Nikki gets a 2 off a forehead inot the knee before Carmella breaks it up. Carmella bails to the floor and plays with her hair, because that’s all she’s good for. Nikki comes off the stairs with a clothesline. Back in, Naomi gets a sunset flip in for 2, only for Nikki to break it up. Hard to believe she’s NOT the worse person in this match, and that’s the most complimentary thing I will ever say about her. Naomi gets a kick out of the corner, then applies a headscissors on the top buckle for unknown reasons. They take way too long on the spot, completely telegraphing that Nikki is going to counter with an electric chair. What a mess. Nikki sells the neck, so Bliss comes in and starts getting 2-counts. Nattie pulls her up by her hair and runs a shoulder in the buckles. Bliss avoids a second on and tries for a sunset flip, only for Naomi to hit her with a step-up enziguri. Naomi hits the full-nelson bomb before Nattie runs over her and hits a basement dropkick on Bliss. Nikki is back in, and she hits the Bella Buster for 2 as Nattie kicks out. Naomi hits the Rear View on Nikki for 2. She tries for a baseball slide on Nattie, but Nattie avoids it and slams her face-first into the ring steps. Nikki throws Nattie into the barricade, then shoulders Bliss coming back into the ring. She muscles Bliss into the corner (with what muscles?) and sets her up top. Bliss fights her off and goes up to to the top, only for Nikki to recover and pull her down into a fireman’s carry. Carmella, who has literally done nothing this whole match, comes in and nails Nikki with a superkick. Bliss then dumps Carmella and pins Nikki to get the 3.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: ALEXA BLISS
Carmella was completely worthless in this match. Bliss was not far behind. Between the two of them, I think they did three moves total.
AJ Styles comes across Kane in the back and asks him to be his partner for the main event. Kane just stares at Styles, laughs and walks away. Way to earn your paycheck, Glenn.
Shane McMahon is in the ring with a table and a contract. He singles out one individual for seizing opportunities. At Backlash, that man co-won the the brand-new Smackdown Tag Team titles and, in the process, earned himself a contract. That man is Heath Slater.
Slater and his championship partner Rhyno make their way out. Similar to Becky Lynch, these two are the inaugural champions in the tag division. An “E-C-W” chant breaks out before Shane congratulates them on winning the title, then moves onto making Slater’s membership on the roster official. Slater quickly signs, then hollers into the mic. He thanks Shane, Daniel Bryan and his wife Beulah. They’re moving into a double-wide now. He then thanks Rhyno, Slater calls him a friend, and they are now the champs. As an aside, this is Rhyno’s first WWE title in over a decade. Slater says they will take on anyone, any time, anywhere. Finally, Slater wants to thank all of his kids: Roscoe, Betty Lou (who needs a new tongue, apparently), Rosalyn Snow, Remedy Monroe, Justin and Josh…
The Ascension have decided they’ve heard enough. Also, much like Jack Swagger, they apparently still work here. Konnor and Viktor challenge the new champs to a title match right here and now. Slater points out there’s no referee, so they can’t do it right now. Shane, however, likes the idea and makes the match official.
MATCH 3: WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: RHYNO AND HEATH SLATER (CHAMPIONS) VS. THE ASCENSION (KONNOR AND VIKTOR)
The match is in progress after some commercials. Slater breaks a chinlock by Viktor with a jawbreaker, but can’t make the tag as Viktor muscles him to the heel corner. Konnor tags in and nails a corner splash before sending Slater into a spinning back elbow from Viktor. He then tosses an incoming Rhyno to the floor before tagging back out to Viktor. The Ascension botch a double-team, which I think was supposed to be a chokeslam followed by a flying splash, and that gets 2 before Rhyno breaks it up. Rhyno sends Konnor into the ring post shoulder-first, and Konnor slumps to the floor. Slater kicks Viktor away and tags out to Rhyno. Rhyno throws some elbows and a clothesline before hitting a running shoulder. JBL calls Rhyno a “hardcore legend”, which is beyond a stretch. I like Rhyno, but he’s no legend. Rhyno connects with a spinebuster for 2 as Konnor breaks it up. Slater dives on Konnor’s back, but gets dumped to the floor. Rhyno hits Konnor with a running shoulder, sending him back to the floor. Viktor eats a Gore, and this one’s over.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: RHYNO AND HEATH SLATER
Daniel Bryan stops AJ Styles in the back and asks if he has a partner. Styles says he doesn’t need a partner. Bryan says that, luckily, they were prepared for this and have a partner for Styles. He calls for James and…oh sweet merciful crap, it’s James Ellsworth, the chinless, talentless jobber who got squashed by Braun Strowman on RAW a few weeks back. This chucklef**k is now listing himself as “As seen on WWE television” on indy posters for shows he unfathomably gets booked on. For f**k’s sake. Ellsworth offers a handshake, and Styles is disgusted.
Randy Orton is now out, and I find myself instantly very drowsy. I don’t…know…I can’t…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ….ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…GAH! Sorry. I dozed off. I had this dream that Orton came out and droned on incessantly about how awesome he is. Blah, blah, blah, Bray Wyatt, let’s fight, something about balls, blah, blah, blah.
Wyatt appears on the TitanTron. Usual cryptic promo stuff here. He tells Orton not to sleep. The lights go out, and when they come back on, Wyatt is at ringside, laughing. Orton looks even douchier in that stupid sweatshirt. The lights go out again, and when they come on, Erick Rowan is in the ring. He ambushes Orton. Orton no-sells and hits the RKO before doing a ridiculous pose.
So…did Rowan and Wyatt reunite yet again? Just give up on this damn gimmick already. It’s obvious no one in creative has any faith in it.
AJ Styles comes out first for the main event, followed by James Ellsworth. However, Ellsworth gets taken out by the Miz on the entrance ramp before Miz drops him with the Skull-Crushing Finale. While glad that dicknose isn’t actually working tonight, the Miz still isn’t getting any praise from me.
MATCH 4: WWE WORLD CHAMPION AJ STYLES AND INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION THE MIZ VS. JOHN CENA AND DEAN AMBROSE
Amazingly enough, Ambrose follows Cena. After some commercials, we join the match in progress, with Miz kicking Cena in the face for 2. Miz throws one of his weak punches and celebrates. Cena comes back with a shot of his own before Miz kicks him in the knee and hits a sloppy snap DDT for 2. JBL points out Miz is in contract re-negotiation, and that he doesn’t think Daniel Bryan is aware of that. Even though, you know, MIZ YELLED IT IN BRYAN’S FACE IN THE RING EARLIER TONIGHT. I hate JBL so damn much. He is to commentating what Miz is to wrestling. Miz tries to choke Cena over the bottom rope and does it incorrectly. He then distracts the ref so Styles can kick Cena in the face. Miz hits the flailing clothesline in the corner, which Mauro Ranallo refers to as the “Awesome Clothesline”. I’m refuse to call it that. Miz tries for it again in the opposite corner, but misses. Cena and Miz both tag out, with Ambrose coming in with his usual hot tag offense. He catches Styles off the buckles and hits a sidewinder backbreaker. He comes off the top with a flying elbowline for 2 before referee Mike Chioda audibly tells him “90 seconds”. Ambrose assaults Styles in the corner, then nails an incoming Miz. He rolls outside and throws Miz into the barricade before heading back in, where Styles nails the Pele’. Commercials. Yeah, that was probably about 90 seconds.
Back from the break, Ambrose and Miz are legal, with Ambrose having apparently just nailed the Lunatic Lariat. Cena calls for a tag, but Ambrose ignores him. He sets Miz up top for a super Dirty Deeds, but Miz fights him off before hitting a flying double axe handle. Styles tags in and hits Cena with a forearm, suckering Cena into the ring. Miz chokes Ambrose behind Chioda’s back before Styles tags him with shots. Styles talks some trash to Styles before Ambrose comes back with chops in the corner. Styles retorts with some shots, then applies a rear chinlock. Ambrose breaks free and nails Styles with headbutts and punches. Styles throws a few more shots before Ambrose puts him down with a swinging neckbreaker. Cena and Miz tag in, and Cena loads the spaceship with the rocket fuel before hitting the Proto-Plex and the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the AA, but lets go when Styles hits the ring. He ducks a clothesline and sends Styles into Ambrose, who low-bridges Styles to the floor. Ambrose wipes him out with a tope suicida as Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on the Miz for 3.
WINNERS: DEAN AMBROSE AND JOHN CENA
Ambrose gives Cena a dirty look as Cena celebrates in the corner. When Cena turns around, Ambrose plants him with Dirty Deeds. He then tells Cena to never disrespect him again before staring at Styles up on the stage.
END OF SHOW
Wow. Not a great way to rebound from Backlash at all. The best match was probably the tag title match, and it wasn’t even good. Speaking of tag team wrestling, on a show with only 4 actual matches, three of them were tag team affairs, and the fourth was a 5-way. Not a solitary standard one-on-one match to be found. We also had one match never get started, and another that was a bait-and-switch in the main event. Finally, stop giving James Ellsworth attention, people. The more you ironically cheer for this numbnuts, the more they’ll use him as a space filler. Knock it off.