Before we get going, I would just like to say that, after watching RAW last night for the first time in probably a year, I am so glad I recap this show instead. Aside from two good (if not predictable) matches featuring Jericho/Rollins and Zayn/Owens (for the billionth time), the show was utter dreck. As many complaints as I have about SmackDown on a regular basis, they pale in comparison to the dumpster fire that airs every Monday night.
This week WWE SmackDown is live in Lincoln, NE, and this is the go-home show before the returning Backlash PPV. GM Daniel Bryan is in the ring, with the Smackdown Women’s title belt on a pedestal. He reminds us that Backlash will feature the first-ever women’s six-pack elimination challenge. Someone must have called WWE on this (besides me), as the original match was a standard six-pack, which they were touting as the “first-ever”, which of course it won’t be. First-ever women’s six-pack elimination challenge? I can’t recall another one before this, so that may be true. Anyway, six women will get into the ring, and eliminations will occur until only one woman is left standing, with that final woman becoming the first-ever champion. Before that, however, tonight, all six women will be in a tag match. AND before that, we are going to have a Women’s Championship forum. His first guest, none other than the “Irish Lass Kicker” Becky Lynch.
Lynch makes her way down, and I really worried they’re going to screw up booking with her yet again at Backlash. She should walk out as the champion, but I get the feeling that, because Nikki Bella is knocking off John Cena, Nikki will walk out with the belt. Lynch mentions she was worried Nikki would be called out first. Bryan admits he loves his sister-in-law, but Lynch was the first female draft, so Lynch was out first. Bryan then plugs the series premiere of Total Bellas, which gets a hearty boo. Lynch says becoming the first champion means everything to her. Maybe there’s a reason for all of the losses and hardships, and maybe that reason is this Sunday. When she beats five other competitors Sunday night, it will be the greatest night of her life.
Natalya, the only other real worker in the match, comes out and calls Lynch’s speech boring. The real story is that the Draft was the worst night of her life because she got stuck with Lynch. This was supposed to be her kingdom. Instead, she’s been nothing but tortured by Lynch’s unnatural hair colour. Lynch asks what happened to Nattie, which gets no response.
Alexa Bliss comes out unannounced, makes fun of the two women in the ring and calls Bryan a “Bella trophy husband”.
Carmella is now out here. Sweet Jeezus, she is terrible. She brags about whipping Nikki’s ass, which admittedly was fun to watch, which then leads to an argument. Carmella calls Bliss “Pulley” for some reason. This leads to more arguing. Nattie accuses Lynch of wanting the three heels to turn on each other. Lynch mocks them by playing innocent, which makes me chuckle a bit. She’s joined by Naomi to no reaction. Nikki joins them to a nice round of boos. This leads to a 3-second brawl, with Nikki going down immediately before the heels are tossed.
We see Dean Ambrose at catering. He drinks some guy’s coffee before dumping a huge amount of sugar into it. He then gives it back to the guy and leaves. Not sure what the point of that was.
Tonight, we get a “Countdown to Backlash” meeting between Ambrose and AJ Styles.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are discussing tonight’s show in their office before they are joined by the Miz and Maryse. He bitches about coming back from his vacation and hearing that they’re only concerned with the Women’s title and not the IC title. Not only that, he has to defend the belt against a loser in Dolph Ziggler at Backlash. He blames this on Bryan, of course. Bryan says, unlike Miz, those six women wanted to fight. And the last time Miz was on the show and was challenged to a fight, he walked away. The match at Backlash will happen, and if Miz doesn’t like it, he can forfeit the IC title right now. Miz’s music plays, and he storms off.
MATCH 1: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION THE MIZ (W/MARYSE) VS. APOLLO CREWS (NON-TITLE)
Dolph Ziggler is on commentary for this match. Miz with a side headlock to start before running into a shoulder. Miz stalls before going for a waistlock, only for Crews to reverse and hit a pair of takedowns. Miz backs Crews into the corner and hits a few boots. Crews blocks a hip throw, tosses Miz, then gets in a headlock. Crisscross ends with Crews hitting a dropkick after doing some aerial stuff. Miz bails to the floor to check his teeth. He avoids a slingshot plancha, but Crews manages to land, kick Miz away and hit a moonsault from the apron. Commercials.
Back from the break, the two are slugging it out before Crews gets in a flying schoolboy for 2. Miz hits the Reality Check for 2. His own damn move, and he screws it up every time. Miz with a knee-choke in the corner now before hitting a snapmare and going into a modified surfboard. Crews fights out, escapes a second Reality Check, rolls through a sunset flip and gets his own for 2. Miz comes back up with a big boot, then calls for the flailing clothesline, which connects. He did that one in slo-mo. Up top now, Miz comes off with a double axe handle, only to get caught with an overhead belly-to-belly. Miz runs into a back elbow and a pair of clotheslines. Crews lands a pair of boots and a corner splash before hitting a hooking clothesline. Crews goes for Crews Control, which Miz elbows out of. He bails to the floor and falls into the announce desk, where he spots Ziggler. Miz shoves Ziggler, and Ziggler gets to his feet. From the ring, Crews misses a baseball slide, which leads to Miz shoving him into Ziggler. Crews gets thrown into the ring post. Back in, Miz hits the Skull-Crushing Finale for 3.
WINNER: THE MIZ
Ziggler gets a hold of the IC title and challenges Miz to get in the ring to get it back. He lays it out and Miz hesitates before sending his hag of a wife into the ring to claim it. Ziggler continues to spit trash-talk at Miz as Miz sports a shite-eating grin.
Renee Young is in the interview area with AJ Styles. She brings up last week, where Dean Ambrose and Styles got into it after the main event, ending with Styles getting crotched on the top rope. Young asks if Styles will have harsh words tonight. Styles yells at a tech about the footage, then threatens to break his headset and get him fired. Styles shoves him away after brow-beating him, and that’s the end of the segment.
WWE is once again working with Connor’s Cure, with the sales of special merchandise going to the charity.
Video package for American Alpha. These guys are good, but need longer matches to be able to actually show what they can do. Also, that entrance music is death. That is followed by Charley Caruso interviewing the Usos, AA’s opponents for tonight in the tournament. WE UNDERDOGS! WE RESPECT YOUNG BROTHAS! UCE! DAWG! SUPERKICK! HOOTY-HOO!
Time for Bray Wyatt’s promo to hype his pointless match with Randy Orton this Sunday. At this point, if you’ve seen one of these promos, you’ve seen them all. It pains me to see how badly WWE botched this gimmick. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before. A lot. Still bears repeating.
MATCH 2: NIKKI BELLA, BECKY LYNCH AND NAOMI VS. NATALYA, ALEXA BLISS AND CARMELLA
David Otunga claims Naomi is inspired by Nicki Minaj, which is something no one should ever admit to. JBL shows what a toolbox he is by calling her the greatest athlete on the women’s roster. Otunga manages to out-tool JBL by calling her better than most of the men. Have they never seen her work before? She botches damn near everything. In addition to being the two best women on the Smackdown roster, Nattie and Lynch are also the only two with entrance themes that don’t make my ears bleed. Carmella’s entrance is right up there with BRIE MODE!!!! WUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUB.
Bliss and Naomi start, with Bliss slapping Naomi. Naomi does her horrific jumping kick spot before botching the ever-loving hell out of a high kick. That gets 2 before Carmella tags in. Remember when Carmella debuted as a face and got her ass kicked by Nattie and Nikki’s return was on a heel team at Summerslam? I guess WWE creative didn’t, either. Naomi takes Carmella down with a waistlock before applying a front chancery. She goes into an arm wringer before tagging in Lynch, who continues the work on the arm. Carmella escapes and goes for a cover, which Lynch bridges out of at 0. Lynch avoids several more moves before getting in a backslide for 2. Back to the arm before ducking a clothesline. Lynch sneaks in a sunset flip for 2 off a roll-up block before tagging in Nikki. Lynch is shoved into Nikki, with Nikki chasing Carmella out of the ring. Commercials.
Back from the break, Carmella and Lynch are legal. Lynch hits a couple clotheslines and a leg lariat before hitting the Flying Firearm and the Bexsploder for 2. Lynch ends up on the apron and fights off all three heels before Nattie yanks her to the floor while the ref is dealing with Carmella. Nattie stomps Lynch before Carmella rolls Lynch back in and throws some terrible-looking punches for a 1-count. Carmella sits on Lynch’s back in the ropes before Nattie kicks her in the face. Nattie tags in, and the heels do a double hair-whip for 2. Nattie locks in a sleeper, which Lynch armdrags out of. She dives for a tag, but Nattie muscles her into the corner. Bliss tags in, and the heels do some double-teaming before giving the legs a wishbone. Bliss goes into her usual knee and foot-based offense. Mauro Ranallo claims Bliss is a former pro bodybuilder, which makes me ill. Regardless of what her Wikipedia page says, she was never a bodybulider. Looking at her photos, she was maybe a figure competitor, which is not the same as being a bodybuilder. You know who likes to lump those categories together? Figure competitors. Sorry, but as someone who has been around women’s bodybuliding forever and a day, that’s a pet peeve of mine.
Anyway, back to Bliss and her offense, which has consisted of nothing but knees to the back and stomps thus far in her WWE career. Oh, and she hit Twisted Bliss once. Carmella has shown more varied offense, which is pretty pathetic. She gets 2 off some physics-defying stomps to the back of the head. Bliss then goes into a rear chinlock, only for Lynch to fight out and sneak in a small package for 2. Bliss hits a roundhouse and tags out to Nattie, who connects with a snapmare before stomping Lynch in the back. She walks over Lynch and forearms Nikki off the apron. A Michinoku driver #2 gets 2 for Nattie. Lynch sneaks in another small package for 2 before the two collide with simultaneous clotheslines. Nattie recovers quickly and gets a 2-count, then goes back to the sleeper. Lynch escapes before taking a knee to the gut. She comes back with a kick off the ropes and reaches for the tag before reversing directiong and rolling Nattie up with a schoolgirl for 2. Lynch misses an enziguri before Bliss tags in. Bliss misses an awkward elbow drop, allowing Nikki to tag in. Nikki does all of her crap spots until she misses a splash. She does her hideous version of the Disaster Kick for 2 as Mauro claims she has some of the most vicious forearms in WWE. Come on, dude! You’re better than this! Bliss hits a jawbreaker and tags out to Carmella, who points and laughs. Nikki picks her up and hits a VERY sloppy TKO for 2 before the pin is broken up by Bliss. Nattie sneaks in with Nattie By Nature. Naomi takes her out with a double version of Eat Defeat. Bliss throws some forearms at Naomi before tossing her to the floor. She drops a double-knee on a planking Nikki, then tries to do the same move off a backflip, only to completely miss. Lynch tackles Bliss, and they spill to the floor. Carmella applies the Code of Silence on Nikki, and Nikki taps.
WINNERS: ALEXA BLISS, CARMELLA AND NATALYA
MATCH 3-SEMI-FINAL ROUND MATCH IN THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: THE USOS (JEY AND JIMMY) VS. AMERICAN ALPHA (CHAD GABLE AND JASON JORDAN)
We get sportsmanship between both teams before the Usos attack both members of AA from behind. The Usos botch Alley-Uce before AA come back and wipe them out with Grand Amplitude for 3.
WINNERS: AMERICAN ALPHA
Total squash, and I’m totally fine with that. The Usos haven’t been interesting in a very long time. The match lasted maybe 30 seconds total. The Usos applaud AA, and we get handshakes before the Usos once again attack AA. Kind of showed stupidity on the parts of Gable and Jordan to go for the handshake again. Jordan gets launched shoulder-first into the ring post in a hard-sounding spot. One Uso then holds Gable in a front chancery as the other comes off with a flying stomp to the back of the knee. One of them then locks Gable in the Tequila Sunrise as the other comes off the top with a Samoan Splash to the bad leg.
Honestly, this is for the best. The Usos have desperately needed a change, and a heel turn is a way to go. Plus, the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno are in a “must-win” storyline where they have to win the whole tournament for Slater to get a contract, so this makes AA easy pickings for them on Sunday, should they win later tonight (which they will). At the same time, it gives AA an excuse that they weren’t 100%, and can therefore demand a rematch in the next couple weeks.
We see Randy Orton in the back, and he’s stopped by Charley Caruso. She reminds him of the Bray Wyatt promo from earlier. Orton drones on, telling a story. This guy can put you to sleep faster than an episode of The Walking Dead. Basically, the story ends with a snake and a man fighting over a rabbit. Guess who the snake is supposed to be? Orton just talks and talks and talks before saying he’ll be waiting for Wyatt at Backlash. Thanks for nothing, Randy.
Fandango is in the ring. He announces Tyler Breeze is not here, but rather in Dubai, looking for silk for their upcoming fashion line. Fandango has someone else to tango with, that being a fan from the audience. Most likely a local worker. It’s a woman covered in tattoos. He’s going to teach her how to dance. She dances, and as you would expect, it’s terrible. She cuts an equally bad promo after he cuts the music. He asks for someone else to come in, mentioning he wants someone with “fire in their belly”. Of course, that leads to Kane coming out. Apparently, his new gimmick is chokeslamming people during promo segments, as that’s exactly what happens again this week. Kane then does a tiny bit of “Fandangoing” before leaving.
We see AJ Styles in the back. He accuses a guy of taking his picture. In reality, the guy was showing photos of his family to another guy. Styles takes the phone and throws it against a wall.
We get a video for Connor’s Cure and Connor Michalek, the reason for the charity existing. No matter how many times I see this video or a variation of it, it just breaks my heart.
Curt Hawkins Facts: Curt Hawkins tells his GPS where to go, ghosts are reported to have had…Curt Hawkins sightings, and forest fires worry about the spread of…Curt Hawkins. Hawkins returns next week.
MATCH 4-SEMI-FINAL ROUND MATCH IN THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: THE HYPE BROS (MOJO RAWLEY AND ZACK RYDER) VS. RHYNO AND HEATH SLATER
Slater blows a kiss to his seven kids in the front row. Slater and Ryder start. Slater applies a side headlock before hitting a shoulder. A crisscross ends in a Slater clothesline. Ryder comes back with a double-knee out of the corner and a middle rope missile dropkick for 2. Rawley tags in and sends Ryder in for a corner forearm before hitting a chopblock. Rawley hits a back-body drop out of the corner before clotheslining Slater to the floor. Ryder tags in and dropkicks Slater through the ropes. Outside, Rawley then takes Rhyno out with a clothesline as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Rawley has Slater in a side headlock. Slater tries to fight out, but gets clubbed down. Rawley misses a corner splash and crawls for the tag as Slater does the same. Rhyno and Ryder tag in, with Rhyno dominating. Ryder comes back with forearms before a short-arm leads to a spinebuster for 2. Rawley breaks it up as Slater tags himself in. He low-bridges Rawley, who gets clotheslined on the floor. Ryder sneaks in a schoolboy for 2 before tripping Slater into the buckles to set up the Broski Boot. Rhyno pulls Slater out of the way and tags in. He runs through Ryder with the Gore and gets 3.
WINNERS: RHYNO AND HEATH SLATER
As I called it, Rhyno and Slater move onto the finals to face American Alpha. Slater hugs “his” kids at ringside.
We get a replay from the Usos/American Alpha incident from earlier. Renee Young has an update. The status of AA is in question. She’s interrupted by the Usos. As heels, they’re still terrible at promos. If anything, they’re worse. It boils down to them being done trying to get respect.
We see Dean Ambrose getting his hair sprayed by a tattooed woman. Not sure if it was planned for all the female extras tonight to be pretty well-covered in ink, but that’s what’s happened. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like women with a lot of ink. Hell, I’m married to one.
Main event promo time! Dean Ambrose comes out first, belt in one hand, a black bag in the other. AJ Styles is out next, still rocking the John Cena armband. Charley Caruso joins both of them in the ring. Ambrose thinks she’s great, but he thinks things are going to get ugly, so he has her leave the ring. Ambrose has a gift for Styles, hence the black bag. Styles opens it, and it’s an old bowling trophy. Ambrose got it for participating when he was younger. It’s symbolic, as it’s the only trophy Styles will ever get from him. Styles doesn’t find this funny and says Ambrose has no idea who he’s dealing with. If he did, he wouldn’t make Styles out to be a joke. Ambrose then cuts to the same footage from last week we saw earlier, with Styles over-selling the crotch job on the top rope. On purpose, of course. Ambrose says everyone thought it was funny, and he was trying to give Styles a high-pitch voice to go with his soccer-mom haircut. Styles points to the armband and asks if he thinks that’s a joke, too. He got it from the last person he beat. That’s HIS trophy. Unlike the piece of crap Ambrose gave him, he doesn’t want to be handed anything. In fact, the trophy on his shoulder is the one Styles is taking on Sunday, just like he took the armband from Cena. He’s winning at Backlash, so Ambrose is welcome to make a joke of him. Cena took him seriously, and he beat Cena clean in the middle of the ring at Summerslam. And Ambrose is not Cena. Ambrose is proud of that fact. Styles was the better wrestler against Cena, but that’s not Ambrose’s game. In a match with him, it’s a battleground. In fact, the last time they were in a ring together in a match, Ambrose beat him. But he’s not walking around wearing an AJ Styles jockstrap as a trophy. He’s looking to the future on Sunday, where he’ll drill Styles’ head like a railroad spike. There will be no trophy given to Styles because they don’t hand out trophies to “the face that comes in 2nd place”. Styles has had enough, and he just kicks Ambrose right in the meat and two veg. He then grabs the old trophy and breaks it over his knee before yelling in Ambrose’s face.
END OF SHOW