The momentum just continues to flow in Smackdown’s favour, and it doesn’t appear if it’ll stop any time soon. This episode was another example of how the writing team and wrestlers simply know how to execute a fun show in all aspects.
A lot had to be addressed on this particular episode of Smackdown, but there was no better way to start the show than having Ziggler address his win. This segment worked in a few ways. One of which being Ziggler getting the chance to take in his celebration, and second being the Miz’s reaction. It was great to see that this wasn’t treated as a joke, at least not from the A-lister. His anger towards his loss only showed the fans how much the IC title meant to him.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Spirit Squad
Ever since I started blogging, I never thought I’d be writing about the Spirit Squad in 2016. That just goes to show how bizarre, yet fun, this year has been. Ziggler winning this match was overly predictable, so the flow wasn’t too exciting. The real highlight came when Slater & Rhyno made their way out to save Ziggler. That gives the tag team champs something to do while a number one contender is named, and based on the numbers it makes sense.
Survivor Series Announcement
The WWE seems to be taking this year’s Survivor Series very seriously. Firstly, they gave it a Takeover, and secondly, they’re willing to give the fans the traditional format that made the event popular. I for one agree with the decision.
Naomi vs Carmella
These two didn’t have any business wrestling each other, but the match was well used to push their individual angles. Prior to the match, we saw Carmella attack Nikki, and we eventually saw Nikki cost Carmella a win, which was an efficient way to further their feud. Along with that, this contest still managed to progress the new feud of Bliss vs Naomi. It’s great to see that Alexa is being kept busy until Becky returns (it’s also a good opportunity for Naomi to receive the spotlight).
Chad Gable vs Jimmy Uso
Was anybody else surprised that Gable didn’t defeat Jimmy within seconds? The Usos looked quite strong when they initially turned heel, although their momentum started to slide after No Mercy, when they lost for the second consecutive time to Slater & Rhyno. It was wise to book Jimmy to win here, as him and his brother truly needed it.
AJ Styles Promo
The first half of this promo was quite lackluster, as AJ rambled on for a few minutes. It wasn’t until Dean came out that it picked up, because AJ really needed somebody to play off of. The fans already know that the two have a ton of chemistry on the mic, so they didn’t disappoint at all. After they confronted each other, this promo only got better after Styles brought out James Ellsworth. The popular jobber is clearly over in the WWE, but I applaud the company for not over exposing him, because that allows for moments like this to be fun.
AJ Styles vs James Ellsworth
This match turned out to be the comedy match of the year (for the WWE), and there’s nothing that comes close. The dynamic between Styles and Ellsworth was highly entertaining, and Ambrose as the special ref only made matters better. Once AJ was done chasing Ellsworth, his bickering with Dean was easily the highlight. In fact, I laughed uncontrollably when Dean said “He’s just a kid” and AJ replied “He’s a grown man!” The finish that was presented absolutely worked, and nobody should be upset about it. This was nothing more than a comedy spot, and it won’t have meaning after this week.
My only gripe with this was AJ’s interaction with Bryan and Shane. Yes, this was a comedy match, but why were they so serious about telling AJ he lost? It would’ve worked much better if Bryan and Shane laughed as they spoke to Styles. As over as McMahon is when he addresses the crowd, he comes across as uptight in his backstage segments.
The Wyatt Family vs Randy Orton & Kane
At first, I thought this match would have been better off starting the second hour. It didn’t feel as if it could deliver anything interesting or important, but to my surprise it did. Along with wrestling a strong match, these four did a great job at keeping the crowd alive with their spots. I was hoping this feud between Bray and Randy would come to an end, but the WWE is booking this in the right way to keep it going.
This finish may have been bizarre, but it completely works for the Wyatts, as it fits their gimmick. It’s also a neat way to present a cliffhanger in the main event, because I’m sure some fans are curious about Kane’s whereabouts. This entire angle was also followed up by a strong appearance from the Wyatts on Talking Smack. For a while, Bray has been the only main star from Smackdown to not make an appearance, but they found a brilliant way to incorporate him into a more realistic environment.
This episode did a magnificent job at following up No Mercy, because it didn’t feel like any program missed a beat. The writers for this show could have easily cruised on until Raw was done with Hell in a Cell, but instead, it appears they’re already getting prepared for Survivor Series. There wasn’t truly a low point, but if I had to choose one part of the show that felt flat, it was probably Ziggler vs Spirit Squad (just the match). The high point was clearly AJ vs Ellsworth. Overall, I give this show an 8.5/10.