Hello there, everyone. It’s me: Inside Pulse’s SmackDown reviewer, here to fill you in on the latest episode of the Tuesday night show. Last week, AJ Styles chalked up a second loss to James Ellsworth, following interference and distraction by Dean Ambrose. Tonight, AJ Styles will try to gain some measure of revenge as he faces Ambrose one-on-one. If Ambrose wins, he’s the number one contender for the WWE Championship.
Dean is backstage, chatting to some dude, when he encounters James Ellsworth. Ellsworth wants to thank Ambrose for all he’s done, and this guy’s genuineness is almost heartbreaking. He wants to be in Ambrose’s corner tonight, and Dean politely declines the offer: Ambrose, you fucking monster.
How dare JBL say he didn’t see this coming?
Speaking of fucking monsters, here’s Bray Wyatt. Have to say, this guy is even less intimidating now that I’ve kicked the absolute piss out of him on WWE 2K17‘s career mode. Admittedly, that goes for literally every member of the entire roster, including Brock Lesnar (whom I have made my cringing, bloodied bitch multiple times). I think I might actually have crippled Seth Rollins.
And speaking of bitches, here’s Kane. This will be a no DQ match, so I guess that one time at Backlash really wasn’t enough. Kane starts off with the advantage, knocking Bray down with a clothesline, then hits a dropkick to the face for a follow-up. Bray rallies right back, taking Kane down with a clothesline of his own. He hits some shots to the Devil’s Favourite Demon, then dives off the second rope…right into an uppercut, the dumbass.
Kane regains control now, hitting a few more clotheslines and then his big sidewalk slam. Kane ascends to the top rope, because he didn’t just see a great example of why that doesn’t work. Bray rolls out of the ring anyway, and roughs Kane up when the Big Red Machine tries to follow. Wyatt grabs a chair, but Kane’s quicker, punching the creepy fucker in the face and launching him into the steel steps. Oh shit, we’re looking at a clothesline through the announce table, and…yep, there go the lights.
When the lights come back on, Luke Harper is standing on the announce table, because God and the WWE both hate you. He kicks Kane in the face, then clotheslines the big bastard right into a commercial break. When we come back, Wyatt is in control (which, to be fair, he has no excuse not to be now), and Harper is chilling at ringside for some reason, rather than the two of them just fucking up Kane.
Wyatt runs at Kane, and gets hit right in the face with a big boot. Jumping DDT puts Bray down for a little bit longer, and now Kane’s going up to the top again. He hits the flying clothesline, and now he wants the clothesline…except Harper drags Bray out of the ring. Jesus, did he forget that it’s no holds barred? Kane takes out both men on the outside, throwing Wyatt back into the ring. A distraction from Harper sees Kane walk right into a ura-nage, but he just barely gets the shoulder up at two.
Wyatt stalks Kane, sets him up for Sister Abigail, but Kane goozles him! Wyatt fights out of it, coming right off the ropes and hurling himself into Kane. Both men are down, and apparently Harper’s just remembered that there are no disqualifications, because he gets into the ring…and Randy Orton comes sprinting out. Where the fuck have you been, Randy?
Orton stares Harper down, and Harper backs off because he knows what military prison can do to a man. Kane and Orton stalk Wyatt, and suddenly Orton RKOs Kane! Wyatt looks like he has no idea what the fuck’s going on, and that is the kind of Randy Orton I wanted to see: not the smartest guy, but absolutely the most psychotic. Orton slithers out of the ring, as Bray seems to be resisting the urge to glance, Jim Halpert-style, at the camera. Wyatt coves Kane, and that’s the win.
I quite liked that ending, so I’ll bump the match itself up to 2.5 Stars. Not sure if this really counts as mind games, or it’s just Randy Orton being a dick to everyone and everything, now and forever. Either/or.
Charlie is backstage with AJ Styles, who is still vocally and eloquently pissed at both Ambrose and Ellsworth. He promises to cripple Dean Ambrose tonight, which seems like both an overreaction and exactly the expected response on a wrestling show.
Renee Young is in the ring, and she introduces Becky Lynch, who is back and active. She barely gets through her first sentence when Alexa Bliss shows up. She has a shirt on which says ‘sorry not sorry’, which is one of the easiest ways to spot a total asshole. Bliss comments on Becky’s back surgery, which turns out to be the set-up to a joke involving her having a yellow streak. I’d have gone with not having a spine myself but I’m, you know, funnier than Alexa Bliss and most of the WWE writers.
Becky defends herself by stating facts but, much like Donald Trump, facts don’t mean anything to Alexa Bliss. She asks what the excuse is going to be in two weeks, and says that Becky might as well hand the belt over right now. Becky fires back with some fighting talk and, when Alexa Bliss tries to jump her, catches her with some punches.
Bliss manages to drive Becky back-first into the steel post, then sends her back into the ring to lay her out with a DDT. She then grabs some yellow spray paint which she apparently stored at ringside (God, she was willing to do so much to make that joke work), and then sprays Becky Lynch down the back. Alexa Bliss = newest member of the N.W.O confirmed.
What drugs is Mojo Rawley not on?
Oh wow, the Ascension still exist. I’m both surprised and dismayed. They want to be a part of Survivor Series, and I think that would be an incredibly irresponsible decision to make. They’re facing Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, and I feel like I’ve seen this match a thousand times.
Ryder starts off against Viktor, and the Ascension member is sent off the ropes, hitting a shoulder block and a kick to the chest of Ryder. He runs into a pair of knees in the corner, then Ryder dropkicks Konor off the apron before Viktor dumps him to the outside as well.
Konor tags in, covering Ryder’s head with the apron and smashing a boot into it. Viktor tags back in, hitting a high knee to Ryder’s head. Sleeper hold from Viktor, but Ryder breaks out of it. He’s sent back into the Ascension’s corner, and Konor tags in. Konor is a little distracted by Rawley, and Ryder hits a jawbreaker, almost getting the tag before Konor spinebusters him.
Konor misses a diving elbow from the second rope, and now he’s crawling over to Rawley, and he gets the tag! Clotheslines, and the Pounce to Viktor! Stinger Splash, then a flapjack almost gets three. Rawley hurls Konor into the corner, shoulder-first, and then Rawley and Ryder hit the Hype Ryder to win!
Pretty brisk match. Sucks to be or to have ever been the Ascension still. 2 Stars.
We’re still talking about Randy Orton RKOing Kane as though we were all unaware that Orton is probably one of the most evil and deranged people the WWE has ever seen. At least Triple H had his reasons for fucking with people (spoiler alert: it was almost always the World Heavyweight Championship).
Randy Orton is backstage, and Charlie tries to ask just what the fuck. Orton says ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Oh, so like a surrender sort of deal? Because that sounds almost exactly like surrendering. At the very least it’s an uneven armistice.
Bryan is on the phone, talking about Survivor Series. Natalya shows up to offer her sage and learned advice on not letting RAW steal their thunder. She says that she should be team captain, but Bryan says that the winner of a match between Nikki and Natalya will be team captain, but the loser will not be on the team at all. Wait, you’d seriously consider making Nikki Bella team captain? She has a history of being crazy-toxic to people, especially other women.
What do Natalya, Kane and the Ascension have in common?
Well, apparently Natalya ran into Bryan just in time, because that match he just thought up is happening right now. Meaning that someone had to find Nikki and tell her to get set up and prepare to wrestle Natalya with about ten seconds of notice, who had also just found out she had a match. And they cued the music and lights and everything: it’s really a solid operation they’re running here.
Natalya locks Nikki’s arm, but Nikki rolls her up with an Oklahoma roll. Now Natalya rolls up Nikk, and applies a waistlock. Nikki busts out of it, going for a crucifix pin before hitting a shoulder block. Natalya rolls out of the ring, but eats a baseball slide. Natalya manages to drag Nikki to the outside, laying her out with a discus clothesline before trying to pin her again.
Natalya wants the Sharpshooter; Nikki breaks out of it but runs into a clothesline for a two count. Nat yells at the referee, then goes back to an abdominal stretch, wrenching the knee. Nikki suddenly reverses to a roll-up, but Natalya recovers, slamming Nikki’s head against the mat. Nat looks cocky right now, taking the time to taunt the Bella before wrenching back on her arms.
Nikki fights out, runs off the ropes and hits a Thesz press. Natalya takes her down with a clothesline and gets two off the cover. Sleeper hold is applied to Nikki, who’s a long way away from the ropes. Natalya wrenches Nikki’s head back off the mat again, and now she’s got the Sharpshooter locked in! Nikki manages to reach the ropes, and Natalya stays on her, hitting a snap suplex.
Natalya misses a big leg drop, then Nikki rocks her head off her knee. Enzuigiri from the second rope gets Nikki a two count, but she runs into a sit-out bodyslam for a near fall. Now Natalya’s going for the Romero Special, and she locks it in, but Nikki manages to power out, and she locks in the STF! Natalya taps out!
Nice match. Both women looked good here, and the holds and counters looked really smooth. 2.5 Stars.
Aaaaaand Carmella sneak-attacks Bella somehow, hitting the Bella Buster to drop her rival. Please God let them be on the same team at Survivor Series.
Dean Ambrose is backstage, and gets asked about Styles’ cripply threats. He says that tonight is serious, and then rambles oddly for a while before waking off.
Back at the main stage, the Miz, Maryse and the two surviving members of the Spirit Squad are making their way out to the ring. And oh God, the Spirit Squad do a cheer. I forgot how much I despised them back when they were relevant. Miz then takes over, trying to frame Dolph Ziggler being the Intercontinental Champion as a sign of the apocalypse rather than, you know, the basic standby plan.
Miz says that Ziggler holding the championship is an insult to a lot of dead WWE Legends, and I think there have been far greater insults done to them via the Intercontinental Champion. Dolph comes out and says that he’s a fighting champion, which we have literally no evidence of, and he says that they can have their rematch right now.
Miz says that he’s not going to accept on Ziggler’s terms. And he’ll also probably not have his rematch whilst wearing a suit. He will, however, indulge in a three-on-one beating, and that looks likely before Rhyno and Heath show up to make the save.
Heaths calls the Miz out for using Maryse as a gore-shield, and the Miz calls him and Rhyno an embarrassing joke. Wow, this is…this is all incredibly laboured. Miz basically challenges the Tag Champs to put the titles on the line against the Spirit Squad on Mike and Kenny’s behalf. Heath tries to back out, but Rhyno says that they’re having the match. Ah, the forethought and careful deliberation of a true Republican.
Oh God, we’re really doing this
When we come back, the match has started. So, it’s really happening: the Spirit Squad is facing Heath Slater and Rhyno. For Championships. Fuck. Kenny clotheslines Mike, then guillotines him on the ropes. Another clothesline lays Heath out, and Kenny tags Mike in, and flips him onto Heath. Mike tags back out, and Kenny hits a punch to Slater’s kidney.
Heath flips Kenny over, and boots him in the face. Kenny is able to stop him from getting the tag, vining the leg as he lets Mike tag in. Mike applies a rear facelock on a down Slater. Heath fires back, trying to bust out. Slater’s sent off the ropes, and comes back with a high knee. Kenny tries to hold him back, but Rhyno tags in! Rhyno unleashes hell on Mike and Kenny, ducks a dive by Kenny before Mike boots him in the face for a near fall.
Mike tags back in, and they want a double DDT. Slater interferes, and Mike takes a belly-to-belly. On the outside, Ziggler and Miz square up to fight, but Slater shoves Kenny out on to Dolph as Rhyno gores Mike for the win!
I really do love our Tag Team Champions. There’s really no irony in it whatsoever. 2 Stars.
Ambrose is walking around backstage, and he finds a despondent Ellsworth backstage. Aw man, this guy is like the heart of the entire WWE. Ambrose caves, because his heart is not entirely made of stone. If Ellsworth stabs him in the back, I am going to cry.
It’s main event time, and if Dean Ambrose wins this match then the WWE doesn’t have to come up with a new number one contender. James Ellsworth accompanies Ambrose to the ring, staying at ringside. That’s some 2K17 DLC right there: I want me an Ellsworth manager.
Styles is thrown into the corner and stomped by Ambrose. He sends AJ off the ropes and hits a back elbow, getting a one count. Punches to Styles in another corner, but he comes off the ropes and boots Dean in the face. The advantage doesn’t last long, as Dean manages to clothesline Styles out of the ring. Before getting back inside, AJ clotheslines Ellsworth. Ambrose is distracted by this, allowing Styles to forearm him in the face as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Dean has run directly into a dropkick, rolling out of the ring. Styles goes for another slingshot forearm, but Dean gets out of the way, and then throws himself out of the ring onto Styles. Ambrose keeps the pace fast, knocking Styles all over the place before scoring with a fisherman suplex.
Styles almost catches Dean with a Calf-Crusher, but Dean counters out of it and rolls Styles up, before locking AJ in an armbar, and then the Texas Cloverleaf! Styles is in the centre of the ring, and he has to claw himself across the ring, finally reaching the bottom rope after a hell of a long struggle. Styles rolls out onto the apron, and manages to drag Dean out with him before hitting a suplex half-onto the apron! Both men are down as we go to another break.
After the commercial, AJ is setting Dean up for a superplex. Dean counters, hitting punches to the head and gut, but Styles headbutts Ambrose into submission…before Ambrose plants Styles head-first onto the mat! Lunatic Elbow takes Styles down. Both men reach their feet, slugging it out. Dean wins the exchange, and he takes Styles up for a suplex. Styles counters, hitting strikes, but Dean catches him with a neckbreaker!
This time, it’s Dean Ambrose who takes AJ Styles up to the top rope, and AJ slips out from under him, managing to catch Ambrose with a springboard inverted DDT! He wants the Styles Clash, but Ambrose counters it twice, the second time rolling Styles up and then taking his head off with a Lunatic Lariat!
Ambrose hits a superplex from the top rope, and both men are down again. Dean gets Styles up on his shoulders, but AJ slips out and applies to Calf Crusher! Ambrose tries to fight his way out, and he reaches the ropes! Styles breaks the hold, and then dropkicks Ellsworth! He goes for the Phenomenal Forearm on Ambrose, who counters and sets him up for Dirty Deeds! Styles counters as well, hoisting Dean up onto his shoulders, but Dean slips out and rolls him up! Pele Kick downs Ambrose, and now Styles wants the Styles Clash, but Dean is able to dump him out of the ring!
But Ellsworth is conscious and Ellsworth is furious! He superkicks Styles…and I’m pretty sure he just cost Dean the match. Which is total BS, because I think if Styles hit him first, then it’s pretty much fair game as far as Ellsworth is concerned. Damn it, James: you sad, wonderful fool.
That was a great match, and the finish was actually smart. Good end to the show. 3.5 Stars.
This was a solid SmackDown: some really good moments and a fantastic finish. Would recommend. 8/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, James Ellsworth, jbl, Kane, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Renee Young, Rhyno, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, The Miz, The Spirit Squad