Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 9/20/16: A Prime Time Showdown
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
A Prime Time Showdown
– With two big main events hyped, John Cena would fight Dean Ambrose and the WWE Intercontinental Championship would be on the line as Champion Miz defended against Dolph Ziggler, we already had a fun show on our hands. After we suffered through what felt like forever the night before, we were welcome to change.
– The contract signing in-ring segment for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship match at No Mercy between Champion Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss also involved SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan and opened the show on some good notes. The exchange was solid. Bliss wasn’t as stingy as we would’ve hoped, but Lynch showed enough fire to put over that she was a true Champion. She found a good way to twist Bliss’ “Not born to be a Champion” line into her own rally cry. Luckily, Bliss got the last word (and fist) as she sucker-punched the Champ and literally flipped the table onto her before she tailed off. Despite Bryan’s constant protests, we knew things wouldn’t be “civil.”
– In their game of one-upmanship, the backstage segment with Bryan, Miz and Maryse gave us another great exchange between boss and employee. This time, Bryan used his power to force Miz into defending his belt later when the Champ tried to back out of it as he reminded him that his “renegotiated contract” would be canceled along with the match.
– The Usos have been rejuvenated since their heel turn and cold attitude to follow. The match with them and American Alpha had conflicts that stemmed back to when they savagely injured Chad Gable’s knee after AA upset them in the Tag Team Tournament. In a search of a new “heel identity,” Usos rocked dark, black attire while we saw a pre-match AA promo where they made it known they still stood and it was personal now. Throw in the added incentive that the team that won got to challenge for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships at No Mercy and it all came together. For our own entertainment, we also saw the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions Heath Slater/Rhyno as they watched from backstage. Rhyno was face-deep in crackers and cheese whiz. The match was a pleasant divide from the typical AA formula, as the Usos targeted Gable’s vulnerable knee again. That led to the finish where Jordan was about to tag in Gable, but as he saw him wince, he decided to stay in the match and that was the ultimate sacrifice. Jey Uso kicked Gable knee-first off the apron, which left Jordan prey for their double-finisher. All good stuff. A hard-lucked loss for AA, The Usos continue their new heel momentum and better yet, if they want to split up Slater and Rhyno by way of a turn/feud, this was a good way to lead to that.
– The backstage segment with Slater, Rhyno and The Usos provided immediate reaction from the Champs as they learned their No Mercy opponents. Slater was confident to get the crowd behind them with ridiculous chants, as Rhyno remained unimpressed. This was until the Usos hit the room and made some personal insults towards his home situation. A nice tease of physicality, though they held off. It won’t be over until crackers end up shattered over somebody’s head.
– Ever since he jumped ship from Raw, Jack Swagger has done little more than come off as the “Cool Janitor.” In the process, he began a feud with Baron Corbin, as Apollo Crews was thrown in the middle as a glorified jobber. Swagger was on commentary for the Crews-Corbin rematch, since we never actually got to see it last week, as Corbin hit his End Of Days finisher on Crews on the floor. Swagger didn’t resonate with us much on commentary as he mentioned that the main reason he was on SD was to pursue the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That was great and all, but why not tell us a bit about what he had against Corbin? As we expected, the match went the way of a glorified squash, as Crew show some fight, but ended up the victim of another End Of Days. The post-match confrontation between Swagger and Corbin was meh. This feud doesn’t light our pajamas.
– One day, Curt Hawkins will debut and it’ll be amazing. This wasn’t the night though, but his video package featured him drop some “facts” on us, which again, were sort of a throwback to the old “Matt Hardy Facts,” only more epic. We’ll have to see how it all plays out.
– They tried to iron out a reason behind a Naomi/Nikki Bella alliance as Naomi explained she respected Bella for her ability to fight, while she also talked about “the glow,” which meant her bright-colored attire and hair was a way to say, “I’m not afraid of hate.” Quite touching stuff, but this was more of a way to hype the tag match that was to follow. Bella also dropped some insults towards Carmella, her latest enemy. She called her a “bootleg.” Ouch.
– Ziggler’s backstage promo was supposed to show that he wasn’t afraid to take Miz on and prove everybody wrong that he could win the big one. Problem was that this was Ziggler’s trademark promo and there’s only so many ways you can say the same thing. This was especially ironic since the first line mentioned how everything was different, yet it was still the same. Wasn’t that truer than ever.
– The WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Ziggler and Champion Miz started with some urgency as Ziggler used his amateur background to get an early advantage. Miz slipped out of the ring whenever his momentum was threatened and poked fun at Bryan as he performed his signature buzzsaw kicks and mocked the “Yes!” chants. That match went back-and-forth for a while and kept a great energy that even got the crowd into it. There were some good teases, as Maryse was caught with the foreign substance spray and soundly ejected, which felt like turned into Ziggler’s favor as he hit the Zig Zag on Miz right after. This would only go the way of a near-fall though. The finish was smart, yet it played up the need for another bout. Basically, Miz tried to high-tail it with his belt only to sucker Ziggler into another spray incident that led to a Skull-Crushing Finale to end his hopes. Overall, it lived up to the hype.
– The Randy Orton-Erick Rowan match was a logical way to keep Orton strong as he squashed Bray Wyatt’s on-and-off ally with ease. Post-match, we saw a Wyatt big screen promo that uttered the same rhetoric that the feud was already based on – Wyatt as a “godly” figure and Orton as mortal. Meh. It’s going to take more than a sheep mask on a canvas to draw us in further.
– Just think about this – Naomi’s entrance was longer than the Naomi/Bella-Natalya/Carmella tag match. Sad stuff. This went to an apparent no-contest that mainly served as a platform for Carmella to unleash more punishment on Bella, even to the point where she dragged Bella out of a sharpshooter. Not much to draw from there.
– WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles’ backstage promo was the usual pompous chatter we’d expect from his character. Of course he’d be happy to see his two No Mercy opponents beat each other to pieces while he laid back. He also declined to refer to his battles with Ambrose and Cena as “rivalries” since they were densely one-sided. Classic Styles stuff.
– The Cena-Ambrose main event was a straightforward back-and-forth thriller that we wish had more time. It was cool to see them both try to end the bout early and kick out of each other’s finishers down the stretch. Our main gripe was that there wasn’t enough substance to make it feel like a “big match.” Ambrose’s win over Cena with the Dirty Deeds was a clean, pleasant surprise that made more sense by the post-match developments when Styles came down to dish out some moves on both men. Bryan’s announcement that Ambrose’s promised one-on-one Title rematch would happen next week was a bummer for the live crowd, but already gave us a big main event for next week and one last way to shake things up before No Mercy. Ambrose ultimately got the last laugh with a Dirty Deeds to close the show. Good stuff.
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match – The Usos def. American Alpha via pinfall
- Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews via pinfall
- WWE Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (Champion) (w/Maryse) def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall to retain
- Randy Orton def. Erick Rowan via pinfall
- Nikki Bella/Naomi and Carmella/Natalya to a no contest
- Dean Ambrose def. John Cena via pinfall
Posted on November 13, 2016, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Curt Hawkins, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Heath Slater, Jack Swagger, JBL, John Cena, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Naomi, Nikki Bella, No Mercy, Randy Orton, Rhyno, The Miz, The Usos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.