WWE SmackDown Live Review: John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose in Main Event

By kevineck
Sep. 22, 2016

The top story: Dean Ambrose pinned John Cena clean in the main event. After the match, it was announced that Ambrose will get his one-on-one rematch with WWE World Champion AJ Styles on next week's show.

Also newsworthy: The Miz successfully defended his Intercontinental Title against Dolph Ziggler by spraying a foreign substance into Ziggler's eyes. ... The Usos defeated American Alpha in a No. 1 Contender's Match to earn a shot against SmackDown Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno at No Mercy.

Here's a segment-by-segment look at the show:

Segment One: SmackDown Women's Title Match Contract Signing (w/Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Daniel Bryan)

The gist: Before bringing out Lynch and Bliss, Bryan said that he wanted to keep things civil. After both women came out, Bliss made a crack about Lynch needing to use a moisturizer on her skin. Lynch said the difference between her and Bliss is that Bliss is preparing for a pageant and she's preparing for a fight. Bliss said Lynch wasn't born to be a champion, she was born to be a loser. Lynch said it's true she wasn't born to be a champion, but she poured her heart and soul into becoming a champion. She said she'll rip Bliss' head off at No Mercy. Bliss said she actually was born to be a champion and she'll expose Lynch as a one-hit wonder. Bliss hit Lynch in the face with the folder that had the contract inside. Bliss signed the contract and then pushed the table onto Lynch. Bliss exited, but Lynch attacked her as she walked up the aisle. Bliss powdered. Lynch signed the contract.

Analysis: The material wasn't bad, but the performances were a little rough. Bliss was supposed to be cocky, but she seemed nervous. As for Lynch, I'm probably in the minority, but I find her character to be corny most of the time.  

Segments Two and Three: Backstage Vignette w/Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Maryse // American Alpha Inset Promo // American Alpha vs. The Usos > No. 1 Contender's Match // Backstage Vignette w/Heath Slater, Rhyno and The Usos

The gist: Bryan came upon Miz and Maryse while walking backstage. Miz said he and Bryan have a problem. Bryan said it can't be about Miz's newly renegotiated contract. Miz said it's about having to defend the Intercontinental Title tonight. Bryan said they can cancel the match. Miz liked that. Bryan added that they'd also have to cancel Miz's contract. Miz didn't like that. Bryan asked if they still had a problem. Miz said no. ... American Alpha said The Usos made things personal. They said they start a new journey to become champions tonight.

During the match: Slater and Rhyno watched on  monitor backstage.

Result: Usos over via pinfall (Jey Uso pinned Jason Jordan)

The gist: As Rhyno ate crackers and cheese whiz, Slater said they need to get the WWE Universe to rally behind them for their title defense against The Usos. The Usos entered and talked trash. One of the Usos threatened to knock the plate of crackers out of Rhyno's hand. They also threatened to take Slater's knee out. Rhyno stepped in between the Usos and Slater. The Usos backed off.

Analysis: I get it that WWE wants to continue having Bryan and Miz at odds with one another and they're limited by the fact that Bryan can't wrestle anymore, but the contract story line doesn't make sense to me. Bryan has all the leverage. Why would he bother renegotiating Miz's contract? He's in charge. Why wouldn't he just strip Miz of the title if Miz refused to defend it? It's not like Bryan even considers Miz a hot commodity he wouldn't want to lose. ... I'm a little surprised WWE didn't save the next Usos-American Alpha match for after The Usos have the tag team title, but the match told a good story. Chad Gable was nowhere near a hundred percent, and his partner Jason Jordan sacrificed himself rather than putting Gable at further risk. ... The Usos did a nice job of showing attitude in the backstage segment. 

Segment Four: Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin (Jack Swagger on Commentary)

Result: Corbin over via pinfal

Analysis: As I've said several times, I like Corbin and think he has main-event-level potential, but it's a shame for Crews that he has to keep putting Corbin over. Now that Corbin is moving on to a program with Swagger, I'd like to see Crews get a new dance partner, but the SmackDown roster is so thin that there really aren't any options. 

Segment Five: Curt Hawkins Vignette // Nikki Bella and Naomi Backstage Interview // Dolph Ziggler Backstage Interview

The gist: Hawkins did another "Face The Facts" bit. ... Naomi said "it's glow time." She said it's all about having confidence. She said Nikki definitely has the glow. Naomi said Natalya's glow fizzled out a long time ago. She said Natalya is corrupt, and tonight she will feel the glow. Nikki said Carmella wants to make a name for herself at her expense, but she's not the same Nikki Bella of a year ago. She said she now treats every fight as if it's her last. She said she's feeling rebooted, while Carmella is nothing but a bootleg. ... Ziggler said he hasn't been winning lately, but anything can happen. He said Miz clings desperately to the Intercontinental Title, but he's desperate to prove he still belongs.

Analysis: Naomi did OK in the interview, but Nikki's delivery wasn't good. It sounded like she was just reciting lines. The reboot/bootleg line was cringe-worthy. ... Ziggler was effective in conveying his desperation for a big victory. 

Segments Six and Seven: Dolph Ziggler vs. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/Maryse) > Title Match

During the match: The referee caught Maryse trying to interfere and he ejected her from ringside. Later in the match, Miz sprayed something in Ziggler's face to set up the pin.

Result: Miz over via pinfall

Analysis: Once again, Miz and Ziggler had a good match. I liked the finish of Miz still finding a way to score a tainted victory despite Maryse being sent to the back. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens after Ziggler finally snaps.

Segment Eight: Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan (Bray Wyatt on Tron)

Result: Orton over via pinfall

Aftermath: The lights went out. When they came back on, Rowan was gone and his sheep mask was left in the ring. Wyatt appeared on the Tron. He said Orton is just a man, which means that he can die at any given moment, but he's a god and a god can never die. Run.

Analysis: It wasn't much of a match, but it served its purpose. Wyatt didn't say anything new here.

Segment Nine: Nikki Bella and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella // AJ Styles Backstage Interview

During the match: While Natalya had Nikki in the Sharpshooter, Carmella dragged Nikki out of the ring and assaulted her. The referee called for the bell.

Result: Nikki and Naomi over via disqualification

The gist: Styles was asked about his rivalries with John Cena and Dean Ambrose. He said there is no rivalry because he's beaten both of them. He said he's in a Triple Threat at No Mercy because the only way the WWE World Title can be taken from him is if he doesn't have to get beat to lose it. He said he's going to sit back tonight and watch Cena and Ambrose destroy each other.

Analysis: The "match" went about 30 seconds. Naomi's entrance lasted longer. Why even bother setting this up as a tag? The same thing could've been accomplished -- and not been as clunky -- if it was a singles match between Nikki and Carmella, and Carmella attacked Nikki during her entrance. ... I liked Styles' promo. He made good points about having already beaten both Cena and Ambrose and how he can lose the title without being defeated. It's exactly what he should've said.

Segments Ten and Eleven: John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose (AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan)

Result: Ambrose over via pinfall

Aftermath: Styles hopped the rail and attacked Cena on the floor. Styles then attacked Ambrose from behind in the ring and nailed him with a Pele Kick. Bryan came out to the stage and said last week tShane McMahon promised Ambrose a one-on-one rematch with Styles for the WWE World Title. He said that match will happen next week on SmackDown. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Styles.

Analysis: A very good main event. I thought for sure there was going to be some kind of DQ finish with Styles getting involved and all three men brawling. WWE is obviously telling a story with Cena taking another clean loss, but I think Cena losing again actually takes some of the shine off of Styles' win over Cena at SummerSlam. Pinning Cena clean is a major accomplishment, but it won't mean as much if it happens too frequently. From a logic standpoint, why is Cena even in the Triple Threat Match for the title at No Mercy? He has now lost singles matches to both guys. 

Final thoughts: This was a decent show, thanks in large part to the two big matches. 

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