WWE SmackDown Review: AJ Styles And Dean Ambrose Go Off On John Cena

By kevineck
Oct. 06, 2016

The top story: AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose took turns cutting scathing promos on John Cena, who responded with fists instead of words. A three-brawl ensued, with Ambrose emerging as the last man standing.

Also newsworthy: The Miz brought two members of The Spirit Squad to MizTV to mock and attack Dolph Ziggler. ... Alexa Bliss pinned SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch in a tag team match that also involved Carmella and Nikki Bella.

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

Segment One: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (Randy Orton on Tron) // Baron Corbin Backstage Interview (Jack Swagger)

During the match: Orton appeared on the Tron upside down. He said he now sees the world the way Wyatt does, and at No Mercy he's going to turn Wyatt's world right side up. Orton said if Wyatt thinks he's the predator, he should come catch his prey.

Result: Kane over via countout (Wyatt chose to leave the ring)

The gist: Corbin said if Swagger thinks he's going to make waves at his expense, he's dumber than he looks. Swagger walked up. Swagger challenged Corbin to fight him. Corbin said he does his talking in the ring. Swagger said he'll find Daniel Bryan to see if he and Corbin can continue their conversation in the ring.

Analysis: As great of a talker as Wyatt is, I was happy to see that he was wrestling instead of cutting a promo this week. There's not much more he can say about his feud with Orton that we haven't already heard. I wasn't as happy with the result of the match. I thought for sure the point of having the match was so that Wyatt could get his win back over Kane after losing to him at Backlash. I have no idea why Kane couldn't just put Wyatt over here. ... Corbin is still a work in progress on the mic but he's getting better. Swagger was fine.

Segment Two: Bray Wyatt Backstage Vignette // Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss (Carmella on Commentary) (Becky Lynch)

The gist: Wyatt was looking for Orton in a dark part of the arena. He said Randy Orton's time is coming.

During the match: Nikki threw Bliss into Carmella. Carmella responded by attacking Nikki in the ring.

Result: Nikki over via disqualification

Aftermath: Carmella and Bliss double-teamed Nikki until Lynch made the save. Lynch and Nikki cleared the ring.

Analysis: If you didn't know that a tag match involving the four women was coming up in the next segment, you must be new.

Segment Three: Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss and Carmella // Backstage Vignette w/Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton

Result: Bliss and Carmella over via pinfall (Bliss pinned Lynch)

The gist: Wyatt, walking around in the darkness searching for Orton, came across a rocking chair. Wyatt laughed it off and asked if that's all Orton has. Suddenly, Orton appeared and pulled down an overheard storage door and locked Wyatt inside. Orton asked Wyatt how it felt to be the hunted. Orton said, "Lord, have mercy. Or not." Orton walked away.

Analysis: The tag match was fine. It was a basic but effective way of addressing the top two stories in the women's division. ... Orton trapping Wyatt was an interesting twist.

Segment Four: Daniel Bryan Promo

The gist: There were five breast cancer survivors in the ring with Bryan, who put over WWE's work with the Susan G. Komen organization.

Segment Five: The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains (The Ascension)

During the match: The Ascension watched from the stage.

Result: Hype Bros over via pinfall (Mojo Rawley pinned Aiden English)

Analysis: The Hype Bros are a fun act, but The Vaudevillains are channel-changers. Ditto for The Ascension. There's just too much stink on both of the heel teams after losing so many matches.

Segment Six: MizTV w/Dolph Ziggler (The Spirit Squad) // Backstage Vignette w/Bray Wyatt

The gist: Miz brought out Ziggler and then threw to a "Dolphumentary" on the Tron. The piece mocked Ziggler and his career, including showing clips of  his early days in WWE when he was Kerwin White's caddy and a member of The Spirit Squad.

Miz said if his career was that embarrassing he'd have been gone years ago. ZIggler threatened to slap him. Ziggler talked about the good times he's had in WWE despite his struggles, such as interacting with fans, granting wishes for Make A Wish, and the reaction of the fans when he won the World Heavyweight Title. He said that's why he can't walk away, but he's at a crossroads, and if he can't deliver, he doesn't belong in WWE. He told Miz that he's not taking his career away from him. Miz said that Ziggler's career will end on Sunday at No Mercy because of him. Miz said he had something that will raise Ziggler's spirits. Spirit Squad members Kenny and Mikey came out. They did cheers that made fun of Ziggler. Ziggler had enough and got in Miz's face. The Spirit Squad attacked Ziggler, but Ziggler ended up taking them both out with superkicks. Miz attempted to hit The Skull-Crushing Finale on Ziggler. Ziggler escaped and tried to superkick Miz, but Miz slipped away. ... Wyatt was still locked in the room. He nervously rocked in the rocking chair.

Analysis: Another outstanding segment from The Miz and Ziggler. The mockumentary was well done, Miz and Ziggler were both good on the mic, and The Spirit Squad was a fun surprise. Kudos to the creative team for coming up with great material and making the Miz-Ziggler program must-see TV.

Segment Seven: Jason Jordan (w/Chad Gable) vs. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) (Heath Slater and Rhyno) // Backstage Vignette w/Bray Wyatt

Result: Jordan over via pinfall

Aftermath: The Usos attacked Jordan and Gable. Slater and Rhyno made the save. The Usos powdered.

The gist: Wyatt was still sitting in the rocking chair humming a song. There was a mist effect in the room. Wyatt spoke to Sister Abigail, but we couldn't see anyone. He asked her to take him home as he reached out his hand.

Analysis: The match served its purpose, as The Usos are feuding with both American Alpha and Slater and Rhyno. ... I had a feeling about where the Wyatt angle was going, but I was hoping to be wrong.

Segment Eight: Backstage Vignette w/Randy Orton // Clip From Talking Smack: John Cena 

The gist: Orton opened  the door to the room where he had Wyatt trapped.  The rocking chair was still there but Wyatt was gone. ... Cena said that Dean Ambrose doesn't like him, but he doesn't care about Ambrose.

Analysis: Yep, that's where I thought it was going. Wyatt's vanishing act was beyond silly. Vince McMahon still sees Wyatt as a supernatural being, but it just comes across as corny rather than scary. Wyatt would be much creepier if he was the Charles Manson of WWE rather than the Harry Houdini of WWE. 

Segments Nine and Ten: Curt Hawkins Backstage Promo // Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin

The gist: Hawkins rattled off some more facts and concluded by saying that he will wrestle Sunday at No Mercy.

Result: Swagger over via submission (Corbin was trapped in the ankle lock and tried to reach for the ropes, but the referee interpreted Corbin's actions as him tapping out)

Aftermath: A furious Corbin turned over the ring steps and the top of the announce table.

Analysis: I'm sure the powers that be in WWE thought it was a creative finish, but I didn't like it. It was so apparent that Corbin wasn't tapping that it just made the referee look like a complete idiot (or as Chris Jericho would say, a stupid idiot).

Segment Eleven: AJ Styles - Dean Ambrose - John Cena Promo

The gist: Styles talked about beating Cena and Ambrose in singles matches and said he will beat them both at the same time at No Mercy. Ambrose came out. He said he had Styles beaten last week when Cena interfered. Ambrose said Cena couldn't stand it that he beat him and was about to win the WWE World Title.  Cena came out. Styles cut off Cena before he could say a word. Styles said he knows Cena was going to talk about chasing Ric Flair's record of 16 world title reigns. Styles was offended that Cena would compare himself to Flair. He said Cena chases history, but he makes history. Cena again was about to speak, but this time Ambrose cut him off. Ambrose said he knows Cena was going to say that he didn't mean to screw him over last week and that Ambrose screwed himself over. Ambrose said Cena would spin it to make him look like a jerk. He said Cena is the master of political spin and that's why he's been on top for 15 years. He said Cena has been trying to stab him in the back since Day One, but Cena can't outwork him. He said Cena doesn't respect him because he never kissed Cena's ass or came to him for advice and played his little game. Cena said talk is cheap, and he attacked Ambrose. Cena tossed Styles out of the ring and AA'd Ambrose. Cena held up the title belt, but Styles attacked him from behind. Styles nailed Cena with the Phenomenal Forearm and retrieved his belt. Styles began to head back up the ramp, but Ambrose jumped him and hit Dirty Deeds on the floor. Ambrose held up the belt.

Analysis: An excellent segment. Ambrose's promo on Cena was a mix of work and shoot, and his delivery was terrific. I liked that Ambrose and Styles did all the talking while Cena just took it all in before finally taking action. The post-match angle, with each guy getting a chance to stand tall with the title belt, also was good.

Final thoughts: This was an enjoyable show. None of the matches were anything special, but the two big talking segments more than made up for that.

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