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SmackDown RunDown Live (9/13/16): Free Title Shots!


I’m the champ that runs the camp! Welcome to SmackDown RunDown Live and it doesn’t even matter who I am at this point. AJ Styles is WWE World Champion, baybay! I should just end this column right now. This show gets an A+ just because Styles is the champ. But alright, I have to get back on track. It’s the Backlash aftermath and as new champions were crowned, new challengers also made their presence known. Let’s get down to it.

Triple Threat Match For The World Title Set for No Mercy


This week’s episode could’ve easily been an AJ Styles celebration but the Phenomenal One didn’t get one. Cena interrupted the WWE World Champion AJ Styles at the beginning of the show to declare his intentions to tie Ric Flair’s legendary record of 16 world championships. Ambrose then came out and promised to make Styles’ life a living hell. Cena and Ambrose then had an awesome zinger battle that promoted a unanimous “Cena” chant. Yeah, I know.


Shane-O then came out and announced the main event for No Mercy—WWE World Champion AJ Styles will defend his title against Dean Ambrose and John Cena. I can understand why John Cena was placed in the main event. The Styles-Ambrose rivalry isn’t really clicking because both men are practically heels one way or another. They need a definite face to highlight Styles’ cocky personality and Ambrose’s descent to madness. I just think Cena could earn the title shot a little, though, have him beat a man or something.


Big Shane also scheduled a tag team match for the night’s main event between Ambrose and Cena against AJ Styles and a partner of his choosing. This set up AJ Styles’ quest for a partner throughout the episode a la Heath Slater. Styles tried to ask Baron Corbin and Kane before D-Bry appointed his partner for him—the great James Ellsworth. Before the match started, however, The Miz took out the poor jobber and volunteered to be Styles’ tag partner.


The match had a little more time than the other tag matches of the night, but it was still too short considering it was the main event. The tension between Cena and Ambrose was obvious throughout the match. It actually made me worry that Styles would become the third wheel as they set up Cena vs. Ambrose in the future. In the end, Cena hit The Miz with an AA for the win. After the match, Ambrose planted Cena with Dirty Deeds, which received boos. I just wish AJ Styles and The Miz won the match since they have the momentum, plus the post-match segment would have made a lot more sense if Ambrose and Cena had lost.

Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

Another round of Vibes and Blues coming your way! This week, a new challenger was crowned and a family reunited… kind of. As per regulations, Vibe means pretty good while Blue means complete bollocks. Let’s begin!


Vibe: Becky Balboa and her newly-minted SmackDown Women’s Championship witnessed first-hand the crowning of her new contender, Alexa Quinn, in a good fatal 5-way match. It was a rematch from Backlash, minus Becky and the elimination part. I’m glad they chose the right gal for the job since Nikki and Carmella are feuding, Naomi won’t make sense, and we’ve seen Natalya vs Becky more than once and it didn’t quite work out. Props to Alexa for actually earning her title shot.


Vibe: Speaking of earning a title shot, Dolph Ziggler clearly skipped that memo as he confronted The Miz for another shot at the Intercontinental Championship. D-Bry also came out and agreed with Ziggler. Can’t anyone on the roster earn their title shots just a little? Fortunately, The Miz addressed that point and refused to defend the title against the GM’s lapdog. He insisted that he’ll be calling the shots now and walked out. The Miz is red hot right now; too bad Cena pinned him at the end of the night. Small road bump.


Blue: What’s up with the short tag matches? The Usos vs Hype Bros happened, in case you missed it, and I assume you did. Then Heath Slater and Rhyno defended their Piso Tag Titles against the Ascension in a match which ended with a massive Gore. No team can work a longer match? One thing that has become the trend is that Rhyno is always the key to success for Team Slyno. I think Creative’s planning something now that Heath’s awesome free agent gimmick is dead.


Blue: The Orton-Wyatt rivalry has completely lost its steam. I understand that Orton wasn’t cleared to compete at Backlash and that they could’ve just ended the segment with the forfeit victory to add to Bray Wyatt’s mind games. But they had to go and drag Kane out and beat Wyatt. This week, Orton and Wyatt’s banter continued and in the end, Erick Rowan appeared and received an RKO from the Viper. Lame. I guess they are just dragging this story so that Orton gets the satisfying ending. The good thing about this segment is that the Family is seemingly back together. Just don’t break this faction anymore. Just don’t. C’mon, Creative.


Blue: No jobber-squashing this week from Kane, but we got a returning Jack Swagger. He interrupted the exciting and heart-stopping match between Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews and declared that SmackDown Live just got a big problem in a very weird promo. At least his catchphrase is still over. Wasn’t Curt Hawkins scheduled to debut this week?

Backstage Segment of the Night: James Ellsworth’s short-lived main event debut


Easily the funniest backstage segment of the night. I didn’t have to go to Talking Smack for this one. I hope they make Ellsworth the new Colin Delaney. Now all he has to do is stay away from Brock Lesnar before he tore his leg off. Wait… I think that was another guy. I’m just glad it wasn’t the “I love big sweaty men” guy.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Backlash was indeed an awesome show and this week just failed to carry that momentum forward. The random title shots didn’t sit well with me, most segments were either weird or lame, and the main event was a drag. AJ Styles being the WWE World Champion kept this episode from being bad, though. The Blue Brand is starting to set up the stories for No Mercy and for now, we’ll just have to enjoy this rocky first step. The Backlash aftermath will get a B-.

I predicted 4 matches correctly out of 5 from my last Backlash prediction column. Just leaving it here for bragging rights.

Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Does Bray Wyatt make you not want to sleep? Throw your best wrestling memes down at the comments.

Photos from WWE.com


*****


Ricky Jay Publico is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.

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