WWE SmackDown Live for November 8, 2016
Watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on a one-month delay
SSE Hydro Arena – Glasgow, Scotland
After weeks of enduring both verbal and physical attacks, SmackDown Women’s champion Becky Lynch looks to gain retribution, as she defends her title against Alexa Bliss tonight. Plus, AJ Styles responds to James Ellsworth’s actions, which allowed his latest rival, Dean Ambrose, to become the number-one contender to the WWE World Championship last week. How will things pan out less than two weeks away from Survivor Series? We’ll find out on tonight’s edition of SmackDown Live.
AJ Styles is out to kick things off, essentially saying that James Ellsworth is to blame for his loss to Dean Ambrose in last week’s main event. One by one, Styles’ Survivor Series teammates and Ellsworth make their way to the ring. Although the other five men remain silent, Ambrose came here tonight with something to say. Ambrose states that if Styles has a problem with Ellsworth, he’ll have to go through him. Styles reiterates his point, saying that he doesn’t care because Ambrose is outnumbered tonight. This brings out SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, who announces that Ellsworth will be Team Blue’s mascot at Survivor Series. McMahon also announces a six-man tag team match for tonight, pitting Ellsworth, Ambrose and Corbin against The Wyatt Family and Randy Orton. A solid opening segment that wasted no time furthering tension between members of Team Blue and setting up a match for later on in the show.
When we come back from a commercial break, Shane McMahon and Baron Corbin are shown arguing backstage. This leads to Corbin being taken out of tonight’s six-man tag team match, and being granted a singles match with the returning Kalisto.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch)
Early on, The Vaudevillains maintain control, doing everything they can to take Breeze out of the equation. There’s a real sense of urgency about this match, as both teams are dead-set on victory. Fandango makes a brief comeback and pins English with a Falcon Arrow in a short, sweet, and to-the-point contest, which is quickly becoming a staple of SmackDown.
Breezango def. The Vaudevillains
Earlier this week, news broke that The Undertaker will be appearing on the 900th episode of SmackDown next week. Now, we know that Edge will also be returning next week to host the Cutting Edge.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Natalya vs. Naomi
Both Naomi and Natalya go back-and-forth, with neither being able to find their footing. Before the match can start to pick up, Carmella comes to ringside and confronts Nikki Bella, who’s on commentary. Try as she might, Natalya is unable to mend bridges, allowing Naomi to pick up the roll-up victory. More of an angle than an actual match, and well-done one at that.
Naomi def. Natalya
Backstage, James Ellsworth tells his newfound best friend, Dean Ambrose not to worry about Baron Corbin being taken off their team tonight. Daniel Bryan joins them and reveals that their new tag team partner will be none other than Kane.
Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto
Before the match, we take a look back at Corbin’s backstage assault on Kalisto, which took him out of action nearly three months ago. The match never officially gets under way, as Corbin attacks Kalisto before the bell rings. As Corbin was leaving, he slipped off the apron, seemingly suffering a knee injury. Kalisto takes advantage of the situation and goes to work on Corbin’s injured knee, even hitting a frog splash for good measure.
SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan is shown backstage with Shane McMahon, and he announces that Baron Corbin will not be able to compete at Survivor Series due to the injury he sustained earlier. Bryan will decide Corbin’s replacement by the end of tonight.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Pre-match, we get a very good video package recapping the history of Lynch’s feud with Bliss thus far. The story of the match was Bliss’ remorseless, methodical attack on Becky’s arm, repeatedly driving Lynch into the steel steps and ring post. Lynch is able to regroup and do a bit of limb work on Bliss’ left arm herself, allowing her to retain the title. That win was not met without controversy, however, seeing as Bliss’ foot was underneath the bottom rope when she submitted. Shenanigans aside, this was a perfectly good TV title match, but it was clear both competitors were holding back for a future encounter. Both competitors were given plenty of time to shine and Bliss has really come into her own as a villain of late.
Becky Lynch def. Alexa Bliss
Maryse confronts Daniel Bryan about The Miz’s omission from Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. Maryse asks why he would allow Dolph Ziggler defend his Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series, to which Bryan replies: “I have faith in Dolph.” Bryan also reveals that he and Shane have made a deal with Mick Foley, which is why Brian Kendrick will be defending his Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto at Survivor Series. If Kalisto wins that match, the cruiserweight division will be moved to SmackDown. Seemingly, this could be a step in the right direction for a division that’s floundering on Monday nights. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. In closing, Bryan announces that Miz will take on Ziggler in an Intercontinental Title match next week.
Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins
Crews dominated Hawkins for the majority of the match, only for Curt to roll him up for the win. Not a whole lot of substance to this one, but it’ll be interesting to see what direction Hawkins goes in from here.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews Dolph Ziggler about his upcoming title match. Ziggler vows to be a fighting champion and to successfully defend his belt.
James Ellsworth, Dean Ambrose & Kane vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper) & Randy Orton
This match was centered around Orton and Harper, who have an unspoken animosity about them. The Wyatts stay in control for the majority of the contest, but Kane is able to make the hot tag to Ambrose. There was a nice moment where the crowd implored Ambrose to tag in Ellsworth. Naturally, Ellsworth made a brief comeback before he took the pinfall. While nothing stood out, this was still a rock solid main event. Post-match, Daniel Bryan announced that Shane McMahon will be taking Baron Corbin’s place at Survivor Series. Why they’d choose McMahon to replace Corbin over a full-time member of the roster is beyond me.
The Wyatt Family & Randy Orton def. James Ellsworth, Dean Ambrose & Kane
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE FOR NOVEMBER 8, 2016
Good - 7.0/10
Another good show is in the books, as is par for the course for Team Blue. We have a clear direction heading into next week's show, with the appearance of two former World champions, as well as a rematch between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. Although this show was far from perfect, everything had a purpose, set things up for the future or rewarded viewers. And that, my friends, is what SmackDown Live is all about.